Viking is expanding its growing fleet of destination-focused cruises, this time in North America, along the mighty Mississippi River in America’s Heartland. The Mississippi cruise program builds on the Viking commitment to bring more immersive options for curious travelers. “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. We invented the concept of modern river cruising when we got our start 23 years ago—first on the rivers of Russia and then in Europe. Since then, many people have come to appreciate the unique exploration that comes with river cruising—but currently there are very few options to do so on American rivers,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “The Mississippi River is closer to home for many of our guests, and no other waterway has played such an important role in America’s history, commerce and culture.”
The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, between New Orleans and St. Paul. Viking’s arrival will bring modern river cruising to the Mississippi and will represent a major commitment to tourism and economic development in many communities along the river. Currently scheduled ports of call comprise seven U.S. states: 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 Red Wing); and Minnesota (St. Paul).
This announcement is the most recent milestone as Viking continues to expand its fleet and destination-focused travel offerings. In January 2020 the company unveiled Viking Expeditions, with the first 378-guest purpose-built expedition ship, Viking Octantis, launching in January 2022 on voyages to Antarctica and then North America’s Great Lakes. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic. In the last eight years alone, Viking has introduced more than 60 new river cruise ships and six 930-passengr ocean cruise ships to become the largest small ship cruise line with a current fleet of 79 river and ocean vessels around the world.
About Viking Mississippi
Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the new state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships. The ship with a five-deck cutting-edge design, is under construction in Louisiana, and will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces reimagined for Mississippi River voyages. It will be the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region.
Highlights of the new ship include:
- All Outside Staterooms: Guests can choose from an unparalleled seven spacious stateroom categories that range 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 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.
- Viking Suites: Viking Mississippi will have some of the largest true suites on the river, with every suite featuring two rooms and a full-size veranda off the spacious sitting room. Guests in Penthouse Jr. Suites (400 sq. ft.) and Terrace Suites (425 sq. ft.) receive early stateroom access; expanded double-sink bathroom; mini-bar with alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, water and snacks replenished daily; welcome champagne; and laundry, pressing and shoe shine services. Guests in the expansive Explorer Suites (657 sq. ft. to 1,024 sq. ft) also receive a wraparound veranda and complimentary Silver Spirits Beverage Package.
- Explorers’ Lounge & The Bow: Familiar to Viking’s ocean guests as one of the most popular onboard public spaces, Viking Mississippi will also feature an Explorers’ Lounge near the bow of the ship. The sun-filled, two-story Explorers’ Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to The Bow, a unique outdoor seating area at the front of the ship where guests can relax and enjoy ever-changing riverside views.
- River Café: From American classics to Mamsen’s® Norwegian specialties, this indoor/outdoor dining venue on the top deck will offer alternative restaurant dining in a casual al fresco setting.
- Aquavit Terrace: A public space beloved by many of Viking’s ocean and river guests, Viking Mississippi will also feature a revolutionary Aquavit Terrace on the top deck, providing a casual dining space ideal for an American barbecue experience. Combined with the River Café, the Aquavit Terrace will provide the most al fresco dining on the Mississippi.
- Sun Terrace with Infinity Plunge Pool: Similar to Viking’s ocean ships, Viking Mississippi will have a glass-backed pool experience at the aft, allowing guests to take a dip while fully surrounded by their destination.
- The Living Room: Clean Scandinavian design paired with American influences, the Living Room on Deck 1 is designed for socializing, relaxing and entertainment. Nearby, the quiet corner of The Library, is a perfect place to discover a new book.
- The Restaurant: This main dining venue on Deck 1 will serve daily-changing menus featuring delicious regional cuisine and always available classics prepared with fresh, local ingredients.
- Full 360-Degree Promenade Deck: Guests can stroll the entire ship outside on Deck 1, stretching their legs while viewing scenic landscape and regional wildlife.
- Enrichment On Board and On Shore: A focus on cultural enrichment on board Viking Mississippi means that guests will enjoy Destination Performances that represent the most iconic music of the region—as well as Guest Lecturers that shed light on the region’s art, architecture, history, culture, natural world and more. And only The Viking Way® of exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Privileged Access®, Local Life and Working World experiences, opening doors to places otherwise difficult to visit. On Viking’s Mississippi River itineraries, guests may choose to take a guided kayaking trip in the Louisiana bayou; visit a working farm in Quad Cities; or immerse themselves in Cajun culture during a Privileged Access excursion to the Rural Life Museum of Louisiana State University.
- Sustainable Features: Solar panels, LED lighting, floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize natural light and an energy-efficient hybrid propulsion system will make Viking Mississippi the most environmentally friendly passenger ship on the Mississippi River.
- Viking Inclusions: The cruise fares include one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including beer and wine with lunch and dinner service, lectures, alternative dining at no extra charge, self-service launderettes, 24-hour room service and free Wi-Fi.
Viking Mississippi Inaugural Cruises
- America’s Heartland (8 days; St. Louis to St. Paul)—From pristine farms nestled in rolling terrain to steep bluff rising from tributaries dotted with wooded islands, the Upper Mississippi offers a rich tapestry of beauty upon every turn of the river. This journey introduces you to the unforgettable experience of the locks and dams that control the flow of the heartland rivers. Hear stories of settlers migrating west; learn about Lewis & Clark, Mark Twain, John Deere and the Amish and Norwegian migrations; experience the regional music like polka and Norwegian folk; and taste reginal cuisine showcasing local beer, produce and Wisconsin cheese.
- Heart of the Delta (8 days; New Orleans to Memphis)—This journey on the Lower Mississippi is infused with American history, culture and heritage. Tour the area where the migrating French and Acadians settled; immerse yourself in the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement; discover the music of the South—jazz, blues and gospel; and experience the life and food culture of the south, from Cajun and Creole to the famed “dry” Memphis BBQ.
- Southern Celebration (8 days; New Orleans–Vicksburg–New Orleans)—On this exploration of the Lower Mississippi, visit the historic homes of Louisiana and Mississippi; learn about Civil War history, touring sites like Vicksburg National Military Park; and discover the excitement and unique flavors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
- America’s Great River (15 days; New Orleans to St. Paul)—Experience nearly the entire length of the Mississippi River on this incredible journey from the Gulf of Mexico to the northernmost reaches of the U.S. Relax and enjoy the variety of scenery, foliage and wildlife on this leisurely voyage. Enjoy southern charm and beautifully preserved homes in Natchez; retrace the steps of Civil Rights leaders in Memphis; ascend the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; and visit “The Norwegian Valley” in La Crosse.
Thank you to Judi Cohen and Viking for these details, as well as additional photos to be posted and including Viking Mississippi Aquavit Terrace BBQ rendering as cover photo.
See more about Viking here https://allthingscruise.com/browse-cruise-lines/
Also see current Viking sailings here https://www.cruisecompete.com/lines/cruise_lines.html