Blount Small Ship Adventures operates two American-flagged, shallow-draft coastal cruise vessels that offer simple yet comfortable accommodations. Each vessel has a forward observation lounge that can seat all passengers at one time for social gatherings, sightseeing, reading, local entertainment and the line's enrichment program. One deck below, the dining room with an open serving kitchen seats all passengers at one time at mostly round tables of six and eight. The food is good all-American fare, often reflecting the cruising region. The crew all hail from the States.
Alcohol is not sold, but wine is offered on special occasions, and passengers are encouraged to bring aboard their own supply of alcoholic beverages. Storage facilities, setups, and soft drinks are complimentary, and the crew can point out top-up stores along the way.
Cabins, scattered over three decks, include outside and inside cabins, all very small and all having private showers, sinks and toilets. Some cabins open to the outside deck, others to a traditional inside corridor. Some open both ways.
Organized activities and usual shipboard pastimes -- such as bingo, spas, shopping and major stage shows -- found on big ships are absent. The emphasis is more on socializing, sightseeing and, depending on the itinerary, swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and glass-bottom boat riding. Evening entertainment is usually a lecture, followed by cards, reading and videos. Local bands and entertainers come aboard in some ports. Shore excursions are extra and may be bought as an advance-purchase package or individually onboard.
Passengers are mostly well traveled and nearly or completely retired Americans and Canadians, with some Australians now finding their way to Blount. The company has developed an extremely loyal fan base that returns for many different itineraries.
Blount Small Ship Adventures Fleet
The present fleet consists of the nearly identical 1997-built Grande Caribe
and 1988-built Grande Mariner
, each 184 feet long and taking up to 98 passengers. They're American built with American officers and crew. The ships are designed to reach bodies of water and ports that bigger vessels can't visit. Each has a retractable pilothouse that allows it to pass under low railroad bridges, and a shallow 66" draft permits river and canal cruising and landing close to shore. Other features include a bow ramp for beach landings, an underwater exploration camera and a swimming platform in the stern.
Blount's creative itineraries explore rivers, canals, the Intracoastal Waterway, Great Lakes and off-shore islands mostly in North America, plus a winter season in Central America. Cruises last from one week to more than two weeks.
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