Cruise Review - Azamara Quest
By Carre Le Page
A little luxury with a lot of great service!
I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of different cruise ships and, prior to March this year, even sailed on a few for a couple of nights here and there. However, stepping onto the Azamara Quest for my first 7 night cruise, I was immediately impacted by what felt like a small but incredibly stylish ship!
I was fortunate enough to be offered a 7 night cruise as part of a familiarization (work is hard in the travel industry sometimes!). We were allowed to break the 14 night cruise from Singapore to Shanghai and I was granted a boarding in Hong Kong to do the final 7 nights. The itinerary for our leg of the journey was Hong Kong to Taiwan, then onto Nagasaki, Japan before we crossed the East China Sea into Shanghai. The ports of call offered were quite interesting to me and places that I would usually not be so keen on visiting.
The ship itself is quite small compared to some of the other ships I have been fortunate enough to experience. However, it’s size is perfect for an intimate cruise where it’s extremely easy to make friends and keep running into the same people throughout the journey. The staff know your face and name and there was ALWAYS a friendly smile waiting for me every moment I was on board. Frankly, I was completely blown away by the service offered on board.
In fact, if I could say two things about the ship that impressed me most, I would have to say the service was top-notch and the food was outstanding!
Firstly, let’s discuss the service. I think part of the service that I found so comfortable was the inclusive nature of the cruise. I hardly had to reach into my pocket for anything over the week. I think that makes for a much more comfortable cruise. It’s so simple – you wake up, head down to the Mosaic cafe to order a cappuccino. You drink your coffee and perhaps catch a little of the morning trivia on in the lounge, then wander upstairs to the Windows Cafe restaurant for a delicious breakfast with whatever you choose – they had fruit, breads, eggs made to order, omelettes, ham, bacon and a whole other range to choose from. Sitting on the back deck watching the world disappear behind the ship is also a beautiful way to start the day. Adding to that, the food at both lunch and dinner served at the Discoveries Restaurant was extremely impressive. I loved how they had a standard menu with all of the classic favourites and then a daily updated menu to allow you to try whatever you had a fancy for. Plus, the wine at both lunch and dinner is included and it was delicious wine from regions all over the world.
My personal favourite for lunch was actually the Pool Grill with burgers, buffalo wings, fries and just good old fashioned fast food. The best thing is that you can still enjoy a civilized wine with your cheeseburger!
And of course, there are the two specialty restaurants on board “Chops Grille” and “Aqua Lina”, both available for a nominal fee. I must say that I am more of a meat man than seafood so my preferred restaurant was certainly Chops Grille – an amazing range on offer and again the wine comes included in your package. However, if you opt to enjoy the Discoveries Restaurant for food, you will NOT be disappointed. At peak hour the service can be a tad slow but only because the restaurant is jam-packed and there are so many options on the menu, the waiters might take a little longer explaining it to everyone.
We ate there every single night except for the 2 nights we opted for the specialty dining. I simply loved this restaurant and the food options served – night after night we aimed for a respectable 3 courses but inevitably ended up eating at least 5! We just couldn’t say no and you have an option to blend their classic menu with the daily and, if you happen to be in the mood for 2 desserts, then no problem there either!
Adding to the food and the general service, I was also impressed with the facilities on board – the casino offered plenty of chances to win big and there were regular hosted poker tournaments, the gymnasium was also well equipped with modern equipment and a mixture of free weights and machines, plus the option to attend classes in Tai Chi, Acupuncture, Yoga and more. The Looking Glass offered plenty of board games for long days at sea and finally the Drawing Room offers a wide range of books to peruse and enjoy in a comfortable and classy setting.
All in all I loved the Azamara Quest – it has so much to offer and, on an itinerary with a few sea days, I never found myself without anything to do. As mentioned, if you want fantastic food, exceptional service and friendly staff, you should certainly look into Azamara as an option for you.
Today's Cruise Specialist: Carre Le Page
Carre is the Cruise and Niche Brands Marketing Manager, and during his time in this role he has expanded his knowledge of cruise lines, ships and the industry overall by making regular ship visits, industry training and of course, famils like this one.