Roundtrip Vancouver, WA (Portland)

Fares from $1,099
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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 of 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.

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


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 Fall 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)

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.

$69 per guest
4 hours
Tour Capacity
100 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.

$139 per guest
4 hours
Tour Capacity
6 guest minimum - 12 guest maximum

Day 3: Columbia Gorge River Cruising/Thanksgiving Day

Columbia Gorge River Cruising/Thanksgiving Day

Surround yourself with a whole new list of things to be thankful for as you enjoy a special afternoon of river cruising through the pristine Pacific Northwest on Thanksgiving Day. Relax indoors or on deck to delight in the natural, awe-inspiring beauty of the spectacular scenery and iconic Columbia River Gorge.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Surrounded by elegant décor and new friends, you’ll have a deep appreciation for all your many blessings as you indulge in a delectable Thanksgiving dinner in the elegant Astoria Dining Room. Whether you fancy a traditional turkey dinner with all of the trimmings or perhaps something a bit different to change up your holiday on the river, your dining experience will be equally delightful. 

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!

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.

$59 per guest
3.5 hours
Tour Capacity
100 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.