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!!
Our cabin was small which we expected. We were on the upper deck and had a window which with a struggle we could open.The AC ans fan were very noisy.There was no safe and no way to lock the door when we left the cabin.Twin beds and I do not think that the sheets were changed during our cruise Towels did seem to be changed daily Often the trash can was not emptied and bathroom tissue was not always replaced I had on one occasion give some of our bathroom tissue to another passenger as they hadn't had their replaced.
Wifi was very sporadic
our worst problem was having our bathroom floor flood three times. I do not believe that the problem was ever fixed AVOID CABIN 52B.