Three Gorges Ship Lift

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Saves four hours bypassing five-stage ship locks for an enhanced cruise experience 

NEW YORK, NY – Victoria Cruise Lines ( has introduced passengers to another technological marvel along China’s Yangtze River with the inclusion of the world’s largest ship elevator in its Yangtze River cruise program. The new ship lift features an impressive capacity capable of elevating ships up to 3,000 tons along with a volume of water roughly equivalent to four Olympic-sized swimming pools. Its introduction allows Victoria Cruise Lines’ passengers to bypass the slow and arduous five-stage ship locks while experiencing the full scope of China’s engineering prowess.

Beginning March 16, 2017, American-managed Victoria Cruise Lines became the first passenger cruise line to utilize the recently completed ship elevator, which features a ship basin nearly 400-feet long by 60-feet wide and climbs a vertical distance of 370 feet—the height of a 40-story building. Its first operational use took place in September 2016. Observe CCTV footage of the new ship lift here.

Passengers experience the new ship lift on a specially-designed sightseeing boat followed by an insightful tour of the world’s largest hydroelectric dam—another feat of modern engineering. The excursion takes place on day two of upstream cruises and on day four for passengers sailing downstream. The new feature can be experienced as an optional excursion for $45 per person.

“In addition to its truly humbling size and scope, the time saved by using the ship lift allows for a more optimal sailing schedule,” said Larry Greenman, manager of public relations and customer service for Victoria Cruise Lines.

The five-stage ship locks took three to five hours to traverse and are utilized primarily for cargo ships, whereas the new elevator-equipped ship lock can be navigated in as little as 40 minutes. Additionally, the new route offers safety features such as a fire escape which are not present in the five-stage ship locks.

Construction on the ship elevator began in 2008. It is the final stage of the Three Gorges Dam project, which first commenced in 1994. The Three Gorges Dam produces roughly 22,500MW of electricity and reduces the severity of flooding during the rainy season. It also makes it easier for cruise ships to navigate the river and explore deeper into the Yangtze’s tranquil tributaries. The project was first envisioned in 1919 by Sun Yat-sen, the Republic of China’s founding father.

In addition to the Three Gorges Dam, a one-time shore excursion fee of $90 per person (inclusive of three standard excursions) provides passengers on Victoria Cruise Lines’ popular Three Gorges Highlights program with a scenic tributary experience onboard a traditional Chinese sampan with indigenous local guides as well as a visit to Shibaozhai, where passengers will observe a majestic 12-story wooden pagoda built without the use of a single nail (Victoria Cruise Lines may substitute excursions based on weather conditions and other scheduling factors).

Passengers can also participate in exciting onboard activities such as Tai Chi lessons, demonstrations of acupuncture/acupressure and discussions on the Yangtze’s history.  Nightly entertainment options include traditional Chinese dance and musical performances.

All staterooms aboard Victoria Cruise Lines’ five-star vessels feature a private balcony. Passengers can upgrade to Victoria Cruise Lines’ Luxury Amenities program, enhancing their cruise experience with “white glove” service, enhanced dining privileges, access to exclusive ship areas and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access.

For more information, including a list of reputable U.S. and Canadian tour operators which include Yangtze River cruises in their China programs, visit or contact Victoria Cruise Lines at 800-348-8084 or 212-818-1680.


About Victoria Cruise Lines

New York-based Victoria Cruise Lines established new standards of excellence for sailing China’s Yangtze River when its first ship edged out of port in 1994.  Victoria Cruise Lines remains the service leader on the Yangtze River with each ship earning the coveted five-star rating from the China Ministry of Culture and Tourism.  Victoria Cruise Lines has earned numerous awards and recognitions over the years including the TravelAge West WAVE Award Editor’s Pick for Best River Cruise Line as well as Best New River Cruise Ship with the launch of the luxurious Victoria Jenna, which also received the Silver Magellan Award from Travel Weekly. The cruise line operates a variety of itineraries on the Yangtze ranging from four to eight days.


For more information and a free color brochure or promotional footage and materials, contact Victoria Cruise Lines at 136-18 39th Avenue, 12th Floor, Flushing, NY 11354; phone (800) 348-8084, (212) 818-1680; fax (212) 818-9889.  E-mail or visit


The new elevator-equipped ship lock takes a fraction of the time and offers a more scenically rewarding experience than the old five-stage locks utilized by most cruise ships on the Yangtze