Viking announced that it will further expand its fleet with the launch of new Mississippi River cruises, honoring a commitment Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen made to loyal past guests to launch the Mississippi product by early April.
The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail voyages 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 commitment to tourism and economic development in many communities along the river. Currently scheduled ports of call on Viking’s new Mississippi River Cruises 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).
Inaugural sailings of Viking Mississippi’s 2022-2023 season are now available to Viking past guests only. Bookings will open to the general public on April 15, 2020.
“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,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “Our guests are curious travelers, and they continue to tell us that the Mississippi is the river they most want to sail with us. 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.”
In the last eight years alone, Viking has introduced more than 60 new river cruise ships and six ocean cruise ships to become the largest small ship cruise line with a current fleet of 79 river and ocean vessels around the world.
Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the new state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s river and ocean ships and will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that are familiar to guests but that have been reimagined for Mississippi River voyages.
Highlights of the new ship include:
All Outside Staterooms: Guests can choose from seven stateroom categories that range from 268 square feet to 1,024 square feet: 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: Every suite on Viking Mississippi will feature two rooms and a full-size veranda off the sitting room. Guests in Penthouse Jr. Suites (400 square feet) and Terrace Suites (425 square feet) 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 Explorer Suites (657 square feet to 1,024 square feet) 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 two-story Explorers’ Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to The Bow, an outdoor seating area at the front of the ship.
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: Viking Mississippi will also feature an Aquavit Terrace on the top deck, providing a casual dining space ideal for an American barbecue experience.
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 regional cuisine and always available classics prepared with 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 music of the region, as well as Guest Lecturers that shed light on the region’s art, architecture, history, culture, the natural world and more. 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 an 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 an environmentally friendly ship on the Mississippi River.
Viking Inclusive Value: Every Mississippi River cruise fare includes everything guests need, with no surprises or hidden fees. 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.
2022-2023 Viking Mississippi Inaugural Voyages
- America’s Heartland (8 days; St. Louis to St. Paul)—This journey introduces you to the 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 regional cuisine showcasing local beer, produce and Wisconsin cheese.
- Heart of the Delta (8 days; New Orleans to Memphis)—Tour the area where 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 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 United States. Relax and enjoy the variety of scenery, foliage and wildlife on this voyage. Enjoy southern charm and 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.
This article was originally posted on River Cruise Advisor.