A cruise line and a tour company are resuming visits to China aboard ship. Pearl Cruises (800-556-8850) will be the first line to go back to China, starting in June, a year after the crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
The cruises will be aboard the 480-passenger Ocean Pearl as part of 18-day tours. Nine trips are scheduled through June 1991, four from Hong Kong to Beijing and five in the reverse direction.The first, departing Beijing June 21, will be led by Lars-Eric Lindblad, who, as head of the now defunct Lindblad Travel, played a prominent role in developing American travel, including cruise travel, to China.
On the Beijing-Hong Kong version of the cruise, passengers board the ship in Tianjin, call at Dalian and Qingdao, enter the Yellow Sea and the Yangtze River.
At Zhang Jiangang, passengers disembark for a bus trip to Wuxi and go by train to Nanjing to rejoin the ship before sailing to Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Fares start at $2,950 ($2,650 if bought before April 15) a person, double occupancy, and rise to $5,950 a person for the most expensive cabin. Hotels, shore excursions and all meals on the ship - but not air fare - are included. Round-trip air fares are $895 from the East Coast and $695 from the West Coast.
The Yangtze River cruise ship, the Bashan, formerly under contract with Lindblad Travel, has been chartered by the tour operator Abercrombie & Kent (800-323-7308 or 708-954-2944).
The 68-passenger ship, owned by the Chinese government, will sail among the Yangtze gorges on five-night cruises between Chongqing and Yichang beginning Oct. 1.
Each cruise will be part of a series of four 18-day China tours with departures starting Sept. 24. Other tours are planned for next spring. Passengers may also book berths for a cruise only.
The Bashan has 26 cabins and eight suites, and its facilities include glassed-in observation areas, dining room serving Western and Chinese cuisine and a clinic with doctors qualified in Western as well as traditional Chinese medicine.
Fares: from $4,250 a person, double occupancy, for the tour, not including air fare or flights within China, about $400. The cruise alone begins at $1,250.