Strong Demand Leads to Early Release of 2024 Departure Dates
Los Angeles, CA, 2021-Apr-21 — /Travel PR News/ —Viking® (www.viking.com) announced today (April 20, 2021) 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.
“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,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “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. Multiple sailing dates are now available in June, July, September and October 2023 and 2024. Pricing starts at $10,999 per person with discounted airfare.
- 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. Multiple sailing dates now available August – September 2023 and 2024. Pricing starts at $4,399 per person with discounted airfare.
- 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. Multiple sailing dates available in November 2022; additional sailing dates are now available in January – June and October – December 2023 and 2024. Pricing starts at $4,399 per person with discounted airfare.
- 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. Multiple sailing dates available in November – December 2022; additional sailing dates are now available in January and December 2023 and 2024. Pricing starts at $3,999 per person with discounted airfare.
- 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 $3,999 per person with discounted airfare.
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 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: 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 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.
Today’s announcement is the most recent milestone as Viking continues to expand its destination-focused travel offerings. The company recently took delivery of its seventh ocean ship, Viking Venus, which will officially be named on May 17, 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.
Viking was founded in 1997 and provides destination-focused journeys on rivers, oceans and lakes around the world. Designed for experienced travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests The Thinking Person’s Cruise® in contrast to mainstream cruises. In its first five years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 “World’s Best” Awards. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as “Best Overall” Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, “Best River Cruise Line” and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. For additional information, contact Viking at 1-800-2-VIKING (1-800-284-5464) or visit www.viking.com. For Viking’s award-winning enrichment channel, visit www.viking.tv.