Victoria Cruises had a lot to be thankful for in 2004. Not only did
the year bring continued growth for the leading Yangtze River
cruise operator, it marked the 10th anniversary of the inaugural
sailing of the line’s Victoria I. Additionally, the line’s
revitalized fleet of luxury vessels sailed enhanced itineraries,
and earned five-star ship ratings from the China National Tourism
“2004 emerged as one of the most exciting years in our history
because of the tremendous growth we experienced and the groundwork
we laid for our awesome future potential,” said Jerry Pi, director
of global operations for Victoria Cruises. “Within a decade, we
transformed tourism on the Yangtze River. We have a pioneering and
innovative spirit that will pave the way for even further
development as we look at building more deluxe vessels and
exploring new itineraries,” Pi added.
2004 marked the launch of the Victoria Katarina, the first of
three new sister ships designed by Victoria Cruises. The Victoria
Katarina is the company’s largest and most elaborate vessel thus
far. With a passenger capacity of 266, the ship features 133
cabins, including 119 standard rooms, six junior suites, six deluxe
suites and two Shangri-la suites. The Victoria Katarina sailed its
maiden voyage on Mar. 21 with a 7-night roundtrip itinerary between
Chongqing and Yichang.
“The introduction of a ship as technically enhanced and grand as
the Victoria Katarina allows Victoria Cruises to continue leading
the way in revitalizing the Yangtze River experience and reinforces
our reputation as an innovator and leader on the river,” said
Benson Wu, vice president of Victoria Cruises.
The Victoria Katarina joins the line’s “premier” class of ships
that includes the Victoria Empress, Victoria Prince, Victoria Queen
and Victoria Star. Each is new or newly rebuilt, and features
enhanced facilities such as private balconies in every cabin and
spacious public areas. Victoria Cruises also operates the Victoria
Rose, in the “classic” ship categories. Rebuilt in 2001, and
smaller than the other ships in the fleet, the Victoria Rose
maintains the same high quality and safety standards of the
company’s other vessels.
Victoria Cruises vessels are known for their tastefully
decorated cabins and elegant atriums with sparkling chandeliers and
polished woods. The ships feature Internet access, HBO and BBC
broadcasts, a main dining room, beauty salon, fitness room,
library, gift shop and elegant Yangtze Club for informative and
lively cultural presentations. All ships are staffed with
multi-lingual Western cruise directors and a professionally trained
Three Victoria Cruises vessels, the Victoria Katarina, the
Victoria Prince and the Victoria Queen have earned the coveted
five-star rating from the China National Tourism Administration.
The rating is the organization’s top honor, and is bestowed on
cruise ships with superior accommodations, amenities and services.
Victoria Cruises now can boast four five-star rated ships on the
Yangtze. (The Victoria Star earned the five-star rating in late
For 2005, Victoria Cruises will continue its commitment to
showcase the rich history and unparalleled scenery of the Yangtze.
In order to provide the most comprehensive view of the imposing
Three Gorges region, the line introduced a new 7-night Three Gorges
Explorer itinerary in March 2004. The itinerary is a roundtrip
cruise, from Chongqing to Yichang and back. Shore excursions vary
in each direction of the cruise, in order to allow passengers to
experience the Three Gorges and the massive Three Gorges Dam
project; the historic cities and cultural treasures along the way,
as well as the new cities springing up to house those displaced by
the rising Yangtze waters.
In addition to the Three Gorges Explorer program, Victoria
Cruises will offer the Grand Yangtze Discovery (Chongqing-Shanghai
and reverse) and the Three Gorges Highlights (Chongqing-Yichang and
reverse) programs in 2005. The Chongqing-Shanghai itinerary takes
passengers through the Three Gorges and the Three Gorges Dam site
as well as Wuhan, Mt. Huangshan (one of China’s most outstanding
scenic attractions) and Nanjing (capital of Jiangsu province). On
the Chongqing -Yichang itinerary, passengers sail through the
verdant valleys that comprise the Three Gorges.