Viking's much-anticipated Mississippi River program took a step closer to reality on March 7 when the new 386-guest Viking Mississippi touched water for the first time in Louisiana.
Set to debut in June 2022, the Viking Mississippi will sail on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul.
"It is a proud moment that this new ship has met an American waterway for the first time," said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking. "Our guests have long wanted to sail the Mississippi River with Viking, and we very much look forward to welcoming them on board this summer. We are grateful to our American partner, Edison Chouest Offshore, who has helped bring to life our vision of exploring the Mississippi in the 'Viking way.'"
The traditional float-out took place at Edison Chouest Offshore's LaShip shipyard in Houma, La., and is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. In keeping with maritime tradition, the ship's ceremonial godmother, Dionne Chouest, general counsel of Edison Chouest Offshore, assisted with the float-out.
Viking's arrival to the Mississippi is expected to bring more than 7,500 guests to the region in 2022 and 17,600-plus during the first full sailing season in 2023.
Currently scheduled ports of call 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).
Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking's river and ocean ships and will feature elegant Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that are familiar to guests but reimagined for Mississippi River voyages. Every Mississippi River fare includes one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals and all port charges and government taxes. Also included are beer and wine with lunch and dinner, lectures, alternative dining at no extra charge, self-service launderettes, 24-hour room service and free Wi-Fi.
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