Although Viking River Cruises are primarily known for their European and China voyages the company has made headlines with a new destination and itinerary that will be available in the very near future.
During the 1800’s, scores of big paddle steamer riverboats floated up and down the Mississippi. That era is just a memory now however tourism in the south will rise again thanks to this famous river cruise line.
The line announced that they will be building state of the art river vessels in the United States. The first two ships will be unveiled in 2017 with the luxury ships tailored for the Mississippi River.
If all goes well, then more vessels are planned over the next three-year period. Viking is keeping most of the details under wraps but hinted that maximum occupancy for both ships will be about 300 passengers.
According to the announcement, the home port will be set up in New Orleans. Vessels will be scheduled to depart from the famous French Quarter and travel up the river with the trips taking place over several nights.
Along the routes passengers will view historic mansions in the distance with ports of call such as St. James, East Baton Rouge and West Feliciana in Louisiana, Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis. St. Paul, Minnesota may also be a destination depending on the weather and the season.
Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen revealed the details whilst at the Port of New Orleans, Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal stated, “It’s about thousands of tourists coming to spend money at our hotels, our restaurants, in our city and our shops.”
The Red Wing Port Authority in St. Paul, Minnesota plans on spending ₤3.5 million to build dock space exclusively for this venture. Weather can be an issue during late autumn and the winter months and itineraries may have to be diverted from the St. Paul area during this time frame.
Currently, there are only two riverboats sailing on the Mississippi, the American Queen, owned by the American Queen Steamboat Company and the Queen of the Mississippi, owned by American Cruise Lines. However, the Viking River Cruise vessels will not look like the classic steam vessels that used to be seen on the Mississippi.
Viking River Cruises are known for their fabulous outside staterooms, exceptional dining and scenic stopovers. They promise it will be no different for this new operation.
Visitors will certainly have plenty of things to do in New Orleans prior to embarking. Visiting the world famous Bourbon Street is a must as it perfectly emphasises why this city is so magical. The sound of saxophones will be echoing through the night while the bars are filled with noise and partying. Be sure to check out the street markets and pick up some unique crafts that are sold here.
But there’s more to New Orleans than parties. Take some time to check out a thrilling New Orleans Saints football game and cheer with the fans at the internationally known Superdome stadium. Nature lovers will be thrilled at the Audubon Nature Institute.
Named after famous bird artist John James Audubon who resided in the area, the institute features thousands of species at the Audubon Park, the Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Insectariums.
New Orleans is constantly associated with jazz music and nowhere is this better seen then at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival which is one of the largest music festivals in the USA. The festival also allows patrons to enjoy local foods such as po’boys and jelly rolls.
Written by Veronica Shine