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American Empress 9/22/2019 Sailing

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Paddle wheeler first timer. Looking for fellow "paddlers" to communicate with prior to cruise.

 

Lewis and Clark itinerary. Should we buy coonskin caps?

 

Bop

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We will also be on this cruise and are first time river cruisers. We are Mike and Debbie from Albuquerque. NM.

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Paddle wheeler first timer. Looking for fellow "paddlers" to communicate with prior to cruise.

 

Lewis and Clark itinerary. Should we buy coonskin caps?

 

Bop

 

You might want to read my review https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=621323 as we just returned from this cruise. Had a wonderful time and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

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Djett,

Great useful review. We are really looking forward to this cruise. Anticipation is half the fun. We will cont

tact the hotel and furnish flight times, etc. when they are available.

 

Thanks a lot for your review.

Happy cruising!

Bop

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We will also be on this cruise and are first time river cruisers. We are Mike and Debbie from Albuquerque. NM.

Welcome aboard!

Thanks for the reply. Read Djett's review if you haven't already. Good information.

We are a group of 4 from Midlothian VA.

 

More later,

Bop

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There are 4 of us looking at this cruise and date?

 

Not really trying to jump on your thread before we actually book it....but I am wondering if anyone has / had a preference for either the Starboard or Port side? Was Either side better for sightseeing while cruising?

 

 

Thanks for letting me jump in here.

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There are 4 of us looking at this cruise and date?

 

Not really trying to jump on your thread before we actually book it....but I am wondering if anyone has / had a preference for either the Starboard or Port side? Was Either side better for sightseeing while cruising?

 

 

Thanks for letting me jump in here.

 

We just returned from sailing Clarkston to Portland. Our cabin was 415 on the starboard side. We liked it because we had afternoon shade.

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We just returned from sailing Clarkston to Portland. Our cabin was 415 on the starboard side. We liked it because we had afternoon shade.

 

Thank you. We hadn’t really considered needing shade, but don’t want sun blaring in either...especially if a little warm in September. I noticed your cabin is one of those with a semi private balcony. Were you bothered by people walking by at all hours - and did you use your balcony to move about the ship more than the interior access? We have only one prior river cruise and the previous ship’s configuration was totally different.

 

Thanks once again for your input.

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We just returned from sailing Clarkston to Portland. Our cabin was 415 on the starboard side. We liked it because we had afternoon shade.

We enjoy balconies but don't spend a great deal of time on them. Much more fun in the public areas. We always end up wondering if we should have selected the other side. (grass always greener?) Like the smaller vessels on European rivers. Flip the coin?

 

Buck, hope to see you on board. You can give me $1 for thread jumpin!

 

Bop

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Thank you. We hadn’t really considered needing shade, but don’t want sun blaring in either...especially if a little warm in September. I noticed your cabin is one of those with a semi private balcony. Were you bothered by people walking by at all hours - and did you use your balcony to move about the ship more than the interior access? We have only one prior river cruise and the previous ship’s configuration was totally different.

 

Thanks once again for your input.

You can walk out of your cabin onto your balcony area with two chairs and small table, then walk directly onto the deck. A waist-high railing separates your balcony from the deck. The opening onto the deck can be closed off with a chain, no gate. Each balcony is separated by a metal panel. We had four cabins next to each other and the crew removed the panels for us which really opened the area up. We used our balcony quite a bit and were never bothered by people walking by. In fact, met some nice people that way. We were in cabin 415 just forward of the River Grill so we usually went to the River Grill using the outside deck rather than inside hallway.

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You might want to read my review https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=621323 as we just returned from this cruise. Had a wonderful time and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Hello Djett . Happy to see your review . We are booked in 415 and 413 for a Dec 18 cruise . Do you have more photos from the cabin /bathroom ? My mom is in a wheelchair and would like to know about the step up into the bathroom? How high and Grab bars if you noticed? We have a portable potty chair we are thinking to bring as a back up . She can walk around the cabin with a walker I know rooms are small but what can you say about using a walker to walk around he beds ect? any advice, photos would be great . Thank You Doreen

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We enjoy balconies but don't spend a great deal of time on them. Much more fun in the public areas. We always end up wondering if we should have selected the other side. (grass always greener?) Like the smaller vessels on European rivers. Flip the coin?

 

Buck, hope to see you on board. You can give me $1 for thread jumpin!

 

Bop

 

I guess you will be seeing us (4 total) on board. I figure I don't owe you that $1 either since I'm going to be a regular here going forward - and not a thread jumper after all ! :')

 

Looking forward to this cruise.

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Hi Bill,

 

OK, debt forgiven! I was going to donate the 1$ to the indigent cruisers' society. I guess some poor family will have to stow away.

 

Bop;););):(:(

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Hi Bill,

 

OK, debt forgiven! I was going to donate the 1$ to the indigent cruisers' society. I guess some poor family will have to stow away.

 

Bop;););):(:(

 

Oh well that money would have come back to me anyway... I'm pretty sure I belong to the ICS!!

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This thread sure is quiet.... of course River Cruises don't normally have a lot of Cruise Critic posters.

 

Maybe a few more will join over the upcoming months. When we did the Rhine River cruise several years ago, we did have a pretty well attended Roll Call... around 15 or so as I recall. So you just never know.

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Hey Buck,

I see you are still on the Boards. Yes, river cruises tend to have fewer folks but things usually pick up when we get closer to embarking date. I have met some great friends on the Boards starting on the old AOL only cruise Board in the late 90's. There was big resistance when the current Cruise Boards opened to everyone. Silly, right?

When we "switched over" to river boats, it was like starting over. Had to get used to checking European weather forecasts to see if we could get under the bridges and such. I think I saw Steamboat somewhere on here. He was very helpful to me on our Danube cruise.

Anyway, things will pick up in a few months and we can put days until cruise counters on our pages.

Look forward to meeting you.

Bop

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Hey Buck,

I see you are still on the Boards. Yes, river cruises tend to have fewer folks but things usually pick up when we get closer to embarking date. I have met some great friends on the Boards starting on the old AOL only cruise Board in the late 90's. There was big resistance when the current Cruise Boards opened to everyone. Silly, right?

When we "switched over" to river boats, it was like starting over. Had to get used to checking European weather forecasts to see if we could get under the bridges and such. I think I saw Steamboat somewhere on here. He was very helpful to me on our Danube cruise.

Anyway, things will pick up in a few months and we can put days until cruise counters on our pages.

Look forward to meeting you.

Bop

 

Funny when we did our Rhine cruise I had a guy make contact with me who was going to be on the riverboat just before me.....and was getting off the same morning we were getting on in Basel Switzerland. We actually were able to meet up and have a coffee that morning. We have kept in touch.....but seems as though we have not been able to coordinate going on a cruise together.

 

So you never know for sure who/how you may meet someone here on Cruise Critic.

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My husband and I will be first time cruisers on the Empress September 10-17th from Clarkston to Vancouver. Not sure what to expect. We’ve done 2 Viking River Cruises, Bordeaux and Normandy and loved them. We’re very worried about the fires in the area, but no one is posting about them.

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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:eek:.:eek:

 

Bop

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My husband and I will be first time cruisers on the Empress September 10-17th from Clarkston to Vancouver. Not sure what to expect. We’ve done 2 Viking River Cruises, Bordeaux and Normandy and loved them. We’re very worried about the fires in the area, but no one is posting about them.

 

Hi LEAFEATER,,,,,,

 

Hopefully you will have a great cruise, and are able to pass on your thoughts afterward. This is our first (hopefully of many ) River cruises in the US. for us. We have done the Rhine River aboard the SS Antoinette a few years ago, via Uniworld Boutique Cruise lines. We LOVED it. Unfortunately we are no longer traveling to Europe (many reasons) so we are doing big ship cruises (not mega ships) and now hopefully a few river cruises in and around the US.

 

Hope to hear from you after your cruise.

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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:eek:.:eek:

 

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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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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.

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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 :cool:. We would love to hear more travelogue if you have the time and internet service . LE

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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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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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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.

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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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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

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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.

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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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Thanks for the daily updates.... you have us hooked. They’re so thorough we don’t have to go now:D. 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.

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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

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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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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

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