My daughter and I were on the Island Escape on w/c 21st May. This was our first time (and last).I have been on 3 other Thomson ships and comparing it to them I found indeed as per the brochure states the Island Escape was more laidback. Which suited us fine. Staff were absolutely brilliant and couldnt have been better. The Island Dining room was nicely laid out, no queues there. Great waiters. Food good.It was self service buffet til about 4 days in to the cruise where it changed to served by staff from the buffet. (as we were to find out this was due to illness on board. Cabin was pretty basic -think budget hotel furniture- but very clean. Public areas looked better. Though they seemed very crowded in bars etc compared to other Thomson ships. These were the plus points.Comparing it to to other Thomson Ships drinks package, it was poor. A very basic choice of unbranded sprits. White rum, vodka, Gin, no version of Baileys etc.Lager by the half pint.Though the wine was good and the white rum fine. Entertainment was also very good.
The reason I would not go back again was due to the unfortunate weather. Not of course that can be helped, but I dont think this ship handles at all well in bad weather.weather was truly awful and relentless for most of the cruise. Both if us seasick all of the day at sea. Then almost every night was sleepless and quesy because of the banging and lurching. Two change of ports due to the bad weather. Worse, when leaving Civitaveccia the ship listed badly. I honestly say I have never been so scared in my life. We were in the dining room and food and glasses and people fell. I know there were injuries but a miracle none seem to have been serious. I wanted to leave the ship but as noone spoke to us or made any further announcements other than the Capitain immediately afterwards who said he had to make a sudden turn to avoid rocks!I wanted to leave the ship at the next port. but I had no idea how to make arrangements for planes and travel or where the nearest airport or availability was.
We had trips booked the next day to Florence and Pisa so we just decided to go and assume the worst was over. A lady on the bus became ill and was very sick and had to be returned to the ship. On returning to the ship we discovered people had left supposedly at Thomsons expense.I would have definitely have left if we had the option. Then people began to fall ill. Out of 6 of us who dined together, 3 became ill on board.1 of them had to have two injections and they were considering moving her to hospital at one stage. The buffet was changed to being served by staff, which was fine. But on asking we were advised there was no problem with sickness it was a change of hygiene practise. I fell ill the day I returned home and missed a long awaited operation as I had to be clear of sickness for 48hours. Again unfortunate fact of life, norovirus on ships. The good points really were the hard working cheerful staff, and they really went out of their way to make sure passengers in the dining room were ok after the listing incident. Despite the good points. I would not go on the Island Escape again. It doesn't appear from my experience to handle at all well in bad weather and I just wouldn't risk another week of seasickness. I still feel over a week after the event that we had a very lucky escape leaving Civitaveccia, and I think perhaps we should not have sailed or been so close to the rocks, and the outcome could have been terrible.