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Monday, September 13, 2010

Yangtze Spectacular

Always on the lookout for something different for cruise passengers, Prow's Edge brings you news of the Yangtze Spectacular from Victoria Cruises.

The Yangtze Spectacular begins in Beijing where highlights include Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City as well as the less obvious Temple of Heaven and a culturally authentic rickshaw ride through the ancient alleyways of the Hutong – a traditional 700-year-old cottage neighborhood – culminating with lunch at a local family’s home.

Continuing on to Xi’an, travellers will be impressed by the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit, which includes more than 6,000 life-sized statues buried near the first Qin Emperor more than 2,000 years ago. Guests will also enjoy a special Dumpling Banquet, colorful Tang Dynasty Show, sightseeing at the Ming Dynasty Wall and a visit to the Shanxi Provincial Museum. A Xi’an Night Tour will lead participants to the fascinating Muslim Quarter Market, providing travellers with a unique perspective.

Guests will then fly to Yichang where they will board the luxurious Victoria Queen (or similar five-star Victoria Cruises vessel) for a four-night Yangtze River sailing. In addition to marvelous views of centuries-old temples and pagodas nestled along the mist shrouded Yangtze, travellers will enjoy exciting Cultural Entertainment and many onboard activities such as morning Tai Chi lessons.

Cruise excursions include the Three Gorges Dam in Sandouping, an extraordinary feat of engineering, as well as the “Ghost City” of Fengdu at Mingshan Hill, complete with statues of spirits and demons.

The highlight of the cruise experience is sure to be a journey through the impressive Small Gorges of the Daning River, one of the Yangtze’s tributaries. The scenic voyage will bring passengers to a floating dock near Dachang, where they will disembark to board a traditional sampan for a tranquil ride through the “Mini Gorges” of the Ma Du River, a tributary of the Daning (Daning River excursion may be substituted with Shennong Stream depending on river conditions).

Passengers will disembark in Chongqing, where they will have an opportunity to see the charming Panda Exhibit at the Chongqing Zoo prior to their flight to Guilin.

In Guilin, travellers will enjoy a tour of Fubo Hill and 180-million-year-old Reed Flute Cave, followed by a Guilin Cultural Show on their first evening in the city. The next morning features a delightful cruise on the picturesque Li River, which disembarks in Yangshuo where guests can check out the colorful local market. Visitors will also enjoy views of the Rice Paddies and Country Landscapes as well as a Guilin Night Tour to Pedestrian Market.

Upon arrival in Shanghai the following day, passengers will immediately head off to Suzhou, often referred to as the “Venice of the East.” A visit to the Master of Fishing Nets Garden and cruise tour of the Suzhou Canal will prove most rewarding. A stop at a unique Silk Factory will be followed by lunch and visit to the delightful Water Village of Tongli, a town with a history spanning more than 1,000 years. The programme also includes a Suzhou Night Tour.

Finally, the trip culminates in Shanghai where highlights include the historic waterfront promenade known as The Bund, classical Yu Yuan Garden and the ultra-modern Pudong Development Zone. Travellers will get an up-close look at the famous Oriental Pearl TV Tower and enjoy a Huangpu River Night Cruise.

Guests will have a free day in Shanghai at the end of the programme to pursue individual interests. Optional activities may include the Nanjing Road shopping district or the 2010 Shanghai World Expo (only available though Oct. 31). Lunch is by travellers’ own arrangement on the final day, however, a China Farewell Dinner will provide a memorable conclusion to this once in a lifetime experience.

For more information or to book, consult your local travel agent, contact China Star Holiday toll free at 866-388-1188, or by visiting the tour operator’s website at www.chinastarholiday.com.

For more information abo0ut Victoria Cruises contact Victoria Cruises at 57-08 39th Avenue, Woodside, NY 11377; phone (800) 348-8084, (212) 818-1680; fax (212) 818-9889 or visit http://www.victoriacruises.com.

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