Feature Articles


Small Ship Cruising in the Americas

Looking for a new way to explore our world? Small ships are a great opportunity for a more personal and unique travel experience. Interest in the waterways of North, South and Central America, and Cuba, is booming. A Blount Small Ship Adventure is a perfect option for your next journey whether you are traveling solo, as a couple or with a group of family and friends.

Named by USA Today and 10Best as one of the 10 Best River Cruises for 2017, Blount Small Ship Adventures (BSSA) was founded by Luther Blount in 1966 and remains family owned and operated today. An engineer and ship builder by trade, and an avid adventurer at heart, Luther believed that in order to have a truly authentic cruising experience you had to either own your own yacht, or have a friend who did.

The Blount Family

Because Luther Blount owned such a yacht in the early 1960’s, he invited many friends to join him and his young family as they explored hidden and hard-to-get-to destinations; some of which he discovered while delivering the boats he built. “I remember when my father started bringing friends on our family vacations. Suddenly, my 4 siblings and I became the crew! We were serving food orders and cleaning cabins- and learned from the ground up what running a cruise line was all about,” said Nancy Blount, the company’s President. Celebrating 38 years with Blount, Nancy recalls that she went from crew to working in the boat yard as a welder. Her sisters, Marcia and Julie now run Blount Boats, in the business of designing and building commercial and passenger vessels. When demand for those early trips created waiting lists, Luther’s idea for creating a small ship cruise line was born.

The BSSA Fleet

With a commitment to “going where the big ships cannot”, and making travelers feel like they were "sailing on a friend's yacht," BSSA grew from one 12 passenger vessel to a fleet of three 84 passenger ships—each built to be different by design.

Cruising with BSSA means sailing the waters less traveled in a personal, un-crowded way. Going places that are inaccessible to larger cruise ships, docking where private yachts dock, and getting away from manufactured experiences are all values that have driven this company for five decades.

“We take adventurous and curious travelers on unscripted journeys to places big ships can’t go,” said Nancy Blount. “We believe the freedom of stepping directly off our ships and into adventure is the difference between going to a place, and being in a place. And our welcoming and casual atmosphere, along with some of the friendliest staff and crew in the business, ensures that sailing with Blount still feels like sailing on a friend’s yacht.”

Innovative Itineraries

Enjoy a personal, uncrowded journey with Blount in 2017, featuring ports rich with history and warm hospitality.

2017 Deployments Dates

  • Charleston to Warren (May 3)
  • Magical Lake Michigan (Aug 7; Aug 16; Aug 25)
  • Great American Waterways (May 31; Jun 17; Jul 8; Jul 21; Jul 25; Sep 3)
  • Islands of New England (Jun 30; Jul 5; Jul 13; Aug 11; Aug 19)
  • The Saguenay (Aug 28; Sep 12)
  • Locks, Legends & Canals (Sep 23; Sep 29; Oct 8; Oct 14)

The BSSA Difference

Innovative Ship Designs
The unique features of BSSA’s small vessels allow unparalleled access to destinations that are simply out of reach on larger cruise vessels. Access to tiny islands, secluded coves, and small river inlets are part of every Blount itinerary. An ingenious retractable pilot house allows ships to glide gently beneath the lowest bridges and through locks, earning BSSA the distinction of being the only overnight cruise line able to transit the entirety of the Erie Canal which this year celebrates 200 years since construction began! A 6.5’ draft allows navigation through shallow rivers, harbors and canals, bringing travelers to places only private yachts can go. And, the signature “bow ramp” takes adventurers directly from the ship onto shore. Imagine the faces of unsuspecting locals relaxing on the beaches of Belize as this ship approaches, landing directly on the sand!

A Different Kind of Cruise Experience

On a Blount cruise, guests will never stand in lines or feel lost in the crowd. With only 84 passengers, every cruise experience will always feel exclusive and personal. A famously friendly staff and crew consider every guest to be a part of the Blount family, creating an inviting and casual onboard atmosphere.

Crew-members are consistently recognized by travelers for their expertise, knowledge and desire to make every guest’s adventure the most memorable experience possible. As a family-run business, many of the crew have been part of the Blount family for decades. Taking a genuine pride in delivering unique experiences, they love to share their insights of the regions, waterways and cultures being experienced.

Every cruise adventure is enhanced by onboard activities including guest speakers and destination experts, lectures by historians and naturalists, and live local music. Bicycles and kayaks are available for those interested in getting even closer to a destination. Travelers may also choose to personalize their adventure with optional excursions at nearly every port.

Amenities and Comfort

  • Sailing with no more than 84 passengers means a personal, uncrowded journey that goes beyond cruising
  • 51 years of experience in small ship cruising and expert boat building ensures innovative itineraries, customer safety and satisfaction
  • Different by design—because of the way they are built, Blount boats take you where other ships cannot go
  • Locally inspired, delicious cuisine
  • An informal and casual cruising experience—like sailing on a friend’s yacht
  • Private cabins are air conditioned with individual in-room climate control
  • New single-occupancy cabins invite single travelers to come aboard at a special rate
  • Onboard lectures bring destinations to life
  • Kayak and bike rentals are available for individual discovery
  • A stern swimming platform, skiff, and glass bottom boat allow travelers to get even closer
  • A fitness area on the deck features exercise bikes, full size and mini step machines, yoga mats, tension bands, and lightweight dumbbells
  • A unique BYOB policy and complimentary mixers allows guests to bring along their favorite beverages while avoiding high bar tabs
  • Free wine and beer is served with lunch and dinner

On-Board Activities

Three common areas, including the lounge, dining room and outside top deck, all host activities while onboard including:

  • Photography workshops
  • Culinary demonstrations
  • Wine tastings
  • Games, movies, and reading
  • Local musicians, historians, and naturalists

Culinary Delights

With Blount Small Ship Adventures, every meal is a feast for the senses. Expert chefs create culinary delights with perfectly cooked meats and flavorful seafood, accompanied by fresh produce, home-made soups and breads, and creative salads. Topping meals off are decadent desserts. Freshly baked pastries are available all day long and complimentary wine and beer is served with lunch and dinner. As guests indulge in each culinary masterpiece, they can admire the passing scenery through the large windows in an open-seating dining room.

Unbeatable Value

BSSA offers one of the best values in small ship cruising! Our travelers can earn discounts by booking two trips in a calendar year; or traveling as a group of 10 passengers or more. With Blount’s Frequent Cruiser rewards, you can even A FREE cruise!

One of the most popular features of a Blount cruise is the “BYOB” policy—guests are encouraged to bring their own beverages onboard! This unique alcohol policy gives our travelers the freedom to enjoy preferred beverages without a costly bar tab at the trip’s end. Mixers and snacks are on the house, and barware, refrigeration, and bottle storage space are provided around the clock.

With cruises starting at just $1,999 per person and departures from easily accessible ports, you are sure to find a cruise you will love with Blount Small Ship Adventures.




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