Azamara Quest Entertainment
The main onboard entertainment venue is Deck 5. The Cabaret show lounge is an intimate performance space with a bar in the back. Instead of a Broadway-style theater with a big stage and stadium seating, it feels more like the secondary show lounge on larger ships with a small stage, dance floor and rows of free-standing chairs that are arranged in semicircles around the dance floor. Sightlines aren't fabulous, so be sure to grab a seat early.
Continuing aft, the Casino Luxe features slot machines and gaming tables, as well as Club Luxe, its own recently expanded bar. Past the shops, the Mosaic Cafe is in an open, atrium-style space with scattered seating that represents the social hub of the ship; it's where you pause to grab a midday snack, hang out on a sea day with a deck of cards or a good book, or listen to musical performances. Outside Discoveries is the Discoveries Lounge, which is the perfect spot to sip a before-dinner drink while listening to music. On Deck 10, the elegant Looking Glass lounge has it all: a dance floor, D.J. booth, bar, card tables and board games, and Wii. Typically, multiple activities are going on there at once.
If you are on a longer cruise, you will find that Azamara Quest packs its sea days with plenty of daytime activities. (The spacing between event listings in the Pursuits daily newsletters is noticeably reduced to squeeze all the activities in.) But, for the most part, activities are limited to cliched onboard events. You'll find multiple trivia games each day in addition to line-dancing classes, spa seminars on burning fat faster or eating more to weigh less, arts and crafts like origami or jewelry-making, casino or sports (Ping-Pong, shuffleboard) tournaments, bridge, bingo, culinary demonstrations and wine-tastings. Enrichment programming has never been a hallmark of Azamara, but that should change, due to the line's new arrangement with Compass, a provider of top-notch enrichment lecturers used by companies like Crystal and Seabourn.
In the evenings, you can find a variety of musical entertainment throughout the ship, including a guitarist or pianist at Club Luxe (by the casino), Looking Glass or Discoveries Lounge. Performances in the Cabaret show lounge on our cruise featured a comedian, singers and a classical pianist -- nothing super special.
Some nights offer additional evening entertainment, including movies, dance classes and an alfresco deck party called White Night that features a huge outdoor buffet and local folkloric entertainment.
Azamara's shore excursions department offers the usual sightseeing opportunities, but it has amped up its options with the addition of tours directed at more active travelers. One example is a four-mile hike on a French Riviera beach with a break for a wine tasting and typical Provencal meal. Prices are all over the map. A concierge is available to help passengers arrange for private excursions or tours that are run independent of the ship. The ship also provides complimentary shuttles to and from port communities, where available.
Each cruise, except for transatlantic voyages, includes a complimentary AzAmazing Evening that showcases the best of local culture in fabulous settings and famous landmarks. In Gibraltar, for example, passengers were treated to a concert inside St. Michael's Cave. In Saint-Tropez on the French Riveria, they watched a polo match, then socialized afterward with polo players onboard the ship. And in the Ancient City outside of Bangkok, passengers had a personal tour of replicas of different kingdoms, where they were introduced to Thai beer and cuisine.
Azamara Quest Public Rooms
Azamara Quest's reception area has a cozy feel with the purser's desk, shore excursions desk and future cruise sails desk all located in the main atrium area of Deck 4, surrounded by comfy chairs and couches. On Deck 5, the Photo Shop is located across from the casino; there you can browse and purchase photos taken by the ship's photography staff. In the atrium area by the Mosaic Cafe are two boutiques; the Quest Shop sells everything from logowear and stuffed animals to rather expensive clothing, bags and sundries, while Indulgences offers more upscale purchases, such as designer sunglasses, fancy watches and liquor.
The beautiful library is up on Deck 10 by Prime C and Aqualina. It has an extensive collection of books and a ceiling fresco of birds, giving the impression of a greenhouse. Although the library is called the Drawing Room, it's the Looking Glass lounge that offers card tables, board games and a Wii gaming system (featuring virtual golf and bowling).
The eConnections computer center is just outside the spa; if you want to use the ship's wireless, you must go there first to set up an account. Internet usage rates start at $0.65 per minute and go down, depending on Internet package purchased. A $69 per day unlimited Internet plan also is available. There's no charge to use the printer hooked up to the eConnections computers; it's great for printing out boarding passes. The Internet connection was okay on our trip, but it sometimes took a while for pages to load.
There's a complimentary self-service laundry with soap and ironing boards on Deck 7.
Azamara Quest Spa & Fitness
Deck 9 is the lido deck, with one pool and two whirlpools surrounded by loungers with cloth-covered padding. Wicker tables and chairs are set up for alfresco dining by the Pool Grill; on the opposite side of the pool bar, a covered area offers comfy couches and lounges for reading or hanging out in a shadier spot. On the forward end of the pool deck, a Ping-Pong table is available for game play. One deck up, an oval track circles the pool area for walking or jogging. A half-deck on Deck 11 provides additional space for sunbathing and is a great place to stargaze on the one night the ship turns the upstairs lights off.
Given the size of the ship, the Astral Spa (featuring Elemis products) has to be small, but it does offer full service. A salon offers typical hairstyling, manicure and pedicure services, while treatment rooms are available for everything from massages to facials and Ionithermie Algae Detox. An acupuncturist is also onboard. Wait for the in-port spa specials for treatments at reduced rates. Passes to the thalassotherapy pool and spa sun deck are complimentary for suite passengers but can be purchased by others. A one-day pass is $20, and a couple's cruise pass costs $150.
The small fitness center packs a lot into minimal space. Elliptical trainers, treadmills and stationary bikes all have high-tech displays with TV capabilities. Behind them, a selection of free weights and a few weight machines are available for pumping iron. An aerobics area is kitted out with spinning bikes, conditioning balls and yoga mats. Fitness classes -- including yoga, Pilates, core strengthening, body conditioning, spinning and stretching -- are all free of charge. Personal training and a four-session body sculpting boot camp are available for additional fees.
The best-kept secrets on the ship are the spa locker rooms. Use of the steamrooms is free (just swap your cruise card for a locker key), and so are the spa showers, each with multiple jets for a massaging wash. When you're tired of fighting with the curtain or banging your elbows in the tiny cabin showers, head on up to the spa for a more enjoyable cleansing. The anteroom between spa reception and the locker rooms also serves up fruit-infused waters for free, which are quite refreshing whether you've been to the spa, worked out or have simply been lounging in the sun.