Portland, Oregon, being a large city with a river at its center, is a natural place for dining cruises, and this business opportunity has been seized by Portland Spirit. It is the only company that offers dining cruises in Portland, and they offer them for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Below we outline what is available, and also explain how to go about booking a dining cruise in Portland.
Portland is one of the few cities with dining cruises that aren’t operated by either Hornblower Cruises or Entertainment Cruises (or technically one of the companies owned by Entertainment Cruises, which is a conglomerate). Almost anywhere there are dining cruises, from San Francisco to New York City, one of these two entities is behind them, but not in Portland. Ironically, though, given its independence, Portland Spirit could easily be mistaken for a company operated by Entertainment Cruises, whose largest dining cruise provider is Spirit Cruises. In the cities in which it operates, Spirit offers cruises on ships that are called “Spirit of [city name].” In Portland, the ship on which most dining cruises are offered is called “Portland Spirit.” So, the dining cruises in Portland are distinguishable from those operated by Spirit Cruises because of the omission of a preposition. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this overlapping of names, even if it’s a bit bizarre given the vast universe of possible cruise ship names, but we thought it was worth mentioning to preemptively address any confusion.
Portland Spirit’s dining cruises are offered on two different ships – the Portland Spirit itself, as well as the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, which is powered by a paddle wheel. The Portland Spirit is the main dining cruise ship, which offers nightly dinner cruises for the entire year. These cruises last for two and half hours, from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM, and cost $68 for adults and $65 for children. On Monday through Saturday, lunch cruises from noon to 2:00 PM are offered, and again these are offered all year round. Adult tickets cost $40 and children’s $20. On Sundays, to fill in the yearly schedule, there are two-hour brunch cruises from noon to 2:00 PM, which cost $46 for adult and $23 for children. The Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler has similar offerings as the Portland Spirit, but it operates for only half of the year, from May through October, and the offerings start to taper off in early fall. The nightly dinner cruises are from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and cost $52 for adults and $49 for children, and their Sunday brunch cruises are from 10:00 AM to noon and cost $46 for adults and $23 for children. The Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler does not operate lunch cruises. On either ship, the brunch cruises are buffets, and the rest of the meals are plated.
If you are interested in booking one of these dining cruises, it is easy to do so online, and we recommend doing it directly through the Portland Spirit website unless you can find a better deal elsewhere. However, we looked a bit at third-party sellers, and in each case the quoted price was substantially higher than what is listed directly on the Portland Spirit site. So, no matter what, check the official price against whatever other offers you come across, and from what we have gathered booking directly through the company might be the best way to go.