The Yangtze Gold 1 cruise from Yichang took a leisurely 3 days to travel upstream to Chongqing. The ship is relatively new and thus well furnished, with a small balcony where you can sit and enjoy the passing scenery. The food is usually a buffet catering to both western and local chinese palate of above average quality if not always variety. The last dinner is served and designed to show off the local specialties of the region and is excellent. Service is good too and my only gripe is the movie theatre, where staff insist you must pay for a drink even though nothing is mentioned anywhere beforehand.
The scenery along the main Gorges is spectacular for the most part but make sure you come up to the decks to see the magical sunsets, where the perpetual smog makes the layered hillsides and clear edged sun look very idyllic. There is a side trip on a smaller boat to the Lesser Gorge which is worthwhile as well. On other mornings, there are land trips to visit the Ghost City and another location where you can view the gorge which is pictured on the back of the 20yuan note. You might enjoy these depending how much you enjoy chinese mythology and religion.
Overall, the scenery is the highlight of the cruise but it's also a good way to enjoy a relaxed few days. Recommended.
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