Dubuque prepares for arrival of new Viking Mississippi cruise
DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The city of Dubuque and local businesses are already preparing for the arrival of a new 386-passenger cruise that is scheduled to make ten stops in the Port of Dubuque this summer.
Bob Schiesl, assistant city engineer, explained Dubuque will be constructing a $1.8 million docking bay near Grand Harbor Resort and Water Park as part of a 20-year agreement with Viking River Cruises, the company bringing the Viking Mississippi cruise to Dubuque.
“Right now, we are designing the dock expansion to be able to accommodate the Viking vessel because, per our agreement, they will have exclusive docking rights,” Schiesl mentioned. “Because of the partnership that we have with them, when they are in town they will have exclusive docking rights here along our riverfront.”
Construction is expected to begin this spring or early summer.
“It is going to be huge for our local economy and the tourism,” Schiesl added.
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium (NMRMA) is also located in the Port of Dubuque. Kurt Strand, its president and CEO, said tourism is a big driver of the museum’s income.
”The lifeblood of our organization are the guests and visitors that come to see us, and we actually get visitors from all 50 states and over 70 countries,” he mentioned.
But the number of guests at the NMRMA dropped significantly because of the pandemic. Strand said, though, those numbers are starting to look more promising.
”I think what we have seen in the last year or so is people wanting to get out,” he mentioned. “The admissions for the river museum in 2021 was higher than it has been since 2019.”
And with the arrival of the Viking Mississippi, staff at the NMRMA is expecting even more visitors now. Strand said they have began preparing for that influx of tourists already.
“We have been adding different types of shifts, from our education staff to our front office staff to our café grill staff, because we do know that summer is the biggest season we have, and we expect this one to be bigger than the ones we have had in the past because of the types of visitors we are going to get,” he explained.
Strand told TV9 every passenger on the Viking Mississippi will have a ticket to get into the River Museum. He said they will also provide them behind the scenes tours of the exhibits.
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