Absolutely fantastic, and was a nice change being on holiday and not listening to the usual moans and groans of other holiday makers. Everyone was full of praise of this fab ship, and basically really 'happy' holiday makers :-)
Everything was very well organised, from arriving at the port, cases arriving at our door effortlessly, daily bulletin under our door last thing at night with the next day activities - and something for everyone, take it or leave it. When disembarking there were maps at reception of the port marking clearly any points of interest. As the Island Escape is small in comparison to other ships we got prime berthing spots. We did the Rome in One Day, was ok but pretty expensive at around Â£76 I think per person, and Florence on your own, again pretty expensive, Â£36 I think per person for a 1hr 15 min bus ride and drop off. Other stops we did on our own.
Dining... something for everyone. Restaurants were very well organised, and sanitizing was the order of the day, every day, everywhere. I noticed in the restaurants the plates were upside down to help prevent germs, waiters putting out the cutlery on tables wore plastic gloves, and the team work in restaurants was second to none. We liked all restaurants at different times of the day, but our favourite was dining in the Oasis restaurant in the evening after a busy day sightseeing, or just for waiter service and being totally spoilt, and totally spoilt we were! They were doing a 'Happy Hour' deal whilst we were there, dining after 9pm for Â£10.95 per person, the wine flowed, and believe me worth EVERY PENNY!
The Ocean Theatre... top acts here, in fact still cant believe the standard. Fantastic. We spoke to folk who had done over 30 cruises and found the entertainment to be the best ever on the Island Escape. They had a great comedian flown in from Glasgow, singer from London who did a soul and mowtown night. There is the Bounty Bar where things like karaoke, xfactor, bingo, resident band took place. The Lookout bar was a great place for sailaway if a bit chilly, or the Sailaway Bar/Beachcomber restaurant outdoor area also great for the sailaway if not so cool. The entertainment staff/ship director were just great, and Captain David gave us updates through the tanoy every morning/evening which was nice.
The cabin... this too exceeded our expectations. Floor 7, inside midship, we had two four drawer chest of drawers, so space for everything, space under beds for cases, lots of shelves in bathroom with a bar across to save stuff falling I suppose in stormy weather [didnt feel a wave when we were onboard!!]. The wardrobe space had a curtain covering, lots of rail space, although I was glad I took a few hangers, but then I did take a fair few clothes! There were two power points, one 230 and 110 [?] we just used our euro plug for hairdryer which was fine. No hair dyers in room but I think you could probably rent one. Safe was Â£15 for the week. There were two dark green towels for using at the pool etc so no need to take beach towels.
Gym... I did plan to use this every day, however I used the stairs all the time as I don't like lifts so felt this was my exercise, and of course walking about the towns... I am happy to say that I actually LOST 4lbs when I weighed in back home!!!
I seem to remember reading somewhere that since going AI waiters weren't so forthcoming... we found the total opposite! In the theatre at night there were a flurry of waiters wanting to take your order for drinks, and there was also a five minute warning that a show was starting and a waiter would come round again! We never queued at a bar once in the whole trip.
Hope the staff read this too - well done all of you, each and every one of you deserve a big THANK YOU for making our first cruise so enjoyable and memorable.