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Blount Small Ship Adventures

4.6 | Excellent
  • 93% Recommend
Service Level
  • Standard
  • Global Operator
  • 1966
  • Warren, Rhode Island, United States
  • 5

Blount Small Ship Adventures Reviews & Ratings 93% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 12 Great 1 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 1
4.6 Guide:
4.5 Activities:
4.6 Lodging:
4.6 Transportation:
4.6 Meals:

Tour Reviews


Does Not Recommend

Poor contingency planning/execution July 2018

  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 4.0
This disorganized mess of a “cruise line” should just drop the “adventures” part of their business name and call themselves “Blount Small Ships”. Their vessel was not seaworthy enough to handle the weather affecting our planned itenerary which in itself could have been overlooked. What really ruined our experience was that despite knowing well in advance the weather and sea conditions, there was such poor contingency planning/execution in providing an alternate itenerary. On top of our intended destination of Block Island getting cancelled, our departure to our consolation prize destination 23 miles away was delayed over an hour because one passenger had not and did not ever show up. This other passenger ended up taking a taxi the extra distance anyway while we sailed 1.5 hours down the bay. Of the two options of piers which the vessel could have docked at, the ship docked at the one that was not in town. This was another questionable decision knowing the weather forecast and that it would prevent the water taxis required to get into town from running. The one thing to do near the pier (Fort Adams) was also closed due to weather. Now after two nights at our consolation prize “destination”, their next ingenious plan is to sail back up the bay to a town we could have biked to from where we initially embarked the vessel with very little to do. When your “cruise ship” doesn’t have any amenities aboard other than a lounge with a tv and a bowl of bar mix and sells itself as a cruise for the destinations that it goes... You need to do a MUCH better job making sure that whatever destination you end up going to actually has enjoyable activities to do other than just keep popping in DVD’s and topping up the party mix.
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exciting experiences May 2018

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I’ve enjoyed working with Blount for two years now. Passengers on board have nothing but positive feedback and exciting experiences to share. I look forward to cruising with Blount sometime in the near future
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Magical Lake August 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Went on the Magical Lake Michigan Cruise as a solo passenger. The BEST! Amazing captain, cruise director and crew. Great itinerary, food, and excursions. Fellow passengers so friendly and welcoming. Open seating makes for wonderful opportunities to meet and get to know your fellow passengers. I could go on and on a out how fantastic the experience! Daisy
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Great June 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Great crew! Just finished the New England beach blast cruise and they kept us safe and made the best of some horrible weather. The food is amazing big kudos to the chef!



Terrific Introduction to Lake Michigan January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
Of my seven cruises in various parts of the world this past year, this was near the top of my list. From the moment we drew away from the dock at Chicago's Navy Pier, dazzled by the lights of the city, to our return to Chicago a week later, the cruise was filled with surprisingly fascinating places and relaxing times on the water as well. The itinerary featured three states: Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Highlights included Beaver Island, an isolated, sparsely populated isle in northern Lake Michigan that has an intriguing history; Mackinac Island, the total opposite in that it's swarming with tourists, but understandably so for its ornate Victoria architecture and picturesque fort; and Milwaukee, a city on the rise that reminded me of a mini-Chicago. My wife and I met a number of interesting passengers aboard, there was plenty of deck sitting, the food was perfectly good and the captain and crew were very professional. The Grande Mariner ship has been around a while, but the cabins and public rooms were adequate to their task, which was to get us from scenic or historic spot to the next. Most people don't even know that Lake Michigan cruises exist, but they should.
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Excellent Small-Ship Cruise Line January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
I've taken just one Blount cruise, but I would happily take another (or several more). Our ship, the Grande Mariner, wasn't brand new by any means but it was comfortable and had good sun deck space, which is all I really ask. It holds up to 88 passengers and on my trip there were about 75. Meals were fine though not gourmet. The key to Blount is that their ships are small and can go just about anywhere that big ships cannot -- little islands, for example, and out of the way ports. Easy on and off is a nice feature. The crew and staff were very friendly and the other passengers on board were easy to get to know because we were sharing a relatively small space. The itinerary (Lake Michigan ports) was well chosen and included both big cities (Chicago, Milwaukee) and little ports (Beaver Island, Mackinac Island). I was torn among a number of good looking itineraries around the country, but I'm glad I picked Lake Michigan, which was both beautiful and fascinating. That doesn't mean I wouldn't like to do one of their Pacific Northwest or Deep South cruises, though. All in all, a very nice experience.
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Stride Review

The family-owned cruiseline, based in Rhode Island, operates two ships: the Grande Mariner, and the Grande Caribe. Their ships date from the late 1990s and while they aren’t equipped with many bells and whistles that modern travelers may be used to, they offer good deck space, vista lounges, and enjoyable food.

What Makes Blount Small Ship Adventures Stand Out?

  • 84 passengers maximum
  • Strictly casual atmosphere - no need to ever dress up
  • Friendly U.S. staff
  • Unique destinations that big ships can’t reach

Blount’s motto — “to go where the big ships cannot” – sums up the basis of its appeal. Their small ships can dock at shallow, out-of-the-way ports as well as put in to centrally located urban docking facilities such as Chicago’s Navy Pier.

A drone shot of a boat in the blue ocean

The line’s founder, ex-oysterman and shipbuilder Luther Blount, was a true innovator in the cruise industry. Blount patented the bow ramp that enabled passengers to walk directly from the ship onto the shore, rather than having to ride small tender boats into port.

He also patented the retractable pilot house, which, along with the shallow draft of his ships, made it possible to cruise under low bridges and down narrow waterways like the Erie Canal.  

 Who Travels With Blount Small Ship Adventures?

  • Ages 50+
  • Mid-range budget travelers
  • History buffs, culture enthusiasts, and soft adventurers
An older gentleman kissing his wife on the cheek at the beach

 Blount attracts mostly passengers in their 50s and 60s, with some older and some younger. While the physical level is generally very easy, guests are recommended to be able to walk up steep gangways, step over thresholds and open doors for safety reasons. If needed, stair lifts are available for use on all ships.

There aren’t a lot of facilities for children, and activities and ports tend to be low-key, and geared toward adults with an interest in history, culture, and soft adventure (kayaks, snorkeling gear, bikes, and other sports equipment are available on board many cruises).

Top Destinations

  • U.S.
  • Canada
  • Central America
  • Carribean
A ship's steering wheel with the sun shining against it

You can explore Great American Waterways and Canadian Lakes on a tour with Blount Small Ship Adventures. The line is one of the few to operate on the Great Lakes, but also travels the Mississippi, Lake Champlain between New York and Vermont, and New York’s Hudson River and Erie Canal.

Among its more far-flung destinations are Guatemala’s Rio Dulce, a shallow river bordered by rainforest; Mayaguana, one of the most remote islands in the Bahamas; and Canada’s Georgian Bay.  

Blount Small Ship Adventures Travel Style

Blount is all about everything that traditional cruise ship vacations are not. For starters, there’s a huge emphasis on keeping things casual. This means everything from no luxurious staterooms and TVs, to open seating dining plans so you’re not restricted to eating within a particular time of day. The best part? BYOB is encouraged! Bringing your own bottles of alcohol is typically restricted on large cruise lines - but none of that here. They’ll provide all the mixers, storage, and barware as well free of charge.

three people clicking wine glasses with cocktails

Education is also an important aspect of the Blount experience. Their guest lecturers and local experts provide engaging discussions so you can get an insider’s perspective. This is a great way to get a deeper understanding of a destination beyond what meets the eye.

Why Choose a Tour with Blount Small Ship Adventures?

Blount has decades of experience navigating North American rivers, visiting villages and historic ports, as well as taking passengers to lakes and bays that most other cruise lines cannot or will not travel. If you find traditional cruise ship vacations to be over-the-top, perhaps expensive, or you’re simply just looking for a casual atmosphere, Blount Small Ship Adventures might be the change you’ve been searching for!

Visit Blount Small Ship Adventures site >


When are payments due?

A deposit of $500 per person is due at the time of booking. Payments can be made by check or credit card (MasterCard, VISA or Discover).

What is your cancellation policy?

All reservations are subject to a minimum $250 per person cancellation charge. Passengers may cancel subject to the charges listed below. Cancellations must be confirmed in writing by the passenger or travel agent prior to departure to be considered valid.

Where can I find information about your optional excursions?

Optional excursions, along with itineraries, reading lists, and other cruise information will be sent out 60 days in advance of the departure date. You may pre-purchase excursions up to two weeks before sailing or once onboard the vessel.

What is dining like aboard your ships?

We provide breakfast, lunch and dinner. We pride ourselves on serving fresh, creative dishes, many representative of the local cuisine. For the convenience of our passengers, menus are posted daily. We are happy to accommodate certain dietary restrictions provided we are notified in advance. Refreshments and snacks are available 24 hours a day in the lounge and dining room. Select house wine and beer is included during lunch and dinner service. There is an open seating policy to encourage meeting as many of your traveling companions as possible.

Are snacks available onboard?

Yes, snacks are available 24/7 as well as a case a pastries located in the dining room. In addition, we always have soft drinks available and a juice/coffee bar for passengers.  

What if I arrive late?

In the event of flight delays, we will make every reasonable effort to connect you to your ongoing itinerary at your own expense. We strongly encourage the purchase of trip insurance to reduce any out of pocket expenses you may incur during unforeseen circumstances.

Are there elevators onboard?

BSSA has stair lifts available between the Main, Sun and Top decks on all ships for passengers who may find it helpful. The vessels do not have elevators.  

Do you offer adult beverages onboard?

We are one of the few cruise lines that allow passengers to bring their own beverages onboard. We believe our BYOB benefit gives you the freedom to choose when and what you want to consume. Plus, you will never leave our cruise with a large bar tab! We do include select wine and beer with lunch and dinner during meal service. We also provide mixers, ice, snacks, and cold and dry storage in our lounge where you can serve yourself anytime you choose.

What is your early arrival policy?

On select cruises we offer an onboard early arrival package for $150 per person, including one dinner and one breakfast. This allows the guest to arrive one day prior to departure. Boarding is at 5 PM

Can you book our airline reservations?

We do not book air reservations. Please check with your Reservation Specialist or Travel Agent to ensure your flights meet with requirements for both arrival embarkation and departure disembarkation as they vary by cruise.

What’s available for solo travelers?

Several options are available if you are traveling alone. We do have select cabins configured as single accommodations and priced for single occupancy only. We also offer a “Willing to Share” program that allows you to pay a per person rate for a double occupancy room. You will be waitlisted for a same-gender traveling companion, however should no other person reserve under this program you will be placed alone in that double occupancy cabin. We also have designated double occupancy cabins you may reserve at an additional cost. Please ask your reservationist for details.

What is the cost of the port charges?

Port charges vary by cruise and include passenger taxes and charges for services imposed by governmental or quasi-governmental entities. They are subject to change without notice.

Can children travel on the cruise?

Children who are 14 years or older and accompanied by an adult are welcome aboard.

Should I bring my valuables onboard?

When traveling internationally, it is strongly recommended that U.S. residents have their valuables, such as cameras, binoculars, radios, watches, jewelry, etc., registered with U.S. Customs before departure at a Customs Office in their area or at embarkation. There are no safes provided in cabins. We cannot accept responsibility for valuables lost or stolen.

What is provided in the cabin bathrooms?

Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, wash cloths, towels, and a hair dryer are provided in every cabin bathroom.

What is your smoking policy?

Smoking is allowed on the outside deck only. Smoking will not be permitted on the bow when the vessel is traveling though the Erie Canal with the pilot house down.

From Blount Small Ship Adventures

We take you away from the usual, beyond traditional cruising, and closer to adventure. We bring an area to life with onboard historians and naturalists, wine-tastings, photography workshops and culinary demonstrations. In port, you'll experience the authentic flavors of a region from kayaking to horse-drawn carriage rides.

Our trademark bow ramp can literally take you from ship to shore, but we also dock where private yachts dock making the places you want to see as accessible as possible. And with no more than 96 guests there are never over-crowded spaces or herding in port...making your cruise a casual, relaxing and personal adventure.

14 days
Small Ship Cruise
Premium - 4 star
Physical :
From: $ 4,399


  • Visit to “Springwood,” the beloved estate home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Cruising the historic Erie Canal
  • View some of the highlights such as the H. Lee White Marine Museum, the Richardson-Bates House Museum, or Fort Ontario
  • Visit the notable Antique Boat Museum for a glimpse of the world’s largest showcase of classic recreational boats
  • Visit tiny Dark Island in Chippewa Bay and tour the stately and elegant Singer Castle
  • Visit the Musèe des Ursulines
  • Visit the impressive Chateau de Frontenac
  • Explore Montreal, a vibrant riverside city filled with culture, history, and artistic wonders

See All Blount Small Ship Adventures Trips >

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