(4:15 p.m. EDT) -- Viking has pulled back the curtain a bit more on its hotly awaited Mississippi River debut, unveiling a brand-new holiday itinerary and more details about its lead vessel in the Americas, Viking Mississippi.
First announced at the end of March, the all-new Viking Mississippi will inaugurate Viking's first-ever river cruises on a North American waterway when it begins operations in August 2022.
In preparation, Viking continues to tease more of its product offerings and Mississippi River plans.
In December 2022, the 386-passenger Viking Mississippi will offer an eight-day "Mississippi Holiday Season" sailing, travelling between New Orleans and Memphis, or reverse. Highlights include Christmas light displays, Cajun cuisine and a private-access tour to Graceland, Elvis Presley's iconic mansion. Viking's exclusive after-hours admission includes a tour of the museum and its exhibits.
Viking's Mississippi holiday itinerary will be offered December 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2022. The latter two sailings will celebrate the holidays onboard, with the December 31 sailing ringing in 2023 aboard the ship.
Richard Riveire, founding principal with Los Angeles-based Rottet Studio that played a lead in the design and function of Viking Mississippi, joined a livestream on Viking.TV to share the inspiration for this new generation of Viking river cruiser.
"As we go to the Mississippi, people will recognize a lot of things from the ocean ships and from the Longships," said Riveire.
"The Mississippi is an amazing river with an incredible degree of history and quite interesting and wonderful geography," he said. "There are a lot of opportunities to bring that to Viking.
"Most of our Viking ships to date have been worldwide. This ship Viking Mississippi is perhaps a little more located 'in place.' This is an American ship, so we've taken Viking and woven a little layer of American into it."
Riveire noted that Viking's trademark Scandinavian styling isn't entirely out of place on the Mississippi.
"The largest grouping of Norwegians outside of Norway happens to be in Minnesota at the headwaters of the Mississippi," he said with a chuckle. "What I am interested in incorporating into the vessel are those kinds of stories."
Viking Mississippi debuts in August 2022. Itineraries are now open for booking.