We love Azamara and always have a great time when we cruise with them. This was our fourth cruise on Azamara and but our first on Quest. We were happy to find that some of the officers and crew that we had met on Journey were now on Quest. The outstanding staff and crew go out of their way to do anything and everything possible to make the cruise a wonderful experience and they are truly the strength of Azamara. The top leadership staff including Hotel Director Philip, Cruise Director Russ, Food and Beverage Manager Richard, and Mr. Mustafa are outstanding and set a great example. Everyone truly knows what to do, and they go about doing it well with professionalism, teamwork and warmth. The atmosphere on a small ship is special. People are very friendly, and we made some terrific new friends. It was nice that the passengers were a mix of nationalities.
Embarkation and Disembarkation: Embarkation was very and disembarkation was a breeze.
Staterooms: We had a balcony stateroom. The beds and the bedding were comfortable but do need to be refurbished and they will be when Quest goes into Dry Dock in October. The bathrooms and especially the shower are very small.
Dining: We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffets in Windows Cafe. There was a lot to choose from and the food was very good. We ate dinner mostly in the main dining room but did eat in Aqualina once and Prime C twice. We especially enjoyed Prime C but the food, the presentation, and the service were excellent in all three venues. We thought that the food in Discoveries had definitely been upgraded and was now on a par with the specialty restaurants. We liked that wine is included with lunch and dinner and most of the wines were good.
Entertainment: The entertainment was vastly better than on our previous cruises. Russ is a great Cruise Director and performer. We especially liked it when the singer Helen Jayne and the Azamara pianist Ross Johnson performed in Looking Glass. They were amazing especially since they performed with little time to rehearse. On our previous cruises, we commented that the entertainment in Looking Glass was often too loud and making it difficult to converse when we were there for cocktails. This time the duo and the pianist were perfect.
All Inclusive Policy: We really liked the all inclusive policy. We enjoyed the complimentary wine, soft drinks, coffee and water, and it was nice to have the gratuities included.
Ports: The itinerary was good, but unfortunately the weather was really hot and humid and a lot of the ports were very crowded. We did some ports on our own, 2 ports on Azamara excursions and private tours in 2 ports. We thought it was great that in Dubrovnik, Russ led a group of us on a walk to his favorite spot The Hole in the Wall and then bought us all drinks. In Kotor, Russ and some of the other officers led a hike up to the fortress. We did private tours when docked in the ports of Taormina and Amalfi. In Taormina, we went to Mt. Etna, Castelmola and Taormina. Castelmola was much less crowded and we liked it much more than Taormina. I have always wanted to do the drive on the Amalfi Coast. so we booked a tour with Joe Banana Limos. It was the highlight of our cruise. Our guide and driver Paolo was phenomenal! His sense of humor, knowledge of the Coast, and his tailoring the tour to our wants and needs made this tour exceptional.
We are definitely looking forward to our next cruise on Azamara.