River cruises will increase tourism here

Colorful cruise ships such as those that have plied European waters for many years are expected to soon be travelling waters of the Mississippi River right between the east and west banks of St. Charles Parish.

Viking River Cruises is planning to place two such ships in service within two years and others will be added later.

They will be the first Viking cruises in North America. The first ships will sail from New Orleans with stops in St. James, East Baton Rouge and West Feliciano parishes in Louisiana and continuing up to Memphis, Tenn.; St. Louis, Mo. or St. Paul, Minn.

Most of the European river cruise ships are three stories high with  lengthy decks that allow passengers to really absorb the sights. And in Europe there are many along the Danube, Rhine and other rivers that travel along the peaceful shores of France, Switzerland, Germany and other ports along the way that offer picturesque views from the ship decks with visits at docking sites for tours of the spectacular European scenery.

Here along the Mississippi River, the scenery will be much different giving more a modern view of our skylines. Of course, in Louisiana, a lot of the scenery will be marshlands and Cajun cottages. Much of it will be hidden by the levees, but stops at the cities listed will offer some American views from the banks of the greatest river in the world

Undoubtedly, many tours will be organized in Louisiana and other cities to show the operation of the most productive country in the world from its oilfield production, its great commercial fishing operation and its agricultural businesses up and down along the river. History of our colorful past will be brought into the picture, especially at Louisiana stops where antebellum homes can be visited.

Unfortunately, no stops are planned in the introductory cruises for Louisiana ports, but hopefully they will be added later for visits to our fabulous wetlands and some of the greatest sport fishing centers in the world. All cruises will start in New Orleans, so passengers on the cruises can visit the fascinating French Quarter and other attractions there.

Louisiana should become the No. 1 river cruise port in the country with this new development. It will mean a big plus for our tourism business and growth for our economy.


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