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.
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.
Snake And Columbia River Cruise Lines
Players on the Columbia and Snake rivers are American Cruise Lines, American Queen Steamboat Company, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic and Un-Cruise Adventures. Each line offers ships with vastly different personalities. As an example, Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Sea Lion and sister ship National Geographic Sea Bird are workmanlike expedition ships with just 62 passengers. American Queen Steamboat Company operates the plusher American Empress, a 224-passenger paddle wheeler. Un-Cruise’s ship is the S.S. Legacy, a replica turn-of-the-century steamer that accommodates 88 passengers, where crew dress in period costumes. And American Cruise Lines runs paddle wheelers Queen of the West, with 120 passengers, and American Pride with 150.
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Cruises On The Columbia And Snake Rivers
The Columbia and Snake rivers are located in the Pacific Northwest. River cruises are usually between Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington. However, some itineraries begin or end in Spokane or Vancouver, Washington. A pre-cruise hotel stay is sometimes included in the package.
Located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, a cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers takes travelers through scenic areas surrounded by mountains and gorges, including the Cascade Mountain Range, Columbia River Gorge and Hells Canyon.
American Cruise Lines recently refurbished Queen of the West recently returned to the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines.
American River Cruises Kicks Off 2022 Season In Pacific Northwest
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.
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Cruise From Home And Relax
Everyone knows that a cruise vacation is one of the most relaxing, hassle free vacations you can take. Imagine if you also didn’t have to worry about traveling to start your vacation but could just drive up to a port near your home and get onboard your luxury cruise ship. Here at CruiseExperts.com we’ve made it easy to see which cruises start close to home. Get started with our Home Port widget by clicking on your home port below.
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.
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Highlights Of The Mississippi
âEverything was wonderful. I cannot remember having such a great time. The entire staff was great and so accommodating. I loved this trip. I have been on cruises on big ships and there is no comparison. It was so much nicer on a smaller boat. We had the chance to meet and probably had a meal, a drink or excursion with almost everyone on board.â
â Cindy E. – Frederick, MD
Columbia And Snake River Cruise Tips
The duo of the Snake and Columbia rivers is one of the most in-demand river itineraries in the United States — and no wonder. There’s an abundance of history, including the storied Lewis and Clark expedition, which in the early 1800s introduced America to lands and peoples previously unknown. There’s wine. The Pacific Northwest is getting a lot of buzz — rightly — for its superb winemaking and the handsome locales that make it possible. And there are natural landmarks like Multnomah Falls, the Columbia River Gorge and Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest river gorge.
But it’s the story of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, an expedition of “wilderness diplomats” that began in 1804 and lasted 28 months that supplies the narrative of most itineraries. A Columbia and Snake rivers cruise provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in that history lesson through nature walks, lectures and stellar museums and parks that relay one of early America’s most dramatic tales. The cruise lines also pay homage to the region’s wines with tastings onboard as well as excursions to a winery. Despite all the possible activities, the pace of the itineraries is overall slow and relaxed.
Don’t Miss: 5-day Columbia River Cruises
Owner’s Suite Private Balcony
Each Owners Suite offers the finest accommodations with unsurpassed views of the passing scenery. A spectacular 600 sq. ft. of space is your private sanctuary to spread out and make yourself at home. This spacious suite features a full-size bathroom, as well as a separate bedroom and living area. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors let light pour in and allow private panoramic views from every vantage point. An expansive private balcony is a perfect place to savor a calm afternoon or to enjoy breakfast as the sun rises over the riverbank.
Columbia And Snake River Cruise Itineraries
Ships on the Columbia and Snake rivers typically cruise between Clarkston, Washington, and Astoria, Oregon, on the Pacific coast with embarkation or disembarkation in Portland, depending on which way the ship is headed. It’s a 500-mile journey that stretches from the arid, golden hillsides of eastern Washington to the moisture-rich, western slopes of Oregon. Along the way, the ships traverse eight locks.
Most of the cruises are seven nights with the option of a pre- or post-stay in Portland. The itineraries generally focus on the Lewis and Clark expedition. The occasional wine-themed cruise is also becoming a staple. All in all, the various ships call on many of the same ports — among them the Oregon communities of Hood River, Pendleton and The Dalles. American Queen Steamboat Company offers the most comprehensive itinerary choice with three different routes: Clarkston, Washington, to Portland, Oregon, or Vancouver, Washington, and vice versa, which travels on both the Snake and Columbia rivers and a Portland to Vancouver route, which is a Columbia River-only itinerary.
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Best Time For Columbia And Snake River Cruises
Cruises operate from April to November, with no month a particularly bad time to sail the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Spring months can be rainy, particularly on the western part of the Columbia, but it’s that precipitation that lights the hillsides a verdant green. July and August trend hot in the early fall, the vineyards are pretty with grapes on the vines. Wine lovers should look to travel in early October, when the harvest and crush occur.
Last Minute Cruises Can Sometimes Be The Cheapest Cruise Deal
Sometimes, but not always, the cheapest cruise deal is a Last Minute Cruise. You won’t get a wide selection of stateroom categories or a chance to select your stateroom location but if your schedule is flexible you just might find a cheap cruise price on a last minute cruise. Last minute cruises are cruises leaving in the next 90 days. The cruise line really wants to fill those last few staterooms and sometimes will offer them at a discount cruise price in exchange for you giving up your right to a full selection of cabin categories or deck locations. CruiseExperts.com makes it easy for you to poke around and see what’s available in last minute cruise deals. View our Last Minute Cruise Deals by clicking here and give it a try. This is one of our most popular website features.
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Best Cruise Deals And Discounts Sorted By Your Dream Destination
Sometimes it’s all about the destination and that is certainly true of cruise destinations. The cruise port you depart from and the amazing cruise ports you visit define your experience as much as what cruise line or cruise ship you sail on. At CruiseExperts.com we understand that and have sorted these cruises by the places you’ll visit on your cruise vacation. So whether it’s a cruise to Alaska, a Caribbean cruise, cruises to Hawaii, a cruise to the Bahamas or Bermuda or a cruise to Mexico you’ll find it easily with the help of our destination wizard. Maybe you’re looking for a cruise vacation that’s just a little different like a Panama Canal cruise, a Transatlantic cruise, cruises to Europe, a Tahiti cruise with a tour of the South Pacific, a down under adventure with an Australia / New Zealand cruise or even a fall foliage cruise through Canada and New England. Whatever floats your boat get started by selecting your dream destination on our cruise search page.
Highlights Of The Mississippi River Cruise
New Orleans, LA to New Orleans, LA
- Pre-CruisePackage and Complimentary Hotel Stay
- Day 1New Orleans, LA
- Day 2Houmas House, LA
- Day 3Baton Rouge, LA
- Day 4Oak Alley, LA
- Day 5New Orleans, LA
Begin in the French Quarter of New Orleans and continue to Baton Rouge and Natchez. Explore the “Gateway to the West” via St. Louis, rock ‘n’ roll to Graceland, view Civil War landmarks, and stroll through the museums and art galleries of Paducah.
New Orleans, LA to St. Louis, MO
- Pre-CruisePackages and Complimentary Hotel Stays
- Day 1New Orleans, LA
- Day 2Baton Rouge, LA
- Day 3Natchez, MS
- Day 5Day of River Cruising
- Day 6Memphis, TN
- Day 7New Madrid, MO
- Day 8Paducah, KY
- Day 9Day of River Cruising
- Day 10St. Louis, MO
- Day 11St. Louis, MO
Witness the dramatic landscapes of the Upper Mississippi River and treat yourself to Blues and BBQ. Guests can choose their perfect itinerary whether aboard an American riverboat or authentic paddlewheeler.
St. Paul, MN to New Orleans, LA
- Pre-CruiseComplimentary Hotel Stay
- Day 1St. Paul, MN
- Day 2Winona, MN
- Day 5Fort Madison, IA
- Day 6Hannibal, MO
- Day 7St. Louis, MO
- Day 8St. Louis, MO
- Day 9Day of River Cruising
- Day 10Memphis, TN
- Day 11Day of Cruising
- Day 12Vicksburg, MS
- Day 14Baton Rouge, LA
- Day 15New Orleans, LA
Pittsburgh, PA to St. Louis, MO
Memphis, TN to Nashville, TN
Chattanooga, TN to Nashville, TN
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Cruise Local With American Cruise Lines On Columbia & Snake Rivers
American Cruise Lines river cruise season for 2022 on the Columbia and Snake rivers is in full swing. Their Columbia river season began in April, with the opening of a new cruise dock in Kalama, WA, built in partnership with the Port of Kalama.
The small ship river cruise line began cruising the Pacific Northwest in 2010 and continues to expand their presence.
American Cruise Lines have 4 riverboats exploring the Columbia and Snake Rivers this year, cruising between Hayden Island in Portland, OR and Clarkston, WA. In addition, American Cruise Lines plans to add a 5th riverboat to the Pacific Northwest region in 2023.
Cruising The Columbia & Snake Rivers
Cruises that begin on the Columbia River depart from Portland, and cruises that begin on the Snake River depart from Clarkston. Most itineraries, regardless of the river cruise company, visit the same destinations.
One of the highlights of the trip is cruising through the spectacular 80-mile Columbia River Gorge. But there are many other sites to enjoy, such as views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens while cruising through Volcano Alley.
There are more than 25 waterfalls along the Columbia River. Most are located in Oregon. Multnomah Falls plunges 620 feet and is the tallest waterfall on the Columbia River. While its not something youll see from your river boat, it is visible from the Historic Columbia River Highway and may be a site youll visit depending on your tour package.
One of the highlights of cruising the Snake River is visiting Hells Canyon. Its the deepest canyon in North America deeper even than the Grand Canyon.
Prominent sites on a Columbia & Snake Rivers cruise include:
- Portland, Oregon
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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.
Visit Nearby National Parks After Your Cruise
New for 2022, American created their National Parks Post-Cruise Packages. These follow select Columbia & Snake Rivers cruises that end in Clarkston, WA.
The new National Parks packages include 3 or 7-night guided explorations through several of the countrys most beautiful national parks: Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton.
Throughout the region, guests experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and its extraordinarily diverse landscapesfrom mountains and desert canyons to towering basalt cliffs and distant snow-capped mountains.
All cruises offer daily shore excursions led by local experts and knowledgable guides.
Whether you choose a day tour or not, take time to go off on your own and explore the towns and local sites. Learn about the regions history, culture, ecology, and geography. Stop for a glass of regional wine or a cold local brew.
From a fun afternoon at a Columba River winery to a visit to Mount St. Helens or an active kayaking or hiking adventure, guests are immersed in the culture and beauty of the region each day of their cruise.
American Cruise Lines riverboats and small coastal ships have the largest staterooms in the industry with nearly all having private balconies. There are no inside staterooms, so everyone has access to fresh air and ever-changing views of the river.
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Columbia And Snake River Cruise Port Highlights
Hells Canyon: A remnant of the last ice age, Hells Canyon on the Snake River is primarily accessible by small water craft like jet boats — and that’s how cruise passengers are introduced to this scenic spot where the borders of Oregon, Washington and Idaho meet. Along the way, guides point out Indian petroglyphs, abandoned mines and wildlife such as mule deer and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Occasionally, you’ll see “cast and blast” boat charters with fishermen-hunters who are both “casting” for fish and “blasting” for the chukar partridge, a game bird. The Hells Canyon region, where the Lewis and Clark expedition once traded for food, was home to the Nez Perce Native Americans who lived there for thousands of years.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon: The falls, plunging 620 feet, is the most visited attraction in Oregon. There is a 2.2-mile round trip hiking trail that wanders past the thundering falls and up a series of switchbacks through old growth Douglas fir to a rim. From there, it’s a short walk to the viewing platform cantilevered over the falls.