Island Escape Cruise Review by Dime bar: Mixed feelings
On taking the Thomson Island escape cruise in early July 2013, I make my report upon the following unbiased and truthful views, this having been on several cruises in ten years.
The welcome in Majorca was good, photographs, check in by friendly faces and reasonable instructions to collect and identify luggage to be placed on board the ship.
Everything was efficient, run beautifully and a good welcome on board. The cabin directions were a little bit sketchy, but not being a sea bird, and with a bad sense of direction, let alone ship aware, my husband managed to get us to our cabin without too much difficulty, and that of my parents who were travelling with us. To be honest, there were stewards available every where who were helpful and willing to help, bearing in mind, the ship had 1700 passengers aboard that day, most of them boarding for the first time, they did an excellent job.
Cabins were comfortable, nice beds and comfy mattress, and cabin service was More fantastic, fresh towels whenever required, beds turned down, towel creatures made on the bed daily, and cleanliness way beyond expectation. There was plenty of room for clothes, lots of drawers and hanging space, more so than a land hotel.
The Mini bar however was priced ridiculously. Even the bottled water Sadly was priced at over 1.50 for a litre sized bottle and a whopping 2 plus for a small tube of Pringles crisps (plain I might add). My advise is not to touch the mini bar, it is not even in a fridge, just placed on a shelf, so no idea how long it had been there.
Sky tv was available, although not many channels, but some would Argue that you don't need to spend much time in your cabin to use it aside from sleeping and getting dressed!
The room temperature was good, adjustable if passengers were cold, but air conditioned mainly and very welcome.
Ship cleanliness was excellent, deck seven was the main pool bar, well cleaned and attended, although nicely divided left and right into smoking areas, the ashtrays in the smoking area were not always emptied which was a shame. Staff were mainly friendly on main pool deck, and once you became friendly with them they did tend to fetch and carry drinks for you from the bar area. Some young staff however, were over zealous with moving tables back into evening position .Whilst my mother and I enjoyed an early evening drink, one member of staff found it acceptable to swipe our table away to move it two feet into the "correct" evening position, while we were posed mid drink in air - which I found extremely rude. Even when I mentioned that it was bad manners, he just shrugged and said he had to do it!
Entertainment mainly good on this floor, although the microphones were set a little loud, which was unnecessary as we could hear adequately during entertainment games and announcements. I felt a little sorry for the older members of the pool deck!
Trips to land destinations at first seemed vey steep, but once taken, we appreciated how organised, and well informed they actually were. Excellent value for money and faultless
Service. Coaches were air conditioned and comfortable, and two or three times people got lost and were accommodated by being collected in a different area, or waited for.
A note on Wifi , advice is do not use. Wifi which may appear free around the world is not free on board. A payment of 1 per minute is expected, when it works. Also the ship has its own satellite whilst at sea which costs over the top tariffs, my advice is to wait until you are in a European port.
Photography on board ship is excellent, although in my opinion, a little hard sell. Wait until the last evening on board where you will pick up any photographs taken during the week at a reduced price.
There is a spa on board at reasonable prices, although once again I found this a little bit too hard sell, for example, a spa representative handing out flyers when you reboard the ship every day, and flyers pushed under cabin door every evening.
Excellent gym on board also if required.
Entertainment shows were excellent most evenings in the main theatre, and a casino on one floor also worth a look if you have the energy at the end of the day!
There was a restaurant called the Oasis,which you can pay for and the cost is 15 per head for a set menu. This is excellent, choice of fillet steak, salmon, lobster etc, top class food Served by friendly staff and lovely surroundings. Impeccable. The waiters one evening opened the curtains for us to see a magnificent sunset and dolphins jumping alongside the ship. This restaurant is select and needs to be booked in advance, but has captured the ambiance of the special occasion, and exceeds its own expectations.
The buffet which purports to be open 24 hours a day is actually closed until 4am, not twenty four hours. The food here is good during the day, even if it lacks imagination and menus are repeated. However, food is sadly kept heated from around mid afternoon for the rest of the evening, so lets itself down very badly. Meat tends to be processed, garlic bread solid, lasagne dry and tasteless for example.
Staff are unwilling to serve decent sized portions at all times the of the day. I was shocked to see several people asking for more than was put on their plates , which is a huge let down to a company of this status in my opinion. The food was very sub standard in the buffet restAurant, which pulled the whole experience down. sausage and bacon were cheap and nasty in the morning, beans and toast in edible, eggs were like rubber.
Food was stood too long, hash browns soft and tasteless, very disappointing considering that the other restaurant served the same food and this was better...? In my opinion it was a cost saving exercise which Thomsons should be ashamed of.
The third restaurant was the Island restaurant, with the same food presented and kept to a good standard, waiter service for drinks and nice surroundings. Less
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