Pearl Seas Cruises
Pearl Seas Cruises is a newish (2014) subsidiary of the firm that owns American Cruise Lines with its large and ever-growing fleet of coastal and river ships. Its one ship, the 210-passenger PEARL MIST, shares many of the characteristics of the U.S. flag fleet yet it is an ocean-going vessel, registered in the Marshall Islands and operates with a largely non-American crew.
With this new ship, the firm’s cruise itineraries have expanded to New England, Eastern Seaboard, Eastern Canada, and the Great Lakes. Circumnavigations of Cuba were cancelled due to US government orders. Costa Rica and Panama, including canal transit, now cover the winter months. The ship is stabilized.
Ship, Year Delivered & Passengers
PEARL MIST (built 2014 & 210 passengers)
Mostly Americans and some Canadians, largely 50+ and many will be loyal American Cruise Lines’ passengers. Unlike the US-flag ACL, this ship is registered in the Marshall Islands and operates with a largely foreign national crew.
6; an elevator connects all cabin decks.
$$$ Very Pricey
Internet/WiFi; a daily cocktail hour before dinner, wine with lunch and dinner, open bar with hors d’oeuvres in the evening. Suggested tipping is high at $125 for a seven-day cruise or $18 a day.
➢For spring 2020, the PEARL MIST will makes its way up the Eastern Seaboard on a 10-day itinerary embarking at Charleston, then calling at Norfolk, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newport, Portland, Bar Harbor and Halifax.
➢After that the ship heads to the St. Lawrence River and Seaway with port calls such as in the Saguenay Fjord, Quebec Montreal and Toronto and into the Great Lakes.
➢May and September, 11 and 15-day cruises sees the ship operating between Portland, Maine and Toronto calling at Canadian Maritimes ports, plying the St. Lawrence River (Quebec City & Montreal), St. Lawrence Seaway and into Lake Ontario for Toronto. Additional 7-day spring and fall cruises from Portland visit three ports in Maine and three ports in New Brunswick.
➢11-day cruises, June to September, sail between Toronto and Chicago passing through four Great Lakes and Georgian Bay and stopping at Mackinac Island and Sault Ste. Marie, and shorter 7-day itineraries operate in August between Toronto and Chicago.
➢Leaving the Great Lakes in September, the ship takes advantage of the fall foliage season in Canadian Maritimes and New England with 10- and 14-day trips between Quebec City and Boston.
➢ In October, at the end of the Canada season, the ship heads south along the Eastern Seaboard (a reverse of the northbound itinerary; see above).
Note: The PEARL MIST will then make its way to a series of weekly 7-night cruises operating between December 1, 2020 and February 2, 2021 that feature the Panama Canal. Alternate cruises will begin in Cartagena, a port in Colombia and once the capital of the Spanish Empire in America, then proceed to visit the Kuna people in the San Blas Islands and pause at Colon at the entrance to the Panama Canal. The passage includes several sets of locks, often filled with impressive container ships. a crossing of Gatun Lake and lovely tropical landscape either side. Once in the Pacific Ocean, there is a day call in at the beautiful Las Perlas Archipelago before returning to Balboa for a final visit to nearby Panama City, a modern metropolis peppered with French and Spanish colonial architecture. The cruise ends here, and the next one embarks for the itinerary in reverse.
PEARL MIST is a small ship with just 210 passengers, roomy within, and one of the few lines that covers the Great Lakes, plus the St. Lawrence River, Canadian Maritime Provinces, New England and the East Coast. New for the winter months, Costa Rica and Panama with a canal transit, a pioneering possibility.
When to Go?
As the ship moves around according to the seasons, the when to go is already obvious. One point to keep in mind is that fall foliage in Canada occurs about a month ahead of New England.
All are outside with sliding glass doors leading to a balcony with table and two chairs, and some additionally also have large picture windows. They are arranged over four decks and divided into five categories. 12 are set aside as singles. Oddly, cabin 302 is alone in having no balcony. Amenities include flat-screen TV, DVD player, and complimentary WiFi. Connection speed will vary widely by location. Be patient and remember it’s free.
Two lounges are located forward. The Pacific Lounge has good views over the bow and to either side while the Atlantic Lounge, two decks below, has views to port and starboard. Additional small lounges are located on the next to lowest (2nd) deck and the Library Lounge on the 4th deck. The highest (6th deck) offers both covered and open seating.
The dining room, located aft on the main (lowest) deck, seats all at one open seating. Meals receive high marks and cater to North American tastes. Wine is included at lunch and dinner.
Activities & Entertainment
Exercise equipment resides outside on the 5th or Sun Deck. One or two lecturers travel with the ship to prepare passengers for what’s ashore. Mostly musical entertainment comes aboard in some ports.
While the ship has much in common with some of the larger vessels in the American Cruise Lines fleet, a sister company, the crew here is international. Many passengers will come over from ACL, hence a largely North American passenger list.
Along the Same Lines
Victory Cruise Lines operates similar itineraries on the Great Lakes, along the St. Lawrence River, and in the Canadian maritime provinces.
Pearl Seas Cruises, 741 Boston Post Road, Suite 250, Guilford, CT 06437. 1-888-882-1595. PearlSeasCruises.com
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