MILWAUKEE — Viking Cruises will set sail on the Great Lakes and make a stop in Milwaukee.
Starting in 2022, the cruise line's Viking Expeditions will plan three 8-day cruises, which will include about 20 voyages on the Great Lakes from April through September. All 20 voyages will either start or end at the Port of Milwaukee. More than 8,000 passengers from around the world are expected to board or disembark here every year.
"Milwaukee is thrilled to have Viking Expeditions call on our city. We are eager to show off our cultural assets, our natural beauty, and our welcoming spirit," Mayor Tom Barrett said in a news release. "The cruise passengers will certainly add to the tourism portion of our economy, and the marketing efforts of Viking Expeditions will show the world many of the positive aspects of Milwaukee."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he fought for this opportunity for the city.
"What you have is you have literally thousands of people who are going to be getting off these ships and they want to go to places where there's a lot of activity going on, and it's only five, ten minutes at most from the different locations to the downtown area," Mayor Barrett said.
The ship will be over 670 feet in length, carrying 378 passengers and 250 crew members.
Viking is consulting a local company, Milwaukee Food and City Tours, about shore excursions for its visitors. Passengers can learn about the city's history, culture, economy, and environment.
Officials are still figuring out where exactly the ship will dock.
People who work in tourism are already planning ahead to showcase the city with not only landmarks and tours, but also hiking and kayaking.
"Every passenger is either going to be flying in or flying out of Milwaukee, which is a great opportunity because we're going to have more hotel revenue and restaurant revenue to go along with that," said Theresa Nemetz, the director of Milwaukee Food and City Tours.
Milwaukee has seen significant growth in the number of passengers coming to the city aboard ships that regularly stop at the port. In 2019, there were ten cruise ship stops at Port Milwaukee with 3,214 passenger visits. During this coming cruise season, the port anticipates fourteen vessel visits with more than 4,000 passengers.
For more information about Viking Cruises, click here.