Stillwater, Minnesota is obviously not on the Mississippi River, but Viking River Cruises came to town several years ago to meet with city leaders when they began doing their homework on a U.S. cruise. Mayor Ted Kozlowski said he plans to keep pitching a St. Croix side trip as Viking works out their Mississippi River itinerary, which would be a boom for the charming downtown.
"I don't think it would be a tough sell because Stillwater is the birthplace of the Minnesota, and its' a destination place," Kozlowski said. "People come to Stillwater to spend the day or the weekend."
Viking currently runs 19 different river cruises, with most of them in Europe and a few in Russia, southeast Asia and Egypt.
The city of St. Paul and the port authority had in-depth meetings with Viking about a month ago. The cruise line wants dedicated dock space for a boat carrying 300-plus people. Further meetings will cover the location of that dock space, which days a boat would be in port and how passengers would get to tourist sites.
Viking is working on dockage sites from New Orleans up, and has already done studies on river depths and bridge clearances. Now, cities are vying to be part of the ports of call.
Stillwater knows they're a bit of a detour, but they think they're worth it.