Explore the magnificent Great Lakes on this popular and captivating cruise. You will enjoy crystal-clear blue waters surrounded by pristine wilderness, turn-of-the-century towns, and pastoral splendors.

Starting at: $9,095 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 A lighthouse overlooking Lake Michigan  Aerial view of Chicago, Illinois  The city of Chicago, renowned for its modern and contemporary architecture  Horse and buggy on Mackinac Island  Mackinac Island overlooking Lake Huron  Mackinac Bridge at night over the Straits of Mackinac  Valley Camp Ship Museum, Sault Saint Marie  Ontario's Georgian Bay in the northeastern arm of Lake Huron  Ontario's Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron  View of Detroit, Michigan from Windsor, Ontario, Canada  Henry Ford Museum, Detroit  Skyline of Cleveland, Ohio  Horseshoe Falls, Niagara, Ontario

Great Lakes Grand Voyage

13 days from $9,095

Explore the magnificent Great Lakes on this popular and captivating cruise. You will enjoy crystal-clear blue waters surrounded by pristine wilderness, turn-of-the-century towns, and pastoral splendors.

or Call 855-330-1542

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Palmer House

Chicago, Illinois, United States

The iconic Palmer House has a long and colorful history. The hotel was opened in September of 1871 by businessman Potter Palmer as a wedding gift to his wife, Bertha, but it burned down 13 days later in the Great Chicago Fire. Situated in the heart of Chicago's Loop, within walking distance of the Art Institute and Millennium Park, the hotel faces Grant Park and Lake Michigan. In recent years the hotel has undergone a $170 million renovation to ensure that it includes all of the conveniences and comforts 21st-century guests expect. Guest rooms feature contemporary accents and updated amenities including flat-screen TVs and alarm clocks with iPod docks. The Palmer House has an award-winning restaurant and three bars, and there are many restaurant choices located nearby. Amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi.

Number of nights: 1

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: River cruise that pulls into a pier for disembarkation via gangway. Morning and afternoon excursions off ship via motor coach or guided walks from pier. Moderate pace. Excursions can be over uneven terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); some longer walks and extensive walking at museums and historic homes.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Ship

Pearl Mist

The 210-guest Pearl Mist, built in Halifax, Nova Scotia is one of the most gracious cruise ships on the Great Lakes, providing an exceptional luxury experience in an intimate, relaxed setting. At more than 300 square feet, the large and gracefully appointed staterooms mirror those of a world-class hotel Enjoy spectacular views from your room’s large window or by stepping onto your private balcony. Appointments throughout the ship are traditional and comfortable with a variety of public space to fit every mood – from the quiet library to the social atmosphere of the Atlantic Lounge. The Pearl Mist also features open decks, a fitness area, and a glass-enclosed dining room.

The stateroom block is comprised of a range of categories at various price levels. Solo travelers have a choice of accommodations including a single category.

 Pearl Mist cruising the Great Lakes  Viewing Chicago from Pearl Mist stateroom  Pearl Mist sheltered deck lounge  Pearl Mist Lounge  Pearl Mist dining room  Pearl Mist lounge  Pearl Mist stateroom  The Pearl Mist  Pearl Mist stateroom  Pearl Mist stateroom

Pearl Mist

The 210-guest Pearl Mist, built in Halifax, Nova Scotia is one of the most gracious cruise ships on the Great Lakes, providing an exceptional luxury experience in an intimate, relaxed setting. At more than 300 square feet, the large and gracefully appointed staterooms mirror those of a world-class hotel Enjoy spectacular views from your room’s large window or by stepping onto your private balcony. Appointments throughout the ship are traditional and comfortable with a variety of public space to fit every mood – from the quiet library to the social atmosphere of the Atlantic Lounge. The Pearl Mist also features open decks, a fitness area, and a glass-enclosed dining room.

The stateroom block is comprised of a range of categories at various price levels. Solo travelers have a choice of accommodations including a single category.

 Pearl Mist cruising the Great Lakes  Viewing Chicago from Pearl Mist stateroom  Pearl Mist sheltered deck lounge  Pearl Mist Lounge  Pearl Mist dining room  Pearl Mist lounge  Pearl Mist stateroom  The Pearl Mist  Pearl Mist stateroom  Pearl Mist stateroom
Reading List
The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region (David Suzuki Foundation Series)
By: Wayne Grady
Five immense lakes lie at the heart of North America. They cover an area of nearly 95,000 square miles and hold more than 5,500 cubic miles of water. Together they comprise the world's largest freshwater system, containing 95 percent of the continent's fresh water - and one-fifth of the planet's total supply. Home to 40 million people, the Great Lakes' drainage basin is the hub of industry and agriculture in North America. More than a region; it is almost a nation in itself.The Great Lakes: A Natural History of a Changing Region is the most authoritative, complete and accessible book to date about the biology and ecology of this vital, ever-changing terrain. It begins with an account of the geological formation of the lakes and an overview of the lakes' role in relatively recent human history. Grady takes readers through the lakes basin, defined and explored by its three component forest ecosystems: the Boreal, the Great Lakes/St Lawrence and the Carolinian Forests. Representative flora and fauna species are profiled, along with notable physical, climatic, and environmental features.The Great Lakes is both a first-hand tribute and an essential guide to a fascinating ecosystem in eternal flux.
Long Ships Passing: The Story Of The Great Lakes (Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage)
By: Walter Havighurst
A popular history of navigation on the Great Lakes and life on their shores, The Long Ships Passing brings us aboard the crafts that have plowed the waves of the treacherous "five sisters" carrying the grain, lumber, and minerals that fed and built the cities of America. Walter Havighurst paints vivid pictures of life-and death-on the lakes, mysterious accounts of wooden ships and iron men that sank to freshwater graves, especially along the immigrant route where the wrecks lie thick. In rich and marvelous detail, this classic history recounts the saga of an inland marine empire. A longtime professor of English at Miami University, Walter Havighurst (1901-1994) grew up in Wisconsin and was a prolific and passionate writer of regional history and fiction.
The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas
By: Jerry Dennis
Award-winning nature author Jerry Dennis reveals the splendor and beauty of North America’s Great Lakes in this “masterwork”* history and memoir of the essential environmental and economical region shared by the United States and Canada.No bodies of water compare to the Great Lakes. Superior is the largest lake on earth, and together all five contain a fifth of the world’s supply of standing fresh water. Their ten thousand miles of shoreline border eight states and a Canadian province and are longer than the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. Their surface area of 95,000 square miles is greater than New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island combined. People who have never visited them―who have never seen a squall roar across Superior or the horizon stretch unbroken across Michigan or Huron―have no idea how big they are. They are so vast that they dominate much of the geography, climate, and history of North America, affecting the lives of tens of millions of people.The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas is the definitive book about the history, nature, and science of these remarkable lakes at the heart of North America. From the geological forces that formed them and the industrial atrocities that nearly destroyed them, to the greatest environmental success stories of our time, Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario are portrayed in all their complexity.A Michigan native, Jerry Dennis also shares his memories of a lifetime on or near the lakes, including a six-week voyage as a crewmember on a tallmasted schooner. On his travels, he collected more stories of the lakes through the eyes of biologists, fishermen, sailors, and others he befriended while hiking the area’s beaches and islands.Through storms and fog, on remote shores and city waterfronts, Dennis explores the five Great Lakes in all seasons and moods and discovers that they and their connecting waters―including the Erie Canal, the Hudson River, and the East Coast from New York to Maine―offer a surprising and bountiful view of America. The result is a meditation on nature and our place in the world, a discussion and cautionary tale about the future of water resources, and a celebration of a place that is both fragile and robust, diverse, rich in history and wildlife, often misunderstood, and worthy of our attention.“This is history at its best and adventure richly described.”―*Doug Stanton, author of In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors and 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse SoldiersSigurd Olson Nature Writing Award WinnerWinner of Best Book of 2003 by the Outdoor Writers Association of America
Laminated New York & Great Lakes Map by Borch (English Edition)
By: Borch
Folded road and travel map in color. Scale 1:3,000,000. Distinguishes roads ranging from expressways to secondary roads. Legend includes sights, museums, theatres, monuments, churches, synagogues, mosques, zoo, skiing areas, caves, beaches, bus stations, Subway, international/regional airports, airfields, camping sites, waterfalls, hotels, markets, prohibited areas, indian reservations, national parks, national monuments, nature reserves. Includes inset map of Washington D.C. (1:15,000), New York City (1:20,000), Central East Coast (1:1,000,000), Greater Boston (1:1,000,000), Boston (1:15,000). Climate charts show the average daily temperatures, humidity, hours of sunshine and precipitation for each month.
Moon Minnesota (Moon Handbooks)
By: Tricia Cornell
Minnesotan Tricia Cornell brings years of traveling experience to the table in Moon Minnesota. Cornell spotlights a great list of travel strategies, such as "Best of Minnesota", "A Long Weekend in the Twin Cities", and "Wacky Minnesota". She covers the Twin Cities' thriving nightlife as well as the recaptured Victorian allure found in Duluth's historic B&Bs. Whether they're exploring the old European charm of St. Paul or enjoying the sophistication of Minneapolis, Moon Minnesota gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.
Pandora's Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway
By: Jeff Alexander
The St. Lawrence Seaway was considered one of the world's greatest engineering achievements when it opened in 1959. The $1 billion project-a series of locks, canals, and dams that tamed the ferocious St. Lawrence River-opened the Great Lakes to the global shipping industry.Linking ports on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario to shipping hubs on the world's seven seas increased global trade in the Great Lakes region. But it came at an extraordinarily high price. Foreign species that immigrated into the lakes in ocean freighters' ballast water tanks unleashed a biological shift that reconfigured the world's largest freshwater ecosystems.Pandora's Locks is the story of politicians and engineers who, driven by hubris and handicapped by ignorance, demanded that the Seaway be built at any cost. It is the tragic tale of government agencies that could have prevented ocean freighters from laying waste to the Great Lakes ecosystems, but failed to act until it was too late. Blending science with compelling personal accounts, this book is the first comprehensive account of how inviting transoceanic freighters into North America's freshwater seas transformed these wondrous lakes.
Copper Country Rail (Images of Rail: Michigan)
By: George E. Anderson, Richard E. Taylor
From the railroads’ beginnings in the early 1870s to the complex rail network of the 1900s, the advance and decline of the copper industry in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was mirrored by the railroads that served it. With the abandonment in 1976 of the Houghton tracks of the Soo Line (formerly the Mineral Range, Duluth South Shore and Atlantic), Copper Country was once again without the railroad service that built it. This book seeks to tell this rich story of Copper Country railroads through a collection of pictures from various archival sources, including the authors’ personal collections, the Houghton County Historical Society, Keweenaw County Historical Society, the Rudolf Maki collection, the Chuck Pomazal collection, the Michigan Technological University Van Pelt Library Archives, and the National Park Service archives.
Wrecks and Rescues of the Great Lakes: A Photographic History
By: James P. Barry
The waters of the Great Lakes are among the most treacherous in the world. Violent storms churn up waves and unpredictable currents capsize large vessels or cast them onto shoals and rocks where they are battered to pieces. An estimated 10,000 ships have fallen prey to the fury of the Great Lakes during the 150 years of their navigational history. This figure compares to an equal number of disasters which have occurred over the past 300 years around the British Isles. Yet despite the fascinating nature of the topic and the enormity of the problem, there has been an absence of informative published material on this theme. James P. Barry's Wrecks and Rescues of the Great Lakes fills the gap. Shipwrecks on the Great Lakes began almost as soon as there were ships to be wrecked. One of the first vessels built there by the French, the Frontenac, was wrecked in 1679. The book reveals the severity of the weather through dramatic photographs of shipwrecks, and graphic descriptions of the events surrounding them. The Victorian and Edwardian wrecks on the Canadian shore are depicted in minute detail. The photographs of the wrecks on the American side between 1881 and 1910 show the frailty of those vessels. However, the more modern ships of the '20s and '30s were not immune to the power of the lakes. This fact becomes increasing clear in the depiction of recent disasters and daring rescue attempts. The moving description of the tragic loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald makes the reader keenly aware of the present dangers.
The Chippewas of Lake Superior (The Civilization of the American Indian Series)
By: Edmund Jefferson Danziger Jr.
This book tells the story of the Chippewa Indians in the regions around Lake Superior-the fabled land of Kitchigami. It tells of their woodland life, the momentous impact of three centuries of European and American societies on their culture, and how the retention of their tribal identity and traditions proved such a source of strength for the Chippewas that the federal government finally abandoned its policy of coercive assimilation of the tribe. The Chippewas, especially the Lake Superior bands, have been neglected by historians, perhaps because they fought no bloody wars of resistance against the westward-driving white pioneers who overwhelmed them in the nineteenth century. Yet, historically, the Chippewas were one of the most important Indian groups north of Mexico. Their expansive north woods homeland contained valuable resources, forcing them to play important roles in regional enterprises such as the French, British, and American fur trade. Neither exterminated nor removed to the semiarid Great Plains, the Lake Superior bands have remained on their native lands and for the past century have continued to develop their interests in lumbering, fishing, farming, mining, shipping, and tourism. Now, for the first time in three hundred years, white domination is no longer the major theme of Chippewa life. The chains of paternalism have been broken. The possessors of many federal and state contracts, confident in their administrative ability, proud of their Indian heritage, and well organized politically, the Lake Superior bands are determined to chart their own course. In bringing his readers this overview of the Chippewa experience, the author emphasizes major themes for the entire sweep of Lake Superior Chippewa history. He focuses in detail on events, regions, and reservations which illustrate those themes. Historians, ethnologists, other Indian tribes, and the Chippewas themselves will find much of interest in this account of how previous tribal experiences have shaped Chippewa life in the 1970's.
North American Indian Tribes of the Great Lakes (Men-at-Arms)
By: Michael G Johnson
The Great Lakes were the main arena for the fur trade in colonial North America, which drew European explorers and trappers deep into the northern USA and Canada from the 17th century onwards. The desire to control the supply of this luxury item sparked wars between Britain and France, as well as conflicts between rival tribes and the newly formed United States of America, which continued until 1840. The main tribes of the area were the Huron, Dakota, Sauk and Fox, Miami and Shawnee. All were drawn into the conflicts throughout the Great Lakes region during the French-Indian War (1754-1763), as well as the American Revolution. These conflicts culminated in Black Hawk's War of 1832, as Native American tribes attempted to resist the loss of their lands to white settlers in what is now Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. The defeat of these tribes forever altered the climate of the central American states. This new addition to Osprey's coverage of Native American tribes details the growth of the fur trade in the Great Lakes area, the various skirmishes, battles and wars that were fought to control this vital trade and important trade area. With specially-commissioned plates, as well as photographs of locations and/or artifacts where available, expert author Michael Johnson also details the lives and material culture - including clothing, equipment and weaponry - of the local tribes themselves before their circumstances were irrevocably altered.
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
By: Frederick Stonehouse
Title: Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald Binding: Paperback Author: FrederickStonehouse Publisher: AveryColorStudios
Shipwrecks and Lost Treasures: Great Lakes: Legends And Lore, Pirates And More!
By: Michael Varhola
Twenty-one riveting stories and illustrations about ships that met their end in the treacherous waters of the Great Lakes, such as: British gunboat H.M.S. Speedy in 1804, American Navy brig U.S.S. Niagara in 1820, Civil War steamer Island Queen in 1864, the infamous freighter Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975, and many more!
Call of the North Wind: Voyages and Adventures on Lake Superior
By: Marlin Bree
Inspiring true tales of seafaring on the largest expanse of fresh water in the world. In his small sailboat and a cruising catamaran, the author retraces voyages of lost ships, early explorers and heroic sea captains. The rich narrative tells of sailing adventures and mysteries of Lake Superior.
Lake Country: A Series of Journeys
By: Kathleen Stocking
One writer's quest to locate herself within the wet, wild, and diversely human cultural heritage that has shaped her
The Great Lakes Water Wars
By: Peter Annin
The Great Lakes are the largest collection of fresh surface water on earth, and more than 40 million Americans and Canadians live in their basin. Will we divert water from the Great Lakes, causing them to end up like Central Asia's Aral Sea, which has lost 90 percent of its surface area and 75 percent of its volume since 1960? Or will we come to see that unregulated water withdrawals are ultimately catastrophic? Peter Annin writes a fast-paced account of the people and stories behind these battles. Destined to be the definitive story for the general public as well as policymakers, The Great Lakes Water Wars is a balanced, comprehensive look behind the scenes at the conflicts and compromises that are the past-and future-of this globally significant resource. The Great Lakes are the largest collection of fresh surface water on earth, and more than 40 million Americans and Canadians live in their basin. Will we divert water from the Great Lakes, causing them to end up like Central Asia's Aral Sea, which has lost 90 percent of its surface area and 75 percent of its volume since 1960? Or will we come to see that unregulated water withdrawals are ultimately catastrophic? Peter Annin writes a fast-paced account of the people and stories behind these battles. Destined to be the definitive story for the general public as well as policymakers, The Great Lakes Water Wars is a balanced, comprehensive look behind the scenes at the conflicts and compromises that are the past-and future-of this globally significant resource.
Fishing the Great Lakes: An Environmental History, 1783-1933
By: Margaret Beattie Bogue
    Fishing the Great Lakes is a sweeping history of the destruction of the once-abundant fisheries of the great "inland seas" that lie between the United States and Canada. Though lake trout, whitefish, freshwater herring, and sturgeon were still teeming as late as 1850, Margaret Bogue documents here how overfishing, pollution, political squabbling, poor public policies, and commercial exploitation combined to damage the fish populations even before the voracious sea lamprey invaded the lakes and decimated the lake trout population in the 1940s.    From the earliest records of fishing by native peoples, through the era of European exploration and settlement, to the growth and collapse of the commercial fishing industry, Fishing the Great Lakes traces the changing relationships between the fish resources and the people of the Great Lakes region. Bogue focuses in particular on the period from 1783, when Great Britain and the United States first politically severed the geographic unity of the Great Lakes, through 1933, when the commercial fishing industry had passed from its heyday in the late nineteenth century into very serious decline. She shows how fishermen, entrepreneurial fish dealers, the monopolistic A. Booth and Company (which distributed and marketed much of the Great Lakes catch), and policy makers at all levels of government played their parts in the debacle. So, too, did underfunded scientists and early conservationists unable to spark the interest of an indifferent public. Concern with the quality of lake habitat and the abundance of fish increasingly took a backseat to the interests of agriculture, lumbering, mining, commerce, manufacturing, and urban development in the Great Lakes region. Offering more than a regional history, Bogue also places the problems of Great Lakes fishing in the context of past and current worldwide fishery concerns.
Know Your Ships 2018: Field Guide to Boats & Boatwatching Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Seaway
By: Roger Lelievre
The 59th edition of this annual volume offers the lowdown on nearly 1,000 U.S., Canadian and international-flag vessels that sail the inland seas, including owner and port of registry, vital statistics and former names. The book also includes plenty of photographs of vessels present and past, and seven pages of colorful stack markings / flags of Great Lakes & Seaway fleets.
Great Lakes Nature Guide
By: James S. McCormac, Krista Kagume
The natural heritage of the Great Lakes region endures despite intense population and industrial pressures. With this handy guide, perfect for the amateur naturalist, you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the biodiversity of this incredible region. Learn how to identify 452 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, trees, shrubs, grasses and ferns common to the Great Lakes area:* Color illustrations of each species* Native uses of plants* Animal behavior* Ecology and range* Similar species cross-referenced* Color maps showing ecoregions, parks and nature areas across the Great Lakes states: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota..
Mackinac Island
By: Terry W. Phipps
Beautiful, full-color photographs of Mackinac Island---a travel destination known throughout Michigan and the United States.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, ship's crew, tour director, ship's crew, on-tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • For tours that include  round-trip international airfare:  Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees are included
  • For cruises and train journeys: Port charges and cruise line fees, gratuities for ship’s crew

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Port charges are an additional $410 per person. 
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare to/from your departure city is not included. Optional airfare may be available at an additional cost.

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation or $1,000 for a cruise reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to the final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 120 days prior to departure.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 120 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 120 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking but within 121 days of departure:  $500 Retained
  • Cancellations made between 120 days and 91days before departure: $1,000 Retained.
  • Cancellation within 90 days of departure: No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit 

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers

A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. Airport transfers (when applicable) are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.