A Yangtze River cruise, as implied, is a cruise that takes place on the Yangtze River in China. Yangtze River cruises are much like other river cruises (like, say, Nile River cruises) in that they are a comfortable and convenient way to travel through a foreign land. There are a number of significant sites along the river, and there are plenty of different cruises up and down the Yangtze River to accommodate different schedules and vacation itineraries. Below is an overview of Yangtze River cruises to introduce you to a unique cruising opportunity that you might not otherwise consider.
The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world. Like other major rivers throughout the world, the Yangtze River has served and continues to serve a vital role in China’s culture and economy. Also like other major rivers, a large portion of the population is gathered around it. (About one third of China’s population lives in the river’s basin.) The river moves eastward and drains into the East China Sea. It stretches across more than half the width of the country, and as it heads east it dips south and then slowly winds further north to Shanghai, where the river’s delta is located.
As mentioned above, there are a number of attractions along the river. Many places can be visited during a day trip as part of a cruise. The Ghost City of Fengdu, a collection of Buddhist and Taoist temples, is one popular stop along the river, as is Shibaozhai, the site of a famous nine-story pavilion. The Three Gorges Dam – which, as the largest hydro-electric power station in the world, draws some visitors – is also along the Yangtze River. And of course there are several ports of call (listed below) along the river, and passengers often explore the cities attached to these ports during stops.
A Yangtze River cruise can be an excellent standalone vacation, but for people who have to travel a longer distance to get to China, they are often incorporated into a larger itinerary. There are lots of different cruises from which to choose, so they can fairly easily fit into most peoples’ vacation plans. For one, they are offered throughout the year, and there are four major ports of call: Chongqing, Yichang, Wuhan, and Shanghai. These ports are spread along a significant portion of the river, allowing you to see a large part of China just by cruising the Yangtze River. There are several popular and recommended cruise routes, but you are largely free to choose where you embark and disembark, meaning cruise lengths vary greatly. Moreover, the cruises go both up and down the river, so you can take a cruise no matter which direction you need to go. This is one reason why Yangtze River cruises are ideal for extended vacations in China: they are not only an experience in themselves, but they can also serve as a leisurely way to get from point A to point B. On the other hand, you can begin and end your trip at the same port, so a Yangtze River cruise can be self-contained.
As you can see, there are a number of compelling reasons to take a Yangtze River cruise. A cruise down (or up) the Yangtze River can be an excellent way to see a lot of the vast country of China in a relatively short period of time. Moreover, there are tons of different Yangtze River cruises – they can be short or long, and then can begin and end in different locations – which makes them convenient for various vacation itineraries. If you are interested in taking one, check out our article on how to book a Yangtze River cruise.