We chose this cruise because it didn't go onto the open ocean, and we wanted the river experience. Overall impression: Nice, but you have to be a real Lewis & Clark fan to get the most out out of this cruise, and you need to be able to handle the heat during summer.
We cruised from Portland, OR to Clarkton, then back, in July.
I should have done my geographical homework before we left. I thought "Columbia Gorge!! Oregon rainforest! Nice and cool!" I couldn't have been more wrong. The Columbia Gorge part was about a day. The remaining 5 days were absolute desert with not much to see. Hot hot hot. I could have dealt with that, IF:
There had been a pool to dip into occasionally, but no.
There had been more locations to sit outside under shade. (Only three tables and 6 chairs in the shade for 66 people.)
As it was, if you weren't interested in the endless lectures on Lewis & Clark, there was nothing to do and no place to even go and read a book except your bed or the lounge that was freezing all the time. Know before you go: no wi-fi available and no cell signal most of the time.
Embarkation: We were shuttled from the airport to a holding area called the Glasshouse. We could store our bags there, snacks provided, and walk around the city until we could board the ship. For our family, that meant we had to hang out there for about 4 hours. I wish I'd known to take a later flight so we could have avoided the long wait.
Website: Not enough information; what there was was not easy to find; and no photos of the cabins make you wonder if they're worth being photographed (even though mine was great).
The plus side:
#1- The food was spectacular! Limited (3) options, usually. The waitstaff wasn't very knowledgeable about how things were prepared, but the food made up for it.
#2 - The whole staff was exceedingly attentive and went WAY out of their way to do anything for us. They were top shelf all the way. On the bridge, the first mate patiently answered every question we could think of about how the ship worked, which he must answer all day, everyday, but you'd never know it.
#3 - Our room was wonderful (#302), the bed was excellent (and I'm very critical of mattresses). The bathroom was tiny, of course, but the shower had plenty of hot water.
#4 - The buses used for the shore excursions were, hands down, the best buses I've ever traveled on. Cool, comfortable, and the sound system was excellent - no problem hearing even from the back.
The only suggestions I would make to the ship are these:
#1 - Hang light sheer curtains in that room, because although the view is gorgeous, being right out on the front of the ship, people stood at the railing right in front of our windows, and tend to look in frequently. One guy out there even started a conversation with me as I sat on my bed. Every time you want to change clothes or take a nap you have to close the blackout curtains which plunges your cabin into total darkness. Or you have to take everything into the tiny bathroom. That was a pain.
#2 - Create more shade on the 4th deck so we can use it!
#3 - Offer something other than Lewis & Clark morning, noon, and night.
Excellent room, fabulous bed, with plenty of storage. Showers were small, but plenty of hot water. Downside was that people stood at the railing outside and often stared into our room. The company should hang some sheer curtains under the blackout ones for privacy.