We went a couple of years ago. It was already partially flooded, and alot different than before they started to flood the area, but I still found it a uniquely beautiful trip up the Yangtze and into the 3 lesser gorges. On the boat ride into the lesser gorges, we saw wild monkeys, and beautiful birds. Using your imagination, you can picture what it must have been like.
As well as the famous Yangtze River cruises, you can get access to many of the towns and villages along the river on ferry boats and some of the smaller, cheaper cruise vessels.
It would be a great trip to just hop from town to town down the river, stopping at the lesser-known places along the way.
The river is currently at the 135 metre level, and will increase to 175 metres over the next few years.
It *is* still worth going to see the Three Gorges. While many of the historic sites have gone forever, the raised water level has created access to some new valleys which were previously harder to reach.
Remember that many of the mountains either side of the gorge are 2000 metres high, so the change in water level of just 50 to 100 metres makes very little difference on the 'grand scenery'. What, of course, has changed is the disappearance of the towns and villages along the gorge. Judging by economic development elsewhere in China, the new cities will be more comfortable and spacious for the inhabitants, but for years to come will feel soulless and devoid of character, with badly planned, badly maintained, weed-infested 'parks' and 'avenues' and facile touristic facilities.
If it's scenery you want, little will have changed; if it's the character of the towns and villages and 'society', you may be better off going elsewhere.
There is a service provided for crossing the river - cable car. It is a bit old and the fear of the cable car will break down started to play in my mind. Really exciting.