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Luxury Yangtze Cruise Recommendations for Discerning Travelers

About the author, Vera Zhao
Vera Zhao is the product manager at Odyssey Tours. She has been in the line of Asia travel for 10+ years and stacks up helpful tips for tours to China, Southeast Asia and South Asia.
Write to for any questions or read more tips by Vera Zhao >>

Cruising along the majestic Yangtze River, especially the most scenic section between Chongqing and Yichang, is a must for first timers or even frequent visitors to China. But when selecting a desirable Yangtze cruise, one may find it is hard to make a choice with so many options. Hence I write this article to compare six luxury and comfortable cruises which are especially suitable for discerning travelers.


The six Yangtze cruises recommended are the Yangzi Explorer, Century Legend, Century Paragon, Victoria Jenna, Century Diamond and Victoria Anna. All of them are fully-equipped with restaurants, lounges, beauty salons, souvenir and gift shops, medical clinics, fitness centers, spa centers, libraries, bars, elevators, and cabins & suites featuring private balconies and private bathrooms. They also provide lots of interesting activities and entertainment, such as Tai Chi exercise, traditional shows, feature films, informative lectures on Chinese history and culture, and lessons in Mandarin language, mah-jong, calligraphy, etc. 

Although they share many things in common, they do have many differences which are summarized as below.

Five-star Superior Cruise

Yangzi Explorer

The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer boasts the most luxurious and most exclusive ship on the Yangtze River. Though small as it may be, it offers the largest and most beautifully decorated cabins and suites of their kind on the Yangtze River today. Most of its passengers are from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Some business leaders like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Gerald Levin, among the few, are all one in choosing the Yangzi Explorer for their memorable journey along this majestic river.

The restaurant in the Yangzi ExplorerThe restaurant in the Yangzi Explorer

Basic information:

Basic information of Yangzi Explorer
Condition: constructed in 2008 and refurbished in 2017.

Meals: international buffet breakfast & lunch and a-la-carte dinner catering to western travelers. Lunches and dinners feature complimentary house wines, coffee and tea, local beer and bottled water. 

Meal in the Yangzi ExplorerMeal  in the Yangzi Explorer

38 deluxe cabins (31m²/333ft²), 20 suites (39m²/420ft²) and four speciality suites - Jade and Mandarin Suites (81 m²/ 871 ft²), and Celestial and Imperial Suites (110 m²/ 1183 ft²). Connecting deluxe cabins and suites are also available. 

Specials: Carrying 124 passengers and 121 crew members, it boasts the highest crew to passenger ratio on the river of almost 1:1. The crew includes many multilingual staffs which are very dedicated. Complimentary Wi-Fi is connectable in each cabin & suite. Children are also offered a daily schedule of activities. Baby-sitter is available at an extra cost.

Price: $1096 - $1679.

Service charge: N/A
A show in the Yangzi ExplorerA show in the Yangzi Explorer

Recommended tour to discover best of China

Five-star Cruises

Century Legend & Century Paragon (sister ships)

The Century Legend & Paragon (sister ships) are luxurious new state-of-the-art ships designed by European architects and shipbuilders who specialize in sophisticated marine architecture and are well managed by European hospitality experts. Innovative features like the over 2000 sq. ft. indoor heated swimming pool and the advanced E-propulsion system, will surely give you an amazing Yangtze Cruise experience. Basically, these two ships are the same, so you can choose the one which match your schedule best. 

 Observation deck in Century ParagonObservation deck in Century Paragon

Basic information:

Basic information of Century Legend & Paragon

Condition: Built in 2013 and started its maiden voyage in 2013, all trimmings are new and well maintained.

Meals: a western style buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day. There is also a VIP restaurant providing a-la-carte meal.

Meal in Century LegendMeal in Century Legend

156 deluxe cabins (28 m² / 301 ft²), 4 junior suites (30 m² / 323 ft²), 34 executive suites (38.5 m² / 415 ft²) and 2 presidential suites (106 m² /1140 ft²). 

A deluxe cabin in Century ParagonA deluxe cabin in Century Paragon

indoor heated swimming pool, KTV, Internet Cafe and Cigar Bar. The cruise staffs are friendly and very helpful.

Price: $477 - $522.

Service charge: total amount of RMB 150 for the whole cruise journey.
Lobby in Century ParagonLobby in Century Paragon

Victoria Jenna

Victoria Cruises is the only American cruise line currently sailing the Yangtze River. Victoria Jenna is of a modern blend of European-Asian design, built to international maritime regulation standards and fully equipped with Wi-Fi and international telecommunications systems. 

A restaurant in Victoria JennaA restaurant in Victoria Jenna

Basic information
Basic information of Victoria Jenna

Condition: built and inaugurated in 2009.

Meals: Sumptuous western and Chinese buffets are offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also there is a separate a-la-carte dining room. The food is very delicious and of great variety.

Accommodation: 149 superior cabins (20.87 m² / 224.64 ft²), 35 executive suites (30.98 m² / 333.47 ft²), 3 deluxe suites (39.78 m² / 428.19 ft²) and 2 Shangri-La suites (54.6 m² / 587.71 ft² plus balcony of 20 m² / 215.28 ft²). 

A superior cabin in Victoria JennaA superior cabin in Victoria Jenna

Specials: artist corners, Happy Hour. The crew staffs are youthful and vibrant and provide high level of service.

Price: $352 - $397.

Service charge: total amount of RMB 150 for the whole cruise journey.

Lobby in Victoria JennaLobby in Victoria Jenna

Recommended China tour to enjoy Panda and Yangtze River

4-star Cruises

The following two cruises are certified 5 stars by the China National Tourism Administration, while according to our years of promotion experience and feedbacks from our guests, we suggest you take them as 4 stars.

Century Diamond

The Century Diamond belongs to the same company with the Century Legend & Paragon. It is equipped with advanced purified water systems providing purified water to cabins & suites, being the first Yangtze cruise offering drinkable tap water to every cabin & suite. It features spacious public area and hotel style facilities and provides high-quality services, giving the best value for money!

A lounge in Century DiamondA lounge in Century Diamond

Basic information:

Basic information of Century Diamond
Crew performance in Century DiamondCrew performance in Century Diamond

Condition: built in 2008 and started its maiden on August 29, 2008.

Meals: a western style buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day. There is a separate a-la-carte restaurant.

Accommodation: 112 deluxe cabins (25 m² / 269 ft²), 4 junior suites (28 m² / 301 ft²), 14 deluxe suites (30.4 m² / 327 ft²) and 2 presidential suites (78 m² /839.6 ft²). 

Deluxe cabin in Century DiamondA deluxe cabin in Century Diamond

Specials: Cigar Bar, Internet Café (internet is accessible here with 24 hrs available). 

Price: $382 - $442.

Service charge: total amount of RMB 150 for the whole cruise journey.

Lobby in Century DiamondLobby in Century Diamond

Victoria Anna

Coming from the same company with Victoria Jenna, Victoria Anna is also of a modern blend of European-Asian design, offering comfort and cosmopolitan chic. It is well appointed and has a feel of ocean-going vessel. The cruise adopts western management and staff members are fluent in English and Chinese. It is the first Yangtze cruise ship adopting 5-star hotel management software applications which connects all departments, aiming to improve overall service. It is highly cost effective.

Lobby in Victoria AnnaLobby in Victoria Anna

Basic information: 

Basic information of Victoria Anna
Condition: built in 2006 and refurbished in 2013.

Meals: sumptuous western and Chinese buffets are offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also there is a separate a la carte restaurant. 

Meal in Victoria AnnaMeal in Victoria Anna

Accommodation: 89 superior cabins (21 m² / 226 ft²), 40 executive suites (29.7 m² / 319.69 ft²), 2 deluxe suites (34.68 m² / 373.3 ft²) and 2 Shangri-La suites (58.8 m² / 632.92 ft²). 

Specials: Happy Hour.

Price: $352 - $397.

Service charge: total amount of RMB 150 for the whole cruise journey.

Superior cabin in Victoria AnnaSuperior cabin in Victoria Anna

A Comprehensive Comparison

A Comprehensive Comparison of Yangtze Cruises


The price listed here is for reference only and may be changed from time to time. Generally the price includes the on-board accommodations as paid for, daily meals, entertainment & activities and scheduled shore excursions. The sites of shore excursions may vary between different cruises, such as Three Gorges Dam Project site, Shennong Stream and Fengdu Ghost City. And optional shore excursions are also provided by most cruises at different price. For details, please consult your tour consultant or contact us at

Complemented the Yangtze cruise sightseeing tour are many wonderful city tours, such as Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai. You can tailor-make your own China tour with Odyssey Tours based on your interests.