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American Cruise Lines has six vessels sailing in eight states

The aft lounge with skylight on one of American's modern-style riverboats
American Cruise Lines said six of its 13 vessels are now operating in eight states around the country.

Three are on the Mississippi River and three on the East Coast. American expects to have its full fleet running in all US regions by late spring, with Alaska cruises to start in June.

American said it became the first US  cruise line to resume operations when Independence sailed from Florida on March 13. Days later, American began cruises on the Mississippi.

In the Pacific Northwest, the line has been working closely with Oregon and Washington to resume sailing in early May, and a spokeswoman said plans are progressing well.

First Pacific Northwest Cruise scheduled for May 2

'Our crew is arriving now to begin their quarantines aboard our ships throughout the region and the first cruise is currently set to depart May 2 aboard modern riverboat American Song,' she told Seatrade Cruise News.

This year, the line will have five small coastal ships plying the East and West coasts, including Alaska, four riverboats on the Columbia and Snake rivers and four riverboats on the Mississippi.

Two of of the Mississippi vessels are brand new: American Melody and American Jazz. Both are modern-style vessels, not paddlewheelers.

Demand at record levels

'We are proud to have been the first line back on the water in the US. As the only cruise line visiting 30 states, we have taken great care to resume cruises safely in each region by working closely with state and local partners,' said Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO. 'The popularity of small ship domestic cruising was stronger than ever before the pandemic and 2021 demand is already at new record levels.'

COVID-19 testing and protocols

Health safety practices include pre-embarkation COVID-19 testing, medical staff on all cruises and mask-wearing. According to the line's posted protocols, requirements may vary by region and travel date but at minimum mandate a negative COVID test.

Fully vaccinated passengers are not required to obtain a COVID-19 test prior to traveling to their vessel. Those who are not fully vaccinated must take a molecular test within four days of the start of their cruise package.

On arrival to the ship, or pre-cruise hotel, if applicable, everyone will undergo a brief health evaluation and an antigen test.

All of American's small vessels offer more than 350 square feet per passenger, but the line said it is voluntarily limiting occupancy to further increase space.

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