The American Queen Steamboat Company, will launch its newly refurbished American Empress on her maiden voyage departing Portland, Ore. on April 5, 2014. 

The nine-day journey aboard the largest and most elegant riverboat west of the Mississippi River will immerse guests in the splendor of the Columbia and Snake Rivers featuring stops to some of the region’s most celebrated ports including Astoria, Ore.; Stevenson, Wash.; The Dalles, Ore.; Sacajawea State Park, Wash.; and finally Clarkston, Wash. 

Limited space remains on the American Empress inaugural voyage and will offer an unforgettable experience for even the most seasoned of travelers.

Complimentary shore excursions will be available in every port and include the cultural and historical landmarks that signify the living legacy of the region’s first settlers. 

Travelers with specific interests are encouraged to enjoy the variety of Premium Experience Excursions such as the Walla Walla Wine Trail or   the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum.  Daily lectures will also be provided by the Riverlorian, an onboard history and culture expert.

“We are delighted to expand our brand of U.S. river cruising to the majestic and scenic Columbia and Snake Rivers,” said American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes.  “Nowhere is the timelessness of rivers more apparent than in the pristine waterways of the Pacific Northwest and we know our guests will appreciate the scenery appearing much as it did when Louis and Clark arrived in 1805.”       

Highlights of the trip include:

•    Included pre-cruise hotel stay

•    Regional Pacific Northwest cuisine utilizing fresh ingredients creatively combined with contemporary flair.

•    Astoria, Ore. to visit the George Flavel House, a 19th-century mansion and tour of the Clatsop County Heritage Museum.  Guests also have the option to experience the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center on the Cape of Disappointment overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

•    Stevenson, Wash. for a look into the geological forces that shaped the Columbia Gorge along with a tour of the Bonneville Dam.  The premium excursion features a walking tour over the Benson Footbridge, suspended 105 feet above the Multnomah Falls.

•    The Dalles, Ore. to browse the local boutiques and Sunshine Mills Winery.  Premium offerings include the Maryhill Museum of Art & Winery and Western Aeroplane & Automobile Museum.

•    Sacajawea State Park, Wash. to adventure into the County Mercantile Store and learn from agricultural demonstrations that settlers practiced through time.  Guests also have the option of touring the Walla Walla Wine Trail or Hanford Research facility, home of the first large-scale plutonium production reactor.

•    Clarkston, Wash. for a look into the Clarkston Heritage Museum and insight into the story of Nez Pearce Native American tribe who assisted Lewis and Clark’s journey.  Before disembarking, guests also have the option of a jet boating experience on the Snake River with Hells Canyon Jet Boats.           

Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, the nine-day Eastbound, Portland to Clarkston fares begin at $3,795 per person based on double occupancy. All journeys include a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner and a host of other amenities.