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Rachel Harrison

Age: 26

Occupation:Customer Service

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Island Cruises

Ship: Island Escape

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Cabin: We had a Golden Deluxe Cabin, which was excellent. It had a double bed, large dressing table, two double wardrobes, a seating area and lovely décor. The cabin was exceptionally clean due to the cabin maid-Velislava coming in three times a day. There were also fresh fruit and flowers in the room on arrival.

Food: There were three choices of restaurants, the Beachcomber was 24 hours food and had a large selection of food for breakfast, lunch and Dinner, with cakes, pastries and biscuits available throughout the day. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and water were also available free from the Beachcomber. I like eating here for breakfast and lunch. After talking to another couple that had previously been on this cruise, they said the service and food had greatly improved since last year and was now excellent, I have to agree. The island restaurant was self-service and reminded me somewhat of a Butlins large eatery although in somewhat nicer surroundings and the food was very good. The Oasis restaurant was easy enough to get a booking for a table for two as long as you went down first thing in the morning (i.e. 7.30-8.00) to book and we experienced no queues in booking this. The food here was lovely and does Chefs Specials, which you have to pay an additional charge for but we both had these and were not disappointed. There was also the standard menu, which you did not have to pay extra for. Bottles of wine varied from £8.95 upwards.

Entertainment: I tended to drink in the Sundowner lounge most nights, which was very pleasant accompanied by piano music, the service here was very good, the waiters/waitresses come and take your order rather then you going to the bar. I only went in the Bounty Lounge once, which is where Bingo is played every night, and they have a selection of cabaret, the service in here was not too good as there were not enough waiters on and if you went to the bar they were too busy serving the drinks for the waiters. But it was always packed out every night so it may well have improved throughout the week. The Lookout bar is the adult disco, which is usually from 22.00 to 02.30, and I went there twice to listen to DJ Martin- a lot of fun, even for the older ones! Drinks cost £2.30 a pint of Stella, which was the only draft lager apart from Boddingtons Bitter. Other beers were available in bottles and cost around the same as a pint. Cocktails were £2.50.

Excursions: We paid for two excursions. Florence and Pisa was a full day and cost £42.00 each and Pompeii was half a day and cost £32.00 each, although there are cheaper ones available. I felt safer going on the organized tripe, although many people on the ship made their own way around with taxis and trains and it worked out a lot cheaper, especially if you share taxis. The ship docked in the port on all stops and even if you were not going on a trip it was easy enough to get off and walk around the port or town. (Barcelona docked right in the town and was pleasant, but I would not recommend walking round Naples on your own!)

Facilities: The facilities were good, I went to the gym several times during my holiday, and although only small the machines were usually always available. There is a hair and beauty salon and I treated myself to a massage, which cost £20.00 for 35 minutes, there is a free sauna also in here. Never used the casino but it seemed very popular and a main nightspot for a lot of the guests. There are free lessons you can attend to show you how to use the tables. The swimming pool was a bit disappointing, although as described- it is purely a deep plunge pool, not big enough to swim in, there was quite a bit of day entertainment by the pool i.e. quizzes. The shops were ok, although there was not enough choice of everyday items and nowhere to buy water or soft drinks (you had to purchase these from the bars when there were open). There was an internet room which I used several times but can work out quite dear at 32p per minute, but this was a better option then using the phone in the cabin which was £2.50 per minute. Mobile phone chargers do not work on this ship even with an adaptor, so charge fully before leaving. Another thing to bear in mind is because this ship was previously a Caribbean ship; you need the American adapter, not the European one for things like hair dryers etc, even then its very weak power, which is why the travel irons do not work here!

Overall: The ship was better then I expected and I thoroughly enjoyed it and will certainly return, hopefully this year! One last thing to bear in mind is that the ship is very busy during the first day at sea as every one is aboard and it can be hard to find seats to eat etc, but once we start docking in ports the ship is so quiet and is excellent, so you may not want to get off the ship everyday! My rating overall would be 8/10.

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