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When most people think about the United States they think about New York City, California and Washington DC. Those looking to get off the beaten path, those in search of the heartland, tend to explore the south, the mid west and New Orleans. But if you’re looking for a real slice of Americana, why not take a ride on a classic paddlewheeler down the picturesque river systems of the Pacific Northwest?
This beautiful part of the world is as rich in history as it is in awe-inspiring scenery. Following the Louisiana Purchase – when the US Government acquired a large swath of its modern nation from the French –President Thomas Jefferson established the Corps of Discovery (a special division of the US Army) and tasked Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark to lead an expedition to find a path westward from the rivers of St Louis to Pacific Ocean.
What they discovered along the way was some of the most breathtaking natural heritage this planet has to offer. Today, the area is populated with communities that truly embody the American spirit. And the only way to truly experience these pristine passages is to take a step back in time.
American Queen Steamboat Company offer unique cruises which cannot simply be described. Words don’t do them justice. The American Empress traverses both the Snake River (which originates in Wyoming and arcs across southern Idaho before turning north along the Idaho-Oregon border) and the Columbia River, which weaves its way from Albert through British Columbia, Washington State and Oregon.
Be inspired by the spectacular scenery, from its fertile fields and impressive mountains to its breath taking vertical canyons. Bear witness to the precious land, just as it appeared to Lewis and Clark all those years ago, on the expedition that opened the West to settlement.
As you travel in the footsteps of these brave frontiersmen, you will be treated to the very same natural wonders. Columbia Gorge cuts through the Cascade Mountains thanks to the Missoula Floods of the last Ice Age.
At Multnomah Falls, snow-melt streams plunge over 600 feet in two tiered cascades down a sheer cliff face, deeper than the Grand Canyon. Idaho’s Hell’s Canyon is a dramatic crack in the earth with raging waters best explored on an exciting jet boat ride.
Near Portland, understand the raw power of nature in the collapsed volcanic crater of Mount St. Helens. Along the Columbia River, fish ladders help salmon swim upstream while bison, deer and elk graze freely.
With the American Empress serving as a floating boutique hotel for your journey, travel into the heart of Washington’s wine country where many acclaimed wineries of the Pacific Northwest have globally made their mark. Take the time to explore the Red Mountain region and sample some of the finest vintages in the midst of breathtaking scenery.
Whether you choose to take in the scenery from Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge (nestled among the pines) or climb the Astoria Column to view the expansive Pacific, a voyage on the Columbia and Snake Rivers will show you the world from a new perspective.
And, when you’re not marveling at the natural beauty outside, take a moment to soak up the pure Americana of your decedent surrounds.
Proudly serving as the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River, the American Empress delivers classic elegance and modern luxury on a grand scale. One step onboard and you will quickly discover that there is far more to this vessel than her welcoming appearance and signature red paddle wheel.
Boasting a vast collection of some of the finest historical artifacts and artwork of the Native Alaska, Russian, Gold Rush and stern-wheeler eras, the corridors of the American Empress hold nearly as much beauty and intrigue as the dramatic scenery unfolding on the river outside. You don't need to be an art enthusiast to appreciate the captivating display of Pacific Northwest heritage that this unique collection represents.
Everything about the riverboat is designed to give you the full historic North Western experience, from the Broadway quality entertainment to the guest historians. Even meal times are unique.
Each morning, afternoon and evening, the creative culinary staff take full advantage of the region’s diverse bounty of fresh ingredients including sustainable fish, free-range chicken and artisan cheeses along with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Menu choices are abundant allowing you to make it as light or as hearty as you wish. From made-to-order omelets and smoked salmon, to Dungeness crab, freshly cut steaks and indulgent desserts, the possibilities are endless. Best of all, you can wash down these delectable treats with frothing local beers, and world famous wines or local brewed liquor.
The Pacific Northwest is not just a place to be visited. It’s a place to be experienced. And, there’s no better way to experience it than with a river cruise by a company that loves the region. Because while the Columbia and Snake Rivers might be once in a lifetime holiday destination for you, for the crew of the American Empress, it’s home.
For more information or to book your next cruise, click here.
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