We had driven through the Columbia Gorge, but wanted to see it up close at a gentle pace.
Our trip started in Spokane. One night at the Historic Davenport Hotel was included in the trip. We opted for an extra night and were glad about that. The Historic Davenport Hotel is a destination in its own right.
Registration was at the hotel. The next day we went by bus to Clarkston, where we boarded the Empress. We had a "deluxe veranda stateroom" which was cozy but efficient.
The dining was very good to excellent. This website's review expressed disappointment that regional wines were not served with dinner. Clearly, the parent company heard that, because we had wines from a different regional winery every night.
The entertainment exceeded our expectations. On a ship this size the music team has to be small (seven in all, I think), but they did a great job. The "Rock and Roll Dance Party" on the next to last night sounded corny, but it was a blast. Many crew members joined passengers on the dance floor.
The Hop-on Hop-off buses worked very well. We took three premium tours, which delivered what they promised.
I must comment on the friendly staff. Everyone on the ship worked hard to make our trip memorable. We were taken by how many staffers learned and remembered our names. The entertainers were friendly and approachable. The Riverlorian's lectures were always interesting. After this trip, ask me anything about Lewis and Clark! (Honestly, if you aren't interested in learning about Lewis and Clark, take a different cruise. That expedition's history permeates every port of call.)
Definitely not a cruise for children, unless they were teens who are fascinated by history.
The WiFi was mostly a bust. After a bit, we decided that this would be a great week to drop out of the daily news cycle anyway.
Would we go again? Yes. We could do all the same day trips and take in different sites everywhere.
180 square feet (including the veranda, I think). Room enough for everything, but no extra space. Clean, well maintained.