MAGNIFICENT, MODERN, MYSTERIOUS
China: Magnificent, modern, mysterious, wow! These are some of the words that came to mind while on the Shanghai-to-Beijing cruise in November. This is an active, busy tour. The excursions were all interesting and informative; the Terra Cotta Warriors are amazing, the pandas are fun, and I was glad to have saved the Great Wall for last. Our Tour Escort was wonderful; he looked after everyone and every detail, and we never had to carry our luggage anywhere. The staff aboard Viking Emerald are precious, working hard and ready to greet you everywhere with a smile. And Viking does a wonderful job of providing only the best hotels. Bring your comfortable shoes, your open mind, your camera, and warm clothes if you are going to Beijing in November. If you have ever considered going to China, think no more. Go! You won’t regret the experience.
AN IMPERIAL GEM
How did you ever find our Tour Escort? He was one of the imperial jewels of China! He truly cared about every traveler and made us all feel so welcome and comfortable in our strange surroundings. And, he shared his personal family history to enlighten us on Chinese culture. What a gem! Thank you so much for the vacation of a lifetime.
Excellent and we highly recommend. The itinerary is very well planned. The ship’s crew was terrific and the Program Director is a great asset to Viking Cruises. We were also fortunate to be assigned a wonderful Tour Escort.
Miguel & Carol
OUR FIRST TRIP TO CHINA
This was our first trip to China and first experience with Viking. We were very interested in getting a good overview of China and seeing the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam. We went the first week of October and had wonderful weather. The whole trip was well-organized by Viking; the attention to detail was impressive. Our Tour Escort was awesome and very passionate about his job and his country; he was knowledgeable, well-read, organized, humorous and very patient. Hotels were 5-star and the food was varied and good—you won’t go hungry even if you don’t like Chinese food. Beijing was very full and hectic but well worth it. The days on the ship allowed some “down time” but expect a bit of walking on the shore excursions. We really enjoyed river cruising—the smaller shipboard experience, the opportunity to get to know other guests and no problems with seasickness. The Program Director on board was very good and the staff wonderful. We are already booking our next Viking river cruise to Russia for next year.
Celeste & Don
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
This trip was a great overview and comparison of major cities along the Yangtze River. Our Tour Escort was very sincere in her efforts to explain the culture differences, give us much historical information, and prepare us for the various shore excursions. She was well-prepared, organized, thorough, and very nurturing. The hotels were easily 5-star hotels. Many days on land were very full which left us too tired in the evening to really enjoy additional excursions, but the days on the ship allowed some “down time.” We really enjoyed the smaller, more intimate shipboard experience to get to know other people. The whole trip was extremely well-organized by Viking; the attention to detail was very impressive. Some shore excursions involved lot of walking on days when it was really hot and humid—to be expected in August. This was a fabulous way to learn about another culture. We are ready to sign up for another Viking trip next year.
Fred & Barbara
EVERYTHING WE ANTICIPATED AND MORE
Our trip was everything we had anticipated and more! China certainly delivered. Staff, crew and tour guides were beyond reproach.
Gail & Will
AN EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURE
An extraordinary adventure awaits those who choose this trip. It was hot, but we had very little rain so the weather did not interfere with our schedule. Our Tour Escort was exceptional, passing on to us the history of China’s development which brought our visit to life. Although the days in Beijing were at times hectic, we would not recommend taking out any of the sites we visited. Be prepared to walk a lot during this phase of the trip. We would have enjoyed an extra day or two in Shanghai even if it meant extending the cruise an extra day. We are looking forward to our next Viking cruise since this one in China set a very high standard.
Carolyn & Tom Scanniello
The best of China
The tour was very interesting and well organized, and we learned a lot about China. Our exceptional Tour Escort was with us through the entire trip and made it unforgettable. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and we are so glad that we did it! Viking River Cruises really showed us the best of China and we are definitely planning to travel with them again, perhaps next year.
Lara & Sparky
We took our mother on this river cruise for her birthday and were not disappointed. Although we went during a cold time of year we were warmly treated from the time we landed in Shanghai to the time we left Beijing. We had many wonderful experiences along the way—the children at the Viking school, the pagoda at Shibaozhai and the Great Wall are among my favorites. However, the souvenir shopping that was offered was mostly unexpected and wonderful! We knew about the silk factory, but the friendship store at the Great Wall and the jade factory were awesome. Thanks for providing that along with all the other fabulous adventures. We learned and experienced so much about China that we never expected. The river cruise was relaxing and pleasant; I certainly wouldn’t mind going on another river cruise. The price was also very reasonable. Our tour escort was amazing, very organized and considerate, and went out of his way on several occasions to help us out. We are truly grateful.
Friendly and welcoming
WOW! That is one word that says it all. Our Imperial Jewels of China cruise was fantastic. The knowledge we acquired on this trip totally changed our impression of China. Our guide was with us the full 12 days of our trip. The sights before, during and after the cruise cannot be described in this short review but we will always remember them with fondness. The Chinese people are very friendly, welcome you into their country with warmth and are always ready to help you. Thanks for a great experience; we have booked our third Viking cruise, Portugal’s River of Gold, for this coming spring. As usual we expect the best from Viking. Thank you.
David & Patricia Van Weele
A great experience
We had a great experience on our first Viking trip, Imperial Jewels of China, in early July. The hotel accommodations were first-class and our guide was outstanding. The ship is almost new, very clean, and the ship crew was great. For us one of the trip highlights was the great variety of Chinese food. The tour hits some of most popular, can’t-miss attractions like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Terra Cotta Warriors and Shanghai. One glitch in our trip was that flooding prevented us from going through the dam locks and we had to skip our last day on the river and the school visit. Viking scrambled to add a neat excursion up the Shennong River, a five-hour bus ride instead of the last day cruising. This turned out to be a great opportunity to see China’s countryside. We loved the trip and will be looking into other Viking trips in the future.
Joel & Terry Wiegand
A glorious part of the world
What a glorious part of the world! I think I will come back here again someday. The views, the food, the staff—I couldn’t have asked for more during my much-anticipated vacation to China.
My 25th anniversary gift
My husband surprised me with a trip to China on a Viking river cruise in April for our 25th anniversary. Our journey began at the airport in Shanghai, where we were met by Viking staff and taken to our beautiful hotel. Before long, we were introduced to our Tour Escort, who always prepared our group very well about the things we might experience, whether it be a highlight, a cultural difference or a tourist trap to be aware of. In her talks on the bus, during our many travels to hotels, historic sites, restaurants and cultural events, she created a context for what we were about to see or do with a combination of historical, cultural and personal details. I was prepared to be led around China on a tour by a person who would be an expert, giving facts and figures about this fascinating nation. What I was not expecting was the genuine care, concern, warmth and sincerity that our guide displayed to her Western guests. She did not spout off lists of facts that she had memorized; she shared her heart about her homeland in a way that helped us to look at and understand China in a more personal way.
Our first river cruise with Viking
This was our first river cruise and first experience with Viking. The cruise was an excellent value. Booking the trip and the follow-up process was absolutely effortless. From our very first meeting at the airport, we knew Viking had provided us with a very professional and capable Tour Escort—any apprehensions we had about traveling in a foreign country were quickly set aside. He was responsive to our every need, provided expert narrative throughout our trip and patiently answered all of our questions. We were always kept informed about scheduling and he took the time to explain to us the intricacies of Chinese culture and cuisine. Our impression of China has been overwhelmingly positive. We will definitely recommend this journey to others. Thank you for such a memorable experience.
Jim & Candy Burdett
Perfect way to see China
This itinerary is the perfect way to see China for the first time. We covered more than 2,000 miles in China and now have a lifetime of memorable experiences in just 12 days. Our guide was extremely helpful and knowledgeable, even arranging a breakfast box for us before our very early morning flight back home. The accommodations were wonderful and the people were friendly and welcoming. Don’t miss this trip!
Beverly & Bill Freeman
We saw so much in only 12 days
This is an amazing trip. The Viking guide assigned to our small group was friendly and knowledgeable—she took care of every detail possible. Tours were organized, entertaining and informative—we were never bored. The sights in China are beautiful and historic. We especially loved the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Army. When I look back at the pictures we took, it's hard to believe we saw so much in only twelve days! The Chinese people were friendly and welcoming; there are so many things to see in China, I'd like to go back to this fascinating country. My sister and I left the tour one day, and went to one of the large markets in Beijing, which was worthwhile. If I went again, I'd spend a few days on my own in Shanghai or Beijing at the beginning or end of the trip. I would thoroughly recommend Imperial Jewels of China and want to go back to see more of China. This was my first trip with Viking, and I plan to take more.
Charlotte & Sharon Smith
My wife and I traveled with a friend and we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We arrived in Beijing a day early and took the opportunity to do some sightseeing on our own. Once we started our tour we were divided into smaller groups; we really bonded with our group and Tour Escort, who was outstanding. The ship was very comfortable and offered excellent service and food. Shore excursions were great. I took about 1,700 photos of our trip! All in all, I would give this cruise 5 stars.
Dean & Ann Uphoff
Memories that will last a lifetime
My husband and I learned so much about China’s culture and people, and its future as a country. Our guide captured every detail and shared stories about growing up there, making our numerous excursions consistently interesting. The Chinese people were very friendly as we toured the old and new parts of various major cities, such as Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. The cruise showed us so many beautiful areas along the Yangtze River, and we saw how immense and important the Three Gorges Dam is. The Olympic Games sites we had seen on television were beautiful in person. We were also very impressed by the Viking-supported school we visited. The 12 days went very quickly and we were left with memories that will last a lifetime!
Nancy & Ted Goble
I love all things Chinese now!
What a fabulous trip—I love all things Chinese now! Our tour guide was wonderful and there wasn’t a question he couldn’t answer. Our first Viking River Cruise was Waterways of the Tsars and I didn’t think a trip could get any better than that. However, traveling and sharing all the sights, food and excitement with another couple made our Imperial Jewels of China cruise even more special. Thanks for such a great vacation. We’re already planning another trip on the Rhine for the upcoming holiday season!
Ann & Nick Sanders
Twelve days of pure enjoyment
Every aspect was first class! We had time to relax, we never felt hurried or rushed, and yet we were able to experience such a broad scope of activities, sights and sounds. We really felt like we got to the very heart of China. The ability to use our personal electronics alone ensured that we’ll be back for many more Viking River Cruises. It was twelve days of pure enjoyment in every respect.
Donald & Valerie Elson
Truly the trip of a lifetime
What an incredible trip—we simply cannot say enough about Viking. Service on board was excellent; we especially enjoyed relaxing on our balcony before breakfast. Our guide was superb—there was not a question he could not answer. A wonderful traveling companion, he was charming and funny and the quality of his service was extraordinary. Every day we would always remark on our tour and how it exceeded our expectations. The school visit was a touching moment; it was particularly poignant to see our daughter, Xiaoling [adopted from China as a baby, now 15], with the students. Every destination was great—from the Terra Cotta Warriors of Xian to Beijing and the Forbidden City—yet, we loved Viking Century Sun and were always sad to leave the ship. We got to know so many great people on the tours and on board: Viking attracts great travelers. I am overjoyed about our Imperial Jewels of China cruise, truly the trip of a lifetime.
Peter W. Keller
Always first class
This was our second cruise with Viking. Everything has always been first class. Once we returned home, we booked a Viking cruise to Russia the very next day for June of 2011.
Jim & Jill Gaston
Never a dull moment
Great trip! Never a dull moment. The Hong Kong & Guilin extension was the best—seeing villages up close and relaxing in Hong Kong before the long ride home was great.
Chuck & Mardell Martinek
Our experience was fantastic
My wife and I recently booked the Imperial Jewels of China on the Viking Century Sun. This was our first experience on a river cruise—before it was only large ocean liners—and our experience was fantastic. The trip started off in Beijing for three full days and it was still not enough time to see it all. We saw Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. We traveled to the Badaling Hills to see the Great Wall of China then took the Sacred Way to the Ming Dynasty Tombs. Shanghai was a great city—very modern, yet steeped in the old Chinese traditions. We are most definitely touring again; in fact, we are booked for your Grand European Tour on the 31st of July!
Rusty & Martha Underwood
What a great adventure
Wow, what a great adventure! We really enjoyed seeing China’s “Imperial Jewels.”
For more detail, please see the trip report Rebecca published on IndependentTraveler.com, reproduced here with the editors’ kind permission.
Rebecca Stone & Mary Anne Glazner
You far exceeded our expectations
Thank you for providing wonderful programs and people to show us the beauty of so many places in the world. You far exceeded our expectations for service, accommodations, tours and travel coordination.
Clifford & Karen Vaughn
A great value
We travel quite a bit and almost never use a tour company.... You have convinced us that a truly professional company can provide a vacation to remember. And, it was a great value.
Richard & Chris Gernand
My second Viking cruise
The ship, hotels, and cuisine were way above my expectations. This was my second Viking cruise and I certainly believe that you are the best river cruise company in the world.
The trip was a great experience
The special tours around the dam, the gorges and the other stops, were unique and meaningful. This trip was a great combination of culture, arts, science, popular culture and national politics and seeing the preparation for the 2008 Olympics was fun too. This trip was a great experience.
David & Julia Gelfand
Our first trip with Viking
The level of professionalism exhibited by your staff was exceptional. This was our first trip with Viking, and it will most certainly not be our last!
Glenn & Carol Oelker
Everything was first-class
Everything was first-class: 5-star hotels, all the guided sightseeing tours, the excellent shows and dinners included in the package. We didn’t have to pay for anything except gratuities. We enjoyed every bit of this tour.
Edward & Juanita Chan