26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Wanted to visit wineries and see the nature of the area. Always wanted to go see Mount Saint Helens and Mutlanomah Falls. The ship was clean, comfortable and attractive. Plenty of public lounges to relax in. The guest rooms were ... Read More
Wanted to visit wineries and see the nature of the area. Always wanted to go see Mount Saint Helens and Mutlanomah Falls. The ship was clean, comfortable and attractive. Plenty of public lounges to relax in. The guest rooms were comfortable, but smaller than expected. We used the balcony each morning and often had coffee out there as we watched the passing scenery go by. The lecturer and historian was enriching, entertaining and engaging. He knew the history of the area as spoke a lot of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Bus drivers were also narrators that added to the tours. The tours were well organized and took us to places like Bonaville Dam, Ft. Clatsop (Lewis and Clark's camp), Pendleton and various museums and historic places. The food is a big part of the onboard experience. The food was consistently good with local seafood and local recipes used by the chefs. The dining room servers were always friendly and mostly college students. Hoping to do another American Cruise Lines trip, maybe in Alaska soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
The tour was fun and informative but the best part was the incredible attention that we received. My wife requires a wheelchair and from the captain on down we were taken care of. The staff went out of their way to accommodate us and to ... Read More
The tour was fun and informative but the best part was the incredible attention that we received. My wife requires a wheelchair and from the captain on down we were taken care of. The staff went out of their way to accommodate us and to be sure that we were included in every excursions. The food was excellent and the accommodations comfortable. The captain was always accessible and the staff first rate. Young people scurrying around to make sure all the guests were cared for. They went out of their way to call us by name and check on us to see that we were happy and comfortable. The trip on the Columbia River was truly exciting and the scenery was breathtaking. We learned so much about the area and saw so many beautiful sites. We have recommended American Cruise Line to friends and family and they will always be our first choice for a travel adventure. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because our love of the American west and our history on the beautiful Columbia River.The Lewis and Clark history was part of this trip with a wonderful narrator on board. We toured the Maritime Museum in Astor, Mt. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our love of the American west and our history on the beautiful Columbia River.The Lewis and Clark history was part of this trip with a wonderful narrator on board. We toured the Maritime Museum in Astor, Mt. St. Helen's, Multhomah Falls and a pass thru the locks on the Hood River all as part of the trip. There were other side excursions available as well. We chose to spend as much time on board as possible. The staff is well trained, friendly and courteous. The Queen of the West was our first choice as this ship is small - 100 passengers and met my "bucket list" to go on a paddlewheeler. If you want a noisy casino or all night bars...this is not your cruise. If you are looking for intimate, relaxing, private and casual cruising, this is it. I can't wait to return. Oh, did I mention the food? All you could ever eat and wonderful. I'll be eating yogurt for the next couple of weeks. We're still sharing our pictures with friends and encourage them to consider this cruise line...where ever they wish to travel. American Cruise lines handled all our needs including additional hotel reservations prior to the boarding and assistance when we left. Give it a try - you'll love every minute. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I chose this cruise because I went with a group of 20 people. The Columbia River Gorge is beaufiful and in a part of the country not visited by my husband and me before. Other members of the group has previously cruised with American ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I went with a group of 20 people. The Columbia River Gorge is beaufiful and in a part of the country not visited by my husband and me before. Other members of the group has previously cruised with American Cruise Lines; this was a first for us. I would not recommend the Queen of the West to anyone else. We managed with the room and bath but it was far less than desirable. The crew, service, and food were excellent - could not have asked for better. The excursions were excellent and tour quides very knowledgeable about the areas visited. I like the small ship crusing experience - a first for us as we had been on larger ships on other cruises (twice to Alaska). I would travel with American Cruise Lines again but would definitely choose a newer vessel with better accommodations. That's all folks! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our first cruise with American Cruise Lines. We wanted to see another part of the country and this met our request. this was a unique experience for my wife and I. We celebrated our 50 th anniversary. The crew was very good, as ... Read More
This was our first cruise with American Cruise Lines. We wanted to see another part of the country and this met our request. this was a unique experience for my wife and I. We celebrated our 50 th anniversary. The crew was very good, as well as the food. We found it to be a very intimate experience. Having set down meals was a bonus. Ample food. Enjoyed the cocktail hour also. Met people from all over the country. The room was a bit small but it served its purpose. Enjoyed the various stops along the river. The scenery was worth taking of pictures. The locks always intrigued me, being from Sault Ste Marie Mich. many years ago. Enjoyed conversations with Captain Simmons, my having been in the NAVY. We have referred several of our friends to look into cruising with ACL. We are looking into the Alaska cruise possibly next year. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
I went on this cruise with my sister who is from FL. I am from Portland, OR so it was close to home for me to board the ship. While I was close to home, I had never been on the Columbia/Snake River. The scenery was beautiful and it was ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my sister who is from FL. I am from Portland, OR so it was close to home for me to board the ship. While I was close to home, I had never been on the Columbia/Snake River. The scenery was beautiful and it was wonderful to see it from the river, versus the freeway that runs along side the river. The food on the ship was very good. There was an amazing variety and the presentation was excellent. The service was good. It started out slow on the first day of the cruise, but improved from there and the servers were very nice and friendly. All the crew was friendly and concerned about our needs. The Queen of the West is an old ship, but we were very comfortable in our accommodations. I would recommend this cruise even if you live very close to the port. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose this cruise for several reasons: 1. This was our 7th cruise with America Cruise Lines (ACL) so we knew we could expect the best of everything. As before, we were not disappointed. 2. ACL has wonderful speakers and tour ... Read More
We chose this cruise for several reasons: 1. This was our 7th cruise with America Cruise Lines (ACL) so we knew we could expect the best of everything. As before, we were not disappointed. 2. ACL has wonderful speakers and tour leaders and those people on this cruise were phenomenal. They book local entertainers which adds a lot to the evening fun. 3. The food and accommodations are wonderful; always to be looked forward to. 4. The shore excursions are always well planned and the bus drivers do a great job talking about that tour area's history, points of interest, people of note, etc. 5. One of our favorite parts of traveling with ACL is that we don't have to worry about anything. Passengers are politely reminded of tour departure and return times, what kind of weather to expect, alternatives to a planned tour, etc. 6. It's nice to have someone else make some of the decisions for you and to have them be right. That really jumps up the relaxation factor. 7. The boats/ships are small and maneuverable with a limited number of passengers, usually no more than 150, and rarely that many. We've been on large cruise ships and won't be going back. Large ships are crowded, impersonal, and difficult to get on and off of - too much hassle for a relaxing time. NOTE: We sailed from Portland, Oregon; it needs to be added to your list of ports. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We had a great time but would never sail on this ship again. The staff was super, friendly accessible and hospitable. The food was very good. There was an open bar from 5:30 to 6:#0 every night with great munchies, the meals were very ... Read More
We had a great time but would never sail on this ship again. The staff was super, friendly accessible and hospitable. The food was very good. There was an open bar from 5:30 to 6:#0 every night with great munchies, the meals were very good and the entertainment was fine (lectures and music) seldom going much after 9pm. But this ship is the one in the fleet that American did not build. As a result it has certain flaws including bathrooms that are absurdly small. Think about a lavatory on a 737. Never again. Wi-fi only in the common rooms. We have booked on the newest ship in the fleet, America, and have been told that these problems are not present on that vessel. By the way, contrary to the Cruise Critic info, the paddle wheel is ornamental. It does not drive the ship. Nonetheless it is a joy to watch. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
My wife and I took this cruise because we were interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition and this cruise followed their path on the Snake and Columbia rivers. This was our first trip to the Pacific Northwest (we live in the Northeast). ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise because we were interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition and this cruise followed their path on the Snake and Columbia rivers. This was our first trip to the Pacific Northwest (we live in the Northeast). The countryside was beautiful, the Columbia River was more massive than I pictured. One shore excursion was to Mt. Saint Helens and it was awesome. Seeing that mountain (or at least what's left of it) and seeing the destruction that resulted from the eruption and landslide was mind-blowing. Pictures don't capture the reality of it as does seeing it in person. That alone was worth the cost of the trip. North-westerners (at least those we encountered) were very friendly and hospitable. The museums we visited were all top notch. The staff on the ship was very young (average age about 20) and exceptionally good at what they did. They were friendly and personable and all the passengers were impressed by their work ethic. The ship was small and didn't have a full complement of passengers so we got a chance to meet and talk with many nice folks. We found that very pleasing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
We have taken cruises before, but this was exceptional. Not only was the scenery, excursions and boat travel wonderful, the service was beyond compare. You could tell many of the servers were college students in the service field. They ... Read More
We have taken cruises before, but this was exceptional. Not only was the scenery, excursions and boat travel wonderful, the service was beyond compare. You could tell many of the servers were college students in the service field. They were ready for every request and were always extremely gracious. I walked away in awe, thinking this cannot be matched. We shall see. We will surely take another cruise with this cruise line. My wife does not like big waves on the open ocean, so this solved that problem. We enjoyed the history of the river, with lots of information on Lewis and Clark. The ports were very welcoming with many interesting sites. We started in the desert areas of eastern Washington and Oregon and finished in Astoria, on the Pacific coast. We took a trip to Mount Saint Helens, the Gorge with waterfalls, huge dams and more. We were able to walk around the port cities, and the locks were quite a drop. I believe some of the biggest drops of any locks in the world. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This cruise was a pleasant surprise. The critics, we felt, were harsh and not very fair. Yes the rooms were small and it was pricey but there were many positives which outweighed the negatives. The food was unbelievable not only for a ... Read More
This cruise was a pleasant surprise. The critics, we felt, were harsh and not very fair. Yes the rooms were small and it was pricey but there were many positives which outweighed the negatives. The food was unbelievable not only for a ship but for any restaurant. It was always timely and delicious. Healthy and with options for each meal. The staff, mostly students, were unbelievably pleasant; competent and very hard workers. The Captain was pleasant; approachable and kept us safe at all times. Other staff members like Jess and Ian were so dedicated and helpful. Made you feel right at home. Entertainment was nightly and varied. Happy hour, which was also nightly, was a special treat. Admittedly, we read the criticisms prior to leaving. We were wondering if we had made the right decision. You have to experience it to realize that it is a warm and friendly group. Yes the rooms are small but put the luggage under the beds; be organized and don't bring that much. Room temperature controls were not a problem. We had a wonderful experience. Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Here's a rundown of the passengers! About 15% of the passengers on the Columbia/Snake River Cruise departing from Portland, Oct 10th, had significant physical disabilities, such as walking with a cane, walker or needing the ... Read More
Here's a rundown of the passengers! About 15% of the passengers on the Columbia/Snake River Cruise departing from Portland, Oct 10th, had significant physical disabilities, such as walking with a cane, walker or needing the supportive assistance of a spouse or adult child. About 50 % of the passengers, myself included were not physically fit enough to walk comfortably more than 2 miles on a flat surface, or less than 2 miles on an incline. Average age estimated to be about 73. For persons living an active lifestyle such as biking or vigorous hiking the activity level of the cruise will not be challenging enough in my opinion. I arrived at the boat in Portland by cab. The young man taking my bags at the pier did not welcome me onboard. He was sullen. When I got inside the boat, Jessica did welcome me but did not have a name tag for me. She said someone else had gotten it by mistake. The boat while charming on the exterior is actually run down and somewhat depressing on the interior. My cabin while it was clean enough was pretty pitiful considering what I paid for a single person. I have traveled with ACL to the Puget Sound & my cabin on that trip was considerably better. On this cruise I had a single bed which looked smaller than most single beds. More like a youth bed. The comforter was worn and limp and did not provide enough warmth. I had to pile some of my sweaters on the bed to sleep. The pillows were embarrassing. Maybe 2 inches thick and ready for the rag pile. Other passengers experienced similar pillows. It was great to have the little balcony however. Bring bug spray because you will need it for mosquitoes. The walls are so thin between cabins that just about everything is heard on the other side-coughing, conversations, nose blowing. Passengers are very considerate of each other in this regard. I did not feel that the crew addressed safety issues while the ship was in port. While in the port of Stevenson, an older passenger fell while negotiating her way into town from the dock by herself. But walking alone is not the only issue. There are 3 train tracks between the dock and the boat that must be crossed. Trains barrel around the bend very frequently and heaven forbid one of the passengers fell on these tracks and could not get up when a train is coming. Considering the frail nature of some of the passengers and that they may be hard of hearing it is a real possibility. It would be very helpful for the crew to have an informational talk regarding safety while in port. Passengers should travel together in groups at the very least. There were train tracks to be crossed also in the Dalles if one wanted to venture into town. Ian was on board, an Australian expert in all things Louis and Clark. He gave a couple of excellent talks about the Corps of Discovery. But the first afternoon out of Portland, Ian got on the microphone and was giving a blow by blow description of everything we passed by and such info as how to pronounce the town name of Kalama. Passengers in their individual cabins could not turn the sound down and some of us were very aggravated. Sometimes you just want to quietly meditate & watch the scenery go by without someone yelling incessantly. The first few days of the trip were beautiful while the last couple of days closer to Clarkston were not pleasant. In short, it stunk to high heavens! It was hard to figure out what smelled so bad but someone said it was a paper factory. However, the ship also began to smell like sewage in certain areas too. When I settled my account and left a generous tip, I was not even thanked. Great way to treat a passenger. I had also requested information on the Ohio River cruise-twice and never got it. I think an element of burnout was taking over with a couple of the staff. I fit right in with most of the passengers-age wise, interest wise, activity level. I feel comfortable at meals conversing with the other passengers. I enjoyed the excursions. But I will really weigh my options before going on another ACL trip. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was my second cruise with American Cruise Lines. It was also my first visit to the Pacific Northwest with the exception of a trip to Seattle many years ago. The cruise was to Clarkston, WA to Portland, OR with ports of Richland, WA; ... Read More
This was my second cruise with American Cruise Lines. It was also my first visit to the Pacific Northwest with the exception of a trip to Seattle many years ago. The cruise was to Clarkston, WA to Portland, OR with ports of Richland, WA; The Dalles, OR; Stevenson, WA; Port Kalama, WA; Astoria, OR and Portland, OR. I loved being in this part of the U.S. on a river cruise. It is truly a spectacular way to see the country via the river. The highlight of the cruise for me was seeing Mt. St. Helen's. I was in a cabin with a window (non-balcony) that I shared with a friend. There were two twin beds and plenty of storage/closet space for two people. The bathroom is small and is similar in size to an oceanview cabin bathroom on a large cruise ship. The cabin was very comfortable for a week on the river. The upper deck has outside seating with tables and chairs as well as rocking chairs, so I didn't miss having a balcony at all. There are also some chairs and loungers on the bow of each deck where one can sit outside. My cabin was kept very clean throughout the cruise. The food, dining service, enrichment activities (lectures) and shore excursions were all very good to excellent. Entertainment was good, but I would have liked a bit more variety. There are 120 passengers and everyone was friendly. There is a daily cocktail hour and it's a nice opportunity to meet others. If you would like a unique trip through the Pacific Northwest, this cruise is it Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We took the October 3rd river cruise with American Cruise Lines on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. We paid the cruise company to transfer us and our luggage from the airport to the ship. During the transfer and boarding process, part of ... Read More
We took the October 3rd river cruise with American Cruise Lines on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. We paid the cruise company to transfer us and our luggage from the airport to the ship. During the transfer and boarding process, part of our luggage was lost. The cruise staff told us that they have no idea what happened to our luggage, but that they would reimburse us for emergency purchases.. At the end of the cruise the hotel manager told us that he had been directed to not reimburse us for our purchases and that we would need to contact management at the corporate headquarters. Other than the problems with our luggage, there were many delightful aspects to the trip as well as some significant issues. On the positive side the meals and wine were outstanding and the dining room staff was very friendly. Unfortunately the dining room and kitchen were very understaffed so the service was at times very slow. On a few occasions we had to leave our lunch unfinished in order to get to an afternoon excursion. There was a very nice free cocktail hour every evening before dinner with an excellent selection of wine and liquor. Unfortunately the room was not large enough to accommodate all of the passengers comfortably. On several occasions we got drinks at the bar and went up on the top deck where we could relax and talk with our friends. They offered free wifi onboard the ship. Unfortunately the wifi was only available in the three public rooms (not in the staterooms) and only 10 people could be online in each public room. As a result there were several occasions when we couldn't access the internet. The staterooms were neat and clean and nicely decorated. However our room was very small (among the smallest of any cruise ship we've been on). The best part of the cruise was the fantastic scenery and outstanding excursions. Most of the excursions were complimentary, a real difference from the large cruise ships. There was an expert on board who gave several interesting talks on the expedition of Lewis & Clark. Also our cruise was a billed as a wine cruise with a wine expert on board. We visited several wineries along our route as well as doing wine tasting and wine-food pairings on-board. The other great part of the cruise were the other passengers. Everyone was very friendly and we met several other great couples that we formed friendships with. Our biggest issue remains the management of the company. We have been trying for the past month to talk to them. They have refused to answer our calls or address our lost luggage problem. We will never travel with American Cruise Lines again. It's clear they don't care about their customers once the cruise is done. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We sailed with American Cruise Lines on the Queen of the West from Clarkston, WA to Portland, OR along the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Although this small paddlewheel-style ship (120 passengers) is nothing special to look at, the ... Read More
We sailed with American Cruise Lines on the Queen of the West from Clarkston, WA to Portland, OR along the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Although this small paddlewheel-style ship (120 passengers) is nothing special to look at, the experience is excellent. Meals were plentiful and delicious. Wine flowed at lunch and dinner. The sights along the way - dams, locks, waterfalls, wineries, volcanos - and tons of Lewis & Clark history - make the trip very worthwhile. Despite some overcrowding at full capacity, the staff handled the entire week, not without some adversities, with grace and dignity. We have traveled 6 other times with American and will cruise with them again in the near future. If you have a clear understanding of the type of cruise you are embarking on, you will have a delightful time. We became close with two other couples plus the wine specialist Reggie and her husband. This is the type of cruise where you can make new friends, with both fellow passengers and special staff. Cabins are small but adequate. Bring some of your own hangers! Bathrooms are small but hot water is plentiful. We spent much time in the main lounge, on the top deck, and away on excursions. Or at meals! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We spent a week on this boat and I can safely say that as a veteran of many European and American River Cruise ships, this is by far the worst I have ever encountered. We had previously traveled with American Queen up the Mississippi and ... Read More
We spent a week on this boat and I can safely say that as a veteran of many European and American River Cruise ships, this is by far the worst I have ever encountered. We had previously traveled with American Queen up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and both were excellent. We had heard though that their recently acquired Empress of the West, just did not compare to the American Queen. In looking at the ads for the Queen of the West it appeared from the pictures and the description of the largest cabins in the US that for the same price we get what looked to be something comparable to the American Queen. How wrong we were! First of all the pictures of the cabins must have been taken on some other boat, and if this boat was renovated in 2011, it must have been a total dump to start out with! The cabins were nowhere near what was pictured in their ads. The twin beds were custom made and were 5 inches narrower than a standard twin bed, but that was necessary so they could get a night stand beside the bed and allow a bit of walking room between the beds. We waited 2 days to get a wash cloth. Three pieces of "gunk" were on our cabin floor the entire trip and three times the cabin attendant left our cabin not only unlocked, but wide open with no workers in sight in the halls. The food was pretty bad. We did have a good batch of pancakes one morning and my Oso Bucco on the first night was delicious, but tasted suspiciously like the frozen ones I get at Costco. All seafood was dry. There were only two options each day for lunch and dinner. All salad dressings were Vinaigrette so I stuck to the soups. They were obviously ladled up way in advance and held in a warming oven as each and every time there was a thick "crust" on the top of the cup. Breakfast sausage was often lukewarm and portions of food were quite small. Duck Breast one night consisted of three pieces of duck about as big around as your thumb and forefinger. Strawberry shortcake was so hard it was almost impossible to break into it. I asked for some extra sauce thinking that would help. They brought me a whole cupful of berries and sauce and it was still so dry I could not cut it without a knife. They employ college age kids and it appeared to me that it was on the job training, shadowing someone who had been there for a while. The maximum time they can work the boat is 12 weeks, so the turnover is high. They do try hard but lack of experience is obvious. There are about 30 on the staff and they suggest that tips for a week should be $160.00 per person. That comes out to over $600.00 per steward. From talking to the kids they usually clear about $1200 every 2 weeks, so their base pay must be pretty low. One of their executives was on board for the last two days. I attempted to talk to him and outline problems as I saw them. He conveniently got a phone call that he "had to take" and despite the fact that he saw me at least 10 times after I attempted to talk to him, he never asked if we had finished the conversation or if I needed to talk some more. He simply ignored me. We did have a marvelous Historian on board who gave talks about Lewis & Clark along the way. He was excellent. Probably the best part of the cruise. You will be lucky if you get Ian. Entertainment was 2 nights of a guy with a guitar, and two nights of a duo on piano and bass. They were all pretty good. The final night was a Nez Perce Indian who was geared more towards children than adults. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My wife and I took the Columbia/Snake River route from Portland to Clarkston. Staff very courteous and seemed anxious to please. Cabin person was new & couldn't seem to get the hang of fresh towels each day, but seemed to get it ... Read More
My wife and I took the Columbia/Snake River route from Portland to Clarkston. Staff very courteous and seemed anxious to please. Cabin person was new & couldn't seem to get the hang of fresh towels each day, but seemed to get it after I explained the problem to the Cruise Director.Physical accommodations were average, but not up to ocean cruises we have taken. On the other hand, the intimate size of the passenger list was very nice after being two of several thousand in sea cruises. Pricier than sea cruises, but probably related to small scale and all U.S.A. based. Only serious disappointment was that I comparison shopped cancellation insurance (after the fact- long story). Their offering was seriously overpriced. My own fault for not checking before rather than after. (My wife has had a stroke which makes long range planning dicey.) Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
As frequent river (Europe) and ocean cruisers, we came with high hopes for a top notch ship to equal the price paid. We knew the ship was old; we weren't prepared for lack of quality care of the vessel (save the engineering which was ... Read More
As frequent river (Europe) and ocean cruisers, we came with high hopes for a top notch ship to equal the price paid. We knew the ship was old; we weren't prepared for lack of quality care of the vessel (save the engineering which was relatively new) over the years. Upon entering our cabin for the first time, the window covers (mini blinds) were warped from mishandling over time. The wall covering was peeling; the outdoor balcony was filthy (and remained so the entire trip). It was unusable anyway since the generator or engine noise was deafening on the balcony. Recovering from this "drive up" appearance, I sat on the bed (which was comfortable) and looked up at the ceiling. The air conditioning return vent (which is very large), was weeping dust and dirt accumulated for many months, if not years. Fine, housekeeping came up and "dusted" the exterior but did not have any filters onboard to complete the job. Next day, filters were purchased and the job was completed. I assisted the young crewman as it was more than a one man job. The filters were so black with mold and other crud it, I cannot describe just how bad they were. But we were there for the week and we were going to enjoy ourselves. So we return to the cabin after the first dinner and the housekeepers had done turndown service. Great! We expected that. What we didn't expect was to find relatively fresh blood on the duvet! Again, guest services was notified and a new duvet was received. Guest services was very responsive to our concerns. The hotel staff and a corporate supervisor were very attentive, listened to our issues all week and made corrections where corrections could be made. Here's the bottom line or takeaway. The housekeeping and restaurant staff are the same young men and women. They are well chosen and delightful to be around. However, they are US college kids or from similar backgrounds that are onboard for summer jobs. They serve, essentially, the entire summer season. I understand they receive 4 days of formal training and on the job training from there. They are not the professional and experienced staff you have on cruise lines that are operated outside the US. Until American Cruise Lines has a professional complement of staff dedicated full time to customer service, the housekeeping and other service issues we faced will be a continuing matter. The service experienced on this ship would not be acceptable to any other cruise line we have experienced. There were other matters which could be written up but I've already run on too long. On the positive side, there was coffee, teas and sodas available with chips and things 24/7 in two common areas. Breakfast was dependably good and the many fish served at lunch and dinner were well prepared. The deck crew busted their butts making sure the less mobile passengers got off and on the boat safely. The captain was great. The Columbia and Snake Rivers are incredible. The 4th deck was wonderful for viewing. That said, drive it, RV it, and use local guides. The Queen of the West is not a good value. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
I noted the last review was written by our New Zealand friends. Sailing with friends almost always makes up the bumps that occur when traveling. Our cruise on the Queen of the West was virtually without bumps. I met Captain Simmons ... Read More
I noted the last review was written by our New Zealand friends. Sailing with friends almost always makes up the bumps that occur when traveling. Our cruise on the Queen of the West was virtually without bumps. I met Captain Simmons right away and it quickly became evident that he has passed on to his crew his philosophy of taking care of his passengers. Warner gave us a great first day and it was really difficult for his replacement to live up to his enthusiasm. Jess, our tour guide, was a Mouseketeer reincarnated with a bubbly personality. Cindy, driver of bus #1, could make her living as a standup comedian! When she wasn't providing descriptions and history for our tours, she filled the gaps with humor that kept us in stitches. After our lucky first ride with her, I would "sprint" to her bus to grab seats for my wife and NZ friends. The crew was made up of young college students who served our well prepared meals then changed into their housekeeping duds to make up our rooms. The rooms are small but expected. Our onboard narrator was outstanding and made the history of not only Lewis & Clark but of Oregon as a territory and state great fun; he was quite a story-teller. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Dave and Bo, a really amazing pair of entertainers, Dave on his piano and Bo on the string bass. All in all a fun week with perfect weather and good friends Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We were one of the first 6 to board this ship in Lewiston. Warner kindly let us on a bit earlier as we waited in the lounge area for our rooms to be ready. Warner knew his job and we were disappointed to see him go after day one. He just ... Read More
We were one of the first 6 to board this ship in Lewiston. Warner kindly let us on a bit earlier as we waited in the lounge area for our rooms to be ready. Warner knew his job and we were disappointed to see him go after day one. He just had a way with him that made you feel special, the lass that took his place was not as confident and we found she just didn't have that personable ability that Warner had. The faux enthusiasm reminded of us of a UK comedy TV program," Hi de hi." Gladys, who had a similar job of gathering the groups to impart information to holiday makers, also spoke through a microphone with similar gusto. The rooms, although smaller than other river cruises in Europe were of a similar standard, as was the food. The Americans on board were all part of the great experience we had on this cruise. We were travelling with friends, a Texan couple, so were weren't strangers to the ways of the locals!!! Having said that, we became of interest to some Americans as we were yet again, the only New Zealanders on board. As Kiwis we are well travelled and enjoyed very much the history of the Colombia Snake river and excursions. I would like to mention Cindy one of the tour guides and driver of bus 1. What an amazing lady, so entertaining and a wealth of knowledge, and (some made up nonsence which had us in hysterics). She has the gift of the gab as we would say back here at home, and although she is contracted to do this job, don't let go of this lady, such a huge asset to have. It was a ship shape affair with all staff tending to our needs of feeding and cleaning our rooms, they must be exhausted each night, but they just carried on like troopers. All in all a most successful and interesting look into Pacific North West Area of the USA. We would highly recommend this particular boat cruise to anyone interested in the history and scenery of this area. We finally finished this trip in Portland, refreshed and satisfied with our choice. Will definitely be interested at another cruise at some stage. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
I have always had an interest in the rivers of North America. I enjoy boats and water. It was extremely comfortable cruising on the restored Queen of the West, stern wheeler up the Columbia and Snake Rivers of Oregon and Washington. ... Read More
I have always had an interest in the rivers of North America. I enjoy boats and water. It was extremely comfortable cruising on the restored Queen of the West, stern wheeler up the Columbia and Snake Rivers of Oregon and Washington. Service was excellent. One of my favorite times was having breakfast on the bow while viewing the majesty of the mountains and listening to our on board guide Todd Weber. Tears came to my eyes with the beauty I was seeing. Todd gave a talk about the Lewis and Clark expeditions in this area. Hearing the history regarding the discovery and developing of this part of our country added to the full experience of the cruise. I truly like having guides on board to ask questions and expand the trip. The shore excursions were fun and interesting. There were historical excursions, such as the Fort of Lewis and Clark,and there were visits to a world renowned Rodeo which is in the town of Pendleton where the well known wool manufacturer is also located. Most of all the scenery impresses me the most when I travel. Yes I will be going again in June 2017. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
The highlight of the trip was the resource person, Todd Webber, who took the part of Mariwether Lewis telling the history of the expedition. Richland the try cities site of the Hanford Nuclear facility. Getting to know the ... Read More
The highlight of the trip was the resource person, Todd Webber, who took the part of Mariwether Lewis telling the history of the expedition. Richland the try cities site of the Hanford Nuclear facility. Getting to know the resourcefulness of the bus driver, Cindy, as she chatters through our trips. Morning visit to Sacajawea State Park and museum located at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia where the expedition camped. Afternoon visit to Hanford Reach Museum was packed with atomic energy information as it related to the people living in the trycities during the 40's. Huge amount of information about the Missoula flood which gouged out the Snake and Columbia Rivers. June 1 The Dales, OR. Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in the morning. More geology, local history and raptor show. Afternoon visit the museum was a surprise with Rodan room as packed as the Paris studio. June 2 Stevenson OR. The Bonneville Dam was a treat with an opportunity to see through windows several species of fish struggling up stream. June 3 Kalama, WA Trip to Mt St Helens blast center ended at Weyerhaeuser Center when the mountain hidden. The center was informative about logging the damaged trees as well a reforestation. June 4 Astoria, OR (the home of the Goonies) Trip through the city to the column which was under renovation. Fortunately, the view of the Pacific was spectacular. Then off to Fort Clatsop where the expedition over-wintered. Good visitors center. Afternoon we toured the Colombia River Maritime Museum at our leisure. Impressive the number of known shipwrecks around the mouth of the river. June 5 Portland Morning Todd covered the fates of several corps members. Tour of the city limited by the Rose Festival. The rose gardens were spectacular. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
My family of six (88, 61, 59, 29, 25, & 18 years old) took the two Owner's cabins, which each can hold three people and are located on the top deck, next to the captain's cabin. The captain was always at the helm or corner ... Read More
My family of six (88, 61, 59, 29, 25, & 18 years old) took the two Owner's cabins, which each can hold three people and are located on the top deck, next to the captain's cabin. The captain was always at the helm or corner pilots stations when we traversed locks or did anything tricky, and his mate was usually there, also. The captain was also very friendly, making a point to greet all the passengers and often welcoming us back to the ship. I would guess that the average age of passengers was upper 70's. There was only one other person in the younger age group at 45 years old. The age of passengers only mattered because it limited the activities on excursions significantly. Most excursions only allowed an hour and a half to do anything. We took a 4 hour round trip to the Mount St. Helen's observatory (too cloudy to see), but only had a little over an hour there because that was the most any passengers would have liked except our group. We were the only ones who went walking on the trails. This made for pretty dull sight seeing. Even at a museum, everyone (except us) was pretty pooped after an hour and wanted to go before the allotted time was up. This should be taken into consideration when considering this cruise. If you aren't pretty sedentary, you'll probably find the trip more relaxing than you'd want. The most enjoyable trips were Multnomah Falls and walking the trails at Mount St. Helens, although we had to walk quite fast since the visits were short. We also really enjoyed the Bonneville Dam visit. Going through the locks was quite memorable, and I think we traversed 8 of them. The staff are young and personable. Actually, they're the friendliest hospitality employees I've ever encountered. However, they are not competent. The food service was incredibly slow. We took to bringing water into the dining room at lunch when we would otherwise have to wait for drinks service because we would get too thirsty. The waits were interminable. The same people who served meals also cleaned the cabins. They were very poor at this. I don't know if the staff weren't trained well or if there were too few of them, but I would have expected better. The food itself was not good. It was generally bland. Fish like salmon and steelhead trout were overcooked, as was chicken. The only protein I had that was really well cooked was duck. We had lots of salads, and they had a couple of dressings that were very good. The worst dish was an entree they called deviled crab. It was a gratinee dish full of some creamy liquid and a few very tiny pieces of crab. We didn't really take much advantage of the available entertainment as it wasn't to our taste. That doesn't mean it might not have been done very well. I wouldn't take another American Cruise Lines trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This cruise exceeded all our expectations. The only negative is that the cabins were much smaller than advertised though still ample. The balconies were small and not private being shared with two other cabins. Nonetheless, the efficiency ... Read More
This cruise exceeded all our expectations. The only negative is that the cabins were much smaller than advertised though still ample. The balconies were small and not private being shared with two other cabins. Nonetheless, the efficiency and personal touches of the cruise lines was evident in the reception, tours, social hours, evening programs, and especially the meals. I told the chef personally that we had a wonderful epicurean experience that happened to occur on a cruise. The cleaning and wait staff were personable, intelligent and hardworking attesting the thorough hiring criteria of the company. Most had college degrees or were college students and easily interacted with the passengers, most of whom were retired professionals. We were so pleased we booked another cruise next year. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
I selected ACL's cruise down the Snake and Columbia Rivers for several reasons: I'm interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition, I wanted to see the landscape of the Inland Northwest, and my earlier cruise with ACL (the Lower ... Read More
I selected ACL's cruise down the Snake and Columbia Rivers for several reasons: I'm interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition, I wanted to see the landscape of the Inland Northwest, and my earlier cruise with ACL (the Lower Mississippi) was such a treat that I wanted to travel with the company again. The Snake/Columbia River trip was one of the best I'd ever taken, and I have been traveling extensively for 52 years. My booking was handled politely and expeditiously by Sean at the ACL office, and I received all necessary papers and notices on time and in order before my departure. The itinerary, from Lewiston, ID, to Astoria, OR, was first rate. The excursions were diverse and fascinating, with excellent guides-- there was something for everyone. When we were under way, the staff always devised something fun to do, like sailing kites off the deck. Though the cabins on the paddlewheeler Queen of the West are somewhat smaller than on the Queen of the Mississippi, my room was perfectly acceptable --clean and comfortable. The company has, incidentally, just launched a new ship built to their specifications, so they are always upgrading. The service is excellent. You can tell immediately that the staff are very well trained: these young people are friendly, polite, and capable. In addition, the lecturers were outstanding. Because of my interest in history, I asked a lot of questions-- and got the answers. Above all, the cruise director was very responsive to our needs-- she even made special arrangements for me to fit in an extra excursion in Astoria. I especially enjoyed the afternoon happy hour, with included drinks, wine, and an extensive selection of hors d'oeuvres. It was a great chance to meet with the other passengers and compare notes. The ship is small, about 100 passengers, so you have an opportunity to meet like-minded, friendly people from all over the country. The food is excellent. I am a vegetarian, and the chef had no problem accommodating my needs. I have already signed up for my third ACL cruise, and I plan to take many more. Read Less
Queen of the West Ratings
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