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303 Island Escape Cruise Reviews

Returned last week from Our I.E. cruise. Read the reviews before we went so, went with an open mind. On arrival we were pleasantly surprised. The cabin (8502) was almost twice the size of the cabin we had last yr on the Ocean Countess. ... Read More
Returned last week from Our I.E. cruise. Read the reviews before we went so, went with an open mind. On arrival we were pleasantly surprised. The cabin (8502) was almost twice the size of the cabin we had last yr on the Ocean Countess. Very clean and lots of storage space. The bathroom was very dated but most importantly very clean. Only problem with our room was the air con didn't seem to work and it was terribly hot and stuffy. We did complain to the cabin boy but he said it was because it was hot outside! Suppose we should have followed it up but didn't bother.Food was lovely. Lot's of choice. Had breakfast in the beachcomber and dinner in the Island restaurant. To much choice to choose from - hence the weight gain!Pub was great except usually difficult to find a seat. Lookout bar was very quiet never very many in. Watched a couple of show's, which we enjoyed. Bounty lounge was a bit "butlin's" style entertainment, o.k. for a short while. Loved the sailaway bar when the weather wasn't to windy.All in all it was a great week. I think sometimes people expect a little to much for the money. Looking at the price of some of the other cruise ships, it's a budget cruise and you pay for what you get. Would I return - Yes! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
For all you first time Island Escape cruisers, Unless you fall asleep reading this I do hope the following will help put your mind at rest if you have booked a cruise on this ship and are now spending the remaining time logging onto Trip ... Read More
For all you first time Island Escape cruisers, Unless you fall asleep reading this I do hope the following will help put your mind at rest if you have booked a cruise on this ship and are now spending the remaining time logging onto Trip Adviser/Cruise Critic to read and worry about the negative reviews you have obviously been reading and probably thinking to yourselves "oh god, what have I done, booking this ship" ?!!! Well, first of all let me explain, I am not a seasoned cruiser. This is only my second cruise, both booked through Thompson Holidays. The first was with a fabulous ship called the Emerald (sadly no more) and five years later now with Island Escape.So like the majority of you, I too was reading every new review posted as the time neared for our holiday and by the time we set off was actually believing I was off to Butlins on Sea ! We arrived in Palma on 28th June 2011 around 11.30 am to find the tour rep waiting in the arrivals lounge. She quickly directed us to the transer coach. The trip to the port only took about 20 minutes so pleasant drive. The nice thing was that once we were at the port we didn't need to worry about our cases as they would be taken on board for us and deposited outside our allocated cabin within the hour. Anyway, first call was into the Port quay lounge where a glass of orange or iced water was freely available. Then we had to collect a envelope containing relevant information,on-board security card/cabin allocation/credit account form etc. You also have your security photo done as well. Don't worry, all this only takes about approx 10 minutes. So to the ship itself. Well, I took my first real look at it just prior to embarking. First impression? not bad at all. We all know that she was originally a Ferry but I really didn't expect her to be so big !! Once on board you need to go to the reception desk and either hand over your credit card for the details to be logged (no money is taken from your credit card at this time) or you may deposit £200 pounds sterling in cash. Most important,this is a british ship and everything is traded in pounds sterling only. Everything you purchase,except for the casino or bingo, is deducted from your credit card or cash deposited with reception. You sign for everything else with your signature plus cabin number and you are given a receipt every time and a bill is put under your cabin door at the end of the final night for you to check out and tally with your receipts. If you originally paid £200 cash and either have change to come or need to pay more, you need to go to reception. For those who handed over their credit card, if you are in agreement with all that you have bought during the trip (whichever, make sure you keep every receipt) there is no need to go to reception at all. We also purchased a key to the safe in our cabin which cost us £15 (although in the brochure and our holiday contract it stated £14) hey ho, I wasn't going to complain about the extra £1 though for fear of being labelled mean !! and we actually shared the safe with my brother and sister-in-law in the next cabin so it wasn't that expensive and gave peace of mind. Well onto our cabin, which was situated on Deck 9. We were shown to the cabin by our steward, Akash, a lovely young man who could not do enough for us. We had treated ourselves to a cabin with balcony for this our second cruise because on our first cruise we had an outside cabin where the window did not open and which I hated not having any fresh air so was really pleased that this time hubby and I could enjoy the doors being open at night (both of us being fresh air fiends)and especially because we wanted the pleasure of being able to sit down outside every morning and enjoy a coffee and a cigarette (yes, one of those dreadful smokers) but especially to be able to enjoy a glass of wine in our own private space and not have to fight for seats which I normally have to on every holiday I have been on !! The cabin itself was as one would expect, basic but absolutely spotless thanks to Akash, although the bathroom was a bit tired looking, it was again basic and small but perfectly adequete. it had a toilet, a sink and a shower with plenty of towels which were replaced every day or as required. The beds were nice and comfortable and there was plenty of wardroom and drawer space.There is also a fridge in the one wardrobe (safe is in the other wardrobe) cans of cold drinks and bottled water are there for you but you must tick the list to say what you have had and it will be deducted from your bill. Not much more I can say about the cabin, at least you now know that you wont enter and be disappointed. (all cabins have same facilities i.e. safe and fridge etc) Well our cases arrived within 20 minutes so after freshening up, obviously the first thing was to explore the ship (look away now all non-smokers)and find out where the designated smoking areas were,for all you smokers out there this is where they are. Deck 8 port and starboard side, The Mirage Bar Deck 10 Portside and Sailaway Bar Deck 11 aft. (See, know seafaring slang already). We were due to set sail at 11 pm that evening and on the hour everyone was excitedly waiting for the ropes to be let free and glasses clinked. Unfortunately because of a flight delayed from Edinburgh, this never happened and in the end everyone went to bed, we eventually sailed around 4.30 am in the morning so that was a bit of a damp squid. Never mind. Day one .....Restaurants. We decided to try the Beachcomber Restaurant on Deck 10 for breakfast, (a) because it was conveniently only one deck above us and (b) because there are no set meal times there we could go anytime upto 10.30/11 am. It was very nice, the food excellent and absolutely ideal if you have children as relaxed, easygoing and no pressure at all. Plenty of staff for help and guidance but they do not bother you at all. Everything is self-service but the queue is very quick as there are different food stations for different things. you can either eat inside or outside on the terrace. This restaurant is open 24 hours so really handy if one is peckish after midnight. We then decided to try the 2nd restaurant for lunch, The Island Restaurant. Now this one I really enjoyed. With this restaurant you have to queue just outside the restaurant (two queues) to be allocated seating, once you are seated, a waiter will automatically fill your glass with iced water and ask if you want a drink? If, like us, you are on All-Inclusive, you can only order wine by the glass, have a beer (San Miguel or Boddingtons)or if ordering a short, make sure you ask for the short with a splash of whatever mixer you want (if you do not use that word "splash" you may be charged for the mixer ! If you want branded shorts it costs 10p more than their own european labels so very good. My tipple is Gin and Tonic so I ordered Gordons with Schweppes which cost me 10p and 70p respectively but the tin of Schweppes was enough for two drinks. Hubby was happy with his San Miguel. Anyway I digress, back to the Island Restaurant..... again once you have ordered your drink, it is again self service and you go along and get your own lunch but the atmosphere, ambiance and quality of service is oh so nice in there. After that first day, we did breakfast in the Beachcomber (although I heard that breakfast in the Island was superb and superior) up to you of course) and Dinner in the Island Restaurant all week. We never once bothered with the Oasis Restaurant where one has to pay extra. Why would we ?? The bars...... Now, as I said,most important that if you are all-inclusive and ordering shorts you make sure when mentioning the mix to go with it that you ask for a "splash of....." to ensure you not charged for more. The drinks can work out very expensive off your account otherwise. Oh and the disappointing news is that unlike our first cruise when we also went all-inclusive, apart from when you use the Beachcomber and the Island restaurants to have coffee,(the coffee is ever so strong) you will have to pay for all other coffees in the bars and the Brazilia coffee shop. Hubby and I love Latte or Cappucinno and these were £2.80 or £2.90 respectively every time, charged to the account. Telling you this as most people are on a budget and money counts. The shows on board are brilliant and West End quality. Well, apart from the ports of call which may be different from ours so won't bother you with them (fabulous), not much else to tell you except not to take any notice of the bad reviews. Hubby and I are at an age where we demand value and comfort for money paid for our holiday and if there was anything wrong I would be the first to tell you. Enjoy your cruise. We had a great time. Don't expect P&O luxury but again, don't expect all the bad review scenario, these have obviously come from people who expect the same service but have only paid half the price. You have my word that you have nothing to worry about. Every member of staff is eager and willing to ensure you have the time of your life and the food is superb. Enjoy your Cruise. Ajuaccio - Fabulous, the beaches are out of this world. Rome - Excursion. day trip too long. If they could have done a 1/2 day it would have been better. Florence - didn't bother as another day long trip the day after being shattered from the Rome Trip. Went instead on a lovely 1/2 day Wine Tasting in Tuscany. Wonderful trip and back on board by 1.30 pm lunchtime. Cannes - With trepidition because Tender had to be boarded to get ashore but not too bad at all. Cannes is absolutely beautiful. Mahon - Old stomping ground and know it well. Only thing that got to me was with my crock knee and hubbys both knees, the 100 steps to the town was a flippin nightmare but oh so worth it once there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This ship (Island Escape) is tired... very dated, stuck in the 70's.. It was a ferry in its previous life and I think it should have stayed that way. There was knockings every night whilst you tried to sleep.. if the weather was ... Read More
This ship (Island Escape) is tired... very dated, stuck in the 70's.. It was a ferry in its previous life and I think it should have stayed that way. There was knockings every night whilst you tried to sleep.. if the weather was slightly windy or choppy then the boat rocked!! One evening sailing off it vibrated so much the ceiling started to fall down around the Bounty bar.. they must be used to it as the entertainer just held the ceiling up and continued with the quiz!!!! Too many people on board at any one time for the size of facilities, struggled everyday with seats (never mind Sunbeds) on decks, tables in restaurants, on occassions having to leave as no room to sit and eat. If you like plastic plates, mugs, formica tables and chaos then this was the restaurant for you! Other restaurant is still self service - but not open enough hours is often closed for when trips arrive back on ship. Most trips are planned badly where they seem to leave and come back the same time. Couldnt even get in to see shows - as again not enough seats for everyone and they had two sittings for shows... SO to be blunt ... we were very disappointed in this cruise it wasnt cheap..and in our eyes.. WASNT WORTH IT. BE WARNED ... IF YOU DON WANT A CRUISE ON A FERRY THEN DONT BOOK THIS SO CALLED CRUISE LINER (HAHA)!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This is our second cruise and a last minute decision so no time to review the ship. First the cons: Disappointed as ship has seen better days cabin-wise and in some other areas. Entertainment was dire and outdated apart from the comedy ... Read More
This is our second cruise and a last minute decision so no time to review the ship. First the cons: Disappointed as ship has seen better days cabin-wise and in some other areas. Entertainment was dire and outdated apart from the comedy magician who was a huge laugh. Only one small pool and very cramped sunbed areas. We were misinformed about what the drinks package included back in the UK but the Guest desk explained it all to our satisfaction. NO bottled cider / beer / Smirnoff Ice / alcopops are included. A choice of Stella or Boddys on draught (but no cider) but both red and white wine were good. Best to top up cocktails with a branded vodka for 10p! The pros: Loved the ports we visited- the main reason we chose this cruise Crew show was great - involving staff from different sections of the ship doing a turn and senior officers joining in!! Food was good (the soups and pasta excellent), Beds extremely comfy and our steward Andrew was every helpful and polite. Overall good value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We have travelled many times before never with the same cruise line as we are still looking for the ideal cruise ship. Each one offers something more or less than the others. All in all our experience aboard Island Escape was a pleasant ... Read More
We have travelled many times before never with the same cruise line as we are still looking for the ideal cruise ship. Each one offers something more or less than the others. All in all our experience aboard Island Escape was a pleasant surprise. Old , Old Ship? Yes Shabby cabin? Yes We had a deluxe balcony, it was like a flash back to the 60's Love Boat! Food? Pretty regular except when we ate in the dining room at an extra cost and that was excellent. But the whole experience was made by the fabulous staff.They were all so friendly and welcoming , they really made us feel part of one big happy family and went out of their way to compensate for the shortfall of the ship. I can understand why many people repeat with Thomson, we would definitely go with them again, but on a different ship!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We had been on one cruise prior to the Island Escape. This was on Thomsons Spirit 4 weeks earlier. Although we enjoyed it, we felt the Spirit was a lot more refined and the Entertainment was better. The Island Escape Entertainment Team ... Read More
We had been on one cruise prior to the Island Escape. This was on Thomsons Spirit 4 weeks earlier. Although we enjoyed it, we felt the Spirit was a lot more refined and the Entertainment was better. The Island Escape Entertainment Team tend to treat you like kids, expecting you to laugh at Batman Outfits etc. The game shows were not very thought out. The Shows in the Ocean were great, but not very long. The Stand up comedian and Tom Jones Tribute acts were good fun and really enjoyable. The Spirit has Captain's night, but the Island Escape has nothing similar, quite disappointed. The Spirit has silver service restaurant, although the Island Escape has nice restaurant with tablecloths etc, it is still self service,it was such hard work to navigate around the restaurant and squeeze past other diners on our table it was easier to eat in the Beachcomer. Cabins very small, but adequate and clean, with plenty of towels. All Staff really nice and helpful and other passengers friendly. Only thing better on the Island Escape was the bread, the bread on the Spirit was disgusting. All other food great on both, including afternoon scones etc. The Spirit had all nice white china crockery, but the Island Escape had all melamine plates and cups, but you got used to them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our first cruise and we were very excited about it, and I have to say we were not disappointed in the slightest. The Island Escape is advertised as a relaxed informal cruise ship and we found this is exactly what it was. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were very excited about it, and I have to say we were not disappointed in the slightest. The Island Escape is advertised as a relaxed informal cruise ship and we found this is exactly what it was. From the moment we embarked in Palma we found everyone fantastic, from the cabin steward,cleaners, entertainers, bar staff and crew to be the friendliest we have ever come across. We have been to lots of All inclusive hotels round the world and have never found anything better than the Island Escape. Embarkation at Palma was very smooth and fast, we were on-board before we knew it, this was also the case at all Ports we visited. The Excursions we went on were, Sardinia Emerald coast, Sporting Barcelona and Monaco & Monte Carlo, all were very well organised and the guides very Knowledgeable. They were all very enjoyable, I loved Sardinia and would like to visit this beautiful place in the future, my husband loved the Barcelona and Monaco tours, we were very lucky on both these trips with the Champions League winners having paraded round Barcelona the day before we arrived, but while we were at the Nou Camp the players arrived for official photo shoots and even tho' the tour was stopped we managed to see them having there photos taken on the pitch from a distance. Also with Monaco we visited a week after the Grand Prix and as such all the stands and flags etc were still erected. Even the advertising hoardings were still in place. It made the visit even more special. With regards the food on board I don't know how anyone could make a complaint as we found it both varied and hot. We did use both beachcomber and the Island restaurant, we did prefer the Island as we like to get a bit dressed up for dinner and the beachcomber was definitely more relaxed. The food in both was excellent. We did not use the Oasis restaurant as we were very happy with Island. The bars and theatre were all excellent with very good service, sometimes when they were busy it may have taken a few minutes to be served but as the staff are so accommodating you don't mind a little wait. The entertainment on board is absolutely outstanding the Show team are very talented and Benjamin and Sophie are outstanding singers, the dancers could be in any west-end show and so nice and seemed very genuine boys and girls, they work very hard to make the passengers happy. A special mention must go out to Kerri, Kate & Ginger Dan they really did make our holiday so enjoyable. I think the one and only thing that could be better is the swimming pool it is very small and once the kids club has finished it is full of children. If this was bigger or even if there was a second pool for adults only it would be much appreciated. All in All this is the best holiday we have had and would come back to the Island Escape in a heartbeat. We are already looking at next years cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We had never cruised before and had heard wonderful things about cruising from friends so decided to give it a try, Our travel agent talked us into a trip on the island escape and we started to look forward to the cruise....Then I started ... Read More
We had never cruised before and had heard wonderful things about cruising from friends so decided to give it a try, Our travel agent talked us into a trip on the island escape and we started to look forward to the cruise....Then I started to read the reviews on cruise critic and began to worry if we had done the right thing!!! I convinced myself that it cant be that bad and we all know that review sites such as this generally have the complaints more than praise but i have never been so wrong in my life!!! Imagine a 2 star Spanish hotel but with a engine and hull!!! and you have the Island Escape Don't get me wrong most of the staff were friendly ( except customer services ) and the evening entertainment shows were quite good but it ends there The ship itself is completely run down and dirty, beds that collapse under you in the middle of the night, cabins that stink of god knows what but its worse than sewage, Stains on the carpets that look like road kill.....etc etc etc We actually spoke with the captain one day and asked him about the general state of the ship, He told us that there is only 10 Years life left in the boat and that the management were squeezing every penny out of her before it was scrapped and that no money would be spent on the customer area's in the time she had left, He was just as unhappy as the passengers but I think he was just serving his time until his retirement and I actually felt sorry for him in the end Everything you read on cruise critic about this ship is TRUE so please take my advice and don't make the same mistake we did Spend your money wisely Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Arrival:Very smooth transfer from Exeter to Tenerife. Flights on time, no problems whatsoever. We were clearly directed to the coach which transferred us the 40 minutes to the ship. On arrival at the ship we 'checked in' and put ... Read More
Arrival:Very smooth transfer from Exeter to Tenerife. Flights on time, no problems whatsoever. We were clearly directed to the coach which transferred us the 40 minutes to the ship. On arrival at the ship we 'checked in' and put room number tags on our luggage that had been taken from the terminal to outside the ship. Then we boarded the ship and our luggage was delivered to our cabin no more than 30 minutes later.Cabin:Our cabin was in the centre inside of deck 4 and had a very loud constant noise, however while sometimes irritating on the whole we could sleep through it as it was constant. The cabin was on the small size but it was adequate for two people as we only used it to sleep. If I were to cruise again, I would opt for an outside cabin as I found it disorientating to wake up in the pitch black! The cabin was always kept immaculately by our room steward (Flaviano) who visited the cabin at least twice a day and also made some towel sculptures! The only minor problems with the cabin was that a light was flickering and that the bathroom door handle was loose but this was promptly fixed after reporting it. Our cabin had two beds laid out in an L shape, two wardrobes, a desk and a bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower. The beds were not uncomfortable but we did find the plastic under sheets somewhat irritating.Crew:The crew on board the Island Escape can not be faulted. They work so hard to ensure you have a wonderful holiday and cannot do enough for you. At the end of the week you have the opportunity to nominate the staff you feel have gone the extra mile.Entertainment:This was excellent. Firstly, the show team are exceptionally talented. We went to most of the shows they put on in the ship theatre and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The bounty lounge team are hilarious and fantastic entertainment was provided throughout the week.Food:We ate in the Beachcomber restaurant in the mornings and the Island restaurant in the evenings. The beachcomber is more cafe style with plastic cups and plates and you are served at a buffet by the crew. The Island restaurant is a self service buffet but you have waiters at the tables and proper plates! The food in both was much the same and a huge variety available. The only 2 criticisms I have is that the Indian themed dishes were too bland for us, however, I appreciate that they have a huge number of taste buds to cater for and that there were not enough chocolate desserts for this chocoholic! You can eat as much as you want and in whatever combination you want to eat it.Drink:We were not all inclusive and found the drinks to be very reasonably priced with a glass of wine to be approx £3 and a cocktail to be £2.40ish. A bottle of wine was around £11. You are constantly being offered drinks by the bar staff-as we had not done a cruise before, it took us a night to realise that you can enter the bounty lounge, theatre etc and not have to buy a drink! Also, you can take these drinks from venue to venue and also out on the decks/ to your cabin etc. We found no problem with buying wine after a wine tasting session and taking it back onto the boat, while we bought it as souvenirs, our hand luggage was not checked or scanned at any point on boarding the boat so I would think there was nothing to stop a guest buying alcohol in port and taking it on the boat.The weather:Ok, so I cant base a review on the weather! I will say though that whilst most of the week was beautiful sunshine, the odd day was a little rainy and we were not bored on ship as there is such a variety of entertainment going throughout the day and evening. Only one night was particularly rocky but this did not cause us any problems.Excursions:We took Thomson shore excursions in every port as we did not know the Islands nor feel confident enough to arrange them. Maps of every port with directions to places of interest were freely provided each day at the reception. Every port and island were so different with totally different landscapes. (I have completed 'port reviews' but could not find Gran Canaria or Morocco in the list! Sorry!) We found it unable to do an excursion in Tenerife because of our flight times. In Gran Canaria we visited Puerto Mogan (Little Venice). This was very beautiful and the tour guide was lovely and informative. We also had a 15 minute photo stop at Maspalomas sand dunes. We feel we could have done with more time in both places, however we would recommend this excursion. In Las Palmas, we did the volcano and wine trip. This was disappointing as the fog was so thick we couldn't see the volcano at all and the walk around it was closed. The visitors centre is very poor and the information stands are written in Spanish. We also found the tour guide to be very nice however did not provide us with much information.I would not recommend this excursion if the weather is as bad as it was for us! In Madeira we did the botanical gardens and cable car. Madeira is very pretty and we enjoyed both of these aspects. The trip to the market in Funchal was unenjoyable. The prices were extortionate and it was disappointing. We had 30 minutes in the botanical gardens and and hour in the market! In Agadir we did the Berber Citadel excursion. We found Agadir to look very dirty with litter everywhere and the people in the market seemed to be very hostile. We were warned not to take pictures and we felt very much like a tourist attraction as we were stared at! However, it was an interesting experience to have had. The Berber citadel was beautiful and the landscape in Morocco is breathtaking. The tour guide was lovely and very informative. I would recommend this excursion but stick close to the group and your guide! Lanzarote was our favourite port. As the excursion did not leave until the afternoon we paid £4 for a return ticket for the shuttle bus into town. There were 5 buses departing every 10 minutes on a circular route and there was plenty of room. There was a fantastic market on the road on the seafront. We then did the Fire Mountain and Camel ride excursion. This was the highlight of our holiday. The tour guide was very funny and knowledgeable, the scenery was breathtaking, the camel ride was an amazing experience and the wine was the nicest Ive ever tasted! This excursion has a thumbs up from us. We also thought it was excellent value for money.Other:The chat leaflet was put under our door each evening and was very informative: from a weather forecast, to notices, to restaurant info, to the entertainment schedule. It was lovely to always know what was going on!On the day at sea we found that we spent 3 hours walking in circles to find a sunbed. Whilst there are more than enough sunbeds and more than enough deck space on 'normal' days, on this particular day many people left towels to reserve sunbeds and went off for lunch etc. We feel this wouldn't have been such a problem if people hadn't of done this.We did not use the beauty centre or the gym but they both appeared to be well equipped-the gym was free to use.There are hand sanitizers all over the ship which you are strongly encouraged to use. We thought this was an excellent idea.The ship operates a cashless system, meaning you either make a cash deposit or give your card details at the start of your holiday and are given a barcoded card that is scanned to create a 'tab' system. We thought this was excellent as it meant you did not need to carry cash onboard ship. You were given reciepts for every purchase and an itemised bill was put in your cabin halfway through the week. These cards are scanned when leaving and returning to the ship.Overall:This was a fantastic experience and very good value for money. We would definately cruise again and would probably stay on this ship again (if we visited different destinations!, however we would choose rooms away from the engines and with an outside window! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
After a great flight and very easy and quick embarkation we boarded the ship to find our cabin (5582) was in a great position on the 5th deck near the customer relations desk. Yes the cabin was small, and simply furnished but it was quite ... Read More
After a great flight and very easy and quick embarkation we boarded the ship to find our cabin (5582) was in a great position on the 5th deck near the customer relations desk. Yes the cabin was small, and simply furnished but it was quite adequate for the amount of time we would be spending in it. The single beds were narrow but we slept very well. We had read derogatory reviews about the bathrooms - admittedly it wasn't luxurious but spotlessly clean and there were fresh towels each day. We were very glad to have paid extra to have an outside cabin it being exciting to wake up and see where we had arrived at, what the weather was like and to see the rolling seas. The size of the ship was about right for us. We soon got our bearings and got about very easily. When docked at Funchal we were next to an MSC ship which made the Island Escape look tiny! There were 3 restaurants- but we opted for the, open 24 hours a day, Beachcomber. The quality and choice of food was excellent and we enjoyed the informality. If we wanted to take our food on deck to admire the view while we ate - we could. My pre-cruise intentions of not succumbing to afternoon tea didn't last long. At 4 o clock we enjoyed the delights of freshly baked scones and cakes which we ate in the sunshine. People have sniffily commented on the 'plastic plates' - they were actually melamine and no way made our lovely meals less enjoyable. We had paid for the drinks package which was expensive at £378 between us. The bar prices were comparable to home and I don't think we really got our moneys worth. It was our first time so we weren't to know. The entertainment was excellent. We went to the Ocean theatre most evenings and the production, costumes and vocals were of a very high standard. Most of the shows were musicals but there was also a comedian and tribute act which were excellent too. Quizzes and game shows were often on in the Bounty lounge and a selection of singers in one of the bars. We were spoilt for choice. The trips were good value and we opted for half day ones so we would have the afternoons on the ship. The trip to Gran Canaria was one of the least enjoyable as there was a big emphasis on Christopher Columbus which got abit boring in the end - though the guide certainly knew her stuff. In retrospect the Maspalomas/ Puerto Mogan one may have been preferable. Madeira was beautiful and we found the views from the cable car stunning. Unfortunately we didn't have time for a toboggan ride as there was quite a queue and and not enough time as we were due back at the coach. Maybe it would have been better to have got about independently in Madeira to have had more time. One place I wouldnt have wanted to travel independently was Morocco. We were glad to have had the safety of an organised tour. I was fascinated by the country but it was hot, dirty and like stepping back in time. The locals were always asking for money and shopping in the souk was not an enjoyable experience - the traders pestering us constantly. The crew on the ship were great. 31 different nationalities and they were all helpful polite and attentive. We had a wonderful holiday. We wanted an informal cruise, good food, interesting places and sunshine and the Island Escape ticked all the boxes. Cant wait to sail on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
- Our party consisted of the ages 13,18,50, 56,77 and 85 - We had all cruised 5 times before with Thomson ,twice before on this ship -We were all disappointed with the tired looking ship ,the shower was looking tatty,the ... Read More
- Our party consisted of the ages 13,18,50, 56,77 and 85 - We had all cruised 5 times before with Thomson ,twice before on this ship -We were all disappointed with the tired looking ship ,the shower was looking tatty,the refit has not extended to the cabins -Two nights of entertainment were repeated the shows were excellent but we were only onboard for 7 nights so can't understand how this happened! -The drinks we find reasonable -at normal pub prices -The ship was very crowded it is very hard to find a sunbed on the day at sea -This ship struggled with the rough seas most days on the Atlantic -being a converted ferry .I think it should be kept for the Med or Red sea routes only. -We have always loved our Thomson cruises ,we love the shows and the food but there will have to be some improvements made before we go again Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
First the Good:Entertainment team and acts excellent, Passengers very friendlythats it.Now the rest:Ship; past its sell by date, could not cope with any sought of wind or swell,rocking everytime out of port, lots of complaints from ... Read More
First the Good:Entertainment team and acts excellent, Passengers very friendlythats it.Now the rest:Ship; past its sell by date, could not cope with any sought of wind or swell,rocking everytime out of port, lots of complaints from passengers.Carpets in public areas thread bare and needs a coat of paint(inside areas)Cabin: So called premier: Carpets filthy, tv not working, air con not working all in first 15 mins. Lame excuses for air con and tv got engineer myself to fix air con and IT buff to install new lead to TV.Could not open curtains as outside window were seats for smokers no peace from around 6.30 am till late.Halfway during cruise we woke to air con pumping class out soot. Cabin steward was given the job of fixing and cleaning carpets. Good job he was top boy.Food: basic same every day.All Inclusive: Having got AI as part of deal did not realise that most of ship were not on AI, they were offered it at around £180. pw.Could get basics and ship brands but could not get Tea or Coffee in Bistro absolutley ridiculous.Have cruise on thomson,s other ships and will again but will never set foot on the Escape again Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
sailed on island escape march 25th 2011 booked a de-luxe cabin 9034 if this was de-luxe i would hate to see the rest of them you had to move the bed to get into the toilet the decor was dreary and poor the toilet decor was as when the ship ... Read More
sailed on island escape march 25th 2011 booked a de-luxe cabin 9034 if this was de-luxe i would hate to see the rest of them you had to move the bed to get into the toilet the decor was dreary and poor the toilet decor was as when the ship was built the door of the cabin had more dents than a stock car.the noise in the morning when deck hands started must have been the alarm call for all of deck 9spoke to many others on deck 9 and they also lodged complaints 1 person had no doors on wardrobe just curtains and it was supposed to be deluxe.although the sea was calm throughout the voyage the ship rolled port then starboard then it would shudder this was only felt on decks 8&9during the night making people seasick and losing sleepmy wife and i have stayed in better caravans.saled on the dream last december only thing wrong there was the food was always cold except the soupi will never sail with thomsons again in fact i will never holiday with them again even cancelled my sept 11 holiday would have cancelled july as well if not taken grandsonas for nick longman at luton he couldn't care less in fact he wast'n even man enough to answer my letter Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I think this cruise gets bad reviews for the following reasons.People paid too much for this cruise. The price changes week by week and you need to wait a bag yourself a bargain, if you pay Royal caribbean prices you will be upset.The ship ... Read More
I think this cruise gets bad reviews for the following reasons.People paid too much for this cruise. The price changes week by week and you need to wait a bag yourself a bargain, if you pay Royal caribbean prices you will be upset.The ship did not get a major refirb.Get over it, basically the ship is a little scruffy but not that bad.The hard winter was not only in the UK. Reports are that this year the weather on the ship has been patchy between Christmas and March, We sailed March 18th and had lovely weather but if the sky had been grey then maybe my review would have been more harsh.Also if you fall into the category of the type of person who considers themselves just a little above the rest,then do a little more saving for the Queen Mary.Every day except one you wake up at a new port. The food is fine and the drinks are pub prices.At no time during the week did I feel bored.The passengers are friendly and the service is excellent.The ship got the single people together and it was so nice to see how they had such a lovely holiday.We did the Thomson's Dolphin trip in Grand Canaria.We failed to see any Dolphins but that is unusual. It was a nice outing and if we had seen Dolphins would have been magical.We also did the Taroudant trip in Morocco this was good.The guide took us through the souk which was amazing, then we got left to do our own thing for 20 minutes, which was 19 minutes too long.Also you are back to the ship by 1pm for sunbathing.My advice, avoid any trip with souk in the title. The singles did the massa 4x4 and raved about it,they considered it worth the 52 pounds.We did our own thing in Madeira.We walked to the cable cars and did the Botanical gardens(you get a package ticket 28 euros) then walked to Blandy's.You get a selection of Madeira samples for 4 euros, then we did a tour for 5 euros and it was super.At Santa Cruise De La Palma you will find O Daley Street at the end of the harbour, it is a lovely walk, follow quite a way and you come to a life size Santa Maria, it is a museum only three euros,public toilets by the entrance, you can then walk back along the coast.We did the Manriques Masterpieces trip in Lanzarote and had a great time. Take your driving licence if you want to do quad biking. Take an American power adaptor.( Two flat pins)Take a hair dryer. They provide beach towels.Wifi is available but no idea on cost. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We have just got back from the Island escape in the Canaries, after the phone call on the Friday ( we were travelling on Monday 14th February) to say that we weren't going to be on the Island escape due to refurb we would be given ... Read More
We have just got back from the Island escape in the Canaries, after the phone call on the Friday ( we were travelling on Monday 14th February) to say that we weren't going to be on the Island escape due to refurb we would be given £100 per couple on board credit and that we would be on Thomson Spirit, i thought OK 2 ships in a week not too much hassle. We arrived checked in OK now we have booked outside 3/4 deck they have just given me 2 deck so i thought OK i will politely ask why this has happened i know it is just 1 or 2 decks but then i have paid for it. The head customer relations who was British was quite understanding and told us that we would be definately on deck 3/4 when we get on Island escape, they also offered a free trip for the inconvenience and a bottle of house champagne to both our rooms.(2 couples travelling). Alot of people who had arrived on the previous Friday were told at the airport with no onboard credit, we actually met someone who was meant to be on deck 8 and were put on deck 1 needless to say they weren't too happy. Now to compare the ships both were OK supposedly the Island Escape just had a refurb hence why we didn't get on on Monday. Yes both ships were clean but for refurb didn't notice in cabin quite basic with alot of sealant around shower. Not that you spend that much time in your cabin. We were on all inclusive OK I'm a lager drinker so on the Spirit it is San Miguel just bearable on the Island escape it is Stella which to me is one of the worst beers out couldn't drink, why do Thomson not do normal lager Fosters, Carlsberg, Carling oh yes you can pay for a bottle which sort of defeats the object of all inclusive, shorts were OK and the wife like the cocktails. On the Spirit you would have cans of coke, sprite etc on the Island Escape would be a plastic cup if you wanted a can you would have to pay for it, i saw Strongbow cider on draught on the Island escape asked if that was on the all inclusive NO £3.20 a pint had a pint because i couldn't drink the Stella, but really why can't that be all inclusive???? Food OK both have 2 restaurants plus an a la carte( which you pay extra OK it is a treat you may be celebrating something)both have buffet style restaurants but on the Spirit yo can get dressed up and go downstairs to waiter served choice menu which actually was OK, on the Island Escape you can also get dressed up and go downstairs to a buffet trying to get the waiter to give you a glass of water was hard enough but when you see people dressed up in tracksuit bottoms and t-shirt ( i know you are on holiday and can wear what you like but come on night time don't you like to get a little bit dressed up?), food was average on this and so was the Beachcomber. Entertainment on both ships wasn't too bad the band Fuse were on both ships just got moved across they were ok but the lead singer tried to sing songs that were too powerful for her some songs OK. If you go to the pub on the Island Escape this is pretty good the singer is very good, and the pianist singer excellent voice in my opinion certainly gets your feet tapping, guest act we had a comedian very good but most of his patter was the same from 2 years ago when we did this trip, we had a Neil Diamond look a like he was pretty good. On the Island escape they have a sports bar, football shirts, 3 telly's, so i thought they may have shown the game on Sunday after all when you book it and see it you imagine they show the football the answer is NO you will be lucky to see the result. The games they played with the cruise host was good for a laugh and you could win an holiday bag (we did) woo hoo i hear you say, better than the tin of mints we won on last cruise. The casino we enjoy you are on holiday so enjoy responsibly we did quite well we didn't lose but we had fun. Trips ashore we didn't pay to go on any excursions to us it is a walkabout beach and then a beer with plenty of photos taken, ( whilst i am on the subject of photos some people like their photos taken but on ship there is only 1 that you need and that is for your security, everywhere you look photographer trying to cash in getting on ship, getting off ship, having dinner, on deck a polite NO does the trick). Now i have done the Canaries 3 times with Thomson last 2 we embarked at Tenerife somehow on both occassions couldn't berth at Lanzarote this trip as mentioned earlier embarked at Madeira couldn't berth at Morocco which too me is one of my highlights so another day at sea, just wondering do they do this on every trip!!!!???? all in all every time we got off ship we had a good time and the weather was fantastically hot. We slept better on the Island escape more down to alcohol intake but the beds were comfier the only problem being is the constant noise of the ship and every night the sea was a little choppy, quite scary when stood outside having a ciggie looking at the choppy sea then above seeing lifeboats....certain film come to mind? Now to finish as my headline says SMOKERS BEWARE this to me is a bit of a con they will sell you on board as many cigarettes as you can afford £30 for 400 anyway i bought 4 cartons total 1600 when you pay obviously goes onto your cabin OK you pack your cases ( i know it is a risk but if you are a smoker this is a good deal) anyway if you get off at Madeira like we did you will get stopped at Customs and immigration as soon as you step off ship they are aware who has brought what with all cabins so please be aware, now yes pretty scary and intimidating you are allowed 200 cigarettes per person we also had 10 packs baccy he was OK with this but the other 1200 we could give back or pay the tax, we paid the tax which was 100 ish euros still a good deal working out a roughly £2.80 a packet they give you a piece of paper tell you that there will be no hassles at airport and away you go, did i buy any tobacco or cigarettes at airport NO did i get checked at customs at Exeter airport NO....never mind. Anyway we had a brilliant time all in all if there is any pointers which help you makes me happy, any questions feel free to ask.....cheers Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
What a horrible experience. This ship was once a American ferry and is in need of a total make over. I was expecting something nice as I had been told there had been a make over in Nov 2010. The crew told us there had been millions ... Read More
What a horrible experience. This ship was once a American ferry and is in need of a total make over. I was expecting something nice as I had been told there had been a make over in Nov 2010. The crew told us there had been millions spent on the engines but not the cabins. The cabin was tiny and we had to share our deck with the crew, they were coming and going all night, I had to go out in the middle of the night to tell them to shut up! The make over in my opinion, was NOT were it is most needed in the area of the accommodation. It was the worst accommodation I have had ever experienced. The bedding was smelly, I had to ask for it to be replaced. The bed cover was so smelly that I wouldn't use it, the sheets were so old and thin I could see the mattress easily. The carpets were stained and tread bare in places. The ship is run down and tired. The cabin sink plug didn't work (my husband found it hard to shave) the shower leaked and hard to control I almost got burnt,the TV was very old and the TV control was broken, the curtains were tatty, the walls were marked and stained and the walls are paper thin. Some of the towels were stained. We looked at other rooms which were of the same standard, a few of the balcony rooms have new carpet (lucky for them). The Island escape is in a sad way. I couldn't wait to get off. I could not recommend this ship to anyone. I wasn't expecting a fancy ship but I didn't expect it to be so run down. The food was OK as far as buffet food goes but it could have been warmer. The the bright side, the service was out standing! The best I have ever experience any where. You might be thinking that the cabin isn't so important but it is to me. It wasn't really dirty as the cabin crew work so hard but it didn't smell clean and it looked like a 1950's holiday camp. I would go on this ship again even if it was FREE! Happy sailing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Background: Cruise week commencing 18 Feb 2001. Island Escape (IE) has been in dry dock during the winter, and missed her first week of resumed duty for undisclosed reasons. So this was her first real week of duty after dry dock. ... Read More
Background: Cruise week commencing 18 Feb 2001. Island Escape (IE) has been in dry dock during the winter, and missed her first week of resumed duty for undisclosed reasons. So this was her first real week of duty after dry dock. I've previously sailed with Royal Caribbean (Splendour of the Seas) and P&O (Aurora, Oceana and Azura) Overall opinion: I would only travel on this ship again if the itinerary and/or price were very, very attractive. The ship: Some effort seems to have been made to revitalize some public areas of the ship. Some of the flooring is new. Some of the seats look to be fairly new. The windows could all do with a clean (inside and out.) Most of the odd smells of the first couple of days disappeared - but there is a whiff of diesel on deck which reminds me of car ferries. The Lookout was pretty awful for much of the week. I think that the A/C had failed, so it was hot and had some strange odours. The noise from various engines and other plant on deck is considerably noisier than anything else I've heard elsewhere. The ship rolls and pitches more than anything that I've been on before. I accept, though, that this cruise was around the Canaries in February (however, the winds were considerably less than I've experienced on other ships in the BoB - and they seemed a lot more stable.) When the ship is rolling or pitching (i.e. whenever it is at sea) it creaks, groans and bangs. I'm not talking about the odd coat hanger rattling - the whole ceiling graunches through the night. Much of the ship could do with a darn good clean. You really don't have to look hard to find something which has some sort of mark or blemish which could easily be wiped off. The cabins: Everything that I've read in the reviews holds true. Our cabin (7010) was pretty shabby. There was a lot of evidence of former fittings - holes poorly filled in. I don't think that the grubby box which looked like a thermostat was actually connected to any air conditioning equipment. The bathrooms have not been refurbished. Cabins on deck 7 near to the middle of the ship are near to The Sundowner, which plays music ('live' with recorded accompaniment) late into the evening. I'm guessing that the bow thrusters need power from a generator which is located somewhere at the front of the ship. This is a noisy diesel engine, but fortunately, it only runs when arriving at or leaving from port. There was a fearsome banging at the front of the ship when at sea (i.e. mostly at night) - but that disappeared half way through our trip, so the thing that was making the noise was either fastened down, or it fell off into the sea. But things are not all bad. The bathroom in cabin 7010 (and possibly others - I didn't check) has a new shower curtain! Our cabin steward was excellent. It is possible that IE has developed the first whisper-quiet bathroom fan. The food: I only ate in the self-service restaurants. As far as I could tell, they all had the same menu. I tried to get into the Oasis restaurant twice (cover charge, menu which offered hope of good food.) One night, I arrived at 7pm without a reservation, and was told that they were fully booked. At about 8pm, I returned, and found that half the tables were empty. The booking sheet was, er, available for inspection, and it showed that they had 34 (might have been 35 or 36) bookings. I tried to book for another night, and was again told that they were fully booked - but again, on the night, the restaurant was half empty. So it appears that seating is extremely limited (I wonder... why?) It would be a lie to say that the food in the self service restaurants was cold. But it would be a lie to say that it was hot either. The food that I ate was above the standard that I'd expect from a school or hospital. I thought that the "whole meal experience" was very poor. Teen Club: Was a dark, locked, room at 8pm on a Saturday evening. Tours: We didn't do any of the IE coach tours. We were delighted to find that there's a bike-tour concession on board, and went on some of those tours. There were excellent, and improved the whole-holiday experience significantly. Conclusion: For me, the ship lived down to the expectations that were set by the negative reviews on this site. The cruise experience is cheap and cheerful. I'd suggest: go with low expectations, and build from that, and only cruise on IE if the price and itinerary make you salivate, otherwise, choose a different brand. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
A group of 6 of us left for a cruise on the Island Escape around the Canary Islands, Madeira, and Morocco on 18 February, 2011. All of us, except for one, had cruised before, with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. I had read reviews of ... Read More
A group of 6 of us left for a cruise on the Island Escape around the Canary Islands, Madeira, and Morocco on 18 February, 2011. All of us, except for one, had cruised before, with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. I had read reviews of the Island Escape beforehand and my expectations were LOW - I was expecting a hostel on water, at best. We got a great deal, so we decided to give it a shot. Our first impression of the ship was about as expected. It LOOKS like a ferry from the outside. The inside was clean, but definitely aged and in need of a refresher. My cabin was clean and in good working order. The beds were comfortable enough, the shower was ok (little pressure and on 3 days of the cruise we were without hot water, but that was fixed immediately when I called reception). The tv in the room was ANCIENT and all the furnishings were tired. The other two rooms our party members had had very poor beds (springs poking into their backs all night) and the bathrooms were falling apart (holes in the floor, black tile in the shower...). The food was better than expected. We tended to eat at the 24 hour buffet for breakfast and lunch, and then at the sit down restaurant for dinner, with one stop at the Oasis a la carte restaurant. The food was plentiful, tasted great, and was varied enough. Breakfasts were repetitive, but I didn't care too much. Dinners had theme nights and the food was great. The Oasis restaurant was spectacular. The food was amazing and we booked after 9pm so only paid £10.00 per person for a 4 course meal. The waiters in all of the restaurants were excellent. The entertainment was pretty good for the most part. There were not too mant activities during the day other than quizzes (this was especially difficult for our day at sea!), but there was plenty at night. I found the entertainment hosts did a fairly good job while "on stage", but once they were done their job, they couldn't be bothered to interact with guests. This was a bit of a turn off. The theatre entertainment was quite good - the singing and dancing was top notch, much better than expected. All of the ports that we stopped at were great. Most were close to the city and we could walk in on our own, and the cruise provided shuttle buses for the ports that were not within walking distance. These were a little steep in price, at £4 round trip. I went on 3 excursions and was very impressed. I paid oly £30 for each excursion, which was much lower than the other cruise I was on ($100US+ per excursion). For the most part, I was happy with the excursions and have no complaints given the price. I had read before that because this ship used to be a ferry, it has a different shape to your typical cruise ship and is therefore much rougher. I definitely found this - by the end of our day at sea I had had enough of the rocking, and there were a few nights where I found it difficult to sleep. Overall, I think this cruise met my expectations. I'm not sure that I would go on this ship again, even though I did get a bargain. It definitely needs a complete refurbishment of staterooms and all common areas. The staff, ports, excursions, and food all met or exceeded m expectations, and I would not hesitate to pay more for a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Have just returned from another wonderful cruise on Island Escape around the Canaries. Bit dissapointed that the refurbishment was not as much as we thought but we could see a few differences. ie the green carpet on Top deck and new ... Read More
Have just returned from another wonderful cruise on Island Escape around the Canaries. Bit dissapointed that the refurbishment was not as much as we thought but we could see a few differences. ie the green carpet on Top deck and new seat covers at the pool bar. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and look forward to returning. People moaned about the rough seas, but thats the sea isnt it!!!!! A man at Captains Question Time asked why wasnt their a formal night and more formality.......THINK HE WAS ON THE WRONG SHIP!!!!! He obviously didnt read that the description says informality. Yet again the staff were wonderful and attentive. Yet again the entertainment was first class and friendly staff. Ross the Entertainment Director and is excellent Asst Chris were brilliant, very friendly and always had time to talk to you. Special regards to Ollie, Dan, and Katie and the wonderful vocals of Chris. and a get Well Soon to Matthew Keylock who broke his foot. Some of the staff had to double up and quickly learn routines to cover for his absence, shame it couldnt be shared out more equaly amongst the Dance Captain and Fuse etc. as some of the entertainment crew doubled up repeatedly due to this injury absence. Paul Eastwood the guest Comedian needed to change his routine from last year!! but we still laughed at the same routine. So, we will come back and hope the same Entertainment Crew will be there when we return. GOOD WORK GUYS Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
The staff on the ship were excellent. Our cabin maid was absolutely brilliant, as were the restaurant staff. Our cabin was very tired and uncomfortable. the shower room had tiles falling off the walls and black mold in between the ... Read More
The staff on the ship were excellent. Our cabin maid was absolutely brilliant, as were the restaurant staff. Our cabin was very tired and uncomfortable. the shower room had tiles falling off the walls and black mold in between the tiles. How they managed to fit a toilet, shower cubicle and a was basin in such a small place is remarkable. My husband and I were both ill with the sickness and diarrhea bug. This resulted in us being confined to our cabins (by the doctor) on 2 separate occasions, day 3 and day 5. This was for a period of 24 hours on both occasions. Spending so much time in such a confined space, felt very much like being in a prison cell. We had an inside cabin, therefore the feeling of night and day merged into one. The medical staff were extremely professional. We had 4 visits from the doctor and 5 from the nurse. There were no charges for this service. Sleeping felt very much like being on a roller coaster ride, at times. Obviously, this is out of the captains control, but it did make sleeping difficult. The 24 hour restaurant felt very much like a Butlin's holiday camp style cafe. The other restaurant (not the a la carte) was excellent. Both the service and food, were of a very high standard. We smelt varnish in various parts of the ship and whilst in dock, the outside of the ship was still being painted. The entertainment was of a very high standard. All in all we feel that this was our first and last cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We are 3 ladies (50+) and since our kids have grown up, have always treated ourselves to a week in the sun Feb/March. This year we chose the Island Escape as a bit of an adventure! Having read mixed reviews we were a bit apprehensive about ... Read More
We are 3 ladies (50+) and since our kids have grown up, have always treated ourselves to a week in the sun Feb/March. This year we chose the Island Escape as a bit of an adventure! Having read mixed reviews we were a bit apprehensive about what to expect (I had been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise with my husband last year!)but happily all our expectations were exceeded!Sadly, the weather wasn't all that great with a few rainy days and not that hot, but with lots to keep us entertained on board, it wasn't too disappointing!We booked a cabin with 2 single beds and 2 upper bunks.............Well, that was never going to happen! But we did have a laugh trying to get up and down them. In the end we took the mattress off the bunk and placed it on the floor between the two single beds. Our cabin maid Keila was so kind and took it out of the way during the day, and re-made it at night! Cabins are small but adequate as you hardly spend any time in them anyway. Dining consisted of 3 restaurants. On the top deck was a 24hr buffet style restaurant, more like a cafeteria with plastic plates and cups, but great choice of food, which you could then take out to eat on deck if you wished. The other self-service buffet restaurant was much more comfortable, with waiter service for your drinks and was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You could pay a supplement of £14.99 to dine in the Oasis Restaurant which was lovely with full 5 course menu and waiter service, but to be honest, the self service one was fine. The entertainment was average. Theatre shows were fine if they weren't full up, but the entertainment in the Bounty Bar, provided by the Thomson's reps was just a bit too much like Butlins for me, with nightly bingo, game shows, resident band and a bit of dancing! There was, however, lots of choice, with the Casino, The Pub with a nightly singer, The Bounty Bar and the Theatre. There is also a lounge bar on Deck 12 which is open until the wee small hours! We only took one tour with Thomson and that was the Souks and Market tour - complete waste of money! All it is is a transfer service to 2 markets where you are hassled beyond belief to buy things from pushy and sometimes intimidating locals. The trip was £24 but could have got a taxi for £6. All in all, I would highly recommend this Cruise if it's a light hearted informal holiday with friendly staff you're looking for. Oh, and if you book early enough you can get a free all inclusive package which was fabulous! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Returned from Island Escape round Canaries on 25/2. Had a great time - first off, those with children have much to thank the excellent kids' club staff for - pretty much most of the day providing entertainment for them and giving ... Read More
Returned from Island Escape round Canaries on 25/2. Had a great time - first off, those with children have much to thank the excellent kids' club staff for - pretty much most of the day providing entertainment for them and giving parents free time. Cabin was as expected having been on board before - small but very tidily kept by the steward. Having a window makes an immense difference to how you go to sleep and wake up. Just makes it so much more natural. Excursion to Agadir was an eye-opener (Souk and Fantasia). Make sure you've got the local currency, dirhams, as euros/dollars accepted but change given pretty much arbitrarily in local currency. First stop off point above the port area is high pressure to buy trinkets/ride a camel (dromedary)/get local knowledge of 'the earthquake of 1960' for a fee. Don't engage. After that, actual souk markets nothing at all as in your face and fascinating stuff. Look out for big bangs at the fantasia as it frightened a lot of kids and adults! Lots going on on the ship - food excellent, non-stop activity. Entertainments staff do a marvellous job keeping the Brits abroad happy. FC Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our first and last Thompson cruise. After travelling around Europe over 30 years and staying in everything from smart hotels to vine pickers huts it was spectacularly the most awful week we have ever spent abroad. The cabin was ... Read More
This was our first and last Thompson cruise. After travelling around Europe over 30 years and staying in everything from smart hotels to vine pickers huts it was spectacularly the most awful week we have ever spent abroad. The cabin was scruffy - mouldy shower, cracking tiles, loose wall lamps and black curtains rather than doors on the wardrobe. No room to move once the two (different height and hardness) singles were pushed together. Lovely stewardess but there was no way she could have made this better. We are good sleepers, and good sailors. But there was no chance of sleeping here. The ship banged and reverberated constantly with enough force to move you up in your bed till your head hit the shelf at the back. Asking to be moved was fruitless - I think the reception staff must get training to say 'What noise?' and look surprised - some other staff who also have to try to sleep in these conditions know exactly what we mean! After three nights we threatened to take our bedding and sleep in reception and at this point got a low deck cabin with constant engine noise for six hours and the only continuous sleep we managed in seven nights. According to Thompson we should have complained more while on board and they could have sent in a technical team to sort out the cabin while we were occupying it! Other annoyances included - booking a window seat on the plane and not getting one, the absence of some advertised activities - tiny pool - loud and often amateurish 'entertainment' - school dinner style seating in the Island restaurant (beware 'Sir' will shout at you if you accidentally go back to the wrong table!) - intrusive photographers and drinks sellers, exorbitant excursion prices (it costs less than a quarter of the price by local transport) - lost luggage which took over an hour to find in Palma - OK we were there early but we couldn't wait to get off this boat! Oh and forget the 'happy couples' pictures in the brochure. The only way to have a private peaceful meal for two is to pay £30 a night for the Oasis supplement - which we would have done, it was the best thing on the ship, except that sleep deprivation doesn't really incline you to eat well . In spite of three unexpected changes of port in a week the places we visited were great but again would have been better had we had the energy to fully explore them. The worst thing of all however has been the total lack of concern shown byThompson customer services during and since our return. I have written three letters and waited for replies - hence the lateness of this feedback. On board they told us that the ship was going for refit - as if that would help us sleep and since returning home all we have had is reference to small print and an attempt to convince us that what we experienced is normal ship noise. the weather has been cited too - but the noise and vibration were actually worse on the calmer nights. This holday was booked on the basis of a previous good holiday with a Thompson company in Austria. we were not expecting luxury for the price , just a good value standard. I have since decided that what you get depends more on the general standards of the country concerned rather than the tour company. Providing a service means at least meeting basic standards, the most basic of all being to supply appropriate sleeping accommodation - if it had been one or two nights of stormy weather we could have accepted that as normal - but not sleeping when the sea is calm is another matter. I would urge you to think again before you spend hard earned cash on this dated converted ferry- it is not a cruise ship and never will be . The best thing Thompson can do to show real repect for their customers is to get rid of it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was our first cruise - family with a 2 year old. We went to our local Thomsons to book a holiday to Turkey an were talked into this " amazing, unforgettable, I've been and booked again already" cruise. our first mistake ... Read More
This was our first cruise - family with a 2 year old. We went to our local Thomsons to book a holiday to Turkey an were talked into this " amazing, unforgettable, I've been and booked again already" cruise. our first mistake was to book it, and our second was to book it without reading any reviews. The flight with Thomson was great; cannot complain at all. Friendly staff, comfortable seats, no problems at all. Transfer was also OK. Middle of a thunderstorm and the coach leaked a bit but fine. We got to the port and it took almost 2 hours to get on the ship. The Kids club reps approached us and informed us that contrary to what we'd been told the kids club was only for 4 years and up. Good start. When we finally got to the front of the queue and were photographed - excessive photographing on this cruise- we went through to the glorified ferry, which another reviewer called it. I cannot agree more. I got on board and cried. This was when I was waiting for the lift. The joys of the room were still to come. The public areas were not too bad once you got away from the foyer area where we boarded, apart from the cafeteria style beachcombers buffet. We then got to our room. The word small doesn't seem to cover it. The word clean unfortunately didn't either.I must stress that I don't think it was the fault of the staff member, but that the room was just so old that I don't think it will ever come clean. The bathroom was beyond disgusting. Dirty grouting and shower head, and just generally very grubby. The room itself was faded and had dirty patches on the wall. I went to customer services and complained and was told there was nothing that could be done until the following day when we had left port and all the guests had boarded. The thought of washing me or more importantly my baby in that bathroom was almost too much. I starting describing how dirty it was and instead of being helpful, sympathetic or even polite, was advised to keep my voice down otherwise other guests would hear. I had now been awake since 4.30 am for the flight so temporarily backed down. We went to eat in the restaurant which I have to say was ok. Kids menu was average but the buffet food was varied and there was a different theme each night, which sounds tacky but actually made for some lovely food. The staff were amazing. the 1 positive on this ferry. The next day we were reallocated a room, which was slightly cleaner but at least the bathroom was bearable. The pool was miniscule - a plunge pool and looked dirty. The holiday passed by - the destinations were good, although personally I thought Naples port area was a bit of a hole and also rather frightening. We went to the nearby Ischia island instead. beautiful. One day I made the mistake of thinking I'd go to the gym to clear my head. When I approached the 6 machines that were stuck in the corner of an aisle I had to give up as, if you're over about 5'5" then you will hit your head on the ceiling if you go on some of the equipment, for example cross trainer. I cannot tell you how plesed I was to get off this ferry. The night time entertainment is awful, the shops are tacky and the ferry is unbelievably horrible. Butlins on Sea is about accurate, and might actually be generous and a slur on Butlins. It hasn't put me off cruising however, as I saw the decent ships that pulled up at the ports we sailed to. Oh and to top it off, if the travel agent tells you that they accept debit cards on board that's also not true. I had switch maestro and they only accept Visa Debit. I had to withdraw cash in the destinations, change it with the purser and then pay cash as I went. So much wasted money on exchange rates. Such a waste of a week of my life that I will never get back. In summary, if you hadn;t guessed-noy recommended. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our first cruise and we booked it 10 days beforehand. The day before we went my husband went onto cruise critic sight and after reading some of the reviews wondered what we had let ourselves in for. Our first impression was very ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we booked it 10 days beforehand. The day before we went my husband went onto cruise critic sight and after reading some of the reviews wondered what we had let ourselves in for. Our first impression was very good. The ship looked fine. Our transfer went smoothly except for queuing for a short while, which we have got used to. As far as the photographer always taking your photo, what is the problem. You do not have to buy them. Our cabin was an outside cabin on the 9th deck. It was basic but clean with plenty of storage space, what more would you want. The stewardess came 2-3 times a day, always tidying up, leaving us various animals made out of the towels. She was extremely friendly. We always used the island restaurant. It was always clean, the food was very good with plenty of choice. The staff couldn't do enough for you. The various bars and lounges catered for all types on board. There was always somewhere else to go if you weren't happy in one particular place. We did go on a couple of excursions and made our own way on other ports of call. Our overall impression was excellent. Our advice go and make your own mind up. You cannot please all of the people all of the time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Island Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.2
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 3.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.4
Family 3.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.5

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