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Pearl Seas Cuba 2017 Cruise...How was it?

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Hello to anyone who headed to Cuba on 2017 Pearl Mist Cuba cruises. We are booked for their March 28 departure, and would greatly value your impressions, both what you liked and suggestions for improvement.

 

Also, were you able to get on Wifi at any time after you left Ft. Lauderdale?

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So far no one has posted their impressions on any of Pearl Seas Cuba cruises, but we look forward to any feedback about which ports are still on the agenda, and which have been canceled.

 

Post away!

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OK, I'm on PEARL SEAS rockin' & rollin' on our way from Cienfuegos to Santiago de Cuba. Rough seas last night, but our little ship did fine. There would be motion on any ship of any size, but really, it wasn't much worse than on a big ship. The ship itself is the perfect size for Cuba. In Havana we were docked next to a MSC giant with all their people enduring lines and swarming the city in typical tour groups. PEARL MIST has no casino, no Botox treatments, no art "auctions," no teeth whitening, watch sales, junk $12 sales, no bumper cars, water slides, climbing walls, ice skating rinks, no kids and no lines! It's a nice small ship were you have spacious rooms all with balconies, eat with whomever you want, very good food, free and free flowing drinks, and a fantastic crew. Lectures ... which I why I happen to be on board ... passengers who are a bit more mature, can afford an all-inclusive cruise, are well-educated and well-traveled and on board for the adventure and the ports. We are visiting not just Havana, although that was great and we were docked right in Old Havana, but also Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba with INCLUDED tours in all ports including Trinidad (fantastic!), El Cobre, and Bacanao Park. No wanta-be Broadway shows but a really talented couple who provide after dinner entertainment. For those for whom feathers and g-strings ... the real ones ... are a necessity ... included was an evening trip to the Tropicana for their traditional night club show including by the way a bottle of Cuban rum for every 4 people.

 

The architecture in Cuba is fantastic. The people we've met have been warm and welcoming including one old guy who insisted on sharing his home-made empanadas with us yesterday morning when we were walking around the main square in Cienfuegos. The buses are ALL beautiful, new with rest rooms that are unlocked and available for use. The guides are good ... but throughout you need to remember that "This is Cuba" so things are different. This is a new experience not just for the US cruise lines and uS guests, but also for both countries, so, as with any trip there are hickups.

 

This is a very comfortable way to see multiple ports in Cuba. My advice is to do some research before you come. There is a good series on Cuba on Netflx. THE HISTORY OF CUBA by Clifford L. Staten is a good background to read. It's on Amazon.

 

The Internet is pretty good ... and if you're reading this ... it is good, and free.

 

Regards, Richard

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Richard, thanks for your impressions. We look forward to your lectures on the March 28 departure. Is there any opportunity for snorkeling or swimming on this cruise? How about salsa dancing lessons!Which ports did you most enjoy?

Is there any change in ports coming up for future cruises?

Can't wait to hop on board!

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Richard, thanks for your impressions. We look forward to your lectures on the March 28 departure. Is there any opportunity for snorkeling or swimming on this cruise? How about salsa dancing lessons!Which ports did you most enjoy?

Is there any change in ports coming up for future cruises?

Can't wait to hop on board!

 

Sorry that I won't be on PEARL MIST in March. Not really opportunities for snorkeling or swimming since most of the ports are on the Southern side and the beaches are on the Northern side, plus the conditions for the cruise are that it is an educational people-to-people cruise as defined by the US government, which presumably does not involve sun and sand. No dance lessons. There isn't a whole lot of time for onboard activities. This is not your typical Caribbean island cruise. There is ONE tour company, run by the Cuban government which determines what you will see. They tell you what ports you will visit, and things do change, sometimes last-minute. You need to go with the right expectations. The big surprise for me was that the buses are all brand new, made in China, spotless, with working, not locked, bathrooms on board. Most of the cruise lines that wills be going to Cuba are just going to go to Havana. PEARL MIST'S small size makes it possible to go to several ports with very limited port infrastructure. Havana is wonderful, but a lot of us actually enjoyed Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba more. Long lines in the Havana terminal to get through immigration if there is another big ship in port with you. Long lines to change money in Havana. This is Cuba and the cruise line has nothing to say in the matter. By contrast several times in Cienfuegos there was nobody manning the immigration, you just walked through or got a pleasant greeting from the government officials. Same pretty much in Santiago. I definitely recommend that you carve out some time on your own to walk around and make it a real "people to people" experience. Walk through some of the local neighborhoods. Cuban people are warm, welcoming, and even deep in local, poorer areas, I felt no concern for safety, although I use my head and exercise common sense. In my opinion NOW is the time to see Cuba, even if the experience isn't finely tuned. Once Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian all get there spilling out thousands of passengers it won't be the same.

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Richard,

How much we greatly appreciate your impressions and advice. In one month, hopefully, we will enjoy the Cuban people and carry with us an open mind. Thank you so much for putting your thoughts into this thread!

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Hello to anyone who headed to Cuba on 2017 Pearl Mist Cuba cruises. We are booked for their March 28 departure, and would greatly value your impressions, both what you liked and suggestions for improvement.

 

Also, were you able to get on Wifi at any time after you left Ft. Lauderdale?

 

I have clients sailing with you. Were booked for a year ago and that got cancelled at last minute. Good to see it is a go.

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We are visiting not just Havana, although that was great and we were docked right in Old Havana, but also Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba with INCLUDED tours in all ports including Trinidad (fantastic!), El Cobre, and Bacanao Park.

 

Thanks Richard for your great insights! In reading some of the CC reviews on the first few cruises, some folks mentioned that the Pearl Mist does not actually stop at all the ports they advertise in the itinerary posted on their website. For example is sounds like the Pearl Mist just stops at Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba and then have excursions from those ports to the other "advertised" ports of Trinidad (which is near Cienfuegos) and El Cobre (which is near Santiago de Cuba).

 

My question is this and I realize access to ports is dictated by Cuba and subject to change. When you were on the cruise, did the Pearl Mist spend an additional day in Cienfuegos and an additional day in Santiago de Cuba so you could subsequently take their excursions to experience both ports in the area (Cienfuegos/Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba/El Cobre) or did they just spend 1 day in each port as advertised and simply add 2 more sea days to the cruise making it a total of 5 sea days rather than 3?

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We are on the Adonia, having just left Santiago de Cuba on the way to Cienfuegos. When we sailed in this morning, the Pearl Mist was anchored out in the harbor. When we left it was still there. Does it use tenders? I did see what appeared to be a Pearl employee in the cruise terminal this afternoon.

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@pbenjamin,

Yes, that was us out in Santiago's harbor on our second day there. The first day, we were at the dock, and on the second day, we walked off onto the wharf, but tendered back, because your ship was anchored there. Our ship had only 182 passengers, and docked both in Havana and in Cienfuegos. How did you like the Adonia? I just posted a review of our fantastic 10 days on the Pearl Mist, March 28-April 7. Loved it!

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@CoolCruiser,

Yes, Pearl Seas could not get permission to dock in Trinidad so we spent two days in Cienfuegos taking tours to Trinidad and the Botanical Gardens. Then we spent two days in Santiago, taking tours by bus to El Cobre to see the cathedral and copper area, as well as touring around Santiago. An aside, on the Pearl Seas, we had a decent internet connection practically the entire time. Seas were choppy around the western and eastern end. We spent Wednesday and Thursday cruising back from Santiago to FLL.

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@pbenjamin,

Yes, that was us out in Santiago's harbor on our second day there. The first day, we were at the dock, and on the second day, we walked off onto the wharf, but tendered back, because your ship was anchored there. Our ship had only 182 passengers, and docked both in Havana and in Cienfuegos. How did you like the Adonia? I just posted a review of our fantastic 10 days on the Pearl Mist, March 28-April 7. Loved it!

Where do I find this review?

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:cool::cool::cool: I was also on the March 28 - April 7 cruise to Cuba on the Pearl Seas. I have NOTHING but POSITIVE things to say about the overall experience except that for me it was too short! In each of our ports I could have spent several more days.

 

For me, ship's crew were excellent. Our evening musicians were very skilled entertainers and ever so enjoyable. (primarily keyboard and electric guitar) While most of our days were spend on land, when onboard the liquor flowed freely and almost constantly from mid-afternoon on. Junk-food snacks, sodas and mixers and coffee (quite good most agreed) available 24/7. Nice pre-dinner appetizers also provided.

 

While at first I was disappointed that we were not docking in Trinidad, in my opinion (and that of all others I spoke with) that turned out to be a terrific addition to the cruise in that we went there by bus - about 90 minutes each way of driving through the countryside and seeing the way many live outside the cities. Seeing the rural side of Cuba would not have been possible otherwise on this trip.

 

Each day it was interesting to see what changes, if any, the government chose to introduce to our activities - nothing major but numerous little things. They do call the shots.

 

For purposes of learning as seeing as much as possible, I did go on the included tours each day, but I still had plenty of time to wander around on my own. I loved both experiences (on my own and on tour). I certainly saw and learned more information on the tours (great, new buses as mentioned by another), but I also loved wandering around the housing areas of the average folks there, talking with folks, seeing parts of their homes, etc.

 

Guides all spoke excellent English and were very knowledgeable about their history - as it is taught to them. Some were very "by the book" folks, obviously giving strictly "party line" answers, others were much more flexible - maybe even a bit irreverent. It was a real plus to have different guides getting somewhat different perspectives. It was also fun at dinner comparing what the different bus guides had to say about things.

 

I was very glad that I had selected Pearl Seas for my trip to Cuba as it was an excellent balance between spending time on shore on tours and wandering around by myself AND knowing that we had good bathrooms to go home to. (Hint - especially if you are on a land tour - take a roll of Toilet Paper with you, maybe two.) Pearl Seas provided us each with a bathroom packet with refills available. It included a compact travel roll of TP, hand cleaner, Disinfecting sheets, and toilet seat covers for our days on shore.

 

I am not sure if I will have time for a more detailed review or not, but I can say - my experience was TERRIFIC and I would go again "tomorrow" if my budget allowed - I have so many new questions based on my experiences there. Yes it was a rather convoluted path to actually getting there (as noted elsewhere). We were scheduled to go in December but permits had not yet been issued so our group of 10 decided to change to the March date rather than wait until the last minute in December only to be cancelled (which would have happened). Like all my experiences in visiting over 120 countries to day - to fully enjoy travel experiences one MUST be flexible and not get your "undies in a bundle" prematurely.

 

By the Way - in Cienfuegos we had a choice of two nighttime options (included in fare), one was a show of old style Cuban dancers and music, the other was an absolutely fantastic Improvsational Jazz Band of young people. Wow, were they terrific!!!!! It got MUCH better reviews from guests that the other option did. In fact, the next day our bus went to the older style Cuban entertainment place and folks who went the night before said the daytime experience while brief was MUCH nicer in that the dancers had a lot of floor space to use that was filled with guests the night before, AND they had an much older couple perform as well - by far the best part of the show in the day.

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@quiltsnh,

I see that although I attempted to post my review April 9, it didn't go through, so I posted again today. Will post it here, also.

 

My sister and I sailed March 28, 2017 on Pearl Seas' seventhtrip to Cuba. A year earlier, thecompany suddenly canceled our April 2016 Cuba trip.

 

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

 

So we had confidence that, once Pearl Seas receivedpermission 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. Thiscruise line has the human touch.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

We enjoyed a wonderful participatory salsa class put on byballroom dancing expert and musician Leelyn, and heard a wide variety of musicof Kenny Holliday each night. Not quiteenough Latin for me, though!

 

Tour directors Kristen, Kathleen, Coryn, Kevin, gave clearpublic announcements, help and advice.

 

The tours were excellent, with some excellent Englishspeaking guides, such as Adolfo in Cienfuegos and Yenia in Santiago. The meals out were impressive, Brasso inparticular. As were the meals and serviceon the ship. Akin and crew had takenmany of my suggestions for Cuban menus and implemented them! A different quiche every morning, nice buffetat breakfast with food sculptures. Thechef has a light touch, and is a master at garde-manger, not wasting any fooddue to our ordering each morning on a paper menu. We also appreciated being able to orderhalf-portions.

 

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

 

Traveling in comfort and safety on this ship offered aparticular advantage to us two women over the age of 60. Cuba’s people are warm, welcoming, and theroads are good, the water safe to drink, and the island is educated, and safe. However, the dilapidated state of waterdelivery, the electrical outages, and sketchy transportation makes it muchbetter a destination for young, robust backpackers, rather than older touristswith less physical stamina in the heat, agility and tolerance for suchoutages. We wish we had brought boxes ofpencils and papers for the students, or musical instruments. Our coming on a ship and tipping guides andlocal people surely helps support families living on $20 month governmentsalaries. Having our ship offshoreemboldened us to come see this once forbidden place, but in comfort, andavoiding the schlepping of packing and unpacking.

 

Mojitos or frozen drinks on deck six. Nice and easy embarking and disembarking withonly 182 guests and 66 crew. Guests areinteresting, and do not put on airs. It's a ship we would gladly return to. Canary islands anyone? Mexico? Iceland? Hawaii? Central America? Circumnavigationof Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic? We would be on board!

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@pbenjamin,

Yes, that was us out in Santiago's harbor on our second day there. The first day, we were at the dock, and on the second day, we walked off onto the wharf, but tendered back, because your ship was anchored there. Our ship had only 182 passengers, and docked both in Havana and in Cienfuegos. How did you like the Adonia? I just posted a review of our fantastic 10 days on the Pearl Mist, March 28-April 7. Loved it!

 

Here is a review: http://paulwbenjamin.tumblr.com/post/159808343743/cruise-review-fathom-adonia-to-cuba-april-2

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One thing I would like to add to my above posted review. Numerous folks have noted how expensive the Pearl Seas cruise was - in a negative way. Yes it is IF you are comparing it to a cruise ship with over 800 passenger capacity. HOWEVER, the daily average rate is well within the normal costs of river boat cruises and very small ship cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean, and such. Having done a number of both very small ships (50 - 200 passengers, NOT private yachts) the price did not surprise me at all. Having reviewed numerous options, NONE of the cheaper fares were to the multiple ports and multiple days in ports we had.

 

Four our friends, one day in Havana was all they wanted (to say they were there), and they did so for a daily rate less than half of what ours was, for 6+ full shore days. Only you can decide what experience you want and how much you are willing to pay for what you get. Small ship cruising is simply more expensive for cabins that typically compare with window cabins on the bigger ships. (We all did have a veranda by the way.)

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I'm sure you all are going to have a great time on your Pearl Seas cruise from what everyone is saying. We were booked on the May 2018 Pearl Mist cruise around Cuba until a few months ago when we found out the Oceania Serena (which holds 600+ pasengers) was going at the same time and to the same 3 ports.

 

We were surprised we were able to get a full refund of our deposit when Pearl Seas altered our departure date by a few days, but we definitely didn't complain. We were then free to book an A1 aft-facing veranda on the Serena for $358/pp/day plus get a bunch of OBC from our TA as compared to $781/pp/day (not counting tips) we were going to pay when we were booked in Pearl Seas' cheapest G category room.

 

Like I said, I'm sure you're going to have a great time, but switching to an Oceania cruise was a no-brainer for us.

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@Ken,

That's great! I will be interested in your experience, as we've never been on Oceania before (being relatively new to cruising).

 

Twice on Pearl Seas, though! Once on Royal Caribbean to Alaska. Love the small ships.

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@Ken,

That's great! I will be interested in your experience, as we've never been on Oceania before (being relatively new to cruising).

 

Twice on Pearl Seas, though! Once on Royal Caribbean to Alaska. Love the small ships.

We've been on Oceania cruises twice and have a few more booked in the coming few years. The two things I can say about Oceania is that their main focus is on FOOD and they cater to adults. Simply put, if you bring children along, it will be up to you to entertain them as they have no children facilities onboard. But if you love to eat quality food, whether you enjoy eating in the MDR, their specialty restaurants of which there is no extra charge, or at their buffet where you can have steak and lobster every night if you'd like, you definitely want to check out Oceania. In addition as they now have 6 ships, their itineraries are getting a lot more inyteresting.

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Thank you for the information. We're going to Cuba in December, so I'm trying to find out as much as I can.

 

Oceania is a great line, by the way.....love the size, service, food, itineraries, etc.

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Just booked a last minute December sailing on the Pearl Mist after our Cuban adventure on the Aegean Odyssey was canceled last Thursday. As my husband and I discovered this cruise company while googling our options, I would appreciate being brought up to speed by Cruise Critic members who have sailed with Pearl Seas to Cuba in 2017.

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roothy123 Not sure if you're leaving later this week or in mid-December, but I thought that I'd check in case you're sailing on the Pearl Mist? My husband and I embark on the 12th of December and are looking for shipmates...

Edited by Little Toot2
I failed to include the Cruise Critic members name that I was making reference to.

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My husband and I just returned from the November 20-30 sailing of the Pearl Mist to Cuba. We had an excellent time and urge everyone to go to Cuba NOW. The people are friendly and the sightseeing is very interesting. You never know from week to week what the restrictions from either government will bring. I heard that the Cuban government now allows ships to only remain in Havana for 24 hours. We were there about 48 and it wasn't enough. Seeing how it is Cuba you have to be flexible and stay patient as there may be some waiting around. The people in Cuba don't have a lot of money or the opportunity to get much. Average wage is $20 per month. Tour guides make more in one day than a doctor or lawyer makes in one month. Food is rationed. The food that is available first goes to the restaurants. Cubans are very literate as the government provides schooling for everyone through university. Health care is nationalized but well run. If you go to Cuba take a lot of soap, shampoo and toothpaste to give away on the street. These are not available for purchase by the Cubans so they really appreciate these small gifts. We also brought pencils for the children but the other items are the most needed.

 

As for Pearl Seas and the Pearl Mist, the ship was nice and our stateroom (the least expensive) was the largest of any regular stateroom we have ever been in. We were in cabin 219 and it was an excellent location. About midship and just down the hall from the lounge where most of the lectures and entertainment took place. Down one flight of stairs to the dining room. Very quiet except for the air conditioner but we got used to that. Large window in room and a door to our private balcony. The liquor at happy hour (which extended until about 10:30 every night) was quite good. Breakfast was really good with a continental buffet and also a cooked to order menu. Many choices. At breakfast they asked you to mark what you wanted for lunch and dinner that day but you didn't have to stick with your choice. 4 choices of entree at dinner every night. Portions are small but you probably could have asked for more if you were still hungry. Not a lot of wasted food like on other ships. The amenities in the stateroom were nice and the bed was excellent. Our steward came in twice a day to clean up. As much as I want to be ecological and keep my towel each day, it was quite humid and the towels never dried out the same day.

 

 

I think Pearl Seas could have done a little better in communication before the trip. The FAQs on their website are a little lacking. For example, I had to call to see if there was a hairdryer in the stateroom and other passengers said they had to call with lots of questions, particularly about what to wear. Also, on our sailing the return transfer to the airport was included, but this was not mentioned anywhere prior to sailing. We prepurchased a transfer from a bus company, but we could have transferred for free with Pearl Seas. Laundry was included but there was no information about that until a bag appeared on our bed about the third day. I had to ask the cost (no charge!) so that was really nice feature. We also got a nice bag and caps.

 

 

The excursions were all included (you had your choice of a half day or a longer day with lunch out included). We always went for the longer day so we could have a variety of food. Highlight was a ride in one of the old beautiful cars. We also went to the Tropicana nightclub in Havana. The passengers were all nice and only 124 passengers on our sailing (Thanksgiving week). Average age in mid 70s. Could have had more activities on at sea days but those naps were really nice!

 

 

The price of the Pearl Seas Cuba trip is more per day than any other trip we have been on, but everything but gratuities is included. It is also the only way to see the most of Cuba on a cruise. 3 ports and 2 bus rides to other cities included. I don't think any other cruise line does that now. We are really glad that we went on this trip.

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My husband and I just returned from the November 20-30 sailing of the Pearl Mist to Cuba. We had an excellent time and urge everyone to go to Cuba NOW. The people are friendly and the sightseeing is very interesting. You never know from week to week what the restrictions from either government will bring. I heard that the Cuban government now allows ships to only remain in Havana for 24 hours. We were there about 48 and it wasn't enough. Seeing how it is Cuba you have to be flexible and stay patient as there may be some waiting around. The people in Cuba don't have a lot of money or the opportunity to get much. Average wage is $20 per month. Tour guides make more in one day than a doctor or lawyer makes in one month. Food is rationed. The food that is available first goes to the restaurants. Cubans are very literate as the government provides schooling for everyone through university. Health care is nationalized but well run. If you go to Cuba take a lot of soap, shampoo and toothpaste to give away on the street. These are not available for purchase by the Cubans so they really appreciate these small gifts. We also brought pencils for the children but the other items are the most needed.

 

As for Pearl Seas and the Pearl Mist, the ship was nice and our stateroom (the least expensive) was the largest of any regular stateroom we have ever been in. We were in cabin 219 and it was an excellent location. About midship and just down the hall from the lounge where most of the lectures and entertainment took place. Down one flight of stairs to the dining room. Very quiet except for the air conditioner but we got used to that. Large window in room and a door to our private balcony. The liquor at happy hour (which extended until about 10:30 every night) was quite good. Breakfast was really good with a continental buffet and also a cooked to order menu. Many choices. At breakfast they asked you to mark what you wanted for lunch and dinner that day but you didn't have to stick with your choice. 4 choices of entree at dinner every night. Portions are small but you probably could have asked for more if you were still hungry. Not a lot of wasted food like on other ships. The amenities in the stateroom were nice and the bed was excellent. Our steward came in twice a day to clean up. As much as I want to be ecological and keep my towel each day, it was quite humid and the towels never dried out the same day.

 

 

I think Pearl Seas could have done a little better in communication before the trip. The FAQs on their website are a little lacking. For example, I had to call to see if there was a hairdryer in the stateroom and other passengers said they had to call with lots of questions, particularly about what to wear. Also, on our sailing the return transfer to the airport was included, but this was not mentioned anywhere prior to sailing. We prepurchased a transfer from a bus company, but we could have transferred for free with Pearl Seas. Laundry was included but there was no information about that until a bag appeared on our bed about the third day. I had to ask the cost (no charge!) so that was really nice feature. We also got a nice bag and caps.

 

 

The excursions were all included (you had your choice of a half day or a longer day with lunch out included). We always went for the longer day so we could have a variety of food. Highlight was a ride in one of the old beautiful cars. We also went to the Tropicana nightclub in Havana. The passengers were all nice and only 124 passengers on our sailing (Thanksgiving week). Average age in mid 70s. Could have had more activities on at sea days but those naps were really nice!

 

 

The price of the Pearl Seas Cuba trip is more per day than any other trip we have been on, but everything but gratuities is included. It is also the only way to see the most of Cuba on a cruise. 3 ports and 2 bus rides to other cities included. I don't think any other cruise line does that now. We are really glad that we went on this trip.

Thanks for the detailed write-up on the cruise. Sounds like you folks had a great time. We were booked to go in May 2018 on the Pearl Mist, but jumped ship over to the Oceania Sirena this past spring when we had an opening to get all of our deposit back. You're right, no one has a 10 day cruise so far like Pearl Seas. To make sure we were able to get the same experience, we had to book a 16 day B2B to be able to see all the Cuban ports and outlying towns the Pearl Mist was scheduled to go to. Amazingly, the price was pretty much a wash and we got 6 more days of cruising to boot. Hopefully, we'll have as a great of time as it sounds you had on your visit!

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ilovearmor,

 

Thank you for your informative post. My husband and I were originally scheduled to visit Cuba in December on the Aegean Odyssey, however they canceled their entire winter cruise itinerary in mid-October. Fortunately we discovered Pearl Seas Cuba and booked one of their four remaining rooms the following week.

 

Long story short, I have also found their front office to be less than informative in our dealings with them to date. Emails were exchanged providing us with registration information on two occasions, however when I requested e-mail confirmation that they had received the required paperwork, they neglected to reply. Hopefully everything is in place, but I believe that the front office assumes too much with regards to prior knowledge.

 

As a retired teacher, I was hoping that we would be given the opportunity for a classroom visit, but guess that I will switch out the colored pencils and counters that I was planning on bringing with the items you recommended.

 

Thank you,

LT2

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Well, i'm now a week into our Cuban cruise with Pearl Seas. Thought that I'd post a review while still onboard so that I will recall more of the details. First, the cabins are of adequate size, but certainly not the largest in the industry as touted by the company. There is a desk with a center drawer as well as three small ones on the right and an additional three on the left, the bottom left drawer contains a safe which is difficult for older passengers to access as it' s only a couple of inches off the floor. There is also a 3 drawer dresser which is located next to the closet and is adequate for your folded clothes. The closet itself is fairly small with a rod for hanging clothes and 24 white plastic hangers for dress shirts, a dress or two, and pants. However there are no hangers with attachments for skirts or pants if you'd like to hang them to eliminate wrinkles. I'd suggest bringing along some plastic clothes pins which could be attached to the hangers for this purpose. There is also a night stand on either side of the bed with two small drawers and a reading lamp. You are able to adjust the room temperature with a control that has both heat and air settings and an off switch. Although there is a vent in the bathroom, it is not adequate when showering and the large mirror steams up quickly. A small vanity with two drawers and a under sink cabinet complete the set up. If electing to do hand wash, you will need to bring a cord and clips for hanging.

 

Lunch time...

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OK, I'm on PEARL SEAS rockin' & rollin' on our way from Cienfuegos to Santiago de Cuba. Rough seas last night, but our little ship did fine. There would be motion on any ship of any size, but really, it wasn't much worse than on a big ship. The ship itself is the perfect size for Cuba. In Havana we were docked next to a MSC giant with all their people enduring lines and swarming the city in typical tour groups. PEARL MIST has no casino, no Botox treatments, no art "auctions," no teeth whitening, watch sales, junk $12 sales, no bumper cars, water slides, climbing walls, ice skating rinks, no kids and no lines! It's a nice small ship were you have spacious rooms all with balconies, eat with whomever you want, very good food, free and free flowing drinks, and a fantastic crew. Lectures ... which I why I happen to be on board ... passengers who are a bit more mature, can afford an all-inclusive cruise, are well-educated and well-traveled and on board for the adventure and the ports. We are visiting not just Havana, although that was great and we were docked right in Old Havana, but also Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba with INCLUDED tours in all ports including Trinidad (fantastic!), El Cobre, and Bacanao Park. No wanta-be Broadway shows but a really talented couple who provide after dinner entertainment. For those for whom feathers and g-strings ... the real ones ... are a necessity ... included was an evening trip to the Tropicana for their traditional night club show including by the way a bottle of Cuban rum for every 4 people.

 

The architecture in Cuba is fantastic. The people we've met have been warm and welcoming including one old guy who insisted on sharing his home-made empanadas with us yesterday morning when we were walking around the main square in Cienfuegos. The buses are ALL beautiful, new with rest rooms that are unlocked and available for use. The guides are good ... but throughout you need to remember that "This is Cuba" so things are different. This is a new experience not just for the US cruise lines and uS guests, but also for both countries, so, as with any trip there are hickups.

 

This is a very comfortable way to see multiple ports in Cuba. My advice is to do some research before you come. There is a good series on Cuba on Netflx. THE HISTORY OF CUBA by Clifford L. Staten is a good background to read. It's on Amazon.

 

The Internet is pretty good ... and if you're reading this ... it is good, and free.

 

Regards, Richard

 

Might I ask which room category you were in? I'm considering a trip on the Mist and was considering either Category K or L. Thanks for any feedback on the cabins....

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Three4rd,

I am on Deck 4 near the bow in a Category K cabin and you may read my cabin review which I posted on 12/19. Although we are located close to the Pacific Lounge, that doesn't present a problem as the lounge is seldom used for group activities, but it provides us with a comfortable spot to view Cuba as we booked a room on the wrong side of the ship for this sail. Several individuals assigned to aft cabins on Deck 4 have told us that they have experienced vibrations and engine noise in their cabins, although I have no way to document those statements. I personally would not want a cabin on Deck 2 forward due to the traffic going to and from the Atlantic Lounge several times a day. Hope that this helps... LT2

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The excursions were all included (you had your choice of a half day or a longer day with lunch out included). We always went for the longer day so we could have a variety of food.

 

Do they offer a 3rd option: two half day excursions (one in the morning, and one in the afternoon, with lunch on the ship)?

 

I understand gratuities are not inclusive. In addition to tipping the local guides, how is the tipping of the ship's crew handled? Individually, or a lump sum at the end, and do they give you a guideline for the amount?

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