It was with great anticipation that we awaited our sailing from Athens to Rome. The Quest is the former R-7 of Renaissance Cruise Lines, the very first company that I sailed with. I had good memories of the ship and was not disappointed. The ship is well-maintained and very easy to navigate, not surprising due to the its smaller size. In fact, this ship carries fewer than 700 passengers, and reminded me just how much I like sailing on a smaller ship and with fewer passengers. There are no waits in line, no difficulties in finding a place to sit and absolutely no feelings of the ship being crowded.
It makes such a positive impression when officers and staff are seen about the ship interacting with guests. The captain Leif is an affable guy who willingly participates in many of the daily activities and opens the bridge to select guests for tours and sail away. The other staff are accessible as well and can usually be found at the end of the gangway wishing passengers a good day in port and welcoming them back on the ship. This attitude amongst the staff promotes good will and gives passengers the impression that they are part of a big family.
Captain Leif on the Bridge Tour
Considering the smaller size of this ship, it’s not surprising that there are fewer public areas and that they are smaller. The only enclosed and separate bar area is the Looking Glass Lounge. It’s a large place and usually empty. I suspect this is due to the high cost of liquor on this ship. Other areas like the Cabaret Lounge, which is not the grand showroom seen on larger ships, offer an intimate spot to enjoy a show. Other bars and lounges were either connected to another area – for example the Martini Bar, a very pleasant place for a pre-dinner drink just outside Discoveries, the main dining room.
Like the entire ship, the public areas are well-maintained, but are on a smaller scale than on the larger vessels. The casino attracted a few regulars, but never came close to capacity, perhaps because according to several who frequented the place, the machines seemed rather tight.
If you check out the web site for Azamara Cruises, you may notice some information that conflicts with what I have stated. For one, Michael’s, which still remains on some of the deck plans is the Drawing Room, now the library, reading and game room – quite a pleasant and quiet place, but not a piano bar. Don’t go looking for it or you will get frustrated.