A leading business city
The Bund 
The Jinmao Tower

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Unusual attractions

When your MSC cruise brings you to Shanghai it is easy to understand that after years of stagnation, this great metropolis is undergoing one of the fastest economic expansions the world has ever seen.

As Shanghai begins to recapture its position as East Asia’s leading business city, a status it last held before World War II, the skyline is filling with high-rises – there are well over a thousand now. 

Gleaming shopping malls, luxurious hotels and prestigious arts centres are rising alongside, while underneath everything snakes the world’s longest subway system. Shanghai’s 23 million residents enjoy the highest incomes on the mainland, and there’s plenty for them to splash out on; witness the rash of celebrity restaurants and designer flagship stores. MSC Grand Voyages cruises also offer excursions to the Bund – Shanghai’s original signature skyline –, a strip of grand Neoclassical colonial edifices on the west bank of the Huangpu River Pudong on the opposite shore – a backdrop domestic visitors queue up against to have their picture taken.

Named after an old Anglo-Indian term, “bunding” (the embanking of a muddy foreshore), the Bund’s official name is Zhongshan Lu but it’s better known among locals as Wai Tan (literally “Outside Beach”). 

By whatever name, this was old Shanghai’s commercial heart, with the river on one side and the offices of the leading bank and trading houses on the other. Jinmao Tower is a beautiful building, an elegant tapering postmodern take on Art Deco, has an observation deck on the 88th floor. An ear-popping lift whisks you up 340m to the top in a matter of seconds. The spectacle of the city spread  out before you is of course sublime, but turn round for a giddying view down the building’s glorious galleried atrium. Shanghai Museum is one of the city’s highlights, with a fantastic, well-presented collection. 

Must see places in Shanghai

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    A nation on the march
    A nation on the march

    A cruise to China offers a phenomenal to discover China, a splendidly diverse country in its geographic, ethnic, culinary and social make-up.

    Developing at a rate unmatched in human history, already huge cities are adding sprawling suburbs and cutting-edge architecture on a day-by-day basis, even as an ever-expanding web of high-speed rail ties the country together. Nevertheless, this apparent modernity is based on a civilization that has remained intact, continually recycling itself, for over four millennia. 

    Indeed, it is the tension and contrasts between change and continuity that make modern China so fascinating. Dominating China’s east coast near the mouth of the Yangzi, Shanghai is the mainland’s most Westernized city, a booming port where the Art Deco monuments of the old European-built Bund – the riverside business centre – rub shoulders with a hyper-modern metropolis, crowned with two of the world’s tallest skyscrapers

    It’s interesting to contrast Shanghai’s cityscape with that of rival business hub Hong Kong’s south coast. With its colonial heritage and refreshingly cosmopolitan outlook, there’s almost nothing Hong Kong cannot offer to an MSC Grand Voyages cruiser in the way of tourist facilities, from fine beaches to great eating and drinking.