Everything you need to know about Azamara cruise line’s

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Azamara was created in 2007 with Azamara Quest and its sister ship Azamara Journey, both former Renaissance Cruises ships that become the template for all four of the current fleet. These and Azamara Pursuit, which it launched in 2018 after buying and refitting P&O Cruises’ much-loved Adonia, were owned by parent company Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines until 2021.

Now owned by private equity group Sycamore Partners, Azamara is going from strength to strength post-Covid and launched Azamara Onward – previously Princess Cruises’ Pacific

Princess – in May 2022.

The brand is best known for its late port departures and cultural experiences such as AzAmazing Evenings and AzAmazing Days on shore, which it is hoping to reintroduce as Covid restrictions disappear.

Covid protocols

Azamara has announced the removal of vaccination requirements for guests from December 1, 2022, and will no longer require proof of vaccination for European or Caribbean sailings.

However, proof of having had all available vaccinations and boosters at least 14 days before the cruise may still need to be shown at some embarkation terminals, depending on the country.

That was the case in October 2022 during check-in at Italy’s Ravenna terminal before I was allowed on the ship.

Pre-cruise Covid PCR tests are no longer required, except at a handful of embarkation ports in the Middle East, Australia, Far East and South America.

Frequent hand washing on board was encouraged, though, and staff made sure you sanitised your hands before entering the ship’s restaurants.

What’s it like onboard?

From the moment you walk up the gang plank to be greeted by staff you know everything will be taken care of – and in Azamara Quest’s case everything is above and beyond normal expectations.

There are Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein original prints in the elegant public areas, special nights of exceptional quality entertainment, destination dishes in the two restaurants and even the tea is properly served – tea bag in the cup or pot before the water.

That’s not something many cruise ships have mastered. Azamara Quest is a boutique ship with only 690 passengers at most onboard but even on sea days there is plenty of space for everyone. There are sunbeds to spare, quiet corners and no frantic sundeck games around the pool.

In fact the emphasis is on getting you off the ship to explore each destination, which is why there are mostly port intensive itineraries with free shuttle buses where necessary and some late departures up to 11pm so you can take in the local nightlife.

The WOW factor

Azamara loves to surprise, so although you know there’s going to be a massive decktop barbecue for the mid-cruise White Night party – when guests dress in white – some of the other events are equally exciting.

In the past there were AzAmazing Days and Nights off the ship but until pre-pandemic conditions return the entertainment team is organising onboard treats.

On my Croatia Intensive Voyage with Azamara Quest there was an Officers’ BBQ the lunchtime of a late arrival in port, with officers serving steak and lamb from Weber kettle barbecues on the sundeck while chefs ladled out bowls of clams in their shells, giant prawns and grilled vegetables or salads.

Instead of an AzAmazing Night of opera on land, Italian opera singers were invited onboard during a late port stop in Slovenia to perform A Night At The Opera while we ate under the stars at tables covered in starched white linen.

Local musicians are also a regular part of evening entertainment and during a late-night departure from Split, in Croatia, 2016 Eurovision Song Contest performer Ana Rucner entertained us with a programme of folklore and classic music on her skeleton-like electric cello.


There’s nothing not to like about Azamara Quest’s staterooms, whether it’s an inside cabin, outside cabin with a window, veranda cabin with a balcony or one of several different-size suites.

The standard cabins are not the biggest but there’s still room for a queen-sized bed that can be split into twin beds plus a small sofa, dressing table/ desk with a chair and a large coffee table that your steward will remove if you need more space.

Textured light-grey walls tone well with the coffee and cream-coloured carpet and white and gold bedlinen in a neutral palette that’s very on-trend.

If there’s any criticism it’s that the dark-wood wardrobe and drawers look a little dated and the bathroom is small with a shower curtain instead of glass door – although it’s a nicely weighted curtain that doesn’t cling where it’s not wanted.

Cabins have a large TV screen on the wall opposite the bed, which has free movies and TV news channels as well as destination lectures and evening entertainment that has been recorded so you don’t miss out if you can’t make the live event.

You can also check how much you’re spending on excursions, spa treatments or in the deck five shops selling clothes, cosmetics and jewellery.

And there’s a fridge, safe, hair dryer and large umbrella but sadly no tea or coffee-making facilities.


Discoveries, the main dining room is a classic combination of dark wood and cream panels with elaborate gold wall lights, a few massive modern chandeliers and white table linen.

It feels like a destination restaurant and its crowd-pleasing menus change daily, although you can always have favourites such as steak or salmon.

The menu for just one night might include seared scallops or beer-braised pork belly salad, for starters, and mains such as wild mushroom polenta cake or Sicilian-style grilled tuna steak – and that’s before you even see the dessert menu.

Discoveries is also open for waiter-served breakfast and often for a lavish brunch on sea days but the buffet in Windows Café on the pool deck is equally as pleasing and has outdoor seating at the back of the ship (with heaters for cooler days) and semi-outdoor seating at

The Patio near the pool, which serves burgers and wraps all afternoon.

You can also get sandwiches and cakes at the complimentary barista-style Mosaic Café virtually all day, with petit fours and cheese available from 6-9.30pm, while there are late-night snacks in the Living Room bar and dance lounge from 10pm until midnight.

Basically, there’s food available from 7am until midnight and if you tire of that you can pay for dinner at the two speciality restaurants. The three or four-course meals cost $35 (around £30) per person, although packages are available and they’re free for suite guests.

Prime C, the wood-panelled steakhouse, is for hearty meat and a few fish dishes, while blue and white décor Aqualina is an Italian restaurant with a good selection of antipasti as well as soup and salad, main courses and desserts.

There’s also has an Italian, French or Middle Eastern Chef’s Table experience with a seven-course menu paired with wines introduced by the ship’s sommeliers, for $95 (around £82) per person.


Most days are port days on an Azamara cruise and although the guests range from 40-plus up to 80s, most will get off for at least a few hours and probably the whole day.

Even so, there are always things to do onboard, such as free yoga or stretch classes in the morning and trivia quizzes in the afternoon and more fitness classes before dinner.

You can get drinks at half a dozen bars, including the Pool Bar on the sundeck and Sunset Bar on the terrace at the back of the ship, but the newest addition is the Atlas Bar Experience.

This is on offer in The Den on deck five, a large lounge-bar with lots of dark wood, contrasting cream arm chairs and a grand piano for pre and post-dinner music.

The cocktail list is pretty fancy. Mumbai Hug includes in-house chili infused vodka and the London Fog Martini includes in-house earl grey infused gin but unless you have the Ultimate Beverage Package you have to pay for them.

While most of the drinks on the ship are included, if you want a brandy nightcap or other premium wines and spirits you can upgrade to a Premium Package for $16.95 (around £15) per person a day or Ultimate Package for $23.95 (around £21) per person a day.


The White Night Party and AzAmazing Nights are among the highlights of any Azamara cruise but every evening there is something planned for after-dinner entertainment.

These can range from musical reviews in the Cabaret Lounge – ours was big band show Jump, Jive & Swing – to dancing to the house band in the deck 10 Living Room bar with a late-night DJ to follow.

For those who want a quieter night there’s a pianist in The Den bar on deck 5 most of the evening or you can go back to your cabin and watch a free film.

Daytime entertainment usually includes a morning and afternoon quiz or you could have a game of table tennis or shuffleboard on deck 10 – but most people will be off the ship exploring.

Fact box

Azamara Quest is heading for Australia, New Zealand and Japan for winter 2022-2023, returning to the Mediterranean in May 2023 where it will sail mostly from Athens, Istanbul

and Venice. It then leaves Lisbon in November 2023 for winter in South America via the Caribbean.

A nine-night Croatia Intensive Voyage on Azamara Quest, departing July 26 2023, costs from £2,028pp, two sharing, and is a return-trip from Venice calling at Opatija, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia plus Kotor in Montenegro.

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