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I chose this cruise because it offered four port visits: Santiago, Casilda/Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Havana, plus an opportunity to view Cuba’s beautiful mountainous seacoast. Each port visit included organized city tours followed by free time to visit museums, churches, art galleries or other activities of one’s choice. Time at sea included lectures and orientation meetings prior to each port visit. The advantage of a small ship is that we could dock at each port, rather than waiting for tenders, and larger ships cannot get into Casilda at all. In addition to cultural visits to concerts, nightclubs and historical sites, the trip offered longer field trips, such as a visit to a beautiful mountain park (think crystal blue waterfalls) near Cienfuegos and an all-day Havana tour. All of the cities have historic renovated downtown areas. Each has its own combination of historic buildings, churches, museums and galleries. Cienfuegos, for example, has a lot of French influence. The people are very friendly and welcoming, sometimes too much so, and one has to learn to pick and choose. Trinidad and Havana were crowded with tourists from other countries. But be sure to see the real Cuba—there are no Starbucks or McDonalds here and there is a great need for international investment. I cannot say enough good things about the staff. Everyone was very professional and helpful. At the outset of the cruise, I mentioned that I hoped to photograph offshore lighthouses which I had marked on a map. My map was shortly returned with the date and time we would pass each one! You could not get that kind of attention on a large ship! And staff were extremely helpful when I needed to find a special art gallery in Trinidad (thank you Ralph!) and negotiate a custom taxi arrangement. One tradeoff is that, while we were blessed with perfect weather, a smaller ship will move around a lot more if the seas are rough. Not a problem this time. The cabin was delightful with its own balcony and the food was excellent and plentiful. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in a wonderful cultural experience who is willing to forgo the climbing walls, super slides and crowded pools.

An outstanding combination of sun, culture, organized activities and free time

Pearl Mist Cruise Review by davidb52

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: Cuba
I chose this cruise because it offered four port visits: Santiago, Casilda/Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Havana, plus an opportunity to view Cuba’s beautiful mountainous seacoast. Each port visit included organized city tours followed by free time to visit museums, churches, art galleries or other activities of one’s choice. Time at sea included lectures and orientation meetings prior to each port visit. The advantage of a small ship is that we could dock at each port, rather than waiting for tenders, and larger ships cannot get into Casilda at all. In addition to cultural visits to concerts, nightclubs and historical sites, the trip offered longer field trips, such as a visit to a beautiful mountain park (think crystal blue waterfalls) near Cienfuegos and an all-day Havana tour.

All of the cities have historic renovated downtown areas. Each has its own combination of historic buildings, churches, museums and galleries. Cienfuegos, for example, has a lot of French influence. The people are very friendly and welcoming, sometimes too much so, and one has to learn to pick and choose. Trinidad and Havana were crowded with tourists from other countries. But be sure to see the real Cuba—there are no Starbucks or McDonalds here and there is a great need for international investment.

I cannot say enough good things about the staff. Everyone was very professional and helpful. At the outset of the cruise, I mentioned that I hoped to photograph offshore lighthouses which I had marked on a map. My map was shortly returned with the date and time we would pass each one! You could not get that kind of attention on a large ship! And staff were extremely helpful when I needed to find a special art gallery in Trinidad (thank you Ralph!) and negotiate a custom taxi arrangement.

One tradeoff is that, while we were blessed with perfect weather, a smaller ship will move around a lot more if the seas are rough. Not a problem this time. The cabin was delightful with its own balcony and the food was excellent and plentiful. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in a wonderful cultural experience who is willing to forgo the climbing walls, super slides and crowded pools.
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