Intrepid Travel vs Blount Small Ship Adventures - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.6
Overall — 4
Value — 3.8
Guide — 3.8
Activities — 4.0
Lodging — 4.2
Transportation — 4.2
Meals — 4.4
Recent Reviews

Loved camping with Intrepid

5.0 June 2018
LR
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Loved this trip. Camping in very nice places - usually had hot water and nice showers. Great itinerary - LOVED Namibia and the variety of the tour from the desert to the delta to the parks.

Intrepid did an incredible job

5.0 December 2017
ATFT
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Thailand Cambodia Trip. Nov 2017. For my 60th birthday I decided I wanted to take my family of 6 to Thailand and Cambodia. After my initial conversation with the Intrepid office, they pulled together a perfect 24 day custom itinerary for us. My Intrepid coordinator really listened. We set up a incredibly diverse trip, ranging from ocean front resorts to a primitive hillside village trek. From the minute we landed in Bangkok, to the day we flew home, all transfers went off with out a hitch. What really made our trip memorable was our local guides. Every single one of them were warm, professional, humorous but most importantly, had a deep knowledge of the geography, the plant life, dining, the history and government. We felt by the end of the trip, these guides had become a part of our family. The entire trip was amazing and we will definitely use Intrepid for our next adventure travel. Thanks so much.
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great tour

5.0 October 2017
k
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0
the guide was very knowledgeable - friendly - great sense of humour - looking out for the safety of the tour members - organised - thoroughly nice guy

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

Excellent Small-Ship Cruise Line

5.0 January 2017
V
Recommends
  • 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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Tour Blount Small Ship Adventures Company Reviews

Terrific Introduction to Lake Michigan

5.0 January 2017
V
Recommends
  • 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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Tours 1,071 Trips 5 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 187 $ 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
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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?

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?

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

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

Formerly American Canadian Caribbean Cruise Line, Blount Small Ship Adventures runs small-ship cruises across America as well as the Caribbean and Central America. The family-owned line, based in Rhode Island, operates two ships: the Grande Mariner, and the Grande Caribe, each carrying a maximum of 88 passengers. Their ships date from the late 1990s and aren’t equipped with many bells and whistles, but have been refurbished and offer good deck space, vista lounges, and enjoyable food. Cabins are on the small side, but comfortable. The atmosphere aboard is strictly casual – no need to ever dress up.

What Makes Them Stand Out?

Blount’s motto — “to go where the big ships cannot” – sums up the basis of its appeal. Its 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. 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 Them?

Blount attracts mostly passengers in their 50s and 60s, with some older and some younger. There aren’t a lot of facilities for children, and activities and ports tend to be low-key, 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). 

Where Do They Operate?

Blount’s two ships travel throughout the waterways of North America, primarily in the U.S. but also in Canada, Central America and the Caribbean. 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.  

Why Travel With Them?

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. 

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