Our program featured Easton Rotarian Jim Palmeri who shared how the American Queen Steamboat Company has learned to cruise safely in a COVID world. AQSC offers cruises on the Mississippi River; the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers; and the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The CDC shut down all of their operations on March 16, 2020. The company had to re-invent cruising in a safe and sanitary environment.
Legal guidelines limit operating capacities to less than 250 people including the crew. Masks are mandatory in all venues and all public space capacities are designed to accommodate required physical distancing. Starting July 1, 2021 only vaccinated people will be allowed as passengers. All passengers will stay at a hotel the night before the cruise. They will all be tested and receive their results the next day. Passengers who test positive will be sent home at no charge and with a full refund. Luggage will be disinfected before boarding and before being removed from the vessel.
There will be contactless gangway temperature screening of all guests and crew. The sanitation of the gangway will occur every half hour. Twice daily anti-viral electrostatic fogging will occur in all public and crew spaces. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed strategically throughout the ship. Buffets will feature individual servings that will be served by the staff. Room service menus have been expanded to accommodate guest who do not wish to dine in a public space. UV-C light has been added to all main air handlers, and all rooms have their own HVAC systems. AQSC appears to be in great shape to reopen and continue to provide their customers with an award-winning experience.