13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We were happy to be on a smaller ship. The rooms had great storage, the food was very good for the most part and the service was fantastic. Because we were on the inaugural Cuban cruise for Pearl Seas, we had extra staff on board to ... Read More
We were happy to be on a smaller ship. The rooms had great storage, the food was very good for the most part and the service was fantastic. Because we were on the inaugural Cuban cruise for Pearl Seas, we had extra staff on board to ensure that things went smoothly. When things went wrong, they did their best to fix it. As an example, one group went to Trinidad for a half day. There was a Cuban tour guide but no staff member from the cruise (that person had to go to the hospital with a guest who had broken their hip).The streets were cobblestoned and in horrible disrepair. They spent about an hour at the model of the city, with each detail of the model being explained by a non-English speaker whose words were then translated by the tour guide. The tour guide never counted heads and one of the guests got lost and the group had to spend two hours on the bus until the guest was found. They didn't arrive back in Cienfuegos until 4:30 (instead of 12:30) and they missed the amazing concert that the rest of us experienced. Amazing response from staff! They listened to the guests' constructive criticism and as a result, those of us who went to Trinidad the next day were warned about the condition of the streets so that we could wear proper footwear. We only spent 10 minutes at the model of the city. A staff member came with us and counted heads at every stop. And best of all, they got the Cienfuegos musicians to play the concert again for those who had missed it. As for shore excursions, we got to see 4 cities: Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. We did spend a lot of time on buses which were comfortable and air-conditioned. We were on a people-to-people tour, which is one of the allowed categories for US citizens to visit Cuba. We met artists and musicians in each city. The concert in Cienfuegos was a highlight of the trip. We had the opportunity to purchase CDs and pieces of art at each place. Havana is tragically beautiful; poverty and sea air have destroyed most of the buildings. We enjoyed the National Hotel, the show at the Tropicana, a visit to Hemingway's house, lunch at a palador and a half day ride in a classic car, which drove us through many different neighborhoods in Havana. I wish that we had another full day to spend on our own in Havana-it may not be allowed by the government, not sure about that. Cienfuegos was next. Tour of the botanical gardens was much better than we expected because the guide was entertaining and informative. The city center is beautiful and we had a long delicious lunch at a palador. We stayed in port that night and took a bus to Trinidad the next day. The city wasn't much (although we had another great palador lunch), but it was so interesting to see the countryside between Cienfuegos and Trinidad and see how people live outside of the city. So much poverty. Our tour guides were all Cuban and really did a good job of explaining their society and culture. Santiago was the most modern city overall (which really isn't saying much). We did tour for half the day and then instead of going back to the ship we stayed ashore to wander around on our own and had lunch at a hotel rooftop restaurant. All restaurants and hotels are government owned. Compared to the palador (privately owned restaurant) the food was mediocre at best but the view was worth it. We had to change our money when we arrived in Havana and just before we got back on the ship for the last time in Santiago. We changed USD which has a 10% penalty on the front end of the exchange. No penalty for euros but my bank fees etc kind of made it a wash in terms of sheer convenience. It was very easy to do the exchanges. The ship's staff was very helpful. I think that they will able to further refine the experiences in Cuba because they are so responsive to the guests needs. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Wanted to experience Fall Foliage without the driving so narrowed the cruise options between Pearl Seas and Seaborne. We made a mistake. Even though Pearl Seas is priced at the very upper end, the quality of the cruise experience is well ... Read More
Wanted to experience Fall Foliage without the driving so narrowed the cruise options between Pearl Seas and Seaborne. We made a mistake. Even though Pearl Seas is priced at the very upper end, the quality of the cruise experience is well below acceptable standards for a premium experience. The really good part of the experience was the outstanding front-end staff who did everything they could to make you feel comfortable. But they had too little to work with to be able to elevate the cruise experience beyond okay. That is sad as Pearl Seas could have been a superior experience equating to the cost of the vacation. The very best meals we had were the owns we purchased off the ship in ports. Thank goodness for that! The breakfast was good, but all other meals were borderline. The chicken dishes were rubbery, the lobster over-cooked, the grades of meat were nowhere near choice let alone prime and everything was bathed in lots of sauces to cover-up the basic flaws. It was also the little things that added up every single day that brought this high-priced cruise to popular-priced status. Paying very high-end prices for the cruise and receiving Kirkland water at the snack bar (really, serving Poland Springs or Aquafina or dare I say Evian, might have added $500 in costs to the cruise line). The Costco bulk snacks from the stale potato chips to the same fruit bars every night for 14 days is not in standing for a $16,000+ cruise. The "entertainment" was below Holiday Inn standards (again for a premium-priced cruise this is not acceptable). And that "entertainment" was on board each and every night of the cruise which should have been switched up more often. The cruise line did a bait and switch on ports which became apparent when we received our final paperwork six weeks out. Even the name and purpose of the cruise everyone booked was changed and we only became aware of it upon boarding the ship. And a thing with cruising through the small St. Lawrence River and New England ports, we are told that because of our small ship we could get into ports the medium and larger ships could not. They did not mention that half of our ports were tenders and not direct dock. Insult to injury, there was a typo regarding the disembarkation port in Manhattan. We had people meeting us at the port number communicated to us (I even called the Pearl Seas office to verify the port number in the final documents just before leaving), and we had breakfast reservations nearby plus needed to drop off a UPS shipment and found one nearby the intended port, plus a nearby rental car agency. Instead the Pearl Seas docked at Pier 86 in the upper west side (instead of the lower east side) and they admitted the final travel documents were incorrect. Proof-reading should have been done at headquarters. If you are looking for a premium experience, it is NOT the Pearl Seas. If you are seeking a popular priced experience, then negotiate the prices down to that level and the Pearl Seas is acceptable. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Like the company and the destination, and smaller cruise lines. The service and concern for our safety was outstanding. The food and wines and appetizers were outstanding. The commarraderie among the staff was evidence that they liked ... Read More
Like the company and the destination, and smaller cruise lines. The service and concern for our safety was outstanding. The food and wines and appetizers were outstanding. The commarraderie among the staff was evidence that they liked working for their managers. They treated us with utmost of respect. The ports visited were beautiful and time in port good, weather conditions pending. I would highly recommend this cruise for Seniors and retired people. Like having an educator on board, and the music was very good. Missed having an indoor gym that could be used in inclement weather. The fitness equipment was on an outside deck, and very cold at times. The condition of the ship was immaculate and well maintained. The cruise excursions and events were announced and communication was very good. We were well informed of any changes. It was wonderful to have wifi to keep in touch with family, and the New York Times daily summary was great!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We wanted to view fall colors from a high quality small ship. Overall t was a good cruise, but it could have been much better. The reservation process was very poor since we were led to believe there were few cabins remaining when we ... Read More
We wanted to view fall colors from a high quality small ship. Overall t was a good cruise, but it could have been much better. The reservation process was very poor since we were led to believe there were few cabins remaining when we booked only to find out the ship was only 2/3 full. Others experienced the same reservation process. The food was very good and the restaurant staff were very good and very accommodating. The cruise directors were very inexperienced. The cruise director was next headed for Seattle for a cruise and she admitted she had known knowledge about the area. Not very ,professional. The tours were average at best. Some tours were held using school busses (not what you expect from a high end cruise). Disembarkation was a mess (amateurish). Long delays at the port before unloading luggage caused some to be very tight making their flights. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We hadn't received any communication before our cruise, so via our travel agent I asked via email for documentation and received only boarding passes but nothing else and had to ring up Pearl Seas when in Tpronto the day before to ... Read More
We hadn't received any communication before our cruise, so via our travel agent I asked via email for documentation and received only boarding passes but nothing else and had to ring up Pearl Seas when in Tpronto the day before to find out what time we could/should board the ship. A time frame was advised and when we boarded we found that there had been an earlier reception which we had missed and that we were only just in time for lunch. However the boarding process was quick and easy despite having no luggage tags. Once on board we found the crew very courteous and helpful. The stateroom was very comfortable and had some hanging space and plenty of drawer space for unpacking. This was part of a bigger trip for us and we were not travelling light, but we were able to store all our clothes and other luggage comfortably in the stateroom. We liked the full length sliding door to the balcony to be able to watch the passing scenery and as the weather was warm we were able to use the balcony to sit out on on some occasions. The ship was easy to get around, six levels including the top deck and we used the stairs all the time. The main stairs, which were the only ones that took you to all levels, did get congested at busy times. There was also a lift, but we left that to some on board who were unable to climb stairs. There was one dining room and seating wasn't allocated, so we were able to sit with and meet different people at meal times. For breakfast there was a buffet table with fruit, cereals, pastries and cold meat/cheese etc and in addition you could select other items from the menu or mix and match as you preferred. you could ask for things not on the menu eg I had berries for desert instead of the items on the menu. Half portions were an option on the menu and I also saw people sometimes having double portions or eg both the soup and salad for starter as well as the other 2 courses. So dining was very flexible. Lunch and dinner were 3 courses with wine drinks served with lunch and dinner. There was also a cocktail hour every day at 5:30pm in the two larger lounges and this included drinks and finger food. Then after dinner drinks were available in the lounge during the after dinner entertainment, which generally went until 9:30pm. The daily schedule provided after dinner each night advised of meal times, which varied dependent on Port arrival/departure and tour times. Also listed were times of lecture and other onboard activities for the next day and the weather forecast, useful for planning what you might need when off the ship. An overview of the following day with a Q&A session was held after dinner before the entertainment started. The on board entertainment included lectures about the places were visiting. These were very well presented and gave a history to the places were visiting, illustrated by slides. The lecturer was very well qualified, having been doing this for a long time, lives in Quebec and has done a lot of research into the history. The other main entertainment was 2 musicians who played piano and guitar and both sang. They played background music during cocktail hour, one in each lounge. Then performed after dinner. They were very personable and professional but in my view it would have enhanced the trip to have had local musicians playing Québécois, PEI, Acadian etc music Only on one night did they bring on a local musician who could only perform for 45mins as he had to disembark before the ship sailed. The cruise was great for experiencing a snapshot of the places that we visited. We generally sailed at night and stopped each day, sometimes all day and other times just for half a day. Our shore highlights were top of the list - Quebec City, Lunenburg and Charlottetown, then Gaspe and Perce, Pictou (we missed Ile de Madeleine due to strong winds) and Clayton NY. We thought the show at Saguenay was OK but maybe a bit overrated, The shore excursions generally gave an overview of each place with limited time to check it out on your own. We are a couple both aged 61. We were at the younger and fitter end of the age group of the cruise. Patience was required when moving around the ship and on tours getting on and off buses, as in general people were less mobile than us. There were no children amongst the passengers on the trip. The only child we saw was the captains 4 yr old daughter on some of the excursions. There was in general no facilities for children. In general guests on the ship were were polite and well mannered with only a couple of exceptions. People queued when required, waited for people in front to exit buses and were promptly back from tours and onto buses etc. Except one Occassion where one poor couple who misread the ship sailing time and had to be rounded up from the port. In summary we liked the small ship (only 200 guests) cruise but in future we would be more likely to select a cruise with a younger/fitter age group ie with more active tours, that would indicate this. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
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
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We were on the Pearl Sea Great Lakes Cruise from August 23 to August 29th. We boarded in Midland after a three hour bus ride from Toronto. Trip was around the Great Lakes to Chicago. Our Cabin was one of the five “suites.” The ... Read More
We were on the Pearl Sea Great Lakes Cruise from August 23 to August 29th. We boarded in Midland after a three hour bus ride from Toronto. Trip was around the Great Lakes to Chicago. Our Cabin was one of the five “suites.” The extra size was the empty space area behind a stairway furnished with a chair. Balcony was OK but required opening a water tight and secure door, which my wife was unable to open. Ship itself holds about 200 passengers. It is advertised as new but is actually much older than that. Design, furnishings, cabin furniture, decorations, TV, and even the equipment on the Bridge are all very dated. Actual age is certainly more than 10 and perhaps 20 yrs old. No amenities like an exercise room, laundry, pool, or even a hot tub. Library was as fancy as it got. TV reception very poor on an old, small TV. Food was mediocre at best. Meat was never fresh – very dry and tough - strongly suggested it had been frozen. Several times did have Lobster Tails which were excellent. Variety at breakfast buffet very limited and simple. Overall variety at meals very repetitious. Wine served at meals was extremely cheap and poor quality though variety selection was OK. Mixed drinks were available in the lounges for one hour only before dinner with a very limited selection. Two small lounges with very crowded sofas. Staff themselves were very polite and helpful. Most were from the Philippines and very amiable. Passengers were very pleasant and heavily elderly. No one under 65 and many over 80. Large numbers of wheel chairs, walkers, and canes. Ports of Call were simplistic – as there were only small cities on the route. Information talks given on night before only talked about times, etc but included virtually nothing about the sites themselves or what to expect to see. Informational talks on Great Lakes were good but few and very short. Entertainment was only a two man instrument show – very simple and cheap – not at all entertaining. Docks themselves were clean and nice EXCEPT for Chicago. The cruise advertised originally that we would dock at the Navy Pier. That was then changed to a horrific dock about 20 miles south of the city near the violent areas of Chicago. It was a very large cargo storage area protected by large barbed wired fences, and entry guard gate, and required an escort for transportation in and out. The gangplank was onto dirt onto a canvas tarp. Transport trucks and freight cars were constantly coming and going. We were told that the Navy Pier was closed to Cruise Ships but when we finally got to the city several large ships were indeed docked there. Bus transport to the city got lost on city streets (in South Chicago!). They had to use my iPhone with Google Maps to figure out where they were!! In summary, despite the fact that the cruise was priced with the major high class luxury cruise lines; it was very cheap and poorly organized. Although advertised to be almost new, the ship is dated. Food was just OK. Wine horrible. Chicago dock was an abomination. Overall a very poor trip for the price, and a disappointing trip at any price. ________________________________________ Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was the Pearl Seas 10-11 day Great Lakes Cruise leaving from Toronto and stopping in Niagara Falls, Windsor, Midland, Parry Sound, Little Current, Sault St Marie, Mackinac Island, Muskegon, Holland and Chicago. We are 71 and 65 ... Read More
This was the Pearl Seas 10-11 day Great Lakes Cruise leaving from Toronto and stopping in Niagara Falls, Windsor, Midland, Parry Sound, Little Current, Sault St Marie, Mackinac Island, Muskegon, Holland and Chicago. We are 71 and 65 years of age and retired for 1 year. We previously have traveled to the Caribbean islands (x3), Hawaii cruise, Alaska cruise, Italy tour, Great Britain tour, Rhine Cruise, Baltic Cruise, Western Med Cruise, Greece Cruise, New England and Maritimes Cruise, National Parks tour, and China Tour. We chose this tour because we knew little of the region. The ship: The Pearl Mist was a fairly new 300 ft boat in excellent condition with about 200 passengers. The state rooms were much larger than expected with balconies and a relatively large bathroom. beds were great, lots of drawer space, no safe, adequate TV but a bit small for watching from bed. The ship had 2 large and 2 small lounges. The large lounges were used every night for "The Cocktail Hour" (more on this later) and one was used each night for entertainment (2 person songsters). Also used for lectures and daily updates for the next day. Other than the dining room there were no other public rooms: no casinos (thankfully) and no laundry or indoor fitness center. Some people made special requests for laundry service. There was new fitness equipment on one of the open decks but no treadmill. There were several outdoor sitting areas both covered and uncovered but no pools or hot tubs. No deck encircled the ship for use as a walking/jogging track. Room service was perfect. Entertainment: The duo provided very good music and song and also hosted trivia and bingo games. The lecturer was good but limited to very interesting historical information but not port/excursion specific information and only had about 4-5 presentations. Dining: OMG totally fabulous!. All meals were sit down, single open sitting with excellent service. Each meal had at least 4 choices for entree and appetizer, 3 desserts, great soups. Lobster was served multiple ways several times. No limit on how many servings you could order. Unlimited wine/beer. Now dieting (again). Cocktail Hour: Had to make a special section for this. Each day from 5:30-6:30 the 2 lounges were set up with hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and open bar. The bar tenders could make any drink and EVERYONE looked forward to sitting together and chatting about the day, next day and their previous cruising experience. Passengers: Definitely and older crowd. No children. Youngest was probably 60yo. Oldest was close to 90yo. Average was about 70yo. most were incredibly well traveled. Many chose this cruise to get away from the heat in the south (but we still had 85-90 degree days). Most had traveled throughout Europe on river cruises. All were interesting, and had productive, and lucrative careers. Almost all were retired. A few singles. Ports and Excursions: About half of the excursions were included and were quite surprisingly worthwhile. Some unexpectedly, were extra at $35-50 per person but also were well worth it. Highlights were bus/island tour of Toronto, the Niagara Falls cruise, Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village (look it up), Saint-Marie among the Hurons (look it up also), Island Queen Cruise of Georgian Bay, Sault St Marie locks, Freighter and old cruise ship tours, Mackinac Island and Chicago (take the architectural tour). All in all a very good vacation. Improvements might be an indoor fitness center, larger TV, more lectures on the ship, possibly a hot tub. We were sufficiently impressed to sign up for the Louis and Clark theme tour of the Snake and Columbia rivers on their sister organization, American Cruise Lines for August 2017. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
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
Pearl Mist Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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