COVID-19 USA River Cruise Operating Protocol & Extended No Sail Order for 2020

edited July 17 in Antarctica

Happy Days are Here Again!

This week I booked the August 8, 2020 ACL 7 nights Columbia & Snake River cruise aboard the American Song.

Just 4 weeks away, this river cruise's promotion package includes pre-cruise airport hotel and Cruise with Comfort Offer (100% Cash refund if cancelled by ACL or 100% credit on a new future cruise booking if I cancel).

Prior to the cancelation of my 2020 back to back Tauck Journeys, I was considering booking this cruise in 2022. However, I requested to be placed on 2 of Tauck's 2022 Oberammergau river cruise waitlists.

In addition to my 2021 Tauck 4 back to back journeys (Black Sea, Blue Danube, Switzerland and Ultimate Alps), I am also booked on the June 25, 2021 ACL 21 nights Complete Mississippi cruise aboard the American Harmony which I booked in September 2019.

Of notable interest to others who view and comment on Tauck's Travel Forum, I was impressed and OK with the COVID-19 Operating Protocol including:

Safety Technology and Modern Ship Design: including independent HVAC systems in every stateroom and lounge and UV-C water filtration systems.

General Operating Protocols amid COVID-19: including guest capacity reduced by 25% (142 vs 190), PPE available at all times for guests and crew, and public bathrooms closed.

Certified Medical Practices: including onboard medical services, resident nurse or EMT, COVID-19 antigen testing onboard and isolation rooms created and available.

Boarding Practices and Pre-Cruise Medical Screening: denial of boarding, pre-travel COVID-19 test and pre-boarding screening.

DiningPractices: Main dining room capacity reduced for social distancing and in-room dining available.

Shoreside Operating Procedures: tour venues screened for social distancing and sanitation practices, Private coaches travel directly to and from each venue, excursion capacities reduced and additional excursion times as needed.

Crew Training and Screening: Pre-boarding screening apply to guests and crew, reduction of crew movement in public places, COVID-19 identification, response and PPE training for all crew members.

Cruse with Comfort: (see above description) 24 hours prior to sailing.

I have shared a link of the complete COVID-19 Operating Protocol provided with my confirmation with a few viewers via PM.

Tauck is my preferred travel company for land, riverboat and small ship journeys. However I do like ACL and Ponant single supplement programs, especially for cruises not offered by Tauck.

Your comments and questions are welcomed.

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Comments

  • edited July 10

    I’ve looked at ACL in the past couple of years And thought they might be good for us when we are much older and no longer able to travel confidently out of the country, but they are too expensive if there is the opportunity to travel abroad Instead. We thought we might drive down the highway for a half hour to Delaware tomorrow but have had to change plans because their Covid numbers are high.
    Derek, I admire you for wanting to travel in just one month’s time.

  • Usatoday has a piece in their travel section about European cruises with no port stops. These are small/medium sized ocean going ships vs river cruises. I guess if there is enough to do on board and it's a chance to get out of the house people are willing. If it wasn't so hot here (hitting 99 for the first time since we've lived here) I'd think of just going for a picnic just to do something different. Our church had a drive in movie this week. Was nice just to see friends.

  • British & Claudia Sails:

    Being able to arrange travel reservations in one months time was easy for me living in rural Texas and when my Tauck back to back European river cruises (2), Tauck Switzerland & Ultimata Alps land journeys (2), 4 domestic reunions in Savanah, Georgia, Fort Worth, Texas, Cimarron, New Mexico and Buffalo, New York and the International Camping Congress in China were canceled by COVID-19.

    Our recent temperatures in the Texas Hill Country during the past week have reached 109 degrees.

    During May, June and July I have had multiple extended family house guests from Arizona, Southern California and Mississippi.

    I received confirmation that as of today my August 8, 2020 sailing on the Columbia and Snake River cruise is set as scheduled.

    Included was a copy of the COVID-19 Operating Protocol along with instructions to meet a cruise representative at the airport baggage claim who will be pleased to assist me with boarding a sanitized Cruise Coach to the pre-cruise package hotel.

    Of concern is the No Sail order by the State of Oregon that supersedes the Federal order (that ships that exceed 250 passengers and crew can not cruise until after July 24th) includes ships with passenger and crew occupancy that are less than 250. According to todays news Oregon has increased cases and deaths and additional restrictions are being added.

    Based on the the ship's specifications and operating protocol, Oregon State's current opening of tourist sites and parks, and the final decision of the State of Oregon and the cruise line to approve river boat cruises as of August 7, 2020, I am comfortable with this cruise of the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

    As noted by others, this USA cruise is more expensive per passenger day than Tauck and Ponant. However, I support USA hospitality providers. Having a background in youth travel camping and compressive youth development I understand the cost and benefits of youth travel and camping in the United States.

  • Derek, I looked briefly at your itinerary and noted Astoria. We were there 2 years ago while camping and visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Very well done. I'd assume that's included in your visit. Fingers crossed your cruise goes off without a hitch.

  • Derek
    5:36PM
    Of concern is the No Sail order by the State of Oregon that supersedes the Federal order (that ships that exceed 250 passengers and crew can not cruise until after July 24th) includes ships with passenger and crew occupancy that are less than 250. According to todays news Oregon has increased cases and deaths and additional restrictions are being added.

    Based on the the ship's specifications and operating protocol, Oregon State's current opening of tourist sites and parks, and the final decision of the State of Oregon and the cruise line to approve river boat cruises as of August 7, 2020, I am comfortable with this cruise of the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

    Derek, is the boat licensed in or sail from Oregon? If not can't the boat stay on the Washington side of the river? It looks like the border between the two states is mid-river or down the deepest part of the river.

  • AlanS & Claudia Sails:
    The American Song Departs and Arrives in Portland, Oregon
    During the cruise stops at Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria, OR;
    Mount St. Helens via Port of Kalama, WA:
    Multnomah Falls, Port of Cascade Locks, OR:
    The Dalles City Dock, OR:
    Pendelton, OR via McNary Beach Recovery Area, Umatilla, OR;
    Richland, WA & Pendelton, OR via Howard Amon Dock, Richland, WA:
    Port of Clarkston, Clarkston, WA.
    Based on the above it sails from Portland, OR to Clarkston, WA on the Columbia River

  • I just read this
    In the US
    The cruise ship ban was due to expire on 24 July. This extension will last through 30 September.

    In its order, the CDC noted that 80% of cruise ships from 1 March to 10 July were affected by the virus, and nine are still grappling with outbreaks. This has led to some 3,000 cases, suspected and confirmed, as well as 34 deaths from ships in US waters.

    The Cruise Lines International Association had previously extended its voluntary suspension of operations from US ports through 15 September.

    Does this affect river cruises

  • British:
    I just got off the telephone with the cruise line representative who called and left a message last evening that my Columbia & Snake River Cruise has been cancelled based on exactly what you stated in your message this morning.

    According to the representative they do not expect to sail on the Pacific Northwest routes for the balance of this year.

    The 100% cash refund or a voucher for 125% of the cruise cost for a new booking in 2021 were the refund offers.

    Whereas I already have 3 river cruises and 2 land journeys book for 2021 I opted for the cash refund.

    If the Columbia & Snake River Cruise or something similar was available later this year I would have taken the voucher with the 25% rebooking bonus.

  • So sorry to hear that Derek, but good to hear that ACL are good to their customers

  • Bummer Derek. Fingers crossed for all of us that 2021 is so much better.

  • Too bad, Derek. That was a nice, logical try on your part. Hope 2021 brings better news.

  • I just got off the phone with Tauck trying to find something at Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. Not available until January and June 2021. Thinking now of checking with Ponant being as they appear to be sailing.

  • Derek, please be sure the ‘new’ insurance you get covers anything to do with Corona virus, especially as the US is saying not to travel On cruise ships, it’s not going to get any better anytime soon.

  • Just got back from Yosemite. We had a great week. We stay at the Evergreen which is between Hetch Hetchy and the main park at Yosemite. We did visit the Ahwahnee (where Tauck stays) for a drink, and a very pleasant time. There were many fewer people than normal in the the park, but the Evergreen was fully booked. The Evergreen Lodge is where the workers stayed when they built the Hetch Hetchy reservoir ... which took twenty years. At that time it was a ‘camp’, and part of it is still a camp with tents. They also have cabins, which is where we stay.

  • Just a ‘by the way’. I get mail from one of the companies that runs a number of the National Parks. They also own Windstar which Tauck uses for some of their small ship tours. For those itching to travel, the National Parks are up and running. Until Tauck can get going again, it will take a bit of research and planning, but there are places to go.

  • Here in PA we can’t even travel to the state next to us

  • edited July 20

    I don't want to visit either TX or AZ right now. UT is open but just too hot in most places. CO maybe. We probably all have places within our own states/localities that are worth visiting. So often we don't bother with sight seeing in our own area unless we have visitors. I'm looking at places to have a picnic - pack a lunch, faces masks, some wet wipes - go out and find some sights in my own area.

  • I'm resigned to staying home for the rest of this year. Have 4 tours booked for 2021 and praying that I'll be able to take them all. Hoping for a vaccine by early next year.

  • edited July 20

    Crossing ‘most’ state boarders is not a problem. Hawaii, Alaska, and New York are exceptions. Most other places are accessible and available. Summer temperatures may be an issue. Yosemite was in the 90’s in the daytime, but it is a dry heat ... actually quite comfortable in the shade, and it is dramatically cooler in the evening.

  • Well you can cross the NM border but if you stay here you have to quarantine for 14 days.

    And yes 90s in a dry heat with some shade is doable but not a lot of fun in a mask. It's been in the mid to high 90s in Albuquerque the last week or so and running errands wearing a mask sucks. Think I'll stay local til after Labor Day.

  • I did some light yardwork about mid-day today. The temps were in the mid-high 90's but it was not a dry heat! I felt like the Gestapo officer who melts after looking into the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade! :o

  • I did some light yardwork about mid-day today. The temps were in the mid-high 90's but it was not a dry heat! I felt like the Gestapo officer who melts after looking into the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade! :open_mouth:

    That's why I've been leaving to biking at 7:30 AM. And it is dry heat here.

  • I took my walk with a girlfriend this morning at 8am here in PA, 86 degrees and appalling humidity. I swam for half an hour at noon, ahhh lovely, the water was 90 degrees. I went for my first massage since Covid this afternoon, then hit the supermarket, it’s now 100 degrees, it’s going to be a long hot summer. Hope we don’t have a long cold winter.

  • 1:29PM
    Most new England states require a 14 day quarantine...and unfortunately...I do not see that improving in time for our September trip.

    Makes perfect sense to me. (;-). Most of New England has a higher death rate than most of the other states. I guess they don’t want the visitors to get covid from the sick residents.

  • Here’s another place we can’t escape to....
    BBC NEWS The Bahamas has announced it will ban US visitors amid recent rises in Covid-19. The Caribbean nation had begun reopening its borders at the start of July.

    Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in an address on Sunday: "Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy. It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders."

    The Ministry of Health has confirmed a total of 153 Covid-19 cases, 49 of which happened after the borders opened on 1 July.

    "Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus."

    By Wednesday, the Bahamas will prohibit all international commercial flights and vessels - with exceptions for commercial flights from the UK, Canada and the EU.

    All visitors - as well as any returning Bahamians - will be asked to show a negative Covid-19 test from an accredited laboratory upon arrival.

    Americans who are currently on the islands will still be able to leave on outgoing flights, but no new tourists from the US will be allowed in.

  • Sealord—I couldn’t let your comment go without rebuttal. I live in Northern New Jersey, and work(ed) in NYC. Our Covid infection rate, current hospitalizations and death rates are now among the best in the nation. We were hit hard in March/April and have listened to the region’s governors who have relied on the medical experts in slowly reopening stores, restaurants, salons etc. We still do not have in-restaurant service. The quarantine is to keep those from heavily affected regions (I.e. Florida, Texas, California) from bringing disease into this area. We wear our masks proudly. I’m hoping for a vaccine sooner than later. Nancy

  • edited July 21

    The death ‘rate’ in New Jersey and New York is about eight times as high per 100k people as California. We have a lot more positive tests right now but fewer deaths ... figure that one out. In our county we have a total of thirty people in the hospital. We have around three hundred thousand people in the county.

  • I am not a physician but it is my understanding that initially physicians in NYC had a huge learning curve in treating Covid-19. Covid was unlike any other virus. They were inundated with critically ill patients for whom they had no experience treating. With time and experience, treatment and survival improved. NYC is now in far better shape than other areas. We need to remember: we are all in it together. There are no walls to contain this virus.

  • Sealord, don’t gloat, you will catch up in your state, this is not over and we are still in the first wave. It doesn’t matter where you live, if our country continues to be the idiot on the planet we might as well be one big prison island, we will not be able to leave to visit anywhere else.
    Cathy, awesome!

  • So much to be learned on this virus and how to treat. Will be interesting to look back in 6 months, a year, etc and see how far we've come and what has worked against it. Just read about research on CBD and cytokine storm (inflammation of the lungs) and how it might help with the virus. Wondered today as I was using my steroid nasal spray for allegies if that might prove moderately effective. Hats off to our medical professionals working so hard to treat this scourge.

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