From Yichang to Chongqing: This Time on A Century Cruise Ship

century cruisesMy first trip on the Yangtze River was aboard a Victoria vessel. The second time around, I was on a Century Cruise ship. It was the Century Sun, to be exact. The trip was exactly the same as the one I had before four days and three nights from Chongqing to Yichang.

Some of you may ask – why take the same trip over and over again? Well, the first cruise I had was something I really planned for several months already. The second cruise was with my cousins. They heard I had been on the Yangtze and coaxed me to join. I could not say no to them, as it has been a while since we hung out together. Considering that they were some of my closest friends since childhood, I was sure my trip would be a lot of fun. Plus, I got to play the role of the expert tour guide.

But what made it different from my previous trip? Well, first things first. The boats are different. The Victoria Jenna is a little bit bigger and can accommodate more people than the Century Sun. Aside from that, the Victoria cruise lines are American owned, so they have foreign representatives on the ship. Century cruise ships are Chinese owned but are run according to European standards. There were really no problems with communication at all since most of the crew spoke English. Price wise, the Century Sun was a bit cheaper by about $100, and that’s already money well saved.

Inside The Century Sun Cabins

The Century sun has 153 regular cabins, which were all well-appointed. There were two beds, a table, a chair, a satellite television and a bathroom/shower. The room had one very small closet and two drawers. The limited storage space was not able to accommodate all our belongings, so some of our bags remained on the floor. I have to tell you though; bathroom was surprisingly big given the fact that it was a ship cabin. They also had a few junior and presidential suites on the ship.

The room was very clean although I did feel that it was a bit sparse. I mean, have you seen pictures of the Century Legend and Paragon cabins? They were designed to look like small-scale five star hotel bedrooms! Even the whole ship was designed to look like a modern 5-star hotel.

I’m not complaining though because the cabin we had clean and functional, and that was what was most important. The double beds were standard sized. They were a bit hard according to one of my cousins, but they were comfortable enough for me. Comfort is relative, then again. They were generous enough to provide two pillows for each bed. I have heard stories of economy Yangtze ships not having any pillows or blankets at all so the idea of two pillows was already a big plus. All cabins had their own private balconies, so we were able to enjoy the view of the Yangtze even in our own cabins. There were no problems inside the room – no stains on the blankets, no leaky showers, no doors that refused to open or any issues of that sort.

Our Itinerary

Our Century cruise itinerary was similar to the one on the Victoria. We boarded the ship at around 7:00 PM and it left port by 9:00. On day two, we went off the ship and had a shore excursion on the Snowy Jade Cave, which I liked better than the one we had on Fengdu Ghost City. The cave had jaw-dropping stalactites which were white as snow. The air inside the cave is said to be rich in negative ions and carbon dioxides. They are actually beneficial for a lot of health conditions, but you have to be exposed to the air frequently to experience results.

After this excursion, we went back on the ship for some down time before heading for the welcome dinner. Our evening meal was then followed by entertainment.

The second day was the same as my previous trip. The ship made a quick detour and we disembarked at the Wushang Daning River for an excursion on Shennong Stream. We were able to see the very popular three gorges, the Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorge. The ship eventually reached the five-step shiplock at night. After spending the whole night in the shiplock, the ship docked at Sandouping Village, where we disembarked to visit the scenic area of the Three Gorges dam for our last excursion.

Food and Drinks

The food on the Century cruise ship was above average. There were plenty of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While most of the options were Chinese cuisine, there were also Western fares to choose from. Drinks that came along with meals were non-alcoholic, but there are liquors available onboard the ship. If you want to save on liquor and other drinks, you can actually buy drinks at Chongqing port or from vendors on most excursion sites and bring them back to your room.

Things To Do On The Ship

The Century cruise ship had a lounge, were most of the lectures and presentations were held. The staff had lectures mostly about the Yangtze River and the sights we visited. They also had song and dance presentations, especially after dinner.

I did a quick tour of the upper decks and found out that they had a cigar room, card/games room, library, beauty salon and massage and sauna area. The lounges and chairs, as well as a specific area for smoking were located on the top deck. There was also an internet room and a fitness area for those who do not want to skip their fitness regimen even while on vacation.

Overall, our trip on this Century cruise ship was a good one. Just as I have positive comments about the Victoria Jenna, I can also say the same for my Century cruise. I think what also added to the fun this time around were my companions. Would I recommend the Century Sun to other people? I definitely would. But if budget isn’t your concern I would also recommend the Century Legend and Century Paragon, which are newer, newer and more luxurious. Given that they’re also Century cruises, I’m sure you’ll get the same friendly and hospitable service as we did.