Sail Date: April 2018
I wanted a small ship experience with lots of intracoastal sailing opportunities. We truly were able to "go where the big ships cannot!" My most enjoyable moments were on the various canals we traveled through - lots of neat ... Read More
I wanted a small ship experience with lots of intracoastal sailing opportunities. We truly were able to "go where the big ships cannot!" My most enjoyable moments were on the various canals we traveled through - lots of neat wildlife and landscapes to see! I particularly liked the guest lecturer on board - he was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Blount offered a cruise where we were able to explore many historical areas while sailing up the East Coast, and the lecturer was a renowned historian who added great information to our locations. The chef and his assistant both get an A+ for their meals and fresh-baked pastries, and the crew was professional and accommodating. My favorite was either the steak and lobster or seared tuna, and plenty of great dessert options were available. The Captain was a courteous, professional mariner and his crew members were incredibly accommodating. I enjoyed interacting with them and the other passengers on Grande Mariner. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We have always wanted to go to Lake Mackinac and were delighted with all you can see and do on this island including The Grand Hotel which was awesome. Payment to enter is waived for all Blount customers. All the ports were certainly ... Read More
We have always wanted to go to Lake Mackinac and were delighted with all you can see and do on this island including The Grand Hotel which was awesome. Payment to enter is waived for all Blount customers. All the ports were certainly worth seeing and all of the tour stops were great. The Captain took pains to steer around any rough weather spots on this cruise and kept us informed regularly. The staff and all of them were simply outstanding, most helpful and took great care of the passengers. We had 66 folks on board from all over the U.S. We got to know each other fairly quickly and quite a few friendships were formed. The ship brought in entertainment in the evenings which was enjoyable. The boat has an outstanding chef and the food was well prepared and well presented. Wine and beer are served with lunch and dinner. Fresh homemade Snacks were available throughout the day. While on this short cruise we had TWO open bars with outstanding appetizers. The tours were excellent. Some were free and some had a modest charge. The Grand Mariner is NOT a large river boat such as we have taken in Europe. The cabins were small and with large windows allowing you to see Lake Michigan as we cruised. To its credit, photographs were shown on the brochures of each level of cabins Our Tour Director, Lisa, was simply great. She made suggestions on what to see for each stop as well as being most helpful answering questions or solving any issues that may arise. Transportation to the airport was handled with precision and making sure you arrived at the airport with time to spare. We will certainly travel with Blount in the future. Richard and Diane Graham 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: December 2016
I had sailed with Blount before on one of their Erie Canal trips. I loved the smaller ship and the terrific crew. Several of the passengers told me about their experiences during their Caribbean cruise on Blount, and I booked the trip when ... Read More
I had sailed with Blount before on one of their Erie Canal trips. I loved the smaller ship and the terrific crew. Several of the passengers told me about their experiences during their Caribbean cruise on Blount, and I booked the trip when I got home. Flying into Belize City was very easy. Staff was there to greet us and help us to our shuttles. The usual tourist port had been damaged by a hurricane a couple of months before, so we were out on the edge of the commercial ships. Normally we would have been close to shopping and exploring on our own. The staff arranged a shuttle to take us from our remote location to points of interest. Lux Hunter, the naturalist, along with two guides, Victoria and Capi, made sure we had opportunities to see a variety of marine life, birds, and animals. I never felt rushed. When any of us lagged behind, they would reassure us that we had time. They explained activities, like a cleaning station with a parrot fish being serviced that I would have completely missed. The food was always excellent. Always prepared from scratch that day. Breakfast was served buffet style with a choice of cold cereals, a hot cereal, yogurt, fruit, an egg dish, and fresh scones or other bakery items. It was nice to come back from a morning of snorkeling to a delicious lunch of a hot soup, warm toasted sandwiches, chips, a salad or two, and yummy fresh baked cookies. Dinner had a choice of two entrees, with usually a fresh baked treat. The chef was always willing to make accommodations for any dietary restrictions. Dining is casual. Most of the tables seat eight, so plenty of opportunities to get to talk with fellow passangers. The cabins are small when compared to the big oceanliners. However, they are roomy enough with comfortable beds. Some of the cabins have wetbaths, but still are plenty roomy for taking a shower. There are a handful of cabins that are for the solo traveler who does not want to share. Blount will also pair you with another solo traveler, if their single cabins are full. The lounge is very comfortable for reading, playing games, or putting together a puzzle with fellow passengers. On top is the Sun Deck to watch the world go by, with a canopy if it is too sunny. It is also a great place for evening cocktails and entertainment from local performers. On the Belize-Guatamala trip we did a lot of snorkeling, went to a nature preserve, climbed some Mayan ruins, went to an organic Cacao Plantation (nothing like I had imagined, my favorite activity right after snorkling), visits to coastal towns, and a visit to the Belize Zoo. Due to adverse weather, we had change a couple of the dive locations and had to cancel one snorkeling day completely. The staff was able to make arrangements for other excursions. I cannot say enough good things about the staff. Every member seemed happy to be there, were always helpful, and answered questions about their jobs or suggestions of what to do. I am a retired female solo traveler with some mobility issues. I never felt rushed, left out, or awkward. They made sure I was supported getting in and out of the skiff and knew how the chair lift worked. A fellow traveler had some medical dietary restrictions; the chef would come out at the end of breakfast and discuss that day's menu with the passanger and together they would decide on any modifications. I feel very safe and well taken care of by the crew. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I went to the Bahamian Out Islands with Blount it was the best vacation I have ever taken. We boarded in Nassau and cruised past 4 HUGE cruise ships. We went to the outer islands that big ships will never reach. Spanish Wells, Harbour ... Read More
I went to the Bahamian Out Islands with Blount it was the best vacation I have ever taken. We boarded in Nassau and cruised past 4 HUGE cruise ships. We went to the outer islands that big ships will never reach. Spanish Wells, Harbour Island and Compass Cay to name a few. We had complete access to remote beaches and small towns inaccessible by usual tourists. We were docking with yachts and sailboats the entire time, even running into a few celebrities. The optional excursions were fantastic as well - my favorite is the ride in a glass bottomed boat with the Naturalist Luz who lectured us on fish and coral below the surface. The crew on these boats are absolutely phenomenal. Beginning on day 1, they will know you by name. If you need ANYTHING, just ask! Fantastic service. I also enjoyed the food onboard greatly. One of my favorite meals was a fun cookout on the top deck during Caribbean night where the captain made his famous punch and handed out delicious grilled shrimp. Blount is the type of cruise you take if you want to do something different and meet great people in the process. You bond with both passengers and crew greatly over the duration of your trip since they sail with less than 83 passengers. The ships are not luxurious by any means. It's truly about cruising in comfort and enjoying your experiences with people who make you feel as if, you are cruising on a friend's yacht! Blount also does trips from New York or Boston to Montreal, wish I am hoping to do one day, especially during fall foliage. I would highly recommend you put a trip with this cruise line on your travel bucket list!! 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
Grande Mariner Ratings
Category Editor Member
Family 3.0 2.6
Rates 3.0 4.7

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