We're considering this trip for 2013 and would love to benefit from the experience of others. While I understand there is so much that is subjective, there is also some information based on fact and I'm interested in the subjective opinions to see if there is a trend. I promise I won't ask about tastes of food or coffee, softness of mattresses or which tour guide I should ask for!The hotel mattresses were luxurious, just like the hotels (especially in Shanghai and Beijing).
All of the guides are GREAT, so as much as we loved our guide Larry and wish everyone could tour with him, you will not be disappointed no matter who your guide turns out to be.
Also, you are welcome to read my travel journal. The link is below in my signature.
Here are my questions, please share your opinions:
**Which month is the most comfortable to travel related to cool temperatures (between 65-80) and low humidity and smog? Or which month did you go that was bad? Our plans are very flexible.
The first and last cruises will give you the best weather. We went in May (8-24) and by the end, it was too hot for me. As for beating the smog, I don't know that it is predictable.
**What are the pros and cons to starting in Shanghai as opposed to Beijing? Why did you like/dislike the direction you went?Shanghai to Beijing saves the best for last--Terracotta Warriors, Forbidden City, Great Wall. We prefer a trip that builds up to the best, so S to B was great for us.
S to B includes a visit to the pandas, which was a good thing because that is what DH wanted to see.
We also did the longer Cultural Delights itinerary, which we loved. The extra stops were fascinating and were one of the reasons that we did not feel it necessary to add extra days in Shanghai or Beijing.
**Do you recommend flying in a day or two early to get used to the time zone? (I understand that Viking transfers are not available if you come in early and that there may be a deviation charge added to the air)Next time I would consider adding a day or two just to get over the jetlag. Seems the older I get, the less able I am to deal with it.
**Is there a preferred deck or side of ship for either direction? More sun/less sun, noise, scenery, etc.
We chose cabins forward of the lobby to make sure that we were away from the engine noise. Most of the scenery watching is done from the upper deck, so it didn't seem to matter which side our cabin was on.
**If you could change one thing you planned with your trip what would it be? It doesn't really matter what you wished VRC did different, because I can't change that.... just something extra you planned.. a special tour you wished you did on your own time, a show that you wished you had skipped... or you skipped that you regret, etc.
Other than staying longer (which was not a possibility), I would not have changed anything.
Thank you so much. I really did read more than a year's worth of posts on the now closed thread and appreciate so much people's time sharing all the great information.
As an aside, this will be our first River Cruise![/quote]
It was our first river cruise as well. I'd been getting the VRC brochures for years and had my eye on it but the clincher was talking to my brother the day after he got home from his trip in 2008. After listening to him tell about his trip, it was just a matter of choosing a date!
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"