Roundtrip Vancouver, WA (Portland)

Fares from $1,099
Zoom map

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: Embark - Vancouver, WA

Departure 6:00 PM
Embark - 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!

Riverwalk
A four-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. Guest 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 truss bridge in the world, 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.

Flavel House and Carriage House Museum
The Flavel House stands proudly as a monument of national significance. As a perfectly preserved example of Queen Anne architecture, this historic abode was once the home of Captain George Flavel, one of Astoria’s most influential citizens in the late 1800s. Guests can tour this 11,000 square foot elegant mansion as well as the detached Carriage House Museum and Visitor’s Center. This home was owned by Captain George Flavel, a noted pilot on the Columbia River and a prominent businessman, in the late 1800’s. It was built in a Queen Anne style by German architect Carl W. Leick in 1886. The home remained in the family for 7 years until George and Mary’s granddaughter, Patricia gave the property to the city as a memorial to her family in 1934. From 1937 through WWII, the Public Welfare Commission, the Red Cross, and the local Welfare commission all had their offices in the home. Inside the 11,600 square foot home, there are two and a half stories. There are six unique fireplaces throughout and the ceilings reach 14 feet on the first floor. On the second floor, the ceilings are embellished with plaster medallions and crown molding.

Astoria Column
Sits 600 feet above sea level and boasts an incredible 360-degree view. Guests who are up to the challenge can climb the 164-step spiral staircase to the top of this spire for a majestic observation point, or remain on the ground to examine the ornate murals depicting 14 significant events from Oregon’s history. 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, Atillio Pusterla who donated the piece to Astoria in July of 1926. It was modeled after the columns in Rome and features hand-painted spiral frieze work that would stretch over 500 feet if it were to be unwound.

Heritage Museum
Learn the history and culture of Oregon through their permanent and alternating exhibit galleries that beautifully capsulate the exciting history and culture of Oregon and the Columbia River. Located within Astoria’s Old City Hall building, this neoclassical structure pays tribute to the hunters, loggers and fishermen that forged this new territory and depicts the history of this frontier town. This neoclassical structure was designed by Portland architect, Emil Schacht in 1904, originally intended to be Astoria’s City Hall building. Now it hosts both the Historical Society’s Archive and the Local History Museum. Inside, displays include a 1,000 year old hunting implement, fine 19th century Chinook and Clatsop Indian baskets, and a sea otter pelt and beaver hat. These artifacts, among many others, are used to help depict the history of this intensely interesting city.

Columbia River Maritime Museum
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! (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 overlooking the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. It was at this site where the American Pioneer’s 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 staring 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 the American Queen Steamboat Company. (A $14.95 value)

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests
Astoria Ale Trail

Oregon breweries are recognized across the world for their quality and originality. Begin with a walk along the scenic Astoria Riverwalk, enjoying stunning views of the Columbia River. Our local guide will navigate us to three of Astoria's finest breweries, where you'll raise your glass to enjoy some innovative and exciting brews. Taste the creative variety of local beer at three Astoria breweries, where samples of various styles of beers and ales provide a spirited taste of this region’s rising brewery industry.

This beer-soaked day begins with a guided tour of Buoy Beer, located in an old cannery on the historic Astoria Riverwalk. The company began when Luke Colvin and his brother-in-law, Dan Hamilton, pitched their dream of opening a brewery to a few close friends. They worked together to completely renovate the cannery, to create a welcoming and unique atmosphere overlooking the Columbia River. After carefully testing and perfecting their brews, the team opened their doors in 2014. Today, Buoy Beer is a staple brewery in Astoria, offering delicious and unique beer in a friendly, eccentric atmosphere.

Then, travel to The Wet Dog, a cozy café and brewery situated on the bluffs of the Columbia River, offering stunning riverfront views from the pub’s deck. Here, enjoy a guided tour of the facility in addition to a wide variety of handcrafted beers, which feature an extensive range of hops and grains that produce unique, refreshing flavors. Don’t leave before trying “Strawberry Blonde,” which attributes its light pink hue to the barley, wheat, and 90 pounds of strawberries!

Our day will conclude at Fort George Brewery and Public House, a quirky and inventive brewery housed in a rehabilitated automotive service station. Fort George brews offer exciting flavors such as coffee stout and wasabi-flavored ginger ale or the local favorite, “The Quick Wit,” a Belgian-styled ale made with organic pale and wheat malts, ground coriander, and lemongrass. Taste the distinctive flavors that set this brewery apart from many contenders.

In addition to beer, each pub offers light snacks to pair with your brews. There are also souvenirs, T-shirts, and collectibles for purchase as a memory of your journey through some of Oregon’s most iconic breweries! Note: Guests must be 21 years or older in order to participate in this tour.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
3 hours
Tour Capacity
20 guests
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
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4 hours
Tour Capacity
6 guest minimum - 12 guest maximum

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
Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, the Interpretive Center brings life to human stories of natural history in our nation’s most compelling landscape. Here, guests can learn the local story of the geography and culture of the region and catch an under-water glimpse of spawning salmon passing through the fish ladders. Exhibits celebrate 15,000 years of history. 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. Enjoy the indoor waterfall and the many artifacts on display!

Bonneville Dam
The Bonneville Dam, completed in 1938, is a hydroelectric generator for the surrounding cities. Guests can enjoy a self-guided tour of this powerhouse as they learn about its progression and improvements over time, the exhausting build project that encountered numerous obstacles due to the unique geology of the area and the unique way the dam assists spawning salmon pass through the dam. Witness the ingenious apparatus that allows the salmon population to thrive in the salmon ladder viewing area and learn about the importance of this invention. 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 two powerhouses, the first one began construction in 1933 and the second in 1974. Combined, the facilities cost about $752.4 million in total, but produce 1,227,000 Kilowatts. The walls of this massive dam rise to 2,000 feet above the lake. Visitors can experience firsthand the operation of two of the Nation’s largest hydroelectric powerhouse and watch migrating fish travel upstream at the underwater viewing rooms next to the fish ladders. These ladders are necessary so that adult fish can continue their journey’s upstream and return to their spawning grounds past the dam. Depending on the season, different fish will be found migrating upstream due to the separation of mating seasons. Bonneville Lock and Dam houses four recreational areas – a fishing area, fish hatchery, trails, and a visitor’s center.

Downtown Stevenson, Washington
Guests can hop off here and enjoy the various local specialty shops and boutiques lining the streets. Make a stop to 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

Known as the end of the Oregon Trail, The Dalles has long been a destination point for pioneers and adventurers alike. Located on the south bank of the Columbia River between Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, the city's rich history dates back thousands of years to the Native American trading which took place right on the banks of the river. Explore the history that weaves through the town at every stop, discover the art that lines each of the streets, and taste the culinary expertise at some of the town’s most popular cuisine restaurants!

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
A winner of the American Institute of Architects Honor Award for its beautiful design, the Columbia Gorge Discover Center offers a multimedia, interactive museum that will inspire a broad appreciation of natural and cultural treasures of the Gorge and beyond. Collections include hundreds of American Indian baskets, photo archives and breathtaking views of the surrounding flora and fauna of the surrounding landscape. 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 created the Gorge, the unique flora and fauna of the region, and eleven thousand years of cultural history. In addition to touring the many fascinating exhibits, visitors can spend time viewing films in the theater located on site as well as exploring the museum’s incredible Raptor Interpretive Program, where live raptor shows where live birds of prey are showcased daily.

Original Courthouse Museum
This historic building was built in 1859 and is known as the first courthouse of the Rocky Mountains. Here guests can experience exhibits showcasing the history and culture of the local region and explore the courthouse. 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 begun in 1958, 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, or do the most unique shopping. The friendly hosts will assist you in any way possible while informing you about their hometown with different exhibits and models.

Fort Dalles Museum and Interpretive Center
An original military base built in the 1800’s. Guest can experience unique collections of military and pioneer artifacts as well as the historic wagons that brought early settlers to the Oregon Trail’s last stop. Located in a former Dalles’ Surgeon’s Quarters and is one of Oregon’s oldest history museums, it first opened its doors in 1905. Take a tour of the unique collection of pioneer and military artifacts and antique wagons at one of the old west’s most pivotal places in history. Enjoy the views of the exhibits and walking on the grounds of this military fort. Fort Dalles Museum houses a historic collection of wagons and antique vehicles. The collection holds over 30 wheeled vehicles, including a stage coach, buses, road-building equipment, a covered wagon, two horse-drawn hearses, and two surreys, one of which was owned by Oregon Governor, Zenas Moody.

The Dalles Fire Museum
Located in City Hall, this museum was completed in August of 2009. The museum was curated by the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in cooperation with the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue District in partnership with the city of The Dalles. Tour the facility to learn more about the history and see some incredible artifacts and photos.

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 total of 15 murals wrap around the city, depicting important moments in their history – 13 of these murals include a “voice box” that allows visitors to hear the history of the city as they soak in the beauty of the artwork.

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: Disembark - Vancouver, WA

Arrival 8:00 AM
Disembark - Vancouver, WA

Disembark the American Empress and make your way home from your authentic Pacific Northwest experience or consider extending your stay in Portland, Oregon with our three day, two night Rose City Stay package.