This 26 night cruise started in Cape Town and was to end in Dubai. Sadly Corona Virus decided to intervene which resulted in the cruise missing many ports of call and a premature ending in Muscat which was not a planned port of call. Many countries refused us entry due to the fear of cruise ships being floating Petri dishes. There was a daily update from the Captain regarding our situation and this also changed daily. Ultimately the only country willing to accept us was Oman so we were forced to disembark there early. This resulted in 700 passengers having to find alternative travel arrangements home and get visas to enter Oman all this while floating at sea in a completely different time zone to many of our homes. The staff of Quest were exceptional during this very stressful time. They set up laptops and sat individually with passengers helping them get their visas. They gave access to phones to contact travel agents and all the while remained patient, helpful and positive. My only disappointment was the lack of assistance once we were delivered to the airport. We arrived at the airport at 5.30am to find our flight had been cancelled by Omani Air. We were not the only ones to experience this and as Azamara had disembarked us in an unscheduled foreign port I would have thought they had a duty of care to ensure we got away safety. The staff of Omani Air were not helpful at all and in fact lied to us. They expected us to stay in Muscat until their next flight to our destination left in 2 days time. In the end we found an agent at the airport and paid another $4000 to get home. This of course was no fault of Azamara’s but we did feel a little dumped.
The experience on the ship itself was excellent. Embarkation was swift and efficient. Quest is a little tired but this did not disappoint us. We had a balcony plus cabin at the front of the ship and as we had read the reviews we new the bathroom was small. We were happy with the size of the room and bathroom. Seriously how much time do you spend in the bathroom anyway? The cabin stewards were friendly and kept the cabin clean. It was my birthday on the second day and found our room decorated with a birthday banner and hanging decorations when we arrived back in the afternoon.
We dined most nights in the main dining room and found the food excellent. Great selection every night and considering the cruise was 26 nights the variety just kept on coming. I have read some reviews where they complain about the size of the meals. We could not complain at all. Considering there are 4 courses I could not imagine coming away from a meal without feeling full. We rarely ate dessert because we couldn’t fit another mouthful in. The staff in most areas of the MDR were amazing although on a few nights the wait for service was very long and we were not sure whether it was because of staff being overworked or just not up to speed.
Whilst we did go to the MDR for breakfast on a couple of occasions (fabulous fillet steak and eggs) we usually went to Windows cafe for breakfast. Freshly made eggs to order were a wonderful start to the day. With a late breakfast most days we only ever had lunch on a couple of occasions but the buffet lunch did seem popular. We didn’t have dinner in the buffet at all so can’t comment.
We had room service twice for dinner and found it excellent especially given you could order off the MDR menu if ordering during its operating hours.
On the whole we found the included drinks quite adequate. Whilst we did not enjoy all the wines we were able to just try something else. It really is about personal taste and with the change in wines daily you could usually find something to enjoy.
We did the specialty restaurant Prime C 3 times as this was included in our package. We could also have done the Italian restaurant but we are steak lovers. Our first visit was fabulous but the next 2 pretty disappointing. The steak was just OK and I guess we expected something more exceptional.
Due to not being allowed entry into many ports we had a lot of sea days consecutively. We spent a lot of time reading in the living room and we would have pre dinner drinks with other passengers there each night. The waiters here were the best onboard. When we booked this cruise we thought that as drinks were included they would be slow to serve to try and save money. This was not the case at all. Service was always quick and friendly. You were never left thirsty. You could also get snacks there during the day and pre dinner hors d’oeuvre from 5pm. We always looked forward to the evenings when bacon wrapped prawns were one of the selections. Yum yum.
White night was a good distraction from the stress of not knowing when or where we were going to dock. Everyone had a great night.
We did not get to have an azamazing evening due to port closures.
Whilst we do not join in the onboard activities there seemed to be plenty of things for people to join in with. Bridge was popular with beginners and intermediate classes every sea day. Lots of craft classes and plenty of quizzes and the ever popular trivia. It never ceases to amaze me how competitive people are.
Entertainment was as usual aimed at the older folk. We are in our fifties and as we do longer cruises we usually travel with the over seventies/eighties and are used to skipping most of the theatre shows. We did attend a few shows but didn’t last long at most of them. It would be great if there was one location that had music aimed at younger travellers. Even a solo guitarist or piano player.
Excursions off the ship were expensive but what ship excursions aren’t? We did Addo Elephant park with Alan’s Tours in Port Elizabeth. That was an amazing day and one we would highly recommend. We saw the Hippos out of Richards Bay with a tour guide we got at the port. In Mauritius we again got a tour guide at the port and had a wonderful day. All other excursions were at cancelled ports. Pre cruise we stayed in Cape Town for 4 days and saw the local area mainly by bus. We then spent 2 days at Aquila Private Game Reserve prior to boarding the ship. We really enjoyed our time there but if you are looking for something like Kruger then don’t go to Aquila.
We would definitely cruise with Azamara again.
Small bathroom but perfectly adequate. View from the verandah is looking over the bow of the ship. Some noise when arriving in port. Cabin directly above the theatre so some noise during shows. Plenty of storage space. Staff happy to supply extra coat hangers. Part of our package was in room spirits and the staff happily changed the supplied spirits to ones of our choice. Typically poor selection of TV channels but not a problem for us.
Addo Elephant Park with Alan’s Tours. Excellent tour with Malcolm as our guide.
We took the shuttle to the shopping centre. Not much to see.
We got a guide from the port and went to see the Hippos.
We stayed here for 4 days pre cruise. Great hop on hop off buses. Be aware of what is going on around you. We were followed by a group of young locals after getting off a bus in the city despite lots of people being around.
Not allowed to get off the ship. Only allowed to dock for refueling and stores.
Not allowed to dock
Not allowed to dock