I selected ACL's cruise down the Snake and Columbia Rivers for several reasons: I'm interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition, I wanted to see the landscape of the Inland Northwest, and my earlier cruise with ACL (the Lower Mississippi) was such a treat that I wanted to travel with the company again. The Snake/Columbia River trip was one of the best I'd ever taken, and I have been traveling extensively for 52 years.
My booking was handled politely and expeditiously by Sean at the ACL office, and I received all necessary papers and notices on time and in order before my departure. The itinerary, from Lewiston, ID, to Astoria, OR, was first rate. The excursions were diverse and fascinating, with excellent guides-- there was something for everyone. When we were under way, the staff always devised something fun to do, like sailing kites off the deck. Though the cabins on the paddlewheeler Queen of the West are somewhat smaller than on the Queen of the Mississippi, my room was perfectly acceptable --clean and comfortable. The company has, incidentally, just launched a new ship built to their specifications, so they are always upgrading.
The service is excellent. You can tell immediately that the staff are very well trained: these young people are friendly, polite, and capable. In addition, the lecturers were outstanding. Because of my interest in history, I asked a lot of questions-- and got the answers. Above all, the cruise director was very responsive to our needs-- she even made special arrangements for me to fit in an extra excursion in Astoria.
I especially enjoyed the afternoon happy hour, with included drinks, wine, and an extensive selection of hors d'oeuvres. It was a great chance to meet with the other passengers and compare notes. The ship is small, about 100 passengers, so you have an opportunity to meet like-minded, friendly people from all over the country. The food is excellent. I am a vegetarian, and the chef had no problem accommodating my needs.
I have already signed up for my third ACL cruise, and I plan to take many more.