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★★★☆☆

“High season cruising can be expensive but if you are...”

Written on: 16/08/2010 by djlawrence21 (1 review written)

High season cruising can be expensive but if you are prepared to compromise a little on the luxury other big brand ships offer, you need not miss out on good quality food, reasonable entertainment, perfectly acceptable accommodation and still visit exciting ports and local destinations that the other cruise ships go to.



This sums up Island Cruises and their only ship the Island Escape. Whilst the ship is certainly dated and goes in for a re-fit at the end of this year, the food on offer is of a very good standard and equally comparable with the self-service food in the Windjammer Restaurants on Royal Carribean cruise ships. Fancy an upgrade then you can pay £15 per night for the excellent a la carte restaurant where the food is cooked and served to your liking and as good as any top restaurant.



The staff on board were first class and could easily be taken en-bloc to any 5 star cruise ship and not be out of place. Their service and attention to detail was exceptional and beyond expectations.



Whilst the cabin decor was a little dated it was kept perfectly clean and tidy by our cabin attendant at least twice each day. Our cabin was of the usual size for a cruise ship with plenty of storage space. A fridge was an added bonus I did not expect and there was no problem bringing on board non-alcoholic drinks to put in the fridge. We did have to pay £14 for a safe key though.



By far the best facility on offer was the ability to go on an organised mountain bike ride at each port of call. This lasted around 4 hours with plenty of stops and a guide who had done a great deal of research about each location and the best areas to ride to. It also helped work off a few pounds although the facilities in the gym on board were also useful for this. The cost of the bike ride was £34 but it did include a water bottle for you to keep, helmet, rucksack and even an energy bar.



Overall an excellent value cruise ideal for a first time cruiser to sample. Many on board were first time cruisers but there were also many who had been on this boat several times. Don't be put off by some of the comments made by others about this ship. If you are happy to stay in a 3 star hotel this is 3 star cruising. If you are looking for a 4 or 5 star cruise having to dress up for dinner and put on dinner jackets for the captains dinner party then this would not be for you.