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Blount Small Ship Adventures vs St Hilda Sea Adventures - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.8
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.5
Meals — 4.5
Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
Recent 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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A fascinating trip on a really friendly small ship

5.0 January 2017
KU
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
As English canal lovers, this was a wonderful opportunity to see the North American waterways. The trip was well-organised, and the crew were extremely friendly and helpful. There was a good programme of on-board entertainment as well as an excellent range of on-shore trips.

The "Bring Your Own Bottle" policy worked well, and the food was simply excellent. We were glad we had chosen a good cabin, because the cheaper ones were very small.

I've posted a comprehensive account on my website at http://www.keeping-up.co.uk/Travel/Erie/Eriehome.htm

I wish we could afford to take another trip with Blount, but the relatively high cost puts them out of our reach now.
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Tour Blount Small Ship Adventures Company Reviews

Life-changing and enjoyable!

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This is a holiday gave me a chance to slow down, and take the time to feel part of the natural world: the sun, to notice the hook-beaked oyster catchers and families of rare seals, to enjoy the wonderful food, the sunshine, scudding clouds, waves lapping and the feeling of being held safely by the St Hilda whilst being at the mercy of winds, tides and waves. It was fun to share tasks with fellow passengers and to laugh. I haven't laughed so much for years. And I loved seeing beautiful coastal parts of Scotland for the first time from the sea, gaining the chance to wonder at the histories and cultures that have flourished, been lost and yet live on in the remote, unusual places where we moored. I discovered my sea-legs, but I found much more - the pleasure of a little bit of distance from land, the new perspectives it gives and sheer joy of experiencing the sea, and its role in revealing new dreams and uncovering old ones. All this was in the company of knowledgeable crew - sea-farers who made the whole cruise delightful from start to finish and easy-peasy for a land-lubber like myself.
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A Delight

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This was a fantastic holiday - there is something magical about being in a ship, relying on wind and waves, seeing beautiful scenery, eating lovely food, helping sail the ship and enjoying the experience with a group of witty, friendly, knowledgeable people.
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It's fascinating to be on a slow journey

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This holiday was like no other: it was stepping into another world where the wind, sun and sea mattered because our lives were held by the ship and these big elemental forces. It was a realm of sea faring lore, laughter and fun, where the elements - water, wind and tides - mattered and shaped and influenced our journey. It's easy to laugh on a ship because you are sharing the camaraderie of crew and ocean and somehow the sea is lighter than the land. Instead you have the myths and stories of sea and mysteries of the deep - Moby Dick, Jonah, Noah's Ark and Ring of Bright Water! It's fascinating to be on a slow journey with time to reflect and to be looking at the strange, populated and then depopulated, fought over Scottish coastal landscape from a new perspectives. It's fun to work with the charming, witty, friendly skippers and fellow crew hauling anchors and sails. But, most of all, it's a joy to be on, and in, and feeling the elemental ocean. I felt safe and found my sea-legs, but I also stumbled into a new world, one that enriches and ignites dreams.
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Tour St Hilda Sea Adventures Company Reviews

Tours 5 Trips 8 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 308 $ 166
Operator Type Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line
Size Global Operator Local Specialist
Trip Types
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • Adventure
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Eco Travel
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
Headquarters Warren, Rhode Island, United States Oban, Scotland
Year Established 1966 N/A
Solo Friendly N/A Good for singles
Tour Languages N/A
Top Trips
Similar Companies
    Countries
    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. 

    About St Hilda Sea Adventures

    St. Hilda provides the unique experience to see Scotland by sail. They offer many activities and private excursions - a perfect travel experience for families, older travelers, and small multi-gen groups.

    What Makes Them Stand Out?

    Taking only up to 6 guests, their tours are incredibly unique, as you sail aboard a classic ex-tall ship that looks straight out of the past. Activities include sailing, swimming, fishing, rock pooling, and lobster potting. Or you can choose to just relax and watch the spectacular wildlife and scenery float by. If you bring your equipment you can canoe, kitesurf, and windsurf as well.

    Who Travels With Them?

    All ages and all types enjoy traveling with St. Hilda Sea Adventures. Families, couples, and solo passengers are all welcome. Passengers can choose to do as much or as little as they like. This is a great trip for young kids to enjoy as well, for the thrill of hoisting the sails like a true sailer.

    Where Do They Operate?

    The West Coast of Scotland is where they specialize, the Outer and Inner Hebrides and Argyll specifically. Such a niche focus is a huge positive for those interested in getting a unique view of this part of the world.

    Why Travel With Them?

    These cruises give you the opportunity to see extraordinary wildlife, sail aboard an ex-tall ship with skipper and chef, with a small group. All food is included, and there are many opportunities for interesting excursions. Some excursions are included in the price, however you can also arrange excursions based on your interests. These are not included but allow for a wonderful amount of personalization to your travel experience with St. Hilda Sea Adventures.

    Tours & Operators on Stride Awarded and Featured by:

    • National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure
    • Outside, The New York Times