S.S. Legacy Cruise Review
Itinerary: Columbia River - Legacy of Discovery - September 2015
Linda, our Un-Cruise Columbia & Snake Rivers cruise on the SS Legacy was exceptional, and I was sad to see it come to an end. I am so glad we followed your advice and chose them. We valued your experience.
The best part was the wonderful crew. They all were friendly, knowledgeable, and fun to be around. They went out of their way to be accommodating and helpful. My husband asked for his particular favorite Irish whiskey the first night out; they did not have it, but it was not a problem as there were many other premium liquors to choose from. Yet the next evening there it was - the bartender Daniel had gotten it for him. When I asked once if I could have half of one dinner option plus half of another, the answer from our server was "Of course." Other passengers also talked about how great the staff were. Another example: to cut down on the driving time to reach Walla Walla we were docked at an industrial park in Burbank WA, at a gravel lot next to a scrap metal yard. But when we walked down the gangway, at the bottom we laughed to see plastic palm trees and a pink plastic flamingo, a reference to the more scenic Burbank in California. When we returned from the day's outings the palm trees were gone, but Daniel greeted us all with a tray of refreshing drinks.
The food was very good and attractively presented. At breakfast we were offered two specials (e.g., a yellow tomato and Gouda omelet; French toast) but you can get eggs to order, breakfast meats, etc. if you prefer. Because we do not eat meat or poultry I was a little concerned about what our choices would be. Lunches and dinners always had three options, including one seafood and one vegetarian so we never had a problem. (Shrimp with mango sauce; a delicious fresh snapper dish; a really good mac and cheese). The desserts (blood orange granita; chocolate torte with pomegranate sauce) were especially good; at the Captain's Dinner on the last night, when all the crew were brought out and individually introduced, the pastry chef received the heartiest applause of all. Homemade (boat-made ?) cookies in the afternoons and hors d'oeuvres like mini crab cakes at the cocktail hour were extra treats.
We both enjoyed the afternoon and the following day that were spent just cruising. This came early in the cruise, a good time to relax after the stress of traveling to Portland (will air travel ever be pleasant again?) There were on-board activities and talks those days, but just relaxing and watching the river roll by was my favorite thing to do. We spent some time on the bridge, which is always open to passengers. The scenery is lovely.
Considering that we were traveling in an area of farmland and small towns, the excursions were for the most part enjoyable, if not "world-class." The Columbia River Maritime Museum is excellent. We enjoyed hearing about the raptor program at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.
The Fort Walla Walla Museum and Pioneer Village was enjoyable particularly because of the volunteer docents; for example, it was the docent's own family who had donated the 33-mule team combine (complete with 33 full-size "mules"), and he talked about his memories of it as a young boy. The lectures on board by staff or invited speakers were informative - what we were going to see, the history, the geology, the people - and some were very funny. But this is not a cruise for people who want professional entertainment and shopping ops. It is also not for anyone who needs to be connected to wifi or cellphone service. I think most of our fellow passengers were retired or soon-to-be. These were people who enjoyed the casual atmosphere of the trip. Taking this cruise in late September was a definite plus for the weather was beautiful and mild.
Our cabin was comfortable and spotless. Its bathroom was small but adequate. We had quite enough room for our luggage. The public areas were clean and comfortable, with big view windows.
One feature we particularly liked is that everything - all excursions (museum entrance fees, jet boat ride), two lunches off the boat, a massage, transport to/from the airport, all beverages including alcoholic - is included in the fare. Other than a couple of gift shop purchases, we spent no money the entire cruise. At the end of the cruise we gave a single tip - tips are shared among all the crew so there is no individual tipping involved.
I know I sound like a PR person for Un-Cruise, and Sunstone Tours, but truly I had a wonderful, relaxing, happy time.