China river cruises are a little different from all of the other small ship cruises outlined here. It would be more appropriate to call them "China River Cruise Tours" because, almost without exception, all cruises include a tour component also. All river cruising in China (at least at this time) is confined to the Yangtze Rivre. The longest river cruise is 9 nights. In most cases, the cruise portion of a ten night trip is only three or four nights.
In any case, it is a wonderful way to see this vast and, to many westerners, mysterious country.
Avalon Waterways - books passengers on the Victoria Katarina which is ownned and operated by Victoria Cruises of China. The Katarina is one of the newest ships on the Yangtze (built 2004) and carries 266 passengers.
Sample Itinerary Cultural China with Tibet and Yangtze Cruise
Victoria River Cruises - is devoted exclusively to river cruises in China. They have 5 ships on the Yangtze. Other river cruise companies often lease or book space on their ships rather than operate their own ship in China.
Sample Itinerary - Three Gorges Explorer
Uniworld Cruises - has a partnership agreement with Victoria Cruises and they book passengers on five different ships including the newest (Victoria Katarina).
Sample Itinerary Grand China and the Yangtze
Viking River Cruises - has a new ship that they own. It has larger cabins than most of its competitors - many with private balconies.
Sample Itinerary Imperial Jewels