A Journey on
Day 1: Getting to the Princess!
The Princess docked at San Dou Ping.
We arrived in Wuhan from Beijing where we met a guide who took us to the docking area for the ships. Driving through Wuhan and other cities in China, it is clear to see the immense changes that are occurring here under the new reforms. Wuhan is clearly a prosperous city with many new buildings mixed in with more traditional styles. Construction seemed to be going on everywhere we visited in China, a sign of the economic growth of 8-10% reported for this country.
Wuhan, located approximately in the center of the country, is a very busy place, all points seem to lead here--the railroads and rivers converge here and most of the commerce for central China seems to pass through here at some time. It was clear from this, and being in other places that we knew very little about China's geography and cities. For example, before visiting this web site, had you ever heard of the city of Wuhan, or ChongQing (Q is pronounced as CH)? Both these cities are large in size and population; ChongQing has 4 million people-- that's almost the size of Minnesota's population, while Wuhan has 7 million people!!! Impressive to say the least.
Princess Sheena, our ship for the journey, docked at WanXian.
Our vessel for this trip was Princess Sheena one of three ships which the company Regal Cruise Lines has on the river. The ship, 129 m long and 16 m wide, has a capacity of 275-300 passengers and 100 crew members. The ship left the dock just after 7pm, the trip would take us six days to get from Wuhan to ChongQing, a total distance of 1354 km (842 miles). This was also the final sailing of the season. We weretraveling upstream so the trip was two days more than the reverse sailing.
Later that evening we were briefed by our trip guide, Jason Holt (who hailed from Utah), and met some of the other passengers. All but four other couples were in a tour group.
informed us that the ship had fifty passengers for this trip, and consequently
we had two crew members to service every passenger. The previous trip, which
came down the river, had 300 passengers. We definitely preferred the ratio
on this trip. Our guide also informed us that because of low water levels
over the coming months, ships like these would not be able to sail again
until April.. Soon, it was time to turn in, tomorrow would be a day-long
sail with various presentations about the river's geology and culture of
The cabin was a small room with a toilet and shower, adequate and comfortable for the trip as we would not spend much time in there.
The boat sailed all night. On occasions, the ship shuddered as we traveled up this great river. This made sleep challenging!!
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for Global Environmental Education