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Columbia and Snake River Cruise Tips

Pixabay Creative Commons license
Pixabay Creative Commons license
Columbia and Snake river cruises aren't quite as popular as Mississippi River cruises, but they have one big advantage. They are easier to reach for people who live in western United States and Canada.

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. It begins in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and curves back and forth more than 1,200 miles southwest throughout British Columbia and the states of Washington and Oregon. It empties into the Pacific Ocean just north of Portland, Oregon.

The Snake River is a tributary of the Columbia and is almost as long at more than 1,000 miles. It begins in western Wyoming and curls through Idaho and Oregon before emptying into the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities in Washington.

Columbia and Snake cruises usually last between five and 11 days. An example cruise may begin on the Columbia River in Portland, go up to Tri-Cities, access the Snake River and end in Clarkston, Washington.

Ports of call may include Astoria, Pendleton and The Dalles in Oregon along with Mount St. Helens, Stevenson and Richland in Washington.

Noteworthy sites include the Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls, the second tallest waterfall in the United States. Onshore experiences include visits to Mount St. Helens, a replica of Fort Clatsop and Columbia River Discovery Center.

Unlike sea cruises, a Columbia and Snake river cruise is about viewing the mountains, gorges and other natural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.

River Cruise Costs

Several companies offer cruises on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Prices depend on amenities. For example, one company had a nine-day, eight-night cruise starting at $3,799 per person or $475 per night. But amenities include an extra night in a hotel (which lowers the per-night cost to $422) plus complimentary alcohol at dinner.

Another company had seven-day, six-night cruises with prices starting at nearly $600 per person. Shorter cruises usually have higher prices per night.

River cruises in general are more expensive than sea and ocean cruises. River cruise boats are smaller than their ocean counterparts and have higher fixed costs, which pushes up their prices.

By comparison, Columbia and Snake cruises also are usually more expensive than Mississippi river cruises. Mississippi cruises have more demand and more available ships, which helps lower their prices. Likewise, European river cruises are even less expensive in general than U.S. river cruises.

So cruise lovers may choose the Columbia and Snake rivers if their budget allows it and if they want to enjoy the scenic views of the Pacific Northwest.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Rivers   

February 17, 2020
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