Downtown Shanghai skyline
Shanghai is the largest city in China with modern skyscrapers and excellent shopping.
In general, citizens of most nationalities will need a visa to visit China including American crew members. The number of entries depends on how many times your ship leaves China and enters a non-Chinese port. The Chinese consulate does not like to issue multi-entry visas so provide them with your itinerary when applying for the visa. In 2015, new 10 year visas were introduced at the same cost of short term visas.
As of Jan 30 2016, visitors from most countries transiting through Shanghai only and not re-entering China do not require visas for stays under 144 hours. This exemption includes airports at Hangzhou and Nanjing and to both ports and railway stations. Airlines may be unfamiliar with the new rules through the TIMATIC database and may have issues with air travel into China without a visa. Official website info here http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4421 Some info available here and here. Flyer talk thread here.
Update - As of Oct 1 2016, a new policy allows foreign tour groups visiting Shanghai from cruise ships using authorized companies a visa exemption for up to 15 days. Press releases http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4421 and http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4421 News article http://www.shanghaidaily.com/metro/society/Visa-rules-eased-for-tourists-on-cruise-ships/shdaily.shtml
Where You're Docked
Large ships now dock at Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal at Baoshan Port (opened 2011) approx 15 miles north of the city. Free shuttles may be provided for non turnaround visits and have been known to drop off at two locations. Most recent is by Huangpu Park at the northern end of the Bund. Closest metro station is Nanjing East.
Shuttles previously dropped off at Waima Wharf Silk Museum (1029 South Zhongshan). It is close to Nanpu Bridge with the spiral onramp. You will need to hail a taxi or walk west towards bridge to find the Nanpu Bridge metro station on Line 4.
Large ships could also dock at Waigaoqiao 15 miles to the east which was used before Wusongkou was open.
Smaller ships that can sail up the Huangpu River may dock at Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal fairly close to the Bund.
Wusongkou Terminal at Baoshan Port
Shanghai Port Terminal
Money and Tipping
Taxis are very cheap in China and in Shanghai, rates start at 14 Yuan for the first 3km. Shanghai taxis are color coded by company. Avoid the red taxis since these are independent operators and they have a reputation of ripping off tourists. Make sure they use the meter and give you a receipt. Most taxi drivers don't speak English so make sure you have your destination written out in Chinese.
You can also take the metro. It is cheap, fast and clean and destinations will be both in Chinese and English. Ticket machines can display English but accept coins only. Fares range from 3-6 Yuan with a daypass available for 18 Yuan (not available at machines). Staffed counters can give you change. The ticket machines issue a plastic card that you tap at the gates to enter. When exiting, insert the card into the slot at the gate where it gets returned.
From Wusongkou, you can take a taxi to the nearest metro station, Baoyang Rd on line 3.
Getting to/from the Airport
Shanghai has two major airports, Pudong (PVG) and Hongqiao (SHA). Pudong serves mainly international flights with Hongqiao primarily domestic with limited international access. An interesting way to travel to Pudong is to take the Maglev train which can take you to Longyang Rd Station in about 8 minutes. The regular metro line to the same station has 10 stops along the way. Some tourists will ride the maglev just for the experience. From Longyang, you can connect to line 2 of the metro or grab a taxi.
Search hotels in Shanghai here
Must See Sights
Beware of friendly locals with good English offering to take you for tea, drinks or coffee - they are probably scammers since you will be presented with an outrageous bill!
Shopping & Markets
Be careful when buying electronics in Shanghai. Fake iPads and counterfeit USB memory sticks are everywhere. When buying fake purses and clothing, check the quality very carefully. There are both good and poor quality fakes. Your cheap designer purse won't seem that great of a deal if the handle breaks or the logo falls off. Cheap shirts could shrink or run it the wash ruining the rest of your clothes. Watches can have the face fall off.
Keep your eye out for 10 Yuan and 3 Yuan stores. There are some in the Yuyuan Gardens area on Fangbang Middle Rd.
This site has good tips about bargaining in the market http://mybeijingsurvivaldiary.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/tips-for-better-deals-at-the-bargain-market/
Shanghai's main post office is at 276 Sichuan Bei Lu, but there are branches all over town. Look for the green English CHINA POST signs.
Specialties of Shanghai include the xiaolongbao (XLB). This is a steamed (usually pork) dumpling with hot soup inside. There is a famous dumpling restaurant, Nanxiang, in Yuyuan Gardens with long lines for takeout outside. Though popular, these dumplings are considered to be not very good. Head inside for no lines but more expensive dumplings. Two Asian chain restaurants, Din Tai Fung (Super Brand Mall-Pudong) and Crystal Jade (Xintiandi) have excellent XLB. They both have restaurants throughout Asia including Singapore and Hong Kong. For a pan fried variation, shenjianbao, try Yang's Fry Dumpling with various locations including 97 Huanghe Lu running north off Nanjing Rd by People's Park and 269 Wujiang Road. Da Hu Chun, 89 Yunnan South Road（Near Jinling East Road) is also recommended for pan fried dumplings. Jia Jia Tang Bao, another popular but basic XLB restaurant (English menu available), can also be found on Huanghe Lu. http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/shanghai/dining/snackstreet.htm
A Da Cong You Bing serving green onion pancakes may be the most famous street food. Reopened recently at No 4, 120 Ruijin Er Lu but be prepared to wait in line. https://sanwen8.cn/p/5ca3hYG.html
Hairy crab is considered a delicacy in Shanghai. Shouning Lu is a seafood specialty food street just south of People's Square serving both crab and crayfish.
In general, restaurants don't provide napkins and washrooms don't have soap or toilet paper and may have squat toilets. Always travel with a pack of tissues and some hand sanitizer.
Most coffee shops have free wifi. There are Apple Stores with free internet on Huaihai Middle Road, IFC mall in Pudong and on Nanjing Lu. Facebook is blocked in China.
Been Here Before
Suzhou is 60 miles to the west of Shanghai. It may be a bit difficult to get to with limited time. A bit closer is Zhujiajiao Water Town 30 miles west of the city and popular with local tourists.
Day in Shanghai
Head out to Yuyuan Gardens. Walk or take a short taxi over to the Bund and walk to Nanjing Lu to People's Square Take the subway to Pudong or you can double back and cross the river by the sightseeing tunnel or a local ferry. Go up one of the towers in the area if it's clear outside.
Maps (right-click to save)
This map is ok but doesn't show the metro stops nor Chinese street names http://www.travel-budget-asia.com/support-files/shanghai-map.pdf
Shanghai Weather Forecast
Suggested Port Guides