Our First River Cruise:
American Harmony

We did a 7-day cruise on the Columbia & Snake Rivers
and it was an entirely different experience from all of our ocean cruises

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American Harmony On The Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon

After 52 ocean cruises, we finally did our first river cruise.  We sailed with American Cruise Lines on their ship American Harmony on a cruise down the Snake & Columbia rivers.

This would normally be a fairly expensive cruise, but we were very fortunate to be sailing as guests of American Cruise Lines, at their expense.  We stayed in a suite that would have cost most people about $17,000!  Someone that works for the cruise line saw some aerial video I had shot of their ships with my drone.  One thing led to another, and eventually we worked out a deal where they would allow me to do a cruise at their expense if I would shoot a bunch of photos and videos and give them copies for use in their marketing.

The most exciting part of this cruise was the itinerary:  the Columbia River and Snake River here in the Pacific Northwest.  In other words, it was basically a cruise right here in my own backyard.  I live about one mile from where the ship docks in Richland, our 2nd stop on this 7-day cruise.

Cable bridge in the Tri Cities


The cruise began in Clarkston, Washington, and sailed all the way down the river to Astoria, Oregon, before coming back to Portland, Oregon, for disembarkation.  In addition, we spent two nights in Clarkston before the cruise, so that we could do a pre-cruise excursion through Hell's Canyon on the Snake River.

 American Harmony Itinerary

Doing a river cruise was VERY different from what we were used to from our 52 previous ocean cruises.  River cruise ships have to be very small, and therefore just simply don't have all the amenities that can be crammed in to a mega cruise ship like we are used to traveling on.  So, you don't have a theater for Broadway-style shows, or a comedy club, or swimming pools and hot tubs, or multiple restaurants to choose from.  Having multiple dining choices was the biggest thing we missed.  On many of the ocean cruises we've been on, there have probably been ten different restaurants to choose from, and each of those restaurants probably had ten different items to choose from on the menu.  So, literally, we had 100 different food items to choose from each evening for dinner.  This river cruise ship had one restaurant, and each evening the menu would offer you only three things to choose from for dinner.  That didn't quite measure up to what we were used to on a cruise.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this cruise!  I did enjoy the cruise, just not for the food.  What I really enjoyed was all the things we saw along the way during the journey down the river, and all the things we got to see and do during excursions at the various stops along the way.

Because all the beautiful things we saw are visual, the best way for me to share it all with you is in a video.  So, if you have 30 minutes to sit back and enjoy some beautiful views, please take a look at this video I put together about our cruise:

To start the video playing, click the triangle in the middle of the video screen
To make the video fill the screen (recommended) click the little symbol in the lower right corner of the video player


I think that was actually one of the better videos I've ever made about one of our cruises.  Being able to shoot so much aerial video with my drone really made the video more interesting than some of my other travel videos that didn't have aerial shots in them.  I also like the way the background music and the voiceover turned out in that video.

There's actually another video I did about this cruise, but it tells the story without any narration.  It's all about the visuals :


I think the cruise line was happy with the job I did for them...  providing photos and videos that their marketing department can use.  They've indicated that this probably won't be the last free cruise they'll offer to me.  They have cruises in Alaska that I think would be interesting...  and cruises on the Mississippi River, too.  Perhaps I'll get to experience one of those sometime.

Need A Travel Agent?

Booking a cruise can be confusing, especially if you haven't been on many cruises before.  There are lots of first-time cruiser mistakes that a travel agent can keep you from making.

If you're interested in booking a cruise with any cruise line...  please feel free to use the services of my travel agent, Caitlin Gallagher.  She's extremely pleasant to deal with, easy to talk to since she lives in the United States and speaks without any kind of an accent, and quite experienced and knowledgeable about different types of cruising.  Caitlin is the owner of Ambren Travel.  Visit her web site, check out the Ambren Travel Facebook page, or contact her using the information below.

The Cruise Ships We've Been On

If you've enjoyed this page, you would probably also enjoy reading my web pages about:

July 2021 Iceland Cruise on Viking Sky
January 2020 Carnival Panorama
December 2019 cruise in The Haven on Norwegian Joy
May 2019 Carnival Horizon cruise
April 2019 Norwegian Breakaway cruise
January 2019 Caribbean cruise on the Viking Sea
December 2018 country music cruise on the Norwegian Getaway
May 2018 Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Bliss
January 2018 cruise on MSC Seaside in a suite with a private Jacuzzi
September 2017 Carnival Vista cruise in a Havana Suite
October 2017 Norwegian Sky cruise in the owner's suite
The $1600 per night owners suite:  January 2017 Norwegian Pearl
An Un-crowded Small Ship Experience:  Viking Star
One Of The Best Waterslides At Sea:  Liberty Of The Seas
Quite Possibly The Best Cruise Ship In The World:  Anthem Of The Seas
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
One of the best cruise ships we've ever experienced: The Norwegian Escape
2015 Carnival Breeze back-to-back cruises
Back-to-back cruises on Independence Of The Seas
World's largest cruise ship: Allure Of The Seas
2015 Carnival Freedom repositioning cruise
Our first VIP cruise in The Haven: The Norwegian Getaway
Our June 2014 Alaska cruisetour with Princess
Our first cruise with Princess!  January 2014 Sapphire Princess
2014 back-to-back eastern/western Caribbean cruises on the Carnival Glory
The completely refurbished Carnival Sunshine
One of Carnival's best ships, the Carnival Breeze
A sister ship to the Breeze, the Carnival Magic
Our 2013 cruise on the Carnival Conquest
One of the oldest ships in the fleet, the Carnival Inspiration
Our first Caribbean cruise:  the Carnival Glory
Our many cruises on the Carnival Spirit
Our February 2010 cruise on the Carnival Splendor
Our January 2008 cruise on the Carnival Elation
Our April 2008 cruise on the Norwegian Star
Our first cruise!  1996 on Carnival Cruise Line's MS Holiday

Click here to see the complete chronology of all the cruises we've ever taken.

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