The newest large cruise ship on the Mississippi drew crowds to La Crosse’s Riverside Park on its very first port visit to the city.
The Viking Mississippi arrived in La Crosse in the early hours of Labor Day morning and stayed until early afternoon before turning around and heading south down the river toward Dubuque.
Although the boat passed the city on its way up the river towards Saint-Paul on Friday. it was the first time a Viking ship had docked at La Crosse. Stops previously scheduled for this summer have been canceled as the company’s cruise schedule has changed.
The world-renowned luxury cruise line, known for its tours on Europe’s great rivers, announced a few years ago that it would start traveling on the Mississippi, but the pandemic has delayed the first cruises by two years. .
Many Viking Ship passengers disembarked to explore the city, mostly on two-hour bus tours that included stops at the top of Grandad Bluff. Former La Crosse Library Director Kelly Krieg-Sigman led two of the tours and said several visitors noticed how clean the town was and admired the beautiful lawns they saw around The Crosse.
The Mississippi Viking began its maiden voyage on the great river in the Twin Cities on Saturday. The boat is 450 feet long and can carry almost 400 passengers. Four more stops at La Crosse are still scheduled this season, with the next scheduled for September 15.