American Queen partners with Ochnser Health for safe return to operations

Written by Nick Blenkey
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American Queen (Image: AQSC)

The Hornblower group’s river cruise brand, American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC), is partnering with Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system, Ochsner Health, to help implement a safe return of guests and crews to its paddlewheelers when its temporary stay of operations ends.

AQSC is implementing Ochsner’s Safe to Return Employer Solutions, introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under this program, Ochsner Health will conduct assessments of the American Queen, American Duchess and American Countess and will work with AQSC on implementing disease prevention and mitigation strategies across the entire AQSC fleet. The program also provides real-time access to infectious disease experts within the Ochsner Health system should a need arise.

AQSC will be announcing details on a healthcare partner for its Pacific Northwest itineraries on board the American Empress in the coming weeks.

As part of Ochsner Safe to Return Employer Solutions, Ochsner Health will reassess the AQSC vessels on a monthly basis and provide updated recommendations as needed based on scientific data and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

As a result of the partnership with Ochsner Health recommendations, AQSC will implement the following actions:

  • Offer a Virtual Employer Clinic, powered by TytoCare, so employees and guests, if necessary, can virtually talk to a healthcare professional without disembarking.
  • Provide access to infectious disease experts within the Ochsner Health system.
  • Utilize Ochsner Health personnel to oversee the pre-boarding screening process and assessments on all itineraries embarking in New Orleans, La. AQSC will identity healthcare partners for the additional turn ports of call.
  • Engage Ochsner Health to conduct monthly assessments of the AQSC health and safety protocols and make adjustments as needed.

“We are thrilled to have this ongoing support from Ochsner Health and their expert-team of providers,” says John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company. “By partnering with Ochsner Health, we are able to provide added preventative measures to our already increased diligence in guest and crew safety.”

Along with the Ochsner partnership, AQSC unveiled new health and safety protocols being implemented across all vessels including pre-cruise screenings, crew screenings, updated boarding processes, increased sanitation measures, enhanced technologies and an onboard telehealth capability. Technology highlights include MXP Protect, which incorporates the use of thermal imaging. These new policies and practices will be implemented when AQSC resumes its operations.

Victory Cruise Lines, operated by AQSC, will implement similar health and safety protocols as the AQSC fleet when it resumes its operations on the Great Lakes and Canadian Maritimes.

To ensure the safety and comfort of both guests and crew, AQSC and Victory are staying current with guidance, mandates and public health advancements communicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United State Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), United State Coast Guard (USGC) and the municipalities each vessel visits.

Read more about the new health and safety protocols HERE

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