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Aug. 25 update: Panama cruises resume; Princess, HAL, Seabourn cancel 2022 world cruises; AQSC Risk-Free Booking

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Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-related cruise news. This will be updated throughout the day.

Panama welcomes cruises again

Panama has repealed its executive decree of March 13, 2020, that suspended cruise calls, and Windstar Cruises' Star Breeze is set to arrive at the San Blas Islands on Thursday then Bocas del Toro on Friday. The ship will turn around Saturday at Colón.

The Aug. 28 cruise from Colón begins with a Panama Canal transit and calls at Panama City (overnight) then Isla Parida before continuing on to Costa Rica.

Princess cancels South America/Antarctica, 2022 world cruise

Princess Cruises updated the restart timing for Island Princess and Diamond Princess. As a result, the line's 2021/22 South America and Antarctica program and its 2022 world cruise are canceled, along with two December Island Princess cruises.

Island Princess will now return to service with a series of Caribbean cruises in spring 2022, prior to its 14-day Panama Canal voyage on April 27, 2022. Diamond Princess will return to service in spring 2022 with a season of Japan sailings.

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Princess Cruises' Panama Canal

Details of both new programs will be announced shortly.

Passengers on canceled cruises may move to an equivalent future sailing at the 2021/22 rate or receive a future cruise credit or a full refund. FCCs may be used for cruises sailing by Dec. 31, 2022. Travel agent commissions are protected for cruises paid in full.

Island Princess and Diamond Princess join eight MedallionClass ships — Majestic Princess, Grand Princess, Ruby Princess, Enchanted Princess, Sky Princess, Regal Princess, Caribbean Princess and Emerald Princess — which have returned to service or are scheduled to restart by Nov. 28, with destinations including Alaska, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii and the California coast.

HAL also cancels world, South America cruises

Holland America Line set a restart date of May 2022 for Volendam and Zaandam and, like Princess, canceled its 2022 world voyage and 'Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage' in 2022; they'll resume in 2023.

When Volendam returns on May 1, the ship will offer cruises of 14 to 35 days to the Baltic, Norway up to the North Cape and Spitsbergen, British Isles and Iceland, all round-trip Rotterdam. The ship also sails along the Iberian Peninsula to the Mediterranean and to Egypt and Israel.

Zaandam restarts on May 12 in Canada/New England with a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Boston, followed Boston-Montréal sailings.The ship will also operate the 35-day 'Voyage of the Vikings' in July round-trip from Boston to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, UK and Ireland.

Zuiderdam will take on the 2023 world voyage, Jan. 3 round-trip Fort Lauderdale, 128 days. Volendam will return for the 74-day 'Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage' in 2023 that also sails Jan. 3, 2023.

With Zuiderdam circumnavigating the world, Koningsdam will take over that ship’s longer, exotic itineraries in 2023, including the 25-day 'Mexican Riviera and Circle Hawaii Collectors’ Voyage' and the 35-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas itinerary round-trip San Diego.

Zaandam will assume Zuiderdam’s Panama Canal cruises in January and April 2023, as well as a 10-day Mexico and Sea of Cortez voyage.

Wtih their restarts, Volendam and Zaandam will join Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Rotterdam and Zuiderdam, which have returned to service or are slated to restart cruising by this November.

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Seabourn Sojourn will now resume service June 6, 2022, in the Western Mediterranean

Seabourn cancels 2022 world cruise

Still another 2022 world cruise cancellation: that of Seabourn Sojourn, which was scheduled to depart Jan. 11 from Los Angeles on a 145-day journey to Piraeus.

Instead, Seabourn Sojourn will not resume service in the Western Mediterranean next summer, on June 6, 2022. The ship will sail the French and Italian rivieras, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Malta and the Canary Islands.

Seabourn said its 2024 world cruise itinerary will replicate the 2022 voyage and will open for booking in October this year.

Two of Seabourn's five vessels are currently operating.

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American Queen in Owensboro, Kentucky, today

AQSC resumes testing and Risk-Free Booking program

American Queen rejoined the American Queen Steamboat Co. fleet Aug. 9 and is currently sailing the Ohio River between Louisville and Memphis with reduced capacity of 300 passengers. All guests and crew are 100% vaccinated and received a PCR test before the cruise.

The company modified SafeCruise protocols earlier this month to once again include mandatory pre-cruise COVID testing fleetwide.

Also, AQSC recently relaunched its Risk-Free Booking program to give travelers extra flexibility when booking a 2021 or early 2022 sailing. Effective with new bookings now through Oct. 31, 2021, the Risk-Free Booking allows guests who reserve an AQSC sailing through March 31, 2022, or a cruise on Victory Cruise Lines through April 1, 2022, to move to another voyage through 2022 penalty-free up to 21 days prior to the departure. 

AQSC has limited availability remaining for 2021 including holiday sailings on American Queen and American Empress.    

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