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May 27 updates: Costa/AIDA delay, Victory won't operate in 2020, new AQSC timeline

CRUISE Victory II.jpg
Victory Cruise Lines is not going to operate in 2020, citing prolonged governmental restrictions and uncertainties of future travel through Canadian waters
Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-related cruise news and announcements.

Keep checking back. This is being continuously updated.

AIDA and Costa delay through July

Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises announced a further pause in operations through July 31. The decision is linked to the uncertainty of a gradual reopening of ports to cruise ships and the travel restrictions that may still be in place.

Though places are starting to open in Europe, AIDA elaborated that in many of its frequently visited destinations, regulations for international tourism are still being adjusted and the specific conditions for a restart have not been fully clarified.

AIDA is offering a 110% future cruise credit to travelers on canceled sailings. This can be used for sailings through 2021 and applied to excursions, culinary offers and wellness treatments or for other on-board credit. Travel agent commissions are protected.

Victory suspends operations through 2020

Victory Cruise Lines, operated by American Queen Steamboat Co., canceled all planned itineraries for the remainder of the 2020 season due to prolonged governmental restrictions and uncertainties of future travel through Canadian waters.

Victory said it will focus efforts on the 2021 season, which includes the debut of newbuild expedition ship Ocean Victory in Alaska and new itineraries in the Great Lakes, Canadian Maritimes, New England and the US Southeast.

'The decision to suspend service for 2020 was a difficult and disappointing choice but necessary in response to uncertainties of Canadian travel in the coming months,' said John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Co.

In 2021, Victory will roll out new itineraries including 12- and 13-day 'Discover Beyond Alaska Expedition Cruises' on Ocean Victory between Vancouver, BC, and Sitka, Alaska. Victory I and Victory II will return with refreshed routes, including a 12-day Southeast cruise that sails roundtrip to Amelia Island, Florida. Early booking discounts up to $1,400 per stateroom are now available for 2021 cruises.

New AQSC timeline with July 6 restart

American Queen Steamboat Co. updated its 2020 season itinerary dates.

'Our recent partnership with Ochsner Health in addition to our enhanced health and safety protocols and easy access to US healthcare facilities allows us to responsibly and safely resume operations in our two key markets, the Pacific Northwest and the Lower and Upper Mississippi River,' John Waggoner said.

American Empress, which sails the Columbia and Snake rivers, will extend its suspension through July 5. Operations are expected to resume with the July 6-13 sailing from Vancouver, Washington (across the river from Portland, Oregon) to Clarkston, Washington.

American Duchess, which sails on the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, will extend its suspension through July 19, and intends to resume operations with the July 20-27 sailing from Alton (St. Louis) to Red Wing (Minneapolis).

American Countess and American Queen TBA

American Countess, the latest paddlewheeler to join the AQSC fleet on the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, and the iconic American Queen will extend their suspension through July 15. AQSC is reviewing specific restart dates and will announce both vessels’ debut itineraries in the coming weeks.


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