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Azamara Quest Cruise Review
Sailing from New Orleans to Miami
October 2016

Azamara Cruisesby Joe Reynolds

I had wanted to go on this cruise out of New Orleans for some time, but my wife said it was too long. When she finally agreed to go, cabin 7005 was already taken. My wonderful travel agent booked 8053. She said she would watch for an opening and sure enough 6002 and 6003 opened up and I was able to book 6003 for an increase of about $4000+. All was set until we went to check in and I was told I was upgraded to 7119, which I had not authorized. I was disappointed, but my wife told me to be quiet since the upgrade was an increase of about $4000 without charge. I had my heart set on that forward viewing cabin and if asked if I wanted the upgrade, I would have declined. In any event we had a good cruise. My travel agent agreed that she should have been notified and would have explained that I wanted the forward viewing cabin. The change was made by the Azamara financial people and they couldn’t understand why I was dissatisfied with an upgrade. Some people in business think things are all about money.
 
The Azamara Quest is the old R7 built by Renaissance Cruise line in the year 2000. Celebrity cruise line acquired it around 2007 and along with the Azamara Journey have been operating these two upscale ships.

We sailed out of the PORT OF NEW ORLEANS on a pleasant cruise down the Mississippi River toward the Gulf of Mexico and I suppose went out the Southwest Pass. This happened in the middle of the night. There is nothing to see except marshes and at night pretty lights mark the way.

We had a rough ride across the Gulf of Mexico with seas about 10 to 12 feet so the ship did a lot of pitching. The roll was very well controlled by the stabilizers which were apparently working perfectly. These Renaissance ships ride well for small ships in rough seas.

We arrived at GEORGETOWN GRAND CAYMAN Saturday October 29 on our 4th day at sea. Jan had wanted to take a submarine tour, but it didn’t run on Saturday. I kind of wanted to do another helicopter ride since previously I had done two on one visit and it was beautiful. Jan is not keen on helicopter rides and our friends were not aboard since Beryl got sick in Fort Lauderdale after their Princess cruise across the Atlantic and was admitted to ICU from their Miami hotel. They were scheduled to fly from Miami to NOLA to board with us October 26, 2016. I decided that I didn’t want to leave Jan by herself, so just talked to the Helicopter rep and found out that Jerome is still flying his helicopters.

We just walked around since we had previously been to 7 mile beach and would wait for St. Martin for our beach day. Bought some Tortuga Rum cakes and had them shipped for gifts at home.
 
Our next port on Sunday Oct. 30 was PORT ANTONIO, JAMAICA a once thriving Banana export city. We got with new friends and shared a cab to Boston Beach, Blue Lagoon, and Frenchmen’s cove. The lagoon and Frenchman’s cove are over rated. Boston Beach was better and grabbed some Jerk Chicken.

We had a nice sea day October 31, 2016 and that night many danced in costumes in the dance area up top in the Living Room I think.

The next port Nov. 1st was LA ROMANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. We had previously been there and already visited Altus de Chavon. This time we had planned a trip to the Dreams Hotel to spend the day and pay for a cab ride. The ship offered a free shuttle to Casa de Campo, which we took, but it let us out at a shopping area and things were closed. This Catholic country takes “All Saints Day” off. We thought we might be let out at the main hotel and pay a day fee, but that didn’t work. We walked around and looked at the nice yacht harbor, and ran into Mike and Karen who decided to take a cab from there to the Dreams Hotel with transportation back to the ship and we spent the day at the Dreams for $65/p with all the drinks one could want and nice food buffet. We shared this cab with Len and Angie Bettam from Vancouver Island BC, Canada and Richard and Sherrie and Mike and Karen who had got it together. Mike is a retired fireman and his muscular build showed it. This was nice and the cab driver found us at the appropriate time and we returned to the ship.

The next day Nov. 2 was a sea day and the night of the “Best of the Best” dinner. This is a spectacular dinner put on for the top suite people and is well worth the attendance. It is hosted by the Captain and several officers. I had been before on previous cruises and wouldn’t miss this. I even put on a coat and tie. It was a magnificent display of culinary ideas.

On Nov. 3, we had a previously booked a tour with Actief for WILLEMSTAD, CURACAO, but our English friend got sick and couldn’t make the cruise. We had previously been to Curacao but didn’t take any type of tour last time. We were able to find new friends Len and Angie that paid Vance’s portion and took their place and we had a wonderful tour with Chippy the driver guide. Chippy was his handle because his last name was Chippendale. We could have decreased the cost by increasing the number but 4 seemed good at $60/p. This gentleman driver/guide was very educated and knowledgeable about Curacao which can be difficult to understand the different areas of Willemstad. We visited the Curacao factory and bought the obligatory liquors. Chippy showed us the Wedding Cake house and took us out the fort which Len climbed, but I stayed with the girls. I used to hoot with the owl at night, and soar with the Eagle during the day, but the Owl can’t hoot much anymore and the Eagle has trouble getting going during the day. Willemstad is beautiful city to visit with its colorful buildings.

Nov. 4 we had a wonderful day at sea.

Saturday Nov. 5 we visited GUSTAVIA, ST. BARTS and the two of us grabbed a taxi to ride around the Island. That was $80 since we didn’t plan ahead to share. I will pay anything because my joints just don’t last walking.

On Sunday Nov. 6 we visited CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS. We teamed up with Mike and Linda and met a taxi driver that put us with his wife who was an encyclopedia of knowledge. She knew Alexander Hamilton’s entire story, and many other stories about pirates and buccaneers, but I don’t think she mentioned that a Mr. Burr running for governor of New York challenged Mr Hamilton to a duel because of speeches he was giving against the New York Governor. Mr. Hamilton died as a result of his wounds.

On Monday Nov. 7 we arrived at PHILLIPSBURG, ST.MARTIN where we have spent two separate week trips previously along with several cruise port stops. We went to ‘Orange Fever’ a relatively new area on Orient Beach (since May 2016) and it was very nice and very good fried breaded shrimp. We shared a cab with Len and Angie from Vancouver, Island.
 
The Azamazing Evening planned had to be moved inside to the ship and the performance was magnificent. Too bad it couldn’t have been outside as originally planned. The cruise ship goes to a lot of expense to put these things on along with the fire works after.

On Tuesday Nov. 8 we visited VRIGIN GORDA and did the same tour with friends that we had done on a Silversea cruise three years before. Mike and Linda from South Carolina were great traveling partners.

November 9 and 10 were days at sea and we arrived in MIAMI as scheduled. On board the ship there was something to do for everyone every day. Many trivia games, shopping etc to keep busy. The blackjack tournament was fun since I won one. I had one hot run playing BlackJack and got ahead $200 and quit. My wife Jan however borrowed $10 from me and put it in a slot machine and won $900. I got my $10 back and that is all. I should have made a deal to share the profits from my investment.

When our Blackpool English friends are with us we play “Joker Poker” and have been known to play 37 hours on a cruise. If one types ”Pegs and Jokers” in Google the rules can be found. We have made our own boards and have a traveling game made by fixing a layout to an old folding Monopoly game. At home we have a board made by gluing the layout to an appropriately cut board. It is a great game and all games played are different.

Friday Nov. 11, 2016 I had a transfer booked privately but could not connect because of communication problems so we took a cab. I had my credit card company credit the charge back since I did not cancel the transportation, they just didn’t show even after texts saying they would. They acknowledged my text that said I would be disembarking in 10 minutes and getting through customs with a porter was a breeze.

What a great trip!

Image Linda Coffman

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