September 2016 - Viking Emerald to River Cruises - China/Asia
Overall, we loved this tour! Viking did an amazing job...so well organized, friendly staff, great tour excursions and wonderful accommodations.
We started in Beijing. The hotel (the Kerry) was lovely. The 240+ guests were split into smaller groups and assigned an escort who travelled with us the entire trip. Our group was 32 people and our guide was Jack who really made our trip unfold seamlessly...can't say enough good things about him! It was nice to have a few days together with the small group before getting on the boat because it allowed us to form good friendships easily.
Beijing was fantastic...the architecture was mind boggling! The Geat Wall and Forbidden City tours were great...the days long and very active but rewarding. Next stop, Xi'an and the Terra Cotta warriors...again, outstanding tour not to be missed! After that we flew to Chongqing to board the ship. The itinerary gave lots of info about this huge city, what to do and see etc....we did not see any of it, ie, we got off the plane and were bussed directly to the ship to board and leave. Although we missed it, our friends saw the lights during the sail away and said it was so beautiful and should not be missed...VIking should emphasize it a little more. The cruise itself was quite good and we all needed a little down time after such a busy start. The tour excursions were interesting, especially the stop at the school. Overall, I think the cruise is perhaps a day too long and wish there had been more time allotted to Shanghai. Our hotel, the Westin, in Shanghai was located very well and allowed us to walk to many sites. The Gardens we toured might have been one of the most beautiful things we saw! The acrobat show was over the top. We stayed on an extra day because of our flight details which allowed us to take in more of the city, which is quite spectacular.
Perhaps my only complaint would be that the food became very boring and repetitive quite quickly. We got tired of the buffet meals, served on a lazy Susan or in the normal table layouts. The dinners on the ship were served at the table which was nice.
This was a very busy, active holiday and we totally enjoyed it and enjoyed our introduction to China...would absolutely recommend it to anyone as long as they are mobile enough to walk and enjoy the sights.