Exclusive Sightseeing and Real Engagement

+ We take you deeper inside Tibetan life and culture... By special arrangement, you’ll spend time with a resident family, meet a local doctor, visit a Buddhist nunnery and join in an ancient rite of walking and prayer.
+ See China's panda bears and learn more about these remarkable animals.
+ Delight in the dramatic scenery of the Yangtze Gorges from the privacy of your own stateroom balcony.

Visit 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites c

2018 Itinerary2019 Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Welcome to Shanghai

    Upon arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the Fairmont Peace Hotel. This luxury Art Deco landmark enjoys a privileged city-center location overlooking the historic waterfront Bund.
  • Day 2 - Full Day Small Group Sightseeing

    Today’s sightseeing begins at the Shanghai Museum, highly regarded for its expansive collection encompassing thousands years of Chinese arts and culture - including ancient bronzes, celadon pottery, precious jade, Buddhist sculptures and exquisite antique furniture. Continue your foray into other fascinating facets of China’s long and rich history as you admire the turn-of-the-century landmarks that grace the Bund and stroll in Yu Yuan Garden – originally created by a Ming Dynasty court official for his aging parents. This evening, you’ll enjoy an elegant dinner with wine at our luxury landmark hotel.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 3 - Fly to Yichang + Embark the all-balcony Yangzi Explorer

    You’ll be escorted to the airport this morning for your included flight to Yichang, an ancient city that has grown into a bustling port on the northern banks of the Yangtze River. On arrival, we’ll take you into the countryside not far from the airport to visit the home of a local villager. After this experience of traditional rural life, you’ll have lunch and then head into town to visit Yiling Square, a grand public plaza that opened in 1997 to preserve public green space in Yichang. After mingling with residents at a farmers market, we’ll take you to the pier where the intimate Yangzi Explorer awaits. You’ll have time to settle in to your balcony stateroom and refresh before dinner is served in the Explorer’s elegant restaurant. Choose from a tempting array of international and regional Chinese dishes, accompanied by free-flowing wine. This evening, the 7 Wonders of China documentary will be screened in the Tang Theater.  Meals B+D
  • Day 4 - The Immense Three Gorges Dam

    Early risers can start the day with invigorating Tai Chi exercise before an expansive buffet breakfast. A relaxing morning onboard offers a chance to relax on your private balcony, attend an informative talk on Chinese traditions, or indulge in a treatment at the shipboard spa. After lunch, you’ll step off  ship to visit the Three Gorges Dam; stretching more than 3,300 yards across at the top and towering over 600 feet, this massive construction project took 17 years to complete! It’s still the world’s largest hydro-power dam and this afternoon’s guided tour explores its far reaching impact upon the geography, archaeological sites, industries, and residents of the region. Back onboard, you can enjoy a lecture on traditional Chinese medicine. Later, the Yangzi Explorer will navigate through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the river’s Three Gorges. Then as the river widens and sweeps through groves of orange and pomelo trees, you’ll experience the tranquil side of life along China’s mightiest river. Tonight’s Captain’s Welcome Reception is followed by dinner and then entertainment in the Tang Theater.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 5 - The Yangtze’s Impressive Gorges

    If you wish, you can join fellow passengers for early morning Tai Chi before breakfast is served. Then step off ship for an unforgettable journey up Shennong Stream. You’ll explore this spectacular region in traditional sampan boats poled by Tujia boatmen. The landscapes here are unrivalled, encompassing crystalline rushing waters, dense forests and towering rock formations. As you venture upstream, you’ll espy coffins stowed high within the limestone cliffs that tower above you – a legacy of the region’s earliest inhabitants. Before returning to ship, you’ll visit a nearby village to experience life in a rural community. After lunch, you’ll want to be on your balcony or with fellow passengers on the Sun Deck as the Yangzi Explorer navigates Wu Gorge, renowned for massive cliffs that rise sharply from the river. Later, our ship cruises through spectacular Qutang Gorge, the narrowest of the river’s Three Gorges.  Then enjoy a demonstration of traditional Chinese arts and crafts before sitting down to another elegant à la carte dinner accompanied by free-flowing wine.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 6 - Ashore in Fuling

    A delightful morning onboard our 5-star ship is yours to do as you wish. You might learn about China’s thriving pearl industry or attend a workshop on traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. After lunch, you can tailor your touring with the included excursion of your choice:

    The 816 Underground Project: This unique tour takes you underground into a vast cavern that was built by more than 60,000 laborers as part of a top-secret military project. Initiated in the 1960’s and designed to house China’s first nuclear reactor, construction was halted after 17 years before the project’s completion. The tunnels and cavern remained a closely guarded secret for nearly 50 years until the Government revealed its presence in 2002.

    The White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum: Venture close to 150 feet under water to see what lies beneath the surface of the Yangtze River. You’ll discover ancient rock carvings from the Tang Dynasty that were permanently submerged after the construction of the Dam and also learn about the Yangtze’s flora and fauna. Before returning to ship, you’ll spend time with local farmers and other residents at a lively market filled with a wide variety of fish, meat, produce and Fuling’s famous pickles.

    Note: Today’s morning at leisure and your choice of an included afternoon excursion applies to cruises from May to September. Guests on our other sailings will visit the 816 Underground Project in the morning and the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum in the afternoon.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 7 - Disembark + Fly to Tibet

    Enjoy a final buffet breakfast onboard before disembarking the Yangzi Explorer in Chongqing. You’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Tibet. After arriving in Lhasa, you’ll spend some time with a family in their home, a wonderful introduction to the life, traditions and warmth of the Tibetan people. Then check in to the sophisticated, 5-star Shangri-La Hotel where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner.  Meals B+D
  • Day 8 - Exploring Lhasa

    Your guided tour of this fascinating city begins after breakfast at Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. Built in the 18th century, this expansive palace complex encompasses tranquil wooded areas, landscaped garden grounds and lovely pavilions. You’ll also visit Jokhang Temple. Originally founded in the 7th century, this 4-story timber structure topped with gold remains an important pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists. Nearby, you’ll have a chance to explore Barkhor Street with its lively and colorful markets. Then meet with a Tibetan doctor at one of the city’s hospitals and spend some time with a master Tangka painter in his studio. Both of these specially arranged people-to-people encounters promise an enriching and insightful look into Tibetan life and culture.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 9 - Experience Kora + Tour the Potala Palace

    This morning, you’ll join local residents as they perform Kora. Observing and even participating in this ancient Buddhist rite of walking and prayer will give you an authentic experience of Tibet’s enduring spiritual traditions. Then tour the magnificent Potala Palace. Built on a mountain ridge in the heart of the Lhasa Valley, this was the winter palace of the Dalai Lama for more than 1,000 years. Continue with a visit to the Sera Monastery, founded in the 15th century, and Anicanggu – the only Buddhist nunnery in the old quarter of the city. This evening’s dinner features traditional Tibetan cuisine and a performance of song and dance.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 10 - Fly to Chengdu

    You’ll be escorted to the airport today for your included flight to the thriving city of Chengdu in southwestern China. Upon arrival, you’ll be met and transferred to the 5-star Shangri-La Hotel. This evening, you’ll enjoy a performance of the celebrated Sichuan Opera, known for the artistry and amazing skill of its “face changing” actors who can subtly change their masks and make-up ten times in 30 seconds. By special arrangement, you’ll go backstage before the performance for an exclusive look as these talented actors apply their intricate make-up!  Meals B+D
  • Day 11 - Encounter a Panda + Fly to Xian

    Established to breed and then reintroduce Giant Pandas into their native habitats, the Center at Dujiangyan Panda Valley offers a chance to see and learn about these amazing creatures. This morning we take you behind-the-scenes to spend time with their caretakers for an amazingly informative and up-close experience – it’s a rare treat available to few visitors! Then transfer to the airport for your included flight to Xian. Upon arrival, you’ll be escorted to the deluxe Hilton Hotel – ideally situated within the ancient city walls. Meals B+L
  • Day 12 - China’s Terra Cotta Army

    In 1974, local villagers digging a well stumbled upon what would ultimately become China’s greatest archaeological discovery… Thousands of life-sized terra cotta soldiers and horses that had been buried in perfect infantry formation to guard the tomb of an Emperor! This morning, you’ll gaze upon this extraordinary site as our expert guide sheds light on their history and discovery. At lunch, you’ll learn about the traditional art of noodle-making. Then visit the old defensive walls that still surround much of Xian’s historic core and hear colorful stories about the city – the ancient capital of China for more than a dozen dynasties.  Meals B+L
  • Day 13 - Fly to Beijing

    Transfer to the airport for your included flight to Beijing where you’ll be escorted to the 5-star Fairmont Beijing Hotel in the heart of the capital. This afternoon, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the resplendent Summer Palace – erstwhile seasonal retreat of China’s emperors. Set on wooded hills surrounding a tranquil lake, this assemblage of pavilions, palaces and gardens offers a fascinating look Imperial life long ago.  Meals B+D
  • Day 14 - Beijing’s Imperial Highlights

    Stand in Tiananmen Square and admire the architectural landmarks that surround one of the world’s grandest public plazas. Then follow in the footsteps of Ming Dynasty Emperors on an expertly-guided tour through the magnificent Forbidden City, a sprawling complex of palaces, courtyards and pavilions. Hopping aboard a rickshaw is the best way to experience one of Beijing’s remaining Hutongs. Amidst the towering skyscrapers, office buildings and newly-built residential complexes, this old city neighborhood is still home to centuries-old, courtyard-style houses. After exploring its narrow lanes, you’ll sit down to lunch with a resident family in their home; this specially-arranged cultural encounter offers a personal look into daily life and some of the Chinese traditions that still endure in this modern capital.  Meals B+L
  • Day 15 - Excursion to the Great Wall

    Juyong Pass was recognized very early in China’s history as a site of great strategic importance and indeed this section of the thousands-mile long Great Wall is one of only three that were recognized by military leaders as being practically impregnable. Today, as you walk atop this ancient defensive structure, your expert guide will be on hand to enrich your exploration with dramatic stories and legends of the great battles that were waged here. Before returning to the city, you’ll stroll along the statue-lined Sacred Way at the Ming Tombs. This evening, gather with your fellow guests for a Peking Duck banquet at Hua’s Restaurant.  Meals B+L+D
  • Day 16 - Depart Beijing

    Your journey with us ends when we take you to the airport for your onward flight. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

  • Hong Kong Insider

    4-Day Pre-Tour Extension from $1,599

    Enhance your travels through China and Asia with our signature Private Touring in Hong Kong. We include your choice of deluxe or luxury hotel, chauffeured transfers when you come and go, and our exclusive Hong Kong Insider sightseeing tour with your own personal guide.

    View Day by Day »

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Welcome Aboard!Qutang Deck SuiteWu Deck SuiteWu Deck CabinXiling DeckMain Deck

  • Main Deck Cabin

    Main Deck Cabin

    Now undergoing full refurbishment, China’s finest luxury small ship the Yangzi Explorer will reemerge later this year with a stylish new look in all 62 suites and staterooms. Featuring the most spacious cabins (all with balconies!) and contemporary Chinese style, our luxury shipboard experience will be enhanced with a newly designed restaurant and a talented culinary team focused on an exciting new menu of regional Chinese cuisine and international dishes. Enjoy expertly guided small group excursions enhanced with our enriching shipboard culture + education program. The inviting Explorer Lounge and onboard spa add to your cruising experience.

    Ship DeckPlan

Our Original Journey Value

+ Comprehensive sightseeing and all shore excursions including entrance fees
+ 11 nights in our deluxe and luxury hotels
+ 4 nights in a balcony stateroom aboard China’s finest and most intimate ship
+ All on-tour transportation including airport transfers and all internal flights
+ Gratuities for all local guides, drivers, porters, meals.
+ Luggage handling, port charges, hotel taxes, service charges, all airline fees and fuel charges for your included flights

Trip Pricing

  • Traveling as a single?

Begins Shanghai - Per Person Double

Dates   Main Deck Xiling Deck Wu Deck Cabin Wu Deck Suite Qutang Deck Suite
Departure Return   Regular Deal Regular Deal Regular Deal Regular Deal Regular Deal
4/26/2019 5/11/2019 $7599 $7099 $7679 $7179 $7759 $7259 $8699 $8199 $8799 $8299
Operates on 2018 itinerary Operates on 2018 itinerary Operates on 2018 itinerary Operates on 2018 itinerary Operates on 2018 itinerary
6/19/2019
Guaranteed
7/4/2019 $6999 $6499 $7079 $6579 $7159 $6659 $8099 $7599 $8199 $7699
         
9/4/2019
Guaranteed
9/19/2019 $7399 $6899 $7479 $6979 $7599 $7099 $8499 $7999 $8599 $8099
         
9/18/2019
Guaranteed
10/3/2019 $7399 $6899 $7479 $6979 $7599 $7099 $8499 $7999 $8599 $8099
         
10/2/2019
Guaranteed
10/17/2019 $7399 $6899 $7479 $6979 $7559 $7059 $8499 $7999 $8599 $8099
         
10/23/2019
Guaranteed
11/7/2019 $7399 $6899 $7479 $6979 $7599 $7099 $8499 $7999 $8499 $7999
         
4/8/2020
Guaranteed
4/23/2020 $6999 $6499 $7079 $6579 $7159 $6659 $8099 $7599 $8199 $7699
         
5/20/2020
Guaranteed
6/4/2020 $6999 $6499 $7079 $6579 $7159 $6659 $8099 $7599 $8199 $7699
         
6/17/2020
Guaranteed
7/2/2020 $6999 $6499 $7079 $6579 $7159 $6659 $8099 $7599 $8199 $7699
         
7/29/2020
Guaranteed
8/13/2020 $6999 $6499 $7079 $6579 $7159 $6659 $8099 $7599 $8199 $7699
         
9/2/2020
Guaranteed
9/17/2020 $7399 $6899 $7479 $6979 $7559 $7059 $8499 $7999 $8599 $8099
         
9/16/2020 10/1/2020 $7399 $6899 $7479 $6979 $7559 $7059 $8499 $7999 $8599 $8099
         
9/30/2020
Guaranteed
10/15/2020 $7399 $6899 $7479 $6979 $7559 $7059 $8499 $7999 $8599 $8099
         
10/21/2020
Guaranteed
11/5/2020 $7399 $6899 $7479 $6979 $7559 $7059 $8499 $7999 $8599 $8099
         
4/14/2021
Guaranteed
4/29/2021 $6999   $7079   $7159   $8099   $8199  
         

Select all Deals that apply for best available price.

  • Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking until 12/31/2018.
  • Travel is one of life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
    • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
    • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
    • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
    • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!
    For Groups of 8 or more please call 800.221.2216

Extend Your Trip

  • Hong Kong Insider

    4-Day Pre-Tour Extension from $1,599

    Enhance your travels through China and Asia with our signature Private Touring in Hong Kong. We include your choice of deluxe or luxury hotel, chauffeured transfers when you come and go, and our exclusive Hong Kong Insider sightseeing tour with your own personal guide.

    View Day by Day »



There are no upcoming departures for this tour, but our Custom Travel Team can arrange a private departure just for you at an affordable price and on the dates you want.  With your own private car, driver and guide and custom tailored hotels, meals, and sightseeing we can create the journey of a lifetime exactly to your specifications.

Contact our Custom Travel Team:    800-221-2216  or  Email Us

 

Extend Your Trip

  • Hong Kong Insider

    4-Day Pre-Tour Extension from $1,599

    Enhance your travels through China and Asia with our signature Private Touring in Hong Kong. We include your choice of deluxe or luxury hotel, chauffeured transfers when you come and go, and our exclusive Hong Kong Insider sightseeing tour with your own personal guide.

    View Day by Day »

Private Tour Add-Ons

  • Yunnan

    8 Day FreeStyle Tour

    Delight in the intimacy and flexibility of having your own personal car, driver and expert guide as you tour ancient Lijiang, explore the ethnic cultures of Yunnan province and discover the magnificent landscapes of Zhongdian, the fabled land of Shangri-La!

  • Yellow Mountain

    5 Day Freestyle Tour

Trip Reviews

Average Traveler Rating:  Review This Trip »

(95 Traveler Reviews)

  • Ronald from CA gives this tour 

    EVERYTHING was taken care of by the guides, and nothing but the best. Even out in the Tibetan country, we had first-class hotel accommodations: the new Shangri-La Hotel in Lhasa, Tibet. And there was no unplanned time. A very well organized tour.


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    Date Traveled: 11/21/2018

  • Loretta from CA gives this tour 

    The Panda's were great and the overall trip was handled very professionally. The Guides were excellent, and took us right to the Airport, got our tickets for us, no waiting in long lines, they were very knowledgeable about the History of their Province, and on time.


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    Date Traveled: 11/21/2018

  • Mary from MO gives this tour 

    I just really thought the trip was very good. This was our second Alexander and Roberts trip, and we have been impressed each time. I highly recommend your company to everyone. We love the small group feature, also. As I prepared for this trip, Melanie Delworth was also very helpful.


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    Date Traveled: 11/21/2018

  • Dee and Mitch from VA gives this tour 

    The tour guides were exceptional. They brought the countries to life.


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    Date Traveled: 11/21/2018

  • Sally from NV gives this tour 

    We loved the Pandas and Shangri la. It was an experience of the lifetime.


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    Date Traveled: 11/21/2018



Save $1,000 Per Couple
+ $500 Solo

Pay in full at time of booking until 12/31/2018.

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