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Great Experience on the Island Escape

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Just back from our first ever cruise which was on the Island Escape, Souks and Sangria then Best of the Med Itineraries. I used the forum several times before departing and gained some useful tips so would like to pass on our experiences.

 

Fist off - the ship, although dated is spotless clean and the staff are continuously on top of the cleaning duties. Overall it's a decent size and includes a filtered saltwater pool on the top deck - one area for small kids to paddle and a deeper area (7 ft) for adults and bigger kids to swim. The venues include a theatre (Ocean Theatre), Cabaret (Bounty Lounge) and The Pub and Sail-away Bars. Our kids (8 & 6) spent lots of time in the excellent kids clubs whilst we relaxed mainly at the sail away bar. The few shows that we went to see are well presented and rehearsed with excellent use of the space available and incorporating synchronized lighting shows with the backing tracks that were being used. The resident band - the Switch are decent and well rehearsed, playing a wide range of covers. The pool deck and pub hosted some duo and solo acts who appeared to be quite good.

 

The cabin 5562 - with 2 adults and 2 kids I wasn't sure what to expect and was initially surprised at the compact nature of the room until I reminded myself that we were at sea and not in a Hotel. The room is spotless and looks dated but that wasn't an issue for us. Our cabin steward - KoKo, was excellent and couldn't do enough to help us through our 2 weeks. We had an American end European socket in our room and I hooked up a 4 socket extension to one after reading a tip on CC.Com, this way we could charge all our devices and plug in a hairdryer, which we also took with us. There's a safe that costs £25 I think (for a 2 week trip). The shower was powerful and of a decent size and the kids managed to find the vacuum toilet system amusing. We had a window looking out to sea and although you could see the triple glazing seals were rotting, we never heard a sound from outside. The A/C system in the room worked well and although a little noisy was excellent at keeping a comfortable temperature. Overall, a clean cosy room to sleep in.

 

The Excursions - we mainly did our own thing onshore, too many to mention and everyone will have their own adventures however just a couple to highlight. Rome - do it by train yourself and you can save an absolute fortune and a lot of coach time. We only wanted to go in and experience St Peters Square, Vatican etc and we paid 12 Euro each (for 3 of us the ticket office suggested that my daughter was only 4 - who was I to correct them!) and the train only took 1/2 hour. After a couple of hours wandering round and having lunch we jumped back on the train and 1/2 hour later were back in Civitavecchia for some souvenir shopping. Other people we spoke to spent 2 hours each way in a coach and were herded on and off all day to spend a few minutes at each attraction all for approx £100 a head and a 10 Hour excursion! Monaco/Monte Carlo - well worth a visit. Pisa, worth a visit and only 1/2 hour in the coach. Gibraltar, worth the cable car ride to see the monkeys on the rock (apparently they're not apes)

 

The food - was fine for us and we've been all inclusive at beach resorts before with the Island Escape being comparable of not a little better. We ate at the Beachcomber restaurant mostly due to its proximity to the kids clubs and the fact it was usually quieter and quicker to serve yourself. The range of food was excellent with typical theme nights - -Indian, Chinese, Italian, Carvery etc. I never had a bad meal. On 2 occasions we booked the Oasis restaurant which has an additional cover charge. My Wife had the lobster menu, I had a steak and the kids had their own menu. We ordered some non AI wine and had a great night - well worth a visit. Throughout the holiday I mainly drank the AI lager which seemed to switch between San Miguel and some other lager which was fine, whilst my Wife typically had the AI cocktails.

 

Lastly, and certainly by no means least, the Staff. The crew on board the Island Escape really make this ship special. I spoke to several families and couples who keep returning to this ship and the cite the crew as being one of the main reasons. My kids were welcomed by all of the staff from day one and were on first name terms with most of them by day 3! The waiting and bar staff naturally have the most opportunity to interact with the guests however my Daughter was being spoiled rotten by some of the servers and cleaners. I could name loads of crew that made the cruise that extra bit special but you'll find them all for yourselves. In summary they were probably the best group of staff I've had the pleasure of sharing a holiday with whether in a resort, Hotel or on a Ship.

 

In the end of the day we had a great time and would go back on the Island Escape again. As we're no longer cruise virgins I can see this becoming a favorite holiday type for our family and I'm glad that this is mainly due to us having such a great experience on the Island Escape.

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Great Write up, we were considering this ship and the same cruises for our first cruise next year, I think you have convinced me we are making the right choice.

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Great Write up, we were considering this ship and the same cruises for our first cruise next year, I think you have convinced me we are making the right choice.

 

 

You will not be disappointed Tyke Pilot, we have had two cruises on IE and also many other cruise lines and we think this ship has a fabulous atmosphere. The entertainment we found to be the best we've seen...mainly because of the Cruise Director Ross Roberts who is brilliant and the wonderful singers and dancers. :)

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