For my wife & I to manage 2 weeks holiday at the same time takes some arranging! So we were very annoyed to receive a F.O letter in February canceling the cruise we had booked last year - due to the'Olympics'! Now locked into a very tight time slot we started to look for other cruises on smaller vessels - preferably sailing from the UK.Bolsover Cruise Club came up with the Azamara Quest - Fly to Athens return flight from Venice. Not quite what we wanted - but they said we would love it -We did and how !-5 star plus! the best cruise we have had! Flight from Heathrow with BA - baggage allowance(each) of 23kgs in hold & 23kg in the cabin we just made it! Effortless transfer to Hotel Grand Bretange Athens with the afternoon to explore - Dinner at the Hotel roof top garden restaurant overlooking the Accropolis - the view was priceless -the food/service excellent(the bill-don't ask!) Transfer from Hotel to Ship next day a bit slow due to Athens traffic - but bags in our cabin when we arrived - also the cabin steward to introduce himself & his collegue - they called us Mr & Mrs T from then on! Nothing on board was too much trouble for any one! all the staff were polite friendly and profesional in every way. The Captain (Carl Smith) even led an 'expedition' up the hill to the fort in Kotor! The stateroom and room service faultless allthough the bathrooms are a little tight! Fridge & safe in cabin but no tea/coffee,two bottles of water left each day along with fresh fruit & flowers and ice bucket topped up twice per day.Mini bar prices same as main bar. It was no problem to have the soft drinks changed in the cabin (Coke to Spite/Tonic/Soda)complimentary. The balcony was a little tight due to quite a largeish table with 2 chairs. Attention to detail throughout the ship was superb all through the cruise.Two ATM machines available on board dispensing Dollars & Euros. Wine was inclusive at meal times and worked well, not allways easy to have red and white with different courses though.We did not have the drinks package though- starting at $29 per day per person - most beers were from Â£5.50- $6 per bottle so that would be 5or6 a day each to cover it! There is also a happy hour from around 5.30 I think when drinks prices are reduced, a daily 'theme' cocktail was $6 and there was a choice of usualy 2 wines per day on offer at around $15 per bottle. Food through out the ship was exemplory with a fantastic choice of options. The freedom dinning worked well at worst we had to wait a few minutes for a table for two - after a couple of nights the staff knew our favoured tables and we did not need to ask! We used Aqualine ($25 cover charge) 3 times and it was fantastic - 1 to 1 service, great ambiance & superb dishes.Being a small ship were able to berth in places unavailable for larger vessels which was great - also most depatures were in the evening, arriving next morning giving you a full day in port. A morning sail in to Kotor had a local guide on deck giving a comentary as we sailed in, a crew member did the same as we a sailed into Venice, this was a highlight as we moored alongside the canal and dinner that evening overlooking Venice rooftops from Aqualina! Pool small but ok, plenty of loungers load of towels available, entertainment was good - tasteful (Tony Markey's performances exceptional).All the crew were fantastic - from over 40 different countries - every one went out of the way to ensure you were being looked after - even noticed the Captain picking up some dropped litter on deck! Quay side there was always chilled water/juice & cold towels available - also the crew transported the same to the middle of the Ephasus ruins & set up an awning for some shade! Faults - not one we could find! - Observations :-
There were a small number of children on board and few teenagers, the staff went out of the way to look after them & they seemed to be enjoying themselves, but I would say the ship is more geared to adults. We rather missed the 'formal dress' dinners. The complimentary & drinks package is a bit strange - eg having checked in for dinner, having a glass of wine whilst waiting is $8 once you are at the table its complimentary for the same wine!
All in all full marks !
*** Not listed in the Port list - Hvar Croatia - tender port lying off the coast, part the Dalmation Islands - a little Jewel!! - easy walking in and around the town and along part of the coast path - well worth the visit!
*** Advised to carry passports when on shore in some non EU ports.