Viking Plans to Add River Cruises on the Mississippi!

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Signing up for a cruise evokes images of waving your hat from the top deck as the ship launches into the ocean for a multi-day adventure.  But cruise ships aren’t limited to the ocean!

In fact, many people find that a river cruise is a perfect laid-back way to see a different area of the country.  Now Viking, one of the more popular cruise lines, is expanding their offerings to include a new itinerary on the mighty Mississippi.  We’ve mentioned Viking before as they’re one of the companies that feature adult-only (18+) cruises.  They have an extensive list of destinations and are working to add this new cruise on the Mississippi in the near future.

Take a River Cruise to Watch the Leaves Change This Fall.

Viking plans to introduce this new itinerary on the Mississippi by 2021, but there’s no exact release date at this time.  One thing to note is that this cruise will take place on Viking’s fleet of “Long Ships.”

These ships are built with a focus on comfort and design.  It looks like this will actually be Viking’s first intercontinental river cruise route in the United States.  That could be part of the reason for the delay.  The Transportation Institute has strict laws that designate who can operate vessels on the rivers in the US.  One specific law that dates back to the prohibition era, the Jones Act, specifies that all boats operating on the riverways must be built in the United States.

The Viking Long Ships don’t currently meet this requirement, so a workaround is needed to get this route operational.

The Mississippi Is Such an Iconic River

Growing up in St. Louis, the Mississippi was always a huge part of our city’s identity.  So much of the city’s history was built around the ships that traveled the river.  Mark Twain helped to romanticize the draw of the Mississippi in our national culture with loveable characters Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer who found freedom and adventure on the water.

Rivers are a place to slow down and reflect, they’re also a place to relax and admire the scenery.  I’d be so excited to spend time on one of these ships.  With the beautiful design, impressive meals, and lovely views, the Long Ships are definitely a step up from Huck Finn’s wooden raft!  This would be a great place for bird watchers, leaf peepers, and those who are just looking for a place to unwind and take the slow route.

A Typical Itinerary

Since the Mississippi spans from Northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, cruise lines typically offer two different itineraries – the Upper Mississippi and the Lower Mississippi.

Exact routes vary depending on the cruise company, most of the Upper Mississippi voyages originate in or near Minneapolis and conclude around St. Louis.  The Lower Mississippi routes usually begin near Memphis and end in New Orleans at the Gulf of Mexico.  The route you choose will largely depend on the time of year you plan to travel.  Most cruise lines offer The Lower route all year round due to the warmer climate.  The Upper route runs from June until October when the weather starts to get too cold.  An average river cruise goes for about 8 or 9 days.

River Boats Are an Important Piece of the Mississippi’s History.

Where to Book A River Cruise Now

There are a few other companies that currently run cruises down the Mississippi.  We’ve found two other cruise lines you can book with while Viking puts the final touches on their itinerary.  Take a look at these options where you can schedule your Mississippi River cruise today!

American Queen Steamboat Company

Routes:   Both Upper and Lower Mississippi River Upper Mississippi Price:   A 9-day cruise currently costs between $2,300 to $2,800.  They do have longer cruises (16 days or 22 days) as well. Upper Mississippi Dates:   Cruise dates range from mid-July through the end of August Lower Mississippi Price:   A 9-day cruise costs between $2,000 and $3,000. They also have shorter cruises (5, 6, or 8 days) and a longer cruise option (23 days) as well. Lower Mississippi Dates:   The lower Mississippi cruises operate year-round.

American Cruise Lines

Routes:   Lower Mississippi River (8 days), Upper Mississippi (8 days) or both Lower & Upper (22 days) Upper Mississippi Price:   From $3,500 to $4,270 Upper Mississippi Dates:   August, September, or October Lower Mississippi Price:   Year-round Lower Mississippi Dates:   Between $3,600 and $5,000 Upper & Lower Price:   Between $11,270 and $13,845 (depending on your package and amenities) Upper & Lower Dates:   July and August

Have you ever considered taking a river cruise?  Is this something that you find intriguing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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