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30 Pearl Seas Cuba Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise because I wanted to learn about the history and culture of the Cuban people. The cruise departed from Fort Lauderdale and went to Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and Havana. The embarkation went smoothly, but ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to learn about the history and culture of the Cuban people. The cruise departed from Fort Lauderdale and went to Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and Havana. The embarkation went smoothly, but the stay at the pre-cruise hotel was not satisfactory. The clerk checked me into a dirty room, which took some time to correct. One of the elevators stopped working, which caused delays in using the remaining elevator. Breakfast the next morning was included, but the eggs were cold. A pleasant surprise after departing the hotel was an air-boat tour of the Everglades, which helped pass the time until we could get to the ship. The ship is relatively small, but was stable during some rough seas. My single cabin was small but adequate. The dining was first-rate, with excellent food and the flexibility to choose half portions. Room service was good. My housekeeper made up my room at least twice a day and sometimes three. The cruise included three days at sea, and the activities helped pass the time, e.g., trivia games, bingo, and educational lectures on the natural environment and cultural history of Cuba. The shore excursions were educational and entertaining. I especially liked the performance by the chamber orchestra of Cienfuegos. The walking tours were led by educated guides who pointed out landmarks and their significance along the way. My favorite excursion was a ride in a 1953 Buick through the streets of Havana. I wouldn't go again on this particular trip, but I would encourage anyone who has not been to Cuba to go on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Wanted to see Cuba and really enjoyed this circumnavigation tour versus a traditional land tour. The Peal Mist is a small, intimate ship that has top-notch staff and service. It is not a luxury cruise ship and compares to the similarly ... Read More
Wanted to see Cuba and really enjoyed this circumnavigation tour versus a traditional land tour. The Peal Mist is a small, intimate ship that has top-notch staff and service. It is not a luxury cruise ship and compares to the similarly intimate ships used on European river cruises. With fewer than 200 guests on board, I had the chance to meet almost everyone and really enjoyed my fellow travelers. The food was good with plenty of selections, the cabin was larger than expected and very comfortable, the staff was outstanding, the entertainment was lightweight and fun, the lecturers were informative and interesting, the tours were varied and well organized. Please note, this is NOT a value cruise. It is pricey when comparing to large cruise ships, but everything is included and the intimacy and attention to detail by the organization and staff is well worth the price paid. Everything about this cruise exceeded my expectations but I must re-emphasize that you are paying for the intimate travel experience versus luxury. I highly recommend this cruise for individuals aged 50+ but do not believe it is well suited for children or young adults. A+++ Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Smaller ships are the best way to travel for us. We received a notice in the mail about 9 months ago concerning the Cuba cruise on the Pearl Mist. My husband said let's go. I had also seen the ad in Southern Living Magazine. ... Read More
Smaller ships are the best way to travel for us. We received a notice in the mail about 9 months ago concerning the Cuba cruise on the Pearl Mist. My husband said let's go. I had also seen the ad in Southern Living Magazine. The accommodations on the Pearl Mist are great. Cabins have plenty of room for comfort. We have no complaints regarding the ship, crew, or the itinerary. It was all very well done and coordinated. There were two people who did presentations regarding Cuba. Victor was a Cuban born young man who seemed to handle the logistics of getting from port to port and touring around. We enjoyed the presentations by these knowledgable people and it led to discussions amoung the passengers. There were two Cuban born passengers who spoke to all of us the last day about their story. Very interesting and emotional for these women. We did not know about the bus ride from one port into Havana with a two night stay at a 5 star hotel until we boarded the ship. This was very special and I imagine we weren't told about it previously to boarding as sometimes things can change with their itineraries. Changes they have no control over. I would certainly recommend the Pearl Mist Cuba Cruise to anyone. So much more than I anticipated! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The ship was phenomenal with good food, great cabin (Deck 2), wonderful stops, a two night stay in a 4 star hotel in Havana, and great talks with a person affiliated with National Geographic. The crew was very hospitable as well as the ... Read More
The ship was phenomenal with good food, great cabin (Deck 2), wonderful stops, a two night stay in a 4 star hotel in Havana, and great talks with a person affiliated with National Geographic. The crew was very hospitable as well as the cruise directors and met every need that was asked of them. There were 187 passengers. The meals were very good with multiple choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was an open bar from 5 or so until late at night as well as beer and wine at lunch and dinner. The cabin was very large and had a small balcony. There were plenty of drawers and storage space and the bathroom was very adequate. The four port stops were outstanding and since our ship couldn't dock in Havana (only two slips for large ships) they bused us 3 1/2 hours across the island and put us up in a very modern Spanish hotel that provided breakfasts and dinners. The day tours included lunches at local restaurants in all the ports. The exercise equipment was old and in some cases not working. We were told that the ship was going into wet dock and the equipment was to be replaced. There were 2 bikes but not hooked up electronically. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this vessel and cruise company because of the size of the ship. We were not disappointed at all! The rooms were comfortable and sized well, as were the bathrooms. The crew was attentive, polite and always helpful. The meal choices ... Read More
We chose this vessel and cruise company because of the size of the ship. We were not disappointed at all! The rooms were comfortable and sized well, as were the bathrooms. The crew was attentive, polite and always helpful. The meal choices were varied and always terrific. Service in the dining room couldn't have been any better. Everything was included in the cruise price and we had 3 meals a day, The crew did laundry for me about 6 times while on the cruise, there was happy hour every day with a wide variety of drinks and eats. I couldn't say enough about this cruise experience! I have already booked another cruise with the same line on the same ship for 2020! If you are looking for a relaxing, educational, and fun cruise this would be the one. We were not interested in the gym at all. There was some equipment on one of the decks, but I cannot review it as I never used it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This ship has a great and comprehensive Cuba schedule.The cruise is all-inclusive of excursions and drinks.The staff is outstanding in their attitude and service. No nickel and diming of the passengers. Staterooms are roomy and ... Read More
This ship has a great and comprehensive Cuba schedule.The cruise is all-inclusive of excursions and drinks.The staff is outstanding in their attitude and service. No nickel and diming of the passengers. Staterooms are roomy and comfortable. Food is outstanding and varied choices. Entertainment is limited but very good for a ship that has 210 passengers. You will learn a lot and have some real fun on this ship. Getting on and off the ship is a breeze compared to the larger ships. Cabins all have accessible balconies with two chairs and a table. Showers are of good size, but there are no bathtubs in the cabins. Lounges are of good size and all have free refreshments and snacks as well as coffee and expresso. Captain's happy hour starts at 5 pm and continues to dinner time, where beer and wine is also included with your meal. In addition, the complimentary bar is open after dinner in the lounge where entertainment is provided. . Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Let me begin this review by saying that anyone who travels to Cuba needs to be flexible or choose a different destination...the Cuban government imposes changes on cruise ship schedules, which is no fault of the cruise line and those ... Read More
Let me begin this review by saying that anyone who travels to Cuba needs to be flexible or choose a different destination...the Cuban government imposes changes on cruise ship schedules, which is no fault of the cruise line and those changes can/will happen to any cruise ship. Our Pearl Mist voyage had two major changes: 1) We sailed in a clockwise direction (the opposite of the planned schedule) which put us in Santiago de Cuba rather than in Havana for New Year's Eve. The cruise line arranged for us to attend a fabulous local outdoor party at a 5 star Melia hotel, with 2 bands, unlimited cocktails, and appetizers. It was all very upscale and festive. 2) Instead of the three days we were scheduled to be in Havana, our ship was allowed just 12 hours at one of the two cruise docks. So we were driven on a 31/2 hour bus ride through the countryside (that ride gave us the opportunity to see the Cuban interior rather than coastline) and the cruise line put us up at a lovely 5 star, centrally located, Havana hotel, the Parque Central. The cruise line had 15 days notice to arrange this alternate plan at an expense to them of $100,000! I call this going above and beyond! Our cabin was slightly smaller than we've had on other cruise lines, but very adequate including a balcony with a table and 2 chairs. We ordered room service breakfast one morning and had a delightful meal on our patio. We were on Deck 3 and found no need to use the elevator...most activities are on Deck 2 and 4; The dining room is on Deck 1. There is an elevator for those needing it, but we didn't see it getting a lot of use. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals...the food was expertly prepared and the service was the same as you would find at a 5 star restaurant. The meal choices were varied, 3 courses, and delicious. Breakfast offered both a buffet and table service. We were asked to order lunch and dinner at breakfast to allow the chef to prepare, but were told we certainly could change our choices at mealtimes. Half portions were also available. We had a cocktail hour from 5-10:30 each evening with top shelf liquor: Glenleviet, Grey Goose, etc., a pleasant surprise. Which brings me to additional charges...there are NONE! They don't even ask for a credit card at boarding because there is NOTHING to pay for, including laundry! The only exceptions are gratuities, which can be left on a credit card charge, dollars, or euros and tips for tour guides and bus drivers. All of our tour guides spoke very good English and were quite knowledgeable and friendly. Because this cruise is a people to people trip, our tours included artist co-operatives and studios, botanical gardens, etc. but these were mixed in with city and landmark tours, an evening at the Tropicana, and a fabulous tour in a classic car. Because we chose full day tours (half day options are available) we had lunch at a variety of local restaurants and paladores. Some, of course,, were better than others, but all included beer, wine, and cocktails, and provided another opportunity to see how Cubans live. The Cuban people are lovely, welcoming, and happy. We always felt very safe, so much so that we ventured out on our own in the evening. Entertainment consisted of 2 musicians who played music of the era of the guests aboard the ship. (50's and 60's rock and roll) For a small ship, the entertainment is exactly what we expected. There are lectures and classes (mojito making, salsa dancing) during the day. The guests ranged in age from 40s to 90s. Maybe this was just our cruise, but the guests were so friendly, well traveled, and so much fun and made our trip that much more memorable. The dance floor was crowded every night, maybe the top shelf liquor had something to do with that?? The cruise staff was great from the cruise directors to the waiters to the cabin stewards...They were all charming, accommodating, and professional. One note: Small ships are not as stabilized as massive ships. As were traveling around the tip of the island, the seas were a bit rough and were asked to stay off the outdoor decks for a few hours. My husband was not bothered at all, but I have a tendency to experience motion sickness. I had asked my physician for sea sick patches before we left home, and I am very happy that I did! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We wanted to go to Cuba and visit the smaller ports where big ships can't go. We also prefer the small boats where everyone eats together and you choose where you sit, etc. This ship is as close to a riverboat experience that you will ... Read More
We wanted to go to Cuba and visit the smaller ports where big ships can't go. We also prefer the small boats where everyone eats together and you choose where you sit, etc. This ship is as close to a riverboat experience that you will get outside Europe! It is not a glamorous boat - the furniture is a little dated and the carpets a little worn in places. The cabin is huge by cruise standards and we had a very comfortable king bed which all rooms have. What they do not do is "nickel and dime" you to death. Except for gratuities (which are completely voluntary) you should not pay an extra cent. From complimentary tote bags, hats, amenity bags to take ashore, etc. everything is included. The food is delicious and there are many choices. The staff is wonderful - especially the dining room and housekeeping. All tours are included and excellent. We enjoyed learning from various guides and seeing a variety of sights. To be honest, we didn't attend much of the evening entertainment - we were too tired from all the action during the day! There is wine and beer with lunch and dinner and there is an hour long cocktail event every night before dinner. All is included. Yes, the program and ship attract older people, but honestly, they were some of the most interesting to get to know. They had traveled the world and lived lives of adventure. The Cuba trip also attracts a much younger group than the American focused trips. If you want to go to Cuba we would recommend this ship and tour. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My husband and I recently took this cruise to Cuba, we have both always wanted to go there. I can't say enough good things about it. This ship goes to places most Americans will never see, We enjoyed the daily talks on the ship ... Read More
My husband and I recently took this cruise to Cuba, we have both always wanted to go there. I can't say enough good things about it. This ship goes to places most Americans will never see, We enjoyed the daily talks on the ship providing information on various topics in regards to the ports we were visiting etc.. At each stop the tours that we went on were very good and educational, The food was very good on the ship and the staff was great. My husband and I were probably one of the youngest people on this trip which was fine with us. The cruise ship does not have a casino or swimming pool. All rooms are a decent size and all have balcony's. If you have ever thought about going to Cuba this is the cruise to take, Oh, and we felt very safe everywhere we went in Cuba, Believe it or not they have a very low crime rate Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We wanted to see Cuba not just Havana. This cruise provided that with lectures onboard to prepare us for each stop. The lectures included history as well as the present day situation. I feel that we saw Cuba as in depth as the ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba not just Havana. This cruise provided that with lectures onboard to prepare us for each stop. The lectures included history as well as the present day situation. I feel that we saw Cuba as in depth as the government allows. It is obvious that the tour guides tell you what the government requires and allows, but they are very gracious and knowledgeable. Most are highly educated and supplement their income as tour guides. The ship is pretty basic but very homey and has everything that you need. Don't expect chandeliers, grand staircases or marble bathrooms, but you will get a wonderful and dedicated staff. The staterooms are larger than many of the bigger ships and ours was very clean. The food is very good and if you ask you might even get chicken adobo for your table one night. The upper deck is a really pleasant getaway for reading and enjoying the sun. I would happily book this ship again. Read Less
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
Sail Date March 2018
I chose this cruise because it offered four port visits: Santiago, Casilda/Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Havana, plus an opportunity to view Cuba’s beautiful mountainous seacoast. Each port visit included organized city tours followed by ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it offered four port visits: Santiago, Casilda/Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Havana, plus an opportunity to view Cuba’s beautiful mountainous seacoast. Each port visit included organized city tours followed by free time to visit museums, churches, art galleries or other activities of one’s choice. Time at sea included lectures and orientation meetings prior to each port visit. The advantage of a small ship is that we could dock at each port, rather than waiting for tenders, and larger ships cannot get into Casilda at all. In addition to cultural visits to concerts, nightclubs and historical sites, the trip offered longer field trips, such as a visit to a beautiful mountain park (think crystal blue waterfalls) near Cienfuegos and an all-day Havana tour. All of the cities have historic renovated downtown areas. Each has its own combination of historic buildings, churches, museums and galleries. Cienfuegos, for example, has a lot of French influence. The people are very friendly and welcoming, sometimes too much so, and one has to learn to pick and choose. Trinidad and Havana were crowded with tourists from other countries. But be sure to see the real Cuba—there are no Starbucks or McDonalds here and there is a great need for international investment. I cannot say enough good things about the staff. Everyone was very professional and helpful. At the outset of the cruise, I mentioned that I hoped to photograph offshore lighthouses which I had marked on a map. My map was shortly returned with the date and time we would pass each one! You could not get that kind of attention on a large ship! And staff were extremely helpful when I needed to find a special art gallery in Trinidad (thank you Ralph!) and negotiate a custom taxi arrangement. One tradeoff is that, while we were blessed with perfect weather, a smaller ship will move around a lot more if the seas are rough. Not a problem this time. The cabin was delightful with its own balcony and the food was excellent and plentiful. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in a wonderful cultural experience who is willing to forgo the climbing walls, super slides and crowded pools. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I was born in Cuba and had not been back in 51 years. My husband and I loved the entire experience. The Pearl Mist ship was clean, comfortable, offered plentiful and excellent food; the cruise staff was professional, helpful, lovely, fun ... Read More
I was born in Cuba and had not been back in 51 years. My husband and I loved the entire experience. The Pearl Mist ship was clean, comfortable, offered plentiful and excellent food; the cruise staff was professional, helpful, lovely, fun as was the entire crew. The itinerary took us to Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and La Habana. When in Santiago (my hometown) I visited many places of my youth and was able to visit the family who now lives in our previous home. Santiago was incredible fun - the music was just great! Trinidad and Cienfuegos are gorgeous cities. Due to logistics, we were only in Havana one day - a good intense day where we got to visit several major sights. The shore excursions were varied: some hiking (Cienfuegos El Nicho - great), El Cobre Chapel (marvelous), various music venues (steel band, great salsa music and dancing, a chamber music concert) and a theater improvisation outing with great musicians. The Cuban people were so kind, welcoming, interested in who we were, accommodating. The Pearl Mist guests in this trip were absolutely lovely - there was open sitting for all the meals and we got to meet many guests who had so much to share. The ship entertainment band was so much fun and the (2) lecturers were very knowledgeable about the Cuban experience and history. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This small ship cruise focused strictly on Exploring Cuba as a destination, although in the summer the ship does a Great Lakes cruise. The ship holds about 200 people and was %90 filled. We visited 4 ports during the cruise. There were ... Read More
This small ship cruise focused strictly on Exploring Cuba as a destination, although in the summer the ship does a Great Lakes cruise. The ship holds about 200 people and was %90 filled. We visited 4 ports during the cruise. There were 2 or 3 different excursions in each port (included in the price) so you can tailor your experience to your desired activity level or length you want to be off the ship. Most of the excursions had plenty of walking around on your own time as we were in port for about 1-1/2 to 2 days in each port. The cabins are clean, well maintained and more spacious than in the larger ships. There are destination experts along to give talks during afternoons at sea, and a couple small bands (2 persons each) so there's something playing in 2 of the lounges in the evening. WIFI is included, and the service, while not extremely fast, was acceptable. Happy hour before dinner is included, that includes open bar and ordourves. Because of the small size embarkation and dissembarkation went fairly quickly. While the base price is higher than on the larger cruise ships the amenities included (i.e. bar bill and excursions) make up for most of it. You get to know the concierges very well, and they go on the excursions so are very knowledgeable about the area as well. The food was excellent and varied. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Chose this cruise for the destination and I was not disappointed! We were treated to the Southern cities of Santiago, Trinidad and Cienfuegos before ever getting to Havana. Had an excellent opportunity to meet with the people and mingle in ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the destination and I was not disappointed! We were treated to the Southern cities of Santiago, Trinidad and Cienfuegos before ever getting to Havana. Had an excellent opportunity to meet with the people and mingle in their lives and cultures before that much more known big city. Our lecturers, Richard and Sylvia, provided much insight prior to shore excursions and food for thought. Service was fantastic! Celeste in the dining room met our every need, usually without our asking! Food was good .Cabin excellent and well cared for by Rene! Only hassle at disembarkation was one person at Customs-what a line! Shore excursions seemed well chosen thought I think we were rushed thru some and missed others; could have been the bus we were on with a lot of needy folks! I would take this cruise again and it is my second with Pearl Seas. Tried for the Inaugural on the Chesapeake Bay but it's booked. Will try again! Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Size matters and it was perfect for comingling and slipping into small ports for up close and personal activities. The cruise line left nothing on the table...everything was top notch. Service, excursions, food on & off the ship, fun ... Read More
Size matters and it was perfect for comingling and slipping into small ports for up close and personal activities. The cruise line left nothing on the table...everything was top notch. Service, excursions, food on & off the ship, fun activities, amazing buses & informed YOUNG guides. Learned a ton... saw amazing scenery...and loved the Cuban people!! PEARL MIST gave the upmost attention to the fact we were there as "ambassadors"....so our educational VISA provided up with a trip of a lifetime cultural experiences. Food in private homes, music (many forms), historical sites, children and varied communities...old and current history along with easy statements of hope for the future. One more thought....the service was more than exceptional...from happy hour appetizers, perfectly made cocktails ( p.s.. o ly thought beer/wine was included...had no idea everything was available, anytime. Fun....especially since no expectations. OOPS, the secret is out...will check out other cruises by this line in a heartbeat!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose this cruise to Cuba because all ports of call were on the beautiful island. There were a few hiccups on the cruise but the positives certainly outweighed the negatives. Embarkation was a breeze. Luggage was brought to the cabin ... Read More
We chose this cruise to Cuba because all ports of call were on the beautiful island. There were a few hiccups on the cruise but the positives certainly outweighed the negatives. Embarkation was a breeze. Luggage was brought to the cabin immediately.. Cabin was large with comfortable bed, chairs and writing desk. Along with balcony to sit and watch the world go by. A+++ We thought the food was very good. Really enjoyed being able to order lunch and dinner in the morning and 1/2 orders were a plus for us and more than enough. Cocktails before dinner was very enjoyable...good drinks, appetizers and entertainment was a nice way to start the evening...A+++ Tours: buses appeared new and well maintained....you have your choice of 1/2 day and full day tours...we enjoyed all except one stop in Havana...our bus did not stop in front of the restaurant that was chosen for lunch..(we did find out, later, that the other buses stopped right in front of their lunch spots.). Our group had a long walk to our lunch spot and it was a challenging walk for some guests. This walk caused us to run late and the “CARS “ that were reserved for our drive drive around Havana had left!! The two cruise director that were with us did arrange for “CARS” to drive us back to the ship...Approximately a 10-15 minute drive instead of the hour drive through the streets of Havana we were promised...I would make sure if you have any mobility issues and do not want to encounter this problem ask about your lunch spot...all other tours were great and well managed...Do not miss the Tropicana...what a show...Havana tour D- Tropicana A+++++. Other tours A WI-FI was lost after a few days and never fixed. Never sure what happened. Wait Staff and Cabin Stewards were excellent...they all seemed truly interested in making sure you were enjoying your cruise and if there was anything they could do to help...A+++ Entertainment and Lectures also quite good. A Disembarkation: many passengers were scheduled to fly out right after arriving in port. The head cruise director did not help these passengers. Many who those who were first off the ship were under no time crunch...her job should be to make sure that those passengers that are on a time crunch should be first to disembark..this situation should be handled much more efficiently..Also, told by same director there would be ample taxis waiting for passengers to transport to the two airports...That was not the case. Lots of confusion as to were the taxis were and when they would be arriving...much better organization needed..also, no porters to help with luggage but passengers were great helping those who were having difficulties...but should not the head cruise director help out? D—— So there were some hiccups but with all that said would not have missed this trip and the chance to see Cuba and meet the wonderful, Cuban people... Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This People To People experience is a fantastic way to get to know Cuba. Ports were: Santiago, Trinidad- dock at Casilda, Cienfuegos, and Havana. There were excursions that included local artists (pottery maker, choral group, orchestra, ... Read More
This People To People experience is a fantastic way to get to know Cuba. Ports were: Santiago, Trinidad- dock at Casilda, Cienfuegos, and Havana. There were excursions that included local artists (pottery maker, choral group, orchestra, woodcarver, actors, jazz club) as well as visits to historic sites. I was able to freely walk around, taking photos and talking with people. Classic cars were in all town to take tourists on tours. You will learn the reality of life under socialism/communism as you spend time with the people. The ship is very accommodating for the older traveler. People in walkers, wheelchairs were taken to as many excursions as possible. Dietary needs were attended to by the chef. Room service is available for breakfast. Cabins were always clean. There are snacks and coffee available 24/7. Two speakers were on the ship during the cruise, to tell their opinion about life in Cuba. One young man who worked for Pearl Seas is Cuban/American. His views were enlightening. There were daily talks to prepare us for the next port: where to exchange dollars for CUC, how to find good cigars, what sites we would visit, what limitation there might be for passengers with disabilities. Two talented musicians entertained us nightly with music, with some passengers dancing the night away. This cruise line provided a pouch with essentials for visiting Cuba: bug spray, hand sanitizer, Kleenex tissue packets, toilet seat covers, toilet paper. The people are very appreciative of Kleenex tissue packets that you give them. Paper products are not easy to find in Cuba. I highly recommend this trip for people who want to be exposed to a variety of experiences in several parts of Cuba. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I like smaller ships for what they offer in meeting and enjoying other people. Pearl Mist is an all balcony cabin ship except for one cabin and all cabins are large and comfortable with plenty of storage. The ship’s Wi-Fi worked quite ... Read More
I like smaller ships for what they offer in meeting and enjoying other people. Pearl Mist is an all balcony cabin ship except for one cabin and all cabins are large and comfortable with plenty of storage. The ship’s Wi-Fi worked quite well with my phone in airplane mode. The condensed New York Times, available every morning, kept us up on the news. This was my second cruise on the Pearl Mist. After being picked up at our hotel at 10:30 am and taken to the ship embarkation was quick and efficient and we were on our way by 1:00 pm. Dining is open seating with multiple choices at each meal, and wine & beer are included at lunch & dinner. Given that everything that we were to eat or drink for 11 days (10 nights) had to be on board before we departed, the food was very good, and it was nice to be able to eat a fresh salad even on the last day. Room service was an option for breakfast. The complementary happy hour before dinner was sometimes outdoors on the top deck in nice weather, and the bar remained open after dinner until about 9:30 pm. Fresh cookies were always available in the morning, and afternoon tea was at 3:30 pm. Dining room and cabin service was excellent. Pearl Mist is a great ship for people who are more interested in learning about their destination and conversation than fancy evening entertainment. We had several adult children traveling with a parent or relative, and it is a good ship for single travelers. Daily activities while at sea included excellent lectures from our two on board lecturers (Ted & Sylvia) about Cuba and the places we were to see. There was also time for a trivia game or two and some after dinner dancing to the music from two talented musicians (Stevie & Dustie). Cuba is a big island to circumnavigate. It is the largest in the Caribbean. Port to port from Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Lauderdale is 1712 nautical miles, and while hard to believe, we had ONLY 3 full days at sea. On the other days we were either in port for a full or partial day. Cuban banks were available in every port to take care of exchanging money from US dollars into CUCs, the standard Cuban currency. There are other cruise lines that go into the three major accessible ports – Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos/Trinidad, and Havana, but only the Pearl Mist spends more than a half day in all of them. I think at this time Pearl Seas Cruises has the only ship coming from the United States. Two fun nightclub options were available in Santiago de Cuba, and the late evening Tropicana Cabaret outside Havana in a magnificent wooded setting was excellent. As an extra treat we got an additional afternoon and evening in Havana as the ship that was scheduled to take our dock space wasn’t going to use it. The only land tour company is run by the government. The guides I experienced were all good and some excellent and were informative interesting people. The “made in China” buses were new with AC and a restroom. What restoration that has been done in Cuba is beautiful, but that I saw only one gas station and not a single grocery store the entire time should tell you how far in the past the country still is. We did get to visit a “ration” store. Yes, Cubans have ration books for the very basic needs. While Cubans have free health care and education, they don’t make enough money in government jobs to survive so “underground” private enterprises are everywhere and rely on “tips”. These enterprises are mostly tolerated by the government. On our excursions we tipped constantly whenever appropriate in CUCs, knowing it would make a difference. For every two to three vintage cars from the 50s that I saw on the road, there was some sort of “other” vehicle such as a horse drawn buggy, bike taxi cabs, 3-wheeled bright yellow Coco taxis, old trucks, double section long buses, tour buses and an occasional newer car. Cuba has opened up some under Raul Castro but still has a long road ahead. Our 4 cruise directors (Kevin, Kristen, Coryn & Kathleen) did an outstanding job of making sure the land touring process was very smooth. I was not disappointed even though we saw what the “government” wanted us to see. Wonderful musical performances of locals groups were included in our daytime shore excursions. The architecture is magnificent, but most of it is in ruin and falling apart. I only hope Cuban leadership restores not replaces those wonderful historical buildings. The officers were all excellent and did amazing coordination with the Cuban officials at each port by expertly handling all the port logistics in the background. All our disembarkations and embarkations at each port were easy. Only Havana had a building that looked like a cruise terminal. The terminals in both Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos were small free standing buildings several hundred yards or more from the ship. I was fortunate to dine with our Captain, George Ciortan, and after discovering his sea credentials knew that I was in very capable hands. It was interesting to hear that after being a Captain on a ship that carried thousands of passengers how much he enjoyed being the captain on a much smaller ship, the Pearl Mist, and how nice it was to have the “bridge” on the third deck rather than on deck 12 or higher. Akin, our Hotel Manager and Boro, our Food & Beverage manager were attentive and on point 100% of the time, I had suggested to Customer Service at Pearl Seas Cruises about a week before I left a particular bottle of wine that I thought could be the “signature” wine for Pearl Seas due to its name and presentation and was assured they would look into it. Boro let me know they couldn’t get it in time to have it on board, but to my delight three other bottles of wine from the same vineyard were in my cabin for me when I boarded in Ft. Lauderdale. One by one we enjoyed the wine at dinner. Akin, recognizing I was traveling as a single offered me a wonderful cabin upgrade, our second day of the cruise. Our disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was easy and complementary transportation back to the hotel to get our car was efficient with the only delay being that US Immigration had only two lines open for the almost 200 of us. The few people with a Global Entry Pass got through more quickly. Now that I am home I have been listening to Concerto Sur, Orquesta de Camara de Cienfuegos, the Chamber Music group of 8 musicians we were fortunate to hear. I’m so glad I bought the CD, as the classical sound has a definite Cuban edge to it which I love. Thankfully I purchased all the CDs of all the musical groups we heard. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
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 ... Read More
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! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I do not have time for an organized review - but I do want to give Pearl Seas high ratings. Were things perfect - NO, but overall they were wonderful. The few issues were related to Cuban governmental procedures, changes, etc. Very ... Read More
I do not have time for an organized review - but I do want to give Pearl Seas high ratings. Were things perfect - NO, but overall they were wonderful. The few issues were related to Cuban governmental procedures, changes, etc. Very minimal impact on the overall experience. Cuban people were so very friendly and welcoming (not just those who wanted to sell you something or were expecting tips) but the average folks on the street. If you spoke Spanish, which I do not, almost anyone we saw on the streets were willing (and frequently very interested) in talking with us. The shore guides I experienced on the ship provided tours were all terrific in their own ways. One always had to remember that there are "party lines" there and some would only give those types of responses. Others were more causal and would even make remarks making light of some of the issues others were 100% serious about. While I was initially upset about the reduction in ports - in actuality I was very GLAD it worked out this way as we got so much more time to interact with the people on our own, got to browse area of interest to us personally and could proceed rapidly or casually, alone or in groups for a portion of the shore time. While I would have liked to have seen the park area, I much preferred having more true, individual "people to people" experiences on my terms. Would I go again - IN AN INSTANT!!!! Would I go again with Pearl Seas - IN AN INSTANT in terms of what they offered in relation to other options numerous friends have taken, including some who went through other countries. Having a few minutes before an appointment I will address some ship categories. Cabin - much more spacious than I expected. Certainly not in luxury category, but we had what we needed and it was furnished nicely and kept clean. Dining - I was very pleased with the food - much better than I expected and adequate choices. Entertainment - I personally loved the entertainers that play each evening. They had a full crowd each evening and had folks singing, dancing and just having fun each night. They started the evening with music for the "younger" crowd (all over 40, mostly over 50) I would say) with music from their era. They they had a section for those who were more into actually dancing while holding each other, which was also popular. Speakers were both good in their areas of experienced and expertise. Service - A group of us ate each meal at the same table as we LOVED our server. She was a good server, as well as friendly, upbeat, etc. Ports - I liked all we visited. While in the second Port were spent an extra day there so that we could to to trinidad as well. (One of the "cancelled ports", cut we did spend a day there.) Loved this change as we got to see about an hour and a half of the countryside and village living conditions. Like most everywhere in the world i have been fortunate to visit, very different environments. I had no time for fitness or recreation activities on board so cannot rate them, Thank you Pearl Seas for pulling together such an interesting itinerary and dealing with the governmental stuff (US and Cuban) I am sure you had to contend with. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Chose this line in order to sail to Cuba. Concern regarding a smaller ship was immediately eliminated by the excellent cabin, nearness and convenience of everything, the all inclusive nature of the experience, and fabulous cruise staff. ... Read More
Chose this line in order to sail to Cuba. Concern regarding a smaller ship was immediately eliminated by the excellent cabin, nearness and convenience of everything, the all inclusive nature of the experience, and fabulous cruise staff. Here is our story of exceptional service: I asked the purser staff if they could possibly put some flowers in our cabin for our 50th anniversary the following day. They agreed and provided a card for me to fill out for delivery with the flowers. Next day, after cabin was serviced, we found a spectacular arrangement of beautiful long stem red roses and secondary flowers. It looked like something that would be handed to Miss America. Needless to say, I was a hero in my wife's mind. Next day I asked the purser who had arranged for the flowers and was told it was one of the cruise directors, Kathleen. I complimented her on the beauty of the arrangement and expressed surprise that such nice flowers were aboard. She said, "Oh no, we don't have flowers on board. As you know we all had a tour of the Botanical Gardens in Cien Fuegos yesterday. At the end of the tour I asked the Cuban lady in charge of the Gardens where to get nice flowers. I was prepared to take a taxi to retrieve the flowers, but the Botanist instead had her son drive me to the private residence where we cut and arranged the flowers." I was astounded, and asked how much the flowers cost. Kathleen cheerfully said, "Oh, no...no need to pay. We are glad to provide such service. Happy Anniversary!" The staff on this cruise ship are the best ever! We have been on over 30 cruises, mostly on ships holding thousands of passengers. This one was memorable and so special. Dining staff were extremely friendly and accommodating. Chefs would prepare special food if requested, and always willing to please. Entertainment was simply a very talented guitar player/singer and a keyboard artist/singer. They did a great job for the cocktail hours and entertainment sessions after dinner. Very enjoyable! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because it circumnavigated the island and could land in ports where larger ships can't. The ship sails full with 210. We sailed with 156. The staff was wonderful. The entertainment( Stevie and Dustie) were decent. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it circumnavigated the island and could land in ports where larger ships can't. The ship sails full with 210. We sailed with 156. The staff was wonderful. The entertainment( Stevie and Dustie) were decent. They performed a different music genre each night. The food was gourmet standard. Sit down not buffet. At breakfast you chose your lunch and dinner selections. There was even space to write in special requests. You could even enjoy 1/2 portions. Every morning at 10 fresh cookies were served in the lounge and at 3 tea, and at 5:30 cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres. There was an early continental breakfast served and also when we came back from a late night excursion, sandwiches were ready for us. There was a 24/7 snack bar. All cabins had a balcony and were spacious. Bed was comfortable. Coffee maker in the room. Victor was a big assest on the cruise. As a US citizen but former Cuban citizen, now based in Miami, he gave a different perspective than we got from the Cuban guides who were good but trained by the Cuban government as to what it wanted us to know. Go to his lectures..The cruise directors were very innovative keeping the guests busy on sea days. Put your cell on airplane. Dont count on internet. It is off and on. Excursions: You have a choice of whole or half day excursions. We chose half day and spent the rest of the day exploring the cities on our own. We felt safe. The local guides were good. The busses were new and comfortable with a bathroom. We were told not to give anything to street people but leave it at the schools we visited. We were told not to pay with US currency because they cant spend it. Cubans have to take the money to and exchange for CUKs or CUPS and are charged a surcharge. If you use euros or Canadian they dont have to pay the surcharge. We only paid for souvenirs. We saw Fidels grave, San Juan Hill, 3 awesome Forts, a symphonic music group, a jazz concert, the Tropicanna Show, 2 art schools, a botanical garden,Hemingways house, a ration store. Walking around towns on our freetime, we were able to poke around and find interesting things. We werent interested in the old cars. We grew up with them and didnt see anythig special. Gas is precious so they have been converted to diesel. You will see air polution. I havent said anything about the poverty. We have traveled extensively on our own in Mexico and Central America away from tourist areas. We didnt see anything in Cuba that we hadnt seen in those other countries. Colonial Cities and poor slummy areas. But it is a clean country and safe. In retrospect we are glad we went on this adventure. We learned that Americans have a Romantic view of Cuba. It is not in reality. There is poverty. It is run as a socialist country They want the Americans to come. Everyone has a job,but the average per month is $24 USD and the highest( govt and drs) about 90USD per month. Education, medical and fent is free. If you get into the tourist industry you can make more. If you go on this tour please tip your driver and guide. It is basically their difference between living and survival dont stiff them. There is no limit on rum or cigars you can bring back. There were accomdations made for physically challemged people. There were people with canes, wheelchairs, electric scooter. They were helped on and off busses and cared for when at the sites. Embarcation was easy. Coming back in, the US agent flipped through our passports and told us to have a safe trip home. No inspections,no interrogations. Just rolled on through. One thing negative is that we drove by a baseball stadium. And they talked about Cuban baseball. It would have been interesting if we could have gone to a stadium and maybe watched a game or a warmup or a few innings. But everything we saw and did was dictated by the government and could change with the wind. It is the government not the cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Cuba is exotic, unique, and a country waiting for it's future. It's people seemed to have a good attitude and if their Chamber Music group is any indication, fabulous talent! Luckily, my favorite small cruise ship was going ... Read More
Cuba is exotic, unique, and a country waiting for it's future. It's people seemed to have a good attitude and if their Chamber Music group is any indication, fabulous talent! Luckily, my favorite small cruise ship was going there. I like Pearl Mist because it is compact, comfortable, and has a dedicated crew who quickly get to know you. It is relaxing not to have to dress up for dinner; plus, open seating allows one to meet many different people from various locations. I have never failed to find my table companions interesting and pleasant. While many of the amenities provided by the giant cruise ships are missing, for me, the friendly companionship of fellow passengers supported by a highly capable crew makes up for the lack of spas and shops aboard ship. I definitely didn't miss sailing with thousands of other people on board! Cuba is new to the itinerary and so bumps are to be expected when dealing with a recent destination that has a delicate political climate. However, the Tour Director, Kristen, and her staff reacted quickly and competently to a couple of changes that were unexpected. I felt well taken care of, and after all, an adventure is composed of surprises. It is how they are confronted that is important. Staff did a great job handling everything. Both times I have been on the Pearl Mist, they provided very interesting lectures about our various destinations. I value that feature. I love the fact each room has a balcony. The bathroom/shower was specious and well stocked; the bed very comfortable. The layout of the public areas means they are close but don't interfere with desired quiet- at-sleep time. The staff caring for my room kept it spotless. My one disappointment is in the speed of the WiFi. They definitely need a better system. However, at least I had it and it was not an extra expense. The food was delicious and the portions perfect. I plan on using this cruise company again in June, and as new destinations are added, frequently. I also enjoyed their cruise thru the Great Lakes last year. Pearl of the Seas is a bit pricey, but I was a happy passenger and felt the expense was worth it. Provided easy transportation to the airport at the end of the cruise. Finally, I noticed that Pearl of the Seas does a lot to accommodate some rather severely handicapped passengers, both on the ship and on tours. I find that very commendable so that those passengers as well as their companions can see the world along with the rest of us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Good ship to see Cuba. Round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale made it very convenient. Especially liked the "one" seating in the dining room. We met a lot of new friends and were able to hear of their experiences. Shore excursions ... Read More
Good ship to see Cuba. Round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale made it very convenient. Especially liked the "one" seating in the dining room. We met a lot of new friends and were able to hear of their experiences. Shore excursions were well handled and no extra charge for sightseeing. The staterooms were larger than normal and were very comfortable, all had balconies. The food was excellent and we were able to order half sizes if we wished. All the crew and dining room waiters were very friendly and quickly learned our names and favorite things we liked to eat and drink. We think this ship is the ideal way to visit Cuba. We would recommend Pearl Seas Cruises "Pearl Mist" if you have a desire to visit Cuba. We found that the Cubans were very friendly. We enjoyed seeing all the old architecture and were amazed how clean the streets were.K Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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