|A Viking longship sailing the Rhine River (courtesy Viking); the Mississippi River (courtesy Wikipedia/Public Domain)|
Big news from Viking River Cruises. The European cruise company will establish its first North American home port in New Orleans in 2017. River cruising continues to grow in leaps and bounds, and it’s soaring in popularity among American travelers. Viking’s expansion will capitalize on this growth, by offering Mississippi River cruises from the Big Easy, with two vessels starting in late 2017, and more expected to be added in the following years.
In an announcement, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said that Viking's expansion will produce 416 new jobs in New Orleans, and it will be a boon for the city’s tourism. “It's about thousands of tourists coming to spend money at our hotels, our restaurants, in our city and our shops."
Viking boats will dock near the French Quarter, and cruises will include stops in Memphis, St. Louis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Industry veterans are expecting that Viking’s cruises will generate new interest in cruising the Mississippi River, especially with a younger demographic.