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China Travel FAQ - Yangtze River Cruises

 
  1. What is the average weather like in the three gorges?
2. What are the high, shoulder and winter season for the boat?
3. What is the shore excursion?
4. Is it safe to stay on the boat?
5. Can I buy the drink or wine on board?
6. How can I know the day by day program of the boat?
7. Is it allowed to smoke on board?
8. What kind of entertainment facility does the ship have?
9. What shall I prepare for the shore excursion? What should be careful?
10. Are there any recreational activity on boat?

11. Can I drink the tap water on board?
12. Is medical service available onboard?
13. Is laundry service available on board?
14. How about the electricity on boat?
15. Can I exchange foreign currency and cash traveller’s cheque onboard?
16. How do I pay if I want to buy something onboard?
17. Can I access to Internet access onboard? How can I contact with my family?
18. Can I have some quest on food on board?
19. How about the meal on board?
20. How about tipping on board?
 
 
1. What is the average weather like in the three gorges?
 

The gorgy topography features strong wind, humid and less sunshine. The average temperature reaches 30 C in July and 10 C in January. Spring and autumn are therefore the best seasons for making the river cruises. In summers, dramatic thunderstorms and torrential rains often happen and heavy rainfalls cause the high water between July and September (Which is usually coincided with the Flood Season on the cruising itineraries). The winters are short and cold.

 
2. What are the high, shoulder and winter season for the boat?
 

Cruise prices vary from different seasons. The high season refers to April, May, September and October in which the weather is at its most temperate and most suitable to take the cruise and the prices are the highest. The winter season refers to December, January and February in which only few ships have sailings and the prices are the lowest. The rest of the months belong to shoulder seasons. Though ships have their own classifications of the seasons, the exchange of seasons is just 7-15 days earlier or later.

 
3. What is the shore excursion?
 

To make your trip on boat more interesting, the ship will stop at some famous places along the Three Gorges and make arrangement for you to go shore to visit. The local guide assigned by the cruise will meet you in the lobby and then lead you to the parking lot on the shore. A bus will wait there and take you to the scenic spot. After sightseeing, the same bus will send you back to the pier. The places for shore excursion include the Ghost City, the Wan county, the Shibaozhai, the White Emperor City, the Lesser Three Gorges, the Shennong Stream, the Three Gorges dam site, the Jingzhou and the Yueyang Tower and also other places. Every ship has its own itinerary and won't cover them all. Even as to a single ship, itineraries of upstream and downstream sailings are also probably different.

 
4. Is it safe to stay on the boat?
 

Normally for foreigners we recommend 4 star and 5 star cruises. It is very safe to travel on this kind of cruise. There are security guards on board who ensure the safety of the whole boat. There is also safety box in your cabin, where you can put your important stuff. If there is no safety in your room, leave your valuable things in the front desk of the boat. If you lose something on board, you can go to the Lost and Found session to find it.
Although it is safe on board, we still advise you not to leave your valuable things in your room. When the boat is anchored at the pier or when you go for the shore excursion, please lock your window, especially for those who stay in the first floor.

 
5. Can I buy the drink or wine on board?
 

Soft drink including mineral water, Cola, Sprite is provided free of charge when you have the lunch or dinner. But wine and beer are on your own account if you want. They are quite expensive on board, more than 100 yuan/per bottle for wine and 15 yuan/per bottle for beer. I advise you to buy some in the super marker in the city where you board the cruise and bring them to the ship. If you bring the beer and wine you bought in the market to the club or bar on boat and drink there, you have to pay for the service charge (we call the service of opening the bottle). But if you drink inside your cabin, no one will charge you extra money. Some cruises provide 2 bottles of mineral water in your cabin which are free for passengers.

 
6. How can I know the day by day program of the boat?
 

A printed program for the next day will be provided in your cabin each day. So you have the idea of what activity to be held on the boat and where to visit for the shore excursion.

 
7. Is it allowed to smoke on board?
  For safety reasons smoking is not allowed in your cabin. If you want smoking you can go to the deck and club.
 
8. What kind of entertainment facility does the ship have?
 

The boat is well equipped with beauty saloon, massage room, meeting room, fitness room and bar which will make your trip on the boat more pleasant and comfortable.

 
9. What shall I prepare for the shore excursion? What should be careful?
 

According to the program of the cruise, you will go for the shore excursion to visit some famous scenic spots along the Yangtze River. Before you go, prepare the mosquito repellent, skin lotion, torch, umbrella, hat, sunglasses and some drinks, put them in a small bag and bring with you. Please wear casual cloth and comfortable shoes because sometimes you will need to walk a lot for the whole day. Bring some Chinese currency in small bill with you in case you want to buy something or need to offer tips to the local guide.
Please follow the local guide all the time and don’t go far away from the group. If you get lost, it will be very difficult for you to find the way back to the boat. Maybe you will meet local people who recommend and invite you to visit some other places. Don’t follow them to go, or you will have great trouble. Never purchase the foodstuff and drinks in the local market because the quality is not reliable. You can buy small items as souvenirs.

 
10. Are there any recreational activity on boat?
 

There are all kinds of entertainment activities on boat, including the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party and Dinner, the Captain's Farewell Dinner, Birthday Party and Dancing and Singing Performed by the Crew Members. It is better to dress up for such a formal occasion. We recommend jacket and tie for gentlemen and dresses or pantsuits for ladies
In early morning there are professions who teach you how to practice “Taiji”. Lectures on such themes as Chinese culture, Chinese history, Chinese painting and silk will also be given on the boat every day.

 
11. Can I drink the tap water on board?
  We do not recommend the tap water on ship for drinking, although it has been purified and sterilized. Distilled water for drinking is placed in the cabin daily. Some ships provide bottles of water every which are free for passengers.
 
12. Is medical service available onboard?
  There are clinic and professional doctor on the ship. If you feel uncomfortable, you can go the clinic to see the doctor.
 
13. Is laundry service available on board?
 

Yes, laundry service is available including washing and pressing but no dry cleaning on board. Laundry fare is not very expensive, just like that in the hotels.

 
14. How about the electricity on boat?
  Most ships have 110V outlets in the bathroom and rest of cabin 220V, no need for a converter/adapter. Many ships will supply hair-dryers in your cabin for your convenience .
 
15. Can I exchange foreign currency and cash traveller’s cheque onboard?
  Yes, You can exchange Currency and cash the traveller’s cheque at the Front Desk of the Cruise.
 
16. How do I pay if I want to buy something onboard?
  There are souvenir shops on the ship where you may purchase something you like and a bar where you can have the coffee or beer to relax. When settling down the bill, you can pay by cash or credit card (Major credit cards acceptable). You can also sign your name and room number and pay the expense when you check out just like what you do in most hotels.
 
17. Can I access to Internet access onboard? How can I contact with my family?
 

Internet access is available on board which enable you to receive and send email. But it is not broad band access. So the speed is quite slow and you need the patience.
You can also contact with your friends or family 24-hours a day via the Satellite Service on ship. Secretarial service such as photocopying, simultaneous translating, typing, personal computers, fax capabilities are available in Business Center. But you need to pay extra charge.

 
18. Can I have some quest on food on board?
  Most ships can provide salt-free, low-carbohydrate, Kosher, vegetarian food or other diet preferences. However, this request must be made at least 45 days prior to your departure date.
 
19. How about the meal on board?
  Restaurants on all cruise ships sailing on the Yangtze River have a limited area and meals are arranged at fixed times. Breakfast is usually buffet dinner (1 - 2 hours) while supper is usually a table arrangement in Chinese style (about one hour). There was so much food and so many wonderful opportunities to eat! Gourmet chefs are employed on these ships and they prepare amazing and succulent cuisine - all of which are all included in your fare. Ships rated three-stars and up offer free drinks like tea or beer, but in limited quantity. For other drinks, extra fees need to be paid. If you are observing a special diet special taste or have allergies, you can ask for special service. Eating in the dining room is not your only option...especially for breakfast and lunch. Very often there are buffets on deck, a pizzeria or some other kind of restaurant. On ships rate three stars and up, you can order room service at any time, 24 hours a day. However, it is recommended that you order a day or a half day in advance. Sometimes a cruise line will also provide reservations for themed parties or banquets on deck, which are perfect for mingling, dancing and enjoying snacks and spirits.
 
20. How about tipping on board?
  Tipping is a personal matter, depending upon satisfaction with services received. It is customary, but optional, with a suggested amount of $5 to $7 per person per day, which may be left in the tip box at the front desk at the conclusion of the cruise. Additional tips for any staff member who has provided some special service are at your discretion. Please note that our river guide and cruise director do not share in the tips from the tip box. Shore excursions are not managed by the Cruises and tips to shore excursion guides are also at the passenger's discretion.