We were on the 12/8 Quest Panama Canal cruise and were pleasantly surprised by the cruise. I guess after reading all of the problems on prior cruises, we were concerned. But,it's all subjective.
We had a wonderful time, our best cruise experience ever. We especially loved the size of the ship; it was surely a more intimate experience than the larger ships we've been on in the past. We could get anywhere quickly and easily.
The staff would always be around to see how we were doing, asking if there was anything they could do for us. We had a CC meeting on the third day and Becky introduced us to the Captain and all of the department heads. We had never been on a ship where we knew the names of the key staff, no less having met them and interacted with them during the cruise. At that meeting, we asked why we were only given one night free at the specialty restaurants since we were on a two-week cruise. That has since been changed as of the return cruise from Acapulco. We also asked that the fitness center be opened at six rather than seven and that was changed immediately---much to Matthew's chagrin. Well, I guess he gets to admire himself in the mirrors earlier in the day now!
No, the butler is not really a butler, but Vazio was always there when we needed him. He even asked me if he could polish my shoes. He brought tea and fruit to our cabin daily, along with the canapes (which we didn't eat).
We ate most of our dinners in Discoveries at 7:30 at the same table with the same wait staff. Aldwin and Jorge couldn't do enough for us. They catered to our every whim. Lorenzo, the Restaurant Manager, came over to our table daily to make sure everything was to our liking. The Asst. Maitre' D's, Cem and Jan were always around making sure we had a great dining experience. One of our new friends who dined with us daily had many requests and they met every one of them including having coffee ice cream made daily, serving clams casino to the entire table and getting raspberries at every meal. They even provided a free glass of wine for one of our tablemates on his birthday, along with a glass of champagne for all of us. Pete, the birthday boy was serenaded by Gustave, who has a magnificent voice.
Talking about berries, we've never had such delicious berries (fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries) on any cruise. They were on the Windows buffet at all meals and you could order them in Discoveries and the two specialty restaurants.
We ate in both Prime C and Aqualina and preferred the selection and service in Aqualina. We had great lobster tails in both.
Windows (Breezes at night) buffet was delicious. Although it looks small, there was an excellent selection of food. An omelete chef did a great job in the mornings and there were all kinds of salads at lunch. Their "no sugar added" deserts were a welcome treat for me and they always had a low fat ice cream available. Before dinner in Discoveries, a few of us would go to Breezes to have Sushi...Thanks, Jo-El for making some of our favorites.
We were in a 1A Veranda cabin mid-ship on the 7th level. It was small, but quiet and comfortable and well-appointed. Yes, the bathroom was small, but we made do. It wasn't a problem for us.
There were just a handful of children on the ship and they didn't bother us. We didn't know about a kid pooping in the pool but we do remember the pool being closed for a little while when it was being cleaned one morning.
As far as the age of the cruisers, we were pleasantly surprised that there was a good mix of age groups. We're in our mid-to-late 50's and there were plenty of people younger and older than ourselves that we could relate to.
Overall, we had a wonderful vacation. The ship was great, the food for the most part was better than other cruises we've been on and the service far exceeded anything we had ever experienced. We'd sign up again for the Quest, given the right itinerary and price.
Regards to the friends we made: Sue and Pete, Carol and Pete, Cheryl and Denny, Sang and Ron, Kate and Steve, Laura and Marv, etc.