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303 Island Escape Cruise Reviews

As this was our first cruise, we were a little apprehensive as it generally seems that people either love cruising or hate it. Anyway, we plumped for informal, cheap and cheerful, and booked this cruise at a good discount. In summary, the ... Read More
As this was our first cruise, we were a little apprehensive as it generally seems that people either love cruising or hate it. Anyway, we plumped for informal, cheap and cheerful, and booked this cruise at a good discount. In summary, the whole experience was very positive, exceedingly good value for money, and we will most probably be booking further cruises on the strength of this one. Transfers to and from the ship at Palma were carried out fast and efficiently. The ship is an old lady, and has been modified a number of times in its history to suit different requirements for functionality/market conditions. That said, even though it was not originally designed so, it serves perfectly well as a cruise ship. It is kept spotlessly clean by a hard working crew who are courteous and friendly. Our cabin on Deck 4 (did this used to be called steerage?) was on the small side (as was the shower/toilet cubicle) but we found it manageable. On this level there is no noise from entertainment/bars but there is some noise/vibration from the ship's engines, although this did not bother us. The all inclusive buffet-style meals were good, with plenty of choice, even for people with dietary needs eg gluten-free, vegetarian. Similarly we found there was a good selection of drinks as well. The seating in the main restaurant is mainly arranged for large groups (6 or 8), so discreet dining is unlikely to be achieved. Entertainment in the main Ocean theatre was outstanding, with the main team of ten singers/dancers providing West-End quality performances (not forgetting the Director and Assistant Director of course). There is a wealth of talent here. We pre-booked excursions at all ports; these were in the main very good and informative, if not necessarily that good value for money. Be aware that full day excursions generally leave quite early in the morning. All in all, a most enjoyable introduction to cruising. Many thanks to Thomson/ Island Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have just returned from the Souks & Sangria cruise. This was our second time on Island Escape , the last time being 2 years ago, pre all inclusive. I know this ship is advertised as casual which is the reason we choose Thomson ... Read More
We have just returned from the Souks & Sangria cruise. This was our second time on Island Escape , the last time being 2 years ago, pre all inclusive. I know this ship is advertised as casual which is the reason we choose Thomson cruises, but we found it to be less than that. Most of the guests made an effort and dressed casually but smart in the evenings. Others were just scruffy and had no respect for others. The all inclusive has attracted people who just want to drink and eat the whole time. Some don't ever leave the ship! Cabins are very small and in desperate need of refurbishment. But they have everything you need to shower and sleep which is all you need. The cabin steward work exceptionally hard. They service your cabin 2-3 times a day including turning your bed down whilst you are out. There is a note in your cabin on arrival stating that sun beds must not be reserved and that belongings will be removed after 45 minutes. This is still not the case. There was a great lack of sun beds on sea day but sun beds were left for hours while some guests had to sit on hard chairs all day or sit inside somewhere and miss the sun. The food and entertainment is good. The ship is kept lovely and clean and all staff are very polite despite being spoken to rudely by certain guests who think staff are there to fetch, carry and pick up for them. We picked Island Escape this time for the Ports of call but we won't be choosing it again unless the all inclusive is scrapped and a casual dress code reinstated. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My wife and I have just come back from a 7 night cruise on Island escape, Taste of the Med. We flew from Gatwick to Palma and then onto the ship. Everything went very smoothly and we were in our cabin without any fuss. We have been on ... Read More
My wife and I have just come back from a 7 night cruise on Island escape, Taste of the Med. We flew from Gatwick to Palma and then onto the ship. Everything went very smoothly and we were in our cabin without any fuss. We have been on Thomson ships before and my wife has been on many other cruises both European and American. We chose this cruise because of the all inclusive, price and destinations. We found the service throughout extremely good and our cabin on deck 6 was clean and well looked after by the cabin staff. The food on the ship was good in both of the all inclusive restaurants and again the service was very good I cannot understand why some people complain about the food being cold as the food does not stay around very long and we found it hot at all times. The Oasis restaurant was up to expectations and although there is a charge the food was really good with very attentive staff. We ate in this restaurant twice during the week. In the bars, restaurants and theatre you did not have to wait long before a waiter served you and the drinks were good. We found the entertainment very good both in the theatre and other areas. When we left the ship we had no problems and our journey home went smoothly. To people who compare this ship with Cunard, P&O and other cruise lines I would like to say if you compare the prices why are you cruising on the Island Escape ? We would definitely go on this ship again or any of the other Thomson ships. We have been on the Majesty. If we had any small points it would be the cost of the shore excursions but this is the same on any cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Usually when my partner and I go on holiday we do stay in 5* hotels - I decided to take 2 members of my family on this weeks Spirit of the Med cruise. After reading some reviews and having sailed on Celebrity Equinox, Oasis Of The Seas and ... Read More
Usually when my partner and I go on holiday we do stay in 5* hotels - I decided to take 2 members of my family on this weeks Spirit of the Med cruise. After reading some reviews and having sailed on Celebrity Equinox, Oasis Of The Seas and others, I was a little worried about what to expect. My first impression was the ship was bigger than I expected, cabin was small but ok just to sleep, change and shower. The ship is almost 30 years but the staff do an amazing job at keeping it spotless and clean. Ross and his team are FANTASTIC, funny, cheeky, camp and professional ! The entertainment was great, the show team did a great job. It was my mums and nephews first time on a cruise and for £600 each it's well worth every penny. The all inclusive cocktails were great, the food was ok and lots of it, time to hit the gym now I'm back. My nephew is 12, and the jokes and silliness was more than acceptable - it's 2014, get with it !! During the day at sea the team put together great pool side activities for the kids and adults if they want to join in. If you are taking kids onboard, they will have a great time. Out of all cruises i have been on, the staff really have impressed me - well done everyone ! Just like Ross said , they know the ship is old but they ensure the activities and entertainment are of a high standard, your cabins and public areas all clean and tidy. Would I go back - absolutely, for the price and what you get, the ports of call - defiantly I would. WELL DONE ISLAND ESCAPE ! If you are a first time cruiser like my mum, you will love it. ENJOY. Richard, My Mum Sallyanne and Joel.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Having cruised with Thomson and NCL in the past three years (all of which have been great) my wife and I decided to give the Island Escape a try; based mainly on the ports of call and that it was a "Thomson" cruise and that it ... Read More
Having cruised with Thomson and NCL in the past three years (all of which have been great) my wife and I decided to give the Island Escape a try; based mainly on the ports of call and that it was a "Thomson" cruise and that it was the ships first cruise of the season. This is no Thomson cruise....please believe me. Yes we had read the reviews (which were mixed) before we booked. Moral of the story is you get what you pay for...yes this cruise was slightly (and I mean slightly) cheaper than others - but it's no bargain.. So here goes with an honest assessment... Boarding - painless and well organised. Cabin - we were on deck 9 at the front of the boat. As with al cruises the cabin was small and that is where the comparison with the other cruises ends. The room obviously hadn't seen a refurbishment in years, unfilled holes in the walls from where previous pictures had been hung, wall paper peeling of the walls, furniture had obviously seen better days - couple of drawers were broken. The bathroom was a through back to the early 80's. Toilet seat was broken, tap dripped, fittings generally suffering from the signs of many years use without any TLC. Given that this was the first cruise of the season imagine our surprise when on the last night we were greeted by brand new pillows and duvets in our room - all ready for the next cruise.......so much for it been the first cruise of the season. Boat in general - clean, but again showing throughout the wear and tear of age. One of the lifts was out of order for the whole trip. Food - quality was ok, variety etc. was very poor. We ate in mainly in the Ocean Restaurant - buffet service. Basically the choice was very limited. Evening meals were meat and veg (Sunday Dinner), salad and a themed meal - Chinese, Indian etc..... Service was very much get you and out as fast as they can. There was also a school canteen style restaurant with the same choice as the Ocean Restaurant. There were several other places to eat - which we didn't use so it would be unfair to pass comment. All I would say is from examining the menu's the choice was very limited for what was £17/head. Entertainment - oh boy....the ships on board troupe were at best awful. We saw all 7 evening performances of which only 4 were by the ships troupe which says it all. The other 3 nights were UK based acts which were all very good. Given the age of the audience 5-95yrs I have to say that we found some of the main show entertainment very close to the mark. We are both open minded individuals with no qualms over sexuality however it there were a number of songs where the female members of the troupe were dressed in a fashion more suitable to a Ann Summers party than a family cruise!!!!. However the final straw had to be when the male cruise director, who seemed to take an un-naturally major role in all productions, took the stage dressed as a transvestite for a rock horror show number - now I've seen the RHS and dressed up for it but really on a family cruise!!!! - however given the cruise directors openness as to the fact he was gay - he just seemed to enjoy this escapade a little to much. In fact at least half the cruise directors jokes were based around his sexuality. The ships band were good as was some of the other entertainment. Ports visited - no complaints and the excursions that we did (Pisa and Rome) were well organised if not slightly over priced. The other ports we visited were easily accessible from the boat without the need for an organised excursion. Other things to do on board --- heavily promoted casino, really small pool and that's about it. Disembarkation - once you left the boat you were very much left to your own devices. So..did we report the state of our cabin - yes we did. Did they do anything about it..no they didn't. as the ship was full...... My advice is - if you not fussy about your cabin quality, quality of food, quality of entertainment and general appearance of the boat then you'll enjoy the cruise as the ports of call are excellent. If you are looking for a degree of class then there are plenty of other cruise lines that visit these destinations; granted they may cost slightly more.....but spend the money it'll be worth it.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My husband and I travelled on island escape for our first cruise and was not disappointed. The crew were fantastic and kept the ship clean at all times, yes the cabins are small but you only sleep in them so why you would need a bigger ... Read More
My husband and I travelled on island escape for our first cruise and was not disappointed. The crew were fantastic and kept the ship clean at all times, yes the cabins are small but you only sleep in them so why you would need a bigger cabin is a mystery to me. The food was excellent with a great choice every meal so never felt hungry we ate most of our meals in the ocean dining room which we found very pleasant and it was nice to sit and chat to different people each meal, although one evening we did ask for a table for two (very limited) the waiter was very obliging and found us a table. The ports of call were excellent some trips we booked with the cruise some we completed on our own as we felt that the trips were overpriced. A tip for anyone visiting Pisa don't book with the cruise as £48 when you get off the boat there are people selling taxi trips for £15 each for a 2 hour trip to the leaning tower of Pisa (2 hours is long enough to see as not much else to do). Also at Barcelona as soon as you get off the boat there are open top buses which were excellent value for money and very good for sightseeing. Overall we felt it was an excellent holiday for the price and feel the people who write the negative reviews should be cruising with P&O and paying their prices as they obviously expected 5 star for 3 star money on island escapes. we will most definitely be booking this cruise ship again as had the most wonderful holiday and saw 5 beautiful countries in 7 days unlike your 7 day package holiday in one resort. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I have been on 5 previous cruises, the last one being more than 12 years ago. I am 48 and all I can say is cruising has changed so much in that time (for the better). This cruise is quite informal, you can dress up if you wish, which I did ... Read More
I have been on 5 previous cruises, the last one being more than 12 years ago. I am 48 and all I can say is cruising has changed so much in that time (for the better). This cruise is quite informal, you can dress up if you wish, which I did most nights. To start with cabins are small but perfect. I had an inside on deck 5 with a brilliant shower. No problems what so ever, it was very quiet and comfortable. The steward attended to us very well. There is a TV and a hairdryer, 2 hanging spaces and 2 sets of 4 drawers, a dressing table with mirror, and a chair. Food was also very good. Choice of 2 restaurants, one for 24 hour dining. Food always plentiful and hot. Breakfasts were brilliant. There are an additional 2 restaurants which have a supplement, we went once and it was lovely. They do afternoon teas (amazing) Indian nights etc. There is a coffee place which sells speciality coffees, cakes pastries and sandwiches. Many different bars and lounges, in fact only on the last night I discovered the nightclub/disco on the top deck! Casino was very good and also very busy. Drinks were all-inclusive and in my opinion of great quality, the cocktails were all made fresh, although depending on which bar some were better than others. There is room service available at very reasonable prices. The pool area is fab, lots of new loungers, they also provide pool towels in your cabin. There is the Mirage bar poolside with waiter service if required. I have to say the pool parties and entertainment was absolutely brilliant, the staff were all excellent. The so-called speciality acts were ok nothing great. We met lots of fellow cruisers and while chatting to a few of them, it became apparent that although they were "seasoned cruisers" with other more "upmarket" cruise lines, they did not have a single bad thing to say about it. In fact one couple who always went P&O said they were annoyed because they had already booked to go with P&O when they would in actual fact want to go back on the Island Escape. And they weren't the only ones who had similar things to say. Now you must be thinking this review is too good to be true. Here is the realistic bit. Yes you get what you pay for. The cabins are small. Some areas are showing signs of wear and tear (who spends time on their holiday worrying about a bit of worn carpet or chipped paint)? The ship isn't the most modern or biggest on the seas but so what. If you want modern and big go Royal Carribean. I had a brilliant time and can't wait to go back. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Never been on a cruise before so nothing to compare it to. Embarkation was swift and cases were delivered to the cabin within 15 minutes of being on board. The ship and cabins are dated but having read previous reports I was aware of this. ... Read More
Never been on a cruise before so nothing to compare it to. Embarkation was swift and cases were delivered to the cabin within 15 minutes of being on board. The ship and cabins are dated but having read previous reports I was aware of this. We were on deck 5 in an outside cabin which was cleaned daily and beds were really comfortable. We ate mostly in the Island Restaurant where there was a lot of choice and the food was fine most of the time. A couple of times the fish was quite dry and hard and the curries on the Asian day were only lukewarm considering that we went just after it had opened. Never ate at the pool bar but had breakfast at the Beachcomber on the last day as the Island restaurant didn't open until later. I was so glad that we didn't eat here beforehand as the food was cold and it was difficult trying to carry your breakfast without a tray and get through the scrum to find somewhere to sit... Horrendous! Never used the pool as we were off the ship most of the time. On the day at sea, you had no chance... the usual putting down of the towels and leaving them there all day was in operation. Same around most of the ship's sunbeds to be honest. The entertainment was OK, if a little cheesy. The show bars were busy and to get a seat you had to get there well in advance. Drinks were quite weak especially inside the show bars and sometimes it was difficult to get the waiters' attention. Best to get a drink from the Sailaway bar - always stronger and usually quiet during the evening. Took part in a few 'dance' classes but rather rushed and in my opinion not enough. Only 3 throughout the week. They could also do with other things to do during the day as not everyone likes/gets the chance to have a swim or sunbathe. Excursions are expensive so we only went on 3. The Monaco/Monte Carlo was lovely but rushed at times. Pisa was quite boring and hassled by immigrants trying to sell umbrellas/sunglasses etc. Rome was a nightmare. Never go at Easter. We were rushed around the sights, pushed and shoved here and there. Was quiet scary and never felt safe. Which is a shame as I love Italy... Met some very nice people and others not so nice. Was absolutely shattered at the end of the cruise and would love to go on another. On the Island Escape? Not so sure. Might try another ship or different company next time to get other experiences.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
First I have to say the last ship we sailed on was the Cunard Queen Elizabeth so we held no "Great Expectations" for the Island Escape but chose it because of the destinations and it was the only time we could go. However it was ... Read More
First I have to say the last ship we sailed on was the Cunard Queen Elizabeth so we held no "Great Expectations" for the Island Escape but chose it because of the destinations and it was the only time we could go. However it was somewhat of an eyeopener. The cabin was very small with two very rusty round portholes and green corrosion. Toilet flush electric switch loose coming out of the wall and some very rusty fixings. Cabin thermostat could not be adjusted.We were promised that it would be fixed but it was not so it it remained cold the whole trip. I am sure a good number of the passengers would have been quite happy with what was on offer, but we will not sail Thompson cruises again. Pros. Fly cruise. Excellent itinery. Arranged our own trips and saved a fortune. All inclusive but with the odd extremely drunk individual. The singer and guitarist in the top bar were outstanding. Cons. Quality of cabin very poor, rusty portholes and fittings with dangerous flush switch in toilet. Thermostat in cabin did not work. On cold all week! Quality of food. Buffet style and was cooked/heated for so long it was in the main tasteless. Main "theatre" is a bar with low ceiling producing very poor acoustics accompanied by harsh tinny sound quality. It was to small and was difficult to get a seat. Poor main entertainment, all West End musical style. (Good comedian however on one night) . Cruise director weak. Ship is an ex ferry built 1981 converted 1991. It is past its sell by date. Captain did not exude much enthusiasm. WiFi ridiculously expensive. The larger of the lifts was out of order all week and a couple we met when we arrive who had been on board for the two previous weeks said it had not worked at all for them. Three weeks without repair (maybe longer) is unacceptable). Other lifts very small for wheel chair users so think very carefully about booking this ship. Expensive trips and do not expect any help from the "Excursion Staff" if you intend to arrange your own intinery. One lady member of this staff was very unpleasant when asked where the bus and railway stations were in Livorno. We will stick with Cunard and possibly P&O in future.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I have just returned from my 21st cruise on this ship and after taking cruises on many other much “posher" ships, I can tell you that whilst this ship is old and lacking in some of the recreational facilities of the much larger more ... Read More
I have just returned from my 21st cruise on this ship and after taking cruises on many other much “posher" ships, I can tell you that whilst this ship is old and lacking in some of the recreational facilities of the much larger more modern ships she certainly makes up for this with the welcoming homely atmosphere which is all down to the wonderful crew which really are the best of any ship I have sailed on. I was lucky enough whilst I was there to try the new Black Rock Restaurant. Still in its infancy this restaurant is currently very small and located just outside the Beachcomber Restaurant on Deck 10. However, I have it on very good authority that hopefully soon this restaurant will be taken outside for the summer. In addition there are plans to develop all this internal area to make an attractive new internal home for this new restaurant. Having never heard of this form of dining before I was completely unaware of what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised how much I really enjoyed it. Starters are Tapas served with an amazing assortment of breads, this was really tasty and as bread is a personal favourite of mine I really had to control myself or I would have eaten the lot and not had room for anything else. For main course you have a good choice of various steaks, salmon, prawns and even surf and turf with lobster. You also have a choice of various side dishes and sauces to accompany your main dish and unusually you may take as many of these as you wish. Your chosen meat or fish is brought to your table already prepared for cooking along with a piece of black volcanic rock upon which you cook the food to your liking at your table. This is a really healthy way to eat as no oil is needed for cooking. The side dishes are prepared by the chef and brought to your table ready for eating. The chef in this restaurant is really larger than life and this is a really fun way to dine. I choose salmon and prawns with a side dish of chips with truffle oil and cheese and butter sauce to accompany the fish and it was really wonderful, probably the best fish I have tasted. Four small individual deserts finish the meal and these really were to die for, including Key Lime Pie, Eton Mess, and a chocolate one, I forget what the four one was called but although I struggled I managed to eat the lot. I am going back on the ship in 10 weeks and I am really looking forward to seeing the changes for this new restaurant, and hopefully as it will be much warmer I will be able to eat outside. As I travel alone dining under the stars by candle light is not really relevant to me, but I am sure it will be a wonderful romantic experience for anybody celebrating a special birthday or anniversary with a loved one.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We booked our cruise quite a way ahead and I would honestly say wait until nearer the time as you can get a much better deal. Thomson don't allow you to on-line check in, so we arrived at 3am (3 hours prior) at our local airport. It ... Read More
We booked our cruise quite a way ahead and I would honestly say wait until nearer the time as you can get a much better deal. Thomson don't allow you to on-line check in, so we arrived at 3am (3 hours prior) at our local airport. It was very quiet and we went through the process very quickly. Boarding was on time and again the flight was on time, we paid extra for reserved seating and extra leg room. If you don't pay extra then it's the same old process as other airlines you get seated apart. When getting to Palma airport, there were people with boards showing us where to go to get the coach. The coaches were crammed and we had to sit apart where we could find, It was about 25 minutes to the port. Not very comfortable to be honest and I didn't enjoy this part. When you arrive at the port they give you an envelope with room keys and luggage labels and you put these on your cases and they take them to your room. We had to provide our card information and then we went on board. When we went on board we went to deck 8 (where our cabin was) and looked at our room. It was much better than expected but you could see it was very outdated, marks on the walls where the bunk beds were and tired carpet and furnishings. The bathroom was small but adequate and again needed updating, just a shower there but many of us would have liked a bath. The bed sheets were very worn and I didn't like they kept catching on my feet. There wasn't a fridge in our room but drinks left on the dressing table, not included in the package. There was a box tv and a hairdryer. Lots of storage in the room with drawers and a wardrobe. The TV had a couple of film channels, which changed daily(showing two films on separate channels every day(think about 5 times in a day), news of excursions, news, video about life jackets and live video of the front of the ship. Walking around the ship, it looked quite tired and in need of a major update to be honest. This was our second cruise and I found that people weren't as friendly as the Thomson Dream we went on the year previously. In fact a lot of bar staff were rude or ignored you, wasn't impressed. The all inclusive package wasn't all inclusive as a lot of things were not included and many of the premium brands were extra, as well as you could only use this package between 10am - 2am. I don't know how they get away with calling it all inclusive. The drinks were okay but a lot of the included cocktails weren't very nice so I ended up drinking soft drinks most of the time. There was quite a bit of choice when it came to the food but if you have dietary needs then you are stuffed. I am vegetarian and they constantly had pasta in tomato sauce, which was always horrible hardly any choice and the food was better in the island restaurant compared to the other buffet restaurant. Still the food wasn't great. The only time I enjoyed a meal was eating at the Oasis restaurant, which was £34.99 extra and I don't think you should have to pay extra to enjoy a meal on a cruise. All in all I never enjoyed a meal at either buffet restaurant. The excursions were mixed, very expensive and most of them not worth the money. We did Rome in a day, you get to see a lot but its a very expensive tour and very rushed. One hour and a half away from port so a lot of time on the coach. I would say go by train if you want to do this tour and be prepared to rush around. We also did Florence/Pisa, a more relaxed tour as these cities are quite small. Much more enjoyable but again expensive and far away from the port. Monaco/Monte Carlo not at all worth it, £80 we paid to see each place for an hour, most of time spent on the coach. I would not recommend at all. Corsica we just had a walk around, its a small town and right near the port and Barcelona the same thing, the port is 10-15 minutes walk to the main city. You can get a metro to Sagrada Familia. We got a bill through our door the night prior to departure and also information. You leave your cabin keys in the cabin. We had to put our suitcases out the evening prior to leaving and they take them downstairs. It was a total pain finding our suitcases on the day and would recommend going down there earlier to get them. Palma airport check in took ages but everything from there was quite quick. Quite a few shops in the airport. Overall positives were that the room was better than expected and the itinerary. Most of the other staff were okay. Negatives: lack of choice on the 'inclusive' menu, food was poor and bad choice for vegetarians, bar staff generally didn't have the right attitude and the ship was tired. I can't comment on the entertainment because we never saw a show we fancied on the cruise news, but there didn't seem to be anywhere to have a nice peaceful drink. Every bar had a singer or entertainment. I definitely wouldn't book this cruise again, although I would consider a Thomson's one. For the price, it wasn't really a bargain cruise for what you got.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We have recently returned from a cruise of the Western Med and this was the first time we have cruised on the Island Escape and it will be our last. Firstly the good points. The embarkation at he port of Palma was very slick and ... Read More
We have recently returned from a cruise of the Western Med and this was the first time we have cruised on the Island Escape and it will be our last. Firstly the good points. The embarkation at he port of Palma was very slick and professional, indeed quicker than other cruise lines we have travelled with. The second good point was the staff which includes the waiters and cabin attendants. They were all friendly, polite and very professional but thats where the good points finish. The cabin was small and very tired looking. The ship is currently in dock for three months before it starts cruising again in the New Year and I hope Thomson's have budgeted for an overall complete decoration of the ship during this period, but I doubt it. The 'informal' dress code for dinner was a joke. Although some dressed for dinner quite a few did not and quite frankly were more suitably dressed to eat at McDonalds. The food is buffet style with limited choice, repetative and nothing outstanding. Sometimes the meals were barely warm. You could eat at another restaurant with a supplement of £14.99 which we did and was far more superior and waiter service. The entertainment was substandard and many guests complained that the theatre was too small and unable to find seating and therefore many could not attend the shows. Although quite frankly those that could not attend the shows did not miss much. The ship had to stay in Corfu overnight and we missed out on the port of Messina. This was due according to the captains announcement, to bad weather/wind, despite two other cruise ship's embarking from the port with no aparent difficulties. The captain who sounded extremely bored announced ' thats life' perhaps something you don't exactly want to hear when some were looking forward to trips from Messina. Surprisingly he also said that he had difficulties leaving the port. However we heard no evidence or noise generally associated with the ship making its departure in the normal way and furthermore we also noticed that the ship remained tired up on the quay side during the period when he was 'having difficulties' departing. So we are sceptical of the resaons given by the captain. The trips, of which we went on three, were well organised and the visit along the Amalfi coast was excellent. Overall I would not recommend Island Escape. It is a shabby ship in dire need of refurbishment and Thomson's need to undertake a detailed look at its on-board catering facilities and take note of the many critics about it's informal dress code. In short it was very much like cruising with Chavs. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I have just been on the island eskip for seven days & I can honestly say that after 20-30 cruises with thomson, it was the most disgusting barge that it has been my misfortune to set foot on. 1) The food was terrible & barely ... Read More
I have just been on the island eskip for seven days & I can honestly say that after 20-30 cruises with thomson, it was the most disgusting barge that it has been my misfortune to set foot on. 1) The food was terrible & barely hot. 2) I know that it is has an informal dress code, but come on!! people going into the restaurant with their nightclothes on is a joke!! 3) All inclusive, another joke!! the spirits were so called "local spirits", totally unpalatable!! costs about 3 euros per bottle in the port supermarket After all is said & done I can say that the staff on board the barge were of an excellent order & did take some of the edge off of what was a bad experience. (cleaners & waiters) The cabin we had was not much bigger than a shoebox, but the cabin steward was excellent, cleanliness & hygiene were of an exemplary condition. I would not go back on the island eskip if it were offered for free with spending money thrown in. I have another cruise booked for next month (November) on "the Spirit" if that does not meet the standard with Thomson cruises of the past It will be time to go elsewhere. "Nuff said" Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
for a first time cruise we selected the island escape due to it being more informal and relaxed. not knowing what to expect we were more than delighted with our first cruise, so delighted we booked again for the island escape within 2 ... Read More
for a first time cruise we selected the island escape due to it being more informal and relaxed. not knowing what to expect we were more than delighted with our first cruise, so delighted we booked again for the island escape within 2 days of getting home, but for 2 weeks next time! travelling with 2 children we were in a 4 berth cabin, yes it is a it cramped but you just make do and we managed with no problems. staff were great and nothing was too much trouble, destinations were great being a smaller ship it felt really friendly and you could stop for a chat with anyone and they always found the time for a natter. very informal, no dressing up for dinner and being all inclusive you don't have to worry about how much your kids are spending on cokes etc. food was very good and the themed nights were great. entertainment was really good and kept the kids and us entertained for hours at nights. all in all one of the best holidays we have had and cant wait till next year! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We just arrived back after our best of med cruise on 22nd oct for mam dads golden wedding. Stayed for 4 days at santa lucia afterwards. Firstly can I say what a fantastic time we had I have done royal caribean independence of seas so was ... Read More
We just arrived back after our best of med cruise on 22nd oct for mam dads golden wedding. Stayed for 4 days at santa lucia afterwards. Firstly can I say what a fantastic time we had I have done royal caribean independence of seas so was a bit dubious about dropping down to island escape, but wow! Had the most amazing relaxed and friendly time...food superb ...ship more than adequate...much better than expected....and staff I can not praise them enough..from room attendants to bar staff to restaurant waiters etc etc.....superb special mention to Hendrick and Julie in restaurant who made mam dad anniversary extra special. Ronaldo in the pub superb and everyone else in the wonderful team. Go with my open mind..it's the most amazing experience it is what you make it and we will defo be back next ear. Contracts have been given to all staff for another year so at least we can enjoy the island Escape for one more year and here's hoping many more. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Spent a very enjoyable 11 days on this ship and can really not find anything to complain about, on the contrary we thought it was excellent value for money. We found the ship to be very clean and attention to passengers needs second to ... Read More
Spent a very enjoyable 11 days on this ship and can really not find anything to complain about, on the contrary we thought it was excellent value for money. We found the ship to be very clean and attention to passengers needs second to none.We loved the informality and the variety of bars catered for all tastes. The staff were always very helpful and happy to help, the entertainment was excellent, the food was varied and always fresh, and on the days spent at sea there was plenty of variety in activities available, and even on an unexpected day at sea (due to strong winds) a programme of events was very well put together to keep the passengers happy. We only went on one excursion which we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the ports of call we explored ourselves which was made easier by the maps of the various places we visited being readily available from the guest relations desk.If we had any negative comments it would be just to say that we thought the price of the photographs to be horrendous, BUT you don't have to have your photo taken and if you do there is no pressure to buy.If you are looking for 5 star cruising and formality then this is not the cruise for you. We would not hesitate to travel on this ship again and really hope we get the opportunity to do so. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The check in process was well organised and efficient. The plus side to this ship in attention to cleanliness and hygiene lots of hand sanitisers around which staff ensured everyone used, also rooms and staircases, hand rails cleaned ... Read More
The check in process was well organised and efficient. The plus side to this ship in attention to cleanliness and hygiene lots of hand sanitisers around which staff ensured everyone used, also rooms and staircases, hand rails cleaned throroughly. This is a totally informal cruise, definitely no need for a suit or posh dress, in fact everyone was rather underdressed which we personally found a little disappointing. There are three restaurants - the beachcomber is more like a canteen but open 24 hours and very casual, the island restaurant much better, still buffet but waiters on service and much nicer in here, tables set up and drinks offered frequently. The entertainment was good, bingo and quizzes with gameshows along with shows. We found the resident band, although good were too loud. Actitvities are on throughout the day. The ship is very well run and shore excursions were excellent. Some ports there is plenty to do in surrounding area but naples and rome ithink did really benefit from going on the tour. Although this cruise is a good introduction to cruising and all inclusive helps, if you want glitz and glam and formality this would not be the cruise for you, but all in all a good experience. We had a suite which was huge with a comfy king bed and loads of room. The ship itself is in need of some redecorating and the restaurants need some formality as some people made no effort. Shows should be better organised too as people who have already seen the show remain seated as it is a lounge type set up thus not enabling others the opportunity to see the shows. Good trip but a few points would make it much better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I don't usually write reviews but after reading yet more criticism of Island Escape I felt I must respond but firstly I'd like to say that if there is one thing on this planet I can't stand it is a snob! We checked out the ... Read More
I don't usually write reviews but after reading yet more criticism of Island Escape I felt I must respond but firstly I'd like to say that if there is one thing on this planet I can't stand it is a snob! We checked out the reviews on Island Escape before making a booking in February 2013 and although some were less than complementary we went ahead and booked a two week Mediterranean cruise departing Palma on 8th October. As the year wore on the reviews seemed to get worse and we almost cancelled - thankfully we didn't as we spent two brilliant weeks onboard our kind of ship! Yes she's an older ship in need of an upgrade but what she lacked in decor she more than made up for with her crew who were exceptional. The cabins were cleaned 2-3 times a day, we found the beds turned down and bedside lights switched on when we returned to our cabin for the night. An extra special thank you to Artur who was always smiling and did an excellent job of looking after our cabin We usually had breakfast in the Beachcomber and dinner in the Island Restaurant and although it may not have been what you would get in a top restaurant we enjoyed every meal, never found it to be cold and never felt the need to pay extra to dine in the Oasis. As for the dress code - it looks like some critics appeared to have spent an awful lot of their time watching other people instead of getting on with enjoying themselves- still I suppose that's their loss! As for the all inclusive drinks package - we had no complaints the beer was excellent as were the cocktails. Drinks were available from 10am to 2am and we can't believe some folk thought that wasn't good enough - pardon my criticism here but anyone needing to be supplied with drink before 10am and after 2am may need to review their drinking habits!! The two main reasons we chose this cruise were 1) It was laid back (we are no Chavs just an ordinary couple of 60 somethings who did not want to, or intend to, get trussed up in order to impress anyone) and 2) The itinerary took in all the ports we wanted to visit (shore trips were excellent) We're already checking out our next Island Escape cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Like many people I read reviews about this cruise after I'd booked the trip and as a result of people's awful comments, I was very close to cancelling. Now I'm back, I'm very glad I didn't. I'd cruised once ... Read More
Like many people I read reviews about this cruise after I'd booked the trip and as a result of people's awful comments, I was very close to cancelling. Now I'm back, I'm very glad I didn't. I'd cruised once before with Thomsons and was very aware that this was the least plush of their ships but, I'll admit I was sold on the all inclusive package, which would have cost me a further £200 per person if we'd gone on one of the other ships. So, in a nutshell, I agree the ship is dated - but I knew that from other reviews, and I totally agree in that it was spotless and the staff were really helpful and friendly. The food - well it wasn't brilliant, but it was fine. Plenty of choice (and I'm even one of those fussy vegetarian types!) and my only gripe is that it could have been warmer. We paid to go to the posh restaurant one evening which was good value for money and we booked to go again, however when we realised it was the same menu on offer all week in there, we cancelled. There was more choice for us in one of the other 2 restaurants. The entertainment was as you'd expect on a cruise, tongue in cheek with a cruise band and game shows. A bit old fashioned for us, a couple in our 30's, but saying that, there were plenty of bars to go and choose from so if you didn't want to indulge, you didn't have to. The excursions weren't cheap, we chose 2, Rome and St Tropez. That was nearly £100 each. We decided to give Pisa/Florence a miss and went to Livorno for the day, and realised there that you could get excursions off the boat for a fraction of the price. All in all, the excursions are well organised and you have the safety of knowing the boat wont go without you at the end of the day, but you can do themselves much much cheaper. All in all I'd say the cruise was good value for money and I'd recommend adding a couple of days stay at the end to actually relax. If you are a seasoned "P&O cruiser" and want a formal, fancy, dressed up cruise, then stay on P&O. Don't go on this cruise which is informal, fun, down to earth, and essentially a nice way to see a lot of the med without packing your bag and travelling every day. Some of the reviews on here are very unfair and seem to be written by people who expect 5* for 3* prices. If you go with an open mind and aren't a massive snob, then don't be put off this cruise. You'll have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I had my doubts about cruising and I'm still not entirely convinced but passed an enjoyable week on the Island Escape Souks and Sangria cruise. Personally I would prefer a beachand snorkelling etc. Certainly more positives than ... Read More
I had my doubts about cruising and I'm still not entirely convinced but passed an enjoyable week on the Island Escape Souks and Sangria cruise. Personally I would prefer a beachand snorkelling etc. Certainly more positives than negatives once we'd found our feet. Had read reviews, but you have to read between the lines. After all this is the budget end of the market and you don't get 5 star luxury and three star prices. The ship was quite good and well fitted with comfortable lounge and bar areas. We paid a supplement for a superior cabin and were satisfied with it apart from the uncomfortable beds. Food was generally very good. The Beachcomber restaurant is a shambles though, more like a works canteen free-for-all. There are two more restaurants, one serving exactly the same menu as the Beachcomber but with set tables with tablecloths etc. The a la carte carries a small supplement (15 pounds for a fillet steak or lobster menu etc) with waiter service. Why anyone would want to eat regularly at the Beachcomber is a mystery to me, but plenty did. One complaint of mine was the "Sports Bar" Champions Bar. Sorry, but having a dozen signed football shirts and Eurosport in German does not make a sports bar. On the night of our departure a "Champions League" Football night, what were they showing? - weightlfting! Entertainment was of a generally good standard, unfortunately the theatre was quite small for the 1500 on board and needed queueing to ensure a seat. We spent most of our evenings in the Lookout Bar, with the excellent Stratford and Borrell, a duo with a seemingly endless and varied repertoire, virtually everything except opera and rap. Very capable musicians with Paula on flute and sax and Mark on guitar and vocals. Their rendition of Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street will be a long-standing memory of our first cruise. Paula's saxophone is a tremendous experience. Thanks guys. The ports of call were pretty good (with the exception of Gibraltar, a little like Royston Vasey in the sun). If all you want is somewhere with English as a first language and M&S and Morrisons, then this is the place for you. Cartagena and Tangier were my favourites. Very friendly staff always with a good day and a smile. All in all a good experience. Would I do it again - possibly, but still prefer the beach   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My boyfriend and I are just back from a two week cruise on the island escape. This was my boyfriends first cruise and after reading the reviews we were really unsure what to expect. However we had a fantastic time. Yes it's an old ... Read More
My boyfriend and I are just back from a two week cruise on the island escape. This was my boyfriends first cruise and after reading the reviews we were really unsure what to expect. However we had a fantastic time. Yes it's an old cruise ferry but it didn't feel that way on board. All the public areas were nicely decorated and you could tell they have spent a lot on this ship. Our cabin wa nice, it was slightly bigger than I expected however the bathroom was dated and it took us a while to get the shower to a nice temperature but we finally mastered it. Thank you has to go to Melwin our cabin steward who attended to our room 3 times a day and who was very friendly. Food wise we couldn't fault the ship. Food was varied and plentiful, we never struggled to find something we liked. The island restaurant was our favourite out of the two, but we did eat at the beach comber if we missed dinner in island restaurant or if we were feeling like a snack. I would highly recommend going to the oasis at least once. For £15 it is well worth it, we had the lobster menu and this included lobster ravioli, lobster soup, lobster Thermidor and a choice of dessert. It was absolutely amazing they also gave us a basket of different breads with oils. The all inclusive drinks package was great too, you only pay for premium drinks but you should be able to find something you like ( I liked the cocktails) and if you do want a premium drink its not that expensive. Entertainment was great we especially enjoyed the bounty lounge where the Switch played every night and where there were game shows. We were asked to take part in the generation game on our first week which we were a bit apprehensive about, but we had a blast and enjoyed every minute of it. The entertainment staff were excellent. We did go to the shows a couple of times but if I'm honest they weren't for us we are a couple of ages 28 and 31 so we felt it was more geared up to older people. Which was fine as there was plenty to keep us occupied and we never felt out of place. We did enjoy ending our nights in the look out bar which acted almost like a night club which was great. On the whole we couldn't fault this cruise and we loved exploring all the lovely cities along the way. Would we do it again? Absolutely :)   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
All inclusive travel to lovely Mediterranean destinations is available at a budget price on Island Escape. It isn't the most luxurious ship and bits are well worn but its all about value. We didn't expect "Harrods" when ... Read More
All inclusive travel to lovely Mediterranean destinations is available at a budget price on Island Escape. It isn't the most luxurious ship and bits are well worn but its all about value. We didn't expect "Harrods" when we were paying "Tesco" prices! That said, the cabins were adequate (we paid extra for a window on deck 7 and were very pleased). In the dining areas food was plentiful and there was a good selection of dishes available for every meal - including snacks and afternoon tea. There was no need for a dinner jacket and smart casual was universally adopted for dining - especially in the Island and Oasis restaurants. Public areas were always spotless and comfortable and the shows in the theatre and bar entertainments were excellent. On deck the pool was very small and made little more than a focal point. There were not enough sun beds for everyone when all were on board for the Day at Sea but staff tried to prevent "bed bagging". There was a good choice of areas to sit indoors with different moods and entertainments to suit a wide clientele. The service on board was superb. Our cabin attendant was attentive and seems to work by magic - never intruding but keeping the cabin beautifully and adding fun touches with towel sculptures. From the bar staff, waiters and housekeeping to entertainment team, officers and even the Captain Thackray, everyone on Island Escape worked hard to keep smiling and to offer the very best service to all their customers (even the few who were challenging). When visiting ports, a good range of trips were offered at reasonable prices. Few travellers could afford an excursion at every port but in most places the port town was pleasant. The shore advisers supplied maps and a little information about what was available (though advice on whether the beach is suitable to swim or whether steps and hills are a feature of the town - or even availability of local buses would have added more to these visits). The whole experience of this holiday cruise was a pleasant one. It was superb value for money and stress free thanks to the smooth operation of the staff. We paid a very reasonable price for an all inclusive cruise and had excellent value for money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We joined the ship on 24th September an all inclusive trip x 7 days. Busy day for the crew on change over day. Is was a full complement of passengers . We were also on this ship in 2009 . Allocated cabin 5528 small but functional ... Read More
We joined the ship on 24th September an all inclusive trip x 7 days. Busy day for the crew on change over day. Is was a full complement of passengers . We were also on this ship in 2009 . Allocated cabin 5528 small but functional chipped salmon pink wash basin shower cubicle was OK for average build of passenger , mattress a bit worn ,no hair-dryer for my partner.(you can hire one from reception) have to pay to use the cabin safe . We used the very popular Beachcomber self service restaurant for breakfast and lunch ,melamine plates and cups supplied most food hot food was served to you from the hot plate (cuts down on food waste ) help yourself to anything else , you could order an omelette . We used the Island restaurant in the evenings a bit less of a crush and exchanged cruise experiences with fellow passengers (,vibrations from ships engine room when docking or anchor chains sounds ) .Food was of very good quality. Public areas were clean but well worn ,whole ship in need of refurbishment. As the company are making money there is there need to up grade ? The entertainment team worked very hard and most passengers had positive comments . Most ships crew Officers and men were polite or friendly . The PUB could very busy and it was quicker to go to the bar to be served which I prefer rather than being hassled to buy another drink as happens other cruise ships . Invited to the Captains Cocktail party along with another 150 people , offered glass of wine or soft drink ! Learned the one passenger had sailed on the ship 17 times ,a waist of time attending this party. We took this cruise because of the ports call , Cavil, Livonia , Nice ,Toulouse, Barcelona I am aware of negative reviews , some are a bit unfair . Overall we enjoyed this cruise and would sail on the ship depending on the itinerary. Value for money probably not. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
If you have booked this cruise, you will have to go and enjoy which we tried to do, as was too late for us It is a FERRY BOAT not a cruise; the facilities ie so called swimming pool for which there is only one is 21 feet long, sunbeds are ... Read More
If you have booked this cruise, you will have to go and enjoy which we tried to do, as was too late for us It is a FERRY BOAT not a cruise; the facilities ie so called swimming pool for which there is only one is 21 feet long, sunbeds are 1.2 inch apart, people everywhere, 2 buffett restaurants which serve mainly the same food; terrible people eating everything in sight, hardly anything is cooked it is all packaged and put in the oven, the cabins are awful, together with the areas on the ferry boat. Entertainment team is just the ships entertainment team whom were very good, but do not expect too many other outside entertainment. They have a theatre, hurrendous pub and bingo on site(lovely); full of people with hardly any with any calibre or self respects, largest bellies ever; clothing was awful. The pricing is hurrendous for this cruise, when it is dearer than the top 5 proper cruise companies.... this is not a cruise in any shape or form. GOOD POINT: STaff are relatively friendly(not overboard), captain was present on a few occassions and praised all his team   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Just got back from my first cruise ever and the Island Escape was the ideal ship to cut your teeth on. Yes, the ship may be a converted ferry but it was fabulous. The crew worked so hard to make sure everyone was looked after - from the ... Read More
Just got back from my first cruise ever and the Island Escape was the ideal ship to cut your teeth on. Yes, the ship may be a converted ferry but it was fabulous. The crew worked so hard to make sure everyone was looked after - from the housekeeping staff right up to the entertainment team. The cabins were adequate, our steward, Satpal, kept it spotless - coming in 4-5 times a day to tidy up. There was plenty of storage/drawer space although a few more coat hangers would have been nice. The food was gorgeous, there were salads, cold meats, hot meals, soups, breads etc and the desserts were fab. All the food was displayed so colourfully. There were some people who ate like complete pigs but you will get that on any all-inclusive deal. The entertainment was excellent. We played bingo and enjoyed the quizzes every night. The game shows were hilarious. Special mention to Tony Mack, Lucas, and the fab Ross - really enjoyed your shows. The excursions were a bit expensive but if you weren't too confident in going on shore on your own then then were ideal. The swimming pool is tiny but there were lots of sunbeds on most of the top decks, they were close together but you could move them if you wanted to. The bar crew came round often to take drinks orders so you could stay in one spot if you wished. The décor on the ship was really great and everything was kept spotlessly clean. Overall I think that it was real value for money and would definitely go on this ship again. Don't listen to the moaners, they obviously would be more at home on the QE2. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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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