Ayelet Tours Traveling University
Mississippi River Cruise & Jewish Heritage Tour
with Professor Stephen Berk
June 13-21, 2022

Tour Rates & Dates:

There are no Departure Dates available for this Package.
*Please note that all rates displayed are based on standard room double occupancy.
Upgraded room categories may be available to book later in the booking process.
If Land & Air price is displayed, the air portion includes tax and fuel surcharges, which are subject to change until ticketed.

SOLD OUT!  Please email jeff@ayelet.com to join the wait list.

Ayelet Tours and American Cruise Lines reserve the right to cancel or change itineraries, speakers, scholars, entertainers, or operations staff and/or to substitute comparable service without notice.

For assistance with flights, please contact anjie@ayelet.com or
800-237-1517 ext.340 beginning July 2021.

Tour Overview:

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Dr. Stephen M. Berk is a Professor of History at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Dr. Berk has partnered with Ayelet Tours for more than twenty years and led over 100 trips to Russia, Spain, Eastern Europe, Israel and Cuba. It is a privilege to have him with us! Set sail aboard the beautiful and classic river boat America as we celebrate the music, Jewish history and culture of the Lower Mississippi. Our journey with Professor Stephen Berk begins and ends in New Orleans, a melting pot of cultures. On our guided tours along the way, we will hear stories about Southern life and Jewish history from a team of passionate experts. Join us and enjoy this unique experience.

  • Sail round trip from New Orleans aboard the "American Splendor" river boat on the mighty Mississippi River and hear fascinating lectures by Professor Stephen Berk
  • Discover the Jewish heritage of the South from Natchez to Vicksburg and beyond
  • Stroll the streets of New Orleans' famous French Quarter, indulge in the local Cajun and Creole cuisine and listen to spirited Jazz music
  • Experience Southern hospitality and delve into rich history and tradition
  • Visit centuries old plantation homes and admire the beautiful architecture
  • Explore quaint small towns and step back in time to learn about life in the South in the 16th and 17th centuries


1 night at Intercontinental Hotel New Orleans, New Orleans
7 nights aboard The America
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily aboard ship
Lectures by Professor Stephen Berk
Jewish heritage touring/shore excursions with Professor Berk
Cruise gratuities
Transfer from New Orleans hotel to the ship
Entrance fees


Roundtrip airfare, departure taxes and fuel surcharges
Meals in New Orleans
Optional walking tour in New Orleans
Port charges and fees ($250pp, pre-collected)
Transfer upon arrival or departure
Items of a personal nature
Travel insurance (recommended - group policy available)

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Monday, June 13, 2022: NEW ORLEANS PRE-CRUISE

• Arrive in New Orleans, a unique city rich in history and alive with tradition. Famed for its 17th century architecture, culturally inspired cuisine and lively music, the rhythm of the city is as diverse as its people.
• Today, we suggest a visit (on own) to the new and fascinating Museum of Southern Jewish Experience or the National World War II Museum; both outstanding historical institutions.
• Make your way to the hotel (on own) and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Overnight New Orleans

Day 2: Tuesday, June 14, 2022: NEW ORLEANS – SET SAIL!
• Breakfast at our hotel.
We explore the history of the French Quarter, listen to spirited Jazz, and indulge in some local cuisine. A visit to the French Market, the country’s oldest public market, is reminiscent of European markets, but in a tradition that is distinctively New Orleans.
• Later today, we board our ship, The America, and set sail!
• We join together for an orientation and opening lecture on board with Professor Stephen Berk.
Overnight aboard The America

Day 3: Wednesday June 15, 2022: OAK ALLEY
• We arrive in Oak Alley. Once serving as an antebellum sugar cane plantation, Oak Alley Plantation is rightfully named after its most distinguishing feature, a canopy of 300-year-old oak trees that form a quarter-mile path leading to the Mississippi River. Restored to its 19th Century grandeur, this classic Greek revival-style antebellum mansion is purely breathtaking.
ONE POSSIBLE EXCURSION (cost included; other excursions available):
Explore this Grande Dame of the Great River Road. The Oak Alley Plantation has long been a fixture of Oak Alley, LA. Built in the mid-19th century, this antebellum-style mansion will transport you back to a time when plantations were the backbone of the Southern economy. Take a guided tour of the grounds, which include an antique car garage, a blacksmith shop and the famous Alley of Oaks.
Overnight aboard The America

Day 4: Thursday, June 16, 2022: NATCHEZ
• Overlooking the Mississippi River, Natchez was first established as a French fort site in 1716, later becoming part of the United States as the first capital of Mississippi in 1817. Perched over 200 feet above the Mississippi River with 30-mile views along the river both north and south, the bluff of Natchez is a place to marvel in the beauty and grandeur of the river. A quaint Southern town rich in culture, history, and known for its abundance of antebellum architecture, Natchez offers true southern hospitality with the attractions of a great small city.
ONE POSSIBLE EXCURSION (cost included; other excursions available):
We disembark for our special Jewish heritage tour of Natchez. We will tour Temple B’nai Israel built in 1905 and home to the oldest Jewish congregation in Mississippi (1843). We will also see beautiful homes built by the Jews.
Overnight aboard The America

Day 5: Friday, June 17, 2022: VICKSBURG
• Around every corner, United States history is alive in Vicksburg. This “Queen City of the Bluff” offers plenty of opportunities to take a step back in time. Civil war battlefields, centuries old churches, cotton fields and restored train depots are just a few of the many intriguing landmarks that await our visit. Marvel in the beautiful antebellum-style homes and watch Vicksburg’s history come to life at the riverfront murals.
ONE POSSIBLE EXCURSION (cost included; other excursions available):
We arrive in historic Vicksburg. Jews have lived in Vicksburg since the early 1800’s. We see the modern temple and visit historic Anshei Chesed Cemetery adjacent to the National Military Park and view the historic “BB” (B’nai Brith) club now owned by the city. We view important sites from the Siege of Vicksburg before returning to our ship.
Overnight aboard The America

Day 6: Saturday, June 18, 2022: ST. FRANCISVILLE – SHABBAT SHALOM!
• Established in 1809 and overlooking the Mississippi River, St. Francisville is a quaint Southern town that offers a glimpse into history. One of the largest shipping ports on the Mississippi River prior to the Civil War, St. Francisville is a small town with grand appeal. Experience this town’s rich history as we tour historic plantations, including the famous Rosedown and The Myrtles, or explore the captivating gardens in this area.
ONE POSSIBLE EXCURSION (cost included; other excursions available):
We arrive in lovely St. Francisville. This charming town had a large Jewish community by the peaceful shaded cemetery – Hebrew Rest receives meticulous care from the last remaining Jewish resident of St. Francisville. We’ll pass a forlorn white building, once a synagogue and a church but now abandoned, on our way to Rosedown – the Queen of Feliciana Parish Plantations.
Overnight aboard The America

Day 7: Sunday, June 19, 2022: BATON ROUGE
• Louisiana’s state capital, Baton Rouge, was named over 300 years ago by French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. The city’s rich cultural traditions are reflected through its African-American and Caribbean influenced architecture, experienced through its fiery Creole and Cajun cuisine, and heard in its soulful Blues and Cajun style music. Baton Rouge is a wondrous city brimming with Southern hospitality.
ONE POSSIBLE EXCURSION (cost included; other excursions available):
We arrive in the capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, home to a Jewish community since 1857. We will visit a Baton Rouge synagogue to meet the rabbi and congregants and we will hear about Jewish life in the deep south. We will visit the tallest state capital in the country designed by Jewish architects and see bullet holes from the assassination of Huey Long.
Overnight aboard The America

Day 8: Monday, June 20, 2022: HOUMAS HOUSE
• Become acquainted to the Houmas House and its history as well as its 38 acres of gardens, ponds and a majestic live oak alley during this port stop. Make sure to explore the southern splendor of "The Sugar Palace" through 16 rooms filled with period antiques and Louisiana artwork.
ONE POSSIBLE EXCURSION (cost included; other excursions available):
Known as the "Crown Jewel of Louisiana's River Road," discover the wonders of Houmas House on a guided tour of the mansion and surrounding grounds. This true American landmark features many antiques, artifacts and unique artwork that we can explore during our stop.
Overnight aboard The America

Day 9: Tuesday, June 21, 2022: NEW ORLEANS

• Disembark today and transfer (on own) to the airport to catch your flight home.

The memories last forever!
Itinerary subject to change.

* All meals served aboard are included and have been requested kosher style (unless otherwise noted on your confirmation letter).
* Daily lectures by Professor Stephen Berk are included. Exact timing/locations will vary by day and will be announced on board.

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