Intrepid Travel vs Blount Small Ship Adventures - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.7
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.7
Transportation — 4.7
Meals — 4.7
Overall — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.7
Recent Reviews

Good experience - highly overpriced.

4.0 April 2019
MB
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
I just came back from a 12 day tour to
Egypt.

Pros:
1) extremly very well organized
2) excellent customer service
3) lots of information on the site
4) very knowledgable and personable guide with excellent English
5) people on the trip were great

Cons:
1) HIGHLY OVERPRICED - one accomodation was ok, the other ones were very cheap, shabby ans dirty.

2) Our guide was no different to guides in less reputable companies. Before I travel, I asked and was told by Intrepid this trip had no "kitty". However, the guide asked on day one for it (a total of $576.09 USD which is a fortune in Egypt), took the group to "Intrepid pre-approved venders", etc.

3) Options of things to do outside the itinerary could have been better explained.

The trip is a good choice if you like to take it easy during your vacation: visit the main sites but also have time at the pool, have drinks with friends and have lots of free time to chill out. And very important: you must like to shop. Keep in mind in Alexandria you spend 3 hours at the shopping mall instead of visiting a Museum, the only activity on day 11 was a visit to the Bazaar and, as I said, you will stop at shops endorsed by Intrepid (according to the guide).

If you, like me, prefer to be on the go when you are on a trip so far from home, this might not be the trip for you. Unless, like I did, you are comfortable with doing your own thing and leaving the group to explore on your own since you will have plenty of time to do so.

Personally, I won't travel with them again. The bad points override the good ones. But again, depends on what you are looking for... and how much you are willing to pay for it.
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

It was so much fun!

5.0 April 2019
L
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I have just finished The Real Cambodia tour, the 18-29 youth tour. It was so much fun! Our guide Channy was fantastic - he always had good places to take us, advice on everything, lots of local knowledge. The accommodation was generally good, the travel was good, and we did a lot of fun activities. This is my first time travelling with intrepid and I definitely recommend it. I’m already thinking of where I’d like to travel with them again!
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

Conditions was absolutely amazing

5.0 April 2019
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
During our Kruger National Park experience with Intrepid we had a guide called Ann. We were lucky enough to have her as our guide for 3 trips during our stay!
She’s a fantastic guide. Ann knows the animals behaviour very well and she quick to act on different potential sightings. We were on our way back to the lodge when a storm was approaching us. Ann was very calm, made sure the vehicle was safe and provided us with rain jackets! The storm was intense (thundering, lighting and hale stone) Ann made us feel very safe and secure, she warned us what to do if the storm got worse. How she managed to get us out of the storm and drive in such bad conditions was absolutely amazing and can’t thank her enough for getting us back safety! After a such a journey back I gave Ann a massive hug to say thank you but I feel that wasn’t enough, so I wanted to let Intrepid know how wonderful your lovely staff member Ann is! So Thank you, Abbey
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

Poor contingency planning/execution

1.0 July 2018
UC
Does Not Recommend
  • 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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Tour Blount Small Ship Adventures Company Reviews

exciting experiences

5.0 May 2018
J
Recommends
  • 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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Tour Blount Small Ship Adventures Company Reviews

Magical Lake

5.0 August 2017
D
Recommends
  • 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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Tour Blount Small Ship Adventures Company Reviews

Tours 1,135 Trips 5 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 192 $ 308
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • 50+
  • Adventure
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Warren, Rhode Island, United States
Year Established 1989 1966
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
Similar Companies
Countries
About Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel is all about ‘real life experiences.’ Founded back in 1989 following an “intrepid” African adventure trip, Intrepid lives up to its name by offering up some pretty big adventures -- such as an 11-day hike through Papua New Guinea -- but is broad-based enough to also lead group trips to Hawaii, complete with sipping sunset Mai Tais on Waikiki Beach.

Intrepid Travel - Quick Facts

Founded in 1989

No Single Supplement (rare exceptions)

Small Groups - max 16 on most trips

Typical Age Range - 18 - 45

Travel Style - Cultural immersion, adventure, overland

Accommodation Style - Camping, Hostels, 3 /4 star hotels

Average Tour Price - $2,377

Top Regions - Asia, Africa, Europe, South America

Other Brands: Peregrine, Geckos

Commonly compared with G Adventures »

Morocco homestay with Intrepid Travel

What Makes Intrepid Travel Stand Out?

  • Small group sizes
  • Travelers from all walks of life
  • Well-balanced itineraries (group and free time allotted)
  • Guides are travel experts or friendly locals

Above all else, Intrepid strives to get its travelers off the beaten path and under the surface of the local culture. To accomplish this, group sizes average just 10 travelers each, with a maximum of 16 on most trips. This allows for more use of local transportation and lodging, along with fostering cultural immersion.

Intrepid also employs local English-speaking leaders who act more as a resource for local exploration than do typical ‘guides,’ shepherding groups from one place to another.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Intrepid Travel?

  • All ages (seniors included)
  • Adventure seekers and culture enthusiasts

Intrepid is one of the early pioneers of the “adventure”-style guided trip. Despite its informal beginnings and emphasis on younger, highly adventurous travelers, Intrepid has expanded to a global company with a broad range of trips to fit all ages.

Intrepid divides its small-group trips into three separate styles of travel, all priced accordingly. “Basix,” for budget travelers, keep inclusions to a minimum and offer plenty of free time, “Original” journeys which offer more included activities and more hotels, while “Comfort” trips offer the highest level of included activities and standards of accommodation, as well as roomier vehicles.

The kind of traveler who gravitates to Intrepid Travel is one who has a real sense of adventure - whether this means hard adventure, or simply going deeper off the beaten path. Interacting with locals is an important factor when you travel, as is gaining a unique cultural perspective. A sense of fun is also essential, whether it means going out at night with your tour mates or daring, ahem, encouraging each other to try strange new foods.

Top Destinations

  • Asia
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Europe

Monk mediating in Myanmar on tour with Intrepid Travel

Originally focused on small group adventure tours to Asia, Intrepid has expanded rapidly over the years, while maintaining its classic, adventurous, and immersive style. Today Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 different experiences in over 100 countries, on all seven continents. Regions with the most trips include Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe.

Intrepid Travel Style

Intrepid enjoys using local, unique forms of transportation. You might find yourself traveling by felucca in Egypt, on a camel in Morocco, or in a tuk-tuk on the best Thailand tour of your life. Accommodations, which could range from guesthouses to home stays, are also locally owned, allowing a more authentic taste of the region while contributing to the local economy.

There are a few broad travel styles to choose from when deciding on an Intrepid tour:

1. Basix - Budget travelers who don’t mind, and in fact prefer, simple accommodations - camping and homestays with basic amenities, and crave a lot of free time for exploring independently will love these tours. Public transportation is used exclusively so pack light! These trips often attract a younger crowd who love the idea of throwing a backpack on, keep plenty of room for the unexpected in their schedule, and allocate their travel funds towards spontaneous bus tickets and street food instead of museum tours and 5 star restaurants.

2. Original - These trips take the backpacker spirit of local immersion, incorporating all the benefits that come with going with a planned itinerary. This style is called “Original” because it’s the type of travel that put Intrepid on the map...pun intended. Accommodations are still simple and budget minded - often homestays are used to give you a true sense of place, personality, and culture. Mostly public transportation is used.

3. Comfort - Intrepid is known for the active adventure style of travel and these trips keep that mentality, with a few more creature comforts thrown into the mix. You can expect higher end, more discerning, accommodations that include a wider variety of included amenities, transportation is mostly private, though you can still expect to use some public transport, as is the Intrepid way. More meals are included in the trip price, and more group activities - which means a bit less free time to explore on your own.

Why Choose a Tour With Intrepid Travel?

Sample of many spices in Middle Eastern market

Intrepid is a good choice if you don’t mind foregoing some creature comforts for a truly authentic, local experience. If you enjoy meeting locals when traveling, sampling new and exciting foods, and traveling in mixed-aged groups of 10-16 people, Intrepid could be a good fit for you.

It’s important to note, sometimes “ample free time” can be a blessing and a curse. It sounds great on paper, but if you’re looking to maximize your dollar and your vacation time, be sure you understand the implications of having a lot of free time during your itinerary.

For some travelers this is an absolute requirement, but for others it can be tough to branch off and explore independently - you also need to make sure you allocate enough travel money for independent meals. The tour leaders are great resources of information for how to spend your free time, but if you like having a full day scheduled from breakfast to dinner, Intrepid may not be the best company for you.

Lastly, if sustainable and responsible travel is important to you, Intrepid has poured millions of dollars into local economies, and has a very strong emphasis on responsible travel. So you can feel good knowing that your money helps support some of the innkeepers, vendors, and communities that you’ll meet along the way.

About Blount Small Ship Adventures

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!


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