Cruising on U.S. waterways is officially back.
American Cruise Line's 100-passenger Independence departed March 13 from Amelia Island/Jacksonville, Fla., for an eight-day cruise of the coastal waters in the Southeast.
The first cruise aboard Independence is underway and scheduled to arrive in Charleston on Friday. The second "Historic South & Golden Isles" cruise will depart from Charleston Saturday March 20th, and conclude in Florida.
Also, on Monday, March 15, American Queen Steamboat Company's first cruise on the American Duchess is scheduled to depart New Orleans for Memphis. And its American Countess is scheduled to start sailing March 28, from Memphis to New Orleans.
These companies can operate during the pandemic because ships that carry fewer than 250 people don't fall under the no-sail order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Even so, both companies are sailing at reduced capacity, so passengers can distance themselves in public areas. Both companies also are requiring proof of negative COVID-19 tests and have significant health and safety protocols.
American Cruise Lines' new ship to sail is the new American Jazz, which will depart on March 21 from New Orleans for Memphis.
The company plans to restart other ships in U.S. regions through April, May, and the summer. The company will cruise in Alaska and New England this summer while the big-ship lines are unable to due to the Canada's ban on cruising in its waters and the foreign port required for their non-U.S. flagged ships.
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