The Black Sea Cruise
Azamara Quest (RETIRED) 578 Cruise Review to Europe - Mediterranean
Sail Date: August 02, 2008
Ship: Azamara Quest (RETIRED) 578
Cabin Type: Suite
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 8 years ago
We loved our trip to the Black Sea. The ship started in Italy, visited Greece, Turkey, three stops in the Ukraine, and one port in Bulgaria. Weve been on at least 17 cruises and this one was one of our finest experiences. The smaller ship, 30,000 tons, allowed easy docking in some remote spots in the world. For the experienced traveler, cruising into the Black Sea should be on your list. Ukraine turned out much better than we had expected and even Bulgaria was excellent.
A few tips: A. If you visit Varna, go to the Golden Sands about 10 miles away. Taxis are reliable and it gives you an unusual view of the future of Bulgaria. In Sevastopol, make sure you see the James Bond like moth balled submarine base of the former Soviet Union. This base was not on the list of to dos in Sevastopol and we only learned about it from a local guide. We toured this amazing set of tunnels hidden in the side of a mountain on the shore of the Black Sea. You really got a view of the danger of the Soviet Empire.
We brought 2 teenagers on the ship. They struggled a bit finding friends on such a small ship on an obscure route. But it all worked out as the small group of teens found each other and had a good time.
On the positive side of the ship, the size is excellent for smaller ports and unusual travel. The service was excellent and we loved the food. The ship is well loved by the maintenance staff, always clean, nice rooms, and easy to navigate. The specialty restaurants were brilliant and the 9th floor buffet had wonderful food and service. The entertainment was about all you could expect on a ship that small in a remote location. On the negative, the main dining room experience was sub-par on service. The wait staff seemed very harried and because of our teenagers, we quit eating there due to long delays in getting served and mess up orders. They fell over backwards to correct the problems so we tried the dining room one more time. My entre order was forgotten when we got served. We smiled, took it in stride, and went up stairs to the buffet for delicious sushi.
All in all, terrific experience.
Ports of Call
Pros: The food, the unusual ports, Istanbul, the smaller ship, the people, the total experience
Cons: The main dining room