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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014

This was one of the best cruises we have ever experienced!!! The staff were fabulous!!! Our tour guide, for the whole cruise (Victoria) was extremely experienced and just a wonderful representative of her country!!! Our dining area ... Read More

This was one of the best cruises we have ever experienced!!! The staff were fabulous!!! Our tour guide, for the whole cruise (Victoria) was extremely experienced and just a wonderful representative of her country!!! Our dining area staff were wonderful!! We had Vera and Natashya and they would help us with any questions on selections, which were all excellent!!! We always did the quiet upper deck small breakfast which had fruit, yogurt, rolls, muesli, juices, coffee/tea, etc. Dinners usually started at 7pm unless tours arrived late back at the ship. All menu items were delicious!

We had a balcony room which was really great for cruising the Volga, etc!!! It may have been slightly smaller than we are used to on Celebrity, but they had so many amenities to compensate that we did not feel the difference!!! The bed was great and the features in the bathroom were excellent. All lectures were on the TV so you would not miss any information.

We were taken care of from arrival to departure!!! All tours were very informative and professional!!!! I cannot say enough on this subject!!!! This cruise seems expensive, but it is worth every dollar/euro!!!! It is very inclusive and you just feel you are taken "care of" for the entire experience!!!

All ship staff members were friendly and talked with you every day!!! Cruise life does not get any better than this for Russia!!!!

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Sail Date: September 2014

We just completed the Grand European tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. We were 10 in our group and were treated very well on the boat. Budapest, for those of you going here in the future, was our favourite city. Evenings in Budapest are ... Read More

We just completed the Grand European tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. We were 10 in our group and were treated very well on the boat. Budapest, for those of you going here in the future, was our favourite city. Evenings in Budapest are beautiful with the three bridges all lit up. The other stops were great too but this was the best.

It was incredible to see pictures of all the damage to these cities during the wars but the people rebuilt and the legacy continues for us to see.

The castles, the Cathedrals and museums were plentiful and very interesting. We took a couple of the extra tours along the way and would recommend them to future travelers.

He staff on the Skadi were great and special praise to Dan, the program director. He was so knowledgeable about every stop, he has an amazing sense of humour, he was friendly and helpful to all.

The food was great, just too much of it! You have the choice of eating in the dining room where you can be served or up top at the buffet. We enjoyed being waited on and were treated very special by Walter, Lucky and Vladamir.

Evenings on board were mostly spent sailing but there were a few where we stayed in post til late at night. Vienna was one of these nights and that is when we went to a concert at one of the many concert halls there. We also had entertainment come on board, local singers and dancers from the area. One evening there was a glass blower giving a demonstration. His wit was great! He had trained, at one point under Dale Chihuly, for those who know who he is. Very glad we got to see him working his magic simply by heating and blowing the glass.

Probably the biggest thing to remember is to bring comfortable shoes. You do a lot of walking every day and a lot of it is done on cobblestone type sidewalks and roads.

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Sail Date: September 2014

So "Happy" we chose The American Empress Riverboat tour of the Columbia River this September 2014. It was a perfect weather, perfect staff & accommodations trip. From the very start, the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver was gracious and ... Read More

So "Happy" we chose The American Empress Riverboat tour of the Columbia River this September 2014. It was a perfect weather, perfect staff & accommodations trip. From the very start, the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver was gracious and provided a great location for the pre-cruise night. On board the Empress, it was such a pleasure. The staff, like Bobby, Jennifer, Anton, Lisa, Frank, Lindy & Greg, and Diane, just to name a few, were all so personable and happy people without being hovering. We were pleased that American Steamboat Co. only hires American staff.... Wise choice and most appreciated.

Everyday was a charm....Hop-On Hop-Off Bus excursions at every port were so well planned...We especially enjoyed the Pendleton Round Up Rodeo, (which was ONLY on the schedule the very week of our trip)...Wow, Let'er Buck!. The meals on board were just lovely, expertly prepared and delicious, just right portions, too. The entertainment delivered, piano, quartet, singing, banjo and storytelling. Frank and Lindy & Greg were outstanding! What could be better than a fine dinner, followed by a great show every night. The scenery, the locks, the Native Culture, Lewis & Clark History, the ports...."all" were so carefully planned for us. It was our First Riverboat trip...... but it won't be our last. It met our expectations and so much more!

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014

My first river cruise easily won me over to this type of travel. As a former independent, backpacking traveler, I was skeptical taking a "tour package". Viking River Cruise offered me beautiful accommodations, dining options throughout ... Read More

My first river cruise easily won me over to this type of travel. As a former independent, backpacking traveler, I was skeptical taking a "tour package". Viking River Cruise offered me beautiful accommodations, dining options throughout the day, scheduled tours throughout Russia with plenty of flexibility to explore on our own. Viking provided seamless travel arrangements from takeoff to boarding and disembarking to takeoff afterward. As we toured Moscow worry free, Viking rebooked our flight home when Air France cancelled our original flights due to the pilot's strike. We enjoyed the open seating concept that allowed us to dine alone or freely make new friends by joining a table with open seats. As a life long learner I found the shore excursions informative and enjoyed the local guides at each port. Pre-port lectures on the ship prepared us in an entraining and informative way regarding history, ports, and current events in Russia.

Entire crew gets an "A+". Friendly, professional, attentive, and accommodating.

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Sail Date: September 2014

We did the cruise-only portion of the Paris to Monaco tour package. The ship was sold out months before departure from Chalon-sur-Saone on 02SEP14. Unlike many cruises on the Rhone River which start and return to Lyon repeating most of ... Read More

We did the cruise-only portion of the Paris to Monaco tour package. The ship was sold out months before departure from Chalon-sur-Saone on 02SEP14. Unlike many cruises on the Rhone River which start and return to Lyon repeating most of the river views, the Avalon Scenery begins in Chalon-sur-Saone and finishes at the mouth of the Rhone in Arles using both the lovely and picturesque Saone as well as the Rhone rivers. There were double day stops, a sense of easing through southern France. In short, the pace was efficiently lovely.

Local tours were provided as needed and were outstanding. Extra excursions offered more to those with additional interests like wine tasting.

The staterooms were more than adequate, well appointed and quiet. The housekeeping we got was cheery and efficient. The ship was well appointed and functioned very well without any sense of it all being simply routine. The meals, buffet breakfast and lunch and smoothly served dinner offered lots of choice and new items appeared daily. The dining room needs to be altered to absorb more of the conversational noise especially for those siting in the mid section of the dining room where conversations were almost impossible. Although seating was open, most sat at the same tables every evening. I would advise future cruisers on the Avalon Scenery to head for one of the tables at the far end of the dining room on the first night to stake out a place so that conversations are possible without shouting to each other.

Tony, our cruise director, was attentive and aware of the needs of the passengers. He was amusing and made sure we all got as much from our cruise experience as possible. Alternate arrangements that are common on River cruises were explained he usually showed us how to get extra benefit from the new situation.

Given the lower fare than competing cruises that use the Rhone, this was money well spent.

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014

I have recently returned from the Pandaw Cruises trip between Siem Reap in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on the RV Mekong Pandaw.

It is impossible to highlight one particular service or event as they do it all so ... Read More

I have recently returned from the Pandaw Cruises trip between Siem Reap in Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on the RV Mekong Pandaw.

It is impossible to highlight one particular service or event as they do it all so brilliantly.

From the roomy cabin on a limited passenger river boat to the fine dining and casual luxury, it is just magic.

All land tours during the cruise are escorted with options for pre and post cruise tour options, leisurely paced and very well presented. Of course, you can just sit back and do nothing if that's what you want.

If you're in the mood for a trip on a luxury river boat in SE Asia I highly recommend Pandaw Cruises.

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17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014

This was a great ship with great people. The staff was fantastic and the other passengers were delightful. Our cabin was excellent. Our ship carried 122 passengers and I think it might hold 130 maximum. Other similar sized ships will ... Read More

This was a great ship with great people. The staff was fantastic and the other passengers were delightful. Our cabin was excellent. Our ship carried 122 passengers and I think it might hold 130 maximum. Other similar sized ships will carry up to 220 passengers in the same space. We stayed at the Tauck-recommended hotel in Basel (our point of embarkation). The hotel is nice but sterile. We much preferred making out own arrangements on the other end in Amsterdam. We stayed at the Estherea Hotel and it was delightful.

Onboard, the internet was somewhere between terrible and non-existent. The food was average at best. We rarely docked in any town that was mentioned in the cruise itinerary. If you take this cruise, you should count on spending 2-3 hours on a bus everyday if you want to see what they advertise. On several nights we were docked in industrial harbors. Scrap metal is not what I wanted to see out of my very nice cabin. Unfortunately, if you don't get on the bus (at 8:15 to 9 am virtually every day) you will not see the sight for the day. A few times there was something to see right off boat but not what I went on the cruise to see. The buses are nice and the drivers are excellent and amazing, I just did not expect to spend so much time each and every day on a bus. Also, because we were not docked in the main towns, it was very difficult to spend extra time in a place that was interesting. Most of the tours were a little superficial to me and often I felt the guides were filling if the space because of time constraints. Unfortunately, they filled with fluff instead of the massive amounts of history available in this area. I have to admit, I do not think this tour was a good fit for me. I am 55 and I think the average age on board was closer to 75. Most of these people are retired and do not need to keep in touch with business, at least occasionally, while on vacation.

There was a wide variety of food but it was the same for breakfast and lunch everyday (with a very few exceptions). One passenger made a comment about it feeling like the movie Groundhog Day. I talked with the chef about the food and they tried to make me special meals (the staff really wants to please) but they just do not have the equipment or something to make it happen. I think the food is probably very healthy but it has very little flavor. I had soggy fish and dry tough meat and sometimes I had warm, medium rare ultra-lean beef that tasted like nothing. The waiters and table service were excellent.

Unfortunately, I am afraid that the Rhine River is oversold. There are too many boats and people at all of the sights so you can't get close, you can't enjoy and it is all just touristy.

There were a couple of times there was on board entertainment and it was nice. We had a dinner in a castle where we were too cramped together to make it comfortable. Likewise, the wine tasting event had us packed check to jowl for another excursion. I would miss both of those if given the option to go back. There was a daytime castle tour that my wife took that she said was excellent. Most of the tours and destinations were nice. It simply took too much time to get to and from them to make it enjoyable. Disembarkation went well.

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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014

Well I am not quite sure where to start. 5 days into the cruise we were advised that we would need to change ships to fit their winter schedule. That was the first surprise. After we switched to the Bragi it broke down on the second day ... Read More

Well I am not quite sure where to start. 5 days into the cruise we were advised that we would need to change ships to fit their winter schedule. That was the first surprise. After we switched to the Bragi it broke down on the second day and we had to adjust all our excursions. This led to lots of extra bus time. The washrooms were not working for one day.

We then had to cut our trip one day short so they could get the ship to dry dock to repair. That day we spent from 8am to 630 pm on the bus. We then arrived back where the ship was supposed to be but it did not arrive for 2 hours later. Another ship was docked and we were allowed to sit in the back waiting.

For the money involved the food was poor, the service was very average and the ship did not perform. Be vary careful when using this cruise company.

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Sail Date: September 2014

Wow! What s terrific experience. Beautiful scenery in the Douro valley, outstanding personalized service by the crew of the Viking Hemming - particularly chef Carlos Silva and the galley crew; excellent schedule of interesting, fun ... Read More

Wow! What s terrific experience. Beautiful scenery in the Douro valley, outstanding personalized service by the crew of the Viking Hemming - particularly chef Carlos Silva and the galley crew; excellent schedule of interesting, fun shore excursions along the river - including a visit to the Quinta do Seixo-Sandeman (port wine) vineyard at harvest time, and a visit to Salamanca, Spain.

Starting the trip in Lisbon we were a bit underwhelmed by the city - it was dirty and graffiti riddled when compared of other cities (like New York). The city tour was interesting, but mobs of tourists detracted from the experience. We found a lovely family restaurant near the central area for dinner "Restaurante Bom Apetite Avenida da Liberdade", Portugal address:Travessa da Glória, 20, Avenida da Liberdade, Lisboa.

On the way to Porto, the visit to Coimbra - along with the Portuguese lunch & Fado show - was excellent. Embarking in Porto was a pleasure - the Viking Hemming is a new ship with a gracious crew.

Like Lisbon, Port is an interesting city, but perhaps a bit dilapidated. The 'euro crisis' was mentioned frequently. Our introduction to Port wine at the Calèm Wine House was fun.

Cruising on the Douro River was great. The food on board was consistently excellent, as was its service. Other than cruising itself, visits to the Sandeman vineyards (harvest time - trucks full of grapes everywhere), Salamanca Spain with a Flamenco show and lunch+ at Favaios were highlights. The biggest highlight of all was the breath-taking scenery along the river and the amazing driving by our bus driver on narrow, steep, winding country roads.

On board activities during the week were fun - galley tour, Portuguese folk music show, cooking demonstrations, even just sailing through the four locks on the Douro.

We took the extension to Santiago de Compostela. Perhaps a bit more costly than it should have been for what was offered, but very interesting nonetheless. The cathedral, old city and large number of pilgrems who traveled there held our interest. The city tour was very well done. lots of restaurants in Santiago old town, but watch out, most of them open at 8 PM for dinner. We found a lovely restaurant in 'Restaurante Xantares' and another in "O Lagar do Franco". We had great Galecian seafood at both.

Overall a truly excellent trip - well done by Viking.

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014

The difficult aspect of this review is to be accurate and objective, without sounding like a company shill. My wife and I were on the Sept. 20, 2014 cruise from Portland (Vancouver) to Clarkston.

Of course, no voyage is perfect, ... Read More

The difficult aspect of this review is to be accurate and objective, without sounding like a company shill. My wife and I were on the Sept. 20, 2014 cruise from Portland (Vancouver) to Clarkston.

Of course, no voyage is perfect, so I’ll begin with the “rough spots”. It’s not apparent without examining the cruise itinerary, but the Clarkston to Portland (Vancouver) cruise actually begins in Spokane, a major metropolitan area in eastern Washington State. Getting to/from Spokane is considerably easier than Clarkston, or Lewiston, its twin city in Idaho. For most folks, this itinerary is probably better, because there’s a $49 charge to ride AQSC’s bus from Clarkston to Spokane, while it’s included in the cost of a cruise ending in Vancouver. The cost for both cruises is the same.

This is the first year of cruising for the American Empress, and some of the promotional and informational literature remains focused on her larger sister ship, the American Queen, which sails on the Mississippi and tributaries. For example, the American Queen Steamboat brochure states that the River Grill offers “a selection of sandwiches, fresh fruits, popcorn, and soft-serve ice cream around the clock….” In practice, ice cream was always available there, popcorn never was, sandwiches only around lunch, and fresh fruit for only part of the day. Light snacks and cookies were also available in the Paddlewheel Lounge from 3-5 daily.

AQSC presumes that all passengers fly to and from the cruise. They offer zero assistance in arranging transportation that’s not related to airlines. That’s both disappointing and short-sighted on their part. With no help from AQSC, my wife found a very inexpensive one-way car rental. We paid $65 for a two-day rental, from the Lewiston Airport ($25 cab ride from the dock) to downtown Seattle, where we live. That allowed us to visit with relatives in the area before traveling home.

The shower controls involve a flow control on the left and a temperature control on the right. The controls are identical, with no markings, and no explanation in the guest guide book. It’s a great idea, but not typical of most hotels, and could use some explanation.

I didn’t care for the coffee on the Empress. It tastes pretty much like generic diner coffee. In an area with so many excellent choices for coffee, AQSC could do better. The River Grill does have a self-service espresso machine. I didn’t use it, so can’t comment. I spent 20 years in the Navy, so this isn’t the worst coffee that I’ve tasted. That “honor” actually goes to Norwegian Cruise lines.

It would be nice to have an indication of the ship’s position, ideally presented as a channel on the stateroom television screen. Hopefully, this will be added for the ship’s second cruise season. A repeater in the Paddlewheel Lounge would be nice.

The deck plan on AQSC’s website is horrible. It’s too small, and nearly impossible to read the stateroom numbers. I found a better one on a cruise site. This was important when it came to selecting a stateroom.

The complimentary Internet access was so slow as to be unusable. In fact, my cell phone refused to recognize it as a valid Internet connection, though my laptop did. I brought a mobile hotspot, which had coverage for about 2/3 of the cruise, as did my cell phone. Of course, most cruise lines charge obscene rates for Internet connections. If you need to have an airline boarding pass printed, ask the Purser’s office, which has better Internet access.

This cruise is aimed squarely at adult passengers, with no provisions for children’s activities. I would not recommend it for families.

The main dining venue, the Astoria Room, offers sit-down service for all three meals. The River Grill offers buffet service for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, it is reservation only. Unlike the Astoria Room, the menu doesn’t change. The staff tries very hard to offer an excellent dining experience. However, the arrangement of the room works against them, and there is considerable noise associated with the service. My wife and I ate there one evening, then canceled our second reservation. I would be happier if the River Grill offered buffet service for all three meals. It’s a nice effort by AQSC, but the passengers’ interests would be best served by offering a dinner buffet service.

The first night of the cruise is actually in a hotel room, in Spokane or Vancouver. Bus transportation is provided to the ship’s embarkation point, though the Vancouver hotel is an easy walk from the dock. This is actually a very clever way to handle the check-in process, as well as baggage. Nevertheless, it is uncommon in the industry. AQSC stated that they had paid gratuities to the hotel staff, so none was expected from us. A voucher was provided for the hotel breakfast buffet. We had a wonderful time in the hotel, which is located adjacent to a very nice park in downtown Vancouver. We walked to the Veteran’s Memorial mural and to the Fort Vancouver site after checking in to the hotel. It’s a very pleasant area. With check-in accomplished at the hotel, you can go directly to your stateroom after boarding the ship, with your luggage waiting in your room. I should add that we rode Amtrak to the Vancouver station, which was a 15-minute walk to the hotel. We had roll-aboard suitcases and a backpack.

Now, the good stuff. Basically, this cruise is as close to all-inclusive as could be reasonably expected. Unlike some other cruise companies, there is no effort to nickel-and-dime customers with bogus fees and continual exhortations to spend more money with them. You pay the published fare, $109 in port taxes, and $16.50 per day of the actual cruise (7 days) for gratuities (you can adjust this figure at the Purser’s office). If you want to participate in the specialty tours, there is an extra, but reasonable charge. Drinks from the bar are charged an automatic 15% gratuity. That’s it, unless you purchase items from the small ship’s store. There is zero pressure to participate in the specialty tours or to purchase drinks from the bar. Dinner includes your choice of four local craft beers or two wines (red and white). All are from the Northwest or California, and the choices change daily. Servers will keep filling your glass until you say “no”. In the two lounges, the bartenders made it clear that they were there to provide your beverage choices, not to push alcoholic drinks. We often chose a glass of water. After a few evenings, one bartender (Dan) brought our water as soon as we sat down.

Bottled water is freely available, both in the staterooms and while leaving the ship in port. There’s no reason to bring your own. If rain is expected, loaner umbrellas are provided when departing the ship.

Drinks in the bar are reasonably priced. The most expensive was a martini, at $12. The most expensive cocktail was $9. Beer and wine were $4-6, as I recall. The daily Happy Hour features reduced prices and drink specials. A bartender told me that all cocktails are original recipes developed by AQSC. While AQSC reserves the right to “prohibit and retain” alcoholic beverages, our luggage was not inspected, and the topic was never addressed. Besides, wine and beer are free with dinner, and bar prices are very reasonable.

Repeatedly, the ship’s staff looked for ways to exceed our expectations. Our room attendant (Carol) offered to provide a different mix of coffees for the Keurig machine in our room, according to our preferences. When my wife commented to a bartender (Ed) that she liked Earl Gray tea, he said that he would insure that it was available in the Paddlewheel Lounge for the afternoon snack time. It was.

Very early in the cruise, several staff members, including entertainers, asked our names, then greeted us by name whenever we encountered them in the ship.

AQSC offers “hop-on, hop-off” tours at each port, for no charge. A fleet of three large, Greyhound-type buses follows the ship to each port. They’re easy to identify, with large murals of the American Empress painted on the side. One is dedicated to the specialty tours, and the other two operate on a schedule of every 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the port. Drivers remain with the buses, but local tour guides are hired from each port. Stops are typically placed at several local museums, dams, or interpretive centers, marked by sandwich board signs. AQSC has pre-paid the admission fee or donation, so there is no charge for their passengers.

Like its larger sister, the American Queen, the American Empress is a US-flagged vessel, so it meets higher safety and health standards than do foreign-flagged vessels that operate to US ports (e.g., Alaska cruises from Seattle). All crewmembers are legally entitled to work in the US. Very few appeared to not be US-born. All seem to enjoy their jobs. It is reflected in their work attitudes.

Pilothouse tours were offered twice, and were scheduled during port visits, for obvious reasons. The Captain was very friendly and explained the technology used to operate and navigate the ship. I visited the pilothouse again, after the tour. I had a wonderful discussion with him about the technology in the vessel and the maritime counterpart to Crew Resource Management training, which is now mandatory for US airline pilots. Engineering tours are not offered, but are available on request – also while in port.

While every effort was made to have the American Empress look like a classic riverboat, its systems are very contemporary. The paddle wheel actually provides some of the propulsion, though powered by an electric drive motor. It is used only while cruising. For steering and maneuvering, the ship is equipped with two “Z-drives” and a very innovative bow thruster – all powered by the ship’s four diesel-electric generators. Three GPS systems, including an interesting GPS compass, along with a magnetic compass and gyro compass, two electronic map displays, and a radar screen, aid navigation. I was pleased to learn that the Captain is very comfortable with the technology, but still refers to paper charts. I am very familiar with airliner flight deck technology, and understand its limitations. The ship’s navigation technology is state-of-the-art for maritime applications, but well behind airliner technology. Technology in the engineering spaces is equally contemporary, though hidden from the public.

The Astoria Dining Room is a wonderful venue, with sit-down service. One early reviewer didn’t care for the blue ceiling lighting. I agree that it’s inconsistent with the overall décor theme, but not unpleasant. It’s just different. The food was wonderful, as was the very attentive and accommodating service. Dinners included an appetizer, soup/salad, entrée, and dessert, along with beer and wine. A comparable dinner in a downtown Seattle restaurant would cost around $50, plus tax and tip.

Entertainment was surprisingly plentiful and good for a vessel of this size. There were five entertainers, a music quartet, and the Riverlorian. That’s 10 entertainers for a ship with a capacity of a little more than 200 passengers! Two additional entertainers joined the ship during port visits. Two husband-wife teams (Lindy/Greg and Laura/Bill) provided great singing and dancing entertainment, plus Bill’s magic act. The piano player, Frank, is someone who simply must be experienced. He didn’t just play the piano – it was part of him. His casual, off-hand comments and stories were exceptionally entertaining. The quartet provided accompaniment for singing, as well as some great music alone. Entertainment was typically scheduled for Happy Hour in the Paddlewheel Lounge, one 45-minute show in the Show Lounge, and a second 45-minute show in the Paddlewheel Lounge. Unlike some larger cruise ships, all entertainment was finished by 10:00. This was a good thing, as it appeared that all passengers were eligible for AARP membership, with most being eligible for Medicare. This was a late-September cruise, but I would expect similar demographics in the summer.

Laurence Cotton, the Riverlorian, was outstanding. He takes his job very seriously, and is well-versed in Northwest history, culture, and geography. He offers a large lending library of relevant books, a book of nautical charts for our journey, and at-least-daily talks about the Columbia River, its history, and its inhabitants, including Native Americans. Two guest presenters were also worked into his schedule. He provides a variety of tourist-related information for each of the ports in advance of the visits, and a summary of what we’ve seen. He’s typically found in the River Grill for breakfast, available to chat with the passengers about river lore and history. I skipped some tours and activities, rather than miss his talks.

AQSC’s brochure suggests “country club casual” for evening attire. Women tended to dress a bit nicer than the men. There may have even been a cocktail dress or two. I saw one man wearing a sport coat, but several were in jeans. I wore a pair of white cargo pants for the entire cruise, with different polo or collared shirts. I felt very comfortable.

Our stateroom was in the lowest-cost category, located on the fourth (top) deck. I selected it because I wanted to be on the top deck, for several reasons. The only other choices on that deck were the expensive suites. On check-in, I asked the Purser about deals for upgrading to a suite. Unfortunately, all were booked, even though the ship was only 1/3 full. Bummer! She was very cooperative and helpful in suggesting upgrades to mid-range cabins, and offered a discounted price. However, we were very happy with our room, so remained there.

Our stateroom was small, but very comfortable. We’d requested a double bed. It was impossible for us to tell that two singles had been joined. The bed was very comfortable. The room included a desk, two chairs and a nice piece of furniture that housed the television, Keurig coffee machine, refrigerator, and several shelves for storing small items. Two large wardrobes provided plenty of closet and drawer storage. Even our cheap stateroom included robes and slippers. Several electrical outlets were available, unlike our previous cruise on the Norwegian Jewel, which offered a single one-outlet location to plug in all of our electronic devices.

To summarize, the American Empress (and presumably her sister, the American Queen) is a “class act”. There is no nickel-and-dime strategy to generate incremental income from the passengers. Everything seems to function smoothly, despite this being the AE’s first season with this company, and the employees are simply outstanding. I look forward to another cruise with AQSC, probably on the Mississippi next time.

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