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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sailing, sailing on the Great Lakes

   Out to Sea for July 26-14
   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   There’s a new luxury cruise ship plying the cool waters of the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay this summer.
   Cruises on the Pearl Mist set sail from Toronto and Chicago and go where the bigger cruise ships can’t reach.
   It follows a route through four of the Great Lakes – Ontario, Erie, Huron and Michigan – and adds Georgian Bay to the mix.
The new Pearl Mist is sailing on the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay this summer.
   The 10-and 11-day cruises feature “luxurious” staterooms with private balconies, “exquisite” cuisine, lectures from onboard historians and a free cocktail hour before dinner.
   Sailings are from this month through September with limited space available but bookings are open for next summer, said cruise line publicist Britt Rabinovici.
   “With just 210 passengers, Pearl Mist falls into the small-ship category, with cabins ranging from 28.05 square metres (302 square feet) to suites at 53.88 square metres (580 square feet),” she said. 
   Pearl Mist is the first ship from Pearl Seas Cruises of Guilford, Conn. and offers “unusual and interesting itineraries” in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, the Maritimes, New England and the Caribbean.

The spacious master suite on the Pearl Mist.
   Bon voyage
   The Great Lakes and Georgian Bay cruise includes distinctive “shore excursions,” many of which are at no extra charge.
   “Our passengers’ experience on shore is equally important as their experience aboard our ships,” said Timothy Beebe, cruise line vice-president.
   Departing from Toronto, the ship arrives in Niagara Falls on Day 2 and heads into Lake Erie, arriving in Windsor on Day 3.
The ship calls on Niagara Falls for a day of fun
   Cruising in Lake Huron, the ship ties up in Midland at the southern end of Georgian Bay’s 30,000 islands and then on Day 5 is in Parry Sound.
   Scenic cruising continues into Day 6, arriving in Little Current on Manitoulin Island, and then on to Sault Ste. Marie.
   Crossing into Michigan, it calls on Mackinac Island, a Victorian-inspired place where personal motorized vehicles are prohibited in favour of travel by bicycles, horse-drawn carriages and walking.
   Cruisers can explore the European flavour of Holland, Mich. on Day 9 and then arrive in Chicago to conclude their voyage.
   Featured tours include the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls, sailing up close to the Horseshoe Falls, and the Henry Ford museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich.
Mackinac Island, a Victorian-inspired place, is a popular destination
   On Manitoulin Island, there’s a pow-wow excursion and tour while in Fort Mackinac, a carriage tour and lunch at the Grand Hotel are offered.
   Cycling and kayaking are available at various ports throughout each cruise.
   “It is our goal to offer our guests a complete discovery of the charm and history of each port and to bring it to life with our shore tour program,” Beebe said.

   Life onboard
   The Pearl Mist was designed with innovative, state-of-the-art technologies and amenities, Rabinovici said.
   Each cabin has a private balcony and two twin beds that combine to form a king-size bed.
   There are full-sized bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, safes, phones, individual climate controls and minibars.
   Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the ship while accessible cabins and singles are available.
   There’s a spacious dining salon that seats all passengers at one time with surrounding windows for panoramic views and complimentary room service is available.
Pearl Mist at sea
   Chefs create regionally authentic dinners that are prepared fresh and accommodate special requests.
   As well as complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before dinner, wine is included with lunch and dinner as well as coffee, espresso and snacks throughout the day.
   The six-deck ship has six lounges, a lecture room, library with books and board games, a fitness centre, computer workstations, onboard medical services and a putting green.
While in Chicago, explore the Navy Pier
   There is a sundeck atop the ship, nightly musical entertainment and an elevator serving all decks.

   If you cruise
   Pearl Seas’ Great Lakes and Georgian Bay cruises from Toronto depart on Aug. 9 and 30 and from Chicago on July 30 and Aug. 20. Fares are from $5,885 and $6,475 US a person.
  Other options include 14 nights, Chicago to Montreal, Sept. 10, and Montreal to Portland, Maine, Sept. 24; Portland to Quebec City, 10 days, Oct. 8, and the reverse, Oct. 18; and Portland to Nassau, Bahamas, 14 days, leaving Oct. 29.
   For more information: pearlseascruises.com; 1-800-983-7462


Jim and Barb Fox can be reached at outtosea50@hotmail.com
For more Out to Sea trip tips: http://outtoseatravel.blogspot.ca

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