Experience the spirit, grandeur, and tradition of cruising the Mississippi River aboard a nostalgic riverboat as you make the journey between spirited New Orleans and lively Memphis.  

Starting at: $5,160 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 <i>America</i>  Oak Alley Plantation, with a quarter mile of oak trees leading to the Greek Revival mansion  Civil War cannons  Old Governor's Mansion in Baton Rouge  <i>America</i>  <i>America</i> cruising the legendary river

Voyage on the Mississippi

A River Cruise from New Orleans to Memphis

9 days from $5,160

Experience the spirit, grandeur, and tradition of cruising the Mississippi River aboard a nostalgic riverboat as you make the journey between spirited New Orleans and lively Memphis.  

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I would highly recommend Smithsonian. They are a high quality tour organization. They organize the tour in a highly efficient manner. I would travel again with them.

- Victoria B.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

Save up to $250 per person on our May 2019 departure and up to $850 per person on our November 2019 departure when you book by December 7, 2018!

*Single pricing and savings available, please call 855-330-1542 for more information. 

Overview

Experience the spirit, grandeur, and tradition of cruising the Mississippi River aboard a nostalgic riverboat as you make the journey between spirited New Orleans and lively Memphis. Journey to the heart and soul of America aboard our paddle wheeler, America or Queen of the Mississippi and learn about the Mississippi’s enormous influence on American history and culture.

2018 Highlights Include:

  • Memphis: Enjoy a specially arranged tour of Memphis and a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum.
  • Civil War Sites: Enjoy in-depth discussions about the civil war along the western frontier with your expert, then explore noted sites including the national military park at Vicksburg.
  • Historic Towns: Tour legendary towns such as Natchez, the “Golden City of the South” with its 500 stately antebellum homes; St. Francisville, full of unique treasures and plantations; and the state capital of Baton Rouge.
  • Plantations: Step ashore to visit Oak Alley, one of the South’s most legendary plantations.
  • Mississippi Paddle Wheeler: Feel the spirit and tradition of cruising this historic river, savor the finest in southern cuisine, and listen to traditional music all the way to New Orleans.

2019 Highlights Include:

  • New Orleans: Enjoy a hotel overnight followed by a specially arranged walking tour of the historic French Quarter.
  • Mississippi Paddle Wheeler: Feel the spirit and tradition of cruising this historic river, savor the finest in southern cuisine, and listen to traditional music all the way to Memphis.
  • Plantations: Step ashore to visit Oak Alley, one of the South’s most legendary plantations.
  • Wildlife: Join a specially arranged boat tour to explore the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest river swamp in the U.S.
  • Historic Towns: Visit St. Francisville, full of unique treasures and plantations. Tour legendary towns such as Natchez, the “Golden City of the South” with its 500 stately antebellum homes.
  • Civil War Sites: Enjoy in-depth discussions about the civil war along the western frontier with your expert, then explore noted sites including the national military park at Vicksburg.
  • Memphis: Enjoy a specially arranged tour of Memphis and a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum

*Please note: The May 17, 2019 departure will be operated aboard the Queen of the Mississippi. October 29, 2018, and November 8, 2019 departure will operate aboard the America.

I would highly recommend Smithsonian. They are a high quality tour organization. They organize the tour in a highly efficient manner. I would travel again with them.

- Victoria B.

2018 Itinerary

Day 1 — Memphis, Tennessee

Individual arrivals into Memphis, Tennessee. Meet fellow travelers and staff at a festive welcome reception in Memphis. Dinner and the remainder of the evening will be on your own. (R)

Day 2 — Memphis

This morning depart the hotel on a city tour. This afternoon embark your spacious Mississippi paddle wheeler, your home for the next 7 nights! (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Cruising the Mississippi

Enjoy a relaxing day on the Mississippi River as you make your way south along the river. While on board there are many areas for relaxing, both indoors and out. Take in spectacular river views from the sun deck or the comforts of the spacious lounge. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Vicksburg, Mississipi

Vicksburg was a fortress, “The Gibraltar of the Confederacy” and from March to July 1863, Major General Ulysses S. Grant waged a series of bold assaults to capture the city. These campaigns, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, Louisiana, divided the South, and gave the North the control of the Mississippi river it needed. Examine the military maneuvers that led to the final success of the Union army during a tour of Vicksburg National Military Park. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Natchez

During the early 19th century, Natchez reigned as the Golden City of the South, an important Mississippi River port where vast plantations reflected the prosperity of the time. More than 500 antebellum homes still line its city streets, stately in their timeless grandeur. Visit Frogmore Plantation and follow the early Natchez planters and their slaves through an evolution from wilderness to a thriving 1850s cotton plantation, and beyond the War Between the States to a struggling new way of life. Learn about slave customs, music, and their surprising relationships with their overseers. Walk through authentically furnished slave quarters, a rare steam gin, and other plantation dependencies. Enjoy lunch and musical entertainment back onboard as you continue cruising south. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — St. Francisville, Louisiana

Enjoy the charming town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, which is full of simple pleasures and unique treasures! Located on the bluffs of the Mississippi, St. Francisville has been rightfully noted as “one of the 200 most beautiful small towns in America.” Visit Myrtles Plantation (1796), built by General David Bradford, who played a significant role in the Whisky Rebellion. Continue on to Rosedown Plantation, encompassing over 370 acres and one of the most intact domestic plantations in the South. Enjoy a tour of the Federal/ Greek revival great house and view the extensive gardens. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Baton Rouge

This morning we will depart the ship to tour historic Baton Rouge. Visit the Louisiana State Museum featuring thematic exhibits on the diverse aspects of Louisiana history. See the Capitol Building (1932), conceived by colorful Louisiana politician “Kingfish,” Huey P. Long, the 34-story, 450 foot Alabama limestone-clad skyscraper is an excellent example of simple classicism with Art Deco details that were in vogue for monumental buildings of the late 1920s. We’ll also pass by the Old Governor’s Mansion, built in 1929, also conceived by Long, the Mansion served as Executive Residence from 1930 until 1963 and housed nine of Louisiana’s governors. We’ll also visit Magnolia Mound, one of the oldest plantation homes in Baton Rouge. This afternoon return to the ship for a festive dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Vacherie

This morning disembark your ship for a tour of iconic Oak Alley Plantation, known as the “Grande Dame of the Great River Road.” Marvel at the mansion’s quarter-mile canopy of giant live oak trees, believed to be nearly 300 years old, that leads to this classic Greekrevival antebellum home, a National Historic Landmark. The plantation was built by George Swainy between 1837 and 1839 for Jacques Telesphore Roman, a Louisiana businessman and sugar planter. The mansion has a square floor plan, organized around a central hall that runs from the front to the rear on both floors. The outside features a freestanding colonnade of Doric columns on all four sides, a common feature among the mansions in the Mississippi Valley at the time. Return to the ship this afternoon and enjoy a festive farewell dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — New Orleans

After breakfast, disembark and transfer to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for individual flights home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

2019 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart for New Orleans

Depart from your gateway city to New Orleans. Upon arrival at Louis Armstrong International Airport, transfer to the InterContinental Hotel where overnight accommodations have been reserved. The balance of the day is free to explore on your own.

This evening, enjoy an exclusive Smithsonian Journeys welcome reception at the hotel. Your Smithsonian Journeys Expert will offer a welcome and an orientation briefing. (R)

Day 2 — New Orleans

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served at the hotel today and aboard ship each day during your cruise. Begin exploring on a guided walking tour of the New Orleans’ French Quarter. See famous attractions like Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, and St. Louis Cathedral. Learn about the area’s writers and artists from your guide while strolling through historic streets and discovering hidden courtyards.

Following the tour, transfer to the port for embarkation on the luxury paddlewheel Queen of the Mississippi or America. After embarkation, a buffet lunch will be served. The ship departs for Oak Alley arriving in early evening. (B,L,D)

*Please note: The May 17th departure will be operated aboard the Queen of the Mississippi. The November 8th departure will operate aboard the America.

Day 3 — Oak Alley

After breakfast, depart the ship and walk under ancient oaks bordering your path to the Oak Alley plantation house. The perfectly aligned 300-year old trees form a canopy which provide a spectacular grand entrance for your arrival. A “southern belle” will greet you on arrival and will be your guide during your visit. You’ll marvel at this antebellum plantation’s many beautifully appointed rooms and reveal why it has earned the title of “Grande Dame of The Great River Road.”

After the tour, you’re invited to join fellow travelers for a special gathering with mint juleps on the west lawn. This evening, join new friends in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an informal discussion about the day’s discoveries. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Baton Rouge / Cruising

Today, you’ll explore the diverse natural beauty and rich ecological systems of America’s largest and most complex wetland. Cruise through the open waters of the Atchafalaya Basin as a native guide discusses the abundant plant and wildlife indigenous to the area, that is the largest river swamp in the U.S. Learn about the locals living on houseboats and how they have protected this land over the years.

After the basin boat tour, travel a short distance to Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf for a simple luncheon with southern favorites overlooking the waters of the Atchafalaya. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Natchez

Onboard experts offer many stories about southern life on a plantation; today will reveal what life was really like with a visit to Frogmore Plantation. An insightful local guide will accompany you from the ship to the cotton gin and will be with you as you explore the 1,800-acre cotton plantation. Plantation owners Lynette and Buddy Tanner will talk about plantation life, including the housing, music, and relationships between the owners and workers.

You will have the opportunity to pick cotton directly from the field, participate in a live gospel performance, and witness the progress made in cotton technology from Eli Whitney’s original gin to the modern computerized plantation. This evening, your onboard Civil War historian offers a captivating talk detailing all you are about to see tomorrow at the Vicksburg National Military Park. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Vicksburg

After a hearty southern breakfast, you will be greeted by your private tour guide who will stay with you throughout the day. Upon arrival at the park, rangers who are well-versed in Civil War history guide you on a customized tour that is specific to the interests of the group.

Your guides will take you through the restored ironclad gunboat, U.S.S Cairo, the battlefield where the Siege of Vicksburg took place, and the over 1,300 monuments dedicated to the brave souls who lost their lives. After returning to the ship, come as you like, meet fellow travelers and enjoy casual conversation in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — A Day of River Cruising

Enjoy the warmth of the Mississippi River sun as we cruise from Vicksburg to Memphis. Relax in one of the many spacious lounges or catch gentle breezes on the Sun Deck.

This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner aboard the ship. (B,L,R,D)

Day 8 — Memphis

The city of Memphis has a deep-rooted history which spans many of the most important aspects of American cultural life. This comprehensive tour starts onboard with an authentic Memphis BBQ before your tour guide meets and your journey through Memphis begins.

You’ll visit iconic sites such as the National Civil Rights Museum, St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, the Peabody Hotel – featuring the legendary Peabody ducks, and world-famous Sun Studios – the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll. As you explore the city, the music of up-and-coming artists on Beale Street emanate. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Departure to Gateway Cities

Following breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to the Memphis International Airport for flights to your gateway city. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)