Viking Cruises is to introduce Mississippi cruises from August 2022, with the longest itineraries connecting New Orleans with St Paul. Sailing on a custom-built vessel, the Viking Mississippi, the voyages will cross through seven US states.
Ports of call will include Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St Francisville); Mississippi (Natchez and Vicksburg); Tennessee (Memphis); Missouri (Hannibal, St Louis); Iowa (Burlington, Dubuque and Davenport); Wisconsin (La Crosse); and Minnesota (Red Wing, St Paul). Voyages for the inaugural 2022-2023 season are already on sale for Viking’s past guests and bookings will open to the general public on April 15.
Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said: “At a time where many of us are at home, looking for inspiration to travel in the future, I am pleased to introduce a new, modern way to explore this great river. Our guests are curious travellers, and they continue to tell us that the Mississippi is the river they most want to sail with us. No other waterway has played such an important role in America’s history, commerce and culture.”
This new river cruise destination for Viking follows on from the company’s announcement earlier this year that it was launching its first expedition ships, Viking Octantis in January 2022 and Viking Polaris in August 2022. In the last eight years, Viking has introduced more than 60 new river cruise ships and six ocean ships.
Viking Mississippi will accommodate 386 guests in 193 staterooms, all outside facing. Currently under construction in Louisiana, the line claims the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region. Regular guests will recognise the clean Scandinavian design, reimagined for Mississippi river voyages.
There will be seven stateroom categories ranging from 268 sq. ft to 1,024 sq. ft: Veranda, French Balcony, Deluxe Veranda, Penthouse Veranda, Penthouse Jr. Suite, Terrace Suite and Explorer Suite. All staterooms will feature a private veranda or French balcony, king-size bed with luxury linens, large flat-screen interactive TV, mini-bar, large glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and 24-hour room service. Suites will have a separate sitting room and other perks including alcoholic drinks and an expanded double-sink bathroom.
In addition to the main dining room there will be two al fresco options, a River Cafe and the Aquavit Terrace, providing a space for the classic American barbecue experience. There will also be a two-story Explorers’ Lounge and a 360-degree promenade deck, plus a sun terrace with infinity pool. Solar panels, LED lighting and an energy-efficient hybrid propulsion system will boost the ship’s environmental credentials.
Excursion options will include a guided kayaking trip in the Louisiana bayou; a working farm in Quad Cities; and a Privileged Access excursion to the Rural Life Museum of Louisiana State University to learn about Cajan culture. It will take 15 days to sail between New Orleans and St Paul. Three shorter eight-day itineraries will connect St Louis with St Paul, New Orleans with Memphis, and New Orleans to Vicksburg and back again.