Azamara Quest Cruise Review by rrocklin: A hot, historic Eastern Mediterranean Cruise
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A hot, historic Eastern Mediterranean Cruise
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Athens (Piraeus)
We embarked on the Azamara Quest for the 14 day cruise. We were unfamiliar with the cruise line but were very impressed with the ship, service, crew, food and entertainment. We will be looking at future cruises with this line now that we are spoiled. This was a smaller ship with about 700 passengers and this was apparent during the cruise, from embarkation to debarkation. There were no lines or crowds anywhere for anything unlike our experience on NCL, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. The other advantage with this smaller ship is that we could get into ports that the larger ships could not.
We appreciated the little things like the free fresh squeezed orange juice, the bowls of fresh fruit in our stateroom, the cold drinks and cool towels when re-entering the ship, the expresso maker in the restaurant, absence of pushy photographers, access to fruit juice and tea throughout the day and night, the brief announcements from the wonderful captain and crew in the morning and when More leaving port, the daily news summary and port descriptions, the representatives from the ports who provided maps and answered questions, the relatively quiet pool deck, the peaceful and well stocked reading room, free yoga and exercise classes, and most of all the very efficient process of tendering and disembarking. Did I mention there were no crowds or lines?
This in contrast to the the hours of noise on the pool deck and crowds on NCL, the naturalist in Alaska on Princess that would talk for hours over the ships intercom providing misinformation, and the hours to tender off the ship and pushy photographers on NCL.
Bodrum - Turkey
We spent the day at the Castle/fort and onsite underwater museum. This is rather large and is well worth the few hours we spent there. This is a fascinating look at the crusaders fortification with the many towers and very interesting museum with remnants of ancient trading in the area . We went up the Snake tower for a great overlook of the area. Boats were provided free of charge from the dock to get to the fortification although it is only a mile or two from the dock so it would be easy to get a cab or walk. We brought plenty of water because it gets hot. Less
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Cabin review: 1A7077
Great balcony. The room quiet and was pretty standard from our experience.
Port and Shore Excursions
These towns are jumping off points to Florence. We walked to the train station from the port in LaSpezia and had to take a bus from the station to the port at Livorno. The trains run frequently to and from Florence although we had to transfer at Pisa when going from LaSpezia but it was direct from Florence to Livorno. The trip is 1 to 2 hours on the train so we stayed in Florence at a nice place, Hotel Montreal, near the train station for 50 Euros.
Forence is hot in the summer so take plenty of water or plan on buying a lot of drinks. Florence is a place you could spend days exploring with the many museums and churches. We went to the Uffizi. Make sure you make a reservation well in advance because it is crowded in the summer and there are long lines but the museum was well worth it. The Duomo and Baptistery were amazing as well as the Medici's residence. One day is just not enough.
The trains run about every 1/2 hour and are very cheap and efficient, however we heard that pickpockets frequent the stations. You can catch the same train to all three destinations for a few Euro's round trip. Pompeii is a short walk from the train station and I think this is true for Herculaneum. We went to Pompeii and spent a few hours wondering the streets. Pompeii is very large and requires a lot of walking. Take a lot of water if doing this in the summer. This trip is well worth it and is very interesting. It would be good to review some literature prior to going to better appreciate the site.
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