2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Sunday, October 8, 2023 – Astoria, Oregon, USA

Our approach to the Columbia River mouth was in the morning hours, with the river pilot boarding the ship from a helicopter on the stern – Deck 9 Lido. Passengers were advised to stay clear until the pilot was aboard and the crew had placed all deck furniture back in place. I’m out on deck with my camera as the ship passes Cape Disappointment at about 10:20AM. We pass Fort Stevens as we sail up the Columbia River to dock at Astoria at Noon under clear and sunny skies and lovely 18ºC temperatures.

Since Astoria is a hilly city, I had booked the Astoria Scenic Waterfront Biking excursion, but due to the ship arriving late, that excursion is cancelled, so I go to the excursion desk and book the Historic Astoria excursion. After our bus drives under the imposing Astoria-Megler Bridge and through the city, our first stop is the Columbia River Maritime Museum on the river shore. This modest museum offers both inside displays about local maritime history and the Columbia lightship was docked nearby, beside the still active USCGC Steadfast. Driving to the second stop, the Astoria Column, gives us drive-by glimpses of the historic neighbourhoods that would otherwise be difficult to get to in this hilly city. The 360-degree views from the top of the column are worth the claustrophobic climb up the circular staircase!

Westward panoramic view from the top of the Astoria Column

Astoria, OR, USA
2023-10-08, 3:06:59 PM
Astoria, OR, USA 2023-10-08, 3:06:59 PM

Final stop is Fort Clatsop at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park where a park ranger does a good job of setting the historical context for this strategically important outpost for the still-forming country – the United States of America. Fort Clatsop was a winter encampment for the Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1805-06.

After returning to the ship in the late afternoon, I go for an early dinner to the Canaletto Italian premium restaurant while the ship is still docked. I have a table with a nice view across the river as I start with fresh, warm artisan bread with green olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, green and red pesto, along with a glass of Pinot Grigio white wine. Next is a delicious Canaletto salad – greens, walnuts, gorgonzola, beets, with balsamic dressing. My main course is an exceptionally good Escalope of Fresh Cod with a small side of fresh-made pasta topped with parmesan. The cod melts in my mouth! The premium charge for Canaletto is US$25 pp, however since I’m a 4-star Mariner I get 50% off, so with the $4.50 service charge, my cost for this very enjoyable meal is US$17.

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