American Empress

More than two centuries agoa small group of men were charged with the unique and challenging mission to journey through the unchartered Pacific Northwest in search of an all water route to the Pacific Ocean, all while surveying its abundant natural resources. Along the way, they discovered the majesty of the Columbia and the Snake Rivers. It truly took their breath away. Now you have the opportunity to take a modern-day voyage of discovery just like Lewis and Clark, with luxury amenities and the comforts of home aboard the American Empress. You will delight in gracious service, elegant accommodations, and authentic experiences that have become synonymous with American Queen Steamboat Company river cruising. From the scenic river towns and vineyards of Washington to the enchanting landscape send free spirit of Oregon, it all begins aboard the American Empress. Whether you are looking for a luxury suite, a charming private veranda, or distinctive value we have the perfect fit. Each of our rooms feature a custom built hardwood entertainment center and spacious illuminated armoire. Fine linens, plush bedding, and a flat-screen TV complete each space. Not only will you step back in time to an age when steamboats traversed America's rivers but you return to win era where service mattered. Our all-American, highly-trained staff takes genuine care to ensure that every request is fulfilled and every detail attended to. Our award-winning chefs carefully select them best seasonal and local ingredients they prepare traditional recipes as well as unique creations that showcase the region's varied cuisine. Relax in the sophisticated Astoria dining room or savor the laid-back atmosphere of the River Grill & Bar and its panoramic views of stunning mountain sides. While on board enjoy complimentary wine and beer with dinner along with cappuccino, espresso, bottled water, and soft drinks throughout your voyage. The river is always carrying us to a new adventure and that's why we offer our exclusive hop-on hop-off tours included as part of our vacation packages. Whether riding a hop-on hop-off guided circuit, delving into a historic site, or making the most of an independent day in town, each port provides its own distinctive feel. You might even take advantage of our complimentary bicycles and helmets. And not all the action is on shore. Night after night top entertainers bring down the house in the show lounge. Or step into the paddle wheel lounge, an oasis where you can read a book by day, enjoy a pre-dinner cocktails or take in some late-night entertainment. Rivers, like the intrepid spirit of Lewis and Clark, have a way of enduring. Come see the Pacific Northwest in all its grandeur aboard the American Empress.

Embark on the American Empress for an Unforgettable River Cruise

Proudly serving as the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River, the American Empress cruises the Columbia and Snake Rivers delivering a rich sense of history in modern comfort. Step aboard, and you will quickly discover that there is far more to this riverboat than her welcoming appearance and signature red paddlewheel.

Because the American Empress is easily navigated, guests can expect to become well acquainted with her. Unlike on large cruise ships, each space on our paddlewheeler can be easily found – and returned to. Eateries on the first and fourth decks boast masterful culinary creations. Her intimate showroom echoes the sweet notes of nostalgia in the evenings, and showcases the history of the region by day. 

Boasting a vast collection of some of the most intricate artifacts and artwork of Native Alaska, Russia, the Gold Rush and the sternwheeler era in and around Portland, Oregon, the corridors of our Columbia and Snake River cruise boat hold nearly as much beauty and intrigue as the dramatic scenery unfolding on the river outside. Tones of mahogany act as accents, and spectacles of artistry capture the cultures and history of the surrounding regions. You needn't be an art enthusiast to appreciate the captivating display of Pacific Northwest heritage that our riverboat’s unique collection represents. 

A river cruise aboard the American Empress incites moments of sheer perfection, with a seamless blend of stunning backdrops, exceptional dining venues, inviting public spaces and rich décor. We invite you to step aboard our authentic paddlewheeler and delight in the luxurious modern amenities, gracious service and endless authentic experiences that await you. 

A rich sense of history and classic style make river cruising aboard the American Empress a one-of-a-kind Columbia and Snake River experience. Join us for a riverboat cruise through America’s Pacific Northwest. Indulge in delicious, onboard dining choices, enjoy a welcoming staff and a country club ambiance and witness breathtaking natural beauty as you cruise rivers of legend. The American Empress welcomes you with the amenities you want and the style and comfort you deserve.


  • The largest, most elegant riverboat in the Pacific Northwest
  • Included deluxe hotel stay before your voyage - including breakfast, taxes, porterage and transfers to the American Empress
  • Complimentary wine and beer with dinner
  • Regionally inspired fine dining
  • Broadway-caliber entertainment and enrichment
  • Comprehensive, guided shore excursions
  • Authentic Paddlewheel Riverboat