A disagreement between the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has led to the cancellation of the U.S. Coast Guard (CCG) annual meeting scheduled for Sunday the 21st. March, scheduled departure of the new paddle steamer American Countess on the line.
In a company statement, AQSC indicated that the cancellation was due to CDC’s review of our Coast Guard verification certificate and the date that certificate was issued.
The CDC’s conditional sailing ban, issued on 30. October 2020, prohibits the operation of cruise ships with more than 250 people, including crew. The American Countess can carry up to 245 passengers and 110 crew, which would put her over the CDC limit. But the government says he intended to run the ship at reduced power and that the CDC had been informed.
READ MORE: CDC double standard: Why one cruise industry?
Let’s get one thing straight: We have a valid U.S. Coast Guard inspection certificate that allows us to carry up to 249 passengers and crew, AQSC said. We have been transparent with the CDC about our plans to run the American Countess at a lower capacity.
It’s a setback for the steamship shipping company, which on Monday launched its first trip in more than a year with the first of two cruises aboard the American Duchess on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Memphis. This ship accommodates only 166 passengers and up to 70 crew members, so it can fit into the CDC order even without reducing capacity.
While we are disappointed in the CDC’s actions, we are hopeful that this latest challenge will be short-lived. We are working diligently with the CDC to begin our first season aboard the beautiful American Countess and to create another great experience for our guests.
The cancellation of the American Countess’ cruise is a major disappointment for the AQSC, as the ship was scheduled to dock in New Orleans on Sunday before departing for a temporary cruise to Memphis. The company says there will be another elaborate naming ceremony.
READ MORE: It is time for cruise lines to be transparent.
The first regular sailing of the new ship is scheduled for Sunday 28. The AQSC hopes that an agreement will be reached with the CDC in time for this to take place.
A small coastal and river cruise resumes in the United States after a one-year hiatus. American Cruise Lines launched its first voyage since the start of the pandemic last weekend when the 100-passenger coastal cruiser Independence left Jacksonville and Amelia Island, Florida, for Charleston, South Carolina.
American Cruise Lines has a fleet of 13 ships, including modern riverboats, authentic paddle steamers and coasters. They are all under the CDC standard of 250 passengers and crew. With its new state-of-the-art riverboat, the American Jazz, the company is ready to take on the Mississippi River. The first swim is scheduled for Sunday 21. March, scheduled.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on the CDC to communicate the next steps the major cruise lines will need to take to test and recertify ships before the industry gradually gets back on its feet.
When the conditional order to navigate was issued on 30. With October coming up, cruise lines initially thought they would be able to conduct sea trials before the end of the year. But nearly five months later, they are still waiting for guidance from the National Institutes of Health on the logistics of the process.
The American Queen Steamboat Company and its sister company, Victory Cruises, announced in February that all passengers, crew and non-employees will be able to use this new service starting January 1. The new service, due to start in July 2021, will require proof of full immunisation protection to go to sea.
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