22 American Cruise Lines Queen of the West River Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise because I went with a group of 20 people. The Columbia River Gorge is beaufiful and in a part of the country not visited by my husband and me before. Other members of the group has previously cruised with American ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I went with a group of 20 people. The Columbia River Gorge is beaufiful and in a part of the country not visited by my husband and me before. Other members of the group has previously cruised with American Cruise Lines; this was a first for us. I would not recommend the Queen of the West to anyone else. We managed with the room and bath but it was far less than desirable. The crew, service, and food were excellent - could not have asked for better. The excursions were excellent and tour quides very knowledgeable about the areas visited. I like the small ship crusing experience - a first for us as we had been on larger ships on other cruises (twice to Alaska). I would travel with American Cruise Lines again but would definitely choose a newer vessel with better accommodations. That's all folks! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Here's a rundown of the passengers! About 15% of the passengers on the Columbia/Snake River Cruise departing from Portland, Oct 10th, had significant physical disabilities, such as walking with a cane, walker or needing the ... Read More
Here's a rundown of the passengers! About 15% of the passengers on the Columbia/Snake River Cruise departing from Portland, Oct 10th, had significant physical disabilities, such as walking with a cane, walker or needing the supportive assistance of a spouse or adult child. About 50 % of the passengers, myself included were not physically fit enough to walk comfortably more than 2 miles on a flat surface, or less than 2 miles on an incline. Average age estimated to be about 73. For persons living an active lifestyle such as biking or vigorous hiking the activity level of the cruise will not be challenging enough in my opinion. I arrived at the boat in Portland by cab. The young man taking my bags at the pier did not welcome me onboard. He was sullen. When I got inside the boat, Jessica did welcome me but did not have a name tag for me. She said someone else had gotten it by mistake. The boat while charming on the exterior is actually run down and somewhat depressing on the interior. My cabin while it was clean enough was pretty pitiful considering what I paid for a single person. I have traveled with ACL to the Puget Sound & my cabin on that trip was considerably better. On this cruise I had a single bed which looked smaller than most single beds. More like a youth bed. The comforter was worn and limp and did not provide enough warmth. I had to pile some of my sweaters on the bed to sleep. The pillows were embarrassing. Maybe 2 inches thick and ready for the rag pile. Other passengers experienced similar pillows. It was great to have the little balcony however. Bring bug spray because you will need it for mosquitoes. The walls are so thin between cabins that just about everything is heard on the other side-coughing, conversations, nose blowing. Passengers are very considerate of each other in this regard. I did not feel that the crew addressed safety issues while the ship was in port. While in the port of Stevenson, an older passenger fell while negotiating her way into town from the dock by herself. But walking alone is not the only issue. There are 3 train tracks between the dock and the boat that must be crossed. Trains barrel around the bend very frequently and heaven forbid one of the passengers fell on these tracks and could not get up when a train is coming. Considering the frail nature of some of the passengers and that they may be hard of hearing it is a real possibility. It would be very helpful for the crew to have an informational talk regarding safety while in port. Passengers should travel together in groups at the very least. There were train tracks to be crossed also in the Dalles if one wanted to venture into town. Ian was on board, an Australian expert in all things Louis and Clark. He gave a couple of excellent talks about the Corps of Discovery. But the first afternoon out of Portland, Ian got on the microphone and was giving a blow by blow description of everything we passed by and such info as how to pronounce the town name of Kalama. Passengers in their individual cabins could not turn the sound down and some of us were very aggravated. Sometimes you just want to quietly meditate & watch the scenery go by without someone yelling incessantly. The first few days of the trip were beautiful while the last couple of days closer to Clarkston were not pleasant. In short, it stunk to high heavens! It was hard to figure out what smelled so bad but someone said it was a paper factory. However, the ship also began to smell like sewage in certain areas too. When I settled my account and left a generous tip, I was not even thanked. Great way to treat a passenger. I had also requested information on the Ohio River cruise-twice and never got it. I think an element of burnout was taking over with a couple of the staff. I fit right in with most of the passengers-age wise, interest wise, activity level. I feel comfortable at meals conversing with the other passengers. I enjoyed the excursions. But I will really weigh my options before going on another ACL trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My wife and I took the Columbia/Snake River route from Portland to Clarkston. Staff very courteous and seemed anxious to please. Cabin person was new & couldn't seem to get the hang of fresh towels each day, but seemed to get it ... Read More
My wife and I took the Columbia/Snake River route from Portland to Clarkston. Staff very courteous and seemed anxious to please. Cabin person was new & couldn't seem to get the hang of fresh towels each day, but seemed to get it after I explained the problem to the Cruise Director.Physical accommodations were average, but not up to ocean cruises we have taken. On the other hand, the intimate size of the passenger list was very nice after being two of several thousand in sea cruises. Pricier than sea cruises, but probably related to small scale and all U.S.A. based. Only serious disappointment was that I comparison shopped cancellation insurance (after the fact- long story). Their offering was seriously overpriced. My own fault for not checking before rather than after. (My wife has had a stroke which makes long range planning dicey.) Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The highlight of the trip was the resource person, Todd Webber, who took the part of Mariwether Lewis telling the history of the expedition. Richland the try cities site of the Hanford Nuclear facility. Getting to know the ... Read More
The highlight of the trip was the resource person, Todd Webber, who took the part of Mariwether Lewis telling the history of the expedition. Richland the try cities site of the Hanford Nuclear facility. Getting to know the resourcefulness of the bus driver, Cindy, as she chatters through our trips. Morning visit to Sacajawea State Park and museum located at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia where the expedition camped. Afternoon visit to Hanford Reach Museum was packed with atomic energy information as it related to the people living in the trycities during the 40's. Huge amount of information about the Missoula flood which gouged out the Snake and Columbia Rivers. June 1 The Dales, OR. Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in the morning. More geology, local history and raptor show. Afternoon visit the museum was a surprise with Rodan room as packed as the Paris studio. June 2 Stevenson OR. The Bonneville Dam was a treat with an opportunity to see through windows several species of fish struggling up stream. June 3 Kalama, WA Trip to Mt St Helens blast center ended at Weyerhaeuser Center when the mountain hidden. The center was informative about logging the damaged trees as well a reforestation. June 4 Astoria, OR (the home of the Goonies) Trip through the city to the column which was under renovation. Fortunately, the view of the Pacific was spectacular. Then off to Fort Clatsop where the expedition over-wintered. Good visitors center. Afternoon we toured the Colombia River Maritime Museum at our leisure. Impressive the number of known shipwrecks around the mouth of the river. June 5 Portland Morning Todd covered the fates of several corps members. Tour of the city limited by the Rose Festival. The rose gardens were spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My family of six (88, 61, 59, 29, 25, & 18 years old) took the two Owner's cabins, which each can hold three people and are located on the top deck, next to the captain's cabin. The captain was always at the helm or corner ... Read More
My family of six (88, 61, 59, 29, 25, & 18 years old) took the two Owner's cabins, which each can hold three people and are located on the top deck, next to the captain's cabin. The captain was always at the helm or corner pilots stations when we traversed locks or did anything tricky, and his mate was usually there, also. The captain was also very friendly, making a point to greet all the passengers and often welcoming us back to the ship. I would guess that the average age of passengers was upper 70's. There was only one other person in the younger age group at 45 years old. The age of passengers only mattered because it limited the activities on excursions significantly. Most excursions only allowed an hour and a half to do anything. We took a 4 hour round trip to the Mount St. Helen's observatory (too cloudy to see), but only had a little over an hour there because that was the most any passengers would have liked except our group. We were the only ones who went walking on the trails. This made for pretty dull sight seeing. Even at a museum, everyone (except us) was pretty pooped after an hour and wanted to go before the allotted time was up. This should be taken into consideration when considering this cruise. If you aren't pretty sedentary, you'll probably find the trip more relaxing than you'd want. The most enjoyable trips were Multnomah Falls and walking the trails at Mount St. Helens, although we had to walk quite fast since the visits were short. We also really enjoyed the Bonneville Dam visit. Going through the locks was quite memorable, and I think we traversed 8 of them. The staff are young and personable. Actually, they're the friendliest hospitality employees I've ever encountered. However, they are not competent. The food service was incredibly slow. We took to bringing water into the dining room at lunch when we would otherwise have to wait for drinks service because we would get too thirsty. The waits were interminable. The same people who served meals also cleaned the cabins. They were very poor at this. I don't know if the staff weren't trained well or if there were too few of them, but I would have expected better. The food itself was not good. It was generally bland. Fish like salmon and steelhead trout were overcooked, as was chicken. The only protein I had that was really well cooked was duck. We had lots of salads, and they had a couple of dressings that were very good. The worst dish was an entree they called deviled crab. It was a gratinee dish full of some creamy liquid and a few very tiny pieces of crab. We didn't really take much advantage of the available entertainment as it wasn't to our taste. That doesn't mean it might not have been done very well. I wouldn't take another American Cruise Lines trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This cruise exceeded all our expectations. The only negative is that the cabins were much smaller than advertised though still ample. The balconies were small and not private being shared with two other cabins. Nonetheless, the efficiency ... Read More
This cruise exceeded all our expectations. The only negative is that the cabins were much smaller than advertised though still ample. The balconies were small and not private being shared with two other cabins. Nonetheless, the efficiency and personal touches of the cruise lines was evident in the reception, tours, social hours, evening programs, and especially the meals. I told the chef personally that we had a wonderful epicurean experience that happened to occur on a cruise. The cleaning and wait staff were personable, intelligent and hardworking attesting the thorough hiring criteria of the company. Most had college degrees or were college students and easily interacted with the passengers, most of whom were retired professionals. We were so pleased we booked another cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I selected ACL's cruise down the Snake and Columbia Rivers for several reasons: I'm interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition, I wanted to see the landscape of the Inland Northwest, and my earlier cruise with ACL (the Lower ... Read More
I selected ACL's cruise down the Snake and Columbia Rivers for several reasons: I'm interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition, I wanted to see the landscape of the Inland Northwest, and my earlier cruise with ACL (the Lower Mississippi) was such a treat that I wanted to travel with the company again. The Snake/Columbia River trip was one of the best I'd ever taken, and I have been traveling extensively for 52 years. My booking was handled politely and expeditiously by Sean at the ACL office, and I received all necessary papers and notices on time and in order before my departure. The itinerary, from Lewiston, ID, to Astoria, OR, was first rate. The excursions were diverse and fascinating, with excellent guides-- there was something for everyone. When we were under way, the staff always devised something fun to do, like sailing kites off the deck. Though the cabins on the paddlewheeler Queen of the West are somewhat smaller than on the Queen of the Mississippi, my room was perfectly acceptable --clean and comfortable. The company has, incidentally, just launched a new ship built to their specifications, so they are always upgrading. The service is excellent. You can tell immediately that the staff are very well trained: these young people are friendly, polite, and capable. In addition, the lecturers were outstanding. Because of my interest in history, I asked a lot of questions-- and got the answers. Above all, the cruise director was very responsive to our needs-- she even made special arrangements for me to fit in an extra excursion in Astoria. I especially enjoyed the afternoon happy hour, with included drinks, wine, and an extensive selection of hors d'oeuvres. It was a great chance to meet with the other passengers and compare notes. The ship is small, about 100 passengers, so you have an opportunity to meet like-minded, friendly people from all over the country. The food is excellent. I am a vegetarian, and the chef had no problem accommodating my needs. I have already signed up for my third ACL cruise, and I plan to take many more. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
The Queen of the West docked at the Red Lion Hotel at Jantzen Beach in Portland. Boarding was easy with our bags picked up from our room in the hotel. We boarded about 10:30 am and joined our new shipmates in the lounge. Our room was ready ... Read More
The Queen of the West docked at the Red Lion Hotel at Jantzen Beach in Portland. Boarding was easy with our bags picked up from our room in the hotel. We boarded about 10:30 am and joined our new shipmates in the lounge. Our room was ready about noon and lunch was served at 12;30. The meals are good and include wine or beer at lunch and dinner. They had a cocktail hour every day at 5:30 with free drinks and dinner at 6:30. Most of the cruise passengers are older and well traveled. They were a great group. The cabins are small, but have plenty of storage space for a weeks cruise. The bathrooms are very compact and there is plenty of hot water. Snacks, coffee and soft drinks are available in the lounges any time you want them. The staff was well trained and a great group of hard working young people from all over the U.S. There were shore excursions included with the cruise and also premium excursions that cost extra. Debarkation was well organized with most people using the bus transfer to Spokane, WA. ($75/ea) as there are few flights from Lewiston, ID. Rental cars are available at the Lewiston Airport (10am on Saturday) and the cost with drop off fees are about $150. plus gas, for 24 hours. We had local entertainment that was excellent.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the ... Read More
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the bed takes up about 75% of the room. The tv is on desk next to the bed with no place to sit to watch it. A lamp next to the bed was connected to an extension that went across the room to a outlet. This was in front of the door that led to the small balcony. If you wanted to sit and read you had to go to the library as there was no room in the cabin. I called ACL twice to find out the cost of excursions and they said you will find out when you board the ship. The booklet said $20 to $90. They charged $40 to $120. The per diem cost of the cruise was more than some luxury cruises we have taken. Some the most scenic parts of this cruise were traveled at night or during a lunch or dinner hour. The food choice was minimal but basically well prepared The kids serving the meals also cleaned the rooms. They were hard working and enjoyable. In summary this the most over priced bare bones cruise we have ever gone on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
The Columbia River scenery was nice, the locks and dams were interesting. The pros: Laid back Quiet not crowded Casual The cons: Cabins are really small Food is very marginal and little choice Snacks are very salty, pretzels etc., ... Read More
The Columbia River scenery was nice, the locks and dams were interesting. The pros: Laid back Quiet not crowded Casual The cons: Cabins are really small Food is very marginal and little choice Snacks are very salty, pretzels etc., not good for seniors Waiters are really young and inexperienced. Some real surprises here. Shore tours are pricey, save your money Not much to do on board, just relax and read Entertainment was really lacking Mostly old folks, some friendly, some are not Grossly unfair? They allowed some folks to reserve tables, bummer Hot food is cold, service is really poor Young kids who do not really fit in, some of them are trying Actually, the kids are overworked, do food handling then the restroom cleaning Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
DH and I had looked forward to the "Lewis & Clark" cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers for a long time. The ship was clean and comfortable; the ports were fantastic, although for what they charged they could have cut the ... Read More
DH and I had looked forward to the "Lewis & Clark" cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers for a long time. The ship was clean and comfortable; the ports were fantastic, although for what they charged they could have cut the price for shore excursions in half!! One thing that was really nice is that tour guides/bus drivers followed the ship so we had the same bus and guide for all shore excursions. The staff is very friendly and tries to be accommodating but they are sorely in need of training and supervision: 1. Breakfast buffet every day set out milk, cottage cheese, yogurt without any provision for keeping dairy food chilled. 2. At dinner the first night the Restaurant Manager was observed combing his hair in the dining room over a buffet containing clean and uncovered water glasses. 3. Passengers fill out menu for lunch and dinner at breakfast and restaurant manager assured me that if I wanted something not on the menu to just write it in and it would be prepared. I asked for chicken soup and salad for lunch(it had been served the day before) and waited over 30 minutes for soup because they didn't start making it until I was in the dining room! I waited 30 minutes for a hamburger at dinner (it was on the lunch menu) and 40 minutes for a small dish of blueberries and cottage cheese for breakfast. 4. Passenger dropped fork and a new one was brought by server and handed to passenger handle first!! 5. All of the passengers on board were 55+ and yet when one of them fell and cut her arm there was no first aid kit/or band-aids on board! I would love to book the Mississippi River cruise with ACL, but I'm afraid to. For the money we spent on this trip, I expected better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers, from Clarkston, WA to Portland, OR, on the Queen of the West, our fifth trip with American Cruise Lines (ACL), was fascinating. The scenery was often breath-taking, especially in the Columbia Gorge, ... Read More
Cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers, from Clarkston, WA to Portland, OR, on the Queen of the West, our fifth trip with American Cruise Lines (ACL), was fascinating. The scenery was often breath-taking, especially in the Columbia Gorge, and the many examples of the awesome power of Nature were humbling, particularly learning about the formation of the gorge and the Mt. Saint Helens eruption. Most impressive of the shore excursions were the Mt. Saint Helens interpretive center, especially the two videos, the Astoria maritime museum and Ft Clatsop. The Queen of the West, while not quite as impressive as ACL's new Queen of the Mississippi, was very comfortable and immaculately maintained, the staterooms had all the comforts one would wish. As always, the relaxed but pampered experience provided by the staff was a highlight. The friendly, skilled and caring attitude of the staff has been one of the best features of all our cruises with ACL. The small number of passengers (106 on this trip), open seating dining and the wonderful cocktail hour enabled meeting lots of new people in a very convivial setting. As on previous cruises, we met people with whom we'll keep in touch and cruise again. All in all, it was a very enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
A grand old lady refurbished several times but in great shape. If you are looking for music, dancing and lavish entertainment, you are on the wrong cruise. We embarked from Clarkston, WA for a very interesting and informative almost ... Read More
A grand old lady refurbished several times but in great shape. If you are looking for music, dancing and lavish entertainment, you are on the wrong cruise. We embarked from Clarkston, WA for a very interesting and informative almost 500 mile journey to Portland, OR. The staterooms are small but adequate for 2 with a decent shower; and a small balcony. Two large public rooms and a very small Library. As we were on the river for much of the time, the large viewing area on the top deck (covered and uncovered) was very adequate. Only 4 decks with stairs and a small elevator. The Queen holds about 120 of the most enjoyable passengers I have ever had the pleasure of cruising with; and we got to meet them all from almost all 50 states at meals (open seating) and cocktail hour which includes top drawer liquor and wines. Food was very good; and you can choose smaller portions if you desire. The service was outstanding by the stewards, wait staff, crew and the Captain who was always available. This jaunt followed the Lewis & Clarke expedition and Todd our expert and guide seemed to have known them personally. Tours were very interesting and informative handled expertly by our cruise director. Mount St. Helen's was a MUST SEE! While aboard and cruising we went through several locks which dropped us almost 100 feet at each location; quite a sight and photo op as was the wind and kite surfers at the Columbia Gorge. All in all an experience I would strongly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The Queen of the West looks tired. Our Veranda stateroom was small & cramped, and the door to the veranda was not all glass so the view we expected wasn't there. There were fumes so we didn't use the balcony much. The day ... Read More
The Queen of the West looks tired. Our Veranda stateroom was small & cramped, and the door to the veranda was not all glass so the view we expected wasn't there. There were fumes so we didn't use the balcony much. The day we arrived the toilet in our cabin was dirty and stained. There was zero storage in the bathroom -- no cabinets, no shelves, so I kept my toiletries on the floor. The passengers were mostly very senior; one man fell on the threshold to the lounge and broke his hip 3 hours into the trip and had to be evacuated at the first lock. Food was OK, but not much variety for vegetarians or the health conscious. On the bright side, the Columbia River was beautiful and the trip to Mount St. Helen's was good, as was the Maritime Museum in Astoria. You can ride all day on the little historic streetcar there, which was fun. We have been on the Rhine, the Yangtze, the Danube, the Mississippi on the American Queen, and the Amazon, and all offered much more quality for less money. Too bad because American Cruise Lines has other interesting itineraries in the US, but we won't be on them. Others must agree as there were just a handful of cruise line repeaters on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
After taking Amtrak from Memphis to Spokane, I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport. ACL had a special rate which included the transfer to Clarkston, WA to board the Queen of the West. The drive to the port was so lovely, ... Read More
After taking Amtrak from Memphis to Spokane, I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport. ACL had a special rate which included the transfer to Clarkston, WA to board the Queen of the West. The drive to the port was so lovely, driving through "dune-like" wheat fields. We boarded and after a lovely lunch started cruising the Columbia River. I loved my spacious stateroom which had the feeling of a bedroom complete with comfy bedding. The bathroom is roomy and I enjoyed all the storage space including a closet. I was impressed with housekeeping. My room was always kept very neat and clean. The toiletry items were always replaced without asking. I have to say that the boat is kept immaculate. Dining service was impeccable and the menu was adapted to the itinerary. The salmon was delicious. I like mine well-done and it was always served the way I liked it. I like a lot of vegetables which I got. In fact all the items were wonderful. One thing I liked was the fact that I could have half-portions when desired. I couldn't stay away from the desserts. Unfortunately, I put back the weight I lost before I went on the cruise. There were fitness machines on the top deck. I should have taken advantage of them. The hotel staff was great. Questions were always answered promptly. This included the captain who was so friendly and accessible to passengers when the boat was not underway. The cruise director and lecturer must be commended. Chris, the cruise director played a great game of bingo as well as making fun during other varied activities. Wish he could have sung for us. He has a broadway-style voice. Todd, the lecturer was unbelievable. Each day, he took us from the beginning of the Lewis & Clark journey to the end...often in costume. I'm planning on going to Alaska on ACL's American Spirit next year. He said he may be there as a lecturer. I enjoyed the banjo player who performed one evening. He reminded me of Eddie Peabody. The audience loved his talent. What a fantastic itinerary. The scenery is absolutely beautiful...from forests to desert to gorges of rock. Tours were well planned. Unfortunately, Mt St Helens was snow-bound so we couldn't get to the visitor's center but it still was a wonderful tour. A real highlight was coming into Portland on the Willamette River, turning my head left to right...I saw 4 snow-covered mountains...Mt Adams, Mt Hood, Mt Ranier and Mt St Helens. When we got to Portland, someone was playing the calliope. It's always a joy to hear it. I definitely want to take this cruise again...maybe in reverse such as Portland to Clarkston. I guess the review is supposed to include pros and cons but I can't think of any negative comments to make. The cruise was beautiful, relaxing and fun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
When folks ask us why we booked American Cruise Lines Queen of the West, we reply that we did it to have the experience of traveling on the Snake and Columbia Rivers from Clarkston Washington to Portland Oregon. We wanted to travel on a ... Read More
When folks ask us why we booked American Cruise Lines Queen of the West, we reply that we did it to have the experience of traveling on the Snake and Columbia Rivers from Clarkston Washington to Portland Oregon. We wanted to travel on a paddle wheel river boat even though the paddle wheel is now just for looks and atmosphere. We wanted to view the scenery and nature, to learn about the history of the area and the Lewis and Clark Expedition and to have time away from work, telephones, television and noise. This is a very slow paced trip with few activities for young, active people. Nothing at all for children and teens. The bus tours (cost extra on most trips) are easy going with few physical demands. The passengers are generally very senior. Very! We were among the youngest passengers. A highlight of our trip was the on board historian Todd Weber who does a series on presentations on Lewis and Clark and the history and nature of the area, but he is not on every trip. If you want to hear and see him, verify before making your booking. The open seating meals are a good idea, but the times listed are not exactly as stated because you really need to get into the dining room at the opening time as the pacing of the meal service is slow. Even though we booked one of the more expensive rooms on the ship (mid-3 deck) it was a tight fit, especially the bathroom and closet. The balcony is tiny with very small chairs and cocktail table. Large suitcases do not fit under the bed so you have to live with them as furniture. We managed to get a 27 inch suitcase into the closet which is about 32 inches wide. The shower is small and water pressure varies but is never good. We had mostly hot water. Travel with at least a couple of friends (most people seemed to) so you will have company. The large groups didn't socialize outside the people they came on board with. Drinks at the cocktail hour are generous. The entertainment is very old fashioned. We gave up on it. Being on the great rivers is very interesting, but our first few days out of Clarkston, the scenery was dry, beige and vacant of wildlife. It all changes down the Columbia when suddenly the world becomes green and lush. As we passed Portland (to return the next day to overnight there) and went down to Astoria Oregon, we had a good idea of how big and busy the river is at that point. The overnight on the boat in Portland seemed like an expensive way to add a day to the trip with few benefits. Would we do this exact same trip again? No. Once is enough. When we return to that part of the US we will do our own driving. Would I pay that much money for a similar trip? No. It wasn't a good value for money although we were pleased to support an American owned and staffed cruise line. We needed a lot more activities and photo opportunities. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Last month I had the pleasure to experience a cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest aboard American Cruise Lines "Queen of the West". The itinerary included ports of call on both the Washington ... Read More
Last month I had the pleasure to experience a cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest aboard American Cruise Lines "Queen of the West". The itinerary included ports of call on both the Washington and Oregon shores. ACL offered many interesting land excursions along the way. The most memorable stops for me on this cruise were the trip to Mount St Helen and the Jet Boat ride in Hells Canyon on the Snake River. The onboard lecturer kept the passengers informed about the local history of the areas we were visiting. The food was great and we were offered a choice of two or three entrees for lunch and dinner. The chef would prepare a "special order" if necessary. Snacks and soda's are available 24 hours. The staterooms on the Queen of the West are roomy, however the bathrooms are not as large as on ACL's other ships and they lack storage space. Each room has individually controlled heating and air conditioning and satellite TV. They have large picture windows, but unfortunately they do not open. Many of the staterooms have a small veranda which is great for viewing the scenery. The ship also has a passenger elevator and there is always a crew member willing to assist with wheelchair operation on and off the ship. Many of the passengers I have sailed with feel the same as I, they like the informal "SMALL SHIP" experience of sailing the rivers of America with ACL. Most of the passengers were retired and many, like me, were repeat passengers. We enjoyed discussing the itineraries and our experiences on the various cruises we had taken in the past. The staffs on the ACL ships go out of their way to meet your every need and make your cruise vacation a memorable experience. I was reacquainted with four staff members with whom I have previous sailed. It was great seeing those familiar faces. Most of the cruises I have taken were with my mother or another family member, however I have felt completely comfortable traveling alone with ACL as a single lady. If you are looking for a casino, swimming pool, or nightly "show" entertainment, American Cruise Lines is probably not for you, but if want a nice relaxing vacation aboard a small cruise ship with other passengers who have the same interest, they cannot be beat. I am currently booked for my 34th ACL cruise which will be Memphis to Nashville on their new boat the "Queen of the Mississippi" in the summer of 2012. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This is our 3rd small ship cruise with American Cruise Lines in the last 4 years. We enjoy the cultural, educational aspect of these cruises and the small ship ambiance. The average age of their passengers range from the mid-50's to ... Read More
This is our 3rd small ship cruise with American Cruise Lines in the last 4 years. We enjoy the cultural, educational aspect of these cruises and the small ship ambiance. The average age of their passengers range from the mid-50's to 80's. Seasoned travelers for the most part. Everyone seemed to enjoy the itinerary, nightly happy hours, presentations by the on-board historian who travels with you throughout the cruise giving information that you would never know about and in this case, this cruise was all about the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1803-1806. Local entertainment joins you for happy hour and sometimes after dinner. Experiencing going through the locks on this cruise was quite a sight if you have never done this before. American Cruise Lines has an all american college age crew. On the Queen of the West ship that we most recently sailed on we had a female captain. She was very personable and knowledgable. You are served 3 sit down meals per day, no buffets.For the most part, the meals ranged from good to very good. This particular ship, Queen of the West was purchased from another company that used to do this itinerary and is no longer in business. This being said, the cabins were not of the size of the other American Cruise Line ships. Each port has 1, 2 or 3 excursions throughout the day. There is something for everyone's taste. When going on your excursions, you are met at the dock by the same bus company and bus drivers who were excellent not only when it comes to your personal safety, but also their sense of humor and knowledge of the area. Although American Cruise Lines does a very good job,there is always room for improvement. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My wife and I had a great time on the seven-night ACL cruise from Portland to Astoria, OR and then back up the Columbia and Snake Rivers to Clarkston, WA. We both love history, scenery, and small ship cruising, so this trip was a perfect ... Read More
My wife and I had a great time on the seven-night ACL cruise from Portland to Astoria, OR and then back up the Columbia and Snake Rivers to Clarkston, WA. We both love history, scenery, and small ship cruising, so this trip was a perfect fit. As always with ACL, greeting, embarkation, and orientation were very friendly and well managed. There were three individuals handling "cruise director" types of functions, thus overall organization of the the trip was outstanding. Our cabin was excellent--clean, well-maintained, and properly furnished. The dining room was fairly well managed. Service was slow at times, and the chef "missed the boat" on a few dishes. All-in-all, these were not major problems. Inclusion of wine with lunch and dinner and a full-scale cocktail hour every evening before dinner is an ACL tradition. We thought the shore excursions were very well planned and executed and that the prices were fair. The trip to mount St. Helens was a particular highlight as was the one to the Lewis and Clark fort outside Astoria. We have always had a good experience on ACL and look forward to Alaska next year. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My wife and I had a wonderful cruise on the Queen of the West on the Columbia River. The accommodations were comfortable and the ship's staff could not have been any better. The cruise is well planned, with a variety of activities on ... Read More
My wife and I had a wonderful cruise on the Queen of the West on the Columbia River. The accommodations were comfortable and the ship's staff could not have been any better. The cruise is well planned, with a variety of activities on board and on shore to keep everyone busy and active. The food is wonderful with a variety that should please anyone. I was pleased that smaller portions were available if requested. We met many interesting people from all over the U.S. at meals and cocktails. Cocktail hour is open bar, quite nice really. Some other highlights: bus tour to Mt. St. Helen's, jet boats on the Snake River, traversing five or six huge river locks, wildlife spotting like bighorn sheep and bald eagles, the views on the Columbia River, lectures on history and and geology by the ship's experts on the area. Great time, well worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This cruise was generally quite enjoyable. We embarked in Portland, Oregon, then cruised downriver to Astoria Oregon. did a tour of Astoria and a second one of the Oregon Coast. We then proceeded upriver, and did tours of MT St Helens (~90 ... Read More
This cruise was generally quite enjoyable. We embarked in Portland, Oregon, then cruised downriver to Astoria Oregon. did a tour of Astoria and a second one of the Oregon Coast. We then proceeded upriver, and did tours of MT St Helens (~90 minute bus ride each way), the Bonneville Dam, Multnomah Falls, Indian Cultural centers, etc. Unfortunately, the Snake river was running too high, and we were not able to go up the Snake, so spent 1 1/2 days at Richland, Washington -- the cruise director did arrange a couple of special tours there (at no charge!). We had a roomy suite in the front of the boat. Room maintenance was quite good, although the bathroom was typically small. One thing to be aware of with this cruise line -- the passengers were mostly age 65+, with only a handful of people not yet retired (we are in our late 50'3), and almost no one under age 40. Having said that, the passengers are generally a very well traveled bunch, and we enjoyed the discussion at meals. People also were very good at getting back to the tour bus on time (best we have ever seen on a cruise). Pluses: The informality of the check-in and check-out process, friendliness of the crew, hosted cocktail hours every night, free cookies, snacks, coffee, soda all day, and an absolutely terrific port lecturer (Laurence). Minuses: Only one key to the stateroom; food was very average the first few days, although it improved over the course of the cruise; small bathroom; cruise was pricey; several crew members were brand new and "learning the ropes". Some tours were not so great & didn't allow enough time at stops (i.e., Mt St. Helens) This was our second cruise on American Cruise Lines (the first being the New England Islands in 2010), and we have already signed up for the Charleston to Jacksonville cruise next year. If you enjoy smaller ships (~100 passengers), older well traveled passengers, convenient access to ports, and the informality of a smaller cruise line (vs the often frustrating experiences aboard the large ship cruise lines), you should consider these cruises. They are also adding Alaska and Mississippi river cruises next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
A scenic River Cruise sounded great, but, in the end, it was one of the worst experiences of our lives (and definitely the most expensive). The Queen of the West is an old renovated ship and did not have many (or should I say ... Read More
A scenic River Cruise sounded great, but, in the end, it was one of the worst experiences of our lives (and definitely the most expensive). The Queen of the West is an old renovated ship and did not have many (or should I say "any"??)amenities. The "exercise facility" consisted of one stationary bicycle and one elliptical which were found on the top deck in a public seating area. The rooms were TINY and the staff was extremely inexperienced. Staff were all college kids and nice enough, but with very little experience. The cost of the cruise was EXORBITANT. No choices for Shore excursions--You either went or you didn't, with no options. Staying on the boat was not really an option either since there was NOTHING to do--no shops, no cafes, just a makeshift library with one computer (which was never available)and two lounges with chairs and magazines. Shore excursions were pricey and definitely tailored to the elderly. NO active excursion options for kids. Entertainment after dinner consisted of an hour or so of local musicians. By 8:30 PM the entertainment was over and evidently, it was bedtime for all!!! Food was sub-par, but, in all fairness, did get better as the week progressed. I am appalled at how much money I paid for this family vacation. Definitely NOT worth the price. Will NEVER cruise with this company again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Queen of the West Ratings
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