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River Boat Cruises On The Mississippi

Experience Travel With Road Scholar

Viking Mississippi Preview ~ Cruise the American River [4K Ultra HD]

Climb aboard a river cruise to learn about a new destination from a unique point of view. At Road Scholar, we offer two educational riverboat cruises on the Mississippi. Free round-trip airfare is available from select cities across the United States.

Enroll now at Road Scholar now and get access to riverboat travel guides and information about the other riverboat cruises and ocean voyages that we offer in the United States.

Popular Ports On The Mississippi

You can cruise all the way from New Orleans to St. Paul or Minneapolis along the length of the Mississippi or choose from shorter itineraries spanning a portion of the river. Typically, cruises along the Lower Mississippi travel between New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee, while ships on the Upper Mississippi sail between St. Louis and the Twin Cities. Highlights at popular stops along the river include Cajun culture in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Civil War history in Vicksburg, Mississippi, music and BBQ in Memphis, and plenty of charming small towns and picturesque views along the way.

Lower Mississippi River Cruise

On this 8-day Lower Mississippi River cruise sailing between New Orleans, Louisiana and Memphis, Tennessee, enjoy customized excursions from iconic ports in Oak Alley and Natchez where you gain an insiders perspective of classic antebellum homes and renowned plantations.

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Viking Cruises In Memphis

For its inaugural year, Viking is offering three cruises that feature Memphis: Heart of the Delta, Americas Great River and Mississippi Holiday Season. The cruises range in length from 8 to 15 days and start in price from $3,999 to $9,999 depending on the duration. Heart of the Delta and Mississippi Holiday Season focus on the charm of Memphis, New Orleans and the blues-, jazz-, Cajun- and Creole-influenced cities in between, while Americas Great River follows the river from St. Paul, Minnesota, through Memphis to New Orleans.

All options include guided tours in port cities. You can easily find detail and book cruises on the Viking website, but note that some cruises are already selling out for 2022. Others still have availability, and you can currently book all the way into 2024 on the Viking website.

Sowhats it like on board a Viking cruise? Though based on Vikings award-winning Longship® and ocean ship design, and featuring the companys signature Scandinavian aesthetic, the Viking Mississippi was purpose-built for Mississippi River cruising. And, with its build just completed in 2022, it will be the most modern river ship on the Mississippi.

Savor The Holidays In The Old South

Mississippi River Boat Tour

Discover the history and charm of the Lower Mississippi on this special voyage. Discover Memphis, complete with exclusive Privileged Access to Graceland, decorated for Christmas. Marvel at Christmas light displays and decorated historic homes in Natchez and Baton Rouge savor Cajun cuisine and shop for festive treasures in New Orleans. Onboard festivities include special celebratory regional dining, seasonal treats and more to celebrate the holidays.

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Is A Mississippi River Cruise Worth It

A Mississippi river cruise is like being transported back in time to the glory days of this majestic waterway. For an average daily cost between $300 and $500, youll be treated like royalty and never regret what youll see and do.

Our last vacation was at the Crown Paradise Golden, a Mexican all-inclusive in Puerto Vallarta. Now, its a distant memory.

After surviving a once in a century pandemic, were itching to get away and do something special. Lifes too short. Were ready to travel and do something amazing.

Best Time To Take A Usa River Cruise

Yes, the Mississippi River is prone to seasonal floods, too. Those beautiful, four-story wedding cake paddle wheelers just cant fit under the bridges. Bring on the motor coach tours, just like in Europe. The best time of year to plan a river cruise on the Mississippi seems to be not too much different than in Europe.

Due to icing conditions, upper Mississippi River cruises end in November or December. Holiday cruises on the lower Mississippi River tend to be round-trip from New Orleans and not upstream to Memphis and beyond. Summers on the Mississippi are hot, humid and did I mention hot?

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New Orleans Steamboat Company

The New Orleans Steamboat Company is no newcomer to the Mississippi River or American’s steamboat heritage. Our parent company has been operating steamboats longer than any company in the world. In fact, we’ve been part of the history of steam transport since 1817, just five years after the first steamboat docked in New Orleans. We’re now in our fourth decade of life on the Mississippi. We’ve given literally millions of people the experience of one of our country’s oldest and richest traditions.

Come aboard and enjoy New Orleans hospitality …Steamboat Style!

The Service By All Involved Was First Class All The Way

American Cruise Lines – Mississippi River Paddlewheelers

We were very impressed by the personal service we received by the staff and everyone involved. The trip was very nice from a sightseeing perspective, interesting from a historical perspective and very relaxing overall. Plus the food was plentiful and excellent. We highly recommend this cruise to everyone!

Denny F Morgan Hill, California

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Where Corn Is King

In Davenport, IA, where corn is king, we thought it appropriate to join an included tour to the John Deere Pavilion. It makes perfect sense that one of the worlds major manufacturers of farm machinery would be based here in the American heartland.

The Pavilion is a massive glass and steel structure housing the largest display of John Deere equipment and technology in the world.

Its all thoughtfully presented in some fascinating exhibits, many of them offering hands-on experiences.

What Makes Mississippi River Cruises So Unique

You wont find waterslides, casinos, kids or massive night-time shows on these river boats. Unlike any other vacation, this is the opportunity to relax and absorb what it was like in a different time.

Your entire experience will be influenced by the historical significance of this waterway and how it shaped America. The steam powered paddle-wheeler ruled supreme from 1830 right up to the Civil War.

Capable of going both upstream and downstream, it revolutionized travel and the cost of shipping goods. This was the heyday of the south, enabling expansion and prosperity.

The majority of your fellow passengers will be baby boomers. Some are history buffs interested in the Civil war sites. Others intrigued by the plantations dotting the banks, or perhaps enthralled with the adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

With most boats carrying less than 400 guests, youll get to know your fellow travelers. The smaller more intimate public lounges are conducive to striking up a conversation and sharing the days experience.

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Which Is The Best Company

Both companies appear to be well run and provide a memorable experience. According to US Today, both companies are solidly in the top ten.

Id feel comfortable booking with either company. Your decision may be influenced by the itinerary or being on a specific boat .

On a side note, if youre a Viking fan, the Viking Mississippi will be launched in August of 2022. This will also be a modern river boat hosting 386 guests.

Complete Mississippi River Cruise

American Cruise Lines Introduces Queen of the Mississippi, the First ...

On this 16-day Complete Mississippi River Cruise from Minneapolis to New Orleans, watch landscapes, cultures and even language transform each new experience as rare and beautiful as the last. Traversing the entire Mississippi River is a true bucket-list experience.

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Cruises On The Mississippi River

Mississippi River cruise itineraries are usually separated into the Upper and Lower part of the river. The Upper Mississippi is generally considered to be between St. Louis, Missouri and St. Paul, Minnesota and the Lower Mississippi is between Memphis, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana. Cruises are sometimes combined with other waterways, such as the Ohio River and the Tennessee River.

Since the weather tends to be warmer in the southeastern United States, travel on the Lower Mississippi is available during most of the year while cruises on the Upper Mississippi are more seasonal and usually only available between June and October.

American Queen Steamboat Company is offering some quick, easy voyages from New Orleans aboard American Duchess to ring in this year and next. Photo courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company

Cruising The Mississippi River Aboard The Queen Of The Mississippi

My vessel of choice for the 7-day Mississippi River cruise was American Cruise Lines Queen of the Mississippi, a gleaming white five-deck 150-passenger replica of the 19th-century steamboats that routinely churned up and down the river, transporting both freight and passengers.

ACL proclaims itself an All-American line, utilizing American crews and U.S.-built ships. This one was turned out in 2012 by a company-owned shipyard in Maryland.

Beneath her antique veneer and authentic paddlewheel, the Queen of the Mississippi is a thoroughly modern craft featuring 78 cabins in seven categories, 65 of which have private balconies.

They range in size from a 600-square-foot owners suite to single cabins at 210 square feet.

Standard double cabins measure a commodious 304 square feet larger than most cruise ship staterooms. Each cabin has a satellite flat-screen TV/DVD, Keurig coffeemaker, wireless Internet access and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Public areas include six lounges, ranging from a cozy library to the spacious Magnolia Lounge, home to most presentations and entertainment and a complimentary Happy Hour, a popular ACL tradition offered on all of its vessels.

Up top, theres a sun deck, exercise equipment and a casual café. The Dining Salon is large enough to accommodate all 150 passengers at a single seating.

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The Best Of The Riverboat Cruises On The Mississippi

If you are looking for the best Mississippi River cruise, look no further. Join Road Scholar on this classic Mississippi River cruise where guests will board a magnificent paddlewheel riverboat and get a front-row seat to immerse themselves in the music, food, natural beauty and architectural grandeur of Dixie, historic Natchez and Vicksburg, and small river towns. Spend three days exploring the hustle and bustle of New Orleans, including a jazz show at the iconic Fritzels Jazz Club.

Evening Jazz Cruises With Optional Dinner

Cruising the Mississippi River in the Steamboat Natchez #RDiscoveries

Below is a brief comparison of the two paddlewheel boats that cruise the Mississippi River every evening.

For a more in-depth look, including whats on the menu, read our post on NOLA dinner cruises.

Steamboat Natchez Mississippi River Jazz Cruise

Unlike their harbor cruise, this boat trip will take you down the Mississippi River.

Ratings for this excursion are similarly excellent, but its worth noting that not everyone was thrilled with the food selection .

What Youll Experience

Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.

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Choosing A Mississippi River Cruise Itinerary

Because it is so long, the Mississippi River is usually divided into three parts. Each segment typically takes a week, or you can combine them for a three-week cruise. The scenery along the river is generally prettier and the wildlife more prevalent the farther north you are on the river. All segments can be done in either direction.


Keep in mind that sailing against the current slows the boat and generally means fewer ports or less time in port, but you’ll have more time to relax onboard.

Lower Mississippi : A weeklong sailing, which can run in either direction, this stretch of the river can include port stops like Oak Alley and Nottoway plantations, Baton Rouge and St. Francisville in Louisiana Natchez, Vicksburg and Greenville in Mississippi and Helena, Arkansas. The occasional New Orleans cruise, which can run from five to seven days, typically visits the same ports, minus Memphis.

Middle Mississippi : Also weeklong itineraries that can run in either direction, these sailings typically feature stops at New Madrid and Cape Girardeau, Missouri Paducah, Kentucky and Chester, Illinois. Memphis to St. Louis sailings feature more scenic sailing and fewer port stops than other Mississippi itineraries, and, as such, fewer of these itineraries are offered.


Mississippi and Ohio rivers: Some Mississippi River sailings also spend time visiting Ohio River ports.

Concluding Thoughts On River Cruises

Bottom Line:River cruising is a great option for culture-hungry travelers. Pay attention to the travel package details to get the best value for your money.

River cruise lines make researching their adventures fun, with video tours and details to suit the needs of many different types of travelers. Our three river cruise lines, for example, have well over 100 river ships between them and offer destinations around the globe. Consumers who dive into this research and understand the details of the packages they consider will get the most out of the experience. It also helps to get input from friends, family and acquaintances who have taken part in a river cruise experience. Look for feedback on travel websites and customer review forums. Finally, working with a travel agent can help you understand your options, and get you started on the voyage thats right for you.

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F’s Food Food And Fun

Excellent team from the captain to the crew provide a relaxing time..The chefs do an excellent job and there is more great food than you can imagine. This is the most organized and professional staff that we have ever experienced. No detail is overlooked.

Igs Crown Point, Indiana

The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book- a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice.

And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.

Graceful Traditions Of The Era Of Steamboat Travel With Modern

Mississippi Riverboat

Spacious luxury awaits aboard the American Duchess, a boutique-style riverboat that combines modern day amenities with a nod to the graceful era of steamboat travel. With some of the largest accommodations on the Mississippi River, the ship is home to 83 comfortable staterooms and balconied suites ranging from 180 to 550 square feet. Unique to the American Duchess are her Loft Suites, which feature two stories enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows, two full bathrooms, a comfortable dining area, a beautiful lounge with a queen sofa-bed, a private balcony and an upstairs bedroom.

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Lower Mississippi River Sights

The 8-day Memphis to New Orleans itinerary appeals to us. We could fly in and spend a day , see Graceland and other sights.

On AQSC, wed be sailing on the American Queen, with a veranda, for a cost of $3,999 each. With ACL, wed be on the Queen of the Mississippi, with a balcony, for $4,605.

Vicksburg was a pivotal battle allowing the Union supremacy of the waterway. As mentioned above, this is a must see for Shannon.

Id rather see an original southern plantation, especially one as famous as Oak Alley. The best part is we can do both!

One of my greatest disappointments when we were in New Orleans was not being able to go on the local paddle-wheeler. Our timing was horrible as it was in dry dock. Thats why Im even more excited to arrive by water.

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Highlights Of The Mississippi

âEverything was wonderful. I cannot remember having such a great time. The entire staff was great and so accommodating. I loved this trip. I have been on cruises on big ships and there is no comparison. It was so much nicer on a smaller boat. We had the chance to meet and probably had a meal, a drink or excursion with almost everyone on board.â

â Cindy E. – Frederick, MD

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Mississippi River Cruise Lines

Two companies ply the Mississippi on a regular basis. American Cruise Lines operates nearly nine itineraries, anywhere from five to 22 days, on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, while American Queen Steamboat Company operates four paddlewheelers on all of the Mississippi.

European river cruise operator Viking River Cruises plans to sail the Mississippi, expected to launch in 2021. The ships will not be paddlewheelers. Instead, they will have the companys signature Longship style and focus on enrichment.

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Viking River Cruises Review

Mississippi River Cruises Video

Great Destinations and Itineraries |

Getting its start in 1997, Viking River Cruises was among the first lines to set the standard for river cruising. The company has since built a strong reputation along with a large fleet of river-sailing longships, serving plenty of dates and destinations along the rivers of Europe, Russia, China, Egypt and Southeast Asia. The longships are made to be space-efficient and modern in design, accommodating 190 guests without feeling cramped.

Viking Longboat

Viking River Cruises start off at around $1,800 for 2019 and serve so many destinations throughout the year that new river cruise customers favor this company. If you are looking for an excursion with cultural and historical experiences, Viking has a proprietary Culture Curriculum featuring showcases for musicians and dancers, lectures and intellectual talks, or cooking lessons in the cuisine of the region, and other added onboard enrichment sessions. Onshore walking tours, lectures and experiences are also offered, although may come with an additional fee.

Viking River Cruises rate a 4.8 on a five-star scale. We found some complaints about spotty Wi-Fi access, small rooms and the crew being very busy. However, the overall opinion is that Viking offers quality excursions and the staff is very accommodating.

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