We booked a private tour of China through an Internet Agency. Spent a year setting the tour up emailing on a regular basis back and forth with the agent in Guilin, China. Got it exactly they way we wanted it starting with several days in Singapore, then moving on to the Yellow Mountains and Tunxi for a few more days, a 4 day cruise on the Yangtze River and finally a flight out to Lijiang and a several day tour of the wonders of that area. Just before we left the boat that we were to take on the Yangtze canceled it's last December run leaving us with "high and dry". The travel agent in Guilin suggested that maybe we could do something else with those 4 days and do the River Cruise on another trip. I told her no river cruise.....no trip (as I had not made the final payment) so she scrambled around and got us on another ship, changed the dates and the orders of the places we were visiting but assured us we would have our cruise.
The night we got on the boat it was late, we were tired and 90% of the other guests were Chinese nationals and we weren't sure what was going on but finally we were led down a long hall way by the Cabin Steward and we kept walking and walking (I whispered to my husband that we were probably going to be in steerage.) When the last door in the hall was opened and we were shown into our cabin we couldn't believe our eyes. It was the Presidential Suite which took up the whole right front of the boat. You can imagine our amazement with fresh flowers, and a living room bigger than most Suites......not to mention the king size bedroom, gold plated bath tub and deck that covered the front bow of the ship. We just looked at each other and said "lets, not unpack because there has to be a mistake." So we sat down on one of the couches and waited for them to come throw us out. After a 1/2 hour (about 11pm)....we put out the "Do Not Disturb" sign and went to bed, the suite was ours and had if the temperature in it had ever got above 60 degrees it would have been PERFECT, as it was it was still Sweet! Pictures at the following link.
Now a little about the actual cruise. I must say if you can cruise in December you are in for a treat. On our boat with probably 250 passengers there was a couple from Ireland, a lady from Mexico City and a Chinese couple from Oakland, the rest of the passengers were all Chinese Nationals. Dinner every night was traditional Chinese 9 course dinners with the big lazy Susan in the middle filled with delicious authentic dishes. Breakfast buffet offered the usual American type fare plus a large selection of traditional Chinese breakfast items. Same at lunch. The announcements were the funniest because first they were in Mandarin and then Cantonese finally a much shortened version in English. We really enjoyed being in the minority. Made us feel much more like we were in China for sure. The wait staff were marvelous, so accommodating and would ask my husband every night if he would rather have a steak than the Chinese dinners (not on your life!) but it was so nice for them to inquire. We have also done a Viking Cruise in Russia and found it top notch as well. Even if you don't get the Presidential Suite, it's still a wonderful experience.