The Hornblower Group’s American Queen Steamboat Company reports that passengers boarded the American Empress in Spokane, Wash., yesterday, and embarked this morning on the first overnight river cruise with 100% COVID-19 vaccinated guests and crew in the United States.
Sailing to Portland, Ore,. ports of call include Clarkston, Wash. (Spokane); Richland, Wash. (Tri-Cities); The Dalles, Ore.; Stevenson, Wash.; Astoria, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash., the cruise also marks a return to cruising on the Columbia and Snake rivers for American Queen Steamboat Company, which is almost sold out for the 2021 season.
“Today is an important milestone for both American Queen Steamboat Company and Pacific Northwest tourism as we restart operations in the region and cruisers can once again relish the majestic beauty of the Columbia and Snake rivers,” says Shawn Bierdz, president of American Queen Steamboat Company.
American Queen Steamboat Company was the first U.S.-based cruise company to announce a 100% vaccination policy for guests and crew in February. It will go into effect fleetwide, including Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland river departures, after July 1, 2021.
To adhere to the 100% vaccination policy, all guests 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.
Health and safety protocols on the American Empress including pre-cruise COVID-19 testing of all guests and crew; however, masks are no longer required onboard for guests after embarkation.
Adhering to the current CDC federal transportation mandate which includes buses, guests must continue wearing face masks on shore excursion motorcoaches.
Additionally, American Queen Steamboat Company says that it continues to work with its health advisors and under the discretion of the CDC on evolving guidelines to protect guests, crew and the communities its vessels visit.