City's No. 1 sightseeing ship back on river

The No. 1 Sightseeing Cruise Ship, the biggest vessel of its kind on the Huangpu River as well as the one with the longest night tour, returned to operation yesterday.
Ti Gong

The No. 1 Sightseeing Cruise Ship at the Qinhuangdao Road Cruise Dock in Yangpu District

The No. 1 Sightseeing Cruise Ship, the biggest vessel of its kind on the Huangpu River as well as the one with the longest night tour, returned to operation yesterday following a major renovation.

The dragon-shaped ship can accommodate 1,000 passengers and has numerous traditional Chinese cultural touches. Its operation is part of the city’s efforts to make the iconic Huangpu River cruise a world-class attraction.

The ship was originally built in 2005, and went into operation in 2007. As part of recent renovation work, the ship’s interior decor was refurbished. Chinese cultural elements such as peonies and propitious clouds adorn the vessel, and the top level of the four-story ship is designed in ancient Chinese architectural style.

Videos of Shanghai’s tourism attractions are projected onto the ship’s exterior, giving it the appearance of a moving picture scroll.

“The operation time and route have been prolonged after renovation of the ship to offer a more in-depth sightseeing experience to tourists,” said Fang Ao with the operator Shanghai Huangpu River Cruise Co.

The two-hour tour starts from the Qinhuangdao Road Cruise Dock in Yangpu District, and returns to the dock after passing through the Nanpu and Lupu bridges. The cruise is illuminated by a bilingual audio guide.

During the tour, tourists can appreciate the magnificent night view of Lujiazui and the Bund, as well as the former 2010 Shanghai World Expo site. The ship operates once daily between 7pm and 9pm, with buffet dinner included. Other vessels carry tourists for only between 50 and 90 minutes.

The current ticket price is 260 yuan (US$39) per person during trial operations which run through early August; afterward the price will rise to 300 yuan. Tickets can be purchased at the dock and via online travel platforms such as Ctrip.

The ship has a capacity of 1,000 people, but the operator will limit the number of passengers to 400 to ensure the best tour experience.

Tour groups, families, and independent tourists from East China are the major participants on sightseeing tours on the river, and summer is peak time for river tourism, according to the operator.

The ship will mainly serves individual tourists, according to its operator.

The Huangpu River tour is a calling card of Shanghai tourism, the city’s tourism administration said.

About 34,000 tourists took 143 cruise trips on the Huangpu River during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday in June, up 2 percent year on year, according to the administration. During the first three days of Spring Festival, some 29,000 tourists also took 118 boat trips, official figures show.

There are 35 cruises ships offering Huangpu River sightseeing tours on the river, and authorities are looking at renovations, upgrading ships, and mergers of small operators to turn these cruises into a world-class attraction.

The second biggest night sightseeing ship on the river has a capacity of 450 people.

“Shanghai’s night view is more beautiful than in the daytime, and I can see the landscape on both sides of the river, which is not accessible on land,” said Lin Yue, a Shanghai resident.

“The ship is brilliant at night, which is beautiful,” she said.

“As a local, I have never experienced Shanghai’s night view in such a way,” said Zhang Guorong, 61. “The city has witnessed big changes with so many skyrocketing buildings over the years compared with what I saw in the Bund in my youth.”

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