American Queen Steamboat Company's American Empress
American Queen Steamboat Company's American Empress kicked off its Pacific Northwest season on June 14 roundtrip from Portland -- with its entire roster of passengers and crew fully vaccinated.
The sailings mark the first overnight river cruises with 100 percent COVID-19-vaccinated guests and crew in the U.S., American Queen Steamboat Company said.
Passengers boarded the vessel in Spokane, Wash., the previous day. The itinerary is scheduled to call at Richland, Wash.; The Dalles, Ore.; Stevenson, Wash.; Astoria, Ore.; and Vancouver.
"Today is an important milestone for both American Queen Steamboat Company and Pacific Northwest tourism as we restart operations in the region and cruisers can once again relish the majestic beauty of the Columbia and Snake rivers," said Shawn Bierdz, president of American Queen Steamboat Company.
"We look forward to safely welcoming guests on board the American Empress to sail through this diverse environment and discover the communities that make it such a unique travel experience."
In February, American Queen Steamboat Company unveiled a policy requiring all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated before sailing.
The policy takes effect fleetwide on July 1, 2021.
The new American Countess, which was christened in New Orleans, and its sister ship, American Duchess, began sailing in March 2021.
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