Cruise the Mississippi River in 2022

River cruises — with small ships traveling along the world’s waterways and providing easy access to shore — offer passengers a perfect opportunity to become immersed in a region’s history, cuisine and culture. 
For more than 20 years, Viking Cruises has been a leader in journeys along Europe’s rivers. Beginning in 2022, the company will launch new cruises in the U.S., on the Mississippi River, bringing travelers to America’s heartland. “The Mississippi River is closer to home for many of our guests, and no other waterway has played such an important role in America’s history, commerce and culture,” says Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises. 
The cruise line’s custom-made vessel, the Viking Mississippi, makes its debut in August 2022, with voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi between New Orleans and St. Paul, Minnesota. Depending on the itinerary, there will be ports of call in seven states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. 
The five-deck ship, featuring the company’s modern Scandinavian design, will carry 386 passengers, with 193 all-outside staterooms in sizes that range from 268 square feet to 1,024 square feet. All staterooms feature a private veranda or French balcony.
There is still plenty of space to roam. A 360-degree promenade deck will allow passengers to stroll the entire ship, stretching their legs while soaking up the scenery. A sun-filled two-story Explorers’ Lounge, with floor-to-ceiling windows, will open to The Bow, an outdoor seating area at the front of the ship where passengers can enjoy the ever-changing riverside view. And the ship’s Sun Terrace will be home to an infinity plunge pool. Dining options will include the River Café, with American classics and Norwegian specialties, and the Aquavit Terrace, serving up barbecue. 
Along the Mississippi River, cultural experiences will include performances of the region’s iconic music, from jazz, blues and gospel to polka and Scandinavian folk songs. Guest lecturers aboard the ship will shed light on the region’s art, architecture, history, culture, natural world and more. Among the planned excursions are a guided kayak trip on the Louisiana bayou, a visit to a working farm in the Midwest, and a tour at Louisiana’s Rural Life Museum to learn about Cajun culture.
Viking is planning four inaugural voyages for 2022-2023: three trips of 8 days each from St. Louis to St. Paul, New Orleans to Memphis and a round trip from New Orleans; as well as a 15-day trip from New Orleans to St. Paul. Along the way there’ll be opportunities to learn about American history, from the explorers Lewis and Clark, to settlers migrating west, to the stories of Mark Twain, the Civil War and civil-rights movement. 
While the first cruise is a couple of years away, a Viking Cruises trip on the Mississippi can be booked immediately, making this a great time to dream now, travel later. 
Amy Eben
The Travel Advantage
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