Princess Pre-cruise tour of Beijing, Xian, and River Cruise
We are booked on the 16 day May 29th Pacific Princess from Beijing to Bangkok. We also booked the Princess 9 day pre-cruise tour which is actually the reason for our Asian trip.
We had originally wanted to book a Viking tour (Imperial Jewels) and then board the Princess ship in Beijing. We decided on the "whole package" from Princess.
We received some pre-cruise information from Princess regarding the pre-cruise tour. There was not very much information shared (what hotels, location of room for the river cruise portion of the trip, etc.). One thing I was VERY disappointed about was that I had no choice in room size or location on the river cruise. I have been told that a "higher" room above sea level is the best location to view the scenery. Has anyone taken this pre-cruise tour?? Did I make a mistake by not booking the Viking tour separately from the Princess cruise? Your comments are very welcome.
I would be willing to say that it may not matter. When I was touring China, it was 1985 and there were only a few hotels in Beijing. Now there are hundreds, and with the Olympics fast approaching, they're all spiffed up and on their best behavior. Everything should be excellent.
Xian may be another matter - probably much fewer hotels there, and more limited food. However, I'm sure you'll have a great time despite any drawbacks. Our hotel in 1985 was adequate, and when the food turned out to be not too great, the whole tour group took over the hotel lobby for an impromptu party with snack food we all had tucked away in our luggage.
Since the river ships are fairly small and only have (I think) three passenger decks, the few feet between decks shouldn't make too much of a difference in the view. If it does, go up to the top of the ship and grab a deck chair for the day...
I'm sure you'll have a great time. In Beijing you'll probably visit the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall the Temple of Heaven, and maybe the Ming tombs...all are awesome. My tip for the Great Wall...find out how long the tour bus is there. Get on the wall, walk up the wall for half that time (to get away from the crowds), then take pictures and head back down.