AZAMARA QUEST CRUISE 7TH TO 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2013.
This would be our very first Azamara cruise after cruising with Seabourn and Oceania quite a few times.
We flew to Rome and then on to Civitavecchia and stayed for one night at the San Georgio hotel in Civitavecchia.
On the morning of embarkation we walked to the port from the hotel and then caught the shuttle bus to the ship. As we arrived porters were there to take our luggage and we were shown to the check in area. As we had cruised with Celebrity Cruises quite a few times the lady at the door said we would have preferential boarding. We were shown to the check in desk and we were checked in and ready to board the Quest in less than five minutes. This must have been the best check in and quickest we have ever had. A good sign and hoped that things would go this smoothly throughout the cruise.
As we boarded there were the usual people trying to sell the Premium Drinks package and the Spa people there selling massages etc. We were offered a welcome drink of sparkling wine. We were then told that the buffet was open for lunch, cabins would be available about 1330 hours.
We made our way to the buffet and here we found that they did not have the array of food you find on Oceania, we did realise that they would not have such an extensive buffet as Seabourn. One good thing was that they poured wine and it was very drinkable, also they were soon round asking if you required further top ups. Which was very nice?
Soon the announcement was made and we went to our cabin number 8019 a standard balcony cabin. The cabin was very nice the bathroom a little small but then again we only used the cabin for changing and sleeping, we did not intend to spend a lot of time in there.
On embarkation we filled out the raffle for the spa and were told that the draw would take place at 6pm, you had to be in it to win it. We did attend the draw, but again it was very long winded, but well worth it as my wife won one of the prizes.
At six oclock we cast our lines and were soon on our way from the harbour of Civitavecchia.
We went up on deck and the drink was flowing quite freely, apart from when we boarded we were never hassled about buying the premium drinks package, which some people on Cruise Critic said they would do. We felt that the range of drinks offered that there was no need to buy the Premium Package, the only thing that was not on the Complementary list was Brandy, and all other spirits were catered for. We felt that at least one Brandy should have been offered; we did put this on the comment form.
We went down to dinner and asked for a table for two, we were shown directly into the Main Dining Room and given a very nice table for two by the window. The food I must say was very very good and one thing they got right was the temperature of the food. I mentioned this to the waiter and said that Azamara were to best cruise line, in our opinion, for getting food to you on a hot plate and the food was also hot. A very big thank you Azamara.
For the rest of the cruise we had no trouble getting a table in the Main Dining room, and we asked for different tables, sometimes for 6, sometimes just for two. At every meal the food was very well presented and hot.
Our itinerary was as follows
Saturday 7th September. Civitavecchia
Sunday 8th September. Portoferraio Elba Italy.
Monday 9th September Propriano Corsica France
Tuesday 10th September Olbia Sardinia Italy
Wednesday 11th September Amalfi Italy (Azamazing Evening)
Thursday 12th September Sorrento Italy (Should have been Capri)
Friday 13th September Sorrento Italy
Saturday 14th September. Civitavecchia
Good Pointes about the cruise.
Staff. Nothing too much trouble. (Special mention for Javier waiter in Main Dining Room)
Food in Main Dining Room and Speciality Restaurants (Hot)
Mosaics Cafe. Great Coffee and treats.
Fellow Passengers (A very good mix of nationalities)
Being awarded the Discoveries level and the freebees.
Small Ship (694 passengers)
Captain. Carl Smith
Things in our Opinion could be improved upon.
Of the three things that I have mentioned about improvement I would just say that the Buffet at breakfast they did not have any fresh berries, like Raspberries and Strawberries etc they were all tinned. Oceania and Seabourn do have these things fresh. If Azamara want to get into the higher end of cruising then we think that the buffet should be looked at. Not a lot of choice like other upmarket brands.
Entertainment. We felt that the two lady singers let the side down, they seemed to us to shout not sing, many other passengers commented on this.
Azamazing Evening. This was done whilst we were at anchor in Sorrento. It meant that they had to get virtually all the passengers off by tender and then bus them to the venue. We felt that it would have been better in a port where we were docked not tendered. There was a lot of waiting around because of the fact that we had to wait for buses etc and tenders. Also because of Sorrento the local police would only let three buses go at once, which also meant that we were sat on the coaches for some time. As we were the last coach to leave, when we arrived the food had all gone and the queue for drinks was exceptionally long. Also we had the most verbose courier you could imagine; she really did spoil the evening. She never shut up the whole time we were on the coach, and repeated herself over and over.
As you can see there were far more plus points than minus ones.
Overall though a very good cruise and top marks to Captain Carl Smith and it showed throughout the vessel that he had a very happy crew.
Well done Azamara and hopefully we will be back.