Vancouver, WA (Portland) to Clarkston

Fares from $2,599
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Cruise Summary

PACIFIC NORTHWEST SPLENDOR - "Ocian in view! O! The joy!" These are the original words, and spelling of “ocean,” William Clark scrawled in his journal on November 7, 1805. One could hardly blame him for forgetting his spelling lessons in all the excitement. Experience the same sense of excitement and wonder as your journey begins in Vancouver 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 Shore Excursion to Multnomah Falls or a trip to the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum.

Included Tours:
• See ports of call below for information on included tours.

*All themed entertainment, events and tours are subject to change without notice.

Itinerary

Vessel: American Empress



Day 1: Hotel Stay - Vancouver, WA

Hotel Stay - Vancouver, WA

Enjoy your complimentary stay at the Hilton Vancouver Hotel. The evening is yours to venture into the city and independently explore local attractions.

Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.. It is here that our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving Premium Shore Excursions. An American Queen Steamboat Company representative, as well as a local representative, will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sight-seeing suggestions so that you may maximize your time in Vancouver.

Day 2: Vancouver, WA

Departure 6:00 PM
Vancouver, WA

Today is the big day! Spend a few hours before your departure exploring the beautiful city of Vancouver. 

If you didn’t have a chance to check-in on the first night, the hospitality desk will be open today between 8:30 AM and 12:00 PM at the official Pre-Cruise hotel. During the easy check-in procedure, representatives will arrange your transfer to the vessel and answer questions regarding your upcoming voyage. The process is simple and will have you back to exploring or relaxing in no time. If you think of additional questions, the hospitality staff will be at your service until the transfers begin to take you to the American Empress.

Pre-Cruise 1: Mount St. Helens Tour - Including a Portland City Tour

Welcome to Portland, Oregon, located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Embark on a brief narrated Portland city tour highlighting areas of historical significance before making a stop at the world-renowned International Rose Test Garden where breathtaking flowers fill the park in practically every direction. As the motorcoach makes its way towards the city limits, we will begin to climb in elevation towards Mount St. Helens National Monument.

Mount St. Helens is most known for the powerful, catastrophic explosion that occurred in 1980 and is still an active Stratovolcano along the Pacific Ring of Fire. We will weave through the mountainous roads, and watch as the lush green slowly fades into the “Blast Zone” where the forest is gradually re-building from the devastation caused by this powerful eruption. View the mountain from several different angles and perspectives with carefully chosen stops along the way.

Our first stop brings us to the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake, offering an amazing view of the mountain in the distance contrasted by Silver Lake, formed by an ancient volcanic flow that blocked Silver Creek. Enjoy a short film that includes the actual footage of the volcanic eruption and covers events leading up to it. Explore the exhibits filled with newspaper articles before and after the event, as well as photos.

After an included lunch, we continue up the mountain, a stop at Coldwater Lake Science and Learning Center overlooks Coldwater Lake, a glacier-fed lake created when mud flows from the eruption made a natural dam on the Coldwater Creek. Here, view a spectacular view of the mountain as well as the tranquil turquoise lake ominously sitting in its shadow.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
8.25 hours
Pre-Cruise: "The Rose City" Portland Tour - Including Sight-Seeing in Downtown Portland

Explore Portland, Oregon, sister city to Vancouver, Washington. Embark on a narrated journey through this iconic Pacific Northwest Town dubbed “The Rose City.” Enjoy the scenic views of this beautiful town, lined with expansive decorative murals and flowers. Guests are welcomed by a view of the historic Willamette River which flows through the downtown area before crossing over one of ten bridges and into Old Town.

Portland is known as a bustling commerce center, a Pacific Northwest travel destination and for its innovative culinary scene, but, in its early days, Portland was a center for the fur trade industry and held great military significance. Set peacefully against the backdrop of today’s modern city, Fort Vancouver is nestled on the banks of the river and flanked by towering pointed log fencing. Explore this meticulously reconstructed historical fort including historic buildings and an extensive fur trade outbuilding. Discover Vancouver’s link with the Hudson’s Bay Company and how it aided in the growth and success of Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.

Our day will begin with a glimpse of Portland’s art scene at the Oregon History Mural, an eight-story hyper-realistic mural depicting the history of some of the most influential moments in Oregon’s history. At the International Rose Test Gardens, guests can stroll the meticulously pruned roses in more varieties than one can imagine. Here, in the warmer months, over ten thousand blooms create a colorful frame for a panoramic view of Portland.

We will continue to Downtown Portland where guests will be able to immerse themselves in the serenity of the tranquil Lan Su Chinese Botanical Garden. This peaceful garden is a treasured site to many Portland visitors. Feel a sense of inspiration as you explore the 2,000-year-old art traditions, architecture, designs, and nature all in absolute harmony. The last leg of the tour passes through Portland State University and the riverfront where you can view life on the busy waterway and take a picturesque drive down Naito Avenue before setting off for the American Empress dock to begin your journey!

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
3 hours

Day 3: Astoria, OR

Astoria, OR

Astoria is known to be the oldest American Settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. For thousands of years, Clatsop Indians inhabited the lands that are now known as Astoria. In 1805, Lewis and Clark led their expedition through the town and spent the winter at Fort Clatsop. In 1813, a British warship sailed into the Columbia River, gaining possession of the city and holding control until 1818, when they finally agreed to a joint occupation of the land. The British did not fully leave Astoria until 1846. There is no doubting the rich history has deep roots grounded in this Columbia River town. When the history combines with the scenery, the harmony will surely bring you back for more!

The Riverwalk
A six-mile paved walkway overlooking the beautiful Columbia River. In addition to the remarkable views, guests can explore the statues, shops, cafes, docks, and historic canneries dotting the path. Guests, who wish to, can choose to board the riverfront trolley that runs along the banks for an extra fee. The Astoria Riverwalk, also known as the Astoria River Trail, stretches the entire length of the city’s waterfront, connecting restaurants and breweries, museums, and dozens of other attractions. It passes under the Astoria-Megler Bridge, the largest continuous truss bridge in the United States, arcing out across the Columbia River toward the hazy hillsides of Washington state. The trail follows the route of the Astoria and Columbia River Railroad that was completed in 1898.

The Flavel House
As one of the best-preserved examples of Queen Anne architecture in the Northwest, the Flavel House survives today as a landmark of local and national significance. The house was built as a retirement home in 1885 for Columbia River bar pilot, Captain George Flavel, and his family. The Flavel House has been restored and furnished to portray the elegance of the Victorian period and the history of the Flavel family. Its decorative exterior, with hipped roof, balconies, and verandas, is distinguished by a fourth-story cupola. The interior of the home features original Eastlake influenced woodwork, period furnishings, six exotic hardwood fireplace mantels, and fourteen-foot ceilings with plaster crown molding and medallions.

Astoria Column
This magnificent monument stands 600 feet above sea level and gives the perfect view to Young’s Bay, the Coast Range, the Columbia River, and in the distance, even the Pacific Ocean. Ralph Budd initiated the project to celebrate Astoria’s early settlers. He hired Italian immigrant and artist Atillilio Pusterla to model a piece inspired by Trajan’s Column in Rome, featuring hand-painted spiral frieze work, stretching over 500 feet if it were to be unwound. The Astor family, with the help of the Great Northern Railroad, generously donated the column to Astoria in July of 1926.

Heritage Museum
Astoria’s Old City Hall building, a neoclassical structure designed by prominent Portland architect Emil Schacht in 1904, is home to the Historical Society’s collection and archive. Clatsop County’s rich and exciting history is featured in the museum’s permanent and changing exhibit galleries. Objects on display include a 1,000-year-old hunting implement, finely crafted 19th-century Chinook and Clatsop Indian baskets, and a sea otter pelt and beaver hat which illuminate the early history of Astoria. Logging and fishing, the two economic mainstays since 1870, are represented in collections of tools, equipment, and photographs. The stories of the many diverse ethnic groups that settled in the area are depicted in the Emigrants Gallery. A recent addition to the Heritage Museum’s exhibits and located on the second floor, is “Vice and Virtue in Clatsop County: 1890 to Prohibition.” The gallery contains a partially reconstructed saloon and illustrates Astoria’s seedy past when the town was known along the West Coast for its infamous saloons and brothels.

Columbia River Maritime Museum
Here, guests can experience interactive displays, galleries and collections representing the history of the mighty Columbia River throughout time. The museum was founded in 1962 when Rolf Klep returned to his birthplace after retiring from his art career on the East Coast. Klep was a long-time collector of maritime artifacts and he began to recruit his colleagues and friends to help establish a museum to present these collections. The museum was the first in Oregon to meet national accreditation standards and is designated the official maritime museum of Oregon. After a $6 million expansion, the museum now holds six galleries, the Great Hall, and the Lightship Columbia. Enjoy over 30,000 artifacts and 20,000 photos as you travel through this expansive maritime museum! Trail Interactive exhibit! (Admission Additional)

The Lewis and Clark Experience

This experience will retrace the history of America’s most famous frontiersmen.  We’ll begin by traveling to the site of Middle Village and Station Camp. Occupied for ten days in November of 1805 by the Corps of Discovery and was 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, discover the next stages of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as we set off for Cape Disappointment, which overlooks the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. It was at this site where the American Pioneers’ two year expedition, and their dream of discovering a river route to the Pacific Ocean, finally came to fruition. Explore the Interpretative Center’s extensive and thorough time line that documents the entire journey of these intrepid frontiersmen. 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 home to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, these rocky banks were also the set of “The Guardian,” a 2006 Coast Guard blockbuster starring acclaimed actor Kevin Costner.  

As we continue our path along the Lewis and Clark Expedition, we will stop at Fort Clatsop, part of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. 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, book store and gift shop, view films outlining the historic journey and explore a replica of the forts built by The Corps of Discovery in their attempts to maintain shelter during the harsh winters.

Includes a copy of In the Wake of Lewis and Clark, a historical interpretation of the final leg of the Corps of Discovery, published exclusively for American Queen Steamboat Company. (A $14.95 value)       

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours
Zip-Lining Adventure

Step off the luxurious decks of the American Empress and into the natural wonders of Oregon; one of America’s most beautiful landscapes. We’ll bring you slightly outside of your comfort zone and allow guests to experience the wilderness from the best vantage point, soaring above the ground, through the towering trees and over the Pacific Northwest waterways.

No experience needed! Guests of all ages can safely enjoy this guided experience as they are securely tethered onto a course consisting of eight lines zipping throughout the lush, green forests of Oregon. Experience a unique and exhilarating day as guests conquer one zip at a time, learning along the way how to manipulate speed using body positioning. Those with an extreme adventurous spirit can zip over lakes and through the trees and even choose to take a dunk in the lake as you soar by!

After adrenaline levels recede, guests are welcomed to explore the gift shop where they can purchase Highlife Adventures official memorabilia or a personal candid photo of themselves in action, taken as each guest soars past the automatic camera perfectly situated on the course!

Don’t just visit Oregon, experience the wilderness of the lakes and timber throughout the mountains of the Pacific Northwest in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you won’t soon forget.

As a safety precaution, closed-toe shoes will be required during the participation of this excursion.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours

Day 4: Stevenson, WA

Stevenson, WA

On the banks of the scenic Columbia River, the city of Stevenson is your launch pad to the Washington side of the Gorge. A stroll along the Rock Cove pathway or the Columbia River waterfront is a great way to take in surroundings. Downtown Stevenson is home to unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Stevenson is in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Explore the eastern entrance to Mount St. Helens or the spectacular Lewis River Valley.

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center
This highly interactive museum is a favorite for many along the river. Enjoy a day of discovering the unique exhibits and artifacts that fill the museum. The mission of the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum is to share the story of Skamania County and the Columbia River Gorge. Make sure to visit “First People,” an exhibit focusing on the history of native people of this area – the cascade chinook. Then stop over at the “Grand Gallery” which is the largest gallery in the museum that showcases how to harvest resources and focuses on the timber industries throughout the gorge. One of the most popular exhibits is the large fish wheel located inside the premises and is a 37-foot replica of the McCord wheel built in 1882, equipped with baskets used to scoop fish as they swim through and six of them were created by Tiffany Studios in New York under the supervision of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Bonneville Dam
The Bonneville Dam is located 40 miles east of Portland, Oregon. It received its name from Captain Benjamin Bonneville – a soldier, trader, and explorer. It consists of a navigation lock (raises and lowers river traffic 60 feet), Powerhouse 1 (completed in 1938), a spillway (moves excess water and provides for downstream migration of young fish), fish ladders (for upstream migrating adult fish), and Powerhouse 2 (completed in 1983). Bonneville Dam can produce 1,227,000 kilowatts of electricity when needed, and moving over 10 million tons of cargo through its lock annually. Visitors can experience first-hand the operation of two hydroelectric powerhouses and watch migrating fish travel upstream at the underwater viewing rooms next to the fish ladders. These ladders are necessary so adult fish can continue their journey upstream to their spawning grounds past the dam. Depending on the season, Pacific Salmon, Pacific Lamprey, American Shad, and Sturgeon can be seen. Bonneville Lock and Dam has several recreation areas offering fishing, hiking, boating, and wildlife viewing access. (Ranger-guided tours are run every 30 minutes)

Downtown Stevenson, Washington
Make a stop in Downtown Stevenson, where you can get a slice of what Stevenson is all about. Enjoy the many antique shops, historic buildings with vintage interiors, and beautiful, abundant gardens. Visit the boutiques and shops, restaurants, cafes, and convenience stores to treat yourself to a souvenir or a taste of the fine cuisine before heading to your next stop!

The Ultimate Pacific Northwest Experience

America’s Pacific Northwest includes some of the most exotic and desirable qualities of the country. Mountain ranges stretch as far as the eye can see; lush, green forests wrap delicately around the cool lakes, rivers meander through the region and rolling hills gradually merge into lively cities. Embark on a full day of exploration and experience everything that makes this region so unique.

Begin with a trip to Oregon’s tallest waterfall. Multnomah Falls offers a humbling view of a true natural wonder, a beautifully powerful waterfall cascading gracefully into a serene pool. Then, for a glimpse into something a bit more modern, a tour of the Bonneville Lock and Dam. Here, admire the rugged walls of the dam contrasted by the rapid waters, as the Columbia River pours through the region’s first hydro-power source. Then, journey through fertile valleys that wrap around the rocky peaks of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams on the “Fruit Loop,” a 35-mile scenic route filled with local orchards, vineyards, and fruit stands. Savor the fruits of the region with an all-American local lunch, resembling a Thanksgiving meal, at Parkdale Grange and hear about the fertile land in the Fruit Loop region.

To conclude the day, travel to Timberline Lodge, basked in beauty and sitting humbly in the shadows of Mt. Hood. Here, discover the history of the lodge and its workers and operations, as we are guided by an on-sight Park Ranger! As we make our way through this historic hotel, stand in the exact spot where President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a memorable speech in 1937. Complete your day while relaxing in the warmth of the great stone hearth fireplace, sipping on some of the finest beer and wine samplings found in the region, perfectly concluding a day in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

*Note: Due to its elevation, inclusion of the Timberline Lodge is dependent upon weather conditions. In the event that the roads are impassible, a substitution will be made.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
8.5 hours
Multnomah Falls and Vista House - Including the Old Scenic Highway

Just beyond Portland city limits, a breathtaking roadway stretches along America’s most scenic landscape. The Old Scenic Highway was built in 1913 and is known as one of the greatest engineering feats. The “King of Roads” weaves high into the bluffs towards Crown Point, through towering forest and breathtaking waterfalls. Before arriving at the Point, we’ll pull off the highway for scenic stop at the Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint. Here, guests can capture a perfect photo from the most widely photographed vantage point of the Columbia River Gorge below. As we reach our destination, aptly named for its unique formation and created over 14 million years ago by a lava flow, Crown Point offers a view fit for a king or queen.

At the height of the bluff sits Vista House, perched above the Columbia River. Vista House offers a panoramic view of the breathtaking Columbia River more than 700 feet below. Built in 1916 and known, not only for its magnificent views, but also for its unique octagonal shape. This overlook contains a gift shop and interpretive displays exhibiting the historic and geological points of interest in the area.

As we return to the Scenic Highway we will continue to Oregon’s highest waterfall, and perhaps the most picturesque, Multnomah Falls, where guests can get a breathtaking look at the waterfall and shop in the unique gift shop. This roaring 611-foot natural wonder demonstrates the power and beauty of nature in her rawest form. Watch in awe as this mighty waterfall crashes down on the rocky cliffs below, spraying a peaceful mist on all those surrounding. Continuing on the Scenic Highway, get a picture-perfect view of more waterfalls as they spring from the bluffs along the picturesque roadway and offer rare glimpses of these geological wonders.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
3.5 hours

Day 5: The Dalles, OR

The Dalles, OR

At the end of the overland Oregon Trail, The Dalles holds a unique place in history as a jumping-off spot for pioneers, soldiers, gold miners, adventurers, gun-slingers, floozies, and scallywags. Lewis and Clark camped at this location at Rock Fort Camp during their historic journey in 1805 and 1806. Fort Dalles was established in 1850. Oregon Trail pioneers ended their overland journey at The Dalles, forced to build rafts and take the “river road” west to Fort Vancouver, then into the Willamette River valley. Ten thousand years of Native American trading took place on the banks of the Columbia River, shaped by the Ice Age Missoula floods. The town was located at the foot of a series of dangerous rapids which the Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders called “The Dalles of the Columbia.”

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
Enjoy the beautiful, paved walking trails, a pond, and scenic overlooks. The Discovery Center is located in a beautiful and unique ecosystem native to the area. The multimedia, interactive museum inspires appreciation and stewardship of the natural and cultural treasures of the gorge and Wasco County. Exhibits focus on the volcanic upheaval and raging floods that shaped the gorge, the unique flora and fauna of the region, and 11,000 years of cultural history. In addition to touring the many fascinating exhibits, visitors can spend time viewing the museum’s incredible Raptor Program, with live birds of prey presented daily or take the pond walk and view the native plants.

Original Wasco County Courthouse Museum
In 1854, The Dalles was designated by the Territorial Legislature as the county seat of one of the largest counties ever formed in the United States. Wasco County extended from the crest of the Cascade Mountains to the Great Divide in the Rockies and encompassed 130,000 square miles. Construction began in 1858, under the supervision of Judge Orlando Humason, who was the first county judge and also the chairman of the Board of Commissioners. This small courthouse was used as a public meeting place, church services, as well as the seat of law for the county.

The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce
Discover the history of this historic and beautiful city. Use this opportunity to learn about the many attractions and buildings, and get a listing of the best places to grab a bite to eat, get a fine glass of wine, find a pharmacy, or do the most unique shopping. The friendly hosts will assist you in any way possible while informing you about their hometown.

Fort Dalles Museum
Located in the former fort’s Surgeon’s Quarters built in 1856, the Fort Dalles Museum opened in 1905, making it one of Oregon’s oldest history museums. Take a tour of the unique collection of pioneer and military artifacts at one of the old west’s most pivotal places in history. Enjoy walking on the grounds of this military fort and viewing the historic collection of wagons and antique vehicles. The collection holds over 30 wheeled vehicles, including a stage coach, road-building equipment, a covered wagon, two horse-drawn hearses, the Umatille House bus, and a surrey once owned by Oregon’s seventh governor, Zenas Ferry Moody. Explore the hand-hewn log buildings of the Anderson Homestead, including the pioneer house, granary, and barn.

Downtown Shopping
The Dalles Commercial Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Spend the day exploring this city’s extraordinary boutiques, exquisite cuisine, and beautiful historic structures. Walk the streets of this peaceful and quirky river-town and admire the intricate murals that line the walls and streets of The Dalles. A multitude of murals wrap around the city, depicting important moments in their history.

Day 6: Scenic River Cruising

Scenic River Cruising

Behold the beauty of nature as you enjoy a day of scenic river cruising. Picturesque canyon walls and fascinating volcanic formations will keep you guessing as to what lies around the next bend. As you wind through the dramatic mountains and forested ridges of the great Pacific Northwest, join our Riverlorian on-deck for insightful and entertaining narration.

For those guests seeking a bit of land adventure today, our premium shore excursion Pendleton and the Wild West is available for purchase.

Pendleton and the Wild West

Including Pendleton Woolen Mills Tours, Wild West Lunch, and Shopping Opportunities

Today's western adventure brings you to Pendleton, Oregon and highlights both the Native American heritage and cowboy culture of the west. A tour of Tamastslikt Cultural Institute on a Native American Reservation provides an in-depth look into the native traditions covering the past, present and future of the local tribes. Situated along the banks of the Umatilla River at the base of the Blue Mountains, Pendleton boasts a reputation of "The Real West" with the Main Street lined with western bronze statues. Pendleton's proximity to the Oregon Trail and early rail transportation made it a prime location for the Bishop Family to set up their textile industry.
 
Guests will tour Pendleton Woolen Mills and factory outlet store, established by the Bishop family in the late 1800s. A stop at the iconic Hamley Steakhouse satisfies the appetite with a delicious western lunch before enjoying a bit of leisurely time in downtown Pendleton. Hamley’s Western Store is the oldest western store in the United States. Browse through the nearby shops to see saddles, hats and western boots being hand crafted.
 
As a Wild West town, Pendleton was once the home of 32 saloons and 18 brothels. One of the old brothels will open just for you with an optional tour along with a peek at the Underground streets built by Chinese laborers at the turn of the 1900s. The Pendleton Round-Up Hall of Fame is your final stop and showcases the history of the country’s largest four-day rodeo. Exhibits at the Hall of Fame depict the exceptional men, women and livestock from the rodeo's 100 years of history. Wrap up your western adventure with a walk onto the grounds of the Pendleton Round-Up, the time-honored western tradition, bronco-busting rodeo competition.

Underground Tour Note: The activity level for the underground optional portion of the tour is listed as a level 4.  Because of their age and uneven surfaces, the underground optional portion of this tour is not recommended for guests with mobility issues.  Guests who do not wish to participate in the underground tours can enjoy time for shopping in downtown Pendleton or additional time at the Round-Up Hall of Fame.  

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
7.5 hours

Day 7: Richland, WA (Tri-Cities)

Richland, WA (Tri-Cities)

Richland is located near the confluence of the Yakima and Columbia Rivers, the northern most point reached by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805. First incorporated in 1910, Richland remained a small agricultural community until the Army acquired it and 670 square miles of adjacent land in 1943 as the site of the Hanford Engineer Works which was used to produce plutonium during World War II and the Cold War. Today, the historic B Reactor and other important historical venues are part of the new Manhattan Project National Historic Park. The city is also home to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a branch campus of Washington State University.

The REACH Museum (The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center)
In the year 2000, President Clinton established the 196,000-acre Hanford Reach National Monument, recognizing the historical, ecological, and scientific importance of the last free-flowing section of the mighty Columbia River. Today, The REACH stands as a gateway to the National Monument and a unique gathering place celebrating the stories of the Columbia River basin and its people. Using indoor and outdoor exhibits, The REACH teaches many stories of this interesting region. Learn the history and culture of this interesting river town through personal accounts and artifacts highlighting how the top-secret Manhattan Project transformed the mid- Columbia region during World War II. Discover how engineers at the Hanford Site raced to produce material for the nuclear weapons that ended the war, and see how Hanford’s nuclear legacy both threatens and helps protect this unique desert and river ecosystems today. Explore exhibits that display the giant lava flows and cataclysmic ice age floods that sculpted the river’s course. Spend the day exploring this 14,000-square-foot museum, enjoying the many permanent exhibits including The Land Takes Form, The Living Land, and Manhattan Project at Hanford: 1942-1947, and more. Outdoor exhibits include Community Garden, Native Plant Communities, Columbia Center Rotary Outdoor theater, and Animals of The REACH Interpretive Trail!

Sacajawea State Park
Sacajawea State Park is a 284-acre day-use park operated by the state of Washington and located at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers where Lewis and Clark arrived on October 16, 1805. An excellent interpretive center and museum features interactive displays that tell the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition through the experiences of Sacajawea, the young Shoshone Indian woman who accompanied the expedition. It is also the site of one of seven “confluence” installations designed by noted artist Maya Lin for the 2005 Lewis and Clark bicentennial.

Franklin County Historical Society and Museum
From the moment you enter the Franklin County Historical Museum you will be treated with true historical hospitality! Whether you choose to enjoy our collection of artifacts and information at your own pace or receive a personalized tour from one of our gracious tour guides, you will not be disappointed as you stroll through the history of our area. Marvel at the stunning architecture of the original Carnegie Library built in 1911 that proudly houses our museum. The lofty ceilings and beautifully restored ornate dark wood trim create an authentic period atmosphere. Our wide-ranging collection of historic artifacts, photographs and information help tell the story of the unique history of Franklin County. Learn about the role of the Northern Pacific Railroad in founding the city of Pasco, the county’s rich and very diverse agricultural history, the effects of three merging rivers on the local economy, and the growth of the area due to WWI and WWII. Franklin County Historical Society and Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving Franklin county’s unique history. Take time during your visit to stop in our unique gift shop stocked with Washington and area souvenirs that will be sure to provide the perfect keepsake of your trip or gift for friends and family. Plan to visit us during your stop in the Tri-cities to experience historical hospitality at its finest!

Pasco Farmers Market
Established in 1988, the Pasco Farmers Market is located in the heart of downtown Pasco, Washington. From May to October, local vendors and businesses sell farm-fresh produce, hand-crafted products, prepared food, and beverages every Saturday from 8:00 AM - Noon. The market is also a place to celebrate the diversity of the local communities through live music, entertainment, and events. Expect to find fresh, locally-grown produce, beef, poultry, eggs, plants and flowers, honey, wine, bread, pastries, cookies, kettle corn, espresso, hand-crafted goods and more – all under covered pavilions for shopping in any weather!

The Plutonium Age: Uncovering the Secrets of the Manhattan Project

Including Exclusive Access into Hanford's B-Reactor

The year was 1939. The world was in the midst of a global war, and the need for a nuclear device capable of great destruction grew in intensity with each passing day, as the United States believed it to be the only way to secure safety against Germany, which scientist Albert Einstein said was close to a breakthrough. Scientists joined together in an office just outside of Manhattan, New York, and began to collaborate and create the plans of what would eventually be referred to as the “Manhattan Project.”

The plan was to find a way to successfully harness the power of nuclear fission; the splitting of atomic nucleus. It was believed that both uranium and plutonium could be used to fuel a powerful nuclear weapon. Within months, three massive facilities were constructed in various parts of the United States and thousands of workers were recruited, most right out of high school. One of the most influential of these facilities was the Hanford Site, built on 586 square miles of Washington state land.

Today, join us for an EXCLUSIVE experience as we travel behind the gates of the infamous B-Reactor National Historic Landmark at the Hanford Site. An experience that has never been permitted before and has been crafted specifically for American Empress guests. Our journey will begin as we arrive at the Hanford REACH Museum, where we will enjoy an “official” boxed lunch, much like the one thousand workers would receive at the site each day. As we eat, our guide will share some background about the Manhattan Project at Hanford. After exploring the exhibits and displays in the museum, we will make our way to the Hanford Site and B-Reactor.

As we travel along the barren fields on the way to the facility, imagine you are a recruit on the way to your new clandestine job to help end the war. Billboards with messages reminding workers, “If you hear or see anything, keep it to yourself,” lined the roads. Envision the feeling of living in a country threatened by war and relive the desire felt by each American who wanted to help the war effort. The facility would be heavily protected by security gates, guards, and checkpoints.

As we arrive at Hanford, take in the sheer size of what was once located here. The facility originally consisted of more than 30 buildings and 20 service facilities. From 1969 through 2006, all the buildings were dismantled and removed, except for the B-Reactor and its cooling stack. Marvel at the beauty of the landscape, the engineering, and the imagination of what occurred in this area, unlike nowhere else in the world.

As we enter the B-Reactor building, where workers successfully created the plutonium used to fuel the “Fat Man” bomb, admire the remarkable and precise engineering of the plant. A knowledgeable historian will explain the function and purpose of each portion of the reactor, while sharing stories of the men and women who built and operated it.

Our experience will conclude as we take a few minutes to explore the reactor, one of the key assets toward the end of World War II, which ended in 1945. This special tour and experience covers the unique history, the emerging science, and the global politics of the World War II era. Join us on this one-of-a-kind excursion to discover the secrets that were hidden for so many years.

Note: There are items that are prohibited on this tour because of government regulations. These include all weapons, ammunition, explosives. However, cell phones, cameras, and recording equipment ARE ALLOWED on the tour. B-Reactor is in “interim safe storage” status and has been deemed radiologically safe for visitors to tour the site. This tour will be offered from mid-May until October.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
5 hours
Wine and Spirits on Red Mountain

Embark on a journey through the Red Mountain Viticulture Area. Generally recognized as one of the Northwest’s best suited regions to grow wine grapes, we’ll lead you on a tour of the area with samplings of the wines borne from their fruits along the way. Discover the history of the Red Mountain area and the contributions of wine production in the Pacific Northwest. A visit to Desert Wind Winery will provide stunning views, before continuing on to Black Heron Spirits. Following Black Heron Spirits, our journey will continue as we make our way to Kiona Vineyards and Winery, a family run vineyard.

Take in the beautiful views of the surrounding areas, as you spend the day discovering the history of the Red Mountain Viticulture area. Enjoy samples of some of the finest wines in the region. We will visit to Desert Wind Winery, which lies on the Wahluke Slope and ranges in elevation from approximately 800 - 1,000 feet. Its rocky soil is covered by shallow topsoil; the unique soil makeup places extra stress on the vines, forcing them to funnel energy into fruit production instead of excessive vegetation. The fruit from this vineyard is highly pigmented with firm tannins that lend structure to the resulting wines. At Black Heron Spirits, a unique and quirky distillery, guests can explore the facility and taste their specialty whiskey and spirits.

We will also make our way to Kiona Vineyards and Winery, a family run vineyard featuring the flavors and varieties of the Pacific Northwest region. While soaking in the stunning scenery surrounding the vineyard, sip on the robust and vibrant wine selections. Discover the history of the vineyard as our knowledgeable guide shares the stories of how this local winery has made its name and its plans for future production.

Each location offers the opportunity to purchase wines to be enjoyed on the ship with dinner or for a perfect memento of your trip to share with family and friends back home. Ask your Shore Excursion Specialist about travel pouches for your precious cargo.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
3.5 hours

Day 8: Clarkston, WA

Clarkston, WA

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. The picturesque vistas, year-round mild climates, and a deep history make this scenic inland port a more-than-desirable stop! Spend the day following the footsteps of the historic Lewis and Clark journey – where the city received its name. This incredible city is filled with artifacts and stories that depict the journeys of famous explorers. Clarkston has the ideal climate for visitors to enjoy countless activities including fishing, scenic walks along the trails, shopping, and exploring!

Nez Perce National Historical Park
The park was established in 1965 to tell the story of the Nez Perce people. Capturing the history and culture of the Nez Perce, it is spread over four states. Discover how the people adapted and thrived allowing them to continue to prosper today. The park commemorates the admirable contributions the Nez Perce have made to preserve the sites, artifacts, and stories. Learn the full story and the role they played in shaping the future generations in culture and tradition. Explore the park’s many collections and the research center to hear more about this interesting and innovative group of people.

First Territorial Capitol Interpretive Center
In 2007, community volunteers constructed this reproduction of Idaho Territory’s first capital. e 1863 building was replicated from historical photos and houses a collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. As you explore the interpretive center, local historians will interpret Idaho’s colorful past. Walk through and learn the history of the town and learn the legacies of the people who have lived here.

Bridablik/Schroeder House
In 1906, local architect James Arnot, who also designed buildings on Lewiston’s Main Street, drew the plans for this $6,000 Tudoresque home. Kjos, an early merchant, named his home “Bridablik,” which loosely translates from Norwegian as “the house up high with a broad view.” In 1910 Mr. Kjos moved to Spokane, Washington, and sold this house to E.A. White. White made many upgrades to the home, including the addition of five bathrooms, a sleeping porch on the second story, and upgrading the house from coal to gas in 1924. The home was sold three more times until Larry and Kathy Schroeder purchased the home in 2006. They have fully restored the home and were awarded two City of Lewiston Historic Preservation Orchid Awards for their work.

Nez Perce Historical Society and Museum
Preserves 150 years of the county’s rich history through a historical campus that includes museum exhibits, a historic photograph collection, archives, a research library, and a beautiful historic house. Some of the incredible exhibits include, The Meeting of Two Cultures, about Lewis & Clark and the Nez Perce people; Spirit and Victory on the Homefront, that shares the Nez Perce County experience during the World Wars; and Rivers Run Through It, describing life and recreation on local rivers. The museum store has local and regional history books, souvenirs, and handmade artisan items available for purchase. After exploring the main museum, visitors are encouraged to tour the 1897 Heritage House, which illustrates an early Lewiston residence and life in a developing Western town in the early 1900s. The museum stands at the former site of Lewiston’s first permanent building, the Luna House. The Luna House served as a hotel, stage stop, and county courthouse and jail. The hotel was torn down in 1890. The current Art Deco style building was constructed in 1937 by the Works Progress administration as an office building and was converted into the Luna House Museum in the 1970s. Later, the Historical Society changed its name to better identify itself as the institution that is preserving Nez Perce County history.

Hells Canyon Scenic Jet Boat Experience

Join us for an exclusive American Empress nature adventure into Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest gorge. Feel your excitement rise as you step aboard these covered, comfortable jet boats approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Sit back on this exhilarating ride as we venture through the narrowest sections of Hells Canyon along the Snake River. Soak in the overwhelmingly beautiful mountains lining the banks of the Snake River. Often, Big Horn sheep, deer, and other native wildlife meander along the canyon and river banks. Hear about Hells Canyon in detail, including the detailed history and geology of this natural wonder of the world.

As an extra bonus, guests will enjoy a stop at the Idaho Garden Creek Ranch, 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 simply sit back and take in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature’s landscape that surrounds you.

Note: Jet boats are generally enclosed and contain onboard bathroom facilities. All boats are inspected by the United States Coast Guard and are driven by licensed captains. This is a scenic jet boat experience and does not include white water rapids.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4.75 hours

Day 9: Clarkston, WA

Arrival 8:00 AM
Clarkston, WA

Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future. Enjoy Clarkston at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer. 

Post-Cruise: Spokane City Tour Including Bing Crosby's Home

Enjoy the sights and attractions of Spokane, Washington, hometown of American superstar, Bing Crosby. Begin the day learning about the rich history, historic homes, and attractions of Spokane. Hear about where the city began as you travel along the Spokane River and Riverfront Park, former grounds of Expo ‘74.

Take a ride on the historic 1909 Looff Carrousel, rated “One of the Ten Best Carousels in the United States” by the National Carousel Association. Visit the Spokane Falls which is the centerfold of the park. Then, ascend up “The Hill” for views of the city and stunning mansions. Learn about the unique geology that shaped the region from the massive basalt flows to the Cataclysmic Ice Age Flood. Discover Manito Park, rated one of the “Top 25 Attractions in the US” by Trip Advisor. Stroll through the formal Duncan Gardens, Joel Ferris Perennial Gardens, Rose Gardens and flower-filled Conservatory. In historic Browne’s Addition, listen to stories about the early founders of Spokane and see the mansions built in the late 1800’s by those who gained wealth from mining, agriculture, and railroads.  

Near Gonzaga University, tour inside the childhood home of Bing Crosby and see the collection of Crosby Memorabilia, second only to Kathryn Crosby’s collection, and hear about his remarkable career that started in Spokane. 

At the conclusion of this tour guests will arrive at the Official Post-Cruise Hotel or the Spokane International Airport (Book flights after 3:00 PM).

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
6 hours