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News / Business / Clark County Business

Second cruise ship to dock along Washougal’s waterfront

Parker’s Landing Marina to host Alaska-based UnCruise Adventures

By Doug Flanagan, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: May 4, 2023, 6:08am

The Port of Camas-Washougal is bringing a second cruise ship to east Clark County later this year.

On April 19, port commissioners approved an agreement with UnCruise Adventures, a Juneau, Alaska-based travel company, that allows the Wilderness Legacy to dock at Parker’s Landing Marina every Saturday in September and October and the first Saturday in November.

“They typically have their vessel up in Alaska and relocate down to Portland during this time of year,” Derek Jaeger, the port’s director of business development, said during the commissioners’ meeting. “But … they decided to shift their focus, and they found us, and they thought we’d be a great stop for them.”

UnCruise Adventures, founded as American Safari Cruises in 1996, operates nine ships and offers small group tours and nature-focused voyages to destinations such as Alaska, British Columbia, Mexico, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Panama, in addition to the Columbia River and Washington Coast.

The company will join American Queen Voyages, which struck a deal with the port to bring its American Empress stern-wheeler to Parker’s Landing Marina in the summer of 2022, in east Clark County.

“(The Wilderness Legacy) will use the furthest western portion of the breakwater,” Jaeger said. “There will be times when they’ll be here, as well as the American Empress, so it will be very impressive to see a 360-foot vessel and a 192-foot vessel on the opposite end.”

The Wilderness Legacy, “a replica turn-of-the-century coastal steamer equipped for expedition cruising in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest,” according to the AdventureSmith Explorations website, is 192 feet long, has 43 cabins spread among four decks, and can hold up to 88 passengers.

“The one-of-a-kind Legacy sails to the farthest reaches, spinning yarns of adventure along the way, like the crew and guests having the time of their lives,” UnCruise Adventures’ website states. “Notable features of this one-of-a-kind vessel include beautiful carved wooden cabinetry, a spacious owner’s suite, and the Sea Dragon, a portable launch platform for kayaks and paddleboards. She is ready for exploration and has the most spacious viewing decks in the fleet. Wherever she sails, she announces her arrival with the blow of a whistle.”

Camas-Washougal will replace Portland as the first and last stop on UnCruise Adventures’ seven-day “Rivers of Adventure and Wine” tour, which also includes stops at Astoria, Ore.; Cascade Locks, Ore.; Walla Walla; Palouse Falls; and The Dalles, Ore., according to Jaeger.

“They typically stop along the river and do ‘soft’ adventures — kayaking or paddleboarding or rafting or whatever happens to be within the area,” Jaeger said. “They were operating out of Portland, and they actually have a contract with people down there (that allows them to transport passengers) in buses, so there’s no parking impact (to us).”

Jaeger said the port continues to hear from travel companies that are interested in using its dock for their cruise tours.

“There’s continued growing interest from cruise ships in our area and also along the river,” he said. “Besides AQV and UnCruise, we’ve been approached by three other cruise ships during this last period of time. This (demand) will continue to grow as waterfront development continues to grow along the river, as well. It’s exciting, but it’s also presenting some challenges to work through, as well (in terms of our) facilities and staffing.”

UnCruise Adventures representatives did not respond to The Post-Record’s requests for comment.