We have wanted to do a cruise of the Mississippi River for many years. With the launch of the new Viking Mississippi, we decided to take a roundtrip New Orleans cruise, leaving January 7, 2023. Our overall result was a very relaxing week cruise on the mighty, muddy Mississippi and some acquired knowledge of the region.
We understand that Viking made a huge investment in this ship, which was purpose-built for the Mississippi. After many delays, the ship finally launched in the fall of 2022, only to encounter problems with the water levels of the river which forced some cancellations. As a result, the ship is still very new, as is the crew and staff. In my opinion, this cruise will be very popular and Viking will recoup its investment brilliantly, or it will not. Frankly, based on our experience, it could go either way.
Overall, the ship is beautiful and a perfect size for the Mississippi; five decks and 386 passengers. The decor is very Scandinavian in appearance; this is not an 18th century paddleboat or a replica thereof. There is a spacious lounge and large library on the first deck, a two-story lounge at the bow of the ship, a restaurant on deck 1 and a buffet, called the “River Café” on deck 5 with a full bar and some outdoor seating. All rooms have a balcony, though size varies with the room category. There is no casino on board, so if you are expecting a “riverboat gambler” experience you will be disappointed.
As previously stated, Cabin 401 is spacious, pristinely clean, with many drawers (albeit most are somewhat shallow) and the bathroom is a pretty good size for a cruise ship with one of the largest showers I have seen on a ship. The balcony is long and narrow; it contains a table and two chairs as well as a lounger and small table. It does have a partial view of the bridge, which means the bridge crew has a partial view of you!
We took the panoramic tour, which was good but not very long. The tour included a trip to a museum, which was very interesting. If you don't know much about Huey Long, it is a good idea to read up on him before visiting this city.
We chose the included tour of Rosedown Plantation, which has an interesting history. However, the time allotted for the tour only afforded enough time to visit the house, not he extensive grounds. Viking needs to add 30-45 minutes to this tour, especially since there is no rush to get back to the ship.
Due to weather the night before, we were late getting into Vicksburg, which shortened our tour of the military park. We had a very good guide and learned a lot. I wish I had read up on the battle/siege of Vicksburg before visiting and I wish we had more time at the park and to tour the city.
What's not to like in New Orleans? Before we boarded the ship, we toured the WWII Museum; you really need 3 days to do that place justice, but it is excellent! Viking offers a tour from the ship. the tour we chose was the "Jazz Experience." A member of the band conducted the tour which visited a bar first (great margarita!) for a concert by his band, Sunday brunch at the Court of Two Sisters, and a visit to the Jazz Museum.