American Cruise Lines was forced to cancel its Saturday, June 20 departure of American Song on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, citing a modification to Oregon's phased reopening plan that essentially prohibits the operation of all overnight river cruises in the state.
Surprised, Disappointed, But Understanding
A story about the cancellation appeared in The Bend Bulletin, a central Oregon newspaper, and Travel Agent asked the line for its official statement.
The America Cruise Lines' official statement said: "Over the past few months, American Cruise Lines has worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard, the FDA, Oregon Public Health, the Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs), local hospitals, and local community leadership in each of the ports we planned to visit.
"These partnerships have been integral in developing our COVID-19 Operating Protocol. Working together, we formulated a comprehensive plan for our small 100- to 180-passenger, U.S.-flagged ships to operate safely.
"Today, Oregon’s phased reopening plan was modified to exclude all overnight river cruises, even aboard ships as small as ours. COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges for community and state leaders across the country and we are very empathetic to the situation in Oregon.
"We were surprised and disappointed by the last minute changes, but understand the difficulty leaders face in that state. We hope to participate in reviving the state’s economy, and still believe we are uniquely positioned to do so.
"We will continue to do our best to support all our local partners throughout the region, and look forward to resuming small ship cruising in the Pacific Northwest in the very near future."
Currently, all the line's cruises in that Pacific Northwest region are suspended, pending any change in the Oregon phased reopening plan, although it hopes to start service soon.
Guests on that June 20 cancelled departure were offered a choice between a full refund, or alternatively, a 125 percent cruise voucher for a future cruise.
Those who selected the voucher, also received both that value-enhanced voucher and a bonus -- an invitation to sail for no charge on the line's first Mississippi River cruise, American Harmony's eight-day "Lower Missisippi River" sailing on July 12.