Horizon Cruise Review by Edna Stinchcombe: Island Star - Western Mediterranean
Island Star - Western Mediterranean
What a lovely ship. All the good stuff from the Island Escape and then some! Spacious, friendly & relaxed with all the facilities that you need. We had a deluxe balcony room which included a fridge, TV and all that you would expect for a 5 star hotel room. Lots of wardrobe & draw space, a settee, coffee table, 2 arm chairs. The room was attended at least twice a day topping up ice changing towels, extra towels for the pool, and mini-bar facility also air conditioning. American style sockets so bring 110 volt adapter, however the shops on board do sell if you forget. The shops are open while at sea and each evening have special offers (lovely handbags!) We like to dress up for dinner and don't mind paying a supplement for 'fine dining' so we eat in the Oasis Restaurant 13 out of 14 evenings, the other was spent in the Steak House having a lovely T bone steak, however we prefer more formal starters to the self service salad/fish chart on offer. The Oasis & Steak House More
require booking & not everything on the menu carries a supplement charge - on average we spent between £10 & £20 most evenings but that was 4 courses and ate things like lobster, steak & beef wellington. We had breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and supper in the 24/7 Beachcomer, which also had themed nights. We didn't go into the Island Restaurant but this is very popular with most cruisers. Yes you do have to wait to be seated and can sit on a table with others and is mainly self service but each to their own and what you are prepared to pay for! The service day or night in bars, restaurants, shops basically anywhere was very efficient and friendly. The deck space was larger than the Escape and two very hot tubs and showers. There is a plunge pool for the little ones but both are quite cold. The pool was big enough to feel that you have had a swim! Generally the sun beds are available but there are those with a selfish mentality by putting towels out but the good news here is that towels will be moved if the bed is noticed to be empty for over 30 minutes you only have to ask. The day at sea is the hardest day to get a bed, so get out there early. Entertainment was great fun and the teams work very hard to offer a wide range of entertainment, from poolside quizzes to West End style entertainment and ending with the late night disco. However if you just want to sit around you can in three areas with background entertainment, piano players and late night cabaret as well as the two big entertainment areas. The Ocean is a two tier theatre effect which is non-smoking, part of the Bounty is also non-smoking. Three are several internet The pool has one side for smokers and the other non-smoking. The excursions are varied and even has a healthy option for bike riders (too much like hard work for us) We went on a couple and thought they were excellent and well organized. The trip to the vatican gardens was expensive but wonderful we avoided all the queues and didn't feel like cattle being herded from one attraction to another. We have been to most of the ports of call before so did our own thing but from past experience the trips were well organized and the tour guides are very informative giving country history with a lot of statistics if you are interested. A couple of trips meant very early rising but as the Beachcomber is 24/7 a good breakfast is ready for all early risers. Also there is a fitness suite on board and organized fitness sessions to work off those extra pounds that you will put on as everything is so good it is very difficult to resist. Watch out for the cocktails as well and the 2-4-1 drink offers. Although tipping is included in the cost, you will find that most people tip their cabin stewards and favorite waiter. There were a some families on board and there are facilities for them however the pool seems very crowded with only half a dozen boisterous kids and there doesn't seem to be much for the older teenagers who are not interested in doing arts, crafts, treasure hunts or playing in the arcade. There are a few internet points and a library. If you understand forward, aft, midship and starboard & port then you will be able to find your way around the ship very well but there are maps on all floors and you only need to ask if you are not sure, take the stairs a few times for the adventure and go and see the reception area for grandeur. We enjoyed our trips with the Island Escape but the Island Star in comparison is excellent its like buying a newer model of your favorite car with all the regular features but with added mod cons. We would recommend this ship to anyone but if you want to avoid the children don't book in school holidays. Less
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