The Miami Herald has reported that the Vikings may becoming to America. The story said that tourism officials for the town of Red Wing, Minnesota claim that Viking River Cruises will begin sailing the Mississippi River in 2015. How do they know? The city fathers of the small town in Minnesota, located approximately 50 miles downriver from Minneapolis, are apparently looking forward to being one of the stops on the cruises.
In a news release issued recently by the Red Wing Visitors and Convention Bureau, it was reported that Viking has plans to build a 340-passenger ship to offer cruises on the Mississippi beginning in the fall of 2015, for which they will begin taking reservations in the spring of 2014. The five-deck ship described in the Red Wing release would be considerably larger than the longships Viking has launched for European rivers. Those carry 190 passengers and are designed for transit through Europe's smaller locks and lower bridges.
Viking River Cruises has greatly expanded its presence on European waterways in recent years and has announced the introduction of an ocean cruise line scheduled to launch in 2014. While Viking Chairman Tor Hagen has expressed a desire to sail the Mississippi River some day, a Viking spokesman could not confirm a 2015 launch date. Until an official Viking announcement is made, we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, we hope those Red Wing officials haven't spoiled their chances on being a port-of-call by making their unofficial prediction.