Yangtze Redux

Explore China in style on this renovated ship

BY PAUL RUBIO — Winter 2018

Just when it seemed the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers of Southeast Asia had stolen the river-cruise limelight in Asia, China’s Yangtze River returns to the scene with a new ultraluxe edge. Say hello to the reinvented Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer — a 38-cabin, 24-suite ship that emerged from dry dock last March as, arguably, the most elegant vessel on the river.

The head-to-toe refurbishment wows with contemporary Chinese design. Understated rooms, all with balconies, feature sleek wooden furnishings, textured silver-leaf wall coverings, and earth-toned soft goods punctuated by amber-hued headboards and pillows. Diverse floral-print artwork and textiles hail from local artists based in Yichang and Chongqing, the ship’s origin and terminus.

Beyond design, the Explorer takes a cross-cultural approach with onboard programming including tai chi classes and calligraphy demonstrations, as well as lavish meals featuring authentic Hubei, Hunan, and Sichuan gastronomy.

The Yangzi Explorer vessel cruises through central China on three- and four-night itineraries. 630-725-3449; sanctuaryretreats.com

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