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9 Blount Small Ship Adventures Cruise Reviews

We took this cruise because it is the only cruise line that goes on the Erie Canal. Cabin -- we were in the largest option -- was small,but not a problem because we knew it would be. Essentially no useful directions to embarkation point ... Read More
We took this cruise because it is the only cruise line that goes on the Erie Canal. Cabin -- we were in the largest option -- was small,but not a problem because we knew it would be. Essentially no useful directions to embarkation point in Montreal, which left our cab driver searching for 40 minutes on what should have been a 15-minute ride. The cruise is pretty well for old people, again not a problem as we are old. There were under 40 passengers on a ship that will hold over 80, so we were able to spread out and do our own thing when we wanted. I think it would be a very difficult trip, in terms of feeling crowded, if the ship were full. The best thing, which is typical for most cruises we have been on, was the crew, especially the young people working the cabins and dining rooms. Very hard workers and very sweet. The captain and officers were personable and expert. The cruise director was very efficient if not warm and fuzzy. The "expert" offering lectures and commentary was great. They make a effort to keep you entertained in the evening -- beside the lectures, there were a couple musicians, movies, game night, etc. All were pretty well geared to old people. We thought the food pretty average, but the chef was very responsive to special requests. We were satisfied in terms of our objective -- seeing the amazing canal engineering across New York state. The excursions we took were fine -- a bit overpriced, but you are paying for their service. You are pretty well on your own in terms of exploring locales where you dock. I really don't see going on this line again -- it is expensive for what you get -- unless, as with the Erie Canal, there is no other option. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was my first small cruise, determined not to go on a ship with a thousand other people. Overall I found it relaxing. However, though I had anticipated a small single cabin as not being very large, to call it small would be an ... Read More
This was my first small cruise, determined not to go on a ship with a thousand other people. Overall I found it relaxing. However, though I had anticipated a small single cabin as not being very large, to call it small would be an understatement. What was particularly galling was the ship I was told, was designed for 80 persons and many of the double cabins were empty, as there were only 38 passengers on board. I could easily have been upgraded along with the other singletons to a larger cabin. The Ac was very noisy and erratic. My sleep was constantly disturbed. For this reasons regarding the cabin I would not go on another Blount cruise. Furnishings in the room were a bit shabby. Most of the other passenger were pleasant and friendly, except for one or two who expressed their right-wing opinions loudly. One could sit with different people at meals. Food was served plated and there was always two choices, including fish,for dinner. We had fresh lobster twice. The kitchen was always willing to make accommodations for me as I am pescatarian. Over all the food was very good. One could bring your own tipple on board and wine and beer were served at lunch and dinner at no extra cost. Excursions were very overpriced. All in all, was a bit expensive for what was provided cabin wise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This trip was taken with a group of 11 early-mid 70's age friends from California who are all very experienced travelers. ( By the way, it was a VERY old crowd and we were younger and more active than most. Youngest couple was ... Read More
This trip was taken with a group of 11 early-mid 70's age friends from California who are all very experienced travelers. ( By the way, it was a VERY old crowd and we were younger and more active than most. Youngest couple was mid-50's and oldest mid-90s). We were attracted by the itinerary from NYC to Chicago by transiting, canals, rivers and the Great Lakes. Most people are not aware you can do such a thing! We also liked the idea seeing small and large towns and experiencing navigating 40 locks as well as the casual no dress code and BYOB policy. We enjoyed this trip very much, but are not sure we will be repeat customers. The boat is small, clean, but showing age, and holds 80 passengers and we were 73 so it felt very full. Had we not experienced excellent weather and smooth sailing conditions I think we all would have been miserable. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time on upper deck which gave us a lot of moving around space and great views. However when the deck was closed for 2 1/2 days because the pilot house had to be lowered for us to get under the smaller bridges, or when there were too many bugs or a bit too much humidity, we felt very confined. The main lounge was crowded and there was always the dining room for cardplayers, but the two remaining outdoor areas on the main deck had limited seating and there was engine noise. Cabins were too small to spend time in. Windows were sticky and hard to open when we needed some fresh air. We would not pick an itinerary on this type of boat where weather is certain to be an issue. It just wasn't big enough. The crew was friendly and hard working and it seemed like everyone had two or three jobs. The dining room wait staff set up and served the meals, then cleaned our rooms. Two wait staff quit the first week and replacements came on board days later. The tour director, Jasmine was also very friendly, but unlike our other trips, there were no port briefings from her and most of her time seemed to be spent organizing the paid shore excursions, which were very good and affordable. Jasmine did not seem to have a deep knowledge of our ports and we were left mostly to rely on what she put on the bulletin board and maps she had available. We are not sure if this sort of "hands off" policy is Blount's or was a result of this run being fairly new to her. The crew and captain were accessible and friendly. The captain did a masterful job of keeping away from the negative weather and gave excellent navigation briefings each day along with good narrative as we traveled in the more scenic smaller areas. Very informative. Food was excellent and what we all characterized as upscale home cooking.....the kind of thing you would want to serve to company. Baked goods were exceptional down to homemade hamburger buns! Breakfast was partial buffet with fruits, hot and cold cereals, yogurts, juices and pasties. Hot items were brought to the table and were passed family style. Lunch was also family style and started with a delicious soup, then sandwiches or salad, always potato chips and pickles, ending with a tray of brownies or homemade cookies. Dinner was plated and there were generally two choices of main dish and desserts (including homemade ice cream.) We were asked to give our dinner choices at breakfast so the chef had an idea of quantity but you were not held to it. For those that needed substitutions at any meal, it could be obtained if you asked, however choices were limited. This was not announced fromally but the servers were helpful and cheerful about it and often offered. It was not easy to try to keep our group together for meals as tables cannot be reserved. We managed through trial and error. The entertainment was hit and miss and consisted of local musicians coming on board, a movie (usually themed to one of our stops) or a lecture. Some were good, others fair but it was something to do. Unlike other river and ocean cruises we've taken, the lectures by Stuart were unorganized and boring and not at all up to what we have become used to. However Stuart was great one-on-one and if asked, had lots of ideas and knowledge about the stops. He was helpful when cruise director didn't know or wasn't around. All in all, it was a good trip, we saw we wanted to see and came away a few pounds heavier, however the restricted size was an issue and would have been more so had the weather not been so cooperative. Who can count on that when you have to plan months ahead? Small ship adventures are unique and interesting but not necessarily for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We wanted a small ship that was within driving distance and found Blount. They have two older very small ships that are identical. We knew it was a small boat but weren't prepared for just how spartan that meant. It's a very ... Read More
We wanted a small ship that was within driving distance and found Blount. They have two older very small ships that are identical. We knew it was a small boat but weren't prepared for just how spartan that meant. It's a very seniors oriented setup, max of 84 passengers in 40 cabins. The others on the boat were all born in the 1940's. The ship has no real amenities to speak of. It was very clean but badly in need of refurbishment. The dining room is downstairs and the living room is on main deck. The cabins are on either of those two decks. Living room has uncomfortable chairs and a large TV which showed a movie on one evening. A local author spoke on another night. Nothing else in way of entertainment is offered. Bring your own books. Or load movies on the iPad first. The young crew is very sweet and helpful. You can walk the outside of ship and sit on top deck. The excursions are reasonably priced at each stop. Usually just a bus tour except for Newport where you visit a mansion. The wifi is abysmal at port and nonexistent at sea. Your phone gets better service than ship's system. Yes it's free and they assume the seniors don't need internet connection. Food is very typical buffet quality. The big night is lobster bake, other nights are choice of fish or meat/ chicken. The real issue is that this isn't a very cheap cruise. For the ship you are on, the value just isn't there. I had researched American Cruise line and others seemed to like them better. Or just go with a larger cruise line unless number of passengers is really your priority. Yet over half of the passengers were repeats! Why? I think it's simply due to the very small number of passengers and non-intimidating small ship. People want small and pokey since it's very simple and easy to deal with. Less confusion all around. They ring a bell and you head downstairs to dinner, not complicated at all. Don't expect to sleep late. Breakfast is 800am and it's all gone by 830. Lunch is 1230 and dinner is 630. No assigned seating used. I won't be returning but please investigate all other options before buying this trip. Compare the price per day per person and especially consider the lack of a real cabin here, plus zero entertainment / amenities. See my details on the room below. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I chose for the destinations: Newport, RI, Nantucket and New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard, plus Block Island and a brief overnight on Cuttyhunk. I knew it would not entail cruise ship luxury, and was okay with and expected that. What ... Read More
I chose for the destinations: Newport, RI, Nantucket and New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard, plus Block Island and a brief overnight on Cuttyhunk. I knew it would not entail cruise ship luxury, and was okay with and expected that. What I did not expect was so little organized activity options, mold in our shower, and beds worthy of a kids' camp cabin. To suggest that this was an "adventure" cruise is ludicrous, unless you count one chance to kayak and one to go on a sailboat, both for an extra charge. Be aware that no activities are included in your base price, except for a few shuttles. This is not like a European river cruise, where at least one outing a day in included. To be fair, their tours offered are inexpensive except for the sail. The brochure and website suggest there will be lecturers on history, wildlife, etc--but this week there were none. The website and even a sign on our boat talk about bikes and kayaks being onboard "on some trips." We had none, despite being in locations where access to both would have been helpful. The food was good, with both a seafood option and another meat for dinner each night, and they accommodated passenger allergies nicely. We did have lobster every day as advertised, including a nice "lobster bake" dinner. One day it was in an omelette for breakfast, another in a bisque for lunch. Once it was in a sauce over cod. The homemade breads and pastries at every meal were wonderful! Red and white wines and beer were offered free at both lunch and dinner. This would not be a good trip for vegetarians! Cocktails were offered free on two nights. Until the last two nights when pleasant singers came onboard, the only evening entertainment was an old movie on the one TV onboard, in the lounge. We met people who had been on as many as 16 previous Blount cruises, and frankly, we just do not understand why. Probably the Caribbean snorkel cruises attract a younger and more active crowd. We enjoyed our meals, our destinations and had plenty of time to nap and read--but in other ways this just did not measure up to our expectations. We have been on a number of smaller ship cruises before in Europe and the US and Canada, and have been pleased with two river cruise companies over several trips in Europe, so I do not consider ourselves to normally be critical people. We will not be repeat customers with Blount. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
My wife and I have been on many cruises over the years, both on major ocean liners and small ships, including catamarans. We have certain expectations, base on these prior experiences. Unfortunately this cruise did not meet those ... Read More
My wife and I have been on many cruises over the years, both on major ocean liners and small ships, including catamarans. We have certain expectations, base on these prior experiences. Unfortunately this cruise did not meet those expectations in many cases. We'll start with the food. The breakfasts were served family style, which we knew up front. However the way they do this is to put the food on the tables before guests arrive in the dining room. So the food is ice cold when you get there. Lunches were again family style and uninspired. We just skipped it one day and ate at a restaurant on land. Dinner was served smorgasbord style, you took your plate and went up to a table where they scoop the food onto your plate. Again, nothing exciting there. Overall the food was uninspiring and in some cases, barely edible. Then there's the cabins. Ours was exceptionally cramped and uncomfortable for the two of us. We were on a Viking River cruise in Europe last year, so we know what is possible on small ships, and this just didn't come close to matching up. The cruise director was very nice but totally inexperienced. Clearly they did not train her properly, she tried to direct us to things to do and see on the shore but she really didn't know much about the attractions. Fortunately we checked on the internet ourselves and figured it out. She also generally was not prepared with maps of the area. This is not the fault of the cruise line, but at times the water was very rough and caused my wife to get seasick. In hindsight we would have been better off going on our own, taking ferries to the various locations and staying at inns. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We knew the cabin would be small - around 90 square feet. What we did NOT know was that you could not walk around the double bed. You could not tell this from the cabin drawings. And we were in one of the expensive rooms! There was ... Read More
We knew the cabin would be small - around 90 square feet. What we did NOT know was that you could not walk around the double bed. You could not tell this from the cabin drawings. And we were in one of the expensive rooms! There was only an area about 4' long where you could access the bed, so I had to crawl over my husband to get into or out of bed. The bed was the only place to sit, and the top of the bed hit me at mid-thigh (I'm 5'3' so not terribly short) so sitting on the bed was not an option. It would have been more leaning on the bed. A lot of the rooms were made up as two single beds, and I think it was done so you could at least have an open area where you could walk and two people could access the beds. The heating and air conditioning duct was right over the bed, and was so noisy that when we went to bed we would cool the room down, turn off the air conditoning, and wake up at 12 or 1, turn the air conditioning back on for half an hour so it would cool down, and then go back to sleep. The one good thing - our cabin was near the front of the ship. Those cabins in the the back half of the ship were INCREDIBLY noisy when the ship was cruising. I have no idea how the people slept back there. Ear plugs, but I don't know if those would have worked either. A lot of the reviews state that you don't spend much time in your cabin. How could you? There's no where to sit. Next, shore excursions. These were quite good, and very reasonably priced. We went to the Norfolk Navy base and had an entertaining tour led by a young officer, and the Breakers, a huge house built by the Vanderbilts in the early 1900s. Also a panoramic tour of NYC. In those ports where Blount offered a walking tour, we just did our own walking tour. Saw some Victorian houses, a WWII destroyer at the Nautilus Maritime museum, the ship Constellation, as well as two ships in Providence. Next, food. Dinner was served at either 6:30 or 7:00. There were only two entrees, but five nights we went down at dinner time, ate our salad, and then waited an hour for the entrees. It was like the chef didn't start cooking until we got to the dining room. Two nights the beef was so tough I couldn't eat it. They served wild rice three nights, rice three nights, some weird sweet potato concoction one night, and regular potatoes only twice. Oh yes - coucous two nights. One night it was totally unseasoned, and the other it was undercooked. Forget the el dente excuse - if a macaroni product still tastes like flour, it is undercooked. The last night it was a mixture of sweet potatoes and idaho potatoes, which would not have been my choice. For breakfast, since the hot dishes were put right on the table, and you lined up for cold items (cereal, fruit) we just sat at the first table that had hot dishes already on them, and went back later for fruit, or whatever. The staff were fantastic. Very helpful, especially there was only a crew of 19 total for 66 passengers. One thing - it appears they were sometimes TOO accommodating. One night at dinner one of the people at our table asked for a baked sweet potato, which they agreed to. Well, we had to wait while it was baked. By the time we got our food most of the other passengers were already on their dessert course. As to the demographics, at 69 I was one of the five youngest people on board. Another large group was in their mid-70s, some in their mid to late 80s, and some, from the looks of them, in their 90s. Everyone, with only a few exceptions, did not have mobility issues, which was in itself amazing. I have NEVER been on a cruise with such an old group of travelers. And we've been on 21 Road Scholar/Elderhostel tours. Most people were very pleasant. We shared tables at dinner and in the lounge with almost everyone. The lecturer was scatter-shot in his approach, and read all the time from his notes. If you know your stuff, you don't need to read from a sheet of paper. And he would sometimes talk for over an hour (1.5 hours once, 1.25 hours another), which I felt was overkill. Only attended one of the musical nights. Entertaining, but sort of a community center feel to it. To summarize, these cruises are actually fairly cheap for such a small ship and for a 12 day cruise. Personally, I will pay more in the future for more amenities and a larger cabin. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
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
Sail Date July 2016
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
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