Fantastic, Fantastic, Fantastic!! We booked this cruise in July 2007 so had a long but worthwhile wait. From the brilliant crew down to the fabulous ports it was everything we had hoped for. Vietnam is a must and the weather was kind to us in Hong Kong providing glorious views from the Peak.
I have to admit reading some of the Azamara cruise reviews before we left had made me slightly nervous and as on any ship if you want to sweat the small stuff there will always be something to gripe about. However our memories of the 14 days are fantastic.
Embarkation and disembarkation was very quick and straightforward. With the latter there is none of the rush to get you out of staterooms that we have experienced on other cruises especially Qm2 leaving you to hang around in public spaces. If you want to stay in your room until your luggage tag number & color called then you can. Even though the port in Hong Kong was little more than a dockside, there were plenty of taxis available and the luggage pick up efficient. During the cruise all visas and passport issues were dealt with behind the scenes - our passports were taken off us in Singapore and we picked them up before arriving in Hong Kong, now the proud owners of Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian immigration stamps!
The Crew from Captain Carl Smith down to Rennie our Butler and Aaron , our Stateroom attendant were professional but very friendly. The Captain often stopped to chat even as he made his way round the ship. He is extremely down to earth and knows his crew by name. There were always Senior staff around on port days as people got on or off the ship which was nice. The Cruise Director John and Jim Badger the Cabaret Entertainer should have their own show! They are brilliantly funny together doing trivia, musical mania etc and again always had time to chat. A guest survey is sent out mid cruise and a follow up phone call made to everyone who completes it which adds to the feeling of being valued.
The Dining options were excellent, Windows/Breeza Cafe buffets had plenty of choice breakfast, lunch and dinner. Discoveries occasionally had some strange selections but we always found the service good and not too fast or slow. Lunch was very relaxed with good options in Discoveries as well. We ate once each in Aqualina and Prime C, both very good but because of the excellent quality of the other dining there is not so much of a marked difference as with the Speciality restaurants on other Celebrity ships, nor the cost, a $5 gratuity is all they ask and which we were more than willing to pay for the superb service and food.
Our veranda cabin was compact but had everything we needed. With such a port intensive itinerary and also unbelievable sights sailing through Halong Bay and up the Mekong Delta then the stateroom was not somewhere we spent much time. It was kept spotless by our Butler and stateroom attendant and they looked after us very well. Take the time to fill in the request for canapes, definitely worth it, scallops, prawns, chicken, properly prepared delights!
Quest has laundry facilities on deck 7 and rarely had to wait more than 30 minutes. Washing machines ( large ) were a max of $2 - on a cruise ship as small as Quest this is a great facility, just meant I had overpacked!
Entertainment was good on the whole. Jon Fleming the Enrichment lecturer was excellent giving the history and key things for each port. The Activities staff were enthusiastic and friendly and there were some great trivia competitions over the 14 days. The Drawing Room has a well stocked library and book swap selection. The pool was a reasonable size and very welcome in the 30+ degree heat in Thailand and south Vietnam. There was the occasional issue with reserved sunbeds but the staff did a good job of freeing these up if no one claimed them after 30 minutes.
Overall definitely a 5 star experience and we are looking to book our next cruise on Quest. I cannot rate it highly enough and in terms of value for money and port itinerary was fantastic. Three overnights makes a big difference in seeing some of the locations and meant that you had time to explore the local port and take shore excursions e.g Halong Bay and Hanoi. We were really sad when we had to leave and say our goodbyes.