You can rule Hong Kong out if you're UK passport holder, visa not required. Can't help with the others......Wilba.
We are doing a cruise in 3 weeks that entails 1 stop overnight in Hong Kong, 2 further stops in China and culminates in Shanghai. I was also confused about the various answers on this site so I e-mailed the Chinese Embassy to find out if we need a double entry or multi-entry and they replied that multi-entry isn't available to tourists and we needed a double. I would e-mail the embassy and also e-mail the cruise operator to find out what your requirements are. The visas by post are handled by an agency now, CVAS (Chinese Visa Application Service) and they charge the cost of the visa (either single or double, whichever is correct for you) plus £35. It's not easy unravelling their jargon and filling in the forms but it's cheaper than getting other agencies to do it on your behalf (5starchinesevisa = charge visa + CVAS + £30 = £105 each). Following a tip from someone on this site I went to the Chinese Consulate in Rusholme, Manchester (easy to find and lots of on-street parking) and paid £45 for a double entry - therefore saving £60 each - although it does entail 2 visits - one to take the passport and another a couple of days later to collect. Another thing to bear in mind if you go to Manchester is they require cash when you pick it up - we didn't know this and had to go out to a cashpoint. It all depends on whether you think the double journey from Lytham is worth it to ave at least £35 each. Enjoy your cruise.
Many thanks to all replies.
I went to the consulate in Manchester on Friday. Easy to find although unpleasant driving through the rush hour.
I applied for two of us for a double-entry visa (just to be safe), and for same-day service for an additional £20, so it cost £65 for each visa. Payment was on receipt, not on request. I arrived at 9.30 and had the visa stamps less than two hours later.
Hi Simon, glad you're sorted. We didn't know about same-day service, we might have opted for that also although the traffic was good on both journeys. I was amazed how easy it turned out to be after all. Enjoy your cruise.
Hi Simon, about to leave for a cruise that starts in Shanghai, 2 further stops in China and 2 nights in Hong Kong, have been issued with a multiple entry visa which I obtained through CVAS at a total cost of £94.95, £60 for visa and £34.95 processing fee. The double entry would have been £45 + fee. Have heard of people being refused permission to board ship if visas not in order, so opted for multiple entry to be sure, as £15 extra better than a possible turn away at ship. CVAS service by post excellent and fast. Hope this helps.