We just returned from our 12-day trip on the Azamara Quest to Baja California and wanted to write you a letter – thanking you for a wonderful vacation and calling out the high points and the low points. Hopeful the low points will be taken as constructive criticism rather than negativity and you can put some easy fixes in place.
First, the high points.
The Captain, Staff and Crew – what a lovely team to travel with! There was an overriding feeling of team spirit and even when overtaxed as everyone was in the first few days of “lockdown” because of the previous outbreak of noro, the team worked together. Kudos, Capitan for being ever present and we loved the send-off by the ship’s officers at each port. Kudos also for the entertainment team.
The cabins are what they are . . . you can’t change the “bones” but our cabin crew kept our little home spotless, the linens were top notch and bottled water appeared daily in the quantities that I drink – kudos!
The ship was impeccable – I never saw a napkin on the ground, a puddle from the rain or was concerned about the cleanliness of the restrooms, the pool or the hot tubs.
Loved the captain’s daily reports, the White Night, the Officer’s Buffet and especially the Azamazing Evening. Having been a marketing director and event planner myself, I truly have an appreciation for how complex (AND expensive) these events are to execute. Many more Kudos!
The main dining room was superb. The service was impeccable and the food very very good. Especially the breakfast! Don’t change that wonderful and quirky menu!
The buffet at dinner was a wonderful alternative venue and the Patio an option that was good to have.
Here are the low(er) points with my wish list attached:
• Our cabin bathroom smelled bad for the whole cruise – our wonderful cabin stewards cleaned, called in the engineers, put down fresheners, cleaned out drains – no resolution. Our cabin steward “let slip” that this wasn’t the first time there had been complaints and that the smell was coming up through the shower and floor drains from the overall sewer system. Maybe a serious problem to be addressed in the next dry dock?????
• The specialty restaurants simply were not special – we had better food in the main dining room. Specifically, in Prime C we had entrees much smaller than advertised and less well prepared than the main dining room. It was not like a high end steak house at all. I expect much higher quality for the extra dollars that I paid, and also larger portions. I expect that if the lamb chops are advertised at 10 ounces will actually be 10 ounces, and if the filet is advertised as 8 ounces, it will be 8 ounces.
• In the Italian restaurant, we were served Sauvignon Blanc that had gone bad -- not from one but TWO bottles of wine. I switched to red after receiving a push back from the waiter and maître’ d, but . . . still . . . the only wine that should be deep amber colored is sherry!!! Perhaps the serving staff should receive some training in the daily wines and how to detect what is off. Apparently, you boarded at least a case, maybe more of Vat 90 Sauvignon Blanc that was really really bad. I was poured a glass at the pool deck bar as well – ugh!
• AND my biggest beef with the specialty restaurants – I was so looking forward to the Dover Sole – sautéed and served tableside off the bone. But it was served with a PUTTANESCA sauce. Really???? No buerre blanc, no lemon butter? Back to the main dining room for me.
• We also had some issues with the tours - specifically in Guaymas and in Cabo. Azamara literature keeps repeating NO MORE THAN 25 people per tour – and it is part of the marketing effort to attract higher end customers not wishing a larger cruise ship experience. In Guaymas, we were 43, quite crammed into a sightseeing boat out into the harbor. The experience was awesome, but please set my expectations BEFORE the trip! “You will be riding on a city bus for approximately 45 minutes to an hour each way before boarding your tour boat – a seat will be available for all, but because of the port and availability, we are unable to meet our commitment of 25 or less.” Also, this tour time and meeting place was changed 4 TIMES – really??? By the third time, the shore excursion desk should actually have called me personally, not just left another (undated) flyer on my bed. The Cabo Whale Watching Catamaran excursion was worse - our tour left at 9:30 and unbeknownst to us, we were combined into at least 4 other tour times for the same excursion, leaving us in the baking sun on an unshaded catamaran for more than an hour while the other 100+ tendered passengers arrived. We left 90 minutes after scheduled tour time and no amount of free tequila shots made any difference to our 70+ something crowd! PLEASE set our expectations properly and if there are changes and/or combinations, PLEASE do something like “meet on the dock at 10:30” instead of leaving us in the dark – actually in the blistering Mexican sunshine.
• The short plays from the new entertainment Studio 54 were not a hit. Here is why (at least on this trip!) – your average cruise passenger was over 70. (I, at 64, was actually the youngest on all of our shore excursions where we had to sign waivers and write down our age so I am pretty sure my age estimate is right.) 60% OF ALL PEOPLE OVER 60 have hearing loss. The short plays featured quick banter (bad!), accents (worse!) and no captions (of course impossible, but those 60% rely on them.) If this is your demographic on your cruises, you may really want to rethink this new entertainment venue.
We really enjoyed our trip with Azamara and hope that on our upcoming Oct 2018 trip on the Journey, we will find the puttanesca sauce gone from the dover sole, the bad Vat 90 Sauvignon Blanc poured overboard and the shore excursions department more communicative. Azamara is really AZamazing for the most part and just needs some tweaks!!!
Super clean, amazing linens, couch minuscule, storage very small, problems with odor in bathroom.
It was fine. Not special, because we were blocked from most of the scheduled tour route by the holiday parades for Carnival.View All 66 City Tour Reviews
Absolutely terrific, our tour guide Emmanuel was the best tour guide we have ever had on a trip. Kudos! Not much to work with as it was a tiny port but he kept us mesmerized!View All 5 City Tour Reviews