One line isn’t letting the coronavirus stop them. Viking Cruises is thinking to the future, 2022 to be exact, when the line will launch a series of new cruises on the Mississippi River.
It certainly is something to look forward to as we all try to picture a world without Covid-19 lurking around the corner.
The announcement was made March 30 by Viking chairman Torstein Hagen, who said this new series will further expand its destination-focused travel experiences.
The company's first custom vessel, utterly modern Viking Mississippi, is expected to debut in August 2022. She will sail the Lower and Upper Mississippi between New Orleans and St. Paul, Minn.
Viking Mississippi will call at ports in 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).
A stunning Viking addition to the fleet
The new sleek, five-deck Scandinavian-forward designed Viking Mississippi offers 193 outside staterooms that can house 386 passengers.
There are 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 come with 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.
High roller options
For the big spender and luxury seeker, there is a choice of some of the largest true suites on the river. The two-room suites boast a full-size veranda off a large sitting room.
Penthouse Jr. Suites span 400 square feet while Terrace Suites cover 425 sq. ft of space. Suite dwellers score 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.
Explorer Suites take up a whopping 657 sq. ft. to 1,024 sq. ft. and include a wraparound veranda and complimentary Silver Spirits Beverage Package.
Courtesy of Viking Cruises
The signature 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: dishes out 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 on the top deck offers casual dining designed for an American barbecue experience. Combined with the River Café, the Aquavit Terrace will provide the most al fresco dining 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 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 is the main dining venue on deck 1. Chefs there will dish out regional cuisine and always available classics prepared with fresh, local ingredients.
A full 360-degree Promenade Deck spans the entire ship outside on deck 1, which is great for walking and soaking in the views.
Viking cruises are mostly cerebral designed for culture-seekers more than sybarites. Keeping that theme the new ship will feature enrichment options such as local performers, guest lecturers and a focus on arts, history and nature.
No hidden costs
Viking fares include one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, port charges and government taxes. Free beer and wine are also served at lunch and dinner and Wi-Fi is free for all as are self-service laundries.
2022-2023 Viking Mississippi Inaugural Voyages
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 reginal 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 "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 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 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.
Bookings for Viking Mississippi's 2022-2023 season are now available to Viking past guests only and open to the general public on April 15, 2020.
A brave new world
It’s a brave move for Viking, in these trying times, to continue to expand its fleet and destination-focused travel offerings.
Last January the company unveiled Viking Expeditions with the first 378-guest purpose-built expedition ship. Its first ship, Viking Octantis, launches in January 2022 on voyages to Antarctica and then North America's Great Lakes.
Another ship, Viking Polaris, comes on the scene 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.