Island Escape Dining
Island Escape has three restaurants. The casual indoor/outdoor Beachcomber buffet on the Sun Deck (10) -- which has a cheerful decor, pastel tile-topped tables and a pretty tiered outdoor terrace overlooking the ship's stern -- is open 24 hours a day and offers everything from light snacks to afternoon tea and late-night suppers. It has some splendidly appetizing displays of bread and fruit.
A rather nice hangover from this (if you'll forgive the expression) is the Beachcomber's very relaxed approach to breakfast hours, with hearty British breakfast fare like eggs, bacon and even black pudding available until noon!
Four flights down on Diamond Deck (6), there are more buffets available in the light and airy Island Dining Room which can seat 530 guests. It offers nine tables for two, eight four-seaters (which can be adapted to seat two) and plenty of larger tables for groups.
This is very well organized, with two buffet lines and separate stations for salad, cold cuts, bread, cheese and puddings. At lunchtime there is also a carvery and a delicious toasted sandwich of the day. A nice touch is a permanently manned station featuring different daily specialties -- like Salade Nicoise freshly prepared by a Frenchwoman.
The ship's specialty restaurant, The Oasis, is down on Coral Deck (5) and very prettily presented with an Egyptian theme and decor of cream, coffee and gold. It is open only for dinner and rather than paying a supplement to eat here, guests pay extra for daily specials like Chateaubriand (9 GBP a head) or grilled lobster (12 GBP). A four-course "Chef's Suggestion" menu is also available for 9 GBP a head, and there is a fair choice of complimentary dishes, so it is possible for guests on a tight budget to enjoy the restaurant while dining for free.
Bottles of wine are good value, though; house wine costs £9.95 a bottle and for between £11.76 and £13.96 you can wash down your dinner with a decent bottle of merlot, pinot gringo or raja.
Passengers can also buy cakes, specialty teas and coffees at the Cafe Brasil, a spacious but rather gloomily decorated area at the rear of the Bounty Lounge on Flamingo Deck (8). A small latte costs £1.70, a cream scone £1.95, and the sweet-toothed can get a plate of sherry trifle for £2.50.
The cafe also has a small library -- really little more than a bookcase, though there are a variety of games available to while away the time.