American Cruise Lines confirmed plans to relaunch sailing on June 20 in the Pacific Northwest and June 28 on the Mississippi River.
The 180-passenger American Song will operate on the Columbia and Snake rivers at 75 percent capacity to allow for social distancing. The Mississippi River cruises will be operated by the 190-guest American Harmony, also at 75 percent capacity.
American Cruise Lines is a U.S.-flagged and -crewed operation with small ships that are exempt from the CDC’s no-sail order now in effect through July 24 or until the coronavirus outbreak is no longer considered an emergency.
The company said all its ships are voluntarily sailing at 75 percent capacity; although even at capacity, they are still under the 250 passenger and crew limit for the CDC rule.
American said it is also eyeing a restart in the summer as soon as late June or July for Alaska cruises on the 175-passenger coastal ship American Constellation.
The company has detailed the many new protocols and procedures that will go into effect with the resumption of cruising. They include a touchless boarding and check-in process, hourly sanitation rounds to clean touchpoints such as railings and elevator buttons, the availability of personal protective equipment, luggage sanitation before loading on the ship and no buffets.
Pre-boarding screenings will be conducted in a medical tent with respiration, oxygen and temperature checks. COVID-19 testing will be performed as needed, and the ships will carry COVID-19 quick test kits.
Isolation rooms will be created and made available as necessary. An allotment of staterooms aboard each ship will be sanitized and kept unoccupied unless they become necessary for isolation purposes.
The line has an Outbreak Management Plan in place to respond to confirmed COVID-19 cases onboard. American also coordinates care with shoreside medical facilities and evacuation plans in place from every port of call.
American’s ships have independent HVAC air systems with no shared ductwork in cabins and lounges. “Air conditioning ducting is cited as a source of virus transmission; our ships have no shared ducting between rooms or public spaces,” the company said.
Guests will have the same housekeeper for the duration of the cruise. There will be daily sanitation of all touchpoints in staterooms, including doorknobs, light switches, sink, balcony railing and thermostat. A disposable cover will be applied to each TV remote control prior to guest boarding.
All dining tables will be used only once during each meal service. There will not be multiple seatings at any table during any meal.
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be kept behind transmission barriers and passed to guests individually.
For the complete list of American Cruise Lines’ new protocols, click here.
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