The Yangtze River is to China what the Nile is to Africa or what the Amazon is to South America. It’s such an essential source to China’s culture and economic welfare and it crosses 11 provinces and cities, making it the largest river in China. Perhaps the best way to experience the stark contrast of modern and ancient empires along the Yangtze is by river cruise. Here’s a round-up of our favorite Yangtze River Cruises.

Uniworld

Credit: Uniworld

One word epitomizes Uniworld.: luxury. From personal in-suite butlers to the Hermes bath and body products, the luxury liner leaves no stone unturned when it comes to meeting your every need. Uniworld offers three distinct Yangtze cruises ranging from 11-18 days. Set out to explore the beauty of the Yangtze’s Three Gorges. Uniworld’s experts delve into the cultural riches of China, Tibet & the Yangtze. The newest ship to sail along the Yangtze, the stunning Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer, features the largest cabins and suites on the river all with private balconies, and a 1:1 crew to guest ratio.

Viking River Cruises

Credit: Viking River Cruises

In addition to the diverse Yangtze, you’ll explore Xian’s Terra Warriors, Shanghai and dive into over 7,000 years of continuous civilization with expert guides along the waterway on a Viking River Cruise. We love the Roof of the World cruise which brings you on a quest into the magnificent Himalayas. From visiting monks at the Sera monastery to retracing the ancient path of pilgrims at the Jokhang Temple, a world of tranquility awaits. The best part is the Viking all-inclusive value. You’ll have access to one excursion in every port, free WiFi, lectures, performances, complimentary beer, wine, and specialty coffee, to name a few. Whether you are enjoying the view from your private veranda or the impeccable service provided by your stateroom steward, there’s no shortage of deluxe amenities on Viking.

Scenic Luxury Cruises

Scenic Spirit Royal Panorama Suite

Scenic Cruise Line partners with Sanctuary Retreats for an in-depth journey along the Yangtze on board the newly refurbished ship. Immersive experiences such as Tai Chi classes, calligraphy lessons, and Chinese cooking classes make Scenic a stand out cruise. With only 124 guests onboard, the boutique ship and personalized service translates to exceptional service. Aside from private balconies in each cabin, the vessel boasts a gym, theater, library, and beauty salon along with nightly entertainment.

With more than 3700 miles to explore along the Yangtze, a bounty of culture and history beckon to be discovered. Explore all the waterway has to offer on one of our favorite luxury river cruises. All that you need to do is relax while attentive staffs and expert guides lead you into the ancient empire of the Far East.