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Viking cruise ship lands in La Crosse for 1st time

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The newest big cruise boat on the Mississippi River drew crowds to La Crosse’s Riverside Park during its first-ever shore stop in the city.

The Viking Mississippi docked at Riverside Park in La Crosse, on Monday, Sept. 5, 2022, as seen from Pettibone Park. (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

As part of its maiden voyage, the 450-foot-long Viking Mississippi arrived in La Crosse in the early morning hours of Labor Day and stayed until early afternoon, before turning around and heading south down the river toward Dubuque, Iowa.

The ship can hold 386 people and has 193 cabins, along with a pool and bar.

The eight-day, “Heartland Tour,” from St. Paul to St. Louis costs starting at $4,500, according to the Star Tribune. The 15-day trip from St. Paul to New Orleans have been going for $13,000 or more.

Four more stops in La Crosse are planned yet this season, with the next one scheduled for Sept. 15.

Although the boat passed the city on its way upriver to St. Paul on Friday, this was the first time that a Viking vessel had docked at La Crosse. Previously planned stops for this summer were called off, as the company’s cruise schedule changed.

The world-famous luxury cruise line, known for tours of large rivers in Europe, announced a few years ago that it would start traveling on the Mississippi, but the pandemic caused the first cruises to be delayed for two years.

Many passengers on the Viking boat came ashore to explore the city, mainly on two-hour bus tours which included stops atop Grandad Bluff.

Former La Crosse library director Kelly Krieg-Sigman led two of the tours, and said several visitors remarked about how clean the city looks, and they admired the nice lawns they saw around La Crosse.

The Viking Mississippi makes its first-ever stop at La Crosse’s Riverside Park on Monday, Sept. 5, 2022, as part of its maiden voyage (PHOTO: Rick Solem)

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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