Because of a bad hip caused by an auto accident, I was unable to take a trip with three other friends, on Viking River Cruise's "Imperial Jewels of China" combined river and land tour, departing the U.S. On March 11, 2013. The trip ends on March 23, 2013, after twelve days in China, beginning in Shanghai and ending in Beijing, and runs nearly all year long.
Two of our intended-fellow travelers did take the trip, and this is their review as they come into the mid-part of their trip.
They left Shanghai as the news of some 10-15,000 dead pigs, believed to have been dumped into the river that flows through Shanghai, were found floating in the water. Since March 11, 2013, workers have been trying to remove the corpses. The pigs were reported to have tested positive for porcine porcovirus, a disease that does not affect humans. But because people have received hefty jail sentences for processing and selling meat from diseased animals in China, the pigs were perhaps dumped upstream, instead. Viking River Cruises guests were somehow kept from experiencing the gory scene, and indeed are seeing only the "sunny" side of China: it's modernization, as well as its ancient culture.
Although it has not been "sunny" weather-wise. Our friends were discouraged when they arrived on their ship, not because the ship had anything wrong with it; on the contrary. But the weather was cold, rainy and "miserable" according to one email we received. They chose to stay on board rather than to visit the Three Gorges Dam project one day. One of the travelers reported a combination of fog and smog in the air, and a constant metallic taste in his mouth.
But today, a much more upbeat report arrived in my email box. And they have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the local people who are friendly, and anxious to meet westerners and try practicing a bit of English, as well as teach a bit of Mandarin. It seems that having some time to oneself with an add-on that Viking offers, either pre-cruise in Shanghai, or post-cruise in Hong Kong, would be a welcome way to wander into the alley ways and marketplaces where everyday Chinese live and work.
The following is their report:
"We had an amazing time on the cruise through the Three Gorges. The past five days have been so packed with activities and adventures! We took lots of pictures and will share when we get home. I can't say what has been my favorite part of this trip because each day brings a new adventure, and all is stupendous! I can't say enough about Viking Cruises!! I'd do it again in a heartbeat! It is small enough to be intimate and lots of opportunities to meet new people!
Today was filled with lots of traveling. We rode the bus to the zoo in Chong Ching and saw the giant pandas there - as well as other animals, of course. We also went to a small art gallery within the zoo and learned about Chinese painting. I'm starting to feel like an expert; I attended a lecture about it inboard the boat as well! Very interesting about the concept of the drawing combined with poetry and the importance of the signature of the artist. From the zoo, we went to the airport and came to Xian. The plane was an immaculate 737 and was very pleasant. We arrived at the Hilton in Xian. Google it, it's gorgeous! And we get a couple of hours to rest before we hit the road again. We've been up since 4:30 this morning because of sightseeing and flight schedules.
Tonight we are going to a show about the Tung Dynasty, one of the four important dynasties here in Xian. We will be having dinner and then on to the show.
Tomorrow we at going to see the tomb of the Terracotta Warriors!! I have wanted to see this since I read about them in the 70s when they were discovered! We are only going to have 2.5 hours there, but I'm ready to enjoy. It is in the 70s here today. The weather has been fairly yucky since we got to China. And we just heard that in Beijing it was snowing today. We will be going to Beijing tomorrow afternoon!
I can't tell you what a whirl wind tour this has been and every step of the way the service and information has been more than exceptional!! Phenomenal! More than 5 stars for sure."
So despite the weather conditions, Lenore and Andy are having a fabulous time on their first Viking River Cruise. I am glad Lenore said she would do it again in a heart beat, because when I get this hip fixed, I hope we can book another Viking River Cruise together! Christmas Markets in Europe, Lenore??
Viking River Cruises offers a variety of river cruises, some of them, like the China tours, combined with land travel. They offer two for one pricing as well as discounts on air. To book a Viking Cruise, see my web site:
or my dedicated Viking web site: