Viking is set to expand its rapidly growing portfolio of destination-focused cruises with an exciting new custom-built ship and immersive program for the mighty Mississippi River.
Viking Mississippi is scheduled to debut in August 2022. It will carry up to 386 passengers in 193 all-balcony cabins and will feature voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, sailing between New Orleans and St. Paul, Minnesota.
The announcement of Viking's new ship signals the advent of modern river cruising in the United States. Viking Mississippi offers a sleek design in keeping with the Scandinavian styles and comforts seen on Viking's river vessels on the European rivers, as well as the cruise company's wildly popular 930-passenger ocean ships and the coming expedition fleet that will sail the Arctic, Antarctica and Great Lakes.
"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."
In January 2020, the company unveiled Viking Expeditions, with the first 378-passenger purpose-built expedition ship, Viking Octantis, set to launch in January 2022 on voyages to Antarctica and North America's Great Lakes. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic. In the past eight years, 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 cruisers in 193 staterooms, the state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking's award-winning river and ocean ships. Viking Mississippi will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces reimagined for Mississippi River voyages. The ship is under construction in Louisiana, and the five-deck vessel's cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region.
All Outside Staterooms
Passengers can choose from seven spacious stateroom categories that range from 268 square feet to 1,024 square feet: Veranda, French Balcony, Deluxe Veranda, Penthouse Veranda, Penthouse Junior 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 Mississippi will have some of the largest suites on the river, with every suite offering two rooms and a full-size veranda off the big sitting room. Cruisers who book Penthouse Junior Suites (400 square feet) and Terrace Suites (425 square feet) receive early stateroom access, and the rooms feature expanded double-sink bathrooms, mini-bars with alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, water and snacks replenished daily, welcome champagne and laundry, pressing and shoe-shine services.
Passengers in the expansive Explorer Suites (657 square feet to 1,024 square feet) also receive a wraparound veranda and complimentary Silver Spirits beverage package.
Frequent cruisers on Viking's ocean ships consider the Explorers' Lounge one of the top onboard public spaces. Viking Mississippi will feature an Explorers' Lounge near the bow of the ship. The sun-filled, two-story lounge offers floor-to-ceiling windows that open to The Bow, a unique outdoor seating area at the front of the ship where you can relax with ever-changing riverside views.
From American classics to Mamsen's Norwegian specialties, this indoor/outdoor dining venue on the top deck offers alternative restaurant dining in a casual al fresco setting.
A public space beloved by many of Viking's ocean and river cruisers, Viking Mississippi also features a revolutionary Aquavit Terrace on the top deck, providing a casual dining space offering an American barbecue experience.
Similar to Viking's ocean ships, Viking Mississippi will have a glass-backed pool at the aft of the ship, offering the chance to take a dip while enjoying the surrounding sights.
Clean Scandinavian design paired with American influences, the Living Room on Deck 1 is designed for socializing, relaxing and entertainment. Nearby, in a quiet corner, The Library is a perfect place to discover a new book.
The main dining venue on Deck 1 serves daily menus featuring delicious regional cuisine and always available classics prepared with fresh, local ingredients.
This refreshing outdoor area allows you to stroll the entire perimeter ship on Deck 1, a delightful way to get some exercise while viewing scenic landscapes and regional wildlife.
Viking strives to connect travelers to their destinations through authentic experiences. Viking Mississippi will feature a focus on cultural enrichment. Passengers can experience "Destination Performances" that represent the most iconic music of the region -- as well as guest lecturers that reveal the region's art, architecture, history, culture, natural world and more.
For examples, on Viking's Mississippi River cruises, passengers may also 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.
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 cruise ship on the Mississippi River.
Cruise fares include one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals and all port charges and government taxes. You also enjoy many complimentary amenities, 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.
America's Heartland (8 days; St. Louis to St. Paul) -- From pretty farms situated in the rolling terrain to tributaries dotted with wooded islands, the Upper Mississippi offers natural beauty around every bend. This journey introduces you to the locks and dams that control the flow of the heartland rivers. Hear stories of settlers migrating west; learn about Lewis and 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) -- 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 Memphis barbecue.
Southern Celebration (8 days; roundtrip New Orleans to Vicksburg) -- 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 epic 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 leisurely voyage. Experience 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.
"The Mississippi River is closer to home for many of our guests, and no other waterway has played such an important role in Americaâs history, commerce and culture," Hagen says.
We're extremely excited to try out this ship. What Mississippi River cruise itinerary would you choose? I think the longer the better.
Thanks for reading,