American Airlines Vacations completed the package and positioned the sale as having upgrade seats in Business Class Available using miles for the upgrade with the inclusion of $1,400 in cash. After checking with the airline to insure the Business Class Seats were available and could be upgraded as described we booked the cruise through American. After waiting for a day for all the transaction parts o clear we called American to upgrade and the airline indicated no seats were available for upgrade even though none had been sold for either the outbound or return flights which were reserved and booked..... they were the same flights we checked on the day before and received assurance from American the seats were upgradeable... can you say "BAIT AND SWITCH"!!!!
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.
First, I would like to begin by saying that in 2014 I took a Viking cruise in Europe, and decided that they would be the company to take me to China.
in Shanghai we were divided into groups, with a tour guide. Throughout the trip, we remained I. The same group with the same tour guide. On the ship, we were all together, of course, but out guide accompanied us oh all tours. There was also s local guide on each tour.
This is an excellent system, as our guide managed and looked after many things, both on land and on the ship.
we found our cabin to be very spacious. The people who worked o. The ship were fabulous, worked extremely hard to please us, and always had a smile on their faces. They also provided many nights of entertainment for us. Unlike Europe, they were not able to bring on local entertainers, so they did the entertaining themselves, and put their heart and souls into it.
We saw many interesting things on our tours, in an attempt to show us as much as possible of the cultural aspects of China. I certainly feel that we hit most of the highlights.
This tour was an excellent introduction to contemporary China. The river cruise part was a very relaxing aspect, with great food, good company, fine accommodations, interesting stops and dedicated staff and guides. China is fairly overwhelming and we do not think we could have attempted this kind of a trip on our own, which is the usual way we travel.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience, and I've been telling everyone about how wonderful it was and how I'd recommend Viking cruises to anyone interested in this kind of experience, it's been really hard to single out the single best thing. I loved visiting all the fabulous sites, of course, but I think what's been settling in with me is how much I learned about the people and the history to really give me a sense of place. I think the single most significant part of that, honestly, was our guide Bob Kong, who just brought all the pieces together with his unbelievable knowledge along with a warmth and sense of humor.
Viking Tours does an excellent job with their 12 Night Jewels of China tour. Our tour stated in Shangai with a stay at the Portman Ritz Carlton Hotel. The Hotel is showing signs of its age and the service by their staff is not up to the standards that I have experienced at other Ritz Carlton hotels. One particular recommendation is for Viking to incorporate an evening Bund experience instead of taking its guests to an over hyped variety show (the type of show that can be found in some of the off strip hotels in Las Vegas). Other than that criticism there are a lot of positives. Our tour guide Eric was absolutely sensational throughout the 12 day tour and the food and service on the 5 day cruise portion of the tour was 5 star. The ship the Century Emerald is okay and the suite stateroom is smaller than all of the suites I have ever experienced on other ships. The bathroom in the suite was 2 star and the veranda deck was more for show than functional.
This trip fulfilled a life long dream of going to China and seeing the Great Wall! The surprising thing is that this included so much more. The Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an were amazing! Seeing photos or videos does not do either the Great Wall or the Warriors justice. There was Tiananmen Square adjacent to the huge Forbidden City! Taking a Rickshaw ride through the Hutongs, seeing the real neighborhoods of Beijing. Being transported to the cruise ship in Chongqing to witness the spectacular Three Gorges. There was the visit to the 12 story Shibaozhai Temple which we climbed to the top. Visiting took us to an elementary school in Jingzhou, the children were so cute. Visiting the museum of ancient artifacts in Wuhan and culminating in the modern city of Shanghai.
Viking did it right! The service and kindness displayed by the Viking employees on board as well as the personal tour guides assigned to each group were first rate! Our guide was Jane who made our group feel as though she was our friend and there was nothing else that she cared about more than us! The accommodations at the hotels and on board were 5 star in every way. Food was Chinese in most places but, was supplemented by western food on board the ship portion of the tour!
I would recommend Viking and this tour to my family and friends and anyone who wants a geat trip!
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.
We just completed the Viking trip to China that started in Shanghai and ended in Beijing. It included the terra cottas in Xian as well as the 3 gorges dam on the Yangtze. It was an excellent trip and really well done by Viking. We had not been on a Viking tour before, but it was definitely a great experience. We plan on going on more in the future. We were able to see all of the important things in China with this tour, which was well organized, great tour guides, and the weather cooperated for us as well. The fellow travelers we had on the trip were also great, and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. I would highly recommend this trip for anyone who wants to see all the highlights in China with a great tour group. All of the hotels were 5 star, and excellent. The in country flights that we took were also convenient and top notch. We loved it.
I didn't now what to expect but it was very good.
Our guide was very knowledgable and his English was very good. The food on the ship was perfect. Optional shore excursions were good although I did not do the Peking Duck and wish I had done Summer Palace instead of Peking Opera.
Viking handled all our transfers and luggage and it was very easy even with all the internal flights. We did do the extension after to Guilin and Hong Kong and I was glad we did.
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