American Empress

Former name: Empress of the North (Majestic America Line)

American Empress current position

American Empress current location is at North America West Coast (coordinates 46.20052 N / -123.75754 W) cruising en route to ASTORIA,OR. The AIS position was reported 5 minutes ago.

All Itineraries Current Position

Current itinerary of American Empress

American Empress current cruise is 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA. Prices start from USD 5169 (double occupancy rates). The itinerary starts on 24 Jun, 2024 and ends on 30 Jun, 2024.

Date / TimePort
24 Jun    Departing from Portland OR, Oregon hotels
24 Jun    Vancouver WA, Washington
25 Jun    Astoria OR, Oregon
26 Jun    Camas-Washougal WA, Washington
26 Jun - 27 Jun    Stevenson WA, Washington
27 Jun - 28 Jun    The Dalles OR, Oregon
29 Jun    Richland WA, Washington
30 Jun    Arriving in Clarkston WA, Washington hotels

Specifications of American Empress

Year of build2003  /  Age: 21
Flag state USA
BuilderNichols Brothers Boat Builders (Freeland, Washington)
Classpaddle-wheel steamboat
Building costUSD 50 million
Length (LOA)110 m / 361 ft
Beam (width)18 m / 59 ft
Gross Tonnage5975 gt
Passengers223
Crew83
Decks4
Cabins112
Decks with cabins4
Last Refurbishment2019
Former namesEmpress of the North (Majestic America Line)
Christened byClaudette Waggoner (AQSC)
OwnerAmerican Cruise Lines Inc
OperatorAmerican Cruise Lines

American Empress Itineraries

DateItineraryDeparture PortPrice from
2024 May 27 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $4919
2024 Jun 03 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $4919
2024 Jun 10 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $5069
2024 Jun 17 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $5119
2024 Jun 24 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $5169
2024 Jul 01 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $5219
2024 Jul 08 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $5269
2024 Jul 15 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $5319
2024 Jul 22 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $5369
2024 Jul 29 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $5419
2024 Aug 05 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $5469
2024 Aug 12 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $5519
2024 Aug 19 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $4919
2024 Sep 02 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $5369
2024 Sep 09 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $5319
2024 Sep 16 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $5269
2024 Sep 23 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $5219
2024 Sep 30 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $5139
2024 Oct 07 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $4919
2024 Oct 14 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $4919
2024 Oct 21 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $4919
2024 Oct 28 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $4919
2024 Nov 04 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $3929
2024 Nov 11 6 days, one-way from Portland OR to Clarkston WA Portland OR $3929
2024 Nov 18 7 days, one-way from Clarkston WA to Vancouver WA Clarkston WA $3929
2024 Nov 25 7 days, one-way from Portland OR to Vancouver WA Portland OR $3929

American Empress Review

Review of American Empress

The 2003-built (as Empress of the North) American Empress cruise ship was bought by AQSC/American Queen Steamboat Company (now AQV/American Queen Voyages) in 2013, completely renovated and re-launched in April 2014 (as American Empress).

This paddlewheel boat is the biggest sailing the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. The ship is similar to fleetmate American Queen, and also to American Cruise Lines vessels Queen of the Mississippi/now American Heritage and Queen of the West/now American West.

The 223-passenger Empress of the North was owned by American West Steamship Company and operated by Majestic America Line.

riverboat American Empress cruise ship

The refurbishment of American Empress (IMO 9263538) was a dramatic overhaul; all cabins and public spaces got new carpet, wallpaper, paint, lighting and general updating. The minute you step onboard, you're transported to a time when the regular sight on America's rivers were steamboats.

The ship's surroundings feature contemporary influences. Astoria Dining Room is light-filled with plenty of 2-tops and the newly added venue River Grill features a bistro-like experience. American Empress is often described as "a steamboat without steam", but there is no missing the iconic paddlewheel painted in red.

The previous shipowner was Hornblower Group Inc (via Hornblower Cruises and Events).

Following the bankruptcy of Hornblower Group in 2024 (February), American Queen Voyages was placed for sale. Hornblower was sold to Strategic Value Partners and announced reorganization plans, focusing on its other subsidiaries.

In a Texas-held auction in March 2024, ACL/American Cruise Lines became the highest bidder and purchased four riverboats (American Empress, American Duchess, American QueenAmerican Countess) plus other AQV assets.

Cabins

American Empress staterooms (112 total) are decorated and furnished with Victorian-style antiques and reproductions. All accommodations as decoration feature polished wood, Victorian-era wallpaper patterns, framed paintings. Beds are comfortable, with ample underbed storrage space, luxury bedding sets. Handicap / wheelchair-accessible cabins (for disabled passengers) are only 3. The ship has no connecting or family cabins. The number of all cabin categories is 7. Most staterooms are with private balconies. Each cabin balcony is equipped with 2 wicker chairs and 1 cocktail table.

Next are listed the standard (complimentary) amenities, furniture and services offered in each of the riverboat's cabins.

  • All staterooms have individually controlled air-conditioning, flat TV (satellite reception)), dark wood wardrobe, dressers with ample drawer space, mini-bar /fridge, personal safe, phone, alarm clock, Keurig brewer (tea/coffee machine), binocular, luxury bath amenities (toiletries by Clarins, terry robes, hairdryer), plenty of outlets and lighting.
  • Smoking inside the cabin and on the balcony is forbidden. The only smoking-allowed area on the ship is the sun deck.
  • Complimentary soft drinks and bottled water are offered throughout the cruise.
  • Complimentary wines and beers are offered at dinner only.
  • Complimentary 24-hour available room service (menu has standard for breakfast fare, plus sandwiches, burgers, macaroni & cheese, fresh salmon, desserts).
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi Internet.

SUITES (categories LS and A) and SUPERIOR STATEROOMS (category B) are with either queen bed or 2 twin beds, private bathroom (WC, tub, shower), separate seating area with couch/sofa bed, cocktail table and chairs, wet bar, Bose sound system, iHome speakers, standard floor-ceiling glass doors opening onto private balcony. Suite balconies are furnished with padded chairs.

VERANDA CABINS (category E) are with semi-private balcony. Each of the OUTSIDE CABINS (category D) has a large non-opening window. SINGLE OUTSIDE BALCONY ROOMS (category CS) have the same features as the Deluxe Verandas (cat C), but are smaller in size and offered with single occupancy rates (cheaper for solo travelers).

riverboat American Empress cruise ship

The riverboat has 4 decks and 112 passenger staterooms (for 223 guests) served by 83 crew/staff (all-American). All decks are passenger-accessible and with cabins, being interconnected via 2 lifts/elevators.

The boat has 3 lounges, 2 restaurants, and plenty of open deck/promenade areas.

American Queen Steamboat Company cruise deals

Operated with all-inclusive cruise packages, American Empress cruisetour deals are inclusive of:

  • all shore excursions (“Steamcoach Tours” by luxury motorcoaches)
  • 1-night pre-cruise hotel package
  • soft drinks and bottled water (offered throughout the voyage)
  • wines and beers (offered at dinner only)
  • 24-hour room service (menu has standard for breakfast fare, plus sandwiches, burgers, macaroni & cheese, fresh salmon, desserts)
  • Wi-Fi Internet
  • Pilot House tour (of the ship's Navigation Bridge).
  • Smoking inside the cabin and on the balcony is forbidden. The only smoking-allowed area on the ship is the sun deck.

"Commodore Services" are the company's set of exclusive services reserved for American Countess cruise passengers booking categories LFS-Loft and OS-Owner suites. The list of bonus perks (price-inclusive / complimentary privileges) includes:

  • gifts (upon arrival) - fruit basket and a bottle of wine
  • suite tour (upon arrival)
  • priority boarding and dining arrangements
  • reserved balcony seating in "The Auditorium" (boat's theater / show lounge), with a personal escort to the reserved seats
  • private reception party with the ship's Captain and Senior Officers
  • personal River Butler
  • unpacking, hanging the clothes in the closet, packing, laundry, pressing service, shoeshine (conditioning)
  • in-cabin dining - Afternoon Tea service, Breakfast and Dinner service (on the suite's balcony, upon request), pre-dinner canapes, post-dinner sweets).

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The vessel (IMO 9263538) was constructed in Freeland (Washington) by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders. The paddlewheeler was inaugurated on August 10, 2003, in Seattle WA, from where started the maiden voyage to Alaska. The season was based on 11-night/12-day Inside Passage itineraries (between Seattle and Juneau AK) visiting ports like Wrangell AK/Wrangell Island and Petersburg AK/Mitkof Island. In fall 2023, the boat was deployed to the Pacific Northwest USA for itineraries on the Columbia and Snake rivers. During the second Alaskan season (2004) were offered voyages out of Sitka AK/Baranof Island.

Due to financial problems of the shipowner, Empress of the North was laid up between 2008 and 2013 when was acquired by American Queen Steamboat Company.

American Empress riverboat was built in the US and christened in Portland Oregon on April 5, 2014. The ship's godmother was ms Claudette Waggoner - wife of John Waggoner (Chairman and CEO of the American Steamboat Company). As flagstate, the USA flag requires all officers, crew and hotel staff on the boat to be American (US citizens).

By design, this big river cruise ship is in the "paddlewheeler" class (a classic stern paddle-wheel boat). The vessel is similar to the fleetmate American Queen, and also to the American Cruise Lines ships Queen of the Mississippi/American Heritage, Queen of the West/American West and America/American Splendor. These unique riverboats feature a stern-mounted paddlewheel.

riverboat American Empress cruise ship

The vessel is the largest overnight river cruise boat west of Mississippi. The ship's home port is in the US - Vancouver WA (Portland metro area). American Empress steamboat was initially built as "Empress of the North" for Majestic America Line. Following a 5-year long period out of service, the vessel was acquired in 2013 by "American Steamboat Co". The next year Empress of the North was renamed to "American Empress".

This cruise ship is famous for being powered by a genuine steam engine (professionally called steam plant). However, the riverboat also has a marine diesel engine as an alternative propulsion system, which is used only for better maneuverability in tight river areas or in special/emergency cases.

Just like all the onboard public rooms, all passenger staterooms are furnished with Victorian-style reproductions and antiques. All cruise cabins also feature Victorian-era wallpaper patterns, polished wood, traditional paintings.

Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All companies and their fleets are listed there.