16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with 80 year old parents. We enjoy small ships, wanted to see the Great Lakes region and relax. This cruise was perfect and just what we were looking for. Booking was easy (book early for ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with 80 year old parents. We enjoy small ships, wanted to see the Great Lakes region and relax. This cruise was perfect and just what we were looking for. Booking was easy (book early for an early bird discount) We arrived the night before in Chicago and stayed at The Sheraton where we got a cruise discount and were picked up by cruise transport in the am. Embarkation was a breeze. The ship holds 210 passengers so does not feel crowded at all. Cabins were roomy with a small patio to sit and relax (we were on deck 5). The food was amazing! They offered 1/2 portions which worked for me. Happy Hour was at 5:30 each day with complimentary cocktails and appetizers. Wine was also included at lunch and dinner. The service was excellent. Any request was promptly answered with a smile Mixed review on the ports. Muskegon was very interesting-a surprise for me! I learned a lot about the area's history. The highlight was Mackinac Island. Charming. We had a nice long day there. Definitely do the horse drawn carriage ride!! We saw some boats go through the locks in Sault Ste Marie, but that port and Little Current were small with not much to do. We took the Killbear park tour and Island Queen boat tour around the 30,000 islands of Georgia Bay and enjoyed both. Disembarkation was simple. They were very organized with shuttles. We took the free bus to the Toronto airport where I had arranged a shuttle to Niagara Falls where we spent a few days before flying home from Buffalo. They have a wide variety of destinations and are building more ships. They are the sister company to American Cruise Lines so have a lot to offer. I will definitely go again. Next trip, New England Islands Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This trip far exceeded my expectations. When thinking about doing a review, I tried identifying what I would change. The answer is nothing!!! Well, maybe there is one thing. I would have liked more operational fitness equipment, ... Read More
This trip far exceeded my expectations. When thinking about doing a review, I tried identifying what I would change. The answer is nothing!!! Well, maybe there is one thing. I would have liked more operational fitness equipment, although I made the best of it. Our cabin was spacious, food excellent, service exceptional, shore excursions and entertainment were also well done. The service was suitable for a queen!!! Wish I could do it all over again. I would find it difficult to identify what I liked best. The cruise had a variety of ports and shore excursions. The cruise directors were very helpful in communicating about additional excursions/events, if I didn't want to do the planned activities. Thank you!! The staff was multifunctional. Thank you Kenny and staff for entertainment and all the other duties you jumped in to help with. Thank you for the military salute. The cruise was quite expensive, but worth the money. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
LUXURY PRICES were not a concern because we always book the owner's cabin or the equivalent which was Pearl Seas' R Class. Our cabin was DEFINITELY NOT LUXURY - Cabin 418 R Class was the most expensive. The passageways had ... Read More
LUXURY PRICES were not a concern because we always book the owner's cabin or the equivalent which was Pearl Seas' R Class. Our cabin was DEFINITELY NOT LUXURY - Cabin 418 R Class was the most expensive. The passageways had the feel of an industrial basement. The stairways were very narrow in width and the stairs were very shallow, making it necessary to step sideways in order to get a firm footing on the stairs. I was therefore forced to use the elevator in the interest of safety. Considering the age of most of the passengers, this was a definite safety hazard. We were also booked on two more cruises, one to the Maritimes and one to Cuba but chose to cancel both well before the cancellation deadlines. Even though it was on the contract that there were no refunds of the administrative fee for cancellation, Pearl Seas would NOT even consider a reduction of cancellation fees -- 4 X $425 = $1700. They did offer to give us a 25% discount on the two future cruises which would have cost Pearl Seas more than $8000. Even though this would have been a great discount, I would never consider sailing on Pearl Seas no matter what the price. Food was good and plentiful. The waiters were superb and very friendly!! Entertainment was the same two guys every night. They were good but it was too much of the same thing. Some of the included shore excursions were average and a few were quite good. The staff and service was the best part of the cruise. Too bad the overall ship didn't measure up to those same standards. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Having been born and brought up in Michigan, the Great Lakes cruise really appealed to me. It was also our first cruise, so it had to be a good experience. It didn't disappoint. The ship accommodations, service and food were ... Read More
Having been born and brought up in Michigan, the Great Lakes cruise really appealed to me. It was also our first cruise, so it had to be a good experience. It didn't disappoint. The ship accommodations, service and food were beyond expectations. The size of our cabin was quite comfortable. The amount of space for handing clothes and storing folded closes was wonderful. The dining room service was always professional by an always accommodating service team. The choice of food met our needs and was always excellently prepared. We were also impressed with the sightseeing, including the tour of the beautiful Mackinac Island, Parry Sound, the beautiful Georgian Bay region and the Henry Ford museum. Of course, the side trip to the base of Niagara Falls was an amazing experience. We would highly recommend the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay cruise to anyone looking for a peaceful period out of your otherwise hectic life. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, and to check off some bucket list items; specifically to visit Mackinac Island and Niagara Falls. We definitely got a lot more. The excursions were very enjoyable, and made ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, and to check off some bucket list items; specifically to visit Mackinac Island and Niagara Falls. We definitely got a lot more. The excursions were very enjoyable, and made good use of our time. We have taken mega-ship Caribbean cruises and a European river cruise, but our Great Lakes cruise on Pearl Mist was better than those alternatives, by far. The accommodations were comfortable, with a very spacious bedroom and bathroom and a private balcony. The service and food were outstanding, and the destinations informative and enjoyable. Life on board the ship was very pleasant and relaxing, with great evening entertainment. We made many new friends on the trip, thanks to many opportunities to dine and socialize together. The all-inclusive policy meant no hassles with bar tabs and other inconveniences. All in all, a very good vacation choice. We recommend this cruise very highly! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We have cruised several times before but this was the first time on a small ship and it was delightful. The atmosphere is totally different than on a large ship carrying several thousand passengers. The crew made an effort to know the ... Read More
We have cruised several times before but this was the first time on a small ship and it was delightful. The atmosphere is totally different than on a large ship carrying several thousand passengers. The crew made an effort to know the passengers and the service could not have been better. The information about our ports of call were provided by the on board expert via lectures and by locals who came on board to give us lots of information about what we could see and do. It was all interesting and informative and helped make our time in each port more enjoyable. The service and the food in the dinning room was top notch and the open seating made it easy to get to know our fellow travelers and we met many interesting people who made the trip that much more enjoyable. We most certainly will take a small ship cruise again, in fact, I am not sure that we will ever take a trip on one of the behemoths again. The small ship experience added so much to our vacation I would definitely recommend it for the mature, seasoned traveler. Read Less
56 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because it offered 7 ports of call, more than any other cruise ship. Three of those ports Maria La Gorda, Parque de Nacional Alexandro de Humboldt and Holguin were unique to this cruise line. When we paid our deposit ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it offered 7 ports of call, more than any other cruise ship. Three of those ports Maria La Gorda, Parque de Nacional Alexandro de Humboldt and Holguin were unique to this cruise line. When we paid our deposit we received a letter saying we would have our final itinerary with excursion details 3 months before departure. We didn't receive details until 3 weeks before departure when we were informed that there would be only 4 ports of call and the 3 unique ones were cancelled. No explanation was offered. This change came after we had made our required final payment and after the time for cancellation with a refund had run. Customer service was nonexistent. We emailed Pearl Seas 2 times before the trip asking for an explanation of the new itinerary and a partial refund based on the reduction in ports and excursions (which were included in the price). No response. While onboard we were informed that the change was because of the Cuban government but we also learned that the 3 omitted ports had been omitted on every cruise the Pearl Mist took before our's in 2017. One of the cruise directors was unable to explain why we had not been notified earlier of the new itinerary but offered to send PS an email from the boat promising that they would get back to me with an explanation. They never responded. We went on the cruise. What we did and saw was fine. The cabin was on the big side. We had a deck. Seating was open in the dining room. Food was fine. Wine and beer was free with lunch and dinner and were fine. Lecturer Ted was knowledgeable and a good speaker. The other lecturer was neither. Excursions were all run by Havanatur, a Cuban company. Their buses were nice but guides were uneven. Some were very difficult to understand. Per our new itinerary sent 3 weeks before the trip we were to go to the Botanical Garden in Cienfuegos one day and take a bus tour to Trinidad the next. When we got on the boat we found you had to pick one or the other as the tours were on the same day. On any given day different tour buses stopped at different sites but we were never told ahead of time which bus was stopping where so there was no opportunity to chose a bus based on your personal preferences. We have friends that were considering this cruise so we paid special attention to handicap accessibility. The boat was reasonably handicap accessible although there was a railing on only one side of the hallways and the elevator did not go up to Level 6 where the outdoor happy hours were held. The tour buses had a high steep step to get onboard and 4-5 steep steps after that. Walking tours were often on uneven cobblestone streets or sidewalks that had inconsistent cutouts to accommodate walkers or wheel chairs. Many of the sites we visited had steep steps with no hand railings or steep thresholds to get into buildings. Cuba in general was not handicap accessible and many restaurants required navigation of stairs. This cruise had a luxury price but what they delivered was anything but. Still upset about the change in ports without notice or written explanation we emailed the president and vice president of American Cruise Lines (the parent company) when we got back from the trip. We asked for an explanation of why we weren't notified of changes in a timely fashion when we could still cancel and get a refund and we asked for a partial refund. We received no response. We then sent a letter to the same executives. The vp responded in the last week thanking us for writing and telling us that they would share our concerns with the Cuban government to make it a better experience. Again... no explanation for why they waited until 3 weeks before our cruise to tell us that none of their Cuban cruises had stopped in the 3 ports that were omitted. We ended up spending an incredible amount of time at sea. 49 hours getting from Ft. Lauderdale to Santiago de Cuba, 24 hours between Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos, 41 hours between Cienfuegos and Havana and 18 hours to get from Havana back to Ft. Lauderdale. Not what we paid for! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I like smaller ships for what they offer in meeting and enjoying other people. Pearl Mist is an all balcony cabin ship except for one cabin and all cabins are large and comfortable with plenty of storage. The ship’s Wi-Fi worked quite ... Read More
I like smaller ships for what they offer in meeting and enjoying other people. Pearl Mist is an all balcony cabin ship except for one cabin and all cabins are large and comfortable with plenty of storage. The ship’s Wi-Fi worked quite well with my phone in airplane mode. The condensed New York Times, available every morning, kept us up on the news. This was my second cruise on the Pearl Mist. After being picked up at our hotel at 10:30 am and taken to the ship embarkation was quick and efficient and we were on our way by 1:00 pm. Dining is open seating with multiple choices at each meal, and wine & beer are included at lunch & dinner. Given that everything that we were to eat or drink for 11 days (10 nights) had to be on board before we departed, the food was very good, and it was nice to be able to eat a fresh salad even on the last day. Room service was an option for breakfast. The complementary happy hour before dinner was sometimes outdoors on the top deck in nice weather, and the bar remained open after dinner until about 9:30 pm. Fresh cookies were always available in the morning, and afternoon tea was at 3:30 pm. Dining room and cabin service was excellent. Pearl Mist is a great ship for people who are more interested in learning about their destination and conversation than fancy evening entertainment. We had several adult children traveling with a parent or relative, and it is a good ship for single travelers. Daily activities while at sea included excellent lectures from our two on board lecturers (Ted & Sylvia) about Cuba and the places we were to see. There was also time for a trivia game or two and some after dinner dancing to the music from two talented musicians (Stevie & Dustie). Cuba is a big island to circumnavigate. It is the largest in the Caribbean. Port to port from Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Lauderdale is 1712 nautical miles, and while hard to believe, we had ONLY 3 full days at sea. On the other days we were either in port for a full or partial day. Cuban banks were available in every port to take care of exchanging money from US dollars into CUCs, the standard Cuban currency. There are other cruise lines that go into the three major accessible ports – Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos/Trinidad, and Havana, but only the Pearl Mist spends more than a half day in all of them. I think at this time Pearl Seas Cruises has the only ship coming from the United States. Two fun nightclub options were available in Santiago de Cuba, and the late evening Tropicana Cabaret outside Havana in a magnificent wooded setting was excellent. As an extra treat we got an additional afternoon and evening in Havana as the ship that was scheduled to take our dock space wasn’t going to use it. The only land tour company is run by the government. The guides I experienced were all good and some excellent and were informative interesting people. The “made in China” buses were new with AC and a restroom. What restoration that has been done in Cuba is beautiful, but that I saw only one gas station and not a single grocery store the entire time should tell you how far in the past the country still is. We did get to visit a “ration” store. Yes, Cubans have ration books for the very basic needs. While Cubans have free health care and education, they don’t make enough money in government jobs to survive so “underground” private enterprises are everywhere and rely on “tips”. These enterprises are mostly tolerated by the government. On our excursions we tipped constantly whenever appropriate in CUCs, knowing it would make a difference. For every two to three vintage cars from the 50s that I saw on the road, there was some sort of “other” vehicle such as a horse drawn buggy, bike taxi cabs, 3-wheeled bright yellow Coco taxis, old trucks, double section long buses, tour buses and an occasional newer car. Cuba has opened up some under Raul Castro but still has a long road ahead. Our 4 cruise directors (Kevin, Kristen, Coryn & Kathleen) did an outstanding job of making sure the land touring process was very smooth. I was not disappointed even though we saw what the “government” wanted us to see. Wonderful musical performances of locals groups were included in our daytime shore excursions. The architecture is magnificent, but most of it is in ruin and falling apart. I only hope Cuban leadership restores not replaces those wonderful historical buildings. The officers were all excellent and did amazing coordination with the Cuban officials at each port by expertly handling all the port logistics in the background. All our disembarkations and embarkations at each port were easy. Only Havana had a building that looked like a cruise terminal. The terminals in both Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos were small free standing buildings several hundred yards or more from the ship. I was fortunate to dine with our Captain, George Ciortan, and after discovering his sea credentials knew that I was in very capable hands. It was interesting to hear that after being a Captain on a ship that carried thousands of passengers how much he enjoyed being the captain on a much smaller ship, the Pearl Mist, and how nice it was to have the “bridge” on the third deck rather than on deck 12 or higher. Akin, our Hotel Manager and Boro, our Food & Beverage manager were attentive and on point 100% of the time, I had suggested to Customer Service at Pearl Seas Cruises about a week before I left a particular bottle of wine that I thought could be the “signature” wine for Pearl Seas due to its name and presentation and was assured they would look into it. Boro let me know they couldn’t get it in time to have it on board, but to my delight three other bottles of wine from the same vineyard were in my cabin for me when I boarded in Ft. Lauderdale. One by one we enjoyed the wine at dinner. Akin, recognizing I was traveling as a single offered me a wonderful cabin upgrade, our second day of the cruise. Our disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was easy and complementary transportation back to the hotel to get our car was efficient with the only delay being that US Immigration had only two lines open for the almost 200 of us. The few people with a Global Entry Pass got through more quickly. Now that I am home I have been listening to Concerto Sur, Orquesta de Camara de Cienfuegos, the Chamber Music group of 8 musicians we were fortunate to hear. I’m so glad I bought the CD, as the classical sound has a definite Cuban edge to it which I love. Thankfully I purchased all the CDs of all the musical groups we heard. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We choose this cruise because it advertised 7 ports but did not find out until we boarded the ship that it had been reduced to 3. I don't care if it was because of problems with Cuba, we should have been notified and given the ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it advertised 7 ports but did not find out until we boarded the ship that it had been reduced to 3. I don't care if it was because of problems with Cuba, we should have been notified and given the opportunity to cancel. At the very least we should have gotten a refund for the port fees that had been included in our cost. The stateroom was half the size of the picture on their website. We called Pearl Seas directly to verify the direction of the cruise in order to pick our stateroom and be able to see the shore line but when the cruise started it was going the opposite direction. The entertainers were mediocre at best and the furnishings were shabby. We had one server that was downright rude (Fred) and the food was adequate - nothing to rave about. But to be honest we had some wonderful servers who did a lovely job. One of the lounges on the ship was on the second deck, which had the WORST smell. Either they had a serious sewage problem or worse, a severe mold issue. Unbelievable. The one good thing was a lecturer that they had onboard - Ted Henken. Thanks to him we learned a lot about Cuba and saw more than expected with a greater appreciation. Would not recommend this company. They also travel to the Great Lakes and are a sister company to American Cruise Lines. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
My sister and I sailed March 28, 2017 on Pearl Seas' seventh trip to Cuba. A year earlier, the company had canceled our April 2016 trip at the last minute. Instead, we tried out the ship on the Canadian Maritimes 14 day ... Read More
My sister and I sailed March 28, 2017 on Pearl Seas' seventh trip to Cuba. A year earlier, the company had canceled our April 2016 trip at the last minute. Instead, we tried out the ship on the Canadian Maritimes 14 day itinerary, and were impressed by its obliging crew, good food, large quarters and Swiss precision of timetables and communication by tour directors. So we had confidence that, once Pearl Seas received permission from Cuban ports, (which was communicated in early December, 2016), we would have a great trip to Cuba with this ship and crew. Cruise director Kristen came right over to us in the Ft. Lauderdale terminal, and we were warmly greeted by Akin, Boro, Sarah, Paulino, Celeste, Alvin and Chris on board. This cruise line has the human touch. This time we were on second deck forward, in a spacious cabin. We find the beds comfortable, the furniture well-made and the bathroom attractive. Deck two gets wet, however, from sea spray. The ship’s passage around both west and east tips was in rough water. The lecturers were outstanding. Rafael's perspective from his upbringing as a child of Cuban immigrants, his densely packed coverage of Cuban cuisine and Bay of Pigs talks were nuanced, with excellent diction and insight. Janis Lewin's decades of photographs expressed wordlessly the human condition of Cuban people. We enjoyed a wonderful participatory salsa class put on by ballroom dancing expert and musician Leelyn, and heard a wide variety of music of Kenny Holliday each night. Not quite enough Latin for me, though! The team of tour directors Kristen, Kathleen, Koryn, and Kevin gave clear public announcements, help and advice. The tours were excellent, with some excellent English speaking guides, such as Adolfo in Cienfuegos and Yenia in Santiago. The meals out were impressive, Brasso in particular. As were the meals and service on the ship. Akin and crew had taken many of my suggestions for Cuban menus and implemented them! A different quiche every morning, nice buffet at breakfast with food sculptures. The chef has a light touch, and is a master at garde-manger, not wasting any food due to our ordering each morning on a paper menu. Half portions allow you to enjoy dining without overeating. We experienced fine treatment, with champagne, birthday cake and serenading, as well as platters of bland food when we had a bout of sea sickness in rocking swells. Traveling in comfort and safety on this ship offered a particular advantage to us two women over the age of 60. Cuba’s people are warm, welcoming, and the roads are good, the water safe to drink, and the island is educated, and safe. However, the dilapidated state of water delivery, the electrical outages, and sketchy transportation makes it much better a destination for young, robust backpackers, rather than older tourists with less physical stamina in the heat, agility and tolerance for such outages. We wish we had brought boxes of pencils and papers for the students, or musical instruments. Our coming on a ship and tipping guides and local people surely helps support families living on $20/month government salaries. Having our ship offshore emboldened us to come see this once forbidden place, but in comfort, and avoiding the schlepping of packing and unpacking. Mojitos or frozen drinks on deck six. Nice and easy embarking and disembarking with only 182 guests and 66 crew. Guests are interesting, and do not put on airs. You don't even have to dress for dinner. It's a ship we would gladly return to. Canary islands anyone? Mexico? Iceland? Hawaii? Central America? Circumnavigation of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic? We would be on board! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I do not have time for an organized review - but I do want to give Pearl Seas high ratings. Were things perfect - NO, but overall they were wonderful. The few issues were related to Cuban governmental procedures, changes, etc. Very ... Read More
I do not have time for an organized review - but I do want to give Pearl Seas high ratings. Were things perfect - NO, but overall they were wonderful. The few issues were related to Cuban governmental procedures, changes, etc. Very minimal impact on the overall experience. Cuban people were so very friendly and welcoming (not just those who wanted to sell you something or were expecting tips) but the average folks on the street. If you spoke Spanish, which I do not, almost anyone we saw on the streets were willing (and frequently very interested) in talking with us. The shore guides I experienced on the ship provided tours were all terrific in their own ways. One always had to remember that there are "party lines" there and some would only give those types of responses. Others were more causal and would even make remarks making light of some of the issues others were 100% serious about. While I was initially upset about the reduction in ports - in actuality I was very GLAD it worked out this way as we got so much more time to interact with the people on our own, got to browse area of interest to us personally and could proceed rapidly or casually, alone or in groups for a portion of the shore time. While I would have liked to have seen the park area, I much preferred having more true, individual "people to people" experiences on my terms. Would I go again - IN AN INSTANT!!!! Would I go again with Pearl Seas - IN AN INSTANT in terms of what they offered in relation to other options numerous friends have taken, including some who went through other countries. Having a few minutes before an appointment I will address some ship categories. Cabin - much more spacious than I expected. Certainly not in luxury category, but we had what we needed and it was furnished nicely and kept clean. Dining - I was very pleased with the food - much better than I expected and adequate choices. Entertainment - I personally loved the entertainers that play each evening. They had a full crowd each evening and had folks singing, dancing and just having fun each night. They started the evening with music for the "younger" crowd (all over 40, mostly over 50) I would say) with music from their era. They they had a section for those who were more into actually dancing while holding each other, which was also popular. Speakers were both good in their areas of experienced and expertise. Service - A group of us ate each meal at the same table as we LOVED our server. She was a good server, as well as friendly, upbeat, etc. Ports - I liked all we visited. While in the second Port were spent an extra day there so that we could to to trinidad as well. (One of the "cancelled ports", cut we did spend a day there.) Loved this change as we got to see about an hour and a half of the countryside and village living conditions. Like most everywhere in the world i have been fortunate to visit, very different environments. I had no time for fitness or recreation activities on board so cannot rate them, Thank you Pearl Seas for pulling together such an interesting itinerary and dealing with the governmental stuff (US and Cuban) I am sure you had to contend with. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Chose this line in order to sail to Cuba. Concern regarding a smaller ship was immediately eliminated by the excellent cabin, nearness and convenience of everything, the all inclusive nature of the experience, and fabulous cruise staff. ... Read More
Chose this line in order to sail to Cuba. Concern regarding a smaller ship was immediately eliminated by the excellent cabin, nearness and convenience of everything, the all inclusive nature of the experience, and fabulous cruise staff. Here is our story of exceptional service: I asked the purser staff if they could possibly put some flowers in our cabin for our 50th anniversary the following day. They agreed and provided a card for me to fill out for delivery with the flowers. Next day, after cabin was serviced, we found a spectacular arrangement of beautiful long stem red roses and secondary flowers. It looked like something that would be handed to Miss America. Needless to say, I was a hero in my wife's mind. Next day I asked the purser who had arranged for the flowers and was told it was one of the cruise directors, Kathleen. I complimented her on the beauty of the arrangement and expressed surprise that such nice flowers were aboard. She said, "Oh no, we don't have flowers on board. As you know we all had a tour of the Botanical Gardens in Cien Fuegos yesterday. At the end of the tour I asked the Cuban lady in charge of the Gardens where to get nice flowers. I was prepared to take a taxi to retrieve the flowers, but the Botanist instead had her son drive me to the private residence where we cut and arranged the flowers." I was astounded, and asked how much the flowers cost. Kathleen cheerfully said, "Oh, no...no need to pay. We are glad to provide such service. Happy Anniversary!" The staff on this cruise ship are the best ever! We have been on over 30 cruises, mostly on ships holding thousands of passengers. This one was memorable and so special. Dining staff were extremely friendly and accommodating. Chefs would prepare special food if requested, and always willing to please. Entertainment was simply a very talented guitar player/singer and a keyboard artist/singer. They did a great job for the cocktail hours and entertainment sessions after dinner. Very enjoyable! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise because it circumnavigated the island and could land in ports where larger ships can't. The ship sails full with 210. We sailed with 156. The staff was wonderful. The entertainment( Stevie and Dustie) were decent. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it circumnavigated the island and could land in ports where larger ships can't. The ship sails full with 210. We sailed with 156. The staff was wonderful. The entertainment( Stevie and Dustie) were decent. They performed a different music genre each night. The food was gourmet standard. Sit down not buffet. At breakfast you chose your lunch and dinner selections. There was even space to write in special requests. You could even enjoy 1/2 portions. Every morning at 10 fresh cookies were served in the lounge and at 3 tea, and at 5:30 cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres. There was an early continental breakfast served and also when we came back from a late night excursion, sandwiches were ready for us. There was a 24/7 snack bar. All cabins had a balcony and were spacious. Bed was comfortable. Coffee maker in the room. Victor was a big assest on the cruise. As a US citizen but former Cuban citizen, now based in Miami, he gave a different perspective than we got from the Cuban guides who were good but trained by the Cuban government as to what it wanted us to know. Go to his lectures..The cruise directors were very innovative keeping the guests busy on sea days. Put your cell on airplane. Dont count on internet. It is off and on. Excursions: You have a choice of whole or half day excursions. We chose half day and spent the rest of the day exploring the cities on our own. We felt safe. The local guides were good. The busses were new and comfortable with a bathroom. We were told not to give anything to street people but leave it at the schools we visited. We were told not to pay with US currency because they cant spend it. Cubans have to take the money to and exchange for CUKs or CUPS and are charged a surcharge. If you use euros or Canadian they dont have to pay the surcharge. We only paid for souvenirs. We saw Fidels grave, San Juan Hill, 3 awesome Forts, a symphonic music group, a jazz concert, the Tropicanna Show, 2 art schools, a botanical garden,Hemingways house, a ration store. Walking around towns on our freetime, we were able to poke around and find interesting things. We werent interested in the old cars. We grew up with them and didnt see anythig special. Gas is precious so they have been converted to diesel. You will see air polution. I havent said anything about the poverty. We have traveled extensively on our own in Mexico and Central America away from tourist areas. We didnt see anything in Cuba that we hadnt seen in those other countries. Colonial Cities and poor slummy areas. But it is a clean country and safe. In retrospect we are glad we went on this adventure. We learned that Americans have a Romantic view of Cuba. It is not in reality. There is poverty. It is run as a socialist country They want the Americans to come. Everyone has a job,but the average per month is $24 USD and the highest( govt and drs) about 90USD per month. Education, medical and fent is free. If you get into the tourist industry you can make more. If you go on this tour please tip your driver and guide. It is basically their difference between living and survival dont stiff them. There is no limit on rum or cigars you can bring back. There were accomdations made for physically challemged people. There were people with canes, wheelchairs, electric scooter. They were helped on and off busses and cared for when at the sites. Embarcation was easy. Coming back in, the US agent flipped through our passports and told us to have a safe trip home. No inspections,no interrogations. Just rolled on through. One thing negative is that we drove by a baseball stadium. And they talked about Cuban baseball. It would have been interesting if we could have gone to a stadium and maybe watched a game or a warmup or a few innings. But everything we saw and did was dictated by the government and could change with the wind. It is the government not the cruise company. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Cuba is exotic, unique, and a country waiting for it's future. It's people seemed to have a good attitude and if their Chamber Music group is any indication, fabulous talent! Luckily, my favorite small cruise ship was going ... Read More
Cuba is exotic, unique, and a country waiting for it's future. It's people seemed to have a good attitude and if their Chamber Music group is any indication, fabulous talent! Luckily, my favorite small cruise ship was going there. I like Pearl Mist because it is compact, comfortable, and has a dedicated crew who quickly get to know you. It is relaxing not to have to dress up for dinner; plus, open seating allows one to meet many different people from various locations. I have never failed to find my table companions interesting and pleasant. While many of the amenities provided by the giant cruise ships are missing, for me, the friendly companionship of fellow passengers supported by a highly capable crew makes up for the lack of spas and shops aboard ship. I definitely didn't miss sailing with thousands of other people on board! Cuba is new to the itinerary and so bumps are to be expected when dealing with a recent destination that has a delicate political climate. However, the Tour Director, Kristen, and her staff reacted quickly and competently to a couple of changes that were unexpected. I felt well taken care of, and after all, an adventure is composed of surprises. It is how they are confronted that is important. Staff did a great job handling everything. Both times I have been on the Pearl Mist, they provided very interesting lectures about our various destinations. I value that feature. I love the fact each room has a balcony. The bathroom/shower was specious and well stocked; the bed very comfortable. The layout of the public areas means they are close but don't interfere with desired quiet- at-sleep time. The staff caring for my room kept it spotless. My one disappointment is in the speed of the WiFi. They definitely need a better system. However, at least I had it and it was not an extra expense. The food was delicious and the portions perfect. I plan on using this cruise company again in June, and as new destinations are added, frequently. I also enjoyed their cruise thru the Great Lakes last year. Pearl of the Seas is a bit pricey, but I was a happy passenger and felt the expense was worth it. Provided easy transportation to the airport at the end of the cruise. Finally, I noticed that Pearl of the Seas does a lot to accommodate some rather severely handicapped passengers, both on the ship and on tours. I find that very commendable so that those passengers as well as their companions can see the world along with the rest of us. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Two initial irritations: 1) Luxury price and marketing created luxury level of expectation. Nothing compared to other luxury cruises we have been on except price. Average rooms, average common areas and average food. 2) cruise was ... Read More
Two initial irritations: 1) Luxury price and marketing created luxury level of expectation. Nothing compared to other luxury cruises we have been on except price. Average rooms, average common areas and average food. 2) cruise was changed after we paid but before the cruise to eliminate at least one port and excursion. The extra day at sea on this ship was not appreciated. Blamed it on Cuba but we all questioned the motive. Felt like bait and switch. The all day excursions included a lunch that lasted a minimum of 2 1/2 to 3 hours which reduced the number of local things we were able to see. Ship has no store on board, one of two coffee machines available to passengers was broken for about 1/3 of cruise. The lectures provided by Victor were clouded by the fact that he was constantly marketing his travel business. Kevin was by far the best of the four Cruise Directors on board. TV service (or lack of service) was the worst of any ship we have been on in far more remote areas of the world. The water on board had a yellow tint which was disturbing. A positive was that wine and liquor seemed to always be available, which was appreciated considering the lack of entertainment on the ship. Unfortunately, the wine was almost undrinkable and the premium list (for purchase) wasn't much better. The liquor choices were great. Bobo, the F&B Mgr, was outstanding as was Peter, our waiter. Both excelled above others, both in level of service and attitude. Cabin Steward was unable to provide ice at the requested daily time 50% of the days. The ship had some difficulty meeting the established schedule which impacted one entire day of excursions and several late arrivals/departures. Overall, the country does not seem ready to accept a rush of American tourists and Pearl Mist needs to tighten it's act and upgrade the quality of ship as new ships are introduced to the company. Won't recommend to others at this time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Like most of the other reviewers, we wanted to see Cuba before any major impact by USA tourists. Our tour had been canceled twice before we were able to make the trip. Prior to the cruise emails to Pearl Seas "oyster Society" for ... Read More
Like most of the other reviewers, we wanted to see Cuba before any major impact by USA tourists. Our tour had been canceled twice before we were able to make the trip. Prior to the cruise emails to Pearl Seas "oyster Society" for multi cruise passengers requesting updates on the status of the cruise were ignored. Phone calls to Pearl Seas were not productive and did not provide any information. The usual response was "we just don't know". Embarkation and disembarkation were quick, easy and pleasant. Cabins are large and comfortable. Dining was not up to the quality, variety, or freshness experienced on the Pearl Mist Great Lakes cruise. Entertainment and onboard lectures are marginal. The crew except for the Cruise Directors are fantastic. The Cruise Directors tend to be defensive, non communicative, and uncooperative. The ports and excursions did not match those advertised in the brochures. When the Cruise Directors were questioned about the changes their standard reply was "the Cuban Government is responsible" frequently with a smirk. In my opinion the Pearl Mist was not designed to be an open ocean vessel. Many of the passengers experienced motion sickness on the first full day and last day of cruising. The Captain, who is one of the finest small ship handlers I've sailed with decided to have the passengers bussed across the Island to Havana instead of exposing them to the rough transit around the north end. This was one of the most enjoyable shore excursions of the trip. My compliments to the Captain, ships senior officers and ships crew they do a fantastic job. The U.S. based shore personnel leave a lot to be desired. This was our third cruise on the Pearl Mist and will be the last unless Pearl Seas provides incentives to compensate for their poor past performance. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Good ship to see Cuba. Round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale made it very convenient. Especially liked the "one" seating in the dining room. We met a lot of new friends and were able to hear of their experiences. Shore excursions ... Read More
Good ship to see Cuba. Round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale made it very convenient. Especially liked the "one" seating in the dining room. We met a lot of new friends and were able to hear of their experiences. Shore excursions were well handled and no extra charge for sightseeing. The staterooms were larger than normal and were very comfortable, all had balconies. The food was excellent and we were able to order half sizes if we wished. All the crew and dining room waiters were very friendly and quickly learned our names and favorite things we liked to eat and drink. We think this ship is the ideal way to visit Cuba. We would recommend Pearl Seas Cruises "Pearl Mist" if you have a desire to visit Cuba. We found that the Cubans were very friendly. We enjoyed seeing all the old architecture and were amazed how clean the streets were.K Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was a very interesting cruise with excellent program directors and generally good local guides included at each stop. A smaller ship meant visiting many ports other ships cannot enter, no wait at immigration and customs at each port ... Read More
This was a very interesting cruise with excellent program directors and generally good local guides included at each stop. A smaller ship meant visiting many ports other ships cannot enter, no wait at immigration and customs at each port like there would be with huge ships, getting to know many of the 210 other passengers reasonably well, and other advantages, The food was truly excellent, as was the staff. There was an open bar with appetizers every evening before dinner, the cabins and balcony were great, and the music each evening was pleasant and most of it (country, rock and roll, 2-step, waltz) great for dancing. With rough seas anticipated to the west of the island, we were sent on buses to Havana which gave us 2 extra days of hastily but nicely planned visits and beautiful weather in the interior of Cuba and in Havana, where we met the ship. The bonus visits were to the Bay of Pigs, local restaurants that were good, community centers, and extra visits to the market and other places in Havana. The disadvantages of the smaller ship was rough seas on one day back up to Ft. Lauderdale. And the cost per day was higher, but all things considered, worth it. The major thing missing was a few lectures by US Political Science or Economics faculty on the political situation and economic transition in Cuba. The two women speakers had no depth. As an economist who has worked in 22 developing countries, and with a partner who has worked for USAID in many transition economies in the ex Soviet Union, we have seen real poverty but we saw none in Cuba. Per capita income is lower that the US, and houses are modest, but unlike the US everybody has free health care and free education through college.We saw many cane sugar plantations where the conditions under Batista and before were miserable. Private Restaurants and B&B's are springing up, there is no free press, but the transition would appear to be continuing towards a market economy under Raoul Castro. I would recommend this trip to anyone considering it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Chose because it was a small ship, and we liked the itinerary. All and all, we had a wonderful time. The cruise directors were very enthusiastic and able to deal with everyone in a professional and mature manner. We enjoyed our activities ... Read More
Chose because it was a small ship, and we liked the itinerary. All and all, we had a wonderful time. The cruise directors were very enthusiastic and able to deal with everyone in a professional and mature manner. We enjoyed our activities both on and off the ship. We were a little disappointed that our trip started in Santiago rather than Havana, but it actually ended up being better that way. We loved the shore excursions, and the on shore meals as well as those on the ship were excellent. We had rough weather both going and coming from Cuba. In this case, it was better to be on one of the lower decks rather than the 4th and 5th decks. Due to the weather, the captain decided it was too rough to take the passengers to Cuba by ship. So, we got an additional day of sightseeing in the Cienfuegos area (including going to the Bay of Pigs) and then were transported to Havana by bus. (All of the tour buses were modern and had bathrooms.) By traveling to Havana by bus, we were able to see more of the countryside. We stayed in a five-star hotel in Havana, and all of the rooms had balconies with water views. We considered this to be a bonus since it was not part of our originall itinerary. The next day we did more sightseeing in Havana and had dinner at a beautiful old hotel. We re boarded the ship and sailed for Florida early the next morning. I think Pearl Seas went over and above to make sure we had a great experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The four young people who were are cruise directors were outstanding. They were attentive and were always trying to get the right information even when the weather was causing changes to our itinerary. They seemed to never sleep. Their ... Read More
The four young people who were are cruise directors were outstanding. They were attentive and were always trying to get the right information even when the weather was causing changes to our itinerary. They seemed to never sleep. Their goal was to help you relax and enjoy each day. I might take this cruise again just because of Kevin, Kristen, and Kathleen (I forgot the name of the fourth person, but she was great as well). The speaker on our cruise was knowledgeable but she was a terrible presenter. It was almost painful to listen to her. I do a lot of public speaking and I may be an unfair critic. But she would definitely benefit from some training. The activities that the cruise directors organized were just the opposite. They know what they were doing and were very prepared. We did a movie trivia and a Spanish lesson that were more like a "comedy" show. They also knew what on shore activities not to miss. For example, Kevin encouraged us all to go to the Iris Jazz Club because of the outstanding young musicians that played. I don't like jazz, but I went on his recommendation. I'm so glad. That evening was one of the highlights of my trip. I would have been sorry to have missed it. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise, because like most Americans, we want to see Cuba before Americans ruin it. We also enjoy smaller ships & this ship promised to stop in many ports, originally about 7. We origingallly signed up for the first ... Read More
We chose this cruise, because like most Americans, we want to see Cuba before Americans ruin it. We also enjoy smaller ships & this ship promised to stop in many ports, originally about 7. We origingallly signed up for the first sailing in early 2016. We changed to the 3rd sailing because we were told that the port side would have the best views. That trip was cancelled several times and we finally sailed in Feb. 2017. The ship sailed around Cuba in the opposite direction, so we were on the wrong side. When we asked to change, we were told that one would have no view anyway. Not true. We lowered our expectations each time that we communicated with the cruise line. Our friends who were to originally sail with us cancelled after the 1st cancellation of the trip. We had been to Cuba on our own in Dec. 2016, so we knew what to expect in Cuba. The cruise trip was adequate and the general consensus seemed to be that it was drastically overpriced. This Cuban cruise served no Cuban coffee, provided no Cuban music, had only 1 night of local entertainment on board, other than that, no entertainment other than 2 men from Jacksonville who did the best they could. There was no fridge in the room, no hot tub, no gift shop, and no spa services. On several occasions we were required to carry our own luggage. The food quality was definitely not luxury. Although the alcoholic beverages are included in the price, the bar is not always open. If you care for a glass of wine upon returning to the ship, you are out of luck. (The luxury Chardonnay is Woodbridge.) During the days at sea, the movies to your room are pitiful and the 'educational' talks were amateurish. We were originally promiseed a dive and snorkel day, but it never got scheduled. The cruise line blames everything on the Cuban government. Cuba is difficult to navigate, I will admit. So, if the price for this cruise was more in line with the quality of the cruise, I think that people would be happier. I would like to suggest that people not be permitted to jog on the top deck while people on deck 5 are trying to sleep. I was appalled when we were directed to leave our performance at the Hotel National before they were finished. It was utterly rude and does nothing to enhance the view of American tourists. We will be going back to Cuba, but on our own and stay at Airbnb's, as we did before. I would recommend this cruise to people who don't care about the price and are not interested in trying to negotiate Cuba on their own. I feel that the cruise line did an excellent job in dealing with our adverse weather conditions. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
We went on one of the first Pearl Mist cruises to Cuba. Yes, there were some problems with the itinerary but nothing catastrophic....it was a great experience. The staterooms were large and comfortable and the housekeeping staff were ... Read More
We went on one of the first Pearl Mist cruises to Cuba. Yes, there were some problems with the itinerary but nothing catastrophic....it was a great experience. The staterooms were large and comfortable and the housekeeping staff were excellent. Actually, the entire staff engaged with passengers and made a sincere effort to address concerns and made you feel welcome and valued. Granted the itinerary was curtailed a bit but the port calls and shore activities that were offered were interesting and lived up to the published Cuban experience. After talking with the captain on the bridge I had a much better understanding of why difficulties were encountered...the ship is pretty much at the mercy of the Cuban authorities regarding getting clearance to dock at Cuban ports. The food was excellent with ample portions and good quality...this in spite of not being able to take on provisions at Cuban ports...again, part of the experience of going to Cuba. Now a final note...I take exception with persistent discriminatory and ageist comments...these are totally inappropriate, insulting and most importantly, inaccurate. Would you think it OK to comment on ethnic or religious groups on board that you find objectionable? There were very few instances where older disabled passengers interfered with the shoreside excursions or detracted in any way from the enjoyment of the cruise. Older people can be fun and add to the cruise experience. Remember, you will eventually become one of us, so lighten up and stop the intolerance. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise in order to experience Cuba. The itinerary was changed and we had to spend 6 days sailing around with hardly anything to do on board. The sun deck was half generator making terrible loud noise. There were 2 lounges ... Read More
We chose this cruise in order to experience Cuba. The itinerary was changed and we had to spend 6 days sailing around with hardly anything to do on board. The sun deck was half generator making terrible loud noise. There were 2 lounges that were nice. One speaker was just average (too repetitive) and the other was terrible - disjointed, hard to listen to and repetitive presentation. I was assured they would accommodate a vegan menu but onboard was told to just write down what I wanted to eat. (Make up my own menu on vacation? Well, what do you have in the kitchen?). A few meals (not the vegan ones) were good though most were very average. Service was average - never saw much of the cabin steward and dining room server often forgot to bring what we asked for. The two musicians (only entertainment at night) were enjoyable and played and sang different types of music well. A little something different would have been nice. The laundry (a well kept secret - you have to ask if any is available) ruined 3 of our shirts and we heard others complain about that too. That said, we did experience Cuba and enjoyed what we saw. Some of the local guides were very good and we learned a lot from them. Make it a week long would be better. This was very expensive and not worth the money. We recommend trying a different cruise line. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
A cruise to Cuba on a small ship? What a great idea! What a great itinerary. The ship was great. The crew was outstanding. The food was good. The cruise overall was a sad disappointment. We were on the 3rd scheduled ... Read More
A cruise to Cuba on a small ship? What a great idea! What a great itinerary. The ship was great. The crew was outstanding. The food was good. The cruise overall was a sad disappointment. We were on the 3rd scheduled cruise to Cuba by the Pearl Seas. The 2nd cruise was cancelled – to work out the difficulties experienced on the 1st cruise. The 3rd cruise should, in my opinion, also been shuttled. We understand that tourism in Cuba is a government affair and the itinerary changes were not in the control of the cruise line, but the fact remains that we did not receive the trip that we signed up for. We were promised 6 ports – we got 3. We were promised tours and museums that – even in the ports we made – didn’t materialize. Rather than colorful stories of cultural immersion we have a sad tale of sedentary boredom. The ship to shore ratio was heavy on the ship, very little time on shore. How much cultural immersion are you getting while you are cruising at a snails pace (with nowhere to go – just wasting days) on a small ship listening to a lecturer onboard (Tom someone) who was so incredibly dull he could put himself to sleep. So when our friends want to hear “all about our cruise to Cuba” our first words are “it was very disappointing..” Generally their next question is: “Which cruise line?” That can’t be good. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We wanted to experience Cuba before it became "touristified." The Pearl Mist is a lovely ship, wonderful service, great staff, very good food. Highlights of the onshore time included the cultural center in Havana, the visit to ... Read More
We wanted to experience Cuba before it became "touristified." The Pearl Mist is a lovely ship, wonderful service, great staff, very good food. Highlights of the onshore time included the cultural center in Havana, the visit to El Cobre, and the botanical gardens of Cienfuegos. Also the time in Trinidad was enjoyable but we did not see two of the three attractions listed. But, the cruise was not as represented. We had less than half our time on shore. Most of our time was spent "cruising" or actually killing time between ports. We were supposed to have had personalized walking tours of 5 plazas in Havana. Apparently that meant we were to figure it out on our own as we did not have any walking tours. Most of our Havana time was spent in a bus going to and from Hemingway's home which was unremarkable and hardly representative of the Cuban culture. We did not tour the Cathedral de la Habana or the Revolution Museum as advertised. Of the 4 Cuban guides we had, two were very good, very knowledgeable, informative and eager to interact with the passengers. The other two had little to say and spent their time answering questions from the people in front but those in back could not hear or understand. Of the two lecturers, Dr. Richard was very good and had interesting presentations. Tom Miller "The Onboard Expert" is apparently a very knowledgeable person and "accomplished author," but as a speaker he is at best painful to endure. If you are looking for a pleasant time at sea with good food and service, you will enjoy this. If you are looking to experience a different culture, it is a disappointment. Read Less
Pearl Mist Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 2.5
Family 2.0 2.5
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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