Absolutely had a fantastic cruise aboard the American Empress! We sailed from Clarkston, Washington to Vancouver, Washington. Flew into Spokane and spent the night at the grand Historic Davenport downtown. Beautiful hotel inside and out. The next day, we took a “pre-cruise” excursion that explored Spokane. We could have explored on our own, but I loved the convenience of having it already arranged for us. Our tour guide was excellent and very informative. After we got back from the tour, we took the transfer to the boat, which is docked 2 hours away in Clarkston. Although a long ride, the scenery was incredible that I never got bored of looking out the window.
The American Empress is a spectacular boat. It’s luxurious and modern inside yet has the appearance (and iconic red paddlewheel) like steamboats back in the day. The staff is wonderful, and with around 200 guests onboard, we had the chance to meet almost everyone and really enjoyed my fellow travelers. There were two options for dining- the Astoria Dining Room (you have assigned seating for dinner) or the River Grill, the casual dining option. The food was amazing no matter which dining venue we ate in. We enjoyed eating on the deck outside the River Grill if it wasn’t too windy. Although the people, the activities, and the entertainment on board were amazing, the highlight of our voyage were the shore excursions and seeing the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
The Pacific Northwest is stunning, and if you haven’t been, you must! The Empress is the perfect way to see all the region’s highlights. The cruise started in Clarkston where the scenery is drastically different than the ports to the west. Clarkston doesn’t get much rain and when we went in the summer, it was hot (but not humid). On the scenic jet boat excursion on the Snake River, the landscape was phenomenal. We did not get wet or anything like that on the jet boat. It was bigger than I thought it would be, as I think about 40 of us fit in. We went fast, but it wasn’t choppy. The wind felt good on the hot day and I enjoyed the captain’s commentary.
Our veranda cabin was cozy and comfortable with ample storage space. Room came with a mini-fridge and Keurig coffee maker. Also a set of binoculars, which was a nice touch.