Travel Tips for Booking A Yangtze Cruise
1. Select your favorite cruise schedule
All the Yangtze River cruises sail stably between Chongqing and Yichang during March to November every year. There are some ships running at the same day for 4 days & 3 nights downstream itinerary from Chongqing to Yichang, and 5 days & 4 nights upstream itinerary from Yichang to Chongqing. You can feel free to select a favorite ship to perfectly match your travel time and budget.
While, Victoria Cruises and Century Cruises arrange some of its ships run winter schedules from December to February next year. During this winter season, the ships usually offer great deals which help you save much more for the same itinerary.
2. Valid documents & real-name registration
Once you decide to book a Yangtze cruise ship with us, please provide us correct passport information, like your name and passport number. Real-name registration is needed when booking the ship. If there is any change and update of your documents, please inform your travel consultants immediately and provide us your latest personal info that we should deliver to the cruise company once you changed.
3. Personal information required for booking
Complete and accurate personal information is necessary for the booking. Please provide us complete information including your and your family or group members’ name, nationality, gender, passport number, date of birth, favorite cabin types, amount of cabins, and other personal requirements.
4. Confirmation letter
Once your booking information is complete and we will inform the cruise company to reserve the room for you. Your travel consultants will send you the “CONFIRMATION LETTER” which contains important ship itinerary & transportation info, your personal information and other tips. Once you receive the confirmation letter, you can go on for payment.
5. Includes & excludes of your booking
The following items are covered in your cruise fare.
- Travel Insurance: travel insurance offered by China Discovery for your whole cruise;
- Accommodation: a bed in your cabin for both daytime and night. You can enjoy 3 nights onboard for Chongqing Yichang downstream itinerary or 4 nights onboard for Yichang Chongqing upstream itinerary;
- Most Meals Onboard: meals listed in the above itinerary specified as “B”, “L” and “D”, and Captain’s Welcome Party and Captain’s Farewell Party included;
- Arranged Shore Excursions: three shore excursions arranged by the cruise company (including transportation to/back from the sites, local guide service, tickets, etc.);
- Guide Service: Both Chinese and English-speaking guide service on the cruise;
- Activities: Cultural activities, Chinese lectures as well as evening shows and entertainment;
- Some service like front desk service for any request, guest room service to clean your room daily, catering service in the dining hall;
- Public facilities such as Gym, Library, Reading Room, Cigar Bar, Sun Deck and so on;
- Taxes charged by the government.
The following items are excluded in your cruise fare. If you want to enjoy the service, please pay extra fee accordingly.
- The cost of your visa;
- Transfers: air or train to Chongqing or Yichang; as well as transportation between Chongqing airport or railway station and Chongqing Chaotianmen Port; transportation between Yichang airport or railway station and Yichang Taohuacun Port / Yichang New Century Port / Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal;
- Porter Service: hire a porter to carry your luggage to get on or leave the cruise;
- Meals not listed in the itinerary: usually, the dinner for the boarding day and lunch for the disembarking day will not arranged by the cruise company and it needs extra charge if you want to enjoy the dining onboard;
- Optional Shore Excursions: usually there are two or three optional shore excursions along Three Gorges which charge extra fee. You can decide on your own to take it or not.
- Travel with Kids: your kids (0-2, 2-11 years old) need extra charge;
- Upgrade your room or deck;
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry, internet, medical services, gift shop items, spa and beauty services, photograph, beverages and so on;
- Tipping: you need to pay the service charge around 150 Yuan/person when checking in onboard. Besides, the service charge does not include a gratuity to the river guide or cruise director, which may be given at travelers’ discretion based on your satisfaction with services received.
Travel Guide for Boarding Yangtze Cruise
1. Call the cruise or check email ahead
In normal circumstances, no matter you take downstream or upstream Yangtze cruises, you usually embark your ships at Chongqing Chaotianmen Port and Yichang Taohuacun Port/Yichang New Century Port (except for Victoria Cruises at Maoping Port). BUT, it may do some adjustments for special events, like weather condition, level of water, river navigational conditions, annual maintenance of the Three Gorges Dam ship locks, etc. (In 2018, all ships use Yichang Maoping Port, except Yangtze 1 using Taohuacun Port)
To make everything go smoothly, please call the ship (the phone number we’ll show you clearly in the Confirmation Letter) one day ahead or at least in the morning on the boarding day. Or, you can also check your mailbox on the boarding day or one day before to get the updated boarding information our travel consultant delivered. Please make sure your phone can be called through in China, so that we can also call you if there is any urgent change.
2. Find the right pier for boarding
|Chongqing Jiangbei Airport||Chaotianmen Port||35km||About 40~60mins|
|Chongqing North Railway Station||12km||About 20~40mins|
|Yichang Sanxia Airport||New Century Port||40~45km||About 50~80mins|
|Yichang East Railway Station||20~25km||About 40~50mins|
|Yichang Sanxia Airport||Taohuacun Port||38~45km||About 40~80mins|
|Yichang East Railway Station||20~23km||About 30~45mins|
|Yichang Sanxia Airport||Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal||30~35km||About 40~50mins|
|Yichang East Railway Station||9~12km||About 25~30mins|
|Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal||Yichang Maoping Port||50~60km||About 1~1.5hrs|
|Yichang East Railway Station||60-70km|
Chongqing Chaotianmen Port has 13 sub-piers that different ships dock at different piers. While Maoping Port in used in Yichang is about 50km from the downtown. For upstream embarkation, travelers (except people taking Yangtze 1) need to transfer to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal or Yichang East Railway Station for taking the arranged bus to Maoping for boarding; for downstream, they need to be transferred to Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal for departure.
For the boarding piers in port cities, you can use our worry free private transfer service. The local guide or driver will take you to the correct cruise pier from the airport / train stations, etc.
3. Board the cruise at the scheduled time
Please plan your transportation to arrive in Chongqing or Yichang ahead and board your ship at the schedule time. If you are unsure to book the suitable flight or train, please discuss it with our travel consultants. If you have any trouble for your flight, train or local transportation to the port causing you arrive at the port late, please contact us at first time and we’ll try our best to help you solve the problem.
4 days & 3 nights Chongqing – Yichang downstream cruise:
Pier & boarding time: board your ship at Chongqing Chaotianmen Port at 18:00~21:00
5 days & 4 nights Yichang – Chongqing upstream cruise:
Pier & boarding time:
|Yangtze 1||Board your ship at Yichang Taohuacun Port at 19:00~22:00|
|All other cruise ships:||First gather at Yichang Three Gorges Center Cruise Terminal or Yichang East Railway Station at 16:00~21:00 and then transfer to Maoping Port for boarding.|
4. Collect cruise ticket & get security check
Yangtze cruisers need to collect your cruise ticket with real-name info signed at the corresponding port in Chongqing / Yichang (please make sure your passport and ticket with consistent information). After the ticket collecting, you’ll be followed to get security check before board the ship.
5. Porter hiring & luggage carrying
To save your energy, you can hire a porter to help you carry your luggage once you get off the taxi at the port. The porter will carry your luggage all the way to the ship. Please discuss the price (usually 15 Yuan/piece) with the porter beforehand. It usually charges according to the number of your luggage.
6. Check in
Travelers can get onboard and check in at least 3 hours before disembarkation. The friendly staff at front desk will ask your needs and please feel free to tell your personal requirements, like special eatery requirements, room or deck upgrading, transportation tips for departure and so on.
7. Ship tipping
Almost all the 4 to 5-star Yangtze cruise ships require a compulsory ship service fee which is required to be paid when checking in at the front desk; it is the regulation of the cruise companies that travelers are supposed to follow. The tip amount differs from different cruise lines and will be specified in our Confirmation Letter, please kindly note this so that inconvenience can be avoided.
8. Life & experience onboard tips
To know the colorful life and experience on Yangtze cruises, you can turn to the “Onboard Experience” page for details. You will have a clear understanding about the food & dining, drinking, entertainment and activities, services, facilities, health care & wellness and more.
Optional Shore Excursions
Usually, there are three fixed shore excursions arranged by the cruise company. Travelers can also take two to three optional shore excursions to explore deeply about the local life and beauty along Three Gorges.
The optional excursions are performed based on the number of travelers who want to go. Interested travelers can visit the sites if the number of travelers is up to 30 or above (the number may adjust according to the real situation). If you are not interested in, you can stay onboard to enjoy some relaxing time. For your safety, you are not allowed to leave your ship on your own.
Since different cruise companies have different itineraries for excursion sites, you could check the detailed shore excursions arrangement of the arranged and optional sites of each cruise company of Chongqing = Yichang cruise route for you to compare.
Extra Fee Charged: Victoria Cruises are for 295 RMB, except Quyuan Birthplace for 220 RMB, Ship Lift for 218 RMB; Century Cruises are for 290 RMB, except Quyuan Birthplace for 220 RMB, Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift for 218 RMB; President Cruises are for 280 RMB; Yangtze Gold Cruises are Shibaozhai Pagoda for 220 RMB, White Emperor City 290 RMB, Small Lesser Three Gorges for 150 RMB, Three Kingdoms Open Air Show for 290 RMB, Tribe of Three Gorges for 290 RMB, and Three Gorges Dam Ship Lift for 198 RMB; Yangtze Explorer are Baiheliang Underground Museum for 150 RMB, and Three Kingdoms Open Air Show for 290 RMB; Changjiang Cruises are for 290 RMB.
Travel Tips for Disembarkation
1. Transportation for departure
To transfer smoothly between the port and airport/railway station, you can ask ideas at the front desk. Some cruise company may arrange the coaches sending travelers directly to the airport and railway station which is very convenient and economic. Besides, you can use our worry free private car service and our local guide and driver (or driver only) will pick you up at the port and escort you to the airport/railway station or other places.
2. In-depth sightseeing in port cities
If you want a half-day tour in Chongqing or Yichang before leave, you can enjoy the service and please tell your ideas to your travel consultant in advance and they will arrange the experienced guide and driver to guide you for the sightseeing.