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The long-awaited Pearl Mist has sold out its first year. Pearl Mist, which launched out of Baltimore in June, is the first vessel of Pearl Seas, the American-flagged sister company to American Cruise Lines (ACL). Pearl Seas was formed in 2006, but disputes with the shipyard delayed the delivery of Pearl Mist until this year.
The successful debut of the 210-passenger Pearl Mist draws on a broad passenger base that goes beyond ACL’s guest demographic to include groups, singles and couples from all over the country.
The ship’s itineraries are part of the attraction. These include the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, Canadian Maritimes and New England, along with winter cruises in the Caribbean and East Coast repositioning sailings in between. Another factor is Pearl Mist’s positioning in the luxury adventure cruise market, which has worked well for recent entrants from Silversea to Seabourn. Pearl Mist’s Baltimore departure port also enables it to tap the drive-up cruise market in the Midwest, which is particularly strong in summer.
“We have seen the importance of the drive-up market on American Cruise Lines,” said Susan Shultz, director of sales for both lines. “On a recent sailing, 70 passengers out of 150 drove to the ship.”
Shultz noted that most Pearl Mist passengers were initially sourced from ACL’s past passenger base.
“But now, they are coming from everywhere,” Shultz said. “The demographic may be a little younger than ACL with the active shore excursions — kayaking, biking, fishing and so on.”
Individual bookings dominate this year, but there’s a rise in groups and incentive travel booked for 2015. The company is offering some seven-day itineraries next year, too, and these are expected to draw multi-generational groups.
Pearl Mist is the first of the fleet’s planned two ships. It has 12 single-occupancy staterooms and five categories of standard staterooms and suites ranging from 302 to 580 square feet. All have Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and DVD players. Public spaces offer wide views of the rivers, especially in the single seating dining room. There’s a fitness room and spa services are available. All decks have elevators.
The second ship, currently unnamed, will be slightly larger than Pearl Mist with a 240-passenger capacity. It is scheduled to enter service in 2016.