Mississippi River Steamboat Cruises

Julie Green


There’s nothing quite like a relaxing cruise. The gorgeous scenery, the gentle atmosphere and the sounds of the water are a perfect combination for a great getaway. A popular choice for cruises are steamboat cruises on the Mississippi river.

What are Steamboats?

Steamboat Natchez
The Natchez Steamboat

Steamboats are boats that run on steam power instead of coal or wind power. When they were first created, they were meant to make general traveling and the transport of goods easier. Today, steamboats are primarily used for tourist purposes such as cruises on lakes and rivers.

Where does a Mississippi River Cruise Go?

Where the cruise goes depends on what kind of cruise you are interested in and where you are departing from. Upper Mississippi River cruises typically depart from somewhere in St. Louis. Then the cruise will go through Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The cruise usually ends in Minnesota where the passengers will then disembark.

Lower Mississippi River cruises typically start in Tennessee. The cruise will then head to Missouri, passing through Illinois and finally disembarking in St. Louis.

Queen Of The Mississippi Paddlewheel Boat
Queen Of The Mississippi River Boat

Several cruises also travel through the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers during their Mississippi River cruises. During the Ohio River cruise, the boat will visit places such as Kentucky and Indiana. If the cruise goes down the Tennessee River, the route will typically go through Alabama, Missouri and Illinois.

How Long does a Mississippi River Cruise Last?

This depends entirely on what kind of cruise you are taking and where you are departing from. Some cruises only last for a few hours. These cruises are typically day cruises for sightseeing or romantic moonlight cruises that usually include dinner and entertainment.

Other cruises last for two or three days, and they typically involve traveling through rivers that are connected to the Mississippi River such as the Illinois River, Ohio River and Tennessee river.

Upper and lower Mississippi River cruises last between one week and nine days.

Some cruises extend their route past the upper and lower Mississippi River boundaries and last around two weeks.

How Much Does a Steamboat Cruise Cost?

This depends on the length of your cruise and varies depending on which company you are traveling with. Short rides between one and two hours typically go for under $20 a ticket. Day cruises typically go for under $200. If you stay overnight, the price will usually be between $300 and $400. Extended trips between three days and two weeks can go for around $1000 to upwards of $12,000.

What are the Benefits of Steamboat Cruises?

There are many benefits to taking steamboat cruises. For example, steamboats have their own classic style and beauty that can’t really be matched by other boats.

Steamboat cruises also typically include meals, accommodations, entertainment and more into your ticket price.

Eating On A RIver Boat Cruise
Dining On A Steamboat Cruise

Steamboats also go at a steady and gentle pace. This not only makes trips more relaxing, but it’s also perfect for people who easily get seasick. You’ll barely be able to feel the difference between standing on the boat and standing on land.

You also won’t need a passport or any travel documents when going on a steamboat cruise on the Mississippi River.

Steamboat cruises on the Mississippi River are fun, relaxing and unique. If you’re considering taking a cruise in the near future, try a steamboat cruise on the beautiful and vast Mississippi River.


My name is Julie Green and I am the head writer, content contributor, and chief, cook, and bottle washer too! My goal is to provide you information about the Mississippi River.

It’s a wonderful place that I call home. I’d like to think I know a thing or two about this area!! Please stop by often and pay us a visit.


Image of a paddle steamer on the Mississippi River near New orleans at dusk

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