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Another American River Cruise Ship Set To Resume Sailings

Sarah Bretz

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American Queen Steamboat Company has announced that its vessel American Empress, cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers, will resume sailings on June 14, 2021. The line’s first 2021 Pacific Northwest sailing will feature the popular Pacific Northwest Splendor itinerary from Spokane, Washington to Portland, Oregon.

american empress in richland washington

American Empress (Photo courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company)

American Queen Steamboat Company is also reporting that its 2021 season is almost sold out, including its newly-christened American Countess and boutique-style American Duchess vessels which both began sailing in March 2021.

“Following our successful March restart with the American Countess and American Duchess on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, the added capacity of the American Empress in the Pacific Northwest will help meet the unprecedented guest demand to travel again,” shares Shawn Bierdz, president, American Queen Steamboat Company.

“Our domestic, close-to-home itineraries continue to resonate with travelers, many new to cruising all together, along with seasoned ocean cruisers and our most loyal paddlewheel guests.”

SafeCruise Protocols

Following new Washington state guidelines, all American Empress sailings will require 100 percent guest and crew COVID-19 vaccinations to sail beginning June 14, ahead of the line’s fleet-wide vaccine mandate which will begin on July 1.

READ MORE: River Cruise Line Gears Up to Sail Alaska this Summer

Other elements of American Queen Steamboat Company’s SafeCruise health and safety protocols include:

  • Pre-cruise COVID-19 testing for all guests and crew
  • A mask mandate in all public areas where social distancing is not possible
  • Reduced passenger capacity
  • An upgraded onboard air filtration system
  • Increased and enhanced sanitation
american duchess the river club and terrace

The River Club & Terrace on American Duchess (Photo courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company)

With the 2021 American Empress itineraries almost sold out and limited November and December itineraries remaining, the line’s 2022 inventory has also seen an influx in bookings. To meet this demand, American Queen Steamboat Company released its 2023 season in February, marking the furthest out the line has ever offered a season.

Those who want to take a 2022 Pacific Northwest cruise aboard American Empress are encouraged to book soon.

American Empress is the third American Queen Steamboat Company vessel to begin operating this year. American Duchess was the first to resume sailings on the Mississippi River in March, followed by the newly-debuted American Countess which celebrated its inaugural season with a private christening ceremony in the same month.

READ NEXT: Is a River Cruise The Best Way to Enjoy the American Midwest?

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