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kikki21

Azamara Quest Best of the Greek Islands and Turkey Cruise review 21st June to 28th Ju

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A bit of background to start my review! We booked this cruise over a year ago and it was a special cruise as we were celebrating our honeymoon on it! We took advantage of the double upgrade promotion and we also got flights and 1 night's pre cruise stay included in the price plus transfers which made the price of the cruise very attractive indeed!

This was my 6th cruise and my husband's 2nd - we'd never been on such a small ship before so we were a bit intrigued as to what it would be like!

I will be posting up pics as and when I download them as took rather a lot on my iPhone and normal camera!

Initial impressions - we really enjoyed the cruise a lot, Azamara has a lot of people who work very hard to make the cruise experience both off shore in terms of transfer organisation and on the ship itself - we wouldn't hesitate booking another small ship cruise again but the price has to be right!

 

 

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We drove down to Heathrow from our home in the East Midlands on Thursday afternoon - our hotel didn't have the space for the park and fly nights we needed so we checked into the hotel, got our bags in and then drove up the Bath Road to Purple Parking where we got an excellent rate for 9 nights parking. There is a bus stop outside near the Travel Inn so we caught a bus back to the Arora International Hotel where we were staying in a Premier double room where you have fabulous views of the Heathrow runways! We ordered room service dinners, mainly because hubby wanted to watch World Cup football and even the staff member who brought up the dinners was wowed by the runway views! We had a very early start in the morning for the 06.45 am flight so we wanted to be chilled out and relaxed and me well I'd be grumpy and half asleep at that hour lol!

 

 

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Congratulations on your wedding and looking forward to the rest of your review......but please hurry as we leave on Friday for Quest !!!

 

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Edited by little britain

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Can't wait to read your cruise blog kikki....as you know, Hazel and I should have been on your cruise. I hope you all had a great time.

 

Please write quickly! :)

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Eek trying to sort out and edit my pics but only got as far as Mykonos today! I will try and write faster lol!

So it was a very early morning start and here's a tip - nothing opens until 5am at Terminal 5 so we were there at 4.30am trying to stay awake.

However, there was an Azamara rep there which I wasn't expecting checking people off her list and telling people how/where to check in so that was good!

We got checked in relatively quickly when check in opened and it was through security and into the rather nice duty free shopping area at Terminal 5 where ahem I got a bit stocked up on items! My holiday had started! Getting to your gate can take some time and we had to catch a bit of a metro train so bear that in mind re shopping and catching your plane in time!

 

 

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For some reason my pics aren't uploading - I will keep trying!

 

Anyway we boarded the plane and we managed to select extra leg room seats for going out which was nice although the BA plane is far roomier than Easyjet ones! We had a very pleasant flight and the lovely flight attendant we were chatting to got us 2 min bottles of champagne when we told her that we were on honeymoon so we shared one and kept one for our room later on!

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152210206139677&set=a.10152210200404677.1073741866.591574676&type=3&theater

Edited by kikki21

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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152210239379677&set=a.10152210238279677.1073741867.591574676&type=3&theater

I can input my pics from Facebook but it is a bit of a pain so think I will open up a photobucket type account as it's very slow writing and doing that!

 

We touched down in Athens just about on time - we had mainly good weather and I was able to take quite a few aerial shots with my new digital camera which has a very powerful zoom on it! It's a Panasonic DMC - TZ55 :)

 

An Azamara rep was waiting for us at the airport and as I looked down his list there was just us and another couple staying at the Hilton, everyone else was at the Grande Bretagne!!!!

 

By this time, I was over this hotel issue and we had hopefully sorted out a room upgrade at the Hilton and we were eating lunch close by and thankfully it did all work out well!

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It took about an hour or so to get to the Hilton and we were the first drop offs so that was good! It took a little while to get checked in but a delightful young man did the job and and we got our room upgrade to an Acropolis view room and wow it was worth it! We were on the 9th floor and the room was huge as was the bathroom! I told Martin not to get used to the large space as he wouldn't be getting that onboard the Quest lol! I had looked on Trip Advisor previously and I knew our lunch restaurant was 5 minutes walk away so when everything was in place and we had freshened up a bit and taken lots of pics, we went over for our lunch!

 

Oroscopo was lovely - we had fresh baked bread and bread sticks with lovely dips to start, we had complimentary potato and leek soup which was delicious and a lovely salad with zucchini balls and they bought us out a complimentary slice of cheesecake which was delicious! The service was good too as they were working hard to avoid us being rained on as yes we had some rain showers in Athens but it was still lovely and warm and pleasant!

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We debated what to do after lunch and talked about going up Mount Lycabettus Hill again or to the Plaka but actually all we wanted to do was chill out and this became the theme for our honeymoon - think it was the most relaxed we've ever been and jolly nice it was too! :)

 

We work hard for ourselves as we own our own businesses and the wedding planning was intense so we thoroughly deserved our chill out time - and in any case, it was time for our next treat!

 

Athens is lucky enough to have quite a few Michelin starred restaurants and we decided that it would be lovely to try one out so we picked Funky Gourmet out on Trip Advisor due to the mostly rave reviews and it being no 1! We have eaten at 2 x 2 star Michelin restaurants in the UK so it would be very interesting to have a comparison abroad.

 

We got ready and after having confirmed our reservation via email, we got a taxi outside the Hilton and had a drive across the city to the Keramikos area. it was in a very odd location down pedestrianised streets that cars still drive down and close to a flyover and a mainly residential area but the restaurant itself has been done out very nicely indeed and the service was great like you were being welcomed into a family home!

 

We picked the 2nd tasting menu without wine and I would give the menu 7/10, Martin 6/10 - there were some outstanding dishes and some that fell short of the mark. I don't think the restaurant would gain 2 stars in the UK but would definitely have a 1 star. I still think Sat Bains sets the standard as his food was all amazing from start to finish!

It was definitely an enjoyable experience and gives us an excuse to go back and cruise from Athens again and sample more Michelin starred restaurants!

 

Tip: Taxis in Athens are very reasonable - the trip from the Hilton was 8 euros!

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Yep the link works so I will add some more pics to it now! :)

 

We finished off our evening by having drinks in the rooftop Hilton bar, Galaxy, it was very cool and trendy up there and it was lovely sitting up there drinking my cocktail and Martin on the beer comtemplating getting on board a ship again in the morning - it couldn't come quick enough!

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We had a really good breakfast included at the Hilton - you could have all manner of items but I was still trying to be good after months of healthy eating but I couldn't resist a Greek cinnamon rice pudding yoghurt dish, OMG, it was so good!

The luggage was tagged and taken outside our room at 11am apart from the hand luggage so it was a matter of waiting on the comfy seats in the reception area and oh shopping too - managed to bag the first of my jewellery purchases from my hubby! :) that clock seemed to go by so slowly for our 12pm bus transfer pick up to the port!

 

There was an Azamara rep at the hotel for a few hours in the morning to help with luggage tags and any questions which was useful. Then we were sat on the bus and within half an hour we had our first sight of the Azamara Quest, although she's small, she still looked big - in fact in our experience she gave us all the big ship vibe but on a smaller scale!

 

We managed to get 2 drinks of sparkling wine each and then decided to have a good look round the ship and take pics which was great as hardly anyone else seemed to be around and then we were advised that our cabins were ready well before the advertised time - we had a spa look round and one of the girls taking us round was from Notts so we had a laugh with her and we also had some lunch in Windows.

 

I have to say that we were very satisfied with all of the food we ate on board! We ordered quite a lot from room service especially breakfasts as we really enjoyed them on the balcony and we also ate in Windows and Discoveries but we didn't try any of the speciality restaurants as we ate out quite a bit too with staying later in the ports.

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http://s1172.photobucket.com/user/Monmar1408/slideshow/Facebook/OUR%20BIG%20FAT%20GREEK%20HONEYMOON%20CRUISE

 

I have now copied over my Facebook albums to Photobucket so you should all be up to date on my pics from there - the link is above! :)

 

We had to pick a dining time in Discoveries that night so we picked 8.30pm as it was after sailaway and didn't clash with our Meet and Greet in the Looking Glass which was well attended and was lovely to meet so many people and we felt a bit famous! :) There were canapes and drinks to be had and it was all very pleasant indeed!

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Congratulations on your wedding and honeymoon! I'm enjoying reading your posts. Couldn't see your pics though as after clicking on the link, the message on the website reads that it is a private album.

 

Look forward to reading more.....

Lynne :)

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Congratulations on your wedding and honeymoon! I'm enjoying reading your posts. Couldn't see your pics though as after clicking on the link, the message on the website reads that it is a private album.

 

Look forward to reading more.....

Lynne :)

 

Hi Lynne

 

Thank you for that, just trying to change the settings to public now! I have uploaded everything bar Santorini part 2 and flying home now so the bulk is done - phew, how many photos?! :)

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These were my old favourites and they still remained my favourites and now my husband's too - so still Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes! Loved the fact that we stayed in port late for Mykonos and also Rhodes that is definitely an Azamara plus point - it meant that we could eat out in Mykonos for dinner which we did at M-eating for a really excellent meal, full of local flavour but definitely Greek fusion food! :)

Mykonos is a really chilled out island but it can also be a party island depending on where you go, we both loved it and we also had an excellent lunch at the Vencia Boutique hotel restaurant - great for views over Mykonos, the food was cooked to order and was more typically Greek.

 

We didn't eat out in Rhodes for dinner but we did go out for a walk and a drink after dinner on board the ship which was lovely. Rhodes is great as it is a very pretty port with lots of character due to the rich history of the Old Town!

 

I really wish we could have stayed till 10pm in Santorini so we could have eaten out for sunset in Fira but to be honest, it was so hot that day that we came back to the ship about 5pm and we had had enough!

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As we all know food is a very subjective subject on a cruise! I have to say that we give Azamara a thumbs up on this for the most part!

 

We ordered quite a bit from room service, mainly breakfasts and the service was always prompt and hot food was hot and we also ordered a burger one night as my husband got the munchies and it was great!

 

We were always going to do a mixture of eating out for dinner and eating onboard and we didn't have enough days to try out the speciality restaurants otherwise we would have done so but generally we were very satisfied with the food quantity, quality and service. The waiters would always keep your wine glasses topped up over lunch and dinner! There were 2 occasions where the meat product wasn't great and that was the beef tenderloin on the White Night party night, couldn't get a knife through mine which was disappointing and then my lamb gyros on the Greek buffet night was total gristle and had zero meat on it but I was stuffed with everything else to eat anyway!

 

Good tip re the breakfast smoothies as we both enjoyed them and I also thought the smoked salmon on board for breakfast was delicious and oh the sushi was also very good when we were around to try it!

 

The tempura prawns that were being done fresh on White Night were amazing and I have never seen my husband rave so much over a dessert but he loved the chocolate peanut butter frozen yoghurt!!!

 

We both enjoy our food in any case so it was a big thumbs up and it was great that you had alternatives both on and off the ship if you were in port late if you didn't fancy the menu - liked the fact you could check the menu on your TV! :)

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We were in a standard balcony forward on deck 6 - this wasn't my choice of stateroom and I wouldn't have chosen it if I had had a choice as it was over the Cabaret!

We often like an afternoon nap on a cruise but there were a few times when practice was occuring for the band and/or singers and it was loud and there was no way you could sleep over that!

Although the stateroom is small, it is very functional and there are lots of places to store your belongings and the bed was huge and very comfy.

 

Our stateroom was kept very clean by Remy and we enjoyed the turn down service, my husband liked the chocolates :) and we liked the fact that we were kept watered up and looked after - not really bothered about having fruit there or not! And no towel animals at all! ;)

 

The bathroom hmmm I hated that shower curtain with a passion but then I hate mine at home too but at last there is room to turn round - again it's a functional bathroom but it can hardly be called luxury!

 

I would like to choose my own stateroom next time on Azamara and deck 6 was fine but I would choose more towards mid ship and aft than forward in any case!

 

We did see a lot of visible officers in particular the Captain and Ryszard - it's not everyday that the Captain has a bit of banter in the morning with his guests on the lookout platform but it was nice and personal and you feel that as a guest you do matter.

 

I did think that all the staff we met were personable, friendly, liked to have a bit of banter with you even if you weren't going to buy the very nice H Stern jewellery in the shop, I wish!!! :)

We also had a bit of banter with the very nice blonde lady in the casino, think she may have been one of the managers as we were playing the slots and she was in our tender boat in Mykonos as we were going back into town for dinner and we were joking about not being back in time! (We were back in time!)

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We started off in Athens and visited Mykonos, Kusadasi, Kos, Rhodes, Marmaris and Santorini in that order - and apart from the Friday arrival in Athens where we had a few rain showers, we had warm and in most cases pretty hot sunshine all week long!

 

I have visited all the ports previously either on holiday to the islands or Turkey or on a cruise but my husband hadn't been to any apart from Athens so it was all new to him!

 

We decided early on that we just wanted to chill out and relax so in the end we didn't book any ship pr private excursions and just did our own thing which suited us perfectly. Most of the time, we walked around the sights, had lunch/drinks and shopped!

All these ports are just perfect for that. I researched a couple of places where to eat and then hopefully we made the right choices about where to eat - all bar 1 place was great!

The length of time in the ports was great, the one place where we wished we would have had longer in was Santorini we were there 7am till 7pm, to be there till 10pm would have been perfect. We also could have done with 2 sea days!

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All in all we enjoyed what Azamara offer as a product.

 

We liked the fact that it was a relatively small ship but with big ship amenities.

 

We definitely enjoyed leaving our ports of call later and we also enjoyed the fact that tips were included and that a lot of the drink products were included! I didn't mind drinking pina coladas, grasshoppers and wine at all and my husband didn't mind the wine and the Becks - he also liked the fact that it was all included, less hassle!

 

The Azamazing evening seemed to be well organised and it was enjoyable even to non classical music type fans as such - although some of the music choices could have been livelier (think the cats agreed too! :) ) but the surroundings were awesome - would have been great to be able to walk around some of Ephesus itself in the evening light.

 

More tables were required for the White Night evening - we ended up sitting by the pool on the wooden areas and the wind was a total nightmare that evening! My food was blowing off the plate - but we enjoyed the music, the guitar player was great!

 

We didn't watch any of the ship entertainment programme, not because we didn't want to, we just couldn't fit it all in! - this was probably due to that thing called the World Cup on the TV! :rolleyes: this meant that we never saw any of the other entertainment neither did we partake in any dancing in the Looking Glass, you can also blame the World cup for that one and ok we were on honeymoon too!

 

We enjoyed playing the 1 cent slots even though we lost!

 

I did go down to see what maps/info was being given out in Rhodes out of interest to see what was available and it wasn't good at all and they weren't very good photocopies as it was and were really very small to read so I stuck to Google maps on my iPhone and I like to do my research before the cruise itself so I would have to mark Azamara down here but at least it was something!

 

We were transported everywhere we needed to go with great organisation and timeliness and all went to plan from what we could do and seemed well organised.

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Absolutely loved the pics, thank you. Felt as though I was there.

 

As I was reading your comment on the room I thought it sounded the same as the comment I made about our room and then I saw your pic of you outside the door (6017) and it WAS the same room. Here's the note I made on the Azamara Cabins thread:

"Stayed in 6017 (balcony room) on Journey in August 2009

Above the cabaret lounge - experienced booming bass sounds the first afternoon as the band were practicing and thought we would have to ask to be moved but after that heard nothing. During the evening when the band were playing we were either at dinner or enjoying the entertainment. Everything was quiet by 11pm. If someone liked to rest in the room during the day it might not be the best choice."

 

Our cruise on 24 October begins in Athens too and our pre-cruise hotel room (booked independently) has a jacuzzi on the balcony overlooking the Acropolis. Your similar view has just made me wish we were going sooner.

 

Best wishes to you both

Lynne :)

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Absolutely loved the pics, thank you. Felt as though I was there.

 

As I was reading your comment on the room I thought it sounded the same as the comment I made about our room and then I saw your pic of you outside the door (6017) and it WAS the same room. Here's the note I made on the Azamara Cabins thread:

"Stayed in 6017 (balcony room) on Journey in August 2009

Above the cabaret lounge - experienced booming bass sounds the first afternoon as the band were practicing and thought we would have to ask to be moved but after that heard nothing. During the evening when the band were playing we were either at dinner or enjoying the entertainment. Everything was quiet by 11pm. If someone liked to rest in the room during the day it might not be the best choice."

 

Our cruise on 24 October begins in Athens too and our pre-cruise hotel room (booked independently) has a jacuzzi on the balcony overlooking the Acropolis. Your similar view has just made me wish we were going sooner.

 

Best wishes to you both

Lynne :)

 

Hi Lynne

Thank you for your very kind comments! :)

I've just got to add the rest of the pics to Photobucket now I have finally finished editing them! :)

Ha - can't believe that we were in the same stateroom number! Booming is the word for that bass, practice wasn't done everyday and we managed to avoid it most of the time and in any case bar 1 room the ship was totally full!

Wow jacuzzi on the balcony thats wonderful - sounds like you are definitely going to enjoy that!

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I am adding my port reviews and what we did to the ports info section on Cruise Critic - so I am including a link to each port photos wise and where we ate etc.

 

Really missing being on a cruise ship - think the addiction gets worse with age! :)

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I am adding my port reviews and what we did to the ports info section on Cruise Critic - so I am including a link to each port photos wise and where we ate etc.

 

Really missing being on a cruise ship - think the addiction gets worse with age! :)

 

 

I don't see a link and I've been looking forward to your pictures.

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I have posted my pics under Port reviews for each port :) done all of them apart from Marmaris and just in the middle of that one now!

 

 

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Great report, Kikki. It's been so much fun reading it and looking at your photos! I'm glad you had such a wonderful honeymoon. (And now are you looking forward to an anniversary cruise? ;) )

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Hehe definitely planning a cruise for next year! Looks like it will be on Celebrity though but we'll keep an eye out for Azamara offers!

 

 

 

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