Azamara Quest – a day visit

Azamara Quest is one of two ‘R’ class ships that form the Azamara Club Cruises fleet. They  offer a deluxe and intimate cruise experience for discerning travellers whose desire is to reach out-of-the-ordinary destinations and indulge in amenities and services to a higher standard than is normally experienced.
Each can carry 694  guests to discover the hidden corners of the world that larger cruise ships simply cannot reach. An interesting point with the Quest’s individual itineraries is that they very rarely return to their port of departure.
It was a great pleasure to be part of the Silver Travel Advisor Team….    –  always in the forefront of travel advice for the over 50s.
…..last Friday for an escorted visit to Azamara Quest while she called at the port of Southampton.
Our host for the day was Sonia Limbrick, Azamara’s UK Business Development Manager: an exceedingly enthusiastic and knowledgeable host who gave us a comprehensive tour of the Quest followed by a very good lunch in one of the Quest’s two speciality Restaurants,  Aqualina.
A 694 passenger boutique style smaller ship, one immediately on boarding felt the ambiance of a traditional country club with  a good variety of public rooms spread throughout the ship, wrought iron stairway railings, tastefully colourful mixtures of classic furniture and fittings,  and carpets and drapes straight out of ‘Homes and Gardens’.

The Drawing room

Our day was hosted by  Azamara’s UK Business Development Manager, Sonia Limbrick, and started with a brief introductory overview of the company’s ‘raison d’être’ before we proceeded on a comprehensive tour of the ship, its accommodation, public areas, entertainment and spa facilities and not forgetting the choice of five separate dining facilities.
There are around eight categories of accommodation ranging from Club World Owners Suites through Club Continent Suites, Ocean View Staterooms and Interior staterooms. Azamara Quest offers accommodation of which 93% affords ocean views…
Club World Owners Suite 8088
Club Continent Suite 8043
Club Deluxe Veranda stateroom…
All staterooms have attendants while suites have, in addition, butler service. Azamara Quest offers accommodation of which 93% affords ocean views and 68% of accommodation offers a balcony.
As previously mentioned there are five venues for dining. Discoveries, the main Restaurant, is a 340 seat elegant dining room with large ocean view windows at the rear of the ship. Open-seating dining is on offer and there is a good proportion of tables for two: while a number of larger tables are capable of accommodating up to ten diners…
The Windows Café is a buffet style restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating.  Breakfast, lunch and casual dinners are served here while, in close proximity on the Lido Pool Deck is the ‘Pool Grill’.  Here there is a really extensive menu of not just the usual variety of burgers but a whole range of brochettes with almost every meat filling one could imagine. The Pool Grill opens for lunch and remains open during afternoons at sea.
There are two speciality restaurants on Azamara Quest and both carry a surcharge. ( complimentary for Club World Owner’s Suites, Club Ocean Suites and Club Continent Suites).  Both occupy excellent positions at the aft end of the ship, high on deck 10, and with full floor to ceiling windows on two sides of each restaurant.
The Prime C is a classic steakhouse restaurant, elegant and spacious and with its own  small bar, perfect for a quiet drink before dinner while maybe waiting for a prime position table. Seafood specialities are also served and the cover charge is currently $25.00 per person.
Also situated in Prime C is ‘The Chef’s Table’ where a changing  menu degustation is available. Dinners are held on the high table and at the beginning of each  course the sommelier and one of the chefs introduce the pairing. Three alternating menus are available and the cover charge is $95.00 per person. In addition to the Chef’s table there are also two Caviar tasting tables.
Aqualina, with its soothing blue and white décor, white columns and  terracotta hues,  creates the ambiance of a Mediterranean Cafe.
Guess what?  It offers  Mediterranean cuisine. Starters including seafood bouillabaisse, lobster-asparagus salad, and wild mushrooms with parmesan and white truffle cream. Main courses may include seafood paella with saffron couscous, black truffle and mushroom risotto, and rack of lamb.
Finally the Mosaic Café  offers a relaxed,  comfortable chair lounge atmosphere where guests can enjoy an espresso or hot tea with fresh biscotti, tea sandwiches or scones, and a fine range of biscuit style cookies.
In keeping with tradition a High Tea is served mid afternoon in the Looking Glass Lounge where a selection of speciality teas, elegant pastries, and hand-made tea sandwiches are served while guests enjoy the panoramic views.
Centre of entertainment is the Cabaret Lounge, venue for a variety of live entertainment including full-stage musical revues, classical soloists, bands and other entertainment in a cabaret nightclub with a full bar and cozy tables.
A second reasonably large venue with a dance floor is  the Looking Glass Lounge. Floor to ceiling views ahead of the ship set the mood for this traditional evening style club which features both live music and a Disc Jockey for playing favourite hits.
In addition to the aforementioned venues there are also a Casino and Casino Luxe piano bar, again the Mosaic Café with its close proximity to the Atrium and the Discoveries Lounge.

Piano annexe to the Casino Luxe

For those who enjoy pampering a complete Spa complex is available,  including a fashionable Hair Salon, fully equipped Fitness Centre and an acupuncture clinic.

Hair salon in Spa Complex

Quest also has its own eConnections, an internet facility for those not able to avail themselves of the ship wide wifi….

eConnections Internet facility

For more sunnier climes the Azamara Quest has a well laid out Lido Deck with pool, Jacuzzis, a bar and a grill…

Lido Deck

We rounded off our tour with a very good lunch in the Aqualine Restaurant…

Beef Carpaccio

Kansas beef Rib-eye

Chocolate Hazelnut Roll

…where we were additionally given the opportunity to present questions arising from our tour.  One particularly nice touch was the attendance and greeting by the ship’s Master, Captain Johannes Tysse
In summary I was impressed with what I both saw and heard. It is, of course, not possible to evaluate the full product on a one day visit and while experiencing all activities. But the projected image of quality, style and relaxed premium cruising that I did witness certainly  appealed.
Couple that with the additional touches of a  ‘more inclusive’  offering of  standard beverage packages  (Premium Beer Package to Premium Top Shelf and Ultimate Liquor Packages are available: these options give you more preferred spirits at a great value),  the included gratuities, Azamazing evenings,  and the obvious high level of service and this certainly becomes a product that my wife and I will be trying over the coming 12 months.

My thanks to Sonia Limbrick for your enthusiasm and information and Debbie Marshall of Silver Travel Advisor…   – always in the forefront of travel advice for the over 50s.

…for the invitation.

4 responses to “Azamara Quest – a day visit

  1. Pingback: Azamara Quest - Azamazing in a Day.·

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