Mississippi River Cruises - Riverboat Cruise

Catch a glimpse of Americana on a Mississippi River cruise.


Why cruise on a Mississippi riverboat?

Because there is a lot of great river cruising in our own backyard!
Mississippi river cruises give you a glimpse into America's past along the aptly named "Great River", via refurbished paddleboats that float along the waterfront towns and countryside of over ten states from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mississippi river was influential in leading explorers to new lands and was the lifeline for transporting people and goods to the surrounding towns the grew and prospered along it's banks. Mississippi river cruises allow you to step back in time, aboard authentically resorted paddleboats that slowly churn their way up and down stream, to the days when life moved at a much slower pace.

On a Mississippi river cruise, you can slow down and enjoy the interior sights and sounds of our beautiful country without leaving the country. What you "won't" get on a Mississippi river boat cruise is long flights to foreign countries, long lines at crowded embarkation ports, or rushed port visits. What you will get with a Mississippi riverboat cruise is unadulterated relaxation while you soak up the history and diverse cuisine of the region while enjoying the company of your fellow travelers or a solitary view from the comfortable hominess of your stateroom.

Where to find a Mississippi River cruise?

River cruises in North America used to be a booming business, but suffered a slump when international river cruising to some very famous international rivers like the European Rhine River and Danube River, as well as other well known rivers like the Yangtzee River (Asia); Volga River (Russia); the Nile River (Egypt); and the Amazon River (South America) causing Mississippi river boat cruises to practically die out.

But recently there has been a resurgence in interest for Mississippi river cruises on the interior waterways of America. The Mississippi played a big part in the formation and rich history and culture of our beloved country, with Mississippi river cruises at the forefront of the newly rejuvenated American riverboat cruise industry. Mississippi river cruises can be booked with several cruise lines like Avalon Waterways and others. When thinking of booking a riverboat cruise, keep in mind that paddleboats are smaller than ocean ships and carry less passengers, it is suggested to secure your riverboat cruise early.

There currently are three popular Mississippi cruise Itineraries:

  • Upper Mississippi River cruises - Minnesota to Missouri
  • Lower Mississippi River cruises - New Orleans to Memphis
  • Roundtrip Mississippi River cruises - Round-trip from starting ports.

Mississippi River Cruises - History of our Heartland.

Civil Water battlefields, rolling farmland, restored plantations and riverfront towns serve as the picturesque backdrop for a relaxing journey aboard a Mississippi River cruise. Besides the sights there are numerous sounds that were born in this region like Jazz, Blues and Country music that will delight your ears onboard and on shore. Factor in the decadent cuisine of the South and the Heartland that is found along the Mississippi River. On board a riverboat cruise you have the makings for a truly historical and enlightening river cruise that can't even be compared to a typical ocean cruise.

What to expect on a Mississippi River Cruise?

Expect a more laid back approach to onboard activities and entertainment. Most Mississippi riverboat cruises offer limited shows, gathering areas with board games and puzzles, a few bars and lounges, free Wi-Fi, meeting areas, al fresco areas with rocking chairs and hanging swings, a small spa and fitness area as well as a pool. Expect a few seasoned "riverlorians" (local experts who provide historical information to passengers on the boat about famous American idols and passing landscape that are connected to the river) to be onboard offering lectures and answering questions about the region. If you are traveling with children keep in mind that pretty much all Mississippi River cruises offer no kids programs or itineraries.

Mississippi River cruises offer some of the best regional cuisine dining at multiple venues aboard the riverboat. Enjoy afternoon ice cream & cookies, complimentary bottled water, soft drinks & coffee as well as wine and beer at dinner servings. Mississippi River cruises almost always have alfresco lunch and dinner venues along with 24-hour dining service. Something that should be tried at least one night on a Mississippi River cruise is enjoying a moonlight supper where you get a view of the stars, moon and the lights of sleepy river towns.

Since most all Mississippi riverboat cruises set sail on beautifully restored paddleboats you'll not only be learning about the history of this region but actually feel like you have traveled back in time aboard ships that have been fashioned to resemble the Victorian decor of the heyday of paddleboat voyages. And though your surroundings maybe reminiscent of a days gone by era there are still plenty of modern amenities aboard riverboat ships to keep you connected to the world as we know it today.

Most Mississippi river cruises also have itineraries that include complimentary shore excursions that take you to interesting historical town landmarks and locations and prime shopping and dining areas for a complete port experience. For those that want to get more in depth while on shore can choose from a variety of premium, or paid for, shore excursions that are more personalized to specific areas of interest.

Popular Mississippi river cruise ports.

Mississippi River cruises take you to some of the most historical and influential Southern towns of the United States, as well as, smaller riverbank towns that you may not have heard of that are just as rich in history as the big towns.

New Orleans, Louisiana: This is a town that needs to be experienced not just visited. There is a magical atmosphere here that has something for everyone especially those who enjoy old colonial homes, which are numerous, that surround the famous French Quarter and Garden District. Taking a tour through the cemeteries of New Orleans is a treat, yet maybe a big macabre, but definitely interesting as you pass by mausoleums and larger than life tombstones from yesteryear. The culture, cuisine, architecture, music and signs of the New Orleans area are astounding and can entertain Mississippi River cruisers for hours. 

St. Louis, Missouri: Besides being greeted by the Gateway Arch when arriving by way of the Mississippi there are plenty of architectural and historical areas to visit in this classic town. St. Louis has many great museums including the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum that houses one of the largest classic art collections around. Some key signs to see are Eads Bridge, which spans the Mississippi, and has a unique latticework design or the Cathedral Basilica, which is a Catholic cathedral that is home to one of the largest mosaic collections.

Memphis, Tennessee: This is where blues and rock-and-roll originated and is a great town to explore just for it's rich musical heritage alone. Once home to Elvis Presley, Graceland, is a must see tour to book for those wanting a closer look at the King's life. Or enjoy an afternoon on the legendary Beale Street and check out the dining, shops, music and "Walk of Fame". Tour the National Civil Rights Museum that has interactive multimedia exhibits showcasing the evolution of the civil rights movement. Or take a quick tour of Sun Studios where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and B.B. King recorded some of their most famous tunes.