Island Escape Cruise Review by Formuladick: Enjoyable but had a better cruise in 2011
Enjoyable but had a better cruise in 2011
On the whole a good experience,, from the transfer/check-in through the inboard experience and onto departure.
A straightforward embarkation process, although a few extra pens being available to complete the medical questionnaire and banking details would have been handy.
The cabin was as expected, worth paying that little extra to secure daylight as compared to our previous experience of inside cabin. Ok not the most celubrious but clean, tidy and essentially plenty big enough for what it is for the duration of the cruise - a base from where to enjoy the boat's facilities and to set off to new places daily. And of course sleep. Beds were comfy, and even an adventure when a 3rd person is ione of the fold down bunks. Shower smallish but no smaller than the average cubicle, and plenty of hot and powerful water.
free hire of a hair-dryer was available although I understand that they do become scarce so arriving on a later flight than mine could cause issues. More
Each cabin has a safe, however the lock is essentially hired on a weekly (Ã£15) or fortnightly (Ã£25) basis. I cannot believe that anyone would not use this service to keep passports, money and other valuables safe...so surprised that the locks weren't included in the
1) the staff. With only a couple of exceptions all the cleaners, cabin stewards, bar staff and kitchen staff seemed to enjoy being "at your service". Our steward in cabin 6042 was Satpal and cheerfully went about his business, working around us but always with a smile. Apparently he and his colleagues work from 8am to 2pm, then 6pm to 10pm. 7 days a week!!
2) things to do. Good gym although I did not partake. Plenty of entertainment I believe to suit most people - sporty things, talent shows, quizzes, shows etc. However I was disappointed that there was to a cinema on board.
3) food and drink. Plenty of food available 24 hours a day. The all-inclusive drinks package makes things so much easier. Unfortunately the menu choice was rather limited in my opinion compared to Thomson Spirit. Also it seemed a bit of a scrum at meal times in the buffet restaurant. Although access to the restaurant was from bothe sides of the ship, the layout of the food bar meant that the queues both tried to walk round in 2 directions. Again compared to the Spirit this seemed poorly organised.
4) it seemed that it was okay to smoke anywhere outside on deck. However when moored up, and with no wind this meant that those of us who do not smoke were still being subjected to the smog.
5) there appears to be nowhere onboard designated as a quiet area. The nearest would be the Cafe Brasil but this was attached to the bounty lounge where afternoon dance sessions were held, then from 7pm the bingo, quiz, competitions and music. The "Pub" had music playing constantly, and unfortunately the alternating soloists of the keyboard player and then the guitarist were very loud.
6)the library is in my opinion pointless. Firstly it is only open at most a couple of hours a day, sometimes only one hour. Even when it is open it is when the boat is moored in port and a lot of people are off the boat. The rest of the time it is literally locked by padlocks. More oddly though, you "self sign- out" books.......but don't sign them back in - just post them into a box. Seems a bit of a farce.
7) cannot understand why when on the "all-inclusive" package you can drink as much as you want, but if you can't have a can. My son could only drink soft drinks and had loads of coke, but had to continually get small beakers, rather than a decent measure.
8) plastic/melamine plates. Plastic "glasses". Just not right. I would have preferred proper glass and proper crockery.
In summary I did enjoy the cruise but not as much as the previous year on Thomson Spirit. However I believe you do get very good value for money compared to other options available Less
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