Guide and Reviews on Best River Cruises and Anything That Relates to Them
Best River Cruises

Imperial Jewels of China with Viking River Cruises

Few places stir the spirit quite like China. From cosmopolitan Shanghai to Beijing’s Forbidden City, see the spectacular Terracotta Warriors, the beautiful Three Gorges, the Great Wall and so much more on this incredible journey. There is no more rewarding or relaxing way to see China than sailing the Yangtze. And there is no more comfortable way to cruise this legendary river than on board Viking Emerald; a gem of a ship – and a jewel of a holiday.

Viking Emerald Asia Cruise liner


From Shanghai airport, Viking takes you to your hotel, where you have time to relax or begin to explore this enormous city at the mouth of the Yangtze River.


Shanghai is the largest city in China and one of the world’s most important ports. Because of its strategic position, the city has long been ‘open’ with a freewheeling cosmopolitan character. Start the day with a tour of Old Shanghai and travel along the Bund – the city’s elegant waterfront promenade. After lunch in a local restaurant, visit a silk workshop to see a silk carpet being made, and tour the Shanghai Museum with its world-class collections of ceramics, bronzes and paintings. Enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant and a dazzling performance from a Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe.

Included excursions: Old Shanghai/Bund tour, silk carpet workshop tour, Shanghai Museum.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


After breakfast, we fl y you to Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province and an important site of the Republican Revolution. Once there, visit the Hubei Provincial Museum, with artifacts dating to the Warring States period. Hear the music of ancient bronze bells, then transfer to your ship, docked close to Wuhan’s historic waterfront.

Included excursion: Hubei Provincial Museum.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Enjoy an exclusive visit to an elementary school sponsored by Viking River Cruises. Meet the local children and gain an insight into education in rural China. The children will treat you to a charming performance. Return to your ship and sail the most scenic stretch of the Yangtze through the spectacular limestone ridges of the Three Gorges.

Included excursion: elementary school visit.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Continue cruising this scenic stretch through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the Three Gorges. After lunch, disembark for a tour of the remarkable Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. Learn what the dam means to the Chinese people, and the Yangtze. Return to your ship to sail through the five-stage locks of the Three Gorges Dam.

Included excursion: Three Gorges Dam tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Cruise through Wu (Witches) Gorge, renowned for its magnificent scenery with mist-shrouded mountains and the legendary Twelve Peaks, including the beautiful Shennu Feng (Goddess Peak) topped by a naturally sculpted rock resembling a maiden looking down at the river. Then board a smaller boat for an excursion through the Lesser Three Gorges that lie on the Daning River. Narrower than the great Three Gorges, these remarkable canyons are equally impressive. Sheer cliffs and steep mountains rise on either side and clear water flows between towering peaks covered with lush greenery. There are a number of historical sites, including the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliff side. The plank road consists of more than 6,000 holes, about two inches in circumference carved by hand into the sides of the cliffs. Wooden stakes inserted into the holes supported bamboo pipes to carry brine and planks that created a road stretching more than 60 miles along the river. Return aboard for lunch, and spend the afternoon sailing through Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most spectacular of the Three Gorges.

Included excursion: Lesser Three Gorges.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Visit Shibaozhai Temple, a Qing Dynasty architectural masterpiece that was built in 1650. Translated as ‘Precious Stone Fortress’, the temple has been constructed without nails. Perched atop a sheer, 721-foot high cliff, the 12-storey red pavilion offers breathtaking views of the river below. The temple once stood alone and was inaccessible except by chain lift.

Included excursion: Shibaozhai Temple.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


After breakfast, disembark and enjoy a brief tour of Chongqing, the largest city in western China. Visit Chongqing Zoo to see the giant pandas and other exotic species. After lunch, fl y 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. Have dinner and relax at your hotel, or enjoy an optional Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show.

Included excursion: Chongqing Zoo.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Xian’s history stretches back more than 3,100 years and it was China’s capital city for 12 imperial dynasties. It reached its peak during the glorious period of Tang Dynasty rule. Once one of the world’s biggest and richest cities, Xian is the geographic beginning of China’s fabled Silk Road. The city is encircled by the most complete ancient city wall in China, and is home to what is possibly China’s greatest archaeological treasure, the Qin Mausoleum. Here, Emperor Qin Shi Huang was entombed 2,000 years ago, with thousands of life-sized terracotta warriors. He was just 13 years old (246 BC) when work began on this extraordinary mausoleum. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, each warrior and horse has its own distinctive features. Equally impressive is the size – the home of the Tang Dynasty covers more than 19 square miles. After lunch in Xian, fl y to Beijing, China’s imperial capital. Check in to your hotel and enjoy some free time.

Included excursion: Terracotta Warriors, Xian.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Travel to nearby Badaling Hills to see one of the most impressive and best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China – a 4,000-mile-long series of sandstone and earthwork fortifications built between the 5th century BC and 16th century AD that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore its winding pathways and enjoy panoramic views from its ramparts. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before continuing on to the Sacred Way, an elegant tree-lined avenue leading to the Ming Dynasty tombs. This evening, dine and relax at your hotel, or join an optional Peking Duck Dinner and Peking Opera evening.

Included excursions: Great Wall and Sacred Way.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


In China’s grand imperial capital of Beijing, visit Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square that can accommodate more than one million people. Its name means ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace,’ and it has been the center of Beijing for centuries. At the north end of the square is Tiananmen Tower, the formal entrance to the Forbidden City, during the Ming Dynasty. Tour this UNESCO World Heritage site that is the largest surviving palace complex, comprising of nearly 1,000 buildings. Explore its opulent palaces, pavilions, courtyards and gardens. After lunch in a local restaurant, see the Summer Palace, with its beautiful landscaped gardens, spanning 700 acres. Enjoy a farewell dinner in your hotel.

Included excursions: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Summer Palace.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


After breakfast, Viking takes you to Beijing airport.

Included meal: breakfast.

Viking River Cruises Overview: Imperial Jewels of China

Viking’s River Cruises in Asia

Shanghai Skyline river cruise view

The Mekong

Asia’s third-longest river at 2,620 miles, the mighty Mekong rises in the highlands of Tibet and empties into the sea at the south of Vietnam, having irrigated the Chinese provinces of Szechwan and Yunnan, and Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia along the way. The Vietnamese call it Song Cuu Long, the Nine Dragons River, these being the nine branches of the famous delta, the rice bowl of the country. Home to a rich source of fish, plant and bird life, the Mekong is a vital water source to the towns, rice fields and orchards that line its banks, and inland. By a curious natural phenomenon, the immense Cambodian Lake Tonle Sap
sees the course of the river reverse its flow.

On Viking’s Magnificent Mekong cruise you’ll witness all the glories of a timeless landscape and its ancient culture, through the symbols of fast-paced 21st-century life. Sampans and speedboats share the river. Yet, classic Mekong images soon impress themselves: shimmery paddy fields, water buffalo wallowing at the river’s edge, thatched huts on wooden stilts, drifting bunches of water hyacinth, glimpses of temple spires – all combine to make the Magnificent Mekong a river cruise holiday that lives up to its name.

The Yangtze

The Yangtze River Valley boasts some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes of misty mountains, breathtaking gorges, bamboo groves and serene lagoons. Along its narrow, cliff-bound course lie some of China’s greatest cultural treasures – ancient tombs, temples and natural wonders. The great river rises in the Tibet Plateau and flows east across the entire width of China, to the East China Sea near Shanghai. It cuts the
country in half and has historically marked the division between north and south China. At around 3,434 miles, the Yangtze is the third longest river in the world, after the Nile and the Amazon.

All along the course of the Yangtze are little rural villages where life goes on much as it has for centuries. A stunning array of scenery awaits at every bend in the river, the most popular sections being the Middle Reaches with the Three Gorges, Lesser Three Gorges and Chongqing, and the Lower Reaches that include Wuhan and Shanghai – sights and cities that you can look forward to on this extraordinary river.

Travel to China with Viking River Cruises & Google Earth

Footsteps of the Cossacks River Cruise

From Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, one of Europe’s oldest cities, to Odessa and the Black Sea, this 12 day voyage is a journey through time. Here, the spirit of the Viking, Cossack and Tatar thrives in Ukraine’s vibrant culture, its architecture and its people. If ever a country breathed the rich and colorful life of ages past, it is Ukraine.

Viking Lomonosov river cruise liner


From Kiev airport Viking takes you to your ship where you can settle in and enjoy free time to get acquainted with Ukraine’s capital city.

Included meal: dinner.


Tour the historic city of Kiev, with a guided tour of the domed St. Sophia Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tour the Monastery of the Caves, an extensive complex of around 80 churches and monuments, founded by Greek Orthodox monks in 1051.

Included excursions: panoramic city tour and Monastery of the Caves tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Enjoy a full day of scenic cruising through Ukraine’s heartland, past rolling hills, ancient forests, historic villages and lakes. A variety of on board activities help you familiarize yourself with the history and culture of this fascinating land.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Spend a morning in Zaporozhye, ancestral home of the Cossacks. See the Lenin monument, the dam and huge hydroelectric plant. Learn about the history at the Cossack Museum of Khortitsa. Enjoy a show of Cossack horsemanship, and folkloric music and dance. Return to your ship for a delightful Ukrainian tea party.

Included excursions: city tour, Khortitsa tour and horsemanship show.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


After a morning of scenic cruising, arrive in Kherson for a tour of this small city, founded in 1778 by order of Catherine the Great. Drive along the river embankment, see the monument to Prince Potjomkin and visit St. Catherine’s Cathedral.

Included excursion: guided city tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Cruise the Black Sea and arrive in Sevastopol. Tour the city and see St. Vladimir Cathedral and Admiral White Palace, Yalta Nakhimov Square. The rest of the afternoon is free, or join an optional archaeological tour of the ancient Greek city of Chersonese. Your ship remains docked overnight so you can dine aboard or join an optional excursion to a Black Sea Choir concert.

Included excursion: guided city tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Drive to the Tatar city of Bakhchisarai. Tour the Khan Palace, built by Tatar Khans early in the 16th century, with its sumptuous living quarters and beautiful gardens. Enjoy free time to explore Sevastopol, site of the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ during the Crimean War, or take an optional tour to Balaklava.

Included excursion: Bakhchisarai excursion.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Your Yalta city tour takes you along Lenin Embankment to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Livadia. Visit the White Palace, site of the historic 1945 Yalta Conference. Your afternoon is free to wander, or join an optional tour of the former home of Anton Chekhov, now a museum about the famous playwright. Or join an optional tour to Nikita Botanical Gardens.

Included excursion: city tour with guided White Palace visit.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Enjoy a tour to the beautiful Aloupka Palace and gardens. Or join an optional wine tasting excursion to Massandra.

Included excursion: Aloupka Palace visit.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Enjoy a tour of Odessa, an elegant city of terraced hills and landscaped parks. Travel along Primorski Boulevard to the Opera House and Potemkin Steps.Take the rest of the day to further explore the city. In the evening you may wish to attend an optional performance at the Odessa Opera House.

Included excursion: panoramic city tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Today is yours to explore Odessa, with its 19th-century architecture and miles of sandy beaches. Or choose one of four optional tours, taking in the culture of this elegant city.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


After breakfast, Viking takes you to Odessa airport.

Included meals: breakfast.

Viking River Cruises Itinerary: Footsteps of the Cossacks

Waterways of the Tsars – Viking River Cruise

Viking brings you insightful, behind-the-scenes experiences, and unique and different ways to see the country’s great attractions and mingle with the locals. With a spectacular, newly-refurbished fleet of ships, let Viking show you all of Russia’s highlights and introduce you to her people, culture and history.

Viking Helgi Kizhi


From St. Petersburg airport Viking takes you to your ship where you can enjoy time to relax, or explore the city before dinner.

Included meal: dinner.


In the city that was founded by Tsar Peter the Great, enjoy a guided tour of the Winter Palace and legendary Hermitage Museum with its vast collection of art, antiquities, jewellery and sculptures. The Hermitage features more than three million items, including works from Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Matisse and Rubens as well as Cézanne, Van Gogh and Picasso. Your afternoon is free to spend at your leisure before enjoying an early dinner, followed by an evening performance of traditional Russian ballet or opera.

Included excursions: guided Hermitage Museum tour; evening ballet or opera performance.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


A Pushkin excursion features Catherine’s Palace; the elegant rococo 18th-century summer residence of the Russian Tsars named for Catherine I (widow of Peter the Great). Tour its various halls, including the fabled Agate and Amber Rooms – the Amber Room was constructed from more than six tons of carved amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors and was dubbed the eighth wonder of the world. During WWII, German soldiers disassembled the room and it was never seen again – until 2003 when it was reconstructed, enabling visitors to once again enjoy its brilliance. In the afternoon, a panoramic city tour takes in all the splendour of this historic city. Enjoy dinner on board and an optional evening Russian folkloric performance.

Included excursions: Pushkin excursion featuring Catherine’s Palace; panoramic city tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


On your last day in this magnificent city, enjoy free time to see the sights that interest you. Visit one of the many palaces, churches or museums, or take an optional morning tour to Peterhof Palace, with its landscaped gardens, beautiful fountains and French Gothic interiors. In the afternoon, explore more of the city or take an optional relaxing canal cruise or Yusupov Palace tour.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Spend a relaxing day cruising Russia’s intricate waterways. Sail the Neva River and cross Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest lake. Cruise the Svir River to Mandrogy where you have time to explore this museum village. Visit the vodka museum or shop for handmade Russian crafts. For a (literally) immerse experience join an optional visit to a Russian bath house, the banya. Continue along the Svir’s 139-mile ‘Blue Route’ towards Lake Onega.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Cruise though the early morning along the tranquil waters of Lake Onega, Europe’s second largest lake. Arrive during breakfast at the island village of Kizhi. Enjoy a walking tour through the Open Air Museum of Architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This collection of ancient Russian wooden houses, windmills and churches features the famous three-tiered Preobranzhenskaya (Transfiguration) Church – a fairytale like structure built in 1714 without a single nail.

Included excursion: walking tour of Open Air Museum.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Cruise the Volga-Baltic Waterway; spanning 229 miles and seven locks, it links the Volga River with the Baltic Sea. Arrive in Kuzino, a typical Russian village. Take a guided walk through the historic Kirrilo-Belozersky Monastery, and see small wooden chapels, the Assumption Cathedral and a museum. Or, see the Monastery followed by the afternoon in a Russian province, visiting a children’s art school and restoration workshop.

Included excursion: Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery guided walk.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Arrive in Yaroslavl, one of the Golden Ring cities; a group of historically significant cities northeast of Moscow. The city’s riverside promenade is one of the finest along the Volga, bordered by a picturesque greenbelt known as Lime Tree Avenue. Take a stroll through the covered food market, or join an excursion to the Governor’s Palace, a living museum of Russian art, history and culture. Or visit the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet, one of the city’s most beautiful churches, featuring icons and detailed frescoes of prophets Elijah and Isaiah – some of the best examples of old Russian art. Shop for handcrafted gifts before returning aboard for dinner.

Included excursion: tour of city centre, including visit to Church of St. Elijah the Prophet.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


After breakfast, take a walking tour through the provincial village of Uglich, another Golden Ring city, and a favourite city of Ivan the Terrible. Visit the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood where Ivan the Terrible’s son Dmitry was mysteriously killed. The nine-year-old Dmitry is portrayed as a saint in frescoes depicting his murder. Afterwards, enjoy tea and conversation with a local family in their home.

Included excursion: guided walk with Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


This morning, cruise the Moscow Canal that links the great city to the Volga and St. Petersburg. You approach Moscow during lunch. Disembark for a half-day city tour. See the famous Bolshoi Theatre and stop at Red Square to see the colourful onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral. You also get the chance to explore the famous GUM Department Store and experience the city’s unique Metro. Enjoy an evening performance of traditional Russian folkloric music followed by a late dinner on board.

Included excursions: panoramic city tour including Red Square, Bolshoi Theatre and St. Basil’s Cathedral, Russian folkloric performance.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Enjoy a full free day to further explore Moscow. At the centre of Russia, the city boasts 2,500 historical and architectural monuments, 70 museums, 50 theaters, 4,500 libraries and 500 colleges and research institutes. The city was founded by Uri Dolgoruki, Grand Prince of Suzdal and Kiev, and the first written reference to Moscow dates to 1147. You can, if you wish, join an optional excursion to Sergiev Posad, a glorious Golden Ring city with important Russian Orthodox monasteries. Or take a morning tour of the Cosmonaute Museum and trace the history of space exploration. Alternatively, visit the Military Museum with Red Army veterans and explore Russia’s military history. Dine aboard, then relax – or take an optional Moscow by Night tour.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Visit the Kremlin, see its many tall towers and elegant palaces and tour inside one of the brightly coloured cathedrals. At the centre of the Kremlin, amid a sea of domes, is Cathedral Square. The Cathedral of the Assumption was once the most important church in the country; here both the tsars and the metropolitans (archbishops) of the Orthodox Church were crowned. The afternoon is free for you to relax and further explore Moscow or admire the fine art in the Tretyakov Gallery before returning to your ship for a Farewell Dinner.

Included excursion: guided Kremlin tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.


Viking takes you to Moscow airport.

Included meal: breakfast.

Waterways of the Czars

Classic Egypt and the Nile

You’ll be swept away by romantic history and powerful legends as you explore this magnificent land with your professionally trained and educated Egyptologist.

The Great Sphinx and Khafre Pyramid, Giza

Spend time in Cairo where the ancient and the modern coexist in perfect harmony. Come face to face with the mysterious Sphinx that for thousands of years has been kneeling gracefully and looking thoughtfully towards the East. See the sole surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Giza. Explore the Egyptian Museum, home to the treasures of King Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Traverse the Nile on board the River Tosca, and let yourself be whisked away to magnificent sites: Karnak Temple – known to the Egyptians as “The Most Perfect of Places”; the Temple of Hathor – one of the best-preserved temples in Egypt; the Valley of the Kings, where many illustrious pharaohs were buried; Kom Ombo, the temple dedicated to two gods; and romantic Philae Temple.

Who will enjoy this cruise:

Lovers of myth and mystery will be enchanted by the sites encountered on this journey. And photography buffs will have plenty of opportunities to photograph Egypt’s plentiful temples and grand monuments.

Day 1

Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the Cairo Marriott.

Day 2

On your first day in Egypt, you’ll be guided by your Egyptologist to some of Egypt’s most iconic sites. Travel to Giza where you’ll see the very face of ancient Egypt – the enigmatic Sphinx-as well as the magnificent Pyramid of Khufu-one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Your final stop of the day is the Egyptian Museum, an unrivaled warehouse of Pharaonic treasures, including artifacts recovered from the tomb of King Tutankhamen by archeologist Howard Carter.

Day 3

In the morning, you will fly to Luxor, where you’ll walk through the magnificent Temple of Karnak with its avenues of sphinxes and halls of gigantic columns. This vast complex, situated about two miles from Luxor Temple, was built and expanded over a 1,300-year period. It is the largest temple complex ever built by man and represents the combined achievements of many generations of ancient builders.

Eighty thousand laborers took part in its creation during the 19th dynasty alone. After seeing the temples, a motor coach will take you to the banks of the Nile to board the River Tosca. You’ll then set sail for beautiful Dendera.

Day 4

During the morning, you will encounter Dendera’s Temple of Hathor, dedicated the cow goddess Hathor, who was believed to possess the power of healing. The temple was built between 125 BC to 65 BC and is one of the best preserved of its kind in Egypt. It contains a rare depiction of Cleopatra with her son Caesarion, fathered by Julius Caesar. After visiting the temple complex in Dendera, you will cruise the Nile to Luxor, where you can enjoy some free time in the afternoon before an early evening exploration of the ancient Temple of Luxor. The temple was built by different Pharaohs over hundreds of years, beginning in the 14th century BC.

The entire Luxor Temple complex is truly stunning at night, when its awesome beauty and mysterious power can best be enjoyed.

Day 5

Board your motor coach and travel to the West Bank of the Nile to see the two gigantic statues known as the Colossi of Memnon. Next, take in the Temple of Hatshepsut, dedicated to Egypt’s 18th-dynasty pharaoh, who was one of a handful of female rulers in Ancient Egypt. You’ll continue on to the Valley of the Kings, where many illustrious Pharaohs were buried, including the young boy king, Tutankhamen, whose mummified body still lies in its final resting place. Filled with a sense of wonder, you’ll return to the ship to sail to Kom Ombo. Along the way, enjoy a Galabeya party with Egyptian music.

Day 6

Visit the impressive double-temple of Kom Ombo, the only one of its kind dedicated to two gods. You’ll then go to the Aswan High Dam, where you will see the enormous Unfinished Obelisk. Then you will travel by motorboat to the Temple of Isis, which rises from the waters of the Nile on the Island of Philae. Later, return to Aswan to sail in a traditional Nile felucca around Aswan’s Botanical Gardens. Back on board the ship, enjoy a typical Nubian folkloric show with a live band playing Nubian music.

Day 7

Disembark the River Tosca. Before flying back to Cairo, you have the option of spending the morning at leisure in Aswan or joining us on an optional excursion to the magnificent Temple of Abu Simbel. This 3,500-year-old complex displays magnificent structures hewn from the rock during the rule of Ramses II-the longest ruling Pharaoh-and later rescued from the rising waters of Lake Nasser.

Day 8

Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

A Fantastic Trip to Ancient Egypt

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