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17 Days | China's Cultural Delights


Day 1 | Shanghai, China. Fly to Shanghai, China’s largest city, then transfer to your hotel. Here, you can see the modern metropolis of the financial district juxtaposed with the older sections of the city.

Day 2 | Shanghai. This morning, tour Old Shanghai and the Bund, the city’s elegant riverfront promenade lined with historic buildings. Visit the comprehensive Shanghai Museum to see some of its extensive collection of art and artifacts. After lunch, visit a silk carpet workshop for a demonstration of this ancient art. Dine in a local restaurant, then enjoy a performance of the famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe. (B, L, D)

Day 3 | Shanghai. Suzhou. Nanjing. After breakfast, ride to Suzhou, nicknamed “Venice of the East” for its intricate canals. Take a guided walk through the Old Town and along the city’s canals, and then tour a silk factory and the exquisite Fishermen’s Garden. After lunch, ride to Nanjing to board your ship. You are welcomed aboard with a Western dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 4 | Mt. Jiu Hua. Marvel at the tranquil beauty of Mt. Jiu Hua, one of only four sacred Buddhist mountains. Visit one of the area’s Buddhist temples, then return aboard for dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 5 | Jingdezhen. Today, visit the Ceramic History Museum in this city dubbed “the Porcelain Capital” due to its 1,700-year history of making pottery. Learn how ceramics were produced in ancient times and their significance to each dynasty. In modern times these pieces are virtually priceless—a rare copper-red Ming Dynasty vase recently sold at auction for more than $10 million. Dine aboard and sail overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 6 | Wuhan. After breakfast, stop in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province. Tour the Hubei Provincial Museum to see its many ancient artifacts, including a large collection of bronze bells. (B, L, D)

Day 7 | Dongting Lake. Sail across Dongting Lake, China’s second-largest freshwater lake. Stop for a visit to the 66-foot-high Yueyang Tower—built without a single nail—and its nearby pavilions, originally built during the Qing Dynasty. Cruise overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 8 | Jingzhou. This morning, visit a town where Viking River Cruises has sponsored a much-needed elementary school. Arrive to a warm greeting from the children. Return aboard for afternoon cruising and meals. (B, L, D)

Day 9 | Three Gorges Dam. This morning, disembark for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam, an immense hydroelectric engineering project completed in 2008. After your tour, return aboard and cruise through the dam’s five-stage lock system. For the next 150 miles, you will cruise past the spectacular limestone cliffs known as the Three Gorges. First, sail through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the Three Gorges. Dinner aboard. (B, L, D)

Day 10 | Three Gorges. Lesser Three Gorges. This morning, cruise through Wu (Witches) Gorge, renowned for magnificent scenery. Then board smaller boats to the Lesser Three Gorges. Marvel at the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliffside. Return aboard for lunch, and spend the afternoon cruising through Qutang Gorge, the shortest and narrowest of the three larger gorges. (B, L, D)

Day 11 | Shibaozhai. Fengdu. This morning, tour the 12-story Shibaozhai Temple, an impressive example of Qing Dynasty architecture (c. 1650) set on the banks of the river. Lunch and dinner aboard, accompanied by scenic cruising along the Yangtze; dock in Fengdu this evening. (B, L, D)

Day 12 | Fengdu. Awaken this morning in Fengdu, a city dating back to the Han Dynasty. From here, embark on a tour of Snow Jade Cave, an underground labyrinth of caverns featuring dramatic karst limestone formations. Return to your ship for lunch and dinner and evening cruising. (B, L, D)

Day 13 | Chongqing. Xian. Disembark at Chongqing and fly to Xian, key city of the Tang Dynasty. From 618 to 907 A.D. this dynasty presided over one of China’s most glorious cultural periods. This evening, you may choose to dine surrounded by the song and dance of this colorful era, or dine and relax at your hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 14 | Xian. Beijing. After breakfast, tour the mausoleum where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was laid to rest over 2,000 years ago. Marvel at the thousands of life-sized terra cotta warriors, archers, infantrymen and horses provided to accompany him into the afterlife. After lunch, fly to Beijing, China’s imperial capital whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years. Check in to your hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 15 | Beijing. Travel to the Badaling Hills to walk the fabled Great Wall of China. Lunch in a local restaurant is followed by a stroll along the Sacred Way, a tree-lined avenue with massive animal sculptures guarding the Ming Tombs. This evening you can relax and dine at your hotel—or, enjoy an optional evening featuring China’s famous Peking duck and a recital by performers from the world-renowned Peking Opera. (B, L, D)

Day 16 | Beijing. This morning visit Tiananmen Square, built to accommodate over 1,000,000 people. Then, tour Beijing’s mysterious Forbidden City, completed in 1420 and off limits to visitors for 500 years. Explore its pavilions, courtyards and gardens. After lunch, walk among the elegant buildings and landscaped grounds of the 700-acre Summer Palace complex. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner of local specialties. (B, L, D)

Day 17 | Beijing. After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or continue your China journey with an escorted land program that includes 3 nights in Hong Kong and 1 night in Guilin. Sightsee and shop in Hong Kong, then enjoy a relaxing day along Guilin’s scenic Li River. (B)

NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.

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