We wanted to get away over the New Year and this cruise was available. We have previously travelled with Royal Caribbean on bigger ships and wanted to see what a small ship would be like.
After booking, we had visited the ship for a morning when it was berthed at Southampton. Our impressions were good and we looked forward to trying it for real.
We flew out on Boxing day, with American airlines, changing planes at Philadelphia. This was not ideal as we had to fly from Heathrow, yet live 20 minuted from Gatwick.
However, The flights were great-both left on time and were shorter than scheduled.
Transfers and accommodation the Embassy Suites, was perfect and at midday we were taken to the ship.
Quest is a lovely ship to be in-really delightful. Perhaps not a beauty from the outside-especially with the blue hull (a matter of taste).
Everything was first class, in our opinion. We had a meal in the Windows Cafe-quite an exceptional buffet -and then left the ship to grab a taxi for a tour of San Juan.
When we got back we toured the ship to get a feel of it and liked what we saw. Mostly understated quality.
In the evening we had a meal under the stars, behind the Windows Cafe- really first class. Mind you, it then began to rain, but after we had finished.
We ate in Discoveries for most of the other evening meals-and it is very good. The food was, to our palate, great-and the service, quiet and effective.
What made it so good, was our fellow passengers would swap experiences with us over dinner-we were normally next to either American or Canadians-all lovely people. One couple waited until we had our wine and then toasted our health to introduce themselves.
Mosaic Cafe is a lovely cafe, serving great snacks-not too big, but tasty. Coffe is good as well.
Our cabin was a forward Verandah on deck 7. It was lovely-comfortable beds, looked great and the verandah was big enough for us to have breakfast in when we had a shore excursion.
The shower is small and has a curtain-which does not bother me but I do understand it might irritate some people.
My wife used the spa for daily work outs and praised the staff-I used the crosstrainer which was fine. I like the fact that the jogging deck is around the pool, so that one stays part of the ship.The swimming pool is small-no real swimming in it-but the loungers are comfortable and generally available.
Turning to entertainment, this was something that we thought may be lacking when compared to larger ships. We were both right and somewhat wrong about it.
Some of the shows were good-others not quite so good. Our Cruise Director is very good at his job and has a great manner. However, when he fronted a show, his songs were re-arranged to suit his vocal range. He would be better to support the singers rather than front.
Dancing was terrific-there were superb and there were good-but enjoyable for all that.
We enjoyed the music and dancing in the Living Room, on deck 10. This is a lovely open space that changes character throughout the day. The dance floor is good, and it hosts a DJ session every night (The Abba Night was particularly good, if crowded)
As New Years eve was whilst we were aboard, it was combined with the White Party event-and, from our perspective, was the best New Year we have had. Food, music, dancing and a wonderful sense of fun-it had it all.
The Azamazing Evening was on Antigua and, again, was a fantastic event. We had a police escort from the ship to the Governors Residence and some rally good local canapés and rum punches, plus the best Steel Band I have heard and a local singer and band that took our breath away.
We enjoyed all the Islands-St Martin, St Barts, Antigua and St Kitts. Unfortunately, the tour we had booked on St Barts was cancelled and we had to miss our tour in Virgin Gorda as we could not leave the pier at St Kitts in time to reach the island, so had to miss it completely.
The two tours we actually got, were on Antigua and St Kitts and both were fun, good value and showed us a side of the Islands we would not have seen. Wandering around St Martin and St Barts was equally enjoyable, but probably not so informative.
Finally, the staff and service onboard could not have been better. Everyone was pleasant and we wanted for nothing.
So, in short, Azamara will certainly be one of the cruise lines that we would happily use in the future. There are advantages in larger ships, but there are certainly advantages in travelling with Azamara. Our choices will be destination driven.
Very good-comfortable and large enough for us. Shower a bit small-but they mostly are.