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303 Island Escape Cruise Reviews

Honest review: First time cruisers and it was more than we had expected and are now converts - we had a standard outside with picture window which I am glad we had as lovely to see different sight each day and others mentioned could not ... Read More
Honest review: First time cruisers and it was more than we had expected and are now converts - we had a standard outside with picture window which I am glad we had as lovely to see different sight each day and others mentioned could not know if day/night without any window. The hygiene protocols and security were amazing and made us wish all hotels took this up - so easy from Palma Airport to our cabin. the organisation was so well planned that as we walked to our cabins our luggage was already there. We did Rome/Vatican tour and Pisa - coach parked very close so min walking in 39deg heat and Guide amazing too. Our steward was amazing - making the towels into animal shapes took great skill. The flexible dining was great - 24hr Beachcomber meant you could eat whenever you felt like it. Yes, it did mean melamine plates and plastic cups but this was a good idea with people taking food around the pool and on other decks. The Island Restaurant served the same food but with waiters and you can dress up/not as you wished. We sat with many different people and everyone was friendly and helpful. It was nice to eat off china plates and have real glassware. Yes the cabin was compact but clean and actually fine for two people (not 4!). There was enough drawers and hanging space. The shower was always hot which is more than I can say for previous hotel holidays. Entertainment: UK comedian very funny and the singers were good; not always to our tastes as prefer younger music. My 17yr old daughter was bored as teen club was too young for her - a cinema would have been a good idea but we had two different films on loop every day which were up to date (The Lorax/Hunger Games/Man on a Ledge). My 19yr old son loved the experience. Drink service was slow but had the same experience in a hotel before. Drink prices were ok (in Sterling) as a Pina Colada cost �£3.60 which is cheaper than Frankie & Bennys and much nicer. The only negative was some parents not looking after their children in the pool and bringing inflatables too. Adult only time on one day was spoilt by children not leaving the pool and adults being scared to ask them to leave for fear of being shouted at by the parents! Having one film a day screened in a theatre would have been a nice touch. Weather excellent with one night of 30knot wind so sea choppy - sea sick bags placed around boat. this also meant couldnt go to Cannes but stopped at Villefranche instead and had flea market on the sunday. Reorganising all the coaches/plans again showed great forethought. In all Island Escape is a 3* ship with 4* food but great to try. Not snobby at all. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This is probably not a ship for those of you who like the finer aspects of the cruising experience.However it did seem to fit the bill for the vast number of passengers that we spoke to,most of them first time cruisers. The vessel itself ... Read More
This is probably not a ship for those of you who like the finer aspects of the cruising experience.However it did seem to fit the bill for the vast number of passengers that we spoke to,most of them first time cruisers. The vessel itself is less than glamorous ,and the cabins are in need of refurbishment (we were on 6 deck 6012),the bathrooms are in need of replacement as are the cabin windows ,which are covered in sealant and rust. On embarkation you could spot those who had cruised before ,they were the people walking around looking shell shocked having just visited their cabins. On a positive note the crew were friendly and diligent and,the service was always good.Interestingly we found this ship to be not too crowded in public areas (it was full on our cruise),give or take the odd shenanigans with sunbeds around the pool.If you are the type that really must have your toes on the pool edge each day you may need to get up early. The food is basic buffet done to a good standard,with open sittings in the restaurant,there is also a twenty four hour buffet at the pool end of the ship.We saw plenty of passengers in shorts and tee shirts in the restaurant in the evenings ,as well as couples and family's who had made a little more effort. The tours were done well ,but you will need to think about the cycling tours as these are grueling,i would not advise children to undertake any of these as there is a lot of riding on duel carriageways.These are not tours for sight seeing one girl was sick with exertion going up hill,and our daughter was scared at major roundabouts in Italian cities.Think Tour de France not secret seven. The entertainment was of a good standard for this type of vessel,Rock the Boat should get themselves a better agent,they are wasted on cruise ships. This ship will become an all inclusive holiday for 2013 and you cannot help but wonder of it was decided it was cheaper to keep the passengers drunk ,than refurbish the cabins. So if your looking for a value cruise with good ports ,reasonable food ,and a friendly atmosphere this is the one for you,just remember to pack the bleach. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I just wanted to write a review to say what a good time we had on the Glitz and Glamour cruise as I had read loads of really negative comments throughout the net before we travelled. Between the adults in our party we have been on 4 ... Read More
I just wanted to write a review to say what a good time we had on the Glitz and Glamour cruise as I had read loads of really negative comments throughout the net before we travelled. Between the adults in our party we have been on 4 cruises all of which were with the top end, more luxury cruise lines and all three of us felt that this cruise was equally enjoyable. Yes it's reasonably basic and yes it's quite "Butlins-esque" on the entertainment front BUT you do have to factor in the price difference. Four of us paid pretty much what one person would pay for a "P&O" type cruise. The only thing that I think may put some people off is that the swimming pool is VERY salty water (more so than the sea water at the beach we went to, this is very unpleasant when you inevetably get it in your mouth and eyes but to be honest I don't know if this is the same for all pools on cruises. The four of us all stayed in one outside cabin with two bunk beds and I felt that the room was actually more spacious than I expected. We eat the whole week in the self service buffet and whilst the food is obviously not always scorching hot (I don't think I've ever had a self sevice buffet that was)it was VERY good and we all commented on how well ALL the meats were cooked every day. They were really very nicely cooked, NOT dry, NOT tough, NOT undercooked. Plenty of choice of food with a few themed nights (Chinese, Indian, Pasta). You can help yourself ALL day to Tea and Coffee and cold water and during the breakfast service there's fruit juice. There is a sign saying that you can't refill water bottles due to health reasons but if you take the glasses of drink to a table and then decant them into a bottle this is a simple way to keep hydrated if you don't want to purchase drinks from the bar. The kids club (4yr old girl) was also a big hit. All in all, our 4 generation family had a really lovely holiday at a cost of about £600 each and I will definitly be looking to do it again next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This cruise was our first with Thomson's. We chose the cruise to coincide with my wife's birthday in late August. We were looking for a cruise itinary which included Rome , Naples, and La Spezia for Florence. In total we visited ... Read More
This cruise was our first with Thomson's. We chose the cruise to coincide with my wife's birthday in late August. We were looking for a cruise itinary which included Rome , Naples, and La Spezia for Florence. In total we visited 11 destination ports with 2days at sea with Palma being start port for both weeks. The Island Escape is a relatively old ship at 30, and is comparatively small. All the eating places and bars were easy to find. The food was OK as was the atmosphere. The cabins were comfortable if a bit basic. The TV service was very poor with only news channels and two movie channels which repeated the same film each day over a 7 day cycle, thus shown again on week two. The key strength of the Island Escape are the live entertainment with some exceptional individuals combining to form a great team, credit to the Cruise Director. This really offset the poor in cabin entertainment. However should you be cruising with children or with individuals who do not care for live shows there's not much to do at night other than visit one of the many bars on board. I was particularly impressed by the quality of the cabin stewards who really were friendly and efficient, as well as being well turned out and impeccably mannered. The weaknesses were really minor compared to the strengths mentioned above and centred on the inconsistent service offered by the waiters. Some were very hard working and polite but some were plain rude. Some of the behaviour of the waiters would not be tolerated on other cruise lines. My impression was since this ship attracts a lot of first time cruisers some of the waiters take liberty's. My overall impression is that this ship gives entry level cruising with an informal atmosphere at entry level prices. The ports of call were excellent and the sailing experience was pleasant. However I doubt if we will sail with Thomson's again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The ship itself was informal and very friendly and spotlessly clean. Where ever you looked there were people tidying and cleaning. The ship is not the height of luxury, but what it lacked in style it made up for in the friendly atmosphere. ... Read More
The ship itself was informal and very friendly and spotlessly clean. Where ever you looked there were people tidying and cleaning. The ship is not the height of luxury, but what it lacked in style it made up for in the friendly atmosphere. All the staff were amazing- nothing was too much trouble and everything was very well organised. The restaurant staff were attentive and very welcoming, our room steward (Raja) worked incredibly hard but always had a smile on his face and the entertainment staff were great and worked hard everyday. We had decided to treat ourselves and book one of the deluxe balcony rooms. When we arrived on the boat we were not disappointed. The room was a lovely size for 3 adults and the balcony was big. It was amazing waking up each morning and sliding open the patio doors to see a new place. This cruise was a lovely mix of relaxation and sightseeing. We went on two booked excursions to Hercalaneum and Rome, both were very well organised, the guides very knowledgeable and the trips were worth the money. The food on the ship was excellent, we loved the afternoon tea! We ate every night in the Island Restaurant where there was always plenty to chose from with numerous themed nights! There was no dress code and no fancy suits and evening gowns, but people did take the opportunity to get smartly dressed which was really nice as it is something we like to do. The only downside of the ship was the small pool area and lack of sunbeds, however we made full use of our balcony. The all inclusive pacakage was excellent with a good choice of drinks and the bar service was very efficient- even when busy never waited long to be served. We had a fantastic holiday and we are still talking about how much we enjoyed it! If you are looking for a laid back, non pretentious cruise then I would definiely recommend the island Escape! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Let me firstly start I booked this cruise on Island Escape for our family, me,my husband and our two children 10 & 5 one lunch time without thought or research mainly on price and location of departure airport. This was our second ... Read More
Let me firstly start I booked this cruise on Island Escape for our family, me,my husband and our two children 10 & 5 one lunch time without thought or research mainly on price and location of departure airport. This was our second cruise previous one was with RCCL on Liberty of the Seas June 2011. All excited about my booking I set about the following day looking up the reviews of the ship. Oh my God did I wish I had not booked. Six weeks to the cruise the more I read the worse it got with might I add a few Good reviews on the way which kept my spirits up. In all my holiday was ruined before it started. The Travel Day arrived I boarded the plane with two excited kids and equally excited husband my heart was hanging as I didn't say anything about what I had read. My take was how bad could it be, would it be as bad as some of the dodgy apts. we stayed in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and so on. Arriving at Palma airport I thought don't compare with our previous cruise but I did the Rep for Island Cruises was lovely last year RCCL rep was sharp and cold. Arriving at the port our luggage was taken off the bus and placed in a holding area, check in was a breeze with the kids signing up for kids club at the check in area. Moving on we collected our suitcases attaching our cabin tags to them leaving them to be taken to our cabin. Going up to go through security checks before boarding was as expected then on to the ship. CABIN.... We boarded I took a deep breath and went to our cabin luggage was there before us, opening our door all the "reviews" screamed in my head but it was as I expected two single beds with two pull down bunks for the kids, bathroom dated in colour with old age stains but very clean the odd crack in the shower glass, loads of storage for 4 of us. I unpacked 3 suitcases slid the empty ones under the beds and hung and folded all our clothes. Two long hanging areas one short hanging with 4 drawers under it and a separate dressing table with another 4 drawers. There was a mini bar shelf no fridge and an old tubed TV with good choice of holiday TV (we never bother with tv anyway on holiday)In all very pleased with the cabin. Hairdryers are not provided in cabins but are available from the Reception desk advice is to get one on embarkation day not like me that got left drying my daughters 3ft long hair with a this excuse of a hairdryer (all the fun of holidays) The Ship.....Its an experience!!!! fun loving, friendly crew and fellow passengers, choice of two buffets restaurants one better than the other but food quite edible and good choice of food, small charge for third restaurant waiter service really nice. Entertainment great really gets passengers involved. The Kids club Palmy's my kids loved it so much to do. The Team are fantastic always had a smile. I could write a book but in a nut shell yes this is an old ship don't expect glitz and glam but do expect a great holiday with a great team right from the cabin attendant all the way up to the captain. From what I saw the hygiene on the ship is as great as you would get in any other place the public uses basically if it dirty in places one has to wonder its not the crew who dirty the place or is it the people who use it.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We travelled on the Island Escape on 24th July 2012 on the 'Escape to the med' itinerary before having a week in a hotel in Sa Coma. Having read some of the reviews on here we were a little apprehensive especially as this was ... Read More
We travelled on the Island Escape on 24th July 2012 on the 'Escape to the med' itinerary before having a week in a hotel in Sa Coma. Having read some of the reviews on here we were a little apprehensive especially as this was our first cruise- we didn't need to be! I travelled with my parents and sister. The check in process at the terminal was quick efficient and welcoming, and from the moment we stepped onboard the staff and crew went out of their way to make sure we had a brilliant cruise. The food is excellent and catered exactly to the British taste, we ate mainly in the buffet style island restaurant where the food easily matched that of the 4 star hotels we have stayed at in the past! We also had a few meals in the beachcomber which is the 24hr buffet restaurant which serves the same food as the island restaurant, here the chefs serve the hot food to you, which was a bit odd at first but ensures good hygiene! We had an inside cabin on deck 5 which with all four of us in was small but adequate, the two bunk beds were folded up during the day which made a bit more room and after all you don't go on holiday to spend all your time in the cabin! The facilities onboard were also excellent and, with the exception of the day at sea when things were a little busier, getting a sunbed isn't really a problem. The ports of call on this itinerary were very good, Olbia, Propriano and Mahon allow you to see parts of the med that are less 'touristy', Propriano especially has a beach which is only a five minute walk from where the ship docks, perfect for a swim in the sea! We did two trips which we organised onboard, the first was Pompeii and Vesuvius, which at almost £60 per head were expensive but we felt worth it, Pompeii especially is worth a visit and was much better than we were expecting! We also did a bike tour of Rome, organised through Abraham at the Star bike tours desk (onboard) this was fantastic as you get to see all the sights of Rome and do something a little different! The entertainment team led by Ross Roberts work very hard and their shows are always very good. This ship is perfect for people, who like us want to see a bit more of the world but who don't want the pressure of being told what to wear and when to eat every night. If you are looking for a cruise where there is silver service and formal dress up nights, whilst staying in 5 star luxurious cabins then the Island escape isn't for you! If you are looking for a holiday with a difference, where the crew are friendly and get to know you, and where you can just be yourself and relax, then the island escape won't disappoint! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Had been considering a cruise for a while, then last October saw this cruise on the Thomson web site and phoned a friend for advice. It was booked on her advice for the four of us to go together. Then we saw the reviews and knew it was a ... Read More
Had been considering a cruise for a while, then last October saw this cruise on the Thomson web site and phoned a friend for advice. It was booked on her advice for the four of us to go together. Then we saw the reviews and knew it was a mistake. We joined the ship in Palma, after taking ages to get through customs apart from that our only complaints were, the mattress were well worn and on deck 10, 24 hour food, you had to stir your tea or coffee with a drinks straw? It is a bit tired in places but consider the price for the Island Escape and others and you get what you pay for. We opted for the £98 all inclusive offer and didn't get ignored while they served the paying customers. One waiter was a bit of a misery to start with, then cheered later. Our cabin was kept clean and we tipped our cabin boy Jamie because as soon as we moved out he was in there folding the toilet roll. We had must evening meals in the Island Restaurant, not as noisy as the restaurant on deck 10. My only complaint there is the tables were a bit too close for the waiters to squeeze through. As well as the usual potatoes and beef or chicken, each day they had a separate counter where there was something different daily, Susi, Italian, Indian. I was a bit concerned about it being full of screaming kids, but as we don't sit round the pool where I believe there was the usual complaint about sun beds the children didn't bother us. We were advised to book our excursions before we went and booked one for every port. Yes they are quite expensive but we would rather pay a little more and get only an English commentary. Don't book the Barcelona Explorer, get the tour bus in the port. We got on the coach, the guide Robinson told us his name. Didn't speak again until we reached the park and were told what time to be back. On to see the Sagrada Famillia, on leaving the bus we could either wait and he would walk us up to the cathedral or be back there for a certain time. About half the bus, us included went on our way without Robinson. This is where on return half the bus waited in the wrong place. Fortunately we spoke to the guide on the bus which had been following us and discovered we waiting in the wrong place! Because of that we only had a short time in Las Ramblas, most of us walked back to the ship. This was our first cruise, have already got the next one chosen, anyone who is concerned about sea sick give it a try. My hubby is the worse sailor there is, has felt ill on a lake rowing boat. He wasn't too sure one night when it get a little choppy, but went to bed and slept through it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Island Escape -- July 24th to August 7th 2012 (2 adults, 2 children aged 15 and 7) Back-to-back cruises on the Island Escape (Escape to the Med, followed by Souks and Sangria). Last time we were on the Island Escape I was pregnant with ... Read More
Island Escape -- July 24th to August 7th 2012 (2 adults, 2 children aged 15 and 7) Back-to-back cruises on the Island Escape (Escape to the Med, followed by Souks and Sangria). Last time we were on the Island Escape I was pregnant with daughter and son was 7 we had a great time then and couldn't wait to get back. Again we chose an outside cabin on Diamond deck and I had pre-selected it by working out which was the most central cabin and prebooking it. We knew the cabins were small but with four of us in it (son is well over 6 foot) it was a squash. Not really enough clothes storage space for four of us or places for our luggage but we worked around that. Shower room small, compact and did the business. TV in room with BBC world news, Eurosport (in German) and two film channels (plus various ships channels). We took a kettle for early morning drinks and be warned one of the two main sockets near the mirror is a 110V socket so if you plug a kettle in there it will take ages to boil. Cabin satisfactory but could do with a spruce up. Cabin steward very good and we did get a few towel animals but not that many. We had two days at sea, one in each week, then different ports of call with a day at Palma (where we embarked) in the middle. Was very impressed with speed and efficiency of embarkation process much better than our last cruise on Ocean Village) in fact everything about the travel to there from Exeter was fine (except Thompson had moved our flight from a reasonable 9am to a rather early 6:50am!). First port of call was Olbia in Sardinia. Was not impressed. We went for a walk through the town, bought some bottled water for excursions (€1.50 for six bottles as opposed to £2 a bottle on board), tried to buy some drinks in a cafe but the service was so appalling we moved to another one and got some ice creams. Then got shuttle bus back to ship. In retrospect we should either have done a ship's excursion or taken a taxi (we were quoted €25 one way) to the beach. Sardinia looked lovely when we were leaving but I really couldn't recommend Olbia as a port. Next stop was Naples. We had visited there last time on our Island Escape cruise when we had done a Pompeii excursion, so this time we went to Herculaneum. A very interesting trip, daughter who had done Romans at school found it very interesting and even taciturn 15 year old son seemed to enjoy it. It was very hot and near the end had to take daughter into the shade. Note there was no cafe at the site just a vending machine so take some coins. Some tourist stalls were set up outside in the car park and there was a stall selling drinks and ice cream. The best thing about the organised excursions are the tour guides, they are so well informed and expert in their field that it makes the trip really worthwhile and interesting. Next stop was Civitavecchia for Rome. Another excursion, this time an early start for Rome and the Colosseum (the only organised tour which takes you into the Colosseum). Again guide was excellent, Colosseum tour was very good. Roman forum trip interesting but so hot (35 deg plus) children and I just moved from shadow to shadow. After this taken on a coach tour ending at the Trevi fountain where we were left for free time. Went to a local restaurant for a meal (very good) then did some shopping before being walked over to Spanish Steps . More free time then arranged to meet at the Piazza de Popolo -- be warned we went to a cafe there and each had a can of coke and it came to €24!! One of our tour party did not arrive at the pre-arranged meeting point and the guide had to retrace our steps and found him waiting at the last meeting point. This was a very expensive tour (especially for four of us) but we did cover a lot of Rome and saw all the major sites (apart from the Pantheon). Fourth stop on this cruise was Propriano in Corsica. I'd done my homework here and knew there was a beach near the port so we had a beach day. Lovely weather, sea gets deep quickly so be warned and sand quite coarse but a really great time. Don't forget your suncream -- I burned dreadfully - remembered to cream the children and forgot myself! Very pretty port and a lovely stop. Final port of call on this stage, Mahon in Menorca. We'd done a family holiday in Menorca many years ago and had visited Mahon before. We went up the steep steps to the town, had an ice cream and visited the shops then, after lunch on board, we did a glass-bottomed boat trip around the harbour. At €11 per adult and €5 for daughter it was good fun. End of the first cruise so back to Palma. I really liked the look of the excursion to Soller, so whilst other people were leaving or arriving on board we went to Soller by coach with a brilliant guide, who was very interesting. Free time in Soller then back on the electric train to Palma. Island Escape had a private carriage so we weren't cramped and it was the end one so we stood out the back for a lot of the trip. Going through the tunnels was exhilarating especially the two mile long one! We all enjoyed this trip -- son says it was his favourite of the cruise. Following another day at sea next port of call was Tangiers. Started with coach tour through city and out to the Cave of Hercules, not the most impressive cave I've been in! Be warned do not use the toilets here, daughter wanted to do so was directed to a hole in the ground and given a bottle of water....... Next sop is the lighthouse at the point where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet and there is a cafe where you are given either a soft drink or a cup of mint tea and there are proper toilets. Following this back into Tangiers to the Kasbah and then a walk through the Medina and the markets. A brief stop to see a snake charmer before free time. You are approached all the time by people trying to sell you things, they are very persistent and don't like no. It was hot, smelly but the culture so different a real experience. From Tangiers across the Straits of Gibraltar to Gibraltar. My favourite stop, we had a brilliant day here. Started off walking through the town to the cable car station via the Main Street -- really strange to see BHS and Marks and Spencers. Duty free alcohol and tobacco a bargain here. Walked by Trafalgar cemetery to the cable car (£34 for all of us on return tickets) and up to the top. Plenty of Barbary Apes and photo opportunities up there, also some military ruins. We stayed up there for a good hour before heading down and having a picnic in the Alameda Botanical Gardens. Husband then went off to the WWII tunnels. Children and I met up with a friend whose husband had been stationed there this March and she took us out to Europa Point before taking us back to ship and we got on with two minutes to spare! After Gibraltar we went on to Malaga. I have always wanted to go to Nerja and have often thought about a holiday there so we took the opportunity to do the excursion to the Nerja Caves. The day was very overcast and visibility was not great which was a shame as the Balcony of Europe in Nerja was a very scenic spot. We were given 45 minutes free time in Nerja and my criticism of this tour was that it wasn't long enough, I think you really needed at least 90 minutes here. Went from the town to the caves. These were much more impressive than in Tangiers -- can't believe that there is another cave three times larger not yet open to the public! Well worth a visit. Cartagena was our penultimate stop. It was a Sunday and there wasn't much to do so we took the beach transfer option over to La Manga. It was a 30 minute drive so we guessed that the cost of the ship's tour was not too dissimilar to a taxi. La Manga is a thin strip of land where one side is the Mar Menor a lagoon of shallow warm water, ideal for children and the other side the Mediterranean. Daughter loved both, son was not too impressed with the lagoon and ended up going for a kebab roll instead which he really enjoyed! Final stop was Valencia. Bit disappointed at first as the city was 6km from the port and didn't look that interesting for the children. Went to tourist information in the port and got directions to the beach -- a 20 minute walk. Absolutely brilliant beach, which all the family loved, masses of flat, golden sand, warm sea and big breakers. We had a fantastic time there then went for a meal at a restaurant along the promenade. Ended up getting a taxi back to the port for €4. For children I'd really recommend the beach option. That's it for a review of the ports now on to more specifics about the ship: Dining: We ate either in the Island Restaurant or Beachcomber. There is the Oasis restaurant at a cover charge of £14.99 and waiter service but we like the informality of buffets and the chance to try some unusual combinations. At first we felt the food was a little luke warm but this improved during the two weeks. Especially liked theme nights and husband is still raving about the Wasabi during oriental night. Kids meals are good but if you order one it takes a long time to arrive. Drinks: We were lucky to have the free all-inclusive upgrade and really made the most of it. We all enjoyed the non-alcoholic cocktails -- Caribbean Delight and Roy Rogers being favourites. We did pay for a couple of frozen cocktails which were not included and one special coffee from Cafe Brasil. I worked out we must have saved about £300 by not having to buy drinks. Childrens club: Palmy's for 3-7 years, daughter loved it and was in tears when we had to leave. They run around three sessions a day at different times (but usually 4-6 and 8-10) and do things like making scrapbooks, chocolate challenge and spooky house. They also run a breakfast club three days a week where they pick your child up from the cabin and take them to breakfast. At the end of the week is the Kid's talent show which is hilarious and fun. It isn't a contest just a chance for them to sing, dance, do animal impressions.... My daughter loved the club. Teens Club: son was not so impressed. Went to a couple of things in the first week (card games and cocktail making) but was disorganised, not well attended and he didn't bother going the second week. He would not recommend it. Entertainment: Showteam lead by Ross Roberts excellent especially the two singers Ben and Macey. Went to three of their shows and thought they were brilliant. Ocean Theatre did fill up quickly so you had to be quick to get a seat. Also did some quizzes in the Bounty Lounge and Sundowner, all good fun. Staff -- all excellent, friendly, helpful and welcoming. Really make the cruise so special. Went to the returning passenger's cocktail party and can see why so many people keep coming back -- the winners had done 18 cruises on Island ships! Summary -- a brilliant holiday, would go again and will look out for some new and exciting itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Having read some of the reviews we were somewhat sceptical as we departed. We need not have worried, despite being passed its best days the ship is spotlessly clean and well maintained. The cabin was on the small side but again maintained ... Read More
Having read some of the reviews we were somewhat sceptical as we departed. We need not have worried, despite being passed its best days the ship is spotlessly clean and well maintained. The cabin was on the small side but again maintained and and spotlessly clean. Towels were changed throughout the day and every night there was a different towel sculpture waiting to welcome you back to the cabin. The food available in the restaurants was of very good quality and plenty of choice. The service was first class and delivered with a smile by staff who seemed to love their jobs, nothing was too much trouble for them. The entertainment team worked tirelessly to amuse everyone and produced first class shows throughout the week. One of our destinations Cannes was not suitable for disembarking due to the weather conditions, however within no time at all the itinerary was adjusted and we managed to go ashore in VilleFranche a short time later. The crew worked hard to rearrange the shore trips and nothing was lost as the Captain was able to adjust the departure time so that nobody missed out on their plans for the day. All in all a great first time cruise experience and we will definitely be back for more. Our thanks and good wishes to all on board for a wonderful weeks cruising. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
On the whole a good experience,, from the transfer/check-in through the inboard experience and onto departure. A straightforward embarkation process, although a few extra pens being available to complete the medical questionnaire and ... Read More
On the whole a good experience,, from the transfer/check-in through the inboard experience and onto departure. A straightforward embarkation process, although a few extra pens being available to complete the medical questionnaire and banking details would have been handy. The cabin was as expected, worth paying that little extra to secure daylight as compared to our previous experience of inside cabin. Ok not the most celubrious but clean, tidy and essentially plenty big enough for what it is for the duration of the cruise - a base from where to enjoy the boat's facilities and to set off to new places daily. And of course sleep. Beds were comfy, and even an adventure when a 3rd person is ione of the fold down bunks. Shower smallish but no smaller than the average cubicle, and plenty of hot and powerful water. free hire of a hair-dryer was available although I understand that they do become scarce so arriving on a later flight than mine could cause issues. Each cabin has a safe, however the lock is essentially hired on a weekly (£15) or fortnightly (£25) basis. I cannot believe that anyone would not use this service to keep passports, money and other valuables safe...so surprised that the locks weren't included in the My views...... 1) the staff. With only a couple of exceptions all the cleaners, cabin stewards, bar staff and kitchen staff seemed to enjoy being "at your service". Our steward in cabin 6042 was Satpal and cheerfully went about his business, working around us but always with a smile. Apparently he and his colleagues work from 8am to 2pm, then 6pm to 10pm. 7 days a week!! 2) things to do. Good gym although I did not partake. Plenty of entertainment I believe to suit most people - sporty things, talent shows, quizzes, shows etc. However I was disappointed that there was to a cinema on board. 3) food and drink. Plenty of food available 24 hours a day. The all-inclusive drinks package makes things so much easier. Unfortunately the menu choice was rather limited in my opinion compared to Thomson Spirit. Also it seemed a bit of a scrum at meal times in the buffet restaurant. Although access to the restaurant was from bothe sides of the ship, the layout of the food bar meant that the queues both tried to walk round in 2 directions. Again compared to the Spirit this seemed poorly organised. 4) it seemed that it was okay to smoke anywhere outside on deck. However when moored up, and with no wind this meant that those of us who do not smoke were still being subjected to the smog. 5) there appears to be nowhere onboard designated as a quiet area. The nearest would be the Cafe Brasil but this was attached to the bounty lounge where afternoon dance sessions were held, then from 7pm the bingo, quiz, competitions and music. The "Pub" had music playing constantly, and unfortunately the alternating soloists of the keyboard player and then the guitarist were very loud. 6)the library is in my opinion pointless. Firstly it is only open at most a couple of hours a day, sometimes only one hour. Even when it is open it is when the boat is moored in port and a lot of people are off the boat. The rest of the time it is literally locked by padlocks. More oddly though, you "self sign- out" books.......but don't sign them back in - just post them into a box. Seems a bit of a farce. 7) cannot understand why when on the "all-inclusive" package you can drink as much as you want, but if you can't have a can. My son could only drink soft drinks and had loads of coke, but had to continually get small beakers, rather than a decent measure. 8) plastic/melamine plates. Plastic "glasses". Just not right. I would have preferred proper glass and proper crockery. In summary I did enjoy the cruise but not as much as the previous year on Thomson Spirit. However I believe you do get very good value for money compared to other options available Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Me and my girlfriend were recommended this cruise by our local travel agency. The room was an okay size but the shower was a bit small. It was very clean and the crew was excellent and very polite. The problem we faced was the food ... Read More
Me and my girlfriend were recommended this cruise by our local travel agency. The room was an okay size but the shower was a bit small. It was very clean and the crew was excellent and very polite. The problem we faced was the food which was absolutely RUBBISH. Same meals over and over again and all the cuisines were British except for two nights which they served Indian and Italian cuisine which was even worst than the rest. We only had one decent meal on the cruise and that was "a make it your own pasta". They served it again for the second night in a row but the quality dropped dramatically as the chef changed and he just threw everything in the pan and served it to you within 10 seconds. The entertainment was more suitable for over 50s and was the same every day. We wished we had more time at each port especially La Spezia as the excursion for Florence only gave you 4 hours to do everything as we needed 5 hours to and from the port. Toulon was a complete waste of time. Nothing to do at all besides a naval museum. When buying the tickets we were told we were going to St. Tropez but after receiving the tickets we found out that St. Tropez was an excursion option which was overpriced. All the excursion the ship had to offer were way too expensive for what they were offering and with the correct reasearch you can find excursions with more options and also cheaper. We would not recommend this cruise to anyone that is really interested in seeing new places and going sightseeing and having the chance to experience new cultures and have different types of cuisines as this cruise does not offer any of these. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Four days before we were due to sail our prebooked shore excursion was cancelled, we were advised by HO to contact Shore Excursions on arrival on board, we were shrugged away and told to contact HO on our return. As a less able ( not ... Read More
Four days before we were due to sail our prebooked shore excursion was cancelled, we were advised by HO to contact Shore Excursions on arrival on board, we were shrugged away and told to contact HO on our return. As a less able ( not disabled) this excursion was the only excursion we felt was suitable for our needs. Apart from a cream tea 1.5 hour trip for �£30, being as we could get a cream tea on-board everyday there seemed little point, the other trip was a boat trip to see dolphins , when the ship was followed by dolphins out from Gibraltar there again seemed little point. Thomsons say because the shore excursions are "optional" it is not part of their cruise contract. We complained on our first day as we had no hot water and the air conditioning was very noisy, during this compalint we were interrupted by a lady who had raw sewage coming up her shower there was an large influx of people queueing up to complain about strong sewage smells coming from their cabins, so at that point we hurriedly left our complaint and left the staff to deal with the others. Thomsons were adised of the state of the cabin en-suite and shown photographs of it, they state it was in quite acceptable condtion I have posted photographs on this site, they have no plans to refurbish, . After almost six months of trying to get straight answers and repeatedly reasking questions I received a response to say they had nothing further to add and would have no further communcication with me. Do not under any circumstances go on this ship. The staff were obviously very embarrased at these conditions and I do feel Thomsons are taking advantage of the wonderful staff, but, with the best will in the world, " You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear" If you want to know any more , please do not hesitate to contact me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Wll, Where do I begin. Having had a week's stay in a Hotel, our first contact about the Island Escape was from people disembarking and "Staying" their second week. This was to inform us that we should "Not eat the Curry ... Read More
Wll, Where do I begin. Having had a week's stay in a Hotel, our first contact about the Island Escape was from people disembarking and "Staying" their second week. This was to inform us that we should "Not eat the Curry as everybody got food poisoning". Good start---NOT. On the night before joining the ship, the Company left a letter stating that boarding the next day would not be available until after 4pm as the whole ship was to have "a full sterilisation" as there had been an outbreak of "Gastroenteritis" to a few passengers (we later found out 250 people infected). Another not so good start. However, we reached Port and were very quickly processed and allowed to board. This was almost the pinnacle of the Cruise. Normally on other Cruises we have been escorted to our cabin and our luggage delivered within an hour. Not this time! We were left to find our own way to the cabin via a very small lift (the larger one was "Out of order" and stayed this way till we disembarked). This problem of lifts meant long waits, jammed packed lifts and dotty people trying to go the wrong way on the lift. We reached our Cabin on Deck 9 at rear of Ship with Balcony. This was indeed the highlight as the cabin was indeed quite deluxe. Plenty of room, double bed, enough wardrope space for hanging clothes, a recess with two seater couch and coffee table with complimentary basket of fruit and adequate Balcony with table and two chairs. This pleasure was as long as the ship remained docked (more of this later).We met our Cabin staff at this point, who explained as they had only been allowed back on ship, he had not been able to completely arrange the cabin. He suggested we go for a drink till he finished and our luggage arrived. it was at this point we started to encounter what service we would receive for the rest of the cruise. We made our way to the "Sailaway Bar" and being All-Inclusive tried to order our drinks. Firstly, the Bar Staff pointedly ignored us and when we did succeed in ordering drinks, was met a sullen and rude reply from the Staff demanding "One Card for each drink" (On other ships only one was needed to order). On taking the order the Barman!!! quite sharply stated that the drink we had ordered was "Not Inclusive" This was a Lager and a whiskey(not premium). So our "All-Inclusive" Package was hardly worth the additional costs as any known brand of spirits was at extra cost. Therefore, unless you can get the early Free Upgrade, the All Inclusive is worthless. And so we returned to our Cabin about an hor or so later. Still no Luggage had been delivered. We asked our Cabin Staff about it, only to be told that they were busy. After three hours and more enquiries one Case arrived and then again after more "demands" did our second case arrive four and a half hours after boarding. We heard later that other passengers who arrived after 6pm received theirs within an hour. Not a relaxing start before sailing. So still in travelling clothes we turned thoughts to dinner. Not wanting to go to the more formal restaurant, we visited the "Beachcomber", an informal eating place. What a shambles. There seemed to be no organisation and people were wandering around all over the place carrying plates of food. The Buffet area had a long queue waiting for plates and cutlery. At the Buffet hatched Staff were arranged to serve from individual food trays. I believe this was a hygiene procedure and knowing some other passengers' habits. I could not be critical of this practice.It did cause problems however in that the order the food was presented seemed to be back to front, meaning people were going to the end of the Buffet line and doubling back. Chaos!!!!. One other problem we discovered at this point was on being served you only received what the Serving Staff wanted to give. If you preferred more of one food than another and requested some more, it seemed you were "Oliver" and was greeted with frowns and looks of incredulity. Once you had received your "Meal" you then had to find a table and this became a "Zoo" as people jostled and snarled if you came near their table. Thus by the time you reached a table the food, tepid at best on serving, was COLD. We only visited the "Cafe" when necessary. We joined in with the party mood before departure and again seemed to turn invisible to Bar Staff. On other Thomson Cruises we were "befriended" by a Waiter/tress, who within one meeting knew our names and favourite tipple. Not this time!!! The Waters and Waitresses, what few there were, were more interested in "Selling Cigarettes" and talking to others. The entertainment at this point was the normal "Sailing Party Band" and suited at this time. Having had a long day we went to bed around midnight expecting to have a good night sleep in preparation for the week's Cruise. Again how wrong we were. As our Cabin was at the rear of the ship it was directly over the propellors. The Ship having been a Car Ferry, it had no curved stern only straight drop. This meant that the full vibration when sailing went up through the rear cabins and shook the whole place. Bleary eyed we rose in the morning and following our experience, decided to breakfast in the main restaurant. Here you were shown to a table, along with 6 other people whether you liked it or not. Coffee/Tea was served by a Waiter but the Self Service Buffet was set out in the same strange order as the "Cafe" and you received the same questioning on asking for more of something. However, the food here was hot and enjoyable. Dinner in this restaurant had the same procedures. Breakfast over, the fist day being one "at Sea" we made our way to the Pool area only to find the the "Selfish British" were here too. Towels were draped over sun-beds with no one near and would not be used, others seemed to be for storing bags, clothes and other items. Making the best of it we played them at their own game and made space for ourselves and basked in the sunshine. The Entertainment was what we expected on this cruise both day and night, though the band "Rock The Boat" (was that the groups real name) was more suited to "Club" music and their music/songs suited only a minority of passengers. Perhaps we didn't enhance ourselves to others as we a "Quiz Buffs" and won most of the quizzes and the "Millionaire" Game. The visiting British "Comedian" was nothing more than poor and thinking his late night show might be better, were completely disappointed in that it was worse. For the other days of the cruise we visited Ajaccio in Corsica, La Spezia in Italy, Villefranche and Toulon in France and Barcelona in Spain before returning to Palma. We did not take any of the Tours (too expensive and already been to places visited) but did our own thing by going ashore and touring the towns on our own. This was much more profitable in that we visited places we wanted to see and in our own time and speed. Back to the boat. On retiring for the second night we thought that either we had become accustomed to the vibration or the boat was sailing better. Oh Dear, wrong again. Around 6am we were awoken by an awful noise and shaking of the cabin as if an earthquake had happened. the whole cabin was shaking and things threatened to fall from their places, what was happening, had there been some accident. NO, THE SHIP WAS JUST DOCKING. The noise and vibration continued for about an hour and a half before the ship was tied up and the for another half hour till the engines powered down. Then sublime peace and quiet, but by this time sleep had passed. This happened every morning thereafter, so early morning rises watching the sun come up from the balcony was the order for the week. Luckily it did. By making our own way during the day, we were on board more than we have done in the past. As previously mentioned, staff on other cruises knew you addressed you as politely with your first name and had your drink almost waiting for you. Not on this Cruise. Not once was I recognised though your name is on the Ship's Card and perhaps because I Didn't "Tip", I seemed to become invisible and trying to order a drink became almost impossible. At times it took 15 to 20 minutes to get attention. Even then the order was seldom correct, having to be sent back many times. The Bar staff and Waiting staff looked as if they couldn't care. All in All the cruise was not a good experience and not one we have come across in other Thomson Ships and have certainly have made our feelings known to Thomson. However, If you don't mind the rudeness of Staff, the hastle of being served, the blandness and tepid food, the selfishness of other cruisers, the noise throughout the boat whilst at sea combined with sleeplessness, the people who believe that the "Booze" is the cruise and are most unhygienic probably causing the illness of others. then don't hesitate to book an "Island Escape" Cruise. I CERTAINLY WILL NOT. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Myself and my partner (aged in our early 40's) went on this cruise 22-28th May 12 We found the flight/transfer/embarkation all very smooth The cabin was roomy enough, with a decent shower and a picture window, and it was kept ... Read More
Myself and my partner (aged in our early 40's) went on this cruise 22-28th May 12 We found the flight/transfer/embarkation all very smooth The cabin was roomy enough, with a decent shower and a picture window, and it was kept incredibly clean by 'Ferdinand' The food was great, never had a bad meal. Similar choices each night, but very good quality. We upgraded to the 'all inclusive drinks package' this would be my only 'disappointment' as it did not include premium drinks (Malibu is my drink of choice and this apparently is a premium brand) there were no cheap imitations available. I would have liked there to be tea/coffee included at the bars too. You could get these at mealtimes but not at the bars The entertainment was great too - you could be included as much or as little as you liked and there were bingo games and quizzes held throughout the days/nights. The ship band 'Rock the boat' were very good and the entertainment staff were friendly and professional. Generally the staff all over were top notch and I would not hesitate to recommend or return. I honestly cannot understand what all the whinging is about. Make the most of your holiday and go with an open mind. And where the sanitiser is provided - USE IT!!! If people did what was recommended... The outbreaks of Viruses would be less frequent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We went all inclusive, which i feel is the best way to go, especially if you have children. Stayed in an outside cabin - two bunk beds. The room was clean and tidy and cleaned everyday. Our steward was lovely and great with the kids. ... Read More
We went all inclusive, which i feel is the best way to go, especially if you have children. Stayed in an outside cabin - two bunk beds. The room was clean and tidy and cleaned everyday. Our steward was lovely and great with the kids. The shower was superb. Food and drink was wonderful. I can't thank the staff enough, they done such a wonderful job. All of the food was laid out as a buffet. We really liked the Island Restaurant because the staff were so lovely, got to sit either at the same table every night or the same area with the same staff. The 24 hour restaurant was really good aswell, you could sit outside and eat your meals. The entertainment was fab. It was a bit difficult for us due to two small children. The kids club was open several times a day. My daughter went once but preferred being in the swimming pool. The ocean theatre shows were amazing. We liked the Bounty lounge as the kids could go up to dance. Had a variety of entertainment to suit everyone. The swimming pool is cold and its salt water. Once you take the plunge and jump in then the water isn't that bad. We didn't do any Thomsons excursions so i can't comment on them. The places we visited were great - France, Italy, Spain. We were made to feel so welcome and met a lot of lovely people. Would highly recommend this cruise. If i got the chance i would go again next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
we chose this as a treat for our 40th anniversary we wernt dissapointed its a three star hotel on the sea.. the cabins are compact and need updating but our steward nilesh kept it immaculate coming in several times a day to tidy up make ... Read More
we chose this as a treat for our 40th anniversary we wernt dissapointed its a three star hotel on the sea.. the cabins are compact and need updating but our steward nilesh kept it immaculate coming in several times a day to tidy up make beds etc and surprise is with animals made from towels each day..if you spend thousands youd expect more but this cruise reflected the amount we paid,,, the food was excellent and cleanliness paramount with sanitisors everywhere,, tip take your own to apply just before you pick up your knife and fork,, there was food poisoning whilst we were there but that was down to holiday makers not the staff the entertainment in all areas of the ship was fantastic, and all the crew were polite and extremely helpfull the organisation was brilliant for all the trips etc you went to bed each evening and awoke in a different port each day ,, we didnt experience bad weather at sea so hardly noticed the ship moving,,,it was difficult to get a sun bed each day but we embarked at ports and used the beaches to sun bath if we wernt on a trip or shopping for shoes,,(she only had three pairs this time) dress up if you want for ala carte but this is a casual ship but most folks made an effort,,there are no kettles (h&safety fire risk ??) and you arnt allowed to have one because room service supplies you with tea etc however we cheated and took ours and hid it away when not in use Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This cost effective cruise wasn't planned but booked on the spur on the moment after seeing a special offer in a Thomas Cook travel agent's window in Alnwick in Northumberland. We weren't expecting much but were delighted ... Read More
This cost effective cruise wasn't planned but booked on the spur on the moment after seeing a special offer in a Thomas Cook travel agent's window in Alnwick in Northumberland. We weren't expecting much but were delighted with our experience. The transfer from Palma Airport in Mallorca and the arrangements to get us on board couldn't have been more smoother. It was all hands on deck and even the entertainment team helped provide a great welcome. We embarked from after a great day's sight seeing in the city ready for our first evening meal. The food on board was of a high quality which was maintained throughout our week aboard. On Island Escape there's a 24 hour relaxed serve yourself buffet from breakfast through to midnight snack. A second more formal buffet restaurant offered waiter service for drinks.And for those wanting to splash out a rather upmarket restaurant which came at a supplement where fillet steak caught my eye and went down well with a nice red wine. Like most cabins on cruises they seem small at first glance but we found everything we needed including safe and TV and plenty of cupboard space. The two single beds were placed together but the sum of these two parts didn't really add up to a proper double bed. Our Cabin Steward Brian from India was a complete delight as were all of the bar and restaurant staff we encountered.We didn't see much of the officers apart from when they were paraded before the 600-700 cruisers one evening. The second day was the one full day at sea and a chance to catch up on some rest after the exertions of flying and settling in. But there were plenty of activities for those with the energy including a gym and bowls. Day three and we entered Ajaccio on the beautiful island of Corsica. At every port a great selection of arranged shore trips were on offer but we preferred to wander around charming Ajaccio itself and thoroughly enjoyed it. Day 4 and Civitavecchia the gateway to Rome where many of our fellow travellers made their way on the varied day trips to Rome. We save our energy for the next day and a chance to go either to Piza or Florence. We chose Florence. The buildings in this marvellous city are stunning but being Saturday the city itself was very crowded and took something away from the experience of this wonderful glimpse of history. Next day's stop over was Toulon in France a delightful town now dominated by the joint navies of France and Britain. Cheese was very much in evidence in the open air market. Last call Barcelona and what a climax. The Cathedral, La Ramba boulevard and Gaudi architecture simply took our breath way. With the sights it's easy to forget the highlights on board especially from the entertainment team whose music and dance shows were a delight each night. Overall the weather but in terms of value for money this cruise will take some beating. hadn't been brilliant all week and on occasional overnights the sea was a bit choppy but for value for money this cruise takes some beating. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We had never cruised before and booked the Island Escape on the basis that we didn't spend too much so couldn't lose too much! Some of the critical reviews scared us a bit, but how wrong we were! We absolutely loved it. Sure, ... Read More
We had never cruised before and booked the Island Escape on the basis that we didn't spend too much so couldn't lose too much! Some of the critical reviews scared us a bit, but how wrong we were! We absolutely loved it. Sure, she's a little old and creaky (aren't we all), but there were so many positives! The crew were fabulous, we had an outside balcony on deck 9 , cabin 9072. It was small but spotlessly clean with excellent service from Akash our steward. Nothing was too much trouble, including laundry and ironing. Embarkation was a breeze, smooth and straightforward. We were taken to our cabin and luggage arrived moments later. The food was great. We didn't like the large table seating in the Island so had most breakfasts and suppers in the Beachcomber ( the food was generally much the same). The Beachcomber Afternoon Tea was outstanding! We also had a few meals in the Oasis where for a modest supplement you could have outstanding food and service. The entertainment was first class, superb vocalists including the super talented and charming Ben Gillham. Ross the entertainments manager was a whirlwind and excellent at his job. Good advice however, to get to the theatre well in advance of the shows. As for it being rocky, well it's a ship! The gentle rocking actually helped me sleep, tho the comfy beds probably helped too. Two tiny gripes, Internet access was expensive and poor, and the orange juice at breakfast was horrid. That's the only negatives I can think of! We had the drinks package, believe the ship will be all inclusive next year which makes it even better value. So, don't hesitate, go...but let us book our return trip for 2013 first! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We booked the IE for our honeymoon leaving Manchester on the 17th April. Left Manchester on time at 6.00am no problems with flight, took ages for the bags to come off the carousel, we then left arrivals and joined another queue to ... Read More
We booked the IE for our honeymoon leaving Manchester on the 17th April. Left Manchester on time at 6.00am no problems with flight, took ages for the bags to come off the carousel, we then left arrivals and joined another queue to get on the coaches to the port which took about 20mins once you were on the coach. The embarkation process was quick, off the bus collect your cabin envelope then queue for registration, skipped past the man with the camera who was taking photographs of passengers. They also take a photo at the desk which is used to identify you as you get on and off the ship, then went to identify luggage in the hall before boarding the ship. Once identified your bags are taken on board and they appear sometime later outside your cabin. Note there is no priority boarding for passengers who pay for higher cost cabins on the IE presume this is only on the Thomson ships despite the fact that this is advertised on their website. In the end it wasn't a problem because we were one of the last buses away from the airport so lots of those ahead of us had already passed through the embarkation process. Cabin (Suite 8528). Cabin was BIG.... Two toilets one with a shower (which proved very useful later in the cruise.... more on that later!) King size bed although we think it was bigger, the lounge area was separated from the bedroom by a large wardrobe/cabinet across the middle of the cabin, there was a fridge and a hairdryer provided along with shampoo, conditioner body lotion and a container in the shower with soap in it. Pool towels were also provided. The settee made up into a bed .... on inspection (just out of curiosity!) it looked a bit grotty don't think we would have liked to sleep on it! Dining Three restaurants, beachcomber which we used a lot of the time especially after the Rome and Florence /Pisa excursions which were all day so was convenient to drop in have tea and then go down to the show in the Ocean Theatre. Food seemed the same in both Beachcomber and Island Restaurant only difference was that you were taken to a table with 8 other diners and then you helped yourself to food, waiters served drinks, tea, coffee and water etc. We only had tea there one night and breakfast once mainly because you had no choice who you sat with there were very few tables for two and sometimes you don't always want to make 'polite' conversation with fellow diners especially when you're on your honeymoon! Food was ok, not terribly inspiring, they had themed nights, Chinese, Indian, Italian but to be honest it always tasted the same, the Indian curry was supposed to be vindaloo but was very mild tasted little of curry and wasn't really very nice the meat was grisly and very dry. Only food that was always really hot was the soup. Excursions We did Corsica wine tasting/essential oils and nougat factories. They were ok the nougat was very nice but very expensive 15 euros for 2 bars! Next up was Rome, we had booked on the Classic tour but were informed that there was a protest planned for the day and that we may not get into the places on the tour which at £82 each was expensive. We cancelled this and did Rome on your own instead. Coach into Rome dropped us off near the basilica saw everything we wanted back to the coach pick up point. We were given a map on board the bus by the guide but you really do need to be confident with map reading we got into a maze of smaller streets and it took us a while to figure out where we were, its also approx 4/5 miles to walk to see the coliseum, pantheon, trevi fountain, Spanish steps etc but they are all highlighted on the map and normally there is an underground and various buses but these weren't running because of the strike. Next up Florence/Pisa, guided tour round Florence, the guide was brilliant was local from Florence so had loads of knowledge about the area history etc. Had two hours free time which we thought some would have been better spent going earlier to Pisa as we only had about 1 ½ hours there. Pisa was beautiful... sun was shining and all that white marble... stunning. Loads of market stalls in front of the pickup point and all along the right hand side where all the monuments were. Loads of people taking photos, you paid separate to go inside but we didn't bother because there wasn't much time, the leaning tower is open for people to go up to the top but you have to book a slot as they only allow so many up at a time and this wasn't feasible because we were on the cruise and time was too limited. Toulon next we had booked for Cassis but cancelled... we were shattered from the previous two days so had a wander round the port , there is a market selling clothes etc and fruit and vegetable etc. Toulon wasn't very inspiring and we spent the rest of the day chilling on board. Barcelona -- the Nu Camp tour was cancelled at the last minute because they were preparing for the cup match on Tuesday. We still went independently map in hand took a taxi there which cost 12 euros and then wandered back by foot using the map. The tours at the stadium were still going ahead you couldn't visit the visitors changing room or the press room but other than that it seemed like everything else was open. Entertainment We went every night to the Ocean Theatre to the first show. Great entertainment they've got some wonderful singers and dancers especially the guy and gal who do the opera sets... brilliant. We didn't really bother with anything else we did see the two singers in the bar just outside the theatre, one young chap singing and playing guitar and an older guy playing keyboard doing more jazz type music which we also enjoyed. They also did a cruise factor set in the Bounty Lounge which was the same as the X factor show with fellow passengers doing the singing and four judges playing the part of the Loui and the rest of the judges. A winner was duly chosen by the rest of the passengers. We tended to be back in our cabin by 11pm because we were doing tours some of which were very early starts if you wanted to catch breakfast before you left the ship. Rome./Florence and Pisa you had to be shore side before 8am to get on the coaches and no announcements were made. You could book an early morning call through guest relations. Disembarkation You have to be out of your cabin by 8am which kind of spoils the last evening on board if you want to see any of the later shows. If you want to keep a cabin you have to pay £35 and you may or may not be able to keep the cabin you've used for the cruise. That's it for the good stuff now the not so good....... On the final evening of the cruise I became very ill with vomiting, severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. Another passenger was sick in the Ocean Theatre that evening and the show was delayed because they had to clean up where they had been sick. By 9.15pm we were back in our cabin and by 10.30 I started being violently sick, followed by diarrhea and severe stomach cramps. After waiting for over an hour I was eventually seen by the ships nurse in the cabin and was given injections and medication to stop the stomach cramps and sickness and diarrhea. We were then confined to our cabin. At 11.45 the following morning I was transferred by taxi along with another passenger who was suffering from the same symptoms to the hospital in Palma where I had to see the doctor to get a certificate of fitness to fly home at a cost of 123 euros which was the excess on our insurance policy. There were more passengers at the hospital when we got there and several more arrived from the ship while we were waiting in the outpatients department. We did make our flight in the end but we were the fortunate ones others who were at the hospital at the same time as us weren't so fortunate one couple had a morning flight which they missed. A passenger on the flight was also sick at the front of the aircraft, they had put paper towels on the floor so that you didn't have to walk through it when getting off the aircraft. . When we got home we went on the internet to find out more information about the illness and found Irwin Mitchell who have a lot of experience in this area. If anyone else who was affected by this illness whilst on board the Island Escape is reading this post you can contact Clare Pearson from Irwin Mitchell on by calling 0870 1500 100 or by emailing Clare on :clare.pearson@irwinmitchell.com to get any advice or help you may need. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We've just returned from a highly enjoyable week on the Island Escape. To put this review in context we are a family of 3, me, my husband (both in our forties) and my 4 year old boy. We've cruised 4 times previously on Ocean ... Read More
We've just returned from a highly enjoyable week on the Island Escape. To put this review in context we are a family of 3, me, my husband (both in our forties) and my 4 year old boy. We've cruised 4 times previously on Ocean Village twice and Royal Caribbean twice (most recently the Oasis of the Seas). This trip was a very last minute bargain holiday (paid just over £200 each with flights from Ryan Air for £30 return!) and the purpose was really to see my Mum & step Dad so my little boy could see his Nana & Granddad (who live in Palma). My Mum has travelled on the Island Escape around 20 times, often picking up a last minute bargain so she tipped us off about this one. She was a little concerned about what I was expecting and kept stressing it wasn't RCI! Thankfully I'd read all the reviews so was going with an open mind (and the thought that for £200 what could I expect!) Anyway we arrive in Palma, the embarkation was really smooth and we were on top deck with a drink in hand by 11.30am! First impressions and I was very pleasantly surprised, the ship had clearly had a makeover while in dry dock, their were new (and quite stylish) carpets throughout, yes it was an old ship but it did look like everything had had an overhaul, lovely new varnish on all wood and fresh paint everywhere. After a drink we headed to the cabin, we'd booked an inside / lowest grade to keep the trip cheap and again I was pleasantly surprised. I'd read about tired cabins but ours seemed very cozy, the lighting is very clever / subtle and hides the dated decor well. Personally I was happy with the curtains over the wardrobes, again these seemed new, the bedding was clean, the towel new and the bathroom bigger than I expected. Loads & loads of storage was a bonus too! I was delighted to see a reasonably priced in room mini bar (£3 for a quarter bottle of wine / £2 for a bottle of water) the RCI ones only have soft drinks and I love a nightcap when back in the room. We didn't try and take any drinks onboard but I know a few people who did in their cases with no problems... We didn't go all inclusive as it was going to cost another £400 to do so and we weren't sure if we'd drink that much (I think we saved about £10 by not going all inclusive in the end but at least we could choose to have a bottle of wine with dinner rather than drink by the glass which is nice). I thought the food was very good, we ate well for the whole week, mainly in the Island Restaurant, we did have two dinners in the paid for Oasis restaurant which was gorgeous and well worth the money, we did the £34.95 wine & dine package which includes a bottle of wine (usually £14 on its own) so you are dining for £10 a head. The food in here was incredible, lots of choice and I highly recommend the Fillet Mignon steak and the bread and butter pudding - delicious. The staff and service was superb. The other two restaurants (The Island & the top deck) serve almost the same food as each other, both buffet style, lots of choice, I often had to go back for seconds as there was so much I wanted to try! They do a kids menu as well, so if your little one doesn't want to eat of the buffet they'll bring a hot dog or burger etc, which was great, again the service is superb, staff bringing you water, topping up your wine etc. In the Island restaurant the tables are mostly for 8 so you do get to sit with some fellow diners although I really don't mind that as it is nice to meet new people, if you prefer to sit alone (as my parents do) then you may be better with the upstairs restaurant, there is a lovely outdoor seating area at the back of the upstairs restaurant if the weather is good. The full English breakfast was lovely and there is an omelet chef too. The only complaint was the desert selection wasn't that great but if I'm honest that is probably a good thing as I didn't put on too much weight! The afternoon tea is lovely and the sausage rolls fantastic. There are a couple of theme nights (Chinese, Italian, Indian) which were good although not the largest selection of dishes. The kids club is Palmy's and my little boy loved it, infact the problem was getting him out of there. The staff Sophie, Nadia and Kylie were absolutely fantastic and Finn adored them! It was very basic in comparison to the RCI kids club however it didn't seem to matter to Finn! They did a great thing called breakfast club where the staff come to your cabin at 8.30am to collect your kids and take them to breakfast while Mum & dad have a lie in - absolute heaven! I thought the entertainment was good, we loved Rock the Boat in the Bounty Lounge, who did a fab live music set each night, we enjoyed the entertainment team shows, quizzes etc. There seemed to be something on almost all the day and Ross Cruise Director was funny and entertaining. The ports of call were great, our only disappointment was Civitavecchia where we had planned to go to Rome but there was a strike by transport workers, which meant the trains weren't running, and many of roads in Rome may be closed for protests so we decided not to risk it. Luckily we are back in July on the Carnival Breeze so we can do this then. We loved Corsica (although it rained) and Toulon was lovely, took the little train to the beach and drank wine on the waterfront and played in the park / beach. Barcelona we just strolled the Ramblas then shopped and lunched. The daily planner and maps from reception were helpful, we didn't do any 'official' trips but they did look very reasonably priced in comparison to RCI anyway. The drinks prices were brilliant (again in comparison to RCI) and it was a lovely change not to be charged a 15% service charge on everything! There are a number of bars including the Sundowner bar, a sail away bar, The pub, the pool bar, I think we tried them all! Bar service was great with very attentive staff who quickly learnt your favourite tipple. Despite the lack of tipping / service charge the staff were great, very helpful and as a result of that we tipped anyway which was well appreciated. I was impressed by the customer service standards, I experienced a problem where I had booked a 2 hour wifi package, a bargain at £18, I was using this on my iphone and there wasn't an option to log off so I actually used this package within the first 2 hours without realizing, I then unwittingly continued to use wifi (thinking I was still on my package) when I wasn't so when we got the first copy of our bill half way through the holiday I had run up over £60 of internet charges. I went to reception who were very helpful and raised it with the IT manager who they said would contact me, a few days later I popped back and they offered to waive all fees if I bought another package at £18 which I did. This was very good of them as really it was my fault for not logging out properly and they really didn't need to I suppose. I was pleased but be aware if you use wifi. In all I was delighted with our bargain break, no it wasn't RCI but do you know I think we had just as good a time as our previous holiday and at a 10th of the price!!! My advice if you are thinking about it and worrying about some of the less than positive reviews, don't, if you see a good price just book it, go with an open mind and you'll enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
First impressions were that the vessel was a bit tired and definitely not luxurious, but that wasn't a problem, we knew it was at the budget end of the market. We sailed late on the evening of embarkation and it was then when we ... Read More
First impressions were that the vessel was a bit tired and definitely not luxurious, but that wasn't a problem, we knew it was at the budget end of the market. We sailed late on the evening of embarkation and it was then when we realised we had made a horrible mistake. The sea was not rough - maybe a maximum 1.5m swell with the occasional top coming off, on any other ship you would never have noticed it. The motion on this thing was ridiculous, the forward end of the ship being subjected to a deafening crash every time it hit a swell, reverberating round the cabin making sleep impossible. Customer relations just shrugged and said there were no spare cabins - which was a lie, as a visit to the bridge revealed that the ship was only 75% capacity. Several of us spent nights trying to sleep in one of the deserted lounges, or sat on the seats on deck 5 outside the Oasis resturant, just to escape the nerve jangling crashing and banging. However, the staff were great, waiters excellent, food was fine and the Oasis restaurant in particular first class. Entertainment wasn't as good as other Thomson ships, but for all that it was OK. Only complaint, and its a big one, was the total unsuitability of the forward cabins in the slight seas we encountered. It would have been nice to find a quiet lounge where you could have a conversation, but thats a rather subjective and minor niggle. There was a lot of sickness, but it was possibly down to motion sickness rather than the dreaded novovirus. Be warned, if you are thinking of using this old converted ferry - it will be fine if the seas are totally flat. Just be sure that you get a cabin no higher than deck 6 and towards the rear of the ship. The sound of the engines rattling away is far better than the banging at the front. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I have cruised on the escape 3 times, and each holiday as enjoyable as the first. Yes, I agree some areas of the ship are tired looking cabins basic but clean. friendly and helpful staff make sure you are well catered for, nothing is too ... Read More
I have cruised on the escape 3 times, and each holiday as enjoyable as the first. Yes, I agree some areas of the ship are tired looking cabins basic but clean. friendly and helpful staff make sure you are well catered for, nothing is too much trouble, even my son's extensive list of food allergies. The waiters gave us the best service we have ever experienced. We have stayed in 5 star hotels before and have felt like the staff, could not be bothered. I consider this as one of the main reasons we have returned, as the Island escape staff, made so much effort, to cater for us, and value for money. Food was plentyful and varied. The scones served in the afternoon were the best I have tasted. Ports were amazing, no pressure to book excursions, I was happy just exploring locally, but did enjoy a trip to Pisa and Barcelona's football club. Weather was mainly sunny, which was a bonus in early April. We did experince some rough seas, but this didn't bother us. We enjoyed all the entertainment, we were never bored.Ross and his team, worked hard, to provide quality shows. Plenty to keep the kids occupied. The Kids club was often over booked, as this was Easter holidays, but we always found something else to do. The swimming pool area is not the ships greatest aset, I prefered to be sat out on a higher deck. One disappointment was paying for an outside cabin, but not being able to see pass a huge orange life boat.The cabin was comfortable, always kept clean and staff helpful. We slept well throughout the cruise. This cruise is ideal if you are happy in a relaxed informal style, visit some new and exciting destinations. If its 5 star luxury you expect, this is not for you. For a last minute booking, less than £500 each, you couldn,t find a better deal in the school holidays. Flying from local airports adds to the convenience. I would certainly return for a fourth visit, knowing how much we have enjoyed our experience on the Island Escape. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We embarked on this cruise with a bit of trepidation after reading some of the reviews for this ship. On first seeing this ship we thought that it could do with a bit of a face lift, which has been mentioned before. We went to our cabin ... Read More
We embarked on this cruise with a bit of trepidation after reading some of the reviews for this ship. On first seeing this ship we thought that it could do with a bit of a face lift, which has been mentioned before. We went to our cabin which was on deck 4, and although small it had everything that was needed, a shower, with hot water, a flushing toilet and sink. We asked our cabin steward if the 2 single beds could be pushed together, this was done and made a big double bed. In the cabin we had 2 wardrobes, 4 drawers, a chair and a lovely big mirror. There is a safe in the room which costs £15.00 for a week, which is what you would pay in a hotel. We went to the "Beachcomber" for a quick lunchtime snack, yes it was busy but there were plenty of places to sit. The waiters were always around asking of you need a drink from the bar. For our evening meal we ate at the "Island Restaurant", which was lovely. The waiters couldn't do enough to help you, even carrying your food to the table if you let them. There was plenty of choice there and it was always hot. The drinks throughout the ship are very reasonably priced, about what you would pay at home. There was a problem with sickness on board and if you contracted this you were confined to your quarters. There ware plenty of sanitisers around the ship to be used. It would help if people took notice of these. You are encouraged to wash your hands all the time but some people have a problem doing this, I even saw 2 women take their drinks in to the toilets with them! The entertainment was excellent, Ross and the team work really hard to put on wonderful shows. The British guest acts that were on board as well were first class. This was our first cruise and I don't think that it will be our last. If you are looking for a glamorous cruise maybe this isn't for you, but is you want a cruise that is value for money then try it, you might be as pleasantly surprised as us! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Island escape We had decided to the the stay and cruise so did a week at the Playa D'jor in Alcudia for the 1st week . The weather was very much on our side in Alcudia , the hotel was lovely , few older fuddy-duddies and the pool ... Read More
Island escape We had decided to the the stay and cruise so did a week at the Playa D'jor in Alcudia for the 1st week . The weather was very much on our side in Alcudia , the hotel was lovely , few older fuddy-duddies and the pool was artic but apart from that nothing to complain about , the beach is fab and the staff are great - happy to help , the food choice really good and copious amounts of alcohol free-flowing all day and night. The transfer was easy for the journey to the Ship , everything is very well organised , The ship is old but WE feel is great value for money , the All Inc' package is brilliant - drinks without worry of big costs . We did the Marina's and Monuments and have had the best holiday , the atmosphere and the staff make this holiday , the people laff loudly and the party mood is just addictive . The ports where lovely especially Mahon yesterday was delightful. The cabins are well used, but very functional , we had birds eye view going into ports from our window just under the bridge , excellent housekeeping from Warren . The food was good and in plenty , the Island Restaraunt was always busy and great staffing made sure of efficient service . We found the people who had been on bigger cruises moaned a tad , but to be honest everyone we spoke to had a great time . We went as a party of 4 , enjoyed all we did and didnt do and will be looking forward to going on the Escape again. I like to call it Bultins on water and tbh It did not let us down we have had a great time . Giving the whole holiday 8/10 My one gripe is the pushy selling of cigarettes as the waiters and waitresses dont get commision on waiting on ur tables anymore so they only get it on cigs sales which is most annoying to non smokers being asked , point is it says in brochure TIPS INCLUDED...finding out that the hard working staff DONT get the tips like they used too . THOMSON THIS NEEDS ADDRESSING AS YOUR STAFF WORK SO VERY HARD TO PLEASE THE CUSTOMERS . Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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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