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.
Excellent, spacious, clean, comfortable. Nice balcony.