Great River Cruise by Cruiser80437224Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: American Empress / Destination: River Cruises - United States
We had a very good cruise - especially after we were at 1st told we would not go to/through The Bonneville Locks nor to Astoria as the locks were not fully repaired. The night before our cruise to Stevenson where we were to spend 2 plus days we were given the good news that the locks had opened and our trip would be completed as planned. We were somewhat fortunate in that the premium tour to Multnomah Falls and the Vista house had been canceled initially, but once the locks reopened American Queen company decided to make the Falls an excursion at NO cost and credited us for our Premium tour monies. They could not do the Vista house however due to scheduling issues at that point. As to the ship itself - we liked the layout, the rooms were a bit small but very comfortable and the veranda had plenty of space. The public areas were clean and we were impressed with the ‘on your honor’ gift shop and availability of assistance at the Pursers Office. We dined every evening in the Astoria dining room except for Friday when we had made reservations at the River Grill. It was our lucky night as it was also lobster night in the grill. Meal variety in the Astoria dining room was very good and we were pleased with everything offered. We utilized the River Grill and Astoria dining room for both breakfast and lunch depending on our mood and time available. We were greeted everywhere on board by staff with a friendly face and pleasant attitude. Everyone seemed to ‘have’ a minute to answer a question or to say hi or to ask how we were doing. The entertainment was unbelievably good and while the Empress Quartet did a great job - we really liked Anna Carroll as well as Greg and Lindy who were our favorite singers. We went to the Paddlewheel lounge every evening to hear Frank Chase the piano player/comedian - and felt he was one of the best we had ever seen. As far as the Hop On Hop off buses - they did a great job, were on time and very accommodating, especially with those that required a little more time or assistance due to mobility issues. The itinerary at each port was very good and interesting Except the ‘shopping’ stops in all the ports except Astoria left a lot to be desired. For example in Richland, Wa. the shopping stop included 2 small restaurants (yes we ate at Porters BBQ (of Diners Drive In and Dives fame). There was a Small 2nd hand women’s clothes boutique, a bakery, a furniture store, a couple of insurance offices, a tattoo shop, and several empty or under construction buildings. The weather was perfect all along the way until the Stevenson area and remainder of the cruise. The weather turned very cool, a little rainy, and windy until we were on tour in Portland when it was milder. Overall we we truly were happy that we did this trip, and were impressed enough that we are now talking of doing the Memphis to New Orleans cruise on the American Queen - as also several staff said it was a bigger and very elegant vessel and great cruise.