Coursing a distance of almost 4,000 miles, the mighty Yangtze River is the third-longest
river in the world and home to more than 300 million people. To see this mighty river is a
thrill in it-self, but to feel the power and majesty of China's greatest river aboard a
cruise ship is an unforgettable experience. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. As
the ship passes through deep valleys of lush green hills and narrow canyons with sheer
rock cliffs on either side, passengers become lost in a timelessness that has escaped the
rest of the world.
A cruise down the Yangtze is an excellent way to see a large area of China in a short
time. From spring through fall, dozens of comfortable cruise ships and ferries sail the
waters of the Yangtze. Trips range from a few hours on a ferry to an overnight cruise on a
colorful local steamer, or multiple- day cruises on large cruise ships with luxurious
staterooms and fine-dining facilities. Cost and level of services vary from inexpensive
ferry services that are available in every town and village along the river, to local
steamer ships that sail from most towns and provide only basic accommodations. Most
travelers will prefer the comfort of an over-night cruise, beginning or ending either at
Chongqing or Wuhan. Tours usually dock overnight at towns and villages along the way so
that passengers will not miss any of the magnificent scenery. They also allow passengers
an opportunity to disembark and explore a small river town for a few hours.
Although there are many cruising options between towns, many travelers opt for the voyage
between Chongqing and Wuhan. This cruise is a memorable 850-mile trip that takes 4 days
and 3 nights sailing down- stream, or 5 days and 4 nights cruising upstream from Wuhan,
passing through the rugged and majestic section of the famous Three Gorges. Visitors often
comment that they will never forget its breathtaking beauty. Qutang, Wu, and Xiling gorges
are also popular sections that traverse several narrow and meandering passages, passing
mist-laden canyons with an occasional pagoda perched on the side of a cliff with
calligraphy carved out of a sheer rock face.
Another scenic side trip takes visitors on a smaller boat through the Three Little Gorges
of the Daning River (or Shennongxi Stream), a tributary of the Yangtze. Shore excursions
to the ancient towns of Wanxian, Shibaozhai, Fengdu, Yichang, and Jingzhou reveal both the
richness of local history and the colorful life along the mighty Yangtze.