Journey to the heart and soul of America aboard our paddle wheeler, America. From lively Memphis to antebellum Natchez and spirited New Orleans, learn about the Mississippi’s enormous influence on American history and culture.

Starting at: $5,395 * Price includes special offer 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 Aboard the 185-guest paddle wheeler America

9 days from $5,395

Journey to the heart and soul of America aboard our paddle wheeler, America. From lively Memphis to antebellum Natchez and spirited New Orleans, learn about the Mississippi’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 October 25, 2019!

Overview

Journey to the heart and soul of the American South aboard a traditional paddle wheeler. From New Orleans to Memphis, learn about the region's complex history and an 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 and visit Oak Alley Plantation, a National Historic Landmark. From Baton Rouge, explore the complex wetland of Atchafalaya Basin. Continue to Natchez, renowned for its 19th-century prosperity and more than 500 stately antebellum homes. At Frogmore Plantation, walk through the house of Natchez planters and learn about the life, customs, and music of the enslaved people who lived there.
  • Civil War Sites: Stop at Vicksburg National Military Park and the USS Cairo and learn how the Union controlled the Mississippi River.
  • 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 and tradition of cruising this historic river, savor the finest in southern cuisine, and listen to traditional music throughout your voyage. 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.

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, enjoy an exclusive Smithsonian Journeys 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 StreetJackson Square, and St. Louis Cathedral. Learn about the area’s writers and artists while strolling through the historic streets.

Following the tour, proceed to the river dock to embark your riverboat.  After embarkation, a buffet lunch will be served. The ship departs New Orleans for Oak Alley. This evening, enjoy a festive welcome dinner onboard. (B,L,D)

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. Marvel at this antebellum plantation’s many beautifully appointed rooms and discover 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 gathering with 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 / Atchafalaya Basin

Today, 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 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 tour, travel a short distance to Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf for a luncheon of southern favorites while overlooking the waters of the Atchafalaya. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Natchez

Today, learn about what southern life was like during the 1800’s with a visit to Frogmore Plantation. A local guide will accompany you as you explore this 1,800-acre cotton plantation. Learn about plantation life, including the housing, music, and relationships between the owners and workers.

You’ll 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. (B,L,D)

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

Vicksburg was the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River and the Siege of Vicksburg (May 18 – July 4, 1863) was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. Union Major General Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee crossed the Mississippi River and drove the Confederate Army of Mississippi into the defensive lines surrounding the “fortress city” of Vicksburg.

Enjoy a guided tour of Vicksburg National Military Park where over 1,400 monuments and memorials dot the landscape. You’ll also visit the restored ironclad gunboat, USS Cairo. Returning to the ship, travel through downtown Vicksburg to see the colorful riverfront murals representing the city’s past, present, and future. These murals depict Civil War scenes, jazz, and the mighty Mississippi. In 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 which spans many of the most important aspects of American cultural life. This comprehensive tour starts onboard with an authentic Memphis BBQ. Afterward, join your local guide for a journey through the city.

Visit iconic sites such as the National Civil Rights Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate 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. Return to the ship later in the day. Enjoy a final dinner and evening onboard. (B,L,D)

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)