American Empress 9/22/2019 Sailing

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#21
22 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Originally posted by Bop
Hi LE,
Welcome aboard!

We are converted ocean cruisers who have done several European river boat cruises on AMAwaterways. Great cruise food, services. Hard to go back to the "cattle call" of the large ships. We still are very fond of Princess although haven't been on many since the ownership change.
Anyhow, I am not going to worry about fires and such quite yet. Surely the west coast will get some rain and mudslides to put out the fires . We will pray for the folks who are losing everything.

I am not sure about the AQSC experience but will try to keep my expectations low and enjoy the good parts which surely will materialize. It is always a fun experience to meet new friends. We watched the PBS special about Lewis and Clark and are looking forward to traveling on the Snake and Columbia rivers. Hope we don't need gas masks.

Bop
Yes, there is no reason to worry and most of the terrible fire news seems to be from California. We booked this cruise so long ago, can’t believe it’s in less than a month.
We still want to do another Viking river cruise in Europe, probably the Douro, Portugal one. The big worry in Europe is the river level, and I would not like to have to be bused, we love the the boat experience. LE
#22
Hudson, Massachusetts
250 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by djett
You might want to read my review https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberr...EntryID=621323 as we just returned from this cruise. Had a wonderful time and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Great review!!! Thanks so much for all of the details!!!
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#23
22 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Thanks so much for a great review filled with lots of information. You’ve answered a lot of questions I had. We leave in 3 weeks and are in the same room you were. The only thing that concerns me are the thin walls. I am a light sleeper, but I always travel with a noise generator , hopefully that will drowned out the neighbors.
#24
Haymarket, VA
328 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
We are on the Empress this week from Clarkston to Vancouver. This is our 4th AQ cruise and we sailed the Empress 11 years ago when she was owed by Majestic. We are finding the changes as a much needed improvement.

One warning though, if you stay at the Davenport in Spokane, either pre or post, the hotel slaps a $10 plus tax “Destination Charge” on your bill as you to check out. Waiting to hear back from AQ corporate why. The local AQ reps were no assistance in the matter.

Will try to answer any questions y’all have
#25
22 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
I hope you have a wonderful trip. We do the same trip in less than 2 weeks . We are most concerned at this time about the smoke from Canada and California and if it is affecting the air quality and scenery. My husband is a foodie, did you find a good restaurant in Spokane, we are there 2 days before we leave for the boat. Any tips as you travel and reviews would be appreciated. Thanks Bon voyage LE
#26
Phoenix, Az
2,124 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by njhoo
We are on the Empress this week from Clarkston to Vancouver. This is our 4th AQ cruise and we sailed the Empress 11 years ago when she was owed by Majestic. We are finding the changes as a much needed improvement.

One warning though, if you stay at the Davenport in Spokane, either pre or post, the hotel slaps a $10 plus tax “Destination Charge” on your bill as you to check out. Waiting to hear back from AQ corporate why. The local AQ reps were no assistance in the matter.

Will try to answer any questions y’all have
I would be interested in your opinion of the cabins overall. (Size, noise, vibration etc). While we don’t sail on the Empress until next year - we chose a port side cabin 334 which is 6 cabins back of midship. Was told this is a great location when we booked.

Sure hope you are having a great cruise. We have never done a river cruise in the US but certainly enjoyed our previous cruise on the Rhine River.

Take care -
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Sailed:
  • Aug 1993 - Alaska Inside Passage - via Vancouver - 'Original' Star Princess
  • July 2009 - Baltics (Dover, England to St.Petersburg, Russia) NCL Jewel
  • July 15, 2012 - Alaska Inside Passage - via Seattle - NCL Pearl
  • September 1st 2013 - Castles On the Rhine - Uniworld's 'SS Antoinette'
  • June 4, 2014 - Rome & Med. - NCL Epic (roundtrip)
  • February 10, 2015 - (Coastal) LA - Ensenada - Crown Princess
  • March 27, 2016 - Panama Canal - Miami to San Diego - Celebrity Infinity
  • September 30, 2016 - New England - Quebec City to Boston - NCL Dawn
  • March 9, 2017 - California Coastal / Catalina Island - Star Princess
  • February 16, 2018 - Panama Canal - Miami to Los Angeles - NCL Star
  • June 23, 2018 - Alaska Land/Cruise - Fairbanks to Vancouver - Celebrity Millennium
Booked:
  • February 20, 2019 - Hawaii - 17 nights - San Diego (RT) - HAL Eurodam
  • January 26, 2020 - Western Caribbean - 12 nights - New Orleans (RT) - NCL Getaway
  • September 22, 2019 Pacific NW - AQSC - Columbia River Cruise via American Empress
  • Our Bucket List:
  • Coastal Cruise (West Coast - for Daughter in Law)
#27
Haymarket, VA
328 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
We left Clarkston yesterday after lunch and that section of the river, while having wonderful scenery is quite isolated. As such, this is the first we have Internet and cell phone service.

Okay, Spokane, it was raining Sunday afternoon and night which helped to cut back the effects of the smoke. The rain stopped by about 9:30 am giving a nice time for a walk about. We’ve been to Spokane about a dozen times as our SIL was stationed twice for 4 years each at Fairchild AFB. We are not foodies so we looked for comfort food enjoying the Safari Grille in the evening and Soulful Soups and Spirits for a lite lunch before the bus trip to Clarkston. Others said that the Post St. Ale House was also good. All are within walking distance of the hotel.

We’re in cabin 336, so right next door to your location. I am not hearing any noise or feeling vibration. We find that the cabin size is quite reasonable. It has a balcony that includes two chairs and a small table. I would say that a similar marketed cabin category on the Queen was much tighter and you heard more noise around you.

One last comment on the smoke, we noticed some haze on the horizon yesterday morning at sunrise. We definitely are not smelling any and as we got underway on the river the sky was clear and sunny.
#28
22 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Thank you for your very detailed report........ so glad that the smoke isn’t impacting your trip. I hope it continues to be clear and smooth sailing . We would love to hear more travelogue if you have the time and internet service . LE
#29
Phoenix, Az
2,124 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by njhoo
We left Clarkston yesterday after lunch and that section of the river, while having wonderful scenery is quite isolated. As such, this is the first we have Internet and cell phone service.........

........We’re in cabin 336, so right next door to your location. I am not hearing any noise or feeling vibration. We find that the cabin size is quite reasonable. It has a balcony that includes two chairs and a small table. I would say that a similar marketed cabin category on the Queen was much tighter and you heard more noise around you.
njhoo:
Great information. Glad you like the cabin/area also. Hope you continue to have a great cruise.

Thanks for posting.
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Sailed:
  • Aug 1993 - Alaska Inside Passage - via Vancouver - 'Original' Star Princess
  • July 2009 - Baltics (Dover, England to St.Petersburg, Russia) NCL Jewel
  • July 15, 2012 - Alaska Inside Passage - via Seattle - NCL Pearl
  • September 1st 2013 - Castles On the Rhine - Uniworld's 'SS Antoinette'
  • June 4, 2014 - Rome & Med. - NCL Epic (roundtrip)
  • February 10, 2015 - (Coastal) LA - Ensenada - Crown Princess
  • March 27, 2016 - Panama Canal - Miami to San Diego - Celebrity Infinity
  • September 30, 2016 - New England - Quebec City to Boston - NCL Dawn
  • March 9, 2017 - California Coastal / Catalina Island - Star Princess
  • February 16, 2018 - Panama Canal - Miami to Los Angeles - NCL Star
  • June 23, 2018 - Alaska Land/Cruise - Fairbanks to Vancouver - Celebrity Millennium
Booked:
  • February 20, 2019 - Hawaii - 17 nights - San Diego (RT) - HAL Eurodam
  • January 26, 2020 - Western Caribbean - 12 nights - New Orleans (RT) - NCL Getaway
  • September 22, 2019 Pacific NW - AQSC - Columbia River Cruise via American Empress
  • Our Bucket List:
  • Coastal Cruise (West Coast - for Daughter in Law)
#30
Hudson, Massachusetts
250 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by njhoo
We left Clarkston yesterday after lunch and that section of the river, while having wonderful scenery is quite isolated. As such, this is the first we have Internet and cell phone service.

Okay, Spokane, it was raining Sunday afternoon and night which helped to cut back the effects of the smoke. The rain stopped by about 9:30 am giving a nice time for a walk about. We’ve been to Spokane about a dozen times as our SIL was stationed twice for 4 years each at Fairchild AFB. We are not foodies so we looked for comfort food enjoying the Safari Grille in the evening and Soulful Soups and Spirits for a lite lunch before the bus trip to Clarkston. Others said that the Post St. Ale House was also good. All are within walking distance of the hotel.

We’re in cabin 336, so right next door to your location. I am not hearing any noise or feeling vibration. We find that the cabin size is quite reasonable. It has a balcony that includes two chairs and a small table. I would say that a similar marketed cabin category on the Queen was much tighter and you heard more noise around you.

One last comment on the smoke, we noticed some haze on the horizon yesterday morning at sunrise. We definitely are not smelling any and as we got underway on the river the sky was clear and sunny.
Great information! Thanks for posting!
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05-31-2017 Oceania Regatta
01-13-2017 Oceania Riviera
10-19-2016 Star Princess
05-08-2016 Caribbean Princess
01-04-2016 Princess Island
10-10-2015 Viking Idi
05-16-2014 Oceania Nautica
07-15-2013 Oceania Marina
05-29-2011 Avalon Tapestry
#31
Haymarket, VA
328 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Good morning from Richland on the Columbia River....arrived here Wednesday and will be sailing west this morning after the full day excursion to Pendleton departs. We did the Manhattan Project premium excursion yesterday and found it to be excellent. As a history buff itwas very interesting with it’s important role in the WWII war effort.

Let’s talk about the food a bit now, we’ve been on dozens of cruises, at sea, and the rivers of Europe and the USA. I am a big fan of the AQSC menus and at dinner last evening they had one of my favorites, split pea! Delicious!

As to a smoke report, still just a haze out on the horizon, maybe if you are sniffing you might sense a tinge. Nothing to impact our day.

Today is a day of river cruising and we have our one night in the River Grill this evening.
#32
Hudson, Massachusetts
250 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by njhoo
Good morning from Richland on the Columbia River....arrived here Wednesday and will be sailing west this morning after the full day excursion to Pendleton departs. We did the Manhattan Project premium excursion yesterday and found it to be excellent. As a history buff itwas very interesting with it’s important role in the WWII war effort.

Let’s talk about the food a bit now, we’ve been on dozens of cruises, at sea, and the rivers of Europe and the USA. I am a big fan of the AQSC menus and at dinner last evening they had one of my favorites, split pea! Delicious!

As to a smoke report, still just a haze out on the horizon, maybe if you are sniffing you might sense a tinge. Nothing to impact our day.

Today is a day of river cruising and we have our one night in the River Grill this evening.
So nice of you to post and keep us updated! Thank you!
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05-31-2017 Oceania Regatta
01-13-2017 Oceania Riviera
10-19-2016 Star Princess
05-08-2016 Caribbean Princess
01-04-2016 Princess Island
10-10-2015 Viking Idi
05-16-2014 Oceania Nautica
07-15-2013 Oceania Marina
05-29-2011 Avalon Tapestry
#33
22 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Great report. I’ve heard that the Manhattan excursion is a favorite, so far we’ve only signed up for the wine and spirits on Red Mountain. Glad to hear there’s been no impact from the smoke, and my foodie husband is happy about the food report. Thanks again for taking time out , we look forward to hearing from you. LE
#34
Haymarket, VA
328 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Good morning from Stevenson. Yesterday morning was too busy for an update, so here is two days. Beautiful sunrise with the sun just peaking over the mountains to the east. No sight of any smoke haze here.

From Richland we had a day of river cruising to The Dalles. We participated is some game shows and attended the two talks by the riverlorian Mary. The topic was Lewis and Clark Corp of Discovery. Very interesting and well presented. We did dinner in the upstairs River Grille. They serve lobster every evening. Not being a lobster fan, it didn’t really matter to me. We enjoyed the beef and lamb offerings.

Yesterday was The Dalles. Started early on the first HO-HO bus with stops at the gorge museum, old county courthouse and then the neon museum. By then it was time for lunch and we found a nice in town location. Two more small local museums and a short walk back to the boat.

Let’s talk about entertainment! We have Greg, the cruise director and his assistant Sammy. They do the before/after dinner entertainment shows accompanied by a four piece showboat band. Greg’s wife, Lindy, who is the hotel director, is an accomplished soprano. She did a one woman show one evening and Greg did a one man show another evening. Last night we had step on entertainment with our special guest singer/comedian cowboy Kevin. He was great! I personally enjoy the entertainment on the smaller vessels with the up close and personal aspect. There is always pre dinner piano playing in the Paddlewheel Lounge with Bob. He also provides the later night entertainment in the lounge.

Talk to you all tomorrow.
#35
Hudson, Massachusetts
250 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by njhoo
Good morning from Stevenson. Yesterday morning was too busy for an update, so here is two days. Beautiful sunrise with the sun just peaking over the mountains to the east. No sight of any smoke haze here.

From Richland we had a day of river cruising to The Dalles. We participated is some game shows and attended the two talks by the riverlorian Mary. The topic was Lewis and Clark Corp of Discovery. Very interesting and well presented. We did dinner in the upstairs River Grille. They serve lobster every evening. Not being a lobster fan, it didn’t really matter to me. We enjoyed the beef and lamb offerings.

Yesterday was The Dalles. Started early on the first HO-HO bus with stops at the gorge museum, old county courthouse and then the neon museum. By then it was time for lunch and we found a nice in town location. Two more small local museums and a short walk back to the boat.

Let’s talk about entertainment! We have Greg, the cruise director and his assistant Sammy. They do the before/after dinner entertainment shows accompanied by a four piece showboat band. Greg’s wife, Lindy, who is the hotel director, is an accomplished soprano. She did a one woman show one evening and Greg did a one man show another evening. Last night we had step on entertainment with our special guest singer/comedian cowboy Kevin. He was great! I personally enjoy the entertainment on the smaller vessels with the up close and personal aspect. There is always pre dinner piano playing in the Paddlewheel Lounge with Bob. He also provides the later night entertainment in the lounge.

Talk to you all tomorrow.
I love reading your updates! So nice of you to keep us informed! Thanks for posting!
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05-31-2017 Oceania Regatta
01-13-2017 Oceania Riviera
10-19-2016 Star Princess
05-08-2016 Caribbean Princess
01-04-2016 Princess Island
10-10-2015 Viking Idi
05-16-2014 Oceania Nautica
07-15-2013 Oceania Marina
05-29-2011 Avalon Tapestry
#36
22 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
Thanks for the daily updates.... you have us hooked. They’re so thorough we don’t have to go now. Actually, we leave a week from today. we’re spending an extra day in Spokane, can’t wait to see the Davenport .
How has the weather been? I know it was hot, but has it cooled off?
I notice that you’re from Virginia. Our daughter lives in Vienna, we live outside Frederick, Maryland. It’s been the normal HAzy, Hot and Humid of August, and it’s to continue into next week, lots of 90s..... hopefully you’re extending your trip and can enjoy the cooler weather.
#37
Phoenix, Az
2,124 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Nice to see that - njhoo - is having such a great experience !!!!
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Sailed:
  • Aug 1993 - Alaska Inside Passage - via Vancouver - 'Original' Star Princess
  • July 2009 - Baltics (Dover, England to St.Petersburg, Russia) NCL Jewel
  • July 15, 2012 - Alaska Inside Passage - via Seattle - NCL Pearl
  • September 1st 2013 - Castles On the Rhine - Uniworld's 'SS Antoinette'
  • June 4, 2014 - Rome & Med. - NCL Epic (roundtrip)
  • February 10, 2015 - (Coastal) LA - Ensenada - Crown Princess
  • March 27, 2016 - Panama Canal - Miami to San Diego - Celebrity Infinity
  • September 30, 2016 - New England - Quebec City to Boston - NCL Dawn
  • March 9, 2017 - California Coastal / Catalina Island - Star Princess
  • February 16, 2018 - Panama Canal - Miami to Los Angeles - NCL Star
  • June 23, 2018 - Alaska Land/Cruise - Fairbanks to Vancouver - Celebrity Millennium
Booked:
  • February 20, 2019 - Hawaii - 17 nights - San Diego (RT) - HAL Eurodam
  • January 26, 2020 - Western Caribbean - 12 nights - New Orleans (RT) - NCL Getaway
  • September 22, 2019 Pacific NW - AQSC - Columbia River Cruise via American Empress
  • Our Bucket List:
  • Coastal Cruise (West Coast - for Daughter in Law)
#38
Haymarket, VA
328 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Here we are in Astoria, the furthest west we go on the Columbia. As I write this there appears to be a bit of smoke/fog out on the horizon, this is the first I’ve seen this.

Yesterday was Stevenson, the folks who went on the excursion to the Falls and Vista house really enjoyed it. In the afternoon we took the Ho-Ho to the Bonneville Dam and made it on the tour down into the generator floor. Very interesting, it was a dam good tour.

The evening entertainment was Greg and Sammi followed by the 50-60s dance party. Bob was on the piano and all the entertainment staff had a role. Several of the wait staff joined to kick up their heels. It was a fun evening.

After today everything comes to an end as we fly home with a noontime flight out of Portland. To answer the question, the weather here has been nice and cool, a couple of warm days while out in the desert section of the river east of the Cascades. This morning it is 47 degrees, but will warm up to the 70s. We’ve been in shorts for most of the week during the day.

That’s it from the Pacific Northwest for now
#39
Phoenix, Az
2,124 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by njhoo
Here we are in Astoria, the furthest west we go on the Columbia. As I write this there appears to be a bit of smoke/fog out on the horizon, this is the first I’ve seen this.

Yesterday was Stevenson, the folks who went on the excursion to the Falls and Vista house really enjoyed it. In the afternoon we took the Ho-Ho to the Bonneville Dam and made it on the tour down into the generator floor. Very interesting, it was a dam good tour.

The evening entertainment was Greg and Sammi followed by the 50-60s dance party. Bob was on the piano and all the entertainment staff had a role. Several of the wait staff joined to kick up their heels. It was a fun evening.

After today everything comes to an end as we fly home with a noontime flight out of Portland. To answer the question, the weather here has been nice and cool, a couple of warm days while out in the desert section of the river east of the Cascades. This morning it is 47 degrees, but will warm up to the 70s. We’ve been in shorts for most of the week during the day.

That’s it from the Pacific Northwest for now
Thank you very much for your review of your cruise. Since our cruise starts almost a month later (next year) I hope our weather is not too cool and is as nice as you have had.

It really helps when someone provides their personal experiences. My assumption is that overall....from the ship, the service, the food, the entertainment, and the tours, it was worth the trip!

Thanks once again !
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Sailed:
  • Aug 1993 - Alaska Inside Passage - via Vancouver - 'Original' Star Princess
  • July 2009 - Baltics (Dover, England to St.Petersburg, Russia) NCL Jewel
  • July 15, 2012 - Alaska Inside Passage - via Seattle - NCL Pearl
  • September 1st 2013 - Castles On the Rhine - Uniworld's 'SS Antoinette'
  • June 4, 2014 - Rome & Med. - NCL Epic (roundtrip)
  • February 10, 2015 - (Coastal) LA - Ensenada - Crown Princess
  • March 27, 2016 - Panama Canal - Miami to San Diego - Celebrity Infinity
  • September 30, 2016 - New England - Quebec City to Boston - NCL Dawn
  • March 9, 2017 - California Coastal / Catalina Island - Star Princess
  • February 16, 2018 - Panama Canal - Miami to Los Angeles - NCL Star
  • June 23, 2018 - Alaska Land/Cruise - Fairbanks to Vancouver - Celebrity Millennium
Booked:
  • February 20, 2019 - Hawaii - 17 nights - San Diego (RT) - HAL Eurodam
  • January 26, 2020 - Western Caribbean - 12 nights - New Orleans (RT) - NCL Getaway
  • September 22, 2019 Pacific NW - AQSC - Columbia River Cruise via American Empress
  • Our Bucket List:
  • Coastal Cruise (West Coast - for Daughter in Law)
#40
22 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
We are sorry that your trip is coming to an end, we have enjoyed your commentary and learned a lot. Hopefully we can write our experiences and impressions as we travel the rivers in a week. Steel yourselves for the hot and steamy weather back east, we will be glad to get to the cool air.
LEAFEATER