Viking plans to launch an all-inclusive, 386-passenger river ship on the Mississippi River in August 2022. The first vessel, Viking Mississippi, will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, between New Orleans and St. Paul, Minn.
Currently under construction in Louisiana, the ship will have 193 all-outside staterooms, a clean Scandinavian design, an infinity pool and several restaurants.
Cruise fares will include one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, port charges and government taxes, 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.
“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,” Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said. “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.”
The company had planned to unveil the U.S. plans next week in New Orleans, but then made the announcement on this week since the event was canceled.
Ports of call currently on Viking’s new Mississippi River itineraries 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 Minnesota (Red Wing, St. Paul).
Viking’s past guests could book the inaugural Mississippi cruises’ 2022-23 season as of March 30; bookings will open to everyone on April 15.
The announcement comes on the heels of the mid-January reveal of the new Viking Expeditions, with a 378-guest 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 ocean cruise ships to become the largest small-ship cruise line with a current fleet of 79 river and ocean vessels around the world.
The Viking Mississippi will have all outside staterooms, ranging in size from 268 to 1,024 square feet. 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.
The Viking Mississippi will have true suites, with 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; 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 to 1,024 square feet) also receive a wraparound veranda and complimentary Silver Spirits Beverage Package.
The Viking Mississippi will have an Explorers’ Lounge near the bow of the ship similar to those found on Viking’s ocean ships. 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.
The ship also will have River Café, an indoor/outdoor dining venue on the top deck; Aquavit Terrace, a barbecue restaurant on the top deck; a Sun Terrace with an infinity plunge pool similar to Viking’s ocean ships; and a full 360-degree Promenade Deck on Deck 1.
The cruises will include performances of the region’s music and guest lecturers. On Mississippi River itineraries, guests may take a guided kayaking trip in the Louisiana bayou, visit a working farm in the Quad Cities or learn about the Cajun culture at the Rural Life Museum of Louisiana State University.
The 2022-23 inaugural voyages include an eight-day itinerary between St. Louis and St. Paul, an eight-day trip between New Orleans and Memphis, an eight-day New Orleans roundtrip, and a 15-day voyage between New Orleans and St. Paul.