China by cruise ship

Jun 25th, 2012, 02:33 AM
  #1  
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China by cruise ship

Just booked a HAL cruise to China and Japan and was shocked by the price of overland tours to Beijing and all of the sights that I do not want to miss while in China. Any ideas for independent travel for two first timers who will begin in Xingang? Do we hire a driver, a local tour company or use public transportation? Are car rentals allowed in China? Thank you fodorites. This is my favorite bookmark.
lrtayloe is offline  
Jun 25th, 2012, 04:42 AM
  #2  
 
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Have you gone to the cruise forum here? That may have some suggestions. I also have found TA cruise forum, and Cruise Critic site very helpful in arranging independent land packages. From the forums I have often gotten the name of a guide/driver and contacted them directly to arrange a land package. Also from the forums you will see other people who are on the same cruise and want to share the cost of a land package. It takes some work, but BIG savings can be had. Good Luck.
kmkrnn is offline  
Jun 25th, 2012, 05:41 AM
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If you want to see China, don't go on a cruise. If you have your heart set on the cruise, then spend time before or after to see what you want to see.It is easy to travel independently in China. You cannot self-drive in China, but you can easily get a car and driver. Distances between major cities is large and you'll want to fly or take a train.
Kathie is online now  
Jun 25th, 2012, 06:05 AM
  #4  
 
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as you probably know many ports are not that near to the actual cities
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 25th, 2012, 06:43 AM
  #5  
 
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Do NOT even consider renting a car in China! The driving is absolutely nuts in the cities. It's fun to go along for the ride, but trying to drive would not end well.


In Beijing, I used a private driver to get out to the Great Wall and otherwise used public transit/taxis.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 06:46 PM
  #6  
 
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You an only drive in China if you have a Chinese driver's license. I have one and driving there is not that bad actually. But being from Montreal might help! Ha! Ha!
Cruises limit you to coastal areas only and you would miss a lot. Some cruises say that they stop in Beijing but Beijing is actually inland so they dock at Tianjin which is nearly 200km away.
JPDeM is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2012, 09:07 AM
  #7  
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Thank you all in helping me decide how best to approach China. I am thinking that a cruise is not the answer. Now I have to decide on tour company or independent travel. Has anyone used China Odyssey before?
lrtayloe is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2012, 09:50 AM
  #8  
 
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We did the Odyssey tour, I believe Victoria boat on Yangtze River. For us it was a good way to get get across a good portion of China via the river and see the sights along the way. We started out journey in Beijing, then Xian and then to Chongqing to catch the boat. 3 days I believe and then ultimately docked in Yichang. The boat had several hundred people, food was decent, the scenery was great! Stops along the way were interesting and included.
freqflier is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2012, 11:12 AM
  #9  
 
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If one ranks the best places to see in order, the scenery along the cruise would not rank very high. But it may be ok if you do not mind this kind of travel where you do nothing.
JPDeM is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2012, 08:04 PM
  #10  
 
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If you use the search function you will find several threads on using a tour company vs. traveling independently. You will also find several trip reports from people who have traveled independently in China successfully, on a first trip. There is an extensive train system (see seat61.com for info) as well as flights, and metro in Beijing and Shanghai plus loads of taxis.
thursdaysd is offline  
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