Frequently Asked Questions
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Tickets, Pricing and Cruise Offerings
· What time are your cruises?
· Where can I buy tickets, how do I make a Reservation?
· How much do the cruises cost?
· What is a “Landing Fee”?
· What does the price include?
· What discounts do you offer?
· Do you offer discounts to large groups?
· May we bring kids?
· Do you sell gift cards or gift certificates?
· What is your cancellation policy?
· Does your company offer charitable donations?
Food, Entertainment and Vessel Questions
· What kind of food is offered on your menu?
· Will we sit at our own table?
· Do you take seating requests?
· Will I have a window seat?
· May we rent out our own private room?
· What are the capacities of your boats?
· What is the dress code/appropriate attire?
· Is smoking permitted?
· Are you wheelchair accessible?
Boarding Locations, Cruise Routes and Maps
· Where does the boat board?
· Where do you cruise?
· Do you cruise on the Columbia?
· Do you cruise in the winter or in the rain?
· Where is the nearest parking?
· MAX accessibility?
· Where are your offices?
· Do you offer carbon offsets?
· Who is responsible for your web site?
· I have other questions
What time are your cruises?
The Portland Spirit Company offers offers a variety of cruises for your enjoyment. Listed below is the general cruise schedule. Vessel of operation, cruise times and availability vary and cruises may be cancelled due to lack of interest. Though we offer certain cruises year round, daily availibity is not guaranteed and offerings may be limited, especially in shoulder and low season. Please check with a reservationist for confirmation of availability and times.
Boarding for most cruises is one-half hour prior to departure.
Dinner Cruise - show upcoming dinner cruises
Usual vessel: Portland Spirit
Nightly, 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Cascade Locks Gorgeous Dinner Cruise
Usual vessel: Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler
Nightly, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, May-October
Lunch Cruise - show upcoming lunch cruises
Usual vessel: Portland Spirit
Monday - Saturday Noon-2:00pm
Brunch Buffet Cruise - show upcoming brunch cruises
Usual vessel: Portland Spirit
Usual vessel: Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler
Sunday 10am - Noon May-October
Sightseeing Cruise Year-round in Portland
Daily, Noon - 2:00pm
Daily, 7:00pm - 9:30pm
$38 per passenger
July & August in Portland
Monday - Thursday 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Saturday - Sunday 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler Cascade Locks Sightseeing Cruises
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday:
May - October
(NO Wednesdays June - October)
Boarding 10:45am, cruising 11:00am-1:00pm
Boarding 1:45pm, cruising 2:00-4:00pm
$28 adults/seniors, $18 children
Boarding at 9:30am, cruising 10:00am-12:00pm (in conjunction with Brunch Cruise)
$28 adults/seniors, $18 children
1/2 price Sunday afternoon sightseeing
Boarding 12:45pm, cruising 1:00pm-2:00pm
Boarding 2:45pm, cruising 3:00pm-4:00pm
$14 adults/seniors, $9 children
We cannot guarantee indoor seating on sightseeing cruises; outside food and beverages are not permitted.
Landmarks of the Gorge Cruise - show upcoming Landmarks of the Gorge cruises
Usual vessel: Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler
Wednesdays 10:00am - 3:00pm June-October
Friday Early Escape Cruise - show upcoming Friday Early Escape cruises
Usual Vessel: Portland Spirit
Fridays 3:00pm - 5:00pm July-September
Heart of the Gorge Exploration - show upcoming Explorer cruises
Usual Vessel: Explorer
Daily boarding at 8:15am, cruising from 8:30am - ~3:30pm
Portland Bridges Cruise - show upcoming Explorer cruises
Usual Vessel: Explorer
Daily boarding 4:30pm, cruising 4:45 - 6:00pm
More information about the cruises listed above can be found on the Portland Cruise descriptions page, our Explorer Cruise description page, and our Sternwheeler Cruise description page. Current availablility can be found on our online cruise schedule.
Where can I buy tickets, how do I make a reservation?
You can make reservations in several ways:
· Book your cruise online
· Call our office: (503) 224-3900 or (800) 224-3901 - we accept most major credit cards
· Make and pay for your reservation at our office:
110 SE Caruthers
Portland, Oregon 97214
· Make and pay for your reservation at our Portland Ticket Booth:
Our Ticket Booth is open May through early September and is located by the Salmon Street Springs Fountain in Waterfront Park in downtown Portland
· Make and pay for your reservation at our Visitors Center in Marine Park in Cascade Locks
The Visitors Center is open May through October.
Reservations must be pre-paid and are non-transferrable and non-refundable. Walk-on guests are welcome when space is available, though you are strongly encouraged to call ahead to verify day-of cruise availability.i
How much do the cruises cost?
2012/2013 cruise prices
Theses prices apply to standard cruises. All pricing is subject to change. Senior pricing applies to adults 60 years of age and older. There are discounts for groups of 15 adults or more.
Dinner Cruise (Portland) - $68/adult, $63/seniors, $65/children age 4-12
Gorgeous Dinner Cruise (Cascade Locks) - $52/adult, $49/seniors, $49/children age 4-12
Lunch Cruise - $40/adult, $37/senior, $20 child age 4-12
Brunch Buffet Cruise - $46/adult, $43/senior, $22/child age 4-12 child age 4-12
Landmarks of the Gorge Cruise - $88/adult, $80/senior, $80/child age 4-12
Sightseeing on a Lunch or Brunch Cruise - $28/adult, $18/child age 4-12
Sightseeing on a Dinner Cruise (Portland) - $38/person
Friday Early Escape Cruise - $30/person
Radical 80's Dance Cruise - $20/person ($10/person groups of 8 or more)
Prices do not include taxes, landing fees, and any other applicable charges
Portland Spirit requires all adult passengers boarding any vessel to provide photographic identification.
Portland Spirit photographs all passengers during the boarding process. You are not required to purchase the photograph, though it will be available to you for purchase.
Portland Spirit reserves the right to inspect any bag, package, or carry-on item prior to boarding. We strongly discourage bringing wrapped gifts/packages as we most likely have to unwrap the item to inspect it. We recommend that you do not bring gifts to an event. If you must bring a gift, please bring it in an easily inspectable container such as a gift bag.
What is a “Landing Fee”?
What does the price include?
Dinner and Lunch Cruises: the price includes your meal, entertainment, and the cruise itself. Your meal includes your choice of plated entree prepared to order in our galley. The price does not include additional beverages from the bar, appetizers, or service gratuity. Portland dinner cruises include a standard dessert selection, which is upgradeable to a premium selection at an additional charge. Dessert is available on lunch cruises and on Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler Gorgeous Dinner Cruises at an additional charge.
Brunch Cruises: the price includes unlimited visits to our Northwest brunch buffet, selected beverages, the entertainment/narration. The price does not include additional beverages from the bar or service gratuity.
Sightseeing Cruise: the price covers admission to the vessel. Indoor seating on sightseeing cruises is not guaranteed. Beverages from our full service bar are available for additional purchase. Passengers may upgrade to meal cruises at the discretion of the cruise manager.
Friday Early Escape Cruise: the price covers admission to the vessel and live entertainment. There is a bistro menu and full service bar available for additional purchase. Seating on Early Escape Cruises is not guaranteed.
What discounts do you offer?
In addition to offering discounts for groups of 15 or more adults, we offer discounts to seniors (over age 60) and children (age 4-12). A discount can not be used in conjunction with any other discount. Discounts are subject to limitations and are not available on all cruises. Please ask your reservationist for specific discount information.
As of March 1st, 2014, Portland Spirit does not honor Passport discount programs.
Do you offer discounts to large groups?
We offer discounts for groups of 15 or more adults. Private rental of any vessel — Portland Spirit, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, Willamette Star, Crystal Dolphin, and Explorer — is available. Private rental of one level of the Portland Spirit and Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler vessel is available during public cruise times. Please call our office and ask to speak to a group sales representative.
May we bring kids?
Children are welcome on all cruises except for those cruises specified as limited to age 21 and over. Children ages 4-12 are the half-off adult price on lunch and brunch cruises. Children age 3 and under are not subject to cruise fare on any cruises except Cinnamon Bear, where the age ceiling is 1 year. We are required to know that they are attending. Children under 4 are also not permitted to ride on our Explorer vessel cruises. While on board, we encourage kids to participate in our Sailor Training program, where they will learn about the vessel and receive an honorary Captain’s Certificate. Child pricing for lunch and brunch cruises are family rates, and do not apply to youth groups, parties, school events, etc.
Do you have gift cards or gift certificates?
Portland Spirit gift cards make great presents. They can be purchased for any dollar amount and may be used as cash on any cruise. Gift cards are available for purchase online, at some Costco locations, and through our office.
What is your cancellation policy?
Once a reservation is made, it may not be refunded or transferred to another cruise date, but another person(s) can use your paid reservation if you are unable to attend.
Does your company offer charitable donations?
What kind of food is offered on your menu?
Executive Chef Shawn Smith, Sous Chef Armin Pinto, and the rest of our committed galley staff takes great pride in our delicious food offerings. All food is prepared in our galley, and our menus change daily. On plated meal cruises, we offer seafood, beef, poultry, and vegetarian options. Your server will make you aware of available selections shortly after you join us on board for your cruise. You have the option to pre-order shrimp cocktails, appetizers, desserts and other items when you make your reservation. Please ask your reservationist.
The Brunch Buffets offer a variety of breakfast and lunch items, as well as fresh seasonal vegetables, fruits, and pastries.
Click to view our sample menus.
Do you offer a vegetarian option?
We strive to please all palates. A vegetarian option is regularly available as one of our entrees for plated meal cruises. On our buffets, we always make sure to offer delicious vegetarian items for your dining pleasure. If you have special dining requirements, please let your reservationist know when you make your reservation.
May we bring our own food onboard?
Passengers may not bring outside food or beverages on board any Portland Spirit cruise.
What is the entertainment?
For most Portland Spirit meal cruises, piano entertainment is provided along with singing by the professional singers on Portland Spirit’s wait staff. The Portland Spirit vessel has grand pianos on each interior deck. Friday Early Escape Cruises offer live bands.
What do you do for special occasions?
We offer a variety of enhancements for your special occasion aboard the Portland Spirit. Enhancements are not available on every cruise.
Boarding Photo $10
Your visit will be captured by our photographer as you arrive. Before you leave, you will have your picture in a custom Portland Spirit frame to take with you.
Celebration Special $25
Two premium desserts and a bottle of private label Portland Spirit Champagne or a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider at your table to enhance the festivities.
Shrimp Cocktail $10
Five tiger prawns served with our special chef’s recipe cocktail sauce.
Admirals Table $140
A guaranteed window seat, the song of your choice sung to you both, two appetizers, two premium desserts, a bottle of private-label Portland Spirit Champagne or a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider, two custom Portland Spirit champagne flutes for you to take home, service gratuity, and a photograph of your occasion for remembering your special evening in a collectible Myrtle Wood frame. Only available for parties of two with a limited number available per cruise, and the song may not be available if reserved less than five days from the cruise. Dedicated songs are not available on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler.
River Romance $50
Two premium desserts, two collectible Portland Spirit champagne flutes, a bottle of private-label Portland Spirit Champagne or a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider at your table and a photograph of your occasion for remembering your special evening.
You may also choose to pre-order floral arrangements at a variety of sizes and prices. If you let us know, we would be glad to announce your occasion on board and perhaps even sing a song to mark the occasion. If you would like to request a song for your cruise, there is a $25 charge. Please discuss your request with the reservationist when booking your cruise.
What does the interior of the vessel look like?
Will we sit at our own table?
On the Portland Spirit and Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler for meal cruise passengers, you will have your own private table throughout the cruise. You will have your own table on public cruises aboard Willamette Star or Crystal Dolphin but may be seated with other passengers. During non-meal cruises, seating is not guaranteed.
Do you take seating requests?
We do not accept seating requests. Seating is determined by the cruise manager based on the specific space requirements of the number and types of parties on a given cruise.
Will I have a window seat?
We cannot guarantee a window seat with standard cruise purchases. However, during the cruise you will have free access to the public areas of the vessel, including the outside observation decks. In addition, on certain cruises, our “Admiral’s Table” add-on purchase includes a guaranteed window seat.
May we rent out our own private room on the boat?
Private rental of the entire Portland Spirit, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, Willamette Star, Crystal Dolphin, or Explorer vessel is available. Private rental of one level of the Portland Spirit or Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler vessels is available during public cruise times. Please call our office and ask to speak to a group sales representative.
What are the capacities of your boats?
All vessels in the Portland Spirit fleet are inspected and certified by the United States Coast Guard.
The Portland Spirit accommodates up to 340 passengers for a sit-down event and up to 499 passengers for a reception-style event.
The Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler accommodates up to 160 passengers for a sit-down event and up to 450 passengers maximum.
The Willamette Star accommodates up to 100 passengers for a sit-down event and up to 144 passengers for a reception-style event.
The Crystal Dolphin accommodates up to 50 passengers for a sit-down event and up to 120 passengers for a reception-style event.
The Explorer accommodates up to 35 passengers for a sight-seeing excursion.
The capacities of our vessels will vary depending on the nature of events held on board.
What is the dress code/appropriate attire?
We have no specific dress code, but we recommend dressy casual. We strongly recommend that people do not wear high-heeled shoes and encourage people to wear solid, non-slip footwear as we are in a marine environment. We do recommend wearing layered clothing as the climate on the rivers can be unpredictable. The Portland Spirit, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, Willamette Star, and Crystal Dolphin vessels offer fully enclosed dining decks. Cruises aboard the Explorer should be considered a “thrill”-type ride where weather and river conditions can vary dramatically.
Is smoking permitted?
Smoking is not permitted indoors at any time on any vessel. Smoking is permitted in designated areas on the outside decks of the vessels.
Electronic cigarettes are allowed to be carried on board, however, they may not be used in enclosed areas. They are also restricted to the outside decks of the vessels.
Are you wheelchair accessible?
Portland Spirit, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, Willamette Star and Crystal Dolphin are wheelchair accessible on the Willamette (lower) decks with certain restrictions. Please address any needs you may have regarding access requirements with a reservationist.
Where does the boat board?
Portland Spirit and Explorer public cruises usually board at the Salmon Street Springs Fountain in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The fountain is located in the park where Salmon Street meets Naito Parkway/Front Avenue. Here is a map to Salmon Street Springs Fountain.
Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler cruises usually board at the Visitor Center in Marine Park in the Port of Cascade Locks, except during the month of December when the vessel operates from Portland at Caruthers Landing. Here is a map the the Visitor Center in Marine Park in Cascade Locks.
Willamette Star and Crystal Dolphin Public Cruises may board at either Caruthers Landing or from Salmon Street Springs Fountain. Please contact the sales office for directions to your specific cruise's boarding location. Here is a map to Caruthers Landing.
Private cruises typically board 15 minutes prior to departure. Please call the office for specific boarding information regarding your cruise.
Where do you cruise?
Public cruises aboard Portland Spirit, Willamette Star, and Crystal Dolphin typically run South (upstream) from downtown Portland on the Willamette River to the Milwaukie Basin/Lake Oswego area. The return leg cruises North through downtown. We have links to our Portland cruise routes and their attractions on our Portland cruises page.
Public cruises aboard Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler typically run west (downstream) to Bonneville Dam from Cascade Locks on the Columbia River, then east (upstream) in the direction of White Salmon/Hood River before returning to Dock. We have links to our Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler cruise routes and their attractions on our Columbia Gorge cruises page.
Please note that cruise routes vary depending on river activity and conditions.
Do you cruise on the Columbia?
Portland Spirit operates the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler in Cascade Locks, Oregon. Our Explorer cruises cruise partially on the Columbia River. Private charters may arrange to cruise on the Columbia River. We do offer holiday cruises on the Columbia River, such as our Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise.
Do you cruise in the winter or in the rain?
We cruise year-round in every kind of weather. The Portland Spirit, Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, Willamette Star, and Crystal Dolphin have enclosed dining decks.
Where is the nearest parking?
For Portland Spirit Vessel cruises: the City of Portland polices meter locations from the hours of 8:00am to 7:00pm, Monday through Saturday. There are a variety of pay lots in the vicinity of the Portland Spirit vessel. Nearby facilities include the World Trade Center garage off of Naito Parkway/Front Avenue on Taylor Street, SmartPark at SW First Avenue/Jefferson Street and at SW Fourth Avenue/Alder Street, and underneath the Hawthorne Bridge. Here is a map to Salmon Street Springs Fountain.
Please contact the office for parking recommendations for Willamette Star, Crystal Dolphin, Explorer, and Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler cruises.
Portland’s light rail system — The MAX — runs near the Portland Spirit’s boarding location. For passengers riding Eastbound trains, the closest disembarking point is Yamhill/Southwest First Avenue. For passengers riding Westbound trains, the closest disembarking point is Morrison/Southwest Third Avenue.
For more information about Portland's public transportation system, visit TriMet.org.
Where are your offices?
Portland Spirit, Willamette Star, Crystal Dolphin, and Explorer are locally owned and operated by American Waterways, Inc. since 1994. Our offices are located at Caruthers Landing, our Central Eastside Industrial District riverfront property, located just upstream (South) of OMSI (The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and the Portland Opera. Our current mailing address:
110 SE Caruthers Street
Portland, OR 97214
The Water Avenue expansion project provided easier access to the Southeast riverfront area. You still may find it a little tricky finding Caruthers Landing and our offices. Here is a map to Caruthers Landing.
Do you support carbon offsets?
If you want to make a contribution to offset your portion of the carbon impact of your cruise we recommend the following contribution:
Public passengers should contribute $1 per passenger and private events should contribute $25 per hour of the event and $.50 per passenger. The carbon offsets should be made to The Climate Trust, an Oregon-based company.
Who is responsible for your web site?
I have other questions.
Please give us a call or email us if you have any questions at all about what we do. We’re open Monday through Friday 8:00am-5:30pm, and offer telephone hours Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am-4:00pm, Pacific Time. Our telephone numbers: