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American Empress resumes Pacific Northwest river cruises


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The American Queen Steamboat Company launched its first river cruise in the Pacific Northwest on Monday.

According to American Empress, the itinerary includes a trip along the Columbia and Snake rivers which connect Spokane, Wash., and Portland, Ore.

Along with being the first cruise the company has offered in the region following the pandemic, AQSC claimed this was also the first sailing with all of its passengers and crew fully vaccinated.

In mid-March, the company began sailing the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers with pre-sailing Covid-19 testing for guests. But its companywide mandate that all guests be vaccinated won’t take effect until July.

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The company implemented the vaccine requirement early since Washington state requires all river cruise passengers and crew to be vaccinated. Covid tests are also still required for sailings in the Pacific Northwest, the company said.

“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,” said AQSC president Shawn Bierdz. “We look forward to safely welcoming guests onboard the American Empress to sail through this diverse environment and discover the communities that make it such a unique travel experience.”

American Cruise Lines began sailing the Pacific Northwest in early May with the American Song and American Harmony, however, stops initially were limited to Oregon due to restrictions related to Covid-19 in Washington. In May, Washington opened its port to ships with immunized passengers and crew. In May, ACL began sailing again to both states.

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