Absolutely thrilled: Azamara Quest Cruise Review by magdalenclarity

Azamara Quest 5
Member Since 2010
19 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Absolutely thrilled

Sail Date: October 2010
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
My husband and I decided to take our 4th cruise since August of 2009 after viewing the itinerary of the Quest. 14 days Rome to Rome with overnight stays in Sorrento, Venice and Loverno. We had previously been delighted with Celebrity cruises in the Caribbean and were willing to give Azamara a try.

Upon quick and efficient boarding in Civitavecchia, we were greeted with champagne and set off immediately for the complementary laundry facilities (soap included) as we had already been in Tuscany for over a week. We were impressed with the elegant dark wood and wrought iron interior decorating which was immediately relaxing. The lunch buffet was a little better than Celebrity's with higher quality cheeses, breads and meats.

Even though the buffets were all fairly standard, the dining room far exceeded our expectations. We loved the casual dining (no-formal nights) and open seating. There were never more than about three couples ahead of us in line and we usually received More immediate attention. The food could not have been better; we felt as though we were dining in a 5 star restaurant every meal. Ingredients were top of the line: huge scallops and lobster offered frequently, venison and game birds. I had thought that the menu might be limited due to the size of the ship but a good variety of all courses were offered each time. Different complementary wines -one white/one red- were offered every lunch and dinner in unlimited quantities. As I avoid alcohol I appreciated the also-complementary sparkling water, teas and specialty coffees. The staff was more than well trained, they obviously were happy to have been hired onto the Quest.

The pool grill offered salmon fillets, turkey and vegetarian burgers as well as the standard hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, fries, onion rings and a small salad bar. A self serve frozen yogurt machine (strawberry/vanilla) operated until 6 pm. Draft beer was always half price around the pool with the staff being highly efficient. Never take these people for granted: our young server was a speech therapist, her boss and husband was a professor of geology. They were both from Croatia, seeking adventure and travel. This was one of the better parts of this small ship - there was ample opportunity to get to talk with the staff on a personal level. And talk was easy; they actually turned off the music at the pool to enable conversation without shouting and a quiet environment in which to read. We loved this!!

Public announcements were kept to a minimum and yet the captain provided great detail about technical matters regarding the management and sailing of the ship. This amount of detail would have been appreciated from the enrichment speaker hired from the Smithsonian list of lecturers. I don't know why cruise ship passengers are assumed to be ignorant. I have never heard an onboard lecture that did not seemed geared to an elementary school classroom. Neither was the general entertainment extraordinary. However, we had suspected it would be limited due to the size of the ship.

We were staying in an oceanview cabin, deck 4 forward starboard, and were delighted with the spacious feeling of the room. This did come from the rather limited storage and bathroom areas but both were adequate. The hallways were quiet but the anchor being lowered and raised did wake us. The bed and linens were superb, and there were fresh flowers and a fresh fruit plate every day in addition to different chocolate petits fours or chocolate covered fruit delivered each evening. I did run out of shampoo on the trip and tried using the Elemis amenities provided. They turned my hair to straw. I wish a higher quality line was selected which could be provided in smaller quantities; 100 ml bottles of a substandard product is worthless. The room attendants were efficient and unobtrusive. Room service was quick; the one meal I had delivered came within 15 minutes and piping hot. Excellent! We also ordered two pots of herbal tea one night which was delivered within minutes.

A few of the people onboard did come down with a fast passing cold and I was one of the lucky few. Although I try to limit my intake of medications I did not want my cruise experience diminished so I bought a cold medication from the ship store. Big mistake - rather than having a quality product available from a health store, the liquid I purchased appeared radioactively coloured and was full of artificial sweeteners. Some improvement is needed here.

Tenders and shuttle buses were provided wherever necessary, usually running every half hour. We never encountered a lineup and appreciated the included service even more after talking with Princess passengers who had to search for their purchased tickets. Azamara's all-inclusive cruising is designed to take the stress and hassle out of traveling; one never feels rushed, nickle-and-dimed, or unappreciated. My husband and I have been spoiled and I can't imagine going back to any other line.

Two ports not included on the list below:

1 Ravenna - delightful non-touristy city on the coastal plain of east Italy. Plan to visit all the medieval churches for their mosaics and your walking will take you though the best parts of old Ravenna.

2 Trieste - Like Ravenna it is non-touristy. When visiting the castle ask for an audioguide (free) when purchasing your admission ticket. Less

Published 10/22/10

Cabin review: 044009 Club Oceanview Stateroom

Closets adequate but not ample; this did make for more open space, the room actually appeared spacious. Bathroom had adequate storage but shower stall was angled down from full rectangle. Water flow was a dribble and temperature fluctuated no matter what time of day. Be prepared to be woken when the anchor is lowered or risen. Bathroom amenities were by Elemis and of poor quality. Hallway extremely quiet despite being about 30 feet and one stairway away from disembarkation location. Window box is large enough to recline within after pulling the drapes closed as a separation from anyone still sleeping.

Read All Club Oceanview Stateroom (04) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

The only thing worth seeing is the old walled town. It was extensively damaged during the war but has been almost entirely refurbished. It might have its charms, but we found it incredibly expensive. I would not go out of my way to visit this port.

Forget Florence - this port should be labelled Livorno. We had visited Florence on our pre-cruise week in Tuscany and found it highly over rated. Yes the galleries are top-notch, but outside of the Cathedral you might as well have been in Frankfurt. Instead, take the time to visit Sienna, Volterra, Pisa, Lucca or the Cinque Terra. Buses and trains are easily accessible in Livorno and relatively inexpensive. The Cinque Terra is a 2.5 hour train ride but well worth the time. One of the sites you'll pass shows the mountain quarries and their marble stacked around the train station.

I have given this port a high rating not due to the city itself, but the fact that an overnight made it possible to enjoy going further afield. We were able to share a taxi down to Positano and take a boat back without being rushed. The boat runs every few hours but check the schedule at the dock when you first arrive. I highly recommend do-it-yourselfers to not attempt the bus to Positano on a Sunday as buses run only once an hour and there are large line-ups. If you do end up in line and have need of a washroom, the only one nearby is inside the train station across the street from the bus stop. However, it can be accessed by buying a 1.2 euro ticket to the first stop. Many other passengers raved about Pompeii (which we visited last summer) and Capri.

Absolutely beautiful, would make an excellent honeymoon location. A very quaint but increasingly touristy Italian city. Do not miss relaxing in the public gardens downhill from the roman ruins. The views are just as good as from the ruins and are free! Take the cable car for a bit of extra adventure.

Venice is unbeatable but the tourist hoards are almost unbearable during the day. Nighttime is the best time to experience the true charm of this city. Download Rick Steves' walking tours to an MP3 before leaving home to be provided with a great free orientation. If St Mark's Square is flooded when you arrive, come back in a few hours, it might be bone dry - we were surprised at the change. Also, the cathedral has a very short line up about one hour before closing, wander the alleys until then, any guidebook will provide whatever you need to know.

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Member Since 2010
19 Forum Posts
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