The Innocents Abroad is a travel book by American author Mark Twain published in 1869 which humorously chronicles what Twain called his "Great Pleasure Excursion" on board the chartered vessel Quaker City (formerly USS Quaker City) through Europe and the Holy Land with a group of American travelers in 1867. It was the best-selling of Twain's works during his lifetime, as well as one of the best-selling travel books of all time. Innocents Abroad presents itself as an ordinary travel book based on an actual voyage in a retired Civil War ship (the USS Quaker City). The excursion was billed as a Holy Land expedition, with numerous stops and side trips along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, notably: train excursion from Marseille to Paris for the 1867 Paris Exhibition during the reign of Napoleon III and the Second French Empire journey through the Papal States to Rome side trip through the Black Sea to Odessa culminating in an excursion through the Holy Land. Twain recorded his observations and critiques of the various aspects of culture and society which he encountered on the journey, some more serious than others. Many of his observations draw a contrast between his own experiences and the often grandiose accounts in contemporary travelogues, which were regarded in their own time as indispensable aids for traveling in the region. In particular, he lampooned William Cowper Prime's Tent Life in the Holy Land for its overly sentimental prose and its often violent encounters with native inhabitants. Twain also made light of his fellow travelers and the natives of the countries and regions that he visited, as well as his own expectations and reactions.