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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Having been on over 30 Ocean and river cruises all over the World we wanted to spend more of our time and money in the United States. This cruise offered an interesting itinerary most of which we had never visited. We prefer small - medium ... Read More
Having been on over 30 Ocean and river cruises all over the World we wanted to spend more of our time and money in the United States. This cruise offered an interesting itinerary most of which we had never visited. We prefer small - medium size ships over the floating malls and their crowds. The staff was excellent, friendly and very helpful, the meal selections good and varied and the sizes and quality outstanding. In addition to a refrigerator stocked with soft drinks and water in our cabin, mixed alcoholic drinks were available at lunch, dinner and all entertainment venues. The on board entertainment was very good and appropriate for our age group. The ship and cabins are comfortable but dated and need to be updated and unless the ship is in port the Wi-Fi is poor to non-existent. Departures, transfers and ship events were punctual and as advertised. We would consider travelling with them again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We heard it was a nice trip through the Great Lakes with lots of history, so we choose Pearl Seas Cruises after checking another lines out, cause even though it was more expensive, it looked to be a better boat with a good itinerary. ... Read More
We heard it was a nice trip through the Great Lakes with lots of history, so we choose Pearl Seas Cruises after checking another lines out, cause even though it was more expensive, it looked to be a better boat with a good itinerary. First let me start off by saying from the book you received about the trip, it stated one day on the lakes with no stops, which was false advertising cause there was 2 days. Two of stops that were included on this trip, Sauté St Marie and Little Current there was nothing to see there and we spent several hours there. There was no one to give you the history of each stop, yes there was a little page that was put in your room each. Ignite giving you a little detail, but not much and the women they had on board to give lectures, didn't lecture about the area, in fact of the lectures was about the Titanic, which I thought was not appropriate. One day we spent more time going thru customs and waiting in line then actually at the Ford Musuem. Nigeria Falls was beautiful, but again you felt like you were rushed through it and did not get to see any of the area around there, which looked beautiful. The food was good and the wait staff and room steward was wonderful! It was also suggested that you tip $20 a day, which I though was high, considering the price we paid for the cruise. I tipped individually and gave a little as a whole. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We took the Pearl Mist 11 night cruise from Chicago to Toronto last August 2018. This cruise is targeted for people 75 years an older, many of which need assistance. That's ok but it should be clearly stated. Let's start by ... Read More
We took the Pearl Mist 11 night cruise from Chicago to Toronto last August 2018. This cruise is targeted for people 75 years an older, many of which need assistance. That's ok but it should be clearly stated. Let's start by saying the good things: 1) Stateroom and bathroom are very big. 2) Probably the best thing was the Staff, they are very friendly and helpful 3) Food was ok. 4) Drinks are included. 5) Some ports of call are very interesting: MACKINAC ISLAND, MUSKEGON / HOLLAND, Parry Sound and Niagara Falls. 6) Cruising the Welland Canal and going through 8 sets locks from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Now the bad things: 1) Overpriced at 20 grand per stateroom for and outed ship with little to do in it. It has no pool or good onboard activities. We spent 2 days cruising with little to do. The Gym consists of 4 machines located on and outside deck. 2) The TV in the stateroom is ridiculous 3) The ship is very small 108 cabins. 4) Some ports are call should be eliminated specially Sault Sainte Marie and Little Current. Nothing to do in them. 5) The time allocated in each destination is not well planned. We only spend 2-3 hours in Niagara that had a lot of activities to do and spend a full day at Sault Sainte Marie with almost nothing to do. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We were looking for a tour in the United States as we had traveled in France on the Canal du Midi last year. We were interested in seeing parts of the country we had never visited and enjoyed traveling the Great Lakes, Erie Canal and ... Read More
We were looking for a tour in the United States as we had traveled in France on the Canal du Midi last year. We were interested in seeing parts of the country we had never visited and enjoyed traveling the Great Lakes, Erie Canal and Hudson River. The boat while not luxury was very comfortable. The food was EXCELLENT as well as the servers and chefs. Snacks were always available although meals were plentiful. It was exciting to experience going through the locks and having others tend them. (We did it ourselves on the Canal du Midi). The tours we attended were excellent and well organized. We met fun and interesting people. The logistics of the trip including lowering and raising the pilot house were well planned and executed. We enjoyed visiting with the captain at the final dinner on board. He was so knowledgeable about the areas we visited and shared this information as we traveled. I would recommend this trip highly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
If you want to way over. pay and get a marginal cruise in return this one is for you. The cruise should be at least 3 to 4 days less and the price cut by 60%. At no time did they exceed my expectations. Food was average, except for ... Read More
If you want to way over. pay and get a marginal cruise in return this one is for you. The cruise should be at least 3 to 4 days less and the price cut by 60%. At no time did they exceed my expectations. Food was average, except for three ports of call very boring, ship HVAC system terrible, entertainment very marginal. The only two positives I can give. you are the room size and the crew. This is our second cruise with American Ship lines. Last year we did the Mississippi cruise which was even worse. We cruise usually twice a year and American Ship Lines has set the bar for worst ship line in the industry. If the above was not enough , we got of the ship inn Chicago in the industrial port next to broken wood crates and garbage, The place smelled and we had to walk on plywood to get around water puddles to get on buses. The out side temperature was 90 degrees and. 80% humidity and the bus had broken air conditioners. The extra charge shore excursions were a joke and way overpriced. Bottom line for the amount you pay. for this cruise you could take 3 Caribbean cruises back to back and get a lot more for your money. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Chose this cruise for the ports we were stopping at. Knew ahead of time that the ship was old and rooms would be small, but older and smaller than expected. Limited water usage made washing hands/shower difficult. It is at the ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the ports we were stopping at. Knew ahead of time that the ship was old and rooms would be small, but older and smaller than expected. Limited water usage made washing hands/shower difficult. It is at the Captain's discretion if the itinerary changes due to "weather" and we missed one of our stops. Also cancelled one of our tours at one of the major ports, then promised there would be something else "nice" to replace it, but no there wasn't. Internet access is a joke and there are no TVs anywhere on the ship. No real entertainment, just a lecturer and photographer. Very boring evenings and long days. On the positive side, staff was great, helpful and hard working. Food was good and enough at each meal. Chef baked fresh breads and deserts which was something to look forward to. Our stop at Mackinac Island was delightful. However, Sturgeon Bay (cancelled tour), Beaver Island (didn't stop weather), St. Ignace nothing there, Manitowoc, same thing. We booked our own tours in Chicago and that helped to salvage an otherwise disappointing cruise. Do not think I would cruise with Blount again. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with 80 year old parents. We enjoy small ships, wanted to see the Great Lakes region and relax. This cruise was perfect and just what we were looking for. Booking was easy (book early for ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were traveling with 80 year old parents. We enjoy small ships, wanted to see the Great Lakes region and relax. This cruise was perfect and just what we were looking for. Booking was easy (book early for an early bird discount) We arrived the night before in Chicago and stayed at The Sheraton where we got a cruise discount and were picked up by cruise transport in the am. Embarkation was a breeze. The ship holds 210 passengers so does not feel crowded at all. Cabins were roomy with a small patio to sit and relax (we were on deck 5). The food was amazing! They offered 1/2 portions which worked for me. Happy Hour was at 5:30 each day with complimentary cocktails and appetizers. Wine was also included at lunch and dinner. The service was excellent. Any request was promptly answered with a smile Mixed review on the ports. Muskegon was very interesting-a surprise for me! I learned a lot about the area's history. The highlight was Mackinac Island. Charming. We had a nice long day there. Definitely do the horse drawn carriage ride!! We saw some boats go through the locks in Sault Ste Marie, but that port and Little Current were small with not much to do. We took the Killbear park tour and Island Queen boat tour around the 30,000 islands of Georgia Bay and enjoyed both. Disembarkation was simple. They were very organized with shuttles. We took the free bus to the Toronto airport where I had arranged a shuttle to Niagara Falls where we spent a few days before flying home from Buffalo. They have a wide variety of destinations and are building more ships. They are the sister company to American Cruise Lines so have a lot to offer. I will definitely go again. Next trip, New England Islands Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
We had looked forward to this cruise Great American Waterways sailing from Chicago through the Great Lakes, Erie Canal Hudson River to New York finally to Rhode Island. We recently returned home after taking the above cruise with Blount ... Read More
We had looked forward to this cruise Great American Waterways sailing from Chicago through the Great Lakes, Erie Canal Hudson River to New York finally to Rhode Island. We recently returned home after taking the above cruise with Blount Small Ship Adventures on the Grande Caribe. .When I received our travel documents I called the Blount office in Warren to make reservations for some of the “optional excursions” offered.The agent booked the tours and my credit card was charged and I was told I would receive a confirmation email and vouchers for the excursions by mail. I did not receive confirmation I called Blount. The agent was extremely rude and told me as I had not made my original cruise booking directly with Blount she could or would not help and that I needed to contact my agent. When I asked why in fact the company had charged my card I was told “that’s not my problem"This certainly was not a good beginning and certainly not good customer service from the company representative. Our travel documents included the address and directions where the ship was docked in Chicago which we gave to the driver met us at O’Hare. What these instructions failed to mention was we needed to pass through three security barriers to reach the ship!!! We could see the ship but it was a long walk with luggage to carry. Eventually a member of the crew came on a bicycle and opened up each of the gates. The Grande Caribe certainly could do with some refurbishment. We did find the lounge became overcrowded when all the passengers were on board with not enough seating for everyone and when the occasional lectures or entertainment were held that we did not wish to attend the only place to go was our cabin. Service in the restaurant was often slow and the cooked breakfast served family style was often cold by the time passengers were ready to eat. Four crew members left the ship during our cruise which made service even slower and eventually two replacements arrived from the office in Warren!!! Our Cruise Director was certainly “in over her head” when dealing with passengers who were asking for information. Her daily briefings were minimal and she was only concerned with the passengers who had booked “the optional tours.” Those of us who opted out of these excursions where left to our own devices and when my husband asked for suggestions or maps was told “Blount did not provide me with any information” or when I asked for a map she told me to “take the map from the notice board saying she was in a hurry to go and buy flowers!!” The map on the board was useless!! On all the many river cruises I have taken there was always one tour included and the Cruise/Tour director always held a daily briefing before dinner each evening. We had a recurring problem of a flooded floor in the bathroom in our cabin 52B. On three occasions the bathroom floor flooded. We were told the problem was “a leaking water valve” which was supposedly replaced during the first repair!! Another leak occurred a few days later and once again the cabinet beneath the sink which contained the water heater was flooded as well as the bathroom floor. Both were drained of standing water. Over the next few days I watched the water build up again and the day before we left the ship we again asked for this leak to be fixed as we had over an inch of water on the bathroom floor. No one came and I don’t feel that the cause of the problem was ever corrected. We spent the last 24 hours of the cruise soaking up the water with towels. The water in the shower never drained away so that also was a problem. We have taken many river cruises so we expected a certain standard and have always enjoyed our experience. This is the most expensive cruise we have ever taken. We have never had to pay port charges (always included). There has always been one tour included in the price. All tours ashore are an extra charge to an already expensive cruise. We are not normally critical but this cruise certainly did not leave us feeling that we would want to take another cruise this company We have returned home very disappointed. One good thing did occur on this cruise. We met a great group of people who when talking expressed the same feelings of disappointment. I have delayed writing comments about our experience with this cruise company because since returning in August I have tried to contact Blount both by letters sent by Priority Mail and by email and phone on several occasions to try and get some answers to the problem which occurred..Two months later I am still waiting for a response!!. I certainly could not recommend a company that ls so lacking in good customer service. It makes me wonder why Blount Small Ship Adventures has such a strong following of repeat customers!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Having been born and brought up in Michigan, the Great Lakes cruise really appealed to me. It was also our first cruise, so it had to be a good experience. It didn't disappoint. The ship accommodations, service and food were ... Read More
Having been born and brought up in Michigan, the Great Lakes cruise really appealed to me. It was also our first cruise, so it had to be a good experience. It didn't disappoint. The ship accommodations, service and food were beyond expectations. The size of our cabin was quite comfortable. The amount of space for handing clothes and storing folded closes was wonderful. The dining room service was always professional by an always accommodating service team. The choice of food met our needs and was always excellently prepared. We were also impressed with the sightseeing, including the tour of the beautiful Mackinac Island, Parry Sound, the beautiful Georgian Bay region and the Henry Ford museum. Of course, the side trip to the base of Niagara Falls was an amazing experience. We would highly recommend the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay cruise to anyone looking for a peaceful period out of your otherwise hectic life. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, and to check off some bucket list items; specifically to visit Mackinac Island and Niagara Falls. We definitely got a lot more. The excursions were very enjoyable, and made ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, and to check off some bucket list items; specifically to visit Mackinac Island and Niagara Falls. We definitely got a lot more. The excursions were very enjoyable, and made good use of our time. We have taken mega-ship Caribbean cruises and a European river cruise, but our Great Lakes cruise on Pearl Mist was better than those alternatives, by far. The accommodations were comfortable, with a very spacious bedroom and bathroom and a private balcony. The service and food were outstanding, and the destinations informative and enjoyable. Life on board the ship was very pleasant and relaxing, with great evening entertainment. We made many new friends on the trip, thanks to many opportunities to dine and socialize together. The all-inclusive policy meant no hassles with bar tabs and other inconveniences. All in all, a very good vacation choice. We recommend this cruise very highly! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We have cruised several times before but this was the first time on a small ship and it was delightful. The atmosphere is totally different than on a large ship carrying several thousand passengers. The crew made an effort to know the ... Read More
We have cruised several times before but this was the first time on a small ship and it was delightful. The atmosphere is totally different than on a large ship carrying several thousand passengers. The crew made an effort to know the passengers and the service could not have been better. The information about our ports of call were provided by the on board expert via lectures and by locals who came on board to give us lots of information about what we could see and do. It was all interesting and informative and helped make our time in each port more enjoyable. The service and the food in the dinning room was top notch and the open seating made it easy to get to know our fellow travelers and we met many interesting people who made the trip that much more enjoyable. We most certainly will take a small ship cruise again, in fact, I am not sure that we will ever take a trip on one of the behemoths again. The small ship experience added so much to our vacation I would definitely recommend it for the mature, seasoned traveler. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We travel all the time, and thought a Great Lakes & Georgian Bay (and the stops we would make) sounded like something different. We were happy to find the entire experience; the many people we met, the tours, the food, etc. exceeded ... Read More
We travel all the time, and thought a Great Lakes & Georgian Bay (and the stops we would make) sounded like something different. We were happy to find the entire experience; the many people we met, the tours, the food, etc. exceeded our expectations. The crew was pleasant and happy, proficient, and eager-to-please. Though most of the 200 travelers on board were quite on in years (few under 60, even fewer under 50, the majority 70s and 80s), almost all were interesting and seasoned travelers. The tours ranged from Niagra Falls to Mackinac Island, to a First People's Cultural Center, a beautiful National Park, lovely towns with a variety of things to see and do... Our state room with its private balcony, had ample storage space, and was clean and spacious enough for my daily Yoga practice. I am strictly Vegan, and the Chef went out of his way to prepare delicious dishes for me, and my husband (who eat everything!) was also very pleased with the variety of meals. The stabilizers on the ship made for very smooth sailing. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The itinerary was wonderful. The only issues were cleanliness of the bathroom, trying to board the ship from a dock in Chicago and the meals. Chef was terrible; can't express how awful...people not eating some nights because food was ... Read More
The itinerary was wonderful. The only issues were cleanliness of the bathroom, trying to board the ship from a dock in Chicago and the meals. Chef was terrible; can't express how awful...people not eating some nights because food was cold and they ordered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!The baked goods were outstanding. Owner did not like any negative feedback...thought we were not a good match! Been on many, many cruises and never had to complain! So sad because we loved the trip. If the food had been decent, the bathroom floor clean and a way to board without waiting for someone to get us from dock J to S ...we would have been delighted with the trip. Enjoyed the staff in the dining room. Tried to cover up for the terrible meals. Have no idea how they were not complaining. The Captain told us the Chef was new and he was working with him..at our expense. Can't believe that they put a new Chef on a trip without first having him on board with a Chef that they knew was great. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I am 77 years old and most of the Passenger where in my age group. We left from Chicago and debark in Toronto. The ship was great and so was our cabin. The service was outstanding and so was the food. We have been on many cruises/ships ... Read More
I am 77 years old and most of the Passenger where in my age group. We left from Chicago and debark in Toronto. The ship was great and so was our cabin. The service was outstanding and so was the food. We have been on many cruises/ships and have to say this was one of best. The excursions were well selected and we had a great time. We are locking forward to our next cruise on the Pear Mist to the Panama Canal. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
I have been on many cruises and I thought this cruise was very good. The ship is well appointed for a small ship. The staterooms were a good size and comfortable. About the only thing missing was an in room safe for those items with ... Read More
I have been on many cruises and I thought this cruise was very good. The ship is well appointed for a small ship. The staterooms were a good size and comfortable. About the only thing missing was an in room safe for those items with value that you like to feel are in a safe place when you are off the ship on a tour excursion or just visiting a town. The food service was very good and the before dinner cocktails and wines with lunch and dinner were a nice addition. I did feel that the entertainment could have been a little more varied over the time we were on the cruise. The on board lecturer was excellent, interesting and very knowledgable. I would have liked a little more information about the ports we visited and the local areas. This definitely was a cruise for the senior age group and I felt that the staff and crew did a very helpful job with disembarkation and embarkation in the ports of call. Overall it was a very good experience and I would like to take another cruise on the Pearl Mist. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
200 passenger cruise ship launched 2014 Food and service are excellent. BUT, although the rooms are spacious and comfortable the appointments are chintz from the formica era. NO room safe; tiny flatscreen TV; no robes; no headsets ... Read More
200 passenger cruise ship launched 2014 Food and service are excellent. BUT, although the rooms are spacious and comfortable the appointments are chintz from the formica era. NO room safe; tiny flatscreen TV; no robes; no headsets for excursions; excursions and gratuities NOT included; several areas of docking are awful industrial piers (Chicago, Niagara Falls, Holland, and Toronto) and thus impossibe to step off the ship and even get a taxi into town!! Having the same single entertainer (guitar singer) for 8 nites in a row is ridiculous. There is no medical facility; a nurse comes to your room if needed. Fitness area is on the upper deck, outdoors, thus never used! No elevator access to this deck which has lovely lounge areas. The indoor lounge areas are totally inadequate for seating for 200 passengers. The space has been maximized for revenue generating rooms and minimized for passenger comfort. Would be ok if the price was a low end, but ridiculous at the high end! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Perhaps if told "luxury" frequently enough, we'll believe it? First, the positive: The cabin was most spacious, a comfortable bed, desk, balcony. The bathroom & shower equally nice, roomy and clean. The food was ... Read More
Perhaps if told "luxury" frequently enough, we'll believe it? First, the positive: The cabin was most spacious, a comfortable bed, desk, balcony. The bathroom & shower equally nice, roomy and clean. The food was a B- overall. Should the folks from Pearl Seas read this, I don't want them to think that our unfortunate delay in Holland MI (34 hours instead of the scheduled 4) influenced our opinion of the trip. Secondly, with sold-out Great Lakes schedules, any changes that add cost are likely not going to happen. However, if I were in charge and wanted Pearl Seas to live up to the expectations passengers have from their ACL experiences, here's what I'd change: -We were missing pre-cruise paperwork (passport and emergency contact info) that wasn't sent (should have come with the mis-dated cruise booklet, I guess). They called for it, emailed the form - and then the next day another staff member called requesting the same info again. Organization and order in the paperwork & planning (see other reviews regarding the dock change in Chicago & lack of notification) wasn't a strong point. -Many of the areas on the ship map designated as "lounges", aren't. Key public spaces are the nice outdoor areas on 4th - 5th - & 6th decks; the forward lounges on 2nd and 4th are nice, large & include coffee/snack areas; the 'library lounge' on the 4th deck is a treasure. -The Holland delay was explained as "10-12 foot waves" in Lake Michigan. Is Pearl Mist not an ocean going ship (Panama - Cuba - et al)? And checking buoy reports (and the forecasts) the biggest waves on the lake that night were 6.5 feet with (what would have been) a following wind. The long-delayed departure had similar waves and wind, but cross (out of the west). I appreciate the thought of safety and comfort, but . . . . . -Cruise director in information regarding the port visit in Holland stated "no WalMart, Target, chain big-box etc in town" (to intimate that this was a quaint village that didn't allow such stores). There was a Target 2 miles from the ship's dock, and a WalMart 2.5 miles away et. al., both with "Holland" addresses. -Snacks must have come from Costco or Sam's Club. 3 kinds of granola bars & Fig Newtons; 3 kinds of potato chips & pretzels, all individual servings and unchanging for the week. "Luxury" cruise? -Pastries at the coffee / snack area each morning (and on the continental breakfast 'buffet') must have come from Costco or Sam's Club. The smallish Danish I'd guess were frozen and enough thawed for the next day? Not 'fresh' at all. It would have been SO easy to arrange local provisioning for perishables - Chicago, Holland, Parry Sound, etc all have excellent local bakeries. "Luxury" cruise? -Every other inland small-ship cruise we've taken has done daily local provisioning. If it happened on the Pearl Mist, we didn't see it, nor was there evidence in the foodstuffs. I know little about food service, and the meals were OK - but I'd guess a lot of frozen stuff. Could be wrong here. -My pet peeve as a person who is addicted to good coffee is that they used liquid "CoffeeMate" at meals & at the coffee stations!! Even McDonalds uses real creamers. "CoffeeMate" on a "luxury" cruise? My word. -My wife's pet peeve as a tea afficionado was the advertised afternoon "tea" was simply the addition of a plate of cake squares to the snack/coffee area. The usual limited teabag selection and lukewarm water from the beverage pumpers remained unchanged. -Advertised "warm cookies" weren't. Again, I'm no expert, but the quality was Sam's Club / Costco . . . . . perhaps purchased dough 'baked' on board, but I'd guess not. I never found a warm one. -Evening local entertainment early in the trip had perhaps about 100 people in the 2nd deck lounge, staff came in with maybe 24 baskets of popcorn . . . . . and TWELVE (12) root beer floats. Most folks were polite and passed to allow others the opportunity to have one, but the 12 were gone without covering a third of the room - and no more arrived. Astounding. -Waitstaff was adequate & polite, but about half of my meal orders were wrong. We tend to linger over meals, and were often rushed away, especially at breakfast. They were seemingly in a hurry to get things re-set for the next meal. -A bottle of red and one of white wine was open & on each table at dinner, available at lunch (beer also). Cocktails in the 2nd and 4th floor lounges for an hour before dinner each day (complimentary also), but one evening at 8:30 pm I wanted a scotch, and none available anywhere, at any price. The bar was maybe an additional 30 minutes (unsure here) beyond that cocktail hour. If you want a drink at 10 pm, you'd better have your own supply. -Shipboard internet, even for just simple email, was painfully, horribly slow. That's been reported in other reviews, and is cumbersome to use. As mentioned, if you use your free daily hour from 9 am - 10 am on Tuesday, you can't get "free" again until 10:01 am Wednesday, etc. Don't expect to download Kindle or movies or music. Use your phone service while in port in your home country & only attempt the ship's internet at 3 am when nobody else is online. -Most astounding: on other small-ship cruises, the captain and staff were an integral part of the social aspects of the ship. I *never* saw the captain of the Pearl Mist. Never. My wife saw him once, across the room, at the delayed "Captain's Cocktail Reception". -And finally: previous small-boat cruises have had the "cruise director" as the leader of the fun and also involved socially & personally with the passengers. In his defense, this guy seemed incredibly overworked and dealing with so many details, without help, 18 hours a day. But this just isn't a job for a Disney-trained authoritarian. This needs personable, not lecturing. This needs warmth, not condescending. ("When you leave the ship for your tour, don't bother to give me your name - give me your cabin number!!" - and he had the computer skills to do an ExCel sort to 'fix' this issue.) He worked hard, no doubt - but older folks who have paid top dollar for a small-ship experience deserve better treatment. We booked this cruise 18 months before embarkation because we live in the Great Lakes and wanted to see it from the water. And while we achieved that objective, when measuring value for $$, for us at least, this was lacking. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
After some most enjoyable small-ship cruises, when in late 2013 I heard that this ACL sister company was building a ship to cruise the Great Lakes, I booked immediately. Comments from others about berthing & docking facilities - ... Read More
After some most enjoyable small-ship cruises, when in late 2013 I heard that this ACL sister company was building a ship to cruise the Great Lakes, I booked immediately. Comments from others about berthing & docking facilities - I could live with, as Great Lakes cruising and port facilities are in their renewal stages. The stateroom was very nice, the balcony and bathroom most spacious and comfortable. Fellow passengers a complete delight. Meals were just OK, perhaps a bit repetitive. "Snacks" were vending machine quality and unchanging. Coffee/hot water for tea from pumpers, and lukewarm. Entertainment a bit repetitive. Guest lecturer was new to this, interesting, but topics somewhat unrelated to the area. After that, our experiences were mostly negative. Staff was polite but distant, not the personable service and attention we've experienced on other small ships. Senior staff was absent, and the overworked "cruise director" was all-business and unengaged with passengers. Perhaps he was simply tired of having to constantly answer the oft-mentioned impression that shore tours were included in the fare, rather than $80-120 additional each. As mentioned in other reviews, the inability to get a cocktail except for 1.5 hours a day was odd and off-putting; beer/wine available during that time and also at dinner, lunch by request. For me, the value for the dollar was about 50%, all considered. This wasn't a "luxury" week as advertised, with the niceties and service that implies. The biggest personal disappointment was the schedule; in ports all day, and "cruise" at night. The highlight (for me) of small ship and inland cruising is seeing things from the water; the current popularity of river cruises a good example. To glide along, sit on the balcony or on an open deck & see the scenery was pretty impossible on the schedule the Pearl Mist kept: the beauty of northern Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay was mostly hidden in darkness, except for the arrival at a port at 7-8 am. We might as well have been in the middle of the North Atlantic for what could be viewed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
I am writing to those passengers who want to go on this ship who is under 60. DO NOT DO IT, unless you want to be surround by limited mobility guests. This ship really depressed us, i really felt i was in a nursing home. i usually sail ... Read More
I am writing to those passengers who want to go on this ship who is under 60. DO NOT DO IT, unless you want to be surround by limited mobility guests. This ship really depressed us, i really felt i was in a nursing home. i usually sail on CUNARD in the GRILLS and SILVER SEA. iwas told this ship was the same with luxury as them with with many amenties. I know something was wrong when we were told to meet at a place where there was no room to go inside. All passengers waited outside for a bus. There some passengers that was notified in less than 2 weeks of our trip. WOW!!!! What if it rained, we would have been drench. We went to a disgusting industrial area to board the ship. It was sooh disorganized embarking the ship. Our bags was opened up by unknow employess in the open are. I cold not believe this!!!! The room was ok , Lazy boy furniture. plain and dreary to the eye. We did not meet the steward until the next day. no fruit in the room. The welcome was trusting, you can seee afrustrated director upset when passengers wanted questions answered. The lounges were awful. one computer in one room. The work out room was pathetic, outside, no treadmill. 4-5 pieces of equipment. Sooh if it rained everything is wet. The ports location was often in a construction area and not pleaasant at all. The shore excursions,was often rush and because the old people was so slow, many times we just sat on the bus waiting. The daily programs was often had conflicting times and locations. I could go on and on. Read Less

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