We have recently returned from two 7-day back-to-back cruises on Azamara Quest, commencing in Venice on 24 September 2011. These were our 6th & 7th cruises with Azamara Club Cruises and to our surprise qualified us as joint leading cruisers during the second week.
We have read other posts from those who opted for the pre cruise offer of an over night stay in Venice and who, due to overbooking in the anticipated hotel, were accommodated in lesser quality hotels situated well outside the city centre. They have our sympathy and hopefully Azamaras UK office will take note of their comments. Concerned that this might happen, we chose to go for the alternative option, offered by Azamara, of flying from London Heathrow at 9:40am on the day of the cruise. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the airport, we found that BA, fearing a strike at Venice airport, flew us instead to Verona. We were then transferred by bus to Venice airport, which following a 40 minute delay looking for 4 missing passengers, took almost 2 hours. We were then bussed from the airport and boarded the Quest at 4:50pm, just 10 minutes prior to boat drill. The whole journey proved very traumatic and, during which, we frequently wished that we had taken the option of the overnight stay in Venice. As the saying goes You pays your money and you takes your choice.
However once onboard, the Hotel Director Ryszard Gusmann, whom we had met on 2 previous occasions, greeted us as though we were one of the family and that is how we were made to feel throughout the whole 2 weeks. The Captain, Carl Smith, the Officers and the whole crew treated us like honoured guests. It was the first time that we had met Cruise Director Russ Grieve, who did a great job, with boundless enthusiasm and energy.
We also thought that the new ports of call of Kotor in Montenegro and Trapani and Siracusa in Sicily were extremely interesting. We especially enjoyed the Captains hike up the mountain in Kotor. The late departure times in some of the ports were very popular and we particularly liked being able to walk off the ship in Siracusa and take an evening stroll into the town and along the quayside with the locals.
Last year we commented on the excellent speciality restaurants and the food in the other dining venues and it was good to find that the same high standards are being maintained.
We were very impressed by the effort that went into setting up and providing the two excellent White Night deck parties in Kotor during the first week, and Valletta the following week.
We would like to thank everyone on board for working so hard and once again making this such an enjoyable holiday. We look forward to sailing with you again in the not too distant future.
Finally we have also noted the posts regarding early transfers to the airport at the end of the cruise. We too had 5 hours to wait at Rome airport. We agree that it is by no means ideal; but we found a seat, read our books and made the most of it. We really dont know the answer to this problem. We guess its the price we have to pay for wanting to board the ship as early as possible at the start of the cruise.