The Three Gorges

Cruise the Yangtze River


China and progress are synonymous. Sail up the 6400 km-long Yangtze River, and you’ll discover it’s also full of surprises. Neon cities light up the sky like Vegas, while cultural excursions are designed to give visitors a taste of China’s storied past. On boats catering primarily to western clientele, stand on deck as you sail past the Three Gorges, approaching the world’s biggest locks at the Three Gorges Dam. Traditional boat trackers still pull wooden boats through shallow waters, although today this is just for show. Cruising the lush canyons on the Yangtze is a fabled adventure, and an opportunity to watch a country changing before your eyes.

Length of Trip : 3 - 7 days

Cost :
Yangtze cruises are often paired with land-based itineraries, ranging from 3 nights to 3 weeks. A 3-day budget cruise starts at about $US255 per person for a standard cabin. Double that rate for something more luxurious. Cruises run between Chongqing and Yichang.

Best time to go : April/May, or September/October

Wheelchair friendly : Shore excursions can be rugged. Speak to your operator if arrangements can be made.

Family friendly : Yes

Where to eat :
Meals are served on board the ships, with both Chinese and Western fare.

Official Site :
There are a number of cruise ships you can look into, such as the Century Diamond or one of the Victorian vessels. Bookings are usually facilitated by tour agencies.
See Giant Pandas, cruise the mighty Yangtze River then discover Shanghai with World Expeditions

Where to Stay :
Most rooms have balconies. Accommodation varies depending on the ship you choose. Riverboats are smaller than your ocean-faring cruise ship so the rooms might be smaller and a little more spartan.
When staying in Beijing, we recommend the Fairmont Beijing.

Getting There :
Sailings typically depart from Chongqing or Yichang, both of which are easily accessible by air from Beijing or Shanghai. Some itineraries are round-trip with domestic flights out of Shanghai.

Note from Robin :
Luxury riverboats cater to a largely western clientele, and cruises offer abundant meals, spotless cabins, nightly entertainment, cultural excursions, and typically two staff to every one passenger. Floating between the mighty Three Gorges of the Yangtze – Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling – is a definite highlight, as is floating through the impressive locks of the Three Gorges Dam.