WE HAVE LODGED A SERIOUS COMPLAINT ABOUT OUR HOLIDAY ON THIS CRUISE SHIP FROM HELL!
IT WAS A SPECIAL OCCASION FOR US, IT WAS OUR GOLDEN WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. ON THE DAY OF OUR ANNIVERSARY, THE TOILET/SHOWER FLOODED WHICH CAME FROM THE FLOOR DRAINS AND WE WERE ON THE NINTH FLOOR!!!
OUR BALCONY WAS AWFUL! EVERY MORNING WE DISCOVERED THAT SMOKERS THREW THEIR FAG-ENDS OVER THE SIDE OF THE SHIP WHICH LANDED ON SOME OF THE BALCONIES. THE PERMITTED SMOKING AREA ON THE DECK ABOVE US WAS TE ONLY PERMITTED SMOKING AREA ON THE SHIP! ON OUR SECOND NIGHT, WE SAT ON OUR BALCONY FOR A DRINK BEFORE RETIRING WHEN SOMEONE DROPPED AN EMPTY WINE BOTTLE OVER THE SIDE WHICH LANDED ON OUR BALCONY.
THE CARPET HAD SEEN BETTER DAYS AND WAS SCORED AT THE DOOR ENTRANCE AS WELL SHOWER ROOM AREA. I NOTICED THAT THE NEXT DOOR CABINS HAD BEEN FITTED WITH NEW CARPET. THE AIR CONDITIONING NEVER WORKED AND WHEN IT WAS COLD AT NIGHT, THE HEATING DID NOT WORK EITHER. WE REPORTED THESE FACTS TO THE RECEPTION BUT THEY SHOWED NO SYMPATHY AT ALL. THEY LOGGED MY REPORT AND SOME DAYS LATER, SOMEONE LEFT A TYPED NOTICE SAYING THAT THE HEATER/AIR CONDITIONING UNIT HAD BEEN REPAIRED BUT IT HAD NOT.
THIS BOAT ALLEGEDLY WAS A FERRY BUT HAD BEEN CONVERTED TO A CRUISE SHIP AND IT SHOWED.
WE HAVE LODGED A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE COMPANY AND THOMAS COOK AND THE MATTER IS UNDER INVESTIGATION!
TWO YEARS AGO, WE SAILED ON THE SISTER SHIP. THE "ISLAND STAR" AND THAT WAS A FAR SUPERIOR CRUISE. WE THOUGHT THAT THE "ISLAND ESCAPE" WOULD BE OF THE SAME STANDARD BUT IT CERTAINLY IS NOT.
WE BOOKED ON AN 'ALL INCLUSIVE' BASIS AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT THE FOOD AND DRINKS WERE VERY GOOD. THE CREW AND STAFF WERE ALSO VERY GOOD.
IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS OF THIS SHIP, 'ISLAND CRUISE' IT PROBABLY IS THE THE WORST OF ITS KIND. NEXT TIME, WE WILL PAY EXTRA AND GO ON A SUPERIOR SHIP.
I CANNOT EMPHASISE ENOUGH ON THE FACT THAT THIS IS A THIRD RATE SHIP!
WE HAVE TAKEN PHOTOS OF THE RELEVANT AND UNHYGIENIC ASPECTS OF OUR CABIN AND THE FILTHY STATE OF THE CARPETS IN OUR CABIN AND ON THE BALCONY!
Travel operator: THOMAS COOK
Let me say first that this was our first (and probably last) cruise.
Our cabin was on Platinum deck with an outside balcony.
We had booked a year in advance and at that time most of the reviews I could find were favourable but if you were now to get the opions of the people on our cruise, well, you would probably give this ship a miss.
On the good side the bars and restaurants were fairly clean and the vast majority of the crew were excellent, also the food was quite reasonable and hygiene in the restaurants was very good.
On the downside the carpets, bed sheets(on one occasion blood stained) and towels had seen better days, much better days, about a decade ago, and some of the waiters in the Island Restaurant were extremely rude, openly making comments about the appearance of some of the passengers and, oh yes, the Captain was incoherrant at times seemingly finding it difficult to string a sentence together.
The itinery wasn't very well thought out. On the first Sunday we docked in Curacao only to find it closed and, due to high winds, we were late arriving in Aruba to find it was 'early closing day', surely these days could have been 'days at sea'and the itinery changed to accommodate.
Wherever the ship docked we seemed to be the poor relations, coming third in docking berth priority to the German and American cruise ships in almost every port. In Grenada the Germans had berthed in the inner harbour and the two American ships had tied up to the remaining pier, which left the Island Star to anchor half a mile offshore and use its tenders to ferry passengers to shore.
The excursions booked on the ship were very expensive but you could find the equivilent trip outside the docks for about half the price. For me Cartagena was the highlight of the cruise, Curacao and Aruba the disappointments, yet this was the exact the opposite of what I had envisaged.
A word of warning about one of the excursions in Limon, Costa Rica. 'The Original Canopy Tour' is quite dangerous, being fitted with a harness and a couple of pulleys attached to two wires slung between trees with the forest floor 150 feet
below is not on everybodys favourites list, but some of us were not warned about the danger and indeed the ships excursion booking people did not hesitate to send a couple of 77 year olds on it!. Shear stupidity.
On 'days at sea' there were not enough sunbeds for people wanting them which led people carrying chairs from the dining areas to the sundecks and having to make do, inevitably this lead to the usual arguments about towels on beds etc.also
if you are an active person you will probably find that 'days at sea' can be extreemely boring unless you fancy learning how to fold towels to resemble monkeys, play darts, paint pot pigs and generally do a lot of mind numbing things just to get through the day. Take plenty of books.
The ship itself was in pretty poor shape with passengers including ourselves struggling with blocked toilets and sinks and a chest/throat infection that seriously affected many of the older passengers (and this cruise had plenty of older
passengers, my wife and I being in our sixtys felt like junior members)
We found out, on the cruise, that this ship has been sold and is to be de-commissioned in March and were told by one of the engineers that the present owners were reluctant to replace broken parts and an attitude of "make do, not long now" prevailed.
I'm not a Show person but I watched an hour of a show one night then realised that the Harbour Bar was a better bet, enough said, but, to each his own and if you're a Games person and like to play Blankety Blank etc you are in for a treat!!!
I have learned that cruising is not for me and although the Island Star is classed as a spacious ship, it's nowhere near spacious enough for me.
This Holiday was a huge disappointment and, for me, a waste of time and money, so once bitten twice shy and cruising, BYEE!
Travel operator: Island Cruise (First Choice)
Travel operator: first choise
Travel operator: thomas cooke
Went on the the Island Star, from Palma to Messina, Naples, Livorno, Toulon and Barcelona. Only real downside was the expensive trips, we had three full days and one half day, we wish we had done more on our own, as would have worked out cheaper, only reason we didn't was we didn't know the places and concerned with getting about and ensuring we got to the boat on time.
Entertainment most of the time was good, special mention to Ruddy West the comedian - excellent had us in bits both in the Ocean Theatre and the Bounty Club. Entertainments team did very well, especially Gemma (what is she doing on a cruise - she is amazing she would knock the socks of anyone on X Factor) and Nolan - Cruise Director was brilliant. All the staff in fact were fantastic, always friendly and worked very hard including Carl our Steward.
Sorry to see the ship going for next year as would do it all again. Great value for the price we paid and didn't expect all fancy bits and bobs. Certainly recommend it for your first cruise if you don't want to do the formal ones.
Travel operator: First Choice
For mass catering the food was VERY good - plenty of choice and good quality - and the Island restaurant (formal seating for buffet service) was just right for an informal atmosphere. We were always asked if we wanted to share a table, so we could have sat with just teh two of us if we wanted to (but half the fun is to meet new people). We used the beachcomber restaurant once or tice, but that was a bit too much like a works canteen atmosphere and had no advantages over the Island. We did not try the restaurants where you had to pay extra - there seemed little point. The only area of improvement would be a better selection of veg with dinner, but there was plenty of salad and fruit so no problme getting the five a day!
Entertainment was fine - theatre good, some singers excellent, others less so.
Excursions VERY expensive, but the one we did (Monumental Rome) was good, and the 'light lunch' was good, including wine and three courses. I'd have iked to do one of the bike tours, but as that would have been £58 for two of us to potter along on a borrowed bike we gave it a skip! Most of the ports of call had plenty to do and see, with ocal bus rides getting you further afield at very low costs (recommend the bus ride to Nice.... well worth the couple of euros bus fare)
Drinks were pub prices, and contrary to other reviews we found the regular requests of whether we wanted a drink fine; a polite 'no thanks' was all that was needed if you did not want one, and if you did order you didn't have to move as the drinks were brought to you. There were also plenty of 2 for 1 offers as well - not sure how people can complain at that!
Cabin was fine - only noise was when manouvering as we came into port, but that was minor as we should have been out of bed by then anyway! Cabin was spacious (restricted view outside cabin - budget level!) and well maintained with daily cleaning and bed making all included, along with fresh towels - all of these were in good condition, though old enough to actually dry you (new ones are hopeless in that respect!).
We have zero complaints - we'd do it again. I think many of the complaints I have seen are down to expectations. This is meant to be an informal cruise and to be honest, if you look at the pricing it is vey good value for money.
Travel operator: Last Minute.com
This was an informal cruise just what we wanted.
It was great, staff wonderful, food choice was amazing in the diffent restaurants.
The shows were first class,
Even the captain was a very approachable friendly man!
We went cycling around Valencia what an experience
We could not fault it, when it was a bit rough and I could'nt sleep the staff said pretend you are a baby and its rocking you to sleep they were such a happy bunch of very hard workers.
Such a shame its no longer here in UK.
Travel operator: Cruise Thomas cook
Travel operator: Island Cruises
Travel operator: island cruises direct
The ship was extremely clean so there are no complaints there with clean towels everyday.
I was fairly pleased with the food on the ship. We only went in the beachcoamber as it was a buffet open 24 hours. Breakfast was great with a great variety of food to choose from. Lunch was also very good, especially the grill where they served burgers, hotdogs and other great food. However, I was very dissapointed with the tea, if you don't like salad or meat you will struggle to find something. There is not much selection for children and the food seemed to run out really quickly and it seemed to take them a while to fill it up again.
The crew were amazing! They were probably the best part about it. They were so happy and friendly. They always say hello when they see you and they always made me smile they were so nice!
The entertainment was also really good. There were shows on every evening in the ocean theatre. They were really cheesy - especially the cruise director and assistant, but it was still great. They have a variety of acts on from comedy to dancing and singing. It wasn't just the theatre that offered excellent entertainment, on the pool deck there is always something going on and in the bounty club. I love this ship and want to go back! :(
Travel operator: First Choice
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