The Yangtze on Australia’s cruise radar

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Australia’s love affair with river cruising has seen an increase in interest for Yangtze cruises through the awe-inspirng Three Gorges.

Helen Wong, MD and founder of Helen Wong’s Tours, said the rise in cruising interest had ultimately led to bookings for group and independent tours to other corners of China, beyond the traditional centres of Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Chengdu.

“Australia’s growing hunger for cruising experiences has been overwhelming,” says Wong. “With a further increase in 2018.

“The cruises through the spectacular Three Gorges between Yichang and Chongqing – and vice versa – have been popular for many years. But based on the more recent thirst by Australians to experience a luxury cruise ship holiday, we forecast a healthier flow of Australians along the Yangtze.”

In meeting demand for luxury cruise holidays, Helen Wong’s Tours, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017, utilises the seven-strong American-owned Victoria Cruises fleet in its programme, each vessel rated five-star by the China National Tourism Administration.

With a multilingual cruise director on board, each ship is air conditioned and boasts outside cabins with private balconies and bathrooms. All meals are included in a choice of two restaurants along with Wi-Fi access and a host of other features.

The Three Gorges cruise is a feature of Helen Wong’s Tours’ 15-day Yangtze Wonders group tour which also includes visits on Shanghai, Xian (home of the Terracotta Warriors) and Beijing. Until the end of November 2017 it is priced from $5750 per person, twin-share, from Australia.

Helen Wong’s Tours also offers nine-day Downstream and Upstream Yangtze tours, from $2760 per person, twin-share, including stays in Shanghai and Chongqing. Return airfares from Australia are extra.

To venture along the Yangtze is more than a mere river cruise; it’s a lifetime experience, where passengers call on fascinating towns and journey on a mini cruise along one of the tributaries. Whether they begin the cruise from cosmopolitan Chongqing or near much smaller Yichang in Hubei province, guests can prepare for a journey filled with treasured moments, where the giant Three Gorges Dam is as commanding as the beautiful Three Gorges.

The cruise meanders along a 660km section of China’s most famous river, passing three gorges and cliff-side temples, stopping at the world’s largest dam and cruising under a series of contemporary road bridges which connect traditional farming villages and towns.

Like the Great Wall, the Three Gorges Dam is representative of what the Chinese people can achieve. Its billing as the largest “conservancy project undertaken” tells part of the story.

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