Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

Former name: Yangtze Explorer

Specifications of Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

Year of build2008  /  Age: 15
Ferry route / homeportsYichang-Chongqing´╗┐
Speed16 kn / 30 km/h / 18 mph
Length (LOA)92 m / 302 ft
Beam (width)16 m / 52 ft
Gross Tonnage6733 gt
Passengers124 - 162
Decks with cabins4
Former namesYangtze Explorer
OwnerSanctuary Retreats China
OperatorSanctuary Cruises China

Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer Review

Review of Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is a well-designed luxury river cruise ship, regarded to be the prior choice of vacationers to cruise on Yangtze River in China. Compared to other China-based riverboats which carry over 300 passengers, Yangtze Explorer accommodates 124 passengers (max 162) and more personalized services. From March through November, the ship operates oo regularly scheduled Yangtze River cruise tour itineraries between Yichang and Chongqing.

Sanctuary Retreats fleet of fully-owned vessels also includes Nile AdventurerSun Boat 3 and Sun Boat 4 (all three in Egypt) and Ananda (Burma).


The shipowner Sanctuary Retreats owns luxury lodges and safari camps in Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as a fleet of six premium riverboats operating regular cruises in Burma, China and Egypt. Established in 1999, the company focuses on adventurous safari cruises with included stays in some of Africa's most luxurious lodges and nature camps, with professional tour guides having an intimate knowledge of the local environment.

Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer cruise ship (China, Yangtze River)

Sanctuary Retreats China cruise deals are inclusive of 3 daily meals (on all full cruise days) plus debarkation day breakfast, beverages with all meals (including local beers, house wines, soft drinks, bottled water), entrance fees (on scheduled sightseeing tours), scheduled shipboard activities and entertainment. Longer cruises are also inclusive of overnight hotel stays (Peninsula Hotel Beijing, Peninsula Hotel Shanghai, Marco Polo Hotel Wuhan, Chongqing InterContinental), as well as airport-hotel-airport and hotel-ship-hotel transfers.

On the North American market (the USA and Canada), Sanctuary Retreats is represented by the luxury travel company "Abercrombie & Kent Ltd". The company is a subsidiary of Abercrombie & Kent Group and headquartered in Cheltenham (Gloucestershire, England UK).

The Sanctuary Retreats China ship is also often chartered by Uniworld.


The riverboat has a total of 62 balcony staterooms, of which 38x Deluxe Cabins, 20x Standard Suites and 4x Premium Suites (bow location). Yangzi Explorer has spacious and luxurious staterooms, providing the most comfortable vacation travel experience similar to international 5-star hotels. The ship also has connecting cabins (with adjoining doors) for quad occupancy.

Staterooms as sizes vary between 31 m2 (Deluxe), 39 m2 (Standard Suite), 81 m2 (MANDARIN and JADE suites) and 110 m2 (CELESTIAL and IMPERIAL suites).

  • Category Deluxe are triple cabins (can accommodate a 3rd passenger). As bonus perks are offered complimentary laundry (total 8 pieces per cabin per cruise), complimentary shoe shine service (2 pairs per cabin per cruise), free Wi-Fi, complimentary beverages (soft drinks upon arrival), welcome tea service, exclusive access to Suite Lounge (Deck 6) on full cruise days (between 9 am - 7 pm) with complimentary afternoon canapes and speciality coffees-teas, local beers and house wines.
  • Ship's grand suites are named MANDARIN and JADE (Deck 5) and CELESTIAL and IMPERIAL (Deck 3). They all have a separate bedroom, living area, dining area (table with chairs), and are located forward. Bonus perks (complimentary services) include in-cabin dining (1x gourmet dinner), sparkling wine (on embarkation day), in-cabin Afternoon Tea service, speciality coffees-teas throughout the voyage (served at Dynasty Restaurant and all bars), 24-hour room service, complimentary shore excursions, complimentary laundry (total 20 pieces per cabin per cruise), complimentary shoe shine service (unlimited)

Standard cabin amenities include King-size double bed (some convertible to twins), bedroom bench, 2-seater sofa (or daybed), bedside cabinets (2x drawers, alarm clock, power sockets, reading lamps), wardrobe, electronic safe box (in the closet), mini bar (drinks cost extra), flat LCD TV (satellite reception), phone (onboard calls only - Reception Desk, passenger cabins), writing table with chair, individually controlled air-conditioning.

All staterooms feature neo-classic decor style, warm colours, luxury furniture (natural materials, soft Italian leather, premium timber, French fabrics), large en-suite bathrooms (single-sink, WC, glass shower, hairdryer), private step-out balconies (with outdoor furniture - armchairs and coffee table).

Shipboard facilities and amenities

On each Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer cruise, passengers enjoy gourmet dining at Dynasty Dining Room. This is boat's complimentary restaurant offering top-quality food (international cuisine specialities prepared by Austrian chefs), buffet-style breakfasts and lunches, waiter-served dinners (with a la carte menu). Complimentary and unlimited beverages (house wines, local beers, soft drinks) are served at all meals. Champagne tastings are held at Explorer Lounge (top-deck Bar Salon) also offering Afternoon Tea service and live grand piano performances.


This large riverboat also has modern Wellness Complex (Huang Ding Spa) with Sauna Room, 6x Treatment Rooms (for massages), Fitness Centre, Beauty Salon (manicure-pedicure, hairdresser and barber services), 2-decks high Tang Theater (show lounge), Art Gallery, Collector's Den (art auctions), two boutique shops (Angeperle Jewelry, Etcetera Clothing), Clinic (24-hour infirmary served by resident doctor and nurse), Lobby area (24-hour Reception Desk, Photo Center, ship entrances), Business Center (conference room), Suite Lounge (exclusive bar venue), outdoor Observation Deck (top-deck bow location), Sun Deck (sunbathing area with loungers and low tables), 2x private gaming rooms (Peony, Lotus). Two staircases (forward and aft) and one lift (passenger elevator / aft-portside) connect all decks.

The cruise itinerary and its shore excursions offer the perfect option to explore China's inland culture, to appreciate the magnificent scenery of the Three Gorges Dam, as well as get to know the daily life of the people living in these parts of the world.

Ship's onboard enrichment program includes a variety of lectures (themed on China's history and culture, as well as on river's ecology), watching movies, Chinese cooking classes, art-craft workshops (silk embroidery), mahjong playing, bingo games, playing cards and board games, crew show, dedicated staff performances (traditional singing and dancing), Tai-chi classes.

Sanctuary Retreats China cruise itineraries

Next, are listed all Sanctuary Retreats China cruise tours:

  • The 3-day southbound Yangtze itinerary (Chongqing to Yichang) visits Fuling, Shennong Stream, Three Gorges Dam.
  • The 4-day northbound Yangtze itinerary (Yichang to Chongqing) visits Three Gorges Dam, Shennong Stream, Fuling.
  • The 5-day southbound "cruise and train" package (Chongqing to Wuhan) offers to visit Fuling, Shennong Stream, Three Gorges Dam, with train travel to Wuhan.
  • The 6-day northbound "cruise and train" package (Wuhan to Chongqing) offers to visit Three Gorges Dam, Shennong Stream, Fuling, with train travel to Yichang.
  • The 8-day "CHINA GETAWAY" itinerary is from Beijing to Shanghai. The reverse itinerary (9-day) is from Shanghai to Beijing.

Next, are listed all available for booking Uniworld Yangzi Explorer cruise tours:

  • The 11-day "HIGHLIGHTS OF CHINA and YANGTZE" itinerary (BEIJING TO SHANGHAI) offers guided walking tours, 16x shore excursions (hosted by local, English speaking expert guides), Peking duck dinner in Beijing. Cruise prices vary between EUR 4800-6100. Highlights include Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Great Wall, Three Gorges.
  • The 14-day "CHINA, TIBET and YANGTZE" itinerary (BEIJING TO SHANGHAI) offers guided walking tours, 12x shore excursions (hosted by local, English speaking expert guides), visiting 4x UNESCO sites. Cruise prices vary between EUR 6100-7300. Highlights include Great Wall, Three Gorges, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Goddess Stream, Terracotta Warriors, Lhasa Tibet (Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple), Beijing and Shanghai city tours.
  • The 18-day "GRAND CHINA and YANGTZE" itinerary (BEIJING TO HONG KONG) offers travel on the rivers Yangtze and Li, in-depth city tours (Xian, Hangzhou, Hong Kong), guided walking tours, 16x shore excursions (hosted by local, English speaking expert guides), Peking duck dinner in Beijing. Cruise prices vary between EUR 7900-9600. Highlights include Great Wall, Three Gorges, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, city tours (Hangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong).

Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.

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