8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Smaller ships are the best way to travel for us. We received a notice in the mail about 9 months ago concerning the Cuba cruise on the Pearl Mist. My husband said let's go. I had also seen the ad in Southern Living Magazine. ... Read More
Smaller ships are the best way to travel for us. We received a notice in the mail about 9 months ago concerning the Cuba cruise on the Pearl Mist. My husband said let's go. I had also seen the ad in Southern Living Magazine. The accommodations on the Pearl Mist are great. Cabins have plenty of room for comfort. We have no complaints regarding the ship, crew, or the itinerary. It was all very well done and coordinated. There were two people who did presentations regarding Cuba. Victor was a Cuban born young man who seemed to handle the logistics of getting from port to port and touring around. We enjoyed the presentations by these knowledgable people and it led to discussions amoung the passengers. There were two Cuban born passengers who spoke to all of us the last day about their story. Very interesting and emotional for these women. We did not know about the bus ride from one port into Havana with a two night stay at a 5 star hotel until we boarded the ship. This was very special and I imagine we weren't told about it previously to boarding as sometimes things can change with their itineraries. Changes they have no control over. I would certainly recommend the Pearl Mist Cuba Cruise to anyone. So much more than I anticipated! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This ship has a great and comprehensive Cuba schedule.The cruise is all-inclusive of excursions and drinks.The staff is outstanding in their attitude and service. No nickel and diming of the passengers. Staterooms are roomy and ... Read More
This ship has a great and comprehensive Cuba schedule.The cruise is all-inclusive of excursions and drinks.The staff is outstanding in their attitude and service. No nickel and diming of the passengers. Staterooms are roomy and comfortable. Food is outstanding and varied choices. Entertainment is limited but very good for a ship that has 210 passengers. You will learn a lot and have some real fun on this ship. Getting on and off the ship is a breeze compared to the larger ships. Cabins all have accessible balconies with two chairs and a table. Showers are of good size, but there are no bathtubs in the cabins. Lounges are of good size and all have free refreshments and snacks as well as coffee and expresso. Captain's happy hour starts at 5 pm and continues to dinner time, where beer and wine is also included with your meal. In addition, the complimentary bar is open after dinner in the lounge where entertainment is provided. . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We wanted to see Cuba not just Havana. This cruise provided that with lectures onboard to prepare us for each stop. The lectures included history as well as the present day situation. I feel that we saw Cuba as in depth as the ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba not just Havana. This cruise provided that with lectures onboard to prepare us for each stop. The lectures included history as well as the present day situation. I feel that we saw Cuba as in depth as the government allows. It is obvious that the tour guides tell you what the government requires and allows, but they are very gracious and knowledgeable. Most are highly educated and supplement their income as tour guides. The ship is pretty basic but very homey and has everything that you need. Don't expect chandeliers, grand staircases or marble bathrooms, but you will get a wonderful and dedicated staff. The staterooms are larger than many of the bigger ships and ours was very clean. The food is very good and if you ask you might even get chicken adobo for your table one night. The upper deck is a really pleasant getaway for reading and enjoying the sun. I would happily book this ship again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I will review by category: Service: I think the best part about this company and being on a small ship is the personalized service. By the end of the trip, I knew all of my room attendant staff, the entertainers, cruise directors and ... Read More
I will review by category: Service: I think the best part about this company and being on a small ship is the personalized service. By the end of the trip, I knew all of my room attendant staff, the entertainers, cruise directors and various other staff by name, and they knew mine! and never failed to greet me each time we passed. I especially appreciated this personability that you definitely won't get on big cruises. The main ship director even personally visited my cabin to ask if I was enjoying my room and made extra efforts regarding my accommodations, which I truly appreciated (I was sharing a room with my parents, and I think he felt bad for me ;) The rooms were great, well stocked by attentive and sweet staff, and all had a private balcony. The room service was great! On that note: I have to mention that I was the youngest guest on the ship (I'm 28). I see that there are some pretty negative reviews about the average ages being around 60-75 from past voyages, and don't get me wrong, I definitely wouldn't have minded meeting a cute guy my age ;) however; the age of my fellow passengers didn't bother me at all! In fact, I saw this one of the highlights of my trip. I was able to meet and talk to many of these people and truly enjoyed our conversation, their wisdom and stories, and by the end of our journey; I felt I had made meaningful connections with many of them. Entertainment/Recreation: The ONLY reason I took a few points of for these areas is that A. There was no pool on board (this was a bummer for me) and B. I think they could add a few more Entertainment options on board such as comedy shows or even just increasing the trivia and bingo events. Now for the high points: The band on board was great!! They were very personable and provided nightly themed mini shows, as well as played through cocktail hours. There were also interesting lectures and mini-seminars about our next port cities before we would arrive at each. Again this is an EDUCATIONAL tour, so if all you are interested in is on board dolphin shows, giant movie theatres and all you can eat buffets, this may not be the experience/cruise line for you. If you like to work out, they have a small workout area on one of the decks. *A plus for me was the quiet, comfortable library on Deck 4 (there is a smaller, less known about one on deck 5 as well), as I am in grad school and this provided me with a perfect place to work on homework. They also have 3 computers (1 in the small library) that have access to wifi and printers if you did not bring your own laptop etc. Now for the Cuba Experience! Excursions: I think everyone I talked to had a different favorite port/excursion/experience so it really depends what you are interested in seeing the most! Positives for ME: I really enjoyed meeting and talking to the Cuban people. I opted out of the Havana tour on the last day and instead explored the city on my own (and YES, you can do this!). I was hesitant at first but was reassured by staff, seasoned Cuban travelers, foreigners (mostly European travelers), and Cubans themselves that there is very little crime (especially towards tourists, which is virtually unheard of) and this was probably the highlight of my trip. The guided tours in the other port cities were overall great, the one downside being that we were extremely rushed on a couple and some tour guides and staff were less relaxed than others, making those excursions quite stressful for guests at times. If we could do it again, we would have spent some of the less interesting excursions exploring the cities going to places we wanted to see on our own, relaxed time frame. Otherwise, we went to some AMAZING places, especially in Santiago and other mountainous ports, where we were able to zip line and visit beautiful and historical churches and other incredible architecture, and dine at private restaurants in peoples homes (One in Santigo with a view of the entire city and acousitic band playing cuban music just for us). We also were given a private classical concert right on a beach, which were both beyond beautiful! * This biggest downside for me was not being able to go to a beach, as the weather was beyond beautiful but a little too hot at times (no at all humid though!). It is actually the US government preventing Americans from being able to go to beaches in Cuba, as it is considered a "tourism" activity so I hope this changes soon because I will DEFINITELY be back!! Overall, the Pearl Mist, staff, and tour of Cuba were AMAZING and I highly recommend it! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We were scheduled to take a land tour but were unsure about accommodations. After looking at the cruises we were intrigued by the size of the ship and the smaller number of passengers. I liked the idea of being able to return to the same ... Read More
We were scheduled to take a land tour but were unsure about accommodations. After looking at the cruises we were intrigued by the size of the ship and the smaller number of passengers. I liked the idea of being able to return to the same cabin and restaurant if we did not enjoy the food on land. First, my husband and I have enjoyed many cruises but the Pearl Mist exceeded any cruises food selection and quality. It was simply delicious. I hate wasting food especially when traveling to a country that rations. So having a menu first thing in the morning allowing you to select what you might want for lunch or dinner and being able to order small portions was ideal. More cruise lines need to do this. The kitchen staff was friendly, helpful and addressed your every need. Amazingly wonderful!! Our cabin was always clean and well stocked. We even had laundry go out and returned the very next day. Impressive. The lounges always had some sort of refreshment and when they set up the bar every person's need most certainly had to have been met. Again, with friendly and accommodating. We were able to enjoy a dinner with the captain as well as one of the speakers. My husband usually does not enjoy this he finds it stuffy. But this captain was so much fun and down to earth. So easy to make conversation. He even let me taste his filet. It was like being with fun family. The cruise directors were young and fun. We did not know that the age group would be much older than what we had expected. But everything ran smoothly and it seemed like everyone had a great time. Also, the embarkation and the debarkation were the smoothest we have ever experienced!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We wanted an adult cruise with a small ship atmosphere. The staterooms are well appointed and all inclusive is an understatement. Before leaving I requested items such as a special liquor and wedge bed pillows - no problem. After ... Read More
We wanted an adult cruise with a small ship atmosphere. The staterooms are well appointed and all inclusive is an understatement. Before leaving I requested items such as a special liquor and wedge bed pillows - no problem. After boarding any requests were met promptly and the entire staff was extremely friendly and pleasant. The dining menu was varied and well prepared with excellent service. With only 177 passengers, we almost always either made new friends or were happy to join established acquaintances. There were two lounges where entertainment and lectures were held. The music was great and consisted mainly of 50's, 60's and seventies which played well to the crowd of mainly baby boomers. The lectures were interesting and included much Cuban history and current information. The ship contracted with the Cuban gov't to visit specific ports - the local guides were pleasant but very scripted. The island has many beautiful buildings and the people who entertained us were very accomplished musicians and singers. Unfortunately, the general population and surroundings reflect the extreme poverty a repressive gov't causes. We know of US citizens who traveled not on cruises who enjoyed many areas we were told to avoid - such as the beaches. Embarkation was efficient but leaving was rather chaotic even though there were no hang ups with customs. The sailing was very smooth until the last 2 days and then the disadvantage of a smaller ship became apparent as we were tossed around badly. I would do the lake cruises on the Pearl Mist but nothing ocean oriented. Overall we had a wonderful time but Cuba is definitely off my bucket list! Read Less
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
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
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We signed up for the Pearl Seas cruise through the Panama Canal mostly because we were interested in the two national parks in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park and Corcovade National Park, as well as Coiba Island in Panama. The ... Read More
We signed up for the Pearl Seas cruise through the Panama Canal mostly because we were interested in the two national parks in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park and Corcovade National Park, as well as Coiba Island in Panama. The first and third of these parks are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Pearl Seas website and the pre-cruise materials described the parks in glowing terms and talked about all the wildlife that we would be likely to see. As it was, the ship did not visit any of the three locations! Manuel Antonio park is closed in Monday, and has been for many years, and yet we were scheduled to visit on a Monday! This is clearly blatant and false advertising! No explanation was ever given as to why we did not stop at the advertised locations. The ship's crew repeatedly said that they had the right to change ports of call at any time. Maybe Pearl Seas should advertise trips to the moon! It is obvious that the ship never intended to stop at the advertised ports; they were merely used to lure unsuspecting victims into taking (and paying for!) this cruise. The cruise was a disaster from the beginning. We were met by Pearl Seas' staff at the airport. They were confused and didn't know which passengers were staying in which hotels. We were told we were staying at the Courtyard of Marriott and were taken there. We waited behind a long line of people to check in only to find out there was no reservation for us when it was our turn! This was the case with all members of our group who arrived at different times from different cities in the US and Canada. We were then taken to the Marriott Residence where we were finally given a room. The outings that the ship did arrange were of very poor quality and were poorly planned and executed. There was not even enough space for all passengers on the few activities that were offered. We saw virtually no wildlife which was the reason for booking this trip in the first place. On one outing, we were scheduled to go on a nature hike. The boat transfer dropped us off on an inhabited island. There were no paths and no guide and the residents of the island were clearly offended at our presence. There was no way to contact the boat to return for us and no way to call the ship. How could the shop disregard such a cardinal rule of safety. No ship employee or representative was even with us during this outing. We were accompanied on the short walk we did take by several very skinny stray dogs who growled at us from time to time! The outing was so bad that it was almost funny; if we had not paid a boatload of money to go on this trip, that is! Snorkeling was advertised as an activity at some locations but no equipment was available for use or for rent. The ship's advertising talked about traversing the Panama Canal as a day activity, but our transit was overnight. We went through the three locks on the Pacific side from around 8:00 PM to midnight. We then went to bed. In preparation for this trip I had read David McCullough's book "The Path Between the Seas", and excellent 698 page book about the building of the Panama Canal. I was eager to see the famed Culebra cut in which the mountain that runs from north to south through central America was cut through to allow for the building of the canal. Alas, it was very late at night and dark and there was nothing to see. What a disappointment! The stabilizers of the ship were broken, causing much rocking and rolling during even relatively calm seas. As a result, I spent two evenings with my head in the trash can, vomiting. We also missed a snorkeling outing as the captain decided to hug the coast in the return to Cartagena rather than take the direct route. I believe he was worried about the sea-worthiness of a ship designed for still rivers with broken stabilizers. One member of the ship's staff was particularly beligerent and rude to passengers. At one of the evening briefings about the next day's outing, a passenger who was not with our group stood up to complain about the missed national park outings and the crossing of the Panama canal at night. Crew member John began to argue with the passenger and ended up shoving him? This was absolutely beyond belief! Final words - do not sail with Pearl Seas if the destination is important to you. You may not see or do what is advertised. Beware!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was an excellent trip! The itinerary was standout, with daily wonderful shore excursions that exposed us to the various ethnic cultures of eastern Canada--food, music, language, history, etc. Staterooms are very roomy and ... Read More
This was an excellent trip! The itinerary was standout, with daily wonderful shore excursions that exposed us to the various ethnic cultures of eastern Canada--food, music, language, history, etc. Staterooms are very roomy and well-fitted. The crew and staff are second to none that we have ever sailed with before, and the food was fabulous;. All in all, well worth the "premium price" of the cruise, and we would certainly recommend this cruise to others. The pasengers all seemed to be aged 60 to 80, and well travelled. So this would not be a cruise for families or kids. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We took the 7 day cruise of the Great Lakes, departing from Chicago, including Georgian Bay and ending in Midland, Ontario, Canada. Our only other cruise experience was an 8-day to Alaska, departing from Seattle on a very large cruise ... Read More
We took the 7 day cruise of the Great Lakes, departing from Chicago, including Georgian Bay and ending in Midland, Ontario, Canada. Our only other cruise experience was an 8-day to Alaska, departing from Seattle on a very large cruise ship. The Pearl Mist was only a year old and we were pleasantly surprised that our cabin and its bathroom were larger than the one we had on the Alaskan cruise. (Who cares that there was no door on the closet? And we were not expecting a mini-fridge, microwave or safe in our room.) The size of the ship was just right, with only 200 passengers. This cruise was expensive, comparatively speaking, as we were surprised to learn after embarking that most of the excursions were at an extra cost. This was not explained in the information we received prior to reserving our place. Those costs should have been part of the initial information with descriptions so that budgetary considerations could be made. We did not take advantage of many on-board activities or entertainment since we took every opportunity available to be off the ship and exploring new places. Each evening, there was a review of activities and excursions for the next day, so that people could ask questions if needed. The excursions themselves were varied, enjoyable and interesting. The ship's activity director and staff did an admirable job of filling in times when we were delayed due to dangerous weather conditions ahead. The food was excellent and the dining staff was terrific. Our cabin attendant was wonderful and he kept our room and bathroom clean and tidy at all times. The bed was very comfortable and we slept well. A tip for those who might not want to experience too much movement on the water: Choose a cabin that is near the center of the ship and on the lowest level possible. A hint: There is always going to be some movement of a vessel when it is on water, even when it is docked. If you expect no movement, don't go on a cruise. A fact: Weather conditions are out of the control of the Captain and the Cruise Director, along with all other cruise personnel. Mother Nature likes to do her thing and she will with little to no warning. A suggestion: If you have questions about the cabins, ask for details before you sign up. We had all our questions answered by Pearl Seas either by email or phone call before we put down the deposit to hold our reservation. 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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