Arguably the best know river cruising company in the world, and certainly the largest, Viking River cruises operates four ships in Asia.
Today, let’s focus on the Viking Emerald, sailing the waters of China’s Yangtze river with a bespoke 5, 6 or 11 night cruise depending on the tour choosen.
Like the majority of luxury Yangtze cruises it can’t be purchased separately, like many of the European river itineraries, but rather as part of a longer escorted China tour. In the case of Viking, the company describes their shortest Imperial Jewels of China program as:
“This phenomenal itinerary presents China’s key highlights in just 13 days. Explore cosmopolitan Shanghai, China’s most cutting-edge, modern city. Cruise the legendary Yangtze between Wuhan and Chongqing through the scenic Three Gorges and wildly beautiful Lesser Gorges. Tour the Three Gorges Dam, an engineering marvel that has changed the face of China. Visit the necropolis at Xian, where you encounter thousands of Terra Cotta Warriors. In Beijing, explore imperial treasures like the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, and walk through historic Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public venue. The hospitality of distinctive hotels and the fabulous Viking Emerald round out an amazing trip.”
They also offer the opposite itinerary starting in Beijing and ending in Shanghai.
Also available is the epic China’s Cultural Delights itinerary, 18 days in duration including a positively relaxing 11 nights on the Emerald, and a itinerary that includes a trip to Tibet and 6 nights on the Emerald. My tip is, if you have the time, to definitely do the longer itinerary.
The Viking Emerald is actually part of the Chinese owned Century cruise fleet, and it is the third newest ship of that company. It is permanently leased by Viking for their exclusive use. The staff aboard, it should be noted however, are predominately locals and employed directly by Century. This translates to a cruise which does not quite achieve the service levels or cachet of the European based Viking Cruises, and some language hurdles, but the management aboard are Viking staff.
However, being that there is no local Chinese passengers on-board the Emerald, the cultural clashes over food, smoking and throat clearing which are definitely an issue on the two newer Century ships, the Pargaon and Legend, are pleasingly avoided.
On that note, companies that lease SOME cabins aboard the newer Century Legend and Paragon include: Globus, Avalon, Uniworld, China Discovery, Nicko Tours, Voyages Jules Verne, Meier’s Weltreisen, China Focus, Brendan Vacations and China Focus.
Built in 2010 the Viking Emerald is a 6 deck ship with a passenger capacity of 264, and a crew of 138.
The cruise runs at least 1/2 nights longer than other Yangtze river cruises, and includes a stop where you visit an elementary school sponsored by Viking.
Viking China itineraries include 13, 16 or 18 day trips, start or finish in either Beijing or Shanghai, which will determine if you cruise up or downstream on the Yangtze.
To visit Viking River Cruises China web page, visit: Viking River Cruises
Read my full Viking Emerald Review, here: Viking Emerald Review and read why I believe it is THE BEST YANGTZE CRUISE currently available.