I book this first sailing of the Azamara Quest for one purpose only, to see if I have been smart in choosing to book a two week cruise on it through SE Asia in Jan. 2009. So let me start out by saying I really had ... Read More
I book this first sailing of the Azamara Quest for one purpose only, to see if I have been smart in choosing to book a two week cruise on it through SE Asia in Jan. 2009. So let me start out by saying I really had no interest in where this cruise was heading and in fact never got off the ship in the Bahamas. Also I flew into Miami the day of the cruise, and friends met me at the airport (I lived in Miami for 11 years), we had lunch at a wonderful lunch at Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key---if you go the Grilled Rainbow Trout or the Moroccan Lamb are both unbelievably wonderful. At first I told my friends that I wanted a light lunch but in retrospect I am very glad they insisted on a big three course lunch as it was to be the last really good food I was the have until I disembarked.
The ship is beautiful, everything is fresh and spotless. I would say that there every public room was charming, in the best of taste, and not only varied from one another but from what one finds on newer ships these days. The quest was like a step back in time, very gracious in every way EXCEPT the main dining room at dinner. See below for more. The pool deck was more than adequate for this size ship and the number of alternative venues to have a cocktail, dine or simply get lost in a book as the world rolled by were surprisingly numerous for a ship of this size. Unfortunately you have to get the space from somewhere and that somewhere were the cabins. (Again see below)
There seemed to be a good number of choices on this VERY short trip (in truth really one full day plus the evening of departure as I never count disembarkation day to be part of the cruise but rather the end). However I was with friends and we occupied ourselves and were just to happy being together to give much thought to the onboard or shore excursions so you'll need to read the opinions of others on all this. The spa was well staff and they were helpful
This ship so desperately needs to bring a manager of hotel services from outside of Celebrity and its parent company. The staff REALLY WANTED TO PLEASE but no one had given them the right education to succeed. This was painfully apparent in the dining room. You cannot give a bunch of men titles like Captain, Waiter, Back-waiter, and Busboy and expect them to know how to share responsibilities to make the dining experience smooth and efficient. These guys were all running around doing whatever was the next task or crisis. I knew we were in trouble when the wait for a table was 45 minutes. This is not the fault of OPEN SEATING as some of you have written . Regent has open seating in the main dining room and the longest I ever waited was not at all UNLESS I wanted a seat with a view by the window or to be seated within a specific station having a reference for some staff over others.. BUT AS EVERYONE WRITES...On Quest you wait and wait and then wait some more. I think it's because the service is so erratic that people are obliged to sit up to 90 minutes for their main course backing everyone else up. But I also believe the alternative dining room so are too small (I never got a reservation) and so the main dining room has too many to accommodate. AND THE TABLE FOR TWO are lined up side by side very much like a mess hall at college. Not attractive or conducive to elegant dining. I also knew we were in trouble when seated and each place seating had not less than 11 pieces of flatware. That tipped me right there that they had no idea what luxury dining was all about. Only a hostess at her own private home may set the table in such a manner because she knows the menu and knows whether a soup spoon, shrimp fork or fish knife will be called for during the meal. BUT YOU CAN NEVER DO THIS IS A RESTAURANT...you bring the right silver once the order is placed. So here we are with a lot of silverware and classes but no one to take order and not a wine steward in site (there are none!) So there was no one who could recommend a wine from the stock on hand. And when 45 minutes had passed after waiting 35 minutes for a table), I finally got hold of a busboy and asked if we might have some bread while we waited. He smiles, said yes, I suppose elated because here was something he could accomplish. He returned very quickly with a basket of bread which was served to me like a course I had ordered. When I said I wanted the bread for the table, he then asked if he should bring three more orders, having no idea that bread when ordered is generally for the table. Shore Excursions There seemed to be a wide choice of beach activities. We did not participate but rather spent the day on the pool deck and working out at the gym.
Travel To Port of Embarkation
By car from airport Stateroom Others have written enough. I agree the bed is very comfortable, the cabin very small (taking a sky suite when in China for that reason) and the bathrooms impossible---its so small that the new plush towels don't even fit on the tail rack. As for the rest of the cabin, shelving over the desk would be nice instead of blank wall or a blah mirror and a desk chair instead of a lady's makeup bench would be a much better way to go.
The food is lousy in the main dining room for dinner. Meat arrived overcook and tougher than shoe leather while fish was not even half cooked and was ice cold in the middle.. Lunch on the pool deck was lovely and both the burger grill and buffet lunch were well above average with a wide range of choices. Breakfast I took in my cabin and it arrived hot, with nothing missing, acceptable tasteful and very promptly.
Children's Clubs None Entertainment The jazz pianist who floated about in various venues was quite good. Other than him, however I did not bother to go to any of the provided entertainment Disembarkation WHAT A MESS. Everyone had to clear immigration but the ship failed to inform back to back passengers of that , nor was staff willing to go get the missing passengers from their cabins so we could disembark. It took an extra 90 minutes of passengers yelling for staff to go get them out of bed and down to the immigration officers
The Quest is a lovely ship, but you are not on a luxury line or even a deluxe line when aboard. You are on something like a mini-Celebrity ship, except there is no seasoned staff and there is no management that is experienced in operating a luxury line. I suppose if you are use to cruising on Carnival or Princess or Royal Caribbean, this seems to be a step about, but it is a big step down from SilverSea, Regent, Grill Class on Cunard, Crystal or even Oceania (which I find a little creaky when it comes to how it operates). However for the price, I don't feel it's a rip-off . Its cheap compared with others and you get what you pay for. And at this price point you get decent value for your money but don't be fooled by the marketing, you are not buying a luxury cruise...just a smaller one that gives more attention to your well-being than the average mass market ship. Read Less