Cruise lovers no longer need to venture to Europe or tropical destinations to enjoy the luxury of cruising. America’s rivers now offer a unique cruise experience, with two of the most popular destinations being the Columbia and Snake Rivers and the Mississippi.
The Columbia and Snake Rivers are in the Pacific Northwest, showcasing stunning scenery and natural beauty. This region is home to some of the most diverse and spectacular landscapes, including rugged canyons, snow-capped peaks, and wild rivers. One of the top ports of call on this route is Astoria, Oregon, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, creating a dramatic setting.
Excursions in Astoria can include a visit to the Astoria Column, a climb to the top of the column provides panoramic views of the surrounding area, and a visit to Fort Stevens State Park, which showcases the remains of an old fort that operated during the Civil War.
We highly recommend visiting Mount Hood for those who prefer outdoor adventures, like scenic hiking and biking. Another popular stop on this route is the Dalles, a historic town important for trading during pioneer times. Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge (only 30 minutes West of Portland) is also a real highlight with its stunning beauty.
The Dalles has an array of fascinating museums, including the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, which covers the history and geology of the region.
On the other hand, the Mississippi River is a staple of American history and culture, and a cruise down this famous waterway provides an opportunity to explore the Southern United States. This route takes passengers from New Orleans to St. Paul, Minnesota, passing through some of America’s most significant historical sites and cities.
One of the top stops on this route is Memphis, Tennessee. Here, passengers can explore Beale Street, the home of the blues, and visit Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. Other notable stops include Vicksburg, Mississippi, known for its Civil War history, and St. Louis, Missouri, famous for the Gateway Arch and iconic skyline.
Apart from these must-see stops, the Columbia and Snake Rivers and Mississippi routes offer a wide array of excursions catering to different interests, including history, nature, culture, and culinary arts. Many cruises offer onboard lectures, performances, and cooking demonstrations, providing an immersive experience and an opportunity to learn and connect with fellow travelers.
Cruising on American rivers offers unparalleled luxury and comfort, enhancing the experience of exploring new destinations. Cruise lines have invested heavily in providing the best amenities and experiences, from spacious cabins to top-class dining and entertainment, making the trip memorable. The American Queen Steamboat Company is the most widely known company operating on American rivers. The company operates on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Cumberland Rivers, offering an array of luxurious river cruises. Others, including Uncruise and American Cruise Lines, which also stop in my hometown of Richland, Washington, operate on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, providing travelers a unique way to experience the Pacific Northwest.
I grew up in this region, rich in exquisite wine-making traditions. There is a lot of excellent wine tasting available near Richland, WA and Walla Walla. These regions are famous for their world-class wines and beautiful vineyards, making them a fantastic destination for wine enthusiasts. Some popular wine-tasting excursions include those from the Walla Walla and Red Mountain AVAs, including some of my fellow Washington State University Alumni (Annette Bergevin of Bergevin Lane and former NFL quarterback, Drew Bledsoe of Doubleback Winery). Some of the river cruises offer excursions to these wineries, and if they don’t, I can help arrange it!
Cruising on American rivers offers a unique travel experience, showcasing some of the country’s most beautiful and historically significant regions. The Columbia and Snake Rivers and Mississippi, in particular, offer diverse scenery and attractions, providing travelers with a personalized and immersive experience. With its luxurious amenities, excellent cuisine, and various outdoor activities, river cruising is an unforgettable way to explore America’s natural beauty and history, and if you don’t have a passport or don’t want to venture outside the United States to experience river cruising, why not give our U.S. rivers a try?
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