Sail Date: February 2018
Size matters and it was perfect for comingling and slipping into small ports for up close and personal activities. The cruise line left nothing on the table...everything was top notch. Service, excursions, food on & off the ship, fun ... Read More
Size matters and it was perfect for comingling and slipping into small ports for up close and personal activities. The cruise line left nothing on the table...everything was top notch. Service, excursions, food on & off the ship, fun activities, amazing buses & informed YOUNG guides. Learned a ton... saw amazing scenery...and loved the Cuban people!! PEARL MIST gave the upmost attention to the fact we were there as "ambassadors"....so our educational VISA provided up with a trip of a lifetime cultural experiences. Food in private homes, music (many forms), historical sites, children and varied communities...old and current history along with easy statements of hope for the future. One more thought....the service was more than exceptional...from happy hour appetizers, perfectly made cocktails ( p.s.. o ly thought beer/wine was included...had no idea everything was available, anytime. Fun....especially since no expectations. OOPS, the secret is out...will check out other cruises by this line in a heartbeat!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This People To People experience is a fantastic way to get to know Cuba. Ports were: Santiago, Trinidad- dock at Casilda, Cienfuegos, and Havana. There were excursions that included local artists (pottery maker, choral group, orchestra, ... Read More
This People To People experience is a fantastic way to get to know Cuba. Ports were: Santiago, Trinidad- dock at Casilda, Cienfuegos, and Havana. There were excursions that included local artists (pottery maker, choral group, orchestra, woodcarver, actors, jazz club) as well as visits to historic sites. I was able to freely walk around, taking photos and talking with people. Classic cars were in all town to take tourists on tours. You will learn the reality of life under socialism/communism as you spend time with the people. The ship is very accommodating for the older traveler. People in walkers, wheelchairs were taken to as many excursions as possible. Dietary needs were attended to by the chef. Room service is available for breakfast. Cabins were always clean. There are snacks and coffee available 24/7. Two speakers were on the ship during the cruise, to tell their opinion about life in Cuba. One young man who worked for Pearl Seas is Cuban/American. His views were enlightening. There were daily talks to prepare us for the next port: where to exchange dollars for CUC, how to find good cigars, what sites we would visit, what limitation there might be for passengers with disabilities. Two talented musicians entertained us nightly with music, with some passengers dancing the night away. This cruise line provided a pouch with essentials for visiting Cuba: bug spray, hand sanitizer, Kleenex tissue packets, toilet seat covers, toilet paper. The people are very appreciative of Kleenex tissue packets that you give them. Paper products are not easy to find in Cuba. I highly recommend this trip for people who want to be exposed to a variety of experiences in several parts of Cuba. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted cool weather, to experience New England and Canada, and try a river rather than a giant ocean-going ship. We prefixed the cruise start in Portland by arriving earlier, staying at charming bed and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted cool weather, to experience New England and Canada, and try a river rather than a giant ocean-going ship. We prefixed the cruise start in Portland by arriving earlier, staying at charming bed and breakfast near the town center, and touring the city's highlights. After ending in Quebec, we went to Toronto for two days before going home. The places we visited in Maine and Canada had glorious, clear air, and beautiful scenery. We were aided by excellent weather throughout the ten days of the cruise and the additional days that we stayed in cities. The townspeople were friendly and helpful, and we were able to enjoy the sights and even museums (in the larger cities) - with no effort to sell us souvenirs and baubles. Because the ship had just 180 (approximate) passengers instead of 6000, we got on and off the ship quickly. The crew was very accommodating. We were treated to delicious food - but not unlimited buffets like on the seagoing cruise we went on a few years ago. When I got up the courage to weigh myself back at home, I discovered that I had actually lost weight! My wife did what she had vowed to do before the trip: she ordered and received a delightful breakfast delivered to her room each day of the cruise. I went downstairs to the dining room each day for breakfast, giving her some 'alone' time. We had lunch and dinner choices of three each appetizers, entrees, and desserts. And one could order two entrees if one chose. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Overall, this Pearl Seas cruise compared well with AMA Waterways' European river cruises, but on a more informal and less elegant basis. The food and table service were excellent, though they did an unsatisfactory job of ... Read More
Overall, this Pearl Seas cruise compared well with AMA Waterways' European river cruises, but on a more informal and less elegant basis. The food and table service were excellent, though they did an unsatisfactory job of accommodating a vegan diet. The free nightly full open bar in the lounges an hour before dinner and during entertainment was a decided plus and much appreciated. Rooms were spacious and comfortable, and the steward servicing our room was outstanding. Lounges were comfortable, though some furnishings were worn and tired, with stained and ripped upholstery Excursions, for the most part, were plentiful and entertaining, though using school buses for long rides by older adults is uncomfortable at best. Our itinerary had to be modified because of bad weather and Pearl Seas did an excellent job of rearranging port calls and making sure we saw everything "as advertised." As a concession, we were not charged for any shore excursions. Some otherwise would have cost $40-$75 per person. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Thousand Islands, and on around to Halifax and New England. Being on a ship with 174 other people is a very relaxing way to cruise. We were able to go into ports ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Thousand Islands, and on around to Halifax and New England. Being on a ship with 174 other people is a very relaxing way to cruise. We were able to go into ports that the bigger ships are not able to dock in. The crew was very helpful and friendly. The shore excursions were included and gave us a history of the area. The weather was beautiful until the last couple of days when it was rainy due to Jose passing through New England. We have cruised on larger ships but prefer the smaller size and number of passengers. These cruises are for retirees and people looking for a relaxing, informative time. Not a lot of night life but there was some for those who were interested. The food was varied and very good. If you re expect total luxury and variety these ships are probably not for you. But the accommodations are very comfortable and clean. The elevator was quick and helpful. Read Less
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
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
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
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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We wanted to visit Cuba with minimum hassle.Pearl Seas seemed to fit the bill and did not disappoint. The ship was clean, the staff was very attentive and our cabin was extremely comfortable.Embarkation was super easy. No complaints about ... Read More
We wanted to visit Cuba with minimum hassle.Pearl Seas seemed to fit the bill and did not disappoint. The ship was clean, the staff was very attentive and our cabin was extremely comfortable.Embarkation was super easy. No complaints about the food, service or nightly open bar!We really enjoyed the open seating in the dining room. We did not attend any of the lectures or evening entertainment. We enjoyed lounging on the sundecks. Though a small ship, no space ever felt crowded.The cruise directors were fabulous. This was Pearl Seas inaugural cruise so we were prepared for the unexpected.There was indeed the unexpected! We were given excursion options in each port. These were presented in one of the lounges prior to arrival in each port.Since each port was a two day stop, we could choose from two different two day packages. Our first stop was Havana. We were late getting into port which disrupted our first day excursion schedule. We were supposed to have a tour in classic cars which couldn't happen. This was not Pearl Seas fault but Pearl Seas was able to arrange a shortened classic car ride for us. We appreciated that they did their best to make sure we did get to ride in a classic car. Our 1/2 day excursion to Trinidad ended up being much longer and we missed a concert in Cienfuegos. Others raved about this concert and I was really disappointed. When I mentioned my disappointment, I was told that they would try an arrange a performance for our group the following day. I never expected it to happen but they in fact did arrange it for us and it was fabulous! In Santiago de Cuba we unexpectedly had to use tenders. This went very smoothly. Unfortunately, the Cuban government would not allow the tenders to operate after 6:00PM so we were unable to attend a jazz club in the evening. Pearl Seas again did their best under the circumstances and instead brought a local group of musicians on board. I always felt that Pearl Seas did their best to give us a good experience. The tour buses were clean, comfortable and had AC and a bathroom. We enjoyed the excursions. We just kept an open mind and enjoyed the adventure. We had a rough sea day and I really appreciated the baskets of medicine so that I didn't need to bother the medical staff.I must give a huge shout-out to the medical staff. My husband became very ill with a respiratory problem the last few days of the cruise. He got excellent and proper care from the competent medical staff.Due to his weakened condition, Pearl Seas provided a wheel chair from our cabin, through customs and to a waiting cab. We really appreciated the care he received. We had some passengers who experienced very serious medical situations requiring hospital trips.While we were slightly delayed in disembarking for medical evacuations, I think most of us were just very concerned for our fellow passengers and didn't mind the delay for such serious situations. We loved our experience with Pearl Seas.We really like that it was all-inclusive. There was nothing offered that required more money except tips at the end of the cruise. We found the staff very responsive. We got to experience Cuba without packing and unpacking suitcases and had a comfortable place with creature comforts when not enjoying the land excursions. We met so many interesting people.We found the atmosphere very relaxing and wouldn't hesitate to travel with them again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We wanted to go to Cuba before it was invaded by hordes of American's. As it turned-out, this was trip #1 for the Pearl Mist to Cuba. Boarding and dis-embarking the ship was very easy. We book tour's on this ship ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba before it was invaded by hordes of American's. As it turned-out, this was trip #1 for the Pearl Mist to Cuba. Boarding and dis-embarking the ship was very easy. We book tour's on this ship because the personnel are the same on every cruise and they take very good care of all of our needs. The food was fabulous, the lectures were very informative. We had live entertainment every night. We established many new friendship's due to the open unassigned Dining Room seating. This cruise had no children on-board. Because of a cancellation, we received a room upgrade at no additional charge. Our room was very comfortable. Our excursions were very informative and enjoyable. We always had staff personnel from the ship as well as the local Tour Guides on every excursion. This was our 4th cruise on this ship and we will book any future new trips. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was the Pearl Mist's inaugural cruise to Cuba. We wanted to visit Cuba before it became overran with tourist and we prefer smaller ships. We were not disappointed. The ship is small (only 210 passenger capacity), we sailed ... Read More
This was the Pearl Mist's inaugural cruise to Cuba. We wanted to visit Cuba before it became overran with tourist and we prefer smaller ships. We were not disappointed. The ship is small (only 210 passenger capacity), we sailed with 156 fellow passengers. It didn't take long before we recognized most of our fellow passengers. Boarding was very easy compared to other cruises we have been on and much faster. The ship itself is clean and well maintained. The public areas are comfortable and appealing. The cabin was significantly larger than the majority of cabins on the larger ships. The dining experience really stands out. The staff are friendly, professional and very helpful. We looked forward to seeing them each meal. The food was excellent, good variety to select from, fresh well prepared ingredients beautifully presented. The service was super, a step above. The ports we visited were interesting and enjoyable. Being the inaugural cruise there were some changes (imposed by the Cuban government) to the itinerary, but all-in-all it was well worth the time and money spent for the cruise. I would recommend the cruise to anyone interested in Cuba, as well as to anyone wanting a relaxing cruise. I would go again and probably will once Cuba opens a few more ports. The on board lecture series was especially interesting. We learned a lot about Cuba and enjoyed doing so. Being a small ship we enjoyed the interaction among passengers. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Like the company and the destination, and smaller cruise lines. The service and concern for our safety was outstanding. The food and wines and appetizers were outstanding. The commarraderie among the staff was evidence that they liked ... Read More
Like the company and the destination, and smaller cruise lines. The service and concern for our safety was outstanding. The food and wines and appetizers were outstanding. The commarraderie among the staff was evidence that they liked working for their managers. They treated us with utmost of respect. The ports visited were beautiful and time in port good, weather conditions pending. I would highly recommend this cruise for Seniors and retired people. Like having an educator on board, and the music was very good. Missed having an indoor gym that could be used in inclement weather. The fitness equipment was on an outside deck, and very cold at times. The condition of the ship was immaculate and well maintained. The cruise excursions and events were announced and communication was very good. We were well informed of any changes. It was wonderful to have wifi to keep in touch with family, and the New York Times daily summary was great!! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We hadn't received any communication before our cruise, so via our travel agent I asked via email for documentation and received only boarding passes but nothing else and had to ring up Pearl Seas when in Tpronto the day before to ... Read More
We hadn't received any communication before our cruise, so via our travel agent I asked via email for documentation and received only boarding passes but nothing else and had to ring up Pearl Seas when in Tpronto the day before to find out what time we could/should board the ship. A time frame was advised and when we boarded we found that there had been an earlier reception which we had missed and that we were only just in time for lunch. However the boarding process was quick and easy despite having no luggage tags. Once on board we found the crew very courteous and helpful. The stateroom was very comfortable and had some hanging space and plenty of drawer space for unpacking. This was part of a bigger trip for us and we were not travelling light, but we were able to store all our clothes and other luggage comfortably in the stateroom. We liked the full length sliding door to the balcony to be able to watch the passing scenery and as the weather was warm we were able to use the balcony to sit out on on some occasions. The ship was easy to get around, six levels including the top deck and we used the stairs all the time. The main stairs, which were the only ones that took you to all levels, did get congested at busy times. There was also a lift, but we left that to some on board who were unable to climb stairs. There was one dining room and seating wasn't allocated, so we were able to sit with and meet different people at meal times. For breakfast there was a buffet table with fruit, cereals, pastries and cold meat/cheese etc and in addition you could select other items from the menu or mix and match as you preferred. you could ask for things not on the menu eg I had berries for desert instead of the items on the menu. Half portions were an option on the menu and I also saw people sometimes having double portions or eg both the soup and salad for starter as well as the other 2 courses. So dining was very flexible. Lunch and dinner were 3 courses with wine drinks served with lunch and dinner. There was also a cocktail hour every day at 5:30pm in the two larger lounges and this included drinks and finger food. Then after dinner drinks were available in the lounge during the after dinner entertainment, which generally went until 9:30pm. The daily schedule provided after dinner each night advised of meal times, which varied dependent on Port arrival/departure and tour times. Also listed were times of lecture and other onboard activities for the next day and the weather forecast, useful for planning what you might need when off the ship. An overview of the following day with a Q&A session was held after dinner before the entertainment started. The on board entertainment included lectures about the places were visiting. These were very well presented and gave a history to the places were visiting, illustrated by slides. The lecturer was very well qualified, having been doing this for a long time, lives in Quebec and has done a lot of research into the history. The other main entertainment was 2 musicians who played piano and guitar and both sang. They played background music during cocktail hour, one in each lounge. Then performed after dinner. They were very personable and professional but in my view it would have enhanced the trip to have had local musicians playing Québécois, PEI, Acadian etc music Only on one night did they bring on a local musician who could only perform for 45mins as he had to disembark before the ship sailed. The cruise was great for experiencing a snapshot of the places that we visited. We generally sailed at night and stopped each day, sometimes all day and other times just for half a day. Our shore highlights were top of the list - Quebec City, Lunenburg and Charlottetown, then Gaspe and Perce, Pictou (we missed Ile de Madeleine due to strong winds) and Clayton NY. We thought the show at Saguenay was OK but maybe a bit overrated, The shore excursions generally gave an overview of each place with limited time to check it out on your own. We are a couple both aged 61. We were at the younger and fitter end of the age group of the cruise. Patience was required when moving around the ship and on tours getting on and off buses, as in general people were less mobile than us. There were no children amongst the passengers on the trip. The only child we saw was the captains 4 yr old daughter on some of the excursions. There was in general no facilities for children. In general guests on the ship were were polite and well mannered with only a couple of exceptions. People queued when required, waited for people in front to exit buses and were promptly back from tours and onto buses etc. Except one Occassion where one poor couple who misread the ship sailing time and had to be rounded up from the port. In summary we liked the small ship (only 200 guests) cruise but in future we would be more likely to select a cruise with a younger/fitter age group ie with more active tours, that would indicate this. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We travel all the time, and thought a Great Lakes & Georgian Bay (and the stops we would make) sounded like something different. We were happy to find the entire experience; the many people we met, the tours, the food, etc. exceeded ... Read More
We travel all the time, and thought a Great Lakes & Georgian Bay (and the stops we would make) sounded like something different. We were happy to find the entire experience; the many people we met, the tours, the food, etc. exceeded our expectations. The crew was pleasant and happy, proficient, and eager-to-please. Though most of the 200 travelers on board were quite on in years (few under 60, even fewer under 50, the majority 70s and 80s), almost all were interesting and seasoned travelers. The tours ranged from Niagra Falls to Mackinac Island, to a First People's Cultural Center, a beautiful National Park, lovely towns with a variety of things to see and do... Our state room with its private balcony, had ample storage space, and was clean and spacious enough for my daily Yoga practice. I am strictly Vegan, and the Chef went out of his way to prepare delicious dishes for me, and my husband (who eat everything!) was also very pleased with the variety of meals. The stabilizers on the ship made for very smooth sailing. 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 3.9
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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