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39 Blount Small Ship Adventures Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date August 2015
Background have long said I have 2 favorite cruise lines which are polar opposites, Blount and Crystal. The line is not for everybody, but does have a very loyal following which I consider myself part of. Ship info: Luther Blount was ... Read More
Background have long said I have 2 favorite cruise lines which are polar opposites, Blount and Crystal. The line is not for everybody, but does have a very loyal following which I consider myself part of. Ship info: Luther Blount was involved in many businesses. He started in the Oyster business and branched out into shipbuilding. His entry into cruising came from taking family and friends on his personal yacht and the demand grew until he expanded into building and sailing small cruise ships. His signature journey was through New York’s Erie Canal and he designed his ships with that journey in mind with shallow drafts and a pilot house that retracted to allow the ship to pass under the canal’s 17-foot bridges. Other trips went to the Caribbean and he added a patented bow ramp which allows the ships to ground on a beach and the ramp to run either to shore or to shallow water for snorkeling. A Captain once quoted one of Luther Blount’s mottos, “Give them everything they need and nothing they don’t”. When I first sailed with the line in 1996 I described the creature comforts as “somewhere between basic and spartan”. The current generation of ships is a bit bigger and better equipped and following Mr. Blount’s 2006 death daughter Nancy has added some woman’s touches bringing things closer to the upper end of that scale. I don’t think the vertical restrictions required for passing through the Erie Canal would permit having the machinery required for an elevator, but the current ships all have stair chair lifts on the main stairways. Dining: Meals are served in a single dining room on the lower deck of the ship. Meal times are set, usually 8AM, 12:30PM, and 6:30PM although there may be a slight variation to fit into port and activity times. There is a daily set menu which is posted each evening right outside the dining room door. If something on the menu does not work for a passenger, a quick word with the chef will result in a substitution. A number of passengers were gluten free and were very well taken care of. Seating is first come first served and over the course of a cruise one can share a meal with virtually everyone else on the ship. Breakfast begins with a buffet table with hot and cold cereal, fresh fruit, toast, milk, and juice. Breakfast entrees are served family style at each table. Lunch is also served family style (without the buffet table) but the stewardess individually serve the dinner entrees. Until recently there was a single dinner entree each day but in the last few years there has been a choice (usually a meat option and a seafood option) as well as a special desert of ice cream. Passengers are asked to select their dinner choices at breakfast. I think everybody meeting in the dining room 3 times a day enhances the bonding of passengers Blount generally does not sell alcohol. The basic policy is BYOB, but within the last few years wine or beer have been included with lunch and dinner, and there is an open bar one night at the beginning and end of each cruise. There is a cooler in the lounge where passengers can keep their bottles chilled. Self service coffee, tea, cappuccino (new since my last visit), and soda as well as granola, fresh fruit, and baked goods are available in the dining room 24 hours per day as well as a second soda machine in the lounge and morning coffee in the lounge. Activities and entertainment: This was a port intensive cruise and there were not a lot of onboard activities. We had a photographer who gave presentations on how to take good pictures (no, he does not hound you for pictures in the dining room or at ports like happens on some ships; he does sell a CD with photos of the trip for a nominal price), and a naturalist who gave talks on wildlife, fisheries, and local history. The small crew does not include entertainers as such, several local groups came on various evenings and performed, where we had neither local entertainers nor a naturalist presentation a movie would be shown. Where there are “sea days” the Cruise Director will organize some games in either the lounge or the dining room. Fitness: There are not a lot of facilities but they are improving somewhat. A walkway circles the deck with the lounge. It is narrow and short, something like 15-20 laps per mile, but it is available. The lowered pilot house prohibits walking around this deck on the Erie Canal, but then there are ample opportunities to walk on shore. There are also bicycles available to rent and a new addition, 2 stationary bikes aft. Children: Blount is really an adult oriented operation and children are not encouraged. A minimum age of 14 is the usual rule although children may be accepted on a case by case basis. Service and Crew: This is one area where the “Everything you need, nothing you don’t” has it’s greatest impact. Our crew of 15 was pretty typical, We had 3 officers, a chef, cruise director 5 stewardesses (occasionally, as here, one of the stewardesses who is experienced and outstanding gets the title of hotel director), and 5 deckhands. There is a lot of self service, such as the coffee bar between meals, and rooms are made up only once per day. The emphasis is on quality of service rather than quantity. Blount has several American flag competitors. I have not sailed them but others I talked to on the voyage have. The consensus was that while the others have more upscale facilities, Blount stands head and shoulders above the others in quality of service. All the staff are engaging and friendly and will do anything that they can fit into their limited duty time. It may be the New England work ethic but the staff are truly outstanding. In times of rough seas anybody, officially on duty or not, is ready to help anyone who needs it with a steadying hand. Disembarkation: Disembarkation is pretty straight forward. The extra cost services are very limited (shore excursions, logo clothing, and transfers is about it). All of that is handled by one person, the cruise director. Midway through the cruise she will collect disembarkation plans and credit card numbers. There is typically a bus hired for passengers headed for the airport, and plans will be made to secure other transfers as appropriate. Bills will be processed the day before disembarkation. Bags are left outside rooms before breakfast on the morning of disembarkation, and following a leisurely breakfast people will be called as their transportation is ready. Summary: Blount is not for everyone. If you need “luxury” and pampering, Broadway style shows, and an array of specialty restaurants you will need to go elsewhere. For good, well prepared food, friendly service, and a family atmosphere you have a home here. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Travelled from NYC up the Hudson River, through the multiple locks on the Erie and Oswego Canals, into Lake Ontario, through more locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway all the way to the Saguenay in September 2014. We stopped at many smaller ... Read More
Travelled from NYC up the Hudson River, through the multiple locks on the Erie and Oswego Canals, into Lake Ontario, through more locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway all the way to the Saguenay in September 2014. We stopped at many smaller cities and towns along the way as well as Montreal and Quebec City. This was a great experience. We had 72 passengers (capacity is 88) with the majority being in the 60-late 80s age range. The staff on the ship were efficient, pleasant and professional. Food was for the most part excellent and always abundant. Fresh fruit, baking, hot and cold beverages available 24/7. We had a pastry chef on board which meant fresh bread and/or baking every meal. With Blount's home port being Rhode Island, seafood was frequently on the menu. Food restrictions were able to be accomodated. Onboard entertainment in the evening included an onboard lecturer, local to the port musicians, movies. Bus and walking tours were available at many ports at an extra cost. Lecturer organized a short stretching session pre-breakfast later in the trip. (Would be awesome to have entire trip!) Cabins are small but efficient. Some folks in top deck rooms commented on their rooms being cramped as they had separate shower stalls and sliding doors onto the deck. Main floor rooms were more spacious depending on location. Avoid main floor rooms at the stern due to noise from engines/generators as well as ones near to doors into the dining room, lounge and deck due to noise. Blount has a BYOB policy as well as complimentary beer and wine at lunch and supper. Blount hosted 3 happy hours with open bar and hors d'oeuvres. My only real complaint was with internet access. First world problems! But if you are someone depending on using your cell to keep in touch with home or work while away, be aware that Wifi was not available most of the time in part because the ship only uses a hot spot and limited number of people could use it at any one time if you did have reception. Once we entered Canada, there was no wifi the entire time as the host of the hot spot didn't have a Canadian data plan or had used up their data plan. Because of the route, there were often times when we couldn't get any cell reception (via 3G). Don't count on there being easy internet access at some of the ports, esp at the smaller ports. I do highly recommend travelling with this line! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We, a couple in our 50s, have sailed many times with Blount (formerly ACCL - American Canadian Caribbean Line) and absolutely love it. Here's the deal: The cabins are small, efficient, clean and comfortable. Public space is abundant: ... Read More
We, a couple in our 50s, have sailed many times with Blount (formerly ACCL - American Canadian Caribbean Line) and absolutely love it. Here's the deal: The cabins are small, efficient, clean and comfortable. Public space is abundant: top and aft outdoor decks, a large lounge and dining room. The crew is very friendly and accessible creating a relaxed family atmosphere. They are caring and real - no put-ons. The food is healthy and delicious with choices at every meal. Everything is homemade and tastes it. Even all the baking is done onboard which is tough on the waistline. Beer and wine is served with lunch and dinner if desired and the BYOB policy is great. The ship supplies mixers, condiments and soft drinks. Most of the cruisers are in their 60s, 70s and 80s but surprisingly spry and adventurous. Many are experienced boaters/yachters who are happy to let someone else take the helm for a change. There are bikes and kayaks available on some itineraries and, at least in the Caribbean, almost daily opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Because of the unique design of the ships, they have access to small isolated ports. The other ships in port are usually private yachts. Also, when visiting a port we feel we are not "invading" the towns since there are only 50-80 of us onboard. We don't change the ports - the ports change us. We get to visit incognito or, if the town is really small, we are treated as appreciated visitors. It is close to private charter cruising - more like independent travel than a tour or a big cruise ship. That being said, it is so nice to have your cabin and the welcoming ship and crew to return to and not have to pack/unpack or find a restaurant or negotiate a busy hotel/resort/cruise crowd. Cruising with Blount is nothing like the big cruise ship experience. It is so much more real, personable, lower impact, rewarding and feels like true travel. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
The Grande Mariner is old and shows it age; the shower was rusty and mildewed. That said, everything else was acceptable. And the crew kept our cabin and the common areas well vacuumed. Our cabin was adequate with good storage and ... Read More
The Grande Mariner is old and shows it age; the shower was rusty and mildewed. That said, everything else was acceptable. And the crew kept our cabin and the common areas well vacuumed. Our cabin was adequate with good storage and excellent lighting, better than in in many hotel rooms. The food was abundant to the point of wastefulness. Our only complaint was that it was too salty, and the meats were overcooked. There was always a choice of fish or meat. Lunch was formulaic with soup, sandwiches and salad. Breads, cakes, and cookies were baked daily onboard. Fresh fruit, pastries, and beverages were available all day in the dining room. Wine and beer were available at lunch and dinner. Several night local groups provided musical entertainment which was average at best. The cruise director provided games on other night but there didn't appear to be much interest in them. The passengers were similar to what you find on Road Scholar trips: well educated, retired people, interested in many things, good company. The staff was pleasant and helpful. During a bad rain storm, the captain proved his mettle when a medical emergency arose and he coordinated a docking at a small marina and arranged for an ambulance to take the passenger to Albany . The onboard historian was excellent and provided daily lectures. We learned much about the natural and political history of the rivers and canals and towns along the way. Port stops were towns along the way with Quebec City and Montreal at the end of the trip. A day-long excursion to Cooperstown was offered, but it meant missing much of the Erie Canal and the locks. We enjoyed the morning excursion to Hyde Park. A naturalist joined us on the Saguenay River to assist with the whale watching. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We had heard wonderful things about this cruise line. The idea of a smaller more intimate cruise held a lot of appeal. Unfortunately, the idea was better than reality. The rooms are tiny and continually had a sour smell. The food was ample ... Read More
We had heard wonderful things about this cruise line. The idea of a smaller more intimate cruise held a lot of appeal. Unfortunately, the idea was better than reality. The rooms are tiny and continually had a sour smell. The food was ample but not much better than what you get at the home of a not very good cook. They advertise serving wine with lunch and dinner but wine out of a box should be reserved for camping. The staff was pleasant but the cleaning system definitely needed an overhaul. It took a really long time for staff to make up the cabins! The worst thing about the trip was that more than half of the trip was scrubbed due to weather. Chicago is a beautiful city but we didn't anticipate having to spend four days moored at the Navy Pier. The two days we actually sailed and the one port we visited was enjoyable. We fully appreciate that you get what you pay for and we were very grateful that we had taken advantage of the two for one option. However, others on the Cruise paid the full price. While, anyone can understand that weather is a factor it should have been made clearer in the information that with a small ship on a big lake it doesn't take much of a wind to keep you in port! We were very disappointed that the cruise line made no effort to compensate the passengers for the cruise that wasn't! It was insulting to be offered 20% off our next cruise when it is almost always possible to book at the two for one rate. The other passengers were a great bunch of people and those who stayed to complete the trip made every effort to make the best out of the experience. We knew that most of the passengers would be retirement age but we were surprised how elderly most of the passengers were. We are in the hospitality business and appreciate that it is difficult to always please the consumer. We would much prefer to be giving this cruise a glowing recommendation as we really thought that it would be a great experience...never again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Background: Blount Small Ship Adventures truly marches to a different drummer in the cruise industry. A family owned company, the term family will come up often, and I typically use the term in the way real families actually work, not some ... Read More
Background: Blount Small Ship Adventures truly marches to a different drummer in the cruise industry. A family owned company, the term family will come up often, and I typically use the term in the way real families actually work, not some stylized version of the term. Founder Luther Blount was the company's guiding influence for 40 years, leaving his mark right up to his death in 2006. His daughter Nancy is now President and has added some woman's touches but the family tradition still continues. Despite the company's minuscule size (it's 2 ships have a TOTAL capacity of 190 passengers), there are almost 2 distinct companies, and most passengers are fiercely loyal to one or the other with little intermixing. The Caribbean side centers on water activities, primarily swimming and snorkeling, while the North American itineraries center on scenic cruising and history. For those who have sailed with Blount (formerly ACCL) in the past, changes from recent years are that wine is included with lunch and dinner and there are now choices for both dinner entrees and deserts. Embarkation: The ship was docked at the North end of the Port of New Orleans beyond the bridges and near the Port Administration Building and Mardi Gras World. As I approached the gangway a deck hand took my bags and headed for my cabin. Check-in is handled in the lounge where I gave a crew member my ticket and my choices for dinner and picked up a name tag. Normally one of the stewardesses will escort a passenger to the cabin and point out the features; Im pretty much a Blount regular and that wasnt deemed necessary. Ship info: All of Blount's ships are designed to cruise New York's Erie Canal, which has several bridges with about 17 foot vertical clearance. They have a retractable pilot house which normally sits on the topmost deck but can be lowered to the deck below. One unfortunate consequence of the design for low bridges is that the ceilings are low (approximately 6'3") which would be a consideration for people over that height. The Grande Caribe, and near twin Grande Mariner, have 2 ½ inside decks, with 6 cabins and crew areas on the lowest deck, and cabins and dining room on the middle deck, and cabins and lounge on the upper deck. There is a walk around the outside of the upper deck, about 15 laps per mile, although walking is really better done ashore. An open upper deck is on top, except when transiting the Erie Canal. Staterooms: The cabins are tiny, basic, and functional. Most are approximately 80 square feet, and have a small sink and toilet. The space between the sink and toilet serves as the shower, with the shower head mounted on the wall, and a curtain which comes into place on the other 3 sides containing the spray in the shower space. It's very nontraditional but quite functional. A few cabins now have separate showers. There are generally 2 beds sitting at right angles, cabinet space and a writing desk. One thing that may surprise newcomers is that the cabin doors do not lock from the outside. With the small, family atmosphere I've never heard of this causing a problem, but it is certainly unusual. Most of the Niagara Prince cabin doors face interior hallways and are sliding fabric, much like sliding room dividers. Each cabin has an individual heat-ac unit, much like a room air conditioner. Rooms are not equipped with television or phones. Crew: Since these are US flag ships, the crew is all American, and generally young. We had a crew of 16: Captain, First officer, Engineer, Cruise Director, Hotel Director, Chef and assistant, 5 Stewardess and 4 deck hands. The entire crew from Captain on down is closely engaged with the passengers and will all typically address the passengers by name. We are much more on our own than on a typical cruise ship (for example, if we want a mid-afternoon cup of coffee we pretty much need to pour it ourselves), but the service is very personal and professional. Dining: All meals are served in the dining room. In the tradition of real family dining, there are set meal times, generally 8am, noon, and 6pm. Also, as with real families, the chef sets the menu of the day, with a choice usually of a meat or seafood and 2 deserts for dinner. The menu is posted the night before in the dining room. People who see something on the menu they don't like will speak to the chef a meal in advance and a substitution will be offered. The tables are for 6 or 8, and at the appointed time we pick a vacant seat. In the course of the cruise I shared a table at least once with nearly every other passenger. Breakfast starts with a buffet line for fruit, milk, juice, and hot and cold cereal. Cooked entrees are served family style (large platters are passed around the tables). Lunch is also served family style, while dinner is served traditionally. Between meals there are snacks available in the lounge and dining room, self service soft drinks in the lounge and a coffee station in the dining room. Blount serves drinks on the Captains welcome aboard and farewell nights and wine with dinner. At other times the policy is BYOB. There is storage space, including a refrigerator, for passenger liquor in the lounge and drink setups are always furnished. Activities and entertainment: Formal entertainment is fairly limited. The Cruise Director organizes a couple of games each day but the emphasis is on either ports or scenic cruising. An onboard naturalist gave presentations on environmental topics, and was out on deck pointing out wildlife. In the evening there is either a movie in the lounge or a local entertainer when in port. There is no casino and very little shopping. The ship's store with Blount items is opened once each cruise. Other shopping needs will have to be met on shore, and the cruise director will help find the right places at each port. Children: Children are generally not encouraged. The policy is a minimum age of 14 years although I have seen younger mature children on a case-by-case basis. Disembarkation: A breeze. Since there are few onboard expenses, we settled our bills the day before arrival in St. Petersburg, and the cruise director collected our departure information and arranged taxis/shuttles as appropriate. Luggage went outside our doors the morning we disembarked. After breakfast it was arranged in the lounge sorted by departure time. When we were ready we simply walked off the ship. I had a taxi to meet my Amtrak departure. It arrived a few minutes ahead of the reservation. I was paged, walked off the ship, and found the crew had already loaded my luggage in the taxi. Summary: Blount is not for everybody. People who want a big menu of activities, those who want to be pampered in luxury and those who have a preset idea of what a cruise should be are likely to be disappointed. Those who are open to a new and intimate experience can have a wonderful time. Prices tend to be on the high side reflecting the lack of economy of scale and the fact that the crew is earning American wages. Ports: Shore tours are not included in the fare, but are moderately priced. On this cruise they ranged from $29 to $85 with an average of about $60. New Orleans: Blount sometimes allows embarkation a day early, and I was able to board a day ahead of time with dinner and breakfast included. There were no ship activities on the general embarkation day and I went for a cruise on the Natchez, a steam paddlewheel riverboat. It was very enjoyable with views of the waterfront, French Quarter, Algiers, and sites from the War of 1812 and Civil War. I did not partake but a lunch was available which looked quite nice. The next day the ship offered 2 shore excursions. The morning tour was a city and Katrina tour where we visited cemeteries, various styles of architecture and toured the canal system and areas where the system failed. We had a refreshment stop at the Art Museum park. The afternoon tour was an airboat tour on the bayous where we saw lots of wildlife including closeup views of alligators and bayou cabins. It was excellent. A local R&B group entertained in the evening. We were supposed to leave New Orleans at 7 the next morning but our departure was delayed until 8:45, probably because we had to pass through a flood control gate that would be closed until noon. I had time for a morning walk where I found excellent internet at a Starbucks near the most downstream cruise terminal. Biloxi: We docked with yachts at a marina which may have been attached to a casino. We had a train tour which visited the main sites and stopped at the final home of Jefferson Davis. A highlight was the Katrina Sculpture Park where a chainsaw artist used some trees destroyed by Katrina to create beautiful sculptures of birds and sea life. The evening we docked a local historian told Stories of Biloxi. Mobile: Our visit here was just a morning. The ships tour went to Bellingrath Gardens and Home, although I skipped it in favor of a visit to a local Laundromat. We docked behind the Convention center, right in the midst of the downtown area. A free shuttle hits the major downtown sites about every 15 minutes. Most Blount stops in Mobile spend the day there and a great option is the USS Arizona Battleship. That visit requires a taxi. Pensacola: We docked at the Plaza de Luna, staying from about 9PM for a full day and overnight, leaving early the 2nd morning. We were greeted by a welcoming party of drummers in period costumes. The location was convenient to the center of town and museums. There were again morning and afternoon tours. I skipped the morning tour which toured the sites and museum complex. The afternoon tour visited the National Naval Aviation Museum, an astounding collection of historic military aircraft spread over 2 huge hangers. We also visited Fort Barrancas, one of several forts which protected the harbor entrance, and the Pensacola light house, where 177 steps provided a superb view of the area. A local music group performed that evening and we left early the next morning. Pensacola was a real gem. There are not facilities for large cruise ships but I think it would be a great alternative to Key West for ships like Silversea, Seabourn, or Azamara. Panama City: This was essentially a rest stop for the officers as the crew size does not work well with multiple overnight cruises. We docked at the local marina around dinner time. Panama City appeared to be a nice, quaint small town, but it was pretty much closed up on a Sunday evening. A local blues singer came aboard to perform. Carabelle: A first call for Blount, Carabelle was a bit of a disappointment. A tour was planned for a nature experience at Tates Hell State Forest, but the tour operator ended up with a capacity of only 4. A local historian gave an evening presentation, and offered his van for the afternoon to escort people to th local museums and shopping places. Tampa: We docked at the Westin Harbor Island. I passed on the morning tour to the H.B. Plant Museum. In the afternoon there was a shuttle to local attractions on the waterfront, Tampa History Center, Florida Aquarium, or the American Victory. I visited the American Victory. Victory ships are a WWII upgrade of the Liberty Ship and was a very interesting ship. These attractions are all very close to the Tampa Cruise Port. We had an evening performance by violinist Leah Rothe who played mostly classical music but sampled several styles. St. Petersburg: Our disembarkation stop was just a stones throw from Tampa. We docked at the port of Tampa and were all given day passes for the looper trolley. Points of interest there were the Dali Museum, the city pier (about to be demolished), Fine Arts Museum, Holocaust Museum, and a unique open air post office.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Very friendly staff (everyone) the captain and all passengers the food was good the fruit and bread always freshly baked and top notch there was always plenty of food 24 hours a day complimentary soda,juices and snacks 24 hours a day being ... Read More
Very friendly staff (everyone) the captain and all passengers the food was good the fruit and bread always freshly baked and top notch there was always plenty of food 24 hours a day complimentary soda,juices and snacks 24 hours a day being a small boat we were able to get into the ports and just walk off all of them except Nantucket. The ports were great and the Captain was always available to answer ALL of our questions. The passengers for from as far away as France to local Dedham and Watertown MA I highly recommend Blount to anyone looking for great food and different ports that the big ships can not get into. WE had a larger cabin 54B which had plenty of room and a large window. You bring your own liquor so you save alot of money and you just put a label on it keep it in the shared refrigerator and no one ever touches yours . Having cruised over 95 times I am amazed that I have missed such an incredible gem, BLOUNT small ships I have no negatives just remember it is not luxury if you are looking for great ports and DO NOT want to get dressed up even at dinner than this is the line for you we LOVRD it and can not wait to go to Belize in February and all the towns from Boston to Florida and enjoy all the destinations no other ship goes to in 2013 with lunch and dinner you will get complimentary beer and wine with lunch and dinner. Look at there website and then call your travel agent to book a great vacation with Blount it will be a great adventure whichever one you decide I can not wait to experience them all and they are owned by a local family. Being a small ship they have many advantages and can stay later in ports and almost do whatever they need to keep the passengers like us VERY HAPPY I hop[e to sail real soon. LOVED BLOUNT!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Several years ago, I bought a Danube Christmas market cruise on the MS Bolero through Gate 1. When we got on board, we were told the river was high and there was a bridge we could not get under. Bottom line, no cruise, and THEY KNEW ... Read More
Several years ago, I bought a Danube Christmas market cruise on the MS Bolero through Gate 1. When we got on board, we were told the river was high and there was a bridge we could not get under. Bottom line, no cruise, and THEY KNEW BEFORE WE FLEW TO GERMANY THAT THERE WOULD BE NONE. The July 25 departure was my first experience with Blount Small Ship Adventures, on the Grande Mariner. As we sat in the airport, boarding passes in hand, my wife got a cell phone call that the ship had blown an engine and we would not board at Chelsea Piers in NYC as planned, but they would take care of us. My thoughts were, "deja vu all over again". Another disaster. We arrived at Chelsea Piers and were met by the captain. We were bussed about 5 hours to Warren, RI, where the ship was and boarded the ship while they worked on it. We got underway almost two days later, and were still 200 miles or so from the original starting point of NYC. While in Rhode Island, we were given open bar and a no cost tour of Newport, RI. Once we sailed, the captain poured on the coals to make up time. Most of us had flight arrangements out of Toronto on Aug 3. He made up the time, but did it by steaming all night much of the time. The original plan was to steam mostly by day to see the scenery. So, I missed seeing much of the Hudson River since we ran it mostly at night. Much of the Erie Canal was run at night, not the original plan. The company made all optional tours free, and some such as Niagara Falls would have been close to $200 per person. We made all the tours, such as The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, tours of Kingston, Ontario, Toronto, etc. We stopped at Oswego and Ogdensburg NY, but nothing much there. The company also provided free wine with meals, not the usual procedure. The ship holds around 96 passengers, and there were about 65 actually on board. At 70 and 68, we were among the youngest on board. There were walkers, canes, oxygen tanks. About 10 or so were from the NYC area, another 8 or 10 Canadians from around Toronto, and the others from Florida, California, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia, etc. We represented Texas. But the passengers overall were middle class, very well traveled and educated people, who were a joy to get to know. Meals were informal, family style, NEVER a dress code or assigned seating, and we got to know a lot of them well. They were retired professional people. The food was good, and we always had choices. I gained 6 pounds. The crew were all Americans, mostly young, and the ship flew the US flag. Crossing into Canada was easy. The tour director collected passports, Canadian officials came on board, and she took care of it as we ate dinner. We never saw the customs people. The captain is who made lemonade out of lemons. Captain "Mike" was everywhere doing everything. We ate with him several times, and had informal chats other times. Bottom line: nothing that went wrong was the fault of Blount or the ship's crew. They did all that was humanly possible to undo the damage of a breakdown and get us to our destinations. The ownership must have taken a big loss on this trip what with all the "freebies"they threw in. Give Blount a try. I think you will be glad you did. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My wife and I sailed on the Grande Mariner from June 16th to June 23rd out of Navy Pier in Chicago. The cruise took us to a number of different ports including Mackinaw, Sturgeon Bay and Milwaukee. For a small ship, 69 passengers and 18 ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Grande Mariner from June 16th to June 23rd out of Navy Pier in Chicago. The cruise took us to a number of different ports including Mackinaw, Sturgeon Bay and Milwaukee. For a small ship, 69 passengers and 18 crew, it was well maintained and the food was excellent. The baked goods were consistently some of the best I have ever eaten. Most of the passengers were older than us but we had a great time talking with them. They are all young at heart. Our cabin was in the second to the best tier, room 40B. Small but quite comfortable and perfectly located. The crew was professional, the captain was seasoned, Lisa the cruise director was on top of things and the baker Kristen was friendly and as previously mentioned one of the best bakers I have ever come across. If you are looking for a quiet and relaxing time with great food I would recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Just found the reviews for Blount on CC and want to praise them. Loved our Magical Lake Michigan trip in 2011 on the (now retired) Niagara Prince. Easy and comfortable way to see a part of the USA that would take way too much driving for ... Read More
Just found the reviews for Blount on CC and want to praise them. Loved our Magical Lake Michigan trip in 2011 on the (now retired) Niagara Prince. Easy and comfortable way to see a part of the USA that would take way too much driving for us. Small enough to make you feel at home, just with extra spoiling by everyone. Local entertainment some nights, optional tours arranged. No glitz or frills, just a great way to visit beautiful areas of our country for those who don't require a casino, spa, theaters or bright lights! Nice to be able to sit up on top deck and see the stars so clearly and not worry about noise. The clientele tends to be older and I think no children under 14 were allowed (don't remember exact age requirement). The food was excellent, Chef Donovan prepared special request just to our liking. Meals were always fresh and I loved all the fruit offerings. Cruise director Jennifer was amazing - a Jill of all trades, always with grace and a smile! First time we've ever hugged a cruise director good-bye and some passengers were tearful at having to leave! Wonderful captain and crew and we happily anticipate several of them will be on the 2013 Lake Superior voyage on Grand Mariner this year. Biggest drawback is the small size of cabin but it's cozy and comfortable even if not fancy and certainly easy to understand on this size ship. That's part of the charm. If you're tired of being of being one of the herd on the big traditional cruise ships, recommend you check Blount and get a taste of being treated like one of the family. Hope to be able to go with Blount again in 2014. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I can't say enough about the food YUM!! My husband and I are 52 and almost 50 we were young here. We met the greatest people and had the best time!! The food was GREAT! They serve family style 8am, noon, and 5 or 6 with cocktail hour ... Read More
I can't say enough about the food YUM!! My husband and I are 52 and almost 50 we were young here. We met the greatest people and had the best time!! The food was GREAT! They serve family style 8am, noon, and 5 or 6 with cocktail hour before. Everyone wears their name tags and you get to know them and make new friends. The cabins are small but ours was comfortable. We were on the sun deck by the lounge (very handy) We had room for everything. Very casual dressing. The shower was separate from the toilet. The beds were comfortable. We were in the hallway by the stairs and the lounge and it was quiet, once in awhile we could hear people in the next room but every one goes to bed early. The air conditioner is a bit noisy but by the second day I never noticed it. You can lock your door from the inside but not the outside this was no problem. The crew were great, everyone was nice as can be and helpful This is a very relaxed and laid back cruise to small towns with interesting history. We had a photographer on board that gave talks about taking pictures and photography, he was great about giving tips and private talks to anyone. There was an historian on board that gave Civil War talks. Also some other interesting folks came aboard for talks and demos one was a low country boil YUM! Loved the byob policy! There was really only one negative for us and that was my fault for not researching the towns before the cruise- We would have liked to have more choices of things to do but we are maybe a little more active than the typical passenger. That was a very minor negative! Also we didn't stay in port very long on a couple of stops. The cruising was mostly done during the day. This cruise was on the spendy side but worth it for the no worries relaxation and good company! All in all we just unwinded and really enjoyed our vacation!!!! I would take another cruise with this company. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our first experience with river cruising. We have done 5 ocean cruises on Regency, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We were not sure what to expect on such a small ship but we were VERY pleasantly surprised. Our biggest ... Read More
This was our first experience with river cruising. We have done 5 ocean cruises on Regency, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We were not sure what to expect on such a small ship but we were VERY pleasantly surprised. Our biggest concern was whether or not we could survive in a cabin that was 8 x 13. It turned out to be a non-problem at all. Yes, the shower was small and yes the cabin was small but we spent so little time there that it was never a problem. The cruise itself was absolutely wonderful!! Mother nature did not always cooperate but that did not deter any of us from having a good time. The ports of call were very interesting and there was a good amount of time allocated for excursions. You did not have a plethora of excursions to choose from but the ones that were there really highlighted the items of interest in the ports we visited. We stopped in Kingston, NY, Troy, NY, Sylvan Beach, NY, Oswego NY, Alexandria Bay, NY, Montreal and Quebec. From our point of view, Quebec was the highlight of the trip. Very interesting city. Will definitely go back there. Our ship had a capacity of 100 and there were 56 of us on board so we were really spoiled from that perspective. Without a doubt, the highlight of the cruise was the food. How the staff could prepare the variety of meals that we were served and the quality of food is a real testament to the chefs on board. Let there be no doubt that we will cruise with ACCL again. The service was friendly, courteous and wonderful. The food was great and the total experience was MUCH better than many we have had on BIG ships. Hooray for ACCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
ACCL_Grande Caribe 12 day Erie Canal trip Mostly older crowd -- 55+. Our cruise started out badly due to Mother Nature The trip was revised due to the damage in the locks of the Erie Canal. Most of the ports had been changed. We had ... Read More
ACCL_Grande Caribe 12 day Erie Canal trip Mostly older crowd -- 55+. Our cruise started out badly due to Mother Nature The trip was revised due to the damage in the locks of the Erie Canal. Most of the ports had been changed. We had booked the 40s cabin -- behind the dining room. At the time of booking the reservation agent told me they were good cabins only to find out when we boarded they were over the engine room and a compressor or some machinery that cycled on/off every 10 minutes. The A/C was so noisy we could not talk to each other unless standing side by side. The cabins are small, consisting of 2 twin beds, metal hanging cupboard and a metal set of drawers. The door to the cabin is a folding door with no lock from the outside & a hook lock from the inside. The premium cabins have a chair and small writing table. The head is small but functional, no door and had to use the shower curtain as the door. To shower you need to have the shower curtain in front of toilet and around in front of doorway. Only bar soap, toilet tissue and tissues supplied so need to bring shampoo etc. The staff did not seem to clean the room and the toilet area very well.. After a few days we noticed odors from around the toilet area and the shower curtain was soiled. Towels are changed every other day & sheets half way through the cruise. The blankets were badly worn. The lounge was in the bow and had ample seating with sofas & tub chairs with additional seating on the sides in the form of bench style seats & the upholstery could use a good clean. There was a large T.V. for watching movies, no TV. Stations or radio...if in port they would buy the newspaper. The bar was B.Y.O.B. and snacks were in the bar area, goldfish, nuts and snack mix. Sodas were free from the pop dispenser. There was a games cupboard and a small choice of books to read, plus magazines on the coffee tables. We had a 3 piece jazz group come on one night & a lady from the local Pioneer village dressed in period costume. Other nights they played older movies or nothing. The staff (16) was good during working hours but when they finished their duties you could never find anyone. Thank goodness no emergencies occurred when they were off duty. Seems the ships personnel is off at the same time. The dining: The food was very good and they always had goodies in the cupboard, there was a coffee machine and tea selections as well as ice tea. Andy the cook & his assistant Leah were the best -- very good selections of menus through the cruise & very accommodating for those that had special dietary needs or did not like the meal offered that day. The first night of the cruise we never slept at all because of the noise from the A/C & engine. We spoke to the purser about being moved. The ship has room for 100 PAX but we had 29 PAX surely they could move us up 1 deck. She could not do anything -- we next spoke with the 2nd Captain (they have 2) he said yes this is a small ship & there is noise you will get use to it. WHAT??? We paid almost $6000. Why should we have to get use to it! Next we called H.O. & they have no manager on duty and they have no authority to do anything. So we were stuck with a cruise that didnt resemble anything we booked, a noisy cabin that we could not sleep in. Another older lady spent the first night up in lounge because she could not sleep in her cabin located in the same area. There were 4 cabins booked in this area and the purser told one lady if I move you then I have to move everyone SO WHAT!! There were several cabins open on the deck above they could have made several people more comfortable. We found we could be moved for the pricey sum of $200. PP. So we were stuck for 12 days with lack of sleep and ports of call that had little or anything to do. The tours were not well organized or the information on taxis or things to do in the Port was very sketchy. BOTTOM LINE I would avoid this cruise line if you have ever cruised before, if you have never cruised before you may find it acceptable & buy into their small ships make sounds tale. There are other nicer cruise lines that deliver better service for the money. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
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