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PASSENGER PERSPECTIVE


Azamara Quest


Taking The Plunge on Service With A Smile


Regular cruiser Trudi-Joy Levy finds her gamble on Azamara Club Cruises comes up trumps


“ D


on’t do it,” said my friend, when I told her I was planning to take an Azamara Quest cruise. “You’ll be disap-


pointed after Oceania, let alone Crystal.” So I didn’t. But that was two years ago and things change. Certainly they had at Azamara. The name alone had been changed


to ‘Azamara Club Cruises’ and they had brought in Larry Pimentel as the new President and CEO. I had loved my cruises on Oceania’s ships, as well as the Princess ‘babies’, so was keen to try another line with the old ‘R’ ships; they’re so much friendlier for the solo passenger. So, when I recently received a mailing with the magic words “Reduced Single Supplement,” I decided to take the plunge. It was an interesting Eastern Mediter-


ranean itinerary with some overnight stops. One was in Rhodes, where my late hus- band and I had spent our honeymoon, 40 years earlier. This would be a sentimental journey for me.


Was I disappointed? Not


a bit of it. That’s not to say it was perfectly smooth sailing, but any problems which arose were quickly addressed and rectified. Some of the crew could benefit from further customer service train- ing but, on the whole, it was service with a smile. I have never sailed with a


line where the officers are so visible and ‘hands on’. From Captain Leif Karlsson down, all the officers were personable and the Food and Beverage Manager, Rudi Lainer, delivered my fresh berries in person when I had been unable to find them at the breakfast buffet. The programme was full, even on port


days, to cater for the passengers on back- to-back cruises who stayed on board, and I was often torn between two conflicting activities.


Cruise Director Tony Markey would run through the daily activities listed on the programme, during his morning TV show so there were very few public announce- ments. They didn’t push their own tours and always had someone on board from the local tourist office at each port, with maps and information.


Shuttle buses were included, as


was wine with lunch and dinner and all speciality coffees and soft drinks throughout the day. The shows/


entertainers were mediocre, but they always are on the small ships, and I’m happy to sit in the piano bar.There were two evening deck parties where the barbecues were manned by the officers and local entertainers were brought on board. After the first two ship’s tours, I cancelled the remainder. The guides employed made me feel like I was at a history lecture, and there was no interaction with them. I was quite happy touring on my own with a guidebook and, in Kusadasi, was able to experience a Hammam, which left me perfectly pink and exfoliated; much better value than the Citrus Scrub on offer at the spa. Would I sail with Azamara again?


Certainly, if they continue to offer reduced single supplements, and the itinerary and timing was right. I think even my cynical friend would now, too!  Trudi Joy Levy


Now send us YOUR Passenger Perspective – put together a full review of your most recent cruise experience, in no more than 600 words, along with a photo, and YOU could be the star of the next edition!


Winter 2011-12 I WORLD OF CRUISING 37


Now & Then: Trudi-Joy in Rhodes (top) and the same fountain 40 years ago


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