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"Independent" Travel w/ Abercrombie & Kent: Hong Kong ofc?

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Just beginning to look at traveling to China next fall...and an article I've saved from CondeNast Traverler (2008?) "Iconic Itineraries: 12 perfect days in Classic China" extols the virtues of booking through Abercrobie & Kent's Hong Kong Ofc, specifically with Gerald Hatherly. I really like the sounds of this itinerary and wonder if anyone has booked through him or A & K's Hong Kong office. We really would prefer to travel independently, but I also don't want the hassles of trying to do this myself this time. I had originally thought of booking through one of the companies (Viking, Uniworld) who combine a Yangtze river cruise with a land tour, but now I"m reading that a river cruise is kind of a waste of time and not that great. We really hate bus tour groups so are reluctant to be part of one. I originally thought it was unavoidable, if we're on a river tour. All you China experts, please chime in! Thanks in advance.

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