American Duchess Cruise: New Orleans museum honors World War II heroes

When Navy corpsman Leo H. Sheer’s landing craft was sunk on its way to Omaha Beach on D-Day, the young sailor was forced to swim ashore amid heavy gunfire. Arriving safely on the beach, Sheer began collecting first-aid pouches from the bodies of dead soldiers to help save the wounded. He hung six of the dead men’s pouches on his equipment belt. Today, Sheer’s blood-stained web belt is displayed at the National World War II Museum in …

Read more

American Duchess Cruise: Preparing for my cruise from Natchez to Memphis

The first cruise I ever took was on the beautiful Mississippi Queen. I was immediately hooked. There is something so luxurious and peaceful traveling on America’s rivers aboard one of these floating palaces. My Mississippi Queen cruise was during her inaugural year in 1976, timed to celebrate America’s bicentennial. At the time, the Mississippi Queen was the largest steamboat ever built with a capacity of 412 guests and 157 crew members. Her paddlewheel bar and 44-whistle steam calliope …

Read more

American Queen Steamboat Company’s new all-suite American Duchess to join fleet in June 2017

My friend Kay Showker, sent me this story about American Queen Steamboat Company’s new all-suite ship, the American Duchess, set to debut in June 2017. By Kay Showker The American Queen Steamboat Company expects to add a third paddlewheeler to its U.S.-flagged fleet in June 2017.  Named American Duchess, the 166-passenger vessel, is not only the first all-suite river cruiser ever built for the Mississippi River, she will have the largest suites in every category on the river. …

Read more

The American Empress on the Columbia River

As a self-confessed history buff – especially of American history – I knew I would love it: An eight-day scenic cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers between the states of Washington and Oregon aboard the American Empress. This was the scene of so much adventure in 1805-06 when the Lewis and Clark Expedition sought to open up this part of the country and form a bond between the federal government in the east and some of …

Read more

Aboard American Empress: If it’s Friday, it must be Kennewick – or Pasco, or Richland

ABOARD AMERICAN EMPRESS-This was our last day on ilch’eeahwana, the local Native American word meaning “the big river.”  (Sounds like “ill-cheat-gee-wanna.”) The American Empress is parked in Richland at the confluence of the Columbia and the Snake Rivers, and unfortunately I didn’t learn the local word for the Snake. The exact point where this union happened is now occupied by the Sacajawea State Park. The wonderful little free museum there has much intriguing information about the Lewis …

Read more

Aboard the American Empress: Showboat

ABOARD THE AMERICAN EMPRESS—I’m here to tell you that this ungainly looking river vessel with its fake smoke stacks and barely functioning paddle wheel has managed to come up with a fair number of pleasant surprises. As a veteran of more than 60 cruises, I swear to you this one has collectively the friendliest and probably the happiest crew I have ever seen. And a second positive aspect I gradually became aware of is how well it …

Read more

Aboard American Empress: Visiting Stevenson, Washington

ABOARD THE AMERICAN EMPRESS—On Wednesday many of the cruisers on the Columbia River Gorge met Janet. Actually she was much more under the river than on it. Our Victorian-style paddle wheeler docked at a rather rustic-looking Washington town named Stevenson. Once more on the free hop-off, hop-on bus, we stopped at the Bonneville Lock and Dam, the same complex we had passed through on Tuesday. Some cruisers proceeded along the top to overlook the locks. We joined …

Read more

Aboard American Empress: Tuesday on the Columbia River

ABOARD AMERICAN EMPRESS–Tuesday on the Columbia River – Throughout our third day today, our paddlewheeler was followed by a great white ghost. The snowy pyramid form of Mount Hood seemed to be always hovering in the back yards of all the forests and towns on the Oregon side while we progressed smoothly along the river. Many cruisers arose at 6 then made their way to the top-deck River Grill for “Locks and Lox,” a special breakfast to …

Read more

Aboard the American Empress: We wake to fog in Astoria

ABOARD THE AMERICAN EMPRESS-Monday night on the Columbia River—Our morning curtains opened to nothing but bright fog today. Allegedly our boat had arrived at the historic town of Astoria, Oregon, where the river meets the ocean in a never-ending contest of wind and waves. The paddle wheeler was quiet and safe, but we couldn’t see a thing through the haze. After breakfast, sunny details quickly began to emerge through the atmosphere, and we boarded one of the …

Read more

Aboard the American Empress: We begin our trip in Portland

ABOARD AMERICAN EMPRESS-Sunday night on the Columbia River – My wife and I flew into Portland, Oregon yesterday and taxied across the river ($40) to reach a hotel in Vancouver, Washington. Our first night of the American Empress experience was actually a recently refurbished Hilton, which served as a sort of land-based rallying point for cruisers and some crew members. The Empress herself was already resting at a nearby dock, her paddle wheels immobile for the time …

Read more

Trusted by over 1.5 million cruisers since 2003.
Get FREE access to members-only pricing.
There is a highly acclaimed way to receive multiple quotes from a site called CruiseCompete, where cruise specialists compete to offer you the best deal. The media sums it up for CruiseCompete:
Score Luxury Cruises at Bargain Prices” (The Street)
Best site for cruise deals” (The Wall Street Journal)
28 Best Travel Sites” (Kiplinger's) Multiple annual mentions
36 Web Addresses You Should Know” (The Washington Post)