We travelled between 15-22 March 2010. We were in cabin 9048. Regarding the catering, I feel that when full there are too many passengers for the restaurants to cope with comfortably, especially breakfast when whatever time we went we found it difficult to be seated and usually ended up in the outer room seated on whicker chairs. To get a table for 2 in the Island restaurant you have to be in the queue by 6.20pm otherwise you may be placed on a large table by the waiters, which is ok every now and again but we didn't like having to eat and talk to people every night. The Island restaurant a lot smarter that the Beachcomber with tablecloths and placesettings. Sometimes the food was canteen standard at breakfast and rarely hot but at other times very good. We felt that if they didn't have 24 hour catering they could perhaps spend a bit more on better quality and tastier vegetables, etc., but on the whole we were quite happy with the food. To the people that felt they needed another dinner at midnight in the Beachcomber please be aware that the crew are eating at that time and would like something better than left-overs. I'm sure no begrudges them a decent meal.
After reading all the poor reviews we chose to believe positive reviews and were proved correct as we were pleasantly surprised at the condition of the interior of the ship. After reading about peeling wallpaper, scuffed paintwork and threadbare carpets I can only say that I didn't see any of this, apart from a little bit of wear on one or two of the edges of the steps on the staircase. New rolls of carpets were being brought on board at Tenerife, I think, and the decorators were in evidence on the higher decks where we were. The cabin was perfectly adequate with pictures on the walls and plenty of storage, including a large underbed pull-out storage box that could easily be missed. OK the bathroom was a bit dated but plenty of storage there too, more than any hotel we have ever been in. We had no trouble with the shower curtain but as my husband and myself are quite slender we found that there was plenty of room in there. There was also a fridge in the wardrobe.
The bars and lounges were well furnished and not in any way shabby or unclean and the entertainment was really very good. I have been in campsite clubs for years when my children were small and the entertainment there IS holiday camp style. We didn't go to all the shows but we were impressed with the standard, especially the comedian Phil Doyle who had flown in from the UK for 3 shows. He brought the house down all 3 times and was excellent, and no we hadn't had more than one drink. The show dancers and singers put on good shows the 2 times we saw them and worked really hard, doing 2 shows a night. The singer/guitarist Essen was very good in the other bar.
Cabin 9048 on the Island Escape is an outside cabin. Unfortunately the window is almost completely blocked by a huge tender which was disappointing. The cabin is adequate and very clean with plenty of storage, including an under bed storage box. There is a fridge in the wardrobe and ice is left twice a day. The beds were comfortable and we had no problem sleeping. The bathroom is dated but clean with plenty of space. Also, plenty of storage space in the bathroom. The position of the cabin is very good, close to the stairs and lifts and the main facilities.
Funchal is undergoing major work so is not very nice at the moment. That aside it is close to the town and in walking distance. Will be very good once the new cruise terminal is finished.
In Arrecife we had to have s shuttle bus as the walk would be too far along with walking around town.
Well organised with a helpful blue line to follow out of the port.
Best port on the trip. Easy walking distance to town, shopping mall just after the exit and the beach 10 minutes walk ahead.
Nice quiet little port, walking distance to town.