After traveling with the American Queen Steamboat Company on the American Duchess, we had such an enjoyable experience that we decided to book a trip on the American Empress in the Pacific Northwest; and it was so worth it! From the smooth check in process at the hotel to easy and enjoyable disembarkation day options, the whole week ran so seamlessly We never had to worry about a thing! The consistency in each of the tours and onboard activities made the whole trip that much more memorable and the knowledge and expertise of the staff and drivers was undeniable.
In our previous travels with this company we took full advantage of all the included tours offered in each port, and we did the same with this trip however the premium touring options looks so interesting and unique, we chose to pass up some of the included tours in order to take the premiums. I feel we definitely made the right choice. We chose not to do the included tour in Clarkston so that we could join the jet boat tour of Hell’s Canyon and that was hands down one of the best trips I’ve ever taken on a vacation. The scenery is beyond beautiful and the jet boat captains were funny and captivating. The boat had a bathroom on it and we did make a pit stop half way through the tour for some refreshments and to use the bathroom there if needed. It was well thought out, comfortable, and didn’t leave me feeling like I missed out on anything. We also chose to do the full day tour to Mt. Hood out of Stevenson instead of doing the included tour, which again, I feel was absolutely worth it. We got to see the beautiful Multnomah Falls, took an informative and stimulating tour of the Bonneville Damn, and made our way up to Mt. Hood. We stopped for lunch on the way at the Parkdale Grange and had what felt like a family style Thanksgiving meal, with an assortment of really delicious pies for dessert... I even purchased a cookbook there with the recipes of the pies..yes, they were THAT good! We finished the tour at the Timberline Lodge with wine and beer tasting, and came back to the boat after what felt like the perfect day with good food, interesting commentary, and beautiful scenery of the mountain.
The included tours that we did take were also just as enjoyable as they were on my previous travels with this company and ran the same way – gold star for consistency! We chose to do the Hop on Hop off tours in the ports we were able to and with so many included stops and the freedom to get on and off where we wanted, it allowed the opportunity for us to craft the perfect day! Having travelled with this company before we were more familiar with the process of how the Hop on Hop off tours worked but when we found ourselves struggling to plan out our day, we utilized the help of our drivers and shore excursions specialist onboard. They were a huge help to us on the American Duchess and just as helpful on this vessel as well. Same with the other boat staff! From the cruise directors to housekeeping staff, everyone was so hospitable and friendly that it almost felt like a home away from home. I definitely will be travelling on the American Empress again!
Clean and comfortable