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“Victoria Cruise - Absolutely Awful”
Review of Yangtze River

Yangtze River
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US$1,208.15*
and up
Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer Cruise - 4 days and 3 nights
Ranked #288 of -32,028 things to do in China
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Winding across 3,988 miles (6,418) of China the Yangtze River is the third longest rive in the world. It begins its journey at the Qinhai-Tibet Plateau and ends at the East China Sea. The Yangtze River has a rich ecosystem, fascinating history, and is the most important river in China. Life has always sprung up around the Yangtze River. The earliest signs of life dating back 27 thousand years. The climate on the river is often milder then its cousin the Yellow River making it more suitable for agriculture.
Reviewed 13 August 2014

10 months on since my wife and I were subjected to the worst holiday treatment that we have ever received in 40 years of travelling, I am still furious at the total lack of basic human decency that Victoria Cruises demonstrated to us and our fellow passengers.

After two very hectic weeks travelling round China, we were supposed have a relaxing seven day cruise on the Victoria Sophia sailing from Chongqing to Shanghai.

Two days before setting sail, we were informed that the captain of the ship had sailed it into a lock gate, damaging the propeller and rudder so badly that the ship could not be used. That should have warned us; if a ship's captain can't manoeuvre a boat into a lock on a river in calm weather, what else could happen?

We eventually boarded a different Victoria Cruises boat, the Victoria Jenna, 24 hours late, having wasted a day in Chongqing. We were told that the Victoria Jenna was only making a three day cruise to the Three Gorges. The rest of our journey to Shanghai took three days by coach, rail and an additional flight, often arriving at our hastily arranged hotels hours before our luggage. Having travelled all day, we therefore had to go straight into the dining room without being able to shower or change our clothes. We also missed out on several places of interest that we should have visited on the second half of the cruise.

From the moment we stepped onto the Victoria Jenna, it was a nightmare. Several people in our tour group had drain smells in their cabin, one couple had sewage coming up through the toilet, and one couple had a balcony door that would not close.

The cruise director who 'greeted' us at our 'welcome' meeting was a rude, totally incompetent, elderly American man; he did not apologise for everyone's holiday being ruined, gave no safety instructions regarding life jackets and evacuation (I know it was a river cruise, but if lock gates jump out at you unexpectedly......) and never even offered a welcome/apology drink. His promise that everyone would receive financial compensation for our ruined cruise before we left the ship was a barefaced lie. No compensation was paid by Victoria Cruises then or since.

Victoria Cruises' glossy brochure describes the food as 'fabulous breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets.' The food was mediocre, repetitive and luke-warm, even when just brought into the dining room. Their supposedly 'award winning celebrity chef and hospitality consultant' would have been sacked from the lowliest Chinese takeaway in the UK.

Other things to be aware of:

1. As you board the boat, you have to give a credit card swipe. At the end of a seven day cruise they automatically deduct 300 yuan (about £30) per person as a mandatory tip. This is legalised theft. Incredibly, they also suggest that you may wish to tip individual crew members in addition.

2. Wifi costs £15 for three days, and only works in very limited parts of the ship.

3. The price of alcoholic drinks is staggering - £2.50 for a small can of beer (25 pence in the local shops), £25.00 for a bottle of wine (£3.00 in the local shops).

Any company should be judged not only on how they do things when all goes well, but also on how they manage when things go awry.

Our cruise went wrong from the beginning. Victoria Cruises made no effort to rectify matters either at the time, or later. I wrote to the company's head office in China and in the USA (it is an American owned company with no office in the UK); I did not even receive the courtesy of a reply.

This company is a disgrace.

Go on holiday to China. The people are warm and friendly, the scenery stunning and the culture fantastic.

Go on a Yangtze Cruise; what we saw of it was lovely. There are plenty of alternative cruise operators.

Avoid Victoria Cruises like the plague as you will ruin your memories of China, as ours have been.

22  Thank wendyanddavid536
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 August 2014

the hotel manager Mr. Penghui is a rude person and has no education with foreigners tourists, although the nature view is excellent don t buy the optional tours cause the guides just run and don t wait the tourists and the optional tours are not for elder persons and handicap persons

5  Thank Wilson D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2014 via mobile

A first class experience from start to finish

We flew from Shanghai to Yichang and were picked up by a driver and an English-speaking guide for the drive to the cruise ship. We stopped at Yichang Museum en route.

Myself and a friend stayed in twin bedded 'executive cabin' 4003? for 4 nights, aboard the 'Yangtze Gold 1' cruise ship. We travelled upstream from Yichang to Chongquing.

We were two of only seven English speaking tourists on a boat of over 300 tourists. There was a couple their with daughter from England and a couple from Holland.

We booked the cruise and China holiday via TravelChinaGuide .com (Xi'an Marco Polo International Travel Service).

Pros:
-Clean and well maintained ship
-Polite and helpful crew - particularly Penny and Leo (without the spectacles)
-Four lifts to all floors.
-Key card entry (one per person) to solid door with spacious bedroom area containing two single beds, twin bedside tables, twin lamps, upholstered chair & footstool, writing desk & chair, lamp, telephone, power sockets (including UK 3-pin mains sockets), hotel information pack, flatscreen multi-channel TV (English language channels are CCTV News and Star Movies), chest of drawers, suitcase stand, wardrobe with hanging space, 2x life jackets/torch, safe. Tea/coffee making facilities. Fridge. Effective blackout curtains. Effective air-con. En suite bathroom with walk-in shower, sink, mirror, lotions, scales, toilet. The cabin was second from the front of the ship, on the left-hand side.
-Daily shore excursions (all half-day) included in the cruise price were the Three Gorges Dam (awesome engineering project), Lesser Three Gorges (large boat and stunning scenery, transfer to small boat cost extra but was worth it), Fengdu ghost city (hot and 500+ steps).
-Chargeable shore excursions (all half-day) included Tribe of the Three Gorges, White City Emporer, Bridge tour of Yangtze Gold 1.
-Other facilities include a Reception, VIP Restaurant (we had the same table for 2 each evening, apart from the last evening), Chinese restaurant (we only used it on the first night when food wasn't included), multifunction hall (used for Captains welcome drink, karaoke, Captains Farewell Banquet), Cinema (movie each evening, apart from first evening), small gym (1x cycle machine, 1x treadmill, weights machine), gift shop, spa, sun decks, on-board doctor.

Cons:
-The multifunction hall was directly above our cabin and we frequently had the music (with a heavy bass) permeating down into our room. Our ceiling literally shook on occasions. Take ear plugs.
-Swimming pool is too small for adult use.

Notes:
-You can take drinks (including alcohol) and food on-board, but are not permitted to take it into the restaurants. I recommend purchasing several litres of mineral water, as you will get through it.

24  Thank jonotennis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

The 3 day downstream cruise on the Yangtze, via Victoria Cruise Line, Victoria Selina ,was the the fourth stop on our 16 day gate 1 -China adventure. The ship itself was nice enough, although not nearly as elaborately decorated as cruise ships that sail out of US ports. If I remember correctly the total capacity including crew was less than three hundred. The staterooms were small, but clean. Each stateroom had a private bathroom and balcony which was quite nice. The food was pretty good, mostly asian, except for theme meals. The crew were friendly and helpful, and you could usually always find someone who could speak and understand English. There were some onboard, activities, lectures and classes, but more down time for rest, relaxation and enjoying the Yangtze.

1  Thank LaVonya F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 August 2014

I am not one for cruises but we found ourselves in Yichang and needed to get to Chongqing. I wont name the company or the boat as I expect the scenario is the same. On arriving at reception we were asked if we wanted a cabin on a floor higher up (this would give a better view) for extra money, next is a desk to explain about the restaurant for meals and by the way would we like to pay extra for a seat in a different one. Everything on the boat costs money, movies at 100rmb each, snooker table at 70 rmb per hour, massage starting at 148 rmb.
Anyway, I agreed to take the cruise for one reason... I am a photographer and wanted to see the river.

The boat stopped at 3 places, one each day, and I have to say I was really impressed with each. The tours are free, you are allocated a guide and go in groups.
There is a stop off to see the 3 Gorges tribe, they live a simple life in beautiful surroundings, my favourite part of the trip.
We stopped to see the 3 Gorges dam, a huge site but not the most interesting and the guide was a little offish when I asked why so much nature had been ruined for only 3% of the countries power.
Ghost city was next and we had the atmosphere to go with it. Mist and drizzle to walk around the old town with haunting statues and interesting old buildings.

If you get a chance to cruise the river I would recommend it, if the weather is good you get great views and you need to see the 3 gorges first hand to appreciate the beauty and size.

2  Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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