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Best Time to Cruise Yangtze River

The best time to cruise the Yangtze is not simply a month or a season. Actually, the ‘BEST’ depends on what you are mostly concerned about, the BEST WEATHER, the BEST PRICE, the BEST SCENERY, the BEST VALUE or the BEST EXPERIENCE etc.

Generally, spring and autumn are the peak seasons for Yangtze cruise, for the most comfortable weather and nice scenery, while winter is the best season for the greatest deals and decent travel experiences. Summer is the hottest season for family vacation with relatively lower price comparing with the two peak season.

In order to help you find YOUR best time to cruise, we are here, listing some reasons and facts about cruising in different seasons.

Spring & Autumn - Best Weather with Best Scenery

Yangtze Cruise in Spring

Yangtze Cruise in Best Seasons

Spring (from March to May) and autumn (from September to November) are always regarded as the BEST time to cruise the Yangtze, for the nice weather and glamorous natural beauty in the Gorges.

The lowest rainfall and cool temperature, neither too cold nor hot, will offer you a pleasant weather condition, especially when you do the shore excursions. Also, the fresh blossoms in spring and the endless red-leaves on the mountains in autumn are quite amazing and impressive.

However, cruising in these peak seasons is always accompanied with the crowds and high prices. During the Golden Week holiday of Chinese National Holiday, (from late September to middle October), it is a bit difficult to book cruise ship and the prices of flights and hotels will also be higher than usually. Also when Chinese enjoy the Labor Holiday (around May 1st), there will be crowded. So if you choose to cruise in the best time in spring or autumn, try to avoid these two biggest holidays of China.

>> Check All Cruise Calender in 2024/2025 and Find Yourself a Cruise

Note: During Dry Season (usually during March and April) some ships may not be able to dock at Chongqing Chaotianmen Port, port would be changed to Fengdu Port (丰都港) in Fengdu County for embarkation and disembarkation. For more detailed information, please check Possible Port Change for Special Events in Chongqing 2024.

Winter - The Best Time for the Biggest Deals

The Gorges Turn Red in Winter

See the Red Gorges in Winter Cruise.

Winter (from December to February) is the LOW season for Yangtze cruises, mainly because of the cold weather. Since the water level of the Yangtze River becomes low during these months, which makes many ships stop cruising in winter.

But the leading members, such as Victoria Cruises and Century Cruises, still offer winter cruises during the cold time with the greatest discount, like the prices for 2018-2019 winter cruises is just from $349-$399 for a popular Chongqing- Yichang cruise, with a saving up to over $200 for winter cruise.

December - The Best Value for Less Crowded, Lower Price but Great Scenery

In late November and early December, the Three Gorges is dyed into fiery red by the full mountains of red leaves, which is really impressive and splendid. Water level is relatively high and with less river wind, makes the water becomes more emerald than usual. If you want to enjoy a stunning view but don’t like crowded, prefer the top-level service onboard but on a budget. If you happen to have vacations during this period. Don’t miss the chance! December is absolutely the perfect cruising time for you.

>> See all Yangtze River Cruises sail in December in 2024

Red Leaves & Pure Water

Three Gorges in December

If you cruise during the Chinese Spring Festival, usually in January or February, you can also have the chances to celebrate the most important Chinese festival onboard with all the customers and staffs, experiencing the traditional custom.

Summer - Best Experience for Family Vacations

Summer Yangtze Cruis

Take the Budget Yangtze Cruise in Summer with Your Family

Summer is always a good time for family tour because of the months' summer holidays. When cruising the yangtze river in summer(June, July and August), you will enjoy a shoulder season price, which less paid than peak ones.

The weather in summer is not quite perfect as it is in spring and autumn. It is a bit hot and humid, but you will get away from the heat onboard, for all the ships are air-conditioned.

Summer is also the best season to watch some outstanding night large-scale real landscape show such as Feng Yan San Guo (烽烟三国) and Return to Three Gorges etc..

Special Routes for Summer Vacation in 2020 - Amazing Shennongjia Explore Cruise Tour

In the year of 2020, Yangtze Explorer takes the lead in creating and offering special experience of the wonderful visit to the famous Shennongjia National Nature Preserve during your leisure cruising on the Yangtze River cruise in summer period (on July 26th and August 9th in 2020).

Besides the highlights in Shennongjia, the cruise would also took you to appreciate the Three Gorges Dam Site, Three Gorges, rafting on Shennong Stream and have best new-try to the 816 Underground Nuclear Project or the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum. If you are interested in the special service, please check the detail itinerary of Yangtze Explore special routes below:

>> 5 Days & 4 Nights Upstream Cruises of Essential Shennongjia Visit (Yichang - Chongqing)


Shennongjia National Nature Preserve

Color of Yangtze River in Different Season

You will enjoy different scenery of the Yangtze River in different months due to its change of the water level. Usually, in November and December, the water level is a little high for the storage of water to generate electricity and also there is lesser river wind, so you could enjoy the emerald river waterscape and peaceful sightseeing of “high hills and flat water”. During April, May, September and October, the water level becomes lower, and the fascinating green river scenery can also be appreciated. However, in summer particularly in June, July and August, level of water becomes higher. When sometimes there are constant heavy rains, the river may change into a little yellow.

>> How to Plan a Yangtze River Cruise in 2024

>> Weather & What to Wear on Yangtze River Cruise

Three Gorges

Best Yangtze Cruise Tour

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In a word, you can take a Yangtze cruise anytime of a year. If you want more information about cruise deals and advice about cruising in your expect date, feel free to ask our cruise experts. We will try our best to help you make the most use of your time and money, making your cruise the BEST!

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Questions & Discussions

Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.

Boat Information
I have booked a cruise on 1 of your ships through Trip A Deal. We depart 11.08.2017 From Yichang to Chongqing. I'm wondering if you can tell me what ship we may be on? What is the dress code on the ship for evening dining etc?
2017-07-27 08:58
Hi Vanessa,

Thank you for the question and nice to hear your cruise to the Yangtze. However, if you depart from Yichang on the 8th in November, you may be board on Century Sky or Victoria Lianna. And if you get on the cruise on August 11th, your cruise may be President Prime 6, Yangtze Gold 7, Century Paragon, or Victoria Anna.
For the dress code for the evening meal, usually it is not very formal, and a suite and tie for a man or an evening dress for a woman is not strictly required. Just wear comfortable to enjoy the vacation. However, avoiding dressing too casual like jeans, round-neck shirts, shorts, slippers, and so on is OK.

Have a nice day!

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