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Coast Starlight and the Columbia River Cruise


Travel along the dazzling Pacific Coast for the overnight rail journey from Los Angeles to Vancouver, WA where you will meet the American Empress for your river cruise along the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

This tour is no longer on sale as an escorted tour. Alternative similar tours are listed below.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2022 Tour code: WC-CSCN-22

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Day 1 - Coast Starlight to Vancouver, Washington

Arrive at Los Angeles's Union Station and board the Coast Starlight for your morning departure north along the Pacific Coast. Scenic highlights along your route include uninterrupted stretches of the dazzling Pacific coastline and Santa Barbara. Overnight train. 

  • Lunch and Dinner (Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 2 - Aboard the Coast Starlight

When you awake this morning, the Coast Starlight is entering the Willamette Valley. Enjoy the scenery of Oregon's forests, lakes and mountains en route to Vancouver, WA. You're scheduled to arrive in the mid-afternoon. Transfer on your own to your hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight Vancouver, WA.

  • Brealfast and Lunch (Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 3 - Board the American Empress

Take the morning to explore Vancouver, Washington. This afternoon, board the American Empress and prepare to depart Vancouver, WA for your Pacific Northwest river cruise along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Overnight vessel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Astoria, OR

Your first port of call is Astoria. Explore this historic pioneer city situated near the mouth of the Columbia River on a hop-on/hop-off sightseeing tour. Begin with a stop at the Riverwalk, a 4-mile paved walkway overlooking the beautiful Columbia River offering extraordinary views. Next, stop at the Flavel House and Carriage House Museum. The Flavel House is a perfectly preserved example of Queen Anne architecture and was once the home of Captain George Flavel, one of Astoria's most influential citizens in the late 1800s. Guests can tour this 11,000 square foot elegant mansion as well as the detached Carriage House Museum and Visitor's Center. If you're seeking the perfect vantage point to view the majestic valley and the mouth of the Columbia River, the next stop will end your search. The peak of the Astoria Column sits 600 feet above sea level and boasts an incredible 365-degrees view. Guests who are up to the challenge can climb the 164-step spiral staircase to the top of this spire for a majestic observation point, or remain on the ground to examine the ornate murals depicting 14 significant events from Oregon's history. The last stop on your tour is the Heritage Museum, showcasing the history and culture of Oregon trough their exhibit galleries that beautifully capsulate the exciting history and culture of Oregon and the Columbia River. Located within Astoria's Old City Hall building, this neoclassical structure pays tribute to the hunters, logger and fishermen that forged this new territory and depicts the history of this frontier town. Overnight vessel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - The Dalles, OR

Welcome to The Dalles, Oregon, known as the end of the Oregon Trail! Upon arrival, set off to experience everything that The Dalles has to offer on hop-on/hop-off tour. The first stop is the Original Courthouse Museum. The historic building was built in 1859 and is known as the first courthouse of the Rocky Mountains. Next stop at the Fort Dalles Museum and Interpretive Center, and original military base built in the 1800's. See unique collections of military and pioneer artifacts as well as the historic wagons that brought early settlers to the Oregon Trail's last stop. Before exploring the shops of the Downtown Shopping area, you may wish to stop at the Sunshine Mills Winery, originally a 130-year-old abandoned wheat mill and now a state-of-the-art Quenett boutique winery and home of Copa Di Vino, a unique invention by entrepreneur and wine enthusiast, James Martin. Overnight vessel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Stevenson, WA

Today find us in Stevenson, where a hop-on/hop-off tour of the city provides an excellent overview. Begin in Downtown Stevenson to enjoy the various local specialty shops and boutiques. Then, we'll stop at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, the Interpretive Center shares the local story of the geography and culture of the region. Finally, experience an incredible man-made engineering feat at the Bonneville Dam. Completed in 1938, the Dam is an electrical power generator for the local area using Hydropower. Learn about its progression and improvements over time, the exhausting build project that encountered numerous obstacles due to the unique geology of the area and the unique way the dam assists spawning salmon pass through the dam on a self-guided tour. Overnight vessel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Scenic River Cruising or Optional Premium Experience

Spend a leisurely day cruising through the scenic Columbia River Gorge. You may wish to relax on your veranda and take in the spectacular scenery, attend a discussion with our Riverlorian or enjoy a variety of onboard activities. If you prefer a day ashore, you can also choose a premium experience that will take you to Pendleton, Oregon while the vessel is underway. There you have the opportunity to explore the wild West town, enjoy a delicious lunch, browse downtown shops and tour the Pendleton Woolen Mill and factory outlet store.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Tri-Cities (Richland), WA

Richland is located at the confluence of the Yakima and the Columbia Rivers.The town has become an important hub for produce and local food and products. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of this stunning and unique river-town. Spend the day exploring the many attractions and shops that line the street of the city. Richland is weaved with history and filled with a culture that is unlike other northwest cities.Experience a place that thrives on the community and utilizes the support from each other to sustain a strong, intertwined city. At the Hanford Reach National Monument, you will witness a diverse landscape of sweeping vistas and towering bluffs, blended with an abundance of wildlife. Although being dismantled, remnants of WWII and Cold War such as plutonium reactors can still be seen dotted along the river. Overnight vessel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Clarkston, WA

A full day of sightseeing awaits when we dock in Clarkston. This morning, experience the history and culture of the Nez Perce people as we travel to the Nez Perce National Historical Park. Learn about the historic and present-day way of life of these Native American's whose name is derived from the French "Pierced Nose." The Nez Perce people are well known for their involvement and assistance with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and guests can learn first-hand how they were trusted by the Corps of Discovery through an exclusive presentation by the staff of Nez Perce National Park.

This afternoon, travel to Clarkston's brother city, Lewiston, Idaho, first settled in 1862. Nestled in the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers, this town was ironically never a stop on the Lewis and Clark trail, but both boast the early American explorer's names.Discover the historical town first settled in 1862. Guests can visit the Nez Perce County Historical Society and Museum that strives to preserve and interpret the history of the local region and culture. With rotating exhibits that chronicle the early history of the town and the surrounding area. After discovering the history of the town, guests can enjoy free time in the downtown region for shopping and independent exploring or hop on the trolley for a ride around town. Overnight vessel. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Disembark in Clarkston, WA

Disembark the American Empress and make your way home from your authentic Pacific Northwest Experience. Transfers are available to Spokane Airport for an additional charge.

  • Breakfast