Cruise Holidays - Attheta Travel

I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel, dba Cruise Holidays.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Cruise Report February 2016: Azamara Quest in the Sea of Cortez

Part 1

The night before our cruise, we flew into San Diego. We found good weather, what a great way to begin our winter vacation, thirteen nights on the Azamara Quest, round-trip San Diego.  We picked this cruise for the remote ports of call: Guaymas, Loreto, and La Paz.

We hadn’t been to this airport (SAN) in a few years and were surprised by the recent airport improvements.  The airport offers a positive first impression of the city.  No issue with our arrival or picking up our luggage at baggage claim.  Since we were staying in a downtown hotel near the airport, we caught a taxi to the Hampton Inn on Pacific Hwy.  We were surprised by the amount of traffic between the airport and the hotel, but it was still an interesting ride near the waterfront: I suspect our taxi driver took us via the “tourist shortcut.” 

The hotel is a block off the waterfront. The Hampton Inn more than met our expectations for a cruise hotel.  The hotel offers free transfer service to/from the airport and free transfers to the cruise pier.  Our only issue with the hotel was the train noise from the tracks behind the hotel and the building construction next door.  Still, we continue to recommend this hotel for overnight stays prior to a cruise.  There is a more upscale hotel next to the cruise terminal, but the Hampton is affordable and has free internet and free breakfast.   

San Diego harbor from the deck of the Azamara Quest

The next morning, our ship was visible from the hotel lobby.  Close enough to walk, but not carry bags.  We took the hotel shuttle the short distance to the pier.

The Azamara check in process at the terminal left a lot to be desired.  One a scale on one to ten, I would give them a four – not a good experience.  San Diego is not a major embarkation point for cruises and they don’t have the experience of a busy cruise terminal.  Still, it was a disappointment.  
We stood in line with a disabled woman who needed a wheelchair and assistance to check in for the cruise.  Twice we asked the temporary employees to help this woman and twice we were told there was no wheelchair assistance available.  After Anita’s third request, the cruise terminal staff found a wheelchair for the woman and helped her with her check in for the cruise.

I would like to read her blog article and critique of the Azamara check in process.  We didn’t know the woman or her husband, all we wanted was for the agents at the pier to help this disabled passenger. 

Jeri & Anita, enjoying a sea day

We love the Azamara ships and the Azamara experience!  Only two ships in the fleet and they are starting to age, but both were reconditioned last year.  The Quest has great service and good food and interesting ambiance.  This was our eighth cruise on Azamara and we are looking forward to the next one. Azamara is amazing!

During the first two days of the cruise, we were sailing south along the coast of Baja California.  We didn’t see any whales or dolphins on this leg of our journey, just a few shore birds following the ship.  Two great days to rest, relax, enjoy our ship, and read…  On both days, you could find me in the Mosaic Café, enjoying a cappuccino. We didn’t see any children on the cruise: most of the 700 passengers were near, or past, retirement age. 

Sunset over the Pacific

Our first stop, Mazatlán!