While this trip also includes multiple land transfers and exploration of several cities, I'll focus on the cruise portion. Most importantly, it is deceptive call the Emerald a Viking ship because apparently they don't own it - they most certainly didn't build it. The moment you step on board you will know it is not up to Viking standards. The ship is tired and shabby, at best. While the Viking staff does everything possible to enhance your experience, the boat is not what we were looking forward to especially after some hard land travel for a week before.
Immediately upon entering our stateroom we saw something brown all over one of the walls and a great deal of mold on one of the bedside lampshades...the room was so awful I just started to cry. The housekeeping staff were there right away and were incredibly gracious and brought a new lampshade and cleaned the wall, but the mood was set. The bathrooms are dark, poorly ventilated and have yucky plastic showers. The rooms are never quite dry given the high humidity along the river so your sheets and towels always feel a bit damp. There is definitely an air quality issue and I couldn't help but lie in bed and imagine the mold that is probably in the ventilation system. We did ask for an additional air unit which was cheerfully provided and that helped a bit, but I can't imagine the dampness in rooms without it - it was a comment we heard very often while onboard.
All of that said, once we settled in the boat was comfortable enough. As always, the Viking staff are amazing and really do try to make up for what is lacking in the ship itself. The food was quite good and the dining service was fine. They have a number of excellent bartenders and we never had trouble finding a quiet space or room to hang out with others from our group.
The Yangtze experience itself is ok. Some of the scenery through the gorges is obviously amazing, but the river is VERY polluted and for a good deal of the trip you can hear all the rubbish hitting the ship. The excursions are not the best, but I don't know that there are any better options for Viking to choose from.
All in all it would have been fine if this was a lower end company, but it was not acceptable from Viking. Given that the rest of the tour includes much air travel and many hours on buses, it was everyone's goal to get to the ship and enjoy a bit of luxury...unfortunately that just wasn't our experience.