This was my 4'th and final cruise in 2009 and all were with the Celebrity and Azamara organization. First was with the Infinity; second on the Solstice; third on Azamara Journey in August and now the Azamara Quest. I have more sailings with them than any other company, and have had very positive reviews in the past until now. My brand loyalty is no more.
First: problems with Azamara/Celebrity customer service: Their pre-cruise customer service is dreadful. It is very difficult to get accurate information and they will give wrong information. For example, as our cruise was in Asia, they insisted repeatedly that the on board visa service for obtaining a visa for Vietnam is for North Americans only. The website was not clear. The printed materials simply said a visa could be obtained on board. Because they insisted non-North American passports must obtain a visa by regular methods at your regional consulate, that is what my partner did, at much greater expense. In fact it turns out that on board they WILL process visas for all nationalities. This should not have happened.
Second: The so-called Captain's Club. If you are an Elite member, forget about it. The program is a joke for loyal guest. Enjoy $10 free laundry service and 20 minutes of bonus internet minutes when you purchase a package. Throw in a few cocktail parties and that's it. A huge disappointment compared to Celebrity. Of course, in April or so they launch the new Le Club Voyage, details TBD. As a very loyal guest: I'm not impressed.
Third: Azamara Passages certificates. Don't bother purchasing them. A $100 deposit on board for a future cruise giving you on OBC up to $300. Well it turns out they have conditions attached. You cannot use your deposit that you paid for, along with any other promotional coupon that they advertise. Fair? You decide. I think not. Now for the ship experience. Pleasant small ship. Almost physically identical to the Journey. Staterooms are the same. Had a 1A Balcony. Excellent service there. Bathrooms of course small. Range of television channels limited.
Food: The good part first: Specialty Restaurants: Prime C and Aqualina. We ate there about 6 times on the 18 night cruise. The food generally excellent there and service good. At the main Discoveries Restaurant, it was a mixed bag. The first week, the food was fair to terrible. It seemed to improve subsequently after the complaints arrived. I never saw who the Executive chef was on the Quest. On the Journey, Chef Lisa was everywhere....dedicated and giving her best. I didn't feel the same in the food department here. Upstairs at the buffet was OK. Good, not stellar.
Entertainment: Couldn't tell you. If you eat your dinner at 8:30, you will NEVER have the opportunity to see any shows. Why? Because on the Quest, the have only ONE show usually around 9:30. As a result, in 18 nights I never saw one show. The Journey had two shows. Complain all you want. They have no plans for two shows. They do appreciate the feedback though. If you write your comments on board, they will contact you and apologize and be nice to you.
Shore excursions: They were better than expected this time. I ended up spending a fair bit but they were well organized and enjoyable for the ones that I did with the ship. So, overall, the cruise experience in Asia was enjoyable in terms of the ports of call. The ship experience was more mixed. It was not phenomenal like my Journey experience. Customer service needs much work. I did not feel like a valued Elite member, so I must now lower my expectations. I am more interested in trying the competition now.