My wife and I have enjoyed holidays in various forms over the years, including camping and caravanning when the kids were small, self catering holidays in Cyprus and many of the Greek Isles, to more recent luxury holidays in Turkey, Egypt, Mexico, St Lucia, and Thailand (to name a few).
We have never, until now, ventured on a cruise holiday despite many of our friends recommendations and encouragement.
I guess there have been two main reasons for our reluctance;
1. Would we be bored being on one ship with the same people all the time (even though we normally stay in the same hotel with the same people) and….
2. Would we be stuck with the same `cruise mad` individuals all day who wanted to do nothing other than recount their many cruises to a couple of virgin cruisers!
As for so many things experienced in life there always has to be a first time and with my philosophy of `don`t knock it until you`ve tried it` then sooner or later we really had to give it a go.
Putting aside the flights, the like of which we had experienced many times, our first and lasting impressions were, without doubt, very encouraging.
On arrival at the port our luggage was taken from us and, following a smooth and well organised check-in procedure, we received a very warm welcome aboard the Azamara Quest with a glass of champagne.
Our room was ready and waiting for us after our journey so we immediately retired for a short rest following our 3.00am start to the day!! Luggage arrived soon after, so we were able to unpack and get settled in long before the ship left port to take us on our maiden voyage.
There are various categories of stateroom on board but we experienced our cruise from the comfort of a verandah stateroom on deck 7. It was marginally larger than both the inside and outside cabins and had the additional facility of a small, screened off, balcony with chairs and a table – Great for relaxing, enjoying the open views and ideal for taking breakfast!
Our room had a very comfortable double bed with a selection of good quality pillows. There was also a sofa on which to relax, which could also be transformed to provide additional sleeping facilities.
We found storage for clothing etc to be adequate for what we had brought along, but felt that it might be less generous for longer cruises requiring more clothing. A small niggle was that there was nowhere to hide one of our suitcases which didn`t fit under the bed. Bathrooms are quite small yes, but perfectly large enough. The shower was very efficient (much better than most hotel showers we have experienced over the years) and had a very effective non-slip floor surface. There were really useful cupboard and shelving storage areas in the bathroom, a wall mounted hairdryer, various complimentary toiletry products and luxury towelling bathrobes with slippers.
Other facilities within the room included a second hairdryer for use at the dressing table, a safe, fridge and a flat screen tv. The tv offered a selection of channels and also provided an interactive facility to allow passengers to book excursions, make specialist dining reservations and order room service from the comfort of their stateroom. It also gave information on restaurant menus, shopping, excursions, photography – in fact pretty much everything which goes on. A daily double act presented by the entertainments manager and cruise director, filmed live each day on board, described many of the events and entertainments organised for each day.
The cabins were furnished with fresh fruit baskets, water and sheet turn-down service daily. Afternoon canapés were also available daily but had to be pre-ordered through the stateroom steward who visited us on our first afternoon to go through all the details of the services available and how to get the most out our stay.
There were also complimentary binoculars which we found very useful and an umbrella which, thankfully, we did not need.
The daily newsletter was a particularly useful service which gave comprehensive details of the multitude of events and activities happening each day, as well as many other interesting snippets of information on other aspects of the ship, personnel, excursions, weather etc, etc. A daily bulletin also arrived to give headline details of important world news events (including who was knocked out of `Strictly`), the financial markets, sports news etc.
All in all we found our stateroom to be spotlessly clean, extremely comfortable and an absolutely ideal home for our cruise. If I had to mark it out of 10 then I would give 9.5 (a small reduction for the clothes and suitcase storage).
Not a bad start to our trip!
Read all of our reviews about the Holy Land Cruise with Azamara Quest:
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
To see our full Disclosure Policy please click here.