Columbia and Snake River Cruises
The Columbia and Snake Rivers portray stunning scenery winding through gentle hills, impressive mountains, vertical canyons and fertile fields of America's Pacific Northwest.
Portland to Clarkston (12 Nights/13 Days)
| 01 Oct, 15 Oct, 29 Oct, 12 Nov 2016
| 02 Apr, 16 Apr, 30 Apr, 14 May 2017
| 28 May, 11 Jun, 25 Jun, 09 Jul 2017
|23 Jul, 06 Aug, 20 Aug, 03 Sep 2017|
| 17 Sep, 01 Oct, 15 Oct, 29 Oct 2017
Portland to Clarkston Cruise Package (10 nights)
Experience the same sense of excitement and wonder as your journey begins in Portland near the Pacific Ocean, the objective of Lewis and Clark’s expeditionary party, the Corps of Discovery. You will visit many historic, scenic and enjoyable sites along your Columbia and Snake River voyage to Clarkston. If you’re looking for something tailored more to a specific interest, you might enjoy the Premium Experience Excursion to the Walla Walla Wine Trail or a trip to the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum.
From Portland’s lovely International Rose Test Garden to the hallowed artifacts on the Nez Perce Reservation, the region comes to life. Tour a millionaire’s Victorian home in Astoria, Oregon and marvel at the engineering achievement of the Bonneville Dam. Whether you choose to take in the scenery from Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge nestled among the pines or climb a lighthouse to view the expansive Pacific, a voyage on the Columbia and Snake Rivers will show you the world from a new perspective.
As you relive the daring exploits of Lewis and Clarke, you are treated to many natural wonders. Columbia Gorge cuts through the Cascade Mountains thanks to the Missoula Floods of the last Ice Age. At Multnomah Falls, snowmelt streams plunge over 600 feet in two tiered cascades down a sheer cliff face. Deeper than the Grand Canyon, Idaho’s Hell’s Canyon is a dramatic crack in the earth with raging waters best explored on an exciting jet boat ride. Near Portland, understand the raw power of nature in the collapsed volcanic crater of Mount St. Helens. Along the Columbia River, fish ladders help salmon swim upstream and bison, deer and elk graze freely.
With the American Empress serving as a floating boutique hotel for your journey, travel into the heart of Washington’s wine country. The acclaimed Maryhill Winery overlooking the Columbia River has made its mark among wine connoisseurs while the celebrated Walla Walla Wine Trail in the “Napa of the North” offers the tastes of Canoe Ridge, Cayuse, Leonetti and Five Star Cellars, among others.
Days 1 and 2 : Portland, Oregon
Arrive Portland Airport and transfer to the hotel.
The “City of Roses” is an eclectic blend of art galleries, coffee shops, museums and farm-to-table restaurants with a spirited vibe. Marvel at the beauty of more than 8,000 roses at the International Rose Test Garden or spend the day discovering nature’s boundless power at nearby Mount St. Helens. The time is yours to check into your hotel and enjoy this wonderful city.
Day 3: Portland, Oregon
Enjoy complimentary breakfast at your hotel, and enjoy the morning in Portland before embarking on your American Empress cruise. Onboard, settle into your spacious stateroom and get to know your new home.
Welcome to Portland, Oregon; located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Known as the “City of Roses,” Portland was established in 1851. Largely settled by travelers of the Oregon Trail, Portland is the largest city in Oregon but is better known for its laid back small-town feel. We will tour all of the highlights of the City of Roses on a guided city tour aboard our industry leading motorcoaches as we head towards Mount St. Helens.
Mount St. Helens is well known for its catastrophic explosion in 1980 and is an active Stratovolcano along the Pacific Ring of Fire. 50 miles north of Portland, Mount St. Helens is a beautiful sight to behold and sits high atop the horizon of Portland. Guests will enjoy an up-close look at this violent volcano with an extensive guided tour with an included lunch.
Day 4: Astoria, Oregon
Stroll along the shops and cafes lining the Riverwalk, visit the George Flavel House for a peek at the 19th-century life of a millionaire, discover the Native American culture of Clatsop County at the Heritage Museum or enjoy the views from the top of the Astoria Column more than 600 feet above the water.
Join us as we re-trace the history of America’s most famous frontiersmen. We’ll begin with the exploration of Station Camp. Occupied for ten days by the Corps of Discovery and used as a departure point for an overland trek to their first views of the Pacific Ocean. Explore this historical point in America’s History as the first leg of our exploration on the Lewis and Clark Trail.
Then, we’ll discover the last stage of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as we set off for Cape Disappointment overlooking the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. It was at this site where the American Pioneer’s two year expedition, and dream of discovering the Pacific Ocean via river, finally came to fruition. Explore the Interpretative center’s extensive and thorough timeline that documents the entire journey of these intrepid frontiersmen and experience the beauty and power of the Pacific Ocean from the enclosed overlook as the waves crash along the banks below. In addition to being the home to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, these rocky banks were the set of “The Guardian,” a 2006 blockbuster staring acclaimed actor Kevin Costner.
As we continue our path along the Lewis and Clark Expedition, we’ll stop at Fort Clatsop. Made famous as the winter encampment for the Corps of Discovery (Lewis and Clark and their crew). Here, guests can enjoy exhibits in the interpretive center, exhibit hall, gift shop, view films outlying the historic journey and explore a replica of the forts built by Lewis and Clark in their attempts to maintain shelter during the harsh winters.
Duration: 4 hours
Tour Capacity: 100 guest
Day 5: Stevenson, Washington
Nature’s power and beauty surround Stevenson and you can learn about the geological forces that shaped this area at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. A tour of the Bonneville Dam will reveal the unique challenges of building this power plant with a minimal impact to wildlife – the answer is fish ladders.
Explore the Fruit Loop; a breathtakingly beautiful 35-mile loop that leads to the base of Mt. Hood. Our motorcoach will embark on a narrated tour of this scenic roadway, crossing through orchards, forests and farmland unique to the area and its fertile soil. One cannot experience this area by simply driving through; we’ll make a few key stops along the way. Our first stop offers a paradoxical view. Guests may recognize this lodge as the eerie Overlook Hotel used in the blockbuster film, “The Shining.” But there’s nothing scary about the Timberline Lodge, it’s basked in beauty and sits humbly in the shadows of the enormous Mt. Hood. Here guests can tour the hotel and stand in the very spot where President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a memorable and moving speech in 1937. Explore the vast hotel before gathering in the warmth of the great stone hearth fireplace for coffee, cocoa and pastries.
Continuing on our tour of the Fruit Loop, we will stop for a homemade all-American lunch prepared with local ingredients and fruits harvested right here in the region. At the Parkdale Grange Hall, lunch includes an in-depth presentation by local horticulturalists who will explain why this area is so uniquely suited for the countries best produce and wines.
As we travel even further, into the valleys and orchards, we will make a stop at The Fruit Company. This family-owned company has been offering the fruits and “jems” found only in these fertile valleys to the rest of the country via their mail order program since 1942. They’ve taken pride in offering local produce and treats, showcasing the fruits of the region, their uniqueness and pristine quality—like nowhere else on earth.
We will then experience the fruits of the local fertile ground as we head down the Fruit Loop to the Mt. Hood Winery. Here, guests can enjoy samples of wine produced here at this historic Winery.
Finally, we reach Multnomah Falls, in the heart of the Columbia River gorge, we will depart the motorcoach and set out for the 45-foot long footbridge that crosses a mere 105-feet above the pounding water of the falls. As the footbridge spans from cliff to cliff, guests can cross the suspended wooden structure amidst the mist and fog of the beautiful cascade below as they witness the majestic birds-eye-view of the surrounding Gorge.
Note: Inclusion of the Timberline Lodge is dependent upon weather conditions. Due to its elevation and remote location, the Timberline Lodge stop will not be available in winter weather conditions. In the event that the road leading to the Timberline Lodge is impassable, there will be a substitution made including a shopping stop in Downtown Hood River. The Timberline Lodge sits at 6,000 feet above sea level-those at heightened risk for altitude sickness should avoid this tour.
Duration: 8 hours
Tour Capacity: 50 guests
Day 6: The Dalles, Oregon
Welcome to the end of the Oregon Trail. Shoppers will adore the boutiques and oenophiles will enjoy Sunshine Mills Winery, inventors of Copa Di Vino or “wine by the glass.” The Fort Dalles Museum and the Original Courthouse Museum put early pioneer life on display.
Today’s tour takes guests back in time…Time when flight was a novelty rather than a daily mode of transportation, when the automobile required a crank and power steering was almost a century away. We will take you on an exclusive tour to the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, also known as the WAAAM. Enjoy a guided tour of this facility offering an extensive collection of over 130 antique cars and hangers full of meticulously restored aeroplanes from as far back as 1917. Available exclusively to American Empress guests; enjoy an included tour of the work shop where all of the restorations take place. What is most unique about the automobiles and aeroplanes on display—the entire collection is still in working order and not only can fly—but does on a regular basis! The pilots take these historical tributes to America’s history in flight to the air as often as they can and proudly maintain them in full working order. Guests can explore the collection of Model T’s, Studebakers, the 1914 Detroit Electric, Harley Davidsons, military vehicles and so much more! Want to test out their capabilities? Also available, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take to the air in a historic plane or glider for an airborne tour of Mt. Hood offered at an additional fee. (Private Airplane and Glider rides must be booked in advance)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Tour Capacity: 100 guests
Day 7: Sacajawea State Park, Washington
In 1805, Lewis and Clark and their Indian guide Sacajawea camped here, an event immortalized at Sacajawea State Park. Venture into the County Mercantile Store, part of a working farm with agricultural demonstrations.
Explore the Hanford Research Facility, a place of great significance in the World’s history. Built in 1943 as part of the Manhatten Project, the Hanford Research Facility, also known as the Hanford Project and Hanford Works is home to the B-Reactor. The first large scale plutonium production reactor in the world, the B-Reactor produced the plutonium used in the Atomic Bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan five days before the end of WWII. Today the site is mostly decommissioned but still maintains some functional nuclear facilities. Guests will receive a guided tour of the plant including an informative video, the 9 reactors on the banks of the Columbia River as well as the historical B-Reactor.
After the conclusion of this exclusive tour, guests will have the option to stop at the Country Mercantile Store included in the Hop on-Hop off tour at this port. Guests can hop off here, enjoy the store and a full tour of the Candy Factory before returning to the boat. All guests on this tour will receive complimentary vouchers for lunch at the Country Mercantile Store.
Day 8: River Cruising, Washington
Enjoy a day of scenic Snake River cruising. Picturesque canyon walls and crevasses will keep you guessing as to what lies around the next bend. Wildlife of many varieties can be spotted in the area, from bighorn sheep to grey wolves to bald eagles.
Day 9: Clarkston, Washington
Nez Perce National Historic Park tells the story of the Nez Perce Native American tribe who assisted Lewis and Clark and still reside in the area today, or uncover the past from one-room schoolhouses to ice harvesting at the Clarkston Heritage Museum.
Join us for an exclusive American Empress nature adventure into Hells Canyon; North America's deepest Gorge. As we board the ultra-comfortable Coast Guard approved luxury jet boats, you will immediately feel the adventure begin. We will leave directly from our Clarkston dock and travel deep into the narrowest part of Hell’s Canyon on the Snake River. Guests will enjoy, not only the excitement of being in this beautiful natural setting with its remarkable geological landscape, but also a naturalist’s journey while viewing Big Horn sheep, deer, and other wildlife. Our exclusive nature tour of Hell’s Canyon is a fully narrated tour including the history and geology of this natural wonder.
As an extra bonus, guests will enjoy a stop at the Idaho Garden Creek Preserve, owned by the Nature Conservancy in Hells Canyon, to stretch your legs and enjoy a snack and refreshments. The Idaho Garden Creek Preserve, once a working cattle ranch, is now a facility welcoming its visitors to explore and enjoy this section of the Gorge. Stroll through the orchard where deer and turkey make their home, snack on seasonal fresh fruit or just sit back and take in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature’s landscape that surrounds you.
Note: Jet boats are generally enclosed, heated and contain onboard bathroom facilities. All boats are inspected by the Coast Guard and are driven by licensed captains.
Day 10: Clarkston, Washington
Arrival: 8:00 a.m.
Disembark the American Empress and make your way home from your authentic Pacific Northwest Experience for your post-cruise hotel stay in Spokane.
Welcome to Spokane, Washington the hub of the Inland Northwest. In the 1870's early settlers were drawn here by the Spokane Falls for power, rich agricultural land, the building of the railroads and what became the richest silver mining area in the world in nearby Northern Idaho. Your post-cruise tour begins at the American Empress and continues with a narrated driving tour of Spokane as we make our way to Manito Park where guests will tour their beautifully pristine gardens including Duncan Garden, the Rose Garden and Conservatory.
We’ll continue our Near Perfect, Near Nature tour with a walking tour of Riverfront Park. Take a guided walking tour of the historic buildings downtown as we head to Riverfront Park, former sight of Expo '74, the first environmental-oriented World's Fair. This 100-acre expansive park boasts a historic Carousel, larger than life Red Radio Flyer wagon (so big you can slide down the handle!) and views of the river falls and rock channels. Take a ride on the 1909 carousel and walk through this urban greenscape on a guided walking tour that covers all of the highlights including the Sculpture Path with unique sculptures of varying mediums, Stop at the Garbage Goat to offer some trash for its afternoon snack – yes it will eat your garbage. Guests wishing to get an up-close look at the cascading falls can hop on a sky-ride that travels over the river offering a perfect vantage point to experience the power and beauty of the falls below.
At the conclusion of this tour guests will be transferred to the American Empress Post-Cruise Hotel.
Duration: 4 hours
Tour Capacity: 100 guests
Day 11: Depart Spokane
Day 12: Arrive London, UK
Guide Prices are per person based on 2 persons sharing a cabin include:
Outside Stateroom with veranda (Category E) Vista View Deck Deck
From £3795 per person
Outside Stateroom with window (Category D) Explorer Deck
From £4285 per person
Superior Stateroom with veranda (Category B) Texas Deck
From £4925 per person