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: $6,590 * 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

9 days from $6,590

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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Overview

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: River cruise that pulls into a pier for disembarkation via gangway. Morning and afternoon excursions off ship via motor coach or guided walks from pier. Moderate pace. Excursions can be over uneven terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); some longer walks and extensive walking at museums and historic homes.

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

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.

2020 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart for Memphis

Depart from your gateway city to Memphis. Upon arrival at the airport, transfer to The Guest House at Graceland 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 orientation briefing.(R)

Day 2 — Memphis

A full buffet-style breakfast will be served at the hotel. The city of Memphis has a deep-rooted history that incorporates many of the most important aspects of American culture. During a city tour, you’ll visit the National Civil Rights Museum and see St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the world-famous Sun Studios the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll. As you discover the city, you might hear the music of up-and-coming artists on famed Beale Street. After the tour, transfer to the ship for embarkation on the luxurious American Harmony. A buffet luncheon will be served after boarding. In the early afternoon, the ship departs for Vicksburg. Later, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for a casual discussion about the day’s discoveries.  This evening, enjoy a festive welcome dinner onboard. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — River Cruising / Vicksburg

After arrival, explore Vicksburg’s oldest neighborhood with a resident guide on a drive to Christ Episcopal Church (circa 1839). Sit in the pews and marvel at the remarkable Tiffany windows as the Rector tells you about the people who worshipped here amidst cannon fire during the Civil War. Learn about the diversity of the early settlers, and the ongoing preservation efforts of this historic neighborhood from long-time residents. Take a short walk on the brick streets that showcase two centuries of American architecture. You will be afforded true southern hospitality as you are welcomed into an antebellum mansion by the owner, who will offer a personalized tour. Relax and enjoy southern-inspired refreshments in the parlor of the mansion. As you return to the ship, you’ll see many of the unique highlights of Vicksburg. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Vicksburg / Natchez

Enjoy an excursion to Vicksburg 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 on the city took place. Next, stop at the Visitors Center where fascinating exhibits and artifacts are showcased. The excursion concludes with a brief coach tour of downtown Vicksburg and its riverfront murals. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Natchez

Depart the ship for a visit to Longwood Plantation, one of the elegant historic houses that grace the historic district of Natchez. This octagonal house epitomizes the rise and fall of the Old South. As the Civil War began, the workmen stopped construction and the house was never completed. Tour the finished first floor with the original family furnishings and the upper five stories that are still a work in progress. After returning to the ship, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for lively conversation about the day’s discoveries.

Day 6 — Baton Rouge / St. Francisville

After a hearty southern breakfast, depart the ship for a tour of historic Baton Rouge. Explore Capital Park Museum and learn about the diverse aspects of Louisiana history, industry and culture. Take a narrated tour through the historic streets of Baton Rouge, passing iconic landmarks like Governor’s Hall, the New and Old State Capitol, and Magnolia Mound, a French creole plantation house built in 1791. Before returning to the ship, you may want to make an independent visit to see the USS Kidd known as the “Pirate of the Pacific”. This Fletcher-class destroyer is a memorial to the men and women who served in WWII. The ship is named after Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd who died on the bridge of his flagship USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — St. Francisville

Today you’ll visit Rosedown Plantation where you will be met by your resident guide. During the tour, your guide will talk about the family history of Daniel and Martha Barrow Turnbull in the 1830s and how they built a plantation with its Great House and Gardens. At the conclusion of your tour, time is set aside to explore the grounds on your own or relax in a rocking chair on the front porch with cold drinks and freshly made cookies. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Houmas House / Oak Alley

Today, the ship will tie-up at the Houmas House dock. There, you’ll have the option of visiting Houmas House, also known as Burnside Plantation, or the 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. Please note: A 30-minute transfer by coach is required to reach Oak Alley. One of the high points of a visit to Oak Alley is 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. After returning to the ship, enjoy a farewell reception and dinner on board ship. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — New Orleans / Departure to Gateway Cities

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

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

2021 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)