Friday, February 27, 2015

The Vikings Are Coming to America

On Tuesday, February 24th, Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal and Viking River Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen announced that Viking has selected the Port of New Orleans as the homeport for its first North American river cruise voyages. Tentative initial itineraries will include calls in St. James, East Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes in Louisiana, as well as destinations further north along the Mississippi River such as Memphis, Tennessee, St. Louis, Missouri, and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Viking, the world's largest high end river cruise company, will invest more than $100 million per ship to build six ships over the next three years and, in accordance with U.S. maritime law, employ Americans on their made-in-America vessels. Their launch on the Mississippi is expected in late 2017.

Founded in 1997 with the purchase and launch of four ships in Russia, Viking now operates 60 vessels on rivers in Europe, Egypt, China, and southeast Asia and this spring is starting to offer ocean cruises as well. Their entry into the United States river cruising market has been rumored for years, but there is no word yet on how large the river boats will be or whether they will be similar in style to the very popular Viking "Longship" pictured here.

Image Courtesy Viking River Cruises

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