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Live from the Quest - Singapore to Hong kong


Jayayeff

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I got off in Singapore yesterday as you were boarding. I also tried aqualina the first night and the lobster was horrid. The service in the specialty restaurants is wonderful. The room steward situation is sad, we didn't think he was a butler at all and it's the same person. I was lead to believe there was a cabin steward and a butler. We found the dining room way to slow and the service uneven to be polite. The entertainment was the worst. There was a comedian that wasn't funny at all. Then they had a Wierd TV skit which was lame. I prefer Celebrity's service and food and entertainment BUT I loved the ports and the sights we saw. Azamara proved to be nice but not the premium line they advertised.

The itineray was to die for. the ports were wonderful. We took private tours avoiding the large crowds they put on their shore excursions. In Cambodia and Singapore massages were around $20 an hour, we did foot massages in China town for $7 half hour. Don't miss the royal palace in Bangkok it's unbelievable.

I guess that different people look for different things, and a lot depends on a persons' individual tastes. My wife and I were also on the HK-Singapore trip, and we had absolutely no complaint about the food or service in the Discoveries, Prime C or Aquilina restaurants. While some of the jokes presented by the comedian fell a little flat, many others were quite humorous and a good deal better than a lot of the slam-bang, loud 'humour' experienced by us on a lot of other cruises. We found many of the shore excursions very enjoyable, but would not be in a hurry to repeat the 12 hour visit from Halong Bay to Hanoi. I hope that things improve for you, and that you have a great cruise.

 

Nevernever

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It's all in the presentation.

 

There's a difference between having a leisurely meal and being in the middle of a maelstrom where you cannot get a refill of your water glass or any attention from the waitstaff. I have been at meals where I haven't even noticed how long it's taking to eat because our waitstaff has paid attention to us, talked to us, and made us feel as if we were regulars at a neighborhood restaurant.

 

But on Journey, in the main dining room, our waiter didn't even show up for 20 minutes, did not introduce himself, did not explain that certain menu items were different from what was offered, did not check to see if our meals were satisfactory (they were not, but it was too late to bother with getting anything else) and really didn't seem to give a ___ whether we were enjoying our meal or not. And our wine went missing, so we didn't even have that for 20 minutes. So the hour or so we spent there felt like 3.

 

In the specialty restaurants, 2 hours passed in the blink of an eye. We had great service, great wine (and plenty of it), enjoyed chatting with our waiters and waitresses and the wine stewards and loved every bite of the food.

This is right on. Our dinners took 2 1/2 hours without diet coke refills, bread basket refills, or water refills. We found the dining room waiters very indifferent and slow. We ate at the specialty restaurant 5 times just to avoid the dining room and then at the buffet. Lunch was no better then dinner. Our table mate ordered a burger and it was to greasy for her to pick up. The waiter never commented when we cleared the table. I would have expected him to see she didn't eat lunch and offer her something else.

Azamara was not what they claim to be but that's not to say they aren't okay, they are, but no better then celebrity. Well actually that's not true, celebrity had a wonderful dining room with great service.

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Hi Anne!

Someone asked earlier about passports... did you have to surrender your passport upon embarking of could you keep it with you?

 

Thanks!

MC

 

We were required to keep our passports with us whilst in Singapore but handed them in prior to sailing from there. Today in Thailand we were asked to carry copies of our passports with us (they delivered a photocopy to our cabins last night) but as they are arranging our visas for Cambodia and Vietnam they are still holding onto the original passports.

 

Anne

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Hello Anna,

 

Thank you for your live posts onboard.

Our group of 11 will be onboard the Quest February 28 from Hong Kong to Beijing.

So, we are finding your posts very interesting.

 

Would you know the name of the Hotel Director onboard. . is it Niyazi Kormaz?

We had the pleasure of sailing with him a few years ago.

 

I am glad things are getting settled for you after a rocky start.

 

Looking forward to reading about the rest of your cruise.

Enjoy!

Rita

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20th & 21st January – Laemchabang (Bangkok)

 

We have now completed our overnight stay in Lam Chabang, which we docked at just a few minutes behind schedule not the hour plus that the Captain had earlier warned may be the case. It took a while to clear the ship but all those doing the long day tours or overnights to Bangkok and beyond were off the ship not much later than originally planned. Due to rearranged local transport the morning ‘on your own’ shuttle had been cancelled so I was not able to get off and into Pattaya until 1 o’clock. I managed to achieve some of the things I went into Pattaya to do but not all and it was a long wait for the bus back to port which didn’t leave until 6 o’clock. For anyone who has never been to Pattaya it is not the most pleasant of places to while away a few hours and most of us were sat at the pick-up point long before we needed to be..Today I went on the half day excursion to the Nong Nooch Village, which is a resort park just outside Pattaya. We attended a cultural show of Thai dancing, Thai Boxing and martial arts followed by a show by the resorts elephants, which was very well presented and the animals all looked to be very well cared for and enjoying themselves too. Before leaving the park we made a short stop at the orchid garden and finally on the way back to the port the obligatory shopping stop at a Thai handicraft market.

 

My time onboard the ship is a bit like a roller-coaster ride – one day up, one day down. Whilst I’m now happy in my stateroom, dining continues to be very inconsistent. Since my last post when I had had a perfect breakfast in Discoveries, trying a repeat the following day only resulted in an experience at completely the other end of the scale – and not just for me but all eight guests at the table. Likewise dinner in Discoveries the previous evening was also spoiled by hit and miss service and hit and miss menu items for all four of us at the table. Service was so chaotic in the dining room that night that we actually gave up after the main course and passed on desserts or coffee otherwise we would have missed the Captain’s Welcome Aboard party. Last night, as most of the people I have been socializing with were off the ship, I had dinner in my room. This is not something I normally do but when the Head Butler delivered something to my room after I got back from Pattaya he suggested it and I went along with it. Again, it was another perfect meal and this time when I tried a repeat for breakfast this morning so was it. However, I don’t intend to spend the rest of the trip eating in my room, so hopefully I’ll have better luck in the various restaurants in the days to come…This evening I’m going to give Windows Breeza a try……

 

Tomorrow we will be in Sihanoukville, arriving early morning but not leaving until late at night due to the length of the full day tours that go to Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. I’m hoping for a nice day and will probably go to one of the beach resorts to get some sun before we start sailing into cooler weather…

 

Anne

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Many thanks for the info.

 

Sorry to hear about the hite and miss in the dining room.

What time was the Captain's Welcome Aboard Party?

How frustrating. . . hope today is a better day for you!

 

Rita

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Tomorrow we will be in Sihanoukville, arriving early morning but not leaving until late at night due to the length of the full day tours that go to Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. I’m hoping for a nice day and will probably go to one of the beach resorts to get some sun before we start sailing into cooler weather…

 

Anne

 

What type of day tour can be dome to Angkor Wat? Is this by helicopter? This seems like it could be an overnight from Bangkok to Angkor Wat to Shianoukville or reverse.

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Hi Anne,

 

Captain Carl Smith's name has been on this board a lot during 2008 from people who said he was wonderful! They said he interacted with the passengers a lot. I'm hoping he will be on the Journey next June when I sail.

 

Hope things begin to improve.

 

Sheila

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Hello,

 

I am absolutely sure that the January 31, 2009 Azamara Quest cruise will be outstanding in all aspects.

 

The dining rooms in particular will have both excellent food and service.

 

The Cabin Stewards will be both efficient and effective.

 

The Captain will smile and graciously make small talk with passengers. Please do not monopolize his time. The other senior officers will also be very charming, but spend as much time as you like with each one.

 

And...I am going to do my very best to find something to be critical about. Even before the cruise however, please note that I have looked at the interior of the ship's rooms via websites, and is it asking too much for Azamara to redo some wallpaper on the Quest before January 31. 2009?

 

And, if the wallpaper is not changed, I am going to buy Marie Claude and her mother their choice of Canadian beers.

 

Only 5 days...to Hong Kong.

 

Fred

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Many thanks for the info.

 

Sorry to hear about the hite and miss in the dining room.

What time was the Captain's Welcome Aboard Party?

How frustrating. . . hope today is a better day for you!

 

Rita

 

There were two - the first at 7.45 and a later one at 9.45 both followed by a show featuring the Quest's resident orchestra and group of five vocalists...

 

Anne

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Fredr:

 

We're with you on having an excellent cruise. While we've managed to find something to critique every single trip, we've never had a "bad" cruise. They all beat 2 weeks in the office hands down!

 

Supposedly Oscar Wilde's last words were "Either this wallpaper goes or I do." I sincerely hope you won't face such a draconian choice. :P

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What type of day tour can be dome to Angkor Wat? Is this by helicopter? This seems like it could be an overnight from Bangkok to Angkor Wat to Shianoukville or reverse.

 

From Sihanoukville the day excursion to Angkor Wat is by helicopter, and is listed as being 10 hours duration at a cost of $3500 per peson. The day tours to Phnom Penh (there are two choices) are of 13 hours duration and cost either $159 or 199 depending upon the selected itinerary. The drive from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh is estimated at 4 hours each way but I'm not sure how comfrotable it will be as today is the hottest we have had so far and the buses I saw on the pier this morning did not appear to be very 'modern' ones...There is a free shuttle into town, again with quite dated vehicles and I've already met one person who took the shuttle this morning and came straight back to the ship (it is still only 10.30 a.m.)!! I'm still debating whether to go into town and then to one of the beach resorts or just stay on the ship and laze around the pool deck....

 

Anne

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From Sihanoukville the day excursion to Angkor Wat is by helicopter, and is listed as being 10 hours duration at a cost of $3500 per peson. The day tours to Phnom Penh (there are two choices) are of 13 hours duration and cost either $159 or 199 depending upon the selected itinerary. The drive from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh is estimated at 4 hours each way but I'm not sure how comfrotable it will be as today is the hottest we have had so far and the buses I saw on the pier this morning did not appear to be very 'modern' ones...There is a free shuttle into town, again with quite dated vehicles and I've already met one person who took the shuttle this morning and came straight back to the ship (it is still only 10.30 a.m.)!! I'm still debating whether to go into town and then to one of the beach resorts or just stay on the ship and laze around the pool deck....

 

Anne

 

 

Following all your reports with great interest.

 

I am wondering about this ship as I need to be overnight in Dubai during April, then will be based in Marbella for 2 months-- I have been offered a single balcony cabin for 1,500 stg--thought that this may be a nice way of travelling.

 

However, worried about the long sea days without any interesting enrichment like Crystal offered when I sailed with them a couple of times.

 

Nov/ December last was on the Rhapsody out of Sydney to New Caledonia/Vanuatu followed by the Volendam Syd/Auckland, I actually enjoyed the RCL ship far more than HAL, so much depends on the atmosphere on board and Holland tends to be very dull.

 

Will continue to follow your reports and hopefully make a decision soon--shame that you did not dock here in Phuket as well as Laem C, MUCH nicer than Pattaya.

 

Hopefully Celebrity will read your extremely constructive comments, certainly offers them plenty of GOOD ideas to iron out their existing problems.

 

Enjoy yourself and many thanks for your time spent posting, much appreciated !

 

Sawasdee :)

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Hello,

 

So Cambodia doesn't have "modern" buses? Did the beloved London doubledeckers have A/C/?

 

To get ready for this ill mannered, poorly run, tub of a boat (the Azamara Quest) where the food is not fit for human consumption or any consumption of any living species, I am going to watch "the African Queen".

 

"The African Queen" , now wasn't that cruising at its very best?

 

Can't wait to see Hong Kong and the Far East (and in honor of the many British Empire participants herein, might read some Kipling on the flight over).

 

Fred

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Hello,

 

So Cambodia doesn't have "modern" buses? Did the beloved London doubledeckers have A/C/?

 

To get ready for this ill mannered, poorly run, tub of a boat (the Azamara Quest) where the food is not fit for human consumption or any consumption of any living species, I am going to watch "the African Queen".

 

"The African Queen" , now wasn't that cruising at its very best?

 

Can't wait to see Hong Kong and the Far East (and in honor of the many British Empire participants herein, might read some Kipling on the flight over).

 

Fred

 

Fred

 

Ah, the African Queen - my husband's favourite fillm. I have watched it so often, I shall feel right at home!

 

Our cruise is starting in Singapore but I am afraid we have booked the Noel Coward suite at Raffles rather than the Kipling suite! We shall be travelling with Coward CDs rather than Kipling books.

 

Sue

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Thanks Anne.

 

I too am worried anout the sea days as we have cruised with Crystal many times and enjoyed their enrichment programs and activities.

Not sure if we will be bored the first 2 days of our cruise that are sea days.

We cruised on Oceania Insignia through the Amalfi coast and found we did not have a lot of options after a wonderful dinner but the itinerary was very intensive and we did not mind.

After dinner entertainment was quite bad so ended up chatting with passengers in the lounge and reception area.

 

 

Happy cruising!

Rita

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Thanks Anne.

 

We cruised on Oceania Insignia through the Amalfi coast and found we did not have a lot of options after a wonderful dinner but the itinerary was very intensive and we did not mind.

After dinner entertainment was quite bad so ended up chatting with passengers in the lounge and reception area.

 

 

Happy cruising!

Rita

 

From what I have read, I believe that the entertainment on the Quest is a cut above Oceania. We spent 35 days on Oceania's Nautica last year cruising from Hong Kong to Athens and the entertainment at night was dismal! We started off with a couple of good acts but after we left Singapore, we had to rely on the Cruise Director and his two helpers to entertain us each night. We also had a lovely string quartet that played around the ship and they were even used one night as an act. It really was woeful. The excuse was that the stage was too small to put on a show.

 

We have cruised four times on the Princess ex "R" ships and they have always put on shows etc. each night. We have even been taken backstage to see how they change their costumes in the small amount of room that they have available.

 

I think when you pay the extra dollars for a cruise that says it is 5 star, (Oceania), then you should be entitled to decent entertainment at night from good acts that are brought on board. You don't necessarily have to have a show, but a good comedian, singer, etc. does help.

 

Jennie

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And, if the wallpaper is not changed, I am going to buy Marie Claude and her mother their choice of Canadian beers.

Only 5 days...to Hong Kong. Fred

:D Hi Fred - I think the 'odds' are looking good for a beer ;)

Wallpaper or not, good service or not, I've been looking forward to this cruise for so long, and I don't get to take 3 weeks vacations at once very often, so I will make the best and I will have a great time!!!

 

Looking forward to meet you!

MC

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Thanks Anne! Just as others have noted, I'm really enjoying reading about your daily experience on the Quest. We're booked on the Quest in March and really looking forward to the adventure.

 

I'm really interested to hear how well the internet connectivity is working for you and the prices charged for internet access. My experience on other ships is that the internet access is somewhat slow. (I dislike spending precious time on board waiting for e-mail to load.) Any feedback you have in this area is really appreciated.

 

Hope you're having a relaxing sea day today and can't wait to hear about Ho Chi Minh!

 

Cheers! -Greg

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22nd & 23rd January – Sihanoukville and Day at Sea

 

Sihanoukville is a very small commercial port right next-door to the fishing village. I had intended to go over to one of the beach resorts for the day – and reports back from those who did say there are at least a couple of very nice ones. The ship ran a free shuttle to a drop-off point at the market place however, I chose to stay onboard and to spend a leisurely day at the pool. Apart from a local tour of Sihanoukville there were several buses that took pax on the four hour drive to Phnom Penh and I’ve spoken to a couple of people who made the trip and enjoyed their day. Anyone doing any research on Cambodia will know that this is an extremely poor country with a violent history however, many passengers were unprepared for the level of poverty and squalor they experienced when ashore and were quite shocked when they returned to the ship.

 

For the second evening in a row I had dinner in Windows Breeza and whilst the various buffet offerings didn’t inspire me the stir-fry station was an excellent cook to order option. The first evening it was very quiet in there but last night it was very busy with virtually every table in use both inside and outside – not sure why unless it was due to those arriving back from the overnight trip from Bangkok to Anghor Wat and the day tours to Phnom Pen having a casual dinner at the end of their long days…

 

As we didn’t sail until 10 o’clock last night, and I wasn’t interested in the ‘Swing Band Night’ show, the casino didn’t open until 10.30, I decided to have a night in and watch one of the DVD’s I’d brought along with me. Unfortunately, I now have no more to watch as from the five films I wanted to catch up on, only one would play as the DVD players only work with NTSC region (or multi-region) discs and the remainder of my DVD’s are of course PAL. I didn’t realize players were still restricted as the two I have at home play anything regardless of region or format….They have a large DVD library onboard that you can borrow from but none of the films I had brought are available as they are fairly recent releases…

 

Today has been the second of our sea days and although it started with early morning rain and clouds it brightened up and was hot and sunny by 9.30 or so. However, by that time there was not an available sun lounger to be found either on the Lido Deck or the Sun Deck – at least any unreserved ones that is!!! As usual the bed hogs had been up early and placed books, towels, etc. on many of the beds. All credit to the crew as when it started to become an issue they took the appropriate action and marked unused beds and then removed the belongings from any that were still not being used 20 minutes later. They continued to do this throughout the morning and I saw many of the senior crew and officers keeping an eye on things. An announcement was also made regarding the use of sun beds on a first come first served basis, not reserving, removal of belongings, etc. along with the Captain’s noon briefing. Long may this procedure continue…..

 

I had a quick look at the boards earlier and noticed several questions/comments regarding enrichment lectures, daily activities, entertainment etc. As I said earlier I don’t participate in or attend many of these but for those looking for info I can report the following:

 

There has been a full programme of daily events on both of our sea days to date. Everything from Trivia to Bingo to Wine Tasting to Dacquiri Tasting to Vegetable Carving to Casino Gaming Tournaments to Arts & Crafts to Dance Classes to Computer Classes and more. There has also been the following enrichment lectures with guest onboard lecturers – Stress Management, Exploring Water Colours, Destination Lectures, Jewellery & Gemlogy. Looking at today’s list in Pursuits it is a full page long…..

Like Aussie Gal I have also cruised with Oceania and the Azamara entertainment is definitely a step above that of Oceania. Whilst not big ship glitz and glamour there are guest entertainers as well as resident ones. There is a resident orchestra, vocal trio, a harpist, a guitarist and a cabaret entertainer (not sure what this is) and a series of evening shows (I think we have 5 on this itinerary) featuring the ship’s group of five singers/dancers. During our overnight in Laem Chabang a Thai folklore group performed onboard and we have also had two international guest entertainers so far – a male Broadway style singer who performed whilst we were in Singapore and international female singer (Helen Jayne) who performed a couple of evenings ago. I know Helen gets off the ship tomorrow so maybe we have more entertainers coming onboard…

 

Tomorrow we are due to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Apparently the sail up the Saigon River is ‘interesting’ and the Captain said at noon today that after making the journey a few times now it is has become known on the bridge as the Saigon Slalom…..I’ll let you know how it goes next time…

 

Anne

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