American Empress launches first sailing in Northwest
NEW ALBANY, – American Queen Steamboat Company, part of the Hornblower Group, has announced the American Empress has embarked on the first sailing of the 2021 Pacific Northwest season.
This sailing is the first overnight river cruise with 100% COVID-19 vaccinated guests and crew in the United States. It 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. Sailing from Portland, Ore. (Vancouver, Wash.) to Spokane, Wash. (Clarkston, Wash.) or reverse, the popular Pacific Northwest Splendor itinerary showcases the lush natural beauty and historic sites of the region.
“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,” shares Shawn Bierdz, president of American Queen Steamboat Company. “We look forward to safely welcoming guests on board the American Empress to sail through this diverse environment and discover the communities that make it such a unique travel experience.”
American Queen Steamboat Company was the first U.S.-based cruise company to announce a 100% vaccination policy for guests and crew in February, which will go into effect fleetwide, including Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland river departures, after July 1, 2021. The U.S.-flagged American Queen Steamboat Company resumed cruises with the newly christened American Countess and boutique-style American Duchess in March 2021.
To adhere to our 100% vaccination policy, 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.
SafeCruise health and safety protocols continue 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 continues to work with leading health advisors, including a partnership with VIKAND Medical Solutions, and under the discretion of the CDC on evolving guidelines to protect guests, crew and the communities the vessels visit. For additional questions, please visit the American Queen Steamboat Company website for ongoing health and safety protocols.
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American Queen Steamboat Company
American Queen Steamboat Company is the operator of the U.S.-flagged American Queen, the largest, most opulent riverboat in the world. Longer than a football field, towering six decks in height and laced with fanciful gingerbread trim, she is a marvel of modern engineering. Her journeys through the heartland offer a unique perspective on America’s history, culture and landscape with convenient departures from some of America’s most iconic river port cities, including Memphis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Minneapolis. In April 2014, American Queen Steamboat Company began serving the Pacific Northwest with the opulence and grandeur of the American Empress ,and added the American Duchess to the Mississippi River in August 2017. The newest and fourth boat to join the American Queen Steamboat Company fleet is the American Countess, which made its debut in March 2021 and sails the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers.
Victory Cruise Lines
New Albany-based Victory Cruise Lines operates Victory and Victory II™ identical 202-passenger ships, and the upcoming newly built 200-passenger vessels, the Ocean Victory and Ocean Discoverer™. Victory Cruise Lines operates all-inclusive cruises to Canada, the Great Lakes, New England and Eastern Seaboard, with upcoming itineraries to Alaska on the Ocean Victory in 2022 and the Ocean Discoverer in 2023. For more information about Victory Cruise Lines, contact a travel agent or visit www.victorycruiselines.com.
About Hornblower Group
Hornblower Group is the world’s leading provider of water-based experiences with headquarters in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and London. The group’s expansive portfolio reflects almost a century of sector expertise and innovation, which over time has continually redefined the marine hospitality industry, establishing a portfolio of distinctive award-winning brands across multiple categories including Hornblower Cruises & Events (Dining & Sightseeing), American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruises Lines (Overnight) and NYC Ferry, HMS Ferries and Seaward Marine Services (Transportation). Hornblower also operates the official ferry boat service to Alcatraz Island, the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Memorial Museum on behalf of the National Park Service as well as Hornblower Niagara Cruises on behalf of the Niagara Parks Commission. For more information visit www.hornblower.com.
American Empress at full steam