(LOS ANGELES) — Viking announced Monday that the new 386-passenger Viking Mississippi was floated out in Louisiana, marking a major construction milestone and the first time the ship has touched water. Set to debut in June, Viking Mississippi will sail on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul, Minn.
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.
“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.’”
Viking’s arrival to the Mississippi will represent a major commitment to tourism and economic development in many communities along the river, with the new voyages 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, 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. Purpose-built for the Mississippi, the five-deck ship’s design, expansive windows and amenities will make it the largest and most modern ship in the region.
The 450-by-75-foot Viking Mississippi is equipped with a variety of measures to maximize energy efficiency and emissions, including a diesel-electric propulsion system comprised of eight Caterpillar C32 EPA Tier 4 diesel engines. Each engine powers a 940-eKw water-cooled generator; each engine/generator unit is individually mounted on a specially designed double raft isolation system for quiet and smooth ride. The units are linked to Voith six-blade propulsion thrusters driven by permanent magnet electric motors. Pump jet bow thrusters are powered by permanent magnet motors, and an exhaust scrubbing system significantly reduces sound and emissions.