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Azamara Quest Blog - Wrap-up
We're in Hong Kong at the end of this 18-dayer from Singapore, and we've finished in style with a stunning sunset over Victoria Harbour with the city skyline as a backdrop. Most of the feedback on board has been very positive (but as always there's one or two whingers around who never seem happy with anything) and it's easy to see why this small cruise line has a loyal following.
With a maximum capacity of 694, Azamara Quest is at the smaller end of the mid-size ships which means you don't feel like you're competing for space for thousands of other guests and this also makes for quick and easy embarkation and disembarkation in ports. And importantly, the ship itself rides well even in three metre swell which we encountered a few times in the South China Sea. She may be a little on the old side being built in the 1990's but Quest has an edge of comfort and elegance across the board which harks back to the golden era of cruising.
Service levels on board are seriously high and this is where Azamara is investing a lot of time and effort in their operation .. the actual suites and especially the bathrooms may be small but the crew more than make for that with attention to detail similar to that you'll experience on the ultra-luxury cruise lines.
Perhaps the best feature of this particular cruise, apart from the crew, is the itinerary. It's the perfect mix of sea days and extra days in some of the more popular ports like three days in Bangkok, two in Ho Chi Minh, two in Halong Bay and two in Hong Kong and Singapore. The sea days in between make for a great way to relax and unwind after busy days of touring and exploring these fascinating Asian cities.
And while I'm often not a great fan of cruise ship tours - I often find many of them to be glorified shopping/babysitting exercises - these tours were pretty good. The key to it was the Shore Excursion team who did an excellent job with their information and presentations. So much detail went into these that we were left with no doubt exactly what we were in for when we went ashore, and the whole team made sure the tours ran on time with little fuss and no waiting around. A few people on board made independent arrangements for tours - which I have done myself in the past - and I was told they were "okay".
Anyway, another big plus is the food quality. The main dining restaurant was busy most nights and we waited around 10-15 minutes for a table but the menu selection and presentation was top notch and the upstairs buffet style restaurant, Windows Cafe, was also excellent and offered a good variety and styles of food each night.
We've had some questions from readers but there's a problem with our system which means we can't answer them until our IT department get back from holiday next week, so we'll get to those when we can.
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