Category Archives: Columbia River

Small ship cruises, so many changes in the market….Columbia Snake River

As far as a booking period goes, we are pretty much done with 2015 and have set our sights on 2016 and further.

There will be a number of changes in the small ship market for 2016. All plus plus plus for the consumer with more choices, more ships, more destinations.

American Cruise Line will bring another paddlewheel ship over to the Columbia Snake River. Making a total of three paddlewheel ships sailing seven night itineraries, mostly round trip Portland.  The ship will join the other American Cruise Line ship, Queen of the West, 120 passengers, a veteran of the Columbia River being renovated in 20011

They new entry ship is presently sailing as the Queen of the Mississippi up and down the Mississippi River. She wil be            re-named when she is moved to the Columbia. We are open for name suggestions…I bet on Queen of the Columbia, Columbia Queen. She is a much newer ship with larger cabins and 90% balconies.

If you would like to be updated when the ship is moved and named, just give us your e-mail.

Linda Androlia

Sunstone Tours / small ship adventure cruisesQueen of the Mississippi

S.S. Legacy Re-positioned to Columbia River Year-round for 2015

S.S.Legacy
Un-Cruise Adventure’s S.S.Legacy, the replica coastal steamer, will be re-positioned from Alaska to its new home on the Columbia River in 2015.

As river cruising continues to grow, cruise lines are adapting. The S.S. Legacy is scheduled for 34 departures on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers from April-November 2015. The line is also offering a savings on fall 2014 river cruises, with $400/couple savings offered for bookings made by June 20, 2014. The savings is applicable for river cruises departing August-November 2014.

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American Queen Steamboat Company Finalizes Purchase of American Empress

American EmpressAmerican Queen Steamboat Company today finalized its purchase of the American Empress. The 223-passenger riverboat, formerly known as Empress of the North, will begin operating Columbia and Snake river cruises between Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington on April 5, 2014. View itinerary details.

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Smithsonian Magazine Introduces EvoTourism – An Evolution World Tour

In the January 2012 issue, Smithsonian Magazine is introducing Evotourism. The word isn’t in the dictionary. But they think it’s worth adding to the lexicon because it describes a new kind of travel.

evo•tourism (ē vō toor’ iz’ əm) n. travel intended to promote awareness of evolution.

The article celebrates ten desinationa that span 300 million years and six continents. The destinations include:

  • Kangaroo Island, Australia – Where the Wild Things Are
  • Foraminifera Sculpture Park, China – 330-Million-Year-Old Organisms
  • Wadi Hitan, Egypt – Whales Walked Here
  • The Cradle of Humankind, South Africa – Human Evolution History
  • Jurassic Coast, England – A Fossil Treasure Trove
  • Mendel’s Garden, Czech Republic – Where Modern Genetics Was Born
  • Ashfall Fossil Beds, Nebraska – The Prehistoric Pompeii
  • Isle Royale, Michigan – A Fight for Survival
  • Galápagos Islands, Ecuador – Where Darwin Found Natural Selection
  • Mount St. Helens, Washington – Life Begins Anew

Of these, the last two are destinations visited by small ships (which, of course, excites us at Sunstone Tours & Cruises).

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Lindblad Expeditions Offers New Culinary Program & Columbia River Itinerary

The Columbia River

Lindblad Expeditions is set to launch a new culinary program associated with a new Columbia River itinerary in 2012.

The new onboard dining program features a menu dominated by local and sustainable foods in addition to a selection of wines and craft beers that have gained the region international acclaim. At the same time, Lindblad Expeditions will launch their new Columbia & Snake Rivers Journey: Harvests, History and Landscapes itinerary.

Scheduled to launch next September aboard the 62‐passenger National Geographic Sea Bird and
National Geographic Sea Lion, this natural, cultural and culinary 7‐day/6‐ night adventure will unveil a spectacular landscape millions of years in the making and a vibrant patchwork that encompasses high art, fine foods, award‐winning wines along some of the route Lewis & Clark followed on their Corps of Discovery Expedition.
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5 Reasons to Cruise the Columbia & Snake Rivers with American Cruise Lines

Ever consider cruising the Columbia & Snake Rivers? Never consider it? Well, here’s five reasons why you should consider cruising the Columbia & Snake Rivers this coming Spring 2012, specifically aboard American Cruise Lines Queen of the West.

View details of American Cruise Lines Columbia & Snake Rivers itinerary…

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Former Cruise West Ships – Where are they now?

Cruise WestBack in the 90’s and into most of the 2000’s, Cruise West was a major player in the small ship cruising niche industry. Many of our clients fell in love with their Alaska experience and the ships. With the one-year anniversary of the Cruise West’s demise approaching, we like to check in on the former Cruise West ships to see where they are now.

Spirit of Oceanus

Spirit of Oceanus / Sea SpiritThe one time 120-passenger flagship of the line was the most luxurious ship in the fleet, and sailed grand Alaska and Asia itineraries. The Spirit of Oceanus was in the midst of sailing a world cruise when Cruise West halted operations. The ship terminated its sailing in Newfoundland, Canada and was immediately sold to TN Cruise K/S, who now charters the ship to other cruise lines.

Today, the ship, renamed Sea Spirit, is now chartered to several expedition lines, including Quark Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, sailing the Antarctic.

Sea Spirit Itineraries

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Cruise Report: Great Western River Cruise

Aboard the Queen of the West, Sept 25 – Oct 2, 2010

If you want a cruise steeped in history, this is for you. We had watched the Ken Burns video prior to going, and it was immensely helpful in understanding the magnitude of the Lewis & Clark 4000 mile exploration in 1804-1806. Traveling up the Columbia River while hearing an on-board narration by a local historian gave us a vivid sense of the trials they experienced, and of the historic discoveries they made (over 200 species of animals and plants never before seen). To hear about their survival while undergoing extreme weather conditions, lack of food from time to time, successful travel through unknown territory controlled by many different Indian nations (some hostile), and terrain most difficult and inhospitable gave us an appreciation of modern luxuries. These Indian nations lived, hunted, and traded for more than 10,000 years in The Dalles area near the Bonneville Dam (erected 135 years later). Read the rest of this entry

Small ship lines help Cruise West passengers

If you were booked or thinking of booking Cruise West, we need to talk.
By now you should have applied for your refund through your credit card, travel insurance or USTOA.

My other small ship operators are reaching out to accommodate Cruise West passengers. There are a number of options depending on your destination. Some are similar to the Cruise West product, others different. This is where you need a small ship expert like Linda, Sunstone Tours to help you. Give us a call 888-815-5428

American Safari Cruises have offered reduced prices to passengers who were booked on Cruise West sailings that have been cancelled.

Orion Expedition Cruises to offer discounts for passengers booked on Cruise West this year and next.

InnerSea Discoveries, upcoming 2011 Alaska, Mexico’s Sea of Cortes and Columbia River seasons.

Lindblad Expeditions is offering varied discounts to Cruise West passengers.

American Cruise Line will honor the Cruise West price on their remaining Columbia Snake River 2010 sailings.

February 2010 Desktop Wallpaper Now Available

We just posted our latest desktop wallpaper for February 2010. It features a view of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Grab your FREE copy now. Then dream about, and plan your trip along the Columbia River with Sunstone Tours & Cruises.

FREE February 2010 Desktop Wallpaper