We have sailed on many cruises, (52 to date) and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances.
We booked this segment and the next as a back to back of Central America & Mexico. Except for Mexico all ports were new to us. So the itinerary was what got us to book.
1. Embarkment in Costa Rica - We get an email the night before that the location for embarkment is a different location but as independent guests, no further details were given us. Repeated calls to Amamara were no help. Thankfully our driver got us to the new port on time. We had a confusing and odd embarkment through the village of Puntarenas. Then sent to the theater for two more groups to inspect us.
2. Our cabin in the Continental Suite area was large but oddly decorated. The carpet was beige and black and always looked dirty. The large desk and counter above low drawers was a fake marble that also just looked dirty although that was the design. The bathroom was ok but had a tub with the shower in the tub. Now this was supposed to be a suite but a cheap shower curtain that didn't close all the way was really odd. Large balcony but rust stains everywhere. The cabin staff never brought in the seat cushions so they are always wet. Air conditional was non-existent when we arrived. It took 5 hrs. to fix. Why?
3. Dining - Main room was the best with OK meals but nothing special. The specialty dining was Italian or Steak house themed. Both rooms looked nice but the menus never changes. Both rooms had sushi as a special appetizer. Really!! The Italian had only one pasta dish and the Steak house had mediocre meals. Don't get the soufflés unless you like scrambled eggs for dessert. Our experience in the Italian venue: I asked for the pasta as an appetizer and got a well overcooked glop of pasta, could not eat it. While having dessert an 1 1/2 hrs. later the chef came over, apologized for the bad pasta and offered to make it again for me! During dessert!!!!!! And Azamara charges people for this lousy food and service.
4. The shore excursions were abysmal. Inexperienced guides, small 20 seat buses, some with minimal air conditioning. No headsets for walking tours and all guides talked to the air in front of them and unless you were right next to the guides you heard nothing. And so overpriced too. We saw other cruise ship folks getting on big buses and headsets too.
5. Entertainment - As usual, like so many other ships the in-house productions were amateurish and high school productions are better. They did hire a few individual entertainers who were great but thats rare. The band only played at night, not at the pool area. Oh and Azamara has one night they take you to a special show in one of the towns.
It rained on the day we were to see this show so they brought all the entertainers on board. The show was to be outdoors and there were more entertainers then guests in the cabaret lounge. And for a 1/2 hr. show?!
6. Staff - Amazing and great and wonderful. They made the cruise bearable. All except our butler. I don't know what he actually does but he constantly asked what he can do for us and we said "thank you we are fine". He served tea at 4:00 pm each day and he thinks that is something special. Even when we put the "do not disturb" sign on the door he called us on the phone asking if we wanted tea. One night he even found us having dinner in the main dining room and asked if there was anything he could do for us. I sure wanted to tell him truly but just said "no thanks".
7. Public spaces are nice but so dated. Upholstery is warn and faded.
8. No disembarking as we sadly stayed on for the next sailing.
Nothing luxury about the ship. Although the staff did try to keep shorts out of the main dining room, jeans, flip flops, and pullover shirts were plentiful. So many folks in shorts and tee shirts just went to the buffet off the pool area. Some nights it was packed and of course no one told anyone about the dress code in the casino.
I would say this was an experience and would never sail with Azamara again but we had to sail with the for another 14 nights.