My wife and I sailed on Azamara Quest from Southampton to Seville on 16th August and I have to say this is without doubt the best cruise we have been on.
This was our first experience of a quality small ship and we are converts. The whole experience from beginning to end was excellent. Everything from the friendly, attentive and engaging staff to the quality of the food and entertainment and the ports of call was first class.
I could go on but here are just a few of the things that really worked for us.
The ship exuded refined quiet quality with superb staff to look after you, nothing was too much trouble. Being a small ship, Quest got right into the hearts of most ports of call. In Bordeaux for example, we docked on the river. No transfers, just a leisurely five minute stroll and you were right in the heart of the city. At most ports, the ship stayed for two days so you could explore much more and get to know the place without worrying that you might miss the ship's sailing time.
We dined in both Prime C and Aqualina speciality restaurants. Both were extremely good but so was the main Discovery dining room. You could opt for sharing a table with others or a table for two, both were readily available on a night by night basis; choose as the mood takes you.
We tended to prefer sharing a table with fellow guests and this is where Quest worked best for us. On a big ship you often find you may see someone once then never see them again. On a small ship it's much more intimate and you bump into people many times. We had some great evening meals with some really interesting and delightful people and this made for a very, very friendly atmosphere. You strolled into the bar for a night cap and before you knew it you met up again with someone you knew and shared a glass or two of wine over an enjoyable conversation
Any down sides ? Not really. If anything the cabins are a bit smaller than on bigger ships but they are perfectly acceptable and Azamara are quite up front about that point. They are very well equipped and extremely clean with attentive staff.
We will certainly be sailing with Azamara again and the sooner the better