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303 Island Escape Cruise Reviews

We have just come back from 2 weeks on Island Escape. We have read the reviews before we went so would like to address a few on how we found it. We always go when the children have gone back to school and there was only 10 so it was ... Read More
We have just come back from 2 weeks on Island Escape. We have read the reviews before we went so would like to address a few on how we found it. We always go when the children have gone back to school and there was only 10 so it was quiet. There were more more mature people than we expected and quite a few groups of mature parties having a whale of a time and obviously on the drink package. Yes the ship is tired but its having a revamp in October and that will all be sorted out with new paint and wallpaper. No difference in bumps and scratches in my house ! The cabin steward was wonderful and turned down the bed at night and was always in the corridor bringing towels and changing towels even if you only popped back for a few minutes. The towels are made into great animals and I hadn't the heart to take down my monkey from my window for a week!!! When you get back on board on monkey towel day look at the portholes and windows , it makes you laugh!! People moaned about the coffee and I found that no problem. The restaurants are wonderful and the staff overly attentive in a nice way. They remember your name and what you like to order and sang. Some people dressed for dinner and some people enjoyed the atmosphere and talked to the other diners. "Some people didn't want to talk and should have booked the Queen Mary and obviously didn't want to associate with their fellow diners" Its nice to dress up and its nice to chat - we made some great friends. The entertainment was excellent and varied. Singers, quizzes and the like. If you didn't want to take part there are plenty of places to sit in the quiet with no music. The promenade to mention one. Theres composed and games and loads of dance classes, Deal or No Deal type games. You can dip and dip out of the fun if you want. The Theatre entertainment was brilliant. But I did get a bit tired of "who is in from Wales YAY, Scotland YAY or hello at the back in the cheap sets" and on "We Will Rock You" they did songs from Scotland Wales Ireland Brazil, China etc etc all except England. It did feel a bit of Scots or Irish Nite. Unfortunately the Comedian on the 2nd week Phil DOYLE did half the same routine as the comedian Phil EASTWOOD who was on the week before. Phil EASTWOOD was excellent in his routine and as a Judge in Strictly Come Dancing Comedy Nite. The tribute acts Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were excellent. Ross the Entertainment Director and his Team of entertainers were brilliant and we had such fun and they work very hard. All the staff did and said hello and were lovely all the time. And they were the people who looked after you on Boarding day. Thanks to Adam who found us wandering about as we were independent travellers and not on the en masse coaches boarding. Well spotted. Shame "some" of the diners weren't so "in the zone" We had a wonderful time and will book next year and cant wait to see the revamp. We have found a great replacement for Ocean Village. Thanks Island Escape it was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
After a late booking, and checking on other reviews for this cruise line, we were a bit apprehensive to say the least, particularly as after boarding we found out that the ship was scheduled for refurbishment the following week. ... Read More
After a late booking, and checking on other reviews for this cruise line, we were a bit apprehensive to say the least, particularly as after boarding we found out that the ship was scheduled for refurbishment the following week. However,we were extremely delighted with the cruise, the staff and quality of the food. The staff worked extremely hard to ensure that everyone on board had a good time and enjoyed their holiday. Yes, the ship was a little scruffy at the edges, but was scrupulously clean. We were on the lowest level of deck but the cabin was completely adequate for the time we spent in it. When we first arrived we complained about the mattresses which were very soft, and they were changed within a couple of hours for almost new and very comfortable. About the only real complaint we had was the smallness of the shower which had no light and when the curtain was drawn the bathroom light was insufficient. The entertainment was brilliant, the guitarist Assen fabulous and he did a one night special with one of the entertainment team of rock music which left us spellbound. All in all, we shall be cruising again in the near future, hopefully. We boarded early in the morning so had plenty of time later in the day to explore majorca. Although I have to say we must have walked 4-5 miles as the ship looks closer than it is to the centre. Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo were sparkling, picture perfect.We took the morning tour, and strolled around Nice in the afternoon. Just beautiful. Took tour to Florence from Livorno, coach trip in and did our own thing, as florence is small enough to walk around in a day.A wonderful city, although wish we'd pre-booked tickets for Uffzi museum as queues too long in time available. Would have been better if we were warned that a half marathon was being run that day Sunday 26th September, as again crowds of people there. Took advice from other reviews and took train from Citavecchia to Rome for 9 euros each (£14 for 2 of us), which was against a cost of £73 each for coach tour. I had pre-booked tickets for the Vatican and Sistine chapel for only 8 euros (just over £6 for both of us) and we strolled past huge queues to see fantastic caravaggios and michaelangelos. A fantastic day. Due to bad weather we put into Ajaccio in Corsica instead of further west on the island and were pleasantly surprised. It is very beautiful and rugged. Took the little train tour which lasted 1.5 hours. Last port of call was Menorca, and again lots to see and do around the capital of Mahon. Very pretty place. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
When we first arrived there was an error in the booking of our cabin. We booked a deluxe balcony, one of only 5 on the back end of the ship, but ended up in a deluxe (?) double with picture window. So straight away we were quite annoyed, ... Read More
When we first arrived there was an error in the booking of our cabin. We booked a deluxe balcony, one of only 5 on the back end of the ship, but ended up in a deluxe (?) double with picture window. So straight away we were quite annoyed, but had to lump it as the ship was sailing full capacity of passengers. We will be getting a refund on the balcony cost. Anyway, back to the ship itself. The room was clean, but tired in the bathroom. A bodge job had been done on the tile grouting. The toilet seat was old and chipped. The cabin attendant, Luis, was from Hondouras in Mexico, and nothing was too much trouble foor him. He was very proud of his work and started work about 5am until gone 10pm. The Ocean Theatre had no air conditioning for the whole week. The lower corridor carpets are thread-bare in a lot of places. But we believe a few million is going to be spent on a refit after October. The food is plentiful and very well cooked. An extra charge in the Oasis restaurant is well worth it. They cook the best steak I have ever eaten. The extra charge of £15 per head is well worth it. The term used in the beachcomber restaurant is a bit mis-leading. They advertise it as self-service, but that only applies to the salads and puddings. All the hot food is served by the chefs over their hot-plate counter. But it is all still good grub! The Island restaurant is a help yourself buffet, but waiter come to your table with drink, and you have table cloths here. The coffee from the machine is a bit strong and if you like a strong cup of tea, use two teabags. The entertainment is a bit butlin-like, but not un-enjoyable. The pool is more like a fishpond-size and had a bit of a green hue all week, so we didn't bother going in. Five people would have been too many anyhow. Apparently it is filled with filtered sea water. There are no plunge pools or hot tubs either, so this is it for cooling off. There is not enough room on the very small sun decks to accommodate the sun-bathers. They were crammed together likes sardines. To get a good view of the arrival in the port of that day, you had to pick your way through sun loungers to the rails on the sun-deck, and if you had more than a bikini on, got glared at by near-naked passengers that clearly thought you had no business to be there, it was very territorial. There were a small amount of shops on this ship, the usual trinket shop, perfumery, clothes and sweet/cigarette outlet complete with a small selection of soft toys and a limited pharmacy selection. The toilet system broke down 3 times on our pipe system, but was quickly repaired by the engineers. The public toilets were nice and clean (they were situated next to the main entertainments venues shops and restaurants). We feel that cramming 1500 passengers on a ship this small should not be allowed. The deck space does not accommodate it. It would be a much nicer ship if they reduced the passenger numbers to 1000. Having said that, we did manage to have a nice time and a holiday is, after all, what you make it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This cruise was a last minute surprise from my fiancee and as we had sailed with Thomson twice before we thought we knew what to expect.(Nothing fancy but good clean value for money) How wrong we were!!! The embarkation was pretty simple ... Read More
This cruise was a last minute surprise from my fiancee and as we had sailed with Thomson twice before we thought we knew what to expect.(Nothing fancy but good clean value for money) How wrong we were!!! The embarkation was pretty simple but as we were delayed 2 hours there was no embarkation photograph and no one to show us to our cabin. When we found the corridor our cabin was on there was a very musty smell and a wet floor sign outside our cabin door with a big dirty wet patch on the carpet. We had asked for a cabin with a double bed if possible. We ended up with 2 single beds pushed together with a hard steel ridge down the middle with only 2 single sized covers and sheets to try and cover ourselves with. The cabin and toilet were small as we expected, but we were shocked at how worn everything was. There were dents and marks on all the walls, the varnish was worn off the chests of drawers, the skirting boards round the room were all chipped and broken and the wardrobe had curtains for doors. If I didn't know the boat was built in the 80s I would have said the bathroom had come from the 70s. The toilet seat was all discoloured, the fittings in the shower and on the sink were cracked and oxidised and the grout on the tiles ranged in colour from black to dirty grey.The towels that we got were changed every day but they were never what you could call white and sometimes they had stains on them. I booked the celebration package as a thank you for my fiancee but there was only the Champagne and strawberries in the room when we arrived, no flowers or cake or any information about the breakfast and photographs that were included in the package. A nice bouquet of flowers arrived at 8:30 the next morning spoiling our long lie in bed.I went to reception to find out about the rest of the package and was told they didn't know about it, strange considering we already had the champagne. I eventually got the voucher for the photograph(no frame included that would coast extra),and asked when I wanted the continental (cold) breakfast and the cake.On Royal Caribbean I was £30 more but we got slippers,dressing gowns to keep, 2 a la carte breakfasts, canapes at night on top of what we got on the Escape. After three days I went back to reception to ask why the wet floor sign was still outside our room and what was happening with the wet carpet as I was concerned that the smell was getting worse and as the stain was on the opposite wall that the toilet was fitted on where the water was coming from. I was told they would note it and get back to me. I also told them I still hadn't received my cake.On the last day of the cruise I went back about the sign and wet patch I was offered £50 credit and told it was a leaking water pipe and that nothing could be done about it when the cabin was occupied and they couldn't move us to a different cabin. But by that afternoon the sign was gone the floor had been dried a bit and there was a nice smell of air freshener. I may be cynical but that same day some suit and tie people from Thomson came aboard in Mahon. The food on the Island escape can best be described as average. The Beachcomber restaurant was like a cattle market at meal times and you didn't get as much choice as you do on the Thomson Destiny or Spirit but it was ok for a quick snack. The Island Restaurant was a bit nicer and the waiters were very friendly and helpful. It is still self service and there can be a bit of confusion trying to get to the food.The wine choice was not too bad and not too expensive for some but at £3 a pint the beer was more than I pay in my local. I would say the entertainment was very good Jayne Curry, Elvis and Bobby Knutt were excellent. Elvis was the best I have seen.The ships own entertainment staff were not the best but they were entertaining. The staff were very friendly and did there job as well as they could considering the state of the ship. Why Thomson would have anything to do with this boat I do not know it should have been made into razor blades (scrapped) long ago. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We joined the boat in Palma de Mallorca and had a smooth run in from Stanstead with no problems, We were met at the port by the boarding party and had our first of many Crew photo's taken of us. We had to wait quite a while to get our ... Read More
We joined the boat in Palma de Mallorca and had a smooth run in from Stanstead with no problems, We were met at the port by the boarding party and had our first of many Crew photo's taken of us. We had to wait quite a while to get our bags and in the end went and got them ourselves. we made our way to our cabin to find it had two single beds even though we asked at every visit to the travel agent that it was a double. we eventually got the receptionist to sort it out as our steward was a bit vague when we asked him to sort it out. THE CABIN.. OMG what do they really think people expect for their money. well not what we got that's for sure. The cabins as stated by 99.9% of people are OLD and very TIRED. and ours had the added benefit of having a sticky carpet at no extra cost. And to think we upgraded to this, We had a large window cabin but it was not very clean in fact it was not clean at all. so that was a waste of money. I talked my wife out of bringing our own towels as it is stated that the ship supply clean towels every day as well as beach towels. How wrong was i the grey towels supplied were awful and we cringed every time we used them. The animals that the steward made looked well dead with this colour towel in fact they looked a bit creepy. We were very impressed with the hand hygiene stations dotted around the ferry, A great idea and one that some Cruise ships might pick up on. The food every day was to a good standard and the drinks were quite surprisingly good value but we had a drinks package so did not really benefit from them. Staff all round the ferry were great and i just wish i could bring myself to call this a cruise ship but it isn't and never will be. The Air con in the Theater Lounge did not work for the whole week. To top it off when we left the ship to go back home we picked up our case's only to find that one of them had been smashed to bit's it had been like it for hours but we found it just as we were about to board the bus. as yet we have had no response from First Choice about this but i will live in hope that they will honour their guest's at some point. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
What can I say? We feel totally let down and misinformed by First Choice/Thomson and Island. we booked it last minute and were struggling to get anywhere in the week we had off work at the price we wanted to pay. We were advised by First ... Read More
What can I say? We feel totally let down and misinformed by First Choice/Thomson and Island. we booked it last minute and were struggling to get anywhere in the week we had off work at the price we wanted to pay. We were advised by First Choice to go on this cruise as we had never cruised before and it was a good introduction. Wrong.. The mistake we made was not researching it as we always do. We took the word of a sales rep, something we never do. Never again! The only way anyone would get us back on this ferry is in two's if it was renamed Noah's Ark and our lives depended on it due to worldwide floods.. But then again it wouldn't stand up to mother nature... Embarkation We arrived at Palma and we have no complaints over the flight, transfer or embarkation as it went smoothly. The staff at the reception desk were very nice throughout our cruise and directed us to our cabin.. We looked out and saw 3 real Cruise Ships docked. I couldn't help but think the people on them must have been laughing at our ferry. Sorry it needs removing from service as a Cruise liner. I can't believe thomson put their name to this.. Oh! Sorry my mistake they just own it and make from it, they don't actually put their name on it, it remains an Island cruise. First Choice don't even put their name on the ship and they launched the venture in 2002. This tells me alot. Cabin Where do we start? It smelt musty and the toilet/shower was tiny and after a day smelt of a sewer. The beds were uncomfortable and although we found pretty little towel animals on the bed now and again, they failed to change the sheets once. I know this as my sheet had a brown stain on it for the whole week..On the whole it was too small and falling to pieces with wonky drawers and hospital curtain wardrobes. We could not move in it together and took turns to stand up and get dressed. Within 15 minutes I stood on my partners foot.There was two electrical sockets in the room. one 110volt and one 220volt. The literature given to us said only to use 110volt. We clarified this with the reception and were told different things by two people. Basically you should only use the 110volt socket! Or should you, because I got away with using the 220volt one.. Confused me too. They also told us not to use our iron( but I did) Or our own hair dryer..Or hair straighteners! This is just to make money as they charge to iron and hire hair dryers out.. I could go on. Overall I felt like a battery hen. We were right next to the pub too which meant at 1 am ( when we had to be up for a 7am docking at Rome) we had to listen to teenagers and adults shouting outside the cabin. We like a laugh and a drink but respect other people which most on this boat didn't. The Beachcomber restaurant (Greasy spoon) We walked in and sorry if I sound a snob (Which i'm not) but it was full of people who had no manners. We were pushed out of the way by people who seemed to think the food would run out if they didn't get to the chips before us.. Sorry this caters for the lower class, as does the ferry... It was like being in the school canteen having food slopped on my plate. We only went in here twice. The first time because we had just got on the ferry and the second time because it was the only place open. We shovelled the food in and left. If you are as unfortunate to go on this cruise as we were don't go in here unless you aren't bothered about value for money or sitting next to someone who likes showing their food whilst eating (No I don't mean the children). The Island restaurant (Informal but good food) This is the highlight of the ferry. The staff lead you in and you are sat on tables next to others unless you ask to sit alone. You will only have a chance of a table for two if you go ten minutes before opening time or you will probably sit next to someone who wants to talk to you instead of their family. The waiters are all from either the Phillipines or the Caribbean and I have to say they are the nicest staff on the boat and nothing is too much trouble for them. (A lesson could be learnt by the English staff..) The food is good and plenty of variety each night. Again though it is let down by people elbowing and pushing to get to the food. On the whole though this restaurant caters for people who enjoy a meal out. The entertainment ie. Pubs and theatres etc. On the whole I would describe this as a floating social club. Each area reminded me of really bad wedding venues, full of people you would never befriend and don't want to be with but just put up with them because you are there. Picture Gavin and Stacey on a night out!! We were told by First Choice that the ferry catered for an average age of 45. We asked for somewhere with plenty to do and no or little children around.. We got social clubs with people aged between 1 and 80 years. Full of people who insisted on keeping 7 year olds up during an adult comedian and a poor entertainment team who just seemed like they wanted to entertain themselves. eg Juvenile jokes and innuendo's whilst on stage. THE BAND - Hmmmm Just think back to a summer play at school and the girl who could sing (Shout) with the pubescent lads on bass..Awful! Every time the cruise host came on stage he had to advertise his sexuality in a crude and distasteful way.. As did the other members of the entertainment team as one of them during a game of Blankety Blank felt it necessary to have his answer as Balls or Banana whilst flirting with the hostess!! Trying to be funny but not very good at it!! Sorry not entertainment. We witnessed a domestic between a man and a woman who clearly had alcohol issues. She punched him and he threatened to kill her before he elbowed her in the face. The bar staff continued to sell them alcohol though. This was just another thing that left me thinking where am I? The comedian was OK on the first night but the second night I laughed once at an adult joke. Oh! and so did the 10 year old next to me. get the picture? There was an Elvis impersonator who was the best act on in 7 nights. We actually went back to our cabin after our meal and waited until things came on that we wanted to see as everything else was so poor (Including the Pubs) and just not where we wanted to be. When we did get to shows most of the time we found no where to sit. Actually we witnessed a man ( Aged about 50 ) Pointing and threatening another man ( About 60 ). Nearly fighting because he couldn't find a seat. In between the poor acts they had game shows like Mr and Mrs and bingo.. Oh yes on the last night someone stole bingo tickets because the jackpot was 1300 pounds. Again who was I mixing with in this confined space? The entertainment caters for Children and people aged over 60. Not even the band could muster up any music from the nineties or anything recent, it was all from the eighties or older. we tried the late night "Disco" one night and sadly stayed for ten minutes as the music was dire and from the 60's. Ports of call Villefranche(France) Livorno(Italy) Civitavechia(Italy) Propriano (Corsica) Mahon(Menorca) Palma(Majorca) On the whole our time in port was good. We went to Pisa,Rome, Monte Carlo, Nice, Propriano and Mahon. The highlight was Rome but we had to pack all the sights into about six hours because the port of Civitavecchia was about 1 hour away and we weren't allowed off the boat in time to catch the earliest train. However I think we saw more than the ones who were robbed by going on a trip and got less time at each location. The information from the staff wasn't very accurate about where train stations were etc (Cynical but they probably wanted us to book the extortionate trips with them). After seeing Rome Pisa Monte Carlo and Nice we thought we could spend the rest of our week lazing on beach's, wrong. Corsica was fine as the beach was in front of the ship, however Mahon was 45 minutes by bus after a 20 minute walk to a bus station.. Stress again! Perfect holiday NOT! The staff on the boat couldn't even direct us to to bus stop correctly, and not for the first time.. Palma, well again a 30 minute bus ride to the beach. Villefranche was a good location as only 5 to 15 mins from either Monte Carlo or nice by train, however the ship didn't dock and we had to get a tender to shore. The port of Livorno was closer to Pisa than the original port on the itinerary however it was a long walk or bus ride from the train station. Out of all the ports we visited I didn't see any of the other true cruise ships docked. I did however see one of them in the bay at Monte Carlo which didn't look out of place with millionaires yachts. This made me think that the larger more attractive ports would not entertain a worn out ferry like the Island Escape. Shops There was no mini market as we were told by First Chioce. As for the other shops, well we didn't go in them. We looked in and walked past the tatt they had outside on tables at about 11pm (When everyone ws drunk. At least they could be forgiven for buying tatt when drunk. We can't have any excuses for booking this cruise as we were sober) Stick to the tatt shops in port.. Enough said.. Disembarkation We received information about this two nights before going home.. well we couldn't believe what we had to do. By 130am (Early hours of 19/8/10) we had to pack our cases and leave them outside our cabin (Outside the pub) and then be out of our room at 8am (When our flight was at 8pm) Again misinformed by first choice. Another thing was no food after breakfast.. My worry was that my case was left outside a pub unattended for about 4 hours. Believe it or not it takes alot for us to complain but we were about to at this point until two tamper proof security seals arrived in our room. So we didn't complain. Anyway on the last day we went to the beach and returned at about 4pm. We got changed without a shower as the courtesy rooms were only offered up to 3pm. And really I didn't want to share a room with the people on this boat as I witnessed their behaviour and lack of hygiene for a week.. Anyway finally we could see the light and our cases were at port side. As we got them the security seals were broken. I approached an English rep with an Island T-shirt on (Like I said earlier the English staff could learn off their colleagues) she wasn't bothered. I asked what the seals were for and she couldn't answer. I asked what I should tell the staff at the airport when i'm asked have I left my case unattended and is their a chance anyone could have tampered with my luggage. She assured me that it had not been tampered with as no one on the ship would do such a thing. (Just like no one nicked the bingo tickets). I told her it was a joke and we had been treated like cattle all week hearded in and out of restaurants and ports. her answer to this was "I KNOW THE STAFF ARE TREATED JUST THE SAME NO ONE CARES" Anyway it had gone too far so ten minutes before my bus was due I went back to the reception to ask what to do about my luggage and I was told to bring it back up and check it was there. I couldn't believe this so i just walk off the ferry and got on the bus which lead me on my journey back to civilisation. I got to the airport and spoke to a Thomson rep about my luggage and she filled out a form for me and assured me I would have no problems over my luggage. Just what I asked for at the boat, but then again I was speaking to Thomson staff and someone who cared about her job and not someone who was on a ferry for the summer as a cheap holiday. Ratings Food - * * * Entertainment - * stars Accommodation - * ( YMCA/Hospital ward) Ports of call - * * * (Too far from main cities) Ferry overall - * P.S. I forgot to mention there is a pool measuring about 10m x 6m. The water looked like cloudy lemonade (If you see what I mean). We were told by First Choice there were two pools and they were lovely.. As was the Ship. Not. The End (Thank God!!) Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My husband and I called into the travel agents on the off chance they might have a late deal, being the start of the summer holidays, prices hadn't dropped enough to qualify in my husbands book as 'a bargain!' After ... Read More
My husband and I called into the travel agents on the off chance they might have a late deal, being the start of the summer holidays, prices hadn't dropped enough to qualify in my husbands book as 'a bargain!' After exhausting nearly all the deals they had to offer, i was feeling a tad subdued, until I suggested a cruise. The price was right, flights were ideal and the destinations appealed to us- so it was decided- The Island Escape it was!! After booking and paying, we came home to read the reviews-BIG MISTAKE! All we kept thinking was 'well its only for week!' We were in our cabin at 10.55am, (a bonus is that the dock is only 15 mins from the airport.) Our cabin steward, Amr greeted us and made us feel instantly at home. Anything we needed we only had to ask. We were very impressed with our cabin, it was huge! The food, well what can I say was bountiful! Every minute of every day there was something to eat-even fussy eaters had no cause to grumble. The price of beer was reasonable. A pint of Stella was 3.10 and the daily cocktail was 2.70. We bought local wines ashore and was able to consume them in our cabin. The crew always polite and friendly, as were the entertainment team. All took the time to chat if seen round the ship. A magnificent bonus on the entertainment front was the swing singer - Asa Murphy. Wow what a marvellous singer! It was worth going to listen to him alone! I realise I sound as though I'm gushing about our entire holiday but we enjoyed immensely! My husbands and I had only 2 complaints, firstly we might have used the gym had it not have been a walk through gym with everything and everyone on show. Secondly, the excursions were so expensive. Our entire holiday from start to finish was excellent. So the island escape is not the biggest, newest and brashest ship in the dock, but the crew, entertainment team, food and destinations sure made up for that! My only complaint was we only booked for 1 week and not 2. Some people are never happy and always moan whatever!! go with an open mind and have a wonderful time!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We want to be totally fair and accurate in writing this review so we'll start with all the good things first. Our flights and transfers both to and from the ship could not be faulted - well done Thomsons. Our cabin, an outside ... Read More
We want to be totally fair and accurate in writing this review so we'll start with all the good things first. Our flights and transfers both to and from the ship could not be faulted - well done Thomsons. Our cabin, an outside standard balcony on deck 9, was as we expected (after viewing online pictures) and had plenty of storage space for one week's cruising. It was clean and smelled fresh and the shower was excellent too. We found all the ship's staff to be very friendly, polite and hard working and nothing was too much bother for our cabin steward who left lovely towelling animals as a nice surprise in our cabin everyday. We ate breakfast in the self-service Beachcomber Restaurant (like a cafe really) every morning and it was a bit of a free for all but then that's to be expected I suppose if loads of people arrive at the same time. We ate our dinner most nights in the Island Restaurant which has cloths on the table and cloth napkins but is still self-service but it had more of a relaxed restaurant feel about it. We enjoyed the food in both and there really was something to suit everyone we felt. We enjoyed all the entertainment we went to from the Welcome Aboard Party on our first night on Deck 10, the odd game of bingo in the Bounty Lounge, the guitarist Assen in the Pub and various cabaret acts in the Ocean Theatre to the more relaxed Champions Bar where you could always sit and meet people for a bit of a chat. We did an organised tour to Monaco and Monte Carlo which we really enjoyed and found our guide to be very informative and chatty. We also did an organised tour to Pisa and again found our guide to be very informative and had a good sense of humour as well. We visited Propriano and Mahon ourselves as the ship docked only a minutes walk away in both really. We did not visit Rome as we had already done this on a previous cruise so stayed on the ship that day. Now for the bad - One thing we did notice on arrival on the ship was that there were some ripped seats in the Pub area as we went there for a drink first to kill some time before we could get into our cabin. On route to our cabin we did notice quite a few stains on the carpets (mostly in the cabin corridors) and some of the paintwork was a bit shabby. Also some of the large viewing windows were misted inside the glass which made them look dirty and needed replacing really. Our shower area in the bathroom needed re-tiled and the shower curtain was too short! The towels did have a lot of stains on them and never really looked that clean. We had two single beds and one of the duvet covers had actually been patched! There was an ominous smell of sewage in various parts of the ship we noticed on a few occasions and it wasn't just us as people we spoke to had noticed it as well. Probably the worst thing for us though was feeling this constant vibration/rocking motion in our cabin. As soon as you put your head to the pillow there it was. As a result hardly a relaxing nights sleep and then when the ship was docking in the morning the whole cabin rattled and shook with the vibration and there was no way (even if you had managed to doze off at some point during the night) that anyone could sleep through that! We have cruised before but this was definitely a new experience for us and one which I'm sorry but we will definitely not be repeating on the Island Escape Cruise Ship. By the way we never did get to fill in the ships questionnaire which was supposed to be put through our door on the last night to fill in - I wonder why? We left the ship on the last day of our cruise having enjoyed our holiday mostly but we were totally exhausted through lack of sleep so come on Thomsons you have to sort this problem out or perhaps its just time to put Island Escape into a long overdue retirement. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
After visiting the local travel agent looking for a late deal looking to spend a week to 10 days in Barcelona but were talked into booking a cruise, as it had always appealed (but we planned on booking in a few years). The travel agent ... Read More
After visiting the local travel agent looking for a late deal looking to spend a week to 10 days in Barcelona but were talked into booking a cruise, as it had always appealed (but we planned on booking in a few years). The travel agent promised the Island Escape was a great ship and they'd never had any complaints about it - and I had a negative response when I asked if it was like Butlins on water. Stupidly, we booked before researching on the Internet and did not see the reviews here. We paid almost £2,000 for an outside cabin on deck nine - with the all-inclusive drinks deal - which, to be fair, was a lot less than we thought a cruise would cost us. Flight, transfer and cabin The flight on Thompson from East Midlands airport was good, with no delays and very polite service, as was the transfer on the coach to the ship. On arrival in Palma port, we were greeted by long queues and a wait for our bags - 30 minutes to travel 200 yards from the coach to the harbour side seemed a little much but not enough to complain about. We were ambushed by the ship photographer (the first of many instances) while embarking - after a 5am start, we really didn't appreciate this. Without any help, we found our cabin on deck 9 with relative ease. It wasn't too bad, I'd say it was clean but very tired. The TV in in the cabin was broken but it was fixed by technical staff by the end of our first night on board. When our suitcases arrived, one was half soaked and I suspect was dropped into the sea! We sailed away from Palma Mallorca leaving MSC Fantasia and Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas behind us. It was then we realised we had not booked on a cruise but a (luxury) ferry. But we were determined to enjoy our experience even if a little miffed at being mis-sold a "cruise". Dining, bars and entertainment Dining on the Island Escape was pretty hit and miss. The Beachcomber restaurant wasn't to our taste but if 24 hour chips, "gravy sauce" and plastic plates are your bag, it must be fantastic. The mid-range Island restaurant sadly, wasn't much better. We thought the £15-per-night Oasis restaurant would be as bad, so we didn't bother until the third night. This was a mistake - if you are used to eating out, book every night in advance. The food and service was surprisingly good, with specials every night, different appetisers, attentive service and a quiet atmosphere (apart from the comedy renditions of "Happy Birthday to You" every 15 minutes which were quite entertaining). The bars on the Island Escape were pretty similar to any bar you would find in your local Working Mens or Conservative Club - clean, boring and dated. If you love Bingo, Karaoke, Robbie Williams tribute acts and mock TV gameshows, this is the place for you. Many people were loving it but it just wasn't our thing so we retreated to the Sailaway Bar on deck 11 every evening (weather permitting). Service in that bar was very good, the Filipino and Eastern European waiting staff were great. Shopping on the Island Escape - don't bother. It's tat you'd find in any market. Ports and excursions Excursions from the ship were quite good - from Toulon, we'd recommend the walking tour around Aix-en-Provence with one of the friendliest tour guides ever - but a little expensive. Palermo, don't bother - an absolute dump. Naples, get on the ten Euro sightseeing bus near the castle and make sure you get an authentic pizza at one of the small cafes nearby. Ajaccio is so small you can walk around easily (we'd avoid the Napoleon museum again - two rooms of pretty uninspiring paintings and old coins and sadly his family home nearby is closed on Mondays). I'd avoid the seafront restaurants here as the food was pretty bad and overpriced - best to head inland. In Barcelona just head to La Rambla and wander, the bus tours are a little long-winded but worth the money if you make use of the hop-on, hop-off option. Palma Mallorca is one of the nicest cities in the world, if you don't know it, get on the sightseeing bus but make sure you head towards the centre from La Seu - and on your way back to the port, get a drink and snack at Cappuccino on the sea front. The holiday was okay, but not what we'd hoped. Being at sea and seeing so many places without the hassle of flying or driving was great but the experience was dampened by sleeping on a floating holiday camp. Our first "cruise" experience has not put us off and we are now planning on booking a "proper" one next year. If we could turn the clock back, we'd have paid a couple of hundred pounds more and gone on a real cruise. Good points: Good selection of ports (apart from Palermo), waiter service in the Sailaway bar, Oasis restaurant, organised excursions. Bad points: Floating holiday camp - Butlins-style entertainment, bad food if you don't pay the extra cover-charge in the Oasis restaurant, rude Brits drinking Stella from 10am, outdoor area with a minuscule pool (most garden fishponds are larger), tired cabins, gym is basic and part of a corridor and shopping tacky. The Island Escape isn't a cruise - it's a ferry. Don't be conned (as we were) if you want a real cruise - pay an extra couple of hundred quid. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I have just returned from a week on the Island Escape. Having read many reviews of the ship i was quite worried about what we were going to find when we opened the door to our cabin. We had a twin outside cabin on deck 4 (2 of us ... Read More
I have just returned from a week on the Island Escape. Having read many reviews of the ship i was quite worried about what we were going to find when we opened the door to our cabin. We had a twin outside cabin on deck 4 (2 of us travelled: my mum aged 57 and me aged 34), this was our first cruise. We called at the follwing ports: Villefranche, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Propriano, Mahon. We joined the ship at Palma in Majorca, but there is no option for Palma as the port of embarkation above!! The cabin was surprisingly spacious - there were 2 very comfortable (and good-sized) beds, 2 wardrobes, a desk, mini bar and bathroom. We had 2 portholes which provided a lovely view out to sea. We originally booked an inside cabin, however we upgraded for just £22 each after booking, to an outside cabin. The cabin was spotlessly clean and the cabin steward was very attentive - cleaning the cabin in the morning and then coming back in the evening to turn the beds and put the bedside lamps on! The only downside to the cabin was the very small bathroom, however it is a ship, so what do you expect?! The cabin was a little dated and could do with a bit of a facelift, but it was perfectly comfortable and clean. The food onboard was very good; there are several restaurants. We had lunch every day in the Beachcomber which is a 24 hour cafe-style venue with a buffet. We had dinner every evening in the Island restaurant which is also a buffet but a bit smarter. Every evening we had a cocktail or 2 in one of the many entertainment venues - the Bounty Lounge which has quizzes and live music, or the Ocean Theatre which has shows (some better than others). The prices of drinks onboard were very reasonable - on a par with UK pubs i would say. We called at several fabulous ports but chose to only go on one organised trip: Puccini Lakes and Pisa on the day we called at Livorno (note: the brochure says you will call at Marina Di Carrara, however the itinerary has been changed to Livorno). The trip was excellent, but it cost £41 per person which is quite a lot of money for what it was. Each day the Shore Excursions team has maps and information about each port on their desk on deck 5 if you choose to explore a destination independently. Also the ship has a publication called Island Chat which is pushed under your cabin door each night. This details opening times for all the restaurants and bars, etc and also provides information on the port you will call at the following day. One trip i would definitely say to miss is the day you dock at Civitavecchia for Rome. Some of the organised tours cost up to £100 or more. We took a train from Civitavecchia station to Rome Termini (the main train station in Rome) and the ticket cost just 9 Euros. This ticket is valid not only for the train but also buses and Metro. The train took just over an hour. THere is a courtesy bus from the ship to the entrance to the port. It is then a 10 minute walk (in a straight line along the seafront) to the station. We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Island Escape and cannot understand what people were expecting when they wrote those very negative reviews. Travelling on P&O or some of the other high-end cruise lines would cost twice or three times as much as you will pay to travel on the Island Escape. You get what you pay for. However you cannot fault the cleanliness or friendliness onboard. Have fun!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I have just returned from a one week cruise to the western med on the Island Escape and was not disappointed. (Just to mention before anyone thinks we are easily satisfied, my partner and I are extremely well travelled, having stayed in ... Read More
I have just returned from a one week cruise to the western med on the Island Escape and was not disappointed. (Just to mention before anyone thinks we are easily satisfied, my partner and I are extremely well travelled, having stayed in the poorest regions of Africa and India to the most opulent 6* hotels in the Emirates and Middle East.) I apologise if this is a long review but I try to be accurate. Embarkation was quick and efficent, with photos being taken of each individual at check in and a a credit card style card with a bar code was issued which was used every time you embarked or disembarked the ship and was used for purchasing drinks or as proof of identity. Our cabin was a standard outside cabin on deck 4 (cabin 4064 to be exact) and we were pleasantly surprised. There was a small ensuite shower room with toilet, basin and shower, clean towels and soap, but no shower gels etc. Ok it wasn't huge, but perfectly adequate enough. The water was hot and the shower was powerful. Ok there were a few cracked tiles on the base of the shower, but we are not paying 5* prices are we? The cabin itself had two portholes each of about 14 inch diameter and allowed plenty of natural light. There was plenty of storage space - 2 wardrobes, hangers and and drawers and a dressing table as well. There was a small colour portable TV which had a view from the bridge, movies and news channels. There was some engine noise but this was not troublesome and there was slight rattling from the wardrobes with ship movement but nothing a bit of card would not sort. Tapwater was drinkable. A nice touch was towels on the beds made into animals and the cabin was kept immaculately clean and tidy. Staff came in three times daily including to turn down the sheets and light the cabin dimly to welcome you back from as late night which was nice. The restaurant food was excellent. It was not repetitive at all and there was plenty of variety. The food was always hot and fresh. There was always a soup (most of the time vegetarian), lots of fresh salads, pasta, carvery, pizza etc plus lots of other main options. There was always a quality vegetarian option. Desserts were lovely and a good selection. There was usually a special dessert on each day as well such as trifle or profiteroles and by this I mean they made it up fresh - so jelly, then sponge and fruit, custard and cream for trifle for example. Tea, coffee, milk and water were available from machines in the beachcomber. My on;y criticism would be at times it was extremely busy to the point it was difficult to find a table. However, staff were always polite and on the ball and hygiene was enforced through encouraging the use of hand gel sanitisers which were present all over the ship. We paid to upgrade to All Inclusive. On draft is Stella and Boddingtons and this is the only lager/bitter option for All Inclusive. Most Cocktails are available and soft drinks by the glass, including diet coke. Cans of soft drink were not included and were much more expensive. (Prices for comparison - 85p glass soft drink, £3.00 cocktail, £3.00 pint beer, £1.60 can soft drink - if not all inclusive). The waiting staff were excellent and you never had to get their attention to bring you a drink which was good and you never had to tip either. Entertainment - Every evening a copy of the Island newsletter would pop through the door so you could plan your next days activities, but these ranged from pub quiz to cabaret and I have to say we were very impressed with the efforts made by the staff and high standard of shows. Excursions - These were very expensive, but it is easy to do most of them on your own. For example, the ship charged near £80 to to Rome on your own, or £40 ish for just the transfer. If you walk five mins from port to train station and buy a BIRG ticket you can get unlimited train travelfor the day for 9 euros. So about 6 quid would get you a return ticket to thecentre of Rome and you could come back when you pleased - also it was twice as quick! Overall I would give this 5 out of 5. You may get better shows etc on bigger ships, but you are not paying those sort of prices so all this has to be balanced. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
This was our first and definately not the last cruise we have been on. Travelling with my husband and son of 11 we would definately reccomend cruising as an alternative to an all inclusive hotel. We holidayed in a 5* all incl in Turkey ... Read More
This was our first and definately not the last cruise we have been on. Travelling with my husband and son of 11 we would definately reccomend cruising as an alternative to an all inclusive hotel. We holidayed in a 5* all incl in Turkey last year for about the same price but this was much much better. The beauty of it you are not confined to the same resort for 7-14 days the beauty of waking up in a different country every day is unreal. The ship thou a bit dated was immaculate and we constantly found maintenance staff checking and painting different areas thou I believe it is going into dry dock for refurbishment in October so this should take care of that. The customer service is outstanding much better than we have ever received. In particular the restauraunt staff in the Island where we frequented every night a special mention to Matius and Jammy who entertained our son on a nightly basis who after two weeks still tells everyone about them. Our cleaner Natalia was also well above the normal standard all very much appreciated. Food was great and the staff just couldnt do enough for you. My son did not go to Palmy Kids club as this age group was from 3-11 which was a little too young for him. He did enjoy the arcade but a bit pricey i.e. £12 lasted about ten minutes. Entertainment was good thou only attended the cabaret twice there was just so much choice. We went to the beauty salon and I had a cut and blow dry with a treatment for £27 which I thought reasonable my son had a massage which cost £20 for about 30mins (As he is only 11 think we got better value) the staff in the salon where very attentive and informative. We went on two excursions to Nice, Monacco and Monte Carlo and too Pisa and Puccini lakes although cost about £120 per trip for the three of us but no different that you would pay at any other resort. We thoroughly enjoyed both as they were well structured and you were not left to wonder around for hours in a place you didnt like. Bar staff very also very friendly thou maybe a bit too much in your face asking if you required "Bar Service" when quite clearly you had a full drink in front of you but if thats all to complain about its not very much. We booked about three weeks before we went and were not offered a drinks upgrade and asked at Customer Relations desk could we do it then and were told no we should have done it at the travel agents so we missed out or perhaps the travel agents should have told us about this. Overall it was the best holiday we have ever had and please do not be put off by the bad reviews because you cant please everybody all of the time. We will definately go cruising again and if dates suit we would love to return to the Island Escape I am so jealous of anyone who is going this year. I hope because of the refurbishment the prices are not increased too much as I feel everyone should do at least one cruise in their lifetime and if they are lucky enough to do it on the Island Escape. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Just came back from a week long (1st July - 8th July 2010) cruise on the Island Escape and we loved it. I'd read lots of reviews about the Island Escape before boarding the ship and I was quite apprehensive. 1st things first, this ... Read More
Just came back from a week long (1st July - 8th July 2010) cruise on the Island Escape and we loved it. I'd read lots of reviews about the Island Escape before boarding the ship and I was quite apprehensive. 1st things first, this is NOT the cruise for you if your the 'stuck up' and 'hoiti-toiti' type. It is totally informal, relaxed and enjoyable (very enjoyable) as the ship's motto states. And secondly, it's true, the ship is certainly in need of a general upgrade but our enjoyment of the trip was not in any way affected by the ships slightly 'worn' state. (Worn but certainly not dirty!!! I've never seen as many staff constantly cleaning - anywhere like this before - the ship is spotless.) The food on this boat is amazing. I've been to lots of 'All-Inclusive' resorts and such likes and I've never enjoyed buffet food (and A La Carte) as much as I did on this ship. Not only that, one of our friend's wouldn't eat anything from the buffet so no other than the head waiter came down and arranged for anything she wanted to be cooked for her - I couldn't believe he did that. The best part of this ship though by a mile is THE STAFF!!! WOW. You will never meet nicer, bubblier, more friendly and accommodating staff than we did on the Island Escape. I was gobsmacked that not as much as one member of staff was rude or abrupt with us at any stage, and I'm not exaggerating. They are the best we've ever encountered. If you're in two minds about booking with this cruise then don't be, book it and enjoy it. We did! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
I thought that this would be the last holiday my eldest children would want to come on with me, so opted for something special. How wrong I was.... I'm never going to get rid of them now... they are already on my case for 2011! Our ... Read More
I thought that this would be the last holiday my eldest children would want to come on with me, so opted for something special. How wrong I was.... I'm never going to get rid of them now... they are already on my case for 2011! Our party consisted of a ten people being 55yrs, 42 yrs, 21 yrs, 20 yrs, 18 yrs, 18 yrs, 16 yrs, 16 yrs, 11 yrs and a 2 yr old.... (No they are not all mine!). There was something for everybody... The entertainment was varied, professional, entertaining and enjoyable - each and every one of us were impressed by the energy, attitude and diversity of all the entertainment staff. The food was in abundance, and more often than not we opted for the Beachcomber buffet restaurant and ate little and often, around our hectic pre-planned schedule. Waiting and bar staff were incredible. Not just efficient, courteous and welcoming, but each and every one of them made you feel special, and as for Joseph, our cabin steward, he deserves a large medal.... nothing was too much for him! Newsletters were delivered daily, and the information given was brilliant. It had an itinerary of the on board events, plus essential information regarding the port of call. The excursion clerks at reception were knowledgeable beyond belief, not just with information on their excursions but provide local maps and details of the towns for the ones who chose just to get off and have a wander. The pool was on the small side, and imagine in school holidays this may cause a problem, but didn't affect us in the slightest. We opted for all inclusive drinks package, and were pleased we did. Drinks were surprisingly not expensive on board, but it was nice for us knowing that part had been paid for. The ship did look a little 'used' in places, but this was totally irrelevant in comparison to the positives. I fail to see how anybody could not have a wonderful time!!! and if you're going.... I envy you! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We decided to go on a cruise to celebrate our big birthdays, but wanted something informal and fun, which would be within our somewhat limited budget. The Island Escape was all these things and gave use the holiday of a lifetime - at least ... Read More
We decided to go on a cruise to celebrate our big birthdays, but wanted something informal and fun, which would be within our somewhat limited budget. The Island Escape was all these things and gave use the holiday of a lifetime - at least until next time! We were able to upfrade free of charge to the all-inclusive option, which meant we did not have to worry about any hidden expenses whilst on the cruise. The only things we needed to pay for were the excursions of which we took three. The other two days we were happy to simply go ashore and check out the ports, which was always very simple and well organised, and gave us a great deal of flexibility. The ship itself was just the right size and, being disabled, meant that everything was easily accessible. We could come back after our day out and have dinner, go to the theatre, enjoy thethe music in the pub and the a late night drink all within easy reach. The staff were so helpful and friendly - nothing was too much trouble and empty glasses and plates were whisked away and fresh drinks brought constantly. The choice of food was fantastic, all of a very high quality and constantly fresh, and there were 3 different restaurants to suit your mood, although we preferredthe Beachcomber restaurant because it was so relaxed and informal, and we could even sit outside and enjoy the sunshine or sunset. We went to the theatre most nights and the shows were excellent quality in a very relaxed setting. The Sundowner bar provided live music, with a brilliant rock guitarist in Assen, who we thought was fantastic, but there were different acts to suit different tastes throughout the night to keep everyone happy. Some people chose to dress in their finery, whilst others were happy to remain casual throughout the cruise, but whichever option you chose youfelt comfortable and at ease. We found the other holidaymakers to be extremely pleasant and friendly, but did not feel compelled to mix with other people if we didn't want to. Our excursions visited Pisa, Rome and a round Corsica tour, which were hugely enjoyable andvery easy to do in view of my disability, and with excellent guides at each place. It was possible to do just as much or as little as you wanted and so we were able to engineer the perfect holiday - each day brought the excitement of a different place with no constant packing and unpacking, resulting in a hugely enjoyable (and hopefully soon to be repeated) experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
OK I have good news and bad news - lets do the bad first. The absolute worse thing about this ship is the constant front to back pitching and rocking when sailing which aint too bad until you come to lie down and try to go to sleep - and ... Read More
OK I have good news and bad news - lets do the bad first. The absolute worse thing about this ship is the constant front to back pitching and rocking when sailing which aint too bad until you come to lie down and try to go to sleep - and sadly this stopped me from sleeping properly for the whole cruise. It gets worse too as when the pitching increases then you have the added noise of room furniture starting to rattle. As the Med was flat calm for the entire 7 days the weather / tide is not to blame - its definitely the ship. And why? BECAUSE the Island Escape was built as a CRUISE FERRY in 1982 to work in the Baltic .Its not a true Cruise ship and I have cruised (and slept soundly before) Ok more bad news on drinks - all hugely expensive eg can of pop £1.40 1.5 litre bottle of water £2.40. To get around this buy your own from Carrefour in the ports you sail into eg 1.5 litre bottle of water 30 cents! Sadly the trips are all hugely expensive from £34- £40 and these are only half day or less. We did our own thing and here are my tours.. Palermo - walked up to the Capuchin Catacombs to see all the skeletons and then visited the Cathedral. Cost - zilch - we walked Naples - walked around some main streets and then visited the National Archaeological Museum - fantastic dislays here esp the Roman marble statues. Cost 10 Euros each with less for anyone 18-24 - take passport for proof of age for youngsters. Ajaccio - took the Tourist Train 10 Euros each but its nearly two hours and there are stops - takes you to 3 Napoloeon related sites plus right out to the Sanguinas Islands Toulon - visit the market plus the large modern shopping centre - big Carrefour in there then took another Tourist train which starts right by the dock - 6 Euros Barcelona - walked up Las Ramblas to Placa de Catalunya and caught the Metro to Lesseps then walked up to Gaudis Park Guell ( FREE entry) We got 6 Euros ONE day tickets which gives you unlimited Metro travel. Now the good news.. The food is good to very good. You can eat in the informal Beachcomber or the more formal Island Restaurant. Sadly I found the latter not to my liking and you have to buy any drinks to go with your buffet meal. In the Beachcomber you have free unlimited ice cold water tea and coffee ( sorry coffee is foul!) When we found out both restaurants serve exactly the same menus it was the Beachcomber all the time. The menu and food is different every day. You can also sit inside or outside in the Beachcomber and its nice to watch a port slip away in the evening as you enjoy your meal. Entertainment is OK but not brill but its free. Best show was the comedian. The staff are great and friendly always smiling Would I go back on the Island Escape? Absolutely not as I do not appreciate being rattled to sleep. If you want cheap and cheerful and dont mind the vibrations then it may be just what you are looking for. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We stayed on the Island Escape from 15-22 July 2010 with our two teenage children. Flight We flew from Stansted as it was an early Morning flight and late evening flight home, thus enabling us to squeeze the full 14 days out of our ... Read More
We stayed on the Island Escape from 15-22 July 2010 with our two teenage children. Flight We flew from Stansted as it was an early Morning flight and late evening flight home, thus enabling us to squeeze the full 14 days out of our holiday. Check-in was smooth, with no queue and straight through customs/security. Ate breakfast airside which was a little rushed. The flight was full, but we had pre-booked our seats, so had all slick. Upon reaching Palma, we were one of the first off the plane, but had to wait 40 minutes before our luggage turned up. Then it's a long walk across the airport to meet the Thomson rep who directed us outside to where the coaches are. We were told it was about an hour to the port, but in reality with Palama traffic it was closer to 1 1/2 hours. Embarkation Pretty smooth and well organised. Whilst on the coach you are asked to fill out some paperwork around health, etc. From the coach you are directed into the port terminal where orange juice is offered, then check in for your photo ID, passports, credit card, etc. There is a photographer there who takes your picture. We didn't buy it, as like most people after an early flight, trek across the airport and coach drive, we didn't look or feel our best. You then clear Spanish customs (again) before waiting like bees around a honey pot to claim your cases for identifying against our allocated cabin. These arrive is batches as porters ferry them over from the coach. Other coaches, etc are doing the same so it can be a little confusing. Finally we embarked the ship and were given directions to our cabin. Our cases turned up about 30 minutes later one by one. Accommodation We stayed on deck 6 which was fairly easy to find. This came with a glass picture window which was dirty on the inside (so couldn't be cleaned without being taken apart). The room was nice with four single beds, of which two folded down from the wall. There was ample wardrobe space and we bought cases that could fit under the lower beds. Reading lights are provided for the two lower beds and switches to all lighting and the TV can be accessed from there. There was a radio switch as well, but this. A safe was provided built into the wardrobe and can be hired via reception, so we done this as soon as we boarded. The air conditioning was working whilst we were there although it didn't seem to be that affective. The bathroom had a shower a sink and a toilet and electronic points for a hair dryer and shaver. Sachets of shampoo and bath oils, etc were provided upon arrival and were replenished daily. Fresh towels are provided per person with a large and small. A TV was in the room which showed various English and foreign channels and the TV remote was already in the room and was supplied free of charge. Above the TV was drinks and snacks that could be purchased as a sort of "mini-bar". No Tea or coffee making facilities are provided in the room, but can be purchased from the 24 hour cafe on deck 10. To combat this we took a walk into Palma after looking around the ship and stocked up on drinks and water in the local supermarket centre. There is an ice bucket provided in the room which was filled up daily to put cans, etc. Three single room key was allocated. The keys are of a small grey credit type card with punched holes, which you slot into the entrance door to gain access. Food & Drink We had the full-board option. There was a restaurant on our deck where you are seated by the waiting staff and have drinks served at the table. This is good if you are feeling sociable as dependent on the size of your party, like us you could land up with other Families/Couples. On the first day we were seated then left to our own devices and everyone on the table was looking at everyone else for what to do next. Eventually the waiter came over and asked us if we wanted drinks, etc? After tipping a few Euros at each sitting within a few days we found that we got very good service and had our own table reserved for us. The waiters even carried our plates back to the table for us! Entertainment The entertainment crew under Hayley-Jane make this ship what it is. Yes, the entertainment is basic and "Butlins" but they put everything into it. On our Week we participated in a couple of shows and saw a comedian, etc. Cash bingo is on every night, leading up to the jackpot on the last night where a Lady won £1,000. You pay for bingo cards and pens, etc on your own personal white photo ID card. The IE is a cashless ship. There was other bars and even a casino. Hotel Services The main pool is quite small and it's hard not to bump into kids jumping in, etc. It's non-heated and filled up daily with sea water (so was colder some days than others) surrounded by plenty of sun loungers that quickly filled up, especially on the day at seas. Some people place towels on sunbeds then disappeared for ages, so on busy days, crew were going around and physically removing towels and personal items and placing them in lost property. This resulted in some friction when guest finally returned to find their beds occupied by someone else and no sight of their personal belongings. On one occasion I intervened and told them to speak to a member of the crew. Waiting staff constantly hover around offering to get you drinks, although to be fair they weren't annoying. We saw a small arcade, although we didn't use it. Summary The Island Escape is a lovely ship, but clearly in need of the refit it's due to get later on in the Year. I believe the ship was originally launched in the 80's and it's been left behind in the market by newer ships. Having said that it is what it says it is, which is an entry-level family themed ship without the formality. The staff are all wonderful and couldn't do enough for you. Attention to service is second to none. Happy to take questions Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Having cruised with Celebrity and Royal Carib. I was a bit worried when I read the reviews at the beginning of the year. This cruise was booked by friends who had never cruised before and they booked right. The more recent reviews are ... Read More
Having cruised with Celebrity and Royal Carib. I was a bit worried when I read the reviews at the beginning of the year. This cruise was booked by friends who had never cruised before and they booked right. The more recent reviews are nearer the mark. With buffet service your evenings are not run around eating times. Gentlemen tend not to wear jeans and shorts at night. Trousers and shirts/polos being the order of the day (casual nights on formal ships). I found the food to be very good, not as fancy but good and on the whole British. The 24 hour (and it is!)upstairs has exactly the same food as the downstairs which is also buffet but with semi-waiter service. If you are on your own the latter is good as they sit you at tables with strangers/ new friends. I would not exactly call the upstairs crockery "plastic" you would only know because of the weight or if you threw it at the wall. The cabins are to get a refurb. but where no where near as bad as stated in other reports. For the all inclusive drinks package to work you have to drink £50 per night per couple, the drink is pub prices £2-90 per pint, not bad. The theatres are not the same as the 3 tier theatres on the large ships but the shows and entertainers where very enjoyable. It was a bit like social clubs in the 80's and 90's. The excursions where good, but always check to see if the port itself is enough for you. I am a tour guide so I tend to do a lot of excursions. In Villefranche be aware for a few pounds the local train will take you to Monaco, Nice or as we did Cannes. All in all a great break.FANTASTIC Staff, as courteous and attentive as any "posh" ship. Oh by the way if you are a cruise snob you will find things to pick at but on a cruise in Patagonia in the Beagle sound we where looking at a "Blue Glacier carving out the side of a mountain in glorious sunshine and we heard 2 Americans discuss whether the sweets on Celebrity where up to there usual standards. Some people are never happy. The rest will enjoy The Island Escape. A wee bit Butlins A wee bit 70's/80's A Big Bit Fun. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
just arrived back yesterday.first things first the waiters,bar staff and cabin stewards are the ships biggest assets.they are brilliant. However there are many negatives!the ship is very old and dated and urgently needs a proper refit not ... Read More
just arrived back yesterday.first things first the waiters,bar staff and cabin stewards are the ships biggest assets.they are brilliant. However there are many negatives!the ship is very old and dated and urgently needs a proper refit not the 2 weeks its getting in oct/nov the pool is the smallest ive ever seen,in the brochure most of the photos are from the island star, pool etc The ship is clean but some carpets are stained,the bathrooms are poor. The food in both restaurants is good,but in the beachcomber you have to wait in a dinner queue plate in hand .the tea is ok but the COFFEE.is a disgrace.on a normal cruise ship you get sachets of coffee in this ship to save money the coffee is in a boiler and tastes horrible... a tip take your own coffee....THE shows and guest artists are good but the day hosts are very poor apart from the big welsh lad and the lad from reading who tried their best the others were very poor the excursions are mega expensive but most cruise ships are.... you are harrassed by the ships photographer...It is easy to see why thomsons, who control island cruises, will not bring the ship under the thomson cruise umbrella as you would expect,because "you cant make a silk purse out of a pigs ear" I would expect the island cruises to be quietly dropped in the next few years. please note when booking the cruise it is not with thomsons but sunshine cruises..... overall we still enjoyed ourselves the casual way is great... but the ship is in a very old it was built as a baltic ferry nearly 30 years ago but is safe..... but it needs a major refurb.if they got rid of the escape and brought back the island star it would be great as the star was built as a cruise ship.....we shall see!and believe me if you enjoy the escape you are hooked on cruising as every other thomson ship is better Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We did the Med discovery and enjoyed every minute. The ship is old compared to some cruise lines but in our opinion it is the friendliest ship we have ever cruised on. The cabins have everything you need, the entertainment is second to ... Read More
We did the Med discovery and enjoyed every minute. The ship is old compared to some cruise lines but in our opinion it is the friendliest ship we have ever cruised on. The cabins have everything you need, the entertainment is second to none. The food was exceptional. Piled weight on, but never mind. Every crew member on that ship speaks when they pass you. The friendliness of the crew seems to rub off on the passengers and it doesn't take long before you make friends with other fellow passengers. Met up with a few 'first time cruiseres' and they all remarked on what a friendly ship it is. The ports of call were great. Really impressed with Corsica, and the one and half hour cruise down the estuary to Mahon in Minorca is out of this world. The captain announced that he recommended you to be up on deck whilst sailing down the estuary so nearly everyone was up and about. The scenary was beautiful and to top it all we docked right in the main street!! We would definitley sail on the Isand Escape again, we love the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We sailed from Palma in the evening, after a red hot day on deck. This weather lasted forthe whole cruise and for the stay on Mallorca afterwards. The ship has been upgraded in lots of places, but still needs a bit more. The cabin, on deck ... Read More
We sailed from Palma in the evening, after a red hot day on deck. This weather lasted forthe whole cruise and for the stay on Mallorca afterwards. The ship has been upgraded in lots of places, but still needs a bit more. The cabin, on deck 4 had two portholes, single beds, en suite and loads of storage spacewith doors on. The cabin steward, and all the crew were very friendly and nice. Two places we docked at, Villefranche and Propriano, were too small to take the ship, so we had to go by tender. It's quite exciting getting back aboard from a tender! Our cruise was 'all inclusive'and included drinks as well as food. The waiters kept coming round the ship to make sure everyone was supplied with the drinks they wanted. (They made quite a joke about it "Come on, wakey, wakey, the more you drink, the longer the sun will shine!") The food was excellent. We used both the Island Restaurant and the Beachcomber, both as good as each other, with plenty of choice. We put on a few pounds, I can tell you! We're not people who like "Entertainment" and only went to the show on the last night, and ended up wishing we had gone to them all, as this was so good. We went on two coach trips - to Monaco and Montecarlo and to Pisa. These were both excellent. The guides were very informative and the coaches dropped us as close as possible to where we wanted to be. We didn't go to Rome, as we have been there many times and a day is not long enough, so we stayed on board and relaxed that day. Some people walked into Civitavecchia and wished they hadn't - it was as uninteresting as it looked from the ship. We were searching for dolphins all the time and saw none, but, better than that, we saw two whales, blowing fountains into the air and diving over and under each other. It was a very relaxing experience. There no need to dress up in the evening. You could if you wanted to, in fact we did see someone in a dinner jacket on the first night, but we didn't see him again. There several couples on board who had been on Island Escape at least once before. This was a truly wonderful cruise and we can't wait to go back again next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My husband and I just returned on Thursday from a 2 week cruise around the Med on The Island Escape. We had been before ..in 2008....we knew the ropes and what to expect ...however ...THIS time ...what we had not bargained for the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned on Thursday from a 2 week cruise around the Med on The Island Escape. We had been before ..in 2008....we knew the ropes and what to expect ...however ...THIS time ...what we had not bargained for the "Power of the Plastic" ..ie The Credit Card !!!...Don't ever assume that a cruise (of any type )...equals a particular person.....because it doesn't !!! WE, are NOT snobby ! and neither are we Booze Cruise types ...but this cruise had ALL walks of life ...and sadly...was let down by the "All Inclusive Drinks Package !"...We spoke to a couple on the first day who told us that they were "really impressed " with the drinks package as it paid them !! Previously ...on a 2 week cruise ...they had clocked up £1000 in booze alone !! It became quite evident ...during the cruise that many people were determined to drink as much as was humanely possible in order to take advantage of the all inclusive drinks ! One family became quite rowdy on the strength of an all day drinking spree...and were not asked to tone it down by the staff !!! I accept that we all have different ways of "chilling out" but listening to people getting abusive through drink ...is not mine !!!I don't understand either why people want to cruise if they are not at all interested in visiting the various ports !! If you want sun and booze...go to a cheap hotel in Spain !!! We met a wonderful family ...and we all played the game we called 1-2-3 .!!! You may also want to join in this game ....inspiration from Gok Wan and Trinny and Susannah !!! Its all about how the Brits (esp. these on The Island Escape) interpret "RELAXED and INFORMAL" ...when it comes to dress ... 1 = I don't give a ****! 2 = That'll do !! 3 = I have clearly made an effort !!! Oh Dear !!! I have to say that there were MANY 1's !!!!! So if you have notions re dressing up...be prepared to be in the minority !!!! Its a shame that people just can't be bothered .....women of a particular age wearing shorts suited more to leggy 20 year olds ...and with no underwear (up-top!)!!!! We must be the laughing stock of the world as we trudge through the streets of foreign parts !!! For goodness sake ...have a bit of dignity and make a bit of an effort !!!!Its quite sad that people think that they don;t need to make any effort because they didn;t pay too much for their holiday !!! Use what you saved to go mad on e-bay and take a bit of pride in the way you look and behave !!! Theres more to hols than getting drunk and overeating and wearing ill fitting clothes that you wouldn't be seen dead in at home !!!! On a positive note ...the staff on board were brilliant ...esp in the restaurant!!!...However I think the large blonde Welsh girl (entertainer) rather let the side down on our final morning when ...she had clearly drawn the short straw ...and had been told to see us off the ship and on to the coaches at 7am !!. I stood ...passing the time ...I asked her how long she was on the ship...she said 6 months ....I said it must be nice to visit the ports ...she told me she didnt get much time off ...I added that it was good to get off the ship ...just to get some good coffee ! (sorry ...but the coffee wasnt brilliant !!) ...she the told me in GLORIOUS detail that the coffee was DISGUSTING !!! The cereal was "CHEAP CRAP "...and the milk was even MORE disgusting !!!!and all 3 together were disgusting !...Clearly a drop-out from the Welsh Charm School ! (Not too professional either ! ) I cant comment on the milk or cereal ...but there seemed to be plenty people eating it ! The food was good ...lots of choice and the staff fall over themselves to help in whatever way they can !!! Ok the last thing I would say ..is that there ought to be zero tolerance when it comes to people being late for the ships departure ! In Naples ...the ship waited for a couple ...The Morrisons ...for an hour....out of the 2000 people onboard who all were on board at the specified time of 1830 ...THEY thought sailing time was 2300 !!! In the end ...after the ship left port ....the Morrisons arrived and were dispatched to ship on The Pilot boat ...(They paid 100 Euros) ...however ...what many people failed to realise was that the ship then had to make up time ....moving faster and therefore burning more fuel !!! ...so who pays THAT ? Perhaps its you and me when we book our next cruise !! Unbelievably ...the same thing happened in Barcelona ...a couple did not get on board at the specified time ...and so the ship waited for an hour before leaving dock ! When we were in Rome ...a man ...left our group and went to visit a bar ...once again we waited for 35 mins ....we were late back to the ship ...all because of him !! He got a taxi back . !!! Its not fair on those of us who want to be in places and make the most of our time there ...only to have it ruined by the people who cant be bothered to turn up om time !!!! If they are not there ...Thompsons should stipulate that they go...at the specified time and there is zero tolerance !!! So ..thats my tuppence worth ...hope its of use to someone ...somewhere ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We travelled between 15-22 March 2010. We were in cabin 9048. Regarding the catering, I feel that when full there are too many passengers for the restaurants to cope with comfortably, especially breakfast when whatever time we went we ... Read More
We travelled between 15-22 March 2010. We were in cabin 9048. Regarding the catering, I feel that when full there are too many passengers for the restaurants to cope with comfortably, especially breakfast when whatever time we went we found it difficult to be seated and usually ended up in the outer room seated on whicker chairs. To get a table for 2 in the Island restaurant you have to be in the queue by 6.20pm otherwise you may be placed on a large table by the waiters, which is ok every now and again but we didn't like having to eat and talk to people every night. The Island restaurant a lot smarter that the Beachcomber with tablecloths and placesettings. Sometimes the food was canteen standard at breakfast and rarely hot but at other times very good. We felt that if they didn't have 24 hour catering they could perhaps spend a bit more on better quality and tastier vegetables, etc., but on the whole we were quite happy with the food. To the people that felt they needed another dinner at midnight in the Beachcomber please be aware that the crew are eating at that time and would like something better than left-overs. I'm sure no begrudges them a decent meal. After reading all the poor reviews we chose to believe positive reviews and were proved correct as we were pleasantly surprised at the condition of the interior of the ship. After reading about peeling wallpaper, scuffed paintwork and threadbare carpets I can only say that I didn't see any of this, apart from a little bit of wear on one or two of the edges of the steps on the staircase. New rolls of carpets were being brought on board at Tenerife, I think, and the decorators were in evidence on the higher decks where we were. The cabin was perfectly adequate with pictures on the walls and plenty of storage, including a large underbed pull-out storage box that could easily be missed. OK the bathroom was a bit dated but plenty of storage there too, more than any hotel we have ever been in. We had no trouble with the shower curtain but as my husband and myself are quite slender we found that there was plenty of room in there. There was also a fridge in the wardrobe. The bars and lounges were well furnished and not in any way shabby or unclean and the entertainment was really very good. I have been in campsite clubs for years when my children were small and the entertainment there IS holiday camp style. We didn't go to all the shows but we were impressed with the standard, especially the comedian Phil Doyle who had flown in from the UK for 3 shows. He brought the house down all 3 times and was excellent, and no we hadn't had more than one drink. The show dancers and singers put on good shows the 2 times we saw them and worked really hard, doing 2 shows a night. The singer/guitarist Essen was very good in the other bar. The disco was dire and a waste of time. Why a young DJ thinks anyone older than himself only wants to listen to 70's music I don't know but he did a good job of emptying the bar on the two occasions we visited. We are going on the Celebration in June and I think that will suit us better as everyone is disembarking and embarking on the same day. As we embarked in Funchal with just one coachload off our flight, we found changeover day in Tenerife a bit trying. We wanted to go off ship early to make the most of the day but found it hard to get breakfast as so many people were hogging the tables and hanging around until they disembarked later in the day. We eventually found seating but had to watch a family of four walking round and round trying to get seated while dozens of people were sat with just a cup of tea in front of them. (just a minor complaint). We had a great time on the whole and what a pleasant change not to have to listens to mobile phone calls all the time and also not to have constant announcements made which some hotels like to do. Were weren't subjected to hard sell anywhere, especially over the trips, and everyone was really polite and friendly. What a culture shock to get back on the plane and be treated like second class citizens at the back because we were non-meal passengers. The cabin crew didn't offer us the opportunity to buy tea/coffee or snacks and pushed the trolley into the centre of the section and whispered "Any duty free" before disappearing at a rate of knots that was a wonder to behold. I don't know if we would do this cruise again but we went to places we hadn't been before such as Las Palmas and La Palma, both of which we liked very much. We caught a bus out of Santa Cruz and arrived in Puerta de la Cruz within the hour and had a nice day in the Lido. Las Palmas was a revelation as everything is in walking distance with a new shopping mall just next to the port and a nice beach a 10 minute walk straight ahead on leaving the port. La Palma was just like a mini Madeira and we would have liked to have spent more time there. We didn't do any trips, as we have been to most of the islands many times, so can't comment on those. Also, I think going to Agadir is a complete waste of time and we stayed onboard. We would have preferred a 2 day stay elsewhere, but that's just our opinion and everyone has different needs and wants on holiday. If you haven't been on a cruise before give it a try. Last minutes prices are very good and the ship is excellent value for money. You can keep to yourself or mix-in with others if you want. There's no pressure to join in the activities, actually one small criticism is that you're not reminded of the times of them and we missed more than one as we lost track of time. Then again that would mean announcements, maybe a board in the public areas would be best. AND the weather was GREAT!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Compared to all the other ships we have been on this has to be the most scruffy, wall paper and paint peeling off, cabin feels old and worn out, some clanging and banging at night, I admit I was not proud to be on this ship.Entertainment: ... Read More
Compared to all the other ships we have been on this has to be the most scruffy, wall paper and paint peeling off, cabin feels old and worn out, some clanging and banging at night, I admit I was not proud to be on this ship.Entertainment: is OK much better than NCL (which is awful) and the usual mad rush to the next show in the other lounge, but not bad overallExcursions: OK not a great variety but not too expensive eitherDinning: Funny setup, but ok, not much variety, in fact very limited compared to other cruises we have been on but good quality none the less.Drink: Prices are ok (good for a cruise) but again not much variety one brand of Larger (Stella), one brand of Bitter (well known brand but I can't remember)Staff: Reception was very disappointing to be honest, they would rather talk to each other than attend the desk so much so I gave up waiting and walked away , but the cabin crew were excellent, most of the other staff were very friendly (as to be expected) Would I go back on this ship? No, sorry, there are much better ships out there, but it was cheap so I'm not complaining (I suppose you get what you pay for in the end) Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We booked this cruise without reading any reviews just by listening to our travel agent. However when I went on to read reviews we can honestly say we were dreading it. We flew into Funchal from our local airport on arrival everything ... Read More
We booked this cruise without reading any reviews just by listening to our travel agent. However when I went on to read reviews we can honestly say we were dreading it. We flew into Funchal from our local airport on arrival everything went very well and it was not long till we were on the mini bus taking us to the ship. Saw the ship on the horizon and it looked ok. Got on board and again the embarkation process went well. We had booked an outside cabin and although a little on the cosy side it was very clean with enough storage space for the week. Yes it was a little tired and in need of a refit, however all the public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were more than helpful and our cabin stewardess was amazing. Entertainment on the ship was very varied and there was always something going on. The resident group were only average but the show teams were very good. If we have to criticise anything it would be a bit of a bun fight in the Beachcomer restaurant to get a table and we hated the plastic mugs for tea and coffee which always tasted vile. However the food when you got it was of a very good standard. We dined one night in the Oasis restaurant paid a cover charge or £14 99 each but well worth it for the service and standard of food. On the bar side all the mixers and soft drinks come out of cans and large bottles so 9 out of 10 drinks were flat as they open cans and bottles then they get left. Did complain to the bar manager about that but did not get a lot of satisfaction there. All in all good value for money don't listen to negative reviews. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Island Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.2
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 3.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.4
Family 3.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.5

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