Contact Information

Bus Tours Magazine
9698 W. Judson Road
Polo, IL 61064
Phone: (815) 946-2341
Fax: (815) 946-2347

Blount Small Ship Adventures

Illinois, Chicago, Burnham Harbor. Grande Mariner docked at Burnham Harbor with Chicago skyline in distance.

Built with the destination in mind, Blount’s small ships take your group beyond traditional cruising.

Founded in 1966, Blount Small Ship Adventures offers a winning combination: travel in small numbers to unique destinations, with a personal approach. Ranging from four to 16 days in length, Blount offers cruises through North America’s greatest waterways, including the Great Lakes, Erie Canal, Saint Lawrence River, New England coast and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Savannah to Baltimore. U.S. flagged and U.S. crewed, Blount Small Ship Adventures operates two innovative, expedition-style ships that comfortably carry up to 84 guests each. On board, the atmosphere is casual with no dress code or formal cocktail hours.

With a 52-year history, the company strives to carry on the tradition of adventurous cruising established by its founder Captain Luther H. Blount. An avid explorer and ship builder by trade, Luther was the first in the United States to provide small ship cruises to remote destinations, an alternative to the overcrowded and often impersonal experiences on the big ships. Built with the curious traveler in mind, Luther engineered ships with shallow drafts (6’6”) and patented bow ramps, allowing passengers to land on remote beaches and other areas of the world that larger ships cannot. Another patented feature, the retractable pilot house, allows the ships to pass under the low bridges of the Erie Canal, w

hile cruising from New York City to Chicago as well as the Canadian cities of Quebec and Montreal.   

Guests are often well-traveled and enjoy the casual, friendly atmosphere that Blount’s small ships offer. “Our size has allowed us to deliver unique experiences such as sailing through the Erie Canal during fall foliage or stepping directly off the ship onto remote island beaches in Belize,” President Nancy Blount explains. Blount’s small ship cruises cater to nature-lovers, adventurers, historians, snorkelers – essentially, destination-oriented travelers. 

At almost every port, optional excursions are organized by Blount Small Ship Adventures. Selected carefully to provide guests with the best things to see and do in each place, these options often include city tours, museum visits or wine tastings. Charges for optional excursions include transportation from the vessel, tour guide and gratuities.

Included in the price of cruise fare are three chef-prepared meals a day, complimentary beer and wine with lunch and dinner, comfortable cabin accommodations, onboard entertainment and select optional excursions onshore. Blount also offers a unique BYOB policy that allows passengers to bring and store their own beer, wine or liquor on board. Blount provides the barware, mixers and garnishes throughout the cruise, avoiding a high bar tab by the trip’s end. 24/7 coffee, soft drinks, baked pastries, snacks and fruit are available in the ship’s dining room for guests who find themselves in need of a refreshment between meals. A welcome and farewell cocktail hour is also included in the price of the cruise.

2019 Programs:

Belize & Roatan, 12 Days – Embark in Belize City for an amazing Central America cruise voyage.  An itinerary crafted with the snorkeler enthusiast in mind, swim among a rainbow of exotic fish and live coral along Belize’s stunning Barrier Reef. Built with a shallow draft, Blount’s vessels pull up to remote islands accessible only by private yacht.

Panama Canal & the Islands, 12 Days – Experience Panama through the intimate perspective of our small ship. Like its famed canal, Panama itself is a fascinating mosaic of colors, textures and humanity’s invincible will to co-exist with the environment.

Islands of New England, 7 Days – With a collection of picturesque islands dotting its rocky coast, summer cruising in New England is unparalleled. Rugged bays, sandy beaches and colorful lighthouses that have individual stories longing to be told, oyster beds breed “shucked-to-order” shellfish in mellow, sheltered harbors, and modest colonial charm and Gilded Age beauty combine to create a feeling of sophistication and back East charm.

Massachusetts Sampler, 8 Days Round trip from Boston, cruise to the many quaint ports of Massachusetts, rich in revolutionary heritage and modern-day charm. New England’s historic past comes alive on this all-encompassing seacoast itinerary. With fewer than 84 other passengers on board, experience the birth of a nation from the ports that started it all.

Great American Waterways, 16 Days From Chicago to New York, four stunning Great Lakes and the historic Erie Canal merge to create one amazing adventure. Go where the big ships cannot and witness the patented retractable pilot house, invented by Luther Blount himself to navigate under the lowest bridges of the Erie Canal.

Chicago to Montreal, 14 days Ten thousand years ago, the last great glaciers retreated, leaving the legacy of the Great Lakes. Cruise through all the wild splendor, rugged wilderness and majesty of the Northern lakes, canals and rivers from Chicago to Montreal.

Locks, Legends & Canals of the Northeast, 14 Days – Poets write about it, artists excite to capture it: romantic autumn in the Northeast. There is no more relaxing way to see a variety of stages of color than by small ship along this region’s waterways, including the historic Erie Canal. Discover historic and picturesque river towns on this unique small ship adventure through the Northeastern US and Canada.

Magical Lake Michigan, 8 Days – The fifth largest lake in the world, Lake Michigan is lovingly referred to as America’s Third Coast. Natural coastal beauty, friendly Midwestern cities and authentically restored villages make this charming cruise one of great interest. Departing round trip from Chicago, Illinois, this eight day program is perfect for groups looking to experience Lake Michigan by cruise and land.

Maine & New Brunswick, 10 Days – Explore the scenic coast of New Brunswick and New England on a 10-day journey that takes you from historic Boston to pristine New Brunswick. Kick off this seaworthy adventure with a stop in the “City of the Ships” – Bath, Maine. Explore the rocky shoreline of Rockland, Maine, where you might kayak by lobster boats. In Eastport, Maine, tour the last stone mustard mill in America. In seaside St. Andrews, New Brunswick, watch whales play, explore with a naturalist or perhaps play golf at a world-class course.

Historic Chesapeake Bay, 10 Days – Explore America’s largest estuary by small ship or tour the US Naval Academy in Annapolis or the birthplace of democracy in Williamsburg. With 11 unique ports, this cruise offers a relaxing sail right through history.

Hudson River & Coastal Fall Foliage, 9 Days – Every year leaf peepers flock to New England for nature’s brilliantly hued foliage. Enjoy stunning views from the vessel as it cruises from the awe-inspiring Hudson River Valley and along Long Island Sound to the colonial ports of New England.

With advanced notice, the needs of large groups on board can be planned and personalized with BSSA staff. Blount’s programs are also available for charter. Interested in becoming a group leader? Blount is here to help and is able to provide you with marketing materials and tips to attract more travelers. You will receive a discount that will be applied to your own trip or to the entire group’s.

The small ship experience is a fantastic way to travel. With fewer than 84 passengers on board, Blount’s intimate common spaces are perfect to host your group of travelers. Flexibility and easy access on and off the vessel give groups the opportunity to craft their travel experience.

For more information, visit Blount’s Web site at or e-mail their groups coordinator at to discuss their program options in more detail.