30 Pearl Seas Pearl Mist Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
Sail Date August 2015
The Pearl Mist is an accident waiting to happen. The average age passenger is somewhere north of 75 and many of them use walkers, canes and wheelchairs. The current lifeboat procedure calls for passengers to "muster" in the ... Read More
The Pearl Mist is an accident waiting to happen. The average age passenger is somewhere north of 75 and many of them use walkers, canes and wheelchairs. The current lifeboat procedure calls for passengers to "muster" in the dining room on the first deck then proceed to the fourth deck to actually board their lifeboats. If you make the general assumption that a real "abandon ship" drill would include, listing, smoke or loss of electricity, I would guess that 80% of the passengers would not make it to the lifeboats. Most shockingly, the Captain of the Pearl Mist admitted that the current lifeboat procedure did not take into account the advanced age of most passengers and that he had notified the corporate office TWICE and they refused to make any changes. That's the tip of the iceberg...The food is simply average in both quality and presentation and does not resemble the photographs in the brochure which I am sure were prepared somewhere beside the Pearl Mist. Most items came directly from a can or freezer, the butter is served in portion packs and the napkins are paper. The dining room decor is early 1950's and apparently the same as other ACL ships. If this cruise did not cost the same as Oceania, I could accept lesser quality, but not for the same price! The public rooms are a disgrace. They are not large enough to handle the 200 passengers so at cocktail hour when everyone visits the two public rooms the crew has to line up chairs in long straight rows, sometimes facing each other to accommodate everyone. . Couches and easy chairs are arranged in squares, so accessibility is difficult. Additionally, all the windows were dirty and never cleaned during the cruise. The appetizers served at cocktail hour looked as if they had been massed produced at your local Kroger store and simply unwrapped on board. Our itinerary was changed twice eliminating two ports , which according to the Captain were ordered by the corporate office, and weather (which we were told) was not a factor. Tours were added and deleted at the last moment and shore excursions were shortened. The entire crew was contracted, and aside from the dining room servers who were delightful, no one seemed to take a vested interest in the passengers satisfaction. It will be a marketing miracle if thisship is still afloat next year. If it is it only means that there are enough one time cruisers who will pay top dollar for third rate service. On the bright side(which is difficult to do after spending $10,000) I would say that the cabins were large and clean, the lecturer was excellent and the itinerary was interesting. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
It is just about a year ago that our nightmare began. Unlike our 10 very enjoyable trips with American Cruise Lines this started off by us having a very difficult time finding the ship. It was hidden by buildings and there was not one ... Read More
It is just about a year ago that our nightmare began. Unlike our 10 very enjoyable trips with American Cruise Lines this started off by us having a very difficult time finding the ship. It was hidden by buildings and there was not one person from the cruise line to greet us or to indicate were the ship was. We had to pay a Canadian dock worker to take our luggage into a building after we finally figured out were to go Our room was large and nice ( it should have been for a $22,000.00 trip ). The Filipino crew was excellent. The few American crew members left something to be desired. The food was mediocre and nothing we requested well ahead of time for our lactose intolerance was on board even though we were told it would be. The main lounge was small and uncomfortable for the number of passengers. The lounge on our floor was often unavailable to those that were not members of an "elite" group that happened to be on the same trip. We made some very nice onshore excursions. The internet experience was horrible. We got one free hour per day and had to wait twentyfive hours before we could use it again. Often this fell during sleep time. Unlike the newer ACL ships, there were no laundry machines for our use and you could pay to have your laundry done. This ship is not built to handle the waters when the St. Lawrence River meets up with the North Atlantic Ocean. We had nine days of rocking and rolling. Some days so severe that neither pills nor wrist bands helped. I've had many doctor visits and an emergency room visit as a result of the vertigo I developed from this trip. I suffered for seven months as a result. Our trip to shore at Bar Harbour was another nightmare. We were so far out we couldn't even see the port from our little ship. We were put on an open launch in very rough waters to go ashore. It took a dangerous thirty minutes to get to shore. The harbor master would not allow us to go back on that launch. We had to wait two hours for a lobster boat to take us back. Our last night on board to Portland Maine was even worse than the previous nights with the rough waters. My last dinner tasted a lot worse coming up than it did going down. Too bad they didn't learn from their sister line (American Cruise Lines). If you have travelled with ACL be prepared for a complete disaster with Pearl Seas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Pearl Mist Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 1.0 2.5
Family 2.0 2.5
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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