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Cruise Ratings
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this river cruise because of the itinerary up the Hudson to the Erie Canal and onto the St. Lawrence Seaway. We knew the cabins would be small but my wife and I were still surprised at the bathrooms (think airline size) and the ... Read More
We chose this river cruise because of the itinerary up the Hudson to the Erie Canal and onto the St. Lawrence Seaway. We knew the cabins would be small but my wife and I were still surprised at the bathrooms (think airline size) and the shower with 5 gallons of hot water at a time. The ship was older and appeared as such. The captain and staff were very nice. The tours, however, left a lot to be desired. We bought the full package and regretted that decision. It is best to look into each one individually. We even received a refund on one tour that was ridiculous. The ship director was new to her job. She was a very nice person that was way over her head in the job. It is inconceivable why the company put her into that position without better training. Unfortunately, the norovirus broke out on the ship, which required the Canadian Health Officials to board our ship in Quebec City for an inspection. We know that viruses can breakout on any ship, but we felt the company and crew were not trained in handling the emergency. We were lucky not to have contracted the illness, but I think about a third of the passengers and crew got it. To top things off, the company's response regarding this cruise was underwhelming to say the least. Their basic response was: "These things happen" and then offered a 20% discount on a 2019 cruise. However, this was nothing more than we had already received on our 2018 cruise. We have done several river cruises in Europe and thought they were fantastic. Our experience with the Blount cruise has us questioning whether we will do another river cruise in the US. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I chose for the destinations: Newport, RI, Nantucket and New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard, plus Block Island and a brief overnight on Cuttyhunk. I knew it would not entail cruise ship luxury, and was okay with and expected that. What ... Read More
I chose for the destinations: Newport, RI, Nantucket and New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard, plus Block Island and a brief overnight on Cuttyhunk. I knew it would not entail cruise ship luxury, and was okay with and expected that. What I did not expect was so little organized activity options, mold in our shower, and beds worthy of a kids' camp cabin. To suggest that this was an "adventure" cruise is ludicrous, unless you count one chance to kayak and one to go on a sailboat, both for an extra charge. Be aware that no activities are included in your base price, except for a few shuttles. This is not like a European river cruise, where at least one outing a day in included. To be fair, their tours offered are inexpensive except for the sail. The brochure and website suggest there will be lecturers on history, wildlife, etc--but this week there were none. The website and even a sign on our boat talk about bikes and kayaks being onboard "on some trips." We had none, despite being in locations where access to both would have been helpful. The food was good, with both a seafood option and another meat for dinner each night, and they accommodated passenger allergies nicely. We did have lobster every day as advertised, including a nice "lobster bake" dinner. One day it was in an omelette for breakfast, another in a bisque for lunch. Once it was in a sauce over cod. The homemade breads and pastries at every meal were wonderful! Red and white wines and beer were offered free at both lunch and dinner. This would not be a good trip for vegetarians! Cocktails were offered free on two nights. Until the last two nights when pleasant singers came onboard, the only evening entertainment was an old movie on the one TV onboard, in the lounge. We met people who had been on as many as 16 previous Blount cruises, and frankly, we just do not understand why. Probably the Caribbean snorkel cruises attract a younger and more active crowd. We enjoyed our meals, our destinations and had plenty of time to nap and read--but in other ways this just did not measure up to our expectations. We have been on a number of smaller ship cruises before in Europe and the US and Canada, and have been pleased with two river cruise companies over several trips in Europe, so I do not consider ourselves to normally be critical people. We will not be repeat customers with Blount. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My wife and I have been on many cruises over the years, both on major ocean liners and small ships, including catamarans. We have certain expectations, base on these prior experiences. Unfortunately this cruise did not meet those ... Read More
My wife and I have been on many cruises over the years, both on major ocean liners and small ships, including catamarans. We have certain expectations, base on these prior experiences. Unfortunately this cruise did not meet those expectations in many cases. We'll start with the food. The breakfasts were served family style, which we knew up front. However the way they do this is to put the food on the tables before guests arrive in the dining room. So the food is ice cold when you get there. Lunches were again family style and uninspired. We just skipped it one day and ate at a restaurant on land. Dinner was served smorgasbord style, you took your plate and went up to a table where they scoop the food onto your plate. Again, nothing exciting there. Overall the food was uninspiring and in some cases, barely edible. Then there's the cabins. Ours was exceptionally cramped and uncomfortable for the two of us. We were on a Viking River cruise in Europe last year, so we know what is possible on small ships, and this just didn't come close to matching up. The cruise director was very nice but totally inexperienced. Clearly they did not train her properly, she tried to direct us to things to do and see on the shore but she really didn't know much about the attractions. Fortunately we checked on the internet ourselves and figured it out. She also generally was not prepared with maps of the area. This is not the fault of the cruise line, but at times the water was very rough and caused my wife to get seasick. In hindsight we would have been better off going on our own, taking ferries to the various locations and staying at inns. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We have river and ocean cruised several times. This was totally unlike those. Tiny cabins because the size of the boat. Very tight quarters but you know that if you read the brochures first. The ship is this size so it can fit into ... Read More
We have river and ocean cruised several times. This was totally unlike those. Tiny cabins because the size of the boat. Very tight quarters but you know that if you read the brochures first. The ship is this size so it can fit into the locks on the Erie Canal. We went up the Hudson River, Erie Canal , Lake Ontario, and St Lawrence Seaway. We hit the fall color perfectly and what a gorges way to see the colors. Each stop had something to see and learn. The bar is BYOB of all things. Mark your bottle and the honor system really worked. Least expensive bar tab ever on a cruise. We found the food outstanding. Lunch was soup and sandwiches. Dinner was usually 2 choices with wine and beer served with lunch and dinner. The food wasn't necessarily fancy but was very nice. The service staff cleaned your room and then fed you! Only 88 people and you really get to know them! All were world travelers and enjoyed meeting others. Folks from Europe, Australia, Canada and the US. My wife and I were 70 and probably the middle of the pack age wise. Definitely a mature group an this cruise. I won't compare it to the big cruise lines. It is too different. We just really enjoyed our 2 weeks and hated to leave. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Background have long said I have 2 favorite cruise lines which are polar opposites, Blount and Crystal. The line is not for everybody, but does have a very loyal following which I consider myself part of. Ship info: Luther Blount was ... Read More
Background have long said I have 2 favorite cruise lines which are polar opposites, Blount and Crystal. The line is not for everybody, but does have a very loyal following which I consider myself part of. Ship info: Luther Blount was involved in many businesses. He started in the Oyster business and branched out into shipbuilding. His entry into cruising came from taking family and friends on his personal yacht and the demand grew until he expanded into building and sailing small cruise ships. His signature journey was through New York’s Erie Canal and he designed his ships with that journey in mind with shallow drafts and a pilot house that retracted to allow the ship to pass under the canal’s 17-foot bridges. Other trips went to the Caribbean and he added a patented bow ramp which allows the ships to ground on a beach and the ramp to run either to shore or to shallow water for snorkeling. A Captain once quoted one of Luther Blount’s mottos, “Give them everything they need and nothing they don’t”. When I first sailed with the line in 1996 I described the creature comforts as “somewhere between basic and spartan”. The current generation of ships is a bit bigger and better equipped and following Mr. Blount’s 2006 death daughter Nancy has added some woman’s touches bringing things closer to the upper end of that scale. I don’t think the vertical restrictions required for passing through the Erie Canal would permit having the machinery required for an elevator, but the current ships all have stair chair lifts on the main stairways. Dining: Meals are served in a single dining room on the lower deck of the ship. Meal times are set, usually 8AM, 12:30PM, and 6:30PM although there may be a slight variation to fit into port and activity times. There is a daily set menu which is posted each evening right outside the dining room door. If something on the menu does not work for a passenger, a quick word with the chef will result in a substitution. A number of passengers were gluten free and were very well taken care of. Seating is first come first served and over the course of a cruise one can share a meal with virtually everyone else on the ship. Breakfast begins with a buffet table with hot and cold cereal, fresh fruit, toast, milk, and juice. Breakfast entrees are served family style at each table. Lunch is also served family style (without the buffet table) but the stewardess individually serve the dinner entrees. Until recently there was a single dinner entree each day but in the last few years there has been a choice (usually a meat option and a seafood option) as well as a special desert of ice cream. Passengers are asked to select their dinner choices at breakfast. I think everybody meeting in the dining room 3 times a day enhances the bonding of passengers Blount generally does not sell alcohol. The basic policy is BYOB, but within the last few years wine or beer have been included with lunch and dinner, and there is an open bar one night at the beginning and end of each cruise. There is a cooler in the lounge where passengers can keep their bottles chilled. Self service coffee, tea, cappuccino (new since my last visit), and soda as well as granola, fresh fruit, and baked goods are available in the dining room 24 hours per day as well as a second soda machine in the lounge and morning coffee in the lounge. Activities and entertainment: This was a port intensive cruise and there were not a lot of onboard activities. We had a photographer who gave presentations on how to take good pictures (no, he does not hound you for pictures in the dining room or at ports like happens on some ships; he does sell a CD with photos of the trip for a nominal price), and a naturalist who gave talks on wildlife, fisheries, and local history. The small crew does not include entertainers as such, several local groups came on various evenings and performed, where we had neither local entertainers nor a naturalist presentation a movie would be shown. Where there are “sea days” the Cruise Director will organize some games in either the lounge or the dining room. Fitness: There are not a lot of facilities but they are improving somewhat. A walkway circles the deck with the lounge. It is narrow and short, something like 15-20 laps per mile, but it is available. The lowered pilot house prohibits walking around this deck on the Erie Canal, but then there are ample opportunities to walk on shore. There are also bicycles available to rent and a new addition, 2 stationary bikes aft. Children: Blount is really an adult oriented operation and children are not encouraged. A minimum age of 14 is the usual rule although children may be accepted on a case by case basis. Service and Crew: This is one area where the “Everything you need, nothing you don’t” has it’s greatest impact. Our crew of 15 was pretty typical, We had 3 officers, a chef, cruise director 5 stewardesses (occasionally, as here, one of the stewardesses who is experienced and outstanding gets the title of hotel director), and 5 deckhands. There is a lot of self service, such as the coffee bar between meals, and rooms are made up only once per day. The emphasis is on quality of service rather than quantity. Blount has several American flag competitors. I have not sailed them but others I talked to on the voyage have. The consensus was that while the others have more upscale facilities, Blount stands head and shoulders above the others in quality of service. All the staff are engaging and friendly and will do anything that they can fit into their limited duty time. It may be the New England work ethic but the staff are truly outstanding. In times of rough seas anybody, officially on duty or not, is ready to help anyone who needs it with a steadying hand. Disembarkation: Disembarkation is pretty straight forward. The extra cost services are very limited (shore excursions, logo clothing, and transfers is about it). All of that is handled by one person, the cruise director. Midway through the cruise she will collect disembarkation plans and credit card numbers. There is typically a bus hired for passengers headed for the airport, and plans will be made to secure other transfers as appropriate. Bills will be processed the day before disembarkation. Bags are left outside rooms before breakfast on the morning of disembarkation, and following a leisurely breakfast people will be called as their transportation is ready. Summary: Blount is not for everyone. If you need “luxury” and pampering, Broadway style shows, and an array of specialty restaurants you will need to go elsewhere. For good, well prepared food, friendly service, and a family atmosphere you have a home here. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2006
ACCL_Grande Caribe 12 day Erie Canal trip Mostly older crowd -- 55+. Our cruise started out badly due to Mother Nature The trip was revised due to the damage in the locks of the Erie Canal. Most of the ports had been changed. We had ... Read More
ACCL_Grande Caribe 12 day Erie Canal trip Mostly older crowd -- 55+. Our cruise started out badly due to Mother Nature The trip was revised due to the damage in the locks of the Erie Canal. Most of the ports had been changed. We had booked the 40s cabin -- behind the dining room. At the time of booking the reservation agent told me they were good cabins only to find out when we boarded they were over the engine room and a compressor or some machinery that cycled on/off every 10 minutes. The A/C was so noisy we could not talk to each other unless standing side by side. The cabins are small, consisting of 2 twin beds, metal hanging cupboard and a metal set of drawers. The door to the cabin is a folding door with no lock from the outside & a hook lock from the inside. The premium cabins have a chair and small writing table. The head is small but functional, no door and had to use the shower curtain as the door. To shower you need to have the shower curtain in front of toilet and around in front of doorway. Only bar soap, toilet tissue and tissues supplied so need to bring shampoo etc. The staff did not seem to clean the room and the toilet area very well.. After a few days we noticed odors from around the toilet area and the shower curtain was soiled. Towels are changed every other day & sheets half way through the cruise. The blankets were badly worn. The lounge was in the bow and had ample seating with sofas & tub chairs with additional seating on the sides in the form of bench style seats & the upholstery could use a good clean. There was a large T.V. for watching movies, no TV. Stations or radio...if in port they would buy the newspaper. The bar was B.Y.O.B. and snacks were in the bar area, goldfish, nuts and snack mix. Sodas were free from the pop dispenser. There was a games cupboard and a small choice of books to read, plus magazines on the coffee tables. We had a 3 piece jazz group come on one night & a lady from the local Pioneer village dressed in period costume. Other nights they played older movies or nothing. The staff (16) was good during working hours but when they finished their duties you could never find anyone. Thank goodness no emergencies occurred when they were off duty. Seems the ships personnel is off at the same time. The dining: The food was very good and they always had goodies in the cupboard, there was a coffee machine and tea selections as well as ice tea. Andy the cook & his assistant Leah were the best -- very good selections of menus through the cruise & very accommodating for those that had special dietary needs or did not like the meal offered that day. The first night of the cruise we never slept at all because of the noise from the A/C & engine. We spoke to the purser about being moved. The ship has room for 100 PAX but we had 29 PAX surely they could move us up 1 deck. She could not do anything -- we next spoke with the 2nd Captain (they have 2) he said yes this is a small ship & there is noise you will get use to it. WHAT??? We paid almost $6000. Why should we have to get use to it! Next we called H.O. & they have no manager on duty and they have no authority to do anything. So we were stuck with a cruise that didnt resemble anything we booked, a noisy cabin that we could not sleep in. Another older lady spent the first night up in lounge because she could not sleep in her cabin located in the same area. There were 4 cabins booked in this area and the purser told one lady if I move you then I have to move everyone SO WHAT!! There were several cabins open on the deck above they could have made several people more comfortable. We found we could be moved for the pricey sum of $200. PP. So we were stuck for 12 days with lack of sleep and ports of call that had little or anything to do. The tours were not well organized or the information on taxis or things to do in the Port was very sketchy. BOTTOM LINE I would avoid this cruise line if you have ever cruised before, if you have never cruised before you may find it acceptable & buy into their small ships make sounds tale. There are other nicer cruise lines that deliver better service for the money. Read Less
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