Columbia River Cruise: July 2-10, 2023
From $6,599.00 USD
Spokane to Portland
Includes one-night pre-cruise stay in Spokane
Come river cruising on the American Empress. Enjoy the best of the Pacific Northwest as we cruise from Spokane to Portland. Embark on a river cruise to see the natural world unlike anywhere else on earth as you sail through historic sites, locks, and dams. Sea lions sunbathe on buoys as the distant horizon opens the sky to reveal its snow-capped mountains. Space is limited so please act quickly!
There is a powerful melody through Oregon and Washington that combines the whistle of wind through tree branch, waterfall crash and birdsong from above. Crystal waters and plunging cliffsides captivate the eye; serenity and relaxation capture the spirit as you travel down the river.
A suburb of Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, Washington, has taken on a distinctive identity of its own. Located in an ideal spot among Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge and the Pacific Coast, Vancouver boasts a newly renovated waterfront and an abundance of activities, scenic landscapes and historic attractions for all to enjoy.
Surrounded by forests, boasting three rivers and situated a stone’s throw away from the Pacific, Astoria is a picturesque port city with Victorian-era homes etched into hills overlooking the Columbia River. Astoria is known to be the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, inhabited for thousands of years by the Clatsop Tribe. Astoria has a rich history that reflects the many influences the town has had from people and cultures around the world. Many of its current residents are descendants from early settlers, many of whom were Chinese and played a significant role in Astoria’s history especially in the canneries, railroads, and the jetties at the Columbia River. The Garden of Surging Waves is a beautiful park that celebrates and honors Astoria’s relationship with China over the years. The Astoria Riverwalk is the lifeblood of the city and the best way to get a feel for the city spirit. Perhaps start your exploration at the Port of Astoria with hundreds of ships from all over the world. Walk under the 4.1-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge, enjoy the spectacular views of the river, check out the Maritime Memorial, visit one of the many nearby shipwrecks, learn about life on the Columbia at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and enjoy the lounging sea lions on the docks at 36th Street. Alternatively, you can climb to the top of the Astoria Column – wrapped in depictions of history – look out over the landscape toward the Pacific Ocean and watch your model wooden airplane glide through the air to its rest below.
Nestled between the Columbia River to the south, and the mountains and basalt cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge to the north, Stevenson offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of larger ports. The area has been home to Native American settlements for thousands of years. Their villages were focal points for commerce and social gatherings as they came to trade and fish along the riverbanks. Later, in 1843, the Oregon Trail brought the first of a great wave of settlers; pioneers portaged around the Cascade Rapids on their way to the Willamette Valley.
Some of these pioneers chose to stay. The Stevenson family from Missouri, who settled in the Gorge in the 1800s, founded the town. Under the auspices of the Stevenson Land Company, George Stevenson established the town along the lower flat near the river and expanded the original dock to serve the daily arrivals of sternwheelers. Stevenson still embraces the adventurist – with hiking trails, hot springs and local wineries, there is plenty to see and do. Take a stroll along Stevenson’s riverfront where giant fish wheels once plied the Columbia River’s waters for salmon. Witness colorful kiteboarders’ sails, as they jump and twist on the Columbia’s swells. Watch the ducks, geese and other waterfowl nesting at Rock Creek Cove. Browse through the small, locally owned gift shops, antique stores and art galleries in which reside treasures of the Pacific Northwest. And visit the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center to explore Native American legends, petroglyphs and artifacts telling the story of the Gorge.
The Dalles, OR
Known as the end of the Oregon Trail, The Dalles holds a unique place in history as the gateway to the Inland Empire. The Dalles was the jumping-off spot for pioneers, soldiers, gold miners, adventurers, gunslingers, floozies and scallywags, who loaded their wagons onto rafts or barges and floated down the Columbia to the mouth of the Willamette River, then upriver to Oregon City. The Barlow Trail was constructed later to permit an overland crossing. The Dalles was also the site of Fort Dalles. Established in 1850 to protect immigrants after the Whitman Massacre, it was the only military post between the Pacific Coast and Wyoming. The only building left of Fort Dalles is the Surgeon’s Quarters, which has been incorporated into the Fort Dalles Museum. Fort Dalles Museum features a collection of military artifacts, household goods and old medical equipment. Recreation in The Dalles includes windsurfing, camping and fishing. Anglers can try for walleye and sturgeon in the Columbia River. Although part of the Oregon High Desert, the area features a long growing season and a relatively warm climate that supports the growing of grapes. The Dalles is Oregon wine country’s new frontier and home to a wine scene with ballooning production. Visitors will be pleased to see the surrounding landscape is like a watercolor painting, the many greens of ripe orchards and vines blending into verdant, tree-lined hillsides. Mount Hood overlooks the Cascades and the shield they provide against the persistent rain the Willamette Valley has grown so accustomed to.
Step off the boat into a perfectly polished park, and take a short stroll to downtown Richland’s shops, eateries, and attractions. Or venture to Walla Walla, where around every bend is an iconic winery, unforgettable view, or epic adventure. With more than 120 wineries and 2,800 acres of grapes, Walla Walla is recognized among the finest wine regions in the nation. These robust, exceptional flavors come with a refreshingly relaxed come-as-you-are attitude. Incorporated in 1910, Richland remained a small agricultural community until the U.S. Army purchased 640 square miles of land – half the size of Rhode Island – during World War II, evicting the 300 residents of Richland as well as those of the now vanished towns of White Bluffs and Hanford. The army turned it into a bedroom community for workers at its Manhattan Project facility who produced plutonium during World War II and the Cold War. The population increased from 300 in July and August 1943 to 25,000 by the end of World War II in August 1945. All land and buildings were owned by the government. Everything necessary was provided, from free bus service to lightbulbs, and trees were planted in people’s yards by the government. Housing was assigned to residents and token rent was collected; families were assigned to single-family homes or duplexes; single people were placed in apartments or barracks. The prefabricated duplexes and single-family homes are all that survive today. With the end of the war, the Hanford workers’ camp closed, and many workers moved away.
Nestled at the union of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers in southeast Washington, Clarkston is the gateway to North America’s deepest gorge – Hells Canyon – on the Snake River. Picturesque vistas, year-round mild climates and a deep history make this scenic inland port a desirable stop. Spend the day enjoying Clarkston, Washington and neighboring Lewiston, Idaho while tracing the legacy of the journey of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – for whom the cities are named.
Unlimited Beverage Package ($400 value)
Free Prepaid Gratuities ($273 value)
Welcome Aboard & Farewell Cocktail Parties