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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
NO COMMENTS ON VESSEL (OR CABINS) BECAUSE THIS WAS HER LAST VIKING CRUISE. A BRAND NEW SHIP IN 2019!!! Our 2-week Imperial Jewels odyssey, Shanghai to Bejing, celebrated our 50th anniversary. It was extremely well-organized by very ... Read More
NO COMMENTS ON VESSEL (OR CABINS) BECAUSE THIS WAS HER LAST VIKING CRUISE. A BRAND NEW SHIP IN 2019!!! Our 2-week Imperial Jewels odyssey, Shanghai to Bejing, celebrated our 50th anniversary. It was extremely well-organized by very competent staff. Airfare booked thru Viking provided direct flights on American Airlines & included all transfer of ourselves & bags. Welcoming Viking escorts met us, took us to our hotels on the first of many tour bus rides & handled check-in. We met our excellent, personable & continually informative Viking escort, Roy Liu, & our "family" of 35 fellow travelers. All 3 cities featured elegant 4-5 star hotels like Ritz-Carlton. We sailed from Wuhan after 2 nights. The tour includes 3 internal flights on Chinese airlines via vast modern airports. Plentiful daily sightseeing utilizes travel days to see things en route. It is a VERY strenuous tour including countless stairs & uneven pavement. (Few wheelchair service opportunities.) Our only excursion-free "day of rest" was the first on the river. Fascinating, constant learning opportunities introduced the culture, history, landmarks, etc.plus activities like daily Tai Chi exercise class. The hard-working, totally service-oriented Chinese crew provided night time entertainment with colorful costumes & folk dancing. No formal nights or casino. Nice bars with live music duo. No smoking. The ship's elegant dining room had 8-person tables; no assigned seats. Breakfast & lunch had both buffet & menu service. Western-style foods are plentiful on board & at hotels, but don't go if you dislike Chinese cuisine. Restaurant meals on excursions usually many dishes family-style on a "lazy Susan." LOVED the food's variety, flavors, & freshness but missed ice cubes! Viking constantly supplied necessary bottled water. (Even used for brushing teeth!) Free-flow "house" wine, beer, soft drinks at meals. ON SHIP: Wi-fi free but seldom available due to geography. OFF SHIP: Wi-fi free at hotels but no Google, Facebook, etc. Need alternative apps. ALWAYS carry toilet paper; ladies, brief wait for western-style public toilets. Highlights too numerous to list included the expected like Terra Cotta warriors & Great Wall & unexpected like a Chinese elementary school & the exotic Goddess stream gorge. This trip does NOT go to the panda breeding center. We adored these charmers at their Chonqing Zoo enclosures. Glad we went south-to-north as Beijing was the peak experience! November chilly but bearable up north, still warm & humid in the south. (October has millions of Chinese traveling for biggest national holidays.) Viking doesn't waste time at overpriced "factory" businesses but took us to a few quality establishments selling silk embroidery, bronzes, jade, etc. The few small shops on board had higher prices than on land & didn't bargain. Most popular was a tailor creating custom-made silk garments that were bargains compared to US prices. Order early! Added-cost excursions: Only 3, We did the Tang Dynasty Dinner/Show at Xian & the Kung Fu Theatre in Beijing. Both FABULOUS theatrical productions with music,dance, thrills, astonishing special effects worthy of Las Vegas. Incredible value! SO GLAD we experienced this journey to an endlessly surprising, dynamic destination! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Just knowing that someone would be 'holding our hands' throughout the entire trip changed my attitude about traveling in China. After all, there were so many sights - the pandas, the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors - that I have ... Read More
Just knowing that someone would be 'holding our hands' throughout the entire trip changed my attitude about traveling in China. After all, there were so many sights - the pandas, the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors - that I have always wanted to see in person, but the thought of traveling in such a large foreign country - different language, food, customs - was daunting. Viking offered an attractive opportunity for my husband and me to realize this dream, so we jumped on it. Because it was such a comprehensive overview of China we really don't feel a need to return. However, it was a marvelous experience and the cruise portion was definitely a highlight. The food was delicious, the stateroom was more than adequate, the cultural talks were excellent, the staff was attentive and delightful, the entertainment was extremely well done -- by the young people in the staff, no less! -- and the excursions were all worthwhile. No complaints! Oh, and the views from the ship - a photographer's delight! We didn't really spend any time lounging on our veranda, but it was a great place to stand to take pictures! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We selected this cruise because we wanted to see the highlights of China. the itinerary which included a week on land and a week on the cruise took us to visit the major spots and gave us an overview of the country. Embarkation and ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we wanted to see the highlights of China. the itinerary which included a week on land and a week on the cruise took us to visit the major spots and gave us an overview of the country. Embarkation and disembarkation went well. Assistance getting luggage on board was helpful. Cabin was much nicer than expected. All meals were served nicely with a good variety of food. The entertainment on board was fun, mostly the crew performed and an outside orchestra and children's choir when in port. We found the overall service excellent. The shore excursions were very good but the groups were too big - our group was 34 people and that was a bit unwieldy. Our recommendation of no more than 20 per group. This was our first Viking River Cruise. We had previously taken a Viking Ocean Cruise and have signed up for another Ocean Cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
My husband & I have always wanted to go to China. What better way than on a Cruise. We saw do much in a short amount of time. The first night we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton. This was a bonus and our meals were included. The next ... Read More
My husband & I have always wanted to go to China. What better way than on a Cruise. We saw do much in a short amount of time. The first night we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton. This was a bonus and our meals were included. The next day we boarded the Ship. We were on the second floor which was excellent as the main desk was on this floor and also the Dinning room. We saw the Oriental Pearl Tower on the Bund River and from there went to a Mall and saw how they made Silk Oriental Carpets and also amazing pictures done by had in silk. From there we went to Old Shanghai to the Yu Yuan Garden. The weather turned bad and it rained very hard. It is hard to enjoy something when you are wet and cold. It was lovely though. We then went to a lovely Restaurant for a traditional Chinese meal. There are usually 8 to 10 people around a round table. From the Restaurant we then went to see an Acrobatic Troupe. They were simply amazing. All this took place in one day. We were very tired and went to bed so we would be ready for a full day coming up. We went to We did have 2 Tours cancelled as it was a weekend and they weren't available. This was disappointing, however, Viking made up for it and replaced them. I would say though that one replacement was a Science Museum and there was know one to explain what we were seeing. There was a local orchestra brought in in the evening and they played many different instruments that we have never heard. The next day we went to Jingzhou Ancient City. Very interesting and lots of stairs. The next morning we went to the Three Gorges and through the locks to the Three Gorges Dam. Believe it or not they have an outdoor Escalator to take you to the top. It was the largest dam we have ever seen. The next day we went to the Yangtze tributary and boarded a Sampan. This was really a nice way to see the Giver. We learned that many years ago people were buried on the side of the mountain and you could see one that is still in good shape. You have to be fast though to take a picture as you are in a moving boat. In Shibaozhai we went to a Temple. We had to climb 12 stories to get to this. You had better be fit for this trip as there were many stairs to climb on every excursion. We got off the ship one day and really had to climb a lot of stairs to get to the top of a large hill and there was a large market. Everyone is trying to sell you something. We disembarked in Chongging. I will say that the staff on the Ship were excellent and the Restaurant was lovely. The food was really good and the layout of the tables again was nice. At least 8 to a table. What a good way to get to meet people. As you can tell, there were lots of activities and you were glad when bedtime arrived. If you want to be on the go and see wonderful sights that you won't experience again this is the trip for you. Our fitness and recreation was not on board but every time we left the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
I have traveled a lot but had never been to China. This cruise stops in several different cities and is a combination of river and land. The cruise was well organized and the food and entertainment were quite good. The activities on board ... Read More
I have traveled a lot but had never been to China. This cruise stops in several different cities and is a combination of river and land. The cruise was well organized and the food and entertainment were quite good. The activities on board were interesting and different than other cruises. All were centered around the Chinese culture. The stops on the land portion were interesting but the food was the same each day - large tables of the same Chinese food and it became a bit boring. We paid extra to go to Peking Duck dinner which was excellent and worth the extra price. The groups on the land portion were too large (38 people) per bus which made it difficult to hear the guide when we disembarked. The hotels we stayed in were excellent - really nice 4-5 star hotels. The cruise overall was very well organized. There were several buses for land portion and some of the guides were better than others. Overall, I think this trip is great value for the cost. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
First, our neighbors took this cruise several years ago and recommended it to us...we were extremely happy they did! Our guide was most informative and stayed with us the entire trip. Several times there was a change in program for one ... Read More
First, our neighbors took this cruise several years ago and recommended it to us...we were extremely happy they did! Our guide was most informative and stayed with us the entire trip. Several times there was a change in program for one reason or another, (sometimes through no fault of Viking), but they always tried to substitute with equal value. The Sampan ride through the Lesser Three Gorges was breathtaking. For the region of China we toured, I don't think we missed much.. Three Gorges Dam; pandas in Chongqing; Terra Cotta soldiers in Xian; the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Hutong rickshaw ride and Kung Fu show in Beijing. Our state room was spacious with a balcony. Lots of river traffic on the Yangtze made for interesting scenery. The meals were delicious..not being an adventureous eater, I always found Western food on the ship. You could have had filet mignon every night! Staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Remembered your name and drink preferences. They like to try out there English.. On the land portion, the hotels were all five star accommodations. The food was, for the most part, Eastern, served buffet style at your table with a wide variety. All in all, a very enjoyable trip and look forward to our second river cruise in the future. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This is the worst of Viking experience I can imagine, since we sailed with Viking Ocean before and think that their China Yangtze River cruise should also honor that tradition. On the contrary, this is the worst cruise/tour we have had in ... Read More
This is the worst of Viking experience I can imagine, since we sailed with Viking Ocean before and think that their China Yangtze River cruise should also honor that tradition. On the contrary, this is the worst cruise/tour we have had in the past 25 years. 1. Viking had chartered a low-graded local Chinese river cruise ship (called Century Emerald) and only hang up Viking signage during the journey. It is NOT a Viking ship at all. 2. The ship is old, ill-equipped and lack of proper maintenance. The state room is very small with 6 inches-depth closet space and old and smelly bathroom. Most of the common area has been occupied by vendors for souvenirs...etc. , similar to any popular attractions in China. 3. Food quality on shore is way way below standard, similar to low-fared Chinese local tour group or even worse. We know what good Chinese food is like, and what Viking has contracted is cheap local Chinese restaurants with questionable sanitary standards, as many ended up with upset stomachs, vomiting and diarrhea. 4. Land tour excursions are too limited. For example, there are many attractions in Xi'an and yet Viking only had the group visiting Terra Cotta Warriors, plus an optional dancing performance. That is all for a 2-night stay in Xi'an. The group did not even have a chance to visit the ancient city of Xi'an and its well-known historical attractions near-by. Same situation in Shanghai and Beijing. 5. The pricing is very unjust for people who booked early, since Viking has put the tour on sale 2-3 months before the sailing date. There is no price guarantee, so, it ended up with people who might pay more than double the price of the others in the same group. 6. Local tour escorts need more professional training Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We celebrated our 50th with Viking and they took care of us royally. We liked it so much we may take that same cruise again for our 55th. We are impressed with Viking and will travel again with them. We've done one of the European ... Read More
We celebrated our 50th with Viking and they took care of us royally. We liked it so much we may take that same cruise again for our 55th. We are impressed with Viking and will travel again with them. We've done one of the European cruises with them and that was also very much a delight. Thank you Viking! Our guide was awesome, I had some medical issues just before we were to leave and he took such good care of the group and made sure that the issues that almost kept us from taking this trip were taken care of in the most discreet ways that no one else knew that I even had any problems. I don't know how that could have been done even if I were home in the US. A special thanks to IOWA.Our accommodations were so nice and those that tended our room were helpful and so professional. The Dining both on board and on our excursions were just above anything we could have hoped for. The food choices, wine pairing and the wait staff( well I wanted to take some them home with us). The excursions were so unbelievable, that one of our traveling companions took notes and could actually write a book. Educational, enlightening, and awe-inspiring. We were just saying today we may take the same cruise again. In all of the areas that are one would give the highest of ranking or stars there was only one that I felt could be added to, the Fitness area. But that is my thing, trying to keep off extra weight when the food is so..so great. Ray and I recommend Viking and their River Cruises highly and we hope to take an ocean cruise with them next year. We have taken other ocean cruises and they were good, but we feel certain that Viking will surpass. Much Aloha, Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The cruise itinerary offered the most sites within the time frame. There was not ONE thing on this cruise that was not top notch. The trip met or exceeded all expectations. I have been on many ocean cruises and was hesitant to try a ... Read More
The cruise itinerary offered the most sites within the time frame. There was not ONE thing on this cruise that was not top notch. The trip met or exceeded all expectations. I have been on many ocean cruises and was hesitant to try a smaller ship, but I have nothing but praise for the professionals who work for Viking. Every employee I encountered was helpful, informative and made sure my inquiries were answered. Even the ship doctor offered his assistance with internet connectivity! I think your tour guides are contracted, but I was fortunate to be assigned to Kobe who was not only knowledgeable, but kind, compassionate and went out of his way to accommodate even the most difficult customer. I was able to see every place I had on my list and then some. I was especially glad to experience the dining options. Although not an adventurous diner, your chef and staff offered a wide variety so that sampling could be done as well as offerings that were more to my taste. Excellent! My next river cruise is Nov, 2018 and I am looking forward to another great experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our first trip with Viking and we've already scheduled another. From arrival to departure we felt safe, relaxed and in good hands. The shore excursions were great and most got our cardio going. We felt they covered an ... Read More
This was our first trip with Viking and we've already scheduled another. From arrival to departure we felt safe, relaxed and in good hands. The shore excursions were great and most got our cardio going. We felt they covered an excellent blend of culture, history, dining and entertainment. Walking the Great Wall checked off a bucket list item and it was awesome. Shipboard meals were delicious and varied. All the wait staff went out of their way to ensure we enjoyed ourselves.Their blend of warmth and personality was second to none. We truly enjoyed the crew shows. Their pride was so evident and preserving the culture was first and foremost. Our guide, Tom, managed our group extremely well, and filled us with many points of history as we rode to and from our excursions. We learned so much and gained a whole new perspective. His patience was endless as he rounded up our stragglers. Thank you Viking. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We were talked into this cruise by friends who felt it was a good price to see a country none of us had been to and Viking had served us well on a European cruise. We in turn brought a third couple and we were all thrilled with the tour. ... Read More
We were talked into this cruise by friends who felt it was a good price to see a country none of us had been to and Viking had served us well on a European cruise. We in turn brought a third couple and we were all thrilled with the tour. It was a land and river tour and Viking used first class hotels. The ship was very comfortable. While some of us were nervous about the food, cuisine was always well prepared and was a good balance of American and Chinese dishes. Nobody ever left the table hungry. Each group of 30 had a guide who stayed with the group for the entire trip. Our guide, Richard, was wonderful. He was fluent in English, knowledgeable, friendly, attentive, detail-minded. He made sure that everything went as smoothly as possible. The activities and tours were set up to show us modern and historical China. We saw museums and historic sights, shows, indoor and outdoor activities. We saw pandas, climbed the Great Wall, sailed the Yangtze, walked among the Terra Cotta army, crossed Tian'anmen Square, and went through the Forbidden City. It was a wonderful time. We went in November and packed to dress in layers. We encountered temperatures from about 80 to below freezing (Great Wall), but we were prepared and comfortable. The smog we had head about was barely discernable and not a problem with the cooler weather. The river was foggy, very foggy at times below the dams, and we missed our school visit. By the time we were in the scenic area of the Three Gorges, visibility was much improved. Everyone was helpful and gracious on the ship , in the hotels, at the tour sites, in the restaurants, the buses, the airports. Viking lined up excellent service and enjoyable experiences throughout the entire trip. We learned a lot; we enjoyed ourselves a lot, it was a great time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Interesting but exhausting trip. 17 days is a long time which included 3 internal flights which were tiresome. A Highlight of the trip was our tour guide Ray. His amazing communication skills and A+ personality made the trip. Tibet was ... Read More
Interesting but exhausting trip. 17 days is a long time which included 3 internal flights which were tiresome. A Highlight of the trip was our tour guide Ray. His amazing communication skills and A+ personality made the trip. Tibet was another highlight. We arrived during a holy time so got to see the Buddhist pilgrims from the countryside. 6 of the 30 people on our tour to Tibet got altitude sickness and had to go to the in hotel clinic to get oxygen and medicine. They looked miserable and many missed a day in Tibet, so if your going you might want to consider getting the altitude pre medication available in the states before leaving home. The cruise portion down the Yangtze was pretty but there was lots of smog/pollution the first few days. Almost everywhere we went in China was very industrialized. It was interesting to see the huge buildings and people but the lack of any wildlife anywhere was a major bummer. Culturally a very rich trip, glad to have seen the Terra Cotta warriors and the Great Wall in person. The Hotels we stayed at for the land portion were luxurious, the Viking Emerald was nice, but did have an awful lot of gift shops on every floor, which made the atmosphere less than perfect. The food was good and as a vegetarian I always had choices. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Viking's Undiscovered China only goes from Shanghai to Beijing and we also did the Hong Kong extension. The entire trip was wonderful and our escort, Francis, couldn't do enough for his 38 passengers. As other reviews have said, ... Read More
Viking's Undiscovered China only goes from Shanghai to Beijing and we also did the Hong Kong extension. The entire trip was wonderful and our escort, Francis, couldn't do enough for his 38 passengers. As other reviews have said, the escort is with you the entire trip (a different part-time escort was in Hong Kong). The escort is your main guide (some local guides are also used) and a great help with any trouble shooting that you need. We are generally independent travelers and even when we do a cruise we will go off on our own, but not in China. The ship did have some dehumidifiers running in the halls but we didn't have any problems with the humidity. The weather was generally cloudy and we did have some periods of drizzle or rain; but it didn't interfere with planned activities. All of the hotels were 5 star and the food was very good. On the ship the breakfast and lunch buffets had plenty of options and for dinner you could order from a menu. Wine and beer were included with lunch and dinner. On the land portion of the trip, lunches were always Chinese food served on a Lazy Susan and some of the dinners were buffets. The buffets were better because they generally had some Western food and more variety. We paid the extra money to pick our own flights. As soon as Viking booked these flights we were able to log onto the airline web site and pick our own seats. The airline tickets also included transfers to and from the airports which was a great benefit because the airports were at least 45 minutes from the hotels. In Chengdu we were taken to the Panda Breeding Center. It's a huge zoo for just Giant and Red Pandas. The group all agreed that is was a hi-light of the trip. There are about 200 Giant Pandas (from 3 months to 20+ years old) and 60+ Red Pandas. The pandas are roaming in large areas and many of them were playing and interacting with each other. Also in this city we went to a Sichuan Opera. Don't let the word opera scare you away. This show can be described as more of a variety show consisting of various short performances. This hi-light of the show is the costume and face changing act. Our stay in Beijing included that rickshaw ride through the Hutong Area and a visit to a home where we had a very nice conversation with the owner and her niece. And yes, you need to bring toilet paper or tissues with you because even in a Western toilet outside the hotel you will not find toilet paper. You were also encouraged not to drink any of the water. The hotels and ship provide you with plenty of bottled water. I believe the water was safe to drink but they were afraid you would come down with Traveler's Diarrhea. Finally--this trip was a once in a life time experience and even with the long international flights and the number of inter-China flights that were involved it was well worth it. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Viking Air Service Pros Cost of airfare was part of the total tour package and was lower than the cost of tickets we could have purchased. Cons. The air service was the biggest disappointment of any part of our tour. We ... Read More
Viking Air Service Pros Cost of airfare was part of the total tour package and was lower than the cost of tickets we could have purchased. Cons. The air service was the biggest disappointment of any part of our tour. We paid an extra $50 to select our airline. We checked the airlines and found that United flew to China and asked to be booked exclusively on United because we could select our seats, check flight status online, and print boarding passes. To book United we were told that we must pay an additional $546 per ticket (2 tickets $1,092). We were then booked on China Air, no seat selection, no online access to flight information, all tickets must be printed at check-in. Taking Air China required leaving Houston at 1:00AM and arriving in Beijing at 3:40AM then taking two shuttle trains through 2 terminals and 3 security checks all with no one available who spoke English. We followed some other passengers through this maze and luckily found our gate. Our flight from Beijing to Shanghai was delayed. There was a sign in Chinese only. After 4 hours a sign was added “military Priority”. Since there was no one at the gate in Beijing who would give us any status for the flight, even when we finally found and asked an English speaker, we called all of the emergency phone numbers in the Viking Booklet. All of the numbers were non-working except one. We then reached their main office and was told we should ask someone at the airport. Our flight from Beijing to Shanghai was delayed 5 hours. The flight boarded only after a crowd gathered at the desk and complained. Once boarded we sat on the tarmac for an additional 2 hours. On arrival at Shanghai we received a text from our tour guide “Angie” and were greeted after customs with a Viking agent who took us to the hotel. One suitcase had been opened by Chinese customs, since it contained a lipstick size battery charger which was removed and discarded. The suitcase was not properly closed, which bent the suitcase frame. Fortunately the Chinese domestic flights were trouble free. The return flight to the USA required that we wait in line at 3 different check-in locations since we did not have boarding passes since Air China would not allow online check-in (as United would have). After all of this aggravation we met another passenger on our tour who also left from Houston on the same day we left who took United on all flights making connections a LAX with no problems. Summary: 1) Viking’s pick you own airline is not true. 2) Make connection in USA if possible. 3) Follow the Chinese check baggage restrictions which differ from USA. Viking River Boat Pros We have cruised on Carnival, NCL, and Holland America with a passenger size from 2,500 to 4.500. We found that the small number of passengers on the river boat gave us a chance to meet other passengers on a more personal level. The small number of passengers also meant much better service from the crew. Being on a small ship the shows presented by the crew in the lunge were personal and fun. Cons The entertainment was not on the “Broadway” level seen on some large ships which is to be expected. Tours Pros Tours are included in the price of the cruise and are mostly walking tours (Bus to location). Viking is not a tour for ATV or zip line adventures. We found every site visited from minor (tea service at bell tower) to major (Great Wall) to be educational and fun. For China tours, Viking provides a tour guide that stayed with our 24 person group from pickup at the arrival airport to drop off at the departure airport. During the tours and particularly during the bus rides to the sites our tour guide provided a continuous entertaining and informative narrative. It was great to be able to ask questions as we traveled. Our Tour Guide was absolutely the best part of the Viking service. Weather is always an issue. At each location, Viking provided umbrellas for rainy days and cold bottled water for those hot days. Cons The tours require a lot of walking. Wheelchairs and walkers would not work at all. China does not provide disability accommodation. Meals Pros We requested vegetarian meals for one and noted a food allergy for the other. Each meal and even the box lunch provided for the domestic flights met these restrictions. Our needs were met at every meal. The meals at the hotels were buffet and were the best I have seen. The selection and varieties were great, from pizza to steak to oysters and shrimp to pastas. Cons After 2 weeks the Lazy Susan Chinese meals became somewhat redundant. Be prepared for local food and no hamburgers. Entertainment Pros The duo that provided the music for dance played a great selection of danceable music from swing to rumba to waltz and even a few Texas two steps. They played and joined in many popular line dances from Boot Scootin Boogie to the Cha Cha Slide. They took requests and on and allowed the passengers to join in for Karaoke. Cons On the ship the sixth floor dance floor was approximately 12ft x 12ft and the surface was very rough. As ballroom dancers we found this extremely small if more than one couple is dancing. The round dance floor on the 5th floor was much larger and smoother and should have been used. Hotel accommodation on Land portion Pros Hotels were all 5 star and comparable or better than USA Hilton, Wyndam, etc. hotels. We sated at Ritz Carlton Shanghai, Wyndham Xian and Regent Beijing. Hotels included iron, iron board, hair dryer, shampoos and soaps, At every hotel the service and personnel were extremely accommodation. Cons Travel tips for China Baggage: For domestic China and for the Air China flights international, the checked baggage were all weighed. The limit is 44 lbs. We were not charged for excessive since ours were under. We allowed for souvenirs and were at 36 lbs going and 44 lbs on return. The restrictions said carry on was limited to 11 lbs, however, we had a large gym bag type bag that would have fit under the seat which was not weighed. Any banned items in checked baggage are removed and discarded. USA TSA restrictions are followed in addition, in checked luggage, batteries, battery chargers, power strips, mercury thermometers are not allowed. Cigarette lighters and matches are banned from both checked and carry on. Tips: Take a lot of 10 and 20 Yuan bills for tips. Take 50s for major purchases. Credit cards are accepted on the ship and major city department stores and museum gift shops. Most stores and street vendors only take cash. The Chinese all pay with a Chinese app on their smart phones. Tour bus drivers: 20 Yuan ($3) per person per day. Helpers 1/2 of that. Yuan only Tour Guide: 70 Yuan ($10) per person per day. (Dollars or Yuan) – for 14 days this is $280. Cruise crew per cruise recommendation which can be paid by credit card on last day. Markets / Souvenirs: For street markets offer about ¼ or the initial price and settle between 1/3 and 1/2. Department brick and mortar stores do not bargain. If a Rolex or Jade necklace is $5 it absolutely is a fake. There are no antiques for sale. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We had an excellent experience with this, our third Viking cruise. We had land-based stays in Shanghai, xian, and Beijing. The hotels, which Viking had arranged, were fabulous, especially the Wyndem Grande in Xian. The ship, the ... Read More
We had an excellent experience with this, our third Viking cruise. We had land-based stays in Shanghai, xian, and Beijing. The hotels, which Viking had arranged, were fabulous, especially the Wyndem Grande in Xian. The ship, the Emerald, is not owned byViking, but it was quite nice. The bed was not the most comfortable, but there were a lot of nice amenities on board. The food, in general, was good, although we're got tired of the endless buffets. We appreciated the few times we could order more standard meals from a menu. The very best part of the cruise (and there were many, many great things to see on the excursions!) was Viking' practice of assigning a specific guide to a group of about 30 cruisers. Our group had only 28 people not, and our guide, Jack, was just wonderful! We were with him the entire trip, so we really got to know him, and he told us so many interesting things about China, and even a lot about himself and his family. No other guide has ever done that, in our experience. He really made China come alive for us. Ben, the cruise director(?), was also excellent and gave some extremely thorough and interesting talks and slideshows. we enjoyed all the stops on this cruise/land, but especially Shanghai, the Three Gorges area on the Yangtze River, Xian, and Beijing. Viking had arranged the air travel for us, as we also spent a few days on our own in Japan and South Korea, before and after the China portion of the trip. There were a few glitches, but all in all, everything worked out very well. I would recommend Viking cruises to anyone who likes to travel! We have cruised on many different ships, including Holland-American, Regent,, Oceania, Princess and Celebrity. We consider Viking River Cruises one of the best, because of its interesting itineraries. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Viking did a great job of organizing a truly memorable trip. We arranged our own travel because we used our AA miles and flew business class for the 14 1/2 hour non-stop flight. We also made our own taxi arrangements to the Kerry Hotel ... Read More
Viking did a great job of organizing a truly memorable trip. We arranged our own travel because we used our AA miles and flew business class for the 14 1/2 hour non-stop flight. We also made our own taxi arrangements to the Kerry Hotel in Beijing and from Westin in Shanghai. Viking charged about $240 for transfers. I simply looked up the Hotel address and did a copy paste of it in Chinese into Word doc so I could give it to the taxi driver. Cost was about $20USD in Beijing and $70USD in Shanghai There were Ambassadors at the airport to give you an approximate cost and direct you toward licensed Taxis. We felt very safe and saved a lot of Money rather than Viking Transfers. Taxis are very small. We only had 2 pieces of luggage and it barely fit. When we checked into the Kerry Hotel, we had a letter from our Viking Tour Escort, Duan, with instructions for breakfast and the exact time and location to meet the next morning for our first tour in Beijing. Everything was very organized. Food at the Kerry was very good, served buffet style. Viking divided us into groups of 30-35 and assigned a guide to remain with us the entire trip. He was fantastic. We wore name tags daily with our name, his name in Chinese and his cell phone number on the back of our badge just in case we got separated from the group. We also were given Voice box devices so that we could hear him while on tours. We always boarded tour buses with Duan's name on it. Putting us in small groups allowed us to get to know people from all over. It was comforting to familiarize our group and recognize them throughout the tours. In Beijing, we toured the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Sacred Way of the Ming Tomb, and a rickshaw ride in Old Beijing's hutongs. There were two optional tours, a Kung Fu dinner/show ($22USD each) which everyone said was very good. We were to tired to attend. The other optional tour was a Peking Duck Dinner ($50 USD each) which we did attend. Duck was prepared at your table and other food choices were served on a lazy Susan. That evening, our tour escort collected our passports and made arrangements for our flight to Xian. Next morning we boarded buses to the airport where our guide took care of luggage transfers, getting our tickets and boarding passes. Boarding passes and passports were returned so we could go through security. When we arrived in Xian, we only had to identify our luggage and it was transferred to the Hilton Xian for us. Next day, after breakfast on our own in the hotel, we traveled to the site of the Terra Cotta Army. This was an amazing display and continual archeological discoveries. Lunch was at a local restaurant. That evening there was an optional Tang Dynasty Dinner and show for $70USD. Next morning, our luggage and passports were collected again by our escort and returned with boarding passes for our next airline flight to Chongquin where we embarked our ship. We had an early flight so when we landed; we went straight to the Zoo in perfect timing to watch the Pandas eat lunch. Baby panda put on quite a show. I was worried about the long walk down a narrow over the water bridge to board the ship but it was not as bad as reviews I had read. Every 6-8 feet was a Viking employee smiling, greeting us as we walked to the ship. Our veranda cabin was about 250 sq. ft. with a shower in the bathroom. Water was replenished daily. We were told to only drink bottled water while in China and even to brush out teeth with bottled water. There were only 250 passengers on the ship. Meals were served open seating. You could order off the menu at night or local fare served on the Lazy Susan. Soft Drinks, water, beer or wine were served frequently throughout the lunch and dinner meals. The next 5 days were on the Viking Emerald as we floated down the Yangtze River. Along the way, we toured the Shibaozhai Pagoda, the Gorges, tour of the world's largest hydroelectric power plant. On board, there was a calligraphy demonstration, a dumpling making demonstration, entertainment by the ship’s crew, and a tour of the bridge. Our next flight was from Wuhan, where we left the ship, to Shanghai. Intra flights were on China Eastern and Xiamen Airlines. Our flights were not long; and lunch was served in coach. In Shanghai, we stayed at the Westin Bund. We were within walking distance to the Bund. The Yu Garden tour was our only rainy day. After the beautiful tour, we had free shopping time in the local markets. Final night included a dinner at a local restaurant followed by the Shanghai Acrobat Show. Viking did a fantastic job on this fully escorted tour. The local hotels, the ship employees, and the local people provided wonderful service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our first time to China and we're very happy we went with Viking to show us this area of the world. The guides were very nice and helpful at every turn. They always make sure you have a great experience and are safe at ... Read More
This was our first time to China and we're very happy we went with Viking to show us this area of the world. The guides were very nice and helpful at every turn. They always make sure you have a great experience and are safe at all times. Our Viking experience was a bit different from going to Europe as we had a land portion that had to be done in order to see the sights of China that we wanted to see. Such as Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. This meant that we had to fly from a few cities. The flights were short and fine, and Viking made sure that all of our baggage was handled from departing our hotel room to our new hotel room. The included tours were very informative and well thought out. Some were very early in the morning, but that helped us to avoid some large crowds. We are looking forward to many more Viking experiences. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our first river cruise. We are avid ocean cruisers and have done 55 cruises to date. We have been many times to Shanghai and a couple of times to Beijing over the years. We wanted to see more of China, as it is a vast country that ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We are avid ocean cruisers and have done 55 cruises to date. We have been many times to Shanghai and a couple of times to Beijing over the years. We wanted to see more of China, as it is a vast country that can only be seen by visiting inland. We decided on Viking Cruises because it is a brand that we had heard a lot about. The Viking customer service we received in the UK was professional and responsive. The booking process was very easy. All the details regarding the cruise and obtaining the Chinese visa was sent on time. However, the information we received before booking the cruise was ambiguous and unclear. >> After we received our booklet with the summary itinerary, we realised that Viking do not provide any meals on the first day of the package >> As we had international baggage allowances, I enquired before we left about the lower luggage weights on the Chinese internal flights but Viking did not advise us that it would not be a problem with the weights because of group check in. As a result we took limited warm clothes. The weather was very cold in Beijing. >> We did not realise that the ship we would be cruising on was not a Viking ship. Viking use a Chinese ship that changed it's name back to the Chinese name 'Century...' on our disembarkation day. There was a sister ship in one of the ports. >> Viking do not explain that the only almost 4* experience that we would receive for the entire 12 nights related to the 5 days whilst we were onboard the ship and not to the land portion of our holiday. I have described the ship as 'almost' 4* because the ship is possibly only a 3* ship. When we boarded the ship in Wuhan, after 2 nights in Shanghai, we were greeted with a warm welcome stating that this was the start of our holiday and when we left after 5 days cruising, we were waved good bye with a message that this was the end of our holiday Viking Century Emerald - The Good & The Bad >> We had to change our cabin at 1:30 am because there was a rattling sound from the balcony and the water discharge plug was moving up and down making a din. >> The staterooms and the entire ship are faded and need complete renovation. It is brown and old. >> The food was alright but nothing to shout about. >> Beer wine and soft drinks are only offered at lunch and dinner >> The Chinese cultural entertainment by the crew was very good, considering that they are not professional. >> The management staff were always willing to listen and were helpful. >> Our cabin steward was non existent and we had to request amenities to be replenished. >> The ship's air conditioner did not work. It was cold at the bottom and stifelingly hot on the upper floors. It was like a sauna in the gym and internet room. >> The internet, although free was unavailable during most of the cruise. Pre and Post Cruise Hotels - Mixed Quality Pre cruise, we stayed in The Westin Bund Center, Shanghai for 2 days. The room we were allocated was on the 5th Floor and needed refurbishment. >> The carpet and chair needed to be changed. >> The air conditioner did not work both days and there was a problem with the automatic night lights behind a glass panel that kept going on and off every now and again during the first night. An engineer disabled the lights >> The breakfast in the main dining room was probably the best that we had on our entire trip. There was a fantastic variety of Chinese and Western food in the buffet. >> Viking had arranged 1 night's dinner in the hotel and it was described as an Italian buffet dinner. This was very poor. There were a couple of hot dishes with soup and pizza, pasta and sandwiches. Post cruise, we stayed in The Hilton, Xi'an and The Ritz Carlton Financial Street, Beijing >> The Hilton room was probably the best one that we stayed in on this trip. >> At the Ritz Carlton, we had to move out of the room we were allotted on the 3rd Floor because the carpet was badly stained and looked dirty. The management were extremely helpful and we were moved immediately to the 10th Floor Throughout our stay we were treated with courtesy and made to feel very welcome. The last day, Viking arranged for us to have dinner in the main restaurant and this was good. Tour Guide - Excellent Our Tour Guide, Bob was very knowledgeable and dedicated to us. He knew his job inside and out and took care of every detail of our trip. Everything flowed seamlessly and we had great admiration for his enthusiasm, stamina and how he managed the group. Tours - All tours were well organised and coaches turned up on time to take us to places of interest. Local guides spoke good English and were knowledgeable. The optional tour in Xian (Tang Dynasty Performance + Dinner) which we paid for additionally was good. Food & Drinks - Very Poor Viking had arranged lunch and dinner in local restaurants or in factories in Shanghai, Xi'an and Beijing. The food was always the same either Chinese types offered on individual tables with 'lazy susans' in local restaurants or in buffets in the jade or carpet factories. The food was monotonous and usually lukewarm at best. We stopped going for the group meals in Beijing. We were only allowed 1 drink in a glass : a beer, water or soft drink, no wine. I don't drink beer or soft carbonated drinks, so I had water throughout the land portion in local restaurants. Internal Flights - Very Disruptive Only 1 of our 3 flights was on time. We had delays on 2 flights - from Shanghai to Wuhan where we missed a tour because we arrived too late and had to go straight to join the ship; and from Xi'an to Beijing, when the flight was cancelled and our guide had to get later flights. We were delayed by 4 hours and had a dreadful Chinese lunch at the airport in a set aside area. Conclusion China is a very complex and fascinating country. We learnt a lot about China's history, culture and people but we found the whole itinerary disjointed. We felt that we wasted 2 of our 12 days holiday sitting in airports. Although it is described as a Viking Cruise it really is a land tour with a small cruise thrown in the middle. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My wife and I started in Shanghai ,staying at the Ritz Carlton Portman, an excellent hotel. We had a tour of Shanghai prior to flying to Wuhan where we picked up the river cruise on the Viking Emerald. Dining on board was excellent ... Read More
My wife and I started in Shanghai ,staying at the Ritz Carlton Portman, an excellent hotel. We had a tour of Shanghai prior to flying to Wuhan where we picked up the river cruise on the Viking Emerald. Dining on board was excellent as was the service. Our first stop on the second day was in Yueyang where we visited a school sponsored by Viking, it was a lovely visit and the students put on a very nice welcoming show for us. They were very appreciative of our visit. The next day we visited the Three Gorges Dam, a massive and very impressive project, after which we sailed through a series of very impressively huge locks.The following day we visited the Lesser Three Gorges, here we had to disembark and cruise on smaller boats, a wonderful experience. The next day we visited the Shibaozhai Temple, a fascinating 12 storey temple. The final day of the cruise we disembarked in Chongqing to initially visit the zoo where we saw the Panda bears, our guides were very good in making sure we were there at feeding time. What impressed me more though were the magnificent White Tigers. From there we went for lunch at a local dining restaurant. After lunch we flew to Xian, staying at the Sheraton North City, another excellent hotel. The next day we visited the Terra Cotta Warriors, a truly awesome experience. From Xian we flew to Beijing for the remainder of our China experience. Here we stayed at the Regent Beijing. Our room was on the 19th and top floor, we had a wonderful view of Beijing. Our tour guide, whose tour name is Jamie and was with us from Shanghai to Beijing including seeing us off to the airport after we had extended our stay in Beijing. We cannot praise her enough, ,constantly keeping her group together,she was marvellous This is our second Viking river cruise/tour we have taken and have been very impressed with the excellent service. We definitely plan on going with Viking in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
We selected Viking for our trip to China based on the fantastic service and programs we had experienced with Viking on a Danube cruise. The China trip was a cruise/tour and we were very pleased that each small group was assigned a guide ... Read More
We selected Viking for our trip to China based on the fantastic service and programs we had experienced with Viking on a Danube cruise. The China trip was a cruise/tour and we were very pleased that each small group was assigned a guide who stayed with the group through the entire trip, including the cruise. We always had a person to go to who knew us and with whom we were comfortable. The tours in each city were excellent - a wonderful mix of the iconic sights and intimate cultural experiences, such as visiting a lady's home in Beijing. The hotels were all five star and very comfortable. Traveling through airports was a breeze - our guide took care of the luggage and boarding documents. The ship was excellent - larger than the Viking longships but just a comfortable and lovely. Of course, ther service was excellent. I heartily recommend Viking for a once-in-a-lifetime trip like China. You will not be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
The "Undiscovered China" itinerary included a wide variety of things I always wanted to see: Panda Reserve, Yangzee River, Three Gorges Dam area, Terracotta Warriors. I had an excellent experience with Viking on the Romantic ... Read More
The "Undiscovered China" itinerary included a wide variety of things I always wanted to see: Panda Reserve, Yangzee River, Three Gorges Dam area, Terracotta Warriors. I had an excellent experience with Viking on the Romantic Danube cruise May 2015 so was anticipating the same on this trip. I was not disappointed. Viking takes wonderful care of their guests from the airport greeting the first day to the very last day. I very much appreciate the efficiency they have in getting our luggage to and from airports, checking in for us (obtaining all the boarding passes) and making hotel arrangements. The cruise was wonderful. Food is always excellent and the various tours included with the trip were very good. Our specific tour guide was excellent. The young people on the ship's staff are very friendly and talented to boot. The entertainment on board was really fun, the special speakers/events on board were very informative. Our hotels following our cruise were over the top wonderful. Our group of 28 meshed well and all had a great time. I would, and have, recommend Viking to many friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
The river cruise through the three gorges of the Yangtze was fantastic. We also enjoyed the side trips and off ship entertainment all of which were first class. The tour guide could not have been better. His English was very good and he ... Read More
The river cruise through the three gorges of the Yangtze was fantastic. We also enjoyed the side trips and off ship entertainment all of which were first class. The tour guide could not have been better. His English was very good and he was extremely knowledgeable. We liked that Viking placed you in the same group for all of the off ship activities. You really get a chance to know the guide and the other 26 cruisers in your group. Also, in several instances the guide went above and beyond to assist people in the group. The staff on the ship were all Asian and were great. We embarked before dinner and the next morning were greeted by first name. The food was consistently and service was excellent. The only downside was the port facilities in Chongqing and other stops were in very poor condition but we understand Viking has little control over this. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Traveling to China with Viking River Cruises was an excellent experience. We chose to begin our tour in shanghai and conclude it in Beijing. We typically plan our own trips, but felt that taking on a trip to China required more resources ... Read More
Traveling to China with Viking River Cruises was an excellent experience. We chose to begin our tour in shanghai and conclude it in Beijing. We typically plan our own trips, but felt that taking on a trip to China required more resources and so we booked with Viking River Tours. We were able to see sights on this tour that would have been very difficult to plan independently. From start to finish each aspect of the journey was expertly planned and executed. Service was absolutely outstanding! Because of my work schedule, we went in July/August which is a very hot season in China - temperatures were over 37C or 95F on a daily basis and humidity is very high. In spite of that, our Viking Tour guide, Tom made sure that we were as comfortable as possible. All accommodations were wonderful - the ship is not modern, but it is exceptionally clean and well maintained. The food on board was fabulous - there were a wonderful array of flavors on the buffet with meals being perfectly prepared. Food on the ship was some of the best that I have ever eaten. The attraction of this trip for us was that it was partially a river cruise and partially on land. We are not really cruising people, but for five days it allowed us to see parts of China that we would never have seen any other way. We had the advantage of staying in two of the largest cities while also seeing the country as we floated down the Yangtze River. Each day while on board, we stopped for special tours. Our tour guide, Tom, was very knowledgeable and prepared us for each visit with interesting background information. He was attentive to our needs - when one person was sick, he located services and checked on them frequently. He was always one step ahead with tickets and arrangements. His instructions were clear and concise. Additionally, Tom often repeated the instructions which was very helpful. If someone is genuinely interested in learning about a different culture, norms, society, and form of government, this is the trip for them. Viking did an outstanding job of balancing the modern aspect of the cities with the reality of life for many of the Chinese people - this allowed us the opportunity to get a very broad perspective of the country. One last thing to consider - this is an expensive trip, but my husband and I don't think that we could have organized a trip that could even remotely compare to the experience that we had through Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
My 15 year old granddaughter and I planned a trip between middle and high-school. Our original intent was the European river cruise, however, because of terror attacks in Europe, we chose the only other cruise that would fit our schedule, ... Read More
My 15 year old granddaughter and I planned a trip between middle and high-school. Our original intent was the European river cruise, however, because of terror attacks in Europe, we chose the only other cruise that would fit our schedule, China. What a wonderful change it was! Emma was the youngest person on the cruise by far. Everyone, staff and guests, were all very gracious. Our guide arranged an unscheduled stop to see pandas because Emma asked when we were going to see them. I believe the Panda stop was a highlight for everyone. Our cabin was comfortable, and the food on board provided many options for our differing tastes. We didn't miss an excursion and learned something new each day including how to play Mah-jongg. The only downside for a teenager was the lack of internet when we left Shanghai until we arrived in Peking. Upon leaving the boat in Chongqing we flew to Tibet. Unfortunately, it took the first day for us to adapt to the altitude. It would be nice if the trip could include a train to Tibet rather than a flight. Guests would have the opportunity to see the different landscapes of China and gradually adapt to the altitude. Tibet was full of amazing sights, sounds and aromas. Colors are everywhere. We enjoyed Yak steak; however, many of the other dishes were spicier than we are used to eating. The St Regis hotel was amazing. The slate floors in the bathroom are heated. Xi'en and the Terra Cotta Army is a memory we will always cherish. When we arrived at the Shangri-La hotel we decided we had died and were in food heaven. There was a salad bar, a sushi bar, pizza, steak, chicken, a seafood bar, and at least 30 feet of deserts! Our final stop was Beijing. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City all sights we will remember for a lifetime. It has been six months since our trip. We have wonderful memories and haven't eaten Chinese food yet. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We wanted to see China and when we heard about this cruise/tour, we knew that it was what we needed to book since it covered so many of the sites we wanted to see. We have traveled Viking before on the Danube in Europe and knew that ... Read More
We wanted to see China and when we heard about this cruise/tour, we knew that it was what we needed to book since it covered so many of the sites we wanted to see. We have traveled Viking before on the Danube in Europe and knew that we would enjoy it.. We definitely did!! We did explore our departure city (Shanghai) before the cruise with our tour guide (it was part of the cruise/tour). The embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. The entire experience was wonderful. The ship and the cabin were very nice. The staff/crew were very helpful and friendly. We really enjoyed the entertainment, activities and all of the shore excursions. The dining room offered many choices and the dining staff were very interested in seeing that we were happy we our meals. I have a dietary issue and the maitre'd was very attentive to my needs. Our Viking experience included travel by plane and bus as well as our time on the ship. The entire experience was phenominal. We had a wonderful time and we would go again in a heartbeat. P.S. Our tour guide Francis was exceptional! He is the best tour guide that we have ever had on any of our prior cruises. His personality, his kindness, his knowledge of the many places we visited helped to make this trip the best we have ever had. Read Less
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