First docking could occur in late 2021

Viking River Cruises is again planning to dock its riverboats in Hannibal.

The Europe-based company’s announcement was made Wednesday morning by Hannibal Mayor James Hark during the dedication of the Shinn Lane roundabout.

Viking is reportedly building six 410-foot cruise ships that will each make 19 excursions up and down the Mississippi from July to October, totaling 114 stops in Hannibal.

"That's great news for our local merchants,” Hark said.

This is not the first time Viking has announced plans to cruise the Mississippi River and make regular stops in Hannibal. Viking announced in In 2015 it intended to operate six riverboats on the Mississippi River by 2021. Each boat would make 19 excursions on the river, docking in Hannibal for durations ranging from 6-11 hours each.

The city was notified by a consultant working with the company in late November of last year that Viking had decided to scrap its plans to sail the Mississippi River.

"They have cleared the hurdles they previously had," Hark said. "Their commitment is strong."

The first Viking boat will likely not appear on the Hannibal riverfront until late 2021 or 2022.

Viking officials will be investigating Hannibal's riverfront plans to simultaneously accommodate multiple riverboat dockings.

Hark reiterated what city officials, saying the riverfront renovation was not undertaken to accommodate Viking. "It never was the city's intention to build this for Viking. If Viking was able to come, that would be the cherry on top," he said.

Hannibal already annually docks approximately 30 riverboats, representing American Cruise Lines and The American Steamboat Company.