American Queen Steamboat Co., New Albany, Ind., part of the Hornblower Group, has announced that guests will no longer be required to wear masks on board or receive pre-cruise testing and can once again enjoy unrestricted hop-on-hop-off shore excursions beginning with all Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland river sailings embarking after today.
This policy update is a result of the cruise line’s vaccination requirement for both guests and crew, first announced in February 2021, making American Queen the first and only fully vaccinated U.S. river cruise line. To celebrate this significant milestone, the company is rolling out the FREEDOM sale, a bonus savings of up to $2,000 on select 2022 bookings made by Aug. 31, 2021.
“I want to thank our tireless crew, loyal guests, valued travel advisors and supportive port partners for their efforts as we have navigated this unique time in travel together,” Shawn Bierdz, president, American Queen Steamboat Co., said in a prepared statement. “Thanks to their unwavering commitment, we have been able to evolve our policies to further deliver an authentic river cruise experience without confusing restrictions.”
The brand-new American Countess and boutique riverboat American Duchess began sailing in March under SafeCruise protocols, calling on ports including New Orleans, Memphis, Louisville, Ky. and Pittsburgh. The American Empress, sailing the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia and Snake rivers, welcomed her first guests as the first 100% vaccinated U.S. riverboat on June 14. American Empress guests will continue to participate in a PCR test at the pre-cruise hotel per Washington state guidelines.
“As we re-introduce our hop-on-hop-off tours, it is exciting for guests to once again take in the cafés of Natchez, visit the antique shops of Cape Girardeau and stroll the Cincinnati waterfront ‘bubble-free’,” said Kari Tarnowski, senior vice president of marketing, American Queen Steamboat Co.
In order to adhere to the 100% vaccination policy onboard, all guests must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination by uploading an image of their vaccination card prior to the pre-cruise hotel check-in. Guests who fail to provide proof will be denied boarding and subject to full cancellation penalties.
Masks are no longer required onboard after embarkation, but a face covering must be worn during boarding and on shore excursion motorcoaches per CDC transportation guidelines.
The SafeCruise health and safety procedures will continue throughout the entire cruise experience, and feature pre-boarding, boarding and onboard processes to enhance health and safety. Guidance may change at any time without notice based on local regulations.