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
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the ... Read More
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the bed takes up about 75% of the room. The tv is on desk next to the bed with no place to sit to watch it. A lamp next to the bed was connected to an extension that went across the room to a outlet. This was in front of the door that led to the small balcony. If you wanted to sit and read you had to go to the library as there was no room in the cabin. I called ACL twice to find out the cost of excursions and they said you will find out when you board the ship. The booklet said $20 to $90. They charged $40 to $120. The per diem cost of the cruise was more than some luxury cruises we have taken. Some the most scenic parts of this cruise were traveled at night or during a lunch or dinner hour. The food choice was minimal but basically well prepared The kids serving the meals also cleaned the rooms. They were hard working and enjoyable. In summary this the most over priced bare bones cruise we have ever gone on. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
A scenic River Cruise sounded great, but, in the end, it was one of the worst experiences of our lives (and definitely the most expensive). The Queen of the West is an old renovated ship and did not have many (or should I say ... Read More
A scenic River Cruise sounded great, but, in the end, it was one of the worst experiences of our lives (and definitely the most expensive). The Queen of the West is an old renovated ship and did not have many (or should I say "any"??)amenities. The "exercise facility" consisted of one stationary bicycle and one elliptical which were found on the top deck in a public seating area. The rooms were TINY and the staff was extremely inexperienced. Staff were all college kids and nice enough, but with very little experience. The cost of the cruise was EXORBITANT. No choices for Shore excursions--You either went or you didn't, with no options. Staying on the boat was not really an option either since there was NOTHING to do--no shops, no cafes, just a makeshift library with one computer (which was never available)and two lounges with chairs and magazines. Shore excursions were pricey and definitely tailored to the elderly. NO active excursion options for kids. Entertainment after dinner consisted of an hour or so of local musicians. By 8:30 PM the entertainment was over and evidently, it was bedtime for all!!! Food was sub-par, but, in all fairness, did get better as the week progressed. I am appalled at how much money I paid for this family vacation. Definitely NOT worth the price. Will NEVER cruise with this company again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Wanted to see the northwest and brochures for American Cruise lines was inviting. The queen of the West American Cruise Line trip was very disappointing. The ship was old, food mediocre, overpriced, noisy going through the locks. The young ... Read More
Wanted to see the northwest and brochures for American Cruise lines was inviting. The queen of the West American Cruise Line trip was very disappointing. The ship was old, food mediocre, overpriced, noisy going through the locks. The young staff, wait staff, while they try hard are only part timers. The stops were boring, except for the Snake River jet boat. , sad to pay so much and be let down. The entertainment was not good, except for Kevin Neil, who was great !!! They could have him every night. Not the fault of the line, but the smoke from the California and Canadian fires really obstructed our views. Even when you get to a excursion you like, there is not enough time to stay. Breakfast was the only meal that was ok ( as a cook myself, hard to mess up breakfast). Queen of the West was supposed to be refurbished. They put new carpeting on the top deck and new chairs. Save your money. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Wanted to see the snake/columbia rivers. Only cruise line to offer the itinerary we wanted. PLUSES: * FRIENDLY CREW, ALBEIT INEXPERIENCED * OPEN BAR COCKTAIL HOUR EACH EVENING * SMOOTH RIDE, COMFORTABLE SEATING ON DECK * ... Read More
Wanted to see the snake/columbia rivers. Only cruise line to offer the itinerary we wanted. PLUSES: * FRIENDLY CREW, ALBEIT INEXPERIENCED * OPEN BAR COCKTAIL HOUR EACH EVENING * SMOOTH RIDE, COMFORTABLE SEATING ON DECK * GOOD ON-BOARD LECTURES ON LOCAL HISTORY * MT ST HELENS TOUR WAS INTERESTING * EASY EMBARKATION/DISENBARKATION MINUSES: * food quality was average to poor...served mostly salads for lunch; too few choices. Dinners ok if you like fish..i dont. * food quantity was inadequate for most people. One small piece (one inch long) of bread served for each person at table . Requests for more did not result in extra bread. * cabins very small..i stubbed my foot several times on the metal step into the bathroom. * for several days the hot water for the shower was lukewarm and uncomfortable . * the ship has one small elevator and 4 decks. The elevator was malfunctioned on the first day and would only support one person at a time (rated for 10 persons). It stopped between floors and my wife tripped trying to get out of it. It was then closed for 3 days and the crew was required to carry disabled passengers up and down the stairs. I have a cardiac condition which required me to stop and rest at each landing for most of the week. * cruise was billed as a "wine cruise"...wine was served each nite with dinner but the wine was all local cheap stuff from the wa/or area and nowhere near the best they make. On several occasions i asked for some better wine to be served and was accommodated although just my glass was filled; the remainder of the dinner guests were not offered any. * wi-fi was only occasionally available in our cabin; dropped out often. * paid extra for a "beer tasting"...we were walked off the boat several blocks up a steep incline which i was barely able to negotiate and ushered into the back room of a local bar. We were served 2 small samples of a local craft beer and one small sample of a local cider, both of which were average to poor quality. Strangely none of the product we tasted was available for sale (?) although i would not have purchased it anyway. * the on-board "entertainment" was invisible. There were some musicians at the cocktail hour each nite playing background music. The blues band was ok. * the only exercise equipment or space on board was two bikes outside on the top deck... SUMMARY: Considering the poor food quality, quantity and choices, the mediocre accommodations and the water/elevator issues, this cruise is a poor value overall. We have been on 3 eu river cruises which cost less, have vastly better food and drink and much better on-board entertainment. The "queen of the west" is an old queen...the recent re-furbishment wasn't evident...still reminded me of cruising in the 1950's and 1960's on cheap boats. I would not recommend this cruise line, and especially this boat, to anyone. We will likely go back to viking or ama which have vastly better service, food and newer boats. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
The Columbia River scenery was nice, the locks and dams were interesting. The pros: Laid back Quiet not crowded Casual The cons: Cabins are really small Food is very marginal and little choice Snacks are very salty, pretzels etc., ... Read More
The Columbia River scenery was nice, the locks and dams were interesting. The pros: Laid back Quiet not crowded Casual The cons: Cabins are really small Food is very marginal and little choice Snacks are very salty, pretzels etc., not good for seniors Waiters are really young and inexperienced. Some real surprises here. Shore tours are pricey, save your money Not much to do on board, just relax and read Entertainment was really lacking Mostly old folks, some friendly, some are not Grossly unfair? They allowed some folks to reserve tables, bummer Hot food is cold, service is really poor Young kids who do not really fit in, some of them are trying Actually, the kids are overworked, do food handling then the restroom cleaning Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Complete itinerary not given until we boarded boat. Queen of the West is an older ship, but was to have been re-done in 2011. The public areas are nice, rooms are exceptionally small - had one piece of furniture removed so we could use the ... Read More
Complete itinerary not given until we boarded boat. Queen of the West is an older ship, but was to have been re-done in 2011. The public areas are nice, rooms are exceptionally small - had one piece of furniture removed so we could use the chair to put on socks. Pace is exceptionally slow even for a very senior citizen - boat was more like a nursing home than a cruise. Young people hired to serve in the dining area were exceptional. Food was unremarkable!!!! Scenery was typical NW US scenery. Certainly could have done the whole trip by flying into Portland, renting a car and driving on both sides of the Columbia River and seen much much more. Excursions were typical, but were not included in the very high price charged for the trip. The last day in Portland was a real waste of time and money! If you wanted to spend a day in Portland, go to a hotel and take the hop-on-hop off bus or public transportation system and see way more! Had a knowledgeable historian aboard who did a good job presenting programs. Other entertainment was average or less. If you stayed aboard and didn't go for an excursion, there was no information between the boat and towns as to what might be some on-shore options. Managed to find a great massage place in Stevenson, but Richland didn't offer anything - entire town was closed including the museum. The Dalles actually had a welcoming party and made us feel special to be in their town. All and all, wouldn't do the trip again nor recommend it to anyone else. Was looking at this trip for a possible trip for our senior group, but would never recommend it. Will look at a bus trip instead due to the high cost and poor food. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
The Queen of the West looks tired. Our Veranda stateroom was small & cramped, and the door to the veranda was not all glass so the view we expected wasn't there. There were fumes so we didn't use the balcony much. The day ... Read More
The Queen of the West looks tired. Our Veranda stateroom was small & cramped, and the door to the veranda was not all glass so the view we expected wasn't there. There were fumes so we didn't use the balcony much. The day we arrived the toilet in our cabin was dirty and stained. There was zero storage in the bathroom -- no cabinets, no shelves, so I kept my toiletries on the floor. The passengers were mostly very senior; one man fell on the threshold to the lounge and broke his hip 3 hours into the trip and had to be evacuated at the first lock. Food was OK, but not much variety for vegetarians or the health conscious. On the bright side, the Columbia River was beautiful and the trip to Mount St. Helen's was good, as was the Maritime Museum in Astoria. You can ride all day on the little historic streetcar there, which was fun. We have been on the Rhine, the Yangtze, the Danube, the Mississippi on the American Queen, and the Amazon, and all offered much more quality for less money. Too bad because American Cruise Lines has other interesting itineraries in the US, but we won't be on them. Others must agree as there were just a handful of cruise line repeaters on this ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Before I start, let me say that overall the cruise was OK for my wife and I. For my 87 year old mother who we brought, the cruise was better than OK and she enjoyed it a lot. Having never been on another river cruise, she had no real ... Read More
Before I start, let me say that overall the cruise was OK for my wife and I. For my 87 year old mother who we brought, the cruise was better than OK and she enjoyed it a lot. Having never been on another river cruise, she had no real expectations and so it was a great experience for her. For us, this was the first and probably last US based river cruise. All of our experience is on Viking which we knew going in was going to be hard to compare. As mentioned earlier, I am good with period décor and to some degree period accommodations. That said, when one pays for owner suite rooms, those rooms should at least be maintained/not dated. Suite 402 exhibited many squawks including several ceiling panels bent and one completely loose/hanging down at one end, carpet was stained, chairs were missing buttons and worn, chrome soap dish and toothbrush holder were loose, shower soap holder was chipped, outdoor candles on our balcony were all inop, back door handle was loose and back door had visible hinge wedge made out of balled up painters tape, all vertical blinds had at least one (if not several) bent vanes. These are ALL routine maintenance items that there is really no excuse for having not addressed either before or during the cruise - ESPECIALLY if one is paying extra for the owners suite. Last but not least, while I can almost rationalize the wine not being restocked daily in the owner suite, it is hard to imagine (other than lack of attention to detail) why the water and juice were not and why one of the days 1 used wine glass was taken but no new clean one left in its place. Beyond the room squawks, a suggestion I might have is to put a Suite Number sign on the outside of the back door (similar to the sign on the front door). SEVERAL times during the cruise people presumably exploring the ship either walked into our room or tried to walk in (learned after day 2 to keep door locked). A suite marker might help them understand it is not just a passage to the other side or that there is not an inside staircase down to the deck below. At the ship level, the paint has been reasonably maintained with no visible rust and/or staining noticeable - great. Upholstery throughout though was noticeably stained and worn giving a less than warm feeling about sitting on any of the furniture. This was the most noticeable in the dining room and thank heaven those chairs were completely replaced half way through the cruise. Prior to replacing them, honestly ACL, they were just plain disgusting. As for the carpet, it was mostly good except for when you come to the stairs. There were no less than three different carpet styles going from deck one to deck two and one really bad face seam going between another level. I get that it is less expensive to patch in like was done, but seriously, it LOOKS patched in and thus detracts from the sense that the ship is well maintained. Add to this the fact that there were missing and broken paddles on the paddle wheel and, well, again it detracts from the experience knowing that overall maintenance is a little lax and where done cuts corners - presumably for budget reasons. The crew does a great job of compensating for the maintenance deficiencies with helpful attitude and smiles so I give ACL credit for that. Overall however, I am sorry to say I will likely not use ACL again and would definitely not recommend the Queen of The West. I had really hoped for a better cruise experience but the maintenance and service distractions at the owner suite level were to say the least more than a little disappointing Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The scenery on the Colombia River is outstanding. The sites were interesting but didn't get to stay long enough at Mt. St. Helen’s and the Rose Park in Portland. There was a lot to do in these two areas that warranted more time. ... Read More
The scenery on the Colombia River is outstanding. The sites were interesting but didn't get to stay long enough at Mt. St. Helen’s and the Rose Park in Portland. There was a lot to do in these two areas that warranted more time. The overall pace of the cruise is geared for seniors. Though I am one ( mid sixties and fortunately healthy, I would have preferred a bit more activity. Since most folks were in their 80’s I think the pace worked well for them. There was nightly entertainment starting at Happy Hour though nothing through out the day. Some afternoons there were lectures on Lewis and Clark that were quite infomative. Food was good and plentiful but don't expect gourmet. The ship itself was one of the older ones in American Cruise’s fleet. I was glad to hear that this trip was the last until refurbished. When traveling again, I would definitely opt for one of their newer ships that has updated furnishings and better accommodations. The Staff was very friendly especially the ship manager who went out of her way to be accommodating to your needs. Headquarters also was responsive to my concerns. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
The Queen of the West is an old paddle wheeler that should be retired. The crew was extremely friendly and helpful and the service was excellent. However the food choices were limited and my diabetic requests were never sent to the ship ... Read More
The Queen of the West is an old paddle wheeler that should be retired. The crew was extremely friendly and helpful and the service was excellent. However the food choices were limited and my diabetic requests were never sent to the ship from the home office. The cost of the cruise is very expensive for one can sail for two weeks in European Rivers for the price of this one week on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. What food was provided was excellent as well as the wait staff. The cabin is smaller than advertised however not a huge factor as one spends little time in the cabin. The ports of call were very worthwhile however more time could be spent in Portland at the end as we remained in Astoria until 4 am the night before. The shore excursions could have been briefed to us before the arrival and not a short blurp at the very beginning. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I am 62 years old and went with my 89 year-old mother who is still very mobile. Parts of the cruise were interesting and others not. First of all, let me tell you that the accommodations were very nice. Unfortunately, we didn't pay ... Read More
I am 62 years old and went with my 89 year-old mother who is still very mobile. Parts of the cruise were interesting and others not. First of all, let me tell you that the accommodations were very nice. Unfortunately, we didn't pay for a balcony and so we were on the basement floor where many of the entertainers have their rooms and it can be noisy at night. We could hear the toilets flushing constantly from the floor above and the public bathroom outside in the hallway. The free wifi and even by cell service were often not working in the room and I had to go out into the hallway or up to the library on the second floor to use the free internet or even call my wife. There was a 24 hour period on the Snake River where there was no cell service or wifi at all. There were a few teens and young couples but very sparse. The cruise is for seniors.The entertainment was very boring for us, no exercise equipment, no pool, just a library and a piano bar...snooze!. Good for old timers who like old Broadway shows or music from the 40s. The excursions for the most part were decent The food was excellent, best part of the cruise. Even though we were given the late dinner time, we were able to change it to the later time by asking the matre d, Carmen. We were even able to get into the private dining area for than the 2 times normally allowed. In the private dining area, we were able to have lobster tail, which was pretty small...so we just asked for two of them. We liked some of the excursions, and some we didn't. The trip to see Fort Clatsop and the Snake River excursion (charge) were very good. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted to experience an history filled adventure. The Captain and crew were just excellent. Very thoughtful, kind and interesting. We had excellent weather for 6 of the seven days too! We had no idea the cabins were so small ... Read More
We wanted to experience an history filled adventure. The Captain and crew were just excellent. Very thoughtful, kind and interesting. We had excellent weather for 6 of the seven days too! We had no idea the cabins were so small however. The dinning was excellent but there was limited choices. We informed the curse line when we booked of a shell fish allergy, yet had to repeat that at every meal. Also we filled out a questionnaire at breakfast for lunch and dinner complete with our names and cabin number yet there was really no need for names/cabin numbers because they only used them to get a read on how much to prepare not who wanted what. There were a few problems like the only elevator, which my husband needed, was not working well - the doors opened before elevator was level with the floor. One man fell and hurt his head and was hospitalized with a broken collar bone. Several people tripped. Two of the servers (and most were the very best) got into an argument during cocktail hour pushing and shoving each other and splashed alcohol all over a guest. There were no enrichment activities, and the shore excursions were not well thought out. One of things we longed to do was to shop for things at each stop but at one everything was closed because it was Sunday, at another the bus was there to pick us up long before the stores opened and the only option available was Walmart - we didn't spend this much on a trip to go to Walmart. Also there was nothing to buy on the boat - even a catalog with branded items would have been a good idea. 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
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
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
Sail Date: April 2012
When folks ask us why we booked American Cruise Lines Queen of the West, we reply that we did it to have the experience of traveling on the Snake and Columbia Rivers from Clarkston Washington to Portland Oregon. We wanted to travel on a ... Read More
When folks ask us why we booked American Cruise Lines Queen of the West, we reply that we did it to have the experience of traveling on the Snake and Columbia Rivers from Clarkston Washington to Portland Oregon. We wanted to travel on a paddle wheel river boat even though the paddle wheel is now just for looks and atmosphere. We wanted to view the scenery and nature, to learn about the history of the area and the Lewis and Clark Expedition and to have time away from work, telephones, television and noise. This is a very slow paced trip with few activities for young, active people. Nothing at all for children and teens. The bus tours (cost extra on most trips) are easy going with few physical demands. The passengers are generally very senior. Very! We were among the youngest passengers. A highlight of our trip was the on board historian Todd Weber who does a series on presentations on Lewis and Clark and the history and nature of the area, but he is not on every trip. If you want to hear and see him, verify before making your booking. The open seating meals are a good idea, but the times listed are not exactly as stated because you really need to get into the dining room at the opening time as the pacing of the meal service is slow. Even though we booked one of the more expensive rooms on the ship (mid-3 deck) it was a tight fit, especially the bathroom and closet. The balcony is tiny with very small chairs and cocktail table. Large suitcases do not fit under the bed so you have to live with them as furniture. We managed to get a 27 inch suitcase into the closet which is about 32 inches wide. The shower is small and water pressure varies but is never good. We had mostly hot water. Travel with at least a couple of friends (most people seemed to) so you will have company. The large groups didn't socialize outside the people they came on board with. Drinks at the cocktail hour are generous. The entertainment is very old fashioned. We gave up on it. Being on the great rivers is very interesting, but our first few days out of Clarkston, the scenery was dry, beige and vacant of wildlife. It all changes down the Columbia when suddenly the world becomes green and lush. As we passed Portland (to return the next day to overnight there) and went down to Astoria Oregon, we had a good idea of how big and busy the river is at that point. The overnight on the boat in Portland seemed like an expensive way to add a day to the trip with few benefits. Would we do this exact same trip again? No. Once is enough. When we return to that part of the US we will do our own driving. Would I pay that much money for a similar trip? No. It wasn't a good value for money although we were pleased to support an American owned and staffed cruise line. We needed a lot more activities and photo opportunities. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because it offered an opportunity to see parts of the US that we had not visited. We specifically chose this itinerary because it gave us a chance to reunite with old friends in our embarkation city of Portland, OR. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it offered an opportunity to see parts of the US that we had not visited. We specifically chose this itinerary because it gave us a chance to reunite with old friends in our embarkation city of Portland, OR. This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines and I have to say that they have improved their service since our first cruise almost 10 years ago. Specifically, they have increased their staffing so that they have teams that handle each aspect of the cruise, i.e., wait staff, housekeeping, and boat handling; on our first cruise, each crew member handled all of those duties, so they were really taxed. The complimentary hotel stay at the origin city was pretty good and convenient to the embarkation of the ship. Embarkation process was flawless. The ship is in pretty good shape overall, but you can tell that it has been some time since it was renovated; good news is that they have added usb ports in the staterooms. Food was generally excellent and flavorful; they have added an option to choose 1/2 portions at meals (great idea). The crew did an excellent job throughout the cruise; wait staff was especially good. Always enjoyed the daily happy hour before dinner. On board entertainment and activities were very good. Shore excursions were OK, but in several cases, e.g., Mt St Helen's, provided only a limited time to take in everything. As expected, scenery was excellent, although it was unseasonable hot and we encountered smoke from fires in OR twice. We would recommend this cruise and vessel. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We took my 86 year old mother so we were looking for something she could enjoy with amenities for the disabled. We were told this ship could accommodate the disabled to include most excursions. They boasted the ship had hotel like ... Read More
We took my 86 year old mother so we were looking for something she could enjoy with amenities for the disabled. We were told this ship could accommodate the disabled to include most excursions. They boasted the ship had hotel like staterooms and bathrooms and that was not remotely accurate. We paid the big bucks for the owner's suites and thank goodness we did or it would have been a very bad experience. Everyone on the ship complained about the tiny staterooms with no room at all. My mom and two of our friends were in one of the owner's suite and we were in the other. It was tight for 3 people and adequate for my husband and I. The bathroom was a disaster. Tiny like a typical cruise ship and not remotely handicap accessible. Big step up to get into this tiny bathroom and a lip you catch your toe on to go out plus the big step down. It's a miracle none of us fell. Because the bathroom was tiny and there were 3 in the one suite, they looked for another bathroom on the ship and there was only one. The pictures and description of the rooms was totally NOTHING like our rooms or bathrooms. No closet (just an armoire which took up space) and that teny tiny bathroom. We did the Columbia and Snake River cruise and the embarkation port and disembarkation port and every stop in between was fantastic. The food was great! The staff was great! The excursions were great! The entertainment was fair as it was geared for the over 70 crowd (the average age on the ship was 73 so if you are younger like we are, might chose something more for your age). The Historian was boring and droned on and on. He didn't pick up on queues like people sleeping through his lecture. He loved to hear himself talk. He was knowledgeable but yawn! There was one great bus driver, Jodi, who gave a narrated tour on every single excursion. If you got on one of the gentleman's buses forget it. Crickets. One bus driver even turned on a rerun of Johnny Carson while we were driving back from our Portland Tour. He could have told us so much about the city, the area, etc. but instead we watched Johnny Carson. But, overall we really enjoyed it. The scenary was to die for and we learned so much. I would recommend that cruise but I don't recommend that ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was the last cruise of the season, Portland R/T, with only the western half of the Columbia River. The weather was OK, often cloudy & rainy, some sun, but to be expected in mid-October in Oregon. The tours/guides were excellent, ... Read More
This was the last cruise of the season, Portland R/T, with only the western half of the Columbia River. The weather was OK, often cloudy & rainy, some sun, but to be expected in mid-October in Oregon. The tours/guides were excellent, altho we wished for more time at Mt St Helens and some of the Lewis & Clark sites. The ship was charmingly decorated in traditional paddlewheel style. The cabin/bathroom were quite small but adequate since you didn't spend much time there. The crew was outstanding, from deckhands to housekeeping to servers to ship management and office staff. All of our arrangements were handled efficiently, professionally and cheerfully. Another couple had to change their scheduled cruise date due to medical issues, and it was done without problems or extra fees. What other travel company does that? The lounges and dining room were very nice, with coffee/tea/snacks always available. The food was outstanding, both at regular meals and evening cocktail hour. Wine/beer and liquor was free-flowing during cocktail time, with wine/beer available at lunch/dinner. Evening entertainment was low-key, a singer of musical duo. A nice feature was having a hotel night (Raddisson Airport was OK) in Portland the night before embarking. This gave us a chance to meet other passengers, a nice touch. Pre/post transfers were handled perfectly. The passengers were "senior citizens" who have the time & money to travel on ACL. The group was very friendly & compatible, with interesting people to share stories and meals. Would I go on ACL again? Maybe. The Queen of the West is the smallest, oldest boat in the group, and I think their other ships would be nicer and have larger cabins. Even at a special sale rate, it was $500+/day/person. While they hyped their other cruises in an sales session, I'm inclined to spend the money in other tours (self or escorted). That said, it was a very good choice for the older passengers who need everything arranged for them. I might consider an Alaskan cruise because of the ability to get into places that larger ships can't reach. It's a trade-off of $$ vs convenience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Set this up so that we could visit Idaho for the total eclipse two days after the cruise docked. Informative history lectures about Lewis and Clark and the area were great. Meals could have offered a little more variety but were timely, ... Read More
Set this up so that we could visit Idaho for the total eclipse two days after the cruise docked. Informative history lectures about Lewis and Clark and the area were great. Meals could have offered a little more variety but were timely, well prepared and presented well. Staff and captain were excellent and very friendly. I was not concerned about poor cell service, this was a vacation and I never used the phone once. Wi-Fi was available in two of the lounges which was more than adequate. This is definitely a tour for older people, I don't think anyone was less than 65, so I would not bring children on this tour. Would have preferred to spend more time at the Bonneville Dam. The food was good and well prepared but very heavy on fish selections. Most of the food for the trip was locally sourced. Service by the crew was excellent Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We selected theLewis & Clark itinerary. Overall we were pleased but size & lack of decor in cabin was disappointing. Very small single closet for 2 people. No place to store suitcases Only 3 drawers. Balcony is small & has 2 ... Read More
We selected theLewis & Clark itinerary. Overall we were pleased but size & lack of decor in cabin was disappointing. Very small single closet for 2 people. No place to store suitcases Only 3 drawers. Balcony is small & has 2 cheap chairs & 1 small table. This is an expensive cruise & since we only drink 1-2 glasses of wine per day the included free drinks was not necessary. The staff & food was good.There is no exercise equipment and limited space to walk on top deck. Bus transportation and guides on tours was excellent. Age of passengers 60-91. Many passengers had physical limitations but crew was very helpful. Precruise information could have been more descriptive as to amount of time to destination and length of tour. Maryhill Museum was surprisingly excellent, to include some Rodin works. Jetboat tour on Snake river was a lot safer and smoother than we thought. It was very hot ,over 100 degrees and as on all tours free cold bottled water was available. Lunch midway was a hot BBQ meal. Would have preferred cold sandwiches. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I have always wanted to travel the Columbia River, so, my husband and I brought along two other couples to enjoy our trip. It was a great trip the river was beautiful, the weather cooperated and we had sunshine nearly the whole trip which ... Read More
I have always wanted to travel the Columbia River, so, my husband and I brought along two other couples to enjoy our trip. It was a great trip the river was beautiful, the weather cooperated and we had sunshine nearly the whole trip which is unusual for that part of the country. Loved the entertainment both the musicians and the on board historian. Learned so much about the area including the animals. He was well informed about the salmon fishing and the rules governing it. Our room was wonderful with four large windows to look out and see the river and the beautiful scenery on both side of the banks. The sunset one evening was unbelievably beautiful. It must be wonderful to live along the banks of the Columbia River especially when the sun is out. I understand that it rains in that area a great deal of the time. Read Less
Queen of the West Ratings
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