The Mississippi River isn’t the only popular spot for river cruising in the United States, as cruise lines turn their attention to Columbia and Snake River.
APT, Scenic, Lindblad Expeditions and Evergreen have had ships travelling down the two rivers for years, but 2015 is set to be one of the busiest with new and additional itineraries added in the region.
Evergreen Tours general manager Angus Crichton said it’s the range of travel experience along the way that makes it popular amongst Australian cruisers.
“River cruising in the USA is still being discovered by Australian guests,” he explained.
“The Mississippi River in the South and the Snake & Columbia Rivers in the North West both feature traditional but very opulent Steamboats, like the American Queen and American Empress respectively.”
In 2015, Evergreen Tours has a new 18-day Culinary Adventure & Snake River Cruise, which travels from Seattle to San Francisco.
The journey takes guests on a tour of Seattle and its Farmers Market and includes a visit to the Boeing factory.
Guests then cruise from Clarkston to Portland where native American history comes to life at the Sacajawea State Park and Columbia Gorge Interpretive Centre.
The cruise ends in Portland for a tour of the chocolate factory, the cheese factory and the Francis Ford Coppola winery.
Scenic Tours also has a new 17-day Seattle to San Francisco cruise and land tour, which travels down the two rivers.
Departing in July and August 2015 aboard steamboat American Empress, the cruise along the Snake and Columbia Rivers includes stops in Spokane, Clarkston, Sacajawea State Park, The Dalles, Stevenson, Astoria, Portland, Crater Lake and Ashland.
APT’s new USA 2015 brochure features two new Columbia and Snake River itineraries aboard paddlewheeler, Queen of the West.
The first is a 20-day tour, which commences in Los Angeles with a land tour to Portland.
Once in Portland, guests will sail for seven-nights to Clarkson. The cruise will include visits to Mount St Helens, Multnomah Falls and Washington State.
The second itinerary is an 18-day Western Wilderness tour, which includes a seven-night river cruise from Portland to Clarkson before taking a land journey to Las Vegas via Yellowstone National Park, Salt Lake City and Bryce Canyon.
American Cruise Lines is in the midst of constructing a new unnamed paddlewheeler, which is being designed specifically for the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
Launching late 2015, the vessel will join Queen of the West, as the line’s second ship on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
The line is yet to unveil the vessel’s itineraries.
Vice president Timothy Beebe said: “The Columbia River has not seen a new riverboat in many years. The new riverboat will offer the finest experiences available in the region.”