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China: Beijing, Yangtze River Cruise & Shanghai

with Hong Kong extension
  • Duration: 15 or 18 days
  • Group size: 15-35
  • Reviews: 149
Experience China and all of its contrasts.

China’s sheer size is impossible to fathom until you walk across the expanse of Tiananmen Square or gaze at the seemingly endless Great Wall. Take a leisurely cruise down the Yangtze River and ride the world’s fastest train. Discover this magnificent country, from pristine landscapes and towering cityscapes to ancient sites and modern marvels.

Your tour package includes
  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 4 nights aboard Yangtze River Cruise
  • 13 breakfasts
  • 11 lunches
  • 5 dinners, select meals with beer
Included highlights
  • Forbidden City
  • the Great Wall
  • Temple of Heaven
  • Summer Palace
  • Yangtze River cruise
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Day-by-day itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Beijing today.

Beijing4 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Beijing

Welcome to China! Settle in to your hotel this evening.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Beijing
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Delve into more than 2,000 years of Beijing’s history with a local guide.

• Stroll across the expanse of Tiananmen Square

• Wander through the Imperial Palace, also referred to as “The Forbidden City”

• Walk through Meridian Gate and see the Palace of Heavenly Purity, where the Ming dynasty emperors lived

• Admire the Imperial Garden’s traditional design features

• Exit through the Gate of Divine Prowess

Later, get to know your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a family-style welcome lunch.

Day 4: The Great Wall
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Head outside of Beijing to marvel at one of the world’s most impressive structures: the Great Wall.

• Stop at a Jade Factory on the way to watch a demonstration of how the gemstone is carved to create impressive sculptures

• Tour the Great Wall at the Juyong Pass

• Enjoy free time to explore the many ramparts and towers, admiring panoramic views as you go

• Sit down for an included family-style lunch before traveling back to Beijing

Please note: The Juyong Pass cannot be reached by cable car or elevator. Walking is required to reach this less crowded, more scenic section of the Great Wall.

Enjoy a free evening in Beijing or add an excursion.

Kung Fu Show
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 5: Tai Chi lesson, Temple of Heaven & Summer Palace
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Discover Beijing’s modern and ancient traditions on today’s tour.

• Participate in a Tai Chi lesson alongside locals in Temple of Heaven Park

• Discover the health benefits of this traditional form of exercise, which combines easy, flowing arm and leg movements

• Enter the Temple of Heaven for a guided tour

• Walk down the Long Corridor to enter the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

• Learn about the history of the Ming Dynasty at the Imperial Vault of Heaven

• Watch a demonstration and enjoy free time to shop at a pearl factory

• Sit down for an included family-style lunch

• Wander through the vast Summer Palace and see its Long Corridor and Marble Boat

• Cruise along Kunming Lake to soak in local scenery

• Stop at Beijing’s Olympic Park, home of the 2008 Summer Games, where you’ll view the intriguing stadium known as the Bird’s Nest

Yangtze River Cruise4 nights
Day 6: Flight to Yichang & cruise embarkation
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Spend a free morning in Beijing or add an excursion.

Enjoy an included family-style lunch in Beijing. Then, fly to Yichang and embark on a cruise of the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia. Sit down for a light family-style dinner aboard the ship this evening.

Hutong Rickshaw Ride & Family Visit
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 7: Three Gorges Dam
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Step on shore at the man-made Three Gorges Dam, where a guide will explain its interesting history.

• Learn about the history, construction, and lasting impact of the dam

• Spend the afternoon at Xiling Gorge, the first and largest of the Three Gorges

• Choose to learn about the native tribes that have inhabited the gorges on a shore excursion to a recreated village

• Enjoy an included buffet lunch aboard the ship

Please note: All shore excursions are available for an additional cost and are booked through the river cruise boat.

Sit down for an included family-style dinner aboard the ship this evening.

Day 8: Lesser Three Gorges
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Drift along the Daning River and Shennong Stream, passing the mysterious ancient hanging coffins.

• Board a wooden boat called a sampan to explore the river’s tributaries

• Enjoy an included buffet lunch aboard the ship

• Cruise to Qutang Gorge and gaze upon the Meng Liang Staircase

Choose to book a shore excursion to the White Emperor City, or enjoy a free afternoon aboard the boat.

Please note: All shore excursions are available for an additional cost and are booked through the river cruise boat.

Sit down for an included family-style dinner aboard the ship this evening.

Day 9: Shibaozhai
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Visit Shibaozhai, a hill that sits on the banks of the Yangtze River.

• See the red, wooden pagoda that's perched on the side of the hill

• Discover why the pagoda is called the "Pearl of the Yangtze"

• Enjoy an included buffet lunch aboard the ship

This afternoon, choose to visit Fengdu, known as the Ghost City, on a shore excursion.

Please note: All shore excursions are available for an additional cost and are booked through the river cruise boat.

Sit down for an included family-style dinner aboard the ship this evening.

Xi'an2 nights
Day 10: Cruise disembarkation, Chongqing & flight to Xi’an
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Disembark in Chongqing and get to know the city with a local guide.

• Pay a visit to Chongqing Zoo, home to some of China’s famous pandas

• Stop in People's Square to view the Great Hall of the People

• Try Sichuan cuisine during an included lunch

Transfer to the airport and board your flight to Xi’an.

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Xi’an & Terracotta Army
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Take a panoramic tour of Xi’an, one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China and the starting point of the Silk Road.

• Pass the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower, which marks what was once the center of the city

• See the 14th-century city walls, watchtowers, and ramparts that were built by the Ming Dynasty

Head outside of the city this afternoon to visit one of the country’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites—the Terracotta Army.

• Visit a local workshop to learn how the clay statues were made

• See some of the 8,000 life-size pottery soldiers that represent the expansive army of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang

• Watch a noodle-making demonstration and enjoy an included family-style lunch

• See Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum

• Visit the Exhibition Hall to see two sets of bronze chariots and horses that were excavated from the archaeological site in 1980

Spend a free evening in Xi’an or add an excursion.

Tang Dynasty Evening
Excursion (additional cost)
Shanghai3 nights
Day 12: Flight to Shanghai & dumpling-making class
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Fly to Shanghai this morning. Then, ride the Shanghai Maglev Train—a magnetic levitation train that’s distinguished as the fastest train in the world—on your way to your hotel. Later, get to know the local culture during today's activities.

• Visit a local restaurant to try your hand at making dumplings during a cooking class

• Enjoy an included lunch

Spend a free evening in Shanghai or add an excursion.

Acrobatic Show
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Shanghai
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Meet up with a local guide to learn about Shanghai’s culture on today’s tour.

• Enter the Jade Buddha Temple to see the white jade statues of sitting Buddha and reclining Buddha

• Visit a silk factory to learn how the fabric is produced

• Enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant

• Stroll through the Yuyuan Garden, the “Garden of Happiness”

• Enjoy free time to shop at the Yuyuan Bazaar before taking part in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony

• Walk along the Bund, Shanghai’s historic waterfront promenade

Day 14: Free day in Shanghai
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend the day exploring Shanghai at your leisure or add an excursion.

This evening, celebrate your trip at a farewell dinner.

Zhujiajiao Water Village & Lunch
Excursion (additional cost)
Flight Home
Day 15: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or fly to Hong Kong to continue your trip.

Extension to Hong Kong

Immerse yourself in the complexity and contrasts of Hong Kong. Your first impressions will be the skyscrapers of glass and steel and the hustle-bustle of passers-by. But look past the shiny new surfaces to discover an ancient culture that gives the city an exotic flavor and its citizens a unique outlook.

Hong Kong3 nights
Day 15: Flight to Hong Kong
Included meal: Breakfast

This morning, fly to Hong Kong, a former British colony known for its striking skyline and range of global influences, and enjoy a free day in the city.

Day 16: Sightseeing tour of Hong Kong
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Uncover Hong Kong on a guided tour.

• Take a bus ride up to Victoria Peak and enjoy panoramic views of the city’s world-famous skyline

• Visit Aberdeen Fishing Village and enjoy an included family-style lunch

• Pass Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay on your way to visit Stanley Market

Later, enjoy a free evening in Hong Kong or add an excursion.

Hong Kong by Night
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 17: Free day in Hong Kong
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Hong Kong or add an excursion.

This evening, enjoy a farewell drink as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.

New Lantau Island Tour
Excursion (additional cost)
Flight Home
Day 18: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Reviews
5
149
4.6 average
Beyond Expectations!
by 4th time traveler 

This tour was way beyond our expectations! The tour of the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Terra-Cotta Warriors, Yangtze River, Pandas, our tour director Michael Du was absolutely astounding, outstanding and truly an experience! This tour was well run and organized and recommended to those seeking to ...

Read more +
li jun the super guide for a super experience in china!!!
by 9th time traveler 

CHINA IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE AND LI JUN, OUR TOUR DIRECTOR, WAS ABLE TO CONNECT US WITH THIS COUNTRY IN A WAY NOBODY ELSE COULD! HE MADE THIS EXPERIECE SAFE, EXCITING AND INTERESTING! CHINA IS A DREAM DESTINATION MOST PEOPLE DON'T THINK ABOUT, BUT TELL EVERYONE IT MUST BE PART OF EVERYONE'S BUCKET LIS...

My China Experience
by 3rd time traveler 

My China experience was awesome. Michael Du, our tour director was superb. His knowledge of the culture and environment enhanced my overall experience. The people on the tour were friendly and eager to learn the culture as well. The food and accommodations were average. I would definitely recom...

My Trip of a Lifetime to China
by 2nd time traveler 

My trip to China last year was superb!!!! The sites we visited were, of course, famous and truly remarkable, giving one a sense of the history and grandness of this wonderful country. As to the accommodations, the hotels were very good, the food interesting and tasty, and our Tour Director, "Rober...

China
by 4th time traveler 

Our tour guide Michael was very helpful and always there to assist. The temples are amazing, as well as the Terracota Warriors and the Great Wall. The hotels were excellent and the River cruise was very nice. Beijing and Shanghai were my favorites. It was a very very busy itinerary and A LOT of walk...

Our reviews are authentic and unedited.
Hotels, flights, & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.

Hotels

We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.

Novotel Peace Beijing

This modern hotel is located in the city center at Wangfujingjing. Guests enjoy free WiFi, a fitness center, and a spa. Nearby, you’ll find the Forbid...

President 8

This comfortable river cruise boat is your home during your journey on the Yangtze River. Guests enjoy a swimming pool, spa, and shopping.

Flights

Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.

Add our airfare package and you'll get:
  • Round-trip flight for your tour
  • Airport transfers at your destination
  • A great price locked in today
  • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
  • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
  • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
  • Find out more about flights
FAQ
Passport & visa requirements
  • In order to enter China, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of return.
  • We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa in advance in order to enter China. You may choose to apply directly to the Chinese consulate or use a visa provider, such as our partner company, VisaCentral. Obtaining a Chinese visa will be an additional cost.
  • No visa is required to enter Hong Kong on the tour extension, unless you are planning to extend your stay over 90 days.
  • If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Chinese consulate (and Hong Kong's consulate if you are traveling on the tour extension) for specific entry requirements.
Tour pace
  • You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and unpaved trails, with some hills and stairs.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own luggage at times, as well as getting in and out of small boats.
  • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information
  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Beijing and depart from Shanghai (or from Hong Kong for the tour extension).A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • Flights from Beijing to Yichang, Chongqing to Xi’an, and Xi’an to Shanghai, as well as a four-night Yangtze River cruise, are included in the price of your tour. (The tour extension also includes a flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong).
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
Baggage allowance
  • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that your included on-tour flights may have more restrictive baggage limits.
  • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & packing tips
  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • Waterproof shoes or sandals, a swimsuit, sunscreen, and insect repellent are recommended for outdoor activities.
  • A small bottle of hand sanitizer may be helpful when other facilities are not readily available while on the road.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit temples or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
Health
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • Please be sure to take proper care with sun exposure, the sun can be especially strong in some of the areas you are visiting.
  • Drink bottled water only. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing your teeth.
  • Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication, and any prescription medications in your carry-on bag.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • Depending on season and weather patterns, air pollution in some locations may be problematic for travelers with a history of respiratory problems. Based on your health history, please discuss any precautions with your healthcare provider prior to departure.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
  • Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications may be banned in one or all of the countries or regions on this tour. Importing these drugs can carry severe consequences, including imprisonment. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to departure to ensure that any drugs you may want to bring with you are legal in all countries or regions you will visit.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
Cuisine
  • The diversity of Chinese cuisine reflects China’s long history. With each dynasty, new recipes and cooking styles emerged. The food on your tour will introduce you to many of the country’sEight Cuisines— Shangdong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan, and Anhui. Popular ingredients throughout include noodles, tofu, bok choy, bitter melon, Chinese broccoli, and meats like chicken, duck, and shrimp. Most meals are served with rice, and are often seasoned with ginger, garlic, and white pepper. Along the Yangtze River, you may sample Ahhui cuisine. Some traditional Ahhui dishes include braised turtle with ham.
Electricity & air conditioning
  • Mainland China operates at 220 volts and uses Type A, C, and I plugs with two flat pins, two rounded pins, or three flat pins set at an angle, respectively.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
  • The strength of the air conditioning in Asian hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what one might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches or on the Yangtze River cruise.
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
  • Internet access in China is strictly regulated by the Chinese government, and a number of censorship laws restrict which sites can be accessed from within the country. You may be unable to visit websites such as Google, Facebook, or other email servers. To learn more about which websites may be inaccessible in China, visit blockedinchina.net
Time zones
  • China is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Time.
  • When it’s noon in New York, it's midnight in Beijing.
Currency
  • The renminbi (thepeople’s currency) is the official currency in China. The yuan is the basic unit of the renmibi and the two names are often used interchangeably. (You will use the Hong Kong dollar on the tour extension.)
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
Tipping
  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.
  • The cruise line will automatically bill a flat service charge of 150 yuan (approximately equal to $22.50 USD) to each passengers’ credit card upon check-in. (Please note: Currency rates can fluctuate.) This charge will cover tips to the onboard crew, including housekeeping and restaurant staff. Tips for the river cruise guides are not automatically billed. The cruise line recommends tipping the equivalent of $5USD to $6USD per person per day.
Purchasing excursions on tour
  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.
Shore excursions
  • Afternoon shore excursions are offered directly from your cruise ship along the Yangtze River. Ask cruise representatives for details on shore excursions, as some are quite walking intensive.
  • Please be advised that passengers who choose not to partake in shore excursions must stay on the boat.
Choose your dates to start a quote
25 Departures
Tour prices are per person, before flights from your departure city, and based on two travelers per hotel room. Tour prices include on-tour flights where applicable.
Jul 24–Aug 7, 2019
Call to book
$3,199$2,999
Sep 18–Oct 2, 2019
Call to book
$3,399$3,299
Only 1 spot left!
Oct 9–Oct 23, 2019
Extension available
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$3,399$2,999
Nov 27–Dec 11, 2019
Extension available
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$3,349$2,949
Feb 19–Mar 4, 2020
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$3,149$2,749
Mar 18–Apr 1, 2020
Extension available
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$3,199$2,949
Apr 8–Apr 22, 2020
Extension available
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$3,199
Apr 22–May 6, 2020
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$3,199$2,899
May 13–May 27, 2020
Extension available
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$3,349$3,149
May 27–Jun 10, 2020
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$3,249$3,099
Jun 10–Jun 24, 2020
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$3,249$3,049
Jun 24–Jul 8, 2020
Extension available
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$3,249
Jul 22–Aug 5, 2020
Extension available
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$3,299
Aug 12–Aug 26, 2020
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$3,299$3,149
Aug 26–Sep 9, 2020
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$3,299$3,149
Sep 2–Sep 16, 2020
Extension available
Call to book
$3,399$3,199
Sep 16–Sep 30, 2020
Extension available
Call to book
$3,399$3,199
Sep 23–Oct 7, 2020
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$3,399$3,149
Oct 7–Oct 21, 2020
Extension available
Call to book
$3,399
Oct 28–Nov 11, 2020
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$3,399$3,099
Nov 25–Dec 9, 2020
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$3,349$2,949
Feb 17–Mar 3, 2021
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$3,149
Mar 17–Mar 31, 2021
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$3,199
Apr 7–Apr 21, 2021
Extension available
Call to book
$3,199
Apr 21–May 5, 2021
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$3,199
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