In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, coastal steamers plied the rivers and coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest. Today, travelers can experience old-world charm on the SS Legacy of Un-Cruise Adventures. This 88-guest river boat sails week-long cruises roundtrip from Portland on the Willamette, Columbia, Palouse, and Snake Rivers between April and November for the small ship cruise line. The replica steamer provides its guests with a marvelous overview of the history and culture of the region on its heritage-themed cruises. The onboard guides dress in the Victorian style of the era and play many roles throughout the week--some fictional and others real, but all reflecting the history of the area. In addition to the history and culture-filled itinerary, the ship also features a wine-themed itinerary with a week of tastings and tours of Washington and Oregon wineries.
In early October, I sailed the "Legacy of Discovery" itinerary on the Un-Cruise SS Legacy. Like all the other guests onboard, I loved the Victorian style, furnishings, and ambiance of the river boat. Those who appreciate all-inclusive cruising will enjoy the SS Legacy since the ship includes all transfers, drinks, meals, nightly programs, shore excursions, wellness program, and even a complimentary massage. About the only costs not included in the base price are gratuities for the crew. For those who don't like stairs, the SS Legacy has an elevator that goes to decks 1, 2, and 3.
Discover the cabins and common areas on the SS Legacy. The article also provides information on the onboard activities and entertainment.
Cabins and Suites
The SS Legacy of Un-Cruise Adventures has six categories of cabins spread across four decks. All cabins have a private bath with shower, except the Owner's Suite, which has a Jacuzzi tub and shower combination. All cabins also have an iPod docking station, TV/DVD player, alarm clock, hair dryer, bathrobes, and premium toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, and body wash). Cabins on deck 1 open onto an interior hallway, but have a view window. All other cabins have a door that opens to an outdoor deck.
- Master (MST) cabins are the lowest priced and are located on deck 1 and deck 3. These four cabins have a fixed double bed.
- Commander (CMN) cabins are on decks 2 and 3. These 27 cabins have either a fixed queen, double, or twin beds. The photo at the top of this page is a Commander level cabin #209 where I stayed on our SS Legacy Columbia and Snake River cruise.
- Captain (CPT) cabins have a queen or twin beds and are located on deck 2 aft. Four cabins are in this category.
- Admiral (ADM) cabins are on decks 1, 2, and 3. These 6 cabins have queen or twin beds, but also have a trundle bed available for a triple.
- Junior Commodore (JCO) cabins are on deck 3 forward and have queen or twin beds. These 2 cabins have a small refrigerator and wrap-around view windows. They are located right underneath the bridge, so feature terrific views from those windows.
- The Owner's Suite (OWN) is the largest cabin on the suite, measuring over 600 square feet. It features a separate entertainment and sitting area with a wet bar, refrigerator, and media center; separate bedroom with king-sized bed, view windows, and a larger bath than in the other cabins. The sofa bed can be used to turn the cabin into a triple or quad.
Desk and Window in Cabin
This dressing table and desk is a nice addition to the SS Legacy. The company's expedition vessels like the Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Adventurer do not have any place to sit except on the bed.
Seating in the Grand Salon
The Grand Salon is on deck 2 forward on the SS Legacy and is the main hub of the river boat. This lounge reflects the Victorian style of the entire ship, with a large bar, plenty of seating, and a self-service coffee bar. Meetings, activities, and educational presentations on our Columbia and Snake River cruise were all held in this lounge.
Early riser breakfast is served in the Grand Salon, cookies often appear in the mid-afternoon, and hors d'oeuvres are available in the evening before dinner.
Coffee Bar in the Grand Salon
Hot coffee and tea are available at this self-service coffee bar in the SS Legacy Grand Salon. In the mornings before breakfast, delicious pastries and fruit are available for early risers.
Pesky Barnacle Saloon
Don't you love the name of this bar? It's the Pesky Barnacle Saloon, and is found aft of the dining room on deck 1. Each Columbia and Snake River cruise, a small poker game is held in the Pesky Barnacle, and everyone dons a hat or other piece of Victorian clothing. During the entire cruise, all the guests enjoyed the craft beer on tap and the premium spirits.
Yes, that's me with the funny hat and white boa. The Captain was the dealer and ran the poker game, and I was the big winner! Although we played with chips, no money was exchanged, and the game was a lot of fun. (Note: I probably won since I wasn't too nervous about losing any $$$. One of the crew that played told me I was only the second guest to beat him the entire season. Don't worry, I'm not giving up my day job and moving to Las Vegas, although I did like wearing the boa.)
Three meals are served in the Dining Room each day. It's located on deck 1. The food was delicious and varied, and all meals were served by the wait staff (no buffets). Each breakfast usually featured a choice of an egg dish, pancakes, or other hot dish. The thick, crispy bacon was a must-eat for many of us. Lunch usually had a large salad or some type of hot dish, along with dessert. Dinner included an appetizer, choice of two main courses, vegetables, and dessert. The food was excellent and I saw a lot of clean plates going back to the galley--always a good sign! Read more about the different foods served on the SS Legacy in this cruise log from our Columbia and Snake River cruise.
The SS Legacy has an open bridge policy most of the time. I captured this photo of one of the mates steering the vessel while the Captain looks on. Nice to see a woman at the wheel.
Aft View of the SS Legacy of Un-Cruise Adventures
The exterior of the SS Legacy of Un-Cruise Adventures is elegant and very attractive. I love the curves of the aft decks.
Sun Deck and Hot Tub
The sun deck has chairs and tables and a hot tub for soaking. It also features a covered area with exercise equipment.
Exercise Equipment on the Sun Deck
The exercise equipment on the sun deck is always available for the guests. In addition, a complimentary stretch class is held each morning and afternoon.
Cruising the Snake River in Washington
The SS Legacy of Un-Cruise Adventures sails down the Willamette River in Portland to where it joins the Columbia River. Then the ship moves up the Columbia River to where the Snake River flows in. The SS Legacy follows the Snake River in Washington up to Clarkston, which is near the Idaho border and spectacular Hells Canyon. The classic ship turns around and goes downstream all the way to the Pacific Ocean at Astoria before returning to Portland. The entire voyage is about 1000 miles.
All or part of each day is spent off the ship exploring the surrounding towns and their cultural and historic sites. Guests leave the SS Legacy one day and board a jet boat for an exciting ride up the Snake River into the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. This entire voyage is filled with surprises and varied activities, and the SS Legacy and its great crew make the trip even more memorable.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.