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Our cruise on the Pearl Mist was a serious disappointment, for two reasons. First, we didn't get the cruise for which we signed up. We reserved on information indicating that we would spend two full days and an evening of entertainment in Havana, and then one full day each in Santiago, Trinidad de Cuba and Cienfuegos. Instead, we got a half day and the evening of entertainment in Havana and an afternoon in Cienfuegos. There are times that my memory slips, so I thought maybe I did not remember correctly, but everyone with whom we spoke on the ship was also upset, saying they felt they had been denied the cruise for which they paid. We got an afternoon in Freeport as recompense for the lost day in Havana, but all that did was necessitate a prolonged trip across difficult seas in which a good percentage of the passengers, and even the cruise director, got terribly sick. The visit to Freeport, as lovely as it was for four hours on land, was not worth the discomfort. Second, the cruise management was terrible, from the pre-cruise arrangements at various Ft. Lauderdale hotels, right up to breakfast on disembarkation day. We were told dining room opened at 6 but it didn't open until 6:30. So we all stood around. In between, there were dozens of examples of mismanaged situations. Many small things that just weren't handled professionally or with any sense that these people had done this before. Our cabin was a good size and was comfortable, but the furniture drawers came without latches so that when seas were rough they were swinging open and closed. One passenger reported that his TV fell over because it hadn't been secured. The food was good but not spectacular, not as good as on other cruises I've taken with Princess and Viking. Embarkation was confused. The entertainment was dreadful. But the lectures by Prof. Richard Feinburg of UCSD were GREAT! He really gave us a sense of Cuba. The tour guides in Cuba were mostly below par, but the buses were good. The ship is too small to get a good walk in on the upper deck. The exercise machines are inadequate and poorly placed. The Wi-Fi rarely connected. The waiters were good, but there were too few to provide good service. Cabin staff was very conscientious. Worst of all was the staff reaction to expressed concerns. They were all young, probably 23-28, and relatively inexperienced. They could not provide any explanations for why things were the way they were and said that upper management had not provided any information. The captain was rarely seen. Laughably, the two most conscientious adults on the ship were the two musicians who performed every night. They also chipped in with passenger support and worked very hard to help people with issues. Kat, in particular, was an angel to our cabin neighbor who got VERY seasick. Some tips for anyone considering this cruise line: Read every line of every document you receive because they slipped the itinerary change into other documents rather than being upfront and direct. Be aware that this is a small ship, which has some advantages, but that it will also get knocked around in Cuban waters. Be aware that the passengers are mostly retirees. At 67, I was easily in the younger half of the passenger list. The passengers were great. They were all accomplished people, experienced travelers, friendly. We enjoyed ourselves. But younger people might want to skip this preview of life in a retirement home.

Disappointment

Pearl Mist Cruise Review by ocolumn

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Cuba
Our cruise on the Pearl Mist was a serious disappointment, for two reasons.

First, we didn't get the cruise for which we signed up. We reserved on information indicating that we would spend two full days and an evening of entertainment in Havana, and then one full day each in Santiago, Trinidad de Cuba and Cienfuegos. Instead, we got a half day and the evening of entertainment in Havana and an afternoon in Cienfuegos. There are times that my memory slips, so I thought maybe I did not remember correctly, but everyone with whom we spoke on the ship was also upset, saying they felt they had been denied the cruise for which they paid. We got an afternoon in Freeport as recompense for the lost day in Havana, but all that did was necessitate a prolonged trip across difficult seas in which a good percentage of the passengers, and even the cruise director, got terribly sick. The visit to Freeport, as lovely as it was for four hours on land, was not worth the discomfort.

Second, the cruise management was terrible, from the pre-cruise arrangements at various Ft. Lauderdale hotels, right up to breakfast on disembarkation day. We were told dining room opened at 6 but it didn't open until 6:30. So we all stood around. In between, there were dozens of examples of mismanaged situations. Many small things that just weren't handled professionally or with any sense that these people had done this before.

Our cabin was a good size and was comfortable, but the furniture drawers came without latches so that when seas were rough they were swinging open and closed. One passenger reported that his TV fell over because it hadn't been secured. The food was good but not spectacular, not as good as on other cruises I've taken with Princess and Viking. Embarkation was confused. The entertainment was dreadful. But the lectures by Prof. Richard Feinburg of UCSD were GREAT! He really gave us a sense of Cuba. The tour guides in Cuba were mostly below par, but the buses were good. The ship is too small to get a good walk in on the upper deck. The exercise machines are inadequate and poorly placed. The Wi-Fi rarely connected. The waiters were good, but there were too few to provide good service. Cabin staff was very conscientious.

Worst of all was the staff reaction to expressed concerns. They were all young, probably 23-28, and relatively inexperienced. They could not provide any explanations for why things were the way they were and said that upper management had not provided any information. The captain was rarely seen. Laughably, the two most conscientious adults on the ship were the two musicians who performed every night. They also chipped in with passenger support and worked very hard to help people with issues. Kat, in particular, was an angel to our cabin neighbor who got VERY seasick.

Some tips for anyone considering this cruise line: Read every line of every document you receive because they slipped the itinerary change into other documents rather than being upfront and direct. Be aware that this is a small ship, which has some advantages, but that it will also get knocked around in Cuban waters. Be aware that the passengers are mostly retirees. At 67, I was easily in the younger half of the passenger list. The passengers were great. They were all accomplished people, experienced travelers, friendly. We enjoyed ourselves. But younger people might want to skip this preview of life in a retirement home.
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Cabin Review

Cabin Fourth deck
Good sized cabin. Nice balcony. Furniture created a real problem when seas were rough. Bathroom as big and good. But the "clean" water onboard turned yellow after about four days. When I asked about it, staff person could not explain but said she didn't drink it. A passenger with extensive sea experience surmised it was desalinated sea water.