Calling the decision disappointing but necessary, American Queen Steamboat Co. (AQSC) has extended cruise suspensions into August.

Restart dates have been a moving target for overnight passenger vessel operators grappling with local, state and federal directives. New restrictions in Oregon recently forced American Cruise Lines (ACL) to postpone resumption of cruises on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

“We have continued to monitor the climate surrounding COVID-19, we feel that extending our relaunch date is the most responsible way to uphold our commitment to the safety of each individual who steps on board one of our paddlewheelers and to the communities we visit,” said John Waggoner, AQSC founder and CEO.

In earlier announcements, the New Albany, Ind., company said it was adjusting restart dates “in an abundance of caution due to local regulatory compliance and ongoing governmental restrictions across ports, cities and public institutions.”

Operations on the American Empress, which sails the Columbia and Snake Rivers, have been suspended through Aug. 2 and on the American Duchess, which sails the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, through Aug. 16.

Cruises on the American Countess, the newest paddlewheeler in the fleet on the inland rivers, and on the American Queen are suspended through Aug. 8.

Victory Cruise Lines, operated by AQSC, has canceled all trips for the rest of the 2020 season “due to prolonged governmental restrictions and uncertainties of future travel through Canadian waters.”



Dale DuPont has been a correspondent for WorkBoat since 1998. She has worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Texas, Maryland, and most recently as a business writer and editor at The Miami Herald, covering the cruise, marine and other industries. She and her husband once owned a weekly newspaper in Cooperstown, N.Y., across the alley from the Baseball Hall of Fame. A South Florida resident, she enjoys sailing on Biscayne Bay, except in hurricane season.