Quest Ancient Continents The Best: Azamara Quest Cruise Review by belleretraite

Azamara Quest 5
Member Since 2007
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Quest Ancient Continents The Best

Sail Date: November 2009
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
We decided to use the opportunity of the low cost of cruising in 2009 by booking 4 different cruises on 4 different cruise lines in the Mediterranea in November and December.It took a lot of research, but finally we booked consecutive cruises on the Costa Victoria,the MSC Splendida,the Azamara Quest and the NCL Gem. Even though at first sight these ships seem to fall in different categories,the daily price for a balcony cabin was very similar,so direct comparisons between the ships were realistic. The cruise on the Quest was the third one and we started it in Rome where the Splendida had previously left us. The embarkation process was the best we have experienced ! It was fast,efficient and it was the first example of the difference between Azamara and the other cruise lines : there was a red carpet on the stairs leading to the ship and we were greeted on board with a cup of sparkling wine.Even though we were early and our room was not ready, we were offered space to leave our More carry-ons and options to spend the time while we waited! The public rooms were spacious and a one could sense a feeling of classical luxury : lots of dark wood,limited use of mirrors,few bright colors,old style furniture and a lot of paintings. Everything was shiny and also very clean. Our cabin was a balcony at the back ! It was not the biggest in size but the layout made it spacious and efficient. It was not noisy and even though this ship was the smallest one we have taken on this trip,it was the least vibrating and the most stable at sea ! The bathroom was the second smallest and the layout was not optimised.Again the cabin gave an expression of luxury that other ships did not provide.

The fitness and recreation areas were very well organised for a ship of this size. The Gym had plenty of equipment with a good choice, the stretching and yoga sessions were well attended by an excellent instructor. Entertainment was the weakest link; even though the cruise director did her best to boost the activities and the shows ,the Cabaret,where most presentations are given, does not offer a good seating layout and the Music Hall group of the Azamara is way below par compared to other cruise lines ! There was an Italian signer who was excellent in Italian but had a very bad choice of songs in English, a pianist (Brooks Aehron) who was a real virtuoso, an average magician, a Turkish folklore which could have been very interesting if not because of the layout of the Cabaret and other presentations of various levels of quality . We would have expected some enrichment programs of better quantity and quality; I was looking for a program on Digital Photography that friends had told me about and it had been cancelled. Food was by far the best we have had so far on all the cruises we have taken ! The chefs know how to use herbs and spices and how to make desserts.We tried all the restaurants and both the quality of the food and the service exceeded what the other cruise lines had to offer ! The Prime C Steakhouse was the sum-mum for an additional $5 Service was exceptional ! The staff is always smiling even when scrubbing the bridge ! Our butler,Edwin, was very attentive to our needs,bringing daily ice-packs to my wife when she strained her back,answering all our requests for service,information,food to the room and adjusting his schedule to fit our requirements. The staff at the dining room was also efficient,courteous and knowledgeable and the management was always available and open to change and improvement. We had the feeling that the staff was happy to work on this ship and that the management was proud of the team. We organised all shore visits by ourselves but we found that the excursion staff was quite willing to provide us information on the ports of call which was not the case for the 3 other cruise lines we took. People,that we spoke to and who took excursions from Azamara, were happy of the service provided. Overall it was by far the best value for the money and we will surely take other cruises with Azamara in the future. Less

Published 12/22/09

Cabin review: bal

Port and Shore Excursions

Alexandria was a pleasant surprise. We joined a tour organised with Moustafa Egypt Tours to see Alexandria . We had already gone to Cairo in the past and did not want to pay a lot to see the Pyramids again ! We toured for nearly 6 hours and visited the Fort Qayt Bay, the Residence of King Farouk,the Abu Al Abbas Al Mursi Mosque, the very modern Bibliotheque of Alexandria,the Pompei Pillar, the Catacombs of Kom Ash Shuqqafa, the Greco-Roman Museum and the souks,not for shopping but for sight-seeing

This cruise ended in Athens that we had already visited on our first cruise (Costa Victoria). We used the time available to tour the city on the small touristic train and see parts of Athens that we would never have seen otherwise. This tour is quite inexpensive and lasts for 2 hours . Afterwards,we went to the Acropolis Museum,which is fairly new,very modern ,HUGE and a must if someone wants to understand the magnificence of the Parthenon. We could have spent 3 hours in there if hunger had not caught us ! We found a local restaurant very popular with the locals and surprise,we met Canadians coming from the same province and knowing some friends of ours. The following morning we took the Metro ($8) for the Athens Airport for our next cruise

We spent 2 days in Istanbul. The Quest was docked close to the Galata Tower and the tramway line was easily accessible! On the first day we visited the area of the city called Sultanahmet which included the Museum of Saint-Sophia,the Blue Mosque and the Palace of Topkapi. We came back to the ship to have a Turkish dinner and we attended a Turkish Folklore Show including Belly Dancing at the Cabaret. On the second day, we went on our own again to visit the Grand Bazaar,the Egyptian Bazaar,the Mosque of Suliman the Magnificent and the New Mosque. We also walked for 45 minutes in the local souks to get a feeling of the real Turkish life. Istanbul is a place where we will definitely go again

Read 403 Istanbul Reviews

In Kusadasi,we took a taxi for 3 people and he drove us to Ephesus where he waited for 2 hours,then to Celsuk where he guided us for 1 hour through the town and finally to Kusadasi where again he toured the city,waited for us while we were shopping and offered us mint tea in a restaurant for $35 (for the 3 of us).This was an off-season price !!! In Ephesus we took the audio-guide and found it the best solution for the French speaking members of the group. Since Chios,Bodrum,Fethiye and Antalya are ports of call we did and are not part of the selection for this review ,I put my comments with Kusadasi, Chios: we rented a van and had the time to visit Nea Moni,3 Mastic villages and the town of Chios. Driving is easy on the roads in Greece but impossible in a lot of villages. Bodrum :beautiful port. There is a ferry close to the ship to go to the main Marina (3 kilometers away) We visited the Saint-Pierre Castle and the shops along the Marina Fethiye: we took an organised tour to visit the abandoned village of Kayakov then visited the Lyceans tumbs and strolled around the town of Fethiye Antalya: after visiting by foot the Old Antalya,we took a tram to visit the of the best in the world for the Greek sculpture

Read 614 Kusadasi Reviews

In Limassol, the ship is docked about 10 kilometers from downtown so a shuttle ($10/pp) is required We visited the Old Castle, the Orthodox Cathedral and did some shopping in the Old District

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Member Since 2007
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