Editor Note: UPDATE as of February 24, 2015
Coming soon to a port near you.
Well, if that doesn’t beat all. Mark Twain, an avid world traveler and veteran cruiser, would be bug-eyed if he could see what’s planned for the Big Muddy. Bug-eyed with excitement, I’d hope. Twain loved these lumbering river towns along the banks of the northern Mississippi. It’s only fitting then that this exciting announcement came from a city that grew up during the heyday of river travel.
Earlier this week, someone at the Red Wing, Minnesota Convention and Visitors Bureau let it slip. Red Wing (home of Red Wing shoes and Riedell ice skates) will be one of the downriver stops when Viking River Cruises debuts in America in 2015.
Though it’s not “confirmed,” the soon-to-be-built river cruise vessel will carry 340 passengers between Minneapolis and New Orleans and most likely onto the two main tributary rivers in-between; the Ohio and Tennessee rivers.
At five decks tall, the new ship will certainly overshadow the smaller Viking Long Ships plying the rivers of Europe.
It’ll be nearly double the passenger capacity of the American Cruise Lines‘ new 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi. And slightly less than the recently refurbished 436-passenger American Queen owned by the American Queen Steamboat Company.
I am a river cruise junkie. There. I’ve said it. I’ve gone from Amsterdam on the North Sea to Bucharest and Varna on the Black Sea. Twice. Two months total on the rivers of Europe.
Last spring I cruised the length of the Columbia River in Oregon with American Cruise Lines, aboard the refurbished Queen of the West, complete with an authentic paddle wheel and calliope.
To me, it seems like duck soup to bring the European experience over to America. When newspaper editor, Horace Greeley, fortuitously said “Go west, young man, go west,” little did he know we’d be in for a Viking “invasion.” Reservations will become available in Spring, 2014. Unofficially, of course. Stay tuned for details as they become available.
Next on my wish list – European-style river ships on the St. Lawrence river in Canada. Fingers crossed.
Viking Freya and Europe map photo credit: Viking River Cruises
Mississippi map credit: Wikipedia Commons
Queen of the West: Sherry Laskin
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.
Sherry Kennedy says
Hi – So far, it’s looking bleak for Viking River Cruises to begin service on the Mississippi. One major problem is the fact that the ship will have to be built in the USA and have American crew. This is a much larger expense than they originally planned.
please contact when Mississippi river cruise is available
Pauline Veitch says
Have been on the Viking Danube cruise and loved it, however being from Canada I would absolutely take the Mississippi cruise to explore so much to home with our American neighbours.
Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) says
Thanks, Dennis. Oddly enough, from researching their itineraries thus far neither American Cruise Lines or American Queen Steamboat Company branch off and go west onto the Missouri from St. Louis. Maybe someday…
Dennis D. Jacobs says
Interesting news! I hope they are successful.
Of course, the biggest tributary of the Mississippi is actually the Missouri. A side trip up the Missouri through the Missouri wine country as far as the charming old German town of Hermann would be a scenic little side trip.