Azamara Quest bills itself as a deluxe cruise ship, but is really a "work in progress" and is therefore a mixed bag. Our inside stateroom was spacious and kept very clean. The food onboard is quite excellent, and the production show performers were exceptional. But, after that, the ship's visible operations fall short of expectations, and at times were not even at the level of RCCL's Royal Caribbean brand ships. Example: Dining room service is very, very slow. It appears to be understaffed. Example: The noise level in the main dining room is the loudest of any cruise ship we have encountered. This may be caused by a ceiling with little sound absorbing capability - a major design flaw. Example: Pool deck maintenance is poor. After a rain, a quarter-inch of water covered it and was allowed to stand for too long. Even deeper water aft of the "Windows" buffet was allowed to stand too long. This was dangerous to passengers. Example: We were surprised that a deluxe cruise ship would charge for soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages such as specialty coffee. Quite out of character. Example: When we first entered our stateroom we found a nice bottle of wine on the desk. We thought it was part of the for-purchase bar supply, so it remained unopened. It wasn't until day six that our room steward informed us that the wine was a gift from our travel agent. There was no note or card left with the bottle. And there was only one wine glass, so we had to ask for another. And there was no corkscrew, so we had to ask for one. And the in-room refrigerator won't accommodate a standard 750ml bottle of wine. Example: The cruise line makes a big deal of placing fresh flowers in staterooms. But ours were allowed to wilt with no replacement.
Example: Shore excursions are very ordinary. There is no attempt to upgrade beyond standard RCCL fare. And for the very first time in our 17-cruises, we asked for a refund for a very bad excursion experience. All my wife and I each received was a ten-dollar refund. A truly deluxe cruise ship wouldn't have insulted us this way. Finally, the consensus among our dinner partners, many of whom had run their own businesses, was that it was a bad corporate decision to make ship guests "guinea pigs" in a training exercise. Though we appreciated the Azamara business model, we were nevertheless dismayed at the execution. Azamara has entered the deluxe cruise ship market prematurely and is not ready for prime time. I suggest giving this particular vessel until next winter before one books passage. Perhaps by then it will be able to deliver the promise of deluxe service.