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TerryAndDoug

Just back from first Azamara cruise

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My partner, Terry, and I have just returned from our first Azamara cruise, sailing on the Quest. As a point of reference, we are in our 40's, from the US and splurged on a club continent suite. I won't attempt to post a detailed review, as the recent one eroller provided is complete and true in every regard (including reports of the fantastic hot chocolate in the Mosaic Café!)

 

Here are a few thoughts -

 

We have enjoyed every cruise we have taken on various lines in the past (yes, even Carnival had some good points!) However, each cruise still had at least one issue that wasn't handled well from a service perspective. I cannot think of any experience onboard the Quest that disappointed us . The service was outstanding from all of the crew, no matter what their position. I was blown away one day when we were on deck, looking at something in the sea through a window. A crew member was sweeping the deck, but saw us, and came over and showed us that the window opened, so we could get a better view. He saw something that would make our experience better, and didn't hesitate to act.

 

Soon after boarding, we stopped by Aqualina to make reservations for there and Prime C, as we intended to take full advantage of the suite perk in the specialty restaurants. While there, we asked about special dietary needs, as Terry is vegan. The hostess contacted Head Waiter Daniel, who arrived within a couple of minutes. He was extremely helpful, making sure that arrangements would be made for that evening. Next, we went to Windows for a quick lunch, and the Hotel Director, Ryszard, stopped by our table and introduced himself. He also made it clear that there would be no problems with dietary needs. He was absolutely correct. Each night our waiter/waitress would ask what Terry wanted to eat the following night, or a request of "chef's surprise" brought many delicious meals during the cruise.

 

Milena, a waitress in Prime C, provided the best service we have ever received on any cruise. She loves to please, and has a fantastic attitude. I wish I had her ability to remember names - whether we saw her in Prime C, Windows or elsewhere, I always saw her addressing multiple passengers by name.

 

Igor, a waiter in Aqualina, was also outstanding, and we had the pleasure of sitting in his section each night we were in Aqualina.

 

Ravin was our butler. I really don't know how he kept up his energy each day and never lost his cool. (One day we saw him walking down the hall, carrying a tall stack of food to deliver to a suite. A group of passengers stopped him and started placing a room service order right there. I don't know how he stayed calm, even with such rude behavior. I would have likely dropped the trays on the offenders.) We had room service breakfast each morning, and he also did a fantastic job of getting it to us on time, and setting it up quickly, using the table from our veranda. He would notice if we didn't order any of our "usual" items and ask if we wanted them.

 

Mevin was our stateroom attendant. We didn't see him very much, but when we did, he seemed disappointed that we didn't have any requests for him. The fact is, the suite was so well cared for, that we never had to ask for anything. Outstanding!

 

All of the Shore Excursion staff were excellent. It seems like whatever ship we're on, this department isn't up to par, but the Quest broke this stereotype. We also liked having a tour escort from the staff on most of our excursions. It really made it seem like Azamara is more invested in ensuring that the excursions were positive experiences than we've felt on other cruises.

 

Anyone who's sailed with them know that Captain Johannes and Ryszard are fantastic. Almost every day one of them would stop by our table at dinner or Mosaic Café and chat. I commend Captain Johannes for keeping the passengers informed about issues that we don't often hear about on other ships (what is the level of GI illness onboard, the possibility of rough weather during the upcoming night, etc.)

 

What would I change about the Quest? The only thing that comes to mind is the entertainment. We realized ahead of time that the entertainment is really geared towards an older demographic, so that wasn't a surprise. We also realize that, given the size of the ship, some of the big production shows just aren't feasible. Since we were in port every day, often until late evening, this didn't really affect us, but we probably wouldn't book an Azamara cruise that had many days at sea.

 

What would I change about Azamara? No surprise here - bring the level of service shore-side up to that experienced onboard. (What would we do without Bill?) As another example, when we first arrived in our suite, we saw that there was a copy of the 2012 Destination Guide there. Weeks ago, when I saw that this could finally be ordered online, I did so, but still have not received a copy in the mail. It may sound like a small detail, but many potential customers are probably lost because of not following through on simple requests for information. I had never heard of Azamara until recently, and likely wouldn't have booked my cruise without seeing comments on Cruise Critic telling how fantastic the onboard experience is.

 

This was a wonderful cruise! We surely hope to cruise with Azamara again soon!

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Thanks for sharing your review with us, great to hear you had such a good time - and delighted to read that Daniel is now a Head Waiter, he has grown so much in confidence and competence with Azamara

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Hello TerryAndDoug -

 

Great news and thank you for sharing your comments with the Community! As you mentioned, you would not have considered Azamara if it weren’t for the Cruise Critic endorsements you read about our fantastic onboard experience. Let’s keep the process going! I was so pleased to learn that Terry’s vegan needs were met.

 

I’m disappointed that you have not yet received your 2012 Destination Guide. I’m aware that our marketing team is working with the provider to speed up their turn-around time.

 

We’re delighted that your first Azamara Club Cruise experience exceeded your expectations and hope that we will have the opportunity of welcoming you both onboard again and again.

 

Best wishes for the year ahead!

 

Regards,

 

Bill Leiber

________________________

Chief Blogging Officer*

Azamara Club Cruises

(*CBO is an authorized and compensated representative of ACC)

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TerryAndDoug

 

Thank you for taking the time to post your review. I'm glad to hear that you had a wonderful time. My DW and I are hoping to experience Azamara first hand next year.

 

Many thanks to all who contribute to this forum. We look foward to each and every review.

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Hi TerryandDoug,

 

Thank you for your informative review. I'm pleased to hear you had a great time on Quest. Isn't Captain Tysse the best ? Welcome Home !

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Great review, and we'll second the wonderful Melina. We met her in Prime C on Journey last year. We were thrilled to see her on Quest this fall, and she welcomed us back with a big hug. A total pleasure, and one of many on Azamara.

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Thanks so very much for a wonderful review.

The only issue I have for you to consider is don't dismiss sea days on Azamara. I only wish we'd had the time to do everything we wanted to do. We had two sea days so filled with activities that the only time I saw my DH and the other couple we were sailing with was at dinner.

Again thanks, perhaps someday we can all meet onboard.

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TerryAndDoug, glad you enjoyed your trip. I echo your sentiments. There was a wonderful crew onboard and Captain Johannes, Ryszard Gusman and the whole team did a great job. I too liked the way Captain Johannes kept us informed of the Noro situation. Did you see him standing at the entrance to Discoveries Restaurant one evening by the hand sanitiser giving a serious, but good natured reminder to wash hands frequently?

 

Phil

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TerryandDoug - Another thanks for a great review, we are sailing with Azamara for the first time in January 2013 and you have really brought what we can expect to life. Now the only thing to do is try and persuade my DOH that we really should try them out next year so we know what to expect in 2013:D.

 

Alison

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Good insights Terry & Doug

I agree about the service excellence. I so agree with your comments about the entertainment and I am in my late fifties. The variety of itineraries makes each cruise feel special unlike repetitious mass sailings with the same itinerary. This compensates a lot for the shortcomings in entertainment. The atmosphere created on board brings out the best behaviour in passengers. Most of them anyway. I am looking forward to the next one.

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Terry & Doug.....

 

Thank you for a wonderful review! It was fair and balanced and accentuated the highlights of cruising with Azamara!!

 

It's nice to have some amazing entertainment on the "behemoth" cruise ships but I would NEVER trade it for the intimacy and the comfort of the Azamara experience. Now that I have earned my creature comforts, I will spend my "golden years" enjoying the small ship experience!! ;)

 

..... looking forward even more now to my upcoming return to Azamara thanks to you!!

 

Happy Sailings, ALWAYS......

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Thanks so very much for a wonderful review.

The only issue I have for you to consider is don't dismiss sea days on Azamara. I only wish we'd had the time to do everything we wanted to do. We had two sea days so filled with activities that the only time I saw my DH and the other couple we were sailing with was at dinner.

Again thanks, perhaps someday we can all meet onboard.

 

Good point! I'm sure we would find plenty to do on sea days, or just relaxing in the sun during a warmer time of year.

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TerryAndDoug, glad you enjoyed your trip. I echo your sentiments. There was a wonderful crew onboard and Captain Johannes, Ryszard Gusman and the whole team did a great job. I too liked the way Captain Johannes kept us informed of the Noro situation. Did you see him standing at the entrance to Discoveries Restaurant one evening by the hand sanitiser giving a serious, but good natured reminder to wash hands frequently?

 

Phil

 

No, we missed that! But, it sounds like something he would do.

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Terry & Doug.....

 

Thank you for a wonderful review! It was fair and balanced and accentuated the highlights of cruising with Azamara!!

 

It's nice to have some amazing entertainment on the "behemoth" cruise ships but I would NEVER trade it for the intimacy and the comfort of the Azamara experience. Now that I have earned my creature comforts, I will spend my "golden years" enjoying the small ship experience!! ;)

 

..... looking forward even more now to my upcoming return to Azamara thanks to you!!

 

Happy Sailings, ALWAYS......

 

Enjoy your cruise! Hopefully we will meet onboard sometime in the future!

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[quote=TerryAndDoug;31487286]

 

"Milena, a waitress in Prime C, provided the best service we have ever received on any cruise. She loves to please, and has a fantastic attitude. I wish I had her ability to remember names - whether we saw her in Prime C, Windows or elsewhere, I always saw her addressing multiple passengers by name."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Anyone who's sailed with them know that Captain Johannes and Ryszard are fantastic. Almost every day one of them would stop by our table at dinner or Mosaic Café and chat".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

High fives to Milena who also provided similar service to my daughter and me on a Holy Land cruise in October. We had just started a meal in Prime C when my daughter began feeling unwell and left the dining room; a prelude to novovirus. Milena offered to have room service serve the meal in our stateroom and was "ideal Azamara service" personified. She had remembered us from a previous cruise and greeted us by name whenever we saw her.

As for Ryszard, who we had met not a few times on previous cruises, we often enjoyed a lunch with him in the Windows Cafe and when I told him that I was exercising on the deck every day in an attempt to reduce my glucose levels he offered to keep me company. But I'm sure that he will admit that the service that he offers is symbolic of an attitude that runs throughout the staff; to the U.K. contributors - a bit like Blackpool through a stick of rock!

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We totally agree about the service on Azamara Quest. We did the Athens to Venice cruise from 6 to 17 November - our first Azamara cruise. We dined in Prime C and also found Milena to be the best waiter we have ever had. There were six of us at the table and no matter what requests we "threw at her", she coped magnificently. Whenever she saw us in other dining venues she always referred to us by name. Ryszard dealt with a slight issue we had with efficiency and charm. The staff and crew were very friendly and approachable. Well done Azamara

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Many thanks TerryandDoug for your review.

We (most reluctantly !!) disembarked the Quest in Venice when you embarked. We generously offered to stay onboard once we heard of the strike in Italy but decided that it was only fair that others should be fortunate enough to experience Azamara......

We so agree about the wonderful service and attitude of the crew - everyone from the Captain to Ryszard to Ngawhira and her guest relations team ( and so on) did everything they could to make the cruise memorable and enjoyable. We always requested Daniel in Prime C (who managed to make our evenings there feel so personal and special (as did maitre d' Mustafa)) and in Aqualina, Igor (who was our waiter in Discoveries on our very first Azamara cruise).

 

We hope this is the first of many wonderful cruises on Azamara for you .....

Edited by spanglycruisegirl
typo

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