I had been looking to do a cruise for the past 5 years and finally decided on Azamara Quest for the 18 day Greece-Dubai tour. I had compared and looked at many cruise lines and was intrigued by the ports of call as I had been in Athens 20 years earlier on a backpacking journey using Eurail. I did not want to do this again and really loved the idea of being able to unpack and be on a floating hotel seeing locations I had never been before.
I am inexperienced in luxury travel. But to my standards, Azamara went above and beyond with their ability to make me feel like I was a welcome guest on board. Many staff learned my name and would always call me Miss Debbie. It was sweet as I had left my significant other at home for 3 weeks while I experienced the joys of traveling solo.
The welcome at boarding was great and I began enjoying the service right away. I was supposed to be in an interior room. Somehow the tv had been broken the previous voyage, so they upgraded me to an exterior stateroom on the 4th level with a great big square window. I felt quite special and all was right in my universe. Due to the area we would be sailing through, there was to be a 4 day watch for pirates in the gulf of aden area. i requested to be moved back to an interior room as none of my newly found friends in the smoking section had one. I would therefore become Safe Haven if worse came to worse. The room was a wheelchair accessible up the hall from my upgraded room. It was spacious with a huge bathroom compared to the previous room. So once pirate watch was over I stayed in my lovely coccoon where I could sleep when I wanted:) This also meant I got to keep Raymon and Julius who were my stateroom attendants for the entire 18 days. The job they did was Fantastic!
The restaurants were great with Discoveries being the best of them all. I did two nights of Prime C and two nights of Aqualina. One night was with two new friends I had met and we dined in Aqualina which was different because I was trying to be as solo as much as I could be. I would say that Prime C was more suited for my solo preferences just do to the layout and decor. Paulo was my waiter there both times and he was the best! Windows was really good for buffet style and The Patio made great burgers. My absolute favourite was The Living Room with their baby sandwiches for lunch and dessert selections too. I do believe that you could just serve those sandwiches to everyone on the ship and that could be your lunch menu.
The entertainment on the ship was excellent. 54 Below rocked.The guest performers Big Red Meghan Murphy and Jimmy Morehead really did an amazing performances. Smooth Sensations were always a stand up band that would entertain always. The reason I liked this ship, there was something to always do if you so chose. The best entertainment was the ship's talent show. The memories will last a lifetime.
Azamazing Evening was spectacular in Israel. It was so great to see such talent and showcasing of their food and culture and youth. I would say it would be a great reason to try this cruise even if it is only once. But I think it will be more when you find out how many guests are repeat customers.
The shore excursions I did were the Dead Sea Experience in Jordan and Luxor Valley of the Kings in Egypt. There were many more that were available, but I was on more of a shoestring budget. I went and enjoyed the ports in Cyprus, Israel, Oman and Dubai. The tour guides were alright but were prone to repeating themselves too much. The road to Luxor was grueling with almost 2 hours of speed bumps. But they say that travel isn't always easy. The 5 star resort at the Dead Sea did not have enough loungers, but we made the most of our rocky beach. I loved the drive through the Jordanian countryside with the changing scenery.
Captain Jose was fantastic and Thomas was very personable. Had a great Officers dinner with Christophe who was the 1st officer and gave me great insight on the job he has to do. Also did a tour of the ship which was very eye opening at the work that goes into everything that Azamara does.
Overall the experience was exceptional.
The only con I had was dealing with guest relations regarding a ship credit that was due to me because I had upgraded to the essentials. This gave me Wi-Fi, Premium Beverage upgrade and a $300 excursion credit which failed to be added to my account. The inability and unprofessional customer service of the person I dealt with was making me second guess dealing with this cruise line.(Literally took her business cards from off the counter as I was speaking lol) I would highly suggest that as an international cruise line should have 24/7 access to the accounting department in Miami to resolve issues that occur on weekend hours because I am a very forgiving person compared to many others out there who are not.