Columbia/ snake river cruise

American Queen Steamboat Company
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#1
14 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
My husband and I want to do a river cruse on the Columbia/snake rivers. We heard that the better way to go is Clarkston to Portland. We have looked into the American Queen and are wondering if Sept. or Oct. would have better weather. What have been others experiences on this cruise? We are in our 70's but active and my husband is a foodie. We have done Viking cruises in France and loved them, and are hoping for a similar experience
#2
just east of the Arch
1,005 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Hi Leafeater,
We just signed up for the July 1st 2018 from Clarkston to Vancouver, We are from the St.Louis area with high humidity so we thought to spend July 4th on the river would be cooler than being on the river under the Arch. You might google for the average temp in Sept/Oct. I'm thinking no matter what time you will need to layer your clothing. Good promotions going on for 2018
Later in Life,
Mark
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#3
Los Angeles
313 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
We did the American Empress last October...weather was mixed but not terrible. Some showery days but no long periods of heavy rean; several beautiful clear and comfortable days. Our day in Astoria was cancelled due to storm and wind warnings for that day. We spent that day in Vancouver and AE provided bus tours of Portland and Vancouver. We will definitely do it again...the Mississippi next time!

Don't know how AE compares to Viking - we had a great experience being on a smaller boat/ship. The food and service was great. We sailed Clarkston to Vancouver as it was a better fit to the Amtrak schedules in Spokane and Vancouver.
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JohnAmtrak - 30,000 miles: Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Capitol Limited, Pacific Surfliner. Later this year: Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, Southwest Chief, Illini/Saluki.
Other rail - White Pass and Yukon Route Railway - Skagway to Carcross, Grand Canyon Railway, Fillmore and Western Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Metrolink, Private railcar excursions.
#5
New Mexico
5,476 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by LEAFEATER
Thanks for the info TinCan. We also wonder about the dining times. one seems so early, but the later 7:45 seems too late
We would love to do a September sailing --maybe in 2018.
A few questions however: where is the nearest airport to Clarkston? Does the company provide a transfer to the boat?
Are there tables for two in the dining room?
Thanks
#6
Los Angeles
313 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Originally posted by Alaskanb
We would love to do a September sailing --maybe in 2018.
A few questions however: where is the nearest airport to Clarkston? Does the company provide a transfer to the boat?
Are there tables for two in the dining room?
Thanks

Fly (or other) into Spokane...AQSC puts you up for one night in the Historic Davenport Hotel and then busses you down to Clarkston to begin the actual cruise. The cruise "check-in" takes place at the Davenport. The Davenport was really nice!

Yes, there are tables for two. We had 7:45 dinner seating. Although we would have preferred early, dinners worked out well. One evening we had dinner (reservations required) in the River Grill and Bar.
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JohnAmtrak - 30,000 miles: Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Capitol Limited, Pacific Surfliner. Later this year: Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, Southwest Chief, Illini/Saluki.
Other rail - White Pass and Yukon Route Railway - Skagway to Carcross, Grand Canyon Railway, Fillmore and Western Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Metrolink, Private railcar excursions.
#7
Los Angeles
313 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
BTW...here are the photos from our river cruise last October 8-16. We were in Category "C" Cabin 210.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/frensi...7675314886241/
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JohnAmtrak - 30,000 miles: Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Capitol Limited, Pacific Surfliner. Later this year: Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, Southwest Chief, Illini/Saluki.
Other rail - White Pass and Yukon Route Railway - Skagway to Carcross, Grand Canyon Railway, Fillmore and Western Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Metrolink, Private railcar excursions.
#9
Hudson, Massachusetts
237 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
I am looking into booking a cruise in Sept. 2018 and would like to know if anyone booked this cruise privately either through a travel agent or website and received a better price than the cruiseline is offering.

Thanks so much!

Carol
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#10
Burbank, CA
155 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
We've taken two cruises on the American Queen and have booked the Columbia River for May, 2018. Always book thru our travel agent who provides onboard credit.
#11
Hudson, Massachusetts
237 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by TinCan782
BTW...here are the photos from our river cruise last October 8-16. We were in Category "C" Cabin 210.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/frensi...7675314886241/
Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them. From Cabin 210 did you see the sunsets? I am looking to book very soon and I was told the even numbered side of the ship is best for sunsets from Clarston to Vancouver. Do you agree?

Thank you!

Carol
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05-31-2017 Oceania Regatta
01-13-2017 Oceania Riviera
10-19-2016 Star Princess
05-08-2016 Caribbean Princess
01-04-2016 Princess Island
10-10-2015 Viking Idi
05-16-2014 Oceania Nautica
07-15-2013 Oceania Marina
05-29-2011 Avalon Tapestry
#12
Los Angeles
313 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
We were on the port side of the boat which faced south. As we cruised in October, the sun tended to be toward the south which may have helped the view of sunsets. Our balcony, facing south, was warmed by the sun on clear days and quite nice. If you do a mid-summer (June-Juy) cruise, the sun will be more overhead. The American Queen is not that large so, its easy to head to the other side if you don't mind leaving your cabin.
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JohnAmtrak - 30,000 miles: Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Capitol Limited, Pacific Surfliner. Later this year: Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, Southwest Chief, Illini/Saluki.
Other rail - White Pass and Yukon Route Railway - Skagway to Carcross, Grand Canyon Railway, Fillmore and Western Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Metrolink, Private railcar excursions.
#13
Hudson, Massachusetts
237 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by TinCan782
We were on the port side of the boat which faced south. As we cruised in October, the sun tended to be toward the south which may have helped the view of sunsets. Our balcony, facing south, was warmed by the sun on clear days and quite nice. If you do a mid-summer (June-Juy) cruise, the sun will be more overhead. The American Queen is not that large so, its easy to head to the other side if you don't mind leaving your cabin.
Thanks so much!!!
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05-31-2017 Oceania Regatta
01-13-2017 Oceania Riviera
10-19-2016 Star Princess
05-08-2016 Caribbean Princess
01-04-2016 Princess Island
10-10-2015 Viking Idi
05-16-2014 Oceania Nautica
07-15-2013 Oceania Marina
05-29-2011 Avalon Tapestry
#14
Los Angeles
313 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Originally posted by TinCan782
We were on the port side of the boat which faced south. As we cruised in October, the sun tended to be toward the south which may have helped the view of sunsets. Our balcony, facing south, was warmed by the sun on clear days and quite nice. If you do a mid-summer (June-Juy) cruise, the sun will be more overhead. The American Queen is not that large so, its easy to head to the other side if you don't mind leaving your cabin.
Whoops...should be American Empress, not Queen!
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JohnAmtrak - 30,000 miles: Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Capitol Limited, Pacific Surfliner. Later this year: Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, Southwest Chief, Illini/Saluki.
Other rail - White Pass and Yukon Route Railway - Skagway to Carcross, Grand Canyon Railway, Fillmore and Western Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Metrolink, Private railcar excursions.
#15
Hudson, Massachusetts
237 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by TinCan782
Whoops...should be American Empress, not Queen!
I knew that you meant American Empress from reading your previous post.

Thanks again!
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05-31-2017 Oceania Regatta
01-13-2017 Oceania Riviera
10-19-2016 Star Princess
05-08-2016 Caribbean Princess
01-04-2016 Princess Island
10-10-2015 Viking Idi
05-16-2014 Oceania Nautica
07-15-2013 Oceania Marina
05-29-2011 Avalon Tapestry
#16
Southern Indiana
292 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Originally posted by Cruze4Ever
I am looking into booking a cruise in Sept. 2018 and would like to know if anyone booked this cruise privately either through a travel agent or website and received a better price than the cruiseline is offering.
From what I understand, AQSC prices are pretty much set. and are not discounted. Whatever specials they might offer are passed along to travel agents. However, a travel agent can offer on board credit. I'm not sure if we can mention travel agencies by name, but if you message me I'll be happy to pass along the one we used - they are located in the Columbia River area.
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#17
Southern Indiana
292 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
John, thanks for posting your photos! One question - do you have any suggestions for transportation from the airport in Spokane to the hotel? I understand the hotel's shuttle can be pricey.
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Viking Star (Mediterranean) 3/19
Viking Tor (Romantic Danube) 11/18
American Empress 10/17
Viking Kvasir (Rhine Getaway) 8/15
Celebrity Infinity (Alaska) 8/10
Celebrity Infinity (Hawaii) 5/02
Celebrity Century (Eastern Caribbean) 5/96
Celebrity Zenith (Western Caribbean) 4/95
#18
Southern Indiana
292 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Anyone cruising on the American Empress this year, please join our roll call over on the Roll Call board:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2394180
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Viking Star (Mediterranean) 3/19
Viking Tor (Romantic Danube) 11/18
American Empress 10/17
Viking Kvasir (Rhine Getaway) 8/15
Celebrity Infinity (Alaska) 8/10
Celebrity Infinity (Hawaii) 5/02
Celebrity Century (Eastern Caribbean) 5/96
Celebrity Zenith (Western Caribbean) 4/95
#19
Los Angeles
313 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Originally posted by K9pal
John, thanks for posting your photos! One question - do you have any suggestions for transportation from the airport in Spokane to the hotel? I understand the hotel's shuttle can be pricey.
I can't comment on airport transportation. We arrived by train in Spokane and it was a very short shuttle ride (free, provided by the Davenport Hotel).
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JohnAmtrak - 30,000 miles: Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Capitol Limited, Pacific Surfliner. Later this year: Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, Southwest Chief, Illini/Saluki.
Other rail - White Pass and Yukon Route Railway - Skagway to Carcross, Grand Canyon Railway, Fillmore and Western Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Metrolink, Private railcar excursions.