ABOARD THE AZAMARA QUEST — Our nine-day cruise aboard the Azamara Quest has come to an end. After a night in port, we will disembark in the morning and move to a hotel for a few days of sightseeing in BA. This morning we did a shore excursion that was a city sightseeing trip and got an overview of this historic – and quite beautiful – Argentinean capital.
As a fan of the Broadway and West End hit “Evita,” I have seen her story and read her country’s story many times. Now I will have the opportunity to see it up close and personal. Her balcony, where as First Lady of Argentina she addressed her “people,” is incredibly imposing, but then again after a quick four-hour tour, I found BA to be an impressive city.
Memories that are among my “souvenirs”
Now I am getting ready to pack, and I look back at the vignettes of Azamara Quest that I will take home with me:
- The absolute grace of the ship. It is not a new vessel, it has had some rehabbing, new carpeting, soft goods, etc., yet it can’t really be considered “dated.” The traffic flow is straightforward, and you CAN get there from here. Once aboard it is simple to find your way to the dining room, pool deck, etc.
- The absolute grace of the officers and crew, an amazing mix of men and women from some 50 countries who never use the word “no” or “I can’t.” Anything seems possible and everyone asks “can I do anything for you?” And all seem to be enjoying their work on the vessel as much as guests do.
Consider Chief Security Officer Silvano Sabbah, who first went to work on Celebrity ships in 2000. When first offered the job with Azamara, his response was tentative. He joined Azamara for a short contract before returning to Celebrity but quickly returned. He says he loves the quality of guests on Azamara and the atmosphere on board. Sabbah’s additional responsibilities include conducting Sabbath services each Friday evening.
- The pairing of ship and crew is an excellent fit.
- Guests are a friendly bunch and because of the ship’s size, sitting and chatting the afternoon away is relatively common.
- Food, whether in Discoveries Restaurant (Deck 5) or Windows Café (Deck 9) or the alternative dining rooms on Deck 10, is top drawer.
- Entertainment was quite good. A singer from the UK named Cheryl Martin blew the audience away with two performances during the nine days. Onboard performers under the direction of Cruise Director Russ Thomas Grieve are talented and professional.
Were there some things that didn’t sit well? A few, but nothing much that the ship could control.
- We were late leaving Rio because four containers of food and supplies had been misplaced in the port. Finally found, and off-loaded by Azamara officers and crew, the ship sailed about four hours late.
- Shops on the casino were closed while the ship sailed close to the Brazilian coast. When opened, the crowd went wild!
- The mosquito infestation was a mess, but good-natured Captain Stig and Hotel Manager Ryszard Gusmann solved the problem immediately.
- Weather ranged from stifling hot to a cool breeze and some unfortunate winds and rain.
- I lost a $20 bill in the ATM machine when I withdrew $300 and was able to hang on to $280 before the jaws slammed shut. And of course, when Guest Relations tried to phone my bank we discovered it was closed for Christmas.
Again, nothing to blame on the ship. I loved it!
December 24, 2012