Island Escape Cruise Review by catmiaow: A step by step review
A step by step review
We booked our cruise quite a way ahead and I would honestly say wait until nearer the time as you can get a much better deal.
Thomson don't allow you to on-line check in, so we arrived at 3am (3 hours prior) at our local airport. It was very quiet and we went through the process very quickly. Boarding was on time and again the flight was on time, we paid extra for reserved seating and extra leg room. If you don't pay extra then it's the same old process as other airlines you get seated apart.
When getting to Palma airport, there were people with boards showing us where to go to get the coach. The coaches were crammed and we had to sit apart where we could find, It was about 25 minutes to the port. Not very comfortable to be honest and I didn't enjoy this part. When you arrive at the port they give you an envelope with room keys and luggage labels and you put these on your cases and they take them to your room. We had to provide our card information and then we went More on board.
When we went on board we went to deck 8 (where our cabin was) and looked at our room. It was much better than expected but you could see it was very outdated, marks on the walls where the bunk beds were and tired carpet and furnishings. The bathroom was small but adequate and again needed updating, just a shower there but many of us would have liked a bath. The bed sheets were very worn and I didn't like they kept catching on my feet. There wasn't a fridge in our room but drinks left on the dressing table, not included in the package. There was a box tv and a hairdryer. Lots of storage in the room with drawers and a wardrobe. The TV had a couple of film channels, which changed daily(showing two films on separate channels every day(think about 5 times in a day), news of excursions, news, video about life jackets and live video of the front of the ship.
Walking around the ship, it looked quite tired and in need of a major update to be honest. This was our second cruise and I found that people weren't as friendly as the Thomson Dream we went on the year previously. In fact a lot of bar staff were rude or ignored you, wasn't impressed. The all inclusive package wasn't all inclusive as a lot of things were not included and many of the premium brands were extra, as well as you could only use this package between 10am - 2am. I don't know how they get away with calling it all inclusive. The drinks were okay but a lot of the included cocktails weren't very nice so I ended up drinking soft drinks most of the time.
There was quite a bit of choice when it came to the food but if you have dietary needs then you are stuffed. I am vegetarian and they constantly had pasta in tomato sauce, which was always horrible hardly any choice and the food was better in the island restaurant compared to the other buffet restaurant. Still the food wasn't great. The only time I enjoyed a meal was eating at the Oasis restaurant, which was £34.99 extra and I don't think you should have to pay extra to enjoy a meal on a cruise. All in all I never enjoyed a meal at either buffet restaurant.
The excursions were mixed, very expensive and most of them not worth the money. We did Rome in a day, you get to see a lot but its a very expensive tour and very rushed. One hour and a half away from port so a lot of time on the coach. I would say go by train if you want to do this tour and be prepared to rush around. We also did Florence/Pisa, a more relaxed tour as these cities are quite small. Much more enjoyable but again expensive and far away from the port. Monaco/Monte Carlo not at all worth it, £80 we paid to see each place for an hour, most of time spent on the coach. I would not recommend at all. Corsica we just had a walk around, its a small town and right near the port and Barcelona the same thing, the port is 10-15 minutes walk to the main city. You can get a metro to Sagrada Familia.
We got a bill through our door the night prior to departure and also information. You leave your cabin keys in the cabin. We had to put our suitcases out the evening prior to leaving and they take them downstairs. It was a total pain finding our suitcases on the day and would recommend going down there earlier to get them. Palma airport check in took ages but everything from there was quite quick. Quite a few shops in the airport.
Overall positives were that the room was better than expected and the itinerary. Most of the other staff were okay.
Negatives: lack of choice on the 'inclusive' menu, food was poor and bad choice for vegetarians, bar staff generally didn't have the right attitude and the ship was tired.
I can't comment on the entertainment because we never saw a show we fancied on the cruise news, but there didn't seem to be anywhere to have a nice peaceful drink. Every bar had a singer or entertainment.
I definitely wouldn't book this cruise again, although I would consider a Thomson's one. For the price, it wasn't really a bargain cruise for what you got. Less
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This was a premium cabin, so an upgrade. I can't imagine how bad the standard one would be. This room was quite a lot bigger.