Style : River cruise
The scenery of Shanghai, Asia

Imperial Jewels of China

Viking River Cruises Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.8 . Excellent
95%
Travel Style: Array Relaxed
Physical Level: All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included. Moderate
Lodging Level: The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury (5*)
13 days
From: $ 3,417 $ 263 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Explore cosmopolitan Shanghai, imperial treasures like the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, and cruise the wildly beautiful Three Gorges region of the legendary Yangtze.
  • Visit the Great wall of China and explore its winding pathways and marvel
  • Visit Shibaozhai Temple, a 12-story pavilion built in 1650 along the Yangtze. 
  • See Old Shanghai and travel along the elegant Bund, stopping to admire some of its historic buildings and city views.

Short Description

This phenomenal itinerary presents China’s key highlights in just 12 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.

Style River cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Lodging Level Luxury (5*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal transport included (including local flights)
Start City Beijing
End City Shanghai

Itinerary

Day 1: Beijing, China

Fly to Beijing, China’s imperial capital whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years, then transfer to your hotel.* After check-in, you have free time to relax or explore.

Day 2: Beijing, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This morning visit the enormous Tiananmen Square, which can accommodate over 1 million people. Then, tour Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Made up of nearly 1,000 buildings, it is the world’s largest surviving palace complex. Walk its grounds among the opulent palaces, pavilions, courtyards and imperial gardens within the 26-foot-high walls.

After lunch in a local restaurant, take some free time to explore Beijing on your own or do some shopping. Enjoy your dinner this evening, or attend The Legend of Kung Fu for a beautiful display of this performance art, which has roots that date back 4000 years. (B, L, D)

Day 3: Beijing, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After breakfast, travel to the Badaling Hills. There, you behold one of the most impressive and best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China. This 4,000-mile-long series of sandstone and earthwork fortifications was built and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century AD, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its winding pathways and marvel at the panoramic views from its ramparts.

After a lunch of local specialties, visit the Sacred Way, a tree-lined avenue guarded by massive sculptures of elephants, lions and camels leading to the Ming Dynasty tombs. This evening, dine at a local restaurant and relax at your hotel, or enjoy an optional Peking duck dinner, the region’s famous dish.

Day 4: Xian, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today, tour Old Beijing’s hutongs (narrow alleys) via rickshaw.† Discover the sights and sounds of traditional Chinese life. After lunch, fly to Xian, key city of the Tang Dynasty. From 618 to 907 AD, this dynasty presided over one of China’s most glorious cultural periods spreading its influence throughout Asia into Europe and Africa. This evening, have dinner and relax at your hotel.

†Rickshaw tour available only on Beijing to Shanghai itinerary direction.

Day 5: Xian, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After breakfast, tour the mausoleum where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was laid to rest over 2,000 years ago. See the thousands of life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors, archers and infantrymen that were buried with him, each man and horse molded with its own distinctive features. Walkways provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire necropolis where the Terra Cotta Army was discovered in the 1970s. After lunch, you have free time to further explore Xian. This evening, you may choose to dine surrounded by the song and dance of this colorful era.

Day 6: Chongqing, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today, fly to Chongqing, gateway to the Yangtze, to board your ship and enjoy a Western dinner.

Day 7: Shibaozhai, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This morning, visit Shibaozhai Temple, a 12-story pavilion built in 1650 along the Yangtze. Tour the pavilion and temple before returning aboard for lunch. Enjoy Yangtze River scenery as you cruise this afternoon and through the night.

Day 8: Three Gorges, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

For the next 150 miles, travel the most scenic stretch of the Yangtze as it forces its way through a spectacular series of limestone ridges known as the Three Gorges. During breakfast, cruise through Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most spectacular of the three large gorges. Then, board a smaller boat for an excursion through the Lesser Three Gorges. Sail through these remarkable canyons flanked by towering cliffs. Along the way, see fascinating sites including the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliffside. Return aboard for lunch, and spend the afternoon sailing through Wu (‟Witches”) Gorge, renowned for its magnificent scenery. Dinner is served aboard. This evening, sail through the 5-stage locks of the Three Gorges Dam.

Day 9: Three Gorges, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This morning, disembark for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam, where you learn about this immense engineering masterpiece and what it means for the Chinese people and the Yangtze. Lunch and dinner are served aboard while you cruise through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the Three Gorges.

Day 10: Jingzhou, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This morning, arrive in Jingzhou, where you visit an elementary school sponsored by Viking River Cruises. You are greeted and entertained by the children, then return to your ship for scenic cruising.

Day 11: Shanghai, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

After breakfast, disembark in Wuhan. Fly to Shanghai, China’s largest city and one of the world’s most important ports. Here, you can see the modern metropolis of the financial district juxtaposed with the older sections of the city. Check in to your hotel.

Day 12: Shanghai, China

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This morning, see Old Shanghai and travel along the elegant Bund, stopping to admire some of its historic buildings and city views. Then tour the Shanghai Museum, featuring displays of ceramics, bronzes, calligraphy and paintings. After lunch, we spend some time at the exquisite Yuyuan Garden, dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before seeing the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe from the best seats in the house.

Day 13: Shanghai, China

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Consider extending your China journey with 2 extra nights in Shanghai to further explore this fascinating city, or 3 nights in Hong Kong.

Availability

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Price From $ 3,417
Price Per Day: $ 263 per day
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39 Viking River Cruises Travel Reviews & Ratings

95%
4.8 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 37
Great 0
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 2
Value
4.8
Guide
4.8
Activities
4.9
Lodging
4.8
Transportation
4.8
Meals
4.8

Imperial Jewels of China

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Company Reviews

Tourico Vacations -Rhine River Cruise

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Rhine Getaway Itinerary:
We sailed from Basel, Switzerland up north on the Rhine River and ended at Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Viking also offers the same route in reverse, from Amsterdam to Basel so you can pick either. For a couple stops on the journey, boats running in opposite cities are docked together.

We had a wonderful time and especially loved how organized the entire Viking journey was, from pre-departure to on-board, everything was seamless. Also unlike many other cruises or guided tours, almost everything was included, which made it feel like a truly relaxing vacation.

Here’s a snapshot of our 7-day itinerary and what we got up to each day!

Day 1: Arrive in Basel, Switzerland

We arrived in the small, quaint town of Basel after our international flight. This was the general arrival / travel date so we expected to just check in and relax but discovered that Viking organized a guided walking tour of the town. That was a nice surprise!

There’s also the option to arrive a couple days early and/or stay a couple days late. If you are thinking of this, here’s a quick guide to the best hotels in Basel to help with accommodation.

Basel is an underrated tourist attraction and the third largest city in Switzerland. The town has a gorgeous Medieval center and plenty of world-class art museums. There’s a reason Art Basel is held here!

We checked out the Romanesque cathedral, took endless pictures of the colorful medieval buildings and headed back to our ship to relax and meet everyone for cocktails and dinner. A great first day!

Read more: An Afternoon in Basel, Switzerland’s Most Underrated City!

Day 2: Germany’s Black Forest & Colmar, France

On our second day, we sailed northward to dock at Breisach, Germany. In the morning, we learned how to make cuckoo-clocks, put together Black Forest cake and walked a bit throughout the Black Forest.

The wooded mountain range is the site of many local legends and populated all over with black fir trees. If you like hiking, the mountains are wonderful!

In the afternoon, we signed up for an optional tour to Colmar. Located in the Alsace Lorraine region, the town is part of France but throughout much of history, changed hands between Germany and France. You’ll find lots of German and French spoken as a result!

I highly recommend visiting this quaint medieval town. Every street looks perfectly preserved and it’s quite colorful. We wandered mostly on our own, ducking into gelato shops and chocolate stores while enjoying the colorful, medieval feel.

Read more: The Most Picturesque Alsatian Town of Colmar

Day 3: Strasbourg, France

If you skip the optional to Colmar, no worries! Strasbourg is its larger cousin and also located in Alsace, France.

We had a wonderful guide for this day who guided us throughout the small canals, pointing out colorful streets and letting us know about Strasbourg’s tangled history in the hands of Germany and France.

Strasbourg occupies a strategic position on the Rhine River and is the ninth largest city in France. It’s home to many European councils and organizations, like the European Court of Human Rights (a building built like a ship) and the Council of Europe.

For the most part, we stuck to the Old Medieval Town but drove through the modern section. Highly recommend a visit to the Cathedral!

Read more: 24 Hours in Strasbourg (coming soon)

Day 4: Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg is a university town with a energetic, small town feel. In the morning, we visited Heidelberg Castle, which perhaps should be called a ruined fortress, as much of it was destroyed by lightening, fires and war.

The ruins and castle are built high above the city and the observation terrace is well worth a look! Meanwhile, the city was almost entirely spared from bomb attacks during World War II and it’s narrow streets and baroque charm remain largely intact.

We explored Heidelberg’s Old Town (Altstadt) by walking along the main shopping street Hauptstrasse. This is actually the longest shopping street in Europe! For the most part, I spotted large chain stores & restaurants.

I actually recommend skipping this street to explore the quaint alleyways and backstreets instead. Much more picturesque!

Read more: The Best of Heidelberg Germany in 1 Day

Day 5: Rhine River Castles & Koblenz, Germany

By day 5, we had reached the middle Rhine and spent our morning above deck watching the gorgeous small German towns and castles along both sides of the Rhine River. Our Viking program director gave a guided tour along the way, pointing out castles left and right.

Many of them are situated high above local towns and we saw lots of German camper vans parked at the base. I recommend bringing a pair of binoculars for this part, as some of the castles can be set a bit farther away and the detail through a zoom is incredible.

By afternoon, we reached Koblenz, a city set at the mouth of two rivers. We explored Marksburg Castle and wandered a bit on our own after. This was another ruined fortress high above the river. Interesting history, but wear good shoes! The entire castle is unpaved, rocky and entirely uneven.

A couple others from the cruise did the optional dinner excursion on this day and raved about it.

Read more: A Photo Diary of Pretty Rhine Castles

Day 6: Cologne, Germany

During the Holy Roman Empire, Cologne was the largest medieval town in Europe. Naturally, it’s Gothic cathedral is the hallmark draw! The nice thing about this stop is the ship can dock right into town, so you can join the tour or explore on your own.

We explored the Kölner Dom’s interior and were suitably awed. If you want a great view, Viking offers an optional tour that takes you all the way to the very top! I had already been to Cologne on a previous trip so instead, we opted for a palace excursion.

We visited Augustusburg Castle, one of two gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site classified as Bruhl Palaces. The castle was once home to the prince-archbishops of Cologne and is decked out in gold, marble and all-around extravagance.

I particularly liked the massive entryway staircase which was gilded and made my mouth drop open when we turned the corner. Highly recommend this day trip if you love castles half as much as I do!

The interiors were really unique and the guided tour was excellent. After the main palace, we did a quick tour of the hunting lodge as well, which was just as stunning.

Read more: Exploring Cologne (coming soon)

Day 7: Kinderdijk, The Netherlands

Kinderdijk is home to the Netherlands’ famous windmills. I’ll admit I didn’t know too much about the country outside of Amsterdam and our guide was quite helpful to explain the history of the nation and the purpose of its many windmills. Much of the Netherlands would sink, were it not for windmills to pump away water.

We even got to tour inside the home of a windmill keeper (see photos of a windmill interior here!). What I didn’t realize was that windmill caretakers actually lived inside them with their families!

I thought the interiors were particularly interesting and our guide mentioned that some Dutch families managed to fit 13 children inside.

They’re quite small so I noticed lots of hooks for hanging, curved bunk-bed type rooms and lots of stair ladders. The Dutch windmill keepers also had a number of really unique boats which I took too many pictures of!

Fun fact: Kinderdijk is in the region of Holland in the nation of The Netherlands where the people speak Dutch.

Read more: Visiting A Dutch Windmill Home (and other day trips from Amsterdam!)

The Rhine Getaway Cruise

One thing I liked about sailing with Viking is how leisurely the day to day pace is. There’s generally an opportunity to sight see in the morning and afternoon, with one included tour and one optional tour.

We chose to do 2 optionals and on the other days, relaxed on board or went into town to explore on our own! It was a well-balanced pace and I truly felt “on vacation”.

Here’s a recap of our daily itinerary with Viking:
Day 1 Arrive in Basel, Switzerland
Day 2 Morning: Sail to the Black Forest

Afternoon: Explore Colmar, France
Day 3 Explore Strasbourg, France
Day 4 Morning: Explore Heidelberg’s Castle and Old Town.

Evening: Stop in Rudesheim
Day 5 Morning: See German castles along the Rhine River

Afternoon: Visit Koblenz, Germany
Day 6 Morning: Visit Cologne, Germany

Afternoon: Day trip to Bruhl Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 7 See dutch windmills at Kinderdijk. Arrive in Amsterdam in late evening.
Watch video: Tourico Vacations Viking River Cruise

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Great time

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Took our first trip on a Viking River Cruise on the Danube and had a great time. Viking's included and optional tours were wonderful and having their own tour buses was a real plus as all were well maintained and clean. Some of the best tour guides we have ever encountered. Service was superb and the food was very good. One member of our party became quite ill and the staff did an excellent job ensuring their safety and providing assistance even after the cruise ended as they had to stay on at our last stop before being able to travel home. Cabins were very nice and clean. Would highly recommend them to anyone and we plan on another trip in the near future.
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WONDERFUL STAFF & SEAMLESS ORGANIZATION

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was our first Viking cruise, and hopefully not our last. Wonderful staff and seamless organization. . . .The excursions were well planned and informative, and the local guides were well prepared. We would like to compliment some of the staff for their ever-smiling attention
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What a memorable trip!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A truly “golden” adventure. My sister and I took our first Viking cruise on the Passage to Eastern Europe and had been impressed with Viking’s service. For years, I’d wanted to explore the Douro River of Portugal, being interested in “roads”—or in this case, rivers—less traveled. This trip exceeded my expectations and proved without any doubt that Viking’s attention to service and to hiring a real “team” of happy crew members pays off for everyone on board. Not only were the excursions—both included and optional—excellent, as was the cuisine, but the camaraderie among the staff was obvious. What a memorable trip! Hopefully, every other passenger on this trip in the future will experience the beauty and history that the Douro River affords as well as Viking’s delightful and personal service.
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wonderful memories on this trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We just got home traveling down the Danube from Passau to Budapest. We did the pre stay in Prague. I must start by saying that we were extremely worried about this trip due to the low water situation. Everything about this trip was organized. All the Viking reps and guides were extremely knowledgeable and helpful to answer any questions we had.

Once on the boat we had a large group 18 people of all different ages and the staff took very good care of us. The waiters in the dining room took care of our family as if it was their own and paid close attention to our needs. If we suggested or asked for something it was there for us the next day. Of all the tour guides we had there were only 2 that weren’t that good. All the others were extremely knowledgeable and answered any questions we had. The only thing I would suggest to do different is cut out the 3 hrs we have in Slovakia and either add time to Vienna or Budapest. Those 2 cities are beautiful and it was hard to squeeze everything in. All in all my family had a great time and made wonderful memories on this trip.
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Excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My wife and I sailed with Viking on their Romantic Danube river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest, departing December 2. Although we were warned of low river water levels, 2 days of rain at the beginning of our cruise allowed our boat, the Jarl, to travel all of the way to Budapest on the river. This was our first cruise with Viking and will not be our last. The service, food, guided tours, programs, and overall attention to detail were excellent. We opted to spend two extra nights in Budapest, and Viking put us and others up in the Intercontinental, a wonderful and perfectly situated hotel. Viking had a desk in the hotel that was staffed during the day to take care of us. We cannot speak more highly of this cruise and would give more than 5 stars if possible.
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Details

Ship Name

Viking Emerald

Ship Stats

Cruise the Yangtze River on Viking Emerald, a state-of-the-art river cruise vessel. Accommodating 256 guests with full verandas, hotel-style beds in every spacious suite and stateroom, public areas bathed in light and an English-speaking crew, Viking Emerald is one of the most sophisticated river ships sailing the region.

See the 360° Emerald Ship Tour

Ship Description

Explorer Suite (Ps) Features

  • Stateroom size: 603 sq. ft.
  • Hotel-style beds 79 inches x 71 inches (with optional twin-bed configuration)
  • Sitting area with sofa, armchair and desk
  • Panoramic windows that open onto private wraparound veranda
  • Private bathroom with bathtub, shower and premium bath products
  • Bathrobe and slippers available upon request
  • Telephone, refrigerator, safe, hair dryer & bottled water replenished daily
  • Kettle and instant coffee available in the stateroom
  • Air conditioning
  • Space under bed for storing suitcases
  • Roomy wardrobe with wooden hangers
  • Voltage: 220V and 110V in stateroom
  • Two flat-panel TVs with premium entertainment package including CNN and other English-language programming

Deck & Cabin Plans

Deck Plans

Features

All Deck & Cabin Plans (affiliate link) Trip Photos (affiliate link)

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal transport included (including local flights)

Group Size

Standard Group - 25 + people

Cancellation policy

For any cruise/land booking, whether under deposit, partially paid, or paid in full and air-inclusive packages paid in full, the following travel agent or guest-requested situations are considered cancellations and penalties will apply as noted below: changes to departure date; substitutions of itinerary; substitution of another person for original booked guest(s); or changing to a promotional fare. All cancellations must be in writing. For all air-inclusive packages cancelled after issuance of an airline ticket, the air portion of the refund, if any, will be processed only after the return of airline ticket to Viking. The following cancellation charges will be assessed for all written cancellations received prior to departure up to the scheduled time of departure.


Cancellation received | Following charges will apply: (Broken out by days before departure) 121 days or more is $100 per person | 120-90 days is 15% of full fare | 89-60 days is 35% of full fare | 59-30 days is 50% of full fare | 29-0 days is 100% of full fare.

Full Fare is defined as the full cost of any cruise, land or air component purchased from Viking.

Trip ID#:

impjewvik

Meals Included

12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches and 11 Dinners

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