By Staff Writer
China’s ancient landscapes are vast, its history and monuments epic. Complex and energetic, this country should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. And the Yangtze, the world’s third longest river at 6,280kms, is its symbolic lifeline.
Flowing from Tibet to Shanghai and cutting through the dramatic mountains of the Yangtze basin, the river’s fortunes are inextricably entwined with those of the country itself.
Historically, the Yangtze served as a divider between northern and southern China, a natural barrier against invaders, and a waterway for transport and commerce. Today, the river basin is the nation’s heartland, home to 500 million people – a tenth of the world’s population.
River cruise specialist Sanctuary Retreats offers a range of Yangtze cruises aboard the luxuriously appointed Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer in partnership with various Australian travel operators including APT, Abercrombie & Kent and Wendy Wu Tours.
Carrying a maximum 124 passengers, compared to the 300 or more favoured by other river operators, guests aboard the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer are assured a more intimate and personalised experience.
With one crew member for every guest – the highest crew-to-passenger ratio on Yangtze river cruises – the on-board atmosphere is more private club than cruise ship.
The vessel’s 38 deluxe cabins and 20 fully serviced luxury suites are among the largest on the river, all featuring private balconies and floor-to- ceiling windows, ensuring guests wake up to dramatic views each day.
The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer offers an innovative east-meets-west menu, featuring dishes from European classics to a traditional farewell dinner Chinese banquet.
The on-board spa features six treatment rooms while an adjoining state-of-the-art fitness centre helps passengers keep fit.
Guests can also enjoy the vessel’s on-board program of free activities spanning from traditional performances and lectures and morning tai chi sessions to Chinese medicine master classes, calligraphy lessons and dumpling-making.