Island Escape Cruise Ship

, Thomson Cruises
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3rd time passenger on Island escape

"I have been on the island escape ship every summer for the last 3 years each time travelling with a different group of people and we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves every time.

I have read some of the reviews on here and quite frankly have found some of them laughable one complaint I read - ' you were lucky to get a straw in your drink, sometimes you had to get one yourself' now if these are actually things that stuck out as 'issues' for you then all I can say is it must have been pretty bloody good.

The staff are absolutely wonderful and cannot do enough for you, the bar and restaurant staff work horribly long hours and you often would see them clearing away glasses and plates at 1am the night before and would then be serving you with a smile at 8am the next morning at breakfast, they are an absolute credit to Thompson. Our housekeeper every year has kept our room spotless and as I travelled with my partner this year and our cabin was two single beds he then offered to push our beds together and dressed it with a double mattress and quilt which was completely over and above his call of duty considering he had around 30-50 other rooms to also tend to.

If you have a serious problem with feeling the motion of a ship I would suggest you book an on land holiday never mind another cruise line, as it is not Island escape cruises fault that the sea is rough or that it's windy, that is slightly out of their control, some of the comments on feeling the motion of the ship amused me as it's not completely unexpected as you are infact on a ship. Although I would say 70% of the time you do forget you are even on a ship it's so unnoticeable.

The ship has hand antibacterial gel stations everywhere around the ship and people are expected to regularly use this to prevent any outbreak of illness on board the ship, I did hear about the outbreak of the nova virus a few years ago and to any travellers who experienced this it was very unfortunate, I am sure their time on board was 100% different than mine.

There are a large choice of excursions for every port of call varying in length of time and also broken down into how much walking each trip consists of which was brilliant for us last year as one of our party had a broken leg and wasn't able to do uphill or long distance walking so she picked trips that were suitable for her.

The only reason I have not given this ship 10 out of 10 is because I found the entertainment this year to have slightly dropped in quality, I would have liked to have seen more of tony mac and Ross in the bounty lounge as they are absolutely wonderful and I was disappointed to have not seen as much of them on board this year.

If you're looking for a formal or brand new cruise ship then this is not for you but it is absolute value for money. fabulous for families, couples or solo cruisers of any age. Would definitely recommend this cruise ship .
"

by Rachel1993
9 / 10

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

Fantastic!

"Well the brochure was very accurate, friendly informal and relaxing, this was our second cruise(previously with First Choice) and we had a brilliant time, the cabin boy Larson to the the waiters in the restaurants couldn't do enough for you, I traveled with my husband and 2 daughters age 10 and 12, we all had a wonderful time, no it isn't Royal Caribbean (who wants to be stuck on a ship with pompous stuck up people anyway! )but you were made to feel very special I would recommend this ship to anybody the food(particular Island Restaurant) people(who want to talk to you) and places you visit are what made it a holiday to remember we are definitely returning . Only criticism and only a small one was size of cabin would book an outside one next time."

  • Holiday details: Jul 2014
  • Advice: Enjopy enjoy enjoy
by Wendy L
10 / 10

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

Excellent cruise

"Island escape cruise, soukes and sangria ,,October 2013.

This was our first ever cruise and we were very worried about going after reading all the negative reviews,,,however we had absolutely nothing to worry about!!...some people are just not happy unless they have something to complain about!!

Yes the ship is old and yes it could do with a bit of an update and yes you can feel the motion in rough weather ...but why book a cruise if you get seasick??.... What some people seem to forget is this is a budget cruise at a great price!!....we would have never been able to afford to visit the places we did had it not been for the island escape!!!..., you can't expect and shouldn't expect 5 star luxury at this price,

We had an outside premier cabin which was more than adequate and kept spotlessly clean ,which is the most important thing...,so what if it was a bit outdated..after all it's only for sleeping in!!....

Great food

Great service

Entertainment of a good standard

Well organized embarkation/disembarkation

Flights on time

What more could you ask for?

If you want the snobby luxury that's fine but I'm afraid you will have to pay for it

I work in the hospitality/ catering trade so would be the first to complain if things were not acceptable.

We have booked the spirit of the med cruise for next April ....yes on the Island escape!!!
"

  • Holiday details: Oct 2013
  • Advice: Just enjoy it and don't moan!!
  • Good For: Beach, City Breaks
by Martyn shergold
8 / 10

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

Fantastic ship, will be booking again for next year. Felt totally pampered!!

"We joined the ship in Palma, great as only 2.5 hours flight from the UK. A party of 3, myself, my husband and our 10 year old daughter. Our daughter loved the ship and made many friends straight away. She was able to go where she pleased and we felt we didn't have to worry about her. She checked in with us regularly and it gave her a little independence. Food was good, waiters and staff were happy, had superb manners, pleasant, helpful and simply could not do enough for us. Our cabin steward Willy was efficient, clean and made our daughter a towel animal every day to come back to. He left it on her bed each day. He cleaned our cabin superbly as we tend to be mucky pups when we are away. Our cabin was always spotless, small, but clean. Yes the boat is a little old, but fit for purpose. The shows and the entertainment staff were wonderful, shows were as good as the west end. Always lots to do on board, so never got bored. Drinks, food etc was all included on this ship as well as money tips for the staff, its all in the price. We stayed at a holiday resort on our second week and after sailing on the cruise ship it was a total let down. Just wish we had booked 2 weeks cruising, but I was afraid I would not like the water and being my first cruise wanted to play it safe. But I didn't feel the sway of the boat at all and if I didn't look out of the window, I wouldn't have even known I was on a ship. I may have put on 2 stones in weight though as the food is 24 hours x 7 days a week. If you enjoy your food, drink and waking up in a different country each day for an affordable price, then this is the holiday for you. Enjoy!!! we will be booking for next year for sure."

  • Holiday details: Jul 2014, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Take an iron with you as the ship does not hire these out and there is no laundry room for you to iron your own clothes. You have to pay and it was approx £17 for a small bag full.
by Amanda W
9 / 10

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Dissapointed this time

"We were on board from 8/7/2014 to 22/07/2014 good cruise as this is our third time for coming back due to entertainment and the wonderful staff. But we noticed a few problems against our other two cruises with Island Escape.

1. in Livorno and Valencia we had to pay for the shuttle bus service which I think is out of order when you have spent over £3000 for the cruise.

2. The photo section on board is a rip off. We purchased 2 DVDs for our memories of both weeks we were on board at a cost of £30 total viewing time 1 hour....30mins on each video only to find the second DVD was a duplicate of the first DVD with just the glimpses of places visited cut and pasted in; There was no scenes of entertainment except for Master chef on both DVDs no staff except senior staff no mention of the group and except for Ross (brilliant) and Tony no mention of Craig, Lucas and Gemma who were great! or any of the Brazilian theater shows!

The ship is old and if you want luxury and a ship that does not move in the water don't go Island Escape but if you want Brazilian entertainment and exceptional and superbly friendly staff then this is the ship for you.
"

  • Holiday details: Jul 2014
  • Advice: Do not buy the Memory dvid and dont go on any cruise including Tangier
by Rex Y
5 / 10

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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

6 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

3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? 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

4 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

3 readers 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

10 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

10 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

1 2 367 »

Average rating

7 / 10
(794 reviews)
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Ratings summary

Brilliant
348
Good
168
Average
71
Poor
80
Awful
127

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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