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We chose this cruise because it offered 7 ports of call, more than any other cruise ship. Three of those ports Maria La Gorda, Parque de Nacional Alexandro de Humboldt and Holguin were unique to this cruise line. When we paid our deposit we received a letter saying we would have our final itinerary with excursion details 3 months before departure. We didn't receive details until 3 weeks before departure when we were informed that there would be only 4 ports of call and the 3 unique ones were cancelled. No explanation was offered. This change came after we had made our required final payment and after the time for cancellation with a refund had run. Customer service was nonexistent. We emailed Pearl Seas 2 times before the trip asking for an explanation of the new itinerary and a partial refund based on the reduction in ports and excursions (which were included in the price). No response. While onboard we were informed that the change was because of the Cuban government but we also learned that the 3 omitted ports had been omitted on every cruise the Pearl Mist took before our's in 2017. One of the cruise directors was unable to explain why we had not been notified earlier of the new itinerary but offered to send PS an email from the boat promising that they would get back to me with an explanation. They never responded. We went on the cruise. What we did and saw was fine. The cabin was on the big side. We had a deck. Seating was open in the dining room. Food was fine. Wine and beer was free with lunch and dinner and were fine. Lecturer Ted was knowledgeable and a good speaker. The other lecturer was neither. Excursions were all run by Havanatur, a Cuban company. Their buses were nice but guides were uneven. Some were very difficult to understand. Per our new itinerary sent 3 weeks before the trip we were to go to the Botanical Garden in Cienfuegos one day and take a bus tour to Trinidad the next. When we got on the boat we found you had to pick one or the other as the tours were on the same day. On any given day different tour buses stopped at different sites but we were never told ahead of time which bus was stopping where so there was no opportunity to chose a bus based on your personal preferences. We have friends that were considering this cruise so we paid special attention to handicap accessibility. The boat was reasonably handicap accessible although there was a railing on only one side of the hallways and the elevator did not go up to Level 6 where the outdoor happy hours were held. The tour buses had a high steep step to get onboard and 4-5 steep steps after that. Walking tours were often on uneven cobblestone streets or sidewalks that had inconsistent cutouts to accommodate walkers or wheel chairs. Many of the sites we visited had steep steps with no hand railings or steep thresholds to get into buildings. Cuba in general was not handicap accessible and many restaurants required navigation of stairs. This cruise had a luxury price but what they delivered was anything but. Still upset about the change in ports without notice or written explanation we emailed the president and vice president of American Cruise Lines (the parent company) when we got back from the trip. We asked for an explanation of why we weren't notified of changes in a timely fashion when we could still cancel and get a refund and we asked for a partial refund. We received no response. We then sent a letter to the same executives. The vp responded in the last week thanking us for writing and telling us that they would share our concerns with the Cuban government to make it a better experience. Again... no explanation for why they waited until 3 weeks before our cruise to tell us that none of their Cuban cruises had stopped in the 3 ports that were omitted. We ended up spending an incredible amount of time at sea. 49 hours getting from Ft. Lauderdale to Santiago de Cuba, 24 hours between Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos, 41 hours between Cienfuegos and Havana and 18 hours to get from Havana back to Ft. Lauderdale. Not what we paid for!

Never again

Pearl Mist Cruise Review by 1biker!

56 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2017
  • Destination: Cuba
We chose this cruise because it offered 7 ports of call, more than any other cruise ship. Three of those ports Maria La Gorda, Parque de Nacional Alexandro de Humboldt and Holguin were unique to this cruise line. When we paid our deposit we received a letter saying we would have our final itinerary with excursion details 3 months before departure. We didn't receive details until 3 weeks before departure when we were informed that there would be only 4 ports of call and the 3 unique ones were cancelled. No explanation was offered. This change came after we had made our required final payment and after the time for cancellation with a refund had run.

Customer service was nonexistent. We emailed Pearl Seas 2 times before the trip asking for an explanation of the new itinerary and a partial refund based on the reduction in ports and excursions (which were included in the price). No response. While onboard we were informed that the change was because of the Cuban government but we also learned that the 3 omitted ports had been omitted on every cruise the Pearl Mist took before our's in 2017. One of the cruise directors was unable to explain why we had not been notified earlier of the new itinerary but offered to send PS an email from the boat promising that they would get back to me with an explanation. They never responded.

We went on the cruise. What we did and saw was fine. The cabin was on the big side. We had a deck. Seating was open in the dining room. Food was fine. Wine and beer was free with lunch and dinner and were fine. Lecturer Ted was knowledgeable and a good speaker. The other lecturer was neither.

Excursions were all run by Havanatur, a Cuban company. Their buses were nice but guides were uneven. Some were very difficult to understand. Per our new itinerary sent 3 weeks before the trip we were to go to the Botanical Garden in Cienfuegos one day and take a bus tour to Trinidad the next. When we got on the boat we found you had to pick one or the other as the tours were on the same day. On any given day different tour buses stopped at different sites but we were never told ahead of time which bus was stopping where so there was no opportunity to chose a bus based on your personal preferences.

We have friends that were considering this cruise so we paid special attention to handicap accessibility. The boat was reasonably handicap accessible although there was a railing on only one side of the hallways and the elevator did not go up to Level 6 where the outdoor happy hours were held. The tour buses had a high steep step to get onboard and 4-5 steep steps after that. Walking tours were often on uneven cobblestone streets or sidewalks that had inconsistent cutouts to accommodate walkers or wheel chairs. Many of the sites we visited had steep steps with no hand railings or steep thresholds to get into buildings. Cuba in general was not handicap accessible and many restaurants required navigation of stairs.

This cruise had a luxury price but what they delivered was anything but.

Still upset about the change in ports without notice or written explanation we emailed the president and vice president of American Cruise Lines (the parent company) when we got back from the trip. We asked for an explanation of why we weren't notified of changes in a timely fashion when we could still cancel and get a refund and we asked for a partial refund. We received no response. We then sent a letter to the same executives. The vp responded in the last week thanking us for writing and telling us that they would share our concerns with the Cuban government to make it a better experience. Again... no explanation for why they waited until 3 weeks before our cruise to tell us that none of their Cuban cruises had stopped in the 3 ports that were omitted.

We ended up spending an incredible amount of time at sea. 49 hours getting from Ft. Lauderdale to Santiago de Cuba, 24 hours between Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos, 41 hours between Cienfuegos and Havana and 18 hours to get from Havana back to Ft. Lauderdale. Not what we paid for!
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