American Empress Restarts Columbia and Snake River Cruises

On Monday, American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC)restarted cruising in the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia and Snake RiversAmerican Empress set sail on it first cruise in the 2021 season between Portland, OR (Vancouver, WA) and Spokane (Clarkston), WA.

It's the first overnight river cruise within the U.S. that has a requirement for 100 percent of guests and crew to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The line said in a press release that it's "nearly sold out for the 2021 season." American Queen Steamboat Company announced its 100 percent vaccination policy for guests and crew in February. That policy will go into effect fleet-wide for Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland river departures, starting July 1, 2021.

In March 2021, the U.S.-flagged cruise line resumed cruises on the Mississippi River with the newly christened American Countess and boutique-style American Duchess.

AQSC's policy is that all guests onboard American Empress must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination at check-in by providing a valid vaccination card or an image of a valid vaccination card. Guests who fail to provide proof of vaccination at check-in will be denied boarding and subject to full cancellation penalties.

The line has initiated "SafeCruise" health and safety protocols for American Empress. Those include pre-cruise COVID-19 testing of all guests and crew (even though all are vaccinated); however, masks are no longer required for guests after embarkation. Note: Adhering to the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) federal transportation mandate, which includes buses, guests must continue wearing face masks on shore excursion motorcoaches. 

Additionally, AQSC is working with its health advisors, including those at VIKAND Medical Solutions, and under the discretion of the CDC on evolving guidelines to protect guests, crew and the communities the vessels visit along the voyage route.

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