Journey to the heart and soul of the American South aboard a traditional paddle wheeler as you voyage from spirited New Orleans to antebellum Natchez and lively Memphis.

Starting at: $5,395 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 $5,395

Journey to the heart and soul of the American South aboard a traditional paddle wheeler as you voyage from spirited New Orleans to antebellum Natchez and lively Memphis.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


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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.


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Save up to $250 per person when you book by May 10, 2019!

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


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.

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. 
  • Queen of the Mississippi and America: The Queen of the Mississippi (May 17, 2019 departure) made its debut on the Mississippi River in summer 2015. The 150-guest paddle wheeler features Victorian-influenced design elements reminiscent of an earlier time on the river. The America ship (November 8, 2019 departure) embodies a casual ambiance and relaxed atmosphere while providing panoramic views of the passing scenery. With only 185 guests, fellow passengers will quickly become new friends. See more information about these ships on the Tour Details page. Each 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.


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)