Viking (www.viking.com) announces that new 2024 sailings of its Mississippi River cruises are now on sale.
The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul. Viking’s first river cruises in the U.S. had been highly anticipated when they were officially announced in April 2020, and several sailings have already sold out through the 2023 sailing season. This strong demand has led Viking to open 2024 sailing dates sooner than originally expected.
Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking said :
“We are pleased with the continued response and support we have received from loyal guests and valued partners ahead of our new Mississippi River sailings. As we begin to restart ocean operations this spring, we also look forward to a new chapter in 2022 when we begin sailing our first U.S. river voyages.”
Viking’s arrival to the Mississippi will represent a major commitment to tourism and economic development in many communities along the river, with the new cruises expected to bring more than 5,800 guests to the region in 2022 and 17,600+ during the first full sailing season in 2023. 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 Minnesota (Red Wing, St. Paul).
2022-2024 Viking Mississippi Voyages
• 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. Pricing starts from £9,995 per person including return flights from select UK airports.
• 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 regional cuisine showcasing local beer, produce and Wisconsin cheese. Pricing starts from £3,995 per person including return flights from select UK airports.
• 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. Pricing starts at £3,595 per person including return flights from select UK airports.
• New Orleans & Southern Charm (8 days; New Orleans to New Orleans)—On this exploration of the Lower Mississippi, walk the historic estates and learn about Civil War history at notable sites. The roundtrip journey from New Orleans will allow guests to sample Cajun and Creole cuisine while taking in the sights and sounds of the French-influenced ports including Baton Rouge, Darrow and more in Louisiana and Mississippi. Pricing starts at £3,495 per person including return flights from select UK airports.
• Mississippi Holiday Season (8 days; Memphis to New Orleans) – In December 2022, guests will discover the Lower Mississippi during a special holiday voyage. The eight-day journey will include exclusive Privileged Access to Graceland, decorated for the season; Cajun cuisine and shopping excursions; a visit to marvel the light displays and decorated historic homes in Natchez and Baton Rouge. Onboard festivities will include special celebratory regional dining and treats for the holidays. Multiple sailing dates available in December 2022 and pricing starts at £4,290 per person including return flights from select UK airports.
Pre- and post-cruise extensions
More days means more to discover, and with Viking’s wide variety of extension packages guests can enjoy additional days to explore their embarkation or disembarkation city, or see a completely new location with a choice of exciting destinations.
• The Best of the Big Easy (2 nights; New Orleans,LA) – Take some extra time to appreciate New Orleans’s inimitable character, expressed through multicultural traditions, delicious Creole and Cajun cuisine, and legendary music. Travellers will have the opportunity to explore the Uptown historic district including the campuses of Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans, and famous landmarks including theSuperdome, National WWII Museum and the renownedFrench Quarter.
• Memphis Rock & Soul (2 nights; Memphis, TN) – Celebrate the soul of Memphis with a visit to Sun Studio and the Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum and explore the sights and sounds of lively Beale Street. Guests can visit Graceland, the final home of Elvis Presley and tour the Presley Motors Automobile Museum, featuring Elvis’s famed pink Cadillac.
• Best of the Bayou: Acadian Lafayette (2 nights; Lafayette, LA) – Travel to the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country and its unofficial capital, Lafayette, where Acadians, descendants of French settlers, found their cultural home and become mesemrised by the bayou’s ethereal beauty. Guests will have the opportunity to visit Avery Island, where five generations of the McIlhenny family has made the world-famous Tabasco sauce, explore the Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park and discover the Atchafalaya Basin on a swamp boat tour.
• Cultural Capitals- Minneapolis & St. Paul (2 nights; St Paul, MN) – Take more time to gain a full picture of Minnesota’s favorite twins, from Minneapolis’s skyscraping downtown and superb art scene to St. Paul’s leafy grace. Travellers will visitthe Cathedral of St. Paul, modelled after Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, explore the Victorian mansions and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthplace along Summit Avenue, and learn about the layered histories of the Native American, European and African peoples who settled at Fort Snelling.
• The Spirit of St Louis (2 nights; St Louis, MO) – Feel the welcoming spirit of St. Louis, the “Gateway to the West” for thousands of 19th-century pioneers and explore the famed city’s lush green parks, fine museums and musical riches.Guests can choose to witness the dazzling display of mosaics at the Old Cathedral (officially, Basilica of St. Louis, King of France) the oldest church west of the Mississippi, tourthe historic Old Courthouse, or ride a tram to the top of the Gateway Arch.
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 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. Purpose-built for the Mississippi and currently under construction in Louisiana, the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the 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 options 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 socialising, 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: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking creating The Thinking Person’s Cruise®. 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.
• 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 almost every 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’s announcement is the most recent milestone as Viking continues to expand its destination-focused travel offerings. The company recently took delivery of its newest ocean ship, Viking Venus, which will officially be named on 17 May 2021 in the United Kingdom by her ceremonial godmother, Anne Diamond, the esteemed British journalist and broadcaster. In 2022, Viking will introduce its new expedition cruises, with the first 378-guest purpose-built expedition ship, Viking Octantis, launching in January 2022 for 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.