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Jul. 2nd, 2011

There are a lot of cruise ships of Victoria Cruises on the Yangtze River. We took the cruise on the Victoria Lianna. There were many tour groups on the ship. The boat was renovated in 2008. The public areas of the ship are great and in good condition. 4th floor has a large bar, entertainment and viewing areas with outdoor deck and picture windows all around. Dining room on first floor was surrounded by picture windows and made a pleasant place to watch the scenery goes by.

Yangtze River scenery was very beautiful with informative live narration provided in the mornings before breakfast. We were lucky with good weather in October, sunny every day. Shore excursions included the 3 Gorges Dam (moderately interesting) and a beautiful picturesque, nicely narrated sampan motor boat cruise up the Daning River in Wushan with three little gorges, and the historic temples of Fengdu Ghost City (better and more interesting than it sounds). Other excursions were offered at modest additional charge but we did not take them. On board activities included Tai Chi class, Chinese costume show, cabaret night, movies, lectures about the Yangtze River area and Chinese medicine, beauty parlor.

Standard cabins are a small 200 square feet with a single chair, 2 comfortable single beds (no other bed setup available in standard cabins) desk, an mini frig, safe, very small closet with several small shelves and about 5 or 6 hangers, space under the beds for 2 large suit cases, 24 inch LCD TV with HBO and CNN with intermittent signal throughout the 4 day trip. Bathrooms were reminiscent of a cheap trailer bathroom with raised plastic floor, plastic panels on all walls, plastic vanity, no fan, good lighting. A couple of cockroaches in the bathroom most days. Toilet worked well. Very cramped with bathtub shower combination with hand shower that shoots into your face. Water in bathrooms not drinkable. 2 Bottles of water provided daily without charge, additional bottles at 8 RMB.

Best part of the rooms is that all rooms have a 10 x 3 ft balcony with sliding glass door and 2 chairs. Hair dryer available on request, no coffee or tea making facility in the room, but thermoses of hot water provided so bring your own instant coffee and tea bags.

Cyber cafe on the ship has 4 computers for passenger use for a modest charge with internet access that was very frustrating to use because access would go in and out every 5 or 10 minutes (same for TVs). They have USB wireless devices that could be rented for internet access on laptops but would only work with Windows XP (not Windows 7). Otherwise no wireless available for laptops even if you have built in wireless capability. Blackberry, Ipad and Iphone users were out of luck.

Food was good with the exception of poorly made desserts with a mix of American, Italian, and Chinese dishes and lots of variety. Coke, coffee, hot tea, ice tea, and sprite included. Bar prices were for 8 RMB for bottled water, 25 RMB for soda, 30 RMB for beer, 40 RMB mixed drink and 50 RMB for glass of wine.

Service on the ship was cheerful and surprisingly good. Shipboard laundry service available at typical hotel prices.

Once the boat departs the port you may be able to negotiate a reduced rate on cabin upgrades. Otherwise, upgrades are very expensive.

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