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Azamara Club Cruises: Azamara Quest

Azamara Quest Cruise Review

Insider Take

Best For People Who Want

Smaller ship convenience with the amenities of a mid-size luxury brand. Butler service in every stateroom, port-intensive itineraries and alternative dining options.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Larger ships with plenty of onboard activities; extensive children's facilities, big casinos, elaborate stage shows, short sun-soaked itineraries.


The main dining room, Discoveries, features open seating, meaning you can dine whenever and with whomever you please, and the promise of stellar nightly selections not to be missed. Examples of entrees include gulf shrimp with cognac and garlic or a filet mignon with black truffle sauce.

There are two alternative restaurants on board; Aqualina, with the focus on seafood, and Prime C with the focus on steaks and chops. All of the dining rooms feature complimentary wine (red or white) plus an extensive wine list available. Cuts of meat from these alternative restaurants are U.S. Angus aged 24 days before service.


The obvious service distinction with Azamara is the inclusion of butler service with every cabin who is generally available to do the special favors a room steward would not do. Want to have a cocktail party for friends in your cabin? The butler will arrange for the champagne and hors d'oeuvres. Want to book a shore excursion or get a reservation in the special restaurants? Just tell the butler what you want, no forms to fill in or lines to wait in. Want a full dinner from the dining room menu served course by course in your stateroom? The butler will do it.


In keeping with the Celebrity Spa style, the ships have an Aqua Spa with Thalassotherapy pools, hair salon services, aerobics, and gym and acupuncture services. The Spa is all the way forward on deck 10 for panoramic views of the sea while working out. Suite guests are also given complimentary access to this thermal suite throughout every cruise.

Children's Facilities

There are no children's facilities onboard.


The dress code is always resort casual with no scheduled formal nights. Formal attire is welcomed if the guest desires to wear it. No bare feet, tank tops, caps, bathing suits, or jeans are allowed in the dining room or specialty restaurants. Additionally, no tuxedo rentals will be available onboard.

Examples of resort casual attire include sportswear, shorts, casual dresses, skirts, and pants in light fabrics such as linen, cotton, silk and wool gabardine for the women. For the men the line recommends sportswear, golf shirts, shorts, pants, and a sportcoat if desired, (but not required) in light fabrics such as linen, cotton, silk and wool gabardine.

Onboard Experience

These ships put their focus on providing the guest with ultimate comfort while taking the ship on unusual destinations. Stateroom amenities including butler service, plush bedding and furniture and spacious bathrooms are accompanied by fine dining and onboard enrichment in the form of lectures and demonstrations. But these are not ships where you will idle away your time on sea days wandering between the pool and the steam room. More likely you will use your stateroom to recover from exhausting shore excursions followed by sumptuous meals and then soon to bed.

Suite passengers are given a slate of comfort conveniences such as complimentary soda and bottled water in the room's mini-bar, plus complimentary wine by room service at any time. Generous portions of Elemis bath products are included.


The onboard cuisine has been improved dramatically since management by Larry Pimentel and his capable second in command Edie Bornstein came aboard in early 2010. Suite guests are allowed to dine in either of two alternative dining restaurants at any time with no additional charge. For the rest of the guests the cover charge is $15 per person.

Wine is always complimentary onboard for lunch and dinner, with a red and a white wine both coming from a collection of unusual "boutique" wines from unusual places such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, etc. Each night, the two wine selections come from similar regions. If the wine is not to the liking of the customer, which is rare (these are not "2-buck Chuck" brands), then other complimentary wines are offered. There is also an extensive list of special wines available for additional fees.


Gratuities are included in the cruise fare. This covers all service personnel, including the waiters and head waiters who look after guests in the dining rooms; housekeeping staff; and butlers and stateroom attendants.


Entertainment options are simple yet diverse musical offerings that range from upbeat dance bands to intimate piano bar entertainers. The showcase theatre features a talented cast of musicians as well as a host of variety entertainers. There is a small casino with some slots and a few table games like Blackjack, roulette and "Let it Ride." No Craps tables.


Inside cabins are the smallest at 158 sq. feet. Features include two lower beds convertible to queen size; flat-screen television; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning, direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hair dryer.

Outside staterooms are 170 sq. feet, have either portholes or big picture windows. Features include two lower beds convertible to queen size; flat-screen television; some with sofa bed; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hair dryer. All category 07 staterooms have a panorama window with an obstructed view. All category 08 staterooms have a porthole instead of a window.

Veranda cabins are 175 sq. feet, plus a 45 sq. ft. balcony. Features include a queen size; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; sitting area with sofa bed; private veranda; flat-screen television; refrigerator with mini-bar; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; two hair dryers, one in the bathroom and another at the desk. A complete assortment of complementary bath products from Elemis comes in every bathroom.

Sunset Veranda staterooms are 175 sq.ft with verandas ranging from 46 to 64 sq. ft. Features include two lower beds convertible to queen size; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; sitting area with sofa bed; private veranda; flat-screen television; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hair dryer. Veranda measurements are approximate.

Sky suites with private balconies are a roomy 266 sq. feet, plus a 60 sq. ft. balcony with two chairs and a table. Features include two lower beds convertible to queen size; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; sitting area with sofa bed; bath tub; private veranda; flat-screen television; DVD/CD player; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hair dryer.

Royal Suites range from 440 to 501 sq. ft. with verandas ranging from 105 to 156 sq. ft. Features include separate living room; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; master bedroom with two lower beds convertible to queen size; convertible sofa bed; master bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower; guest bathroom; private veranda; flat-screen television; DVD/CD player; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hair dryer.

Forward suites have direct sight lines of the rope deck on the front of the vessel. And if you're in a forward cabin on Deck 6, you'd better hope you like the orchestra that performs (and rehearses!) in the Cabaret Lounge, as you're right above it, and will be hearing a lot of them!

The Penthouse Suite is 560 sq. ft. with a 233 sq. ft balcony. It features a separate living room; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; master bedroom with two lower beds convertible to queen size; convertible sofa-bed; walk-in closet; dressing room with vanity; master bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower; guest bathroom; private veranda; flat-screen television; DVD/CD player; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hair dryer.

All suite guests receive complimentary chilled soda, bottled water and two bottles of hard liquor at no extra cost. A chilled bottle of champagne is set in the room before embarkation. Complimentary wine is available by room service at any time.

Ship Overview

Launched in 2000 for Renaissance Cruises, which ceased operations in 2001, the former R7 was acquired by Azamara Club Cruises and launched as Azamara Quest in 2007—a sister ship to Azamara Journey. Azamara Club Cruises spent tens of millions refreshing the ship, and it shows—where it once appeared stuffy, it became welcoming. Another extensive renovation scheduled for 2013 will update her interiors with new carpets, upholstery, and a new color palette in public spaces. Additionally, she will have a new dark-blue hull. Azamara Quest sets sail primarily in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas as well as Asia and far-flung exotic destinations in the South Pacific. Occasional repositioning voyages include the Panama Canal and Caribbean Islands.

At 30,277 tons, Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey are medium-size ships and well suited to the somewhat more exotic itineraries for which they are deployed, whether in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, or South America. The ships initially entered service for Renaissance Cruises and served in Spain under the Pullmantur flag until 2007. With their entry into the Azamara Club Cruises fleet, a new option is available to passengers who prefer the boutique-hotel atmosphere of a smaller ship without the luxury-class price tag.

Each ship has a variety of signature features, including the Martini Bar in Casino Luxe, a casual sidewalk café–style coffee bar, and the distinctive Astral Spa with an acupuncture suite and expansive relaxation deck with therapy pool. Each ship has two specialty restaurants. The exclusive experience includes butler service in suites and concierge-style amenities in all categories of accommodations.

In a surprise move parent company Royal Caribbean International announced the formation of an all-new, deluxe cruise line in 2007. Two vessels originally slated for service in the Celebrity Cruises fleet, which were built for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises and acquired with the purchase of the Spanish cruise line Pullmantur, were the basis for the new line, Azamara Club Cruises. Designed to offer exotic destination-driven itineraries, Azamara Club Cruises presents a more intimate onboard experience while allowing access to the less traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit.

When a cruise line sets a course to break the mold in an industry where the product falls into traditional categories—mainstream, premium, luxury—it's an exciting opportunity for experienced travelers who may want more than what a traditional cruise can deliver. More interested in traveling than cruising, they may still prefer the comfort and convenience that only a cruise ship can deliver in some exotic locales. Azamara Club Cruises gives this underserved group of travelers what they want—a cruise experience that's a bit different. Not quite luxury but more than premium, Azamara offers a deluxe cruise with concierge-style amenities for which you'd have to upgrade to a suite on other cruise lines.

In addition, since its launch Azamara Club Cruises has added a number of more inclusive amenities to passengers’ fares, with no charge for a specific brand of bottled water, specialty coffees and teas; shuttle bus service to/from port communities, where available; standard spirits, wines, and international beers throughout the ships during bar hours; and complimentary self-service laundry.

Extensive overhauls of two ships that formerly sailed for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises have resulted in interiors that are brighter with the addition of light, neutral carpeting throughout, and splashes of bold color in the upholstery and drapes. Areas that once appeared stuffy are now welcoming, with contemporary artwork further enhancing the decor. Each vessel weighs in at 30,277 tons and carries only 694 passengers. While the size affords a high level of intimacy and makes the ships easy to navigate, there is no skimping on features normally abundant on larger ships, such as private balconies and alternative dining. Cruisers may feel that they've checked into an upscale boutique hotel that just happens to float.

What You Should Know


  • One staff member for every two passengers ensures unparalleled service
  • Bartenders in the Martini Bar are willing to follow your instructions to mix your favorite variation
  • The quiet sounds of a grand piano add to the ambience of the Drawing Room


  • Aft-facing Sunset Verandas on decks 6 and 7 are simply standard balcony cabins with larger balconies
  • There are no children’s programs or facilities
  • Upscale amenities don’t quite make up for the lack of bathroom space in standard staterooms
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 390
  • Entered Service 2001
  • Gross Tons 30,277
  • Length 593 feet
  • Number of Cabins 347
  • Passenger Capacity 694
  • Width 95 feet
  • New

Dec 8, 2010


Review of the Azamara Journey This is the first cruise we have taken non any Azamara ship, which was part of the old Reinannance Cruise Lines that numbered their ships R-1, etc . This ship has been renovated in 2007 and is considered an intimate, 694 passenger ship with an elegant and relaxed atmosphere. According to an announcement on board as we sailed there were 531 passengers, thus the cruise was indeed relaxed. This cruise was 14 night transatlantic

voyage that left Rome on November 15, 2010 and schddueld to arrive in Miami on 11/29/2010.PS---this is a cruise ship with staff tips included in the fare. BOARDING---The boarding took place at the Civitavecchia terminal located about 40 miles from Rome. The cruise line had all cruise check in counters opened when we arrived about 12:30PM. The process was smooth and orderly. One of the best check ins we have ever experienced for any cruise. We presented our “e-ticket” which we had previously printed and we were walking up the gangplank steps within minutes. We were met at the top of the steps by several Amazara staff members, one which was holding a glass of champagne. They advised our cabin would not be ready until 1:30PM and ask us to join them at a pre-cruise lunch on the 9th deck. On the first cruise night we were assigned a time for dinner however after the first night all dining was open seating. CABIN----Perhaps we were a little greedy when we saw the balcony cabins all listed for the same discounted price as we went for a “sunset balcony” on the aft of the ship. After the first night of rough seas we begin to think we had made a mistake by not purchasing a cabin more in the center of the ship. This is a small ship and some tossing is expected however we actually got more than we bargained for. The seas were rough, some rain and wind made using the outside balcony next to impossible. And we call ourselves seasoned cruisers. The cabin was very nice with decorations in shades of tan, green and brown with dark woods. The bath is small however more than adequate. There is a fully stocked refrigerator with soft drinks and bottled water being complimentary. Fresh flowers and a fruit basket were also in the cabin. A 24 inch flat screen TV offered numerous programs in English. The TV offers several news channels as well as movies. An alarm clock was in the cabin, along with plush robes and outside balcony seat covers. The TV set welcomes you by name. Ice was delivered to the cabin twice daily and more if you request it. The room is not overly large however more than adequate. The beds, as on many cruise ships are actually twin beds and if one ask they can be put together to form one large bed. In our cabin the mattresses were soft and were uncomfortable for us. The door on the left side of the desk rattled all night long for the first three nights. It was not until day four that I found the door was actually warped and did not fit well. By leaving the door open, the rattling noise stopped. On another cruise we found the sliding glass door did not fasten well and it too produced a rattling sound throughout the day and night. Sometimes if one looks for the problem the issue can easily be resolved without having to call engineering. Air conditioning worked great. Our cabin and balcony was thoroughly cleaned each day with the result being some of the best service we have ever received. There are fresh flowers in the room each day. You can also have your shoes shined for free by leaving them with your cabin steward. And I should not fail to mention that the bathroom amenities are by ELEMIS. Now if you are really in need of additional service the cabin attendant will assist you in unpacking your suitcases as well as packing. Each evening there are d’oeuvres left in the cabin. TIP---Are you aware you can select your own cabin anywhere on the ship? Well maybe not 100% of the time, however there are several internet sites that will show you where unsold cabins are located. Your travel agent should be able to do that for you however you should be armed with that information ahead of time so you can discuss with him or her. There are dozens of great cabins aboard the new ships so don't settled for an outside obstructed view cabin unless you are getting a great deal. TIP---Some travel agents and travel companies have additional items they can offer with the cabin you select. Just don't forget to ask for those extras such as ship board credit or a bottle of welcome champagne and frankly anything ease that comes to mind. Just take a look at several travel sites for the cruise you have in mind and see what everyone if offering, then negotiate. Once you are satisfied you have made the best deal for the exact cruise you want then go for it. DINING-----On deck 9 is the Windows Cafe and outside the Windows Cafe Outside. The serving areas are well spaced and staggered throughout the area thus there were never long longs to get any particular type of food. For example there were areas on two sides where one could get omelets or eggs cooked to order. Service is extra-ordinary as waiters seem to be everywhere and each asking if they can help you. This is the most helpful and friendliest ship crew we have ever met. If you coffee cup was a little low they seemed to know and would offer to go get a refill for you. Ask for an English muffin and away they went. The food was as good as the service. Lunch time was the same. During the evening there was a theme such as Italian on the first night. What a great change from the crowded long lines on some other cruise ships we have been on. Lunch is served as is dinner. Dinner will include white table clothes and excellent choices for entrees. Once again service is outstanding. Fret wine is served. There is the main dining room, Discoveries, with open seating, where you can also take your meals. The service is outstanding and the food is excellent. Some, if not the best we have had on any cruise and we just came off a Cunard cruise ship a few days before boarding this ship. TIP we noticed several guest would arrive at 6PM and wait for the restaurant to open. Then there would be a lull in activity with 6:15PM and 6:45PM being the times for almost instant seating. The line then would build up again for those desiring seating around 8PM. Remember this is open seating restaurant with no predetermined time for guest. For a small cover charge of $15 you can make reservations and dine in the steak house named Prime C on deck 10 or Aqualina (also Deck 10) which serves Contemporary American Cuisine with a Mediterranean flair. If you participate in the dinner with a variety of wines for each course there will be an additional charge. Reservations are needed for each of these restaurants. The food is excellent and there is a more intimate setting for each when compared with the main dining room. Friendly and helpful waiters all over the place. The wine list contains reasonable prices and the ship serves complimentary wines with meals. However if you would prefer a more expensive wine we were surprised when on the first night the wine steward brought us a list of wines that could be purchased for 50% off the regular prices (three bottle minimum). The prices were great and the quoted prices included gratuity. They keep track of your wines purchased by your cabin number and you can dine in any restaurant and still receive your wine.. There is a pool grill located on deck 9 however due to inclement weather the area had limited openings. On good weather days the area will be crowded. Several theme food items were alternated with eon day being a pool side bar-b-q served by the ship’s officers. It was excellent. There is always available hamburger, cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Complimentary wine along with complimentary soft drinks are available in this area for lunch. There is soft ice cream on this deck close to the grill. In good weather this would be a great place to grab a quick snack. COFFEE BAR---They call it the Mosaic Cafe and it's one of the nicest little coffee bars you can find and the coffee is complimentary. There is a charge for specialty coffees containing liquors. There were always lots of cookies, sweets and snacks which are kept fresh throughout the day. This is a great place to enjoy a cappuccino at the bar of in the small intimate location. Very nice place to meet and talk. Remember I wrote, it's complimentary for lattes, cappuccino or you name the coffee. We found this location open at 8AM and closing late. This was a good location to listen to gossip for the day before and to witness unusual request. The opposite side the area is used for “trivia” games often in the day thus sit there only if you want to play trivial. Many of these passengers apparently felt they could treat thee staff people almost as servants. One man asked that the water be removed from his water bottle, heated and return so he could add a “solution” to the bottle. He proceeded to drink a few ounces from the bottle so the remainder could be heated. Eventually the bar tender did provide some warm water to the passenger however not in his bottle. The bar tender explained he could not do that. It was obvious such an act could contaminate the on board equipment. ELEGANT TEA---Found at the Looking Glass on Deck 10 each day form 3:30 to 4:30. Don't miss it. Would set you back $35 to $40 at Neimans in Dallas. Tea can also be served in your cabin if you give advance notice. BARS----Although this is a small ship there are no less than 9 locations aboard the ship where one can obtain a drink. The Aqualina Bar Deck 10, Casino Luxe Bar Deck 5 are just two expels. Expect great service and reasonably priced drinks. The staff just seems to love to have you visit with them. WHAT IS THERE TO DO ABOARD A SMALL SHIP?------First don't let the smallness of this ship be a negative. After being on some of the mega ships this was a most refreshing experience. There are plenty of activities. Bingo, ping pong, lectures, poker tournaments, etc. Then on a repositioning cruise such as this one there is plenty of time to take it easy, relax and read a book. LIBRARY----You won't believe this. There is a complimentary library. Just take the book of your choice, read it and return the book. No cards, no fingerprinting just plain honesty. On top of this there is a good collection of books available and the area itself is very nice. We found this location to be a nice quite area in which to read your book. WEATHER----I write this on day 2 as we continue on course for Cartagena, Spain. The seas were rough last night and they continue as such for today. The Captain has advised he hopes the weather will change by nightfall. There have been gale force winds up to 60 miles per hours and choppy seas up to nine feet. Dishes and glasses have slipped from the table sin the dining rooms and staff is assisting passengers with their food. Thus far we have not encountered any falls. The forward elevators have been closed as a softy measure thus only two elevators are currently available. This does not appear to be a problem as many passengers remain in their cabins as we note on our deck as about a third of the cabins have a do not disturb sign posted on their doors. PASSENGERS---We have not received a listing of countries where the passengers originate however we were advised there are 531 passengers and this ship has a capacity of almost 700 thus we are about 75% of capacity. This certainly tends to make public areas less crowded. There are several from the United Sates as well as Great Britain with a scattering of several other countries. We note the passengers tend to me primarily seniors and we have yet to see any children. Some of the passengers we have met advise they are repeat passengers aboard an Azamara Cruise. One common thread we have noticed in talking with those people is their belief this is a no tipping cruise with tips built into the fare. While that is basically true, tips are still expected for many services aboard the ship such as the spa, hair dressers, nail salon, bar service, etc. In addition the crew is like most other cruise lines as they certainly will not refuse extra tipping on the part of the passengers. CASINO----Very small with one roulette table, three or four card tables and a limited number of slot machines. There is an electronic Texas Holdum Poker table. The staff is courteous and congenial, some of the best we have seen on the seas. You still lose though however this is entertainment. There are a couple of ATM machines at the back of the casino in the event you run out of ready cash. We never found the casino over run with passengers. Slots start at one cent. There are a limited number of Texas Holdum, slot , blackjack and roulette tournaments held throughout the cruise. Just check the daily newspaper for time. BINGO----We witnesses one of the best prizes ever given away on a cruise bingo. The cover all winner received an immediate upgraded to the Captain's Penthouse, a prize worth several thousand dollars. The couple who won was amazed. To top this off only about 30 couples showed up for the bingo session. Thus ones odds were rather good. LAUNDRY & DRY CLEANING----There is a self service laundry on deck 7. It is complimentary. There are 4 washers and dryers, an iron and free soap. TIP---The laundry has limited hours it is open so get there early and don't wait until the last days of your cruise otherwise you will not have access to a machine. The ship also has laundry and dry cleaning service available trough pick up in your cabin by your cabin steward. The prices are high but not out of sight. Clothes are returned the flowing day after pickup or you can pay 50% extra and get same day service. The cleaning and washing were both very good. INTERNET----One of my favorite complaints about cruise internet service is the high price and the poor service. The prices for package plans about this ship were less than any ship we have sailed in the past five years and the service was very good. The internet room is located on deck 9 however your laptop will work wireless in your cabin. Before using your laptop you must go to the internet room to establish an account. This is the first on board internet service I have used where once you click on the log off button; the system actually immediately logs you off, saving you untold minutes of usage time. This is great. There was some free computer classes held in the computer room however I found them extremely basic and they not be worthwhile if you have been using the computer for some time. They also offered for a fee classes of one hour on Adobe Photo however there were no take home handouts as we have received on other cruises. I frankly forget more than half of what I learned and find the hand out a necessity. You can get a bigger bang for your dollar if you will check with a local community college upon return home and learn more about Adobe Photo more in depth. TIP-- Internet usage -----If you have your own laptop and it is loaded with some type of word software, try tying you e-mails using that software, copy and send on the ship's internet service e. You will save a bundle of time by not hooking up to the ship’s internet system and doing all your typing on the web. SHOPPING & SHIP’S STORES------If you have gotten on board to shop you are going to be in bad shape. There are three small shops with a very limited number of items for sale. If you need basis such as toothpaste or sea sickness pills, buy them on shore at your first port. Jewelry was high priced as was clothing. We either bring from home or purchase on shore. People in the shops are very nice. We noticed that many watches reflected only a 10% discount off suggested retail prices. You can more than likely do a lot better back home. BEAUTY SHOP & SPA-----Located on deck 9 in the forward section. Prices are basically in line with other cruise ships offering such services. Acupuncture is available and a gym is located in the area for those looking for a physical workout center. Expect to tip in this area. PHOTOS----OK you have been on enough cruises to know that photos are big business for cruise chips as each always has several photographers. I only caution that such photos are actually snap shots and not portrait quality prints. This cruise had a special of $195.00 for all the photos taken. Except for day one when we boarded the ship we have not seen a picture taken anywhere on the ship. One must remember there are no formal nights thus the taking of formal photos on this ship just does take place. Photos can be viewed on deck 5 close to the casino. While we are writing about photos there is a common practice developing at numerous tour stops. Photos are being taken by someone at the tour stops in hopes that the passenger will purchase at an inflated price. At one restaurant/mansion stop in the Canary Island a 5 X 7 was priced at 6 Euros which is almost $8 US. Only one person in our group made a purchase. At Ephesus there were dozens of photos taken of our group and we saw a great many photos being sold to the passengers. The cost was much more reasonable at $2.50 to $3.00 US dollar. Take your own photos with you digital camera and make prints back home at a fraction of the cost. PHOTO TIP---Can’t remember all your stops when you get back home? Take a photo of the port, town or city name the minute you go on that tour. Digital cameras will even pick up the article in your daily news about the port you are visiting. Also take names of buildings, churches, street signs, etc.---anything that will help jog your memory on where you have been. PHOTO TIP—While it may be tempting to listen to the sales clerk telling you to carry only one large memory chip when you travel, I personally find it’s a lot better to carry several small memory chips. Having half dozen 2G memory chips I find is much better than a single 16G chip. First the pictures are easier to find and if I lose one small chip it’s not losing everything I shot on vacation. Also the cost of smaller chips is very inexpensive when compared with very large chips. PHOTO TIP---Did a mistake of some sort cause many of your photos to “disappear”. That happened to me when on a cruise to Greenland. There are many services available on the internet (some free) where you can download software that may possibly recover those lost photos. It’s worth giving a try. ENTERTAINMENT---Not a lot to write about as the word “entertainment” is somewhat limited on this small ship. The signer act singer we say the other night saw many passengers leaving during his performance. SHORE TOURS------The cost of shore tours is among the most reasonable we have seen on cruise ships; however the selection of tours available is somewhat limited and that is most likely due to the fact this is a repositioning or transatlantic crossing. There is a tour desk located on deck 4. Also on that deck is a small medical center and an office where future cruises can be reserved. TIP---if you have already booked your cruise make your tour reservations on the internet and your tickets will be delivered to you cabin upon arrival. The tour into Gibraltar included several stops with the most notable ones being the Barbary Apes, the cave, the airport and the sea coast area. These were all worth the small price paid for this tour. The tour at Cartagena was not as good except for the church we saw at Murcia. The inside is one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. In the Canary Islands we had a nice tour until the tour group let us off at a place loaded with souvenirs and of all things a ½ Euro pay toilet. That’s 65 bents US and everyone refused to pay, It’s bad enough when you get “dumped” at a souvenir stand and really bad when you have to pay to use their rest room. If anyone purchases anything we did not see them do so. Such tour companies need to be taken off the ship’s tour contract. We will be writing them asking that action be taken. PURSERS OFFICE (Called Guest Relations on this cruise) ----Always open and staffed with courteous and professional staff. A pleasure to deal with. TIP---although we were advised postage stamps were available at the Purser’s Desk that was found not to be the case. In Gibraltar we were told be could purchase at the cruise terminal office and the ship’s crew would mail the cards for us. We proceeded off the ship and made stamp purchase at the cruise terminal and they directed us to a close by box where we mailed the cards ourselves. The Purser’s Office made available a copy of our charges during the first part of the cruise and the listing was 100% accurate. MOVIE THEATER-----Actually there is no formal movie theater however movies are shown at set times on a large screen TV set adjacent to the casino. There is a movie channel on your cabin TV with shows and times listed in your daily guide. DAILY PURSUITS-----The “Pursuit” Is the daily guide for the ship. It is nicely printed and is delivered to your cabin each day plus copies can also be obtained in the dining rooms. The publication is printed nicely and properly laid out while being filled with information about the day’s events. In addition a copy of USA Times plus other country “Times”were made available each day. The USA Times carried latest information including sports and stock info from the United Sates. The print was easy to read and the newspaper properly laid out. We just left a cruise on another cruise line that no doubt had some of the worst copy we. had ever tried to read. Not only was the documents poorly laid out they were equally as poorly printed. SWIMMING POOLS----A pool and Jacuzzi can be found on deck 9 however due to the weather it may be a challenge to use the pool at least that’s what we experienced on this particular cruise. On really “choppy” days the pool was closed. A ping pong table at just forward of the pool on deck 9. LIFEBOAT DRILLS-----The drills were held inside on deck 5. They safety instructions were given by both the staff and the Captain however life preservers remained in the cabin. The drill was well planned and orderly. OBSERVATION DECK---The front of the ship on Deck 10 is the Looking Glass which is the location for numerous functions throughout the day. We never found a time though when it was so crowded that one could not find a seat and relax while reading a book except for trivia game time or an occasional lecture. Just check the daily newspaper to see if anything is happening in the Looking Glass. There is a bar where drinks can be purchased plus music during parts of the day. Very nice viewing area. If you would like to view the areas in front of the ship, there is provided at no cost in your stateroom a pair of binoculars. Be sure and return them, otherwise the cost will end up on your bill. TIP-----Cruising on a small ship can present a much difference experience than on many of the larger mega ships. You can explore this small ship in a very short period of time. There are no large theaters, no giant casinos and no long lines. Cruising on a small ship is not for everyone and one should give considerable thought before making such a reservation. There is virtually nothing that would be attractive for children or even teen agers. If you like unusual ports, loess tendering use, meeting new people and enjoying a few drinks, then the small ships might be your choice. PASSPORTS-----Many cruise ship retaining your passports at the time you first check in. It was a delight to learn that one’s passport was not retained, thus you have in your passport in your procession enabling you to exchange money at any of the ports where you stop. Try exchanging money bat some locations without your passport. One such port money exchange offered to exchange if I would pay an extra fee since I did not have a passport. CAMERAS----You cannot imagine how many passengers we saw that were wishing they had a camera in order to capture some of the sites visited on the cruise. TIP----there are many nice small digital cameras available and some sellers will encourage you to purchase a camera with a screen on the back and lots of pixies. Don’t fall for this type sale. Purchasing a camera with a reasonable number of pixies (for discussion let’s say ten) will far more pixies than many of us will need. Are you really going back home and printing 500 photos on 16 X 20 inch sheets of photo paper? No you are not. More than likely you will include some as attachment to your e-mails sent to family and friends and you might print a few 4 X 6 inch prints. Second, forget the use of that screen on the back of the camera when you are in bright sunlight. You just can’t see the image and many cameras of this type you may see almost nothing except gray. A better suggestion is to purchase a small camera with a view finder that you can look through and actually see what you are photographing. More expensive cameras such as Canon and Nikon will have viewfinders; however there are small pocket digital cameras that also have viewfinders. PORTS VISITED------This cruise is actually a repositioning cruise thus ports are not primarily a part of this cruise, but we did have four stops along the way as a means of getting to the “other side”. The stop at Cartagena was very short and it was raining which we understand was rather unusual. We could have spent time in the city especially around the old town section. There just was no enough time to take in all the treasures one could find in an old port like this one. In Gibraltar we once again had only a few hours in the city and decided to take in one of the ship’s tours in order to get the most out of the port stop. Gibraltar is a very small place and one could cover almost the entire city on foot and with short taxi rides. It is interesting though that one could also visit Spain which sits on the border. We just did not have time. The stop was too short to do a lot and way too short to try to get a rental car. I hear people all the time telling me they cannot visit this particular port because they are concerned for their safety. If one becomes so concerned about very port then more than likely you will spend your holiday at home. We have traveled the entire world and there are certainly spots I do not go, however that is true for certain places in my home town. Go and have a great cruise. WHERE IS THE BEST CABIN ON THE SHIP---Frankly I don’t know since it’s for you. I know the ones I think are best for my particular cruise and that may not match your choice. If I had lots of money I would opt for the Captain’s Suite every time. Since that is not going to happen I look at price, location, and sometimes amenities promised me. PARKING FEES KILLING ME----Parking fees can run the prices of your cruise up by many dollars. One way we beat the high cost for close by departures is to rent a car for one way and drop it off with the rental car company taking up to the cruise terminal. Since we live in Dallas and have traveled out of Houston/Galveston this is always our mode of travel. In New Orleans we have used a hotel for pre cruise stays that will permit us to leave our car for a reasonable daily rate and we may stay there a night or two after the cruise. If hotel occupancy is low management will work with you and both you and the hotel come out winners. ENRICHMENT SERIES OF LECTURES----Some of these lectures well presented with knowledgeable lecturers. You can tell after the first five minutes if a particular lecture is for you. Held on the Cabaret Lounge. SUMMARY----This was an excellent cruise and we very much enjoyed the repositioning cruise and the ship. This is a very small ship and there is not nearly the activity one finds on the new larger ships, thus we think your preference should be the controlling factor. For us we really enjoyed the smallness, meeting the people and having limited distances to walk whether it was to the dining room of fitness center. If one is looking for all the glitz, Broadway lights, swimming pool slides and wall climbing events, then this ship will not fit for you. If you are looking for an upgraded slower pace with outstanding food and service then the Azamara Club should be tried.

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May 3, 2010

Southeast Asia Cruise

Our overall experience was a bit of a dissapointment but the cruise staff and the ports were outstanding. The food in the main restaurant was very ordinary, the food at the buffett was good, the room service food was unacceptable and the food at the speciality restaurants was very good. On a upscale cruise I believe that all of the food should be very good. The stateroom was adequate for a stateroom. However we purchased a suite and what the

Quest considers a suite would be an ordinary stateroom on most other ships. The onboard activities were good, the entertainment was good (especially the comedian). Excursions in all the ports were very good, however the excursion in Siagon was fantastic! Azamara cruise lines is not a luxury cruise line. They advertise as a luxury cruise line and they are anything but that. My wife and I decided to take the Azamara 14 day Southeast Asia cruise out of Hong Kong on Feb. 6, 2010 on the Quest. Having taken many cruises before (11) on various cruise lines we had high expectations because this was to be our first “Luxury Cruise” Little did we know this was to be the worst cruise experience we have ever had. For the price this cruise was a bad joke. First we booked a suite, when we entered our suite we were surprised to see that our “suite” was not much larger than some of the regular cabins. The next problem arose when we went to the main dining room, the food was of a much lesser quality than many other non-luxury cruises that we have taken. And the room service food was unacceptable, the fruit was moldy and omlets were runny. The only saving grace was the crew, they were wonderful. The ports of call and the excursions were also very good. Next time Princess. You get me once and shame on you, you get me twice shame on me. Azamara, never again!

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Feb 22, 2010

Ancient Empires Cruise

Azamara Quest Oct. 2009 Ancient Empires Cruise. Great ship, great service, great food, and wonderful fellow cruisers. Mostly couples from North America with average of 55-75 yrs old. This is an all English speaking ship. The crew from the Captain down to the kitchen group were always smiling and seemed very happy. With less than 700 passengers, the crew knows you in a few days. Everything was easy on this ship because of her size. No long waits

for the elevator and short strolls to your next destination. Everything we desired was on this ship. They really excelled at customer service aboard this vessel. The food was a step up in general in all areas, except the breakfast buffet. Although very good and not crowded, by my standards some of the worst coffee I have drank. This was not true in the main dinning room or the specialty restaurants. Here the coffee was very good. The specialty dinning was exceptional with a fish & seafood choice or steak house that served much more than steak. Very eloquent, great service,and a wonderful dessert selection. ( the optional dinning is available at least 2 times during the voyage at no charge for each cabin) Do not miss this experience. Housekeeping in the staterooms was the best of any cruise we have had to date. 10+ with big comfortable bath towels made for adults. Not the skimpy little ones on most cruises that a large man could not wrap around himself. Great robes, ice in the bucket everyday, fresh fruit daily, and all of this while you are gone. Our cabin attendant never once bothered us while in the room and seemed to know our personal schedule. Even the days at sea if we used the room for a short nap or to enjoy the veranda, the room was made up after we would leave for another activity. Did not use many or try to seek them out. They were always printed in our daily notice, so you knew the night before the activity, time, and place. However enjoyed the digital camera workshop, on " How to take better pictures" this was free of course and well attended. Okay, here is my one negative: The bars, disco, and areas that served alcohol were empty. Except for a small reception area outside of the main dinning room ( people had a drink here while waiting for their other couples to arrive for dinner ) because of open seating. Why? Azamara has high drink prices $8-11 with an automatic 18% gratuity. Wine list is okay but lower price wines were limited and all had an 18% corkage fee. Really my bar bill was less than 1/2 of a normal 14 day cruise because of this. We did enjoy a cocktail at all the shows and had wine every night at dinner. If you truly want to see the ports of interest, take a private tour. We learned and saw much more than our fellow passengers in Istanbul and Kusadasi with private tours . We also used the ship tours which are good. However it is still a group (30-40) people at group pace with a set itinerary. Cairo was a very long day with a 6 hour round trip bus ride. Used the ship's tour, okay, but if we end up in Egypt again, will use a private tour. 11 ports in 14 days. You are busy and that's they way we like it. Lots of ruins ( the best ), castles, and churches.I will not bore you with a port by port description. This was the best ocean cruise I have taken. The most interesting sights, picture taking time,shopping, and food by far. Turkey was an absolute delight, with soooo much to do, that 2 days just scratched the surface in Istanbul. Guides are very knowledgeable and the English is quite good. Bottomline take this trip! You will love it, as each destination is different and very interesting. Some of the ports you enter are beautiful and only accommodate small ships. Many would be jealous like (NICE). Our overall experience was a 9.5 or better. Had it not rained all day while in Sorrento, this trip would be a 10. We met some really nice people who enhanced this trip for us.

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