15 American Cruise Lines Queen of the West Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it offered an opportunity to see parts of the US that we had not visited. We specifically chose this itinerary because it gave us a chance to reunite with old friends in our embarkation city of Portland, OR. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it offered an opportunity to see parts of the US that we had not visited. We specifically chose this itinerary because it gave us a chance to reunite with old friends in our embarkation city of Portland, OR. This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines and I have to say that they have improved their service since our first cruise almost 10 years ago. Specifically, they have increased their staffing so that they have teams that handle each aspect of the cruise, i.e., wait staff, housekeeping, and boat handling; on our first cruise, each crew member handled all of those duties, so they were really taxed. The complimentary hotel stay at the origin city was pretty good and convenient to the embarkation of the ship. Embarkation process was flawless. The ship is in pretty good shape overall, but you can tell that it has been some time since it was renovated; good news is that they have added usb ports in the staterooms. Food was generally excellent and flavorful; they have added an option to choose 1/2 portions at meals (great idea). The crew did an excellent job throughout the cruise; wait staff was especially good. Always enjoyed the daily happy hour before dinner. On board entertainment and activities were very good. Shore excursions were OK, but in several cases, e.g., Mt St Helen's, provided only a limited time to take in everything. As expected, scenery was excellent, although it was unseasonable hot and we encountered smoke from fires in OR twice. We would recommend this cruise and vessel. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We took my 86 year old mother so we were looking for something she could enjoy with amenities for the disabled. We were told this ship could accommodate the disabled to include most excursions. They boasted the ship had hotel like ... Read More
We took my 86 year old mother so we were looking for something she could enjoy with amenities for the disabled. We were told this ship could accommodate the disabled to include most excursions. They boasted the ship had hotel like staterooms and bathrooms and that was not remotely accurate. We paid the big bucks for the owner's suites and thank goodness we did or it would have been a very bad experience. Everyone on the ship complained about the tiny staterooms with no room at all. My mom and two of our friends were in one of the owner's suite and we were in the other. It was tight for 3 people and adequate for my husband and I. The bathroom was a disaster. Tiny like a typical cruise ship and not remotely handicap accessible. Big step up to get into this tiny bathroom and a lip you catch your toe on to go out plus the big step down. It's a miracle none of us fell. Because the bathroom was tiny and there were 3 in the one suite, they looked for another bathroom on the ship and there was only one. The pictures and description of the rooms was totally NOTHING like our rooms or bathrooms. No closet (just an armoire which took up space) and that teny tiny bathroom. We did the Columbia and Snake River cruise and the embarkation port and disembarkation port and every stop in between was fantastic. The food was great! The staff was great! The excursions were great! The entertainment was fair as it was geared for the over 70 crowd (the average age on the ship was 73 so if you are younger like we are, might chose something more for your age). The Historian was boring and droned on and on. He didn't pick up on queues like people sleeping through his lecture. He loved to hear himself talk. He was knowledgeable but yawn! There was one great bus driver, Jodi, who gave a narrated tour on every single excursion. If you got on one of the gentleman's buses forget it. Crickets. One bus driver even turned on a rerun of Johnny Carson while we were driving back from our Portland Tour. He could have told us so much about the city, the area, etc. but instead we watched Johnny Carson. But, overall we really enjoyed it. The scenary was to die for and we learned so much. I would recommend that cruise but I don't recommend that ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was the last cruise of the season, Portland R/T, with only the western half of the Columbia River. The weather was OK, often cloudy & rainy, some sun, but to be expected in mid-October in Oregon. The tours/guides were excellent, ... Read More
This was the last cruise of the season, Portland R/T, with only the western half of the Columbia River. The weather was OK, often cloudy & rainy, some sun, but to be expected in mid-October in Oregon. The tours/guides were excellent, altho we wished for more time at Mt St Helens and some of the Lewis & Clark sites. The ship was charmingly decorated in traditional paddlewheel style. The cabin/bathroom were quite small but adequate since you didn't spend much time there. The crew was outstanding, from deckhands to housekeeping to servers to ship management and office staff. All of our arrangements were handled efficiently, professionally and cheerfully. Another couple had to change their scheduled cruise date due to medical issues, and it was done without problems or extra fees. What other travel company does that? The lounges and dining room were very nice, with coffee/tea/snacks always available. The food was outstanding, both at regular meals and evening cocktail hour. Wine/beer and liquor was free-flowing during cocktail time, with wine/beer available at lunch/dinner. Evening entertainment was low-key, a singer of musical duo. A nice feature was having a hotel night (Raddisson Airport was OK) in Portland the night before embarking. This gave us a chance to meet other passengers, a nice touch. Pre/post transfers were handled perfectly. The passengers were "senior citizens" who have the time & money to travel on ACL. The group was very friendly & compatible, with interesting people to share stories and meals. Would I go on ACL again? Maybe. The Queen of the West is the smallest, oldest boat in the group, and I think their other ships would be nicer and have larger cabins. Even at a special sale rate, it was $500+/day/person. While they hyped their other cruises in an sales session, I'm inclined to spend the money in other tours (self or escorted). That said, it was a very good choice for the older passengers who need everything arranged for them. I might consider an Alaskan cruise because of the ability to get into places that larger ships can't reach. It's a trade-off of $$ vs convenience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Set this up so that we could visit Idaho for the total eclipse two days after the cruise docked. Informative history lectures about Lewis and Clark and the area were great. Meals could have offered a little more variety but were timely, ... Read More
Set this up so that we could visit Idaho for the total eclipse two days after the cruise docked. Informative history lectures about Lewis and Clark and the area were great. Meals could have offered a little more variety but were timely, well prepared and presented well. Staff and captain were excellent and very friendly. I was not concerned about poor cell service, this was a vacation and I never used the phone once. Wi-Fi was available in two of the lounges which was more than adequate. This is definitely a tour for older people, I don't think anyone was less than 65, so I would not bring children on this tour. Would have preferred to spend more time at the Bonneville Dam. The food was good and well prepared but very heavy on fish selections. Most of the food for the trip was locally sourced. Service by the crew was excellent Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We selected theLewis & Clark itinerary. Overall we were pleased but size & lack of decor in cabin was disappointing. Very small single closet for 2 people. No place to store suitcases Only 3 drawers. Balcony is small & has 2 ... Read More
We selected theLewis & Clark itinerary. Overall we were pleased but size & lack of decor in cabin was disappointing. Very small single closet for 2 people. No place to store suitcases Only 3 drawers. Balcony is small & has 2 cheap chairs & 1 small table. This is an expensive cruise & since we only drink 1-2 glasses of wine per day the included free drinks was not necessary. The staff & food was good.There is no exercise equipment and limited space to walk on top deck. Bus transportation and guides on tours was excellent. Age of passengers 60-91. Many passengers had physical limitations but crew was very helpful. Precruise information could have been more descriptive as to amount of time to destination and length of tour. Maryhill Museum was surprisingly excellent, to include some Rodin works. Jetboat tour on Snake river was a lot safer and smoother than we thought. It was very hot ,over 100 degrees and as on all tours free cold bottled water was available. Lunch midway was a hot BBQ meal. Would have preferred cold sandwiches. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I have always wanted to travel the Columbia River, so, my husband and I brought along two other couples to enjoy our trip. It was a great trip the river was beautiful, the weather cooperated and we had sunshine nearly the whole trip which ... Read More
I have always wanted to travel the Columbia River, so, my husband and I brought along two other couples to enjoy our trip. It was a great trip the river was beautiful, the weather cooperated and we had sunshine nearly the whole trip which is unusual for that part of the country. Loved the entertainment both the musicians and the on board historian. Learned so much about the area including the animals. He was well informed about the salmon fishing and the rules governing it. Our room was wonderful with four large windows to look out and see the river and the beautiful scenery on both side of the banks. The sunset one evening was unbelievably beautiful. It must be wonderful to live along the banks of the Columbia River especially when the sun is out. I understand that it rains in that area a great deal of the time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I chose this cruise because I went with a group of 20 people. The Columbia River Gorge is beaufiful and in a part of the country not visited by my husband and me before. Other members of the group has previously cruised with American ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I went with a group of 20 people. The Columbia River Gorge is beaufiful and in a part of the country not visited by my husband and me before. Other members of the group has previously cruised with American Cruise Lines; this was a first for us. I would not recommend the Queen of the West to anyone else. We managed with the room and bath but it was far less than desirable. The crew, service, and food were excellent - could not have asked for better. The excursions were excellent and tour quides very knowledgeable about the areas visited. I like the small ship crusing experience - a first for us as we had been on larger ships on other cruises (twice to Alaska). I would travel with American Cruise Lines again but would definitely choose a newer vessel with better accommodations. That's all folks! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I went on this cruise with my sister who is from FL. I am from Portland, OR so it was close to home for me to board the ship. While I was close to home, I had never been on the Columbia/Snake River. The scenery was beautiful and it was ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my sister who is from FL. I am from Portland, OR so it was close to home for me to board the ship. While I was close to home, I had never been on the Columbia/Snake River. The scenery was beautiful and it was wonderful to see it from the river, versus the freeway that runs along side the river. The food on the ship was very good. There was an amazing variety and the presentation was excellent. The service was good. It started out slow on the first day of the cruise, but improved from there and the servers were very nice and friendly. All the crew was friendly and concerned about our needs. The Queen of the West is an old ship, but we were very comfortable in our accommodations. I would recommend this cruise even if you live very close to the port. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We had a great time but would never sail on this ship again. The staff was super, friendly accessible and hospitable. The food was very good. There was an open bar from 5:30 to 6:#0 every night with great munchies, the meals were very ... Read More
We had a great time but would never sail on this ship again. The staff was super, friendly accessible and hospitable. The food was very good. There was an open bar from 5:30 to 6:#0 every night with great munchies, the meals were very good and the entertainment was fine (lectures and music) seldom going much after 9pm. But this ship is the one in the fleet that American did not build. As a result it has certain flaws including bathrooms that are absurdly small. Think about a lavatory on a 737. Never again. Wi-fi only in the common rooms. We have booked on the newest ship in the fleet, America, and have been told that these problems are not present on that vessel. By the way, contrary to the Cruise Critic info, the paddle wheel is ornamental. It does not drive the ship. Nonetheless it is a joy to watch. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My wife and I took this cruise because we were interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition and this cruise followed their path on the Snake and Columbia rivers. This was our first trip to the Pacific Northwest (we live in the Northeast). ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise because we were interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition and this cruise followed their path on the Snake and Columbia rivers. This was our first trip to the Pacific Northwest (we live in the Northeast). The countryside was beautiful, the Columbia River was more massive than I pictured. One shore excursion was to Mt. Saint Helens and it was awesome. Seeing that mountain (or at least what's left of it) and seeing the destruction that resulted from the eruption and landslide was mind-blowing. Pictures don't capture the reality of it as does seeing it in person. That alone was worth the cost of the trip. North-westerners (at least those we encountered) were very friendly and hospitable. The museums we visited were all top notch. The staff on the ship was very young (average age about 20) and exceptionally good at what they did. They were friendly and personable and all the passengers were impressed by their work ethic. The ship was small and didn't have a full complement of passengers so we got a chance to meet and talk with many nice folks. We found that very pleasing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This cruise was a pleasant surprise. The critics, we felt, were harsh and not very fair. Yes the rooms were small and it was pricey but there were many positives which outweighed the negatives. The food was unbelievable not only for a ... Read More
This cruise was a pleasant surprise. The critics, we felt, were harsh and not very fair. Yes the rooms were small and it was pricey but there were many positives which outweighed the negatives. The food was unbelievable not only for a ship but for any restaurant. It was always timely and delicious. Healthy and with options for each meal. The staff, mostly students, were unbelievably pleasant; competent and very hard workers. The Captain was pleasant; approachable and kept us safe at all times. Other staff members like Jess and Ian were so dedicated and helpful. Made you feel right at home. Entertainment was nightly and varied. Happy hour, which was also nightly, was a special treat. Admittedly, we read the criticisms prior to leaving. We were wondering if we had made the right decision. You have to experience it to realize that it is a warm and friendly group. Yes the rooms are small but put the luggage under the beds; be organized and don't bring that much. Room temperature controls were not a problem. We had a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
DH and I had looked forward to the "Lewis & Clark" cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers for a long time. The ship was clean and comfortable; the ports were fantastic, although for what they charged they could have cut the ... Read More
DH and I had looked forward to the "Lewis & Clark" cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers for a long time. The ship was clean and comfortable; the ports were fantastic, although for what they charged they could have cut the price for shore excursions in half!! One thing that was really nice is that tour guides/bus drivers followed the ship so we had the same bus and guide for all shore excursions. The staff is very friendly and tries to be accommodating but they are sorely in need of training and supervision: 1. Breakfast buffet every day set out milk, cottage cheese, yogurt without any provision for keeping dairy food chilled. 2. At dinner the first night the Restaurant Manager was observed combing his hair in the dining room over a buffet containing clean and uncovered water glasses. 3. Passengers fill out menu for lunch and dinner at breakfast and restaurant manager assured me that if I wanted something not on the menu to just write it in and it would be prepared. I asked for chicken soup and salad for lunch(it had been served the day before) and waited over 30 minutes for soup because they didn't start making it until I was in the dining room! I waited 30 minutes for a hamburger at dinner (it was on the lunch menu) and 40 minutes for a small dish of blueberries and cottage cheese for breakfast. 4. Passenger dropped fork and a new one was brought by server and handed to passenger handle first!! 5. All of the passengers on board were 55+ and yet when one of them fell and cut her arm there was no first aid kit/or band-aids on board! I would love to book the Mississippi River cruise with ACL, but I'm afraid to. For the money we spent on this trip, I expected better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
First a disclaimer, we are devoted to the Delta Queen and compare any river cruise to our wonderful experiences sailing on her. The Queen of the West resembles a paddlewheel steamer but it's an illusion. She is screw powered with a ... Read More
First a disclaimer, we are devoted to the Delta Queen and compare any river cruise to our wonderful experiences sailing on her. The Queen of the West resembles a paddlewheel steamer but it's an illusion. She is screw powered with a paddlewheel for looks. It's not the same. American Cruise LInes (ACL) strives to provide the "best vacations experience ever." This is an ambitious objective and likely is not often achieved. Our week on board the Queen of the West was a great experience, from the accommodations, the entertainment and the itinerary to the jet boat to Hell's Canyon, (now the inevitable) but something was missing. I cannot put my finger on it but will try as this review continues. Upon embarkation we received a wonderful surprise, an upgrade from a standard cabin to one marked "owner's suite." The cabin was spacious, with remarkable storage space and an extremely comfortable bed and a magnificent view to the side and forward. A brief detour here, ACL has a crew of stewards who double in the dining room and as cabin attendants. They rotate duties so there is no "cabin attendant" as on ocean cruises, or the old Delta Queen for that matter. The young crew of stewards are friendly, competent and helpful but they lack the polish of professional service personnel. One gets the impression of students on summer jobs and it detracts from the overalll experience of the cruise. Please, do not take this as criticism of the stewrds themselves; they were all great but the policy of ACL in rotating the tasks and even rotating the crews so that most are on a vessel only once does not lead to the kind of identification with the ship that makes for loyalty. Cuisine was excellent but not outstanding. The line did a good job in utilizing local ingredients at lunch and dinner, and with one exception the meals were very good. The portions were appropriately sized down given the frequency with which food was made available. ACL provides local to the area wines and beers at meals and a nicely done cocktail hour, also comp soft drinks and expresso throughout the day. These touches contribute to an overall positive impression the the catering on the boat Entertainment was exceptional. Todd Webber, a Lewis and Clark specialist and generally knowledgeable about the region, was a font of information and presented his information in a most entertaining manner. For this cruise, ACL had obtained the services of a professor of wine making from a local college to lead a wine appreciation component of the cruise. Reg was excellent and was a fine counterpoint to the history presented by Todd. Evening entertainment was high quality. What was missing?? For us, despite all the excellent features, we didn't make an attachment to the boat, to the line or to the personnel. They were all friendly but did not seem to themselves have an attachment to the boat or the river. It was symptomatic, at least to our minds, that the captiain was never introduced to the passengers assembled, nor did she talk about the river and its navigational challenges. Dare I say, the overall feeling was a nice week on the river, worthwhile and pleasureable but not compelling or extraordinary. The ports of call are not listed among Cruisecritic's so I will cover them here. Astoria OR is a worthwhile experience, visiting Ft Clatsop, the turnaround point of the L&C expedition and a realy find maritime museum. Ranier OR is only a jumping off place for Mr. St Helens, and seeing it on the shore excursion is hit or miss, we missed. Stevenson OR is a fine small town with some interesting vineyards in the vicinity and Bonneville dam close by. Richland is notable for CHREST museum about theHanford nuclear expeience. Clarkson WA is the jumping off place for the jet boat excursions to Hell's Canyon, a not to be missed excursion. Unlike the growing trend on the MIssissippi and on European rivers, shore excursions are not included in the cruise fare. Excursions run from $40 to $110 (for hell's canyon) per person. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This is our 3rd small ship cruise with American Cruise Lines in the last 4 years. We enjoy the cultural, educational aspect of these cruises and the small ship ambiance. The average age of their passengers range from the mid-50's to ... Read More
This is our 3rd small ship cruise with American Cruise Lines in the last 4 years. We enjoy the cultural, educational aspect of these cruises and the small ship ambiance. The average age of their passengers range from the mid-50's to 80's. Seasoned travelers for the most part. Everyone seemed to enjoy the itinerary, nightly happy hours, presentations by the on-board historian who travels with you throughout the cruise giving information that you would never know about and in this case, this cruise was all about the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1803-1806. Local entertainment joins you for happy hour and sometimes after dinner. Experiencing going through the locks on this cruise was quite a sight if you have never done this before. American Cruise Lines has an all american college age crew. On the Queen of the West ship that we most recently sailed on we had a female captain. She was very personable and knowledgable. You are served 3 sit down meals per day, no buffets.For the most part, the meals ranged from good to very good. This particular ship, Queen of the West was purchased from another company that used to do this itinerary and is no longer in business. This being said, the cabins were not of the size of the other American Cruise Line ships. Each port has 1, 2 or 3 excursions throughout the day. There is something for everyone's taste. When going on your excursions, you are met at the dock by the same bus company and bus drivers who were excellent not only when it comes to your personal safety, but also their sense of humor and knowledge of the area. Although American Cruise Lines does a very good job,there is always room for improvement. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This cruise was generally quite enjoyable. We embarked in Portland, Oregon, then cruised downriver to Astoria Oregon. did a tour of Astoria and a second one of the Oregon Coast. We then proceeded upriver, and did tours of MT St Helens (~90 ... Read More
This cruise was generally quite enjoyable. We embarked in Portland, Oregon, then cruised downriver to Astoria Oregon. did a tour of Astoria and a second one of the Oregon Coast. We then proceeded upriver, and did tours of MT St Helens (~90 minute bus ride each way), the Bonneville Dam, Multnomah Falls, Indian Cultural centers, etc. Unfortunately, the Snake river was running too high, and we were not able to go up the Snake, so spent 1 1/2 days at Richland, Washington -- the cruise director did arrange a couple of special tours there (at no charge!). We had a roomy suite in the front of the boat. Room maintenance was quite good, although the bathroom was typically small. One thing to be aware of with this cruise line -- the passengers were mostly age 65+, with only a handful of people not yet retired (we are in our late 50'3), and almost no one under age 40. Having said that, the passengers are generally a very well traveled bunch, and we enjoyed the discussion at meals. People also were very good at getting back to the tour bus on time (best we have ever seen on a cruise). Pluses: The informality of the check-in and check-out process, friendliness of the crew, hosted cocktail hours every night, free cookies, snacks, coffee, soda all day, and an absolutely terrific port lecturer (Laurence). Minuses: Only one key to the stateroom; food was very average the first few days, although it improved over the course of the cruise; small bathroom; cruise was pricey; several crew members were brand new and "learning the ropes". Some tours were not so great & didn't allow enough time at stops (i.e., Mt St. Helens) This was our second cruise on American Cruise Lines (the first being the New England Islands in 2010), and we have already signed up for the Charleston to Jacksonville cruise next year. If you enjoy smaller ships (~100 passengers), older well traveled passengers, convenient access to ports, and the informality of a smaller cruise line (vs the often frustrating experiences aboard the large ship cruise lines), you should consider these cruises. They are also adding Alaska and Mississippi river cruises next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Queen of the West Ratings
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