We live in the Pacific Northwest, so we are familiar with much of the territory that we visited, but we wanted to see it from the rivers. Our special interests were the history and geology. Since we know the area, we did not take many of the special (extra charge) excursions, but the one that we did take...the jetboat into Hells Canyon...was a highlight of the trip for us! We highly recommend it! In the other ports we used the (included) Hop On/Hop Off buses to visit one or more of the highlights of the area (museums, visitor centers, Bonneville Dam, Astoria Column, etc.) Most of the HoHo site admissions are covered by American Queen. An exception is the (excellent!) maritime museum in Astoria. For those who are not familiar with the area, I would recommend the excursion to Multnomah Falls!
Some of our favorite crew members were Steven (wine steward in the dining room) and his bartending crew of Hatter and Melissa, Mike, the amazing saxophonic riverlorian, and Marcus who was our server for each dinner. We also enjoyed connecting with Marc, the future cruise consultant. Especially memorable was the very competent Captain Andrea, who slipped the vessel in and out of the locks with nary a bump. We loved a chance to connect with her on the Pilothouse Tour. Our only complaint was the housekeeping in our cabin, and that may have been specific to our housekeeping person. The shelves did not appear to have been dusted for some time, and I don't think the mirror and faucet got wiped the whole time we were on the boat.
In general, though, we very much enjoyed the trip and would do it again! (PS, yes, as noted in other reviews, the walls are very thin!)