Viking Cruises Ltd has announced that it will establish their first North American homeport in New Orleans. This all in an attempt to capitalize the fast growing interest in smaller river cruises.
The company is already well known around Europe, Russia, Asia and Egypt with over 50 vessels that operate in multiple countries.
The plan is to deliver two ships in late 2017, and add four more ships by 2019. The cruise itineraries will change depending on the seasons. They plan to go as far north as St Paul, Minnesota in some of their voyages. They also added that rivers other than the Mississippi could be expected, such as the Ohio.
Viking plans to bring modern river cruising to the United States, while exploring the history along its water pathways. In addition to that, they plan on expanding the market and creating a new customer base.
The ships will be new builds costing between $90 million and $100 million dollars. They will accommodate around 300 passengers, which seem to be a little over their current ships. Viking will dock their ships at the Bienville Street Wharf, within walking distance to the French Quarter. The port does need some work, such a bus terminal and a lot for service trucks. Louisiana is offering an incentive package to help with this.
This will certainly be a topic to follow, new information will be available in the coming months.