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Grande Caribe Review

-- / 5.0
Editor Rating
19 reviews

A Family Experience; Grand Caribe Two Nation Vacation

Review for Grande Caribe to Canada & New England
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10+ Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Aug 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 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

Cabin Review

Cabin 1

A traditional Blount interior cabin with a fixed double bed and combined bath, basin, and shower. It is tiny but very well laid out with a surprising amount of storage.

Port Reviews

Portland (Maine)

A small cosmopolitan city with great museums. Portland Head light is a great visit.

Bar Harbor

We docked for stay almost where the big ships drop off their tenders. The big attraction here is Acadia National Park where Cadillac mountain is wonderful, the rugged coastline has great views and interesting waves, and there is an extensive network of carriage and hiking trails. The town has small versions of normal stores and lots of outdoor provision stores. A fee is required to enter the park but there is free transportation to and within it.

Saint John (New Brunswick)

A small, cosmopolitan city with the unique “Reversing Falls”, museums, and an array of services.

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