July 2015 - Viking Emerald to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)
Viking River cruises delivered a superb experience in every way. From booking/planning and arrival, each step was shephearded by my United Cruises consultant and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Our United flights were excellent, the Tour was completely escorted, including all baggage handling, all meals for 12 days, 3 internal flights within China and some included and optional evening entertainment. The initial touring around Beijing included major sites and descriptive insights by our tour escort/tour guide. Xian was the high-point featuring the Terra Cotta Warriors and then free time to explore the local Pagoda. The 4 night cruise was a wonderful way to get to know passengers from other buses and see the beauty of the river and the 3 Gorges. I was pleasantly surprised to find the ship had a tailor on board making custom silk clothing, an artist producing paintings in front of our eyes and pearl jewelers who make pearl jewelry per your own design all overnight at a very reasonable price. There was even a tea ceremony section where the tea expert spent considerable time educating and delighting all of the passengers . The evening entertainment featured our ship staff performing ethnic Chinese song and dance. This was so distinctive and different from large cruises. Our fellow guests were a wonderful mix of academics (teachers/professors) and other professionals. Sharing our interests and views of the trip as we experienced together made the journey even more special. Viking attracts a very educated clientele, including young couples, families with teenagers and young adults as well as middle age and slightly older crowd. This trip was definitely a bit strenuous for the guests in their mid-late 70's. We were very pleased with this trip in every way from cost to experience.