Cruises of China’s mighty Yangtze River have been popular for years; now, ocean-going cruise lines are offering deep-water cruise options for travelers who want to explore this massive, populous and still mysterious nation.
China is also a fast-growing market for cruising, so the demand for cruises among Chinese travelers is bringing more ships to the region, too. In fact, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas will homeport in Shanghai.
Several of China’s largest cities are located along the Pacific Coast, and here’s what you could see in a few of them:
Beijing. Tianjin is the port for Beijing, which lies about 70 miles inland; some cruises feature an overnight stay in a Beijing hotel, providing more time for you to enjoy the city. Must-see sights include Tiananmen Square, the enormous, historic square that encompasses the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the Great Hall of the People, and two massive city gates. The square is next to the Forbidden City, the sprawling former home of the Imperial Court. From Beijing, you can take an excursion to the Badaling section of the Great Wall.
Shanghai. Once a tiny village, modern Shanghai is a city of 23 million people. Its name means “city on the sea,” so it’s a natural as a cruise ship port. An ever-growing collection of skyscrapers creates an impressive skyline, but most visitors head first to the Bund: a mile-long, waterfront row of historic banks, embassies, warehouses and offices built by traders from Europe, Russia and America in the mid-19th century. Visit the Old Town section to glimpse what life was like in 16th-century Shanghai. For a contrast to Old Town, spend time on Nanjing Road, a shopper’s dream lined with Chinese department stores, upscale malls and designer shops.
Xiamen. This island city on the southeast coast is known for beautiful wooded areas, parks and beaches. Head for the ferry to Gulangyu Island, regarded as one of the most scenic spots in China, to see the diverse and lovely architecture and tree-lined beaches. Other popular sights are historic Nanputuo Temple, which dates from the Tang dynasty; the Hulishan Fortress, with a secret tunnel amid the military buildings; and the gorgeous Wanshi Botanical Garden.
Cruises that include Chinese ports often include Seoul, South Korea; Okinawa, Fukuoka or Nagasaki, Japan; and Hong Kong. To find out more about discovering China on a cruise, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.