In 2017, Viking Cruises Ltd. established a North American footprint with the launch of its cruises from its homeport of New Orleans up the Lower and Upper Mississippi River to ports of call in seven states from Louisiana to Minnesota.
The latest addition to the company’s fleet is the 450-foot Viking Mississippi, heralded as the largest and the first truly modern river cruise ship operating on the river.
Purpose-built for service on the Mississippi, the 450-foot, 5-deck vessel was designed as the result of a collaborative effort between Viking Cruises and NETSCo, the Ohio-based naval architecture and engineering firm.
According to NETSCo, the first phase of the project required vetting the ship design. “This included taking into account varying water levels (which can change as much as 50 feet) and determining if the physical size and height of the ship would fit through locks, bridges and other obstacles throughout the entire 2,350 miles down the Mighty Mississippi travel route,” the company said.
The Scandinavian-inspired design features accommodations and public spaces inspired by the Viking vessels that have cruised the rivers of Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia, and Egypt since 1997.
The five-deck Viking Mississippi is fully Jones Act compliant with a crew of 137 and a capacity of 386 guests accommodated in 193 all-outside staterooms – all of which have two full-size rooms with a large veranda.
Built with a full 360-degree promenade deck, the ship features solar panels, and LED lighting, multiple elevators, free Wi-Fi, a library, and a casual dining deck, while The River Café offers both indoor and outdoor seating and The Restaurant main dining room serve regional cuisine.
The Explorers’ Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to The Bow outdoor seating area to maximize natural light. The vessel also features an infinity plunge pool, which is similar to those found on Viking’s ocean-going cruise ships.
‘Floated out’ in March 2022 at the Edison Chouest Offshore’s LaShip shipyard in Houma, La., Viking Mississippi is equipped with a variety of measures to maximize energy efficiency and emissions including a diesel-electric propulsion system comprised of eight CAT C32 EPA Tier 4 diesel engines.
Each of the engines powers a water cooled generator engine/generator unit each of which is individually mounted on a specially designed double raft isolation system that produces a remarkably quiet and smooth ride.
Propulsion power is provided by Voith 6 blade propulsion thrusters driven by permanent magnet electric motors; pump jet bow thrusters are powered by permanent magnet motors; and a highly advanced exhaust scrubbing system significantly reduces sound and emissions.
River ports on the Viking Mississippi’s itinerary include Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St. Francisville, La.; Natchez and Vicksburg, Ms.; Memphis, Tn.; Hannibal, St. Louis, Mo.; Burlington, Dubuque, and Davenport, Ia.; La Crosse, Wi.; and Red Wing and La Crosse, Mn. •