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Sailing the Yangtze with Viking River Cruises

China Cruisetour Highlights Some of the Best of China and the Yangtze River


Three Gorges of the Yangtze River in China

Three Gorges of the Yangtze River in China

Three Gorges Photo (c) Linda Garrison
China is the third largest country in the world, so it is impossible to see it all in one vacation. Like most countries, China's rivers have played a key role in its history, culture, and development. The longest river in China is named just that, Chang Jiang, or "Long River". In the West, we call the Chang Jiang the Yangtze or the Yangzi. A river cruise on the Yangtze is high on the list of things to do for most travelers, and numerous tour operators such as Victoria Cruises, Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises, Regal China Cruises, Uniworld, Tauck, INTRAV, and Viking River Cruises all sail the Yangtze. I sailed on Viking's first Yangtze River ship, the Century Star. Viking now sails the Viking Century Sun on the Yangtze, but the itinerary and wonderful cruise experience is similar to what we enjoyed on the Viking Century Star.

Viking River Cruise Tours in China
Since travelers coming from Europe or from North America have a very long way to travel, Viking has put together three cruise tour packages that all include a 4 to 7-night Yangtze River cruise as part of 12 to 17-day tour packages. Like the Viking cruises in Europe and Russia, the China cruisetours are all-inclusive, with meals, excursions, and intra-China flights included in the price. All of the cruisetours have 3 nights in Beijing. Viking includes guided tours of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, Beijing Zoo, a silk factory, and the Hutongs via rickshaw for its Beijing passengers.

Passengers fly from Beijing to Xian to see the famous Terra Cotta warriors, and then onto Chongqing to meet the Viking river ship. The cruises vary from 4 to 7-nights. The 7-night cruise sails between Chongqing and Nanjing, with visits to several sites along the river such as the Shibaozhai Temple and the Three Gorges Dam included. The ship sails through the scenic Three Gorges of the Yangtze. At the end of the cruise in Nanjing, passengers fly to Shanghai, where they have 3 days of touring included with their package. One of the Viking packages include flights and tours to either Mongolia or Tibet. Some cruise tours run the reverse. Any of these cruise tours should provide travelers with a good overview of China and its sites, people, culture, and history.

Cruising the Yangtze
The Chang Jiang (Yangtze) river valley has some of the world's most spectacular scenery--misty mountains, ancient gorges, bamboo groves, and narrow passageways. This valley will change after 2009 when the Three Gorges Dam is completed. If you want to see the river as it has been for hundreds of years, you need to head to China in this decade.

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