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  #1  
Old April 10th, 2013, 12:00 PM
Bruin Steve's Avatar
Bruin Steve Bruin Steve is offline
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Default Tipping Viking China

My Viking China trip is still 14 months out--June 2014...
But, though a veteran big ship cruiser, this sort of trip is brand new to me...and I understand customs and practice are a bit different.

Tipping seems a bit more complex than on my usual cruises...

Looking at the Viking website, their "recommended" amounts are:
Onboard Staff: $15 per person per day
Tour Escort: $10 per person per day
Local City Guides: $2 per person per day
Coach Drivers: $1 per person per day

Now, our trip consists of:
1 "forced" overnight in Beijing
12 night Beijing to Shanghai which includes a $5 night River Cruise
4 night post cruise Guilin/Hong Kong package

So, now, I am trying to sort out the expected recommended tips...

I assume the $15 pp for the Onboard Staff is paid for just the 5 nights onboard the Viking Emerald...

Is the Tour Escort with us for the ENTIRE trip? Just the 12 night core portion? (Is there a separate Escort for the Hong Kong Extension?) Or is the Tour Escort with us only for the "land" portions? IOW, is this $10 pp per day for 7 nights, 12 nights, 16 nights?

Is there a "local city guide" every day? Or are some days--like when flying from Beijing to Xi'an or days when there appears to be only "free time"--is there no city guide to tip?

Same basic question with drivers...Also, do we tip coach drivers if they are merely picking us up at the hotel to bring us to the airport the same as we tip a driver who is with the tour all day taking us from site to site?

Thanks...
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Next:
11/23/14 Golden Princess-Baja-3 nts
7/3/15 Celebrity Xpedition-Galapagos/Quito-10 nts

Viking Emerald, 17 night China 6/2014*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 1/2014*Golden Princess 3 night Baja 11/2013*Celebrity Silhouette, 13 night Adriatic 6/2013*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 12/2012*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Iceland/Norway 7/2012*Celebrity Century, 13 night Australia/New Zealand 12/2011-12*Oceania Marina, 16 night Western Europe 8/2011*Carnival Paradise, 3 night Baja 2/2011*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 1/2011*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Baltic 7/2010*Celebrity Summit, 7 night Southern Caribbean 3/2010*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 1/2010*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Med/Egypt/Israel 6/2009*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 1 night Pre-Inaugural 2/2009*Sapphire Princess, 7 night Mexican Riviera 12/2008-9*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night Baltic 7/2008*RCCL Vision of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 3/2008*Carnival Liberty, 8 night Panama 7/2007*RCCL Liberty of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 6/2007*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 5 night Baja 1/2007*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Mediterranean 7/2006*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 4/2006*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night No. Europe 7/2005*Celebrity Constellation, 7 night So. Caribbean 3/2005*Celebrity Summit, 13 night Alaska Cruisetour 7/2004*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 1/2004*Celebrity Millennium, 13 night Mediterranean 8/2003*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/2002*Crown Princess, 10 night Baltic/Russia 8/2001*Carnival Elation, 7 night Mexican Riviera 8/2000*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 8/1999*Carnival Jubilee, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/1997*RCCL Viking Serenade, 4 night Baja 7/1996*RCCL Viking Serenade, 3 night Baja 6/1994*Norwegian Southward, 3 night Baja 12/1992*Premier Big Red Boat Atlantic-Disney cruise 3/1989
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  #2  
Old April 10th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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Turtles06 Turtles06 is offline
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Please see my answers in red.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruin Steve View Post
My Viking China trip is still 14 months out--June 2014...
But, though a veteran big ship cruiser, this sort of trip is brand new to me...and I understand customs and practice are a bit different.

Tipping seems a bit more complex than on my usual cruises...

Looking at the Viking website, their "recommended" amounts are:
Onboard Staff: $15 per person per day
Tour Escort: $10 per person per day
Local City Guides: $2 per person per day
Coach Drivers: $1 per person per day

Now, our trip consists of:
1 "forced" overnight in Beijing
12 night Beijing to Shanghai which includes a $5 night River Cruise
4 night post cruise Guilin/Hong Kong package

So, now, I am trying to sort out the expected recommended tips...

I assume the $15 pp for the Onboard Staff is paid for just the 5 nights onboard the Viking Emerald... You are correct. Of course, feel free to provide a separate tip to your cabin attendant and your dining room servers if you feel their service warrants it (we certainly did).

Is the Tour Escort with us for the ENTIRE trip? Just the 12 night core portion? (Is there a separate Escort for the Hong Kong Extension?) Or is the Tour Escort with us only for the "land" portions? IOW, is this $10 pp per day for 7 nights, 12 nights, 16 nights? Your tour escort will be with you for the entire core trip, land and river. He or she will be worth every dollar (or RMB) you tip. I didn't go on the Hong Kong extension, but I believe there will be an escort with you, it might not be the one you had on the core trip. I'm sure others who went to Hong Kong can answer this.

Is there a "local city guide" every day? Or are some days--like when flying from Beijing to Xi'an or days when there appears to be only "free time"--is there no city guide to tip? In some places (like Beijing and Shanghai), the tour escort serves as the "local guide." We had separate local guides along the river and in Xi'an.

Same basic question with drivers...Also, do we tip coach drivers if they are merely picking us up at the hotel to bring us to the airport the same as we tip a driver who is with the tour all day taking us from site to site? Are you really worrying about whether to give someone a dollar?

Thanks...
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  #3  
Old April 10th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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Bruin Steve Bruin Steve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtles06 View Post
Are you really worrying about whether to give someone a dollar?
No...Just like to plan on having sufficient small bills with me. Makes a difference when preparing if I'm planning on tipping 10 drivers $2 each or 20 drivers...
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Next:
11/23/14 Golden Princess-Baja-3 nts
7/3/15 Celebrity Xpedition-Galapagos/Quito-10 nts

Viking Emerald, 17 night China 6/2014*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 1/2014*Golden Princess 3 night Baja 11/2013*Celebrity Silhouette, 13 night Adriatic 6/2013*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 12/2012*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Iceland/Norway 7/2012*Celebrity Century, 13 night Australia/New Zealand 12/2011-12*Oceania Marina, 16 night Western Europe 8/2011*Carnival Paradise, 3 night Baja 2/2011*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 1/2011*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Baltic 7/2010*Celebrity Summit, 7 night Southern Caribbean 3/2010*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 1/2010*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Med/Egypt/Israel 6/2009*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 1 night Pre-Inaugural 2/2009*Sapphire Princess, 7 night Mexican Riviera 12/2008-9*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night Baltic 7/2008*RCCL Vision of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 3/2008*Carnival Liberty, 8 night Panama 7/2007*RCCL Liberty of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 6/2007*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 5 night Baja 1/2007*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Mediterranean 7/2006*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 4/2006*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night No. Europe 7/2005*Celebrity Constellation, 7 night So. Caribbean 3/2005*Celebrity Summit, 13 night Alaska Cruisetour 7/2004*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 1/2004*Celebrity Millennium, 13 night Mediterranean 8/2003*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/2002*Crown Princess, 10 night Baltic/Russia 8/2001*Carnival Elation, 7 night Mexican Riviera 8/2000*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 8/1999*Carnival Jubilee, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/1997*RCCL Viking Serenade, 4 night Baja 7/1996*RCCL Viking Serenade, 3 night Baja 6/1994*Norwegian Southward, 3 night Baja 12/1992*Premier Big Red Boat Atlantic-Disney cruise 3/1989
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  #4  
Old April 10th, 2013, 05:44 PM
SteadyAT SteadyAT is offline
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Steve, having just returned recently from the Imperial Jewels tour (Beijing to Shanghai direction), I can confirm the following:

- Your tour escort is with you DAILY for the entire duration of the trip (so 12 days + any extra you wish to give)
- In Beijing, where the tour escort is the key guide, we also had a local guide strictly through the Hutongs, as well as a pedal cab driver, both of whom we tipped.
- The Beijing bus-driver remains the same through our tour of Beijing, and was tipped for his entire duration in one shot as he dropped us off at the airport. (The tour escort will usually hint at this by saying, "Now it's time to say good-bye to our bus driver". After this, we all kind of got the hang of when to tip.)
- In Xian, we had a local guide and driver, in addition to the tour escort.
- During the cruise, there were local guides for the daily excursions:
--> Shibaozhai (guide only, no bus);
--> Three Gorges & Lesser Three Gorges (guide on the small tour ship; no bus);
--> Three Gorges Dam & Three Gorges (local guide + bus driver);
--> Jingzhou (no guide (just your tour escort) but driver) + there was a donation box at the school for cash donations.
On the ship, there was a tip box in the Lobby for you to deposit the tip into on the last night of the cruise. They provide envelopes for you to write a thank you note. In addition, because the staff worked so hard, we tipped additionally directly to our 3 servers and cabin housekeeper.
- Wuhan, local guide and driver
- Shanghai, although the tour escort was the "speaking" guide, there was a local guide on hand making all the arrangements and picking up museum tickets, so we still tipped him. Additionally, there was a bus driver for the duration of stay.
- Transfer to airport - we tipped the local driver also as he helped with our bags.

I understand where you're coming from wanting to ensure you bring enough cash to cover the tips. Importantly, the Tour Escort is tipped in cash (any denomination you have - USD, RMB) but I believe you can charge your ship-board tip to credit card (I put cash into the envelope). (Hint, take an extra envelope with you to put your tip for the Tour Escort at the end of the trip.)

We might have tipped a little excessively but when you convert it all back to your local $ (Canadian $ for us), it's negligible in the overall scheme of the cost of the vacation.

Although we went to Hong Kong, we did not go with Viking, but I would imagine you would also tip in a similar fashion.

Hope this helps.
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  #5  
Old April 10th, 2013, 06:04 PM
SteadyAT SteadyAT is offline
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I should add that the tipping "opportunities" I outlined above are during the Viking land tour + cruise, following Viking guidelines.

When we we visited China a 2nd time during our month in Asia, friends and family told us that tipping is NOT the norm. So, typically, when we settled our bill at dinner, we were told to leave only spare change. One time, when we left more, the friend we were with expressly told us to take away the "larger" bills.

In Hong Kong, there is often a 10% service charge added to your meals, so then you only tip a few more $ on top of that (as in Europe).
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  #6  
Old April 10th, 2013, 06:14 PM
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Bruin Steve Bruin Steve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteadyAT View Post
Steve, having just returned recently from the Imperial Jewels tour (Beijing to Shanghai direction), I can confirm the following:

- Your tour escort is with you DAILY for the entire duration of the trip (so 12 days + any extra you wish to give)
- In Beijing, where the tour escort is the key guide, we also had a local guide strictly through the Hutongs, as well as a pedal cab driver, both of whom we tipped.
- The Beijing bus-driver remains the same through our tour of Beijing, and was tipped for his entire duration in one shot as he dropped us off at the airport. (The tour escort will usually hint at this by saying, "Now it's time to say good-bye to our bus driver". After this, we all kind of got the hang of when to tip.)
- In Xian, we had a local guide and driver, in addition to the tour escort.
- During the cruise, there were local guides for the daily excursions:
--> Shibaozhai (guide only, no bus);
--> Three Gorges & Lesser Three Gorges (guide on the small tour ship; no bus);
--> Three Gorges Dam & Three Gorges (local guide + bus driver);
--> Jingzhou (no guide (just your tour escort) but driver) + there was a donation box at the school for cash donations.
On the ship, there was a tip box in the Lobby for you to deposit the tip into on the last night of the cruise. They provide envelopes for you to write a thank you note. In addition, because the staff worked so hard, we tipped additionally directly to our 3 servers and cabin housekeeper.
- Wuhan, local guide and driver
- Shanghai, although the tour escort was the "speaking" guide, there was a local guide on hand making all the arrangements and picking up museum tickets, so we still tipped him. Additionally, there was a bus driver for the duration of stay.
- Transfer to airport - we tipped the local driver also as he helped with our bags.

I understand where you're coming from wanting to ensure you bring enough cash to cover the tips. Importantly, the Tour Escort is tipped in cash (any denomination you have - USD, RMB) but I believe you can charge your ship-board tip to credit card (I put cash into the envelope). (Hint, take an extra envelope with you to put your tip for the Tour Escort at the end of the trip.)

We might have tipped a little excessively but when you convert it all back to your local $ (Canadian $ for us), it's negligible in the overall scheme of the cost of the vacation.

Although we went to Hong Kong, we did not go with Viking, but I would imagine you would also tip in a similar fashion.

Hope this helps.

Exactly the kind of information I was looking for...Thank you so much. This really helps...

I typically plan ahead for every cruise...including withdrawing money from the bank in the correct assortment of bills to have at least enough for every recommended tip, then an assortment of additional bills in case I want to up the gratuity for any individual--for exceptional service or for extra services provided or such...But I'll place at least as much cash as I know I'll need--and the denominations I know I'll need-- in a separate envelope...

On my typical European big ship cruises, I'll prepare two such envelopes--one with tip[ money (though I, nowadays, charge the recommended onboard tips on my credit card), the second for private tour costs that need to be paid in cash on the day of the tour (in the correct national currency required) ...At least with this one, I know there will be no additional private tours...

I hope you enjoyed this trip...
I'll ask you my next question since you just did this trip (even though as we get closer, I may post it as an entirely new thread):

I'm also concerned with packing--noting the 44 pound baggage limit...
I've gotten some seemingly conflicting advice from my TA as from the message boards...

I know we're allowed 44 pounds in one suitcase each--which may be weighed precisely or not...but what about carry-ons? It seems they are allowed though my TA says no...I just like to carry my knapsack with my camera, chargers, batteries, iPad, a puzzle magazine, assorted papers, gum and mints and my medications...Obviously, I would carry this with me at all times--not check it in for flights or such...Okay or not?

And what to wear? I typically, on big ship cruises, wear cargo shorts and T-shirts or golf shirts during the day and in port, changing to long pants for dinner...I'll carry some sort of long pant in my knapsack that I can slip over my shorts if we go into a religious venue where shorts are forbidden...but, due to the 44 pound limit and the fact that it will be VERY HOT in late June, I'd like to pare down my packing list...My TA says no cargo shorts or T-Shirts...the threads on the China trip say otherwise...Can I wear the shorts most places?

Thanks...
__________________
Next:
11/23/14 Golden Princess-Baja-3 nts
7/3/15 Celebrity Xpedition-Galapagos/Quito-10 nts

Viking Emerald, 17 night China 6/2014*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 1/2014*Golden Princess 3 night Baja 11/2013*Celebrity Silhouette, 13 night Adriatic 6/2013*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 12/2012*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Iceland/Norway 7/2012*Celebrity Century, 13 night Australia/New Zealand 12/2011-12*Oceania Marina, 16 night Western Europe 8/2011*Carnival Paradise, 3 night Baja 2/2011*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 1/2011*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Baltic 7/2010*Celebrity Summit, 7 night Southern Caribbean 3/2010*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 1/2010*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Med/Egypt/Israel 6/2009*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 1 night Pre-Inaugural 2/2009*Sapphire Princess, 7 night Mexican Riviera 12/2008-9*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night Baltic 7/2008*RCCL Vision of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 3/2008*Carnival Liberty, 8 night Panama 7/2007*RCCL Liberty of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 6/2007*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 5 night Baja 1/2007*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Mediterranean 7/2006*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 4/2006*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night No. Europe 7/2005*Celebrity Constellation, 7 night So. Caribbean 3/2005*Celebrity Summit, 13 night Alaska Cruisetour 7/2004*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 1/2004*Celebrity Millennium, 13 night Mediterranean 8/2003*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/2002*Crown Princess, 10 night Baltic/Russia 8/2001*Carnival Elation, 7 night Mexican Riviera 8/2000*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 8/1999*Carnival Jubilee, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/1997*RCCL Viking Serenade, 4 night Baja 7/1996*RCCL Viking Serenade, 3 night Baja 6/1994*Norwegian Southward, 3 night Baja 12/1992*Premier Big Red Boat Atlantic-Disney cruise 3/1989
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  #7  
Old April 10th, 2013, 06:23 PM
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I think you need a new TA.
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  #8  
Old April 10th, 2013, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtles06 View Post
I think you need a new TA.
I like my TA...She's pretty good...I just don't think that China River cruises is her main thing...not mine either. This trip is an anomaly. We are usually doing ocean ship cruising...and she's very good with those.
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Next:
11/23/14 Golden Princess-Baja-3 nts
7/3/15 Celebrity Xpedition-Galapagos/Quito-10 nts

Viking Emerald, 17 night China 6/2014*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 1/2014*Golden Princess 3 night Baja 11/2013*Celebrity Silhouette, 13 night Adriatic 6/2013*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 12/2012*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Iceland/Norway 7/2012*Celebrity Century, 13 night Australia/New Zealand 12/2011-12*Oceania Marina, 16 night Western Europe 8/2011*Carnival Paradise, 3 night Baja 2/2011*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 1/2011*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Baltic 7/2010*Celebrity Summit, 7 night Southern Caribbean 3/2010*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 1/2010*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Med/Egypt/Israel 6/2009*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 1 night Pre-Inaugural 2/2009*Sapphire Princess, 7 night Mexican Riviera 12/2008-9*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night Baltic 7/2008*RCCL Vision of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 3/2008*Carnival Liberty, 8 night Panama 7/2007*RCCL Liberty of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 6/2007*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 5 night Baja 1/2007*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Mediterranean 7/2006*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 4/2006*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night No. Europe 7/2005*Celebrity Constellation, 7 night So. Caribbean 3/2005*Celebrity Summit, 13 night Alaska Cruisetour 7/2004*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 1/2004*Celebrity Millennium, 13 night Mediterranean 8/2003*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/2002*Crown Princess, 10 night Baltic/Russia 8/2001*Carnival Elation, 7 night Mexican Riviera 8/2000*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 8/1999*Carnival Jubilee, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/1997*RCCL Viking Serenade, 4 night Baja 7/1996*RCCL Viking Serenade, 3 night Baja 6/1994*Norwegian Southward, 3 night Baja 12/1992*Premier Big Red Boat Atlantic-Disney cruise 3/1989

Last edited by Bruin Steve; April 10th, 2013 at 06:28 PM.
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  #9  
Old April 10th, 2013, 08:13 PM
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Peregrina651 Peregrina651 is offline
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Steve, have you checked out the Viking China thread? There is a lot of chat there already about luggage, carry-ons, tipping, weather, etc.
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  #10  
Old April 11th, 2013, 09:01 AM
SteadyAT SteadyAT is offline
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Steve, I echo Peregrina's advice - please invest some time to review the Viking China (part 2) thread - there's a lot of valuable information in there. The thread is a bit overwhelming, but if you look at the last year's posts and continue to follow once you've caught up, you'll be the most prepared passenger on your cruise next year! I certainly benefited from following that thread.

But to answer your questions:
- Carry-on allowed - I always had a backpack which held my laptop, my camera and a jacket PLUS my purse. Neither were ever weighed.
- Check-in luggage - I kept it under the weight limit (quite the challenge, since we were traveling for a month over a wide geography with varying weather in March). I understand that during the tour, Viking checks in luggage as a group (your group being your assigned bus, with 30-40 passengers who travel together). There was one intra-China flight when a few passengers were asked to step aside regarding their luggage, but I think it had more to do with what x-rays showed regarding content vs. weight.
- Dress-code - VERY casual. Even in March, we had a few sunny days during which T-shirt and shorts came out (while the locals were bundled in ski-jackets and wool coats!) On the ship, there is a welcome dinner and a Captain's dinner, but only a few passengers REALLY dressed up. If you have a pair of slacks, a golf shirt and a few button-up shirts, you'll be fine! Take advantage of the laundry service on the ship. I also discarded some clothing/shoes in Shanghai, before traveling to Hong Kong.

If there are other questions that you feel the Viking China (part 2) thread does not answer specifically to your needs, feel free to post there with questions or PM me and I'll do my best to answer while my memory of the trip is still fresh!
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  #11  
Old April 11th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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I have actually previously read through the Viking China threads--both Part 1 and Part 2...It's a little overwhelming, there being several years worth of posts...there is also a little contradiction at times...and some clearly outdated material...It does add a bit to the confusion at times, as much as it helps...

Funny to me that the locals wear jackets in hot weather...

When I spoke with my travel agents and mentioned wearing cargo shorts, her reaction included "You don't want to stand out"...I responded, "Not possible...I'm a fairly large Caucasian man who will be gawking at everything and carrying a camera...I think they are going to easily pick me out as a foreign tourist no matter what I wear"...

That's going to be considerably different from many of my European travels--where I have often been mistaken for a local in several countries--including some where my family came from only two generations back...I recall one time being asked, in rapid French, to sign a petition in Liege, Belgium (where I still have a large amount of Family)...I had to take the clipboard and pen from the girl just to slow her down and tell her I was American...She felt a little embarrassed--said I looked, dressed and acted like a local...Another time, I was standing in a Paris Metro Station, sort of lost, when some people came up to me and asked ME for directions...Once, in Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, Germany, I had just parked my Italian rental car when a family of Italian tourists came running up to me so happy to see another paisan from home...or so they thought...

I know those things will NEVER happen in China...In Europe, I can put my camera away, kick back and blend right into the crowd--which I rather like...I am sure China will be much different if for that reason alone...

And...In Europe, I can speak some Spanish, a little German, a bit of Italian and understand some French...and I can definitely read the signs everywhere...I have this feeling that, in China, I will be much more dependent on the guides...
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Next:
11/23/14 Golden Princess-Baja-3 nts
7/3/15 Celebrity Xpedition-Galapagos/Quito-10 nts

Viking Emerald, 17 night China 6/2014*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 1/2014*Golden Princess 3 night Baja 11/2013*Celebrity Silhouette, 13 night Adriatic 6/2013*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 12/2012*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Iceland/Norway 7/2012*Celebrity Century, 13 night Australia/New Zealand 12/2011-12*Oceania Marina, 16 night Western Europe 8/2011*Carnival Paradise, 3 night Baja 2/2011*RCCL Allure of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 1/2011*Celebrity Eclipse, 14 night Baltic 7/2010*Celebrity Summit, 7 night Southern Caribbean 3/2010*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 1/2010*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Med/Egypt/Israel 6/2009*RCCL Mariner of the Seas, 1 night Pre-Inaugural 2/2009*Sapphire Princess, 7 night Mexican Riviera 12/2008-9*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night Baltic 7/2008*RCCL Vision of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 3/2008*Carnival Liberty, 8 night Panama 7/2007*RCCL Liberty of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean 6/2007*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 5 night Baja 1/2007*Oceania Nautica, 14 night Mediterranean 7/2006*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 4/2006*Celebrity Constellation, 14 night No. Europe 7/2005*Celebrity Constellation, 7 night So. Caribbean 3/2005*Celebrity Summit, 13 night Alaska Cruisetour 7/2004*RCCL Monarch of the Seas, 3 night Baja 1/2004*Celebrity Millennium, 13 night Mediterranean 8/2003*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/2002*Crown Princess, 10 night Baltic/Russia 8/2001*Carnival Elation, 7 night Mexican Riviera 8/2000*RCCL Grandeur of the Seas, 7 night Eastern Caribbean 8/1999*Carnival Jubilee, 7 night Mexican Riviera 7/1997*RCCL Viking Serenade, 4 night Baja 7/1996*RCCL Viking Serenade, 3 night Baja 6/1994*Norwegian Southward, 3 night Baja 12/1992*Premier Big Red Boat Atlantic-Disney cruise 3/1989
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  #12  
Old April 11th, 2013, 10:51 AM
LucasLounger1 LucasLounger1 is offline
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I did a Yangtze River Cruise with my tour (Sinorama) last September. I know at one point Viking and Sinorama shared boats, but I don't think that's the case anymore (well I know that Sinorama has their own boat now).

Anyway, all I have to say is it doesn't take much to engage the Chinese. They are very interested in western people. They will stare at you. They asked to take our photos, and loved it if we took photos of them and their children. Wave at them from your bus to their city bus -- their faces light up with smiles and they wave back. This doesn't apply to Hong Kong where white people are a dime a dozen. It was especially noticeable in Xi'an and Beijing. And also whenever you get the opportunity to break free of your structured time and walk around without a guide, do it! Our best memories are from those moments meeting people in their community.

I can't comment on tipping because it was included but whenever we did tip extra very small amounts were appreciated and acceptable.
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Andrea

Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 12, 2015
Independence of the Seas, Feb. 1, 2014
Independence of the Seas, Dec. 22, 2012
Century Sky Yangtze River (Sinorama) Sep. 2012
Carnival Liberty, April 16, 2011
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  #13  
Old April 11th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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Turtles06 Turtles06 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bruin Steve View Post

When I spoke with my travel agents and mentioned wearing cargo shorts, her reaction included "You don't want to stand out"...
Um, are you sure they know you are going to China, where the people who live there are, um, Chinese?

Seriously, they are booking you on a tour with a couple of hundred other non-Asians, you'll be traveling almost all the time in a group of about 30 of those non-Asians, and they think that it'll be cargo shorts that would cause you to stand out? Too funny....

BTW, according to our Viking tour escort, the Chinese refer to us as "big noses."
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Old April 11th, 2013, 01:35 PM
LucasLounger1 LucasLounger1 is offline
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Yes they do call us big noses and a group on my tour got shirts printed with that in chinese characters. It was a big hit with the locals. Cargo shorts are totally fine there.
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Andrea

Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 12, 2015
Independence of the Seas, Feb. 1, 2014
Independence of the Seas, Dec. 22, 2012
Century Sky Yangtze River (Sinorama) Sep. 2012
Carnival Liberty, April 16, 2011

Last edited by LucasLounger1; April 11th, 2013 at 01:37 PM.
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  #15  
Old April 11th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Peregrina651 Peregrina651 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruin Steve View Post
I have actually previously read through the Viking China threads--both Part 1 and Part 2...It's a little overwhelming, there being several years worth of posts...there is also a little contradiction at times...and some clearly outdated material...It does add a bit to the confusion at times, as much as it helps...

.
Steve, you are right. It is overwhelming and I should have suggested just reading the comments from the last year.

Still, you should come bring your questions to Viking China so that everyone can benefit from the answers. It has been such a successful thread simply because it has all the discussion about the China itineraries in one place. There will always be contradictions in any thread that is asking for opinions and because two passengers may have had different resolution to the same problem or because different escorts handle certain things differently.

In the river cruising world, it is harder to maintain multiple threads for a given itinerary or destination and Viking China serves as a roll call as much as it serves as a places for information. Please come join the discussion. Who knows? You might meet someone from your sailing.
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  #16  
Old April 11th, 2013, 04:47 PM
rahrah50 rahrah50 is offline
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Did you tip the bus drivers and local tour guides in dollars or yuan????
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  #17  
Old April 11th, 2013, 06:10 PM
LucasLounger1 LucasLounger1 is offline
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Yuan.
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Andrea

Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 12, 2015
Independence of the Seas, Feb. 1, 2014
Independence of the Seas, Dec. 22, 2012
Century Sky Yangtze River (Sinorama) Sep. 2012
Carnival Liberty, April 16, 2011
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  #18  
Old April 11th, 2013, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rahrah50 View Post
Did you tip the bus drivers and local tour guides in dollars or yuan????
Our Viking tour escort specifically urged us to tip those folks in yuan (RMB) because it's much harder for them to exchange USD for their own currency. (Their tips are smaller, most of them are in the small towns along the river, etc. The tour escorts, by contrast, are getting a lot more in tips and are in and out of hotels regularly, where they can easily change foreign money.)
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  #19  
Old April 11th, 2013, 09:41 PM
rahrah50 rahrah50 is offline
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Thank you for the tipping information!!!! Very helpful.....
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