Our cruise on Azamara Quest from Athens to Venice was our second cruise - the first being a short trip on Carnival which was more about being with friends and family than the ports of call. We enjoyed our experience and knew we'd want to cruise again. After being on Azamara, we're spoiled. I can't imagine sailing on a larger ship.
The senior staff on the Quest was excellent - very friendly and very visible. Here I'm referring to Russ, the cruise director, Phillip, the hotel director and Richard, the food and beverage director.
Many aspects of the service were very thoughtful. For example, they handed out cold bottles of water as we disembarked each day. But it was a cold and rainy day when we visited Olympia (the first rain in four months we were told), so instead of handing out cold water while we disembarked, the bottles were room temperature. Upon our return to the ship the crew had hot chocolate and rum waiting.
Other service, though, was spotty. Service at dinner was sometimes very slow (we think that's because the dining rooms are understaffed) and inconsistent in things like keeping our water glasses full. We were also surprised to have some items left in our room after it was cleaned - a dirty plate and half-empty soda can. This certainly wouldn't keep me from cruising with Azamara again, but since they tout their service I think it's worth noting. In any case, everyone was very polite and friendly.
A pleasant surprise was the size of the cabin. We had a standard veranda room (with a balcony), and it was just fine. I had read that Azamara's cabins were particularly small, and I envisioned climbing over the bed to get to the bathroom. But the room is comfortable and well laid-out. The bed was comfortable too.
We only took one ship excursion, on Corfu, and it was well done. The guide was informative, and we arrived at our two destinations before the crowds so we had a pleasant touring experience. In general, we seemed to beat the crowds into ports, which made the mornings peaceful. In Greece, I advise enjoying the towns early and then going off to the beach or the countryside, if you plan to do both.
One new excursion was to Samora Gorge on Crete. Apparently this is very beautiful and well-known. We had never heard of it, but we were thinking of taking the trip. Happily, the excursion person actually said she wouldn't take it, and I'm glad she was honest. From what we heard, good hiking shoes and supplies would have been necessary, and we weren't prepared with either.
In general, I liked that Azamara didn't try to fill you with fear of missing the boat if you didn't take their tours. We're adults. We can tell time.
In general, the food was very good. We didn't find much difference in quality between the main dining room and the specialty restaurants; I think the big difference is the ambience. The one weak point is the fish dishes - we were disappointed with our fish meals in every restaurant. That doesn't include the lobster, which was very good in all three restaurants.
As noted earlier, I'm very spoiled with the size of the ship and can't imagine sailing on anything larger. Although we were told the boat was full, we never felt crowded. We could always get a seat at the shows or by the pool. The wait to disembark wasn't long, and leaving the ship on the final day was a breeze.