Cruisers may find it a tad difficult to re-enter the "real" world after a cruise onboard Pearl Mist. Who couldn't quickly get used to the onboard chef preparing dishes exactly how you like, listening and learning from speakers in the ship's excellent enrichment program or having your room made up only moments after leaving?
The ship's small size – just 210 passengers - and intimate nature also receive high marks. (When we shared a stop in Bar Harbor with Holland America's 1,258 passengers Maasdam, most Pearl Mist passengers deemed that ship overwhelmingly large). Lively cocktail and meal-time conversations with new friends are an integral aspect of the Pearl Mist experience, and the small size means you quickly get to know almost everyone.
Pearl Mist is a great vehicle (pun intended) for anyone looking to reconnect with a spouse, friend, parents or siblings. There were several multigenerational groups onboard (mostly Boomer or Gen X children with their Boomer or senior parents).
But Pearl Mist is not for everyone. The leisurely onboard pace is sometimes too slow. Not everyone appreciates or needs time for a daily nap. And getting active is a challenge, even more so because the ship's limited fitness equipment is located outside making it unsuitable for use in inclement weather (that includes rain, wind, rough seas). It would be great if the line could scrap the Coral Lounge, as there are already two larger lounges and the library for those seeking quiet space, and relocate the fitness equipment there.
Some passengers also chafe against the limited choices offered, both for onboard entertainment and shore excursions in port. There is never more than one activity occurring at a time. This was especially tiresome when the cruise director took several hours out of our sailing on two occasions for future cruise bookings. Since he was busy, no social activity was provided.
Similarly, excursion choices are limited. In most ports, one excursion is provided to passengers free of charge -- a fantastic value, by the way! But it you don't want to join that excursion, no alternatives are offered – not even for those ready to pay. And since these are small, sometimes off-the-beaten-path ports, finding alternatives on your own isn't always easy to do.
But such grievances are minor when considering the Pearl Mist experience as a whole. Generally speaking, the excellent service and dining, combined with the physical beauty of the itineraries (think Canadian Maritimes, Caribbean and Panama Canal locales), make for a satisfying one- to two-weeks onboard.