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New Season for the Columbia Queen

Great American River Journeys is pleased to announce the inaugural sailing of the luxurious Columbia Queen riverboat on the Pacific Northwest's Columbia, Snake, and Willamette rivers. The 161-passenger vessel departed from the Port of Vancouver on Saturday, April 16, 2005 for its first cruise of the season.

[Multnomah Falls, along the Columbia River in Oregon]

The Columbia Queen's inaugural season will run through November 2005 with an eight-night, seven-day itinerary exploring nearly 1,000 miles of historic waters and sites most notably linked with the stories of Lewis and Clark and the Western Expansion of the 1800s, as well as the various cultures of Northwest native peoples. Each of the Columbia Queen's 32 inclusive "Journeys of Discovery" will introduce guests to regional destinations reflecting that history, including Fort Clatsop National Memorial in Oregon (home to Lewis & Clark for three months); Astoria, Oregon (rich with maritime history); the Columbia River Gorge (featuring Samuel Hill's Maryhill Museum and natural wonders including Multnomah Falls and Beacon Rock); Pendleton, Oregon (home of the world-famous Pendleton Round-Up); Hells Canyon National Scenic Area; and the Mt. Hood River Valley and Railroad, to name a few.

Great American River Journeys has designed its "Journeys of Discovery" cruise vacation packages to include major features and subtle touches that are often "extras" in standard cruise line fares. For example, each daily shore excursion is included in the vacation fare, as are guest services such as candid photos taken by riverboat photographers, in-room service of Continental breakfast and complimentary house wine with dinner.

"We are setting new standards in U.S. river cruising," said Michael Lomax, president and COO, Great American River Journeys. "We've developed unique and, in many cases, exclusive shore excursions, sophisticated onboard amenities, and passenger comfort features that create a premier Pacific Northwest cruise vacation experience."
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Small Ship, Big Experience

[The COLUMBIA QUEEN]

Great American River Journeys (GARJ), the Seattle-based cruise line reintroducing the luxurious Columbia Queen riverboat to the Columbia, Snake, and Willamette rivers in April 2005, will set new standards in river cruising by combining the best passenger amenities found on larger cruise ships with the attention to detail only a small ship can provide.

"We've designed our packages to substantially raise the level of expectation for river cruise enthusiasts," said Michael Lomax, president and COO of Great American River Journeys. "We want our guests to appreciate the difference aboard the Columbia Queen, from the all-included daily shore excursions to the plush robes in their staterooms, we've left no stone unturned."

Prior to stepping aboard the Columbia Queen, guests will be treated to a one-night, pre-cruise stay at the elegant Hilton Executive Tower Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon. After exploring the Rose City on their own, fellow riverboat travelers and Columbia Queen staff will meet for a private Welcome Reception and enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.

Great American River Journeys has structured its cruise vacation packages to include major features and subtle touches that are often featured as "extras" in standard cruise line fares. For example, each of the daily shore excursions, fully escorted and narrated by local tour guides, are included in every guest's vacation fare. As a result, guests on the Columbia Queen face no hidden fees. The thrills of a jet boat adventure deep into Idaho's Hell's Canyon or stepping back in time to Pendleton, the heart of Oregon's cowboy country, are extraordinary experiences that are standard for every passenger.

After exploring some of the Pacific Northwest's most scenic and historic attractions by day, nightfall will usher in a diverse range of onboard entertainment in the riverboat's two showrooms, with performances ranging from nostalgic favorites to hit Broadway musical numbers performed by the Columbia Queen's onboard staff of professional entertainers. Onboard the Columbia Queen, Great American River Journeys has prepared a number of charming nuances for every guest. Each night, travelers will enjoy complimentary Northwest wines paired with regionally-inspired cuisine in the elegant, window-lined Astoria Room. Breakfast lovers can begin their day with a complimentary Continental breakfast delivered directly to their room at no charge. Those who want to keep in touch with family and friends will have complimentary access to e-mail terminals in the riverboat's Purser's Lobby.

The Columbia Queen will also employ a number of highly-specialized crewmembers to deliver unique guest services. Riverboat Photographers will capture candid shots of each day's activities on and off the Columbia Queen. Each evening prior to dinner, these photographs will be posted in the riverboat's gallery for guests to take home and enjoy, free of charge. For those who appreciate pampering, Great American River Journeys has also arranged for a massage therapist to be available on board.

Also included in every package is the wealth of knowledge shared by the riverboat's onboard historian, naturalist and cultural interpreters, who will function in the stead of the typical cruise activities directors. These crewmembers have been recruited to provide guests more depth, interpretation and interaction with the Pacific Northwest's history and scenery during the eight-night Journey of Discovery.

Even the Columbia Queen's cabins reveal guest amenities usually reserved for larger, ocean-going vessels, such as TV/DVD players, telephones, spacious baths with glass-enclosed showers, and plush in-room robes. Many staterooms feature private verandas, double French doors with balconies, or doors that open directly onto the deck. In addition to its included daily shore excursions, the Columbia Queen will offer many optional shore excursions unique to this particular river cruise experience, including a helicopter ride to view Mount St. Helens, horseback riding, a spa day, as well as a chance to enjoy 9 or 18-hole golf packages along the cruise route.
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Inuagural Savings on Columbia Queen

Great American River Journeys (GARJ), a new Seattle-based cruise line, announced it will offer cash savings and free upgrades in celebration of the inaugural season of the Columbia Queen, its luxurious 161-passenger riverboat, which returns to operation on the Columbia, Snake, and Willamette rivers in April 2005.

[Pendleton Woolen Mills Indian blankets]

Guests who book their riverboat journey on one of the first 10 sailings during the Columbia Queen's 2005 inaugural season from early April to June 3, 2005, will save up to $1,000 per couple on standard rates. These guests will also receive one free upgrade when booking a category C, B or A stateroom, and, as an added bonus, will receive a custom, limited edition Pendleton Woolen Mills Indian blanket, commemorating the Columbia Queen's inaugural season.

As an added incentive for the travel agency community, Great American River Journeys will offer a 15 percent commission to agencies for any bookings on one of the first 10 sailings of the Columbia Queen. Agencies receive this commission on the entire cruise package, including shore excursions.

Great American River Journeys, a new Seattle-based cruise line, offers eight-night cruise vacations on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers aboard the luxurious 161-passenger riverboat, Columbia Queen. Built in early 20th century riverboat-style, the Columbia Queen features a unique blend of Victorian and Pacific Northwest décor, five-star dining and a diverse range of entertainment. All-included, escorted daily shore excursions to scenic and historic destinations are complemented by on-board programming from historians, naturalists and cultural interpreters. Excursions, delivered via the ship's exclusive European-style touring coaches, will include interpretive centers depicting the journey of early settlers along the Oregon Trail, native cultures and Lewis & Clark's Corp of Discovery.
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New Line Moves Ahead with Columbia Queen

Great American River Journeys (GARJ), new owners of the luxurious 161-passenger riverboat Columbia Queen, are beginning to add improvements in preparation for its Spring 2005 debut. "The Columbia Queen, originally built in 2000, is in excellent condition and we are beginning a series of planned renovations for our Inaugural season," stated Michael Lomax, President and COO at the line. Enhancements will include the conversion of stateroom deck space to private verandas, new main floor-covering and improved views in the Astoria Dining Room. In addition, GARJ will purchase and commission from regional artists works depicting the extraordinary history and cultures of the regions traveled and place them throughout the vessel's interior.

[The COLUMBIA QUEEN]

The already well-appointed riverboat will also feature an array of subtle touches that are sure to impress experienced cruise travelers. In-room continental breakfast service will be available and complimentary robes can be found in every stateroom. A Riverboat Photographer will follow the guest's activities as they explore along the cruise route, and display the day's photos for guests to enjoy. For complete relaxation, an appointment with an onboard masseuse can be scheduled at the Pursers Office. Daily "Stay Fit" exercise programs will be offered, and guests can also stay in touch by using the email center conveniently located in the Purser's Lobby.

The all included shore excursions are thoughtfully planned and well paced and offer many experiences exclusive to Columbia Queen guests. To add variety, a few carefully thought out optional excursions are also offered for those guests who may have special interests. Passengers can schedule 9-holes of golf at four separate locations along the route, and the Columbia Queen carries a number of sets of golf clubs for guest's complimentary use. Additional optional tours include a helicopter tour to the Mount St. Helens crater, as well as a casual horseback trail ride along the dramatic mud flows of the Toutle River. Those looking for a little more pampering may schedule spa treatments from the Pursers Office at a local Hot Springs Spa.

The vessel's onboard features have also been designed to offer guests the most luxurious, comfortable environment available on a riverboat while traveling with on average 150 guests. The Columbia Queen was built with a uniquely wide design, so that interior rooms are spacious and passageways are easily maneuverable. The period décor is reminiscent of early 20th Century riverboat styles, with a unique blend of Victorian and Pacific Northwest décor, using warm Mahogany wood paneling, Tiffany-designed stained glass chandeliers, brass accents and plush furnishings. Most of the 81 larger staterooms offer private verandas or double French doors with balconies, or doors that open onto the deck. Two elevators reach all passenger decks, and each stateroom has ship to shore telephones, DVD/Satellite TVs, and beautifully appointed larger baths with enclosed showers.

The luxurious Columbia Queen offers 8-night cruise vacations on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers. Cruises include a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Portland, as well as all meals and entertainment onboard and fascinating shore tours along the 1,000 mile route. Rates begin at $1,669 per person.
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Columbia Queen Riverboat Features Showboat Style Entertainment

Great American River Journeys (GARJ), the new owner of the luxurious riverboat Columbia Queen, has designed an ever changing array of nightly variety entertainment for the Columbia Queen's two showrooms. While exploring some of the Pacific Northwest's most scenic and historic attractions by day, come nightfall guests enjoy a diverse range of onboard entertainment ranging from nostalgic 50's favorites to hit Broadway musical numbers.

The elegant Victorian style Astoria Room with its Baby Grand piano and stage transforms from an elegant dinning room into a riverboat showroom where performers play many roles. On one evening, the room becomes a luxurious supper club featuring a song and dance show right out of the 1940's. Crooners and balladeers reminiscent of the days of Big Bands create a lively atmosphere as guest entertainers sparkle in elegant evening attire and croon such tunes as "Juke Box Saturday Night," "Flat-Foot Floozy" and "Moonlight Serenade."

This luxurious yet intimate riverboat has among its sixty crew members an onboard staff of professional entertainers that truly love their work. On the night of the Captain's Dinner, entertainers, in formal dress, present a variety show that evokes the feel of cabaret performances in an elegant dinner club. This program gives the entertainers an opportunity to show off some of their best material, developed over their many years on the musical stage.

The diversity of the entertainment takes another turn on the final evening of the cruise, when the Columbia Queen singers return to pay lyrical homage to the "Music of America," with standards from folk to pop, Broadway to Country, and even a bit of Gospel. The evening is completed by a fantastic grand finale when the onboard entertainers and staff and crew join in singing the choruses of Lee Greenwood's popular "God Bless the USA."

As the curtain is lowered on the performances in the Astoria Room, the lights go up in the Explorer Lounge, where guests segue into a Cabaret environment via an impromptu song fest with a 1940's "Wild West" or 50's Rock 'n Roll theme. The versatile and colorful cast of Columbia Queen performers includes a variety of talents, including an onboard lounge pianist, the in-house Columbia Queen Band, and to complete the roster, a prominent Historian, and Naturalists who provide informative onboard discussions and guide each day's excursions to bring to life the history and cultures of the regions traveled.

The luxurious Columbia Queen offers 8-night cruise vacations on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers. Cruises include a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Portland, as well as all meals and entertainment onboard and fascinating shore tours along the 1,000 mile route. Rates begin at $1,669 per person.
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Ferguson Joins Great American River Journeys

Great American River Journeys (GARJ) has announced that Robert Ferguson, previously Director of Sales at American West Steamboat Company, has joined the new Seattle-based river cruise line as its Vice President of National Sales. Michael Lomax, President and COO at American Rivers stated, "Robert brings nearly eight years of sales and travel industry experience to the company. He's a welcome addition to our growing management team as we prepare to roll out our travel agency marketing support programs. Robert previously held sales positions with Cruise West, as well as Society Expeditions and will oversee the development of agency relationships nationally."

Great American River Journeys recently acquired the 161-passenger riverboat Columbia Queen, which will begin 8-night cruise vacations along the Columbia, Willamette, and Snake Rivers beginning April 2, 2005.
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