Day 1Arrive in Shanghai, China
Welcome to China’s most populous city and center of trade and industry. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Start your day with a stroll along the Bund, the city’s riverfront boulevard lined with historic buildings, housing, banks, and trade houses. Then, visit YU YUAN GARDENS, dating back to the Ming Dynasty, and a SILK FACTORY to learn about the silk-making process. For lunch, a traditional DIM SUM feast awaits. Meaning “to touch your heart,” dim sum was originally a snack but has transformed into a full meal with a wide variety of steamed dumplings, spring rolls, and more. Afterward, enjoy time at leisure. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a special welcome dinner at your hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning, visit the SHANGHAI MUSEUM, featuring stunning displays of ancient bronze, jade, and ceramics. Then, take a WALKING TOUR of the former French Concession, once Shanghai’s leading residential and retail area. Today, the qualities that made the area so popular endure—from quaint, tree-lined streets and exquisite architecture to charming shops and fashionable restaurants and bars. Along the way, see the famous Art Deco Cathay Theatre, explore the narrow lanes of Xintiandi, and visit Fuxing Park, where locals play chess, dance, practice tai chi, and more. The afternoon is at your leisure. This evening, be entertained by a spectacular ACROBATIC SHOW. (Breakfast)
Day 4Shanghai–Yichang (Embarkation)–Yangtze River Cruise
Today, fly to Yichang and board the Century Legend for a 4-night CRUISE through the breathtaking Three Gorges of the Yangtze. Join your traveling companions for a PRIVATE WELCOME RECEPTION including cocktails and snacks. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 5Cruising: Xiling Gorge–Three Gorges Dam Site
This morning, perhaps wake up early for a tai chi session on the Sun Deck. Later, cruise through the Xiling Gorge, the first of the Three Gorges. Then, visit the THREE GORGES DAM SITE, the largest dam of its kind in the world. After lunch, sail through the Three Gorges ship locks, and enjoy time at your leisure on the ship. Take a swim in the pool or simply enjoy the passing scenery. This evening, the Captain hosts a welcome party, followed by dinner and a special performance by the ship’s crew. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6Cruising: Wu Gorge–Shennv Stream–Qutang Gorge
This morning, sail upstream through the second of the three gorges—Wu, known for its quiet beauty and forest-covered mountains. You can nearly touch the perpendicular walls rising from the riverbanks as your Captain negotiates this narrow gap. Then, disembark for a BOAT EXCURSION down the Shennv Stream. Along the way, see picturesque scenery and the mysterious hanging wooden coffins. Before returning to your ship you will also board a wooden boat on a smaller section of the stream, where the crew will sing songs as you glide across the stunning deep emerald-green waters surrounded by densely forested hills. After a late lunch on the ship, sail through Qutang Gorge, the shortest but most dramatic gorge and the last of the famed three gorges. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure. You may choose to take an optional shore excursion to Baidi Cheng, known as the “White Emperor City,” to see the Baidi Temple. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)NOTE:Depending on river conditions, the boat excursion may be on the Daning River.
Day 7Cruising: Shibaozhai
After breakfast, take a WALKING TOUR of Shibaozhai with its 400-year-old, 12-story, red wooden pagoda perched high on a cliff side. After lunch, the afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy the ship and its many amenities. This evening, join the Captain for a special farewell dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)NOTE:Depending on river conditions, an alternate shore excursion may be offered.
Day 8Cruising: Chongqing (Disembarkation)–Lhasa, Tibet
After breakfast, bid farewell to your ship’s crew in Chongqing, China’s capital during World War II. The city sits high on a hill overlooking the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers. Visit a local ZOO to see pandas before boarding your flight to the holy city of Lhasa, capital of the mystical Buddhist kingdom of Tibet. The rest of the day is free to rest and adjust to the 14,000-foot altitude. (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning, take a brief city tour, then visit the SUMMER PALACE of the Dalai Lama, featuring the largest man-made garden in Tibet. Next, take a special trip to a TIBETAN’S HOME that includes lunch before visiting a typical TIBETAN MONASTERY. The final stop today is a TIBETAN HOSPITAL, where you will learn about traditional Tibetan medicine and therapy. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Today, visit the imposing POTALA PALACE, once the center of the Tibetan government and the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Also, visit one of Tibet’s oldest shrines, JOKHANG TEMPLE, then spend time in the local BAZAAR. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Tonight, venture out to a local restaurant for dinner and a CULTURAL SHOW featuring traditional Tibetan music and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11Lhasa–Xi’an, China
Today, fly to the city of Xi’an in central China. This evening, enjoy the “Tang Dynasty” DINNER SHOW, featuring a colorful assemblage of classical performances. (Breakfast, Dinner)
One of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world when China dominated the silk trade, Xi’an today is an archaeological treasure trove. Sightseeing begins with the nearby DAYAN PAGODA, built in 652 AD. Next, visit the enormous tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, accidentally discovered by local farmers in 1974. Marvel at the legion of TERRACOTTA WARRIORS that has been guarding the burial site for 2,000 years. You will also enter the VIP VIEWING AREA for an up-close view of these life-size statues. During lunch, enjoy a NOODLE-MAKING DEMONSTRATION by a master chef and learn how Chinese noodles are made by hand. Then, visit the Xi’an City Wall South Gate and learn to write like a local during a traditional Chinese CALLIGRAPHY CLASS. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Today, fly to Beijing, China’s capital city. Enjoy a rickshaw ride through one of Beijing’s HUTONGS, the city’s ancient alleys. Experience life in this historic neighborhood as you are invited into the courtyard of a family’s home for tea. You will also visit the TEMPLE OF HEAVEN. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Your full-day sightseeing starts with a visit to the FORBIDDEN CITY and its IMPERIAL PALACE, once the home of China’s great emperors. Nearby is 100-acre TIAN’ANMEN SQUARE, the largest public square in the world. After lunch, enjoy some time at your leisure. Tonight, attend a performance of the PEKING OPERA, a traditional form of Chinese theater including a behind-the-scenes look at the colorful makeup being applied to the performers. Alternatively, you may choose to attend the LEGEND OF KUNG FU SHOW. Here the performers use a fusion of kung fu, dance, and acrobatics to tell the story of a monk who studies Buddhism and kung fu his whole life and eventually becomes a Zen master. (Breakfast, Lunch)
The GREAT WALL OF CHINA once stretched 4,000 miles across China’s barren northern terrain from the Bohai Sea to the Gobi Desert. Head north to a village where the Great Wall is well preserved and walk along the wall to enjoy sweeping vistas of this mammoth fortress. This evening is the perfect finale to a great touring adventure as you’re hosted to a special PEKING DUCK FAREWELL DINNER at an award-winning restaurant in your hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)