Sun, May 14: Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington. Fly to Portland, Oregon and check into hotel across the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington.
Mon, May 15: Vancouver. After breakfast in the hotel, spend the morning in Vancouver on your own or consider a Premium Shore Excursion in Portland before boarding the American Empress. Check into your spacious stateroom and depart in early evening. (Meal: Breakfast, Dinner)
Tue, May 16: Astoria. Situated near the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. This small, pioneer city holds a wealth of history. Stroll along the shops and cafes lining the Riverwalk, visit the George Flavel House for a peek at the 19th-century life of a millionaire, discover the Native American culture of Clatsop County at the Heritage Museum or enjoy the views from the top of the Astoria Column more than 600 feet above the water.
Wed, May 17: The Dalles. Welcome to the end of the Oregon Trail. Shoppers will adore the boutiques and oenophiles will enjoy Sunshine Mills Winery, inventors of Copa Di Vino (“wine by the glass”). The Fort Dalles Museum and the Original Courthouse Museum put early pioneer life on display.
Thu, May 18: Stevenson, Washington. Nature’s power and beauty surround Stevenson, and you can learn about the geological forces that shaped this area at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. A tour of the Bonneville Dam will reveal the unique challenges of building this power plant with a minimal impact to wildlife – the answer is fish ladders to help salmon swim upstream!
Fri, May 19: Tri-Cities (Richland), Washington. Home to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s first national monument, Richland is a city dedicated to preserving its unique history, culture and landscape. At the Handford Reach National Monument you will witness a diverse landscape of sweeping vistas and towering bluffs, blended with an abundance of wildlife. Although being dismantled, remnants of WWII and the Cold War such as plutonium reactors can still be seen dotted along the river. Today’s included tour takes you to The Reach, an interpretive center whose goal is centered around becoming a reflection of the people of the region as well as of the elements and geology of the Hanford Reach National Monument. Learn about the local Native American culture, Lewis and Clark, and the history of the area including the Northern Pacific Railroad and more!
Sat, May 20: Tri-Cities/Sacajawea State Park. In 1805, Lewis and Clark and their Native American guide camped here, an event immortalized at Sacajawea State Park and Interpretive Center. This sacred site reveals the story of Lewis and Clark’s expedition through the experiences of Sacajawea. Venture into the Country Mercantile Store, part of a working farm with agricultural demonstrations.
Sun, May 21: Clarkston. Experience the twin communities of Clarkston, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho, located along the Snake River. Nez Perce National Historical Park tells the story of the Nez Perce Native American tribe who assisted Lewis and Clark, and still reside in the area today. The tribe’s traditional lands at the time of Lewis and Clark covered parts of Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho. William Clark was the first Euro-American to meet any of the tribe. The name “Nez Perce” means “pierced nose” and was given to the tribe by late 18th-century French-Canadian fur traders.
Mon, May 22: Clarkston. Disembark, transfer to Spokane and fly to Indianapolis.
Steamboat American Empress
The largest and most elegant riverboat in the Pacific Northwest, the American Empress offers luxury cruising and gracious service. Highlights: all staterooms feature balconies or picture windows • regional Pacific Northwest cuisine served onboard • complimentary wine and beer with dinner • complimentary cappuccino, espresso, bottled water and soft drinks throughout the voyage • daily lectures by the Riverlorian, an onboard history and culture expert • complimentary shore excursions in every port; optional premium excursions available.