Use these helpful travel resources for vacation inspiration, trip preparation and useful tips while traveling at home and abroad.
Helping you enjoy all the fun of exploring our world
Follow these tips and travel like a pro
Find answers to all of your travel-related queries
Cuisine, beverages and recipes from around the world
Bring home amazing photos with these pro tips
Follow these useful guides and enjoy your vacation care-free
Our recommendations on the world's best art, culture and history
Some health tips to make the most of your time abroad
Learn about the history of some of our most fascinating sites
Know before you go with these essential tech tour guides
Follow these useful tips and travel with confidence
For more than 40 years, we've been providing a wonderfully simple, and genuinely personal, way to plan, experience and enjoy the vacation of your dreams.
Outstanding selection, exceptional service and peace of mind
Your health and well-being are our priority
Protect your vacation with travel insurance.
Our Travel Specialists make planning your trip fun and hassle free
As you plan your trip read our unedited guest reviews
What kind of traveler are you? Find out how to shop by your travel style
Powered by our not-for-profit foundation, TreadRight
Trafalgar, Costsaver, Insight Vacations and more
Check out our Hot Deals
Limited time offers on select tours
Savings for solo travelers looking to share experiences
Great savings for solo travelers on Uniworld River Cruises
Shop great deals on luxurious Uniworld River Cruises
Learn more about available discounts for your next group vacation
Uniworld has added new measures to elevate hygiene standards for every facet of the onboard experience—from the introduction of innovative, non-toxic cleaning solutions to hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship.
New measures have been added to elevate hygiene standards for every facet of the onboard experienceLearn More
Arrive at the Beijing Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the opulent Ritz-Carlton Beijing. This stunning hotel is located in the heart of the city, where modernity, exemplary service and rich Chinese tradition seamlessly blend together.
The political and cultural capital of China and home to more than 20 million people, Beijing exemplifies everything visitors find most intoxicating about China. Spectacular ancient monuments contrast with ambitious modern high-rises, and traditional crafts flourish alongside booming international businesses—which you’ll discover today.
Featured Excursion: The imperial heritage of China’s capital—Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Peking Duck lunch with afternoon Temple of Heaven visit and Tai Chi class
The imperial heritage of China’s capital—Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Peking Duck lunch with afternoon Temple of Heaven visit and Tai Chi class
Delve into the mystique and majesty of China’s imperial legacy today, beginning in Tiananmen Square. The center of contemporary civic life in Beijing, the square was first laid out in 1651 during the reign of the first Qing emperor. Over the centuries the enormous square has been the scene of imperial ceremonies, political demonstrations, parades and, in 2008, the Olympic opening festivities. Now surrounded by Communist monuments, including Mao Zedong’s mausoleum (note the long line of people waiting to get in for a brief glimpse of the Chairman’s remains), it is the gateway to the Forbidden City. Take a moment to pose with your fellow guests for a complimentary group photo to commemorate your visit.
As you pass through Tiananmen Gate, also known as the Gate of Heavenly Peace, you step into one of Beijing’s treasures, the Forbidden City. For over 500 years the Forbidden City was home to the emperors and empresses of China, a place none could enter without imperial permission (hence its name), but in 1925 it became the Palace Museum—an institution noted for its unparalleled collections of Ming and Qing Dynasty treasures. The UNESCO-designated palace complex, with its temples, pavilions, courtyards and gardens (covering some 100 acres), offers visitors a glimpse into the lives and rituals of China’s imperial families, as well as some of the world’s most outstanding architecture and design.
Relax after your exploration of the Forbidden City with a festive lunch of Beijing’s succulent signature dish, Peking Duck. Emperors were the first to enjoy this classic preparation of slow-roasted, crispy-skinned duck; in fact, the first mention of this delicacy dates back to the imperial kitchens in 1330, and it became eponymous with Beijing—or Peking, as it was then known—in the 1450s. After lunch, the Temple of Heaven, the largest and best-preserved Taoist temple in Beijing, is on the agenda. Built in 1420, this breathtaking temple complex was where the emperors of the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty would hold the Heaven Worship Ceremony each year. While you’re there, you’ll have the opportunity to join in on a tai chi class—the ancient Chinese tradition of meditative exercise.
Today is a bucket list kind of day, as you stand at last atop China’s most iconic site—the Great Wall. You’ll also have tea at a traditional teahouse and take a rickshaw ride through the city’s ancient hutongs, where you’ll enjoy lunch.
Featured Excursion: Culture, history and intrigue—hutongs, teahouses and the Great Wall
Culture, history and intrigue—hutongs, teahouse and the Great Wall
Expand your experience of Beijing’s amazing culture with a visit to the hutongs, the historic residential neighborhoods that developed around the Forbidden City during the 15th century. Traditional multigenerational homes built around courtyards line the narrow lanes, along with tiny shops selling everything from luxury goods to everyday necessities. Not only are the sights along these winding streets fascinating, but you’ll get to see them in the most traditional way—via rickshaw. What’s behind the doors of these homes? Find out as you join a local family for a typical Chinese luncheon in their home.
You’ll then be invited to a traditional teahouse in a 600-year-old Ming Dynasty-era Bell Tower. This teahouse boasts a collection of the best tea from each region, which you’ll get to sample when you partake in a traditional tea ceremony.
Though the Great Wall stretches 5,500 miles through northern China—for comparison purposes, remember that the United States is about 3,000 miles wide—part of it is surprisingly close to Beijing. You’ll head off this afternoon to see the longest man-made structure on Earth. The wall was begun in the third century BC as a way to keep out hostile invaders from the north; it proved so stalwart a defense that generations of warlords and emperors maintained and extended it, although it was never a continuous barrier. The section north of Beijing, on your itinerary for today, dates mostly to the Ming Dynasty. Now that its military purposes are firmly in the past, you may clamber up the steps and take a memorable walk along this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its stone and tamped-earth pathway offers an extraordinarily peaceful and awe-inspiring setting with expansive mountain views.
Leave dynamic Beijing behind today and head north to the lush lakeside Summer Palace, home to one of China’s most beautiful classical gardens. From there, plunge into the past in China’s first capital, where you’ll celebrate your first night in Xi’an with a traditional dumpling banquet.
Featured Excursion: Grace and art—Beijing’s Summer Palace and Xi’an’s traditional dumpling banquet
Grace and art—Beijing’s Summer Palace and Xi’an’s traditional dumpling banquet
Even emperors suffered in Beijing’s summer heat, so they built a lake just north of the city and then added a series of palaces and pavilions on the banks of that lake (it also provided water for the city), where they could enjoy cool breezes off the water. Over the centuries emperors turned their Summer Palace into one of China’s most beautiful gardens, incorporating elements from myth (the three islands in Kunming Lake represent the three divine mountains in the East Sea), philosophy and other exquisite gardens, including those in Suzhou. Stroll along the Long Corridor, decorated with some 14,000 paintings, and step aboard a small boat to float out onto the serene waters of Kunming Lake. As you take in the views of Longevity Hill, with its temples and pavilions, and the 17-arch bridge, you’ll see a perfect example of Chinese garden design.
Leaving Beijing behind, you will fly south to Xi’an, China’s first capital, home to the Terra-cotta Army—and to one of China’s culinary pleasures.
Your introduction to the ancient capital of China starts with a gustatory encounter with Xi’an’s famous dumplings. Enjoy the delights of a traditional Xi’an dumpling dinner in the city widely considered the home of this savory tidbit. Traditionally reserved for special occasions (perhaps because making them can be so labor-intensive), each little dumpling is a delectable work of art—and, after all, your visit to Xi’an is surely a special occasion, so you deserve every one of the 16 different kinds of dumplings that will be served.
Xi’an’s Terracotta Army has been called the 8th Wonder of the World, and it’s certainly the most extraordinary archeological find of the 20th century. You’ll also enjoy a traditional Tang Dynasty dinner show with fabulous food, music and vibrant costumes.
Featured Excursion: China’s first capital—Terra-cotta Army and Tang Dynasty dinner show
China’s first capital—Terra-cotta Army and Tang Dynasty dinner show
In 1974, a farmer digging a well stumbled upon one of the 20th century’s most astonishing archaeological finds: a massive army of terra-cotta figures that stand guard over the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC). Though thousands of members of this army have been excavated so far, many more remain; work uncovering the tomb complex continues, with the emperor’s tomb chamber itself yet to be revealed. Terra-cotta acrobats, musicians, and officials were also created to accompany the emperor in the afterlife; all are now on display at a museum devoted to this incredible find. Each life-sized figure is unique—no mass production for those ancient craftsmen!—and as you explore the museum, you’ll be amazed by the intricacy of the workmanship. This terra-cotta army was by no means Qin Shi Huang’s only bequest to China: It might be fair to say that he created the nation of China itself. He unified a vast swath of the country and established the administrative systems that governed China until 1911. In fact, he even gave his dynasty’s name to the nation. Qin is pronounced “chin,” and it is from this name that the modern word “China” comes.
End your day with a colorful entertainment that pays tribute to the city’s history. Xi’an reached its apex during the Tang Dynasty, when Tang emperors laid out a city that became a model for Chinese urban development, so the era holds a special place in the hearts of Xi’an’s citizens. A traditional Chinese dinner, complete with a milky rice wine that is served warm, is accompanied by a lavishly staged cultural performance that draws on the music, folk dance and beautiful silk costumes of the Tang era. The performance you’ll see is rooted in early folk celebrations that honored the harvest, and it blends ancient music and movements to visually express the splendor of the Chinese civilization.
Today you’ll fly to Lhasa, the ancient cultural and religious epicenter of Tibet, where the majestic Himalayan peaks will make you feel like you’re on top of the world—figuratively and literally—in the world’s highest capital city.
Enter the hushed inner sanctum of the spiritual heart of the city, the Jokhang Temple, where you will have a rare opportunity to gaze upon the most sacred icon of Tibetan Buddhism—an ancient statue of the Buddha that legions of devout pilgrims journey vast distances to see in person.
Featured Excursion: Otherworldly Jokhang Temple and Tibet Museum
Otherworldly Jokhang Temple and Tibet Museum
Gold-domed Jokhang Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the holiest temple in the holy city, contains the most revered icon of Tibetan Buddhism, a seventh-century statue of Buddha known as the Jowo Shakyamuni. Throughout the day you can see Tibetan pilgrims following the sacred circuit, some prostrating themselves every few feet, that leads to this statue. Inside this beautiful building, which incorporates Indian, Chinese and Nepalese architectural elements, you’ll find restored sculptures (a reminder of the struggles Tibet has endured), ritual paintings on silk called thangka, and 18th- and 19th-century murals. The extraordinary beauty of the place is made all the more ethereal by dramatic views of Potala Palace looming above the temple and the surrounding snowcapped mountains.
You’ll learn more about the history of the region and traditional Tibetan life as you tour the Tibet Museum, which houses a rich collection of prehistoric artifacts, some dating back 50,000 years. The museum is a modern building (it opened in 1999) that fuses traditional Chinese and Tibetan architecture.
The enormous hilltop Potala Palace is the first thing visitors see in Lhasa, and today you’ll have a chance to venture inside this vast and well-preserved site. It is said to contain a thousand rooms, including the private rooms where the Dalai Lama himself once resided.
Featured Excursion: Places of the Gods—Potala Palace and Sera Monastery
Places of the gods—Potala Palace and Sera Monastery
Tibetan Buddhism is inextricably associated with Lhasa; the temporal head of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism—the Dalai Lama—governed Tibet for 300 years. Potala’s two palaces, the Red and the White, perched 12,100 feet above the valley floor, dominate the city just as the Dalai Lama did until the mid-1950s. Originally built in 637, the existing palace— vast and beautifully preserved—dates to the 17th century. Now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was the seat of Tibet’s government and the winter residence of the Dalai Lama for centuries. As you wander through its rooms (there are over 1,000), you’ll discover chapels, prayer halls, tombs, altars (where pilgrims still make offerings) and priceless collections of jade, porcelain, silver and paintings.
Founded in 1419, Sera Monastery, located just outside Lhasa at the base of Mt. Phurbuchok, once housed more than 5,000 monks, who traveled from all over Tibet to study at one of the monastery’s three great colleges. The monastery was shut down in 1959 and used for a time as an army barracks, but monks were permitted to return to Sera in the 1980s. They have rebuilt much of the monastery, and today they conduct daily philosophical debates under the watchful eye of Manjushri, the God of Wisdom, in the courtyard of Sera Je Tratsang temple. As you tour the monastery’s numerous temples—each filled with amazing collections of carefully preserved murals and statues of Maitreya, Bodhisattva and Arhat—you may begin to share the mystical sense of peace espoused by the Buddha and his disciples.
Check out of your hotel and fly to Chongqing, the booming capital of western China, where you’ll board the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer.
Near Fuling, you’ll be offered the extraordinary chance to visit the 816 Underground Project, a giant nuclear installation, which the military started constructing in the mountains in the 1960s. It boasts 18 man-made caves, more than 130 roads and tunnels, and an almost 262-foot-high cave where the nuclear reactor was placed. The project was abandoned in a nearly finished state in 1984 before the manufacturing of plutonium-239 began.
Featured Excursion: Fuling—816 Underground Project
Fuling—816 Underground Project
Venture to the site of the 816 Underground Project, a giant nuclear installation, that the military started constructing in the mountains in the 1960s as the world’s superpowers set off on a nuclear arms race. For years, this top-secret plant remained hidden by dense forests and mountainous landscapes, only having been revealed to the public in recent years. It boasts 17 man-made caves, more than 130 roads and tunnels and an almost 262-foot-high cave where the nuclear reactor was placed. More than 60,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army helped build it, with at least 100 dying in the process. The project was abandoned in a nearly finished state in 1984 before the manufacturing of plutonium-239 began. Following an in-depth preparatory talk on the military, political and cultural background of this time period, guests will explore Cold War history by traveling down into this hollowed-out cave.
Note: The White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum and a local market tour will be offered as an alternative in the event of a closure.
Today will be a highlight of your journey—a full day cruising the Yangtze River’s mystical, beautiful and completely mesmerizing Three Gorges and Shennong Stream.
Featured Excursion: The magical Shennong Stream
The magical Shennong Stream
This morning, early-bird tea and coffee are available in the Explorer Bar. Before today’s activities, you can partake in traditional Chinese exercises before savoring an international breakfast buffet. After, climb aboard a sampan—a traditional longboat rowed by expert Tujia boatmen—for a unique ride along the Shennong Stream, a tributary of the Yangtze that flows through some of the most magical scenery in the Three Gorges region. Pristine waters shimmer and bubble between the sheer cliffs and verdant landscapes that rise overhead. Mysterious traces of ancient peoples appear in the cliffs’ façades, including coffins suspended among seemingly unreachable rocks. Many people believe the goddess of the stream created some of the ravishing peaks, which you’ll see from your boat. Does Feifeng Peak look like a phoenix about to drink from the stream’s water? Legend has it that the goddess transformed a golden phoenix into the mountain.
While you ponder these ancient myths, you’ll make your way to a traditional trackers’ village. Here, you’ll get a one-of-a-kind look at life in a rural Chinese community and its denizens’ mud huts, basic kitchens and more.
The Three Gorges Dam was a project that involved relocating villages and submerged a number of cultural treasures behind the rising waters of the Yangtze. The dam itself is an engineering marvel you can see from an up-close perspective today.
After your visit to the dam, you’ll fly to Shanghai, where you’ll settle into your room and then choose a place for dinner on your own. You may opt to dine at the hotel, but you are in the heart of bustling Shanghai, which brims with culinary destinations.
Featured Excursion: Powering China's future—Three Gorges Dam
Powering China's future—Three Gorges Dam
Get an up-close view of a contemporary man-made wonder as your ship navigates the five-stage locks of the massive Three Gorges Dam, located in Yichang. Known the world over, the dam harnesses the power of the mighty Yangtze in order to provide electricity to ever-growing China; it is the largest hydropower project ever undertaken. Talk of building such a system first began in 1919, but it wasn’t until 1992 that the Chinese congress gave it the go-ahead. It opened in 2006, with the final generators being installed in 2012. The dam is also intended to control flooding on the Yangtze, which has been a severe problem for many centuries. It has not been without controversy, but it is an unparalleled expression of national ambition and a major new national landmark.
An international economic hub, Shanghai has drawn entrepreneurs from all over the world for 150 years. But while Shanghai may be the “city of the future,” you can still find remnants of its history in Old Town and the area known as the Concessions, which you’ll discover today.
Featured Excursion: Spectacular skyscrapers, famous dim sum and acrobats
Spectacular skyscrapers, famous dim sum and acrobats
Call it the once and future boomtown. Shanghai, China’s one-time window to the West, is once again its commercial capital, and this morning’s tour will take you to some of this engaging city’s most impressive sights. Begin with a ramble through Old Town—the original walled city, where you will find traditional tea houses, temples, narrow alleyways and markets—for a taste of historic Shanghai. When you stroll along the Bund, Shanghai’s famed waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River, you encounter the heart of the old colonial concessions: Buildings here pay tribute to the English, French or German consuls and businessmen who owned them. A plethora of art deco buildings demonstrates why Shanghai was known as the Pearl of the Orient in the 1920s. Today’s Bund features exuberant street life as well as beautiful architecture. It’s also an ideal spot for admiring the views of the Pudong district and its spectacular skyscrapers, among them the tallest building in Asia. What would a visit to Shanghai be without a traditional dim sum lunch? Relax at your hotel over a delectable selection of savory dumplings, steamed buns and rice noodle rolls with a variety of fillings, then go out and explore a little on your own. You might visit Yu Garden, a lovely traditional garden first laid out in 1559, or check out one of the nearby shopping streets for a taste of Shanghai’s famous shopping scene.
After dinner on your own, experience spinning plates, flying knives, and whirling hula-hoops as agile acrobats dance across swaying tightropes and perform death-defying leaps. You’ll be truly dazzled as the famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe performs their astonishing, gravity-defying routines.
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport for your flight home or extend your trip with a memorable optional extension to Hong Kong.
*Ships and hotels are subject to change.
All fares are per guest in US Dollars based on double occupancy unless otherwise noted.
Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice.
Availability of all stateroom categories cannot be guaranteed.
Single Supplement applies for single accommodation.
Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors.
The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.
Start Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2021
Return Date: Tue, Aug 31, 2021
Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer Beijing to Shanghai
|$7,799 pp||$9,199 pp||Request Quote|
Start Date: Wed, Sep 1, 2021
Return Date: Tue, Sep 14, 2021
Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer Beijing to Shanghai
|$7,799 pp||$9,199 pp||Request Quote|
The newest ship on the Yangtze is a sanctuary of lavish features, with the largest cabins and suites on the river—all with private balconies—and a crew-to-guest ratio beyond compare (1:1 to be specific).
Travels on: Yangtze River
Grand Suites: 2 (420 sq ft)
Suites: 6 (333 sq ft)
Length: 300 ft
Width: 53.8 ft
Voltage: 220 volts
The newest ship on the Yangtze is a sanctuary of lavish features, with the largest cabins and suites on the river—all with private balconies, and a crew to guest ratio beyond compare (1:1 to be specific).
Sign Up >