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Everything posted by Sthrngary

  1. I understand. On my cruise, Joy 40 days from today, I reached out 130 days out. The did not show any restaurants when I logged in. I listed the dates, Restaurant and times I wanted. Later that day, all reservation were on my online summary account, on the specific day and time. The good news is you won’t have an issue. The ship are 60% and they will my you a priority. I was just sharing my experiences. The Concierge will no let you down. Cruise well.
  2. I like eating later vs. earlier. Remember the Haven Restaurant does not take reservations. All of my specialty dining is 07:00 PM. You can reserve those restaurants 130 days out. You will have to call or email the Haven Pre-Cruise Desk to do so. The shows are usually at 10:00 ish so I want a after dinner drink, then show. I never want to be rushed. That is why I choose 07:00 PM. Hope that helps.
  3. The Secrets of the NCL Haven Luxury Experience was originally written with the frequent cruiser in mind. I wanted folks to know not just about the NCL Haven; I wanted them to also know how to utilize the amenities. This stream like any Social Media topic has taken some twist and turns. For the most part, it is still focused on education NCL cruisers on the Haven. Many folks have an issue with the Haven. Those issues range and to many to list here. That is not what this stream is all about. It is about what the Haven has to offer, amenities, hints and yes secrets to get the most out of your Haven Experience. This is #938 post to this stream so the topic must be popular. I hope if you are new to NCL or the Haven, you will read the very first post. As part of my obligation to CruiseCritic.com and those on this stream, I will use this topic for live updates on my upcoming NCL Joy Haven journey on November 27, 2021. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I have had the opportunity to cruise in a (H2) Haven Deluxe Owners Suite for this voyage. That is what Covid-19 did on a positive note for my family and me. It will also be the first time my adult children will be on and NCL ship and especially the Haven. All of this will be reflected in my upcoming posts. One more aspect of what is to come. NCL has a brand new terminal in Miami. I think it would be very important to overview and review the new exclusive Haven Entrance, terminal lounge and process to get onboard. You can be sure that will be included in my writings. Until that time, Cruise well everyone.
  4. I completely agree with @complawyer. I check prices daily on my upcoming cruise by doing a mock booking. I also allows you to see how many cabins in a specific category are available for "Bidding for an upgrade". More cabins, lower upgrade bid. Not a great strategy but makes sense. One gaining lower fares, yet again I completely agree with @complawyer. As long as you have not hit the final payment, you should be able to get different solutions to lower prices. If you cabin type is sold out, you obviously will not. If Final Payment was required it is hit/or Miss.
  5. It was there mistake. I have done the same thing and for what ever reason, I get two refunds of different amounts. Give it a week or so. Cruise Line Accounting is very strange.
  6. I thought about your post and processed your comments. I can see why you would say that my journey document is longer than the cruise contract. When push comes to shove, this book is my project and hobby. The information is organized and described much more for me then for anyone else. I used to be a professional speaker. When I presented a clients training, I would internalize it. This allowed me to present it in such a way as it sounded like I wrote it. So when I do all this crazy work, I never need to look at the document again. My family can now look at the table of contents, get their answers and move one. I can take the took with me to the ship and literally any discrepancy that comes up (Usually a couple happen every cruise) I have the documentation in one bonded book. My excel is a page at a glance and I will bet it is similar to yours. I feel so much more confident about my arrangements and details allowing me to relax and be less stressed. If I were to be honest with myself. All this is my fear of making a mistake. All I hope is it helps anyone with their trip whether they use some of it, or it helps them remember something important. See you all soon.
  7. First sorry to everyone for very late replies. My Microsoft Edge was not allowing me to post on CruiseCritic.com. I changed to Google Chrome and it works fine now. Yes I am the Planner in my family and I do it for two reasons. Everyone waits to the last minute: I can't life my life that way. Since I get all the blame and none of the glory, I do the planning. I Like Getting Things Right From the Start: It is a hobby. I like it so I do it well. Below is a sample of my upcoming Table of Contents for my Journey Document. This only goes to page 9. The Journey Document has over 20 pages. I am also giving your my rules to my family just because I think you will see the humor in it. You can ask me anything you want about it. I hope it helps someone with their preparation Family Rules for this Cruise: 1. Your Personal Attitude Matters: I planned this family vacation over two (2) years ago. The cruises all got cancelled due to covid-19 four (4) times. In cruising, NOTHING ever goes perfectly. However, my planning controls many of the issues that might come up normally. a. If you don’t want to join the family doing something, don’t. b. If you don’t feel well, stay in your cabin. c. If we are out to dinner and you just want to leave, leave. d. If you are late to dinner, the rest of the family will leave and eat without you. We have hard to get reservation times. e. Don’t let your attitude effect the group. Control your attitude or stay in your room. 2. Charging/Purchases Pre-Cruise and in the Suite: a. DON’T do it for ANY reason, PERIOD. If I see a charge, I will take it out of your bank account. I spent enough on this vacation where you handle your own expenses. b. Excursions: Are prepaid and reserved. Any other excursion or activity like go carts or laser tag is on YOU!!! If you choose not to go on an excursion, the money is lost. c. Sundries: DON’T buy them. Mom does her job very well pre-cruise because of the rip-off this stuff can be. d. Forgot Something, Want Something at the Airport or Want Something at the Hotel: It is on YOU! You use your credit card. 3. Ship Phone, Cell Phone & Internet: a. The Ship Internet Plan: I paid for three (3) device unlimited streaming plan. It is the best they have, and it sucks. It was also expense. The only person without a plan is Dad. b. Your Mobile Phone: From the time you get on the ship, your phone must be on “Airplane Mode.” No exceptions. Use Facetime Audio or Video utilizing the internet. 4. The Suite: a. The Haven is a VIP private area. You can invite new friends to the Suite ONLY. b. You keep your dirty clothes in your laundry bag and not on the floor. c. Put your dirty towels in the corner of the bathroom floor to be replaces. d. The three bar bottles of spirits are not replaced. However, the soda, coffee in the room and waters are complementary. On previous cruises it would cost dearly. They will be refilled daily by the butler. Please do not waste. e. If you want to use mom and my huge bathroom, please ask first. Clean up afterwards. f. Keep your Haven Robes and Slippers away from others. If you lose it, they charge you. 5. Haven Suite Food (Room Service from Butler): a. Do not over order, I hate food waste. b. Do not eat heavy before your dinner meal. c. Do not leave uneaten food on the floor. Call butler to have it picked up. d. Request ONLY foods from the Haven Restaurant, room service food sucks. 6. Premium Drink Package (Perk): (Careful and follow the Package Rules provided in this document) a. Your drink can not exceed $15.00 with tax and tip. b. Your packages DOES NOT INCLUDE STARBUCKS from the STARBUCKS store! c. Do not order bottled water out of the suite, it is not included in your package. Mom and I can do so with our package ONLY. d. See section on the Premium Drink Package later in this Journey Document.
  8. Lots is written about this subject. Allow me to say, it is subjective. Also, what I do does not mean it is proper or right. OK, that should hold off the masses, LOL. It depends on the number of folks in your Haven Suite: My next trip will be on the NCL Joy, with my family of four adults at the end of November 2021. It depends on how much you will be utilizing the Butler: This most likely has to do with the size of your suite. If it is a big suite with lots of veranda space, you may do more parties or in-suite dining. That means you will use your butler more. Again, my upcoming suite will be an (H2) Haven Deluxe Owners Suite. We indent to do parties and dinning in suite from time to time. It depends on if you want to utilize the Butler at All: Some folks simply don't know how or what to ask their butler to do. They are shy or embarrassed. In these cases, you here folks saying they never saw their butler the whole week. That has never happened to me because I research exactly what they do, apply what my family needs are, and put it in writing on day one. I write a letter to the Butler: It has a little about every member of my families wants, needs and motives. It has our likes/dislikes. It has any requests we have that was not handled by the pre-cruise Haven desk. Finally, it has the tip in in upfront. This creates controversy on this and other boards. I don't care. Since tipping upfront, I have only gotten outstanding high quality service from each and every butler. Prior, it was hit or miss. OK, now you have some perspective. For my wife and myself, I tip between $150.00 to $200.00 for the week depending on suite size. With four adult members, know my kids will also leverage this highly skilled professional as well, we tip $200.00 to $300.00. Please understand and read my four bullets. I tend to give more vs. less because these folks have not been working for 18 months. I also pre-pay my gratuities for the rest of the crew but still give the something extra in this case at the end of the cruise. Please remember, the Butler is NOT on the pre-paid gratuities program. Many Haven Guest forget to tip them. That is why I tip them up front. Long answer to what could be considered a simple question. Hope it helps you. Cruise Well.
  9. Yes on the beer. Still ask Butler. They may accommodate you. I just can’t confirm it, so I hesitate. Hope that makes sense. Cruise well!!
  10. I agree on both of your points. I was just on Crystal Cruises. Everything was complementary. We had spirts, beer, wine soda. Nothing was off the table. Yet, I still prefer NCL for the bigger ship, entertainment and other attractions. If the Bliss was near my home, I also would not travel to Miami. Royal is wonderful also. We just make adjustments for convenience. You will have a great time. Cruise well!!
  11. Because this question gets confusing when read out of context, let me start out this way. This answer is ONLY for a (H2) Haven Deluxe Owners Suite. At no time can you ask your butler to bring wine or sprits to the room other then day one. On day one, on a 7 day cruise, you receive three bottles from the list on on reply # 809. Any other request for adult beverages will have a cost. Regardless of plan. On bottles of wine, if I am not mistaken, they have to open the bottle. We would have on glass, cork it and take it back to the suite. We would do this at lunch and dinner. This always gave us a bottle & a half in the suite at all times. This is one of the main reasons we do the premium plus plan, On the Ulta, ask your butler. My gut tells me they won’t do that regardless of plan or suite selected. On this, I could be wrong. Hope my answer helps.
  12. You can but it is no guaranteed. Ask the host/hostess at the Haven Resturant. If they are busy, they can say no. FYI only.
  13. Look at the down loads on post #809. One says Joy Amenities. The same will hold true to the Bliss. If you are in a (H2) DOS as I am, the chart will clearly show your amenities. All that said, my wife and I both are upgraded to the Premium Plus package. I did not upgrade my two adult children to plus. It is a choose we do and have done for our NCL cruises. Look at the many blogs for the Premium Plus package and you will get pros and cons. Cruise Well!!
  14. The Haven Butler: Overview: On day one, I give the butler a letter that has some of our basic requests. I also tip them upfront which has always worked for me. The Haven Butler is not under the normal gratuities program so what they get from us is all they get. What your Haven Butler will do for you: Set up your suite: Butlers will do everything from packing and unpacking your luggage to offering pillow menus, and stocking and re-stocking your suite bar with your drink preferences. They'll also bring CDs, books, board games and DVDs to your room. They can even draw you a bubble bath if you ask -- or if they intuit you could use one. Handle logistics: Butlers will save you from spending your vacation waiting in line or dealing with the minutiae of your trip. They will handle all your reservations for specialty restaurants and book appointments for the spa, salon, and private fitness training. They can book ship or private shore excursions and arrange shoreside dining and entertainment. They will even work with the chef to expedite special dietary requests, such as paleo or gluten-free meals. Make deliveries: Butlers will be your complimentary room service provider. They will deliver fancy canapes daily, like foie gras terrine and crab legs (examples only, always check additional costs), and upgraded turn-down amenities, such as a chocolate box. They can present in-room tea service. They will also bring you room service or morning cappuccinos and espresso, even serving you dinner course-by-course, in your suite or on your balcony. Please always ask for all food deliveries to be ONLY from the Haven Restaurant. Take care of your laundry: Butlers will handle laundry, dry-cleaning and pressing requests, and return your clothes expertly folded and wrapped in tissue paper. There is always a cost to your suite. Throw a party: If you're social types, butlers can help you organize cocktail or dinner parties in your suite and even bartend or help while your guests are present. For special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, they might decorate your suite or present bubbly and celebratory cakes. Take care of the little details: Butlers will shine shoes, place bookmarks in books and wrap eyeglasses in cleaning cloths. They will even solve problems for you, such as finding an appropriate crew member to fix broken eyeglasses or stuck luggage locks. Give advice: Butlers know their ships inside out and are often familiar with ports. They might advise on everything from the finest shopping street to the best hours to hit the onboard fitness center. What your Haven Butler will not do for you: They won't work exclusively for you:Most butlers juggle several suites; for the best service, plan. Make requests, such as for dining reservations, private shore excursions and beauty appointments, well in advance so butlers can manage their time to make your wishes reality. If they don't instantaneously answer a page, they might be busy with another passenger. They won't babysit: Don't expect the butler to watch your kids, although they might assist in hiring a sitter and often play with children, time permitting. They won't act as aides: If physically challenged, travel with a companion. A butler will always assist in an emergency but should not be expected to help you with daily physical needs. They won't be your personal companion: While some butlers can be chatty -- particularly with solo passengers seeking company -- they aren't your friend or travel companion. They can escort you to a restaurant or show, but they won't sit with you. They cannot always fulfill challenging requests: If you ask for a miracle, such as dinner reservations in the ship's hottest restaurant 15 minutes before you wish to eat, a butler cannot always meet your request. That said, butlers try to make magic. Perhaps they can serve you dinner from that restaurant in your suite or secure a table at a later hour, instead.
  15. 40-days to my NCL Haven cruise on the Joy. It took two-years, four (4) cancelations three (3) different ships, 125% FCC and 10% off next cruise to get here. Since I am the original OP-ED for this Haven stream, I thought it would be interesting to give some of my preparation for this upcoming cruise. I hope it helps everyone. This preparation is my therapy when cruise was simply not happening. Before I begin, I wanted everyone to know. This will be my two adult children’s first experience in the NCL Haven. We have one of the two (H2) Haven Deluxe Owners Suites with Large Balcony. As some of you know, it is huge with two bedrooms, wrap around balcony, in the Haven Courtyard and can have 6 guests. We are a party of four. My hope is my children will finally give me a complement on a well-done family vacation. My hope is actually a misguided dream. Enjoy this post. Family Journey Document: I used to write very detailed manuals for my clients prior to retirement. They were designed to give a consumers view of their products. I took that experience and do this document for my family. They don’t even think about a cruise or vacation until just a few days before. Then they want all the information instantly and each of them get both demanding and stressed out. This document is done with every single aspect of the vacation. Flights, Dates, Times, Checklists, Pre-Cruise Reservations for Specialty Restaurants/Excursions/Entertainment, Family Rules, and the list goes on. I have it printed professionally and hold it on my desk until the questions start hitting me. Some of the below items are also included in the document. Online Digital Check-In: Literally months before the cruise I do every single bit of online check-in. What I have learned is it forces you to look at thinks like passports dates and requirements. Not to mention the new rules for covid-19 testing and vaccines. As everyone will notice, NCL is not allowing you to the fully check in until 21 days prior to the cruise. At that time, additional information will be needed, and we will all have to watch a safety video. In my family, two passports needed to be renewed. Excel Spreadsheet Calendar: It is a on single page that shows the week plus we are vacationing. All key times and event are listed, color coded and explained. This calendar is not for what you do every minute of every day. This is a cruise and that would be no fun. You need to have flexibility if you want to relax on a vacation. The Calendar does have Flights, Hotels, Ground Transportation, pre/during/ post Dining Reservations, Excursions, Time In/Out of ports and the list goes on. The calendar is also in the above Journey document. Pre-Cruise Hotel: My approach is do this way ahead of time. I always book this hotel the day before the cruise and as close to the port as possible. My next cruise is our of the Port of Miami. We are staying at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. I am a Marriott Titanium Elite member for life. They provide complementary upgrades, drinks, and breakfast. It allows the vacation to start the day before the cruise. Pre-Cruise Dinner: When in Miami, I make a reservation at “The Capital Grille”. I do this for many reasons. Mostly, it is one of my favorite steak places; the place has a fond memory for me; I prefer to have my major beef dinner off the ship because I am not a fan of the ships steakhouse; and many be most importantly, I get a $500.00 American Express Gift Card for the dinner. Airfare: I never use the cruise line airfare unless it is free (nothing is ever free). I want control of my air brand, times, and connections. I am a lifetime 5-Million Mile Platinum Elite member with Delta. My wife and I are upgrading to Delta Comfort right away and usually 1st Class for most domestic flights. We have American Express Platinum Cards which provides us with complementary entry to the Delta Sky Club with if you have ever been stranded at the airport is a gift. My elite status also allows for higher weight limits for our bags. Finally, I print out our boarding passes. Every member of my family has a TSA pre-check approval so it avoids the lines at security. Letter to Butler: I learned a long time ago that Butlers were Hit/Miss. Until I realized they don’t have a crystal ball. I began writing them a letter that I give them the moment I meet them onboard. I have written about this before and the public perception of what I do is 50%/50%. The main reason is I give the Butler his full tip/gratuity upfront. Many folks don’t like that however I have found this practice has gotten my family the best service since the practice was started. You do you. A couple of other hints are if you Butler does not find you day one, you find them. The letter talks about each family member. Their likes and dislikes. Special requests like extra lounge chairs on veranda, Haven Robes/Slippers for each guest in the suite, only Haven Restaurant Food for room service and the list goes on. Unless I am in the (H2) Haven Deluxe Owners Suite where the bar, mixers and waters are all complementary; I ask for all “for sale” items to be removed from the suite. Lots more but everyone has different wants and needs. Luggage Tags: I print my own which become available after your documents are released. That is usually a few weeks prior to the cruise leaving. I purchased from Amazon those clear plastic Luggage Tag Holders with the metal clips. In the past the fancy luggage tags send by the cruise brand have been ripped off . I almost did not have luggage one trip. Lesson learned. Excursions: I will be straight; I really am not a fan of any mainstream cruise companies’ excursions offering. They are usually expensive and do not live up to the hype. However, I have a huge fan of the “Beach Villa’s” on the private island, “The Cabana Beach” in Cozumel, Catamaran/Snorkel/Lunch adventures (Jolly Rancher), and the All-Inclusive Over the Water Bungalow. Some of those items get sold out and I have missed them in the past. Now I book them as soon as they are available which means they are paid in full. This then shows up on the Excel Calendar and in the Journey Document. Most of these choices got the $50.00 off perk and the cabana’s/Villa’s are buy one and it accommodates four (my family). Specialty Restaurant Reservations: Haven guest can reserve your specialty restaurant days/times 130 days prior to cruising. All other guests are at 120. Now you see why I do the Excel Calendar. I want to have specific restaurants on specific nights to coordinate with what we do for excursions that day. I also want to have a variety of foods so we mix the Specialty Restaurants with the Haven Restaurant since the Haven Restaurant menu never changes. My times coordinate with normal times for the evening shows. I like to have a pre-dinner drink; not be rushed during dinner and time for an after-dinner drink prior to the show time. Pre-Paid Gratuities: I always do the pre-paid gratuities. This way, the expense is paid prior to the cruise giving me the feeling this is an All-Inclusive vacation. The only exception is the Haven Butler which I tip in the letter given to them on day one. See Haven Butler Letter above. Family Slot Pull: A family tradition since everyone is over 21 is the Casino Slot pull. It is $25.00 per person, and we never win. However, we always enjoy the event. Every cruise we produce another approach to come in on the money. Just fun stuff that can be reserved and prepaid prior to getting on the cruise. Purchase of Cruise Travel Insurance: Up to just a few years ago, I never did Cruise Travel Insurance. Now, when you are on Medicare you are not covered outside of the United States. The forced me to buy the insurance initially. Earlier this year I went on a cruise that was fully vaccinated. My wife got break through covid-19, 8-days before we left. Unlike NCL, this cruise brand had a cancellation fee of 50%. The Insurance company paid me back with the money in my account withing 13 business days. I am now a believer. I make the Insurance Companies printable Insurance Card a part of my Journey Document. Pre-Print My Boarding Documents: The key to these documents is the barcode. The way NCL does this now, they register the bar code, and you are good to go. I put the barcode in the Journey document. You will also notice the NCL has new asked all of us for uploaded pictures, so they don’t have to take on at the terminal. It saves time and that is good since we all need a Covid-19 test at the terminal. Haven Pre-Cruise Online Desk: I send an email to these fine folks with pillow menu items, special requests, etc. This cruise we are in the (H2) Haven Deluxe Owners Suite with Large Balcony. It comes with a few extra amenities, so I make those request online. After so many cancellations and the fact this cruise was supposed to for my 40th Wedding anniversary; I figured make it an epic trip. If you got this far, you may be saying. “Gary, you do too much work. You should just go with the flow.” That is the normal response to me on these types of postings. What everyone does not understand is, once I have done these actions items, I am DONE. Completely DONE. I leave my house for the airport in an Uber, and I don’t have a care in the world. When my family is completely stressed out about the details, I just refer them to the Journey Document I gave them. Things still go wrong because that is the nature of a cruise vacation. Yet the thing I can handle, I do handle. Makes everything else so much less stressful. Well, there you have it. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy to help. Cruise well everyone.
  16. Sailing in the Haven for the first time in January and I’m still just struggling so much to understand the limits of what is acceptable to ask for. I don’t want to look like a fool or ask for something that is just not the norm and then be embarrassed. Like for example I see people on here referencing that their butler will serve them breakfast in their stateroom. What exactly is acceptable to ask for? Are we talking a carafe of coffee and some pastries? Or can I have a full hot breakfast like eggs benedict delivered to my room? From Sthrngary: As recommended, when you meet your butler, make sure they know to always (when it is open) provide your food choices from the Haven Restaurant. The Room Service food is less then spectacular. This now answers your question about what you can order. Just get a copy of the Haven Restaurant Breakfast Menu. I would recommend asking for the French press coffee. Remember, in the Haven, your butler is your room service server. The secret to butlers is to rally let them know how much you appreciate their service. The really want to please. Another example, afternoon canapés, can I go so far as to ask for some shrimp cocktail, or am I limited to something more basic? I also like meats,cheese,veggies,hummus etc for enjoying on the balcony when sailing away from ports during the cruise. Is that an acceptable request? From Sthrngary: The offering is usually the same for each Haven Suite. However, you can ask your butler for some other items as you indicated. Most of what you asked for should be more then acceptable. Communications is the key. A word of advice. The first few days those afternoon snacks are great. Then all the quality and quantity of food kind of gets to you. I have so far as asked our butler to stop delivering those snacks because the took my hunger away from dinner. You do you. I would love for someone to write a “Haven for dummies” thread to explain some of these and give real examples of what is acceptable and where the limit is. From Sthrngary: That is the post #1 that I did some years ago. Just go back and read it. The full version of that post was attached in one of the previous postings for download. Just know, there are no bad questions. I get what you are attempting to accomplish. Reach out to me anytime.
  17. All me to comment. I love watching prices mostly Haven Prices. I kind of have to much time on my hands so I do little informal studies. When a price on one of my cruises goes up, I look at how many of that category Haven Suites are available. I also find it very interesting to do comparisons between different ship sizes and the newest ships. I told you I had to much time on my hands. So here is my "unofficial" conclusion. Holiday times are just nuts in a Haven Suite. Just look at the week of Thanksgiving vs. the week after Thanksgiving on the Joy. Look at the Haven 2-Bedroom family Villas. The price discrepancy is insane. Normally I could see this because NCL does that 3-4th person free promotion so you really average out the cost by 4 vs. 2. Thanksgiving is a family cruise because the kids are off of school. This year, not so much with the NCL policy on Vaccination Only so many family are not booking until after January 1, 2021. Still huge difference. Then you go to other ships, same suites (Haven Penthouse not Family Villa) and the Haven prices are down. Finally you go to the Prima and the prices are over the top. I think this stream is more about getting a reasonable Haven fare vs. how really high they are so I will address that. The inexact science but seems to be working well for me is, cruise lines do the same thing as hotels for room/cabin prices. If they have to many, they reduce the price. Then cruise lines have another strategy, they offer bidding for Haven Suites like priceline. On a recent Encore sailing, there were a lot of Haven Suites left. The price was going down after the full payment was required. Still a lot were available. Then when NCL sent out their bid for a Haven Suite went out, they were all gone. Remember that when doing your planning. If you want a good deal on a Haven Room, book early and not on the newest ship like the Prima. That is why I did the Joy. Not enough difference from the Bliss or Encore to justify the costs. Second, take a risk. I have never won a bid for a Haven Suite. That is because I don't offer much. However if I want in with a strategy to win, I would know what the Haven Suite fare was, compared to what my stateroom actually is, then be aggressive with my up bid still getting a bargain. Do your due diligence. Remember you might come up empty handed that is why it is a risk. Third, book late close to the cruise if you can and have flexible plans. Just remember, prices on all staterooms are weird now due to covid and 60% to 70% reduced occupancy. Don't be upset with prices, just have some fun with them. Be flexible and do it as a kind of hobby. If cruising is fun which it is, so should shopping for a cruise. Cruise well everyone.
  18. Well, interesting turn of events. Allow me to kick in so thoughts. Remember, thoughts are just that, a person's experiences plus opinions. I also LOVE the Haven for its concept, quality, personalized service and the experience it gives me. Some of you might know me as the "Haven" guy that wrote the op-ed on the "Secrets to the Haven VIP Experience". If you have read the posts above this one, it is clear that shopping for Haven Suites is a very good idea. I watch the prices every single day on the sailings I am either on or would like to go on. Some one above made mention of a Regent Seven Seas voyage for less then a Haven. They said something about less bells and whistles on RSSC. I just have to address that. RSSC is without a doubt one of the best cruise experiences one can every have. It is as close to all inclusive as you can get. It is a Luxury Cruise, on smaller ships, that are port intensive with some of the very best personalized service on the sea. You simply don't go on these ships if you want waterslides or go carts. It is a completely different animal. I recently went on a Crystal Cruises for seven days to the Bahamas. If was less then the least expensive Haven cruise in my past. Crystal like RSSC is a luxury cruise experience. No comparison on any level to the Haven. These luxury cruises are the entire ship being the Haven on steroids. Until you try one, you will never know what I am saying. Yet, I still prefer the Haven. Did you think I was going this way???? I love the ability to go from energy, water slides, go carts, Broadway shows back to private, classy and secluded. I want the best of both worlds. Would I pay more for a Haven suite then a luxury cruise line like RSSC. Not for the same itinerary. I would do luxury. However lets remember, this luxury cruise comparisons are not apples to apples. They provide different experiences. So here is my advice. The prices for Haven suites on certain ships and itineraries are going down. On their newest ships maybe not quite yet. Evaluate the market has to offer, then remember to cruise they way you want and get what will make your cruise the best it can be. All that matters is we cruise, relax, make new friends and have great memories. Cruise well everyone.
  19. Well folks, I think this topic has been well answered. It has all the flavors of a great ice cream shop in the recommendations, advice and answers it has given. It was in a true sense the reason why folks come to CruiseCritic.com for due diligence. Congrats to all whom participated. I am in the final days of my upcoming cruise. This is were I look at all the crazy, insane, over the top and worthless preparation I have done four time previously for four cancelled cruises. Then I put it into a multi-page document digitally to give to my family. THEY do no planning at all. THEY pay no attention to details. THEY complain when things are not right. and THEY start asking obvious questions like when is our cruise, about NOW!. I give them the PDF copy of the book I compile and say, "Time to read it and if you try to change something, feel free to go on your own cruise!" Sound a bit harsh, well. My opinion is simple. Know how to approach your cruise and do what ever planning your past cruise experience has taught you that you needed now. Approach a cruise as if it is an All-Inclusive Vacation so what ever you can pay for, PAY IT. The moment your Uber Driver picks you up to go to the airport, state these words and mean it. "I am on vacation. I will not make any more decisions. If you don't like something, maybe you should have participated in the decision making process. Read the book I did for you and see you at the end of our journey. Hope you join me, I will be having a BALL!!!!" I will now leave this tread to the many whom are better at it then I. Enjoy which ever cabin you have. Cruise well.
  20. A drink, me an you. It is a date.
  21. You are killing me. I look so forward to my upcoming cruise. Thank you for being so kind with your time and your picturesYou are killing me. I look so forward to my upcoming cruise. Thank you for being so kind with your time and your pictures
  22. I do not agree, I prefer first class on Delta. Lol. This thread was Destin to have opinions on both sides. I think everyone has expressed themselves very well. My little entry earlier told everyone how my daughter felt. She thought I was being bougie. She was right, and I like being bougie. Let’s see how she feels after she cruises in the haven at the end of November. I will report back. We all work hard and we can spend our money anyway we want. I will not travel on any cruise line if I am not in the haven type area. My choice, I never said it was the financially correct choice. I also like air-conditioned seats in my car which were absolutely not necessary. I just said after working so many years, I’m going to do what makes me happy.
  23. Those were the days for sure. However, the current Broadway Style shows with shows like Kinky Boots are pretty darn good. NCL seems to be my favorite entertainment ships. But yes, those were the days.
  24. I remember when my Butler, "Engin" (My nick name for him was Mr. Wonderful) asked if we would like a Fruit bowl. We both said no. Then he asked if we would honor him by accepting this candy box you posted. "Honor Him", "YES PLEASE". My wife was thrilled. Yes it was endless but we only did one. I maybe had just one. All I wanted was my wife to enjoy that one chocolate a night she gave herself (and the 1.5 bottles of wine of course). Little things make a difference on Crystal. Two hairdryers, afternoon teas in your suite or in the Palm Court, afternoon snacks, great coffee & snacks in the Bistro. I am on another board now with a huge debate on if the money for there "VIP" section is worth it. The answer there is it is up to the person. HOWEVER, take it from me, hearing about the Crystal Cruises Personalized Service, Food Quality, Shipboard Treatment and Amenities only truly makes sense when you experience it. I felt so fortunate to take my first Luxury Cruise on a Crystal Ship. It set the bar for future voyages. This thread it about Suites. All I have to say is, suite or stateroom, "Life is quite fine on a Crystal Voyage". Hope to see you all some day in Europe. Cruise well everyone.
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