Queen of the West Cruise Review
Itinerary: Columbia River - July 2012
We just returned from our week on the Columbia Snake River on the Queen of the West. This ship and cruise was tailored to our abilities. We are not hikers or kayakers any longer so we looked for something that would more be comfortable and concentrate on the destination and history of the Lewis and Clark theme.
Linda at Sunstone Tours, has been on this ship, and I believe the others on the Columbia River so she was able to as she says "compare and contrast" the different experiences for us. She was right on and we were thrilled with our decision.
We splurged for a balcony cabin, #316, queen bed, mid ship next to the library. We were across sort of from the stairs and elevator but never heard a thing. Linda was able to get us a better fare on a different date so we were thrilled. Staterooms are roomy, individual heating and air conditionings, satellite TV. Good storage, a closet, good housekeeping, good bedding and towels.
Food was very good and service with a smile. Good choices at each meal. We quickly learned to ask for 1/2 portions at all meals. For after, bread, soup,salad the main entree is way to much food. I asked for heavy on vegetables and was always accommodated. I pushed away before dessert, but I know they looked good. Snacks, sodas, coffee etc is available 24/7. No one goes hungry on this cruise but it is absolutely not like the big ships where the food is pushed at you all day long.
The feel is "small ship" informal and friendly. Staff is there to serve you. Our naturalist was a great lecturer, I didn't miss a single one. He took us through Lewis and Clark like we were living the history with them day by day in an enjoyable and educational manner. Shore excursion to Ft. Clatsop felt like an educational field trip, learning and then experiencing. Fellow passengers were from 8 year old with his grandparents who seemed to have a good time to many in their elder years. Everyone was friendly and seemed connected by our mutual experience on the ship. There were a few single ladies on the ship who we sat with once or twice. They all seemed to be very comfortable traveling as a single. We saw one of the single cabins and it was lovely for one person with a balcony. There is a charge for shore excursions which were inexpensive for the most part except Hell's Canyon.
I should mention we sailed from Portland to Clarkston, WA. At the end of the trip we were transferred to the Spokane Airport for our flight home. I am not sure if there is any difference in the trip going the other direction, we would hae liked to stay on and go back for a week. We had a good time overall. Linda told us about on board booking discounts and bonus if we book our next trip while on the ship. We were a little taken back since we had never been on small ship before, so couldn't think of "next time, " but, sure enough, we put in our reservation with all their promotions for the new ship Mississippi Queen for next spring. We were sure to tell them that we want to work with Sunstone Tours, they said no problem. And to our surprise you sent us our invoice a week after we returned. Smooth operation ... thank you for all the help. Patsey said you were our "trip babysitter", we knew everything would be taken care of.
—Carl and Patsey, Orlando Florida