Navigating New Horizons: Viking Sets Sail on the Mississippi River and Great Lakes

Discover a New Way to Explore North America

A Viking Cruise ship in the Great Lakes as viewed from a cliff on an island. Viking

Known for luxurious European river and ocean cruises, Viking has set its sights on a new frontier, venturing into North America with its Mississippi River and Great Lakes Expedition voyages. Featuring new ships, exceptional itineraries and impressive technology, Viking offers travelers a unique opportunity to be immersed in the rich history and diverse cultures of the American heartland while enjoying onboard state-of-the-art technology and stunning landscapes along the way. 

A Viking cruise ship on the Mississippi River with the St. Louis Arch and city in the background. Viking

Mississippi River Voyages: A Journey Through Time

Stretching over 2,300 miles, the Mississippi River weaves from Minnesota's Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico and is a symbol of America’s history and culture. The river is a testament to nature's breathtaking beauty; from rolling bluffs to lush forests and tranquil bayous, the sights will leave guests in awe. Viking has curated itineraries that offer curious explorers a different type of cross-country journey.

Guests glide along on the newest and most modern ship sailing the river, the custom-built Viking Mississippi. Featuring all outside staterooms, private verandas, spacious public areas and Viking’s signature Scandinavian design, the innovative ship provides luxurious accommodations that perfectly complement the personalized service Viking is renowned for. 

Viking cruise ship Bow Deck Viking

Guests step ashore into a world of discovery with excursions designed to highlight the uniqueness of each destination—from guided kayaking tours of bayous to exploring local musical styles and visiting a working farm. But Viking’s focus on cultural enrichment doesn’t stop there. Nightly “Destination Performances” aboard the ship showcase local artists. And onboard historians, with vast knowledge and infectious passion, offer destination-focused lectures and engaging discussions throughout the cruise. 

The culinary experience on Viking’s Mississippi River voyages is nothing short of exceptional. Food & Wine Magazine awarded Viking “Best Cruise Line” in its inaugural 2023 Global Tastemakers Awards—an accolade that was well deserved. Dedicated chefs draw inspiration from each region and craft Instagram-worthy delicacies using fresh, seasonal ingredients that pay homage to the locales visited. Their goal is to ensure every meal is a voyage into the heart of the destination itself.

A scientist onboard a Viking Cruise ship looking into a microscope Viking

Great Lakes Expedition Voyages: Where Science & Nature Meet

The stars of this Viking Expedition voyage are the majestic Great Lakes—Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. The cruise goes beyond the ordinary travel experience, transforming into a voyage of scientific discovery and adventure.

The Great Lakes are unique for so many reasons, and Viking decided that an equally unique ship was needed to sail them. The elegant and well-appointed Viking Octantis was purposefully built for comfortable exploration itineraries like this one. The ship is small enough to navigate the Great Lakes and inland canals, while large enough to handle deeper waters.

In addition to its modern and stylish design elements, all outside staterooms and outstanding service, the Viking Octantis features a well-equipped laboratory staffed by world-class scientists who share their research and expertise through daily lectures and tours. 


The Viking Octantis also features the Hangar, a large onboard two-level garage that houses state-of-the-art equipment, including zodiacs, kayaks, two six-passenger yellow submarines—aptly named Paul and John—and two 12-passenger Special Operations Boats (or SOBs). Guests can experience each of the vessels on various excursions led by a team of experts throughout the trip.

Excursions include kayaking the straights of Mackinac Island, hiking the UNESCO Georgian Bay Biosphere and, for the brave, exploring the depths in a submarine. Guests can also meet with scientists in The Science Lab and participate in citizen science programs, assisting in fieldwork and other experiential activities.

DID YOU KNOW? The Viking Octantis and its sister ship, the Viking Polaris, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. National Weather Service, are the world’s first civilian ships to be designated as official weather balloon launch stations. 

One of the most awe-inspiring areas on the Viking Octantis is Aula, the ship’s cutting-edge panoramic auditorium. This remarkable space features floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a captivating 270° vista, complemented by a large retractable screen capable of projecting stunning 4K laser imagery. The Aula serves as the central hub for daily briefings, lectures, training sessions and captivating documentary screenings.

As Viking continues to revolutionize experiential travel, these voyages stand as a testament to the company's commitment to fostering a deeper understanding of science, nature, cultures and histories, leaving an indelible mark on every traveler who takes part in these unforgettable adventures.

AAA Member Benefits for Added Value

Receive exclusive AAA Member Benefits* on select Viking River, Viking Ocean and Viking Expeditions sailings. Combine with limited-time offers for even more savings.

  • $100 per person shipboard credit for all cruises 8 to 11 days
  • $200 per person shipboard credit for all cruises 12 days or longer

Shipboard credit is valid for onboard purchases—bar, boutique, excursions and onboard gratuities. 

*AAA Member Benefits: $200 per person shipboard credit offer is available to AAA Members on all Viking cruise itineraries 12 days or more. $100 per person AAA Member Benefit shipboard credit offer is available to AAA Members on all Viking cruise itineraries ranging from 8-11 days. Shipboard credits can only be applied when booked directly by AAA Travel. Onboard credit has no cash value. Valid only for Viking ocean, river and expeditions cruise sailings. Viking reserves the right to correct errors and to change any and all fares, fees and surcharges at any time. Travel must be booked through AAA Travel Agency to receive savings and AAA Exclusives. Included AAA amenities are based on the first two passengers in a shared stateroom. Itinerary and exclusive amenities including escort personnel are capacity controlled, based on minimum number of passengers traveling together and may be modified, withdrawn or canceled without prior notice. AAA Member benefits are valid for AAA Members only. Any noted promotions/offers are valid for new bookings only made through specified promotion dates, are accurate at time of printing, are subject to exception, cancellation, restrictions, and can be withdrawn or substituted without prior notice. Offers are capacity controlled and may be modified or withdrawn without prior notice. For complete details on member benefits and special offers restrictions, contact your AAA Travel Agent.

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