Wonderful holiday to remember, I hope to cruise again !: Azamara Quest Cruise Review by fan de vacances

Azamara Quest 5
fan de vacances
Member Since 2010
6 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Wonderful holiday to remember, I hope to cruise again !

Sail Date: July 2010
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Athens (Piraeus)
This was our very 1st cruise and we didn't really know what to expect. Other guests we spoke to on board seemed really surprised that it was our 1st time: it would seem that once you've got the bug you become addicted, and I can really see why ! I went with a friend who I don't see very often. We are both in our 50's. We chose this cruise because of the small size of the ship and the long time in ports of call: we wanted to have enough time to discover the places and not be in a great rush. The cruise was really great for that and we never felt frustrated at having to get back, especially as we booked 1 extra night in hotels in Athens and Istanbul at start and end of cruise. One complete day at sea was a nice experience though we wouldn't have wanted more ... despite it being so great on the ship, my idea of a cruise is to discover the destinations. The ports of call were mostly fascinating: I found Nauplion slightly disappointing and Bodrum not quite so interesting, but Athens, More Santorini, Rhodes, Mykonos. Ephesus and Istanbul were all brilliant places to visit, We hired a car in Santorini which was such a perfect day, did private taxi tours in Athens, Ephesus and Istanbul, caught local buses in Mykonos, and just walked around Rhodes with a map in hand.

The size of the ship was perfect. As there were "only" about 500 guests we never had problems of queues for anything. The staff were ALL wonderful, from the cheerful and enthusiastic captain to the lowliest of the cleaning staff, and certainly not forgetting the restaurant and entertainment personnel: friendly faces everywhere, always helpful but never obsequious. I cannot understand why some reviews slate the food. We found it extremely good in both the Discoveries restaurant, where we hardly ever got to try the basic menu as the days specials were always so inviting, and the Windows cafe (buffet) where we often went in order to to eat outside. The service was so good, with explanations where asked for and wine and water topped up constantly.
We had a veranda stateroom, which was comfortable. We didn't feel squashed although it wasn't huge. We got to the chance to look around the other types of stateroom, and although the suites were a dream, I think our choice was the good balance of value for money: even though we spend little time on the veranda it was really nice having it. I think the only slightly disappointing thing on the ship was the pool which was really small. The other guests all seemed to be from English-speaking countries, I think mostly Americans, though also a fair number of British and Australians and smaller numbers from other places. Ages varied, but mostly adults. Few children and adolescents despite being in holiday time, and I don't think it would be much fun for them unless they were happy to spend all their time with parents etc. Most people were couples: a woman accompanied by her 3 children mentioned she felt rather "different" from everyone else. We didn't see much of the entertainment: having been out all day, after a leisurely evening meal, we just wanted to chill out in the evening, but I gather the quality was good. We did see the show with singer Helen Jayne who was excellent, and also enjoyed the 2 folklore evenings once Greek and once Turkish, with dancing & singing.

I would certainly not hesitate to recommend this cruise and have excellent memories and hundreds of photos to remind me ! Less

Published 10/04/10

Cabin review: 1A

Port and Shore Excursions

Abolutely fascinating place, full of history. We did a half-day tour with Paul's taxi which was extremely good value and could be tailored to our wishes. Hint : go to the Acropolis as early as possible: it was fine at 9am but when we left about 90 minutes later it was getting very crowded ! The port is quite a way from the centre. We did it by train and bus but it would certainly have been easier by taxi.

Sailing into Istanbul just after dawn was really fascinating. I liked Istanbul partly for the beautiful mosques (surprised to be allowed in so freely to the Blue Mosque) and also for what seemed to be surprising variety and tolerance of people: you could see a woman wearing a chador chatting away to others in mini-skirts, or couples including a veiled woman, holding hands and being affectionate in the street. Don't miss the Blue mosque, Haghia Sophai (towards the end of the day when the queues have gone down) but especially the Kariye museum where there are some outstanding mural paintings to be seen. Most places of interest can be reached by the "hop on, hop off" tourist bus, where the ticket is valid all day. The traffic is a nightmare, don't even think of hiring a car! I thoroughly recommend the central hotel Nena if you want to prolong your stay in Istanbul.

Read 403 Istanbul Reviews

Didn't actually see much of Kusadasi. so can't rate the town itself, but we did a private tour to Ephesus which was really brilliant. It was extremely hot, but so worth it, and we were glad we had a good guide who explained lots of things to us. Pity about the tour of the carpet & jewellery place, where they really did try to hard-sell the goods, but I suppose for the really low price of the tour, which also included lunch, they had to try and get some commission.

Read 614 Kusadasi Reviews

Walking around the little town is delightful, but don't miss getting a bus to Plati Yialos then the shuttle boat to the beaches. I adore swimming in the sea, and it had been a bit frustrating on board to be "so near and yet so far" , but this day was worth the wait. We went to Elia beach, which wasn't as noisy nor as crowded as Paradise & Super-Paradise. In my ignorance I hadn't known about Mykonos' gay-friendly and nudist tourism, so it was a bit of a surprise, but no problem. The sand and sea were beautifully clean and we had a sunbed about 50cm from the sea edge, After our time on the beach we had (expensive) cocktails in Little Venice with a glorious view over the windmills and the sea, then a browse around the little jewellery and souvenir shops. We were disappointed not to find any churches open to visit, for they were lovely from outside.

Read 839 Mykonos Reviews

Rhodes was bigger than I'd expected. It is quite a big and busy town, but you don't have to go to that part if you wish to just stick to the old-town. One really good point was that you just walk into the old town off the boat. It's the sort of place you can visit on foot and discover lots of interesting places. We also had a quick dip in the sea near the casino, but the beach was very crowded. I loved walking inside the walls of the city and just going inside them every now and then for a bit of shade.

Read 391 Rhodes Reviews

Loved this island, of which we managed to see a lot, having hired a car. Don't go for the beaches which are very disappointing, but the towns, views and scenery are really beautiful.

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fan de vacances
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