Viking China (Part 2)


Unregistered, just back from your river cruise? Get published on Cruise Critic; Write a Review!
River Cruising
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 09:56 AM.
#41
League City, TX
42,374 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by ballfamily
Just wondering if you found some really good deals on particular souvenirs that we should watch out for?
Available tee-shirt at the Summer Palace in Beijing

#42
Boston MA
7,749 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
For those of us who have been following this thread for a while, a heads up.
The CC moderators have added 11 posts from another thread to the beginning of this thread, including a fantastic review by BlueDevil75. Go back to post #1 to see the new additions.



Caribill-- LOVE the t-shirt.

Turtles, didn't see the Mao watches until the Summer Palace and there they were asking like $30 for the watches and weren't bargaining -- way more than I was willing to spend. I was so disappointed because I really wanted one for my son--and maybe even for myself (a fashion accessory??)
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

Save
#43
League City, TX
42,374 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by 5326jan
Were there plenty of choices related to food? I have a seafood allergy and have some problems in Asia when travelling independently convincing the restaurants that taking the fish out of fish broth doesn't solve the problem. I don't want to draw attention to myself, so I always travel with peanut butter crackers in case I can't eat what's served. It would be nice to know that Viking would help in this regard.
I avoid fish and my wife is a vegetarian. We had no problem either on the ship or on Viking tours.

Onboard we spoke with a supervisor the first evening about the vegetarian needs and they would prepare a special dish if the normal choices did not include a decent vegetarian option.

On tour, our Viking guide was informed of our dietary needs and made sure at each restaurant we were properly taken care of.

We also have a friend who is fluent in Chinese and asked her to write in Chinese for us our dietary restrictions. We made several copies of that. One we gave to our viking guide and others we used at restaurants that were not part of the Viking tours.

I strongly suggest that your seafood allergies be documented in written Chinese so you can show this when necessary. If you do not have a friend who can translate this for you, possibly you can get this done at a Chinese restaurant in your area.
#44
Virginia Beach, VA
4,844 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by caribill
I avoid fish and my wife is a vegetarian. We had no problem either on the ship or on Viking tours.

Onboard we spoke with a supervisor the first evening about the vegetarian needs and they would prepare a special dish if the normal choices did not include a decent vegetarian option.

On tour, our Viking guide was informed of our dietary needs and made sure at each restaurant we were properly taken care of.

We also have a friend who is fluent in Chinese and asked her to write in Chinese for us our dietary restrictions. We made several copies of that. One we gave to our viking guide and others we used at restaurants that were not part of the Viking tours.

I strongly suggest that your seafood allergies be documented in written Chinese so you can show this when necessary. If you do not have a friend who can translate this for you, possibly you can get this done at a Chinese restaurant in your area.

Thanks Bill, I have one laminated in 7 languages, but Chinese is not one of them! I'll get one for every dialect! When I tried to explain in Malasia, they simply said... "no fish, only anchovies"! .... In the US, an anchovy is a fish, but apparently it doesn't count in KL! When in Rome... I began to like white rice a lot! It was after this experience that I did get the laminated card that has been helpful in Japan, and Europe.
#45
Boston MA
7,749 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by caribill
I avoid fish and my wife is a vegetarian. We had no problem either on the ship or on Viking tours.

Onboard we spoke with a supervisor the first evening about the vegetarian needs and they would prepare a special dish if the normal choices did not include a decent vegetarian option.
[SNIP]
On tour, our Viking guide was informed of our dietary needs and made sure at each restaurant we were properly taken care of.

Jan, as Caribill points out, when it comes to food allergies, Viking does not mess around. It is in their best interest to keep you healthy and they will do their best to keep you that way. Still, you need to talk to them at the start of the trip--so they can put a face to the problem.

The two most important people to deal with on this issue are your tour escort and the maitre d' on the ship. They will both take care of you--one on land and the other on the water. For myself, I would arrange my dinner meal on the ship before leaving the dining room at lunch time; that was easier and less stressful than dealing with it at the dinner table each night--even if I was ordering right from the menu.
#46
Memphis TN
876 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by ballfamily
BlueDevil75 -- Thanks for the great trip report. We are booked on the same trip starting 3/27/12, Shanghai to Bejing. Given your report, I plan to bring my laptop to access internet in the hotels and in bar areas of ship -- hope I have same luck you did. Thanks for the heads-up on tipping. Sounds kind of steep to me, but suppose its expected like on the larger ships. Just wondering if you found some really good deals on particular souvenirs that we should watch out for? Thanks agin for all the info....
We ARE shoppers..... I bought several sets of boxed non-fired terra cotta warriors so cheap at end of the walk of imperial statues. It worked out to about 50 cents per warrior. They were the hit of the gifts we brought back!

People thought they were expensive! Took out of boxes and wrapped in newspaper and carried in backpack. About 50 pounds! One airport screamer called over supervisor and they had a good laugh. We also carried a silk rug on plane. Our guide "Iowa" said not to worry about luggage overages as long as we supported the Chinese economy!
#47
Virginia Beach, VA
4,844 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Romeosc
We ARE shoppers..... I bought several sets of boxed non-fired terra cotta warriors so cheap at end of the walk of imperial statues. It worked out to about 50 cents per warrior. They were the hit of the gifts we brought back!

People thought they were expensive! Took out of boxes and wrapped in newspaper and carried in backpack. About 50 pounds! One airport screamer called over supervisor and they had a good laugh. We also carried a silk rug on plane. Our guide "Iowa" said not to worry about luggage overages as long as we supported the Chinese economy!
Romeosc, please tell me more about the t.w. purchase. Where you bought, how big are they, how many per box, any problems bringing to US, etc. Did you buy at end of trip or beginning? (wondering about carrying them on smaller flights) Thanks! They sound like an awesome souvenir!
#48
Maryland
5,441 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
It's early in the trip, and I'm in Shanghai, getting ready for breakfast and then our trip to the airport to fly to Wuhan. The trip so far has been great. That long flight over to Asia was, of course, a royal pain, and my body is a little out of whack, but otherwise all is great. Shanghai is a huge, huge city, and spent yesterday touring the Yuan Gardens, short trip to the Bund (pea soup but still pretty), embroidery factory (beautiful things there), lunch there, and the group toured the Shanghai Museum. We opted to take a ferry back from the Bund to hang around the hotel. At 5:15 we all met for dinner and the acrobatic show, which I loved.

Shangri la Hotel is wonderful; so is Shan Shan, our tour escort. Here are some comments as to things that people have wondered about before, although they have already been addressed in the previous thread:

Shan Shan told me that we don't have to worry about the 11 pound intra China carry-on bag limit.

For lunches out, she comes around and tells you what has been brought to your table. That might help our vegetarians readers.

She says small liquids CAN be taken on the intra-China flights, at least the one we have today (Shanghai to Wuhan).

Hotel has wifi and wired internet in the rooms at Shangri la. I was unable to get into gmail and google yesterday, but today all is fine. If you have problems, you may want to go to the biz center and ask for help. Someone there (won't mention a name, as it might have been a tourist, and this site may be monitored!) got me in using the HK (Hong Kong) address.

Food has been pretty good; breakfast buffet at Shangri La is wonderful, so if nothing else, you have a great selection of food with which to start your day - American, Chinese, and more.

I'd exchange money at hotels rather than airport, though Shanghai airport currency exchange was reasonable (50 rmb to change $100). Hotel can also give you smaller bills, as you'll want those. Coins are not very useful unless you take the ferry as we did, or subway.

I still haven't seen or ridden the subway here, but know it's close.

We took a chance on Mc Donalds hamburgers the night we arrived - I know, disgusting.

No tummy problems or allergy or cold problems, at least so far.

Immigration at Shanghai was fairly quick considering the large number of people coming in. It's a large airport, though - if you think you might need a wheelchair, order before getting on the plane.

Tour guide Shan Shan is wonderful. Finding the Viking rep when coming out of the customs area of the airport was easy, despite there being about 100 people standing there holding signs for transportation. Wish I had had my camera out to photograph that, as I've never seen so many signs. At least everyone is held back behind cords so you can see everyone easily. Viking spotted us before they spotted us. Took only about 20 mins. to round our busload up; almost an hour to get to hotel (airport is far).

Bottled water is ample in hotel and on buses. I tied a string around wash basin first night to remind me not to drink, but before that, had a small sip when I got in the room. so far ok.

Pollution is pretty bad in Shanghai -don't expect blue skies. DO, however, walk around hotel and up on the pedestrian ring to photograph Pearl Tower, etc. Also might want to walk down to the river. Weather is good - around 70 in Shanghai, but when that sun came out for a couple hours yesterday, it seemed quite warm. The humidity, of course, is what makes it seem warmer than normal. It wasn't enough to bother me (and certainly much better than in summer months) but it's there....I wore lightweight clothes, and brought a few heavier ones, but so far I haven't used anything no lightweight jacket, for example.

Today we have to leave our bags outside the door by 7:30 and meet downstairs at 9 to go to the airport. Then it's fly to Wuhan, visit the Provincial Museum, and on to the boat.
I feel pretty good today, and slept until the wakeup call for my husband woke me up. Considering the 12 hour (for east coasters) time difference, I'm doing well. The first night I slept poorly due to jet lag, but today is much better.

I'm not a shopper, so can't comment on that - especially after only one location visited!

Not sure how much time I'll have in the next couple days, and how frequently I can use Emerald computers to go one line, but if anyone has specific questions, fire away. I'm looking forward to our "western dinner" on the Emerald tonight and getting somewhere where I can unpack and stay a while (the Emerald).
#49
League City, TX
42,374 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by roothy123
It's early in the trip, and I'm in Shanghai, getting ready for breakfast and then our trip to the airport to fly to Wuhan. The trip so far has been great.
Thanks for the live report.
#50
10,661 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Peregrina651
Turtles, didn't see the Mao watches until the Summer Palace and there they were asking like $30 for the watches and weren't bargaining -- way more than I was willing to spend. I was so disappointed because I really wanted one for my son--and maybe even for myself (a fashion accessory??)
Last winter, when I read through the original Viking China threadzilla, I made a mental note about the waving Mao watches, and mentioned to my partner that I would be on the lookout for them. Our first morning in Beijing with Viking, as we started to walk across Tiananmen Square, my partner saw a vendor selling those watches. Once she made eye contact with the vendor, it was all over ---- he followed her across the entire square until she bought a couple at $5 each. Not too bad.

Then some others in our group saw what we had and it became "the thing" to get the watches at even better prices. Another watch vendor was outside our hotel each morning as we got on the bus. The last morning in Beijing, people bargained him down to three for $10. A bunch were bought. As we drove away from the hotel, he bicycled off, only to reappear later outside the silk factory, our last stop in Beijing. More bargaining, more waving Mao watches were acquired! He had Rolexes too (LOL!), they were more expensive!

We had a great time with him, and as our bus drove away to the airport, we cheered and waved and he waved back. We definitely helped his bottom line that week!





(photos by turtles06)
#51
Boston MA
7,749 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
For those who go to Suzhou to the silk factory (I know Delights does but I'm not sure about Jewels and Roof), I just found the name of the place and a website for it. It is also reviewed on Trip Advisor. Yes, it is one of the shopping stops and there is a lot of discussion about the prices here but it is worth the time just to see how silk thread is made.
Choyers
Suzhou No. 1 Silk Filature Mill
94 Nanmen Rd., Suzhou

Even if you aren't going, the website is beautifully done.
#52
Maryland
5,441 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Someone on our trip bought a small rug and put it in his carryon baggage. In the airport (Shanghai, I believe, or possibly Wuhan) a beagle and person came up to him, asking if he had drugs, and if he had a "drug license." Apparently the beagle smelled something in the carpet that alerted the handler! The guy explained that he bought the rug (assume at the rug factory outside Shanghai, but since he wasn't in our group, I don't know for sure) and there was no problem.

I'm happy to report that the 8 computers on the Emerald have wifi and hard wire access right now, and I'm the only soul in the computer room. Of course, it IS only about 3:30 AM or so here - I have been to China a couple days now and still can't sleep past 3 AM...ugh! Also, there is no apparent restriction on what you send from the computers (photos, etc.), although obviously common sense would probably come into play here, as we ARE on a ship! The sign only says that we should limit our time on the computer to 45 minutes.

Question for you guys: We did the long "Walk down the tiny steps" in Wuhan yesterday. Luckily it wasn't raining, because the steps weren't exactly fun. Is there a similar docking situation in Chongqing, or is Wuhan the only scary place?

Going today to the school....

The Emerald is wonderful.
#53
League City, TX
42,374 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by roothy123
We did the long "Walk down the tiny steps" in Wuhan yesterday. Luckily it wasn't raining, because the steps weren't exactly fun. Is there a similar docking situation in Chongqing, or is Wuhan the only scary place?
Below shows the steps in Chongqing
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 002.2 100_4709 08.08.10 Steps to climb to street level.jpg (26.3 KB, 224 views)
#54
Maryland
5,441 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Thanks, still hard, but at least there's a wall to lean against on part of the trek. That's better than Wuhan. Some people were freaking out. I guess that's one more reason to pack a very small carryon for the flight to Xian! Were there any porters available for hire if you didn't want to slep your bag up/down, or were they all busy slepping the checked bags, as they were in Wuhan?
#55
League City, TX
42,374 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by roothy123
Thanks, still hard, but at least there's a wall to lean against on part of the trek. That's better than Wuhan. Some people were freaking out. I guess that's one more reason to pack a very small carryon for the flight to Xian! Were there any porters available for hire if you didn't want to slep your bag up/down, or were they all busy slepping the checked bags, as they were in Wuhan?
Yes, there are local porters anxious to carry anything you have up those steps, even willing to carry you. Negotiate the amount of payment first if you want to do this.
#56
10,661 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by 5326jan
Romeosc, please tell me more about the t.w. purchase. Where you bought, how big are they, how many per box, any problems bringing to US, etc. Did you buy at end of trip or beginning? (wondering about carrying them on smaller flights) Thanks! They sound like an awesome souvenir!
Besides the little warriors that "unofficial" vendors were selling, there were also "official reproductions" of the warriors in many sizes sold in the government store at the Terra Cotta Warriors museum itself, some a bit smaller than those pictured here. (You can ship home an actual life size warrior! ) I brought back two of the smaller ones, an archer and a standing warrior (the latter is only about 9 inches high). They were packed nicely in boxes and I carried them on the planes. (BTW, the flights inside China are not "small" flights. No problem taking carryons aboard.)



(photo by turtles06)
#57
Boston MA
7,749 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Turtles06
Besides the little warriors that "unofficial" vendors were selling, there were also "official reproductions" of the warriors in many sizes sold in the government store at the Terra Cotta Warriors museum itself, some a bit smaller than those pictured here. (You can ship home an actual life size warrior! ) I brought back two of the smaller ones, an archer and a standing warrior (the latter is only about 9 inches high). They were packed nicely in boxes and I carried them on the planes. (BTW, the flights inside China are not "small" flights. No problem taking carryons aboard.)



(photo by turtles06)

And if you don't want to schlep warriors with you, you can buy a set of four small ones --the same ones that are for sale in the shop at the Warriors--from National Geographic for just $35 plus shipping. They are about 5 inches tall. We bought them before our trip but I wouldn't let my husband put them out until we got home. (What? Me? Superstitious?)

These are not the same ones that caribill talks about buying from the street vendors.
#58
Boston MA
7,749 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by roothy123

I'm happy to report that the 8 computers on the Emerald have wifi and hard wire access right now, and I'm the only soul in the computer room. Of course, it IS only about 3:30 AM or so here - I have been to China a couple days now and still can't sleep past 3 AM...ugh! Also, there is no apparent restriction on what you send from the computers (photos, etc.), although obviously common sense would probably come into play here, as we ARE on a ship! The sign only says that we should limit our time on the computer to 45 minutes.
WooHoo! That is a distinct improvement over what was available on the Century Sun. The computers were so slow that we were asked not to try to upload pictures. Molasses was faster than those computers; even programs were slow to open.

Originally posted by roothy123
Question for you guys: We did the long "Walk down the tiny steps" in Wuhan yesterday. Luckily it wasn't raining, because the steps weren't exactly fun. Is there a similar docking situation in Chongqing, or is Wuhan the only scary place?
.
Yes, those tiny steps were awkward but they don't come anywhere close to Chongqing in the rain. If it is raining in Chongqing then you will find yourself climbing up a waterfall. Along with arranging for a porter to carry your bags, put an extra pair of socks in your carry-on, shoes, too, if you can manage it.
#59
Colorado
6,027 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Hi, Roothy123. So much fun reading your "live" posts. Sure hope your body clock resets before you have to fly home.

I'm wondering if you are seeing any beautiful fall colors anywhere yet? Also, how is the weather (temperature? humidity? any rain?)?

Xie xie! (which I hope means thank you )

PS - anyone else who has sailed in October, feel free to chime in on what you experienced
#60
Colorado
6,027 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by roothy123
Someone on our trip bought a small rug and put it in his carryon baggage. In the airport (Shanghai, I believe, or possibly Wuhan) a beagle and person came up to him, asking if he had drugs, and if he had a "drug license." Apparently the beagle smelled something in the carpet that alerted the handler! The guy explained that he bought the rug (assume at the rug factory outside Shanghai, but since he wasn't in our group, I don't know for sure) and there was no problem.
Kinda scary!! Makes one wonder exactly what the rug was made of ... or perhaps it had been exposed to some workers "smoking in the back room" and it absorbed residue. In any case, glad nobody was carted off with the local gendarme.