Low water forces Viking to halt Mississippi River cruises

Published 5:57 am Monday, October 10, 2022

The Viking Mississippi will not return to ports along the Mississippi River until water levels are adequate for safe travel.

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, the river was at 3.66 feet at Vicksburg. For comparison, flood stage is 43 feet. The “low stage” marker is 5 feet.

In Natchez, the river was at 12.47 feet. For comparison, flood stage in Natchez is 48 feet.

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The river cruise line, which just set sail on its first trip on the Mississippi two weeks ago, released a statement on Friday.

“Unusually low water levels along the Mississippi River have caused sections of the river to be closed, impacting all northbound and southbound shipping traffic,” the statement read. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to deepen the shipping canal in some sections, but the closures have caused delays that will prevent the Viking Mississippi from completing the sailing underway and from reaching St. Paul for her next scheduled departure on October 15.

“All impacted guests and their Travel Advisors, if necessary, have been notified directly. At this time, we expect to operate all future departures of the Viking Mississippi as scheduled.”

Low water levels have also negatively impacted barge and towboat traffic on the river.

According to the National Weather Service’s Lower Mississippi River forecast center, 11 gauges along the river are at or below the low water threshold, including at Vicksburg.