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Wendy McEwan

Age: 35

Occupation:Self Employed

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Island Cruises

Ship: Island Escape

Sailing Date: September 5th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Mediterranean

This was our first cruise so were not sure what to expect. This review is therefore going to be mixed.

We boarded the ship quickly and our luggage was bought to our cabin (deck 8) quickly. The cabins are very tired looking with brown and organge carpets and bathrooms but spotless and our steward kept it immaculate and tidy with towels changed twice a day our beds turned down at night. We had an outside cabin but if I am honest, we had to keep the curtains shut most of the time as our cabin looked straight onto a deck and then a lifeboat - not the sea view we were looking for. With this ship being smallish, I wouldn't worry about where your cabin is as most of the restaurants and bars are in the middle of the ship anyway.

The cabins do not have a fridge so drinks for the so called mini bar are just left on your table and are therefore warm. There are no tea or coffee making facilities in the cabin either. You do however, get a beach towel everyday so no need to take your own.

The food is pretty good. Beachcomber is a bit like a motorway service station with the amount of people there but coffee and tea are available all day. The food although mass produced is fresh and there is ample choice. The salads, fruit, cheese and deserts are particularly good. Island Restaurant is again buffet style with some waiter service. Again food is pretty good with ample choice. Oasis restaurant although very good is not 5 star. Gents need to wear long trousers and you can have a 4 course meal with no additional charge however, the other dishes do carry a supplement of about £2-£2 for starters and deserts and £5-£10 for main courses. Wine is reasonable.

The bar prices are very expensive. £1.40 for a chilled can of soft drink - the same for a small bottle of mineral water. Spirit and a mixer is about £4 and a pint £3. The bar bill family mounts up over the week and now we are back and looking at other cruises we see that other companies include soft drinks of water, orange juice and lemonade within their price. May be Island should look at this - our bill for the week was £400 and we were not excessive with alcohol. Yes you can take your own soft drinks onboard but you have no where to keep them cool.

The staff are great - nothing is too much trouble. The spa is a little disappointing but they will never really get repeat custom so they can be a little slap dash.

The pool is a big disappointment - more of a plunge pool. The entertainment around it during the day is loud and a bit like butlins but there are plenty of places to get away from it.

Shops are disappointing although you can get all the toiletries you need onboard.

Excursions, expensive if you can do it yourself do but Rome is a bit difficult. One couple spent 200 euro on a taxi back to the ship after the train had signal failure - they only just made it back in time.

Would we go again? probably not but this ship has given us a great starting point for cruising. We're going to try something a little more formal and modern next time. Although this cruise was fairly cheap, the bar bill made is expensive plus as it is now cheaper to cruise with Island, the Chav/Ned culture is starting to appear onboard - one group of 6 we had made themselves very well known which resulted in other passengers not wishing to sit near them either at dinner, the bar or during the day.


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