Roundtrip Vancouver, WA (Portland)

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Cruise Summary

WELCOME TO THE MAGNIFICENT PACIFIC NORTHWEST - This voyage through the Pacific Northwest shows you the bounty and beauty of nature, as well as the history and heritage of the people who inhabited this diverse region. The Cascade Range separates the dense forests of the coastal regions of Washington and Oregon from the arid rolling hills and wine country the Red Mountain region. You will experience both climates on this voyage sailing west via the scenic Columbia River Gorge, the only break in the Cascades between British Columbia and Southern Oregon. At each port, you can embrace the culture and history of this region on an included shore excursion. 

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

Premium Shore Excursions:
• See ports of call below for the options available to you. Click Here to learn more and to place reservations.
 

Please note that this departure does not include a pre-night hotel stay.

Itinerary

Vessel: American Empress



Day 1: Vancouver, WA

Departure 6:00 PM
Vancouver, WA

Board the American Empress in beautiful Vancouver, WA and settle in for your magnificent Spring journey through the great Pacific Northwest. 

Day 2: 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)

Day 3: 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!

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
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
3.5 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests

Day 4: 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.

Sunshine Mill Winery
The Sunshine Mill once milled wheat on this property for more than 130 years, and was the first building in The Dalles to have electricity, powered by a Thomas Edison Motor which can still be seen in the mill. It is also the only designated skyscraper in the Columbia River Gorge. The Sunshine Biscuit Company once owned this property and the wheat milled here was used to make everyone’s favorite cracker, the Cheez-It! Today, the abandoned wheat mill is now a state-of-the-art boutique winery and home of Copa Di Vino – a unique invention by entrepreneur and wine enthusiast, James Martin. Stroll across the grounds and discover the Sunshine Mill winery, where owners James and Molli invite you to enjoy tasting or have a glass of wine in the courtyard. (Opens at 11:00 AM)

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.

High Octane Antiques: The Western Aeroplane and Automobile Museum

Today’s tour takes guests back in time. A time when flight was a novelty rather than a daily mode of transportation and when the automobile required a crank and power steering was almost a century away.

Embark 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 restoration work shop where these antique modes of transportation are brought back to life. The pilots take these tributes to America’s history to the air as often as they can and proudly maintain them in full working order.

Uncover the story of young Silas Christofferson and his monumental flight off the top of the 12-story Multnomah Hotel in 1912 in his handmade plane and then get a first-hand look at that very plane. 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? Guests will be able to ride around the property in an authentic Model T!

Experience Enhancement Option-High Octane Antiques and Private Plane Ride Bundle: Private Plane Ride
Enjoy the full tour of the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, as outlined above, but with an added twist—a private ride in a Cessna aircraft over Mt. Hood! Your 40 minute private ride is guided by a fully qualified pilot and includes up-close views of Mt. Hood, glimpses of Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainer and on a clear day you’ll get a birds-eyeview of Mt. Saint Helens. 

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
3.5 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests
Art of the Dalles: From Maryhill Museum to the Vineyard

An elaborate dream of the eccentric Samuel Hill, the Maryhill Museum is perched prominently atop the bluffs overlooking the meandering Columbia River. With Mt. Hood stretching high into the horizon, the Maryhill Art Museum offers incredible views as well as an expansive art museum.

The extensive and eclectic collections of the Maryhill Museum of Art are beyond the wildest dreams and vary from highlights of local, indigenous peoples to international works of art. Their permanent collection includes pieces from Auguste Rodin, artifacts donated from Hill’s close friend, Marie the Queen of Romania as well as exhibits on the eccentric Samuel Hill himself. There is an inspiring garden sculpture collection as well as rotating local exhibits.

Step outside the doors of the expansive museum and onto the overlook veranda. Stretching over the sides of the gorge, the views from the Maryhill veranda are some of the very best of the entire week. With the river flowing below, the sun catches the cliffs and bluffs and dances beautifully through the vineyards below. Just off into the distance, Mt. Hood stands prominently, as if guarding the valley below.

Before departing Maryhill Museum, we will visit the re-constructed Stonehenge. Positioned on the edges of the gorge, this engineered Stonehenge was built in 1918 by Samuel Hill to resemble the imagined original construction as a memorial to those who perished in World War I. A beautiful and dramatic vantage point of the gorge below and a distinct reminder of how one man put his mark on the landscape of the area will leave you asking, “What in the Sam Hill?”

Our day will conclude at the stunning Jacob Williams Winery. The winery offers a picture perfect location to sample their award winning and locally made wines within their family-owned facility. Relax, sit back, and soak up the incredible views of Mt. Hood, the Columbia River, orchards, vineyards and the rolling hills of Oregon as you sip samples of wine deliciously crafted from the local vines.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
3.5 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 5: Vancouver, WA

Arrival 8:00 AM
Vancouver, 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 Vancouver at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.