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12 Chicago to Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

My husband and I took the Pearl Mist cruise from Chicago to Toronto on September 12, 2018. That is, it was supposed to leave from Chicago, but, in fact, left from Milwaukee, a 90-mile change we did not learn about until the day before our ... Read More
My husband and I took the Pearl Mist cruise from Chicago to Toronto on September 12, 2018. That is, it was supposed to leave from Chicago, but, in fact, left from Milwaukee, a 90-mile change we did not learn about until the day before our scheduled departure. Yes, they did provide us with a bus from Chicago to Milwaukee, albeit a noisy and uncomfortable one. The accommodations on board, the ship, when we finally arrived, were comfortable, if hardly as spacious or luxurious as the price and promotional literature suggested, but the food ranged from barely acceptable to downright terrible. Meats were overcooked and under seasoned, vegetables mushy and not very fresh (except for the occasional salad), fish, mostly frozen, tended to be flavorless, breads and were pastries gummy or cottony not worth eating. My husband and I developed severe gastro-enteritis, as did a goodly portion of the other passengers according to people we spoke to. The number of "Do Not Disturb" signs we saw on cabin doors was depressing. We had to miss several shore excursions because we were sick. One evening, no hors d'oeuvres were served at the cocktail hour--"for sanitary reasons" a staff member explained. On another day, after we had recovered a bit from our illnesses, we went to the ship's library and found all the shelves empty of books--they were being "sterilized" a crew member explained. A few days later, the books were back on the shelves. This was by far the worst cruise we've ever been on, and the most expensive. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This is small ship with limited facilities, no spa, no pool. The most disappointing was the lack of internet service, We were told the ship would leave from Chicago however it left from Milwaukee, we had to be bused there and never were ... Read More
This is small ship with limited facilities, no spa, no pool. The most disappointing was the lack of internet service, We were told the ship would leave from Chicago however it left from Milwaukee, we had to be bused there and never were given an explanation as to why this change was made. Things were very disorganized at the Chicago hotel, no one was there to direct us to the buses. Mackinac Island in Michigan.was wonderful but the other ports of call in Canada were mostly small Indian villages with little or no shopping and restaurants. Service and food onboard was good. We had a premium stateroom that was fine although the balcony was uninviting (painted steel and plastic furniture) We had to leave the ship early due to lack of internet service. There is little to do on the two days you are at sea. Unlike most of the other older passengers my wife and I have businesses to run. If you need to stay connected to the internet, this cruise will not be good for you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was a Great Lakes cruise, Chicago to Sault St. Marie, through Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, through Erie, the Welland Canal and finishing in Toronto. I love being on a ship, much prefer small ships (this was my max at 210 passenger ... Read More
This was a Great Lakes cruise, Chicago to Sault St. Marie, through Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, through Erie, the Welland Canal and finishing in Toronto. I love being on a ship, much prefer small ships (this was my max at 210 passenger capacity) and seveal stops were of interest. The Pearl Mist is a fairly new ship, nicely done, extremely stable. The public rooms are all spacious and well decorated. The lunch and dinner menus were creative but the food just OK. Service from some of the waiters was unsatisfactory, e.g. it was almost impossible to get a second cup of coffee. Wine was available for lunch and dinner but of inferior quality. Liquors available for hors d'oeuvres was top quality. All at no extra charge. We were in port most days, interesting and reasonably priced excursions were available but there was plenty of opportunity to walk about on your own. The on-board entertainment was interesting. They paired a folk song singer with a rocker. It was fun watching them learn to work together. They soon found a comfortable working relationship and provided good entertainment. The lecturer was well prepared and delivered frequent, topical and interesting lectures. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We took the Pearl Mist from Toronto to Chicago in late June. Both embarkation and disembarkation went extremely smoothly. In fact, getting off and on the ship was surprisingly always easy and very fast. This review comes from the ... Read More
We took the Pearl Mist from Toronto to Chicago in late June. Both embarkation and disembarkation went extremely smoothly. In fact, getting off and on the ship was surprisingly always easy and very fast. This review comes from the perspective of someone in their 20's. During my cruise, I was the youngest person on the ship. I was traveling with my grandmother, who is in her late 80's. We chose this location and cruise line because it was somewhere she had never been before, and we were very happy with our choice. Ship - I loved the ship! It has plenty of outdoors space and nice lounges to relax in. Since it is a small ship, there is no spa or workout room (only some equipment on a deck). I didn't mind that, though. Cabin - I shared a handicap cabin with two other people, and it was very spacious. The balcony was wonderful. Dining - The open seating dining was really nice. By the end of the trip, everyone knew each other from sitting next to each other at meals. I also thought the food was wonderful. You could ask for a half portion of food, there were vegetarian options, and dessert was always good. Wine and beer were also included options at meals, and there was a cocktail hour everyday. Entertainment and Activities - Since this is a smaller ship, the entertainment is also smaller. Most nights, two entertainers would play music related to a theme (i.e. country, 50's, etc.). People seemed to love this. I particularly liked the local entertainers that they brought in from outside of the ship. There were also some good lectures and trivia (with prizes) one night. Service - The service was spectacular. At meals, the waiters knew our favorite extras and knew our names. What was really important, though, was the service the ship gave to my grandmother, who uses a wheelchair and walker. They were patient and kind beyond what was expected of them, and they went out of their way to make sure my grandmother could go on all of the excursions. Ports and Shore excursions - I enjoyed them! There was something to do at every stop. Sometimes the locations were tiny towns, but that's what there is in some parts of Canada. We enjoyed every stop, especially Mackinac Island. To summerize, I really enjoyed my travels on the Pearl Mist. I would definitely recommend it for people who are looking for a nice, relaxing vacation. Although I would not recommend it to people my age traveling alone, just because of the price and the slow pace of things, this trip was the perfect way to spend some quality time with my grandmother and to see parts of Canada and the US in a luxury fashion. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We were on the Great Lakes Georgian Bay Cruise.The ship the Pearl Mist is very dated. According to the brochure it gives the impression that it is only a couple of years old but it was built about 15 years ago and sat unsold until Pearl ... Read More
We were on the Great Lakes Georgian Bay Cruise.The ship the Pearl Mist is very dated. According to the brochure it gives the impression that it is only a couple of years old but it was built about 15 years ago and sat unsold until Pearl Seas Cruise Line bought it. The decor shows it's age.No amenities such as spa, hair salon, manicurist, workout room or large screen movies. Easy to get bored. Entertainment was beyond abominable, very unprofessional and obviously cheap. For what the cruise cost (very expensive) the shore excursions should have been included. Mackinac Island and Windsor were the best ports of call as far as we were concerned.The nightly talk about the next days shore excursion did not advise what to see and do, mostly just what time the buses left. The meal servings were also small and the food only adequate, unless you don't know any better. However all the staff was very pleasant and accommodating. The stateroom and balcony was okay. Certainly not what we expected and not a "luxury" cruise. Would we recommend... no! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We were originally booked on the March 6 Cuba offering. When it was cancelled (three days before departure) we took the opportunity to switch to this one from Chicago to Toronto, since we had long wanted to do more touring/cruising in ... Read More
We were originally booked on the March 6 Cuba offering. When it was cancelled (three days before departure) we took the opportunity to switch to this one from Chicago to Toronto, since we had long wanted to do more touring/cruising in North America. Turned out, this was a great choice. We had a 300 SF stateroom that was as quiet and comfortable as any we've ever had (after 40+ cruises) with prompt and efficient service to go with it. The only disappointment was the small TV, but we managed. The food and service was excellent, and we appreciated the moderate sized servings. Wines, beers, and alcoholic beverages were of known sources and high quality; the cocktail hours were complimentary every time. If one is into snacking, there was unlimited opportunity, as soft drinks, juices, coffee, teas, and packaged chips, granola, nuts, etc., were always available in the two main lounges. There was some entertainment, karaoke, games, but we didn't participate. The lectures, however, were excellent, and I attended all of them. The ship is efficiently organized, with a roomy elevator to all five passenger decks. Children would not enjoy this cruise -- it is obviously designed for older experienced travelers. The Toronto City tour that was provided for those with late in the day flights was a nice touch. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Itinerary was interesting. Promotional brochures are inaccurate as to Shore Excursions. Ground operators and step-on guide in Niagara Falls, ON were horrible. Pre-arranged transfers post cruise by taxi did not happen. Cuisine was ... Read More
Itinerary was interesting. Promotional brochures are inaccurate as to Shore Excursions. Ground operators and step-on guide in Niagara Falls, ON were horrible. Pre-arranged transfers post cruise by taxi did not happen. Cuisine was excellent as was service. On-board entertainment and lectures were lacking. Ports of call were lack luster. Included bar service was only for 1 hour a day. At a per diem of $2000.00 for a category "R" cabin I would expect more. This was the most expensive cruise we have been on to date based on per diem and I would not classify it as a luxury experience. The cabin was large, but we experienced an air conditioner on day one that had a bearing in need of replacement. The engineer showed up and changed the filter and sprayed some oil on the bearing. That relieved the noise for one night. We just put up with it for the rest of the cruise. This is NOT a first class operation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
It was somewhere I had never been!! Loved the Great Lakes and Toronto!!! We also loved visiting Chicago before leaving on the cruise. The cruise people picked us up at the hotel they recommended right on time and were Great!! All of the ... Read More
It was somewhere I had never been!! Loved the Great Lakes and Toronto!!! We also loved visiting Chicago before leaving on the cruise. The cruise people picked us up at the hotel they recommended right on time and were Great!! All of the busses they provided were very clear and very comfortable!!!The food was Great and the portions were the right amount. They always had a great selection of food. The staff was exceptional and the best I have experienced and I cruise a lot. We loved the whole cruise! The Niagara excursion was fantastic along with Mackinac Island!! Loved both of them. We got off in Toronto and stayed for two days. We found so much it do there and would really think of going back! Overall this cruise was one of the best we have been on!! The service. the food the ship and the way we were treated was fantastic. I loved being on the smaller ship as we were able to make so many friends on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Just back from this trip and it lived up to my expectations, which were all good. That being said, one's expectations must really be managed before embarking on this trip. Because this trip has a very high price tag, people may ... Read More
Just back from this trip and it lived up to my expectations, which were all good. That being said, one's expectations must really be managed before embarking on this trip. Because this trip has a very high price tag, people may expect it to be an all inclusive, very luxurious experience such as If you are expecting a Seabourn or Regent Seven Seas type of cruise, this is not the trip for you. It is not that type of trip. The higher price tag comes in part due to the many behind the scenes costs of running a small ship on North American itineraries such as: required pilot fees for naviagating the Great Lakes; very high fees for transiting locks; North American price tags for goods and services. Plus, the Pearl Mist is a wonderful shp. It is the perfectly size vessel, with only 200 passengers. Cabins and bathrooms are very spacious and all have balconies. Great showers. Very clean. Everyone is constantly cleaning all of the time. Service/crew is superb, genuine and sincere. Itineraries very unique, calling on many places one has always wanted to visit, but never gotten around to it. The two public lounges, as well as library, are lovely. Every cabin even has its own Keurig coffee maker. And though rooms are not equipped with safes, it is my understanding that you may have one upon request. Ambience/dress is comfortable and casual. And I found our cabin to be one of the quietest cabins I've ever had on any vessel. Cruise is really geared for an older, more sedentary clientele. Not much to keep the interest for a real active/outdoorsy type. And this is not a trip for kids. Free flowing wine for lunch and dinner. One hour cocktail hour before dinner each night with top notch, premium liquors. Lounges fully stocked with complimentary soft drinks, coffee, snacks all day. Popcorn and Root Beer Floats served in the lounge at night. Food very good. I was traveling with a group of 13 and we all enjoyed the food. Also, they were very good with special dietary restrictions such as gluten free. Our itinerary sailed from Chicago to Toronto, traversing the Great Lakes, with six additional ports, including Mackinac Island, Windsor, Ontario (which was the gateway to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan) and Niagara Falls. I took the trip because I had not traveled this part of the country. I thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary as well as the boat. I selected the 12 day itinerary because I wanted to see Niagara Falls, but I think 12 days was a little too long for me. Seven days would've been perfect with a day or two before and after in the embarkation/debarkation ports Entertainment needs improvement. For the entire 12 days, there was a combo that played the first three nights and then they got off and were replaced with one entertainer and her acoustical guitar for the next 8 days. That was way too much of the same thing. That being said, I seldom go to shows on cruises, so it was a huge issue for me. They did show a different movie every day on your in cabin tv. We played a lot of cards and read. We were also treated to a wonderful jazz concert in one port, compliments of Pearl Seas Cruises and it was great. The enrichment lecturer, Rae, was great. Lots of wonderful information on the Great Lakes, which, prior to this trip, I knew nothing about. Cruise Director, John K. very good. Worked 24/7 behind the scenes to make sure all was in order. Do remember, because it is a small boat, one must be prepared for the unexpected. Scheduled ports can change due to docking changes and weather conditions. Small boats can get kicked out of berthing spots sometimes by freightors, etc. I really enjoyed the Pearl Mist as a vessel. I think Pearl Seas Cruises is evolving as a cruise line and, for only being in the water for a year and half, is doing a lot of things right. They of course are having some growing pains, as all new enterprises do. It will take a few seasons to get everything completely ironed out. But I must tell you, in my dealings with them, the corporate policy was all about customer service and not cutting corners. I have sailed over 100 cruises, big boats, little boats and everything in between. Would I consider another cruise on this boat: you bet! I would like to do several of the Eastern Seaboard itineraries. The Pearl Mist is really perfect for the smaller, less traveled inlets and coves. If you enjoy the roads less traveled, check this trip out. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
September 1st, I boarded the Pearl Mist in Chicago for a Great Lakes & Georgian Bay cruise then continued on the September 12th cruise through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Canadian Maritimes. I have cruise over 100 times in my life ... Read More
September 1st, I boarded the Pearl Mist in Chicago for a Great Lakes & Georgian Bay cruise then continued on the September 12th cruise through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Canadian Maritimes. I have cruise over 100 times in my life throughout the world. Never have I been so entertained, pampered and dined to the point that I didn't want to disembark. The cuisine was magnificent at every meal. The quality, presentation and variety was wonderful and the dining service was absolutely perfect. The chef and his team are amazing. Every soup was delicious, salads were crisp, seafood was fresh and well prepared, vegetables were cooked perfectly, meats were tender and desserts were so good that many times I had to have half of one and half of another. I put on a few pounds on the cruise but it was worth it. Cocktails are complimentary every day 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm and after dinner until 9:30 pm. Wine is complimentary at lunch and dinner. Chips and snacks are always available in the lounges. During the evening show, root beer floats and popcorn is brought into lounge. I am ashamed to say that after eating so much at dinner, I often had to have root beer float. The cruise directors, front desk personnel, passenger representative and hotel manager could not have been more helpful in every way. Anytime I had a question, I received the answer immediately or in a timely manner. The cabin stewards are very friendly and efficient. Cleanliness on the ship is a priority and this is very evident. The amenities in the bathrooms are plentiful and the shower is large. The towels and bedding are of excellent quality. The staterooms are very large and the balconies have a nice sized table with comfortable chairs. Love the Sky Deck where I could "see the world" from comfortable lounge chairs. One of my friends who came with me, fell several days before boarding. The wound on his leg had to be cleaned and bandaged often. The nurse came twice a day to do what needed to be done so that the wound would heal, and at no charge. The lecturer was excellent. The passengers loved her. She was an expert on the itinerary and fun to listen to. There was a duo that performed in the lounge. They were very talented and often had passengers dancing. Since I have to work on my laptop, I found it easy with plug-in access on the desk. Also, I was glad Internet was available. There were a few days when Internet was spotty. The deckhands were amazing. They were very kind to the passengers, helping them walk on and off the ship, always with a smile. Anyone with disabilities were helped wherever needed. I was impressed to see the care that was always given to the passengers. I have booked Cuba on the Pearl Mist for April 2017. Can't wait to board again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
inexperienced, incompetent staff, average food, and poor entertainment (except for small band). Picture the afternoon tea service that consisted of a self service hot water dispenser, tea bags and paper cups! Brochure claims all rooms ... Read More
inexperienced, incompetent staff, average food, and poor entertainment (except for small band). Picture the afternoon tea service that consisted of a self service hot water dispenser, tea bags and paper cups! Brochure claims all rooms have equal space, but a handful of rooms do not. We had little choice in rooms at booking and asked for upgrade. Did not get an upgrade until we complained of room size, and then they moved us to a room that had been occupied by the music entertainers. Ship was disappointing in amenities. Pricing is in the luxury cruise line level, but you get mass market value. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015

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