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American Empress Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
94 reviews

First River Cruise . . . and not our last

Review for American Empress to North America River
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10+ Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms

Additional details

Sail Date: Nov 2019
The ranger at Fort Clatsop was very well informed and entertaining.
One of our sunny days, cruising up the Columbia toward Bonneville Dam.
Entering the lock at Bonneville.
Docked overnight in the Dalles.
Entrance to the National Neon Sign Museum is included in the cruise, and it
The Empress is docked in the background.
Our bus drivers and local guides were exemplary.
A breakfast staple for me . . . delightful.
The eerily beautiful Columbia, as seen from our balcony.
The aft lounge, outside the River Grill.
Bonneville dam.

We had been wanting to try a river cruise, especially after watching the size of ocean-going cruise ships balloon until some can carry more than 6,000 passengers. The American Empress beautifully accommodates just over 221, with an attentive crew of 88. Our Category C cabin--212--was cozy, but well laid out so that we had plenty of closet space and storage, even in the bathroom. Yes, the shower is small, but it worked just fine for us.

Ours was a late-season round trip from and to Vancouver, Washington, rather than the more common one-way trip from Vancouver to Lewiston, Idaho, or vice versa. We knew that there was a high probability of rainy/cloudy/foggy weather in the Pacific Northwest in November, and we were proved correct. We did have two sunny days, and only two really rainy days, so we were content.

Our fellow cruisers were, in the main, like us--Baby Boomers and older. There were a few 40-50 somethings, but we were in the majority. I would not recommend this as a honeymoon cruise, unless your other passion is Lewis and Clark.

Response from BriannaH, Guest Relations @American Queen Voyages

RealJewell - you live up to your name! What a gem you are for sharing such a thoughtful review. To say that our "staff was unfailingly cordial, professional, and attentive," just knocks it...

Cabin Review

Our veranda cabin on deck 2 was well appointed and comfortable.

Port Reviews


We stayed an extra night at the Vancouver Hilton pre-cruise, and it was delightful. The hotel is a comfortable businessman-friendly accommodation. We felt welcomed by the friendly staff, and the food at the hotel restaurant was very good, if a bit pricey. Across the street were two excellent casual restaurants--Loowit Brewery and Pub and Smokin' Oak BBQ restaurant. Both were excellent and highly recommended, along with the Syrup Trap, just a 10-minute walk away in downtown Vancouver, and a most excellent breakfast spot that specializes in Belgian waffles. Our second day in Vancouver we walked to Fort Vancouver where we strolled along Officers' Row. If you have time, don't hesitate to visit.

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