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One more small cruise line has shut down within the wake of pandemic struggles


One in all America’s most beloved cruise operators, American Queen Voyages, has shut down.

The U.S. river cruise specialist, recognized for working the long-lasting Mississippi River paddlewheeler American Queen, ceased operations on Tuesday, blaming ongoing monetary troubles associated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Regardless of nice efforts by our group, crew and companions, American Queen Voyages (AQV) sadly has been unable to rebound from the results of the pandemic,” the corporate stated in a press release posted on a net web page it set as much as clarify the shutdown.

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“The in a single day cruise trade was particularly affected by modifications in journey preferences and, consequently, AQV has turn into financially unsustainable,” the corporate added.

In a letter to staff on Tuesday, the road stated their positions could be terminated at 5 p.m. native time in any respect places the place the corporate operated, and the motion was anticipated to be everlasting.

All sailings on the three riverboats that the corporate had scheduled to function this 12 months — American Queen, American Countess and American Duchess — have been canceled.

Cruise traces damage by the pandemic

American Queen Voyages is simply the most recent in a string of greater than a dozen small cruise operators all over the world to close down because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The American Queen Voyages shutdown comes simply eight months after small-ship rival Vantage Deluxe World Journey collapsed, blaming pandemic-related monetary woes.

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Different cruise manufacturers which have shut down over the previous 4 years, nearly all citing the monetary results of the pandemic, embrace luxurious line Crystal Cruises and its two Asia-based sister manufacturers, Dream Cruises and Star Cruises; Japan-based Venus Cruises; India-based Jalesh Cruises; Swedish-based Birka Cruises; U.S.-based small-ship specialist Blount Small Ship Adventures; and U.Ok.-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages was the second-largest cruise model within the U.Ok. earlier than collapsing in July 2020.

Germany-based FTI Cruises and Spain-based Pullmantur Cruises additionally ceased operations throughout the pandemic. Pullmantur, which was partly owned by Royal Caribbean Group, the mum or dad firm of Royal Caribbean, was the first cruise firm to break down throughout the pandemic, simply three months after cruise ships stopped crusing in 2020.

Additionally shutting down in 2021 was Caribbean-focused Sail Windjammer, which operated a historic crusing vessel as soon as owned by the American financier E. F. Hutton and his spouse, Marjorie Merriweather Put up.

The American Queen Voyages paddlewheeler American Empress crusing on the Columbia River. AMERICAN QUEEN VOYAGES

Of all these manufacturers, just one — luxurious line Crystal — has been capable of restart operations. Crystal resumed operations in July below new house owners, the high-end journey firm A&Ok Journey Group.

All main cruise traces all over the world paused sailings for a lot of months at the beginning of the pandemic and solely slowly returned to regular operations, leading to huge quarterly losses that solely not too long ago have begun to reasonable. The manufacturers which have stayed in enterprise have been pressured to tackle large quantities of debt to outlive.

American Queen Voyages guarantees refunds

In a web based assertion, American Queen Voyages stated prospects who had paid for future cruises ought to anticipate a full refund by way of its insurance coverage firm, Argo Surety. The refunds won’t come from American Queen Voyages, because the model is submitting for Chapter 11 chapter, it stated.

The corporate directed prospects to fill out a declare type and submit proof of funds to American Queen Voyages at a brand new net web page that it had arrange for the method, aqrefunds.com. The method might be considerably convoluted, as American Queen Voyages will at first deny the declare attributable to its chapter submitting. That, in flip, will generate a denial letter that prospects can use to subsequently file a declare with the insurance coverage firm.

In a press release posted on-line, American Queen Voyages expressed gratitude “for the privilege of serving our visitors, companions and brokers, and for being a part of our unimaginable native communities” through the years.

“It has been an honor to convey pleasure to so many lives, and we’re deeply touched by the relationships we’ve got fashioned and the memorable experiences we’ve got created,” the corporate stated. “We sincerely remorse any inconvenience this choice causes. Our purpose is to make sure a clean course of for all AQV stakeholders.”

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