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American Empress == June 20 - 28, 2021


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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/27/2021 at 4:40 PM, VegasCrossfire said:

We are booked and ready to go!!   Anyone else?

We are hoping to do this cruise next year. Surely hope you will give us a running commentary—-or at least a review when you get back. Really looking forward to any info and insights you can offer. 

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22 hours ago, wandb said:

We are hoping to do this cruise next year. Surely hope you will give us a running commentary—-or at least a review when you get back. Really looking forward to any info and insights you can offer. 

There is a really long Empress thread with a lot of questions and answers from a pre-COVID trip:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2552943-american-empress-9222019-sailing/

 

That may be a good place to look for more information as well.

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On 6/20/2021 at 12:54 PM, wandb said:

We are hoping to do this cruise next year. Surely hope you will give us a running commentary—-or at least a review when you get back. Really looking forward to any info and insights you can offer. 

So far we are having a great time.  We are lucky to be in a heat wave so we are nice and warm.  Make sure you take advantage of the Hop On Hop Off busses at each port. 

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We are in Seattle for a few days before heading to Spokane for the July 27th sailing. It looks like this will be a very hot week. I hope you have enjoyed your trip, VegasCrossfire. 

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10 hours ago, Julie04005 said:

We are in Seattle for a few days before heading to Spokane for the July 27th sailing. It looks like this will be a very hot week. I hope you have enjoyed your trip, VegasCrossfire. 

That's more than a few days...

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Posted (edited)
On 6/25/2021 at 7:02 PM, VegasCrossfire said:

So far we are having a great time.  We are lucky to be in a heat wave so we are nice and warm.  Make sure you take advantage of the Hop On Hop Off busses at each port. 

The hop on hop off buses are running again? That’s great news! 

I’m glad to hear you are enjoying your trip! 

Edited by BillNY
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We are at the Davenport checking in for the 27th sailing. We started the check-in registration process about 3:30. The temperature check and check-in was quick. Waited about 1 1/2 hours for photo and credit card registration. Then moved to a third line for the COVID testing. They didn’t honor the preregistration times selected online before we left home. Everyone is grumbling, but happy to be traveling again. Very understaffed and disorganized. More soon once I get out of this line! Be glad your cruise will not require the COVID test! We did take one before leaving home, so fingers crossed this all goes well! 

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Posted (edited)

The HO-HO buses ran smoothly in Clarkston/Lewiston yesterday with four stops: Spaulding Visitors Center on the Nez Perce reservation, downtown Lewiston for shopping, the Historical Society museum (so much to see there!) and Walmart for last minute forgotten items. Narrated tours on all the buses were delightful. I loved the surprise stop by Lillian Disney’s residence! 
 

running a bit late  (nearly three hours) this morning getting into Richland, but we have enjoyed cruising along while having breakfast and having a relaxing morning. It is getting hot again, but the breeze along the river was welcomed. 

Edited by Julie04005
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Hi- how is the cruise going?  Any advice on which paid excursions are worthwhile, any not running (i.e. jetboats in hells canyon)?  Any food onboard advice?  We will be no your same cruise in  weeks!  Looking forward to it- except the checkin process sounds awful- hopefully just a glitch since they've been closed for so long. 

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We are booked on the 8-2 sailing of this cruiseWe have a couple of questions (new to AQSC).  we received our cruise doc's yesterday.  The packet said luggage tags are in clued, but none were.  Is this normal or an oversight?  Also, is the covid test included in the cruise fare or will we be billed?  Thanks for your input and we are looking forward to this cruise.

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7 hours ago, rljan said:

We are booked on the 8-2 sailing of this cruiseWe have a couple of questions (new to AQSC).  we received our cruise doc's yesterday.  The packet said luggage tags are in clued, but none were.  Is this normal or an oversight?  Also, is the covid test included in the cruise fare or will we be billed?  Thanks for your input and we are looking forward to this cruise.

 

I'd say it was an oversight.  They should have luggage tags in the pre-cruise hotel you can use.

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On 7/3/2021 at 10:59 AM, penguinkat01 said:

Hi- how is the cruise going?  Any advice on which paid excursions are worthwhile, any not running (i.e. jetboats in hells canyon)?  Any food onboard advice?  We will be no your same cruise in  weeks!  Looking forward to it- except the checkin process sounds awful- hopefully just a glitch since they've been closed for so long. 

I have submitted a review and I’ll link to it when it clears. In my group of four some of us did the jet boat tour and they loved it despite the heat (117!), the WAAAM tour of vintage autos, and the Lewis & Clark excursion in Astoria. We met some that did the zip line and they had fun, crazy fools! Haha! All the extra excursions we did were great. multanomah falls (I am probably butchering that spelling) is currently a free HOHO option, but I don’t know how long that will last. I am happy to answer any specific questions! 

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1 hour ago, ericosmith said:

A question...we have been unable to secure early dining and 8:00 is just too late.  Are there any other options available daily for dinner?  

You can make reservations for the grille and try to get earlier seating. On our cruise there was often empty tables at the early seating, as some ate upstairs or in their rooms. I would advise you to keep trying, get on a waitlist for the early seating, and when on the boat, see if they will seat you at the early dining. The staff never asked which seating we were, so I think you might be able to squeeze in! Never hurts to keep asking! 

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On 7/4/2021 at 6:50 PM, califsealion said:

 

I'd say it was an oversight.  They should have luggage tags in the pre-cruise hotel you can use.

We also did not get luggage tags in our precursor material. They were provided at the hotel the night before we boarded. 

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On 7/4/2021 at 1:51 PM, rljan said:

We are booked on the 8-2 sailing of this cruiseWe have a couple of questions (new to AQSC).  we received our cruise doc's yesterday.  The packet said luggage tags are in clued, but none were.  Is this normal or an oversight?  Also, is the covid test included in the cruise fare or will we be billed?  Thanks for your input and we are looking forward to this cruise.

We did not get billed for the Covid testing. On our trip at checkin there were three lines, the first was a general checkin and temperature screening, that is where we picked up luggage tags. The second line was for our photo/ID which we received in our room on board the ship. The third line was for Covid testing. 
 

The next morning at the hotel you line up to check in for breakfast. There they will let you know if you didn’t pass the Covid test. You do get an email, but some people forgot their passwords for the testing site! Bring your password if your phone doesn’t store that information! Or you can reset your password…

 

At breakfast we received our boarding pass for the shuttle to Clarkston. After lunch we returned to the breakfast room and waited until they called us to board the bus. Lunch is on your own. Try to find a lunch spot ahead of time, it was quiet on a Monday and not a lot open for a quick lunch. We ate at incrediburger & eggs, just half a block from the hotel. You order at the counter and take a seat. There was limited capacity from Covid, so seating filled up fast. 

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HO-HO info:

 

these were the stops on our trip

 

Clarkston: Nez Perce National Historical Park Visitors Center, Lewiston downtown shopping, Nez Pearce Co Historical Society Museum campus, Walmart.

 

Richland: the REACH museum, Sacajawea State Park Visitors Center, downtown shopping in Richland. The boat docks at Howard Amon Park, a lovely waterfront park with trails and swimming. 
 

the Dalles: Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Courthouse Museum, fort Dalles Museum, Neon Sign Museum (not ADA-accessible I heard), and downtown shopping. Easy walk from the boat to down shops and restaurants. You have to walk under the interstate overpass, but seems a perfectly safe area. The dock is popular with young and older locals for diving/swimming. They were fun to watch. 
 

we did not dock in Stevenson due to dock damage. Instead we were offered a trip to Multanomah Falls and the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. As there was extra driving distance from the Dalles there was no trip to Bonneville Dam Visitors Center. That site would have been on the HOHO tour along with shopping in Stevenson. Th Vista House we heard is still closed. 
 

Astoria: Flavel House, Astoria Column, downtown shopping, and the Heritage Museum. We were there on Sunday. Huge farmer and crafts market on Sundays downtown, walking distance from the dock. This was a big hit with everyone. Fresh Rainier cherries! There are also stops downriver at the river walk, so you could walk back along the riverfront trail. The ship docks next to the Columbia River Maritime Museum, but the admission there is extra. All of the other various museums were free to us as guests on the riverboat. American Song was also in port, but they dock much further down river in a less convenient dock. 

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22 hours ago, Julie04005 said:

You can make reservations for the grille and try to get earlier seating. On our cruise there was often empty tables at the early seating, as some ate upstairs or in their rooms. I would advise you to keep trying, get on a waitlist for the early seating, and when on the boat, see if they will seat you at the early dining. The staff never asked which seating we were, so I think you might be able to squeeze in! Never hurts to keep asking! 

Oh, I've been asking since we first booked.  On our previous AQSC cruise dinner seating was at assigned tables.  Was this not the case on your cruise?

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18 hours ago, ericosmith said:

Oh, I've been asking since we first booked.  On our previous AQSC cruise dinner seating was at assigned tables.  Was this not the case on your cruise?

We did not have assigned seating.  However, we did end up eating at the same table after the first night, we ended up at the same one each night. 

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On 7/6/2021 at 11:31 PM, ericosmith said:

Oh, I've been asking since we first booked.  On our previous AQSC cruise dinner seating was at assigned tables.  Was this not the case on your cruise?

That was the experience of my travel companions, but not the case on the Empress 

last week. We liked the 4 person table we had the first night. The next night we were seated at an eight-top. We always requested the same waiter, but were given different tables in his section. By the end of the trip, the hosts would tell us to go in and pick what table we wanted and we always chose the table from the first night, table 23. 

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