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American Empress Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
83 Reviews

The BEST way to see the Columbia River!!!

American Empress Cruise Review by Amble Along

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2019
  • Destination: North America River

In November I traveled with a small group of 10 on the American Empress steamboat-style Cruise. The group absolutely LOVED the trip and the ship!

The food was incredible- truly top notch! We even had lobster tail! The meals were always artfully prepared and served by the kindest, warmest staff I’ve encountered on a cruise ship. Every meal was an event. During our scenic rides cruising the river, we were even served appetizers and hot toddies while watching sea lions play and eagles soar- it was like a scene out of the movies.

There were daily included shore excursions. This was done in such a uniquely genius “hop on hop off” way. The beautifully wrapped coaches would pick up at the boat and make a loop around town, taking us to any number of attractions. We could decide where we wanted to get off, visit the attraction, then get on the next passing coach. What a great idea!! This made it so easy to take a group of varying travelers. Those who wanted to go exploring and see everything could easily do that, and those who only had the energy or desire to visit one spot, could do that and come back to relax on the boat.

There were also “Premium excursions” available at an additional cost. We participated in a few of these and found them to be very reasonable and enjoyable. Of particular note was the tour to Multnomah Falls and the Lewis and Clark experience. Both of these were well worth the price. On our sailing, we had an extra bonus and the ship included the WAAM museum of antique planes and cars. What a hidden gem this turned out to be!! One of our group even went on a ride in an antique plane which he loved!

All of the staff onboard went out of their way to be friendly and unobtrusive. Our housekeeper and wait staff could not have been more accommodating. Somehow they managed to not be in our room when we were, and knew when to chat with us at dinner and when to disappear so we could have a chance to visit amongst ourselves.

Another note worth mentioning was the excellent, talented performers who put on the evening shows. The house band is terrific! We had the good fortune of having a few special performers who came onboard just for a night. They were a husband and wife who performed different nights and were both spectacular! I only wish they could work out the timing of the dinner/show combination better. The early seating was at 5 and the show was at 8! Way too much time to kill in between. A few nights most of us went to our rooms and never made it to the show. Conversely, the late seating was at 8 and the early show at 5:30- again too much time in between. This seems like it could be an easy fix.

All in all, our group RAVED about the trip and are looking forward to going on another American Queen Steamboat tour in the future- hopefully on the Mississippi River.


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