Our third trip with Pearl/America. Two previous trip were outstanding. This trip was outside continental shores to Costa Rico, Panama and Colombia.
PROS: Both hospitality and operations staff pleasant and attentive (particularly to elderly and mobility restricted), excellent food, open seating, great happy hour, excellent awesome entertainment (Laura and Bill and Dusty and Stevie), excellent service, knowledgeable and instructive lectures (Bill is great), urban tours well done, spacious and clean stateroom, staff support during sea sickness was responsive and comforting, scenery was spectacular, Canal passing and tours were beyond expectation. Carti Island and the Kanu people was different and fun. Shore tours were informative and gave us a feel for the local people and conditions. As usual, Marcie, John and Mike were wonderful. Laura and Bill became more than entertainers and functioned often as adjunct crew doing shepherding and announcements. Everything aboard ship was excellent. Similar to our previous trips, we got to meet and know some dear friends.Trip certainly fulfilled a 'bucket list' item for us. We totally support their river cruise programs.
CONS: Published support upon arrival was TERRIBLE. No Pearl Seas personnel were present for guidance to the booked hotels. Our small group was taken to three different hotels late at night in a foreign location where we had no reservations and no contact with Pearl Seas and no interpreter. Our group of 10-12 felt totally abandoned. Some rural tours not compatible with elderly mobility (did not seem to be well thought out considering the average age of the passengers, example - exiting and boarding local tenders through the surf, some hikes had not been verified in advance, no water, no interpreters, degree of difficulty not verified). Rural town tours moved hastily through the towns with no local immersion.
Daylight Canal passing would have been preferred. Someone should have known that the Manuel Antonio National Park was closed on Monday. Ship size seems better suited for close-in coastal cruising rather than open sea sailing. She was uncomfortable in the larger seas. It seemed as if no significant advance review of excursions had been made by Pearl Seas. Advance personal inspection should be done before setting the cruise excursions and program. As another passenger commented re: their international trips "Pearl is not yet ready for prime time ".
Spacious, clean, comfortable, balcony for every stateroom a big plus.