We boarded the Victoria Anna for what was supposed to be a "5 day 4 night" cruise. I think that needs to be corrected to a "4 day 4 night cruise" How day 1 can be counted as boarding at 9pm with no dinner supplied is beyond me!!!! Cabins were just ok, very small but sufficient. When you get on you are hit with opportunities to upgrade your cabin and your dining option. We decided to upgrade our dining option, as the main dining room wasn't that large and sharing it with 350 odd people fighting with a buffet style, compared to upstairs with 50-60 and a peaceful meal was to good to pass up. We were very glad we spent the extra 200 yuan pp.
The biggest problem with this cruise is the lack of activities. If you were not on a shore excursion there is literally NOTHING to do on board. The TV is all in Chinese with Chinese sub titles, there is nowhere to get a coffee or morning/afternoon tea, just nothing except sitting in your cabin or lounge. At one port we were very clearly advised that we were not permitted off the ship if we were not going on an excursion. It was made over the PA system numerous times, due to some Chinese law (which was fine and we understood) However, at the next port, my daughter and I spent 3.5 hours in our cabin with absolutely NOTHING to do, while an excursion took place. After talking to some of our group they asked if they were permitted to go ashore and they were told yes providing they go 1 hour after the tour departure and were back at the same time. When I found this out I was furious, as we had just wasted a whole afternoon bored to death in our cabin, when we could have gone for a lovely walk and for some afternoon tea. When I approached "Marion" the cruise director, and asked why it wasn't announced that we could go, I was told "because we have to pay a tax per person that goes ashore". When I said I was very upset at having wasted a whole afternoon, she shrugged her shoulders and walked away.
Food is great but only at dining times. So there is no food available on board at other times. 2/4 days we ate lunch at 12 and had nothing else to eat until 7pm dinner. We had to resort to taking pastries and cakes after lunch to have later in the day.
Getting off the ship was also an experience.We had to walk along a pontoon of about 1 k then up 100 steps (yes we counted) and then a further walk to our bus. All I can say is thank goodness we only had to carry our carry on luggage.
If you are going on this cruise with high expectations, it is not the cruise for you. Very much a river cruise on a budget, and no services for people with any physical disabilities.
Cabin was ok, small but sufficient. Old and in need of an upgrade.