China to Debut the World’s Largest River Cruise Ship in 2020

The state-of-the-art boat will be among the first to make use of China's new $31 billion hydroelectric dam

China to Debut the World’s Largest River Cruise Ship in 2020
By Tanner Garrity / December 20, 2019 10:04 am

Asia’s longest river is getting the world’s biggest river cruise ship.

American brand Victoria Cruises just announced the Victoria Sabrina, a seven-deck, 270-cabin behemoth that will ferry 700 passengers up and down China’s Yangtze River beginning in May 2020. When it’s finally ready for its maiden voyage, nine different research and design firms will have had a hand in building Victoria Sabrina, and the ship is easily Victoria’s most over-the-top offering yet.

River cruises are not uncommon along the Yangtze, but Victoria Sabrina is the first to take full advantage of the river’s Three Gorges Dam, a $31 billion hydroelectric dam completed in 2003, which increases shipping capacity, generates world-record power output and prevents flooding. In other words: the river can handle a big ship now, and Victoria Cruises is capitalizing.

Passengers will get to enjoy immaculately appointed rooms, cuisine that mixes Western comfort with world-class Chinese dishes, theater and observation decks (the latter featured above), a bar and a gym, among other amenities.

But you don’t choose a river cruise through the heart of China for the treadmills. The ship will pass the Three Gorges Dam (which makes the Hoover Dam look like it was built in an afternoon by a family of beavers), along with the Jade Emperor Scenic Area, which is an important site in the Fengdu Ghost City, and Shennv Stream, a shallow channel beloved local by locals.

Stay tuned for prices, but they won’t be as prohibitive as most Mediterranean cruises. Expect passage in a twin bed cabin to start in the $300-450 range, with things going up from there depending on how much space you need.

Of course, it bears noting that there are environmental concerns to consider when traveling on a cruise ship. Victoria reports that pains were taken to power Victoria Sabrina with electricity and employ energy-saving practices throughout the ship. But it’s still sailing through an area that once owned a proud record of biodiversity (from cranes to river dolphins) but has suffered due to the very dam that ensures this ship can exist.

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