We flew to Hamburg from London on the day of the cruise. We had arranged a Transfer from the airport to the ship by Azamara. The Quest staff was waiting for us at the bottom of the Baggage Claim escalator. They grabbed our bags and off we went. We got a scenic tour of Hamburg on the way to the Port.
Check-in took all of 1-minute and took place on the ship (we had done the registration on the Internet site before the trip).
The itinerary focused exclusively on Norway, with 3 stops above the Artic Circle including a side trip to the Arctic Circle Monument where we had a party.
This was our first opportunity to see European pelagic and land birds.
We always had Br & Lu in the Buffet on the 9th Deck. It operated like a dining room with waiters to get your tea, coffee, Cappuccino, Energy Drink, Smoothie, etc. You can order omelets from your table, if you wished. We loved the fresh and crispy Waffles.
Outside the Buffet they have the menus for Dn in the Dining Rm and Buffet. The Buffet always has a theme Dn like Thai, Moroccan, Scandinavian, French (wonderful Escargot over puff pastry), Greek, German, etc. They have Lobster in the Dining Rm pretty often and it is Awesome! They have complimentary Red & White Wine, and draft & bottle beer at Lu & Dn.
In Honningsvag the Captain & Sr Officers when fishing and caught 330 lbs of Cod we later had for Dn. After we left Flan the ship stopped in the Fjord while the Rescue Boat went ashore to get fresh Raspberries from a farmer the Captain knew. At most Ports the Quest took on some fresh provisions.
In the beginning of the cruise there was too much going on like seeing Puffins off the side of the ship for us to go to the evening shows. The Broadway highlights show toward the end of the cruise was good especially the ending with a hilarious version of Motion of the Ocean from Hairspray, with the Cruise Director as the cross-dressing Mama!
The WiFi worked very slowly on the ship. I could never get Yahoo Mail to let me attach pictures.
We used the Sauna, Thalassotherapy Hot Pool, and Rainforest Showers in the Spa on a daily basis. They were never very busy. You can get complimentary Gatorade in the exercise room.
You can get coffee, tea, and small sandwiches from the Coffee Bar on Deck 5 from 7am till late. Coffee & tea are always available at the Buffet on Deck 9.
We did 2 Land Discoveries In Honningsvag we did the Bird Safari and saw a million Puffins on the water and Sea Cliffs, plus dozens of White-tailed Eagles sitting & circling, Shags & Cormorants were resting, Black-legged Kittiwakes were nesting in their Cathedral, and Murres & Razorbills (the penguins of the North that can fly) were up-close we loved it! In Flm we did the RR Trip it was good once, but if there is a next time, I would hike up the valley from Flm.
Bergen, lesund, and Olden have scenic hikes you can do on your own. In Tromso we Docked next to the free Arctic Botanical Gardens beautiful flowers from the mountainous & cold regions of all the Continents.
In Svolvaer we walked to the base of the Goat - an 1849ft granite Pinnacle with 2 Horns just outside town. We saw 11 bird species here including Coal Tits, Eurasian Blue Tits, Fieldfares, & Tree Pipits. We found an Op Shop near the Visitor Center.
In Honningsvag we found a cobblestone beach with Beach Glass. We found 4 ceramic cylinders that the Captain later told us were old-fashioned screw-in fuses of the kind that are not used in Norway any more. We also found an old fish net weight. There are 5000 Reindeer on the island, so sightings are almost guaranteed, as are giant fish drying racks.
The Azamazing Evening was held in lesund (on my wifes birthday). The eating part of the event was held in a very large waterfront restaurant that once was a Cod Liver Oil Factory. Everyone from the ship attended. Most people walked the short distance thru town, but Quest had special handicap vans for people that needed them, and the local tourist trams for people who didnt think they should walk the small grades and cobble stone streets.
The Azamazing Evening occurred all over the historic part of town. First stop was a church near the Pier for a short pipe organ recital. Next was a series of street events, including: a Birch Bark Horn demo, folk music and dancing, accordion playing, a tour of the Fish Museum to see how Cod Fish used to be dried in salt and cod liver oil made, and finally - Brown Cheese tasting.
All the food and drinks at the Restaurant were on the Captain! They had cold Ox roast (very tender), Reindeer sausage, Cod Fish cakes with Aioli, Beautiful large red & juicy Strawberries, dark chocolates with a liquor filling, very large green grapes with hard cheese, and a local dipping chip. They gave everyone a small vile of local Moon Shine that had Cardamom added.
I asked the Captain how much input the Captains have into any itinerary. He said he had personally customized this cruise inside the company with extra scenic cruising, many of the events tonight, and the welcoming flotilla from his hometown we would see tomorrow night at the Arctic Circle Monument.
This was the first time lesund had hosted an event like this. Everyone loved it!!
The weather was Absolutely Amazing. We had Sun (a few times for 24 hrs), warm temps (short sleeve weather every day above the Arctic Circle), calm seas, and no rain on Port days a feat possibly never to be repeated! Most of the time we thought we were in Key West, except for the Fjords with 5000 ft mountains, prolific waterfalls, and Puffins. Beautiful!!!
We saw 63 bird species on the cruise.