I went on this cruise with my parents, and we really loved it. Embarkation was a breeze, we took a taxi from the airport to the port in Nice, France, and about ten minutes after getting out of the taxi we were on the ship. MUCH better than ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my parents, and we really loved it. Embarkation was a breeze, we took a taxi from the airport to the port in Nice, France, and about ten minutes after getting out of the taxi we were on the ship. MUCH better than the bigger cruise lines where you have to wait for hours in line to board and there are hundreds of people everywhere. Disembarkation was similarly extremely quick and painless.
One thing we did not like, however, was that we left Nice at 8am the following day. We had two long connecting flight to get to Nice and were not really up for exploring that evening, and had expected to have some time in the morning to do so. Unfortunately this was not the case (we explored on disembarkation, however, and Nice was wonderful).
We loved the ship. The inside was beautiful, clean, and we loved all the public room and dining room decor. The ship itself is small by modern standards, especially compared with the huge new ships Royal Caribbean and Princess are coming out with. As a loyal Princess customer I was at first hesitant to go on a small ship, however I grew to love the size of the Quest; when you're inside it does not feel too small and everything is very accessible and easy to get to. The small number of guests on the ship means you see familiar faces around often, which made us feel more comfortable and helped to form nice friendships.
As we were in a suite, we got complimentary specialty dining, which was wonderful. I am not going to do a detailed review about menus and such, but I'll give an opinion about the restaurants/food options.
Prime C: None of us enjoyed Prime C, though the meat was wonderful in all restaurants, the sides here were just not very good, and we did not return.
Aqualina: Our favorite dining venue. We had Javier as our waiter each night we went, and he was absolutely amazing. The food was delicious, and we are still talking about wanting to go back.
Discoveries (Main Dining Room): We enjoyed discoveries when we went. It was definitely more crowded than the specialty restaurants (obviously), which we did not like as much, but the food was good. I got the NY strip each time we went to discoveries it was delicious.
Windows (Buffet): We loved the buffet, especially for breakfast it was really delicious. For lunch/dinner options it was hit or miss, but there were some really great hits. For example, one day they had a stir fry station which was SO good, and another day they had an endless supply of fresh mussels which my parents thoroughly enjoyed.
The drinks at Mosaic were nice, the pastries/food were not very good, however the staff that worked there were wonderful, especially the woman who did the afternoon/evening shift. My dad and I enjoyed chatting with her late in the evenings as I sipped my tea and he drank a macchiato.
A failing for me with the dining, that many others probably wouldn't care about, was that there was no afternoon tea service that is done so well on ships like Princess. I would've enjoyed some scones in the buffet at least more than on the one sea day.
Entertainment and Activities:
Entertainment was fine, we enjoyed the shows put on by the Quest cast but not the special performances as much. I thought the magician Mandy Mudden was hilarious, but not for everyone as my parents couldn't stand her, haha.
Activities were seriously lacking. There were often scheduling problems where an activity would be scheduled somewhere and no one would show up from the crew because it was printed wrong in all the guest daily schedules, or for some other reason. This happened on multiple occasions, and was disappointing.
We attended many trivias. They were fun when Jordyn (who also did extremely well in all the Quest cast performances) was running them, and the guy from Ukraine was nice. However Meg and Marcio both seemed like they did not want to be there (especially Meg, as she always looked bored and like she would rather be anywhere but there).
Service was good in general. In Windows the first few days it was really attentive, but as the days passed it got to the point where we would be sitting eating at a table for half an hour and no crew member would come by.
Service in Discoveries and the specialty restaurants was excellent. Like I said, our waiter Javier in Aqualina truly stood out. Housekeeping in general was wonderful. We did not, however, really think our butler did a great job as we never really saw him except when he brought afternoon nibbles.
Ports and shore excursions:
Nice: was wonderful, we walked around disembarkation day and really enjoyed it.
Monte Carlo: we could have done without. Kind of boring and nothing to do there.
Livorno: We did not really like Livorno itself, but we went on a wonderful shore excursion called Lucca and Family Villa where we toured around Lucca (we would have liked a little more time there, though) and then toured a Tuscan family villa and had lunch there.
Civitavecchia (Rome): My dad and I went to Rome on the Glories of the Gladiators tour, which was a wonderful taste of the Eternal City. We did not like the guide, however, as she was not very excited about Rome and in fact started talking at the end of the tour about how she prefers Barcelona so much more to Rome which was strange. We also were supposed to enter the Coloseum through the door the gladiators used so we could see the special elevator, ramp, etc. at the bottom of the colosseum but instead we waited outside for over half an hour while she yelled at someone in Italian and eventually we all went through the main gate. For this port, if you do not want to go to Rome, there are no other shore excursion options. My mom went on her own to Tarquinia (as she has previously spent two weeks in Rome), and would have liked at least one other option besides Rome.
Sorrento: We loved Sorrento, it was probably our favorite port not only because sorrento was amazing but because we also went to Pompei and the Amalfi Coast with a private driver (which saved us over 1200 dollars by not doing the cruise shore excursion).
Naxos, Sicily, Italy: We went up the mountain to Taormina, which was very crowded but the old greek theater was great. Don't bother paying for the shore excursion to go to Taormina, just take a taxi it is regulated, and we paid 25 euros for the three of us for the trip up and another 25 euros down back to port.
Palma de Mallorca: We just walked around, which was enjoyable. We had the Azamazing evening here, which was really wonderful. We attended an evening concert in the famous cathedral there. I wish the concert itself had been a little longer; in comparison with the time it took to get there and the dancing, etc. beforehand, it was too short.
Barcelona: The first day, we took a shore excursion that was a city tour, which was a good way to get a feel for the city as we had never been there before. At night, around 10pm, we went out again and walked around which was fun. The next day we walked around again, and enjoyed ourselves.
Port Vendres: We took the little train for 8 euros a person up to get to Collioure, which was stunning and we loved walking around there. Take the little train, it is absolutely worth the 8 euros (if not more) as on the way back you get a panoramic view that includes tours of the vineyards and also a stop at an old fort to take pictures both of the fort and of the amazing view.
We did not travel with young children, though there was a baby on the ship and maybe 5 total under 21 on the ship including myself.
Just a few shootouts to crew members (as my dad stole my Azamara link to do the after cruise comment card): Dimple (security officer) was always cheerful and great to see each day when we left or returned to the ship. Jasmine the concierge was wonderful, very thoughtful, kind, and helpful. Veronika at the shore excursions was also very nice, and sent us a bottle of champagne to apologize for the bad experience we had with Dennis, one of the shore excursions crew members. Our housekeeping crew members were outstanding, Vitaly and Rinto.
We will definitely be cruising with Azamara again, are already looking at itineraries for 2018. Read Less