Is It Worth Doing The Yangtze River Cruise


When it comes to choosing whether or not taking a Yangtze River cruise is worth it, it’s important to consider the advantages of doing so. For starters, travelers get to experience a unique area of China that is often overlooked by tourists. Experiencing the city of Chongqing and the rest of the Yangtze River Valley provides a dynamic contrast to the massive metropolises of Beijing or Shanghai. Every traveler will be able to take in the natural beauty of the area that features forests, mountains, and snowcapped peaks as they cruise upriver.

Travelers can also take in the culture and culinary specialties of the region as well. China is known for its rich cultural heritage, and the Yangtze River Valley is a great opportunity to experience a variety of local traditions. There will be beautiful temples, ancient towns, and majestic landscapes along the way. And of course, the food of the area is an experience of its own with a wide range of dishes served on the boat.

Another advantage is that an Yangtze River cruise can be experienced at any time of the year. Cruises typically begin in late Spring and last through Fall however, during the off-season cruises are still available as well. No matter what time of year travelers go, they will be able to experience this unique region of China in comfort and ease. It also is relatively affordable with cruises ranging in price from $500 – $1000 per person depending upon the cabin, duration, and itinerary.

Types Of Ships

When it comes to travelling the Yangtze River, travelers can select from a variety of different cruise ships and class levels. Ships range from the luxurious, five-star Victoria Cruise ships to more budget-friendly vessels. Cruises typically last several days, with many departing from Chongqing and traveling upriver towards the Three Gorges before returning back to the city.

However, travelers will also find a range of other options, depending on the time of year they go. Many companies offer short cruises of two or three days, and longer tours of one or two weeks. Travelers should determine what type of experience they are looking for before booking their cruise.

Ships typically have a range of different amenities onboard, from luxurious suites to deck-side BBQs. For those looking for a truly unique experience, many ships offer special packages which include off-ship activities such as rafting, biking, and hiking.


Although there are many advantages to taking an Yangtze River cruise, there are also some potential drawbacks. One of the biggest is the overcrowding of the river during peak times. During the summer and other holidays, the river is often crowded with tourists, making it difficult to get an intimate experience of the region.

In addition, due to the popularity of the river and its increasing number of ships, pollution concerns have arisen in the region. In response to this, the Chinese government has implemented a number of measures to protect the area and reduce the environmental impact of the ships. However, travelers should be aware that pollution is still an issue in the region and should take steps to minimize their own ecological footprint.

Finally, there are also certain logistical issues to consider when planning an Yangtze River cruise. The river is often blocked off for repairs or maintenance during certain times of the year, which can make it difficult to plan a trip. In addition, due to its length, cruises can often take a while and require several days of travel.

Perspectives From Experts

The jury is out on whether an Yangtze River cruise is worth it or not. Some travelers view it as too commercialized and overcrowded, while others enjoy the experience of being on the water and discovering new places. Jeanne Miller, a travel writer with the Miami Herald, sees it as an opportunity to experience a different culture and to see breathtaking sights that cannot be experienced in urban locations such as Beijing and Shanghai. She encourages travelers to take the opportunity to experience a new side of China that is not often seen by tourists.

CJ Liu, a travel expert and researcher for the World Travel Guide, agrees that Yangtze cruises can be an opportunity for unique cultural experiences. He advises travelers to go for the full two-week experience, as that is when the river really opens up and shows travelers its true beauty. He also recommends avoiding peak times due to overcrowding and pollution concerns.

David Leffleber, a senior writer with The Travel Insider, cautions travelers against taking a Yangtze River cruise. He believes that with so many excellent cruise options around the world, travelers would be better off experiencing something that is more out of the ordinary. He encourages travelers to consider other water expeditions in Southeast Asia or even Africa, as those will provide a more unique and interesting experience compared to the Yangtze cruise.

Safety Considerations

When it comes to safety considerations, travelers should be aware that the river can be rough during the summer monsoon season. However, cruise ships typically take precautions such as extra life rafts, life vests, and safety protocols on the boat. In addition, cruises offer a much more relaxed atmosphere and provide an opportunity for travelers to learn about the river and its culture in a controlled environment.

Travelers should also be aware of weather patterns in the region. During humid and rainy seasons, the river can become a challenge to navigate and can be unsafe for small ships. However, most ships are well-equipped to handle these weather conditions and will take precautions such as slowing down during storms or avoiding certain areas of the river.

Finally, travelers should be aware that the river can be quite polluted. The government has implemented a river-cleaning system, so the water has gotten much cleaner in recent years. However, travelers should always be aware of the potential dangers of polluted water and take steps to avoid it.


The cost of taking a Yangtze River cruise varies greatly, depending on the type of ship, itinerary, length of time, and season. Depending on the cruise, travelers can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $1000 per person for their cruise. Some discounts may be available for certain ships during peak and off-peak times.

Travelers should determine what type of experience they are looking for and compare prices from different providers before booking. Cost should not be the only factor when selecting a cruise, however, as travelers should also consider safety, comfort, and itinerary.

In addition, travelers should be aware that there are also additional costs associated with the cruise such as food, drinks, and entertainment. It is best to plan ahead and budget for these costs before boarding the ship.

Itinerary Options

When it comes to choosing an itinerary, travelers will have many options. Most cruises begins in Chongqing and travel upriver towards the Three Gorges before returning back to the city. However, individuals can choose from many other options as well, such as a two-week journey from Chongqing to Shanghai or a three-day exploration of the various tributaries of the river.

In terms of activities and sightseeing, travelers can expect to visit a range of sites, such as stunning temples, ancient towns, and majestic landscapes. Some packages may also include white water rafting and bicycle rides along the river.

Travelers can also expect to experience a range of cultural activities and events, such as traditional music performances, tea ceremonies, and cooking classes. These will offer an inside look into the local customs and culture of the region.

Finally, travelers should be aware of the timing of their trip. Cruises typically begin and end in Chongqing and can last anywhere from one to two weeks. It is important to plan ahead and decide on the desired itinerary before booking.

Carolyn Johnston is an avid traveler with a particular interest in the world's most famous rivers. She loves to explore different cultures, landscapes, and history through her travels. Carolyn has had the opportunity to sail down the Nile, raft through the Grand Canyon, and cruise along the Amazon.

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