Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

Location: Xi'an, Sichuan & Central China | China

Price guide: £££££ £200-£350 per person per night

The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is an ultra-luxurious ship which runs cruises along China’s Yangtze River. Smaller than other cruise ships of its type, carrying just 124 passengers, the ship combines attentive service with the comfort of a luxury hotel, complete with a spa and even a theatre. The programme of activities is wide-ranging, and includes outdoor adventures in river gorges, morning tai chi with the ship’s doctor, and onboard lectures and workshops.
Perfect forA Yangtze River cruise which pulls out all the stops
In the knowThe Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer boasts a passenger to crew ratio of 1:1, ensuring attentive service throughout your stay

Recommended for...

  • Cruise
  • Setting & Views
  • Seriously special
  • Wildlife & Nature

Hotel Overview

Sense of Place

The cruises combine the serene beauty of the Yangtze River with the buzzing urbanity of China’s great cities, Shanghai and Beijing. Destinations include Fengdu (the eerie City of Ghosts), the beautiful Three Gorges and the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China.

Rooms onboard Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

The ship’s cabins are truly luxurious, with all the space, comfort and amenities of a hotel room. The rooms have an Oriental feel, with intricately carved wooden blinds and silver leaf wallpaper depicting the peony, a flower native to the banks of the Yangtze River. Colours generally are tasteful and muted, with blocks of auspicious Chinese crimson brightening things up in the headboards, throws and rugs.

All suites feature ensuite bathrooms, and have mod-cons such as satellite TVs, safes and mini-bars. They also have their own balconies, so you can enjoy taking in views of the Yangtze as it goes by.

Food & Drink

Dining on the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is an experience. The team of internationally trained chefs prepare an ever-changing menu of Chinese and Western dishes, served in the immensely stylish Dynasty dining room, with colourful vases decorating the walls. Enjoy complimentary house wines from the well-stocked wine cellar, as well as local beers and soft drinks. For breakfast and lunch, enjoy buffets of fresh fruit juices, house-baked pastries and freshly steamed dim sum, with irresistible homemade cakes and specialist tea blends for afternoon tea. 

The Taste of China farewell dinner is quite a spectacle - tuck into a banquet of dishes such as Yangzhou rice and dory fish, alongside entertainment including storytelling and dance. You can even don your own traditional outfit for a perfect photo opportunity. 


The Huang Ding Spa is home to six treatment rooms where a wide range of pampering options are on offer to help you relax, including an extensive choice of massages using fine Italian products. Manicures and hair styling are among the treatments available at the beauty salon.

Activities onboard Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer

Exactly which activities are included in your cruise will depend on which itinerary you choose. The shortest three-night cruise takes in the riverside town of Fengdu, known as the City of Ghosts for its collection of shrines and temples devoted to the afterlife, and the incredible natural beauty of the Three Gorges. The longest cruise lasts nine nights, and takes in all these sights as well as tours of Shanghai, the Great Wall and Beijing.

During your cruise, you can also enjoy onboard activities such as learning some of the secrets of Chinese cuisine on dumpling-making classes with one of the chefs, Chinese reflexology and traditional tea ceremonies, some of which take part in the onboard theatre.

Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Best time to go

Hotel location

Cruises depart from either Chongqing or Yichang. In Chongqing, the pier is around 35 minutes’ drive away from the airport, while in Yichang the pier is about 45 minutes away from the airport.

Stay at Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer on these trips

More places to stay in Xi'an, Sichuan & Central China


call us on 020 7337 9010 to start planning your perfect trip

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