Mississippi River Cruises

The Mississippi River is the most popular river for overnight cruises in the United States. Itineraries are usually on either the Upper Mississippi or the Lower Mississippi and originate in New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis or Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota

By SusanLesch (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

There are a few other rivers that might be included, too - the Ohio River if your package includes Cincinnati, the Tennessee River if Chattanooga is in your itinerary and the Cumberland River if you’ll be traveling to Nashville.

River cruise suppliers have several itineraries on just the Mississippi. These cruises travel between St. Louis and Minneapolis/St. Paul and New Orleans and Memphis and usually last from 8 to 9 days.

The season for cruises on the Upper Mississippi River is only a few month each year -  from mid-July to mid-October. You’ll find cruises on the Lower Mississippi year-round.

In addition to overnight cruises, day and evening cruises on the Mississippi River are also very popular, especially in New Orleans. Many other cities along the Mississippi also feature these shorter cruises.

Mississippi River Facts

The Mississippi River is the 2nd longest river in the U.S. and the 4th longest river in the world! It flows for 2340 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. 

Along its course, the Mississippi either borders or passes through 10 states – Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

In St. Louis the Mississippi River forms a confluence with the Missouri River. This is also the point where the Upper and Lower Mississippi divide. And in Cairo, IL the Ohio River joins the Mississippi River.

The widest part of the Mississippi River is in the Lower Mississippi where it is more than one mile wide.

Mississippi River Cruise Destinations

On an Upper Mississippi River cruise, you’ll travel through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. Some of the more popular cities include Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis and Hannibal, Missouri.

From Cincinnati to St. Louis, you’ll pass through or visit cities on the Ohio and Tennessee rivers before reaching the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois. 

American Queen Steam Boat on the Mississippi River

By Thegreenj (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

On the Lower Mississippi, you’ll cruise through parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. A few of the more well-known cities include New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Memphis.

If you’re cruising from Memphis to Cincinnati, you’ll be on the Mississippi between Memphis, Tennessee and New Madrid, Ohio. Cincinnati and a few other cities along the way are located on the Ohio River.

River cruise suppliers for overnight cruises on the Mississippi River: American Queen Steamboat Company, American Cruise Lines, and Blount.

A few cruise lines for day and evening cruises: Steamboat Natchez, Creole Queen, and LaCrosse Queen.

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Lauri Wakefield is a travel writer who specializes in  river cruises in Europe and the U.S. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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