Azamara Quest was anchored overnight off the coast of Panama. Tender operations into Fuerte Amador began around 7:30am, mostly for those on tours booked through Azamara's Land Discoveries desk.
Azamara Quest anchored off the coast of Panama
We have pre-booked our own Aquabus tour through Panama Marine Adventures using the company's website. Our tour is scheduled to depart Flamenco Marina at 10:30. Flamenco Marina is where Quest's tenders drop guests off who are going ashore. We board our tender about 9:30 for the 10-minute ride over to Flamenco Marina.
Tender drops guests off at Flamenco Marina
Guests shopping for local souvenirs need look no further than Flamenco Marina. There is a small, modern mall here with lots of little souvenir shops and a huge Duty Free store that sells liquor, fragrances, candy, tobacco and even some electronics.
Duty Free shop at Flamenco Marina (opens at 10am)
If you wander around the marina area, you will likely be approached by several local taxi drivers who will offer to take you on a private tour of the area. One driver, Roberto, was persistent, but polite. He offered to show us all of the sights for $20 per hour. A good deal, I suppose. But, you would be wise to check Tripadvisor before booking a local taxi. As soon as we arrived at the marina, we searched for, and quickly found, the Panama Marine Adventures kiosk located in front of the Duty Free shop.
We approached the window and were greeted by Liliana, the PMA representative. She was gracious and welcoming, and told us where to meet the bus for the tour.
Liliana, with Panama Marine Adventures
Our Aquabus tour departed at 10:30 as scheduled and within a few minutes we were driving into the ocean! For two hours, we "sailed" and drove around Fuerte Amador and Panama City. It was a unique experience, to say the least, with a few thrills thrown in just for fun. We will be posting a complete review of Aquabus in the near future, so keep an eye out for it on our blog.
The Aquabus tour ended at Flamenco Marina where we took some time to browse through the shops there. We bought some souvenirs and postcards. Postage, however, was another story. One of the shopkeepers told us that there are so many counterfeit stamps in Panama that you are now required to go to the post office to mail items. So, we decided to take our postcards back on board and let the ship mail them for us.
We took one of the tenders back to the ship in time for lunch at Windows Cafe. We were careful to eat light as we have a big dinner planned for this evening. Tonight, we have booked the Chef's Table dinner. The Chef's Table is a special five-course dinner for up to 14 guests set up in Prime C steakhouse on Deck 10. There are three different themed dinners offered: Italian, French and Californian. Each meal is unique and each of the five courses are paired with a different wine. Our meal began with a welcome and explanation of each course by Executive Chef Monica Oritz.
Chef's Table on Azamara Quest
Our first course was a Lobster and Avacado Salad Rolled in Lebanese Cucumber and was paired with Domain Chandon sparkling wine. It was as delicious as it was beautiful, and a great opening to a spectacular meal.
Lobster and Avacado Salad Roll
Next, the soup course, a bowl of smooth, creamy Smoked Tomato Veloute paired with Viognier, Stags' Leap (Rickee's favorite wine of the evening). Next, a Surf and Turf featuring a giant sautéed prawn and braised beef short rib croquette topped with a creamy morel mushroom. Surf and Turf was paired with a Pinot Noir, Belle Glos.
Surf and Turf
After a Grapefruit Sorbet palette cleanser, it was time for the main course, a choice of New Potato Crusted California Sea Bass or Herb Roasted Prime Angus Center Cut Strip Sirloin. Rickee chose the fish and I, the beef. Of course, the beef was paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon while the Bass was paired with a Chardonnay.
Prime Angus Center Cut Strip Loin
Both main courses were excellent. My beef was close to fork tender and cooked to a perfect Medium Rare. Rickee loved the Sea Bass and both of our plates were clean when they were retrieved. A cheese course was to follow, paired with a Port Wine from Portugal. The dessert course was a Macadamia Nut Chocolate Mud Pie with White Chocolate Mousse paired with a glass of Sauternes, a French dessert wine.
Macadamia Nut Chocolate Mud Pie, White Chocolate Mousse
The meal lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours, so we were only able to catch the end of Russ Grieve's show, "For Once In My Life," in The Cabaret Lounge. Russ is a fantastic singer and puts on a great show.
Everyone at the table agreed that the meal was a
memorable one. Hats off to our Sommellier, Jackson, for hosting us and
explaining each wine pairing. The Chef's Table costs $95 per person and must be booked in advance. Space is very limited, so you should book early. We booked a special dining package called the Chef's Table +2 which included the Chef's Table, one dinner at Prime C Steakhouse and one dinner at Aqualina Italian Restaurant. Separately, these meals would cost $155 per person ($30 for Prime C and $30 for Aqualine + $95 for Chef's Table). However, the package deal was only $135/pp, a great value.
It has been another Azamazing Day aboard Azamara Quest!
Tomorrow, Azamara Quest will be in Golfito, Costa Rica.