Yangtze Essence & Hong Kong 14 Days 12 Nights(2014)[RDVH]Tour Code:RDVH

Visiting:Beijing(3 nts) - Xian(2 nts) - Chongqing - Yangtze River Cruise(3 nts) - Yichang - Shanghai(2 nts) - Hong Kong(2 nts) 

Be invigorated by this pinnacle voyage that stimulates and rekindles your appreciation for adventure. Escape to China in style and venture through an array of cultural sights and attractions in Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Get ready to be awed by the magnificent cruise along the legendary Yangtze River as this journey will enrich you with more than a traveler’s tale.

Please be advised that with effect from April 25, 2014 there will be a change in the complimentary travel insurance coverage and benefits provided with all our Vacation Series. All guests with full payments and bookings made after 04/25/2014 will be covered under the new travel protection plan that shall encompass benefits as detailed as in this link.

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  • Maximum number of Travellers:32
  • Sold out in 2014, book now for 2015 departure dates!
Itinerary Date/Pricing Features Hotel Extension Optionals

Day 1   |  USA – Beijing, China 

China is the world’s most populous nation at 1.35B and its explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the global consciousness. The Yangtze River is the longest river in the continent of Asia, ranking third behind the Nile and Amazon. Both will be the focus of our two-week long vacation as we board our flight bound for China.

Day 2   |  Arrive in Beijing 

Our wide-body jetliner touches down in Beijing, the modern day capital of China. A bustling metropolis that is home to some 20M inhabitants, Beijing has served as the nation’s center for political affairs spanning two imperial dynasties since 1421. Our group is met at the airport by the Ritz Tours guide and transferred into town to check in to our luxury hotel accommodations. Take the rest of the day to rest up in preparation for a full day’s sightseeing tomorrow.

Day 3   |  Beijing  (AB, L, DP)

Our exploration of Beijing begins after breakfast. Today’s city tour starts off when the group is dropped off at Tianamen Square, one of the world’s largest public square. Walk through the square to arrive at the Forbidden City*, the world’s largest imperial palace complex and also an official UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The Forbidden City served both as the emperor’s home and also as his seat of power. We take a visit of its most prominent buildings, including the Palace Museum located within its grounds. The emperor’s other home is the Summer Palace*, constructed around Kunming Lake, a man-made lake which covers ? of the total area of the grounds. Strolling through its many gardens and lush greenery, it’s easy to see why the emperor and his court came here during the sweltering Beijing summers. Before heading back to the hotel our bus stops at the Birds Nest stadium and the Water Cube for us to take some photos. The famous Peking Duck dinner is served tonight.

Day 4   |  Beijing  (AB, L)

After breakfast we visit perhaps the most famous landmark in all of China. The Great Wall* of China is mythical in stature and exists in our minds as the symbol of the nation. Multiple dynasties participated in the construction of the Great Wall and evidence points to beginnings even before the first emperor. Snaking its way across China’s north, the wall’s purpose was to keep nomadic northern invaders from entering into its borders. Located a short distance from where we visit the Great Wall is the Ming Tombs, the necropolis of the Ming dynasty as it contains the remainders of thirteen emperors. Take a walk down the Sacred Way*, the walkway leading to the tombs lined on both sides with statues of officials and guardian beasts. We head back into town and take the rest of the day for free activities.

Day 5   |  Beijing – Xian  (AB, DH)

During the imperial era China’s emperor was recognized to be the “Son of Heaven” sent here to rule the earth under the “Mandate of Heaven.” Accordingly, every year he would make a pilgrimage to the Temple of Heaven* to take part in a religious ceremony entreating the heavens for a bountiful harvest. The temple was completed by emperor Yongle to be three times the size of his own Imperial Palace, a sign of respect to the heavens. Before heading to the airport and boarding a flight bound for Xian, we’ll take an excursion to the Temple of Heaven. Our flight departs Beijing and arrives in Xian, situated within central China in its Shaanxi Province. No group activities have been planned upon arrival and after we check-in to our hotel the rest of the day is free at leisure.

Day 6   |  Xian  (AB, L, DS)

Residents of Xian like to remind people that their city served as the capital for thirteen dynasties and enjoys a 3,000 year history. The accidental discovery of the Terra Cotta Warriors* by local farmers in 1974 vaulted Xian into consciousness of the world. Touted as one of the most significant archeological discoveries of the 20th century, the Terra Cotta Army of China’s unifying emperor Qin Shi Huang draws millions of visitors to Xian every year and is a great source of local pride. We spend the morning reviewing the troops and after lunch head back into town to see the ancient City Wall* and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda*, constructed during the Ming Dynasty to contain numerous figurines of the Buddha brought back from India. Tonight after an Imperial Dumpling Banquet we attend the renowned Tang Dynasty Stage Show.

Day 7   |  Xian – ChongqingYangtze River Cruise  (AB, L, D)

Depart Xian on a flight bound for Chongqing. Located within the Sichuan Province, Chongqing is the largest of China’s four independent municipalities and covers an incredible 32,000 sq mi. After touching down we’re taken for a brief city orientation tour which includes a photo stop at the Great Hall of the People and a visit with the adorable pandas at Chongqing Zoo*. Pandas are indigenous to Sichuan and are considered the unofficial mascot of China; they are loaned out to zoos all across the world as gestures of friendship. Later our group is transferred to the banks of the Yangtze River where our Victoria Cruises luxury ship awaits at the docks. Board the ship and check-in to our executive deck accommodations. Our cruise down the grand Yangtze River has begun.

Day 8   |  Yangtze River Cruise  (B, L, D)

After breakfast our ship arrives at an ancient town unlike any other, Fengdu. Otherworldly is an appropriate description because here at Fengdu, we get to experience what “Hell” was like in the minds of the ancients. Our shore excursion to Fengdu is to visit either the “Ghost City”, known for its statues of ghosts and devils on Mingshan Hill, or the new relocation village built for families who have moved as a result of the Yangtze’s rising waters brought about the Three Gorges Dam.

Day 9   |  Yangtze River Cruise  (B, L, D)

Today we arrive at the most beautiful part of the Yangtze River. The Three Gorges is the only part of the river’s 4,000 mile long journey at actually cuts through canyons and affords breathtakingly stark scenery to enjoy. These Three Gorges have long since been a source of inspiration for generations of artists, writers, and poets; it is also an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The first of the three we encounter is Qutang Gorge, the shortest and narrowest but also the most dramatic and can be found gracing the back of the Chinese 10 RMB note. Next up is Wu Gorge, which in contrast to Qutang is often mist-shrouded, green and fertile, soothing. It’s here that we take today’s shore excursion, boarding smaller vessels to access the Small Gorges at Goddess Stream or Daning River or Shennong Stream. Re-board our cruise ship later as it finally arrives at Xiling Gorge, by far the longest of the three. As the ship cruises on, keep our eyes out for the over 300 hanging coffins that adorn the cliffs and canyon walls. Tonight our ship will sail through the Three Gorges Dam shiplocks.

Day 10   |  Yangtze River Cruise - YichangShanghai  (B, L)

The idea behind the Three Gorges Dam project was to harness the waters of the mighty Yangtze. Construction was not begun until 1994 and wasn’t finished until 2009. The project holds two records. It’s the largest dam in the world and also the world’s largest hydroelectric power station. Our final shore excursion on our Yangtze River cruise will be to visit this massive marvel of engineering. As the ship pulls into port at Yichang, we disembark and board a short flight to Shanghai, the “Pearl of the Orient.” Upon arrival we’re transferred into town and settle in to our five star luxury accommodations.

Day 11   |  Shanghai  (AB, DS)

The perfect blend of East and West, Shanghai is truly an international city that is China’s shining beacon of commercialism. In the past hundred years, Shanghai has been transformed through foreign influences from a small city into a cosmopolitan metropolis. After breakfast we begin our tour of this fascinating city with a visit to the City God Temple Bazaar and stroll through the beautifully scenic and tranquil Yu Garden*, built during the Ming Dynasty by a wealthy man as an act of filial piety. Continue on in our bus through the bustling shopping area Nanjing Road to arrive at The Bund, the famed mile-long stretch along the west banks of the Huangpu River. Historic buildings blend harmoniously with new constructions at the Bund, and it is easy to lose oneself in the nostalgia and romance amidst the many cafes and shops that line the boulevard. After dinner this evening our group takes in an exciting performance of Chinese Acrobatics.

Day 12   |  Shanghai – Hong Kong  (AB)

Today is a light travel day as the morning is free until we’re transferred to the airport to board a flight that takes us from the mainland to Hong Kong. With humble beginnings as a sleepy fishing village, Hong Kong has transformed itself over the years into an international economic powerhouse. Originally a colony of the British Empire, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 and has managed to retain its position as one of the world’s most fascinating ports of trade. Upon arrival to Hong Kong we’re met by our local guide at the airport and transferred to check-in at our deluxe hotel.

Day 13   |  Hong Kong  (AB)

This morning after breakfast we embark on a half-day city tour of Hong Kong. Beginning with a tram ride up the mountain to Victoria Peak*, we’re treated with sweeping panoramas from the observation deck of Hong Kong Island and its bustling harbor. Our bus is waiting at the top to take us for a scenic drive by picturesque Repulse Bay, then a stop at local shopping Mecca, Stanley Market. Finally, we chance a visit to the water-dwelling community at Aberdeen Fishing Village. Our sightseeing schedule done, take some time to do whatever our hearts desire as the rest of the day is free time.

Day 14   |  Hong Kong – Beijing – USA  (AB)

All too soon our vacation is at an end. Depart the hotel and check-in for the international flight bound for the USA.
AB = Full American Breakfast  B = Breakfast at hotel or on cruise
L = Lunch  LH = Lunch at hotel
D = Dinner at Local Restaurant  DH = International Buffet Dinner at Hotel  DP = Special Dinner Party  
DS = Dinner and show