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Yichang

The Xiling Gorge, one of the Yangtze's famous Three Gorges, begins near Yichang. Photo by Catharine Norton.

The Xiling Gorge, one of the Yangtze’s famous Three Gorges, begins near Yichang. Photo by Catharine Norton.

Fourth in a Series:

There are a number of iconic river cruises in the world — the Rhine, the Danube, the Amazon, and the Nile among them — and China’s Yangtze must be added to the group.

It’s China’s longest river and third longest in the world after the Nile and Amazon. “Yangtze,” in fact, means “long river” in Chinese. Also known as the “Golden Highway,” the Yangtze is the busiest river in the world and more than one-third of China’s 1.4 billion population live along it.

The Yangtze is actually divided into seven separate sections, but the part that most people cruise — and certainly the most scenic — is the 400-mile-long “Three Gorges” section between the cities of Yichang and Chongqing, a sprawling metropolis in southwest China.

My wife, Catharine, and… Continue reading

Kids preparing for a parade in Yichang, China. Photo by Catharine Norton.

Kids preparing for a parade in Yichang, China. Photo by Catharine Norton.

Third in a Series:

To cruise the Yangtze, first you have to find the ship. In our case, it was the Victoria Katarina, one of a fleet of excellent ships that U.S.-based Victoria Cruises runs on China’s longest river.

Finding the ship sounds elementary, but when you’re traveling independently in China and don’t speak Chinese, it adds an extra element to the equation.

First, some background: It seems most people take the three-night, four-day cruise down the Yangtze to see the famous Three Gorges and the Three Gorges Dam, which flooded this region of the river when it was finished in 2003, displacing 1.4 million people and making the Three Gorges somewhat less steep and scenic than previously. Note: they’re still very scenic.

That downriver cruise embarks in the city of Chongqing and disembarks in the… Continue reading

Morning exercise teams on Shanghai's Bund, along the Huangpu River waterfront. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Morning exercise teams on Shanghai’s Bund, along the Huangpu River waterfront. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

First in a Series:

Having just returned from a 12-day trip to China, in which my wife, Catharine, and I traveled independently for much of the time, I wanted to pass along some tips, cautionary information, and interesting factoids for anyone planning to visit that fascinating country in the reasonably near future — especially if you’re planning to do some independent travel.

(China is changing so fast that I can’t guarantee some things won’t be completely different a year from now.)

Our goal for the trip was to take a five-day, four-night Yangtze River cruise via Victoria Cruises, the only American-owned cruise line on the Yangtze — I’ll have an account of that in a later post. But first we wanted to stay several days in Shanghai — which I’ll be detailing later… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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