Blount Small Ship Adventures vs Signature Collection by Gate 1 - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
0 | Poor
Not yet rated
Overall — 5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.7
Overall — 0
Value — 0.0
Guide — 0.0
Activities — 0.0
Lodging — 0.0
Transportation — 0.0
Meals — 0.0
Poor contingency planning/execution1.0 July 2018
Does Not Recommend
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.Read more
Tour Blount Small Ship Adventures Company Reviews
Magical Lake5.0 August 2017
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! DaisyRead more
Tour Blount Small Ship Adventures Company Reviews
Great5.0 June 2017
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!
Tour Blount Small Ship Adventures Company Reviews
|Tours||5 Trips||1 Trip|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 308||$ 0|
|Operator Type||Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Global Operator|
|Headquarters||Warren, Rhode Island, United States||Fort Washington, Pennsylvania|
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.
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
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).
- Central America
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.
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!
A unique collection of luxury trips designed by Gate 1 travel.
What Makes Gate 1 Signature Collection Stand Out?
These are luxury minded trips with a local focus. Guides are all local experts, from and living in the destination you’re visiting. Each itinerary features exclusive experiences. Groups are small and each day is full of activity but well balanced.
They focus on offering only a select group of trips in this special collection - allowing them the freedom to create truly spectacular itineraries - which include more inclusions in the price than their other collections.
The tagline is “More Luxury for Less”. These tours may not be in same luxury travel class if you’re used to Abercrombie & Kent, however where comfort and extravagance meets fun and busy travel days of sightseeing and tours, you’ll find Gate 1 Signature Collection.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Gate 1 Signature Collection?
Those travelers who are willing to spend a little bit more for a 4-5 star experience, will probably find a sweet spot with Gate 1 Signature tours. These trips tend to be attended by older travelers, in the 50+ range.
Don’t expect too much strenuous activity. You can expect easy paced walks, guided tours and lectures, and stops to explore interesting cultural sites and historical attractions.
While some of these cultural experiences, included in their “Signature Experiences”, are truly unique, be wary that many of these inclusions are fairly standard offerings - such as a hot air balloon ride over the African savannah. So the luxury experience of exclusivity you may be expecting is to be taken with a grain of salt. These tours offer wonderful experiences - but the destinations or activities are not always particularly uncommon or rare.
They currently don’t offer an overly extensive list of countries, but tours do go all over the world. This includes Central Europe, Spain, and the UK, Israel, Jordan and Morocco, Peru, Southeast Asia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
Gate 1 Signature Collection Travel Style
Signature Collection tours with Gate 1 aim for comfort, ease, and unique cultural experiences. Like their other brands, Gate 1’s Signature Collection is about making sure your sightseeing is maximized, and the price is right for the experience.
Most sightseeing, meals, wifi, tips, and their “Signature Experiences” are included in the itinerary price - unlike Gate 1’s main brand which offers less inclusions. This type of itinerary more helpful to budget travelers wishing to pick and choose which activities they would like to pay for. Gate 1 Signature Tours, however, are best suited to those who want more inclusions and less hassle to have to decide on how to spend their travel time.
Why Choose a Tour with Gate 1 Signature Collection?
If you’re an older traveler looking for a boutique, comfortable, and well paced tour, the Signature tours may suit you very well. Travelers love the customer service, attention to detail, and depth of knowledge the guides bring to each day on the tour. There is also a good balance of free time and optional additional sightseeing opportunities.
All tours feature included “Signature Experiences” which are the main highlights that make the Signature Collection tours stand out from the other Gate 1 brands. These are unique excursions, usually with a strong cultural focus - such as an evening of Irish music in Galway, or a traditional dinner in the deserts of Morocco. They also often include lectures that explore a destinations history or a specific facet of the culture.