My husband and have just returned from a wonderful, hastily organised 14th night cruise on the fabulous Azamara Quest, which sailed from Hong Kong to Singapore via Vietnam and Thailand. As veterans of a number of cruises, it has been our best cruising experience to date. From the beginning of our experience with Azamara, we were amazed at the difference in this cruise to others we have experienced. Whilst the ship appears to be a smaller replica of others that we have sailed on previously we felt that we had never been "short changed" on all the things that matter to us. With a smaller number of guests onboard and very attentive officers and staff it meant that even by the first morning at sea we had new found friends amongst the cruisers. Staff remember our names and what particular coffee we liked! We felt that the staff we encountered were genuinely happy and this feeling remained though out the entire cruise.
This cruise being hastily organised only 2 week prior to departure saw us seek an upgrade (at a minimal cost) on embarkation. Guest relations happily showed us our options and the necessary arrangements were made to upgrade without any problems. After a short discussion on our first day at sea, our previous cruising history with Celebrity was taken into account and we received many benefits of being prior Celebrity guests.
The food was the best we have found on any cruise ship and was consistently excellent, so much so, we never ventured to Prime C or Aqualina. We were content with the atmosphere, service; food and company in Discoveries so that was were we spent much of our time. We enjoyed the entire dining experience, our seating requests were continually met and we feel that the staff was most professional and good natured in service delivery. The included free boutique wines with lunch and dinner were consistently good.
Our cabin was comfortable and was in an excellent position on the ship. It never seemed too far to get to anything. Whilst the weather in the first week was questionable, the Captain was accurate in his weather reporting and kept us informed often. The Captain and Senior Officers were highly visible around the ship and would happily stop to chat or answer any questions guests might have. Entertainment was varied; we tend not to pick our cruises because of the entertainment so any type presented was okay for us. Mostly we enjoyed these experiences.
Land tours were organised and executed very efficiently and included free water of leaving the ship, juices, towels (and even hot rum!) on the return to the ship. We enjoyed all the land tours we took and appreciated the 50% sale on land tours (this is something that no other cruise line has ever offered). Departures for shore excursions were done very efficiently (and entertainingly), coffee and pastries were available in the theatre while getting ready for tours or just being late for breakfast! There were the usual nice touches....free water on leaving for a tour, juices and towels to refresh on return. Always on our return we received a warm warm welcome from all the staff from the Security Team, Kitchen staff, Guest Relations (even cabin attendants that weren't on our deck). We were constantly amazed at how many staff knew our names. (and no we hadn't complained about anything, but were just Mr and Mrs Smith!)
Azamara, you have our number 1 vote for getting it right. We shall return and encourage our cruising friends to do so as well. Captain Leith, you should be, without a doubt, extremely proud of your ship and the service your team delivers. How they manage to tick all the boxes is of a mystery to us.
For our Azamara Quest Cruising experience you are as close to having the ultimate cruising experience as you could get. Would we recommend Azamara to anyone else? Absolutely. Would we cruise with them again? In a heartbeat.