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Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer Cruise: Upstream from Yichang to Chongqing

5 Days
Prices From:
US$ 994

Marvel at the awe-inspiring scenery of the Three Gorges and immerse yourself into the natural and cultural splendour of the Yangtze River. Enjoy a wide range of cultural activities like Tai Chi sessions and dumpling-making classes aboard a deluxe cruise ship with the highest crew-to-passenger ratio on the Yangtze when not making shore excursions to take in some of China’s most fascinating landscape.

This 5-day cruise takes you up the Yangtze River in China, passing through the incredible Three Gorges area aboard the most luxurious ship on the river, Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer.

The Yangtze River is bursting with history and you’ll see remarkable cities and towns, ancient Daoist temples, and the imposing beauty of gorges and peaks on this China vacation. Your journey begins in Yichang, a small city in western Hubei province. In Yichang, board Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, the most luxurious ship on the Yangtze River.

The 62 expansive cabins and suites of Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer feature private balconies and premium comforts. The vessel has been restyled to feature the best in contemporary Chinese design. It also has the highest crew-to-passenger ratio of any ship on the Yangtze, ensuring the best in personalized service. While cruising up the Yangtze River, you will immerse yourself in Chinese cultural experiences, such as calligraphy classes and tea ceremonies. Learn how to make dumplings and then rejuvenate your body with Tai Chi classes and traditional spa treatments.

Aboard Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, you’ll take in the gorgeous scenery of the Three Gorges region. Marvel at the sight of Xiling Gorge, the longest of the three gorges, running almost 70-kilometres long. Watch traditional boatmen work their trade at Badong, a riverside county along the Wu Gorge. Pass through the Kui Men gate at Qutang Gorge and stand in awe as you’re seemingly engulfed by the towering rocks. As well, stop by the Three Gorges Dam Project, the largest engineering project in the world, to learn about damming the mighty Yangtze and how it impacts the surrounding regions. Disembark in Chongqing, one of the fastest growing cities on the planet. Extend your stay with a few days in Chongqing to explore its significant role in ancient history and World War II, and to sample its world-famous spicy cuisine.

This voyage up the Yangtze River aboard Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer takes you along China’s most captivating landscape.


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5 Days
Prices From:
US$ 994

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Embark in Yichang

This afternoon, board Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer at Maoping Pier and prepare for your cruise upstream through this stunning section of the Yangtze River, famous for its stunning scenery and historic and cultural importance to China. Please note that your passport or local ID is required for check-in, and that your photograph will be taken for security identification purposes. Settle into your room before joining your fellow guests in the Explorer Bar for a welcome drink. Tonight, there is an optional embarkation dinner (not included) and a welcome safety briefing. Later in the evening, the 7 Wonders of China documentary will be shown in the Tang Theatre.

Duration4 Nights

Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

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    Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

    With the highest crew-to-passenger ratio (1:1) and the largest cabins and suites on the Yangtze River, the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer sets the standard for intimate and luxurious river cruising in China. Onboard facilities include a la carte dining, a spacious luxury spa, an observation deck, …

    With the highest crew-to-passenger ratio (1:1) and the largest cabins and suites on the Yangtze River, the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer sets the standard for intimate and luxurious river cruising in China. Onboard facilities include a la carte dining, a spacious luxury spa, an observation deck, 24-hour room service, a two-floor theatre, library, and beauty and fitness facilities. A team of internationally-trained chefs and a well-stocked wine cellar ensure dining aboard the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is a superb experience. Innovative a-la-carte menus featuring the finest of Chinese and continental cuisine, served with complimentary house wines, local beers and other refreshments at all lunches and dinners, are hallmarks of the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer experience.


    • A la carte dining
    • Beauty and Fitness Facilities
    • Library
    • Luxury Spa
    • Observation Deck
    • Theater

    More Details

Day 2

Xiling Gorges and Three Gorges Dam Project

Start your morning with an early bird tea or coffee and a traditional Tai Chi lesson, led by our certified Tai Chi Master and work up an appetite for the buffet breakfast. This morning's lecture is on the Three Gorges Project. Learn more about the dam's construction, including the controversial resettlement of 1.2 million people. Mid-morning there is a Chinese foot reflexology demo in the Tang Theatre. Alternatively, take this time to visit our luxurious spa and select from a range of deluxe treatments, or work out in the well-equipped gym. Guests will also have the option to go on an excursion of the Three Gorges Tribe (extra cost). Enjoy a delicious lunch on board. After lunch, depart Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer and visit the Three Gorges Project Dam Site and Exhibition Centre. Spanning 2,335 metres in length and 181 metres in height, the dam is the largest and most expensive engineering project in the world. While the dam's 32 generators will produce enough clean energy to reduce China's reliance on coal, the project has also caused much controversy. During construction, 13 cities, 140 towns, 1,352 villages, over 600 industrial factories and more than 1,200 archaeological projects were submerged. This afternoon, the lecture topic is traditional Chinese medicine. Afterwards, we sail through Xiling Gorge - the longest of the Gorges, measuring some 76 kilometres (47 miles) in length. Enjoy the view of the river where the river widens and sweeps through groves of orange and pomelo trees. This is the perfect introduction to the relaxed pace of the Yangtze River. This evening we have prepared a special Captain's welcome reception and a delicious a la carte dinner. Tonight, show off your singing skills with some karaoke, before a live band perform in the Explorer Bar.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

The Three Gorges

This morning, early bird tea and coffee is available in the Explorer Bar. Begin today with traditional Chinese exercise before an international buffet breakfast. This morning's shore excursion is a unique ride along the Shennong Stream on a sampan - a traditional longboat rowed by expert Tujia boatmen. As we gently float through this stunning riverine gorge flanked by verdant forest, you'll see evidence of early settlements in the form of hanging coffins stowed high within the limestone cliffs. Before returning from Shennong Stream we will visit a traditional trackers village (except late May to early September due to low water levels), where you will have a chance to catch a fascinating glimpse of the traditional, rural Chinese community. You'll find mud huts as homes, basic kitchens where the meat is dried on hooks and coffins in the bedroom. And, while there are satellite dishes, villagers still pride their heritage. Back on board, lunch is served. This afternoon, guests are encouraged to appreciate the scenery from the Sun Deck as we sail through the spectacular Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge, complimented by informative commentary. Relax and enjoy the on-board activities. During the afternoon, you will be able to listen to cultural lectures. Following the sail through the Qutang Gorge, there will be an optional excursion to White King Town (extra cost - this is dependent on number of interested guests). Tonight, indulge in an a la carte dinner in the Dynasty Dining Room. A talk on the 816 Underground Project in the Tang Theatre will leave you well equipped for tomorrow's excursion. The onboard entertainment tonight is a movie complete with popcorn, and a live band performance in the Explorer Bar.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4


Start the day right once more with a delicious tea or coffee and a session of Tai Chi to further refine your skills before breakfast. For guests sailing mid-March to May and mid-September to November, this morning you can choose to experience one of the following two activities: The 816 Underground Project or the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum. The 816 Underground Project is the world's largest artificial military cave, an intriguing secret, hidden in the mountains of Fuling. Over 50 years ago, more than 60,000 constructers, came to Jianzishan, an uninhabited place among mountains and forest, to start work on a topsecret construction project of a monumental scale. The work continued for 17 years and was nearly completed when the government decided to suspend it, before any nuclear material could be produced. Now as the secrets of military caves are revealed, you will be able to look at the true face of 816 project hidden for 50 years. The White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum, which will take you some 148 feet under water to admire the river bed and the intricate ancient rock carvings left there many years ago. Learn about the Yangtze river, its flora and fauna, while enjoying this fascinating museum. Your next stop will be the local market, where you will gain insight into the region's rich culinary culture. This is a daily market where farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to fish and meat, and of course a whole array of pickles - which Fuling is famous for. A lunch buffet is served followed by on board activities such as dumpling cooking class. We'll also introduce you to the ancient Chinese board game - Mahjong. For guests sailing between Mid May and mid September, enjoy on board activities this morning. After lunch, choose to experience either the 816 Underground Project or the White Crane Ridge Underwater Musuem and a visit to the local market. Tonight, we'll treat you to a sumptuous farewell dinner, 'A Taste of China' before a live band performance in the Explorer Bar.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Disembark in Chongqing

Enjoy a tea or coffee with an international buffet breakfast before disembarking in Chongqing for your onward journey.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information


2019: Sundays Mar 17 until Nov 17
2020: Sundays Mar 8 until Nov 22


  • 4 nights' private cabin accommodation
  • Onboard entertainment
  • Scheduled sightseeing including entrance fees
  • Meals as indicated, including bottled water
  • House wines and local beers at lunch and dinner


  • Travel insurance
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Embarkation dinner
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

30 Aug 2020
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