Last week I was lucky to have been invited on Azamara Quest along with 3 of my colleagues for the Tall Sails and Remembrance Cruise to commerate the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy Beaches. We joined the ship part way through the Cruise in St Malo for 3 nights finishing in Rouen. On arrival in St Malo we were met by our account mamanger Stuart and taken by tender to the ship. From the outside the ship looked quite dated in style but once we were onboard it couldnt have been more different. This was like walking into a Beautiful Country House Hotel, if we hadnt been on water you wouldnt have know any different, the inside of the ship had been completely redesigned with modern elegance
My colleague Ruth and I had one of the catagory 8 ocean view cabins that had an obstructed view but the obstruction wasnt too bad and you could still see out of the window. The stateroom was a good size with plenty of storage and deorated in neutral colours. Plush Dressing Gowns and Slippers were also included which you dont get with all cruislines, unless you are in one of the higher grade cabins, like a balcony or suite. As Azamara is all inclusive all of the soft drinks selection on the top shelf of the fridge in the stateroom were complimentary, any alcoholic beverages had to be paid for, There was also bottle water replensihed daily in the cabin, which was also complimentary. For guests in Balcony Plus and above staterooms onboard 120 minutes of complimentary internet is included, one free bag of laundry per stateroom each 7 days, one night complimentary speciality dining for two each seven days, complimentary in -room spirits and priority embarkation and disembarkation. For suite guests they would recieve 240 minutes internet and everything that the balcony guests get but can have complimentary seating in the speciality restaurants as many times as they want, where available.
Once onboard it was time to grab a bit of lunch and we decided to eat at the Patio. This is an outside dining area at the aft of the ship serving a selection of freshly prepared food. I went for the Tuna Wrap which arrived with a freshley seared Tuna Steak, not like your normal run of the mill processed Tuna with Mayo!.
In the evening we were hosted by Stuart in the Discoveries, Main Dining Room. The choice of Menu was plentiful and the service was second to none. All of the staff were really friendly and you got the feeling they were more like a family. Once dinner was over we went off to the Cabaret Lounge to watch the show production “Sailaway”. This was very good and the vocalists were excellant and again you got the feeling that thet were really enjoying themselves.
Day 2 we arrived in Cherbourg and headed off to Windows Cafe, the buffet restaurant for breakfast. There was a huge choice of hot and cold food, everything from a full English, freshly prepared omlettetes, fruit, porridge pastries and breads, you name it they had it. After breakfast we had a presentation from Stuart and a little training session and after that we were free to do we pleased. We all decided not to get off the ship and stayed on board and relax and to sample some more excellent dining.
This was also an excellant opportunity to explore the ship and take plenty of pictures when most people were ashore. Again we all dined at the patio for lunch as it was a lovely day but the best was yet to come. We found out we were dining complimentary in Prime C, the steak restaurant, on the 2nd evening. This is one of the 2 speciality restaurants onboard along with Aqualina which is an Italian/Mediterranean Restaurant. The cover charge for both of these restaurants is $30.00 per person and I would thoroughly recommend it.
As there were other agents onboard with us we had a group of 11, so we had the chefs table so we could all be seated together. This is usually used to have the experience of the chef coming out to you and going over all the courses with you one by one and pairing your food with different wines. We were dining off the regular menu which was exceptional. The waiters brought a selection of all the sides available for us to share and I went for the 5oz Fillet Mignon for my main course and was cooked to perfection.
As the drinks are all inclusive onboard included are 2 different red and white wines and these changed every night. Also included are beers, spirits and cocktails and this can also be upgraded from $19.00 per person per night dependant on the duration of the cruise
During a full Azamara Cruise they have an AZA-mazing Evening and a White Night. The Aza-mazing night is complimentary and they have crafted immersive experiences that let you discover the spirit of the destination. Although we werent onboard for this we did have the White Party on the last night. The decks were cleared at 4pm and the all the tables were set up for the party. The deck was decorated with curtain and balloons and reminded me of an outside wedding venue. This was another food extravaganza that didnt disappoint. The selection of food was amazing with a whole section of seafood, another for deserts and another for hot food. All of the officers helped serve the food, which was lovely, and then once the dining was over the staff did a parade around the deck. To keep in with the theme of the cruise they also held a minutes silence which was respectful. After this the entertainment singers and Cruise Director Eric sang with the band and had everyone up dancing and we even did the congo around the deck, which we of course joined in!
The main entertainment area on the ship was “The Living Room” which was situated at the front of deck 10. This is where there was daily evening entertainment with singers and then later in the evening the resident Dj would take over into the small hours of the morning. Snacks were also available through the day here and canapes were available in the evening. The Drawing Room was another lovely place to meet for pre dinner drinks, and just as its name states it did just feel like you were in a drawing room of a stately home.
For the more energetic people onboard (myself not included) there was a fully equipped Gym and of course a lovely spa area too where you could have treatments. There was also table tennis available for people who like a little bit of light outside excercise and a running track for the more adventurous.
I loved every minute of my time onboard and having cruised a lot I think it would be hard to beat the service and quality of food we had. I will definately be looking out for their cruises in the future for my own holiday and cant wait to shre my experience with my customers who may be interested in sailing with Azamara.