Viking Octantis Launches Season in Milwaukee

Viking Octantis in Milwaukee

Milwaukee welcomed its first cruise ship of the 2023 season this past Thursday. The Viking Octantis was welcomed by Mayor Cavalier Johnson who was joined by Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Port of Milwaukee officials, local tourism leaders and Great Lakes recreational cruise partners.

The Viking Octantis’ arrival begins the summer season with 31 scheduled port calls by cruise ships, bringing an estimated 12,000 passengers to the city.

Viking Cruises will be using Milwaukee as a turnaround port, embarking and disembarking passengers. A sister ship, the Viking Polaris, will also enter service on the Great Lakes this summer.

“Milwaukee is a great destination, filled with attractions and hospitality,” commented Mayor Johnson in a prepared statement. “This is a wonderful example of how local and regional partnerships are creating new excitement and activity in Milwaukee. I am looking forward to more international cruise passengers traveling to America’s Fresh Coast this year, and beyond.”

Following two years of pandemic-related cancellations, Milwaukee’s cruise season returned with significant momentum in 2022 with a record number of vessels traveling to-or-from Milwaukee.

“The Port of Milwaukee’s Great Lakes cruise industry has elevated our profile within the community and around the world. More residents are becoming familiar with the port’s work because of this new tourism sector, and we are excited for more crise ships and international travelers visiting our city in the years ahead,” said Jackie Q. Carter, port director.

Viking will utilize the port’s Heavy Lift Dock this season. Meanwhile, The South Shore Cruise Dock will serve as the future port of call for vessels the size of the Viking Octantis and Polaris. Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in 2024.

Port Milwaukee also continues to promote the passenger cruise business in Milwaukee and throughout the Great Lakes. The port is the founder of the Milwaukee Cruise Collaborative, a local group promoting the city as a cruise destination.

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