The Viking Cruise Ship Can’t Complete Its Journey: The Mississippi River Is Too Low


(CNN) — A Viking river cruiser heading north up the Mississippi River cannot complete its journey due to low water levels, according to a company statement Thursday.

“Abnormally low water levels along the Mississippi River have caused sections of the river to be closed, affecting all northbound and southbound marine traffic,” the statement said.

“The closures have caused delays that will prevent the viking mississippi to complete the navigation in progress and reach Saint-Paul [Minnesota] for her next scheduled departure on October 15,” the statement read.

The cruise line said customers were notified of the issue, although they did not provide details on the number of passengers affected.

The viking mississippi can accommodate up to 386 guests and was built in 2022, according to the company’s website. Viking advertised a 15-day trip in October from St. Paul to New Orleans starting at $12,999.

Mississippi River caught in growing drought

The ship isn’t the only one having trouble on America’s First River.

Under drought conditions, low water levels along the Mississippi have forced several barges to run aground over the past week, the U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains a drought information website. His most recent report said nearly 53% of the lower 48 U.S. states are in drought conditions. Much of the West is in a state of drought.

Drought and Abnormal Drought “continue to develop and intensify from the Plains to the Mississippi River Basin, and have now extended farther into the Midwest and Southeast. Low water levels are impacting barge traffic on the Mississippi River during harvest, a crucial time,” the NOAA website says.

CNN’s Thursday night weather forecast also doesn’t point to much relief in sight: No rain is expected in major river cities such as Minneapolis, St. Louis and Memphis.
Extreme weather has claimed lives and ruined travel plans across the United States this summer and fall: Wildfires have threatened Yosemite National Park; flash flooding crippled the normally dry Death Valley National Park; and Hurricane Ian impacted tourist sites in hard-hit Florida and the Carolinas.

European summer replay?

The Mississippi River situation has unfolded in other parts of the world this year.

The Rhine is one of Europe’s most crucial trade routes – and a hugely popular cruising route filled with fairytale castles and breathtaking views. These cruises have taken a hit.

Some river cruise ships were able to lighten the load and carry on. Others had to change routes while some river vessels had to cancel their voyages altogether.

And now those same decisions are revisited on America’s mightiest river.

Top image: The Viking Mississippi cruise ship docks in Dubuque, Iowa on Sept. 6, 2022, while the river was still passable for the ship. (Dave Kettering/Telegraph Herald via AP)


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