Pearl Mist is the first of two ships in the line's planned fleet. It carries 210 passengers and features 12 single-occupancy cabins, a rarity in cruising. Pearl Mist has five categories of regular cabins and suites, ranging from 275 to 580 square feet. All are equipped with Wi-Fi Internet access, flat-screen TVs, DVD players and Keurig coffee machines. The second ship, unnamed at the time of publication, will be slightly larger, with a 240-passenger capacity. It's scheduled to enter service in 2016.
Technically, both ships are modern, with full stabilization, communication and engineering equipment. Diesel-powered, they're shallow draft vessels, giving them speed between ports and stops, as well as the ability to enter small and large locales with equal ease.
Pearl Seas Cruises is owned by the same family that owns American Cruise Lines; both brands share the same Connecticut address.
Launched in 2014 after several years of waiting for its first ship to be ready, Pearl Seas Cruises covers areas slightly farther afield than its sister brand. The line's first ship, Pearl Mist, is registered in the Marshall Islands giving it more flexibility when it comes to itineraries.
Prices for Pearl Seas Cruises sailings are semi-inclusive; all meals are included, and beer and wine are free of charge during lunch and dinner service. Beer, wine and spirits are also provided free during the 5:30 p.m. cocktail hour. Additionally, one excursion in each port of call is provided on a complimentary basis.
Pearl Seas Cruises is for North American cruisers looking for small-ship experiences relatively close to home. The line's all-balcony, one-ship fleet splits its time between the Great Lakes, Canadian Maritimes, Caribbean and Panama Canal, making flights to and from the cruises relatively short for most North Americans.
Onboard, passengers will find five-star service from well-trained crewmembers, gourmet dining that's flexible enough to accommodate all special needs and daily presentations by destination experts.
Cabins are spacious; the smallest room is 275 square feet, while the largest is 580 square feet (including balconies). All but one room on the ship have private balconies, and cabins on the upper two decks have floor-to-ceiling glass balcony doors so you can sit on your bed and watch the scenery glide by.
With a capacity of 210 passengers, intimacy is the name of the game on Pearl Mist. Dining is open seating, so unless you stick to one table all the time, you can quickly get to know all your shipmates during mealtimes.
The lifestyle onboard Pearl Mist is slow. Daily naps are not an uncommon part of a day's schedule, and nighttime fun is pretty much done by 10 p.m.
A lack of onboard activity can be problematic for some people, but most Pearl Seas cruises are port-intensive with a stop every day so there's always a chance to get off and find something to do.
Coastal and river trips are generally the province of the comfortably mature and curious. Expect a blend of middle-aged and older folks, educated and well-traveled, mostly from the United States and Canada.