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I chose this cruise because it is the only cruise on the Erie Canal and was looking for a small ship cruise. The ship itself is an older ship and in considerable need of refurbishing. The beds in particular were terrible and had a 1-2 inch foam pad topper that was squished flatter than a pancake. The air conditioning blew hard directly onto my face as I slept, adding to the misery each night. The captain and crew were friendly and accommodating. That said, I noticed that one of our food servers was obviously ill, and mentioned it to the cruise director, concerned that it was not a healthy situation. The cruise director replied that the staff are not allowed sick days and have to work for the entire duration of the cruise. The food servers were the same staff who provided maid service to the rooms. By the end of the cruise, I had come down with the same infection as the food server, and was not able to shake it for the entire winter following the cruise. During the cruise, a passenger had a stroke, and an ambulance met the ship at the nearest dock, but the gangway was too narrow to accommodate a gurney, so the ambulance crew spent more than hour trying to figure out a way to safely get the patient off the ship, delaying the urgent treatment that stroke victims require. The food was fair, but one day we were served "watermelon soup" for lunch that tasted like spoiled watermelon. It was not edible. The cruise included several free tours, but each time we were to go on these tours, the captain declared it unsafe to dock, so we continued on our journey instead of taking any tours. It was disappointing, to say the least. We docked for a few hours at Kingston, but there was no transportation at all, and the town itself was a hefty hike uphill, leaving no time at all for sightseeing. I wanted to see a historic Dutch church in Kingston, so I went into a nearby visitors center where I was able to convince the attendant there to call me a cab. Once I was in town, I had to guess which one of numerous old churches was the old Dutch church. After some guessing, I finally wandered into a back entrance of one church and some members were there preparing for a dinner who verified that it was the old Dutch church. One of the people there was a member of the local historical society and was gracious enough to give us a brief explanation of the history of that building. I felt that Blount should have at least provided transportation into town, at a minimum. Bottom line, I would never take a Blount cruise again. I have been on numerous river cruises in Europe and the USA, and all of them have far exceeded Blount in every aspect. There is no need to spend your money or your precious time on sub standard cruises such as this one.

Would not recommend this cruise to anyone

Grande Mariner Cruise Review by desertdame

Trip Details
I chose this cruise because it is the only cruise on the Erie Canal and was looking for a small ship cruise.

The ship itself is an older ship and in considerable need of refurbishing. The beds in particular were terrible and had a 1-2 inch foam pad topper that was squished flatter than a pancake. The air conditioning blew hard directly onto my face as I slept, adding to the misery each night.

The captain and crew were friendly and accommodating. That said, I noticed that one of our food servers was obviously ill, and mentioned it to the cruise director, concerned that it was not a healthy situation. The cruise director replied that the staff are not allowed sick days and have to work for the entire duration of the cruise. The food servers were the same staff who provided maid service to the rooms. By the end of the cruise, I had come down with the same infection as the food server, and was not able to shake it for the entire winter following the cruise.

During the cruise, a passenger had a stroke, and an ambulance met the ship at the nearest dock, but the gangway was too narrow to accommodate a gurney, so the ambulance crew spent more than hour trying to figure out a way to safely get the patient off the ship, delaying the urgent treatment that stroke victims require.

The food was fair, but one day we were served "watermelon soup" for lunch that tasted like spoiled watermelon. It was not edible.

The cruise included several free tours, but each time we were to go on these tours, the captain declared it unsafe to dock, so we continued on our journey instead of taking any tours. It was disappointing, to say the least.

We docked for a few hours at Kingston, but there was no transportation at all, and the town itself was a hefty hike uphill, leaving no time at all for sightseeing. I wanted to see a historic Dutch church in Kingston, so I went into a nearby visitors center where I was able to convince the attendant there to call me a cab. Once I was in town, I had to guess which one of numerous old churches was the old Dutch church. After some guessing, I finally wandered into a back entrance of one church and some members were there preparing for a dinner who verified that it was the old Dutch church. One of the people there was a member of the local historical society and was gracious enough to give us a brief explanation of the history of that building. I felt that Blount should have at least provided transportation into town, at a minimum.

Bottom line, I would never take a Blount cruise again. I have been on numerous river cruises in Europe and the USA, and all of them have far exceeded Blount in every aspect. There is no need to spend your money or your precious time on sub standard cruises such as this one.
desertdame’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin
I was in one of the largest cabins, but is was still very tight; more so than any other river cruise ship I have ever been on. The Bathroom was no larger than an airline bathroom, and my first shower turned cold after a very short time. I later learned that there is only 5 gallons of hot water available per shower. For the high cost of this cruise, a better accommodation should have been provided.