Born in China and lived in the US for more than 30 year, I chose the Victoria Cruises because the cruise line claims that they are the only 'American company' on the Yangtze River. It turned out that the advertisement from the Victoria Cruises is a total misleading. On November 11, 2016, we boarded Victoria Grace and started our 4-day Chongqing to Yichang (the three gorges) cruise and it is the worst cruise we even taken (we took more than dozen of cruises including river cruise in Europe).
The ship. The so labeled “5-star” ship is absolutely outdated and nowhere close to a 3-star ship, and there is NO elevator. The floors are uneven and you can feel the metal sheet waving underneath the carpet and hear the noise when walking on the floor. Decoration is at the minimal and pale, at least.
The embarkation. First, all passengers had to walk about 2 km to board the ship carrying all luggage and there was no help from the ship. When we asked for help to move our luggage to our cabin after we got on the board, we were told that we had to pay for the service by using the local labor whom the ship allowed to do so. During check-in, we were immediately asked to pay gratuities (150 RMB per person) at front because we are not Chinese citizen (however, the ship asked us to pay tip again at the end of cruise which we declined for the experience we had). Be aware that there is no food provided for the first night.
The cabin: We had a standard cabin which is small, tired, dated and smelly. Bed is soft, furniture, sheets, bedcover and towels are old. We had toilet and door lock problems during our 4-day cruise.
Food: Buffet breakfast and lunch were provided, and dinners were either buffets or Chinese style table dinner. Foods was boring with limited choices. Sometimes passengers had to wait for items to be refilled.
Service: The ship provided absolutely minimal service. No greetings, and smiling was almost non-exist. There is thermal bottle in cabin but the room attendant wanted passages to fill the hot water themselves. It was a great effort to get the waiter/waitress to bring a cup of tea or coffee to you during lunch or dinner. Some of the staff were doing better job than others. However, if you complain, then the situation became worse! There was one English speaking person on board but she could not do much because all she could do was listening and reporting it to her boss.
Excursions: There were couple of included excursions that were good but the poor air quality and visibility greatly discounted the true beauty of the three gorges. The optional excursions were very expensive and not worth to take.
In summary, if you want to cruise the three gorges, go with other cruise lines and do a good homework. Do not simply believe the advertisement and DO NOT go with Victoria Cruises!