The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is a luxury boutique cruise vessel which accommodates 124 passengers, much less than most other cruises along the river. The highest staff-to-guest ratio promises a more attentive and personal service, whilst the spacious and stylish cabins and suites offer wonderful retreats in which to relax and watch the dramatic scenery roll by from your private balcony.
On board cultural activities include calligraphy writing, Tai Chi, tea ceremonies and dumpling making, in addition to luxurious spa and beauty treatments. Watch inspiring lectures and traditional folk dancing performances in the theatre and enjoy delicious meals, freshly prepared with local ingredients by internationally-trained chefs, accompanied by an excellent choice of wines from the cellar.
The Yangzi Explorer sails in both directions between Chongqing and Yichang, on three and four night itineraries. Along the way you'll encounter the jaw-dropping Three Gorges scenery, remote communities and the magnificent Three Gorges Dam. See below for both itineraries.
Book the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer more than three months in advance of sailing to receive an early-bird discount of up to 25%
- Deck Plans
Size: 39m2 / 420 ft
These 20 suites have an indoor seating area and a private balcony with table and chairs. They’re spacious enough to accommodate a third person, and they include a free laundry service as well as access to the suite lounge for unlimited drinks and snacks.
Celestial Suite, Jade, Imperial & Mandarin SuitesMore details
Celestial Suite, Jade, Imperial & Mandarin Suites
Mandarin & Jade Suites: 81m2/ 872ft2
Celestial & Mandarn Suites: 110m2/ 1184ft2
These four suites are the largest on the ship. Dressed in traditional Chinese décor, these sumptuous, spacious suites have separate bedroom and living areas and as well as uninterrupted views of screensaver-worthy landscapes as the ship sails its course. Additional perks to this luxury accommodation include room service, in-suite private dining, sparkling wine, a fruit bowl replenished daily, and afternoon tea imaginatively presented in a birdcage.
Chongqing to Yichang
Sail downstream towards the dramatic Three Gorges and the famous locks. Marvel at magnificent scenery, relax in comfort and explore the local area.More details
Chongqing to Yichang
THURSDAY - SUNDAY
DAY 1 - DEPART CHONGQING
This afternoon, board the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer for your cruise downstream to Yichang. The ship will set sail shortly after you've settled into your cabin, giving you the opportunity to join your fellow guests in the Explorer Bar. The large windows allow you to enjoy the night-time cityscape of Chongqing as we sail deeper into the Three Gorges region of the mighty Yangtze River.
Tonight we will host an optional embarkation dinner (additional charge).
DAY 2 - FENGDU
Early risers can start each morning with our onboard doctor who will teach you the ancient art of Tai Chi. This traditional martial art has been practiced for centuries and with proven health and wellbeing benefits it's the perfect way to start your day.
After breakfast we’ll visit the ancient river town of Fengdu where you’ll get a unique glimpse into some of China’s most remote communities. Choose between exploring the Ghost City's shrines, temples and monasteries or meet the residents of modern Fengdu, including a visit to a local market.
Back on board, take part in a range of demonstrations including Chinese reflexology, snuff bottle painting and a traditional tea ceremony. There will also be a selection of lectures: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese 101 and Pearls of the World.
This evening, join the Captain's welcome reception before enjoying a delicious a la carte dinner.
DAY 3 - THREE GORGES
Today is all about the striking Three Gorges; Qutang, Wu and Xiling. As we sail through each gorge, head to the Explorer Deck to listen to commentary to discover the myths and facts that make each gorge unique.
Join this morning's lecture, The Magic of Silk Embroidery, followed by a unique ride along the Shennong Stream on a sampan - a traditional longboat rowed by expert Tujia boatmen. As we gently float through this stunning riverine gorge flanked by verdant forest, you’ll see evidence of early settlements in the form of hanging coffins stowed high within the limestone cliffs.
This evening we will sail through the Three Gorges Dam Ship locks before our farewell dinner, 'A Taste of China'.
DAY 4 - THREE GORGES DAM & DISEMBARK IN YICHANG
After breakfast, you will arrive at the Three Gorges Project Dam Site and Exhibition Centre.
The project was started in 1992 and completed in December 2015. Spanning 2,335 metres in length and 181 metres in height, the dam is the largest and most expensive engineering project in the world. While the dam's 32 generators will produce enough clean energy to reduce China's reliance on coal, the project has also caused much controversy. During construction there was severe flooding, causing the submerging of 13 cities, 140 towns, 1,352 villages, over 600 industrial factories and more than 1,200 archaeological projects, as well as the resettling of 1.2 million people.
Disembark the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer at around midday for you onward journey.
Yichang to Chongching
Sail upstream at a more leisurely pace, passing through dramatic river gorges. Enjoy regular excursions and traditional cultural activities.More details
Yichang to Chongching
SUNDAY TO THURSDAY
DAY 1 - Depart Yichang
This afternoon, board Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer in Yichang and prepare for your cruise upstream through this stunning section of the Yangtze River.
Settle into your room before joining your fellow guests in the Explorer Bar for a welcome drink. Tonight there is an optional embarkation dinner (additional cost).
DAY 2 - Xiling Gorges & Three Gorges Dam Project
Start your morning with a traditional Tai Chi lesson as we sail through Xiling Gorge - the perfect introduction to the relaxed pace of the Yangtze River.
Breakfast is followed by an optional shore excursion to the Tribe of the Three Gorges where you can gain an insight into the historical way of life of the Tujia community (additional cost). Alternativley, enjoy the onboard amenities such as the spa or gym, or the activities: Chinese 101 and The Timeless Mighty Yangtze.
After lunch, visit the Three Gorges Project Dam Site and Exhibition Centre where you'll learn more about the dam's construction, including the controversial resettlement of 1.2 million people.
This afternoon's lecture focuses on Traditional Chinese Medicine followed by afternoon tea. This evening we'll pass through the Three Gorges shiplocks while enjoying the Captain's welcome reception and a delicious a la carte dinner.
DAY 3 - Shennong Stream, Qutang Gorge & Wu Gorge
Start your morning with a traditional Chinese exercise and work up an appetite for the international buffet breakfast.
This morning's shore excursion is a unique ride along the Shennong Stream on a sampan - a traditional longboat rowed by expert Tujia boatmen. As we gently float through this stunning riverine gorge flanked by verdant forest, you’ll see evidence of early settlements in the form of hanging coffins stowed high within the limestone cliffs.
Back on board we'll sail through Wu Gorge and Qutang Gorge, giving commentary as we go. Relax and enjoy the on board activities, including a snuff bottle painting demonstration and several lectures. An optional shore excursion to White Emperor City is also offered at an additional cost.
Tonight, enjoy an a la carte dinner followed by onboard entertainment.
DAY 4 - Fengdu
This morning we’ll visit the ancient river town of Fengdu where you’ll get a unique glimpse into some of China’s most remote communities. Choose between exploring the Ghost City's shrines, temples and monasteries or meet the residents of modern Fengdu, including a visit to a local market.
Back on board, take part in a range of activities including reflexology, traditional painting and calligraphy, a dumpling cooking class and a Chinese tea ceremony. We'll also introduce you to the ancient Chinese boardgame, mahjong.
Tonight we'll treat you to a sumptuous farewell dinner, 'A Taste of China'.
DAY 5 - Disembark at Chongqing
Enjoy an international buffet breakfast before disembarking in Chongqing for your onward journey.
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