Asian Trip April 21 - May 24, 2008 Yangtze River Cruise Shanghai - Chongqing
May 4th - Rebecca our Shanghai guide took us to the Holiday Inn and saw us onto the bus that would transport us to Nanjing and the River Cruise Ship Victoria Prince. Normally we would have boarded in Shanghai but due to a bad storm on May 3rd the Navigational Authority required all river passenger ships to tie up. Thus the Victoria Prince stayed at the dock in Nanjing and bused the disembarking passengers from there to Shanghai. The bus ride to Nanjing took 4 hours; however, boarding the Victoria Prince was a case of just walking down the gangplank and onto the ship. We checked in and obtained our room key as if it was a hotel by simply walking up to the desk giving them my name and being welcomed.
The Victoria Prince is an older ship but well maintained. Our home for the next 2000km or 8 days while we sail up the Yangtze River to the head of its navigable waters. The lobby on the main deck held the Purser's Desk - where all ship related business was conducted and money exchanged - the gift shop plus a crafts corner, where artists worked on their crafts which were for sale. The dining room where we enjoyed buffet style breakfasts and lunches with family style served dinners was at the front of the ship with wrap around windows. There was a single seating for each meal and we sat at round tables. We enjoyed our tablemates a couple from Australia and a couple from San Francisco. The food was good and plentiful but other than breakfast mainly Chinese and came with your choice of nonalcoholic beverages. Up on deck 4 we found the lounge at the front of the ship where we enjoyed all the shows/lectures put on by the staff, the bar and the internet stations. Also on deck 4 there was a beauty salon, a library at the rear of the ship, and a card/games room as well as the Dr.'s office. The top deck was open with chairs and lounges. Our cabin was small with twin beds either side of the patio door to our balcony. We had a small closet but only 2 drawers so storage space was at a premium. The bathroom on the other hand was large for a cruise ship with a shower tub combination. Each deck had a desk at the head of the stairs which was manned seemingly 24 hours a day so that all passengers needs could be quickly attended to. The biggest negative was the lack of an elevator on the ship. However the staff did everything they could to help Dad by locating him in a cabin on the main deck, setting up a table in the lobby for us to play cards so Dad did not need to climb up the stairs to the lounge or card room on Deck 4. At our ports of call the ship provided a wheelchair for Dad as China is a walking type of country. Victoria Prince staff even carried the chair off the ship and pushed Dad to the tour bus, then were there to meet us on our return to push the chair back to the gangplank. All of the port tours are part of the river cruise package. The tours were all well planned and lead by local guides. I especially liked the Yellow Mountain excursion.