This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit the recently re-imagined Azamara Quest during a visit to Southampton.
Azamara Club Cruises is a boutique-style premium cruise line with just two ships, and is a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises. As part of a multi-million dollar upgrade to enhance the Azamara experience; both the Azamara Quest and it’s sister ship, Azamara Journey; have recently undergone refits – with Azamara Quest finishing her dry dock spell in April.
The cruise line pride themselves on offering an immersive experience with longer stays, overnight calls and even night-tours on all of their cruise itineraries. Not only that, but Azamara are known as being more-inclusive than other operators with selected alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages included within the cruise fare; amongst many additional amenities. One highlight I learned about would be the AzAmazing Evening. In short, it’s a complimentary evening shore-excursion offered on almost every voyage (transatlantic and those under seven days are excluded). Guests are whisked away for an evening of entertainment which celebrates the local culture. It could be a private beach party at Playa Mia in Cozumel or Flamenco at the Poble Espanyol in Barcelona; there really is a variety of different experiences.
Welcoming a mere 686 passengers, it’s certainly a vast contrast from Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas; which accommodates more than 5,400. In short, that translates to a more personalised cruising experience in an atmosphere that I’d probably describe as a country club; a nice balance between the formality and relaxed-approach taken by other cruise operators.
During my visit in Southampton, I was able to take a explore a number of the public areas which had been recently refurbished. Unfortunately as the ship was full, I was only able to view an oceanview stateroom and didn’t manage to take a photo – but they all look very modern, feature flat-screen televisions and plush amenities. The Windows Cafe (buffet area) looked very bright and airy and there were plenty of seating options for all sizes of travel parties.
From the carpets to television screens; literally everything across the ship had been enhanced – which is a good thing to see. In a day where the cruise industry is as competitive as ever, Azamara have shown they are passionate about their guests and the enhancements really did make a positive impression; on me and other guests who were part of the tour.
If you had to ask me for my favourite area onboard; it would probably be The Living Room – which is located at the top of the very front of the ship; with floor to ceiling windows looking towards the horizon and beyond. Apparently it’s “the place to be” each evening with live music, a wine and tapas bar, comfortable seating and there’s even a couple of interactive tables. Yes, that’s right – tables where you can surf the world wide web, browse future voyages and even send an electronic post-card back home. I can assure you that the tech geek within me was very impressed.
As someone who has only sailed with larger operators, I really could see myself stepping aboard either the Azamara Quest or Azamara Journey sometime in the future. Below are a few photographs from my experience.
Thanks to the team at Azamara Club Cruises here in the UK for a lovely day in Southampton.