BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's a voyage that helps introduce tourists to those small waterfront towns that they may not ordinarily think to visit. A cruise ship docked in Biloxi on Wednesday night. Then on Thursday, passengers visited several attractions including the Biloxi lighthouse and the visitors center.
The Grande Caribe set sail from New Orleans and will continue on until it reaches St. Petersburg. Crew members said it's the stops along the way that makes these small cruises stand out.
Passengers aboard the Grande Caribe spent a little time relaxing in the lounge after a full and busy day of exploring Biloxi. Pat Killen of Seattle, WA, returned excited about her adventure. "I went kayaking," said Killen. "We've been out for about two hours and we've seen dolphins and lots of fish jumping and birds."
Blount Small Ship Adventures recently re-launched its voyage featuring a Gulf States itinerary. The crew said so far it's a popular ticket. The ship will hold up to roughly 90 passengers to create an in intimate and in depth cultural experience at each port call.
Capt. John Hunnewell said, "Here they're doing a tour of the city. I know there's a few stops along the way. They'll get a sampler of Biloxi and the Mississippi Coast area."
"We have a variety of enrichment activities. We have speakers. We have a naturalist on board this trip and a kayak instructor. We've got a group doing some kayaking," said Capt. Hunnewell. "We try to make the most of every stop and learn along the way. Show them what each spot has to offer."
Unlike the big ships, the 185 foot long Grand Caribe can dock in the small coastal towns.
Capt. Hunnewell said, "We're all about where you go and what you see as opposed to a lot of the glitz and glamour that go with the big cruise ships. So for us it's all about the destination and going to places where the big cruise ships simply can't go. "
"Many times we stop in small ports where you never would go. Small cities," said Elaine Tucker of Tennessee. "It's always something different and you stop almost every day at a different place. And it's a good way to see the United States from a different perspective."
The passengers also took a tour of Historic Downtown Biloxi and Beauvoir before sailing for Mobile.