At 2,350 miles long, the Mighty Mississippi, making its way from northern Minnesota to New Orleans, is the fourth-longest river in the world. Cruisers usually pick a section (Upper, Middle or Lower -- all seen here on the Mississippi River cruise map) for weeklong cruises, but it's possible to book a three-week cruise to take in as much of America's heartland as possible. Whether you're looking to see where Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) was born, explore Civil War sites or take in the music, food and culture of the South, you'll find a Mississippi cruise an ideal way to do it.
Itinerary options typically include New Orleans to Memphis (or vice versa), Memphis to St. Louis (in either direction) or St. Louis to St. Paul, though there are variations. Each section holds its own appeal, so your particular interests will help you narrow down which itinerary sounds best to you. Regardless of the route, you'll be sailing with either American Cruise Lines or American Steamboat Company, the two main lines operating on the river.
- United States
- New Orleans
- Baton Rouge
- St. Louis
Reason(s) to Go: You can take a deep dive into America's past on a Mississippi cruise, with visits to a variety of important landmarks, battlefields and river towns, but that’s not all there is to this river. Lively ports like New Orleans and Memphis offer plenty of charm and activities for all types of cruisers.
How River Cruising Allows You To Explore Like A Local
River Cruising: Video Q&A With John Waggoner On American Countess, American Queen Steamboat Company's Newest Ship
Adventures By Disney Seine River Cruises
NCL's Restart: What It's Like On The First Norwegian Cruise Ship Back in 16 Months
Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?
Cruise Critic and JJ Cruise : Our Experience Onboard Celebrity Edge (June 2021)
Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day
Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months
The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021
Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship
Who Would Love It: Anyone interested in U.S. history, especially the Civil War, will enjoy cruising the Mississippi, as will music fans and Southern food lovers. Theme cruises covering all these areas are a common and popular offering.
Who Wouldn't: If the above topics don't appeal to you, a Mississippi cruise might not be a good fit.