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How to Plan a Yangtze River Cruise

Yangtze River Cruise

Combined with a fine selection of natural landscapes, historic relics and local customs, Yangtze River Cruise offers you an unparalleled relaxing adventure along the longest river of mysterious China. All things that matter to an enjoyable voyage such as the best time to come, how to choose a ship/cabin, main attractions, onboard facilities, useful tips, etc. are included here to help you explore the most of your amazing Yangtze River Cruise.

Best Time for a Yangtze River Cruise

When referring to a Yangtze River Cruise, we usually mean the sailing through the Three Gorges section on the Yangtze River, which features a subtropical climate, with the annual average temperature hovering around 18 ℃.

Spring and autumn (April, May, September and October) are the best seasons for boasting the most pleasant temperature and sunny days in the whole year, which makes it ideal for relaxing and sightseeing on the sundeck while passing through the sprawling green mountains along the riversides; summer is a little hot sometimes accompanied by rains; and winter is a bit chilly for open-air sightseeing.

Scenery
Choose a Cruise Route

Two cruise routes are available for your adventure along the majestic Yangtze River: Downstream Cruise with 4 days and 3 nights from Chongqing to Yichang & Upstream Cruise with 5 days and 4 nights from Yichang to Chongqing, both packed with popular scenic spots for onshore excursions.

The scenery and attractions included in both routes bear no obvious differences, so you might take duration as your primary consideration. Click here to learn more about Downstream & Upstream Routes.

Choose a Cruise Ship
  • century
  • president
  • gold

Currently, the Century, President, Gold and Victoria series operated by four different companies form the main force of 5 star cruise tours on the Yangtze River, with more than 20 cruise ships available for options based on your budget, need and considerations on the ship's maiden voyage, departure date, cabin size, recreational facilities, cost performance, etc.

The Century Paragon and Century Legend are the most deluxe cruise ships, where you could enjoy the first-class stylish facilities such as the direct-drinking water systems, ocean wave swimming pool, Wi-Fi access in public spaces and more than you would expect.

President Series ships perform excellently both in cost performance and facilities, for example, President 7 and President 8, the newest in the President series, are designed with a children playground, movie theater and swimming pool while the price is the quite competitive among all cruise ships sailing on the Yangtze River.

As for the Yangtze Gold series, all ships are designed with complete facilities of high standard and priced at the same level.

Still feel confused of which ship to choose? Click here for detailed information of each cruise ship included in the Century, President and Gold.

Note: For Victoria series ships, passengers on both routes would disembark for visiting the Three Gorges Dam by a boat ship through a special lock lift plus a transfer between Maoping (where tourists embark/disembark the ship) and Yichang, which may seem less smooth for a hassle-free travel experience.

Choose a Cabin

Designed according to the room standard of 5 star hotels, the cabins on 5 star cruise ships are not only qualified but also enjoyable. The price of cabins mainly differs based on the cabin type, with some considerations to which deck the cabin is located.

Cabin Type

Based on different size, amenities, price and availability of balcony, cabins onboard mainly fall into three types including the standard cabin (or luxury standard cabin), deluxe suite (or executive suite) and supreme deluxe suite (or president suite). Standard cabins are the primary cabin types on a cruise ship with the least cost, which usually start from the second deck with upper decks sold at higher prices; deluxe suites (or executive suite), mainly located on the third or higher deck, are arranged with larger room size, more facilities and VIP restaurant compared with the standard one; supreme deluxe suites (or president suite), only two or four available on the third or higher deck, feature in the most luxurious living styles (also the most expensive), the largest room and the VIP restaurant.

cabin

Cabin Location

Praised as the "Oriental Venice", Suzhou features a scenic water town layout of elegant appeal.

Rooms on lower decks are closer to restaurants and reception deck which saves time to satisfy your taste bud and disembark for shore excursions, while those on higher decks provide easy access to entertainment areas and broader perspective to admire the tantalizing scenery along the Yangtze River.

Besides, cabins on upper decks cost more than those on lower decks, and updating to an upper deck depends on availability and requires extra money.

Popular Attractions along a Yangtze River Cruise
  • dam
  • fengdu gost city
  • shennong stream

What makes a cruise ship tour attractive? A balance of sightseeing and relaxation might be a convincing answer. Endowed with enchanting landscapes dotted with ancient towns, villages, tranquil temples and more, a Yangtze River cruise travel offers not only ideal onboard sightseeing perspectives but also heritage charm for onshore excursions. Though varying a little based on different ships and routes, popular attractions along the Three Gorges section on the Yangtze River mainly include:

Guided shore excursions to Shibaozhai, White Emperor City, Fengdu Ghost City, Three Gorges Tribes and the Three Gorges Dam;

Onboard sightseeing when traveling through the Three Gorges: Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling;

Transfer by a smaller boat to explore the Shennong Stream, Shennv Stream, or the Lesser Three Gorges.

Note: Some of the above guided shore excursions are optional and not included in the ticket, which will be clearly stated when you book the ship.

Entertainment Activities and Facilities on Board
Tai Chi Class

As you would be on the ship for the most time of your voyage, onboard entertainment activities and facilities play an important role to avoid you from getting bored.

Programs such as Captain's Welcome Party, Tai Chi Class, Culture Lectures, Evening Party, etc. are arranged for almost every 5-star ships like the Century, Gold and President Series to spice up your sailing experience.

Facilities for basic needs such as Beauty Salon, Fitness Room, Reading Room, Meeting Room, Children's Playroom, Sun Deck, Gift Shop, Bar and Café are also available to enrich your relaxing time on board.

Though activities and facilities on 5 star cruise ships are almost the same, there are still some differences between ships of different series or ships in a series. For example, Open-air Surfing Swimming Pool and Mini golf are highlighted on the whole Gold Series ships while Large-scale Indoor Swimming Pool and Movie Theatre distinguish the Century Legend and Paragon from other ships in Century series. In general, it is more of a personal thing to ignore or value these differences when choosing a ship concerning your need, budget, etc.

cabin
Useful Tips

1. Dinner is not included on the evening when you board the ship, so extra money is required for food on board. Restaurants near the dock are recommended to explore local cuisines if time permits.

2. The transportation before boarding and after disembarkation is not included in your ticket, but transfer service is available upon your request with a surcharge.

3. Onshore excursions are only available by walk, so please bring some comfortable shoes.

4. Only one or two wheelchairs at most are available onboard, so you are advised to take you own in case of unavailability when you arrive.

5. Wifi is available on most cruise ships with fees varying in the range of 200 to 300 per voyage; but some ships still have no such service, taking the Century series for example, Wifi is only available on the Legend and Paragon.

Want to get fully prepared for a trouble-free cruise travel? Please view the FAQ for more inspirations.

Recommended China Tours including a Yangtze River Cruise:
11 Days Odyssey of the Yangtze, 14 Days Best of China Plus Yangtze and 15 Days China Highlights with Yangtze & Pandas

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