Day 2 Astoria / Ft Clatsop
Dock in charming, Victorian downtown Astoria, then youre off to Ft. Clatsop, the winter fort of the 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition. Check out the exhibits and follow trails to the replica fort or take a low- /no-elevation walk from the visitor center to view replica dugout canoes. For a longer but easy hike, a one-mile trail along the Lewis and Clark River leads to an outdoor viewing area. Hard chargers can take a 7-mile, one-way hike on the Fort to Sea Trail through forest, fields, and dunes. Everyone experiences Ft. Clatsop and beach walks. Back downtown, explore on your own, walk the waterfront trail, and/or visit the Astoria Column. Afterward, set sail upriver and see what delectable treats your chef and crew have in store for the eveninga nibble from a local harvest, a special pairing perhaps?
Popular Stops Along The Way
There is an abundant amount of scenic stops along the Columbia River. Most cruise lines offer a 3-day, 5-day, or 8-day to make sure you have an experience of a lifetime.
1. Mount Saint Helens Experience
Mount Saint Helens is easily the most popular experience. The local guide takes you an extraordinary journey back in time. Learn about how the volcano explosion help develop the local communities for generations to come.
2. Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls is the most visited waterfall in all of the Pacific Northwest. The elongated double waterfall makes it a popular destination among tourists and locals. Enjoy an onshore experience and dont forget to pack your camera, you are going to want to show pictures to your loved ones.
3. Columbia River Gorge
Explore the nationally protected vistas of the gorge on foot. Everything from hidden waterfalls, epic cliffs, to breath taking meadows the gorge is truly a symbol of natural beauty. To get the best view of the gorge take an onshore hike to the Vista House at Crown Point. There are also various water sport activities like windsurfing.
4. Portland, Oregon
Portland is a popular destination stop offered by all cruise lines. Situated in the northwest of the state of Oregon and around the waters of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Portland is the perfect place to explore.
The best way to explore Portland is to hop on a tram and take it around the city.
What Sets Us Apart
Complimentary & Inclusive
Immerse yourself in our onboard and onshore Columbia & Snake River experiences while cruising to the most fascinating destinations, and we will take care of the rest. Enjoy our complimentary offerings, including breakfast room service, some onshore excursions, all gourmet meals, evening cocktails, and more. All tips and gratuities are included with your cruise reservation.
An American Experience
We build, flag, and crew our ships right here in the United States. Our pride in the All-American experience we provide is the backdrop and ode to the historic destinations we visit, especially the Pacific Northwest where Lewis and Clark took to the region to find the legendary “Northwest Passage.”
Along with the most spacious staterooms in the industry, you will experience breathtaking views and unobstructed scenery on your private balcony. In the Pacific Northwest, you will see the Columbia River Gorge, Mount St. Helens, and other incredible scenery on these magnificent rivers up-close.
World Class Cuisine
The Pacific Northwest produces some of the tastiest seafood and exquisite wines. From salmon to pinot noir grapes, our master chefs have curated a custom Columbia & Snake Rivers inspired menu to make your onboard experience even more special and personalized.
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What Ports Are Included On A Columbia And Snake River Cruise
Riverboats cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers this year are American Song, American Harmony, American Pride and American West.
Port stops along the 8-Day Columbia & Snake Rivers cruises include:
- Embarkation at Hayden Island/Portland, OR
- A day cruising the Columbia River Gorge/Stevenson, WA
- The Dalles/Hood River, OR
- A day Jet boat cruising on the Snake River
American Cruise Lines operate a total of 15 ships, all accommodating only 100-190 passengers, cruising more than 35 itineraries in 34 states.
Im the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breathstop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.
Portland Oregon / Embark Ship
Arrive in Portland located on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in the shadow of snow-capped Mt. Hood, by early afternoon. The city is known for its ecofriendliness, microbreweries, and coffeehouses. This afternoon board our ship and discover why Portland is nicknamed Bridgetown as we sail under eight of the citys 12 eclectic bridges along the Willamette River, the first of five rivers you will encounter on this voyage.
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Day 4 Mount St Helens Wa
Perhaps the most impactful of all landmarks in the region is Mount St. Helens. From high on an overlook, bear witness to the awesome power of the volcano whose eruption in 1980 scorched 230 square miles of forest land and forever changed the landscape. Expert guides will show you the pumice plain and lava dome as they explain the effect the volcano had on the lives of those in the surrounding towns.
May 18, 1980 is a day etched into the history of the United States, as the powerful eruption of Mont St. Helens drastically changed the landscape of what is now referred to as the National Volcanic Monument. On your scenic journey to the Mount St. Helens Johnston Ridge Observatory, your tour guide will provide engaging commentary regarding the eruption, how it affected the landscape and surrounding communities, and how the environment has responded naturally to the disturbance. The Observatory itself is on a bluff near the crater, offering spectacular view of the pumice plain and blast site.
Day 7 Pendleton Or / Richland Wa
Pendleton is known for its beautiful countryside, indigenous Native American tribes, and the network of underground tunnels created a century ago for illicit activities. The area is also famous for its lucrative wool trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. Visit The REACH Museum in Richland which illustrates the culture and history of the region through engaging exhibits, artifacts, and tours.
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Highlights Of The Columbia River
Portland to Portland
Duration: 5 Days
Experience the best this region has to offer, even if you dont have time to book a longer cruise. Starting and ending in Portland, this cruise includes stops along the Columbia River in Astoria, Stevenson and a special day trip to Mount St. Helens, where youll learn about the effects of the volcanos eruption in 1980 while taking in the incredible views from the observatory on a bluff near the crater. No trip to the area is complete without a walk along the Benson Bridge to Multnomah Falls, one of North Americas tallest waterfalls. Onboard features include a putting green, cocktail hour each evening, and locally sourced, fine dining, including fresh seafood.
For the best views, book the Grand Suite, which features 270 degrees of floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Enjoy breakfast or a cocktail as you watch the sunset from your private wraparound balcony, and with a separate living room area, youll have plenty of room to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
Best Columbia River Cruises
It might not be quite as long as the Missouri River or the Mississippi River, but the Columbia is still one of North America’s most iconic and exceptional rivers. Starting in British Columbia, Canada and flowing for 1,243 miles in total before reaching the Pacific Ocean along the border between Oregon and Washington State, the Columbia is the biggest river in the Pacific Northwest. We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
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Day 7 Rowena Plateau / Columbia River Gorge
Lava flows, floods, and volcanic ash deposits shaped the Rowenasheer cliffs, basalt landforms, wide-stretching plateaus. At Rowena Overlook, its boots-on-the-ground exploration. Opt for a 2-mile round trip hike to the crest of Tom McCall Nature Preserve. Your reward: expansive views in every directionincluding the river far below. Or, choose the steeper, 3.6-mile round trip Tom McCall Point trail. On a cloudless day, your effort gaining 1,000 feet of elevation pays off with views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River GorgeOUS! Cheers to adventure, wine, and your week aboard! Wrap it up cruising through the Columbia River Gorge and popping a few corks at the Farewell Dinner.
Columbia And Snake River Wine Cruise
Clarkston, Wa to Vancouver, Wa.
Duration: 9 Days
The complex and unique bioclimate of the Pacific Northwest makes it a perfect area for growing wine grapes – and also helps make this river cruise the perfect trip for wine experts and amateurs alike. Learn from two onboard sommeliers and a certified wine expert as you travel from Clarkston to Vancouver and visit some of the best boutique wineries along the way. In between tastings and libations, theres still plenty of time to explore the breathtaking scenery with day trips planned to the Lewis River Valley and Sacajawea State Park, or book a tour of the Red Mountain Viticulture Area and visit a local family-run winery to enjoy a little bit of both.
Just make sure youre back on board in time for the sommelier-guided paired dinners and the dessert-wine pairings. For some serious luxury, make sure you book the Commodore Services, which include packing and unpacking your luggage, in-suite afternoon tea, and special after-dinner treats in your suite, aka the sweetest way to end each day of your trip.
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American River Cruises Kicks Off 2022 Season In Pacific Northwest
Cruise Line & Cruise ShipAmerican Cruise LinesLaurie Baratti May 16, 2022
American Cruise Lines today announced that its 2022 river cruise season in the Pacific Northwest, sailing the Columbia and Snake Rivers, has officially begun. Last month, the company celebrated the start of the season by debuting a new cruise dock in Kalama, Washington, which was constructed through a partnership with the Port of Kalama.
This year, four of American Cruise Lines riverboats will be exploring the Columbia and Snake Rivers between Hayden Island/Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington and the line has plans to add a fifth vessel in the region next year.
The current quartet of modern river-going vesselsAmerican Song, American Harmony, American Pride and American Westwill offer three different itineraries along these historic waterways.
Sailing between Hayden Island/Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington, a classic, eight-day Columbia & Snake Rivers cruise, and a lengthier, 11-day Northwest Pioneers Cruise and a five-day Highlights of the Columbia River cruise that sails roundtrip from Portland.
For more information, visit americancruiselines.com.
Day 6 Deschutes River Or Wine & Bike Tour
River play is on the agenda todaywhichever option you pick, start with a shallow wet landing on the beach. Choose whitewater with a Deschutes rafting adventure. Class II and III+ rapids come with names like Elevator and Surf City. Rafting guides provide the gear and expertise your ships chef provides the picnic lunch. Stick to dry land and visit Columbia Hills State Park on foot or, if weather permits, by skiff. Take a dip in a lazy section of the river, and let the sunshine dry you off after a swim. * Select dates later in the season include a guided wine and bike tour in Hood River with farm to table lunch or wine tour & tasting at Maryhill winery. Swap stories with your shipmates over sunset cocktails and appetizers.
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Activities On A Columbia River Cruise
There are plenty of activities on the cruise for you to enjoy. Live entertainment music in genres ranging from jazz, country & blues, and rock & roll.
Test your golf skills at the onboard putting green, challenge yourself in the fitness center, or even take a visit to the spa for a deep relaxation experience.
Exploring The Palouse River
The still water of the Palouse River is the perfect mirror for the surrounding basalt cliffs as we set off cruising on our Zodiac and kayak adventures . Visit Palouse Falls, where cascading waters plunge 198 feet into the pool below. These falls and the canyon are an important feature of the channeled scablands created by the great Missoula Floods that swept periodically across the region. Afterward, sail up the Snake River, enjoying a taste of local specialties.
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Day 4 Walla Walla Washington
Start the day cruising the famed Wallula Gap. Todays theme is all things Walla Walla including nibbles from visits with an olive oil maker, a local chocolatier, and makers of hand-cured meats and sauces. For lunch, try culinary delights that are truly of the area at the historic Gesa Power House Theatre or other local venue. With local bites come local sips and time to stretch your legs. Tour and taste at family-owned Dunham Cellars. In historic downtown Walla Walla, visit multi-media artist Squire Broels studio and stroll downtown with your guides where boutique shops and over 30 tasting rooms await. Bellies full, the afternoon is perfect for easy cruising in the most unique river system in the nation. Join your guides for interpretive presentations of a land rich in history.
Columbia River Gorge / Hood River
Spend your morning visiting the stunning Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson, Washington, featuring 15,000 years of cultural and natural history of the Columbia Gorge with displays both inside and outside. Or trek up the iconic Beacon Rock, the 848-foot basalt column that once formed the core of an ancient volcano. Lewis and Clark camped here on their way west, and it was at Beacon Rock that they first noticed the tides affecting the water levels in the Columbia River, more than 120 miles from its mouth.
Continue through the Gorge to Hood River, located in the shadows of majestic Mount Hood, where you will enjoy a farm-to-table orchard lunch overlooking the golden Hood River Valley. The valley is known for its fruit-growing orchardsincluding one of the worlds largest pear-growing areas. After lunch youll have the option to visit the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum and explore one of the largest collections of still-functioning antique cars and planes in the country, or trek through the Twin Mosier Tunnels on the old historic Columbia River Highway.
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Columbia And Snake River Cruises
While most Columbia and Snake river cruises are 7-nights/8-days, this year American Cruise Lines offers 3 different itineraries on the Columbia & Snake:
- Classic 8-Day Columbia & Snake Rivers cruise
- An 11-Day Northwest Pioneers cruise
- A 5-Day Highlights of the Columbia River cruise .
Guests cruising Americans Columbia & Snake Rivers can step back in time and retrace the epic route of Lewis and Clark, with a choice of modern-style American riverboats or classic red paddlewheelers.
The cruise lines small river ships, unique cruising experiences and amazing vistas attract more and more guests to the Pacific Northwest every year. There are also pre- and post-cruise packages to extend your vacation.
Packages may include complimentary hotel stays, a Jet Boat ride on the Snake River and Flight-Seeing tours over the canyon and beyond.
The Most Luxurious Columbia River Cruises
The Columbia River Valley in the northwest United States is 2000 kilometres of stunning scenery made to be explored and enjoyed. With beautiful waterfalls and awe-inspiring views from the cliffs that line the edge of the river, the area is one of the most scenic in America. Give yourself time to fully soak up all the regions beauty by booking a river cruise that also gives you the chance to relax in luxury along the way. Spend the days hiking or kayaking and then enjoying local artisanal foods and wines at night for a taste of truly the best the Columbia River Valley has to offer.
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Day 5 Palouse River / Snake River
Wake up at the mouth of the Palouse River. The essentials of the day: kayaks, paddle boards, and swimsuits. Bring your binocs, too! Theres the chance of an early morning skiff outing for some great birdinghawks and herons and grebes, oh my. At the confluence of the Palouse and Snake rivers, your crew has everything set with a beach party at Lyons Ferry State Parkgo for a long or short paddle and a swim. Wind up the afternoon cruising one of the most scenic stretches of the Snake River.
Lewis And Clark Expedition
Retrace the steps of Lewis & Clark: Middle Village, Station Camp, Cape Disappointment overlooking confluence of the Columbia River & Pacific Ocean. Experience the beauty of ocean waves crashing along the rocky Pacific shore. Visit Lewis & Clark National Historic Park including Fort Clatsop and the Interpretive Center highlighting their historic journey. Special bonus: complimentary copy of In the Wake of Lewis & Clark a historical interpretation of the expeditions final leg.
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Why Consider A Columbia River Cruise
With all the travel options, and exotic rivers for cruising around the world, a Columbia River Cruise may not be the first thing that springs to mind. Especially for international travelers, but also for those from the United States.
The Columbia River region is steeped in American history. For those who love the feeling of tracing the footsteps of famous explorers and historical figures, a Columbia River cruise is for you. You will see a landscape much unchanged from when it was first beheld by Lewis and Clark in 1804.
Cruises along the Columbia River embrace this legacy heavily – and the Lewis and Clark expedition provides a strong through-line along the route.
The Pacific Northwest boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in north america – and the wilderness is home to some amazing wildlife, waterfalls, and absolutely stunning vistas. Many cruises include excursions for nature hikes – dont forget your camera!
Another top travel activity in the Pacific Northwest is wine tasting. The wines are big, bold, and the wineries are rustic and friendly – the pacific northwest wine growing region is commonly compared to how its more famous southern neighbor, Napa California, used to be.