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Sail Date: June 2018
We were looking for a tour in the United States as we had traveled in France on the Canal du Midi last year. We were interested in seeing parts of the country we had never visited and enjoyed traveling the Great Lakes, Erie Canal and ... Read More
We were looking for a tour in the United States as we had traveled in France on the Canal du Midi last year. We were interested in seeing parts of the country we had never visited and enjoyed traveling the Great Lakes, Erie Canal and Hudson River. The boat while not luxury was very comfortable. The food was EXCELLENT as well as the servers and chefs. Snacks were always available although meals were plentiful. It was exciting to experience going through the locks and having others tend them. (We did it ourselves on the Canal du Midi). The tours we attended were excellent and well organized. We met fun and interesting people. The logistics of the trip including lowering and raising the pilot house were well planned and executed. We enjoyed visiting with the captain at the final dinner on board. He was so knowledgeable about the areas we visited and shared this information as we traveled. I would recommend this trip highly. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Chose this cruise for the ports we were stopping at. Knew ahead of time that the ship was old and rooms would be small, but older and smaller than expected. Limited water usage made washing hands/shower difficult. It is at the ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the ports we were stopping at. Knew ahead of time that the ship was old and rooms would be small, but older and smaller than expected. Limited water usage made washing hands/shower difficult. It is at the Captain's discretion if the itinerary changes due to "weather" and we missed one of our stops. Also cancelled one of our tours at one of the major ports, then promised there would be something else "nice" to replace it, but no there wasn't. Internet access is a joke and there are no TVs anywhere on the ship. No real entertainment, just a lecturer and photographer. Very boring evenings and long days. On the positive side, staff was great, helpful and hard working. Food was good and enough at each meal. Chef baked fresh breads and deserts which was something to look forward to. Our stop at Mackinac Island was delightful. However, Sturgeon Bay (cancelled tour), Beaver Island (didn't stop weather), St. Ignace nothing there, Manitowoc, same thing. We booked our own tours in Chicago and that helped to salvage an otherwise disappointing cruise. Do not think I would cruise with Blount again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
We had looked forward to this cruise Great American Waterways sailing from Chicago through the Great Lakes, Erie Canal Hudson River to New York finally to Rhode Island. We recently returned home after taking the above cruise with Blount ... Read More
We had looked forward to this cruise Great American Waterways sailing from Chicago through the Great Lakes, Erie Canal Hudson River to New York finally to Rhode Island. We recently returned home after taking the above cruise with Blount Small Ship Adventures on the Grande Caribe. .When I received our travel documents I called the Blount office in Warren to make reservations for some of the “optional excursions” offered.The agent booked the tours and my credit card was charged and I was told I would receive a confirmation email and vouchers for the excursions by mail. I did not receive confirmation I called Blount. The agent was extremely rude and told me as I had not made my original cruise booking directly with Blount she could or would not help and that I needed to contact my agent. When I asked why in fact the company had charged my card I was told “that’s not my problem"This certainly was not a good beginning and certainly not good customer service from the company representative. Our travel documents included the address and directions where the ship was docked in Chicago which we gave to the driver met us at O’Hare. What these instructions failed to mention was we needed to pass through three security barriers to reach the ship!!! We could see the ship but it was a long walk with luggage to carry. Eventually a member of the crew came on a bicycle and opened up each of the gates. The Grande Caribe certainly could do with some refurbishment. We did find the lounge became overcrowded when all the passengers were on board with not enough seating for everyone and when the occasional lectures or entertainment were held that we did not wish to attend the only place to go was our cabin. Service in the restaurant was often slow and the cooked breakfast served family style was often cold by the time passengers were ready to eat. Four crew members left the ship during our cruise which made service even slower and eventually two replacements arrived from the office in Warren!!! Our Cruise Director was certainly “in over her head” when dealing with passengers who were asking for information. Her daily briefings were minimal and she was only concerned with the passengers who had booked “the optional tours.” Those of us who opted out of these excursions where left to our own devices and when my husband asked for suggestions or maps was told “Blount did not provide me with any information” or when I asked for a map she told me to “take the map from the notice board saying she was in a hurry to go and buy flowers!!” The map on the board was useless!! On all the many river cruises I have taken there was always one tour included and the Cruise/Tour director always held a daily briefing before dinner each evening. We had a recurring problem of a flooded floor in the bathroom in our cabin 52B. On three occasions the bathroom floor flooded. We were told the problem was “a leaking water valve” which was supposedly replaced during the first repair!! Another leak occurred a few days later and once again the cabinet beneath the sink which contained the water heater was flooded as well as the bathroom floor. Both were drained of standing water. Over the next few days I watched the water build up again and the day before we left the ship we again asked for this leak to be fixed as we had over an inch of water on the bathroom floor. No one came and I don’t feel that the cause of the problem was ever corrected. We spent the last 24 hours of the cruise soaking up the water with towels. The water in the shower never drained away so that also was a problem. We have taken many river cruises so we expected a certain standard and have always enjoyed our experience. This is the most expensive cruise we have ever taken. We have never had to pay port charges (always included). There has always been one tour included in the price. All tours ashore are an extra charge to an already expensive cruise. We are not normally critical but this cruise certainly did not leave us feeling that we would want to take another cruise this company We have returned home very disappointed. One good thing did occur on this cruise. We met a great group of people who when talking expressed the same feelings of disappointment. I have delayed writing comments about our experience with this cruise company because since returning in August I have tried to contact Blount both by letters sent by Priority Mail and by email and phone on several occasions to try and get some answers to the problem which occurred..Two months later I am still waiting for a response!!. I certainly could not recommend a company that ls so lacking in good customer service. It makes me wonder why Blount Small Ship Adventures has such a strong following of repeat customers!! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The itinerary was wonderful. The only issues were cleanliness of the bathroom, trying to board the ship from a dock in Chicago and the meals. Chef was terrible; can't express how awful...people not eating some nights because food was ... Read More
The itinerary was wonderful. The only issues were cleanliness of the bathroom, trying to board the ship from a dock in Chicago and the meals. Chef was terrible; can't express how awful...people not eating some nights because food was cold and they ordered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!The baked goods were outstanding. Owner did not like any negative feedback...thought we were not a good match! Been on many, many cruises and never had to complain! So sad because we loved the trip. If the food had been decent, the bathroom floor clean and a way to board without waiting for someone to get us from dock J to S ...we would have been delighted with the trip. Enjoyed the staff in the dining room. Tried to cover up for the terrible meals. Have no idea how they were not complaining. The Captain told us the Chef was new and he was working with him..at our expense. Can't believe that they put a new Chef on a trip without first having him on board with a Chef that they knew was great. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
There is not much to choose from if you like to cruise small ships and wish to remain in or near the U.S. Blount Cruises offers wonderful itineraries on Eastern U.S. Lakes and rivers and coastlines. Advantages include a small passenger ... Read More
There is not much to choose from if you like to cruise small ships and wish to remain in or near the U.S. Blount Cruises offers wonderful itineraries on Eastern U.S. Lakes and rivers and coastlines. Advantages include a small passenger list, great ports to locations you might never take the time to see otherwise, and good food served at the table for all three meals. Wine, beer and soft drinks are free and you can BYOB. There are disadvantages. The cabins are excruciatingly small. We upgraded and received only 68 square feet of cabin space, not including a toilet/shower combo. UPGRADE as much as possible if you want to breathe, don't like engine noise, don't like air conditioning/heating noise or do like fresh air. Almost ALL the excursions cost extra. There is little to do in each port if you don't accept the optional excursion and pay for it. Some ports are eliminated due to inclement weather. Some ports are added to refuel or maintain the boat (nothing to see there at all). There is no social director. The person who manages guest services on the boat is obviously overworked, because she was not very social. The few activities planned were juvenile (bingo and paper folding). Movies were shown in the only lounge several evenings leaving no other place to read or play cards or even talk to other passengers in a lighted room. There was a guest lecturer on board presenting slides of vistas and marine history we did not visit, except for one on the Erie Canal in the entire 16 days. Very disappointing. We expected information on our ports, which included the home of FDR, West Point, Chicago, Cleveland, Mackinac Island, Niagara Falls etc. We did not enjoy lectures on the one Great Lake we did not visit, Lake Superior, or on shipwrecks and copper mining in that same region. Lectures were also held in the only lounge, which precluded any other social activity. The top open deck is closed during the canal transit. Prepare to spend a lot of time in your tiny room when the top deck is closed, or when there are activities in the only lounge you don't like. The boat goes SLOW...12 miles an hour for 1600 miles. This trip was relatively expensive, totaling over $15 K for two people. Lastly, the average age of the 83 passengers was 77. There was a stair lift. We were the youngest aboard (both eligible for Medicare), and threw off the curve. All were mobile, mostly friendly, well educated, well traveled, agreeable, and overwhelmingly politically conservative. Beware. Would we take this cruise line again? No. Read Less
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