We know that luxury travel advisors are working their tails off, coming to the rescue for their clients but we’re sure you’re still looking to stay up to date on the latest supplier developments for when we return to “business as usual.” In fact, MMGY CEO Clayton Reid expects a recovery sooner than most. In the meantime, Luxury Travel Advisor will continue to post exciting news despite the COVID-19 pandemic consuming most of our time. Here are some things to look forward to in the cruise industry…

Viking is heading to the mighty Mississippi. The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, between New Orleans and St. Paul.

Currently scheduled ports of call on Viking’s new Mississippi River Cruises include: Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St. Francisville, Louisiana; Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; Hannibal and St. Louis, Missouri; Burlington, Dubuque and Davenport, Iowa; La Crosse, Wisconsin; and Red Wing and St. Paul, Minnesota. Starting today, inaugural sailings of Viking Mississippi’s 2022-2023 season are now available to Viking past guests only. Bookings will open to the general public on April 15, 2020.         

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Purpose-built for the Mississippi and currently under construction in Louisiana, the five-deck ship, when it launches, as touted by Viking, will be the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region. Accommodating 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, that range from 268 square feet to 1,024 square feet. All staterooms will have a private veranda or French balcony, king-size bed with luxury linens, large flat-screen interactive TV, mini-bar, large glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and 24-hour room service. Suites will have two rooms and a full-size veranda off the sitting room.

Explorer Suite

Public spaces will include: the Explorers’ Lounge & The Bow; River Café, an indoor/outdoor dining venue; Aquavit Terrace on the top deck, providing a casual American barbecue experience, the Sun Terrace with Infinity Plunge Pool at the aft, allowing guests to take a dip while surrounded by the destination; The Living Room; The Restaurant, the main dining venue on Deck 1; and a 360-degree Promenade Deck.

In terms of experiences, travelers can expect guest lecturers that shed light on the region’s art, architecture, history, culture, natural world and more. On Viking’s Mississippi River itineraries, guests may also choose to take a guided kayaking trip in the Louisiana bayou, visit a working farm in Quad Cities or immerse themselves in Cajun culture during a Privileged Access excursion to the Rural Life Museum of Louisiana State University.

Good to know: Viking Mississippi will have such sustainable features as solar panels, LED lighting, and an energy-efficient hybrid propulsion system.

Explorers’ Lounge

Viking Mississippi‘s 2022-23 inaugural voyages include:

  • America’s Heartland (eight days; St. Louis to St. Paul)— Highlights include experiencing of the locks and dams that control the flow of the heartland rivers; hearing stories of settlers migrating west; learning about Lewis and Clark, Mark Twain, John Deere and the Amish and Norwegian migrations; listening to regional music like polka and Norwegian folk; and tasting local cuisine such as beer, produce and Wisconsin cheese. 
  • Heart of the Delta (eight days; New Orleans to Memphis)—Guests tour the area where the migrating French and Acadians settled; learn about the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement; discover the music of the South—jazz, blues and gospel; and experience the life and food culture of the south, from Cajun and Creole to Memphis barbecue.
  • Southern Celebration (eight days; New Orleans–Vicksburg–New Orleans)—On this exploration of the Lower Mississippi, guests will visit the historic homes of Louisiana and Mississippi; learn about Civil War history, touring sites like Vicksburg National Military Park; and discover the excitement and unique flavors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
  • America’s Great River (15 days; New Orleans to St. Paul)—Travelers will experience nearly the entire length of the Mississippi River on this journey from the Gulf of Mexico to the northernmost reaches of the U.S. Guests can enjoy the variety of scenery, foliage and wildlife on this leisurely voyage; enjoy beautifully preserved homes in Natchez; retrace the steps of Civil Rights leaders in Memphis; ascend the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; and visit “The Norwegian Valley” in La Crosse.

Also on the horizon: Viking Expeditions will sail to Antarctica. The first 378-guest, purpose-built expedition ship, Viking Octantis, launches in January 2022 on voyages to Antarctica and then North America’s Great Lakes. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic.

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