Get away next holiday season and discover festive traditions and holiday markets in charming riverside towns in Germany on an unhurried river cruise.

Starting at: $3,290 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 View of Cologne along the Rhine River  Cathedral and holiday market in Wurzburg  Holiday decorations in Miltenberg. Credit: Creative Sparks Imagery / DanitaDelimont.com  Gingerbread, Germany  Holiday decorations in Europe

Holiday Markets

A River Cruise along the Rhine and Main Rivers

12 days from $3,290

Get away next holiday season and discover festive traditions and holiday markets in charming riverside towns in Germany on an unhurried river cruise.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

brochure iconbrochure

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I loved going to the stops on the cruise to experience the wonderful holiday markets - be sure you have extra space for the treasures you will buy!! Also the kind of trip you can take again!

- Ellen S.

The Holiday Markets tour is a magical way to see Germany, Luxembourg, and Paris as the cities and people wonderfully display the joy of the season!

- Charles M.

I can't say enough about my experience with Smithsonian Journeys!!

- Daniel M.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

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

Bayerischer Hof

Munich, Germany

With a total of 340 rooms and suites, the deluxe Bayerischer Hof is one of Munich's most historic luxury hotels. Classic and contemporary design mingles with comfort and elegance. The beautiful Blue Spa, offers a rooftop pool, sauna, solarium and fitness studio all with views of Munich. World-class restaurants include the Michelin recognized Atelier, Palais Keller, Wintergarden and Trader Vic’s. There’s the innovative Cinema Lounge; complete with its own Night Club with live Jazz, five restaurants, six bars and the theater. Guest rooms are decorated in a variety of styles, and provide deluxe, modern amenities. The hotel has been voted one of the best grand hotels in Europe.

Number of nights: 3

Special Air Rates/Services

As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. Details regarding how you may access these options will be provided in your trip confirmation packet.

Program Includes:

  • Low fares
  • Travel dates to fit your schedule
  • Optimal air routing
  • Confirmed airline seat assignments, as offered by participating carriers (subject to availability at time of booking)
  • Ability to adjust your reservations (up to 60 days prior to departure) without penalty, including trip extensions and upgrades. Does not apply to Instant Purchase tickets.
  • Guaranteed transfers in most cases between the tour arrival airport and your hotel
  • Passenger Service Assistance in the event of a flight cancellation or delay
  • Flight insurance, up to $250,000 (Subject to policy terms)
Activity Levels

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: River cruise that pulls into a pier for disembarkation. Morning, afternoon, or full-day excursions at a moderate pace. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and/or outdoor activities, including holiday markets. Walking over sometimes difficult terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators). Winter conditions with colder temperatures, snow, and wind are possible. Travelers may encounter icy and/or snowy streets, walkways, and steps, requiring more effort and time. Some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Choice of excursions with varying activity expectations offered on some days.

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

Ship

Amadeus Silver (2018 Departures)

This gracious ship with luxury cabins and suites offers the utmost in service, safety and comfort. Step into the elegant reception area and immerse yourself in an ambiance akin to an elegant European hotel. Relax in the panoramic lounge, indulge yourself with a soothing massage, browse in the boutique or connect with friends and family back home on the Internet. At the end of each day, return to the comfort of your bright, modern cabin featuring views of the passing scenery, satellite TV and a private bathroom with shower. As an added value feature all of your meals are included and local table wines are served with each dinner during the cruise portion of your journey. Savor international cuisine at the restaurant’s delicious breakfast and luncheon buffets, and enjoy regional specialties at dinner each evening. Complimentary wine and beer served with lunch and dinner.

 <i>Amadeus Silver</i> Sailing  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> dining room  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> Café Vienna  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> Panorama Bar  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> Cabin  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> suite, Mozart deck  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> cabin, Mozart, Strauss decks  <i>Amadeus Silver<i> Panorama bar

Amadeus Silver (2018 Departures)

This gracious ship with luxury cabins and suites offers the utmost in service, safety and comfort. Step into the elegant reception area and immerse yourself in an ambiance akin to an elegant European hotel. Relax in the panoramic lounge, indulge yourself with a soothing massage, browse in the boutique or connect with friends and family back home on the Internet. At the end of each day, return to the comfort of your bright, modern cabin featuring views of the passing scenery, satellite TV and a private bathroom with shower. As an added value feature all of your meals are included and local table wines are served with each dinner during the cruise portion of your journey. Savor international cuisine at the restaurant’s delicious breakfast and luncheon buffets, and enjoy regional specialties at dinner each evening. Complimentary wine and beer served with lunch and dinner.

 <i>Amadeus Silver</i> Sailing  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> dining room  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> Café Vienna  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> Panorama Bar  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> Cabin  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> suite, Mozart deck  <i>Amadeus Silver</i> cabin, Mozart, Strauss decks  <i>Amadeus Silver<i> Panorama bar
Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I loved going to the stops on the cruise to experience the wonderful holiday markets - be sure you have extra space for the treasures you will buy!! Also the kind of trip you can take again!

- Ellen S.

The Holiday Markets tour is a magical way to see Germany, Luxembourg, and Paris as the cities and people wonderfully display the joy of the season!

- Charles M.

I can't say enough about my experience with Smithsonian Journeys!!

- Daniel M.
Reading List
The German Way : Aspects of Behavior, Attitudes, and Customs in the German-Speaking World
By: Hyde Flippo
For All Students Ideal for a variety of courses, this completely up-to-date, alphabetically organized handbook helps students understand how people from German-speaking nations think, do business, and act in their daily lives.
A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube (New York Review Books Classics)
By: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Jan Morris
At the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor set off from the heart of London on an epic journey—to walk to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the rich account of his adventures as far as Hungary, after which Between the Woods and the Water continues the story to the Iron Gates that divide the Carpathian and Balkan mountains. Acclaimed for its sweep and intelligence, Leigh Fermor’s book explores a remarkable moment in time. Hitler has just come to power but war is still ahead, as he walks through a Europe soon to be forever changed—through the Lowlands to Mitteleuropa, to Teutonic and Slav heartlands, through the baroque remains of the Holy Roman Empire; up the Rhine, and down to the Danube. At once a memoir of coming-of-age, an account of a journey, and a dazzling exposition of the English language, A Time of Gifts is also a portrait of a continent already showing ominous signs of the holocaust to come.
All Along the Rhine: Recipes, Wines and Lore from Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Holland
By: Kay Nelson
Each chapter of this brilliant collection of over 130 recipes covers the culinary history and winemaking tradition of a different Rhine country. The literary excerpts, legends, and lore throughout the book accompany the reader-chef on a culinary cruise down one of the world's most famous rivers. Complete with b/w illustrations. "Cradle of European art, culture, history, and folklore for thousands of years, the Rhine River has an appeal for everyone along its verdant shores...In this representative collection of traditional and contemporary Rhine recipes may be found a wealth of culinary treasures, carefully evolved over the centuries by creative cooks. Because the cookery is derived from a jigsaw puzzle of peoples, customs and foods, there are some exotic and exciting contrasts. Indeed, the kitchens of these countries have produced some of the world's most cherished delicacies, as well as flavorful, down-to-earth hearty dishes that have enduring appeal."
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Germany
By: DK Travel
Packed with photographs, illustrations, and detailed maps, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Germany will lead you straight to the very best of this beautiful country, from its beautiful castles and cathedrals; popular beer halls, festivals, and Christmas markets; to walks and hikes through the countryside.This fully updated guide includes 3-D illustrated cutaways and floor plans of must-see sights, plus street-by-street maps of towns and cities. Comprehensive listings showcase the best hotels, resorts, restaurants, and nightlife in each region for all budgets.What's new in DK Eyewitness Travel Guides:   • New itineraries based on length of stay, regional destinations, and themes.    • Brand-new hotel and restaurants listings including DK's Choice recommendations.    • Restaurant locations plotted on redrawn area maps and listed with sights.    • Redesigned and refreshed interiors make the guides even easier to read. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Germany truly shows you this country as no one else can.
Fodor's Munich 25 Best (Full-color Travel Guide)
By: Fodor's Travel Guides
This book identifies and explores in depth the top 25 sights in Munich in a compact, pocket-sized guidebook that also covers other popular spots and major neighborhoods all over the city, including shops, entertainment options, restaurants, hotels, and useful details like helpful web sites and travel information to make your short trip to Munich a great trip.This guide is updated annually. This travel guide includes:· A useful, weather-resistant pullout city map and a metro map for easy navigation· Full-color photos and full-size street maps of major neighborhoods.· Neighborhood walks that show off the best of the city with self-guided tour ideas· Essential info – hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, and more· Popular day-trip destinations.· A two-day itinerary to explore the top attractions and what’s off the beaten path.· Many hotel, restaurant, and entertainment recommendations· Major sights covered include the Alte Pinakothek, Asamkirche, Bavaria Filmstadt, Schleissheim, Schloss Nymphenburg, Viktualienmarkt, Residenz, Peterskirche, Pinakothek der Moderne, Olympiapark, Odeonsplatz, and Neue Pinakothek.With its full-color photography and top 25 to do lists, Fodor’s 25 Best books are the perfect companion for any traveler. A pull out map with major sights marked, is included.  About Fodor’s: Written by locals, Fodor’s travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for over 80 years.
Prost!: The Story of German Beer
By: Horst D. Dornbusch
In Prost! author Horst Dornbusch has extracted from his vast knowledge of German history and beer all of its best parts, and mixed into a fine brew. 141 b/w illustrations and photos, 1 table
A Concise History of Germany (Cambridge Concise Histories) , Second Edition
By: Mary Fulbrook
The multi-faceted, problematic history of the German lands has supplied material for a wide range of debates and differences of interpretation. This second edition spans the early Middle Ages to the present day, synthesizing a vast array of historical material. Mary Fulbrook explores the interrelationships between social, political and cultural factors in the light of the latest scholarly controversies. First Edition Hb (1991): 0-521-36283-0 First Edition Pb (1991): 0-521-36836-7
Germany: Portrait of a Fascinating Country
By: Kunth Verlag
Superb color photographs in landscape formatInformative textPerfect gift bookGermany is beautiful; everyone who has ever traveled between the Baltic Sea and the Alps knows it. Pick up this book and embark on a journey through this unique and unbelievably diverse country in the heart of Europe. Magnificent photographs capture the splendor of sunny coasts and soaring mountains, majestic palaces, remote monasteries, and striking castles. This book is a testament to Germany's wealth of beauties, both natural and architectural. It will surprise you again and again with astonishing discoveries, hidden treasures, amazing panoramas and moving insights. Whether you are an aspiring traveler or a Deutschophile, it is the perfect declaration of love for a wonderful country.
Nuremberg : Infamy on Trial
By: Joseph E. Persico
"A vivid reconstruction of the actions of the wartime allies and the Nazi elite at Nuremberg. Persico eaily carries us into a deeper understanding of the trials."—New York Newsday.
The Burgermeister's Daughter: Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town
By: Steven Ozment
In an era when women were supposed to be disciplined and obedient, Anna proved to be neither. Defying 16th-century social mores, she was the frequent subject of gossip because of her immodest dress and flirtatious behavior. When her wealthy father discovered that she was having secret, simultaneous affairs with a young nobleman and a cavalryman, he turned her out of the house in rage, but when she sued him for financial support, he had her captured, returned home and chained to a table as punishment. Anna eventually escaped and continued her suit against her father, her siblings and her home town in a bitter legal battle that was to last 30 years and end only upon her death. Drawn from her surviving love letters and court records, The Burgermeister's Daughter is a fascinating examination of the politics of sexuality, gender and family in the 16th century, and a powerful testament to the courage and tenacity of a woman who defied the inequalities of this distant age.
The Germans
By: Gordon A. Craig
They have given mankind unique triumphs in science, literature, philosophy, music, and art. They have also produced Hitler and the Holocaust. They are romantic and conservative, idealistic and practical, proud and insecure, ruthless and good-natured. They are, in short, the Germans. In this definitive history, Professor Gordon A. Craig, one of the world’s premier authorities on Germany, comes to grips with the complex paradoxes at the heart of the German identity. His masterly study explores the roots of many contemporary institutions in German history and closely examines such topics as religion, money, Germans and Jews, women, professors and students, romantics, literature and society, soldiers, Berlin, and the German language. Craig also discusses the events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification, while offering invaluable insights into Germany’s pivotal role in world affairs for over a century.
The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire
By: Andrew Wheatcroft
The Habsburgs have been described at one extreme as demons – responsible for a ‘long history of atrocities’; and, at the other, as dodos – living fossils unable to adapt to the modern world. In reality, the flamboyant royal family appear, in many ways, to have behaved much like most other monarchies. Their story, however, is none the less enthralling for that. It is populated by such unforgettable figures as mad Queen Juana, progressing through Spain with her husband’s decaying body; the ‘heroically fertile’ Maria Theresa, and the quixotic Maximilian, ‘Emperor’ of Mexico.
The Gothic Enterprise: A Guide to Understanding the Medieval Cathedral
By: Robert A. Scott
The great Gothic cathedrals of Europe are among the most astonishing achievements of Western culture. Evoking feelings of awe and humility, they make us want to understand what inspired the people who had the audacity to build them. This engrossing book surveys an era that has fired the historical imagination for centuries. In it Robert A. Scott explores why medieval people built Gothic cathedrals, how they built them, what conception of the divine lay behind their creation, and how religious and secular leaders used cathedrals for social and political purposes. As a traveler’s companion or a rich source of knowledge for the armchair enthusiast, The Gothic Enterprise helps us understand how ordinary people managed such tremendous feats of physical and creative energy at a time when technology was rudimentary, famine and disease were rampant, the climate was often harsh, and communal life was unstable and incessantly violent.While most books about Gothic cathedrals focus on a particular building or on the cathedrals of a specific region, The Gothic Enterprise considers the idea of the cathedral as a humanly created space. Scott discusses why an impoverished people would commit so many social and personal resources to building something so physically stupendous and what this says about their ideas of the sacred, especially the vital role they ascribed to the divine as a protector against the dangers of everyday life.Scott’s narrative offers a wealth of fascinating details concerning daily life during medieval times. The author describes the difficulties master-builders faced in scheduling construction that wouldn’t be completed during their own lifetimes, how they managed without adequate numeric systems or paper on which to make detailed drawings, and how climate, natural disasters, wars, variations in the hours of daylight throughout the year, and the celebration of holy days affected the pace and timing of work. Scott also explains such things as the role of relics, the quarrying and transporting of stone, and the incessant conflict cathedral-building projects caused within their communities. Finally, by drawing comparisons between Gothic cathedrals and other monumental building projects, such as Stonehenge, Scott expands our understanding of the human impulses that shape our landscape.
Martin Luther: A Life (Penguin Lives)
By: Martin E. Marty
Called ?The most influential interpreter of American religion? by Bill Moyers, renowned historian and Lutheran pastor Martin Marty portrays the religious reformer Martin Luther as a man of conscience and courage who risked death to ignite the historic reformation of the Church. Luther?s arguments, including his ?95 theses,? changed the destiny of Christendom, the shape of Christianity, and gave rise to new freedoms in church and state. Marty explores the records left by Luther of his inner struggles and his conflicts with the Holy Roman Empire to find a man engaged in a lifelong passionate search for not only the grace of God, but also for the assurance that it was directed toward each individual.
The Improbable Voyage
By: Tristan Jones
The Improbable Voyage is the astonishing account of TRistan Jones' 2,307 mile voyage across Europe in Outward Leg. Continuing his round-the-world journey, Tristan traveled from the North Sea to the Black Sea via the rivers Rhine and Danube. Tristan welcomed each difficulty as a challenge to be met and overcome. Battling ice and cold, life-threatening rapids and narrow defiles, German bureaucrats and Romanian frontier police, Tristan made his way through eight countries and emerged triumphant, if battered, bruised and penniless, at the Black Sea. Tristan gives us a vivid glimpse of the quality of life along Europe's oldest water routes and behind the Iron Curtain.
In a German Pension: Thirteen Short Stories
By: Katherine Mansfield
Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp Murry (1888–1923) was a prominent modernist writer of short fiction who was born in New Zealand and lived in England and Europe. She wrote under the pen name of Katherine Mansfield and is arguably New Zealand’s most famous writer. She died very early in the age of 34 of tuberculosis. “In a German Pension” was her first book of short stories and was published in 1911. These stories were inspired by Mansfield's stay in a Bavarian spa, where her mother sent her in 1909 after a series of sexual explorations resulted in an "unsuitable" marriage and a pregnancy conceived out of wedlock. Most of the thirteen stories in this collection portray interactions among pension guests in a German spa town.
Journey to Munich: A Maisie Dobbs Novel
By: Jacqueline Winspear
Working with the British Secret Service on an undercover mission, Maisie Dobbs is sent to Hitler’s Germany in this thrilling tale of danger and intrigue—the twelfth novel in Jacqueline Winspear’s New York Times bestselling “series that seems to get better with each entry” (Wall Street Journal).It’s early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square—a place of many memories—she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man’s wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie—who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter—to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.The British government is not alone in its interest in Maisie’s travel plans. Her nemesis—the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death—has learned of her journey, and is also desperate for her help.Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers—and finds herself questioning whether it’s time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas. . . .
Stones from the River
By: Ursula Hegi
From the acclaimed author of Floating in My Mother’s Palm and Children and Fire, a stunning story about ordinary people living in extraordinary times—“epic, daring, magnificent, the product of a defining and mesmerizing vision” (Los Angeles Times).Trudi Montag is a Zwerg—a dwarf—short, undesirable, different, the voice of anyone who has ever tried to fit in. Eventually she learns that being different is a secret that all humans share—from her mother who flees into madness, to her friend Georg whose parents pretend he’s a girl, to the Jews Trudi harbors in her cellar. Ursula Hegi brings us a timeless and unforgettable story in Trudi and a small town, weaving together a profound tapestry of emotional power, humanity, and truth.
The Blue Flower: A Novel
By: Penelope Fitzgerald
“An astonishing book . . . Fitzgerald’s greatest triumph.” —New York Times Book ReviewThe Blue Flower is set in the age of Goethe, in the small towns and great universities of late eighteenth-century Germany. It tells the true story of Friedrich von Hardenberg, a passionate, impetuous student of philosophy who will later gain fame as the Romantic poet Novalis. Fritz seeks his father’s permission to wed his “heart's heart,” his “spirit's guide”—a plain, simple child named Sophie von Kühn. It is an attachment that shocks his family and friends. Their brilliant young Fritz, betrothed to a twelve-year-old dullard? How can this be?The irrationality of love, the transfiguration of the commonplace, the clarity of purpose that comes with knowing one’s own fate—these are the themes of this beguiling novel, themes treated with a mix of wit, grace, and mischievous humor unique to the art of Penelope Fitzgerald.“An extraordinary imagining . . . an original masterpiece.” —Hermione Lee, Financial Times
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Paper Folded)
By: Smithsonian Journeys
Swiftmaps is proud to partner with Smithsonian Journeys to bring a new and exciting World Map series to the American marketplace. Featuring eye-catching bold and vivid colors complemented with rich vintage tan ocean tones that will make this the perfect reference piece --- sure to stand-out and highlight any home or business wall. The precise detail and digital accuracy shows color-matching visual shaded 3D relief and other physical features without sacrificing the maps readability. Now printed on high-quality 80 lb. paper and professionally FOLDED in a compact 8x10 inch size. FEATURES: 1) Africa centered allowing viewers to see continents complete and intact 2) Clearly labeled country and city names for easy location 3) Latitude and longitude indications 4) Shaded relief of ocean and land topography 4) Desirable Miller Projection. The Smithsonian Journeys wall map series serve not only as a handy reference piece, but as an eye-catching accent for any room or office. NOTE: each map is professionally folded to 8x10 inches and when unfolded the map is 24 inches high and 36 inches wide.
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

Our 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, tour director, 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
  • 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

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
  • Gratuities to the ship’s crew (we suggest between $9-11 USD per person per day)
  • 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, the internet, etc.)
  • 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.
  • Port dues, embarkation fees, and taxes

Registration 

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (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 final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  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 95 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 contact a Reservations Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (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 wait list by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact. 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, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before 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.