Embarkation at Palma was great with no faults. We had read the scary reviews but decided to take the ship on face value. I can only say that having never cruised before I was not expecting the ship to be perfect but it is definitely showing its age, both in the cabins where the bathrooms need replacing and the furnishings also need replaced or upgraded.
We pushed the boat out, so to speak and booked a deluxe balcony cabin on the 9th floor (one of the five cabins at the rear of the ship). On first view we were delighted, the cabin was large and there was a small tv corner next the double doors which lead out to the balcony. We met our cabin steward Raja, who couldn't do enough for us throughout our trip. We enjoyed our first day getting to know the staff at the sailaway bar, Rommel was extremely helpful and friendly and my hubby had some great banter with him. Everything was fine until the the fist port of call, Corsica, 5.45am to be exact, we thought there was something wrong with the ship, the vibrations were horrendous, my husband thought i was having a fit in bed, but no it was the ship being manoeuvred into port. This went on for at least two hours every morning. Apparently these cabins are directly above the propellers. With the vibrations from them and the constant scraping of chairs on the deck from the beachcomber restaurant above the cabin. We did not get any lie ins.
Getting from this the excursions are a little on the expensive side but well worth the journey and getting to see the attractions. We did easy Pisa at Â£34 per person and Barcelona explorer at Â£22 per person which were within reason and both very good.
The food is bog standard buffet fare for the masses. No complaints about any of the staff, they are extremely hard working and very friendly. The resident band 'Rock the Boat' should be looking for a better class of gig as they are absolutely fantastic, the lead singer has a fantastic voice and they need to be looking at recording something. Apart from the above, we had an ok week, met some lovely people and made a couple of new friends, special thanks to Dierdre and Terry for their company, we had a few laughs. If you are willing to put up with the vibrations and very basic food and entertainment, then the Island Escape is for you. It has been an experience, one we will cherish and remember but we will not be back. Good luck to all who sail in her and remember be kind to all the staff. They made our trip much better than it was.