Excellence on Azamara
Noel Butler | August 27, 2018 | Azamara | Azamara Quest
We sailed from Athens to Venice on Azamara Quest on the 15th August 2010 to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The Azamara package included flights from Manchester and transfers.
As regular cruisers we were looking for a smaller ship with open dining and an itinerary which included some less visited ports. The Quest looked ideal as it also offered an informal dress code, making for a relaxed holiday.
The transfer and check in for the ship were effortless and welcoming with no queuing or waiting around, we were most grateful to receive a complimentary upgrade to a club continent suite as the ship was not fully booked. After a glass of sparking wine we were shown to our cabin. The spacious and contemporary design was great although the bathroom was a bit on the small side, this didn??t really matter and my wife thought the Elemis toiletries were a quality touch. The cabin (as well as the rest of the ship) was kept in immaculate condition at all times and the bed was really comfy.
We had the services of a butler but apart from a couple of occasions we really didn??t require his enthusiastic services, we almost felt sorry that we had nothing for him to do ! He called daily to our cabin in the afternoon to offer items from both savoury & sweet trolleys but we were already full from all the fantastic food on offer.
For a small ship the dining options were superb. Fresh, quality ingredients were served in all the venues, the service exceptional at all times. We dined at both Aqualina (Mediterranean influenced) & Prime C (steaks & seafood) but found the main dining room ?? Discoveries ?? to offer a great choice of varied menu options. Our favourite lunch time venue was to sit outside under the sun umbrellas in Windows caf??, whilst taking in the views from the aft of the ship along with a glass or two of the excellent wines served at both lunch & dinner.
We weren??t sure what to expect from the complimentary wines but found that they were all of excellent quality and different on everyday of our 12 night cruise. There was little reason to order from the extensive wine list unless you wanted something in particular. Bottled waters & other soft drinks were also included in the fare.
I don??t want to leave out the fantastic deck barbeque??s which were offered on 2 evenings. After going shopping with the chef to the local fish market in Corfu we were presented that evening with an unbelievable array of shellfish and whole fish being cooked to order along with many local Greek specialities. A centrepiece was a whole fresh tuna being served as sushi. As a keen cook myself I recognised the huge amount of effort required by the staff to make this an outstanding event.
The overall atmosphere on board was of a friendly and happy staff who couldn??t do enough to help. The captain, Carl & the hotel director, Philip were always visable around the ship chatting to people in a relaxed way, often joining in for lunches or even helping out at the BBQ.
Itineraries on Azamara incorporate longer stays & overnights in port, great for seeing destinations like Venice when the hoards of tourists have departed !(I guess that??s a bit rich). A couple of highlights of our trip were the excursion to Alberobello from Bari in Italy to see the Trulli houses, small hut like homes with conical stone roofs, like a scene from a lilliputian film set. In Ravenna, Northern Italy, a visit to the town??s chapels which house incredible 6th century mosaics, a Unesco site. Although the port of Ravenna was a good 30 minutes away, Azamara??s generous free shuttle transfers operated throughout the stay.
The only problem now is to decide which itinerary we will go on next year.
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