When looking at cruises what drew us towards the IE initially was the words 'Relaxed, Friendly & Informal' which was exactly what we were looking for, and exactly what we received.
Couldn't fault the staff, entertainment or the food. Very impressed. Yes the ship is older, the decor a little dated in places, but the staff and crew are fabulous and thats whats makes this ship special and made this the cruise for us, the great atmosphere.
Special assistance with dad were excellent both ends Cardiff and Palma.
Flight over was an uneventful and smooth process. As was checking in at Cardiff and through immigration at onto buses to the port at Palma.
Embarkation at Palma was glorious blue skies and less stressful and hurried than expected. Warm, friendly staff greeted and explained the process at the port in Palma, and from our perspective embarkation day seemed like a well oiled machine.
First impressions of IE were exactly what I expected having researched online. Impressed with the attention to hygiene and disease prevention starting right at the port entrance with hand sterilising and continuing throughout the ship, eating venues, toilets, gangways, etc. Our cabin and bathroom were small, but adequate, with plenty of storage space crammed in and spotlessly clean with a decent size window.
We ate at the Beachcomber 24hr buffet for breakfast and some lunch/afternoon teas, once at the Island Restaurant for lunch and each evening meal here. The food was buffet style at both venues but found the quality excellent and the staff at each friendly and attentive even when clearly extremely busy. We didn't use the a la'carte restaurant, maybe next time.
The entertainment was superb. We saw a Motown/Soul singer, Steve Simone at the Ocean Theatre, who we had the pleasure of dining with earlier that evening, fabulous singer/entertainer and lovely dinner companion. The Comedian Paul Eastwood, very funny and the Rockin all Over the World show which we enjoyed.
The Bounty lounge was a great venue also, my father really enjoyed taking part in 'Name that 70's tune' and winning on the men's team, the excellent resident band the Switch could often be heard here too, very good mix of music by them.
The Lookout lounge is a superb little spot for panoramic views during the day and most evenings the resident duo Mardi Gras performed, lovely couple with excellent voices. Later in the night the lookout becomes the late night disco venue.
The Pub was another fun little venue, awesome bar team and 2 great solo artists doing alternating 45min spots in the evenings, whilst we were on board it was Frankie De Soto a singer/pianist and Jimmy Hart a singer/guitarist.
The staff at the boutiques were all friendly and well informed of the products on offer. Our cabin steward was friendly and very efficient, oh and great towel animals.
We attended the Q&A with the Captain, David Thackray, really glad we did, found it informative and rather enjoyed his dry sense of humor. When encountered around the ship he was always friendly and approachable.
The cruise director Ross Roberts, and his whole team, Steve, Abby, Daniella, Lukas and everyone whose name I can't remember, excellent. With the wet weather you truly outdid yourselves with extra activities added on.
Ajaccio was lovely, warm, if a little cloudy, went on the petit train tour and shopping/sightseeing round the town. Our favorite port on the itinerary, very beautiful town full of charm.
Civitavecchia was also little cloudy but warm, we did the Easy Rome excursion, our guide lady was very good and well informed, really enjoyed our free time at the end at Vatican City, had almost 2 hrs to explore.
Left Dad at the Mirage bar one lunchtime when me and mum went into Livorno, bar staff looked after and kept and eye on Dad, jumped straight to his aid and guided him to the men's room when he needed and had him thoroughly merry after a few Cocktails of the day by early afternoon.
Explored Toulon on our own, got some lovely new pieces for my wardrobe and enjoyed exploring the market and harbor. Barcelona was quite wet, but still enjoyed the sights of the port and exploring the shops on Las Ramblas, gathering gifts to take home to the family.
Glorious weather again for disembarkation, really didn't want to go home Wasn't expecting residual the wibbly wobbly feeling, felt quite odd first night home, subsided over the next 48hrs then.
Already looking towards booking another trip on IE.