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My sister and I sailed March 28, 2017 on Pearl Seas' seventh trip to Cuba. A year earlier, the company had canceled our April 2016 trip at the last minute. Instead, we tried out the ship on the Canadian Maritimes 14 day itinerary, and were impressed by its obliging crew, good food, large quarters and Swiss precision of timetables and communication by tour directors. So we had confidence that, once Pearl Seas received permission from Cuban ports, (which was communicated in early December, 2016), we would have a great trip to Cuba with this ship and crew. Cruise director Kristen came right over to us in the Ft. Lauderdale terminal, and we were warmly greeted by Akin, Boro, Sarah, Paulino, Celeste, Alvin and Chris on board. This cruise line has the human touch. This time we were on second deck forward, in a spacious cabin. We find the beds comfortable, the furniture well-made and the bathroom attractive. Deck two gets wet, however, from sea spray. The ship’s passage around both west and east tips was in rough water. The lecturers were outstanding. Rafael's perspective from his upbringing as a child of Cuban immigrants, his densely packed coverage of Cuban cuisine and Bay of Pigs talks were nuanced, with excellent diction and insight. Janis Lewin's decades of photographs expressed wordlessly the human condition of Cuban people. We enjoyed a wonderful participatory salsa class put on by ballroom dancing expert and musician Leelyn, and heard a wide variety of music of Kenny Holliday each night. Not quite enough Latin for me, though! The team of tour directors Kristen, Kathleen, Koryn, and Kevin gave clear public announcements, help and advice. The tours were excellent, with some excellent English speaking guides, such as Adolfo in Cienfuegos and Yenia in Santiago. The meals out were impressive, Brasso in particular. As were the meals and service on the ship. Akin and crew had taken many of my suggestions for Cuban menus and implemented them! A different quiche every morning, nice buffet at breakfast with food sculptures. The chef has a light touch, and is a master at garde-manger, not wasting any food due to our ordering each morning on a paper menu. Half portions allow you to enjoy dining without overeating. We experienced fine treatment, with champagne, birthday cake and serenading, as well as platters of bland food when we had a bout of sea sickness in rocking swells. Traveling in comfort and safety on this ship offered a particular advantage to us two women over the age of 60. Cuba’s people are warm, welcoming, and the roads are good, the water safe to drink, and the island is educated, and safe. However, the dilapidated state of water delivery, the electrical outages, and sketchy transportation makes it much better a destination for young, robust backpackers, rather than older tourists with less physical stamina in the heat, agility and tolerance for such outages. We wish we had brought boxes of pencils and papers for the students, or musical instruments. Our coming on a ship and tipping guides and local people surely helps support families living on $20/month government salaries. Having our ship offshore emboldened us to come see this once forbidden place, but in comfort, and avoiding the schlepping of packing and unpacking. Mojitos or frozen drinks on deck six. Nice and easy embarking and disembarking with only 182 guests and 66 crew. Guests are interesting, and do not put on airs. You don't even have to dress for dinner. It's a ship we would gladly return to. Canary islands anyone? Mexico? Iceland? Hawaii? Central America? Circumnavigation of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic? We would be on board!

Cuba in Comfort and Safety

Pearl Mist Cruise Review by juliasurgent

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2017
  • Destination: Cuba
My sister and I sailed March 28, 2017 on Pearl Seas' seventh trip to Cuba. A year earlier, the company had canceled our April 2016 trip at the last minute.

Instead, we tried out the ship on the Canadian Maritimes 14 day itinerary, and were impressed by its obliging crew, good food, large quarters and Swiss precision of timetables and communication by tour directors.

So we had confidence that, once Pearl Seas received permission from Cuban ports, (which was communicated in early December, 2016), we would have a great trip to Cuba with this ship and crew.

Cruise director Kristen came right over to us in the Ft. Lauderdale terminal, and we were warmly greeted by Akin, Boro, Sarah, Paulino, Celeste, Alvin and Chris on board. This cruise line has the human touch.

This time we were on second deck forward, in a spacious cabin. We find the beds comfortable, the furniture well-made and the bathroom attractive. Deck two gets wet, however, from sea spray. The ship’s passage around both west and east tips was in rough water.

The lecturers were outstanding. Rafael's perspective from his upbringing as a child of Cuban immigrants, his densely packed coverage of Cuban cuisine and Bay of Pigs talks were nuanced, with excellent diction and insight.

Janis Lewin's decades of photographs expressed wordlessly the human condition of Cuban people.

We enjoyed a wonderful participatory salsa class put on by ballroom dancing expert and musician Leelyn, and heard a wide variety of music of Kenny Holliday each night. Not quite enough Latin for me, though!

The team of tour directors Kristen, Kathleen, Koryn, and Kevin gave clear public announcements, help and advice.

The tours were excellent, with some excellent English speaking guides, such as Adolfo in Cienfuegos and Yenia in Santiago. The meals out were impressive, Brasso in particular. As were the meals and service on the ship. Akin and crew had taken many of my suggestions for Cuban menus and implemented them! A different quiche every morning, nice buffet at breakfast with food sculptures. The chef has a light touch, and is a master at garde-manger, not wasting any food due to our ordering each morning on a paper menu. Half portions allow you to enjoy dining without overeating.

We experienced fine treatment, with champagne, birthday cake and serenading, as well as platters of bland food when we had a bout of sea sickness in rocking swells.

Traveling in comfort and safety on this ship offered a particular advantage to us two women over the age of 60. Cuba’s people are warm, welcoming, and the roads are good, the water safe to drink, and the island is educated, and safe. However, the dilapidated state of water delivery, the electrical outages, and sketchy transportation makes it much better a destination for young, robust backpackers, rather than older tourists with less physical stamina in the heat, agility and tolerance for such outages. We wish we had brought boxes of pencils and papers for the students, or musical instruments. Our coming on a ship and tipping guides and local people surely helps support families living on $20/month government salaries. Having our ship offshore emboldened us to come see this once forbidden place, but in comfort, and avoiding the schlepping of packing and unpacking.

Mojitos or frozen drinks on deck six. Nice and easy embarking and disembarking with only 182 guests and 66 crew. Guests are interesting, and do not put on airs. You don't even have to dress for dinner. It's a ship we would gladly return to. Canary islands anyone? Mexico? Iceland? Hawaii? Central America? Circumnavigation of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic? We would be on board!
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Cabin Review

Cabin 203
great spacious, comfortable cabin near Atlantic Lounge coffee machine, lectures and activities. On port side in view of Cuba.

Negatives: couldn't use veranda due to it being wet with sea spray. Choose a higher deck!