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12 Days China Vacation with Great Yangtze Cruise from Chongqing to Yichang

By Bill (the United States) | July 15, 2016 | 2768 views
  • Departure Date: 2017-6-04
  • Travel Length: 12 Days
  • Group Size: 4
  • Which Ship: Century Legend Cruise
  • Highlights: Three Gorges, Three Gorges Dam Site
  • Travel Consultant: Wonder Wang

It is impossible to know deeply about China only by visiting one or two destinations of China. This is Wonder, Bill group’s travel consultant! To have an overall and comprehensive understanding about China, their group of four started a 12 days China tour from Chongqing, starting a Yangtze River cruise to Yichang, then visited Xian, Beijing and Shanghai. This itinerary covered the classic destinations and iconic highlights, which opened a window to see China in ancient and modern side. Follow Bill’s insight into China for inspiration and ideas.

Century Legend Cruise from Chongqing to Yichang

We did the 3-day, downriver cruise from Chongqing. We looked at the various online ship descriptions and reviews here and settled on the Century Legend. Maybe our expectations were low, but the ship exceeded them nicely. It felt shiny and new all over and the staff was excellent.

We booked a month early and got a free "upgrade" to the third level. I don't really have any idea about what the "lesser" levels were like, but our room was large, the bathroom and shower were very good and we had a nice balcony.

All of the included outings went smoothly. I especially enjoyed the Goddess River. It was pretty rainy at the dam but we still got a good sense of the scale of the Three Gorges Dam Project (the movie about the dam at the beginning of the cruise is well worth seeing).

Most of the passengers were Chinese, with about a dozen westerners. The food was very good; mostly Chinese with plenty of options for western-only tastes. We paid a small fee to upgrade to the fifth-level dining room. It had the same food as the main dining room, but was much less crowded, more quiet and provided very attentive service.

The Yangtze-River-Cruises Travel Agency

When requesting information about the Yangtze cruise from an online site I apparently got connected to the Yangtze-River-Cruises travel agency. Somewhere along the line I indicated that we were visiting Xian and Beijing after the cruise. Immediately a young man named Wonder offered to set up a tour that would take us along our desired route and hit all of the top tourist destinations. A planned tour wasn't really what we had in mind, but I accepted his offer.

Wonder soon sent back an itinerary with planes, trains, hotels, drivers, guides and attractions. The total cost included all of these items, plus breakfast, lunch, and entry tickets to the attractions. The cost seemed reasonable and although the hotels were not luxury, but they looked good enough.

We went back and forth with Wonder via email for a couple of weeks, asking about options and modifications. He patiently answered all of our questions and showed detailed cost variations for each.

We settled on an itinerary and were ready to pay. I was quite leery about sending a pile of money to China, partly because I wasn't even sure how I got to Wonder in the first place. I checked all of the reviews here (it's a little hard to filter out the agency reviews because this topic is a bit of a mishmash) and they were all overwhelmingly positive (which also was pretty suspicious -- but we checked many of the reviewers other reviews and they all looked legit). So I clicked the PayPal button and hoped for the best.

Everything worked perfectly! The hotels were very nice. The meals were good and crossed a large range of class and type; we loved the varied lunch experiences.

The guides were particularly amazing. (There was always also a separate driver.) In Xian our guide was Lucia. She was very knowledgeable, spoke good English (with an adorable Australian accent), and worked tirelessly to ensure we had the very best time in Xian. In Beijing our guide was Marc. Again, very knowledgeable and good speaker of English. We hit all the highlights very efficiently with Marc providing history all along the way. (If you're doing this same circuit, which many are, I would suggest skipping the Ming Tombs near the Great Wall.)

Having fabulous guides arranged by Wonder and Yangtze-River-Cruises made a huge difference in our trip.

In the middle of our trip, two family members asked if they could join us for a few days. I emailed Wonder with the request and he quickly got additional hotel rooms, train tickets, rearranged our itinerary for their schedule, and got larger cars where necessary. He and his agency could not have been more helpful.

I very highly recommend Wonder at Yangtze-River-Cruises.

Useful Suggestions & Recommendations

1) Although it was easy to pay with PayPal from the US, as with many things Internet in China, PayPal didn't work once we were in China (so I had difficulty paying for the mid-tour changes). I would recommend having someone at home with access to your PayPal account to handle emergency payments while you're in China (or figure out how to set up a VPN back to home).

2) Get a WeChat account. Everyone in China uses WeChat to text and make voice and video calls. It was a great way to communicate with guides in the off hours.

“Hi, I'm Wonder, Bill group’s travel consultant! Are you interested in Bill's 12 Days China Vacation with Great Yangtze Cruise from Chongqing to Yichang? Want to know his trip itinerary, accommodation, transportation or other arrangements? Feel free to contact me, and I will be glad to tell you more stunning stories about the places he visited. Or, if you want to customize a China Yangtze tour on your own, I'm always ready to help at any time!”

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