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We just returned from a wonderful, scenic, relaxing cruise from Vancouver, WA to Clarkston, WA on the American Empress paddle wheeler up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. It was extremely enjoyable in every way. The age group of the passengers ranged from the 40's to the 70's. Unlike ocean cruises, getting off the boat at various stops along the way was extremely easy for even the handicapped (elevators are the same as ocean cruise ships). They provide hop on/hop off busses at every stop along the way, making it pleasant and easy to see every sight. Everything is included with few add-ons. Wine and beer are included with dinner, but normal bar drinks are extra. I highly recommend taking the jet boat excursion in Clarkston. It's a trip for everyone to enjoy the spectacular Hell's Canyon in Idaho which is deeper than the Grand Canyon and a beautiful sight and experience. We saw more wildlife than we did in Alaska, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep. The towns along the way are quaint and historical. Another great excursion goes to Multnomah Falls and an overlook of the Columbia Gorge. The crew were outstanding and helpful in every way possible. We had a deluxe cabin with a large private veranda on level three and loved the decor, storage, TV, free wifi, and bedding. It had closets 8 feet wide with ample hanging and drawer space as well as drawers under the TV cabinet. The food menus were fabulous despite the fact that the chef had resigned just before our trip and was replaced by a new hire. The local salmon, filet mignon, and lobster were always available. They have two dining venues - The Astoria Dining Room and a grill on the top deck which also featured a beautiful outdoor patio with umbrellas. Oregon is known for its fruit and berries and we loved the huge helpings at breakfast along with the best apple smoked bacon (thick sliced on a skewer covered in maple syrup and baked to perfection). By far the BEST part of the cruise was the entertainment. We have been on countless european river cruises which had minimal evening entertainment and ocean cruises which ranged from poor to outstanding entertainment. We were so shocked to find wonderful talent at every venue on the boat. The theater had Broadway quality singers and dancers backed by a fabulous four piece band. The lounge had an unbelievably talented and witty pianist singer that kept us enthralled every evening. Especially noteworthy was the fact that there was always seating available in all areas. We were pleased to meet Europeans and New Zealanders who also loved the entire experience. We were all enthralled with the Native Americans setting their gill nets for the autumn run of Chinook salmon and steelheads. If you are seeking beautiful scenery, time to relax, nice people and quaint towns without the hassle of flying across the pond, this is a trip for you!

A Fabulous River Cruise Without the Hassle of Flying to Europe

American Empress Cruise Review by SunCityDon

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We just returned from a wonderful, scenic, relaxing cruise from Vancouver, WA to Clarkston, WA on the American Empress paddle wheeler up the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

It was extremely enjoyable in every way. The age group of the passengers ranged from the 40's to the 70's. Unlike ocean cruises, getting off the boat at various stops along the way was extremely easy for even the handicapped (elevators are the same as ocean cruise ships). They provide hop on/hop off busses at every stop along the way, making it pleasant and easy to see every sight. Everything is included with few add-ons. Wine and beer are included with dinner, but normal bar drinks are extra.

I highly recommend taking the jet boat excursion in Clarkston. It's a trip for everyone to enjoy the spectacular Hell's Canyon in Idaho which is deeper than the Grand Canyon and a beautiful sight and experience. We saw more wildlife than we did in Alaska, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep. The towns along the way are quaint and historical.

Another great excursion goes to Multnomah Falls and an overlook of the Columbia Gorge.

The crew were outstanding and helpful in every way possible. We had a deluxe cabin with a large private veranda on level three and loved the decor, storage, TV, free wifi, and bedding. It had closets 8 feet wide with ample hanging and drawer space as well as drawers under the TV cabinet.

The food menus were fabulous despite the fact that the chef had resigned just before our trip and was replaced by a new hire. The local salmon, filet mignon, and lobster were always available. They have two dining venues - The Astoria Dining Room and a grill on the top deck which also featured a beautiful outdoor patio with umbrellas. Oregon is known for its fruit and berries and we loved the huge helpings at breakfast along with the best apple smoked bacon (thick sliced on a skewer covered in maple syrup and baked to perfection).

By far the BEST part of the cruise was the entertainment. We have been on countless european river cruises which had minimal evening entertainment and ocean cruises which ranged from poor to outstanding entertainment. We were so shocked to find wonderful talent at every venue on the boat. The theater had Broadway quality singers and dancers backed by a fabulous four piece band. The lounge had an unbelievably talented and witty pianist singer that kept us enthralled every evening. Especially noteworthy was the fact that there was always seating available in all areas.

We were pleased to meet Europeans and New Zealanders who also loved the entire experience. We were all enthralled with the Native Americans setting their gill nets for the autumn run of Chinook salmon and steelheads.

If you are seeking beautiful scenery, time to relax, nice people and quaint towns without the hassle of flying across the pond, this is a trip for you!
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