Frequently Asked Questions
China River Cruises/Tours FAQs
The information provided below should help answer some questions you might have about Uniworld’s Boutique River Cruises and tours in China. Additional information can be found in the Cruise Companion for China in the BEFORE YOU GO section of this website.
Q: Are visas required?
US citizens should apply for a single-entry China visa. (Hong Kong and Tibet are both officially part of China so no additional visa is required.) Please do not mention Tibet when you apply for a China visa, as this will require you to provide additional documentation. Tibet does require an Entry Permit and Uniworld will obtain one on your behalf. Please email us a copy of your passport (photo pages) and a copy of your China visa no later than 45 days prior to your departure; scanned documents may be sent to email@example.com.
Or, you may mail it to:
Attn: Guest Services
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
17323 Ventura Blvd, 2nd Fl
Los Angeles, CA 91316
Q: Do I need vaccinations?
We recommend consulting your doctor to make sure your vaccinations are up to date and that you are in good health, especially if traveling in Tibet’s high altitudes (approx. 11,000 feet).
Q: Why do you need a Passenger Information Form?
Due to immigration and security measures worldwide, passenger information must be fully completed and received by Uniworld by the time of final payment. Final documentation will not be processed without receipt of the Passenger Information Form. One completed form is required per guest. Please click here to access our Passenger Information Form page, which provides a printable form, instructions, and additional information.
Q: Are three people per room allowed on the China programs?
Yes, triple bookings are allowed.
Q: What should I wear on my cruise/tour?
It’s best to pack for a range of weather conditions, depending on the season and the regions visited. Temperatures in China can vary greatly, from 90°F in Hong Kong to as low as 30°F in Lhasa, Tibet. Wearing layers of lightweight clothing will allow you to easily adjust to any temperature changes. Limiting your wardrobe to a simple mix-and-match color scheme will keep your bags to a minimum.
We recommend wearing comfortable, smart-casual clothing onshore and onboard. We also suggest sturdy walking shoes, as you will do a significant amount of walking on excursions, often over slippery or uneven terrain. A sun hat, rain gear, and a warm coat for chilly evenings or high altitude areas are useful items to have. For dining ashore, special performances, festive dinners onboard, etc., men may want to bring a sports jacket and women a cocktail dress or pantsuit. Please note that shorts are not allowed at dinner aboard the ship.
Q: Is laundry service available?
Laundry service is available in all hotels and onboard your ship for an additional fee. No dry cleaning services are available onboard.
Q: What’s the food like?
All restaurant breakfasts are served buffet-style and offer both Western and Asian menu items. Most other meals onshore will feature authentic Chinese cuisine. Onboard your ship, breakfast and lunch will be buffets featuring Chinese and some Western cuisine, and dinners will highlight Chinese food served at table. You will also enjoy special themed meals through your journey, such as a Peking Duck dinner, a dinner show in Xi'an, and a dumpling lunch in Xi'an.
Q: Can you accommodate special diets?
Kindly inform us in advance if you have specific dietary requests (e.g., low-fat, low-calorie, sugar-free, vegetarian, etc.). We will do our best to accommodate your needs given the resources available to us.
Q: Can I drink the water?
The ship’s tap water can be used for washing, but please do not drink or brush your teeth with it. Complimentary bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth is provided onboard, and additional bottled water is available free of charge on all excursions. All hotels on this itinerary provide complimentary in-room bottle water. When ashore, we strongly advise against drinking tap water or any beverage served with ice.
Soft drinks, water, coffee and tea are included with all meals onboard. Red and white house wine and draught beer will be also included at all onboard dinners.
Q: What if I need medical assistance?
There is a small clinic staffed by a medical doctor in most of the hotels on this itinerary, as well as onboard the ship. There is a nominal charge for each visit, which must be paid in cash (Chinese currency only). Medical expenses are your responsibility. We highly recommend purchasing a Travel Protection Plan for any medical expenses incurred in China.
Q: Can I use my credit and debit cards in China?
All onboard charges are billed to your shipboard account. The official onboard currency is the Chinese renminbi (RMB, also known as the yuan). You may pay your charges at the end of the cruise with a credit card (American Express, Mastercard, or Visa), cash (US dollars or Chinese currency), or Travelers Checks.
Most major credit cards are widely accepted throughout Asia at larger stores. Credit cards and most debit cards can be used for ATM cash withdrawals onshore (there is no ATM machine onboard the ship). Limited currency exchange is available onboard (cash only) and all major hotels have exchange facilities.
Market vendors and small stores will usually only accept local currency. It is a good idea to keep a small amount of cash in the local currency on hand for tips or purchasing souvenirs or sundries.
We recommend letting your credit card issuer and bank know of your plans to travel aboard so they can expect foreign transactions on your account.
Q: What is the voltage?
The voltage in China is 220v/50Hz in all hotels and onboard the ship. Your electrical appliances from home will require a 3-pin plug adapter and a voltage converter.
Q: Is there onboard Internet access?
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available onboard your ship in the Executive Lounge area. The Internet Corner allows you to access the Internet for a small fee. Internet access is also available in all hotels (an additional fee may apply, approximately $15-$20 USD per day).
Q: Where does the ship dock?
In many Asian ports, your ship is small enough to dock within easy walking distance of places of interest. Elsewhere, the ship may need to dock farther away and a motorcoach transfer will be provided. There may be times when your ship moors next to another ship or between ships, especially in busy ports. Docking locations are determined by the local harbor authorities, not Uniworld or the ship’s Captain.
Q: How much walking should I expect?
Our China itineraries focus on places of cultural and historical interest, some of which prohibit vehicles. Guests should be in good health and able to walk significant distances, often on slippery or uneven terrain and up and down stairs. Docking facilities may differ from port to port and may be somewhat rudimentary; we will always ensure that gangways are safe and have crew members on hand to assist you.
Although our ships in China are equipped with elevators, they are not designed to accommodate wheelchairs or motor scooters. Many Asian buildings, historical sites, and embarkation/disembarkation facilities are also not wheelchair accessible. Guests with mobility issues may be unable to participate in all shore excursions, but are always welcome to relax onboard and enjoy a spa treatment or quiet time with a good book.
Q: Is smoking allowed?
Smoking is not allowed onboard in public areas or in staterooms. Smoking is allowed only on the upper Sun Deck. We also ask guests to refrain from smoking on shore excursions/tours and on any sightseeing or transfer vehicles.
Q: What if a major tourist site on my itinerary is closed when I visit?
We typically arrange a city tour in these rare situations, or allow extra free time to explore the city’s top sites on your own.
Q: Can I extend or customize my river cruise or land extension?
There are two optional pre- or post-cruise/tour land extensions available on our China itineraries—Hong Kong and Hong Kong/Guilin. Please note that you will not have a Uniworld tour manager or local host in Hong Kong; instead, a representative from The Travel Advisors will be on hand to ensure your visit there goes smoothly.
If you are traveling with a group of 10 or more guests, the cruise or tour itinerary may be customized to suit the group’s needs.
Q: How accurate are the excursion descriptions?
We do our best to deliver all excursions as promoted, yet there may be times when circumstances beyond our control require us to make certain changes to scheduled activities.
Q: Could my itinerary change for any reason?
We aim to follow the itinerary exactly as promoted, but reserve the right to make any necessary changes to ensure the safety of our guests and ships. If time permits, we will let you know of any changes before you board the ship.
Q: Does each group on shore excursions have its own guide?
Each group has its own English-speaking guide. Our local experts are considered the best in the industry, and our complimentary audio headsets make it easy to hear every word of their insightful commentary.
Q: Can I take children on my cruise?
In our experience, most children—especially those under 4—are not yet old enough to enjoy river cruising. We make no special arrangements for little ones and offer few kid-friendly activities onboard or onshore. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older at all times.
Q: Is there onboard entertainment?
Depending on the itinerary, talented local performers (music, dance, traditional arts, etc.) may come onboard to provide after-dinner entertainment.
Q: What about gratuities, either onboard or onshore?
Tips and gratuities are included in your fare price for all local experts, drivers, local river guides, rickshaw drivers, and boatmen used during your trip; as well as on post-cruise land extensions (excluding Hong Kong).
Onboard gratuities (for the ship’s staff and crew) are not included in the price of your cruise. Guidelines for tipping can be found in the Cruise Companion for China. When going ashore on your own, keep in mind that tipping is less expected and more modest in Asia than it is in North America (although equally appreciated). We suggest keeping some local currency on hand for tipping purposes whenever ashore.
Q: Where can I get weather updates during my cruise?
We provide a daily printed program that includes updated weather information, and weather reports may also be accessed via the infotainment system aboard each ship. Up-to-the-minute international weather conditions are also easily available online at sites such as weather.com.