If there's any destination that begs to be explored beyond the limits of our cruise itinerary, it's Asia. And our cruisetours offer the perfect way to immerse yourself in this exotic setting. Whether it's an Acrobatic Show in Shanghai, a trip to the Terracotta Warriors Museum in Xian, or a visit to the Great Wall of China near Beijing, one thing's for certain – you'll be captivated by this uniquely beautiful place before you can swallow your first bite of authentic Peking Duck.
You can experience both the ancient and the modern in Beijing. The newly colourful streets are full of vivacious individuality and you'll be given a guided introduction to the gorgeous, imposing Temple of Heaven and the slightly smaller Imperial City (Forbidden City), where the Emperor resided, virtually imprisoned, until the 1920s. Next to the Forbidden City is world-famous Tiananmen Square; the world's largest public square, it could hold 90 football fields. Another record breaker you'll be introduced to is the Great Wall of China, said to be the only man-made object visible from the moon. Enjoy a piece of local culture as you travel through the hutongs, or small alleyways, lined with residences built as early as the 13th century.
Post-Mao-era Shanghai is firmly focused on the future, but this bustling metropolis hasn't lost touch with its colourful past. An expert tour guide will introduce you to some can't-miss sites, like The Bund (the famed colonial-era street that forms the city's waterfront), Old Town and Yu Gardens, 18 years in the making (and nearly obliterated during the Opium War in 1842), this exquisite example of Ming garden design is well worth the visit. Exploring on your own, try an aromatic wander through the Yu Gardens Bazaar, where you can sample delicacies like 'hairy crab' and pork knuckle. The tastes of Shanghai!
Counted along with Athens, Cairo and Rome as a major ancient capital city, Xian offers plenty of fascinating history. An expert tour guide will introduce you to the city's sights, including the famous Terracotta Army – discovered in 1974 and erected over 2,000 years ago, these life-size terracotta soldiers, horses and chariots are lined up for battle and guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Explore the ancient City Wall which dates back to 194 BCE and is still fully intact. Some of China's most elaborate pagodas are on view here, and if you want to take something beautiful home with you, Xians have been carving luminous green jade for 5,000 years – their objects are some of the most meticulous in China.