Cruise through picturesque Provence along the Rhône and Saône Rivers while you explore important World Heritage sites, charming villages, and the wine regions of the Rhône Valley and Burgundy.

Starting at: $4,390 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 View of Lyon and the Rhône River  The Roman amphitheater in Arles  The portal of the Romanesque Church of St. Trophime, Arles  Palais des Papes, Avignon  The Pont du Gard  Roman theater, Orange  The Roman Triumphal Arch, Orange  The city of Lyon, along the Rhône River  The Benedictine Abbey of Cluny  The 15th-century Hôtel Dieu, Beaune  Vineyards in Burgundy  Landscape of sunflowers in Provence

A River Cruise of Provence

Cruise the Rhône and Saône Rivers

9 days from $4,390

Cruise through picturesque Provence along the Rhône and Saône Rivers while you explore important World Heritage sites, charming villages, and the wine regions of the Rhône Valley and Burgundy.

or Call 855-330-1542

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: River cruise that pulls into a pier for disembarkation. Morning, afternoon, or full-day excursions at a moderate pace. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and/or outdoor activities. Walking over sometimes difficult terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, the absence of elevators); some longer walks at wineries and to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Choice of excursions with varying activity expectations offered on some days.

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

Tour Extensions

Lyon Pre-Program Extension — 4 Days, 3 Nights

Day 1 & 2 - Depart the U.S. for Lyon

Depart the U.S. for Lyon, France.

Upon arrival in Lyon transfer to the Sofitel Lyon Bellecour centrally located in the city’s historic district. Later this afternoon, enjoy a welcome briefing which will acquaint you with your stay in Lyon. Following the briefing, depart on a guided walking tour around the hotel neighborhood. This evening, join fellow participants for a welcome reception at the hotel. (R)

Sofitel Lyon Bellecour     

Day 3 - Lyon

Lyon is often referred to as France’s gastronomic center. Depart the hotel for a tour and taste around the city on this delightful food tour. Sample the local produce, cheeses, and cuisine of Burgundy with local producers and gain insider’s knowledge of Lyon’s gastronomic scene. This afternoon is at leisure to explore Lyon on your own. (B)

Sofitel Lyon Bellecour 

Day 4 – Lyon and Arles

Enjoy your morning independently to explore Lyon. Then check out of the hotel and transfer by motor coach to the MS Van Gogh docked in the city of Arles. The approximate driving time is 2 ½ hours. Embark the ship and setting in. In the early evening join the Main Group of Smithsonian Journeys travelers and those from other leading cultural and educational travel groups for a welcome reception and dinner on board MS Van Gogh(B)​

Sofitel Lyon Bellecour and MS Van Gogh 

Ship

MS Van Gogh

The charming MS Van Gogh represents an exciting new generation of ships sailing the rivers of Europe. Newly re-built and launched in 2018, this intimate ship has 54 premium staterooms accommodating 105 travelers. The ship offers passengers the highest level of service, safety, and comfort. The bright open restaurant accommodates all travelers at one convenient sitting with panoramic views of the passing scenery. Delight in refined French and international cuisine accompanied by fine regional wines. A welcoming lounge and bar provide a meeting place for shipboard leisure time and entertainment. On the Sun Deck, travelers can enjoy the outdoors as the ship sails to its next port. Staterooms and suites are well-appointed and its stylish décor features contemporary design and a palette of color that harmonizes with the quiet ambiance onboard. Accommodations feature a modern bathroom with shower and some have French open-air balconies. Wi-Fi service is available aboard ship.

MS Van Gogh

The charming MS Van Gogh represents an exciting new generation of ships sailing the rivers of Europe. Newly re-built and launched in 2018, this intimate ship has 54 premium staterooms accommodating 105 travelers. The ship offers passengers the highest level of service, safety, and comfort. The bright open restaurant accommodates all travelers at one convenient sitting with panoramic views of the passing scenery. Delight in refined French and international cuisine accompanied by fine regional wines. A welcoming lounge and bar provide a meeting place for shipboard leisure time and entertainment. On the Sun Deck, travelers can enjoy the outdoors as the ship sails to its next port. Staterooms and suites are well-appointed and its stylish décor features contemporary design and a palette of color that harmonizes with the quiet ambiance onboard. Accommodations feature a modern bathroom with shower and some have French open-air balconies. Wi-Fi service is available aboard ship.

Reading List
The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France
By: Ina Caro, Doubleday Broadway
Caro takes us on an unforgettable driving tour of France, from Provence to the Loire Valley to Paris. With Caro as an epicurean, knowledgeable, and delightfully opinionated guide, we can always be sure to find the most breathtaking vistas, the most extraordinary châteaux, the most inspiring cathedrals, and the very best meals.
Two Towns in Provence: Map of Another Town and a Considerable Town [Paperback] [1983] (Author) M. F. K. Fisher
By: aa
Will be shipped from US. Used books may not include companion materials, may have some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include CDs or access codes. 100% money back guarantee.
Provence & the Cote D'Azur
By: Rosemary Bailey, Roger Williams, Adele Evans
Packed with photographs, illustrations and detailed maps, Eyewitness Travel Guide: Provence and Cote d'Azur explores every facet that makes the region irresistible, from the glamorous resorts of the Riviera and St. Tropez to the hilltop village of Rousillon. The guide provides all the insider tips every visitor needs from cookery courses to outdoor attractions and entertainment, as well as comprehensive listings of the best hotels, villas, resorts, restaurants and nightlife area by area for all budgets. You'll find 3D cutaways and floor-plans of all the major sites plus street-by-street maps of the major cities and towns. Experience the flavors of Provence with advice on local produce and classic dishes and rely on practical information in the fully updated survival section. With up-to-date information on getting around by train, boat, bike and foot plus the sights, beaches, markets, festivals and resorts listed town by town, Eyewitness Travel Guide: Provence and Cote d'Azur is indispensable.
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet
The Roman Provence Guide
By: Edwin Mullins
Provence owes its name to Julius Caesar who described the region as the Province of Rome. Edwin Mullins seeks out hidden traces of that ancient world along with the many spectacular monuments that today adorn the cities of Nimes, Arles, Vienne, and Orange. He tells the story of how the Romans came to invade Provence, how they stayed to colonize it, and how they transformed Provencal cities into imitations of Rome. His narrative also tells how the Emperor Constantine brought about the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity from his favorite city of Arles and how the Romans were eventually driven out by the Visigoths. Roman Provence is also a guide to the principal sites in the region as well as those rarely visited, with separate chapters on various Roman achievements: triumphal arches, aqueducts, farming, city life, bridges and road-building, temples and shrines, theaters and amphitheaters.
Wallpaper* City Guide Lyon (Wallpaper City Guides)
By: Wallpaper*
The fast-track guide for the smart traveller.
The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence (The Most Beautiful Villages)
By: Michael Jacobs
A place apart, a land of outstanding beauty and distinction, Provence is nothing less than an earthly paradise. From one of the most famous coastlines in the world, the Cote d'Azur, to the hills and mountains of the Luberon, the variety and culture of its villages are astounding. It is in such small communities as those so beautifully photographed by Hugh Palmer that the true spirit of Provence is to be found. Brilliant sunlight slants across jostling terra-cotta roofs, and great plane trees cast velvety shade across ancient squares where the only sound is that of a moss-covered fountain. The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence stunningly evokes the beauty and spirit of Provence, which has drawn visitors to it from ancient times to the present day. Its enduring charm is here celebrated in Palmer's magnificent photographs of such gems as Riez and its fields of lavender or the mysterious cobbled paths of Crestet. These entrancing places, and many others, make this book a lasting tribute to a magical world. Featuring a special listing of hotels, restaurants, festivals, and markets, this book celebrates a part of the world that has entranced millions. 300 full-color photographs
Provence A-Z: A Francophile's Essential Handbook (Vintage Departures)
By: Peter Mayle
The ultimate “dictionary” for lovers of Provence: Peter Mayle's personal selection of the foods, customs and words he finds most fascinating, curious, delicious, or just plain fun.Though organized from A to Z, this is hardly a conventional work of reference. In more than 170 entries, Peter Mayle—bestselling author of A Year in Provence—writes about subjects as wide-ranging as architecture and zingue-zingue-zoun (in the local patois, a word meant to describe the sound of a violin). And, of course, he writes about food and drink: vin rosé, truffles, olives, melons, bouillabaisse, the cheese that killed a Roman emperor, even a cure for indigestion. Provence A-Z is a delight for Peter Mayle's ever-growing audience and the perfect complement to any guidebook on Provence, or, for that matter, France.
Cluny: In Search of God's Lost Empire
By: Edwin Mullins
A monastery like no other, this is Cluny’s story from humble beginnings in the early Middle Ages, through centuries of immense wealth and sacred glory, to its decline, destroyed by the French Revolution. Much of Cluny’s enduring legacy lies in great cultural innovations sponsored by the abbey.
The Popes of Avignon: A Century in Exile
By: Edwin Mullins
This narrative history masterfully weaves together the sweeping events surrounding the so-called “Babylonian captivity” of the popes into the broader story of 14th-century Europe, a turbulent time of transition between Middle Ages and Renaissance when seven successive popes resided in Avignon in the south of France.
Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World's Greatest Wine
By: Maximillian Potter
Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2014Journalist Maximillian Potter uncovers a fascinating plot to destroy the vines of La Romanée-Conti, Burgundy's finest and most expensive wine. In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison-a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France. The sinister story that Vanity Fair journalist Maximillian Potter uncovered would lead to a sting operation by some of France's top detectives, the primary suspect's suicide, and a dramatic investigation. This botanical crime threatened to destroy the fiercely traditional culture surrounding the world's greatest wine. SHADOWS IN THE VINEYARD takes us deep into a captivating world full of fascinating characters, small-town French politics, an unforgettable narrative, and a local culture defined by the twinned veins of excess and vitality and the deep reverent attention to the land that runs through it.
The Food of France.
By: Waverly Root.
Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James
By: David Downie
Driven by curiosity wanderlust and health crises David Downie and his wife set out from Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees Starting on the Rue Saint Jacques and trekking 750 miles south to Roncesvalles Spain their eccentric route takes seventy two days on Roman roads and pilgrimage paths a 1 100 year old network of trails leading to the sanctuary of Saint James the Greater For Downie the inward journey met the outer one a combination of self discovery and physical regeneration More than 200 000 pilgrims take the highly commercialized Spanish route annually but few cross France Downie had a goal to go from paris to the pyrenees on age old trails making the pilgrimage in his own maverick way
Provence
By: Lawrence Durrell
Lawrence Durrell, who was called “one of the [twentieth] century’s great literary pyrotechnicians” (Kenneth McLeish, London Times), was also one of its most accomplished travel writers. Durrell lived in Provence for thirty years and was its leading literary expatriate long before others discovered that magical wedge of land. In this, his final book, he has left a dazzling testament that distills its essence and conveys its savors as no other work in the English language.Durrell’s Provence is saturated with the spirits of civilizations past. In the countryside, the marketplace, and among the people, he listens to — and conveys for us — echos of the battles of Roman generals like Caesar and Agrippa, the love of Petrarch for Laura, the debates of the medieval Courts of Love, and the lyrics of the troubadours. He relates the significance of ruins strewn across Provence, which for him is nothing less than the crucible where the European sensibility was forged, and he discusses such topics as bull worship, black magic, alchemy, the Provençal language, Buffalo Bill’s friendship with the poet Mistral, who was Provence’s Nobel laureate, the beauty of Arlesian women, and the game of boules. Provence is a monument to the author and to the region, and is essential reading for any traveler seeking to understand the spirit of the place.
On Provence (On Series)
By: Henry James
Meander through Provence in the company of Henry James with this vivid collection of travel writing taken from his little-known book A Little Tour in FranceIn 1882, a year after the publication of his wildly successful The Portrait of a Lady, which dealt with the difficulties faced by American expatriate Daisy Miller in Europe, Henry James set out a six-week tour of southeastern France, taking in Tours, Bourges, Nantes, Toulouse, and Arles. Although a sometime resident of Paris, James was convinced that the soul of France resided not in the capital but in the provinces, and he set out to find it. Beginning in Touraine, James followed the course of the Rhône north to Burgundy, writing articles on architecture, literature, and personal observation that were serialized in the Atlantic Monthly. The resulting work is a fascinating patchwork, switching seamlessly between the broad strokes of classic travel writing and the smallest details of human behavior for which James is best known. This is at once an excellent example of James' prose writing and an outstanding work of travel writing in its own right.
France: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: William Rodarmor, Anna Livia
This guide for literature enthusiasts and travelers alike reveals what Francophiles have long known: France is so much more than the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysées. Including contributions from such celebrated French writers as Colette, Gabriel Chevallier, and Emmanuelle Laborit, this lively anthology takes readers through France in literary style. In Paris, walk down twisty Rue Ferrière, take a spin on a Franco-Arab carousel, and eavesdrop on a Jewish funeral party. In the suburbs, meet a pint-sized book thief and a gritty ghetto gang. Then visit Provence, Brittany, Normandy, and Alsace-Lorraine, and even witness the Tour de France. Organized by region, these charming stories are often funny, occasionally surreal, and always compelling.
Lisette's List: A Novel
By: Susan Vreeland
From Susan Vreeland, bestselling author of such acclaimed novels as Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Luncheon of the Boating Party, and Clara and Mr. Tiffany, comes a richly imagined story of a woman’s awakening in the south of Vichy France—to the power of art, to the beauty of provincial life, and to love in the midst of war.   In 1937, young Lisette Roux and her husband, André, move from Paris to a village in Provence to care for André’s grandfather Pascal. Lisette regrets having to give up her dream of becoming a gallery apprentice and longs for the comforts and sophistication of Paris. But as she soon discovers, the hilltop town is rich with unexpected pleasures.   Pascal once worked in the nearby ochre mines and later became a pigment salesman and frame maker; while selling his pigments in Paris, he befriended Pissarro and Cézanne, some of whose paintings he received in trade for his frames. Pascal begins to tutor Lisette in both art and life, allowing her to see his small collection of paintings and the Provençal landscape itself in a new light. Inspired by Pascal’s advice to “Do the important things first,” Lisette begins a list of vows to herself (#4. Learn what makes a painting great). When war breaks out, André goes off to the front, but not before hiding Pascal’s paintings to keep them from the Nazis’ reach.   With German forces spreading across Europe, the sudden fall of Paris, and the rise of Vichy France, Lisette sets out to locate the paintings (#11. Find the paintings in my lifetime). Her search takes her through the stunning French countryside, where she befriends Marc and Bella Chagall, who are in hiding before their flight to America, and acquaints her with the land, her neighbors, and even herself in ways she never dreamed possible. Through joy and tragedy, occupation and liberation, small acts of kindness and great acts of courage, Lisette learns to forgive the past, to live robustly, and to love again.Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.  “Vreeland’s love of painters and painting, her meticulous research and pitch-perfect descriptive talents . . . are abundantly evident in her new novel.”—The Washington Post   “This historical novel’s . . . great strength is its lovingly detailed setting. . . . Readers will enjoy lingering in the sun-dappled, fruit-scented Provençal landscape that Vreeland brings to life.”—The Boston Globe   “A pleasurable opportunity to learn something about art, history . . . and to enjoy a plucky heroine who grows in ways she never thought possible.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch   “Mesmerizing . . . Vreeland’s passionate writing is as good as a private showing at the Louvre.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)   “An entrancing novel of joy and heartache . . . Vreeland provides the reader with a broad spectrum of emotions.”—The Free Lance-Star
The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World
By: Christy Campbell
In the mid-1860s, grapevines in southeastern France inexplicably began to wither and die. Jules-Émile Planchon, a botanist from Montpellier, was sent to investigate. He discovered that the vine roots were covered in microscopic yellow insects. What they were and where they had come from was a mystery. The infestation advanced with the relentlessness of an invading army and within a few years had spread across Europe, from Portugal to the Crimea. The wine industry was on the brink of disaster. The French government offered a prize of three hundred thousand gold francs for a remedy. Planchon believed he had the answer and set out to prove it. Gripping and intoxicating, The Botanist and the Vintner brings to life one of the most significant, though little-known, events in the history of wine.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on-tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • For tours that include  round-trip international airfare:  Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees are included
  • For cruises and train journeys: Port charges and cruise line fees, gratuities for ship’s crew

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare to/from your departure city is not included. Optional airfare may be available at an additional cost.

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation or $1,000 for a cruise reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Cultural Travel Specialist, Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us. 

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers

A designated group flight is not included on most tours. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights. Airport transfers (when applicable) are complimentary for both Flex Air participants and participants who are able to meet the scheduled group departure times. Reservations are required.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.