Last month I had the pleasure to experience a cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest aboard American Cruise Lines "Queen of the West".
The itinerary included ports of call on both the Washington and Oregon shores. ACL offered many interesting land excursions along the way. The most memorable stops for me on this cruise were the trip to Mount St Helen and the Jet Boat ride in Hells Canyon on the Snake River. The onboard lecturer kept the passengers informed about the local history of the areas we were visiting.
The food was great and we were offered a choice of two or three entrees for lunch and dinner. The chef would prepare a "special order" if necessary. Snacks and soda's are available 24 hours.
The staterooms on the Queen of the West are roomy, however the bathrooms are not as large as on ACL's other ships and they lack storage space. Each room has individually controlled heating and air conditioning and satellite TV. They have large picture windows, but unfortunately they do not open. Many of the staterooms have a small veranda which is great for viewing the scenery. The ship also has a passenger elevator and there is always a crew member willing to assist with wheelchair operation on and off the ship.
Many of the passengers I have sailed with feel the same as I, they like the informal "SMALL SHIP" experience of sailing the rivers of America with ACL. Most of the passengers were retired and many, like me, were repeat passengers. We enjoyed discussing the itineraries and our experiences on the various cruises we had taken in the past.
The staffs on the ACL ships go out of their way to meet your every need and make your cruise vacation a memorable experience. I was reacquainted with four staff members with whom I have previous sailed. It was great seeing those familiar faces.
Most of the cruises I have taken were with my mother or another family member, however I have felt completely comfortable traveling alone with ACL as a single lady.
If you are looking for a casino, swimming pool, or nightly "show" entertainment, American Cruise Lines is probably not for you, but if want a nice relaxing vacation aboard a small cruise ship with other passengers who have the same interest, they cannot be beat.
I am currently booked for my 34th ACL cruise which will be Memphis to Nashville on their new boat the "Queen of the Mississippi" in the summer of 2012.