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303 Island Escape Cruise Reviews

As a 'novice' cruiser, I had read the other reviews with some trepidation..but decided to go with an open mind, as we don't all have the same taste in holidays. My first impression was as previously noted by other ... Read More
As a 'novice' cruiser, I had read the other reviews with some trepidation..but decided to go with an open mind, as we don't all have the same taste in holidays. My first impression was as previously noted by other holidaymakers, that the ship was tired and in dire need of a makeover...where is Gok when you need him?! The cabin, although kept clean by Warren our happy cabin steward, was basic and in need of some TLC. The compact & bijou bathroom, needed to be ripped out and replaced, but I somehow doubt that is going to happen, even though the ship is currently on it's final cruise for the year before going in to get a refurb. The communal areas, bars, theatre, etc., are also sub-standard, so I hope that ripped chairs and stained carpets will be replaced, and not just tarted up. Admittedly the cruise is only 3*, so one should have lower expectations...The staff were generally friendly, with exceptions in Customer Relations and the Gift Shop, who I found quite surly...Funny that the two most interfacing departments were the most hostile to deal with. We went on three escorted tours, so that we could get a better feel of the countries we were visiting. The tours were fairly expensive, given that two were almost written off due to the poor weather conditions. In Trapani, the fog immersed Erice, so we literally couldn't see in front of us, let alone enjoy the view down the mountain after getting off the cable car. The visit to Pompeii was most interesting, but the weather conditions again ruined the visit, and our guide, a charming Orlando Bloom lookalike, was dressed for winter! Visiting St Tropez the home of Brigitte Bardot was an eye opener, as the actual resort is small, and not as you'd imagine. But very pretty and worth a visit, as it's not somewhere you would normally holiday at - far too expensive!! The food on board although plentiful and well cooked, could have been slightly warmer, but that would be my only comment...No wonder they say that you gain a couple of pounds a day whilst cruising - I can understand why if you eat everything that's put in front of you. The Island Restaurant seemed to be the eatery of choice for the majority of the passengers, as it was more formal than the other option, the Beachcomber Restaurant, which used plastic picnic plates and cups. The Oasis Restaurant had an additional cover charge, but everyone who'd eaten there commented on the high standard of service and food, so it was money well spent! The entertainment was varied...I enjoyed a couple of visiting acts, La Musica and Bobby Knutt...The service in the bars was generally good, and Nandy should be given a bonus by Thomson's for his 'service with a smile' - nothing was too much trouble for him. My worst complain though is reserved for the Customer Relations dept, as I visited them on 3 occasions to see if I could change my room...I was always told that the ship was full! On the last but one day, after a really bad nights sleep due to the turbulent weather conditions at sea (my cabin lurched and rattled all night!), I went again, to be told that maybe they could move me somewhere else after all - I was on deck 9, forward, port side, which I have since been told is the worst place to be...especially for a non-sailor like me!! I declined the move as I would have been leaving the ship in less than 36 hrs, and this was met with disdain by the 'happy' Customer Relations dept. This cruise ship is fine if you have low expectations, but it's not cheap, as some reviews have stated, as I paid over 1000 for a weeks holiday....I could have gone to a 5* hotel for that, and somehow wish I had!! If you like to cruise without formality then this could be for you...unfortunately not for me...I have one rule when going on holiday - the standard should be on a par or better than my own home...sadly Island Escape failed to achieve this. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I was really disappointed in this 1st Experience of a cruise. We traveled in a group of 51. Had we been on our own I would have got off before we sailed and paid for a flight home. Fortunately being in a group made the trip OK. The cabin ... Read More
I was really disappointed in this 1st Experience of a cruise. We traveled in a group of 51. Had we been on our own I would have got off before we sailed and paid for a flight home. Fortunately being in a group made the trip OK. The cabin we had was very basic, which did not worry me too much but was quite big in comparison to some other members of our group. One of my biggest moans is the way Thompson's rip you off There is a safe in your cabin but to use it for the week costs 15. The trip was supposed to be fully inclusive, THAT'S A LIE. If you want a bottle of water you hve to pay for it if you want an Ice Cream you have to pay for it, If you want a cake with a tea or coffee you have to pay for it, if you want meal with waiter service you have to pay for it. I thought it was FULLY Inclusive. Mind you it would be possible to drink yourself absolutely paralytic at no cost, but a bottle of water would cost you 1-50 approx wheres the logic? We had an absolutely Brilliant cabin Boy in William he was marvellous. Over all the staff were really great Yun Yun in the beachcomber at around 11-00pm was really great fun serenading all with his guitar, I wish I could sing in his language as well as he sang in English. Mary on the pool deck also deserves a special mention as she was such a good waitress, she put the waiters to shame Generally the food was good. we ate breakfast and lunch in the Beachcomber then dressed up a tad to go into the Island Dining Room for the evening meal before going down to watch the evening entertainment. far too short really, But mainly very good. There were not enough sun beds, and or table and chairs on the pool deck, and then you had the greedy ones who grabbed a sun bed in the morning left the boat went out for the morning then came back to a sun bed that had not been used for 5 hours. I think that the rule should be if you leave the bed for over 1 hour you lose it. I do not sun bathe. There were also others that had 2 sun beds 1 in the sun 1 in the shade and a table and chairs just plain greedy. The other decks that could have had tables and or sun beds had nothing pretty poor really. We did splash out and go to "Oasis" even though it really went against the grain. I have to say that considering we paid out about 34 for 2 of us on a fully inclusive trip, the food was not that good, I'd have done just as well eating in the Island Restaurant. We spoke to a few people who have used Thompson's for other cruises and we were told that had we gone on any of the Thompson ships we would have felt differently. But apparently the Island Escape came with their take over of First Choice. My only other real gripe would be that there was not a small chapel on the ship. Am I the only christian ever to have sailed on this ship? Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
i did a lot of research before we booked this cruise - here are some facts that I believe are true 1. if you are or think you are "posh", then this isn't for you 2. the ship is slightly smaller than others, but it ... Read More
i did a lot of research before we booked this cruise - here are some facts that I believe are true 1. if you are or think you are "posh", then this isn't for you 2. the ship is slightly smaller than others, but it manages to get right into the ports unlike others 3. yes, cabins could do with being updated, but they are so clean (cleaned twice daily) 4. the entertainment took a while to get into, but after that we thoroughly enjoyed it and had a real laugh 5. prices on the ship were very reasonable - not overpriced at all. 6. food - couldn't fault it. plenty of choice and plenty of it. excellent job. 7. all staff were extremely helpful and also smiling! as we knew what to expect, we weren't disappointed. some people complain about lots of things that are uncalled for, however, i would say that if you want an informal cruise that is down to earth, then this is for you! The only thing we were disappointed with, were the excursions. Not worth the money, and could have been designed better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Having read some of the reviews here I was wondering what to expect on our first Island Escape Cruise (or as one of my fellow cruisers called it Island Escapade). I need not have worried. The ship was clean, the staff were very ... Read More
Having read some of the reviews here I was wondering what to expect on our first Island Escape Cruise (or as one of my fellow cruisers called it Island Escapade). I need not have worried. The ship was clean, the staff were very pleasant, the food was plentiful with lots of choice. The cabin was a little tired looking but clean, had sufficient space and the beds were very comfortable. Both myself and my husband slept very well. The ports we visited were brilliant, which was the main reason for booking this cruise. We met some lovely people and found our fellow travellers to be very friendly. Do I have any gripes - well yes just a small point. Sunbeds ..... most of them had towels and books on all day without anyone ever sitting on them. If I had my way after 30 minutes unattended the books and towels would have been overboard!! But thats brits abroad not Island Escape. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Just returned from a cruise of the eastern med on the Island Escape. The boat is in great need of some serious updating. Cabin was VERY tatty, bed was VERY lumpy. It was clean and the staff were very helpful and tried to make our stay ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise of the eastern med on the Island Escape. The boat is in great need of some serious updating. Cabin was VERY tatty, bed was VERY lumpy. It was clean and the staff were very helpful and tried to make our stay comfortable. The shower was not working and when reported was repaired and fully working within 20 mins. Food was plenty full and available 24 hours. Entertainment was good. Don't bother with trip to Tetouan especially as I specifically wanted to see the fabrics produced in the area and am still waiting! City trip to Casablanca and the Mosque was absolutely brilliant and should not be missed. Ship needs more outside seating as we had to sit on the floor as all of the sun beds and seats we covered in towels, also only areas to sit inside were in the bars. In the cabin we were on deck 4 so had engine noise which we had expected but there were so many rattles it was unbelievable. If you are hoping to sleep well then forget it!Gibraltar easy to walk into from ship. Can get taxi trips around the Island for considerable less than if booked on ship and these were plentyful. Could also do dolphin trip independantly. We didn't need this as the dolphins escorted us out of port what a brilliant experience almeria was very quiet as we arrived on a Sunday. easy to walk in to town. Worth going to the castle as views are excellent. We also stumbled upon a Moroccan craft market this was really interesting, bread making, wool dying, silk spinning and lots of activities going on not sure how often it occurs but it was in the square outside Tourist Info shop. Even though there was a tourist info desk on the port we were not informed of this event so most people missed it Cartagena (Spain)within 5 mins of port. Pretty town, worth seeing Roman Theatre, buy a ticket for 5 sites for 8 euros its very good value, includes Theatre, castle, glass lift, Civil defence caves from Civil war all within an easy walk Would I go on this ship again NO. What a shame because you could not wish for a more helpful crew and entertainment team. We did complain about poor tour to Totouan and received 50% refund, we also passed on the comments about the Casablanca tour which was excellent and the guide, coach driver and assistant went out of their way to make this trip brilliant. Overall enjoyed the break Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Having sailed on the Island Escape a few times I'm impressed to see it gets better every time. Ok the ship is tired but we know when we book it's not 5*. The entertainment is excellent with Ross Roberts the entertainment Director ... Read More
Having sailed on the Island Escape a few times I'm impressed to see it gets better every time. Ok the ship is tired but we know when we book it's not 5*. The entertainment is excellent with Ross Roberts the entertainment Director and his show team giving us fantastic shows every night The cabin was adequate with plenty of storage and for saying we were on deck 3 surprisingly hardly any engine noise. The food was great, plentiful and varied with two self service restaurant's to choose from. The ports of call were Tangier, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Almeria, Cartagena and Palma. The trips like all other ships excursion's were way over priced.We just hopped in a local taxi or did the open top bus trip for a fraction of the cost. We have been on other cruise liners and to be quite honest pound for pound you can't beat the homely feel that this ship has to offer. They make you feel part of the ships family and nothing is too much trouble for them. I look forward to my next cruise on Island Escape and to all those who moan about the old tired ship, I will never tire of her! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The Island Escape is an older and very tired ship. We booked through Thomson's in the UK. This cruise caters to the budget minded British travelers. The food is British and the entertainment is British. We have cruised with Celebrity ... Read More
The Island Escape is an older and very tired ship. We booked through Thomson's in the UK. This cruise caters to the budget minded British travelers. The food is British and the entertainment is British. We have cruised with Celebrity and Holland America and found this cruise significantly below both their standards. The food is institutional in it's preparation and presentation. Every meal had exactly the same selection. The only decent meal with had was in the "specialty" restaurant for an additional charge. This meal was good but still below the nightly regular meals on Celebrity or Holland America. Our package "included tips" for the crew and the level of service reflected it. Service in the evening dining room was poor and when 9PM came around the staff were hastily resetting tables ignoring diners and making you feel rushed to eat. The theatre was very disappointing as the seating is cabaret style not true theatre style, so in order to get a decent seat we had to be in the theatre at least 30-45 minutes before the show. The shows were very good; on par with Celebrity and Holland America. The cabin steward was wonderful and took very good care of us, but we also tipped him fifty pounds over the course of our cruise...but he truly deserved it! I would not travel with Thomson again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We have just returned from our Escape to the Med cruise. As we enjoyed it so much last year we persuaded my sister and her husband to come with us (they had never been on a cruise before). We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and now they are ... Read More
We have just returned from our Escape to the Med cruise. As we enjoyed it so much last year we persuaded my sister and her husband to come with us (they had never been on a cruise before). We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and now they are talking about doing another cruise next year. I agree with the other reviews - whilst the ship in some areas seems a little "tired" and in need of a bit of a refurb - it certainly is not dirty. The cabins are cleaned in the morning and again in the evening, and at the end of the day the duvets are turned down and the bedside lamps turned on - a nice touch. If you need anything your cabin attendant will go out of his way to make sure you get it. We had a problem with the air con, mentioned it to him and he had a chap come to fix it more or less straight away - that's service! We were on deck 7 mid-ship and we had paid the extra £39 to book our cabin, as we were pleased with this location last year. I think it is better if you pay a little extra and have an outside cabin - on deck 5 or higher. My sister had booked a Premier cabin on deck 8 and they were happy with it. They had a slight problem with the shower - mentioned it to the cabin attendant and five minutes later he returned with another chap and corrected the fault - great! They also have hand sanitisers at each entry into the cafes and restaurants and everyone is asked to use them, a great idea. The food was great in the beachcomber and also in the Island restaurant - which we used most of the time and excellent food in the Oasis restaurant which we visited twice, paid £35 per couple for a 4 course meal and a bottle of white or red wine, or if you go at 9.00pm you pay £10.95 per head (no wine) - superb! The trips - we did our own thing, the organised trips can be expensive. In most places it is quite easy to walk into the town and get a bus, tram or train to your destination, a lot cheaper! My fav places - from Naples - Sorrento and Pompeii and we loved our day at Barcelona. The shows are good - especially Ben Gillingham, he has a fantastic operatic voice - don't miss him. We loved the party by the pool and enjoyed dancing under the stars! The weather was fantastic and the crossings each evening were very smooth, no stabilizers used at all! All in all a great cruise - as it says in the brochure - an easy going down-to-earth cruise, smart but casual evenings (most people had dressed up which was really nice). We found it to be very friendly, good value 3/4 star, but if you want a 5/6 star cruise - you need to book P&O or Cunard and pay double the price! We will definitely go again on the Island Escape. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Prior to sailing we had read many of the reviews published on here and was quietly surprised by what we found. We have previously sailed on other Thomson ships, also Princess and Royal Caribbean. Yes, the ship is tired and in need of ... Read More
Prior to sailing we had read many of the reviews published on here and was quietly surprised by what we found. We have previously sailed on other Thomson ships, also Princess and Royal Caribbean. Yes, the ship is tired and in need of some refurb, however the atmosphere on the ship more than makes up for this. Check-in was well organised and an absolute breeze.We sailed out of Palma, not Las Palmas, but not an option on the drop down list to identify earlier. Cabin- we had an inside cabin on deck 5. Adaquate in size, not sure about the curtains covering the wardrobe, but one of the best showers we have had, for both pressure and in size compared to some ships, (no intamacy with the curtain). Cabin was kept very clean and was cleaned twice a day. I must say it was comfortable, in fact slept very well each night Ports of Call. We chose this intinery for the ports of call. Each one had its individual selling points. People go on about how expensive the Shore Excursions are, well all I can say after previously doing my own thing is, you get value for money and the knowledge of the guides provide you with a clear insight to the place visited. Staff, all crew and staff were very welcoming and friendly, providing an excellent service and appeared to enjoy what they were doing. Entertainment- we found the entertainment on ship to be very good, which ever show you decided to take in, not an early night all cruise Food was very good and plenty of it available and always hot. We ate at the Oasis twice, food, service and atmosphere was excellent. We were concered about the food prior to sailing, due to reports of plastic plates. Not to worry, the only plastic plates we found, were those in the Beachcomber, where people could take food outside, some to the side of the pool, this was the same as other ships. In conclusion, would we sail on the Island Escape again, Yes without a doubt. If you want a formal cruise, don't bother on this ship. If you want a cruise where you can enjoy yourself, dress up or down as you wish, do things at a relaxed pace and meet some really nice people, also where you have a staff and crew who not only let on to you, but actually remember you including your name, then look at the Island Escape. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
A fantastic cruise, thoroughly relaxing. The ship is awesome, the staff do not stop working hard for you. The cabin steward tidied our room at least twice a day, and the bar staff are constantly keen to bring you drinks (and no tipping ... Read More
A fantastic cruise, thoroughly relaxing. The ship is awesome, the staff do not stop working hard for you. The cabin steward tidied our room at least twice a day, and the bar staff are constantly keen to bring you drinks (and no tipping required as the ship is cashless). All holiday makers were from the UK and very friendly. The entertainment helped make a fantastic holiday with something for everyone. We enjoyed an hour of West End songs in the theatre, the Tom Jones tribute act (flown in from the UK), and the game show type entertainment (Who want to be a Millionare, Mr and Mrs, Bingo etc) in the Bounty Lounge with the on board (funny) entertainment staff. We usually finished every night in The Pub bar where there was fantastic live music (Adrian from Romania would do any request on the piano or Guitar and very often had the crowd out of their seats). There were also good entertainment activities on the top deck in the evening and during the day at four (game shows to involve the sunbathers). All cabins were air conditioned, the only downside are the walls between cabins are a bit thin and you can hear people next door but this wasn't an issue. The shower was always hot and powerful, and our inside cabin was spacious. The food is excellent, 24 hour buffet in the Beachcomber restaurant, with breakfast (English bacon, black pudding etc), Brunch, Lunch, afternoon tea (sandwiches, cakes and biscuits), evening meals and all night snacks. The evening meals always had a theme, (Indian, Chinese, Italian, Mexican), but there was always chips, pizza, burgers etc for the kids, always fresh fruit and salad. The only problem I had with the food was trying not to eat too much as it all tasted so good. The casino was good fun, with lessons how to play on day one (Stud Poker, Blackjack, Roulette and slot machines). We attended the ships presentation on the tours available which is valuable without a pushy sales pitch. They also presented idea's on what to do on your own in the different stops which again we found helpful. Prices on board are £3.35 for a pint of San Miguel, £3.40 Strongbow, glass of wine about £3.15 (bottle £13.90), Corona £2.95. All drinks were always served in a glass not plastic and there are always cocktails of the day etc. (Please note if All Inclusive branded drinks such as Jack Daniels etc there is a small fee not free e.g. 90 pence rather than £3.90). Ice cream and crisps are also charged. The currency on board is all sterling but you have a card to charge everything to your account and pay at the end. You can check your balance at any time at Guest Relations (reception). One tip - we didn't receive our luggage for about 3 and a half hours on the arrival day - therefore when you arrive at the port, take out your sun cream and bathing clothes if you wish to go straight on deck without the need to wait. We had two 13 year old girls with us, but they spent most of their time meeting friends, touring the ship and having fun - it was like having a holiday without kids and they thoroughly enjoyed it. We even left the kids on board when we were at our last stop as it was very safe. There is no formal dress code on board the Island Escape although some people did dress up smart and others spent the evening in shorts and T-shirt. We enjoyed this so much, we'd cruise again next year! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
As we were travelling with 3 young children (4,7 & 10) and had to travel in the UK school summer holiday it is surprisingly difficult to find any suitable cruises. We had been looking for months and finally found one at the last minute ... Read More
As we were travelling with 3 young children (4,7 & 10) and had to travel in the UK school summer holiday it is surprisingly difficult to find any suitable cruises. We had been looking for months and finally found one at the last minute in a local travel agent and immediately booked it. My wife and I have previously cruised with Princess, Cunard and Celebrity so understood that this would not be the same. We understood that it was a very casual three star ship but were a little worried when we checked out a lot of the negative reviews on this and other sites. We should have not have been worried at all the cruise was absolutely fantastic! The ship is a little tired on the inside although spotlessly clean, and lacks the open spaces on more modern ships. There are also some design flaws such as no nearby stairwells from the upper sun deck to the pool area which remind you that it is a converted ferry although nothing serious. Other than that I was very impressed. Our outside cabins were similar to those on other ships, comfortable, clean with an excellent cabin steward. Some people have made negative comments that only plastic plates were available Beachcomber Restaurant but it is a typical inside/outside buffet restaurant similar to all ships I have travelled on, all of which to my memory had plastic plates. The Island Restaurant was a more formal buffet style restaurant but you often had to share tables with other passengers. The buffet food was very good with a decent selection of meals and the kids loved it, although I do prefer waiter service. The Oasis Restaurant was a typical waiter service restaurant and the food was excellent for a £15 per adult cover charge. Kids can dine with you from a good Kids menu at no charge. I found the service much better in this restaurant than some other ships we had been on as it was never crowded and you had much more personal attention. Both main restaurants had large windows and we ate almost every meal to fantastic sunsets. The only exceptions was a fantastic lightening storm. The excursions, although expensive were worth it particularly in some of the ports we visited where local tour prices were more than on the ship. We did Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius in Naples and Sporting Barcelona. The Ocean Theatre shows were excellent for such a small team with limited resources, and the entertainment team were genuinely talented and hard working. The Bounty Lounge had more of a holiday camp atmosphere which was not something we would usually enjoy but it was quite fun and everyone was enjoying themselves. The Sailaway bar was my favourite and was as good if not better than any back of ship area I have travelled on. Plenty of space to enjoy some spectacular sail-aways. Our four year old girl loved Palmy's club which gave us some much needed quiet time, but the older boys preferred doing their own thing. We did not do all inclusive but did enjoy more drinks than we should, and it cost a lot less than the all-inclusive upgrade price of £199 per adult. Prices were generally similar to average UK pubs, and bottles of wine were very reasonable. The all-inclusive package did seem to cover most drinks with modest cover charges for more premium brands, however some did complain that no liqueurs were available at all under the package. As I would expect of Thomson the pre-cruise information packs, airport check-in, transfers, embarkation etc were excellent, and as good if not better than other more expensive companies. The negatives were that on the day at sea there was nowhere near enough room for everyone in and around the pool area which would have made it a nightmare for anyone with kids if they did not get a lounger. When it rained heavily on one evening we realised how crowded the ship was with everyone inside as all areas outside the restaurant were full. Much of the daytime entertainment was not to our taste but the kids and most other passengers seemed to enjoy it. A small minority of the passengers I would have preferred not to cruise with and had a very different outlook on life to us, but most were great. In summary if you want a great cost-effective cruise I would not hesitate to recommend the Island Escape. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
lots of support at the airports due to walking difficulties. checking in on board very easy and arrange your ship's account. we upgraded to PREMIER cabin on deck 8,lovely cabin with lots of space( it seems to be the smokers deck and ... Read More
lots of support at the airports due to walking difficulties. checking in on board very easy and arrange your ship's account. we upgraded to PREMIER cabin on deck 8,lovely cabin with lots of space( it seems to be the smokers deck and sit in front of you window,a bit annoying) the crew aboard the ship was very friendly and always ready to help. food very good,ALWAYS HOT,and you have a choice of restaurants. the shows where very good,we liked them but OK not every body's choice. the drinks on board are pub prices,hence much better then any Thomson Gold Hotel,they charge you twice as much but we still like the Thomson Gold Hotels. we did not go ashore in Tangiers and Casablanca,too hot but Gibraltar was nice and not far from the docks. we had a walk in Almeria & Cartagena but very hot hence short walks. IMPORTANT: ONCE YOU HAVE HAD YOUR BILL THE DAY BEFORE DEPARTURE YOU CAN NOT GET ANY DRINKS,ONLY WATER TEA AND COFFEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OTHERWISE WE HAD FUN,MET A LOT OF NICE PEOPLE AND ENJOYED THE CRUISE. WILL DO IT ALLOVER AGAIN ONE DAY!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My partner and i went to Thompsons Travel Agency looking for a last minute break (we needed to depart 10 days later). We were open minded, so when the assistant suggested a cruise, we thought why not..... Well, here's why not. ... Read More
My partner and i went to Thompsons Travel Agency looking for a last minute break (we needed to depart 10 days later). We were open minded, so when the assistant suggested a cruise, we thought why not..... Well, here's why not. We were informed that once we checked in our luggage at Birmingham airport, we would next see it in our cabin. We arrived at Palma airport and wondered why there were nore ps to meet us. We saw an exit sign so went out of the termnal. When we finally found a rep, we were told to go back into the terminal to find our luggage, along with a telling off from the airport staff! We proceeded onto the boat. From the moment we stepped on, we were so disappointed by the shabby state of the ship. It got no better when we entered our cabin. We had paid for an upgrade to a cabin with a window on an upper deck. It was so small and desperately old. The bed was uncomfortable with bullet hard pillows. It was impossible for two of you to be in the same place at one time! The shower and toilet area were small (i was pleased with the shower pressure however). I feel we were lucky to be placed midway along the corridor, as I would imagine that being closer to the Sundowner bar would have been noisy at night. The rest of the ship was in need of major overhaul/refit. The Beachcomber restaurant was like a bad cafe with melamine plates/cups etc. We went just the once! The Island restaurant was alot better. The staff were very friendly and attentive (as were all staff on the boat)and could not be faulted. The food was a little disappointing, as it was pretty much the same offering every day. There were speciality dishes, but we had been hoping for regional meals, for example a tagine maybe when we went to Morocco..... We sampled the Oasis restaurant once and were pleasantly surprised. The food was tasty and varied and the cost not prohibitive. We were slightly misled over the all inclusive drinks package as all branded names were off limits and so were all my favourite cocktails. The sundecks were ok, but there were never enough sunbeds and despite the polite request from the Captain not to put towels on the beds and disappear for an age, people clearly did. I would not have gone in the teeny pool if you paid me to. It looked dirty within an hour of it opening each day. The other amenities were ok. The entertainment, though not necessarily my thing was actually ok. I cannot believe that I played bingo!! We did not go on any organised trips. We thouhgt they seemd expensive and by all accounts, they were varied in their value. we did our own thing and got off the boat at every destination and looked round ourselves. It was fairly easy to do and the information given on the boat was quite a good help. We felt that there were too many people in a small space! Most passengers who we spoke to who had cruised before told us that ths was the wporst ship they had sailed on. It has not put us off going on a cruise again, but it will not be on this boat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I have wanted to do a cruise for a few years and booked this 4 weeks before sailing due to a cheap price of £599 per person. We were 2 adults and 2 children aged 3 and 14. I was a little worried about embarking and the procedure but it ... Read More
I have wanted to do a cruise for a few years and booked this 4 weeks before sailing due to a cheap price of £599 per person. We were 2 adults and 2 children aged 3 and 14. I was a little worried about embarking and the procedure but it all was very smooth. Landed in Palma (Majorca), quickly on to a coach, registered on arrival and given cabin and swipe cards, on board and settled with luggage within 1 hour (very nice indeed). Yes the cabins are a little dated but fully functional, tv, shower, storage space etc. The first night we had the deck party which was excellent, our 3 year old was dancing for 2 hours with the show team girls (thanks to Macey and Jade) and that set the tempo for the entire stay. The staff were great from the cabin steward (Morrison), the restaurant, the waiters and showteam. They all remembered our 3 year old name where ever she was on the ship. Other Port Info:  Pisa - Did the coach excursion through Island Escape (5 hours). Very enjoyable All in all a great stay and loved every minute. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My husband and i booked this cruise through thomson and were really looking forward to it. The cruise was our honeymoon and we paid three and a half thousand pounds for it. I was told that the ship was having a refit at the time of our ... Read More
My husband and i booked this cruise through thomson and were really looking forward to it. The cruise was our honeymoon and we paid three and a half thousand pounds for it. I was told that the ship was having a refit at the time of our booking and we would be amongst the first passengers aboard it sounded fantastic. We embarked on the 16th august 2011 and nothing could have prepared us for the squalour we were to endure for the next fortnight.The cabin was so small we both could not side by side in it.The whole room had water damage which ment the walls were brown with water stains. The carpet was covered in red wine and was so thread bear you could see the hessian backing.When i opened the bathroom door i was greeted with the most disgusting bathroom id ever seen. The whole place stank of sewage and was thick with damp and mould. After two weeks of being subjected to this filthy bathroom my husband and myself came home with skin infections on our feet from the unsanitary conditions from the bathroom floor and rancid carpet. i broke into tears this was not what what me and my husband had saved and worked so hard for.We went to reception to complain but were told there were no other cabins so we were stuck with the hovel.Over the next fortnight we found out lots of rather unsavoury things about the boat.It is in fact an ex ferry thomson own it and make money on it but wash their hands of any responsibility of it. I booked a thomson cruise on the advise of one of their travel advisors and this is not a thomson cruise.The whole ship is dirty,tired and scruffy. and in need of a complete refit.The refit i had been told about by the thomson advisor was actually on the boats engines and not on the ship itself. If you go to thomsons website this ferry/ship is advertised alongside their other ships and unless you are told it isnt a thomson ship you wouldnt know.The price was suppose to include tips so you didnt have to pay any extra but after paying thousands of pounds for a squat i think they should be included.The bar staff do not get paid a proper wage so have to sell as much alcohol or ciggeretes as they can that means they are constantly harrassing you to spend money. To be honest i was infuriated by this pushy selling until i found out that for a 90hr week they had been paid around ?71. These are poor people from poor countries working to send money home to their families i felt so sorry for them.Jobs are hard to find in there countries and this cruise firm has totally taken advantage of there situation i am disgusted.The ports of call were ok but some were so far away from the main points of interest i.e rome or monaco you have no choice but to pay for ship excursions most of which are really expensive.A word of advice unless you,ve gone it alone before and you know where you are going do not do it.We did and it was the most stressful few hours of our lives if your late the boat will leave without you unless of course, you booked the expensive ship excursion then the boat waits.The food was nothing to write home about and the same food seemed to be trotted out on a rota.In summary do not book this cruise unless you want to throw your money away.Me and my husband are in the process of putting in a complaint against thomson we want a refund and we will not shut up and go away untill we do. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We wanted a change from the yearly Gold Holidays and my partner reached the age of 60 so instead hotelling it was cruising for the first time. we thought it was brilliant,nice ship although getting a bit old,but kept it very clean.(your ... Read More
We wanted a change from the yearly Gold Holidays and my partner reached the age of 60 so instead hotelling it was cruising for the first time. we thought it was brilliant,nice ship although getting a bit old,but kept it very clean.(your cabin steward keeps your bed and cabin clean) nice cabin on deck 8,upgraded to Pemier Cabin.lovely view from there but it seems to be THE SMOKERS DECK and they sit in front of you window,a bit annoying. the air conditioning can be adjusted in your cabin and was fine. food on board this ship was excellent ( always hot)and plenty restaurants to have your dinner. crew are ever so helpful!!! being a money free ship was very useful,just an account starts when you arrive as you have to pay for your drinks(pub prices) we did not have the drinks "package" as we both are limited alcohol drinkers. THE SWIMMING POOL IS UNFORTUNATELY VERY SMALL AND SALT WATER!!!!!!!!!!!. POOL WAS MAINLY FOR THE CHILDREN. we did not go on any executions due to walking problems,Gibraltar was nice,enjoyed our walk & shopping there.(duty free) it was very hot where ever we went,30-32 degrees,too hot to walk a lot. on departure day,you will have received you invoice,but if you stay on the ship until your going to the airport,you cannot order any drinks as your account is closed and take to money from you card,hence no more drinks on the day of departure,you can get meals and water/coffee but no alcohol drinks. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Like many people who've written reviews for the Island Escape we booked first then read the reviews later, which meant we worried that we'd made a big mistake and believed we were actually going to Butlins-on-sea. How wrong we ... Read More
Like many people who've written reviews for the Island Escape we booked first then read the reviews later, which meant we worried that we'd made a big mistake and believed we were actually going to Butlins-on-sea. How wrong we were ! The ship exceeded our expectations and we enjoyed a very pleasant experience. Background: couple in early 50s who have cruised 5 times previously. Cruise dates: 16th to 23rd August 2011 Itinerary: Escape to the Med (Palma - Trapani (Sicily) - Naples - Olbia (Sardinia) - Toulon - Barcelona - Palma) Flight / Embarkation: No delays, smooth transfer at Palma, very efficient check-in at the quayside Cabin: outside cabin on Deck 6. Very small, no room to swing a cat, but spotlessly clean with plenty of storage space. Shower delivered plenty of water. Shower gel dispenser on wall. Adequate storage space. Food: surprisingly good. We were expecting school dinners hence were planning to pay extra to eat in the Oasis restaurant but, in the event, we were more than happy with the variety and quality on offer at the Beachcomber and Island restaurants. There was plenty of choice, the food was always hot and tasty, and we were more than satisfied. We found that the Island restaurant suited us more than the Beachcomber because a) it was on the same deck as our cabin and b) the ambience was a little bit superior to the Beachcomber. That said, the food was more or less the same in both places, and the ambience in the Beachcomber was far better than we had expected after reading the reviews. (Maybe we were just lucky, but the other passengers on our cruise seemed a very nice bunch with very few "chavs". Sorry if that sounds snobbish but after reading some reviews we were under the impression that we would be sharing our cruise with tattooed, drunken lager louts, which turned out not to be the case). Mostly, we went to the Beachcomber whenever we needed a light snack between meals or a cup of tea. Entertainment: the show team in the Ocean Theatre were excellent, especially Ross, Ben Gilham and Ben Yates. If I were a member of that hard working and talented team I would be angry to read those reviews which describe the entertainment as amateurish or like Butlins. The shows we saw were far better than any show we'd seen on our previous cruises and, yes, I agree with many other reviewers who said the shows are of west end quality. Ben Gilham's voice is truly sensational. Crew: wonderful, always smiling. Weather: we had superb weather all week, 30 degrees plus Ship: tired?, yes. Seen better days?, yes. Not enough sunbeds?, yes. Just one tiny pool?, yes. Previously a ferry?, yes. But once you get over the fact that this isn't a luxury cruiseship you will see the many positives. The public areas are well maintained and everything looks clean. Ports: Trapani - well worth a visit. We couldn't believe how close the ship docked - the main street was practically outside our cabin window. Naples - we didn't see much of Naples as we took the Capri excursion. (Capri town was too crowded in August for our liking). Olbia - my tip is to take an excursion because the town itself is small and grubby, not worth a visit Toulon - very nice city with loads to do. We rode the scenic cable car (fab views) and took a boat trip around the harbour to see the naval ships Barcelona - wow. Gotta come back here for a longer stay. Great city to explore. Disembarkation: again, everything went like clockwork. Smooth transfer to the airport, no delays. Overall: good value. This is a basic cruise at a relatively low cost (compared to Fred Olsen, Royal Caribbean etc) and you get what you pay for. Provided that you don't set your expectations at too high a level, and you're not expecting luxury, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. You should ignore the really awful reviews that you may have read - in my opinion, those reviewers either had ridiculously high expectations or were just unlucky to have things go wrong. We had a great time, as did everyone we spoke to on our cruise. Enjoy! PS. We didn't sail from Las Palmas (as stated above), it was Palma de Mallorca, however this port isn't listed in the drop-down list for selecting port of embarkation. "Las Palmas" is the closest match. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We went on our first cruise on Island Escape on 26th July 2011. The ship was fantastic, the room was very clean and always kept tidy. The restaurants had a good choice and my husband took me to the Oasis Restaurant for a special ... Read More
We went on our first cruise on Island Escape on 26th July 2011. The ship was fantastic, the room was very clean and always kept tidy. The restaurants had a good choice and my husband took me to the Oasis Restaurant for a special meal. The service by the waiters coming round asking if you wanted a drink was such a lovely surprise an normally on an all inclusive holiday, waiter service is not included. I especially wanted to comment about the fantastic staff and passengers aboard the Island Escape. We are the family with the teenage boy with Tourettes Syndrome. The staff and passengers were so very kind to my son, it was amazing. It ment that he could go around the ship feeling totally safe and secure. This was a first for him and gave him some longed after freedom. He met up with a fantastic group of friends and he is still missing the wonderful atmosphere of the ship, not to mention the friends and wonderful food!!!. There are too many restaurant staff and waiters who were kind to mention individually but I wanted to say a big, big thank you to all. Also a big thatnk you to all the passengers on this particular sailing. You were so very tolerant. This made it so special for us because we were able to have a few hours on our own. (On a negative note, there were two separate men who were not tolerant to my son, one who came up to him and banged him on the back and told him to shut up and another who argued with my son even though my son pleaded with him that he could not help his condition.). But even this could not dampen the good time we had. Once again Island Escape, THANK YOU. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
My wife, 5 year old daughter and I spent a week on the Island Escape partaking in the Monuments and Mountains Western Mediterranean Cruise. We had previously sailed on the Thompson Spirit last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff and ... Read More
My wife, 5 year old daughter and I spent a week on the Island Escape partaking in the Monuments and Mountains Western Mediterranean Cruise. We had previously sailed on the Thompson Spirit last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff and crew onboard made it a trip to remember. Looking at booking this year's family holiday, we kept coming back to a cruise holiday, even though it was slightly more expensive than what we intended. The Island Escape was recommended to us by my brother-in-law and partner as they had sailed on her twice before and they had had good experiences from their trips. The only complaint from the flights was the lack of legroom and the location of the tv screens, but they are standard complaints from Thompson flights. Onto the cruise itself. Initial impressions of the Escape were ok, the public areas seemed clean enough, the staff were again friendly and very helpful, but the ship does look a bit dated. On entering the cabin we slightly disappointed with it compared to the Thompson Spirit. There was a lack of storage space, the tiles in the bathroom were mouldy and bathroom leaked out onto the carpet at the entrance to the cabin. We came back from our day excursions to find that a blower had been placed in our cabin in order to dry the carpets, but this was a noisy and intrusive nuisance. We had already been informed that the ship was at full capacity so a change in cabin was out of the question. We were given a bottle of wine and basket of fruit as an apology - Ooooohhh! The cabin location turned out to be the straw that broke the camels back. We found ourselves right on the forward bulkhead on deck 6. Our first port of call was Corsica and we were due to arrive at approximately 0630. This was confirmed by the noise and vibration of the sideways thrusters as the boat manoeuvred alongside the dock. We initially thought that we had run aground judging by the noise that occurred. This was soon dispelled when the noise carried on for a further 20 minutes, a good way to start the day. Unfortunately we were due to come alongside every day at this time with the exception of Cannes as this was a tender port. Though not to be outdone. We were rudely woken on this morning by the anchor being lowered and as the operating machinery was located at the front end of the boat, this was a hell of a lot noisier than the thrusters. Needless to say, this wasn't a very relaxing holiday as were permanently shattered and constantly falling asleep or too tired to go on long excursions. The Escape advertises itself as "informal cruising". We like to make an effort for the evening and go and enjoy a nice meal. Unfortunately this would have cost us an extra £45 every night if we wanted this as some of the passenger's ideas of dressing up was to put on a cleaner t-shirt and tracksuit trousers. The "smarter" of the two inclusive eating places was still buffet eating although the tables had tablecloths. The two restaurants still offered the exact same menu but there was still a bit of variety on offer. The cost of excursions was extortionate. For the trip to Rome it would have cost £108 per adult and £80 per child. We made our own way in at a fraction of the cost including having lunch in the city. The itinerary of the cruise was enjoyable though and we did make the effort to go and explore at each port. The evenings entertainment was good, although the Cruise Director should stick to directing and not singing. The show team only put on 3 shows, god knows what else they were on board to do. The Entertainment team were brilliant though and each night was fairly enjoyable. We utilised the kids club, which was a saving grace each evening and late afternoon for our sanity and the staff were brilliant although the kids talent evening was painful to watch so much so that one passenger decided to provide his own entertainment by starting a brawl with another passenger - most entertaining! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We chose to cruise on Island Escape as we wanted an informal, relaxed, good value cruise having previously cruised with the now defunct Ocean Village. The flight and transfer were fine and we arrived on board in Palma with no ... Read More
We chose to cruise on Island Escape as we wanted an informal, relaxed, good value cruise having previously cruised with the now defunct Ocean Village. The flight and transfer were fine and we arrived on board in Palma with no problem. Check in was swift and efficient even if the welcome drink was yuck! We had booked an Inside Standard cabin which was fine apart from the disappointment of having no fridge and no hairdryer and being set up as a twin rather than the requested double. The cabins are small and a bit worse for wear but very clean and the shower worked adequately with plenty of hot water. We would have appreciated tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin, more choice of films/channels on the tv and a proper wardrobe rather than shelves with a curtain across as things tended to fall out. However Island escape is a budget ship and you get what you pay for to a certain extent. There were plenty of activities,(quizzes,dance lessons, cookery demonstrations) and facilities aboard ship with a spa and gym, various shops and 3 restaurants to choose from. The entertainment was very variable, some excellent, (Michael Buble tribute act) some embarrassingly old fashioned and verging on "Butlins at sea" All the staff were very friendly and helpful including our steward Morisson who brought us ice almost every night and helped arrange a surprise for our son's birthday. Most of our fellow cruisers were also friendly and younger than the average cruise crowd Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
There was six of us and for four of us this was our first cruise! After reading all the reviews before going we didnt know what to expect so we went open minded! First of all when we got there we were all super tired as we had no sleep and ... Read More
There was six of us and for four of us this was our first cruise! After reading all the reviews before going we didnt know what to expect so we went open minded! First of all when we got there we were all super tired as we had no sleep and left our house at 3am!! We flew from Edinburgh although we are from Glasgow!(it was cheaper to go from Edinburgh) When we finally got parked at Edinburgh(they have alot of car parking places-allow extra time for this it took us ages to find it with a sat nav lol)The flight out was alright I personally dosed off and it went in very quick! So when you arrrive in Palma or your port of embarkation you collect your baggage of course then head to the thomson cruise rep person and they send you to a bus and you board that. this journey takes about half an hour maybe less depending on traffic I guess and we were all starving by this point to say the least(plane meals are yuck honestly they are just not edible!:O)They do give you a free glass of pure orange juice when you get to the ship I however missed out as everyone was rushing in and I was somehow pushed out the way(people in such a rush to get on the boat gee!!) WARNING they do take your picture at this point with the rest of your party. Possibly to laugh at you as everyone was tired and not looking their greatest!You then check in- the entertainment team check you in although we didnt know this at the time! at this point you have your cabin number we were all on deck 9-Golden! Finally you get on the boat and we went to check out our cabin which was very clean and nice and we met our cabin steward Akash-very nice and very helpful! Then it was upto the beachcomber for some lunch. If your case isnt delivered then you can collect it from somewhere on your deck. we did go out in Palma as you have all day! In the beachcomber if you want chips you have to ask and this is where we went for our evening meal before heading to the ocean theatre on deck7 for the welcome onboard show which lasts half an hour by the amazingly super talented entertainment team!! In your cabin at night you get an island chat to tell you everything about the next day! the cabin stewards also fold your towels for you in to animals or other designs- very cool! Wednesday-Day at sea- What can I say unless you are easily amused then you will be bored! You cant sunbathe unless you get up super early to put your towel on one and save it. Everyone hogs them like they will die if they dont roast like a lobster I mean come on people!!! we just explored the boat and we also had to attend a lifeoat drill in the morning also the movies they show are very up to date! over the whole holiday we had gnomeo and juliet,rango,country strong, justin bieber never say never,limitless, kings speech and others which I cant remember as I probably didnt care much for them lol! so thats the day at sea!-Enjoy Thursday-Trapani-Sicily-Yay finally we can get off the boat but not to see very much im afraid! a one horse town would have more excitement and I wasnt feeling well this day either-Sore throat! If you do go to this port you could maybe do the discover the port pack thing which is £20-maybe fun if you have kids and want to explore trapani that way! best part of the day was probably watching the italians drive like maniacs as we were waiting for the boat to leave the port they just cut in front of each other I was surprised there wasnt an accident! this night we had a guest star! she was an opera singer not really my taste but?? Friday-Naples-Dont get off the boat if you think you will see anything worth seeing within a walking distance. Unless you are like me and like to explore then feel free to go a walk but its dirty and very poor I mean there was people raking through rubbish for stuff:O not something I want to see on my Summer holiday. The tour bus may be A BETTER OPTION! The entertainment team were on again tonight and again was very good! I think either this night or the night before we started going to the island restaurant for dinner then eventually we always went there unless we wanted something out of hours! the water tastes better here just cos its out an actual glass! Celine dion tribute this night- it was good! Saturday-Olbia-Sardinia-We bought drinks here-6 euros for a beer and 3.50 for a coke! Quite expensive but its a very nice clean place! Shops are very cheap! we went a walk about and even saw a wedding going into a church! could have snuck in but dont understand much italian so?? Entertainment team again tonight!-top class Sunday-Toulon-France- Very nice wee town but not alot to see! We took the tourist train here for 6 Euros- worth it i'd say! Not much to say about this place as there isnt alot to know its quite untouristy! but nice to say you've been there I guess! Monday- the one and only Barcelona!- Well I was super excited about this the night before thinking I would see loads and shop till I dropped how wrong was I! we walked to the Sagrada Familia which was amazing however didnt go in as queue was right round it! Gutted! Apparently there is a primark in Barcelona I couldnt find it and all the other shops were designer so unless your rich you wont be leaving with much! Still probably the best port though! Then it was back to palma and our flight wasnt till late on so we had alot of waiting to do but hey! you have to leave your case outside the night before a bit of a pain tbh! Other pointers-The towels folded in your cabins are pretty awesome we had a swan,chimp,rose,dog and others and there is a class at the pool where they teach you how to create these!, we had extremely windy weather for two nights but we still managed to sleep,Comedian very funny-I think he was on on the sunday night! They do photograph you quite alot on the boat and these are available for sale but they are quite expensive!, Beachcomber open all the time for water tea coffe however the tea doesnt taste the same out a plastic cup just like the water. You can also collect a a map from deck 5-reception desk on each port the day before so you can figure out what you are going to do the next day! Cabins-very clean and tidy,bed folded down every night,bathroom a bit dingy and small but all you really need I guess! advice to GHD fans they dont work yep im ashamed to say I had frizzy hair for a week! Public toilets- Disgusting I always went back to my cabin to use the loo! Overall a fabulous first cruise and I hope this has been helpful and informative and will help you look out for all the things we missed out on!! The staff are very friendly and helpful snd get to know you and they always know you when you are waiting to be seated in the restaurant-island and they poked fun at our Glesga accent lol! oh and the pink ice-cream is amazing very tangy Enjoy your cruise!! have a fabulous time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and dont roast like a lobster or the captain will call you this so i've heard!!! Good day! =D Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I dont know why people put the Island Escape down as to me I don't want high brow and having to dress up every evening although I like to be smart. The staff on the ship are very friendly apart from a couple of receptionists who ... Read More
I dont know why people put the Island Escape down as to me I don't want high brow and having to dress up every evening although I like to be smart. The staff on the ship are very friendly apart from a couple of receptionists who dont speak English very well. The entertainment team are brilliant and put on a good show each evening and there are guest acts as well. The pool could have been bigger but I was out on trips every day so didnt spend a lot of time around it as there were too many children. I booked before the school holidays started but forgot that they break up earlier up north. I have rebooked for May next year so shouldnt be same problem. My disappointment was that I lost my purse on a trip to Sorrento, but the ship were very helpful and had to make me a new card to get back on board and in fact the police found my purse but couldnt get it back to the ship in time as we were due to set sail. They said they would send it to my home address and in fact I got it back only last week, so thanks to all concerned. Unfortunately there were a couple of rocky nights and they even had to close my port hole, luckilly I took my travel sick pills with me as I went on the mini cruise to the Canaries on the Thomson Spirit in December and we got caught up in a storm and we couldnt dock in La Palma so that was a disappointment, and had to stay in the cabin all day and missed out on the entertainment in the evening and no food all day as my daughter and I were feeling poorly (she came with me on that occasion) My only grudge is that as a person who likes to go on holiday on my own (you always make new friends)is that you have the single supplement, after all the single cabins are not really enough room for two people. So what should be a cheap holiday turns out to be much more expensive, not good when you are a pensioner. But when you go on holiday on your own it is ideal as you can do what you want when you want, there are the organised trips for you and the entertainment in the evening and no one looks twice when you are eating on your own, but if you go to the restaurant in the evening you are usually sat with other people so there is always someone to talk to Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
My friend and I booked a cruise on board the Island Escape travelling from 12th July until 19th July, 2011. The facilities on board were good the entertainment first class including the game shows. Having previously travelled on The ... Read More
My friend and I booked a cruise on board the Island Escape travelling from 12th July until 19th July, 2011. The facilities on board were good the entertainment first class including the game shows. Having previously travelled on The Spirit I did not think it could get any better, and although the afternoon tea wasn't as good as The Spirit the meals were of better quality. We only booked on the 5th July and the ship was full. The beds and pillows were very hard and uncomfortable and the cabin was much smaller than the Spirit. My gripe is that the excursions on this cruise were too active for anyone with any mobility problems. In the newsletter it does state active, mod, or easy but when we enquired how active the trip to Monaco and Monte Carlo was I was told a walk of about 20 minutes with a maximum of 3-4 steps. After getting off the tender there was a very steep hill to climb and no handrails. We were taken to a car park and then a steep uphill walk for the rest of the tour, followed by several steps leading to the main attractions. The trip to Rome was a nightmare. We booked the easy option which was a Panoramic caoch tour lasting three hours. Actual time was 90 minutes giving us a five stay in the city. As the temperature was 35C and rising we were advised by the courier to take a Hopper bus. This cost us 18 Euros each but we were told you could hop on and off all day. We were put upstairs with intercons and by this time there were eight of us from the ship yet not one of the intercons worked. After several minutes one person went downstairs to ask where the Trevi Fountain was, to be told we had passed it along with the Spanish Steps, and if we got off the bus there was no guarantee we would get another one for at least an hour possibly more. After 2 hours and 15 minutes we ended up back where we started. This excusion cost us £57 plus £18 and all we saw was the inside of a coach. By the time we walked to the Vatican there was a three hour wait so we didn't get in. There was no shelter, nowhere to sit and it was getting hotter by the minute. I enjoyed the cuise but the excursions were over priced and in my opinion were not value for money. Yes I know they are optional but the information given out is not enough. We booked a Natural Beauty one and all we saw was trees. We stopped at a cafe which was situated at the top of a cliff accessed by a very steep climb with no handrails or some steps for the able bodied among us. I think it needs to be spelt out how active or moderately active these tours actually are (in the brochure please) Despite asking how much walking was involved before booking each excursion we were not told the truth. The newsletter that was delivered to the cabin did not arrive until afte 10pm each day. lighting in the cabin was not good enough to read at night. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Positives: Flight : on time and luggage dispatched efficiently .Boarding was well organised Cabin: 8th deck was what I expected but it was clean and the picture window was of a good size .The beds comfortable slept like babies ,must have ... Read More
Positives: Flight : on time and luggage dispatched efficiently .Boarding was well organised Cabin: 8th deck was what I expected but it was clean and the picture window was of a good size .The beds comfortable slept like babies ,must have liked the gentle rocking Food was plentiful, it was hot and always available. Staff mostly very helpful , our cabin steward very hard working and friendly Excursions: Trapani we went to the hilltop town of Eriche, had beautiful views and worth the money Ports: we got off at every port and had a look around, each one different and I loved getting up early to sit on deck as we were coming into port Last day in Palma the hop on hop off bus, it was good value for money and we got to see all the sights., Swipe in and out getting on and off the ship was very easy and efficient Sea legs: only took a little while to get my sea leg first breakfast I felt queasy but it passed after an hour or so and never returned. Tip: take sea sickness tabs with you in case The LESS than positives Photographer: would be lurking Every time you got off the ship and scowl at you, if you did not want a photo taken Food: as a non meat eater the fish bland and the Vege options were not very imaginative Pool- I overrun by kids Sun beds -he who dares wins Choppy seas we were unlucky with two nights but if you lay down it was ok .Excursions: only did two the first was great second in Barcelona was misleading, the sports tour, the football stadium was ok but drove quickly past the Olympic village not stopping as stated.... so this tour in my opinion was not value for money. Toilets: not able to cope with so many passengers and blocked easily so I tended to go to the cabin if needed. Overall summary this cruise was better than expected, we got what we paid for and we had a very enjoyable time. The reviews were very helpful Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
ask yourself three questions before you book this cruise. 1. am i posh? 2. do i like to pretend to be posh? 3. do i want this to be the holiday of a lifetime? if you answer yes to any of the above then dig a bit deeper into your pocket and ... Read More
ask yourself three questions before you book this cruise. 1. am i posh? 2. do i like to pretend to be posh? 3. do i want this to be the holiday of a lifetime? if you answer yes to any of the above then dig a bit deeper into your pocket and book yourself another cruise. we booked this just 10 days beforehand and got what we think was a good deal. we did not book any of the extras ie outside cabin, upgrade etc as we did not feel we would be in the cabin much anyway. really and truly who comes on a cruise to sit in their cabin?? we had never cruised before, although we have travelled extensively and really only booked it because of the price.we were not expecting a high standard as we knew that this was not the QE2 and boarded with an open mind. first impressions it was obvious that the cabins were a bit shabby, however everything was spotlessly clean and cabin was adequate, good enough size,plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, good shower etc. housekeeping staff were excellent tidying and cleaning 2-3 times daily. food - there are 3 restaurants - 1 has 24 hour dining, yes it has plastic plates, cups etc but quality of food was very good and there was a good variety and different themes every night. we ate 1 night in the oasis restaurant which is a la carte and you pay a surcharge for this. we paid 35 pounds for a wine and dine package which included a bottle of wine. food was excellent. all the staff on board are brilliant and seem genuinely happy which creates a great atmosphere. entertainment on board was a good quality with some excellent shows and wonderful musicians and singers. shore excursions - being keen cyclists we booked 2 of the cycle trips. the one through Rome was great fun, if a little scary at first but as part of a group of 13 we felt invincible. we covered 14 miles which took in all the main items of interest. we did not have time to enter any of the sites but as we had been to rome before it was fine. we also travelled to florence by train independantly but as the journey took 1 hour 20 mins, it did not leave a lot of time to see florence. in cannes and menorca we hired our own bikes onshore and this worked out very well. it was a great way to see a little bit more and to go off the beaten track. all in all we had a great week, wonderful weather and good fun. the average age on the cruise was about 60.maybe we were lucky in that we had no hitches at all and i suppose having never experienced a posh cruise we had no expectations. i thought it was a very good value cruise and you would be hard pressed to find an all inclusive resort holiday for the same price. we thought it was a very efficient and well run ship. so if you are easygoing and looking an informal casual cruise and for a bit of crack while still seeing all these great places and not breaking the bank then this is the cruise for you. it does exactly what it says on the tin. Read Less
Sail Date June 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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