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Viking Emerald Review

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Viking Emerald
4.0 / 5.0
297 reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line

About

Passengers
256

Crew
138

Passenger to Crew
1.86:1

Launched
2011

Shore Excursions
0
Sails To
Sails From
Viking River Cruise Deals
Jeannine Williamson
Cruise Critic Contributor

Viking Emerald Overview

Launched in 2011, Viking Emerald is Viking River Cruises' sole ship operating on China's Yangtze River.

A chartered vessel, it has all the "feel" of a Viking-owned ship with the familiarity of branded products, menus, newsletters, day-to-day schedules and service standards. Repeat passengers won't feel short-changed. Unlike the line's predominantly European-based fleet, where low bridges and water levels restrict the size of ships, 256-passenger Emerald is a larger vessel, with four passenger decks and a sun deck, plus additional facilities that include shops, a spa, hair salon, Internet cafe and gym. With a sleek glass atrium extending through the decks, it's akin to a small, pared-down cruise ship.

Although it's relatively new, Emerald does not have the ultra-contemporary decor of some modern European river cruisers and is more traditionally furnished, although comfortable throughout. During our cruise, the onboard ambience was relaxed and friendly, and grumbles were few and minor. Crewmembers definitely stand out, unfailingly smiling and charming even when standing in the rain helping passengers up and down steps. This more than made up for small service issues in the dining room, such as occasionally running out of dishes at the lunchtime buffet.

Between March and November, Emerald sails on three Yangtze River land-cruise itineraries that range in duration from 12 to 18 days, again different to the European product that only features river cruises.

Attracting a predominantly American market, Viking's trademark attention to detail extends to the land stay with a company tour guide taking care of everything, including the collection and transfer of luggage for internal flights and even providing suitcase locks for passengers that need them. 

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Top Viking Emerald Itineraries

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Fellow Passengers

Unlike European river cruises, which mainly draw a 50-and-older market, China cruises attract a more diverse crowd, including younger couples and families with adult children. A large number on our cruise were river cruise veterans, many loyal to Viking. Others were confirmed ocean cruisers curious to find out about river cruising, and a few were on their first-ever cruise.

Passengers are divided into groups of up to 30 on arrival and stay with the same people on excursions for the duration of the itinerary, so many had already bonded by the time we boarded Emerald and stuck together for the rest of the trip. Those who want to socialize can broaden their circle, as the small and informal nature of river cruises makes it easy to circulate at mealtimes and in public rooms.

An average 75 percent of Emerald's passengers are from the U.S. The remainder hail from Canada, the U.K. and Australia.


Viking Emerald Dress Code

Dress is casual and comfortable onboard and ashore, with no formal nights that require special outfits. Jeans can be worn in the restaurant, and there's no obligation to change for dinner, although most people do. The captain's welcome dinner and/or farewell dinner provide an excuse for passengers to dress up a bit, albeit this still errs on the side of smart-casual.


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Viking Emerald Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.04.2
Dining4.04.4
Entertainment4.04.1
Public Rooms4.04.5
Fitness Recreation4.03.6
Family1
Enrichment5.04.4
Service4.04.8
Value For Money4.04.5

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Awards and Recognition

Viking Emerald Member Reviews

Viking Emerald
dawneroe1
Sail Date: Sep 2019
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.... Read More
Viking Emerald
woernerdavid
Sail Date: Jun 2019
., the dining and meals on the Viking Emerald were surprisingly good and service was good. Our standard room and bathroom were very tight, I recommend upgrading the room.... Read More
Viking Emerald
JohkneeB
Sail Date: Mar 2019
All the staff we met along the way were, as always, very welcoming and really helpful and a great credit to Viking.... Read More
Viking Emerald
JPJPJP58
Sail Date: Nov 2018
We went on the Viking Emerald Yangtze River cruise because a.) we wanted to see the real China, and b.) our daughter was studying abroad in Shanghai and we decided to tack on a few days at the end of the... Read More

Viking River Cruises Fleet

Viking Truvor
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

92 reviews

Despite one of the chilliest travel climates in Russia since the Cold War, Viking Truvor gives passengers a comfortable in-depth introduction to the world's largest country.

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Viking Ingvar

Viking Ingvar sails 13-night themed trips between St. Petersburg and Moscow, with calls at culture-filled villages and unique towns.

Viking Helgi

Like its fleetmates, Viking Ingvar and Viking Truvor, Viking Helgi offers "Waterways of the Czars" themed trips between St. Petersburg and Moscow. 

Viking Legend
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Smaller than Viking's newer Longships, Viking Legend carries 188 passengers on a ship where most cabins boast French balconies.

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Viking Prestige
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Prestige, which debuted in 2011, was Viking River Cruises' last new-build before it introduced its revolutionary Longship series in 2012. It has a lounge, dining room, library, a sun deck and cabins on three decks.

Viking Emerald
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Launched in 2011, Viking Emerald is Viking River Cruises' sole ship operating on China's Yangtze River. A chartered vessel, it has all the feel of a Viking-owned ship.

Viking Odin
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Despite its sleek modern stylings, there's something quite homey about Viking Odin, which offers a high level of service onboard a ship with a decidedly Scandinavian feel.

Viking Idun
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Idun was one of the original sextuplets -- branded "Longships" named for Norse gods -- to hit the water in 2012. German-built Viking Idun offers a sleek, Scandinavian ambience and a laid-back vibe.

Viking Njord
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

As soon as you approach Viking Njord, crew members greet you and offer assistance. This welcoming atmosphere continues when you walk into the two-story atrium, which has understated elegance.

Viking Aegir
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

One of the original "Longships," Viking Aegir and its sister ships represent a new take on river hospitality, one in which a sleek, Scandinavian ambience is the antithesis of river's traditionally fusty vessels.

Viking Embla
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The modern, yet contemporary design found throughout Viking Embla is both welcoming and bright, with its floor-to-ceiling windows allowing bursts of natural sunlight, its outdoor dining deck.

Viking Rurik
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Rurik, refurbished in 2012, maintains Viking's signature Scandinavian style with blonde wood, muted colors and simple, attractive design on a Russian itinerary.

Viking Skadi
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Skadi is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Atla
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Atla is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Baldur
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Baldur is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Bragi
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Bragi is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Forseti
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Forseti is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Jarl
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Jarl is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Magni
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Magni is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Rinda
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Rinda is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Tor
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Tor is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Var
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Var is characterized by its understated Scandinavian decor and friendly service; onboard highlights are the outdoor Aquavit Terrace and wine and beer served at meals.

Viking Alsvin
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

One of Viking's many longships, Viking Alsvin boasts a two-story glass atrium, the al fresco Aquavit Terrace, and a clear sense of minimalism.

Viking Buri
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Life onboard Viking Buri is simple, friendly and worry-free. Passengers schmooze over local wines at night and tour France's Provence and Burgundy regions by day.

Viking Delling
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Delling draws its name from Norse god Delling, "father of the day." Step onboard and you're bathed in daylight, thanks to the two-story glassed reception area.

Viking Gullveig
4.0 / 5.0
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Viking Gullveig is named after a mythological Norse goddess, who survived trial by fire three times and gained powers to enchant.

Viking Heimdal
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Heimdal, one of Viking's Longship series, is airy and elegant, a showcase of streamlined Scandinavian design with fine wood accents and soothing earth-tone decor.

Viking Hemming
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Hemming, which sails Portugal's Douro region, is a "baby" Longship because it's smaller, both in length and in passenger capacity, than regular Longships.

Viking Hermod
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Hermod, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class sisters? Sunlight streaming in through the glass-enclosed atrium.

Viking Hlin
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Hlin, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class sisters? Sunlight streaming in through the glass-enclosed atrium.

Viking Idi
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Idi, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class sisters? Sunlight streaming in through the glass-enclosed atrium.

Viking Ingvi
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Ingvi, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class sisters? Sunlight streaming in through the glass-enclosed atrium.

Viking Kara
4.0 / 5.0
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What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Kara, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class sisters? Sunlight streaming in through the glass-enclosed atrium.

Viking Kvasir
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Kvasir, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class sisters? Sunlight streaming in through the glass-enclosed atrium.

Viking Lif
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Longship Viking Lif is staffed by a welcoming and professional crew; its minimalist decor mirrors Viking's Scandinavian roots, creating a calming atmosphere.

Viking Torgil
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Torgil, which sails Portugal's Douro region, is a "baby" Longship because it's smaller, both in length and in passenger capacity, than regular Longships.

Viking Mekong
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

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Viking Vili
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

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Viking Vidar
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Vidar is a member of Viking's award-winning Longship series, and is a good example of Viking's advanced engineering, efficient design and minimalist sophistication.

Viking Ve
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Ve is one of Viking's fleet of German-built "Longships," which have brought class, style and comfort to the stodgy old European riverboat scene.

Viking Modi

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Viking Mimir
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Mimir reflects the modern and contemporary designs and plethora of open-air spaces found in Viking River Cruises' Longship fleet.

Viking Mani
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 190-passenger Viking Mani, one of Viking Cruises' notable Longships, exudes a comfortably casual ambience, with plenty of natural light and simple decor.

Viking Lofn

As a Viking Longship, 190-passenger Viking Lofn has a contemporary, Scandinavian-design feel, with lots of natural light, stripped wood and neutral but sophisticated interiors.

Viking Gefjon

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Viking Eir

As a Viking Longship, 190-passenger Viking Eir has a contemporary, Scandinavian-design feel, with lots of natural light, stripped wood and neutral but sophisticated interiors.

Viking Beyla
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Beyla is a baby Longship that accommodates 98 passengers, is sleek and stylish, sports the line's signature Aquavit Terrace and sails the shallow Elbe River.

Viking Astrild
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Purposely built to sail on the shallow Elbe River, Viking Astrild is dubbed a baby Longship because it's about half the size of the 190-passenger Viking Longships.

Viking Akun
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Viking Akun, one of five Viking River vessels in Russia, offers culture-rich itineraries that include regional dining and lectures on Russia's history, geography and politics.

Viking Skirnir

A Viking "Longship," the 190-passenger Viking Skirnir has a contemporary, Scandinavian-design feel, as well as energy-efficient hybrid engines for a quieter, smoother ride.

Viking Egil

Launched in 2016, the 190-passenger Viking Egil "Longship" features a high proportion of full balcony cabins and sails on the Rhine, Main, Danube and Seine rivers.

Viking Kadlin

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Viking Rolf

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Viking Osfrid

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Viking Alruna

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Viking Tialfi

Shore excursions and wine with meals are among the inclusions on Viking Tialfi, one of the six new 190-passenger Longships launched by Viking Cruises in April 2016.

Viking Vilhjalm

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Viking Herja

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Viking Hild
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

As one of Viking's many Longships, Viking Hild features the signature attributes that have grown the company into the most recognizable on Europe's rivers.

Viking Vali

One of Viking's trademark river Longships with a sleek design, all outside cabins, a sun deck and alfresco dining.

Viking Ullur

Sleekly designed 190-passenger river ship, with wide range of cabins, choice of excursions and an indoor/outdoor dining venue.  

Viking Tir

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Viking Sigrun

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Viking Sigyn

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Viking Helgrim
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

A "baby Longship" built to sail Portugal's Douro River, Viking Helgrim has 53 cabins and a top-deck swimming pool.

Viking Einar

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Viking Osiris

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Viking Kari

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Viking Fjorgyn

Designed to sail France's Seine River, Viking Fjorgyn is a modified Viking Longship that offers all the amenities and comfort cruisers have come to expect from the line.

Viking Radgrid

Inspired by Viking's trendsetting Longships, Viking Radgrid was specially designed to sail France's Seine River, with all of the line's trademark bells and whistles.

Viking Skaga

One of four new modified Viking Longships designed to sail France's Seine River, Viking Skaga offers all the amenities and features cruisers have come to expect from Viking.

Viking Hervor

The second of two new Viking Longships debuting in 2020, Viking Hervor continues the Viking Longship tradition with Scandinavian style and flair.

Viking Mississippi

Viking’s first-ever ship on U.S. waterways combines the best features of the company’s European river cruise ships and oceangoing vessels, tweaking them for a new experience on the Mississippi River.

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