Journey through the heart of America’s Old South during our popular voyage on the Mississippi. From spirited New Orleans to antebellum Natchez and lively Memphis, learn about the river's enormous influence on American history and culture.

Starting at: $6,690 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Oak Alley Plantation, with its famous oak trees and Greek Revival mansion  Exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis  Famous Beale Street in Memphis  Mississippi River near Memphis  The elegant new <i>American Harmony</i>  Old Governor's Mansion in Baton Rouge  Baton Rouge, Louisiana   USS <i>Cairo</i>, one of the first American warships built at the start of the Civil War  Civil War cannons  Crescent City Connection Bridge, New Orleans

Voyage on the Mississippi

From New Orleans to Memphis

9 days from $6,690

Journey through the heart of America’s Old South during our popular voyage on the Mississippi. From spirited New Orleans to antebellum Natchez and lively Memphis, learn about the river's enormous influence on American history and culture.

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 $250 per person when you book by November 6, 2020!

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. Visit the Tour Details tab and click on "Special Air Rates/Services" drop down. 

Overview

Journey through the heart and soul of the American South aboard a modern riverboat. From spirited New Orleans to lively Memphis, learn about the region’s complex history and its enormous influence on American history and culture. 

Highlights Include

  • Historic Towns and Plantations: Take a walking tour of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. Begin your cruise, then choose to visit either Houmas House and Plantation or Oak Alley Plantation, a National Historic Landmark. Enjoy a city tour of Baton Rouge and explore Rosedown Plantation. Continue to Natchez, renowned for its 19th-century prosperity and more than 500 stately antebellum homes. Visit Longwood Plantation, a house abandoned during its construction at the time of the Civil War. Visit the historic Natchez Cemetery and hear about the lives of those buried there.
  • Civil War Sites: Learn how the Union came to control the Mississippi River when you tour Vicksburg National Military Park, where more than 1,400 monuments and memorials dot the landscape, and visit the restored ironclad gunboat USS Cairo
  • Civil Rights Movement: During a city tour of Memphis, visit the National Civil Rights Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, and view the robust collections that trace the culture of slavery, African-American history, and the American Civil Rights Movement.
  • Small Ship Experience: Feel the spirit of cruising this historic river as you listen to traditional music and savor the finest in southern cuisine aboard the elegant new American Jazz. Introduced in 2020, this contemporary riverboat features a modern aesthetic and spacious staterooms and suites, each with a private balcony. See more ship information on the Tour Details page. This voyage will also host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience. 

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.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart for New Orleans, Louisiana

Depart for New Orleans. Upon arrival at Louis Armstrong International Airport, transfer to the InterContinental Hotel New Orleans. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available to offer suggestions on restaurants and independent activities. This evening, gather for an exclusive Smithsonian Journeys briefing and welcome reception at the hotel. Your Smithsonian Journeys Expert will provide opening remarks on your week ahead. (R)

Day 2 — New Orleans

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served at the hotel. Begin exploring on a guided walking tour of the city’s French Quarter. See famous attractions like Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, and St. Louis Cathedral. Learn about the area’s writers and artists while strolling through the historic streets. Following the tour, proceed to board your riverboat. After embarkation, a buffet lunch will be served. The ship departs New Orleans for Houmas House in early afternoon. This evening, join fellow travelers for Bon Voyage drinks and a welcome aboard dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Houmas House / Baton Rouge

After breakfast, the ship will dock at Houmas House riverside dock. You’ll have your choice of touring Houmas House or Oak Alley Plantation. Houmas House is an elegantly-styled Greek revival mansion with magnificent gardens built in 1840. Your tour will offer a glimpse of plantation life as guides in period dress use the artifacts, furniture, artwork and stories of past owners to explain how this manor home grew into the grand estate it is today. Travel by motorcoach to Oak Alley. One of the high points of a visit are the perfectly aligned 300-year-old oak trees that form a canopy creating a particularly grand entrance. You’ll be met by guides, in period costume, who will take you through this antebellum plantation house with its beautifully appointed rooms and see why it has earned the title of “Grande Dame of The Great River Road.” After the tour, you’re invited to join a gathering for Mint Juleps on the west lawn. This evening, back onboard the ship, join new friends in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an informal drink and a discussion about the day’s discoveries. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Baton Rouge / Cruising

This morning travel to St. Francisville, home to some of the most beautiful plantations in the South. Immerse yourself in southern culture and tradition while visiting one of these magnificent properties; the Rosedown Plantation. Local guides will fascinate you with stories of the families who lived there and offer insight into the culture of the South. After lunch onboard, depart for a tour of historic Baton Rouge. Your first stop is the Louisiana Old State Capitol where you will experience a one-of-a-kind interactive film that brings you face-to-face with the ghost of Sarah Morgan who lived during the time of the Civil War. Afterward, your local tour guide will take you to the Louisiana State Museum, a completely interactive site with three floors of displays detailing each different region of Louisiana. The balance of the afternoon is free of planned activities so you can explore on your own. During your free time, you may want to visit the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. Known as the “Pirate of the Pacific,” this Fletcher-class destroyer is a memorial to the men and women that served in the American armed forces. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Natchez

Today, learn about what southern life was like during the 1800’s with a tour of Natchez and Longwood Plantation. On your leisurely Natchez city tour, an expert local guide will provide an insider’s perspective into the city’s rich history and the preserved influences of Native American, European, and African cultures. You’ll be greeted at the landmark Longwood Plantation house, famously known for remaining incomplete to this day, as the Union workers abandoned the building unfinished to fight with the Union Army during the Civil War. In the early afternoon, explore the Historic Natchez Cemetery. On a walking tour through the oldest section of the cemetery, you’ll hear fascinating stories of residents buried there. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Vicksburg

After departing the ship, a park ranger will guide you through the National Military Park which commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg in 1863. See the restored ironclad gunboat, USS Cairo, and the battlefield where the Siege of Vicksburg took place. The excursion concludes at the Visitors Center where life-sized exhibits and artifacts from that time are on display. Step back into the early 19th century as you discover Vicksburg’s oldest neighborhood with resident guides to Christ Episcopal Church (circa 1839). Inside, admire the beauty of the Tiffany windows and hear stories of the people who worshipped here amidst cannonball fire during the Civil War. Experience a slice of Americana with a short walk on the brick streets that showcase nearly two centuries of American architecture. You will be shown true southern hospitality as you are welcomed into an antebellum mansion with a personalized tour. Sit for a “spell” and “take refreshment” in the parlor of the mansion. As you return to the ship, the narration continues as you see many of the unique highlights of Vicksburg. In the early evening, meet fellow travelers for casual drink and conversation in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — A Day of River Cruising

Enjoy the warmth of the Mississippi River as you 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

Memphis has a deep-rooted history that spans many of the most important aspects of American cultural life. This “City on the Bluff” is where the Blues were brought to life. Its history is linked to cotton and music. Drive past Mud Island, the Mississippi River Educational Park; Cotton Row, where 60% of the nation’s cotton was once traded, the National Civil Rights Museum, and old quarters of the city such as the Pinch District. After lunch, visit the National Civil Rights Museum established in 1991, the museum is located at the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The museum’s mission is to share the history of the American Civil Rights Movement, a tumultuous and inspiring time in American History. Explore interactive exhibits and historic collections to learn how this significant era continues to shape the fight for equality and freedom today. Return to the ship later in the afternoon. Get together in the early evening for a drink before your final dinner and evening onboard.

Day 9 — Departure to Gateway Cities

Following breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to the Memphis International Airport for your return flight home. (B)

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