We have just returned from a Thomson Cruise on the Island Escape and just wanted to warn anyone that is thinking of spending their hard earned cash on a cruising holiday to avoid this ship like the plague! We have sailed on other Thomson’s ships (Topaz, Celebration, and Spirit) and always had a good time but the Island Escape is in a class of its own and for all the wrong reasons!
The all inclusive package sounds pretty good until you get on board and then you are given a scrappy bit of photocopied paper which gives details of what the "all inclusive" includes-this takes up about 1/5 of the leaflet and the rest giving details of the cocktails, beers, liqueurs etc which you cannot have without paying extra. We knew that international brands were not included but what they don’t tell you is that apart from spirits there are no locally produced liqueurs offered such as Baileys, Amaretto, Tia Maria etc so if you want these or a cocktail containing these you have to pay extra at £2.50 a go!
Noro Virus was rife on the ship which we were unaware of until again we were on board and started to hear the horror stories from people who were on the second week of their cruise and had all been ill and confined to their cabins at some point the previous week. The help your self buffet was reduced to something like a bad school dinner experience where absolutely EVERYTHING was put on your plate for you by staff-even the bottles of HP sauce were kept behind barriers and a "dollup" put on you plate if you wanted any. The food choice was terribly poor and compared to the other Thomason cruise ships was a massive disappointment.
Needless to say despite the efforts of the cleaning staff we ended up in our cabin for a couple of days with sickness and diahorria and when we finally docked in Palma at the end of our cruise the whole ship was getting prepared for a disinfecting "deep cleaning exercise" and any passengers who were unlucky enough to be staying on board for a further week, had to be transferred to a nearby hotel while this process was taking place.
The entertainment was very hit and miss,-evening shows when they were on were excellent- but the daytime entertainment was virtually non existent and consisted mainly of badly photocopied picture quizzes and bingo. On the days when the weather was awful or when we were at sea, there was no "contingency" entertainment added when it was raining- only entertainment cancelled if it was scheduled to be held at the poolside.
The ship itself could only be described as a "rust bucket" which was obviously not up to sailing the bad weather conditions we experienced. Even though the captain kept reassuring us that the stabilizers on board would help in the stormy conditions this was not the case. We were on deck 9 at the rear of the ship and felt every movement and the loud clanging noise that accompanied every sway was horrific and made trying to sleep a nightmare!
The only plus to this whole dreadful experience was as usual the wonderful and hard working cabin crew and bar/waiting staff.
In my opinion the word "informal" which is used to describe this cruise should be changed to sub standard. We paid £1600.00 for something which at best could only be described as cheap and nasty!!!!!