We cruised on the Azamara Quest on October 1-8, 2011 out of Rome. We were apprehensive about this trip, as it was our first cruise ever! We originally wanted to book with Seabourn but when our desired sailing sold out, we booked with Azamara instead. A little bigger ship, but a great itinerary. We are used to chartering sailing and motor yachts privately with three other couples every year, so the idea of a larger ship was slightly nerve-wrecking. However,we were TOTALLY IMPRESSED! We never felt like there were 600 or so other people on the ship! We were impressed by the level of service, the cleanliness and decor of the ship, and the high-end experience. Every stereotype we had considered as a reason not to cruise was not an issue!!! We like a high-end product and Azamara delivered!
(1) The Food: The main dining venue, Discoveries, as well as the two premium restaurants, Prime C and Aqualina were absolutely wonderful. If you don't want to step foot in the buffet, you don't have to! The only time we did was on the departure day when that was the only restaurant open for lunch, and it was fine. We are not big fans of buffets, so we chose to dine in the other three restaurants. I can say that the BEST soups I have ever had in my life, I have now had aboard the Azamara Quest. The only thing that I felt fell consistently short were the desserts. I am a sugar-addict, so that disappointed me.
(2) Entertainment: My husband and I are in our 30's and consequently were one of the youngest couples on this cruise. However, I felt like the entertainment provided targeted everyone. From the comedian the first night to the Celine Dion tribute show, we never felt bored. My husband really enjoyed the casino, and I loved the shops! The Cruise Director is TOP NOTCH and a very talented entertainer himself!
(3) Ports of Call/Excursions: We only booked one shore excursion through Azamara, as we prefer a more private touring experience. However, that one excursion was really good. We went to the Selinunte Ruins and really enjoyed the trip.
(4) Rooms/Amenities: The Club Continent Suite is akin to a very nice hotel room. The veranda was lovely. Yes, it is hard to sleep in some mornings (when they are lowering tenders, for example!) but the rooms are great. The bath tub was a nice bonus after all the walking we did day after day! The butler totally adds to the experience and truly does make sure that you have all your needs and wants met (thanks, Ravin!) and the Suite Steward (room attendants) are brilliant...you hardly know they are there but every time you step back into your suite it is perfectly neat and tidy (thanks, Emmanuel!)
I must say that the Hotel Director and his staff are wonderful! Any issues you have are immediately addressed (and those issues are few) and they WORK VERY HARD to ensure your cruise is EXTRAORDINARY!!!!!
(5) Public Spaces: LOVED the Mosaic Cafe, the entertainment there, and the staff. LOVED the spa, the gym, and the ability to get away to quiet corners of the ship when you desired.
I was so surprised that by the end of the week, the crew knew our names, knew our likes and dislikes, and made us feel like we had been cruising with them for years. AMAZING CREW! They MAKE AZAMARA and without them it would not be as special.
Would I change anything on this trip? Not much! The only suggestion I would give to Azamara would be to work on the organization of their theme parties (White Night) so that the wait staff/servers know their tables/sections, and know to clear plates, take drink orders, etc. The rest of that party was great.
Met some amazing people, had amazing fun, and we are already considering where we will travel next with Azamara.