Viking’s new cruise ship will arrive in Milwaukee on May 6 to kick off the 2022 cruise season

Viking’s new 670-foot ships, Octantis and Polaris, will each accommodate 378 passengers. Courtesy of Viking Cruises

Viking CruisesThe new Octantis cruise ship will arrive in Milwaukee on May 6, the first of 33 cruise ship calls scheduled for the city this year.

That’s far more than the 10 cruise ship calls made in Milwaukee in 2019, before the industry was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cruise ships are expected to bring more than 10,000 passengers to Milwaukee this year.

Viking’s ship Octantis will carry up to 378 guests and 256 crew on Great Lakes cruises.

Over a period of five months, a total of 20 Viking voyages will begin or end at Port Milwaukee.

“Milwaukee is a great destination. It is a city full of attractions and hospitality. That’s what cruise passengers will find here,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “As word spreads, I anticipate more and more travelers heading to Milwaukee.”

Viking Cruises will use the port’s City Heavy Lift Dock this season as a stopover location. The South Shore cruise pier, located immediately east of the Lake Express high-speed ferry terminal, will serve as a future port of call for ships the size of the Viking Octantis. Port Milwaukee recently received $3.5 million in grants from the state’s Capital Tourism to build new infrastructure to dock Seawaymax ships at the South Shore Cruise Dock.

A number of ongoing efforts are underway to promote the passenger cruise industry in Milwaukee and the Great Lakes.

“Port Milwaukee continues to capitalize on increased interest in Great Lakes passenger cruises and increased interest in Milwaukee as a hub for passengers to begin or end their voyages,” said the director of Port Milwaukee, Adam Tindall-Schlicht. “In the years to come, thousands of passengers will visit our city, stay at local hotels, dine at our restaurants, and experience all the great things Milwaukee has to offer.”

“Port Milwaukee has positioned itself as a premier cruise destination and our hotel community is thrilled to welcome guests this season,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, President and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. “With two dock experiences as well as an international airport just minutes from a bustling, walkable downtown area, Milwaukee is perfect for Great Lakes cruises.”