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China - the final blog

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    China - the final blog

    Hi all!

    I just wanted to say thank you for following my blog around China.

    I genuinely had the trip of a lifetime and was very sad to leave!

    The journey home was fairly uneventful but we had a nice last meal in Shanghai at a trendy Italian restaurant in the French Quarter of town. Our final buffet breakfast was the usual spread of great continental, Chinese and British breakfasts, and one final tip I’d give you is to try the yoghurt if you go. It doesn’t taste like yoghurt I’ve had before! (but in a good way!)

    My favourite city would probably be Shanghai, as it’s such a mix of Westernisation and traditional culture, busy streets and tranquil gardens. The best scenic spot was easily as we sailed through the Wu gorge, and the most impressive excursion was a tie between the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors.



    I’ve now got a summary of my trip, which you can read by following this link. It has a few pictures I haven’t posted here as well as my final thoughts on China.

    Does anyone have any last questions they’d like me to answer? Your comments were really encouraging - so thanks for taking the time to let me know what you thought about my blog!

    I’m not sure when my next cruise will be - but I’ll be sure to blog about it when I go!

    Until next time.
    Rach x
    Last edited by Rachael Cruise.co.uk; 23rd July 2015, 04:57 PM.

    #2
    It's been an interesting journey Rachael with some great memories for you. I've enjoyed following you, thanks................HT

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Rachel

      Really enjoyed your blog - thanks.

      Can you give me some detail on the process of the internal flights, how much does Viking aid you for check in etc., quality of their planes, how long were you in the airports before boarding etc., any sizeable delays?

      How was the organisation for the excursions, external meals etc., given that the boat has a capacity of about 250 people.

      Any shopping tips for my good lady?

      Many thanks, can't wait!

      Bill
      Last edited by Lawnmowerman, Tain; 23rd July 2015, 07:37 PM. Reason: Typo!


      Lawnmowerman

      Comment


        #4
        Enjoyed following you around, thanks for sharing .................................................. ..............Carol

        Comment


          #5
          That's my kind of trip Rach.

          I would like to see a breakdown of costs.

          With hindsight was there anything you would have done differently, changed or omitted?........Wilba
          Wilba

          Comment


            #6
            I also really enjoyed reading your blogs on each different part of your trip. How much flying did you do between the different legs? and were there any hidden costs above what the trip cost? That's if you don't mind me asking...Sue
            BIG SHIPS, little ships, small world

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks Racheal I really enjoyed following you around your blog whetted my appetite lovely photos also.CG
              sigpic

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Lawnmowerman, Tain View Post
                Hi Rachel

                Really enjoyed your blog - thanks.

                Can you give me some detail on the process of the internal flights, how much does Viking aid you for check in etc., quality of their planes, how long were you in the airports before boarding etc., any sizeable delays?

                How was the organisation for the excursions, external meals etc., given that the boat has a capacity of about 250 people.

                Any shopping tips for my good lady?

                Many thanks, can't wait!

                Bill

                Hi Bill!

                Of course, well one thing I forgot to mention was the flight process - which I should have really as I was really impressed by it!

                We collected our bags from the carousel in Beijing, but after this it was the last time until Shanghai that we had to collect our own bags.

                As we left Beijing, we put our bags outside our hotel room door in the morning and a porter took them to the airport for us and they were checked onto the plane before we got there, so we didn’t have to lug them around ourselves.

                When we got to the airport our guide took our passports and checked us all in at once, so we were then handed our passports back along with our boarding passes. All we then had to do was get through security and go to the gate. It was then the same drill at every airport or on the boat - you put your bag out early and all your boarding passes were printed out for you. You never had to go to the desk yourself and try and check in. You also never had to carry your own luggage which made a big difference as the series of flights became much less tiring!

                Flight times were between an hour and a half and an hour and ten minutes for all the internal flights. The airline we used was China Eastern which was nice enough. The meal on-board wasn’t my favourite but you had also received a lunch box from Viking with snacks and sandwiches to eat if you didn’t want the plane food. You also received a bottle of water complimentary on board.

                For one flight we only arrived at the airport twenty minutes before the flight, so we literally walked straight through security and to the plane. The longest we had to wait at the airport was about an hour and twenty minutes when our plane was delayed because of a storm.
                The excursions were all organised into coaches of people, so it never seemed busy or difficult. Once you disembarked or left your hotel you just headed straight to your coach that had the name of your guide at the front so there was no waiting around. Keeping in these same coaches throughout the two weeks also helped you make friends with the others around you! External meals were also taken in these groups and groups headed for meals at slightly different times so it wasn’t packed or overcrowded.

                As for shopping tips! Get your silk in Shanghai and your jade in Beijing (if you want them) as they will be cheaper here. Remember to haggle - even if it has a price tag on it! Sellers usually have fairly good English or at least recognise English numbers so you can write your price down if there’s a language problem. Even on-board your ship - try ask for discounts or wait until the last day when there will be a sale on.

                I hope you and your partner have a wonderful time - I hope you’ll be able to blog about your journey too!

                All the best.
                Rach x

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Bigsis, Waterlooville View Post
                  I also really enjoyed reading your blogs on each different part of your trip. How much flying did you do between the different legs? and were there any hidden costs above what the trip cost? That's if you don't mind me asking...Sue
                  The internal flights were all fairly short (which was nice after such a long flight to begin with!) and were around an hour and ten minutes or an hour and a half.

                  The only hidden costs I'd mention are the fact you can tip your local guides and coach driver. You also need to tip your rickshaw driver but the tips weren't much - just the equivalent of £1 for the rickshaw driver and then between £5-£20 for your local guide and driver depending on how long they were with you but this was totally up to you. If you didn't want to give one that was fine!

                  The only other cost that I can think of was the picture of us that was taken in Tienanmen Square Beijing but even that was only £10 and it was also a picture book so worth the money as it was such a nice memento.

                  Hope that helps

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Wilba View Post
                    That's my kind of trip Rach.

                    I would like to see a breakdown of costs.

                    With hindsight was there anything you would have done differently, changed or omitted?........Wilba
                    Hi Wilba,

                    The trip was with Viking and prices start at £2095 for 2016 which includes a £1000 discount.

                    You can get a lot of discount if you book early and prices to extend your trip are pretty reasonable.

                    All my meals were included, and I opted to have the Silver Spirits beverage package on-board which was $154pp per person.

                    If you didn't have the drinks packages you could still enjoy free wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. There are also self service tea and coffee stations for anyone to use.

                    The excursions were all paid for, apart from 3 optional ones which included the Opera in Beijing, the Peking Duck night in Xi'an and the Acrobatic show in Shanghai.


                    Looking back, I would have liked to give the Opera a go as even though it doesn't have great reviews, I suppose you can only see it once!

                    I loved all my optional excursions so I would still go to all of those.

                    I would have liked to walk to the city wall in Xi'an whilst I was there but I was feeling tired and opted for the hotel pool instead!

                    I had the most brilliant time - I hope you complete this trip one day!

                    Rach x
                    Last edited by Rachael Cruise.co.uk; 24th July 2015, 10:38 AM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Rachael, Birmingham View Post
                      Hi Bill!

                      Of course, well one thing I forgot to mention was the flight process - which I should have really as I was really impressed by it!

                      We collected our bags from the carousel in Beijing, but after this it was the last time until Shanghai that we had to collect our own bags.

                      As we left Beijing, we put our bags outside our hotel room door in the morning and a porter took them to the airport for us and they were checked onto the plane before we got there, so we didn’t have to lug them around ourselves.

                      When we got to the airport our guide took our passports and checked us all in at once, so we were then handed our passports back along with our boarding passes. All we then had to do was get through security and go to the gate. It was then the same drill at every airport or on the boat - you put your bag out early and all your boarding passes were printed out for you. You never had to go to the desk yourself and try and check in. You also never had to carry your own luggage which made a big difference as the series of flights became much less tiring!

                      Flight times were between an hour and a half and an hour and ten minutes for all the internal flights. The airline we used was China Eastern which was nice enough. The meal on-board wasn’t my favourite but you had also received a lunch box from Viking with snacks and sandwiches to eat if you didn’t want the plane food. You also received a bottle of water complimentary on board.

                      For one flight we only arrived at the airport twenty minutes before the flight, so we literally walked straight through security and to the plane. The longest we had to wait at the airport was about an hour and twenty minutes when our plane was delayed because of a storm.
                      The excursions were all organised into coaches of people, so it never seemed busy or difficult. Once you disembarked or left your hotel you just headed straight to your coach that had the name of your guide at the front so there was no waiting around. Keeping in these same coaches throughout the two weeks also helped you make friends with the others around you! External meals were also taken in these groups and groups headed for meals at slightly different times so it wasn’t packed or overcrowded.

                      As for shopping tips! Get your silk in Shanghai and your jade in Beijing (if you want them) as they will be cheaper here. Remember to haggle - even if it has a price tag on it! Sellers usually have fairly good English or at least recognise English numbers so you can write your price down if there’s a language problem. Even on-board your ship - try ask for discounts or wait until the last day when there will be a sale on.

                      I hope you and your partner have a wonderful time - I hope you’ll be able to blog about your journey too!

                      All the best.
                      Rach x
                      Thank you very much Rachel. That detail certainly does elevate the trip to a whole new level. Certainly once in a lifetime for us.

                      Will report on our return. You have set the bar very high though!

                      Thanks once again.

                      Bill


                      Lawnmowerman

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Rachel, many thanks for your superb blogs. I have only just caught up with them all and was so enthralled. Thye brought back many happy memories for me. I love China and the Asians ports of call. Thanks again and well done to you for all your efforts.

                        Comment


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