Take an Americana Cruise Around the Pacific Northwest
is not your father's sunburn/island-a-day/shop-'til-you-drop/snorkel-and-dive/2000-passenger
cruise. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
is a cruise into history, on a small and very intimate
scale, with lots to learn about. There are guides and
expert lecturers all along the route to teach and explain,
and the number of passengers is so manageable that you
can expect to really meet each and every one. This is,
most of all, a cruise into the fascinating tale of Western
Queen of the West's year-'round, seven-day, sternwheeler
steamer trips leave from Portland, Oregon. They cruise
through ever-changing scenery, terrain, and climate
for 1000 miles along the Columbia, Snake, and Willamette
Rivers, through eight locks and dams, beside picturesque
cities, forts, Indian reservations, forests, waterfalls,
gorges, and canyons along the historic Lewis & Clark
and Oregon Trail routes.
hospitable, young, American crew takes care of passenger
comforts, while on-board historians/naturalists/lecturers
take care of the learning activities. Enthusiastic landside
rangers and guides at each attraction and visitor center
fill passengers in on their geographic and historic
specialties. A fleet of luxury Prevost coaches precedes
the ship each night and is waiting when the ship reaches
port the following morning. The same well-versed drivers
stay with the passengers for the entire week, making
for expert tour leadership. TV cameras are trained on
the road ahead and transmit pictures to screens in the
buses, so passengers may sit anywhere and get a front-seat
Daily tours are included in the tour price. On most
cruises, tours visit: The Bonneville Dam, where the
generation and distribution of electricity and the use
of fish ladders are demonstrated; Multnomah Falls, at
620 feet the second highest waterfall in America and
part of the greatest collection of waterfalls in the
U. S.; Hells Canyon, where high-speed jet boats whiz
by petroglyphs and memorable natural landscape formations;
Pendleton, where passengers visit with working cowboys
who show how horses and sheep dogs are trained; Maryhill
Museum, where Rodin sculptures and drawings, native
American carvings and artifacts, and a replica of England's
Stonehenge war memorial are on display; Tamastslikt
Cultural Institute, which tells the history of the region's
Indian population through exhibits, dioramas, dance,
and dialogue; Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, which
houses a giant working model of part of the Columbia
River and displays about the geologic creation of the
Gorge; Mount St. Helens, whose visitor center overlooks
and explains the spectacular and destructive l980 eruption;
and Astoria's Columbia River Maritime Museum, one of
the world's leading maritime museums. Additional information
regarding the Lewis & Clark expedition permeates
each day's travels at virtually every stop, as he history
of the 1803 expedition is relived throughout the week's
novel ideas mark Queen of the West's food service.
are no assigned tables. So passengers may choose to
meet new acquaintances whenever mealtime arrives. By
the end of the journey, most passengers have met and
made many new friends.
dining accommodates all passengers.
of anything on the menu may be ordered. From soup to
desserts, portion sizes are up to the consumer.
from the parlor-decor dining room are never-ending.
Because the room is situated on the first deck, sight
lines of the river and the banks beyond are continuous
through large tabletop-to-ceiling windows. No dining
room chair is more than 25 feet from a whole wall of
windows; most are closer.
alternative dining room, the top-deck Calliope Bar &
Grill, serves breakfast, lunch, snacks, chili, and desserts.
Soft drinks and coffee are available 24 hours a day.
menus and recipes are freely given to those who request
them. And requested they are, because passenger comments
about food are virtually unanimous in praise of both
the creativity and delectability of the offerings. They
include fresh Northwest fish like salmon and halibut
daily, different soups daily, complimentary hors d'oeuvres
daily, fresh-baked rolls and breads, prime rib, steaks,
lobster, duck, rack of lamb, chicken, salads, vegetarian
entrees, and scores of desserts.
A resident band, a cruise staff, and other small vocal,
instrumental, dance, and comedy groups provide the entertainment.
Most nights have an entertainment theme, like Best of
Broadway, Country Western, Golden Oldies, or America the
Beautiful. Different entertainment is possible each evening
because the ship customarily picks up entertainers on
the day of their show and drops them off just after the
show at one of the many landings along the route. The
boat is never more than a few hundred yards from shore.
Because of a novel adjustable bow and shallow depth, it's
always easy to simply walk on and off. No rough-bucking
big-ship tendering here. Information about each day's
activities and highlights is provided to each cabin the
night before via a Western-style newsletter titled "Queen
of the West Times." It offers historical tidbits
of upcoming ports, an hour-by-hour program of activities,
and previews of the next day's entertainment program.
West Steamboat Co and American Orient Express, which
provides private rail cruises, are under common ownership.
Visit www.Cruise-news.com for more information.
Fleet: American West Steamboat Company
Size: 163 passengers, 47 crew, 280 feet long, 50 feet
wide, 4 passenger decks, 73 staterooms and suites.
Accommodations: There are nine categories of staterooms, among
them an owner's suite, penthouses, veranda staterooms,
and value staterooms. All have outside views.
have TV with cable channels and view of the river
ahead available, VCR (video library tapes available
for loan), music channels, thermostat, and sitting
area. Most have a writing desk. Some have refrigerators
and extra windows. Some come with robes. Modern
prefabricated bathrooms with seamless enamel-finished
walls and wall-hung toilets.
Rooms and facilities Showroom, lounge, bar and
grill, formal dining room, elevator, 3 bars, gift
shop, 11,000 square feet exterior deck space.
There is artwork throughout depicting the history
of the Columbia River and its early steamboats.
Itineraries: Year-'round except for January maintenance: seven
day cruises cover Portland, Willamette River,
Columbia River, Snake River, Bonneville Dam, Multnomah
Falls, Pendleton, Tamastslikt Cultural Center,
Hells Canyon Jet Boat, Wine Tasting, Columbia
Gorge Discovery Center, Mt. St. Helens Volcano,
Astoria, Cannon Beach. Daily, guided tours are
included in cruise price.
Toll-free: 1-800-434-1232 (Source: Cruise-News)