Viking River Cruises reportedly plans to build a new ship to operate on the Mississippi River, which will be the company’s first vessel on U.S. Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking River, told Seatrade Insider that the Mississippi vessel would be similar to the contemporary Viking Longships that the company is now launching on European rivers, instead of the paddlewheeler boats that are currently operating on the Mississippi.

Viking Longships carry up to 190 passengers and cater to the 55-plus market. They have a unique design that maximizes space throughout. The Mississippi vessel will reportedly be built in a U.S. yard and will enter service in 2015. It also would need to have a U.S. crew, per U.S. regulations governing vessels operating in U.S. waters. Viking River is considering a number of U.S. yards to build the ship.

Two companies currently offer sailings on the Mississippi – American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines. Both operate paddlewheel vessels and both plan to expand their fleets. But Viking River would not be the first to sail a non-paddlewheel boat on the Mississippi. RiverBarge Excursions Lines operated a vessel on the river until 2008, when the company ceased operations.

via Viking River Targets Mississippi for New River Cruise Ship by 2015 | TravelPulse.