Pearl Seas Cruises review

Unique itineraries along the Great Lakes, East Coast, Canada and Panama Canal.

Not for the budget traveler, Pearl Sea Cruises are for curious minds seeking a small ship experience, intimate atmosphere and educational enrichment.

1 ships

Number of ships

Price

No

Price matches

Details

Target demographic Seniors
Number of ships 1 ships
Contact options Phone, Email, Facebook Messenger
Payment options Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card
Deposit required Deposit at checkout
Deposit required No price matching
Food Food included
Drink Alcohol included
Room service Room service included
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Review by


Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).

Expert review

Pearl Seas cruises are perfectly pleasant ways to see some really gorgeous areas of North America. We recommend the Great Lakes itineraries if you’re interested in gleaning expert historical insight into cities that have played a key part in the area’s modern development.

However, day-to-day schedules are rather quiet. While there’s usually a complimentary tour or excursion at each port, Pearl Seas cruises are probably best for folks who like to explore new places on their own or in the company of their partner or a few friends.

And while you’ll pay a premium for these cruises, don’t expect a luxury experience. There aren’t butlers, and alcohol is only complimentary at meals and during the daily cocktail hour. If you’re hoping for a true all-included small-ship cruising experience, check out Seabourn Cruises:

Seabourn review

That said, the intimate, friendly feel of Pearl Seas Cruises’ voyages is a draw. There’s only one dining room on board, encapsulated by panoramic windows, and everybody eats together. If that appeals to you — and the price is right — you should enjoy these cruises.

Pearl Seas Cruises' ship

Pearl Seas Cruises has one cruise ship: the Pearl Mist. In true small-ship cruising form, it holds a maximum of 210 guests. Staterooms are relatively spacious — but not glitzy or brand new.

Still, every single stateroom has at least one large window for a fabulous view, and a private balcony. That's a rare find in the cruising industry, especially if you're sailing on the ocean.

On the ship, you'll find spacious lounge areas, a library, fitness center and single dining room with classic Americana decor.

Where do Pearl Seas Cruises depart from?

Instead of crowded departure ports in Miami or L.A., Pearl Seas tends to depart from areas that aren't as well-known for cruising. Folks in the heartland especially might appreciate the departures from Milwaukee and Ohio. Here's where you can begin:

Cartagena, Charleston, Portland (Maine), Quebec, Toronto

Pearl Seas Cruises destinations

Pearl Seas Cruises sails to niche ports in towns and small cities that larger cruise lines miss. Here's where you can go:

North America, Panama Canal, South America

How much do Pearl Seas Cruises cost?

Fares vary, depending on the itinerary you choose and whether or not you can find a deal. But here's the price of some of its most popular itineraries to give you an idea:

Great Lakes Cruise (seven days)

-Milwaukee, WI

-Muskegon/Holland, MI

-Mackinac Island, MI

-Sault Sainte Marie, ON

-Little Current, ON

-Parry Sound, ON

-Midland, ON

From $5,795

About $828 per day

Maine Coast and Canadian Harbors (seven days)

-Portland, ME

-Rockland, ME

-Campobello Island, NB

-St. Andrews, NB

-St. John, NB

-Grand Manan Island (Canada)

-Bar Harbor, ME

From $4,395

About $628 per day

Canada and New England Fall Foliage (11 days)

-Quebec City, QC

-Saguenay Fjord, QC

-Baie-Comeau, QC

-Gaspé, QC
-Îles de la Madeleine, QC
-Charlottetown, PEI

-Pictou, NS

-Halifax, NS

-Lunenburg, NS

-Bar Harbor, ME

-Portland, ME

From $7,475

About $680 per day

Prices obtained January 2020 are based on per-person double-occupancy staterooms.

Pearl Sea Cruises also has an early-bird discount, where you can save $400 per stateroom by booking at least 10 days in advance.

What's included on Pearl Sea Cruises?

You'll enjoy these complimentary perks:

  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • Wine and beer with meals
  • Cocktail parties with open bars
  • Onboard entertainment
  • Wi-Fi
  • At least one shore excursion per port
  • Laundry service

You'll pay extra for "premium" shore excursions, gratuities and port charges.

Why you should (or shouldn't) cruise with Pearl Seas Cruises

Pearl Seas Cruises attract an older demographic — folks in their 70s and up. You'll see no high-energy nightlife or trendy bars on board.

Pros

  • All staterooms have private balconies and large window views.
  • Library and reading nook
  • Locally-sourced food
  • Music and history-focused entertainment
  • One-of-a-kind itineraries
  • Elevator access to every deck

Cons

  • Fewer onboard activities than larger cruise lines
  • Pricier than similar cruises in the market
  • Fewer departure ports to choose from
  • Choice of shore excursions can be sparse.
  • Ship can feel outdated.

More options for small-ship cruising in the US

If you like the idea of Pearl Seas Cruises but want to compare prices and itineraries, these lines are worth checking out:

  • American Cruise Line
  • Azamara Club Cruises
  • Linblad Expeditions
  • Seabourn Cruises
  • Windstar Cruises

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