My wife and I are in our 70's and this was our first river cruise, having been on several ocean cruises in the Caribbean and Europe. The boat was the American Empress and the trip from Portland, OR to Clarkston, WA. Everything was done expertly. We followed the itinerary to the dot, the boat operated flawlessly, ALL the staff from the Captain to the floor sweepers were friendly, hardworking and determined to make the trip enjoyable, food in both the eating areas was well prepared, presented and served, varied and delicious, and standard beer and wine flowed freely with meals. The included hop on/hop off tours at each stop on company owned luxury buses offered maximum flexibility in choosing what to see, together with excellent narration, and the one premium tour we took, to Mount Saint Helen's was memorable. There was a good mix of daytime and night time cruising and the pre-cruise night at the Vancouver Hilton with free breakfast was comfortable and the transfer to the boat seamless. We got our entertainment from the surroundings, the people and food and drink, so didn't take advantage of the professional entertainment.
The boat overall, public areas and our stateroom were spotless - the boat looked new and the collection of artwork was impressive. We had not visited this area before and the scenery was amazing. The on-board Riverlorian was outstanding as he shared his love of the area and knowledge of its history with us - Lewis and Clark came alive! Disembarkation, like embarkation was handled smoothly as was bus transfer to Spokane airport. Our only concerns were with free computer access which was erratic, and with overall cruise cost - it was much more expensive than a mid-size cruise ship vacation, but we believe overall we got good value for our money. This will be a hard trip to beat or equal.