After leaving Charleston, SC EARLY Friday September 9th and spending time in The Atlanta and JFK airports, we headed to Athens! We had an uneventful flight with Delta arriving early Saturday morning. Thankfully, our luggage made it and we met our private transportation arranged through Azamara. Easy transfer considering the taxis were on strike!!!! So, word to the wise, book your transfers through the cruise ship!!! We arrived around NOON at the port, filled out some medical forms prior to receiving our room key at the registration area....it was a piece of cake..no waiting what so ever! We left our suitcases and went on board the Quest....we were greeted with a flute of champagne and left our carry on baggage...our cabin was not ready...so we explored the ship. What a beautiful ship! We wandered up to the Windows Cafe for their lovely buffet...and we had unlimited wine with our lunch (we did purchase several bottles of wine for our room at the duty free store before heading on the ship)...a very nice touch. Then we received an announcement that our cabins were ready...we arrived to a lovely cabin, fresh fruit plate and fresh flowers...we had a veranda...so pleasant. We decided to take a quick two hour nap, much needed!!! Our cabin attendant woke us..thank goodness...he brought us our luggage. The ship set sail and off we went on our wonderful adventure.
We had an invitation waiting for us for the Cruise Critic cocktail hour which was held that evening. It was a wonderful experience to meet some of the crew and meet some of the folks who participate on Cruise Critic....we had lovely appetizers and more champagne:) The attendants EVERY where were wonderful...always happy and smiling! Our cruise director,Russ, was a BLAST! And he always called us by name...how nice! Made us feel extra special! And he made ALL the guests feel welcome! We weren't very hungry but decided to still go up to the Windows Cafe for a "snack"...well, we couldn't resist all the yummy food; thank goodness we only had soup and salad and small ice cream! (couldn't resist the ice cream each day...there went my waistline!) We went to the Captain's Welcome Toast...more champagne!
If you are looking for big time entertainment, this is NOT the cruise ship for you. We went for a short time to the cabaret to see the Quest Singers...they were VERY good...but we were tired after a VERY long day of traveling. We had a nice surprise in our room, the bed was turned down and a little "snack" before bed...fresh towels were out in the bath. We slept like babies.
We order room service EVERY day for breakfast...it arrived promptly and was always excellent. This assisted us..we didn't have to rush before we left for our land excursions. If the "kitchen" was running late, we always received a phone call saying when we could expect our meal. We never used room service for any other meal though. Each day we received Pursuits...the daily newsletter..it was excellent and always had information about the island we would be visiting, plus what was happening on the ship.
We purchased the land excursions through the ship...they were VERY well orchestrated. We met in Cabaret Lounge each day, got our "tickets" and then off we went...met our tour guides (who were all excellent, but one), hopped on the bus and a way we went. We took 6 excursions...one too many...we took the Traditional Villages of Kos...WAY too long and we went to a beach...which wasn't mentioned on the description...we were NOT interested in a beach....we live by the ocean in South Carolina...the tour guide was so-so..not very personable. BUT all the other excursions were excellent...when we returned from our excursions, getting back on board was a piece of cake...again, everyone was ALWAYS happy to see us...there was always a "tent" at the gangway with cold water, fresh towels and a fruit drink. Nice touch!
We did eat in the main dining room -Discoveries Restaurant- twice. We had marvelous service and wonderful dinners. We did not take advantage of the two Specialty restaurants. But we spoke with several folks who did go and they said they were outstanding! One of the Windows Cafe buffets was the Mediterranean BBQ (actually it was pool side)...fresh fish from the local village...awesome!!!was one of many pleasant surprises for dinner...for the Greek dinner buffet, fresh feta and veggies were purchased in Rhodes that day! A TRUE Greek salad was prepared by the staff!!! I visited the Mosaic Cafe three times...and what a treat....wonderful "noshs" and great specialty coffees!!!
We went to the Casino a couple of times....didn't win a thing:( I went to the two little boutiques....very nice things, but a bit too pricey. Would have liked to see some Azamara "gifts"...coffee mugs, hand towels, t-shirts...but there were none. Is there a website to purchase any ship souvenirs?
Back to the entertainment....we had some FUN nights....Russ put together a "white" night...it was an awesome party...prior to the party we had a traditional Turkish folkloric show AND belly dancer....they were great and they got the audience involved! Then there was the Greek Folkloric show....it too was excellent!
There was ALWAYS something to do on board...movies, fitness activities, cards, trivia, the list goes on....I did not take advantage of the fitness center (it WAS lovely) nor the spa....too involved with land excursions and exploring the port cities!!! I did use the self-service laundry...it was VERY convenient and simple to use...just LOTS of folks used this service! Maybe another set of washer and dryer on another deck would be nice.
The last day of our cruise, we were given instructions on debarking....when we had to put out our suitcases, how to meet our land excursion of Athens, plenty of time to eat breakfast and say "good bye" to Azamara Quest! All in all, it was a spectacular voyage and we loved our ship, crew and amenities!!!!