American Cruise Lines (ACL) has restarted cruising in the United States, with the 100-passenger Independence departing Amelia Island, Fla., March 13 on an eight-day cruise concluding in Charleston, S.C. That ship will take on new passengers and depart Charleston the same day, bound for Amelia Island. The Independence and the American Star will both cruise ACL’s “Historic South & Golden Isles” itinerary through April.
ACL has also restarted cruising on the Mississippi River, with the 190-passenger American Jazz departing New Orleans on its maiden voyage March 21. The American Jazz will follow ACL’s “Lower Mississippi River” itinerary and wind up in Memphis, a route the Jazz will continue for the entire season.
“All of our domestic cruise regions and 13 small cruise ships will follow these first sailings, continuing through the remainder of March, April and May,” said Alexa Paolella, ACL public relations manager. “By summer, all 13 ships will be in operation across the country in regions where we normally cruise, depending on the season.”
American Cruise Lines’ 13 ships accommodate between 100 and 190 passengers and travel to more than 30 states along 35 itineraries. ACL’s ships fall into three main categories: its modern riverboat line, its coastal ships and the company’s paddlewheelers. All 13 of its vessels are built at the company’s own shipyard, Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Md. Chesapeake Shipbuilding completed the Jazz, one of ACL’s modern riverboats, last year, but the vessel’s maiden cruise was delayed due to COVID-19.
The Jazz is the third in the modern riverboat series, following the American Song in 2018 and the American Harmony in 2019. The American Melody, the fourth in the series, will debut this summer. A fifth in the series is due out next year.
ACL is following all CDC guidelines and enhanced COVID-19 protocols as it restarts cruising. All guests and crew members must test negative for COVID-19 prior to boarding the vessel, and mask wearing is required while on board. Each vessel will carry a certified medical officer, and passengers should expect daily health checks and the possibility of additional COVID-19 testing as needed.
“Guests are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine prior to travel,” according to ACL’s COVID-19 operating protocol web page. “Guests with a vaccine must comply with all the requirements of the American Cruise Lines Operating Protocol, including for testing and mask-wearing.”
For more information regarding COVID-19 safety measures, visit www.americancruiselines.com and click the “Your Trip” tab.
Caption for photo: The American Jazz was originally planned to debut in 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.