By Maria Harding, Cruise Critic contributor
The well-maintained Island Escape attracts travelers at the budget end of the market and offers decent-quality traditional cruising with a few modern twists like an alternative restaurant. It has proved highly successful in tempting takers of "bucket and spade" (package holidays) trips to try cruising for the first time; 50 percent of its passengers are "cruise virgins," while 30 percent are veterans of budget cruising, having sampled one of the Thomson cruise ships or P&O's low-price-cruise subsidiary Ocean Village.
With seven-night flycruises priced from 599 GBP (just over $1,000) and child prices from 199 GBP (just over $350), Island Escape is a good option for people who want to "do the Med" without breaking the bank, and will provide a relaxed, comfortable, fun cruise.
The highlight of each sailing (weather permitting) is a deck party, during which the ship's very jolly Captain and his officers perform a dance modeled on the finale of the film "The Full Monty" -- though without disrobing, naturally!
Island Escape Fellow Passengers
Island Cruises prides itself on attracting younger-than-usual cruise passengers, claiming an average age of 45. But you will find older folks on its Mediterranean runs. It's a budget ship so don't expect the passengers to be grand, but they are very friendly and delightful to chat with.
Island Escape Dress Code
Island Escape is an informal ship and its casual dress code reflects this.
Passengers are asked to cover up and wear shoes or flip flops if coming indoors from the pool, and smart casual clothing is appropriate for dinner in the Oasis Restaurant but other than that, passengers can do their own thing (though on my cruise many of them did dress up a bit in the evenings)
Island Escape Gratuity
Basic tips are covered in the cruise fare, but staff members always welcome a little extra at passengers' discretion.
When looking at cruises what drew us towards the IE initially was the words 'Relaxed, Friendly & Informal' which was exactly what we were looking for, and exactly what we received.
Couldn't fault the staff, entertainment or the food. Very ...continue
Was rather worried after reading earlier reviews but we needn't have bothered. First sight of the ship was quite pleasing - not as large or as grand as some of the other ships we saw but not as bad as I thought.
Our cabin was on the 9th deck. We ...continue
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We have just returned from a Spring Cruise on the Island Escape, the second time we have cruised with Island Cruises on this ship. All inclusive worked very well without any obvious over indulgence. Local spirits aren't quite up to the standards we ...continue