China in the summertime

Viking Century Sky (RETIRED) 490 Cruise Review to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)

Experience: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 0
Helpful Votes: 8

Overall Rating:

3 out of 5
Sail Date: July 01, 2007
Ship: Viking Century Sky (RETIRED) 490
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 10 years ago

Viking River Cruises did not put us into the hotel we requested in Beijing saying they were not going to use it on our itinerary. Once the tour commenced we discovered that the hotel was indeed utilized and we ended up spending over $600 to stay two nights in Beijing when we could have used our hotel loyalty program points to cover that cost. The ship was fine for three nights. Anything longer would have become somewhat monotonous. Aside from the musty/mildewy odor that permeated the 2nd deck (where our cabin was located) and the observation lounge the ship was OK. The food was good, the service wonderful, and the cruise director was very informative in his presentations. The voyage down the Yangtze was delayed 10 hours due to the river being quite turbulent as a result of flooding upstream. We missed the shore excursion at Fengdu but went to the Chongqing Zoo (to visit the pandas) and the General Stillwell Museum instead-- a decent alternative to what was planned. Once underway the voyage was great and the scenery fantastic. The river water level is rising quite a bit as the new dam project finishs but it still has a lot further to rise. By 2008 much of what we saw will be underwater and the gorges will not be as dramatic as they once were. Viewing the newly relocated towns was fascinating. The land portion of the cruisetour in Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai was fine but quite hot, humid, noisy, and crowded. The discomfort was worth it as we experienced the Great Wall and the terra cotta warriors. The brown air in these cities was discouraging. We did not see any blue sky until we arrived in Guilin/Hong Kong on our post-cruise extension. China has a formidable task to clean up the environment before the 2008 Olympics. On disembarkation day we had to vacate our cabins by 10am but we didn't depart the ship until after lunch around 1pm. We had the option to view a documentary of Chairman Mao between 10am and lunch at 1130am. Internet was available but the connection was slow when we were able to get it going.

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Fantastic. A nice combination of Chinese and Western buffet and sit-down service. The wait staff was very attentive. Drinks were a bit on the expensive side but a cold Chinese beer sure was nice on the hot afternoons.


1 out of 5
The only onboard entertainment was an Eastern European sax/keyboard duo playing a lot of elevator music and a very nice crew show. The tour of the bridge was nice. No other activities to speak of.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
The crew could not have been better. Attentative and friendly, they were always smiling and helping.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
We were fortunate that the ship was sailing at about one half or less capacity so we had a lot of space. The music loops piped throughout the ship need to be updated as Nat King Cole and Kenny Rogers got tiresome pretty quickly. The topside lounge was long and narrow and the stage/dance floor area was small. Be carefull on the stairs as the first step down is a bit larger than we are used to seeing. Also there are spots where tall people (over 72 inches) may bump their heads getting on/off the ship. The crew is very good about warning people of the hazards.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Stateroom was quite adequate and the bathroom a bit larger than we expected. The bed was a bit hard. The balcony was quite narrow and seating was limited to fore and aft. The cabin attendant kept the room spotless. The hot, humid climate in July made it difficult for the crew to keep ahead of the musty smell we noted in the ship.

Pros: the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Shanghai skyline

Cons: a musty/mildewy smell on the river cruise ship and hotel assignment in Beijing

Recommends Viking Century Sky (RETIRED) 490? Yes!

Was this review helpful? 5

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