River cruising continues to be very, very popular. Plenty of new ships are being launched, along with new itineraries, new ports of call, ships dedicated to younger travelers and excursions dedicated to wellness and being more active.
River cruising is truly amazing. And the good news is that one doesn't have to leave North America to take advantage of this exceptional experience. One region relatively under the radar is the Columbia River (and her tributaries).
The Columbia River stretches over 1240 miles, starting in British Columbia and ending her journey to the Pacific in Astoria, just west of Portland. The Columbia River Gorge is probably the most visited section of the river, with its beautiful and stunning scenery. The area offers lots of hiking, biking, dozens of waterfalls, beautiful mountain vistas and of course the infamous windsurfing. Springtime brings wildflowers and blooming fruit trees, the fall the beauty of changing foliage.
You can explore the Columbia gorge and beyond from a totally different perspective: ON the river. History buffs can go back in time by following the footsteps of Lewis and Clark (in a much easier and way more comfortable fashion!), explore historic forts, learn from on-board historians, geologists and naturalists. Photographers can test their skills on the many scenic wonders. Hiking, kayaking, biking and swimming await those wanting active days, and a jet boat experience in Hell's Canyon is sure to be a thrill.
Above: Palouse Falls; Below: Hell's Canyon
Oenophiles have not been left out either. The Columbia River is home to a number of wine regions and world class wineries, and winery tours and tastings are included, on special wine themed itineraries as well as regular departures.
The cruise lines sailing the river offer uniquely different experiences - definitely something for everyone. While the itineraries are similar, the ships are quite different, each with their unique experiences both on and off the ship.
Go back in time aboard traditional steamboat paddle-wheelers or try a new modern riverboat, perfectly suited for those seeking modern elegance (combined with country club casual), larger staterooms, balcony cabins and evening shows. Ships range between 100-220 passengers.
Another option are smaller, adventure type ships, carrying under 100 guests. Itineraries include a good mix between active days with hiking, kayaking, jet boating and white water rafting and less active days focused on tours, lectures and wine tastings. Entertainment consists of lectures by naturalists and historians and conversations (and card games) with fellow guests. No evening shows like the bigger ships.
River cruising is an exceptional experience, and offers a very different perspective seeing an area from the river valley (versus driving). And for the adventurous, amazing nature and wildlife experiences and access to areas not reachable by road.
For more information or to learn more about river cruising,
Call 602.540.7338 or email email@example.com.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder