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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
The itinerary was the reason for this cruise, even in this time of the year without cherry blossoms or Indian summer colors (too late, too early). It was a time of intense activity as there was another port every day and the climate which ... Read More
The itinerary was the reason for this cruise, even in this time of the year without cherry blossoms or Indian summer colors (too late, too early). It was a time of intense activity as there was another port every day and the climate which was hot and humid made it streneous as well. We knew the Quest from one other cruise, our other 18 cruises with Azamara we have had with Journey and Pursuit. This time the food was awsome, Chef Colin surprised us every day with local cuisine dishes which led us not to book the speciality restaurants but use the Discovery restaurant every evening. Service in the restaurant and bars was very good, we only found one person which was not smiling at all the entire cruise. In regard to entertainment we went to the Living Room every night and found the live band "The Smooth Sensations" as the best we ever had on an Azamara ship, hope to see them again soon. The sound volume of the pianist and singer in The Den we found disturbing loud and unpleasant. We enjoyed the live music of traditional Japanese koto. In general the temperature on deck 5 was by far to low, lots of people caught colds and asking to increase the temperature brought no result during the entire cruise. So bring a lot of sweaters and jackets and ask for blankets in the restaurant. The Azamazing evening took place in Busan/South Korea with stunning performances of music and taek won do. Also the white night party was a success. We had booked shore excursions privately with local english speaking guides and were very satisfied with the results. We found an American couple to take part so the costs were reasonable compared to excursions the ship offered and we could take influence on what to see or not. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise for itinerary and dates. We were celebrating our 50th anniversary. We flew into Vancouver on Canada Day. Took a taxi from the airport to the Hyatt Regency. Traffic was light. Taxi rates from the airport are fixed. $35 ... Read More
We chose this cruise for itinerary and dates. We were celebrating our 50th anniversary. We flew into Vancouver on Canada Day. Took a taxi from the airport to the Hyatt Regency. Traffic was light. Taxi rates from the airport are fixed. $35 CD All taxis take credit cards. We were happy that we were able to check into the hotel early. We were upgraded to a beautiful suite with a balcony. We ate dinner at Black and Blue. Food was delicious, service was outstanding, decor was plush, and they had AC. Many restaurants in Canada do not have AC. After breakfast at the Hyatt, we were picked up by tour guide. While we were touring, our luggage was taken to the cruise ship. At the end of tour we were dropped off at Canada a place where we checked in, cleared US customs, and boarded the ship. Our luggage was waiting for us in our cabin. Ship was renovated in 2016. Still looks fresh and clean. Cabin was bright. The dark woods are gone. New furnishings were beautiful. Bed was very comfortable. Linens and toiletries were very pleasing. Our cabin stewards, Juan and Andrew, were attentive. We ate in most venues. We liked Buffet and discoveries dining room. Small sandwiches and pastry at Mosaic was good. Tapas in the Living room was ok. Food was mostly good. Our best meal was dinner at the Patio. Seafood platter. It is a lovely venue with table service. We enjoyed watching the gorgeous Alaskan scenery during dinner. We were underwhelmed by Prime C. It used to be better. Live music was excellent. We did not like the DJ or some of the evening shows. The Azamazing Evening at the Chihully Museum in Seattle was fabulous. Great venue, good weather, nice entertainment, and amazing food made for a memorable evening. White night had bad weather and had to abort to living room. Not the best white night. We enjoyed our stops in Seattle and the Alaskan ports. In Ketchikan, we took the Alaskan adventure and crab fest. It was really interesting and delicious. In Juneau, we took the Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon bake. Unfortunately, our bus had a broken AC and windows that did not open. Bus driver guide was a real jerk. Bus had 49 guests and no crew escort. Salmon bake put us in long line with lots of guests from other ships. We were on a small ship waiting in line with guests from Ovation of the Seas It was a bad tour. Spoke to shore excursions who didn’t seem to care. Do not take the tour. Our stop in Nanaimo ,BC was a waste of time. Took an expensive excursion that was a real waste of time. Last day, brunch was well done....great food beautifully arranged, good service, and nice music. One of the best features of the Quest is the friendly crew. They really want guests to have a great time. We had a great time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
After having completed over 100 cruises, covering some 1300 nights, we wished to try the "small ship" experience of Azamara. After reading reviews of a number of various smaller "up-scale/luxury", we decided on ... Read More
After having completed over 100 cruises, covering some 1300 nights, we wished to try the "small ship" experience of Azamara. After reading reviews of a number of various smaller "up-scale/luxury", we decided on Azamara, for our "test run". Being on a "smaller" ship, there was a discernible ( but not annoying) feel of some ship movement in open choppy seas. This was somewhat expected, if we encountered rougher sea conditions. One of the advantages of cruising in this category suite is the varied dining options. For dinner there are two specialty restaurants, "Aqualina" and "Prime C" available each evening (complimentary) as well as the main dining venue "Discoveries Restaurant", or the buffet "Windows Café". Of course en-suite dining is also available, for all meals (complimentary). One would have no need to "go hungry", at almost any hour. We did not attempt to find food at 03:00, but surmise it might have been available. We did have one issue that was somewhat of a nuisance. When we initially entered our suite the temperature was very warm, so we lowered the setting on the thermostat, in the living room.. After a while and not seeing any change we found another thermostat in the bedroom. We lowered the setting there also -- still no change. When our suite attendant and his assistant stopped by to introduce themselves, we mentioned the too warm temperature to them. They attempted the same changes that we tried, with no discernible change. Shortly after that Wayon (Cabin Attendant) returned with a technician to resolve the issue. The tech removed the covers from the thermostats, and checked some electrical connections, and shined his flashlight into the output vents. He then told us that "all was now, O.K." Two hours later, no real change was evident. When we met out butler, Xaviar, after that, we told him of the air-conditioning situation, he said he would have it fixed. He returned a short time later, with the same technician and another person, possibly the tech's supervisor, They went through a similar routine, and declared the situation resolved. There was actually a bit of cooler air coming out of two of the three vents (one in bedroom and two in living room). One of the vents in the living room was still putting out warmer air? The next day, we received a received a request from the Hotel Director for comments as to how the cruise was going, so far. We commented that the only "issue" we had encountered was that of the air conditioning, and said that was not something we expected to encounter on a "luxury cruise line" -- three (four, counting our response to his note) requests for relief, with no real resolution of the issue. Right about then, our Suite Attendant stopped by to inquire how things were progressing -- we told him about all that had transpired with the air conditioning. He said he would look into it again, and within an hour, another tech (actually two different techs) came by to look/see and made a few adjustments --- Voila !!! COOL air. Wayon surely saved the day (and perhaps the cruise) and allowed us to enjoy our, now comfortable suite (Sweet/Suite). We only had one other hiccup throughout the rest of the cruise -- more on that later, We had read a number of comments about the "poor quality" which are included (complimentary) for all passengers. We found the quality ranged from "drinkable" to "pretty good", and the prices for 'exceptional" wines was not totally out of line -- even left the ship with some unused OBC (On Board Credit). We ate dinner in the specialty restaurants just about every evening, and cannot recall any meal that was less than excellent. Some of that was assuredly due to the wonderful/attentive care of Kris (our usual waiter in Prime C), and the excellent Sommelier, Milena. There were also other advantages afforded to guests staying in Club Owners Suites. One of these was the "Best of the Best" dinner -- even though the title is a bit "over the top". For this event, the "Drawing Room" (see Deck Plan) was converted into a private dining venue for the evening. The dinner was by invitation and hosted be the Captain and the Hotel Director, also at the table were the Staff Captain and Chief Engineer (don't ask who was driving the ship). Each course was presented by the Executive Chef, with an explanation of the preparation, and the wines were presented by the Sommelier, with the rationale for each pairing -- these wines were definitely "top shelf". All of this was coordinated by the Ship's Concierge. The Guest List, as best as we could determine, were the occupants of the six Club Owners Suites and (perhaps) the couple on-board with the highest number of Azamara cruises. Along with the invitation to this dinner, the same guests were offered the opportunity for a private Bridge Tour and also to experience a tour of the Engine Control Room, hosted by the Chief Engineer. Whilst on the subject of Senior Officers/Managers, they were very visible (and approachable) to just about any passenger, throughout the cruise.-- a very nice touch. The only disappointment we encountered was the "Azamazing Event" which took place in Sitka -- we were contacted , via telephone, prior to the cruise to ascertain if we would be attending the event, supposedly to allow for "special" seating arrangements. Despite what we had read about the Azamazing Events on past cruises, on this particular cruise, no special seating arrangements were made for those passengers in the top suites. Instead disembarkation for transfer to the event venue was done by "Deck Number". We were assigned to Group 5. When we arrived at the venue, we were directed to seating by Group Number. Instead of being in the "Reserved Section" on the main level, our group (5) relegated to a cramped corner of the balcony, where the temperature was very warm. From what we could see/hear of the presentation/show, it seemed to be very good. We felt like we were perhaps in the upper deck, corner seats at something like the Super Bowl. When we were leaving the venue, we asked the Hotel Manager, "Why the change in seating?" He told us that he was not consulted on the "arrangements" ??? Truly the "low point" of the entire cruise, even worse than the "air conditioning scenario". That situation was at least reconciled. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise, and would do another cruise aboard Azamara, just not in the immediate future. Whilst on board, we did book another cruise -- on Celebrity. Azamara has a cruise with a similar itinerary to the one we booked with Celebrity, but we are more confident about the total experience we will receive aboard Celebrity. That does not mean we will not return to Azamara - - just not in the near future. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My first time on this ship and with this cruise line, we picked this because of its itinerary and its smaller size. It didn't start off smoothly but the cruise line fixed the problem and everyone was compensated very well. We did ... Read More
My first time on this ship and with this cruise line, we picked this because of its itinerary and its smaller size. It didn't start off smoothly but the cruise line fixed the problem and everyone was compensated very well. We did explore the embarkation port which was Singapore stayed 5 days and loved it a most beautiful city with so much history. The Quest ship is still being updated, there was some construction going on during the voyage, not too intrusive. I was in a suite club continental, everything was new and updated huge bathroom, king bed, new carpets, large balcony and many more perks that come with the suite cabin. There are unlimited dining options in the specialty restaurants all included and wonderful we ate in both Aqualina and Prime C excellent service! Also, all international buffets were outstanding. Entertainment was fantastic loved all of the local shows, Ports and excursions were good the only thing, I found it very hard to understand and hear the local guides speak, especially when in a group of 25 or more, they should provide headsets on all the tours. Overall we did enjoy this trip and all the beautiful ports, service by the cruise is outstanding and they really go out of their way to make you feel at home. I would consider another cruise in the future for sure! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We travelled last year with Azamara and greatly enjoyed the smaller ship feel, comfort and convenience. This cruise, from Cairns to Singapore offered us the chance to see some things on our ‘to do’ list, especially Komodo and ... Read More
We travelled last year with Azamara and greatly enjoyed the smaller ship feel, comfort and convenience. This cruise, from Cairns to Singapore offered us the chance to see some things on our ‘to do’ list, especially Komodo and Borobudur. Embarkation in Cairns was efficient and since Quest and Journey are almost identical, it was very easy to settle in. We enjoyed a quick look at Thursday Island which is otherwise quite difficult to visit. Our only real disappointment in the whole trip was the docking location in Darwin. Instead of being at the cruise ship dock, we were more than 30 minutes away, each way, by the provided shuttle bus, at the spectacularly unscenic and inconvenient bulk container terminal. We had 3 things planned for Darwin but saw only one of them because of the docking location. Do visit the RFDS where you get not only the RFDS story but also an amazing virtual reality experience of the bombing of Darwin. The Azamazing Darryl Braithwaite concert was great but also meant 12 buses doing a one hour trip and the inevitable waiting. Food was excellent again in terms of variety and freshness. We mostly used the Windows buffet for breakfast and lunch because we could choose salads and fruit. Dinner was mostly in Discoveries but we did have 2 meals in Prime C and one in Aqualina. We had remarkably flat seas and hot weather for the whole 2 weeks and everything was well-organised. The staff continue to be gems and a very important part of the Azamara experience. The docking location in Singapore, at Harbourfront, is far better than the main cruise terminal. It’s very close to an MRT station, a very large shopping centre ( Vivocity) and Sentosa Island. Shore excursions On Thursday Island and Komodo we did the ship excursions because they were tender ports and it was easier. On Thursday Island it was hot and the fort is at the top of a hill so it’s quite a long way to walk. The cemetery is even further and I don’t think you would have seen both in the time if walking. On Komodo you were not allowed to leave the ship if you did not have a shore excursion ticket or proof of another tour. A safety issue. In Bali we booked a car and driver through Tours by Locals. Ketut Arwan was great and very happy to meet our needs. Highly recommended Same thing, same company for Borobudur with excellent guide, Gregorius Gagat and a very skillfull driver too. It was a long trip on crowded hilly roads and we were so pleased not to be on one of the ship’s 6 buses. In both cases the car and driver option was as cheap or cheaper than the ship bus shore excursions. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this cruise due to an interest in Komoda Island and it was our first adventure with Azamara. Booking and document process was smooth and efficient and also the boarding at Cairns. All the staff were very friendly, helpful and ... Read More
Chose this cruise due to an interest in Komoda Island and it was our first adventure with Azamara. Booking and document process was smooth and efficient and also the boarding at Cairns. All the staff were very friendly, helpful and supportive. A minor issue raised by us during the cruise re pillows and laundry was quickly addressed in a very caring manner. All in all it was a positive experience. Very relaxing holiday starting in Cairns and finishing in Singapore. Some ports of call were more interesting than others and in hindsight would have booked more shore excursions from the ship too see more of the surrounding areas instead of the city centres/shopping malls etc in the final 2 Indonesian stops. Positives ------------ Food and dining facilities (very positive) Rooms and cleanliness (small bathroom but manageable) Night time entertainment. All staff were great and drink service was quick and efficient. Small passenger numbers and absence of children aided noise levels and sleep comfort. Darwin,Thursday Island and Komodo ports. Minor Negatives --------------------- Collective 5 days at sea and absence of any worthwhile day time activities.(Not a Bingo fan) Lack of seating at busy times in some pre dinner drinks venues. Last 3 Indonesian ports not all that interesting. Self service laundry is a bonus but too small to accommodate passenger needs. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose Azamara and this itinerary based on the recommendation of friends who did it a couple of years. ago. We too weren't notified of the change of embarkation point, but noticed the ship in the "wrong port" the night ... Read More
We chose Azamara and this itinerary based on the recommendation of friends who did it a couple of years. ago. We too weren't notified of the change of embarkation point, but noticed the ship in the "wrong port" the night before from the roof top bar of our hotel. Sailing on smaller ships is a great experience. More attention from crew and an altogether sense of community familiarity that just happens among the passengers. We had a balcony room, midship on the deck 6. It was very comfortable and the small shower was adequate. Because of weather or just being out and about we really didn't use the balcony much but it was nice to have. The crew was always attentive, the entertainment very, very good, and most meals were well prepared. However more attention should be given to timing and suggestions as when to eat in the dining rooms if you want to make a show. Any time after 7.15pm creates a rush. Prime C was a disappointment, the food was just ok, the service slow and the room needs to be refurbished. Aqualina though did not disappoint. My only other comment on the food was that there way too much. Something was always there, available and too inviting. We did several exercise classes. More thought needs to given to the space required as many were popular and people couldn't participate. However they were advertised as 45 minutes, but most were barely 30. The Amazing Evening in Melbourne was in a beautiful recital hall with a performance by a top Australian vocal artist. Very enjoyable. The White Night was well done, the production performers professional and personable. Dancing in the Living Room to the Sound Sensations became a nightly destination for us. The crossing to New Zealand was a day and a half of rough seas, but part of cruising. But we found there were too many sea days, especially when they were back to back. All the ports provided something to do, some more that others. Napier was special and unique with its art deco architecture. We don't do cruise sponsored shore excursions. We find better value and choice is always available at the port. Cruise lines ask you think about the environment when using towels, etc, but they don't do anything about the amount of newsletters, brochures, invitations and sale announcements they produce. There must be better and more efficient ways to communicate to your guests and cut down on paper useage. It was ridiculous on this cruise. Overall, there is no reason not to consider Azamara for fun and enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Itinerary is what counts and long port stays as well as Quest being a ship we sailed on previously. We love overnights in port so we have longer time in port. We use our ship as a hotel. We don't really care about casinos, shopping ... Read More
Itinerary is what counts and long port stays as well as Quest being a ship we sailed on previously. We love overnights in port so we have longer time in port. We use our ship as a hotel. We don't really care about casinos, shopping or entertainment on board. I want a lovely cabin, great bed and nice common areas. Having said that, the Quest is in need of an overhaul. I was shocked at the condition of our bathroom- its was a bit gross with putty in the bottom of the shower. Wallpaper in the shower??? Not a great idea. the good news- it is going to drydock after the cruise following our departure in Cairns- after it docks in Singapore and it needs it. My only complaint about the service was in the dining room and the buffet in the am- I had to beg for coffee refills and for water!!! Its hot in australia and I don't think on a ship the caliber of Quest I should have to run after waiters to get water or coffee. Otherwise, the service was great. Clearly there were newbees onboard in both areas that did not speak English very well and struggled in that regard. They frequently smiled, said yes and disappeared never to bring what I had asked for. And that is literally the worst thing that happened over the 29 days. Otherwise, the service is impeccable, attentive and the folks on board we traveled with were delightful. I had a really great time and I will say- we have already booked our next 30 days B2B cruise. It will be on Quest- I hope the refurb is still intact when we sail again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Recently back from my second Azamara voyage, both on the Quest. Overall this Sydney to Auckland cruise was excellent with some notable improvements, however there are areas which continue to disappoint. On the positive side, I found ... Read More
Recently back from my second Azamara voyage, both on the Quest. Overall this Sydney to Auckland cruise was excellent with some notable improvements, however there are areas which continue to disappoint. On the positive side, I found the ship to be spotless and the crew genuinely friendly. Most notable was the main restaurant, Discoveries. I was greeted with a friendly smile and often assigned a lovely window table for 2. Yes there can be short waits at peak times, but if you are patient, it is always rewarded. The food & service were just outstanding both in Discoveries and Windows Cafe. The Patio also offered an alternative, and that was excellent as well. Deck areas were well maintained, and the crew worked hard to clear the many rainfalls which left areas saturated. My cabin, an outside window space on deck 4 was cozy and well serviced. I truly did not miss having a balcony especially considering the weather we had. This location is quiet and very convenient to everything. The self service laundry was very popular and difficult to get in. Still great to have when on extended holiday. I won’t go into the ports of call, but suffice it to say they were brilliant. I was truly blown away especially by the New Zealand stops. I spent a few days post cruise in Auckland and loved that city. Where Azamara continues to struggle are all areas I noted during my first voyage, 18 months ago. First, the front office just can’t seem to put out accurate information. As another reviewer noted, our travel documents stated the Quest would be berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) in Sydney. For several months prior to the trip, the Port of New South Wales website showed her berthing at White Bay. I called Azamara several times and was assured by the CSR (and supervisors) that the ship would be at OPT. For those not familiar with Sydney, these locations are not close to each other, about $40 AUD taxi fare. Finally a few days before departure, another CSR emailed the Quest and confirmed it would be White Bay. An email was finally sent out, but many had already left for their travels and not everyone looks at emails on holiday. I overheard several passengers who followed the directions on their docs only to find the ship wasn’t there. This was not a last minute change of berth due to unforeseen events, the Port always listed White Bay. Needless confusion on a simple matter. As I mentioned my cabin on deck was cozy but the in room entertainment was awful. With 3 very rough sea days crossing the Tasman Sea, all the outside decks were closed due to high winds. A newer movie was $11.99 or you could watch Top Gun (circa 1986) over and over. Maverick and Goose- really? The last area was something I mentioned in several venues last time and received no response. Azamara touts itself as environmentally sensitive with signs reminding pax to reuse their towels. Yet, they continue to hand out hundreds of plastic water bottles and use little plastic bottles for shampoo, etc. There are always bins full of water bottles at the gangway, I have yet to see anyone return with an empty. I’m sure some folks try to dispose of them properly, but I’m guessing many just throw them away. It would be so easy to encourage people to bring a refillable water bottle with them or even better, provide one as a passenger perk instead of another tote bag. Fill stations are everywhere now, especially in Australia and New Zealand. An addition of a shampoo wall dispenser would eliminate the thousands of tiny plastic bottles used each cruise. This suggestion fell on deaf ears last time. Azamara is a good product, and I love the size of the ships, and the laidback atmosphere. I will be back but continue to explore the many options out there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Booked this cruise nearly three years ago so, looking forward to Christmas and NY on board ship and especially fireworks in Sydney harbour. The day we boarded in Fremantle, Western Australia the temperature was 41c, like anoven. Great ... Read More
Booked this cruise nearly three years ago so, looking forward to Christmas and NY on board ship and especially fireworks in Sydney harbour. The day we boarded in Fremantle, Western Australia the temperature was 41c, like anoven. Great to get on board, no queuing which was good. Didn’t have to wait long for our luggage to arrive. Then up to get some lunch in Windows Cafe. We booked a Club Balcony, Port side. Having been on Azamara ships before we knew what to expect especially the small bathroom and shower with the plastic curtains!! However, all clean. It was a lovely balmy evening when we sailed out of Fremantle although we did head into rougher seas during the night. Our first port of call was Albany which we had been to many times before as we lived in Perth for a number of years. Albany was much cooler and good to walk around and stretch those legs. Christmas Day was spent cruising the Great Australian Bight. We went for the brunch at around 10am, very busy but some amazing choices of food. The main meal being in the evening which was great. No complaints about food on this cruise what so ever, well, breakfast was pretty much the same each morning but, I did enjoy the black pudding!! We did a ships tour when we docked in Adelaide, which to be honest was not great due to the fact our tour guide could not get the microphone to work. Anyway, we toured around Adelaide,headed for Mt Lofty to get some amazing views over Adelaide and the coast. Then headed to Hansdorff in the hills. A stinking hot day 41c. Hansdorff is a very pretty little town settled a century ago by the Germans and still retains a lot of character. The following day we were docked in Kangaroo Island. Then two days at sea before we sailed into Sydney Harbour. Went shopping as the January sales were on. I must say at this point, we did not do any tours as we live in Australia and have been to all the places on this cruise before. Shuttle buses were provided each day we were in port, on NYE they were dropping guests at Central Station from there you can catch a train to Circular Quay and elsewhere in Sydney. This was because a number of roads were closed due to the fireworks that Evening. Day two we were dropped at Darling Harbour from where you can catch a ferry into Circular Quay. All buses ran smoothly each day. New Years Eve, the ship put on alfresco dining on the main deck but, unfortunately there was a heavy down pour at 8pm which ruined everything. Fortunately, we had decided to eat in the main dining room. At midnight we went up on deck to watch the fireworks and although we were seeing them from the backside of the bridge they were still amazing. I gather people who went to the zoo got drenched due to the earlier downpour. So glad we never paid the extortionate price the ship was asking. Day two in Sydney we met up with a friend for lunch in Darling Harbour. Our last port of call was Hobart, Tasmania. Most unusual for Hobart it was stinking hot, 36c. Walked around the dock and took photos of some of the yaghts that were still in dock after finishing the Sydney to Hobart race. Last stop Melbourne where we disembarked. The disembarkation was very smooth as was the coach trip back to the airport, all handled very well. My main moan, too many days at sea, did we really need to go straight from Adelaide to Sydney. The evening entertainment, well 4 opera singers gets a bit boring. Variety is needed. Too many people going down with coughs which I ended up with. Ships stewards were great, always smiling. They work so hard. Food was good, much better than our last cruise on Azamara Journey in July 18. Overall, a good cruise, met some lovely people. Oh, nearly forgot, we did enjoy the Ships Expo they put on for one of our sea days, excellent, good to see and chat to staff who work in the background keeping everything ticking over Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted to see Jakarta, Bali & especially Komodo Island! Fabulous - then found the south-west of Australia was fascinating too!! Our cruise was the first ship allowed to dock overnight in Geraldton, West Australia - the Council and ... Read More
Wanted to see Jakarta, Bali & especially Komodo Island! Fabulous - then found the south-west of Australia was fascinating too!! Our cruise was the first ship allowed to dock overnight in Geraldton, West Australia - the Council and Tourism people put on an amazing evening of food, wine, local animals to have pics taken with, a didgeridoo player, a local artist, info about pearl farming and jewellery making - we had the BEST time!!! Also loved the art classes on board - we are studying watercolour painting and the Welsh artist, Chris Tatam was so informative, his classes grew bigger each time - people got there early and left later as they all enjoyed it so much!!! Please bring them back more often!!! Some people were upset that stops in Broome and Exmouth were cancelled, but Busselton & Bunbury were very interesting and made up for it! Stopping at Geraldton meant we could take the tour out to Kalbarri National Park - wonderful!!!!! Shore Excursions seem quite expensive, compared to what the locals can offer, but of course no-one wants to get back to the ship late and have it go without them!!!! Entertainment only average - magician & music shows not professionally done at all. Crossing the Equator entertainment with Captain Jose was a highlight!!!!!! Coffee wasw a highlight - great piccolos even out of the machine. Mosaic Cafe staff fabulous with their barista and waiting skills!!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Let me say at the outset, I had a great time on this trip -- saw some amazing things and enjoyed many of the passengers and staff, but would I sail with Azamara again? Not sure. First, the good things. As many have noted, the ... Read More
Let me say at the outset, I had a great time on this trip -- saw some amazing things and enjoyed many of the passengers and staff, but would I sail with Azamara again? Not sure. First, the good things. As many have noted, the people working on this ship seem really to like their jobs. There is a strong emphasis on guest engagement, much like on Celebrity, with most all the staff striking a nice balance between service and engagement. I liked most every staff person I encountered. The officers were visible and the captains (we had a change mid cruise) were engaging -- looked forward to their daily announcements. I had a travel snafu of my own making at time of disembarkation and the concierge and help desk were great in helping me sort it out. The AzaAmazing Evening program is a very cool innovation, taking all the passengers off the ship at an overnight port and treating them to something local, in this case, a stunning performance of Balinese dance and music. It ended with what was clearly a story being told by three characters, two monkeys and a regal, but somewhat scary looking figure, but we had no clue what was being portrayed. To have found out the background of this and shared it with the passengers ahead of time would seem to have been easily done, but wasn't. Still, a very enjoyable event. The logistics of this obviously are complicated, but it went off pretty well -- long lines getting back on the ship, but that's to be expected. The White Party also is a nice tradition, with the officers serving grilled food buffet style around the elaborately decorated pool area. Azamara regulars are mad for this event and I liked it too. There is tremendous brand loyalty to this line. Many of the people I met had sailed with Azamara numerous times and were planning the next one while on board. I also encountered some other first timers like me and their reactions by the end of the cruise varied widely from feeling like the ship was a great fit for them to, 'never again.' Why is that? This is for sure not a typical cruise line. While the price point is well above the mainstream lines, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, etc., it's not exactly a luxury line either. This is not Seabourne, not Crystal, There are endless sales pitches, for one thing, the daily brochure being mostly ads. More importantly, the food and beverage services are not in that category and the cabins are very small. On food, the offerings in the main dining room are okay, but not memorable and the service is harried. This was not a sold out cruise and what that dining room would be like when the ship is full would be something to witness. The wait staff are really good, but they were running like mad things, sweating brows all around. I ate once in the specialty steak restaurant at $30 and it was fine -- nice service and very good food. I also thought the buffet offerings were generally good and comparable to what you see on Celebrity, though maybe less diverse. Finally, on food, a dim sum brunch happened one day and was outstanding in every way -- probably the best meal I had on Quest. On the beverages, I upgraded to the mid-level for $16/day, which, for example, got me Woodford Reserve bourbon, a considerable step up for the provided Jim Beam. (Interestingly, the next step up gets you Bulleit and Makers Mark -- Bulleit above Woodford Reserve? Curious.) These beverage packages have no effect on the wine, though. If you don't want what's provided, you have to buy a separate wine package, of which there are two. Needless to say, there is endless confusion at dinner about who gets to drink what wine at a table for six. I was fine with what was provided, but many people were not happy with it. So, I think the first timers who fell in the, 'never again,' category were expecting to eat and drink like they would on Crystal, given what they'd paid. Likewise, they for sure did not want to be hearing about what was for sale every day. Cabins. They are small and the bathrooms, particularly the showers, very small indeed. Storage, though, is quite adequate. Azamara is advertised as a small ship company, small being relative to, say, Princess or Celebrity with 2000+ passengers, and thus able to visit ports the big ships cannot. Well the ship is sort of small, but it has over 700 passengers, about what Crystal carries in a much bigger ship. Where to put them? In small cabins, of course. It's the price you pay and, as a single traveler, I liked the cabin fine, though I'd happily have traded a foot of sleeping quarters for a shower more than 20 inches wide. As before, the, 'never again,' reaction probably also reflected disappointment with the accommodations. At the price point, people expect something a little grander. On the excursions, since I was traveling alone, I relied pretty much completely on those offered and was very happy with all of them. So, would I do Azamara again? Well, Azamara offers a different kind of experience with some big pluses and some minuses as well, but if the itinerary were right and the single supplement low enough, I might. On the other hand, share that cabin? Only with Solomon, my cat, and I don't think that's allowed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is our second trip on this ship...the Quest. We had been taking 1-2 Regent trips per year through 2013 and then have taken a few SilverSea (SS) expedition trips, almost all with LCT, so this line was rather new to us. We upgraded to a ... Read More
This is our second trip on this ship...the Quest. We had been taking 1-2 Regent trips per year through 2013 and then have taken a few SilverSea (SS) expedition trips, almost all with LCT, so this line was rather new to us. We upgraded to a lovely 3 room suite with a huge balcony, huge bathroom and separate bedroom and living room. While my Regent info is dated and I’ve only done expedition trips on SS, my comparison may not be accurate. What I like about Azamara Quest: you get directed to your cab in immediately upon boarding and the luggage is prompt; service levels are very high—superb— uniformly; the specialty restaurants, included for suite guests, are excellent; the cruise tour desk goes above and beyond and is efficient. Ship staff are warm, friendly and responsive. From the stewards to hotel captain, there is an overwhelming pride and focus on details. The Azamazing evening experience in Bali was superb. Azamara general dining in Jewish terms is “meh.” Activities onboard so-so. Lectures not too thrilling. Entertainment has been good; in fact, they are going/coming from Regent. So, about the same quality. The cruise director and performers are very talented and lovely. Service levels are superb. One thing I really like about Azamara is their attention to mid cruise evaluations and making immediate corrections. The hotel director promptly communicates to staff and things are corrected and good performers are told. For example, I don’t drink. We have a bar setup in the room that is free and no one will use. However, I couldn’t have Perrier or Evian as a replacement without taking a beverage package. I also couldn’t have these upgraded waters with meals and was charged for them. After the evaluations and my constructive comments, The staff ensured I got the water free of charge everywhere I went. Evian was sent to my room as well. I also like the ability to accrue free nights. This is so much better than just pressing, laundry and wi-fi. Just from 2 trips, we accrued 6 free nights, a handsome savings. Wi-fi is discounted to 150 for the cruise, we have free pressing and a free laundry bag every 7 days with a suite. Discounts also range from 4-10% onboard discounts on future sailings depending on the number of nights sailed. Add in shipboard credit promotions and it’s an excellent value. All this is enough to have us return. Rooms: Azamara can be very cheap if you go for an inside cabin. Regular cabins with a window or veranda aren’t bad but the bathrooms are teeny. The Continental Club rooms are a good deal. They are a decent size, have a tub with shower, a private spa deck and hot tubs, a veranda and include all specialty restaurants. We stayed in one of these rooms the first trip and were very happy. We upgraded to a Club Oceanview Suite this time, due to a good deal, which is at the front of the ship. It had a nice size living room with a dining table, a full bedroom (king bed) separated from the living area by a door, a powder room with a toilet and a large bathroom with a large soaking tub and a large, separate shower. These corner rooms have a wall of floor to ceiling sliding doors to a very large balcony with two lounge chairs and a table with 4 chairs as well as a large window. It’s light and airy with good storage. Negatives? The rail is solid so it’s hard to see the ocean lying down and there is no outside light. This is the front, so it does rock and roll and you hear the anchor. There are three higher categories of rooms. One is at the back and is a bit bigger with a bigger balcony. Folks were happy with these suites. Another consists of w spa suites. The living space itself is the same as a basic Regent room but it has a HUGE bathroom with a large jacuzzi with floor to ceiling glass windows. The room is contemporary and luxurious but it has a very small balcony. This is the perfect room for colder climates, where you wouldn’t really use a balcony but want a light airy space. It is on the top floor, next door to the spa and very private. It would be my room of choice if I were going alone. There are also owner’s suites mid ship on the sides but I didn’t see these rooms. A perk of having a suite is having a butler,but I am really not a fan of having them. Another perk is expedited embarkation, debarkation, front rows at the Azamazing evening and a fabulous VIP dinner with the staff. You also accrue points for free nights faster, get a discount on internet, free specialty dining, free pressing and a bag of free laundry each week. Doug and I loved the extras and extra room. Food: Breakfasts were fine. It was available in the cafe or in the room. Lunch was okay. I really liked the brunches and felt they were excellent. There is also a cafe with the ability to pick up snacks anytime. There are two specialty dining venues. One is a steakhouse and one is Italian. service and food are as good as it gets. The menu in each is large and there are specials each night. There are chef’s tables at 90 pp (Asian, French or Italian). We did the French one and had a great time. There are also special theme dinners at 25pp but we didn’t try one. I hear they are excellent. The White Nights evening was great, but we missed it this year. Tours: pretty bad. I don’t know whether it was the ports or the tour operator but I wasn’t impressed. Azamara does not make you feel like cattle. Tours are limited to 25 max and they pass on discounts if they go higher. The ports were far away from fun things to do overall and too much time was spent coming and going to the sites. Food offered on the tours were of a very high quality. Azamara also offers private tours. These were awful. I’d never take one again. It seemed that Azamara tried to fill up time even if there was nothing to see. I heard stories of one hour at a statue. We did have several good tours and I’ll go into them in my port reviews, but they required long treks in a bus. That’s what we tried to avoid with the private tours...the long bathroom breaks and uncomfortable buses. With Azamara’s Private Journeys we got poorly planned tours with a driver and no real guide. I found the coordinator Sandra Carola Fernandez Gonzalez lacklustre and she never followed through in following up on our poorly planned Bunbury tour. I expect expertise and there was none. Ports: Jakarta was our first port stop. I think I’d rather end my life early then to ever be a citizen in either Jakarta, Semarang or Surabaya. Indonesia's lack of tax authority enforcement leads to the Government having little money for serious developments. In fact, they have only 27 million registered taxpayers when there should be around 120 million people if everyone eligible complied to the tax law. This is due to the severe lack of funding and manpower in their tax office, leading to many citizens having a completely lax attitude towards tax evasion as they probably wouldn’t get caught anyway. It’s port capacity is very poor. This leads to Indonesians having to spend much more if they want to export goods to foreign markets due to a lack of supply of container transportation. It is much more lucrative to base operations in Singapore which has ready made cheap transport for exports. As a result, Singapore has an export level of around USD23 Billion, which dwarfs Indonesia at USD12 Billion, despite having a small fraction of Indonesia's population. As a result, Indonesians find it more profitable to base and list their business in Singapore due to its infrastructure availability and ease of doing business. Indonesia's financial industry is underdeveloped and undersocialized. The lack of availability in financial instruments which could generate higher returns to investors and lack of financial literacy among the Indonesian population is costing Indonesia. As a result, Indonesians react to this by choosing to launder and park their money abroad (mainly Singapore), where they can invest in different types of financial instruments provided by investment banks. I was not prepared for the degree of poverty or filth in Indonesia. Jakarta was our first stop. Slums were the norm. Families were sleeping in doorways. Trash was everywhere. Our tour guide was excellent and did his best to educate us on the city. Jakarta, is the home to 10 million people and is not only the seat of the national government and the provincial government, but it is also Indonesia’s political center. It sits on swampy land, the Java Sea lapping against it, and 13 rivers running through it. So it shouldn't be a surprise that flooding is frequent in Jakarta and, according to experts, it is getting worse. But it's not just about freak floods, this massive city is literally disappearing into the ground. The dramatic rate at which Jakarta is sinking is partly down to the excessive extraction of groundwater for use as drinking water, for bathing and other everyday purposes by city dwellers. Piped water isn't reliable or available in most areas so people have no choice but to resort to pumping water from the aquifers deep underground. But, when groundwater is pumped out, the land above it sinks as if it is sitting on a deflating balloon - and this leads to land subsidence. Our guide says that his in laws use rain water, but that is only available during certain seasons. Most have to purchase water and store it in large tanks held on the roofs. He shared that experts confirm that water management authorities can only meet 40% of Jakarta's demand for water. Day 2 in Indonesia was more uplifting in Semarang. Flooding issues were highly visible with inner city roadways in an awful state but the highway system was rather good. Outside of the city, there were gated communities with large homes against a backdrop of volcanoes. The countryside jungle was lush and beautiful and roadside food stands and shops were rather abundant. It was a Sunday and families seemed to be out and enjoying life together. We were on our way to Borobudur, which is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the world's largest Buddhist temple. It was hot. Very hot. The temple was impressive and very well maintained. I believe it was discovered in the 1200s and later made a UNESCO heritage site. Our lunch was excellent....vegetables were fresh and flavorful, the chicken satay and beef dish were the best I have ever had. We drove through countrysides of coffee plantations and rice plantations with folks hard at work in the fields. Most folks had smiles on their faces and it was a long, 9 hour day well spent! Day 3 was Surabaya. This was our day of enduring 97 degree humid weather, traveling hours by bus and then getting 12000 steps on our fitbits to see nothing. Surabaya is headed by a Muslim woman whose key focus is cleaning up filth and adding greenery. It was clean by comparison to Jakarta but definitely not pretty. We drove through middle class and wealthy areas to end up at our destination....a mangrove river tour. We were supposed to learn about mangrove restoration and benefits. The rubbish in the swampy river was disgusting and the cruise was disorganized and lacked organization, the walk was dull and uninteresting and ‘learning how to plant mangroves’ consisted of giving us a small 2 foot tree to put in a hole. I’m all for helping out a struggling community but I gotta would have preferred to stay on our lovely ship. We all should have been reimbursed for this tour. It was dreadful. Indonesia part 2: 2 days in Bali and 1 half day in Komodo. Day 1 (December 11) We had some choices over our 2 days there. I knew I wanted the Monkey Forest tour and that was day 2. The Azamazing evening was day 1 and I didn’t want too exhausting a day as there would be 2 tours that day and we’d have to get ready and were the first group out. I seem to overbook us and piss Doug off. After the disgusting mangrove tour, I was hoping for something better. Our choices were: a beach resort (Doug is not a beach guy but this is what we should have done), A culture tour, a shopping tour (not with Doug), a temple tour ( doing that with the monkeys), Ubud on your own, Ubud Ridges, Villages and valleys. We chose the latter thinking we’d see Ubud. It was supposed to be a journey with incredible views of the volcano, stunning rivers, discover village life. It was none of these things. I never saw a volcano. It was a long walk through a trail behind resort communities. Boring. We did have an outstanding lunch with gorgeous views, though. Our Azamazing evening was an evening of Balinese folklore at the Taman Budaya Art Center.A dance troupe entertained us under the stars.the performances showcased story telling dance characterized by intricate footwork, eyes and finger movements. Balinese dance is an ancient dance tradition that is part of the religious and artistic expression among the Balinese people and is dynamic, angular and intensely expressive. Bali dancers learn the craft as children and even in the womb they are played Balinese music. They are taught to dance with their hands before they can walk. Official training as a Bali dancer starts as young as 7. In Balinese dance the movement is closely associated with the rhythms produced by a musical ensemble specific to Java and Bali. Multiple levels of articulations in the face, eyes, hands, arms, hips, and feet are coordinated to reflect layers of percussive sounds. Wow! I never knew hands could move like that. It was absolutely breathtaking. I almost cancelled the next day’s tour...Monkey Forests and temple due to the poor tours we’d been having but I like monkeys. We began at the Tenah Lot Temple, famed for its location atop a craggy outcrop set amid crashing waves. The coastal temple Pura Tanah Lot is located in the southern part of Bali. To many people, Tanah Lot epitomizes the romantic island of Bali. Tanah Lot means Land in The Sea, a perfectly fit name for its unique offshore settings. The silhouette of Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most popular iconic features of Bali. The history of Tanah Lot temple was believed to date back to the 16th century. For the Balinese, Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most important and venerated sea temples. However, it has all the authenticity of a stage set – even the tower of rock that the temple sits upon is an artful reconstruction (the entire structure was crumbling) and more than one-third of the rock is artificial. We then continued to the Monkey Forest at the Alas Kedaton Sacred Sanctuary where long tailed macaques thrive in a natural habitat. Alas Kedaton is a popular monkey forest sanctuary - a sacred one at that. The sanctuary is made up of many acres of land purely inhabited by big bats and monkeys. The forest sanctuary is located at Kukuh village in Tabanan and made for a fun hour. The crab-eating macaque is the major breed of monkey found in this sanctuary, and Bali in general, as these primates are native to Southeast Asia. A baby bat decided to jump on my back and go for a ride. Eek! Last, we ventured over to Pura Taman Ayum, an 18th century temple complex. Tama Ayun is an aesthetically pleasing temple and is located in a mystical park sheltered by trees and ponds and is a temple built to honor various historical deities and gods. The temple has a rift in form of canals and can only be accessed through a bridge that leads you to a wide spaced grassy courtyard, which leads to another courtyard that houses multiple shrines, and ponds filled with lots of lotus blossoms. The best part of the tour was our guide who immersed us in Balinese culture both past and present. Lunch was again excellent. It was a varied, pretty and enlightening day. It was the best trip of the cruise. December 13 was our final day in Indonesia. I’d travelled thousands of miles to see a Komodo dragon in the wild. It was one of my reasons for taking this cruise. Komodo National Park is a World Heritage Site that was set aside to conserve the Komodo dragon and their natural habitat. The world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon is arguably Indonesia’s best-conserved large animal. Protected under Indonesian law, the population is relatively stable, with around 2,500 animals in the park. Entrance fees for foreigners were recently increased sharply plus an extra fee for a guide – in a bid to raise more revenue. Currently, the biggest threat to the dragons is the poaching of deer which is their prey, and the rise of human populations. The species shares the park with nearly 4,000 people, many of whom supplement their incomes by selling curios and snacks to tourists. The dragon dominates the food chain and underpins the local economy. We were surround by small and aggressive children peddling small trinkets as we made our way to venture deep into Komodo National Park where we went to search the dry forest for a glimpse of the prehistoric Komodo dragon. They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution. After about 25 minutes of following guides into the park in 100 degree heat, we were told we might not even see them, as they are wild animals. Finally, right near the trance where we walked in 25 minutes earlier, we see our first cluster of dragons. The park staff are armed with sticks – which doesn’t seem like enough in case of a Komodo dragon attack. With their fearsome reputation in mind, I stay well back. At first sight, they do appear “lifeless” – like large seals wearing crocodile skin. When they move, they crawl on their bellies and then suddenly rear up sphinx-like, sticking out their forked tongues and making a distinctive hissing sound. There are five of the dragons in the group. They are grouped around each other, occasionally standing up, walking a few steps and hissing. The guides stand near us with massive sticks, which they will use to beat the dragons back in the event that they come near us. One guide, told me I reminded him of his mother and led me to them for upfront and personal close ups. I hoped he liked his mother. The Komodo can consume very large prey such as water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans. It has a unique way of killing by biting its prey - especially when it is a large water buffalo, - surrounding it in a group then wait patiently until the poison in its saliva has slowly killed its victim.  After which it completely shreds apart and devoured with bones and all.  If the prey escapes, it will usually die within 24 hours due to poisoning of the blood that comes from the venomous and bacteria ridden saliva. Surprisingly, we were not rushed and were allowed quite a bit of time with them. Folks, who visited before, noticed that there were decidedly fewer Komodos than they have seen previously. Hot, but worth the experience. The only difference I would have liked—I would gladly have paid the guide for a shorter visit, with no trekking in the humid heat. Three days at sea (12/14-16) and then Western Australia.(12/17-12/22) The seas became rough. Returning to our cabin on 12/15, water was pouring under the glass sliding doors. The movement wasn’t bad. The position of our bed allowed for rocking side to side instead of head to toe (which our room was doing). It was rather pleasant. It was the crashing of the waves—the bang, bang, bang against the hull that ruined our sleep. We found out that a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck around 1,000 km north-northwest of Perth on 12/15. It was much too rough to enjoy pools, hot tubs or our large balcony during our sea days. The draw of this cruise for many was to visit Broome and Exmouth. Broome is a beach resort town in western Australia’s Kimberley region. Along its Indian Ocean coastline, the white sands of Cable Beach offer a dramatic backdrop for sunset camel rides. At Gantheaume Point nearby, dinosaur tracks are revealed in the beach’s red rocks during low tide. An ideal beach resort that was cancelled. Ugh. Exmouth is a small resort town on Western Australia’s North West Cape. It’s a gateway to nearby Ningaloo Marine Park with its coral reefs, colourful fish and migratory whale sharks. Nearly surrounding Exmouth, Cape Range National Park has kangaroos, sheer cliffs and red, rocky gorges. On the Cape's northwest coast, Jurabi Coastal Reserve's tidal rock pools, beaches and seasonal nesting grounds for marine turtles. This was cancelled too. Ugh. So, 2 nights in Geraldton (12/16-17) replaced these two ports. Geraldton is a major west coast seaport and a logistics center for regional mining, fishing, wheat and sheep. It was a far cry from an iconic beach resort with incredible wildlife and snorkelling. The downtown is struggling to keep alive and shops have a hard time surviving. According to some Australian friends, they had a great day of shopping. The Mid West region of Western Australia is strategically located on an iconic coastline between Perth and the growing economies of the State’s north. There are a host of different economic opportunities - all of which the region intends to capitalise on. Traditionally an agricultural region, the Mid West is now attracting unprecedented investment interest from a range of other industry sectors. The mining industry has quickly become the main economic driver of the region. Strong international demand for commodities and high commodity prices have already underpinned significant mining investment and many more projects are planned for future years. Most folks are positive about the economic stability of Geraldton long term, and attest to Geraldton being one of the best places in the country to live if you're looking for a great balance of lifestyle, affordability, and beauty. There are enough jobs if you have the right skill set or are willing to undertake training or education. There are few better places in terms of beaches and a wonderful outdoor lifestyle. And you don't need to be a multi millionaire to live near the beach, like you would in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.  But the last decade plus of unquestioned positivity has lead to lots of members of the public being left holding investments that are now worth far less than they paid and many people owe far more on their homes than what they could reasonably be expected to sell them for today.  Rewind to 2006. Property prices around WA were booming, in large part due to the insatiable demand for WA's iron ore from China. Meanwhile, the City of Geraldton was hiking rates like they were in the rate raising olympics. Property, all of a sudden, didn't seem like such a great investment.  Nationally syndicated writers, economists and property "gurus" boldly kept predicting Geraldton was the next "boom town", and that it was a "gateway" to the North West and to the Mid West. Fast forward to 2018. Geraldton was budgeting for the future based on an assumption that Geraldton was going to spike in population within a foreseeable timeline. There was no explanation about how those official sources made their predictions, but the exact opposite happened. Geraldton's population declined in the following few years.  I digress from our day to give you a handle on the fact we were docked in a port far from touristy things to do. So, we signed up to visit an animal rescue facility nearby and to visit the old town of Geraldton. It wasn’t an exciting day but it was very pleasant. The weather was lovely, the guide good, the animals fun and I had the best scones ever. While we overnighted there, we didn’t arrive until a bit after noon. First stop was The Greenough Wildlife Park which was not the best park for animal interaction, but it was a good learning facility as it was designed as a temporary home for rescued animals, rehabilitation and release. It was small and the animals were all caged. The owner was a former cop and had a warm and engaging personality. We were able to get up close and personal with parrots, crocodiles, dingos, red and grey kangaroos and reptiles. She is the person you call if you find a python or a highly venomous snake around your house. Our guide was Greenough wildlife guru Michelle Jones who was an interesting lady. Recently, she spent two weeks helping scientists conduct important crocodile research at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in far north Queensland. Ms Jones worked alongside the Australia Zoo’s crocodile team, including Irwin’s widow Terri and children Bindi and Robert. The Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park manager was tasked with helping catch and restrain the giant reptiles so the scientists could safely do their work. Michelle said the research was being used to better understand crocodiles’ habits and, in turn, teach people how to live safely alongside the awe-inspiring beasts. She said she had plans to work with a scientist who was conducting groundbreaking research into social interactions between crocodiles. “We attach satellite and acoustic transmitters to large saltwater crocodiles to track their movements in the river systems up there. The satellite tags allow us to pinpoint where the crocodile lives, and its dive time, which we’ve worked out can be up to 12 hours. The crocodile is processed and back in the water within about 25 minutes; that’s how quick the researchers and the scientists are up there. When the wet season comes, they head up the river systems to certain pockets, and then returning after the season is over to live in rivers where, sadly, a lot of people go swimming. It’s totally uncharted territory. It’s never been looked at before.It will be looking at whether they know their offspring and if they are socially interacting each year through recognition of pheromones.” She also had 2 dingos. The dingo is a type of dog that is native to Australia. Its taxonomic status is debated. Australia is home to so many of these animals that they are generally considered pests. A famous “dingo fence” has been erected to protect grazing lands for the continent's herds of sheep. It is likely that more dingoes live in Australia today than when Europeans first arrived. Though dingoes are numerous, their pure genetic strain is gradually being compromised. They can and do interbreed with domestic dogs to produce hybrid animals. Studies suggest that more than a third of southeastern Australia's dingoes are hybrids.  We were able to pat and meet the dogs. Their fur was coarse and bristly but they acted like normal pet dogs, wanting a kiss or a scratch. I had the unfortunate accident of stepping into a hole a dingo had dug and was plagued by constant knee pain for the rest of our trip. I think it’s finally on the mend. The kangaroos are a hoot. The red kangaroo is large with droopy eyes, a relaxed attitude and a “hey, dude” disposition. The grey kangaroo is a bit more skittish. I had the opportunity to cradle a baby grey one. From there, we went to the Greenough Historical village. There were numerous out buildings dating back to the late 1800s. Quite honestly, we have more interesting places in the US. We were treated to warm scones, clotted cream and jam with tea and these scones made the stop worth our time. Upon returning to the port, the Geraldton port had decide to throw us a welcome party, with local foods, drinks, port information, animals, mining info. It was well done and very enjoyable. Day 2 in Geraldton was an all day private tour to the pink salt lake and the Kalbarri National Park, one of Western Australia's most popular places to visit. It was striking but paled compared to our Grand Canyon. In all honesty, I think the time to visit is when the wildflowers are out, July to September. At that time, You can see the park ablaze with the colours of spring, with over 1,100 varieties of wildflowers are found there. It was a long day for a day trip. You drive through acre upon acre of wheat fields...think Nebraska. You get to your destination, quickly see the sites and have to turn around. I think it’s a place you want to spend a couple of days, taking hikes and enjoying outdoor activities. You can go bushwalking, gorge hiking or canoeing and take a journey back 400 million years, when the tidal flats of an ancient sea formed the striking red sandstone and the mighty Murchison River carved out deep gorges on its way to the ocean. We took a more relaxed experience and drove out to the park's many lookouts for some must-snap vistas, including the famous Nature's Window, The Loop, Z Bend, Hawks Head and Ross Graham, Red Bluff and Pot Alley. What spoiled the outdoor activities a bit was the heat and the swarms of bushflies. These flies look like our flies but are much smaller and swarm around you. They were everywhere we went in Australia. You really needed to wear netting which we didn’t have. The pink lakes: Australia is home to the bizarre pink coloured lakes. They look good enough to drink but are the saltiest bodies of water on earth. Analysis of the water has shown about 10 species of algae and bacteria, which are all predominantly pink. Despite bacteria being the reason for the strawberry milk color, the lake is totally safe to swim in. In fact, the lake's high salt content likely makes the water so dense that you'd float incredibly easily, the way you would in the Dead Sea. It was incredible to look at but mines and factories dotted its shores making it hard to enjoy. The echidna: Driving along we found an echidna in the road and we stopped to rescue it. See pics. So what is an echidna? It has spines like a porcupine, a beak like a bird, a pouch like a kangaroo, and lays eggs like a reptile. Also known as spiny anteaters, they're small, solitary mammals native to Australia. They're usually between 12 and 17 inches long and weigh between 4 and 10 pounds. Their spines are actually modified hairs. Echidnas' bodies (with the exception of their undersides, faces, and legs) are covered with 2-inch long spines. Fur between the spines provides insulation. Echidnas live slow and long. Echidnas have the lowest body temperature of any mammal, 89__°F. Their body temperatures are not controlled in the same way as that of other mammals, and can fluctuate by up 6–8°C over the course of the day. Their long life spans — up to 50 years in captivity, with anecdotal reports of wild animals reaching 45 years — are due to their low body temperature and slow metabolism. Male echidnas have a bizarre, four-headed penis. You might wonder how you mate with a four-headed penis. During sex, two of the heads shut down while the other two grow bigger to fit into the female's two-branched reproductive tract. Males alternate the heads they use between matings. Echidnas form mating trains. A strange process marks the start of echidna breeding season. Males line up nose to tail behind a single female, forming a train of up to a dozen individuals. Trains can last more than a month, with males dropping out and rejoining. When the female is finally ready to mate, the males dig a trench in the ground around her. The males compete for mating honors by pushing each other out of the trench. The last one remaining gets to mate with the female. Strange creatures! Food: We stopped for lunch where we could sample emu, kangaroo, crocodile. The crocodile tasted like, yes, “Chicken.” The others like over cooked shoe leather. I guess it tasted awful because it was too cute to eat? Bunbury and Busselton, Australia.. (December 19 and 20th) These two ports are really close to one another and about an hour from the wine area—Margaret River. I booked a private tour through Azamara Private Journeys for Dec 19 and wanted to see it all. Unfortunately, the white night was being held on 12/19 and Azamara’ should home office wouldn’t change the date to 12/20 since we were told the guide was out of Bunbury. It turned out he was between Bunbury and Busselton. We were picked up at 12:30 and the driver said he was taking us to Busselton. I asked why as we were going there the next day. We were to get an historical walking tour of both towns but he wasn’t informed of that. He did his best with a quick driving tour and then took us on our scheduled plane ride which was foolishly set up as Busselton to Busselton. It was pleasant. Then, he took us to the Margaret River to visit a winery and for dinner. Almost everything was closed by the time we finished one winery and we missed out on the chocolate and cheese factories. Then, we were taken to dinner at a holiday hotel. Since there was a function in the dining room, we were seated in the lobby, amid screaming kids, drunks and dogs. The dinner was about the equivalent of a poor man’s Pizza Hut. We had to get our own food, which was inedible. Moral of story: Do not ever sign up for Azamara’s Private Journeys. We were toured out and just did Busselton on our own. It’s a nice little beach town with cute shops, a great kids’ playground and a long jetty with a natural aquarium at the end. The jetty is said to be the longest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere and is the second longest wooden jetty (pier) in the world. The jetty construction commenced in 1853 and the first section was opened in 1865. The jetty was extended numerous times until the 1960s, ultimately reaching a length of 1841 m. The last commercial vessel called at the jetty in 1971 and the jetty was closed the following year. It passed into the control of Busselton Shire and has been gradually restored and improved since. view the event. The aquarium was opened on 13 December 2003 descending 8 metres below sea level where one can view the corals and fish life through eleven viewing windows. It was interesting but no WOW. If you are in the area, I suggest spending your time in the lovely Margaret River area, playing tourist, sampling wine and cheese and chocolates, enjoying the scenery and watching out for kangaroos dotting the fields. If you want to save money and enjoy the ship, you can safely wander both Bunbury and Busselton. Don’t waste your money on tours. Final day: Perth My husband thought I was crazy signing us up for a 12 hour tour for our final day, especially given the quality of the tours. Each of these experiences could be enjoyed as day trips from Perth unto themselves. It’s foolish to combine them all in one day unless that’s all you have. Our guide was excellent and was an encyclopedia of information. It could have been a great day if it had been timed better. Our day started out with the Caversham Wildlife Park. We should have spent a few hours here but only had 40 minutes. At Caversham Wildlife Park there are a variety of daily attractions that you can come and see and get involved with which include: Meet the Wombat and Friends, Feed the Kangaroos and Meet the Koalas, feed the Kangaroos. It was a fine stop and a shame to have had so little time there. Each of these destinations is 90 minutes from Perth. Our next stop was the lobster processing factory which offers the complete lobster experience from lobster pot to cooking pot! The Lobster Shack provides a close up encounter with the most valued single species fishery in Australia; the Western Rock Lobster. We were able to see how the lobsters are processed in the factory and packaged up to be sent LIVE to destinations all over the world. However, Azamara cheaped out and served us fish and chips while other table was diving into lobster dinners . We gladly would have paid an up charge. Everyone was quite angry. I suggest that this stop could be a day unto itself. As a day tour, you can go out on a lobster boat and go lobstering and then indulge on a lobster dinner. Or, you can just visit the processing plant, have lunch and then go to the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles is pretty far, so I’d either combine visiting it with The Lobster Shack or the white dunes. It takes about an hour, more or less, to visit. Within the park is the ancient Pinnacles Desert, which is an area with thousands of limestone formations called pinnacles. Standing tall in the shifting sand dunes lies thousands of large limestone pillars that were originally believed to be a lost city. The first records of identification date back to the 1650s. Following this, there are no known records of the Pinnacles until 1820 by Philip Parker King. With very little discovery, the Department of Lands and Surveys included the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park (created in 1956) in the 1960s, and it was through this inclusion that the desert became a popular destination. The Pinnacles Desert has been home to Aboriginal tribes for many years – with artifacts found dating back 6,000 years. Many theories have been proposed about the formation of the Pinnacles. One of the theories is that they formed as a result of kastification, characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves that weathers rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions. Another theory states that the pinnacles were formed through the preservation of tree casts buried in coastal aeolianties. A third theory states that the Pinnacles were created by plants. It is beautiful and well worth a visit. We then went to Lancelin for some dune buggying and sand surfing. We never really got to do either. When you visit the legendary Lancelin sand dunes you could squint and imagine you’re in a post apocalyptic dystopian world with David Lynch writing the script. It’s trippy. The sand is white like icing sugar rather than Sahara desert golden, and some dunes are as big as three story buildings. We headed off on a dune buggy bus. Up a dune; down a dune. Wavering at the top of a dune, our driver tried to stop but couldn’t reverse, so down we went into a sand crevasse. We all left the vehicle so the driver could dig us out. Uh uh. We were stuck in the middle of the desert with no one around, the sun growing dim on the horizon. Stuck. We had no choice but to climb the dunes and walk back to our awaiting bus. No sand boarding time for us. This was our misadventure. The tour escort called the ship as we were so late all dining would be closed. We were met by the hotel director at the bus doors and told ‘not to worry’ as the restaurants were kept open for us. What an end to our tour experience Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this ship 3 years in advance because of the itinerary and we were sailing back to back for the second cruise. We reserved Continent Suite 8043 as it seemed to suit our needs of more space and being midships. Unlike one of the ... Read More
We chose this ship 3 years in advance because of the itinerary and we were sailing back to back for the second cruise. We reserved Continent Suite 8043 as it seemed to suit our needs of more space and being midships. Unlike one of the previous reviews, when we entered our suite, we were impressed with the amount of space we had with plenty of storage. We had chosen to have a suite with shower only and we found the bathroom very adequate. We thought the decoration was very inviting, being light, bright and airy. As there were no formal evenings, the wardroom space was good as were the large drawers and the cases fitted easily under the bed. We felt very comfortable during our 31 nights on board and we were well attended by our butler, Xavier, and the stewards. We found the dining format to be very acceptable whether in Discoveries, Windows or on the patio. Because of the standard of these main dining areas, we did not find going to the speciality restaurants a particular treat. Throughout the long voyage, we found the staff to be so friendly but not over familiar and they all worked well together. We were most impressed with some of the senior officers, such as Philip, the hotel director, who always seemed to be visible and ready to assist at all times. One felt that the caring attitude started from the top and cascaded down. The complimentary drinks were surprisingly acceptable so rarely did we bother to buy any others and we were not pressurised to buy an 'upgrade'. Having booked this cruise so far in advance, one of the attractions was to visit Broome in the Australian summer (we have been there twice in the winter) but the itinerary was changed such that we stopped at neither Broome nor Exmouth so had three days of sailing from Komodo to Geraldton. As we were the first cruise ship to stay overnight in Geraldton, we were given an enormous reception by the town who made us so welcome. We have never experienced such a welcome before and neither had the ship's crew. Although giving a poor rating for 'enrichment activities', it was for the first cruise but the second cruise we would give it a 5 for Professor Johnson on Music. My wife is not musical but I persuaded her to attend the second in the series and she enjoyed the rest.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my fourth cruise with Azamara and the third on the Quest. I love Azamara because the ships are small, no children allowed and we are treated like one of the family. There is little music played on deck - thank goodness. Staff ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise with Azamara and the third on the Quest. I love Azamara because the ships are small, no children allowed and we are treated like one of the family. There is little music played on deck - thank goodness. Staff quickly get to know you and you get a welcome when you return. Boarding is well organised and painless. We had to wait a long time for our luggage to arrive and we started sailaway before we finally got ours. First night was busy as always and we all followed the usual hygiene rules of being served rather than self service for 24 hours. The strict rules about sanitizing work and we have never been unwell on this ship. Although there are over 600 passengers on board it is possible to find peace and quiet for much of the time and I have a number of photographs that make it look like a solo trip! The pool area was good as always, the pool clean. For some reason on our last sea day they decided to do maintenance and were pressure washing the decks at 10.30 in the morning when people were wanting to sit on the sunbeds. After complaints from a number of passengers they replaced everything and left. The Azamazing evening was brilliant. There were no delays getting to the venue and seating was comfortable and well laid out. As always there were those who felt they had to stand up in front of other people to get the best photographs and this selfish act is very irritating. It would be helpful if the host were to ask people to remain seated to take photos. White Night was lovely and we were lucky with the weather as there had been some storms around. We chose to sit up on Deck 10 as we have always found that once again people will go and stand across the front of the stage area totally blocking the view for anyone sitting down. We did speak to the cruise director about this and he admitted it was a problem but did not say anything on the night. In the past there has been a display of somekind but this time there was only dancing and singing from the guests and crew. We eat in Windows because we like the self service. As a vegetarian I would like to see more choice in the main course. Most nights there are vegetables, rice and potatoes but something a little more interesting would be good. One night there was a pasty and I asked what was in it. The person behind the counter had no idea and had to go and ask. On a couple of occassions they were rather grumpy and there was an atmosphere. Something we have not experienced before. The waiter service in Windows was on the whole very poor. In the past it had always been pretty good. However there appeared to be a number of new staff who were clueless. On two occasions we were actually ignored when signalled that we would like some water. They have a habit of looking at you and turning away. Several times we had to wait for a good ten minutes before anyone asked if we wanted water or wine. Likewise with coffee in the mornings. At times there were no waiters to be seen, others a huddle of them down by the coffee machine. They have a habit of walking around but not doing and definitely not seeing. The manager spent most of his time staring at his computer and when he did wander round did not appear to do anything. This is so different to what it used to be like and very disappointing. Waiters in the Living Room and Caberet and Mosaic were good as were the ones on pool deck. We were on deck 8 in a balcony room. It was clean and comfortable. Our two stewards were attentive and cheerful. We had a problem with the aircon switch not working and this was promptly repaired with two very smiley guys. the excursions were good, small groups in very good coaches with knowledgeable guides all of whom had a sense of humour. Disembarking each time was well organised and quick. In Koh Samui the sea was turbulent and the authorities could not use their tenders but Capt Jose was not phased and the ships tenders were lowered and expertly crewed and we were taken safely ashore. It was a great cruise as always and my only real criticism is the staff in Windows. They are the one thing that stood out in the whole of the trip. I have booked to go to Alaska next June on the Quest and do so hope that by then some serious staff training will have taken place. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Guest administration is not Azamara's strong point. The dates and locations for the Azamazing evening were a moving feast right up to departure and the email on this that came from Azamara were unintelligible. This made booking our ... Read More
Guest administration is not Azamara's strong point. The dates and locations for the Azamazing evening were a moving feast right up to departure and the email on this that came from Azamara were unintelligible. This made booking our own evening tours a bit stressful. We got mixed messages on Visas in the various things we were sent (you are responsible for your own Visas! All Visas will taken care of for you! -- the latter turned out to be true.) Embarkation in Singapore was easy and quick. The buffet lunch was getting a bit old by the time we got there just before 3pm but we were grateful for something to eat (I think we were the last time slot to board). As advised, we booked our 3 specialty dining nights as soon as we boarded (why is there no pre-booking system?), only to subsequently find that we'd booked for the same night (first night) as the (previously unadvertised) seafood buffet which we would have liked to attend. My keycard didn't work in the cabin door (they are apparently such elderly technology that holding them proximate to any small magnet renders them useless) and we queued for nearly 40 minutes to have it fixed at guest relations. When we got to the front of the queue the French officer said very dismissively 'I don't do cards!' and made us requeue in another line for one of the female staff. Many, many people had card failures, not all related to magnets. One poor lady who had arrived after a long delayed flight was in tears. It wasn't a great start to our cruising dreams. Dinner in both specialty restaurants was fabulous, outstanding service and food, worth every extra cent we paid. Our first dinner in the main dining room was pretty ordinary (even inedible) and we didn't go back until nearly the last night - one lesson we learned across the cruise is that while Australian prawns are delicious, prawns and 'shrimp' from elsewhere can be much less so. Steak options are a much better bet. The Windows buffet was terrific for breakfast (super omelettes and a great range to choose from) and lunch and generally very good for dinner (except British buffet night, which was ghastly, and left a lingering smell of too-old frying oil and fish in the restaurant for the next 24 hours). The poolside burgers and nachos place was really good for lunch. We loved the ambiance of the Sunset Bar and spent a lot of time there, but it seemed to be a dead service zone. We shrugged and got our own breakfast tea and juice, and went to the bar for our own drinks with dinner. The waiters were constantly in the corner talking to one another and looking at the computer (why?), rarely offering drinks at any time. This was not a cheap cruise and we did feel a bit annoyed about this on occasion. The Opera group were really talented, we enjoyed their shows immensely. The cabaret shows were not our thing but others seemed to enjoy it. The lecturer was very interesting although sometimes she was sometimes scheduled in odd timeslots (like lunch). The jazz band was very good. Sea days on the Quest were particularly enjoyable, the pool lounges are really comfortable and plentiful and the drinks service unstinting. Most days the wine selection was enjoyable but there was one day in the rotation when both whites and both reds were just not very palatable. Some waiters would send down for a bottle from the day before (which you are entitled to ask for) but some would just shrug. Koh Samui was not a great port, the most enjoyable thing about it was the tender ride on and off - the organisation of which was hopeless for those without ship tours booked. No queue, or sequential numbers, they just picked people at random to give stickers to intermittently and them sent them to a tender, which meant that some people who just arrived immediately got tenders and others had to wait 40-50 minutes. Bangkok was interesting although the dreadful traffic means going to see anything will involve longer in the getting there and back than the seeing of the attraction. Ho Chi Minh was fantastic, we plan to return. Our room steward and his assistant were flawless -- helpful, courteous, competent. The cabin was small but functional and comfortable, the verandah very pleasant. The deal breaker for me was the shower curtain. The weather was (as to be expected) very hot and humid, necessitating being grabbed and wrapped by the very unpleasant clammy plastic curtain in the tiny shower space at least twice a day. It started to feel like some sort of punishment zone. Debarking was very smooth, we had plenty of time to get to our flight. The Quest has a loyal customer base, we met several couples who had done >15 cruises on the ship. Tl;DR Although we did have a lovely holiday and have some wonderful memories, we won't choose Azamara again until we can afford a suite with no shower curtain. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We took this cruise to experience the Middle East in style. Felt like we were splurging a bit since I had just retired and went on a more expensive brand. Expected more than we got. All the people on the ship were nice, but it did not ... Read More
We took this cruise to experience the Middle East in style. Felt like we were splurging a bit since I had just retired and went on a more expensive brand. Expected more than we got. All the people on the ship were nice, but it did not live up to expectations. The shower was so small, worse than a Carnival ship. The room was standard sized for a cruise, as was the balcony. We had booked a suite originally and then backed out due to the flights costs. Wish I had stayed with it. The food was mediocre and did not have the variety that we expected. We went for the destinations, and they were amazing. Also, since the ship is so small, the entertainment was weak. The cruise director's staff was also the entertainment. A bit strange! I would take them again, knowing all this, as they go to destinations others do not. Just know what you are getting into. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Our friends had cruised on Azamara previously and had already booked this cruise. We have cruised before on large ships and didn’t really like the experience. So we weren’t really interested in cruising again until we checked out the ... Read More
Our friends had cruised on Azamara previously and had already booked this cruise. We have cruised before on large ships and didn’t really like the experience. So we weren’t really interested in cruising again until we checked out the itinerary which included Petra, Jordan and Athens, and that our friends raved about the cruise line. The ship, cabin, facilities and crew: Ship was nice and had everything we needed. Pool area was very nice with chaise lounges (used “at sea” days). Restaurants were clean; staff attentive although some staff stood out, but no complaints except for shore excursion staff (discuss later). The cabin (deck 4) was dated and not as clean as I would have liked. The cabin is small but manageable. We brought extra hangers for our clothes which helped. Bed was very comfortable and sheets were luxurious. The cabin has a TV with limited number of channels including news (if interested). Cabin was quiet. We didn’t hear the neighbors very often only when leaving occasionally. The ship has complementary laundry facility including detergent but it’s often busy and at least one washer and dryer was not operational. Suggest using early or when in port if possible otherwise you’ll have to wait. The staff takes ship’s cleanliness seriously to prevent illness from spreading. As far as I know the ship didn’t have any gastrointestinal illnesses (thankfully!). We ate at all but the Italian restaurant. The food, presentation, and serving staff were excellent. We did eat at the Prime C (upgrade $30 pp),which was good but I don’t think it was any better than the Discoveries dining room which is included in cost. No better base wine selection either (disappointing). Which leads me to the beverages ... base alcohol choices included in cost was disappointing especially the wine selection. Some (and I am being nice) were literally undrinkable in my opinion but others in party seemed ok with the choices (I don’t think I’m a wine snob as we typically drink California wines about the $10- $20 price range). These wines were worse than some box wine I’ve had! Many came from So Africa (the worst), Portugal, Spain, Italy; occasionally New Zealand, S America and California. We considered buying the upgraded wine package but with no opportunity to taste and unfamiliar with the wineries it didn’t seem worth it. I drank the wine when I could but generally opting for Newcastle beer and lemon drop martini! Azamara needs a much better sommelier. Entertainment was better than I expected. I typically don’t like ship entertainment and definitely didn’t attend all but the ones I did attend were enjoyable and quality. Tim Seals pianist was exceptional. There was a magician too which I thought would be hokey but he was very good. The cruise ship’s band Smooth Sensations were also very good. They had another singer “Big Red” who was also good. Excursions: since we were traveling with seasoned Azamara travelers they generally don’t use the cruise line’s excursions instead opting to book private tours for just our group (7 to 10 people). But we did book four cruise excursions (extra cost). One was to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Several buses carrying about 20-25 people were used. While traveling to destination the tour guide spoke about the area and customs (and q&a) and discussed history of the site at destination. He was knowledgeable. The tour included a buffet lunch at a hotel which was good but I thought took too long because we felt rushed at the site. It was a long day about 14 hours. Other excursions (salalah, muscat, and Dubai) were enjoyable and local guides were knowledgeable. We are not fans of coach buses or touring with that many people - always seem to be waiting for someone. We had prebooked our ship excursions before boarding the ship, which I recommend. In conversation with other travelers, we were surprised how many travelers who did not. Some missed out on excursions because they were booked and Azamara wasn’t able to get more buses/guides. So book ship’s excursions ahead. Ship’s shore excursion staff: we noticed one of our booked tours that we paid more than the ship’s published price. Not much; $10 pp. we asked the ship’s staff and was told he would check with his manager and get back to us. A few days passed and we still hadn’t been contacted nor did we receive a refund. We contacted staff again but this time different person. He immediately refunded the difference. So the first guy forgot I guess? Suez Canal and Security: thought I would cover this because we hadn’t been to Middle East and wasn’t sure what to expect culturally and with safety. We never felt unsafe or threatened in any ports or cities. Our guides were local and were very patient with answering our group’s questions about culture, history, food, laws etc. I did some research on appropriate dress especially for women so I was prepared to dress more conservatively in Muslim countries (Jordan, Egypt, Oman) which was usually just covered shoulders and capris unless visiting a Mosque or religious site (head covered, pants/skirt full length, long sleeved tops). Jordan, Oman and Dubai are extremely safe. Guides insisted they have very little crime. they were clean and graffiti free. Egypt was dirty and very rural. If you have seen the movie Captain Phillips you know that Somalia has pirates. Don’t worry the ship is prepared for the unlikely incident. So during this section of the cruise near the gulf of Aden the Ship takes precautions (lookouts posted, fire hoses ready, dims lights at night). I also read that cruise ships aren’t usually targeted because the ship are faster and can create wakes that can sink a small boat). We didn’t see any pirates. AzAmazing and White Night: unfortunately because of a long private tour in Israel that returned late we were unable to attend the AzAmazing night. However other travelers told us it was great. We did attend the Ehite Night which was enjoyable and plenty of food. Cons: started to rain lightly and with some tables out in open that was an issue. Thankfully it didn’t last long! Tables are first come first grab. We had a group of 10. Even though we got there early we were still challenged to find a suitable table. I think seating should be assigned/reserved especially for larger groups. Also the food is buffet and was chaotic with everyone getting up at same time; some pushed/ shoved! They should number the tables and call just a few tables up at a time. A bit too unorganized in my opinion. Fitness and other activities: many travelers walk the upper deck above pool. There is a well equipped fitness center which we used a couple of times. They have spa services which we did not use. The ship holds discussions on locations, history, and art by professors in the field - not exciting but informative. Other activities are also available such as arts and crafts, casino, bingo but we didn’t do any of those. There’s a library and business center with internet and board games. We did not purchase internet so never used that service. We used our mobile phones service (T mobile international plan) in ports. Worked well for us and was much less expensive ($15 per month per device for text and data). Overall we had a great time. Most travelers were friendly and wanted to chat. Many were from Australia, Britain, NZ, and US. Most travelers were in their 70’s; we are about 10+ years younger. Only one or two kids under five. A couple of travelers in their late 20’s who appeared to be traveling with family. Mostly couples, single older women and some LBGTQ. They do offer mixers for singles and LBGTQ. Apparently if you book a cabin you can somehow place your name to be considered for upgrade at lower cost, but you need to do this in the website. Our travel agent didn’t tell us and our group forgot to mention it. About a month before embarking they were all notified of cabin upgrades for a discounted cost. We contacted our travel agent who said she would do what she could but we were never contacted. They all got veranda cabins on deck 7; we were stuck in steerage. Lol. They got better cabins for about the same price we paid. So be sure to sign up for the upgrade! We would travel again on Azamara. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our first cruise on Azamara since we mostly sail on Celebrity and Princess. We love the smaller ship and the fact that there weren't many children on board (I only saw one). We wanted to go more upscale and chose this cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Azamara since we mostly sail on Celebrity and Princess. We love the smaller ship and the fact that there weren't many children on board (I only saw one). We wanted to go more upscale and chose this cruise for the itinerary (Venice-Croatia-Montenegro-Slovenia-Venice). I'd say this cruise was very good but not amazing. Here are my pros and cons: Pros - Windows Buffet - loved the fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast and the full salad bar at lunch and dinners. My favorites were the carved roasted turkey which was so tender and delicious, lentils, salad bar, smoked salmon and mackerel for breakfast, and their Indian dishes (which unfortunately were too few). - Discoveries Restaurant was very nice with freshly prepared cuisine (we liked this better than their specialty restaurants which charged a fee). - Service at all restaurants was good though some servers were much better than others. - The ship was usually able to dock at ports or very close to it with a short tender. - Embarkation/disembarkation at ports ran very smoothly with little or no waiting time. - Love how they provide guests with bottled water 24/7. - Having an overnight in Venice was brilliant. - Azamazing evening in Slovenia was magical. - White Nights dinner was great despite the stormy weather. Cons - Most of the main entrees seemed to be dry and overcooked. - Asian cuisine wasn't very good. - Prime C was a letdown - the steak was meh and their onion soup was dismal. - The restaurant aft windows in Prime C were dirty. - Our shower was so small - a few turns and you'd bump into the wall. Plus the shower curtain would keep touching you all the time. The bottom walls of the shower looked like they've been peeled and fixed but it looks cheap and worn. Although we were expecting more, we enjoyed the smaller size of this ship and will cruise again if the itinerary is right for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Azamara Quest offers a great, small ship experience, with individual, unique events that add to the enrichment of the immersive experience. Great service, great food and wonderful ports of call, combined with a desire to correct any issues ... Read More
Azamara Quest offers a great, small ship experience, with individual, unique events that add to the enrichment of the immersive experience. Great service, great food and wonderful ports of call, combined with a desire to correct any issues whilst onboard, make Azamara one of the best to cruise with. Venice, Kotor, Ravenna, Hvar, Dubrovnik and Koper, were all ports worthy of a visit, and with the Azamazing Evening in Koper, made the cruise memorable. PerpetuumJazille were a wonderful a Capella group and the highlight of the cruise entertainment. The stateroom we booked was an outside and was all we could have expected. Smallish but sufficient, the bathroom contains just enough space to meet its intended functions. Bars and restaurants provide quality offerings with speedy service and a great “can do” approach. Two tender ports posed no problems as the service was slick and uneventful. Being docked in Venice overnight offer a reprieve from the high cost associated with eating and drinking in the overpriced areas whilst still offering the chance to see all the sights that Venice is known for. A walking and gondola tour by Viator proved to be a “must do” event. However, our EasyJet flight was cancelled 21 hours before we were scheduled to return home and our travel agent managed to get us a flight to get us back to LHR instead of LGW but we had to spend 10 hours at the airport for this flight, with a promise of reimbursement of the taxi fare when we submitted a valid receipt to them. A sour note on which to end our best cruise so far... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We wanted to experience Azamara for the first time and we also liked the itinerary which coincided with our anniversary and an opportunity to visit Venice again. Sailing out and back into Venice was an absolutely wonderful experience, to ... Read More
We wanted to experience Azamara for the first time and we also liked the itinerary which coincided with our anniversary and an opportunity to visit Venice again. Sailing out and back into Venice was an absolutely wonderful experience, to be recommended. We enjoyed all of the stops and it was a great advantage to dock close to the ports in most cases. I gave an average rating for the excursions as we couldn't say "not applicable." We thought the excursions were rather expensive and found that we could happily do our own thing in port and there was a lot to see at each stop. We have sailed on Silversea and Viking so are surprised to see people who criticise the food. The ship's food is excellent and no complaints about this. The staff are also excellent and everyone greets you each morning and are polite and friendly. We did not bother with some of the entertainment on offer as it did not appeal but we thought that the Lectures on the ports were excellent, as well as the amazing Opera Singer. Very impressed with the Amazing Evening it was spectacular, couldn't fault it and it made us feel special. We would definitely take another Azamara cruise and can recommend it to other cruisers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
The ship is very richly decorated and the staff are highly attentive particularly compared to larger ships. The Varandah stateroom was a pleasure to be in and excellently cleaned and tidiesd regularly. in terms of service I particularly ... Read More
The ship is very richly decorated and the staff are highly attentive particularly compared to larger ships. The Varandah stateroom was a pleasure to be in and excellently cleaned and tidiesd regularly. in terms of service I particularly recommend two Ukranians Katerina serving in the cabaret and and Irina in the cafe and a Hungarian, Lazar, in the cafe. The entertainment was superb and the in house Magic City Opera events stand out for me. The locally guided tours were very informative with the personal touch particularly in Thailand but also Vietnam. The historical talks on the area were interesting and well informed. The captain is a extremely funny and gregarious and makes it all come together into the Azamara experience. My only criticism is the US obsession with charging for expensive WiFi packages. This is very stressful particularly for families and it should be integrated in the package forthwith as it is the only element at variance with the Azamara experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We had previously travelled with Celebrity and Cunard on 2500 to 2800 size ships. This is a quarter of those. The food was good but no better than the larger ships that don't claim to be luxury at the same level. Service was excellent ... Read More
We had previously travelled with Celebrity and Cunard on 2500 to 2800 size ships. This is a quarter of those. The food was good but no better than the larger ships that don't claim to be luxury at the same level. Service was excellent with very friendly and helpful staff. Most drinks are included and it was nice to have wine with a choice at each meal included. The smaller ship meant that we met friends more easily whilst around the ship. The entertainment was much more limited than for the larger ships due to space and budget. It was more personal but also a bit more amateur. The 'Amazing' evening ashore when Azamara put on a an evening event for all the travellers was brilliant and free. There was also a 'white Knight' barbecue evening on the higher deck which was superb with excellent food. So, the cruise was very good and different from the larger ships. Would we travel again? Probably only if the itinerary fitted. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
First off I should say I do love Azamara. The combo of relaxed and yet slightly luxurious vibe is a winner for me. But after a couple of years away, previous experiences with Azamara seemed much more luxurious than they do now. On ... Read More
First off I should say I do love Azamara. The combo of relaxed and yet slightly luxurious vibe is a winner for me. But after a couple of years away, previous experiences with Azamara seemed much more luxurious than they do now. On embarking, it immediately felt different as there were a number of noisy children dominating the pool. Azamara is kind of billed as an adult ship, so this was disappointing and set the tone a bit. The cabin service also seems less good than previously - eg., favourite soft drinks not topped up in cabin fridge, despite asking cabin steward for this. Food was good, but a lack of lobster in main restaurant. What happened to the regular ‘surf and turf’? I should say that restaurant service was superb and friendly, as ever. Officers also seem a bit more distant/less friendly than in previous years. They used to walk the decks much more. Except for the Captain. In this case, Captain José, who is always very approachable. On my cruise the Azamazing evening trip to a Majorcan cathedral was pretty poor. On the plus side, the White Night was very good - except for the queue to eat which was just silly. My advice would be to eat in the Discoveries Restaurant and then go up to that event, but not rely on it for your evening meal. I will return, but probably only for an itinerary that really appeals. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Good itinerary in Mediterranean with great price-point to try Azamara for first time. We have cruised many other lines, and wanted to try something different: Azamara includes tips and standard alcoholic drinks, which took one further ... Read More
Good itinerary in Mediterranean with great price-point to try Azamara for first time. We have cruised many other lines, and wanted to try something different: Azamara includes tips and standard alcoholic drinks, which took one further element of "surprise" out of the bottom line, since we don't do spa treatments or shop on board. We paid what we paid, and that was it, except for airfare. Being on a smaller ship with just 650 fellow passengers was wonderful, as we quickly got to know the layout and some of our fellow cruisers quite well. We traveled with our young adult children, who found a paucity of activities for their age group; there was no organized attempt to have others in the similar situation (young adults accompanying their middle-aged parents on a summer vacation) meet, thus we were very happy that the itinerary was port-intensive, with no sea days. Had there been sea days, they would have been more restless. Only one ping-pong table, one shuffleboard area, one pool and 2 hot tubs; the gym facility was quite extensive given the ship's size, and the locker rooms had steam bath and showers for those interested in such. The food was routinely exceptional in the main restaurant and very good at the buffet, with much to choose from, and the service was great: water glasses were kept filled (whereas you couldn't get water on Costa without paying for it!) and if one was drinking wine, those glasses were rarely empty as well! We did not visit the specialty restaurants, seeing no need. Our staterooms were on the bottom level, Level 4, right above the crew quarters, but we still had oceanviews out the window and were conveniently near the Level 3 gangway to leave the ship while in port. Our steward was efficient and quickly realized we are not by nature early risers; we rarely actually saw him, but our rooms were always righted and tidied and replenished in our absence. We requested bathrobes at the start of the cruise, and were tickled to find a pair of binoculars and a full size umbrella, both for use during the cruise (not to be taken home), in the cabins upon boarding. There was a minifridge filled with drinks, but no need for them as drinks were always available around ship. Fresh fruit was provided in the cabin daily, but again, we had scads of choices at the buffets. Ice buckets were filled 2x/day. The public rooms and lounges are all very nicely decorated, mostly in calm neutrals with touches of color from accessories and artwork, and seating was comfortable. Being short-statured, we did find that the chairs at the larger dining tables were higher and more comfortable than the chairs at the smaller tables, but most nights our family of four opted to be seated with other English-speakers and invariably had a great evening with stimulating conversations. Dress was resort casual most of the time, with no official formal nights; we saw one fellow being turned away when he arrived in dress shorts for dinner, but most folks were nicely dressed but not "fancy" most of the time. On the other hand, my daughter and son like to dress up and that was OK too--better to be overdressed than under-. Very convenient for us was the free laundromat on Deck 7, with free detergent and 2 ironing boards as well, since we had traveled for a week on land prior to the cruise. Imagine my surprise to find all but one washer already filled and both ironing boards in use when I came with my little load on the first day of the cruise, just hours after boarding! Half the ports on this itinerary were well-known to us (Barcelona, Ajaccio, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Santa Margarita/Portofino, but the others were new to us (Sete, Marseille, and MonteCarlo). Sete was delightful, with an easy walk from the ship to downtown; we climbed the local promontory to gain a bird's eye view of the surrounding sea and oyster farms, got our Fitbit steps in, and then happened upon the weekly (every Sunday) water jousting event which was very entertaining. Marseille was in some ways a much larger version of Sete. The ship provided free bus transport to the downtown area (the distance was not walkable) and then we meandered around the marina area with many waterside restaurants and shops, and made our way, as usual, to the highest point in town, the Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral. Had to of course buy some lavender soap, as we wouldn't see any of Provence closer up, and reboarded the ship, looking forward to more exquisite seafood for dinner! Monte Carlo was our disembarkation point and we saw little except what could be spied from the bus windows as we left the ship at 9a on our way to Nice airport; French train and air strikes were wreaking havoc with everyone's travel plans, and we opted to pay for the coach transport ($20pp) rather than risk trying to find a taxi or train or to rent a car, given the serpentine corniche route and unknown roads. In summary, we would be happy to take another Azamara cruise if the price-point were acceptable and if we were traveling as a couple, as an extended family, or with a group of couples; [I would counsel fellow travelers to think twice about taking anyone younger than 16-18yo on this cruise, as there is no kids' club, few other young passengers, and few activities available.] Azamara, in comparison to many other lines, made an effort to have a local representative of the next port on hand near the front desk, giving out train and bus schedules, maps, and advice. There was little/no hard-selling of excursions, drink packages, specialty restaurants, or photographs, the feeling being that the majority of passengers were experienced cruisers who'd seen it and done it all before and couldn't be bothered.For older, more mature travelers, this is a great way to meet others, eat well, see the world, be waited on, and have much of the stress of travel be taken care of. Read Less
Azamara Quest Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.5
Fitness Recreation 3.5 4.1
Family N/A 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.7
Value For Money 3.5 4.2
Rates N/A 4.3

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