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    BRADBURY ON AZAMARA 15 - SUMMARY So What Do I Really Think!

    Easy: There are many things that Azamara do right, the first one being simply making everything so easy. Easy because everything is so well organised, you almost don’t have to think because they do the thinking for you. Right from the very start by the greeting from the representative who escorted us on our wonderful private water taxi to the Hilton Hotel, not once did we need to fill out a form, produce a ticket, nor prove who we were. We were just whisked along and everything was taken care of for us, even down to calling the porter to handle the luggage.

    This continued right throughout the cruise. You didn’t have to think I need to go back to the cabin to grab a towel, you didn’t have to stop at a bar to buy a bottle of water, you didn’t have to stop to buy a shuttle bus ticket. Its just there all waiting for you.

    Made to Feel Special: The other thing that they get right is their customer service. You are put first, you are genuinely welcomed into their home, their ship, you are made to feel special and they are all so sincere about it too. Its not false smiles, these are real smiles from people who enjoy their job, you can tell this is more than just a ship. It is a ship that is loved both by passengers and crew alike.

    Friendly. Friendly because its so easy to make friends! The open dining arrangement means you get to socialise with lots of different people and when you meet up later its like one big family party. Solo cruisers need never feel awkward nor out of place on this ship, its just so easy to mingle and you wont get lost in a couple of thousand other passengers, never seeing the same faces again. You will be among friends. Its not just the passengers that make it friendly, it’s the Senior Officers and Crew too. For most days there was some event, hosted by the Senior Officers, be it a deck barbeque, serving ice cream, flambéing crepes or whatever, Even hosting a walk through one of the ports. The Officers were there doing it! This meant a lot of personal interaction between passengers and crew. Right to the very end of the cruise when not only the Captain stood at the bottom of the gangway to say farewell but also many of the senior officers.

    Party. Party this ship seems to do quite well. Unlike the newer ships where you have the Disco that caters only for the 20 yr olds, this Disco caters for the 50 somethings + and will adapt to requests for all likes and music preferences. They create a party atmosphere too on deck with events such as ‘White Night’ an evening when they make an extra special effort to bedeck the pool area with flags and balloons and bring out proper tables and chairs from one of the lounges, set in a sophisticated way, with a live band to entertain and an evening deck barbeque.

    Tradition: This line upholds some of the old traditions of REAL cruising. Many of the senior staff were British, we had a lovely British Hostess. Hostess – I have not seen a proper hostess on a ship for many years, but this ship has one! And not a hide in the background one, she will get everyone up on the dance floor make sure you are enjoying yourselves as will all the crew.

    So what age group does this Ship cater for and will it suit you. I am pleased to say the majority were in the 50 something + age group. There were a few younger people and also a very small number with young families. Children are not catered for at all but the ones I saw were very happy with just the pool and watching the evening shows. If you want glitz and glam then this ship may not be for you. The dress code is actually very casual – dare I say it but without meaning to sound derogatory is a bit ‘Ocean Village’ in its dress sense.

    The dress code is always one for debate and it really does depend on your interpretation of what you think is acceptable. The bling had to stay in the safe and the floaty evening skirts and trousers stayed in the wardrobe, but out came the pretty flowery maxi dresses and day dresses. OH took one suit which also remained in the wardrobe and was glad of the chinos that he had purchased before we went.

    Relaxing: I actually came back from this cruise feeling happy and relaxed. Relaxed … now that’s strange for I usually come back from a cruise feeling like I need another holiday to recover! Perhaps there is something in these smaller ships. I was a little disappointed that you could not wander from bar to bar, room to room to find some different form of entertainment in the evening, but maybe its not a bad thing after all. Usually there is so much going on, on the bigger ships that maybe we try to pack too much in, so we don’t miss anything, whereas this ship has a slower ease of pace.

    Food. I really did want to be wowed by the food but sadly I wasn’t. I am not saying that it wasn’t good. It was just nice and that’s about all I can say about it. OK but not memorable, nothing special. It was beautifully presented, it read great on the menu but somehow was rather tasteless. I don’t season my food at the table, I think its an insult to the chef, the chef should get it right but I don’t really know what to say other than I was actually disappointed.

    Aesthetics. The interior has charm and elegance, old county house appeal with plush seating, paneled rooms and warm intimate atmosphere. The exterior however is showing signs of age and is almost a contradiction to the interior. The key areas in need of attention are the main pool for there is nothing luxurious nor 5 star about it. This part needs more than a lick of paint, it needs a full rebuild. Same for the spa area at the front of the ship, for although they were busy painting and revarnishing it was not enough to bring it up to tip top exclusive standard. The surface of the spa pool was in a distressed state and although we had a quick visit to see what was there, I would have been very disappointed had I paid the $19 plus 18% for a day pass. This probably explains why there was no-one ever in there when we looked. I hope that during her refit in November all these things are given priority along with some small attention to details like replacing the well worn pool towels with newer fluffier brighter ones. I really don’t think there is much can be done about the size of the showers in the cabins other than perhaps making the whole of the bathroom a wet room, which would probably be totally impractical.

    Convenience: another word that comes to my mind. Convenient because of the size of the ship you are there, right in the heart of the town. You just step off the ship and within minutes you are surrounded by shops, bars and cafes. Azamara really do take you to some amazing places. ‘You’ll love where we take you’ is their strap line and it could not be more true. We were on a ‘to die for’ itinerary – Croatia, Montenegro, Messina Straights, the Amalfi Coast – who could not love the truly wonderful and magnificent scenery whilst sailing into these pretty places.

    Welcome. Welcome home maam, welcome home sir, are words I heard often. This ship evokes to me very dear and fond memories of my younger cruising days. It has a warmth and a welcome that I have not experienced in a long time on a ship. For most ships these days for all their glam and glitz and sparkle are nothing more that floating hotels. This is special and has some indefinable aura about her. For any of you older cruisers who knew and loved P&O.s old Canberra you will know what I mean for in the end despite the old gal that she was, tired and a little frayed around the edges, she was a loved ship. This is how I can understand people feel about Azamara Quest, for she is not perfect but she has that special atmosphere that cannot be fabricated.

    Would I cruise Azamara again? Yes I would. No matter what cruise, what line, what ship, we make the most of it and enjoy what we have. No cruise will ever be perfect, we can all pick fault and although she has a few flaws, I think that indefinable something else she exudes can make you overlook the negative aspects. If I could take a dash of Royal Caribbeans Entertainment, mix it with a good splash of Celebritys Solstice Class Glitz and an abundance of Azamaras warmth and welcome I would have my perfect cruise line.
    Last edited by Bradbury, Coventry; 31st August 2012, 09:51 AM.

    I am so pleased that you found the Azamara that so many of us feel so passionate about. I haven't been on Quest for a while now, just Journey which has been refurbished, but would look forward eagerly to revisit either.

    Great and objective reporting, I love your style and insight.

    I am so glad you would go again with Azamara. .......Neil


      The whole cruise from start to finish sounded fantastic, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for sharing it with us.
      And yes, that too, is now on my 'to do' list, which is getting longer by the day!.........................................Carol


        Great reports now come on get those photos out.



          I had wondered what your overall thoughts on Azamara were and you've given an excellent summary. I'm with Jim, looking forward to the photos. HT


            Excellent reporting Bradbury. I found it really clear and objective. It certainly clarified a few ponts for me. Thanks.


              What a great summary, I'm also looking forward to seeing your photographs.


                I, along with many others have enjoyed all of your reports. Just the pics. now to round off what has been a fascinating and enjoyable 'Quest for adventure' for you.
                sigpic*Carol M*


                  Thank you for keeping us all in the loop of the joys of Azamara Quest. Well done! Time to rest now Job well done.


                    it seems you will have happy memories of this cruise - and remember the excitement of your Afternoon Tea.


                      Excellent Summary Bradbury, I too look forward to the photos, when you have the time!
                      Lizzie sigpic


                        I followed your blog which made great reading and your summary captures it well. Thanks


                          Enjoyed reading 'Bradburys Travels' immensley followed by great report, thank you
                          Cruise dot made another good choice with their representative


                            great summary Bradbury. looking forward like everyone else to the photos.
                            don't want to work, just want to cruise.


                              What a well written summary. The only bit I'm disappointed in is that the food didn't taste as good as it looks in your photographs. We are going on the Quest straight after it's refit in November so it'll be interesting to see if some of the other negatives you've mentioned have been addressed. Regardless, I'm still thoroughly looking forward to our trip as I've wanted to experience Azamara since being berthed beside one of the ships somewhere on the other side of the world a few years ago.


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