7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because I had never visited the part of eastern Canada the itinerary covered. The staff is attentive, service is excellent, food very good. The the ship caters to seniors but, unfortunately, assumes that all seniors ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had never visited the part of eastern Canada the itinerary covered. The staff is attentive, service is excellent, food very good. The the ship caters to seniors but, unfortunately, assumes that all seniors are inactive; there is no treadmill, the fitness equipment that is available is in poor condition and located outside, making it unusable in inclement weather. And the ship's decor, which looks like the 1950s, is a bit depressing--nothing matches and colors are outdated--and could use an overhaul. Cabins are comfortable and spacious with plenty drawer and closet/cabinet space, and amenities are ample. I was pleasantly surprised that other than gratuities for the crew, there were no extras--all off-ship excursions, laundry, cocktails, and wine with lunch and dinner were complimentary. I was disappointed that so little time was spent in each port. Disembarkation at each port and assignment to tour buses was handled efficiently, and with safety concerns, which was appreciated. The staff, however, should consider handling disembarkation of infirm passengers from the ship and buses separately so as not to slow down the more active. There was a speaker on board who talked about various areas to be visited and he was interesting, but much of what he had to say seemed to be marketing for future cruises or hotels with which the cruise line contracts. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
For anyone relying on a wheelchair, beware. There were steps to navigate during initial boarding; the day trips were unavailable to us because 5 of the stops we anchored in the harbor and the small boat used to get us to the mainland had ... Read More
For anyone relying on a wheelchair, beware. There were steps to navigate during initial boarding; the day trips were unavailable to us because 5 of the stops we anchored in the harbor and the small boat used to get us to the mainland had steps; and if we were able to get to land, the tour busses were not wheelchair accessible. There were layers of problems getting off and on the boat so even if we had successfully navigated one hurdle, another one existed. For instance, if we had been able to get onto tgevtender boat, on shore the ramp used to get up to the pier had slats across it which the wheelchair couldn’t bump over. The “handicapped” room we were given was a slightly modified able bodied room. The bathroom was the biggest problem. I have tried calling, emailing, post mailing Pearl Seas and they will not return my call. Horrendous trip. Even worse customer service. Caveat emptor. Find another cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Interested in itinerary and believed the brochure touting it as a luxury cruise, NOT! Started with delay in picking passengers up to travel to Port. Nobody to ask from Pearl Seas at Hotel and their office and ship not answering phone. ... Read More
Interested in itinerary and believed the brochure touting it as a luxury cruise, NOT! Started with delay in picking passengers up to travel to Port. Nobody to ask from Pearl Seas at Hotel and their office and ship not answering phone. First cruise I've ever been on that you didnt have a permanent bar. Each afternoon they set up a temporary bar for "cocktail hour" and later after dinner during entertainment. Wine served at meals poor quality. Carpet tired. balcony furniture chipped. Had a good time since we were traveling with a group who all new each other. Worse thing was that a member of our group who uses motorized wheelchair couldn't disembark at several ports. She was literaaly trapped on ship. This information was not furnished before the cruise even though all the right questions were asked. Promoted as luxurious and for good for senoirs. Falseadvertising Would never go on this line again and never reccomend it! Only good thing was the entertainent! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My wife, who is in a motorized wheelchair, wanted to find additional cruise lines that are handicapped friendly. Pearl Mist failed miserably. From the very start the lack of communication, coordination and staff commitment was very ... Read More
My wife, who is in a motorized wheelchair, wanted to find additional cruise lines that are handicapped friendly. Pearl Mist failed miserably. From the very start the lack of communication, coordination and staff commitment was very evident. We were picked up in Toronto almost 2 hours late with no explanation. Our trip was scheduled to end in Chicago but we discovered once on board that we were disembarking in Milwaukee. Of the 8 days we cruised my wife was unable to get off the ship 3 of those days because the crew used stairs instead of a gangplank. Two other days we were stuck in port because the tour buses lacked lifts. Never did any officer apologize to us. The food was fair but very small portions. If you enjoy river cruises book the American Queen Steamboat on the Mississippi or Columbia-Snake. You will not regret it. Sorry Pearl Mist. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I have always wanted to cruise the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States. This cruise became available and we bit the expensive fare to see the Great Lakes. Disappointment came almost immedicately with the person sent to pick us ... Read More
I have always wanted to cruise the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States. This cruise became available and we bit the expensive fare to see the Great Lakes. Disappointment came almost immedicately with the person sent to pick us up. She was new and did not have adequate knowledge about the cruise. In fairness to her, she was one of the two weak musicians onboard. Boarding was acceptable in an out of the way port. Our cabine was very large and very clean. The TV in the cabin was not appropriate for such an expensive fare - a small 17 inch color TV with a DVD player. Dining was mediocre at best. Each day 3 choices that generally included fish, beef, and chicken. The service was outstanding in the dining room. Always a friendly face and eager to serve. There are two small rooms for evening drinks. One is on the second floor and one is on the forth floor. On at least two occasions the bar ran out of certain brands of liquor. They were generally prepared to offer most drink selections. Entertainment consisted of two singers with guitars. The male entertainer was better than the female. Two nights local entertainment was provided and very good. While most people pay $20,000 per cabin we assumed most excursions would be included. That was not the case. They provide some basic excursions such as trolley's that run a loop around town. Some have visits to the local sites. However, the nicer tours have charges. We assumed that we would have a tour around the islands of Parry Sound - only to find out we had to pay for the excursion. The fare charged was less than that charged if you did the excurison on your own. The Cruise Director was less than professional. She sat on the first floor, coordinated excursions and was available for questions most of the time. This cruise line is attractive for people that are over 75 years of age. Many are handicapped and require assistance. The crew did little to provide what I would consider miminal assistance. Often, there are gangplants and steps that need to be navigated. The process is time consuming and often very hard for those with walkers and wheel chairs. The recommended gratuity is $20 per day per person. I did not consider this to be an appropriate amount based on the cruise fare charged. If you need to fly from Chicago the minimum tine to the airport is one hour and thirty minutes - the cruse staff will tell you it takes 45 minutes. The best assets of this cruise were the room and wait staff that were eager to please, the larger cabins that were always cleaned and supplied, and the buses used for the tours each with an onboard toilet. Immigration services were a pain sometimes taking two hours. Whiile tour service on the Great Lakes might be limited the places that you get to see are great. I will not be returning with such high fares and limited services that are included in the base fare. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We took the Pearl Mist 11 night cruise from Chicago to Toronto last August 2018. This cruise is targeted for people 75 years an older, many of which need assistance. That's ok but it should be clearly stated. Let's start by ... Read More
We took the Pearl Mist 11 night cruise from Chicago to Toronto last August 2018. This cruise is targeted for people 75 years an older, many of which need assistance. That's ok but it should be clearly stated. Let's start by saying the good things: 1) Stateroom and bathroom are very big. 2) Probably the best thing was the Staff, they are very friendly and helpful 3) Food was ok. 4) Drinks are included. 5) Some ports of call are very interesting: MACKINAC ISLAND, MUSKEGON / HOLLAND, Parry Sound and Niagara Falls. 6) Cruising the Welland Canal and going through 8 sets locks from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Now the bad things: 1) Overpriced at 20 grand per stateroom for and outed ship with little to do in it. It has no pool or good onboard activities. We spent 2 days cruising with little to do. The Gym consists of 4 machines located on and outside deck. 2) The TV in the stateroom is ridiculous 3) The ship is very small 108 cabins. 4) Some ports are call should be eliminated specially Sault Sainte Marie and Little Current. Nothing to do in them. 5) The time allocated in each destination is not well planned. We only spend 2-3 hours in Niagara that had a lot of activities to do and spend a full day at Sault Sainte Marie with almost nothing to do. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I will review by category: Service: I think the best part about this company and being on a small ship is the personalized service. By the end of the trip, I knew all of my room attendant staff, the entertainers, cruise directors and ... Read More
I will review by category: Service: I think the best part about this company and being on a small ship is the personalized service. By the end of the trip, I knew all of my room attendant staff, the entertainers, cruise directors and various other staff by name, and they knew mine! and never failed to greet me each time we passed. I especially appreciated this personability that you definitely won't get on big cruises. The main ship director even personally visited my cabin to ask if I was enjoying my room and made extra efforts regarding my accommodations, which I truly appreciated (I was sharing a room with my parents, and I think he felt bad for me ;) The rooms were great, well stocked by attentive and sweet staff, and all had a private balcony. The room service was great! On that note: I have to mention that I was the youngest guest on the ship (I'm 28). I see that there are some pretty negative reviews about the average ages being around 60-75 from past voyages, and don't get me wrong, I definitely wouldn't have minded meeting a cute guy my age ;) however; the age of my fellow passengers didn't bother me at all! In fact, I saw this one of the highlights of my trip. I was able to meet and talk to many of these people and truly enjoyed our conversation, their wisdom and stories, and by the end of our journey; I felt I had made meaningful connections with many of them. Entertainment/Recreation: The ONLY reason I took a few points of for these areas is that A. There was no pool on board (this was a bummer for me) and B. I think they could add a few more Entertainment options on board such as comedy shows or even just increasing the trivia and bingo events. Now for the high points: The band on board was great!! They were very personable and provided nightly themed mini shows, as well as played through cocktail hours. There were also interesting lectures and mini-seminars about our next port cities before we would arrive at each. Again this is an EDUCATIONAL tour, so if all you are interested in is on board dolphin shows, giant movie theatres and all you can eat buffets, this may not be the experience/cruise line for you. If you like to work out, they have a small workout area on one of the decks. *A plus for me was the quiet, comfortable library on Deck 4 (there is a smaller, less known about one on deck 5 as well), as I am in grad school and this provided me with a perfect place to work on homework. They also have 3 computers (1 in the small library) that have access to wifi and printers if you did not bring your own laptop etc. Now for the Cuba Experience! Excursions: I think everyone I talked to had a different favorite port/excursion/experience so it really depends what you are interested in seeing the most! Positives for ME: I really enjoyed meeting and talking to the Cuban people. I opted out of the Havana tour on the last day and instead explored the city on my own (and YES, you can do this!). I was hesitant at first but was reassured by staff, seasoned Cuban travelers, foreigners (mostly European travelers), and Cubans themselves that there is very little crime (especially towards tourists, which is virtually unheard of) and this was probably the highlight of my trip. The guided tours in the other port cities were overall great, the one downside being that we were extremely rushed on a couple and some tour guides and staff were less relaxed than others, making those excursions quite stressful for guests at times. If we could do it again, we would have spent some of the less interesting excursions exploring the cities going to places we wanted to see on our own, relaxed time frame. Otherwise, we went to some AMAZING places, especially in Santiago and other mountainous ports, where we were able to zip line and visit beautiful and historical churches and other incredible architecture, and dine at private restaurants in peoples homes (One in Santigo with a view of the entire city and acousitic band playing cuban music just for us). We also were given a private classical concert right on a beach, which were both beyond beautiful! * This biggest downside for me was not being able to go to a beach, as the weather was beyond beautiful but a little too hot at times (no at all humid though!). It is actually the US government preventing Americans from being able to go to beaches in Cuba, as it is considered a "tourism" activity so I hope this changes soon because I will DEFINITELY be back!! Overall, the Pearl Mist, staff, and tour of Cuba were AMAZING and I highly recommend it! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was a very strange experience. I will divide this review into two sections: the cruise & ship itself; and our visit to Cuba. Regarding the cruise, state rooms are extremely large and comfortable. The ship is immaculate. The ... Read More
This was a very strange experience. I will divide this review into two sections: the cruise & ship itself; and our visit to Cuba. Regarding the cruise, state rooms are extremely large and comfortable. The ship is immaculate. The cabin stewards, waitstaff, and crew members are delightful and appeared genuinely interested in each passenger's comfort. The entertainers, including a married couple, make a major contribution to the overall experience. The lecturers, especially Richard, is extremely knowledgeable, humorous, and prepares you to your visit to each city. The cruise directors were always available and helpful. You spend an inordinate amount of time at sea. It took 2 1/2 days to reach the first port. There is virtually nothing to do on board. Exercise equipment is on an open deck and were covered with canvas and tied up. No doubt this was because of the heavy seas and high winds. Beware: The ship does not handle waves very well despite the claim that there are stabilizers. There was no pool and the only activity other than lectures and evening entertainment is eating. The food can best be described as bland. There appears to be little if any salt or pepper used to prepare the dishes. There are few dished made with sauces. Meal preparation seems to be aimed at the elderly population that inhabits the ship. It's surprising that they did not offer to purée the food! Choices on the menu are relatively boring and repetitive and the ship takes on no new food supplies once it leaves Fort Lauderdale. The fish seems ro get fishier as the days pass. I recommend that when possible, take two meals while the ship is docked off shore. Some excursions include lunch and, by and large, the offerings were mediocre. On the positive side, wine and liquor is readily available and if you drink enough, you may be unable to focus on what surrounds you. The cruise line fails to let passengers know that this is a trip favored by the elderly. I would guess the average age of passengers is well over 82. One man was celebrating his wedding: He was age 91 and his bride was significantly younger. For many, the men are on their second, third, and fourth wives. What a surprise! They appear to be decades younger than their husbands. There is enough Botox in passengers' faces to actually float the ship. Facelifts abound. If all the skin was removed and sewn together, there would be enough to create an entire Cuban baseball team! It is clear that this is not a trip for anyone under the age of 75. As for Cuba, as Columbus described it, it is a paradise unto itself. This is a "people to people" cruise, the legal justification to allow US citizens to visit this country. The excursions were phenomenal. They included a trip to the Tropicana nightclub, a woodcarvers studio, an area in Havana consisting of artistic tiles placed almost everywhere, a concert and a vocal performance. The people of Cuba are warm, friendly, open and are as puzzled as the passengers are as to the almost 6 decade old embargo imposed against this country. Tour guides we're openly critical of their government and the economic problems this country faces. Hopefully, the US passengers will pressure their governmental representatives to lift the embargo immediately. This is a very expensive trip. Although the accommodations were consistent with the price, meals were often mediocre. The ship offers little to do for anyone under the age of 75, a group that appears to be a minority on board. Yet, being able to visit for Cuban cities and meet citizens in every port is a memorable, meaningful experience. Again, if you're under the age of 75, I would consider whether you want to be on this floating senior care facility. Hopefully, we will all be much older and then, this would be an appropriate trip. For ow -- I's find another cruise line. Read Less
56 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
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 ... Read More
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! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We were on the Pearl Sea Great Lakes Cruise from August 23 to August 29th. We boarded in Midland after a three hour bus ride from Toronto. Trip was around the Great Lakes to Chicago. Our Cabin was one of the five “suites.” The ... Read More
We were on the Pearl Sea Great Lakes Cruise from August 23 to August 29th. We boarded in Midland after a three hour bus ride from Toronto. Trip was around the Great Lakes to Chicago. Our Cabin was one of the five “suites.” The extra size was the empty space area behind a stairway furnished with a chair. Balcony was OK but required opening a water tight and secure door, which my wife was unable to open. Ship itself holds about 200 passengers. It is advertised as new but is actually much older than that. Design, furnishings, cabin furniture, decorations, TV, and even the equipment on the Bridge are all very dated. Actual age is certainly more than 10 and perhaps 20 yrs old. No amenities like an exercise room, laundry, pool, or even a hot tub. Library was as fancy as it got. TV reception very poor on an old, small TV. Food was mediocre at best. Meat was never fresh – very dry and tough - strongly suggested it had been frozen. Several times did have Lobster Tails which were excellent. Variety at breakfast buffet very limited and simple. Overall variety at meals very repetitious. Wine served at meals was extremely cheap and poor quality though variety selection was OK. Mixed drinks were available in the lounges for one hour only before dinner with a very limited selection. Two small lounges with very crowded sofas. Staff themselves were very polite and helpful. Most were from the Philippines and very amiable. Passengers were very pleasant and heavily elderly. No one under 65 and many over 80. Large numbers of wheel chairs, walkers, and canes. Ports of Call were simplistic – as there were only small cities on the route. Information talks given on night before only talked about times, etc but included virtually nothing about the sites themselves or what to expect to see. Informational talks on Great Lakes were good but few and very short. Entertainment was only a two man instrument show – very simple and cheap – not at all entertaining. Docks themselves were clean and nice EXCEPT for Chicago. The cruise advertised originally that we would dock at the Navy Pier. That was then changed to a horrific dock about 20 miles south of the city near the violent areas of Chicago. It was a very large cargo storage area protected by large barbed wired fences, and entry guard gate, and required an escort for transportation in and out. The gangplank was onto dirt onto a canvas tarp. Transport trucks and freight cars were constantly coming and going. We were told that the Navy Pier was closed to Cruise Ships but when we finally got to the city several large ships were indeed docked there. Bus transport to the city got lost on city streets (in South Chicago!). They had to use my iPhone with Google Maps to figure out where they were!! In summary, despite the fact that the cruise was priced with the major high class luxury cruise lines; it was very cheap and poorly organized. Although advertised to be almost new, the ship is dated. Food was just OK. Wine horrible. Chicago dock was an abomination. Overall a very poor trip for the price, and a disappointing trip at any price. ________________________________________ Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We took the Pearl Mist from Toronto to Chicago in late June. Both embarkation and disembarkation went extremely smoothly. In fact, getting off and on the ship was surprisingly always easy and very fast. This review comes from the ... Read More
We took the Pearl Mist from Toronto to Chicago in late June. Both embarkation and disembarkation went extremely smoothly. In fact, getting off and on the ship was surprisingly always easy and very fast. This review comes from the perspective of someone in their 20's. During my cruise, I was the youngest person on the ship. I was traveling with my grandmother, who is in her late 80's. We chose this location and cruise line because it was somewhere she had never been before, and we were very happy with our choice. Ship - I loved the ship! It has plenty of outdoors space and nice lounges to relax in. Since it is a small ship, there is no spa or workout room (only some equipment on a deck). I didn't mind that, though. Cabin - I shared a handicap cabin with two other people, and it was very spacious. The balcony was wonderful. Dining - The open seating dining was really nice. By the end of the trip, everyone knew each other from sitting next to each other at meals. I also thought the food was wonderful. You could ask for a half portion of food, there were vegetarian options, and dessert was always good. Wine and beer were also included options at meals, and there was a cocktail hour everyday. Entertainment and Activities - Since this is a smaller ship, the entertainment is also smaller. Most nights, two entertainers would play music related to a theme (i.e. country, 50's, etc.). People seemed to love this. I particularly liked the local entertainers that they brought in from outside of the ship. There were also some good lectures and trivia (with prizes) one night. Service - The service was spectacular. At meals, the waiters knew our favorite extras and knew our names. What was really important, though, was the service the ship gave to my grandmother, who uses a wheelchair and walker. They were patient and kind beyond what was expected of them, and they went out of their way to make sure my grandmother could go on all of the excursions. Ports and Shore excursions - I enjoyed them! There was something to do at every stop. Sometimes the locations were tiny towns, but that's what there is in some parts of Canada. We enjoyed every stop, especially Mackinac Island. To summerize, I really enjoyed my travels on the Pearl Mist. I would definitely recommend it for people who are looking for a nice, relaxing vacation. Although I would not recommend it to people my age traveling alone, just because of the price and the slow pace of things, this trip was the perfect way to spend some quality time with my grandmother and to see parts of Canada and the US in a luxury fashion. Read Less
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 4.0
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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