Island Escape Cruise Ship

, Thomson Cruises
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Relaxing enjoyable affordable cruise for all ages

"If you want to have a really laid back holiday where you can unwind and have everything done for you at an affordable price then this is the cruise for you. Whether you are retired or a family or young people you can get up when you want, eat when you want and the choice is great, you will need to go in the gym now and again to make up for all you will eat as everything is so tempting but even if you don't work it off its your annual holiday and you have earned the treats. I have traveled on this ship three times now and I love it more each time. I love relaxing on deck, the camaraderie with other passengers, the entertainment, the shows at night are as good as any in the West End. The staff are always smiling and cant do enough for us. The trips ashore are excellent and you can take an organized excursion or do your own thing. This year there were three generations of us from 60s to 30s, teenagers and the youngest ten and I can honestly say no one wanted to go home. For children there are Kids clubs mind you we went in June so the schools weren't all on holidays so there would be more children in July and August. I can highly recommend this cruise as the friendliest in the world, it is not a five star but for the money it is as good as one and all that remains to say is I'm filling the piggy bank already for next years trip because I wouldn't miss it for the world."

  • Holiday details: Jun 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: try the other diningrooms as well as the 24 hour dining especially if you have a special occasion to celebrate
by Mary Rose
9 / 10

3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Third rate cruising.

"My wife and I returned from our Island Escape cruise on 7th July 2014.We were really looking forward to the cruise. However, at 3.00am on our second night I awoke and was violently sick which continued through most of the next day, together with diarrhea. My wife called the ships doctor at 8.00am and a nurse came immediately and administered medication and injections etc. she told me that I was the faith so far that morning. During the night when I was being so ill I got back into bed and felt a terrible pain in my left leg. My wife looked and found that it was a broken bed spring which had penetrated to a depth of 20mm. She had to physically push the skin back off the spring because I could not move. The wound was shown to the nurse when she attended for the virus/food poisoning and I asked whether I should have an anti tetanus jab and she replied "no it's only a small hole, it will be fine". We were confined to our cabin until the next day and a further day confined to the ship, our swipe cards were taken from us. The cabin steward was great, his name was Manji, He tried to change our mattresses but because the ship was full he only managed to change mine because there was none available. My mattress was little better than the original, full of holes and badly stained . My wife's was no better, badly stained and the holes were stuffed with old towels. Both the sink and the toilet blocked whilst we were on the cruise.

My wife and I are not snobs. After reading the reviews I was under no illusion on what to expect and my philosophy has always been you get what you pay for but I did not expect to be injured or be so violently ill. I could accept the mediocre food and the watered down drinks, the poor decor and dirty carpets in our cabin but not the injury or illness. We have been on two other all inclusive cruises with other companies but I am sorry to say this did not compare in any shape or form, needless to say we will not be using Thomson cruises in the future.

  • Holiday details: Jul 2014
  • Advice: choose another cruise company
by millicent2
2 / 10

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

do not listen

"Please do not listen to all the bad reviews this is people trying to get compo ,my wife and I had a wonderful time on this ship fantastic from the bottom of our hearts I swear the staff are a credit to Thomson the ship is old but that in no way takes away from the over all experience we loved it wife had a tear in the eye in palma morning we had to go home ,thank you all on the escape for a wonderful time and thank you Thomson for selling it . this is the second review about my cruise and I could write all nite and not find a bad point lovely crew lovely cruisers all working class people no snobbery at all what so ever just join in and enjoy."

  • Holiday details: Jun 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: just enjoy
  • Good For: , City Breaks
by edd55
10 / 10

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Good value and great entertainment

"As many reviewers have mentioned the Island Escape could do with an upgrade (think Spanish 3* hotel) but the rooms and public areas are kept extremely clean and tidy by the tireless steward/stewardess on board. The entertainment is by far the best part of the experience. It is varied and should suit all ages. There are activities organized throughout the day and the main evening entertainment is split between the Bounty Lounge (resident singers and Game shows) or the Ocean View theater (Cabaret style shows, comedians and tribute acts).

The food is a bit of a hit and miss. There is a carvery meat each night ,various other meats in sauces, cold meats and salads and themed nights. My only comment would be that some of the dishes such as curry were very bland.

I traveled with 2 teenagers and the teen club was not well publicized until almost the end of our holiday. Might have been we were a bit early in the season as the first week the average passenger age was about 70!

The tours were a bit expensive (around £40-£50 each or more). I would advise anyone to do their homework before they go to find out places to visit. Most of the stops had easy access to train stations to take you to the main tourist areas. Train tickets to Rome from Civitavechhia are 10 Euros!

The ship provides pool towels which saves on your luggage, they also have hairdryers at reception which you can borrow (or hire?). I had my own so don't know if they charged. Take a European adapter for any electrical equipment.

Overall we had a good holiday and enjoyed the experience.

  • Holiday details: Jun 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Don't pay too much attention to the decor.
  • Good For: , City Breaks
by Margaret S
7 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Great for a laid-back, value-for-money holiday

"I was on the Island Escape “Escape to the Med” tour from 1 to 8 July 2014. I went as a solo traveller. It was actually my first solo overseas holiday for many years, as my partner passed away last year.

I had an inside cabin, which was small but well designed, and didn’t feel cramped. There was plenty of storage space, with a chest of drawers and a double-wardrobe. The bathroom was also more than adequate, with an excellent shower.

My one criticism is that the aircon was quite fierce, and at night I was sometimes cold. There is a dial on the wall that supposedly lets you adjust it from cold to hot, but I didn’t find it made any difference to the temperature. I ended up sleeping with a woolly jumper over my pyjamas and wearing socks - not really what I was expecting on a Mediterranean cruise!

I ate mainly in the Beachcomber restaurant. Contrary to the info on the Thomson website, you can get the full range of food here, not just snacks. I did try the Island Restaurant as well, but as far as I can see the only difference is that there the waiters decide where you will sit, whereas at the Beachcomber the choice is yours. I never had a problem finding a table at the Beachcomber, and you can sit outside if you like (not an option at the Island Restaurant).

Like some other reviewers I found that the food on offer could be a bit bland, but there is plenty of choice. My top tip (for the Beachcomber at any rate) is to steer clear of the main serving area and instead head for the stations where foods such as stir-fries or pasta dishes are cooked to order. There were also some speciality nights, with food on offer from various ethnic cuisines, again from a separate, dedicated area. I especially enjoyed the Asian (Chinese) and Indian buffets, both of which were delicious. Overall, apart from one or two underpowered dishes, I really enjoyed the food on offer.

The entertainment on the ship is a real highlight. I saw several top quality song-and-dance shows from the in-house team, ‘Putting on the Ritz’ being exceptional. There was also a very good operatic-style female guest singer called Sophie Causbrook, and a hilarious guest comic named Maxwell Plumm. A lady I spoke to at breakfast the next day told me she laughed so much during his act she actually wet herself, and everyone was talking about him the next day. And all done without the use of a single swear word, incidentally.

About the only let-down in the main theatre was the George Michael tribute act, who messed up his running order, made everyone stand up and sit down for no apparent reason, and had all the charisma of a karaoke singer down the local pub. Not surprisingly, by the time he had finished, the theatre was half-empty. Still, one duff night out of seven isn’t bad.

There is plenty of other entertainment around the ship as well, from morning through till very late at night. Personally I really enjoyed the fruit and veg carving demonstrations, the napkin-folding workshop, the cake decorating demonstration, and so on. Only on a cruise ship can you experience all these things in the space of a single week!

TV-style game shows are also big on the Island Escape. I liked the Masterchef-style show, where one of the ship’s chefs competed against the cruise director, Ross, to cook a three-course meal in around 20 minutes, with assistant cruise director Tony compering and judging (quite correctly, the professional chef was declared the winner). Also very good - and massively popular - was Strictly Cruise Dancing, where four couples (all passengers) performed routines they had been working on all week. They were all very good - and very entertaining - so kudos to them for devoting so much of their holiday to this.

The only show I wasn’t so keen on was Family Fortunes. Unfortunately Tony didn’t seem to know the rules of the TV show and appeared to be making things up as he went along. As a result, an Asian family who should have won at least two of the four rounds and quite probably have gone through to play for the big prizes was unfairly eliminated. I’m sure Tony had no intention of discriminating against them, but it did still leave a slightly bad taste in my mouth.

The one aspect of the Island Escape that is seriously sub-standard in my view is the internet access. There is a cybercafe and also WiFi (both of which you have to pay for) but it is painfully slow, e.g. it took me over 20 minutes to post a simple Facebook update. I couldn’t even check my G mail, as the service told me that the browser (an ancient version of Internet Explorer) was too old to support it. A member of the ship’s crew recommended that I find an internet cafe at one of the ports and check my email there, but of course that wasn’t really how I envisaged spending the limited time in port.

Overall, though, I do recommend the Island Escape, if you don’t require the last word in luxury cruising and simply want a laid-back, great-value-for-money holiday with somewhere new to see each day. I’d recommend reading the daily newsletter and taking a few moments to plan each day in order to make the most of all the entertainments and facilities the ship has to offer. But, of course, if you want to spend the whole time eating, drinking or lazing by the pool, you can do that as well (many people do).

Lastly, kudos to Pippa, the Social and Welfare Hostess, for organizing a series of get-together for solo travelers and also assisting me with a minor health problem, and to my devoted cabin steward Satpal, who provided five-star service throughout.

  • Holiday details: Jul 2014, Booked Independently
by Nick D
8 / 10

9 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

first class

"Just back today after a week on this ship in the med,i did read the reviews and was a tad scared but what a gem I got.this was a really really first class holiday food brill entertainment brill my wife and I treated like a king and a queen .thank you Karen our cabin steward for the first class service you gave and a big thank you to Erwin in the sail away bar in the morning and the pub at night hope to see you all again many thanks you are a credit to Thomson."

  • Holiday details: Jun 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: deck 6 outside cabin worth the few pound extra
  • Good For: Beach, City Breaks
by edd55
10 / 10

7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Butlins on sea

"We were first time cruisers on the Island Escape on 27/5/14 with three children. We were told when booking by the Thomson reps that this cruise is "very much for families with children, there will be lots of other children and loads of entertainment for them". When we boarded the ship (Ferry) we were shocked to see that there were mainly "older" people and just a few children. The ship was very very dated and very tired looking, cabins were stuck in a 1970s time warp and we did actually feel that we were on an old ferry boat which is what it is. Disappointed we headed into Palma on the first night for dinner before we set sail and reluctantly got back on the ferry. BUT have to say, we had an absolutely fantastic week, trips were great, we went to Corsica, Florence and Monte Carlo, yes they were expensive but with 3 children we wanted the comfort of organized trips. To sum it all up, this is a 2/3 star boat with 5 star service from the staff and entertainment team, who were amazing, and the food was absolutely fantastic. The entertainment was cheesy yes, but after a couple of wines we had a really good laugh and the kids loved it. Nothing really for them to do on board, the swimming pool was smaller than our villa pool last year!, and no kids activities for their ages, 14, 12 and 10 but they really had a great time. Most definitely would not go back on this boat but it gave us a real insight into what a "proper" cruise would be like. Are saving for a more upmarket one next time. Like they say "you get what you pay for"."

  • Holiday details: May 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Just sit back, relax and enjoy the fun!
by KarenB1965
5 / 10

7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Solo male traveller review.

"This was my first cruise and this review is for solo passengers, this is a budget cruise, so yes the ship is looking a bit tired and in need of a refit, even through you will pay a considerable supplement for your cabin, don,t expect a standard cabin, you get a very small single inside cabin that they do not show on the web site. On average they only get approximately 15 to 20 solo passengers out of 1500 passengers per cruise, so quite difficult to get a compatible group together. Passengers mainly consist of couples, groups and families, and i found that while they were willing to have a brief chat, they were not interested in arranging to meet for evening events or going on shore excursions together etc: which is understandable from their perspective. The ship and facilities are okay for this type of cruise and are value for money if traveling as a couple or more but not so much as a solo traveler due to the supplement.

The one high quality aspect of this cruise is the crew, which are excellent and do whatever they can to make your holiday a happy event.

When looking at all the other comments regarding this cruise, take 50% from each and its about right.

  • Holiday details: Jun 2014, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Check with Thomson's about solo travellers going on this cruise.
by barac
5 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

med adventure

"We cruised on this so called ship in 2012. my wife was ill with novo virus which was wide spread on the ship.we were both confined to our cabin for two days but my wife was ill for at least a week,anyway we decided to give it another try this year 10 June.big mistake the ship in our opinion has gone down hill,there was not the choice in dinning areas,mostly pork,beef or chicken most days just a different sauce with each one.a lot of the decor is faded,lifts constantly out of order and stairs coned off.the big issue came the afternoon before the end of the cruise when we found out that they had blocked our account by authorizing payments more than once leaving us well out of pocket.this happened to approx 120 cabins and it will take up to 10 days to get cash back.the only recommendation i can give everyone is pick another company.we will be taking this further"

  • Holiday details: Jun 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: dont
by johnson558
1 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Not recommended

"Myself and my Husband have just returned from a 14 night cruise - Souks and Sangria and Glitz and Glamor on board the Island Escape. The brochure does say 'Casual' but that is an understatement. Yes you do have to wear something on your feet indoors and yes you do have to wear something to cover your bear upper body indoors, but there is no ruling as to wearing shorts and vest tops with flip flops in the dining area, not very nice when there are table cloths on the tables, you do expect a bit more. The other buffet restaurant was more like a school canteen, anything goes, especially huge plates of food piled up until it was falling off the edges. Both of theses Buffet restaurants served the same food, cheap cuts of meat, poultry, disguised in some sort of a sauce/gravy. Very limited choice and the same day 1 and day 8, day 2 and day 9 etc There were two more areas to eat, one at a cost of I think between 11.95 and 14.95 per sitting and the other the Black Rock Restaurant which basically was an area down the side of a corridor divided off with hung net curtains pinned together at night time and this was a cook you own. Entertainment - this left a lot to be desired, the main team who did the shows were acceptable, some had good voices and most of their shows were good, the duo called Sovereign in the Lookout bar, were poor to say the least and the female vocalist and male piano player in the Bar were very poor and out of tune with the backing tracks. Both of these two acts would have been paid off at the Local Club. All inclusive Drinks package, left a lot to be desired - very very limited - I had the white rum (Bacardi) and it tasted like Whiskey so ended up on Martini and lemonade which was passable. The rooms were just as expected, but after all you only sleep, shower and change in them. Do not get a front room on Deck 6, we had 6501 and honestly when we docked (between 6.30 and 9 am) the noise from the winders and the anchor was tremendous. We changed room the second week to mid ship, no noise at all there. Would I go on an Island Escape holiday again, DEFINITELY NOT. I overheard 2 ladies talking and they said 'Its like Butlins on Sea' even that was too good a description for this ship."

  • Holiday details: Jun 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Definately a mid ship cabin for a peaceful sleep
by e mclean
3 / 10

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

The best holiday ever!!

"I'm 23 years old and this was my first time on a cruise ship, I was very worried because I get easily travel sick but at my surprise I couldn't even feel the boat moving. The entertainment is fantastic, most people don't like the shows because they're too 'cheesy', we actually they are brilliant, the amount of time the cast spend rehearsing, I went on the backstage tour and you don't realize how must work gets put into these shows. The food is fab, a bit of something for everyone and it was 24 hour so can't complain!! The restaurant staff were constantly refilling things so you didn't have to wait around. The cruise director Ross Roberts and the assistant cruise director Tony Mack get involved in all the activities, they are so funny. For what I paid for the holiday, I should have paid a lot more because it was fantastic. The housekeeping staff are brilliant, couldn't fault anything, other than the fact I wish I was on the ship for 2 weeks. Definitely going back! Thank you to all the staff on the ship for making my holiday the best :):)"

by Becky L
10 / 10

3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Island Escape - Don't listen to the moaners!!

"How on earth Arthur D can say the food and the entertainment on this ship are not good is beyond me.

AD obviously prefers the cruises where you have book your meal times, dress for dinner and sit with the same boring people each day!!

The entertainment on this ship is great, especially the "impromptu" unrehearsed entertainment you can get around the pool. Anyone on the cruise last week who remembers "black & decker" will agree!!

This ship has no frills, but it provides excellent service, entertainment and FOOD!!!! How anyone can call the selection of food "Bland" is beyond me.

I've just come back from another Island Escape cruise, probably the same one as AD. Lost count how many I've been on, but myself and my fmaily have enjoyed every single one!

  • Holiday details: Jun 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Be prepared to relax and have fun!!!
by Chris D
9 / 10

10 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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Average rating

7 / 10
(790 reviews)
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Ratings summary


Rating by feature

Room: 6/10
Service: 8.5/10
Food: 7.5/10
Value: 7/10
Cleanliness: 8/10
Location: 8/10

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Top traveller tips for Island Escape Cruise Ship
  • by Kathleen Connolly

    " Have a hairdryer from reception much better than our travel dryer also it american plugs. "

  • by Kerry LeCras

    " Use the drinks package in advance its worth it and make sure you go on an excursion and the show team is a must see. Ben voice is amazing. "

  • by Boblynne

    " See the shows they are top class "

  • by travelling duo

    " Be on the ship for the itinerary and not for the cruising experience necessarily! "

  • by sandracl2

    " Get the drinks package - 95 pounds for a couple. Well worth it! "

  • by SS

    " only travel on it in the summer when stormy seas are unlikely "

  • by Steve Pringle

    " Do your homework on the places that you are going to visit. "

  • by MIW

    " American plug adapters and don't buy the drinks package - not worth it! "

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