We have always wanted to visit China to see the difference in cities, culture and landscapes! This Cruise/Land Tour trip was the perfect way to do that. In the two weeks that we were there we saw 6 megacities, flew three domestic flights within China along with experiencing their airlines and airports, in addition to the 7 night, 6 day cruise on the Yangtze river!
-Embarkation went smoothly except for a minor glitch of delayed luggage due to customs holding up one bus temporarily. This is not the fault of the cruise staff and we still left on time. Disembarking was a breeze as was transferring to and from the many airports and hotels. Never had to deal directly with our luggage until the time came to check baggage for our return flight home from Beijing!
-The hotel accommodations were unbelievably top notch! All were 5*+ and we felt that the Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai and the Wyndham in Xian were the nicest rooms we've ever stayed in!
-The food on board the ship and in all the restaurants was phenomenal. So many opportunities to try new and unusual dishes that we'd never heard of or had before. The only "problem" was there was always too much!
-Service aboard the ship was excellent from the cabin attendant to our wonderful waitress Alice and waiter in the dining room. Many are multitalented and also provide the passengers with evening entertainment shows! Any requests of staff were handled efficiently and with a smile.
-A variety of onboard activities were offered, from experiencing a tea ceremony explanation, having a silk garment made to talks by the tour director and explanations by local experts on the history, culture and sites as we made our way on Yangtze for six days.
-The shore excursions and land tours were equally eye opening, everything I expected and so much more! Visiting a 2nd grade classroom in an elementary school was one of many opportunities to interact one on one with the people. The tours did require some physical activity and walking. Climbing 12 floors to the top of a temple, watching the giant pandas in the Chongquin Zoo, exploring the Three Gorges dam and Terra Cotta warriors in Xian. The Three Gorges on the Yangtze were amazing with a chance to see up close one the most beautiful gorges from a Sampan!
Walking on the Great Wall may have been the highlight however. There were just so many sites and experiences in this trip! We have been to many places in the world but we both agree that this is probably the most memorable trip we've taken!
-The advantages of having a tour director with our group the whole two weeks was unbelievable. Our tour director Roy for our group of 36 people was Amazing. He did everything and I mean everything! He handled every little detail so that we could just enjoy ourselves. He made the difference between a good trip and an unbelievably excellent trip and he should be commended many times over.