A couple of years ago, Viking River Cruises announced its intention to bring its popular river cruise experience to upper Mississippi River valley, including a number of stops in towns and cities in Quad Cities region.
Now, it looks like Viking boats may not arrive at all.
A 2-sentence statement from the company responding to a query about the timeline said that Viking River Cruises had terminated discussions to build vessels in a United States' shipyard for Mississippi River and U.S. coastal cruising. The statement also read that it had become apparent the economics didn't meet Viking's goals.
The change appears to be due to relatively obscure U.S. law, the Jones Act, requiring ships sailing between United States ports or inland rivers to be constructed in the U.S. and also operated by American crews.
According to Varley, it would cost the company nearly twice as much to build its vessels in American shipyard and noted it already had a contract with European shipbuilder. In addition, the political climate in the United States made it unlikely a variance to Jones Act allowing Viking to use European-built ships, would be approved.