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Dalian

DALIAN
Who goes there: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea.

Cruisers like: Dalian is famous for its lawns, squares, fountains and gardens. Its former mayor started a widespread environmental campaign and locals call it “a city built in gardens”. Dalian is also known for football and fashion. Nicknamed Oriental Brazil, it hosts many national football matches and has the most successful teams in China. Dalian hosts an International Fashion Festival where thousands of celebrities, designers, pop stars and clothing merchants come together in September.

Best for: Families, fashion lovers.

Getting around: Taxis are cheap and plentiful. Aim for taxis with a blue or white light on top, which indicate the driver has achieved the highest ratings (yellow is the lowest).

Haikou

HAIKOU
Who goes there: Silversea.

Cruisers like: Haikou is known as the Coconut City and is the capital of the Hainan Province. It has a long coastline with excellent beaches and seaside resorts. Chinese national sailing and windsurfing teams train and hold competitions in Haikou. Check out Wugong Temple, the Tomb of Hai Rui and the Xiuying Gun Emplacement.

Best for: Families, culture buffs and couples.

Getting around: Taxis are plentiful but stay away from touters as they will try and get you to pay far more than the regular fare. Make sure you find a taxi that has a meter. Some taxi drivers make their own meters so be aware.

Qingdao

QINGDAO
Who goes there: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn.

Cruisers like: A former colony of Germany and Japan, Qingdao (or Tsingtao) is a seaside city with lots of European architecture. It is a popular tourist destination, especially for beer enthusiasts, who come to see the famous Tsingtao Brewery, which was set up by German colonists in 1903. It now makes one of the world’s best-selling beers.

Best for: Active people.

Getting around: Taxis are cheap and plentiful. There are two types, ordinary and luxury, which cost fractionally more. Always check the taxi has a proper meter.

Sanya

SANYA
Who goes there: Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean.

Cruisers like: Nicknamed China’s Hawaii, Sanya boasts white-sand beaches and a protected coral reef. It is a popular for diving, snorkelling, jet skiing and other water sports, as well as hiking in the nearby rainforest. It’s also known for the engraved rocks that sit along the coast. According to legend, the rocks form the edge of the sky and the end of the sea where Song dynastic officials were exiled in the late 13th century.

Best for: Divers and nature lovers.

Getting around: Sanya is a small city and the buses are reliable and convenient. Or you can take a double-decker bus for sightseeing tours. Taxis are also cheap and convenient. Negotiate the fare with the taxi driver before hopping in.

Shanghai

SHANGHAI
Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Costa Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea

Cruisers like: There is so much to see and do in Shanghai. It is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, with phenomenal restaurants, luxurious hotels and a plethora of ancient and modern historical sites. If you fancy shopping for high-end luxury goods or local designers, you can’t go past Nanjing Road. For history enthusiasts, the Shanghai Museum houses more than 120,000 precious relics and Chinese art, with pieces from every dynasty. The Jade Buddha Temple is one of the most famous in the world. It is still active and house monks and a 1.9-meter-high white-jade Buddha, brought from Burma in the 19th century. The Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China in the French Concession is worth visiting to see where the party was founded in 1921.

Best for: Food aficionados, shoppers and families.

Getting around: Shanghai is a very walkable city and there is little need for taxis. But a good way to see the city is by taking one of several hop on/hop off tours. If you do want to use taxis, stay away from touters and find a taxi with a proper meter.

Tianjin

TIANJIN
Who goes there: Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea.

Cruisers like: Tianjin is a wonderful city to explore. It was once shared by nine countries: Italy, Germany, France, Russia, Great Britain, Austria, Japan and Belgium, which all left their mark, including numerous villas that have been beautifully restored. Its top attractions include the Huangyaguan Great Wall, Dule Temple, Haihe River, Water Park and Panshan Mountain. Tianjin’s port is a three-hour drive to Beijing or a 90 minute fast-train ride.

Best for: Families and couples.

Getting around: Explore the main part if the city on foot or take a sightseeing cruise on the Haihe River. There are plenty of taxis as well as buses and a subway system. The Tanggu Railway Station is a 30-40 minute taxi ride from the port and then you can take a fast-train to Beijing, China’s capital. The train takes around 90 minutes and costs around US$5 per person.

Xiamen

XIAMEN
Who goes there: Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea.

Cruisers like: Xiamen means “door to the house”, which refers to the city’s centuries-old role as a gateway to China. There are lots of tourist attractions including islands, mountains, temples and parks. Gulangyu Island and Naputuo Temple are some of the most highly recommended spots.

Best for: Families.

Getting around: A special tourist bus costs CNY1 per person and stops at many of Xiamen’s famous attractions. There are plenty of taxis but stay away from touters and make sure you find a taxi that has a meter.

 

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