(3 p.m. EST) -- Kingston, Ontario-based St. Lawrence Cruise Lines confirmed Tuesday it will operate its 2021 river cruise season as planned this year, catering to Canadian residents aboard the 32-cabin Canadian Empress.The ship may be the only one option for Canadian cruise lovers in 2021, after Transport Canada's recent ruling banning cruise ships over 100 passengers from operating in Canadian waters through February 28, 2022. Canadian Empress carries fewer than 100 passengers and crew."We are excited to offer travellers a small ship option for the 2021 season," said St. Lawrence Cruise Lines President Jason Clark. "Our overnight cruises stay close to shore in Canadian waters and our COVID-19 Health and Safety program has been recognized for its high standards."Canadian Empress operates voyages from four to seven nights in duration along the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers between May and October, with the 2021 season taking place between May 20 and October 24, 2021. Departure ports include Kingston, Ontario; Quebec City, and the Canadian capital of Ottawa.The company's COVID-19 protocols call for reduced passenger capacity, mask usage and physical distancing onboard, and hospital-grade electrostatic disinfectant for staterooms and public areas. St. Lawrence Cruise Lines notes it was awarded the Safe Travel Stamp in December by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) for adherence to global health standards.Itineraries aboard Canadian Empress are now available for booking for Canadian residents looking for a small-ship getaway this year.
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