We are a multi generational family of 5 traveling on the Quest doing Amalfi Coast ports, Croatia and Venice. This is a terrific itinerary with plenty of port time. Embarkation was a breeze. Due to tender issues, we missed visiting Capri but the ship staff assured us we wouldnt have enjoyed it anyway and substitued the gorgeous port of Naples which we have had the pleasure of visiting before--ugh! ;)
First, to dispel the concerns about families,,,this cruise supposedly has 29 "kids"--under age of 18 passengers. There are no true facilities for children but the staff has attempted to organize a few teen activitities. Kids are fine and welcome.
As far as the country club experience, the staff is 100% friendly and professional giving each guest positive attention. Officers are everywhere and if it makes you happy to be greeted throughout the the day by the senior staff, you will love the experience. The team is very much concerned about making the cruise excellent and ensuring a positive experience for all guests. It is nice that there are no lines on the ship and that announcements are kept at a minimum. The Captain is a nice face for Azamara and he invests plenty of time interacting with guests.
Cabins are "cozy" with comparatively tiny bathrooms but nice amenities. Don't even try to deal with a triple cabin...it doesn't work and you will not enjoy the space. Our cabin stewards are exactly the same as all other cruises, nothing extra is offered but they are excellent, accommodating and professional sans the towel animals. The fresh flowers and fruit take up space but are a nice touch.
The ship is super quiet with no engine noise and very stable (of course the Adriatic isn't rough) but comparatively this is a very smooth ship.
Security is efficient and also very pleasant.
Food...well, Celebrity and Carnival are far superior, however, with free flowing complimentary wine, I dont think many guests notice. Meals are good other than fish dishes which have been unilaterally not so good. (Salmon, very dry, Arctic Char, fishy, Grouper, poor etc). One night the menu had 3 fried meat entrees...not the best if guests arent interested in flattened fried veal, lamb or pork with dry fish or vegetarian as the only other options. Still, the food is above average with good appetizers, soups and salads. The dinner experience in the main dining room takes a minimum of two hours--actually very slow...so you will miss the shows or not find places to sit since the caberet is quite small. We received nightly apologies from the staff so there must have been some efficiency problems with the kitchen although we never complained.
The deck party food on special nights is far superior to other ships as well as the pool grill and room service. Don't miss out.
Entertainment-the Cruise Director is tops and the Azamara singers/activities staff are terrific. There are no cool costumes or stages but the singing quality is well above average. The hired musicians/acts who sign on for shorter contracts are far below average. These seem to be the corporate circuit low budget types.
Internet service is incredibly slow and therefore EXPENSIVE compared to what we have experienced. I have to work so it is what it is.
Shore excursions have been well organized, we loved the 4X4 adventure in Hvar, Croatia for example. Skip the excursions in Dubrovnik and walk the city walls. Kotor Montenegro is our favorite experience. We continued to have issues with the promotion which carried over to the ship but the staff corrected the issue immediately.
All in all, the smaller ship allows for interesting ports, more included items (soft drinks, wine, gratuities), more tenders (difficult for those who are physically challenged) and an intimate crew/passenger experience. Like a country club, the prestige may be slightly higher than the actual result however, Azamara deserves high marks overall.
Great location, tiny bathroom, smaller than typical cabin. Extremely quiet.