Strong demand has led to Viking putting 2024 Mississippi River sailings on sale early.

The company’s first custom-built vessel is due to make its debut in August 2022.

The line’s first US river cruises will operate between New Orleans and St Paul, the state capital of Minnesota.

Several sailings have already sold out in the 2023 sailing season and the strong demand has led Viking to open 2024 sailing dates sooner than originally expected.

The new cruises expected to bring more than 5,800 passengers to the region in 2022 and more than 17,600 during the first full sailing season in 2023.

Scheduled ports of call cover seven US states – Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St Francisville); Mississippi (Natchez and Vicksburg); Tennessee (Memphis); Missouri (Hannibal, St Louis); Iowa (Burlington, Dubuque and Davenport); Wisconsin (La Crosse); and Minnesota (Red Wing, St Paul).

Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said: “We are pleased with the continued response and support we have received from loyal guests and valued partners ahead of our new Mississippi River sailings.

“As we begin to restart ocean operations this spring, we also look forward to a new chapter in 2022 when we begin sailing our first US river voyages.”