As this was our 10th Azamara, we were looking at returning to the Quest with great enthusiasm. Our on board experiences again did not disappoint. Other reviews talk about the white nights, Azamazing evening and the like so I don’t see the need to revisit them in this review other than say that the signature events are exciting, anticipated and very much enjoyed.
The advantages of the size and ambience of the R Class ships, Quest (and Journey) to us outweigh any negatives. To step aboard and see familiar faces amongst guests, staff and crew and to be remembered by name makes a comfortable, pleasant and enjoyable experience. The refit wasn’t a new experience for us as we’d been fortunate to have had 32 days on board straight out of dry dock last year. The Quest is a ship not only well loved but also well maintained and extremely clean.
Firstly, what a great itinerary, even with the unplanned change from Cartagena to the touristy Cozumel. Due to storm activity in the Caribbean we concur that safety of the vessel, staff, crew and guests is of top priority and the change of itinerary and subsequent fine under the Jones act was Azamara’s decision. The Panama Canal was on our bucket list and the day’s transit experience didn’t disappoint. The history of the Canal is like nothing else. We loved the variety of the ports on this itinerary and without hesitation would re visit if the price were right. If it’s not on your bucket list it needs to be. The addition of the biking program is welcome by us wanting something different, hopefully (positive feedback here) the lengthy insurance form that needs completion prior to the activity is stored on board and can be reused again for future bike activities on future cruises. The ones we did were extremely well organised, fun and very enjoyable. Bike were easily to manage. Well done to those staff involved.
The benefits on the self-service laundry continues to be an undervalued addition to your cruise price. The machine are smart, efficient and leave no one guessing to how long the washing needs to be ‘in’. Due to this upgrade in technology I believe that the laundry ‘protocol’ or behavior has improved to an acceptable standard and I met some lovely interesting people there, who then became ‘friends’ around the ship. Regulars will know what I mean. We met old friends and made new ones of all ages, nationalities and demographics.
Over the years, we have seen some stubble and not so stubble changes on board, but on the whole we continue to be pleased with the product, service and quality of the food provided. This cruise also bought some variation and welcome additions to foods previously offered both in the buffet and Discoveries. I don’t agree with other negative review about the food as I believe it to be of high standard, tasty and surely inviting. We did mention in our mid cruise feedback form, and it was addressed immediately, that whilst acknowledging service was generally very good we did notice some delays in service in Discoveries. It wasn’t a deal breaker and we would happily return there each night if we weren’t dining in a delightfully exotic buffet or one of the specialty restaurants. The Discoveries staff do an amazing job and the attitude, flexibility and enthusiasm that they display needs to be commended.
Shows where of usual standards with some enjoyable guest entertainers, sea days provided general 'something to suit everyone' experiences. Guest lecturer was popular and informative. Those activities, along with progressive trivial was the usual fun 'tongue in cheek' laugh at those more serious about it than our team. You could clearly do as little as wished or be quite active.
As always under the competent helm of the Captain, senior officers, experienced staff and crew the service was impeccable and the attention to detail outstanding. We do not have a problem with the size of the staterooms or bathrooms as we know that they just ‘come with’ the design of the R Class ship which we love. We however appreciate that it would be a considerable challenge for some.
As Azamara moves towards the future with the release of the 2019 itineraries, I’m pleased to say we have committed to another four for the next 12 months and must soon start thinking about 2019. The downside is that they all involve long haul flights but we are excited to be introducing other ‘newbies’ to our favourite brand and are prepared to ‘share the love’ when they step aboard with us next cruise.
Until then we wish all Azamara staff, especially those on the Quest (and Journey) smooth sea and fair winds.
Though what we expect in size, it doesn't present any issues for us. Despite the size the layout and storage works well. Extremely well serviced by competent, engaging and professional crew.