December 27, 2017
The Yangzi Explorer moored for a long winter’s rest last month, as cold creeps into all the spaces of Southern China’s Yangtze River. There the pleasure boat will sit until March, when – packed with discerning travelers – it heads out on its luxury journey once again in the Chinese spring. Now is the time to start thinking about tickets aboard the Yangzi Explorer.
The Yangzi Explorer showcases the largest rooms and the finest amenities on the river, equal to many five-star hotels. The intimate one-to-one ratio of staff to guest is unique on the Yangtze, and its decor reflects a contemporary Chinese style through textiles and silver-leaf wallpaper design featuring a mudan, or peony, native to the Yangtze region.
There are four eastern-flavored Specialty Suites on the boutique cruise ship, with the spacious Celestial and Imperial Suites spanning 1,183 square-feet.
Complete with separate living and sleeping areas, the suites boast panoramic views over the Yangtze River through floor-to-ceiling windows and a private viewing balcony in every room. In-suite private dining is available for travelers in the larger suites, as well as a private sundeck.
As to the routes, sailing downstream between Chongqing and Yichang, the most scenic part of the river, travelers pass the Three Gorges region. The ship then continues to sail onto what is known as the ‘Green Pearl’ of China: Shennongjia Nature Reserve.
The ancient forest landscape is largely comprised of dense bamboo forest and vines, a natural habitat of playful golden monkeys; the park is the only place in the world where travelers can get close to this adorable animal.
Guests can choose between the Shennongjia and the Ultimate Indulgence tours which both allow travelers to cruise along the Shennong Stream, where they will then disembark from the Yangtzi Explorer and transfer from ferry to a traditional longtail boat, also known as a sampan, poled by Tujia boatmen.
Back on the Yantzi Explorer and onto the Three Gorges Project Dam Site Exhibition Center, the center is over one mile wide and 600 feet tall, making it the largest and most expensive engineering project in the world, which generates enough clean energy to reduce China’s overall reliance on coal. After several onshore excursions to local markets and villages, the journey concludes in Chongqing.
Internationally trained chefs craft innovative menus catering to both Chinese and Western palettes through a la carte dining either in the restaurant or delivered to the suite for more private affairs. Both lunch and dinner feature complimentary house wines and local beer.
While cruising along the Yantze River, guests can venture through the library or two-floor theater. An onboard spa offers six treatment rooms and an array of massage and beauty treatments, including the Aromasoul Dream spa treatment. A complementary fitness center, beauty salon and sauna complete the package.
Onboard entertainment is highly cultural, unlike many of the other ships sailing the Yangtze River, with educational programs including an introduction to the Chinese language, painting and calligraphy – giving travelers an exclusive insight into Chinese culture.
Traditional Chinese exercises are available each morning to work up an appetite for the breakfast buffet and a birdcage-themed afternoon tea set is available in private suites. Toward the end of the time aboard the Yangtzi Explorer, “a taste of China” farewell dinner is available.