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  1. I must say, I find reports to date a little disappointing. We'll be on our first Seabourn cruise on the Odyssey in March and we were looking forward to a more refined/relaxed experience then we've experienced on a mainline cruise line. Although we too are in our 40s, we've never been part of that "if it's included I want as much of it as possible as often as possible and who cares what my incessant monopolizing demand on people or resources means for others' enjoyment" crowd. It's why we stopped cruising a few years ago altogether. We were looking forward to a nice relaxing pre-/post-dinner cocktail in the Observation Bar or just people watching at the Sky Bar. I realize every cruise is different, but I'm guessing my 14day in March (spring break/family vacations) will be more like this cruise than it will be like the cruises in Jan/Feb. I'm sure the fact that they sell the cruises in 7 day segments doesn't help these demographics much either. Oh well, live and learn I guess.
  2. Thank you for the review. I must say, as a first time Seabourn cruiser on the Odyssey next March, I find this concerning. Some if these things are not at all what I would expect from a luxury line. Didn't the Odyssey just complete a dry dock this spring?
  3. Sorry forgot to add about the balconies . . . . no, you cannot get to the main balcony from the master bed . . you can only access the smaller side balcony. You'd need to go through the main room to access the larger front balcony.
  4. We've been in the DOS on both the Breakaway and the Escape. You are correct that the set up/layout is very different between the two. As between that suite and the H4, on the Escape, hands down, I would think the DOS would be the better option (I would NOT say that about the Breakaway class H2s). On the Escape, you do get the true full second bed and bath (which is not the case on Breakaway). You are correct that you get the 2.5 baths on the Escape. As for the noise, if you are on the port side (below the public sundeck) then yes, you will hear noise from time to time so in that regard the starboard side is the better option. Another benefit of the Escape DOS is they fixed the removable wall issue so you won't have to worry about noise from the adjoining owners suite. As for the curtain in the second bedroom . . . was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen . . . the only thing behind it is . . .. a wall. The curtains serve no purpose I guess other than to give people the impression that there is a window there when closed. I will say the bed in that room is a convertible couch so it's not a true bed . . . we never even opened it. But everything else you mentioned about the DOS is correct . . . included 3 bottles of alcohol, unlimited sodas and drinks. Again, on the Escape I think the DOS is certainly the superior suite for a family, but that is NOT the case on the Breakaway/Getaway. Hope this helps!
  5. FWIW, we are on this same cruise in March and we are signed up for the Fort James segway tour. I understand that after touring the fort the excursion stops for some beach time and refreshments.
  6. I've been in both the port and starboard DOS on the Breakaway and, at least on the Breakaway, those doors definitely open. They do have some weight to them and you need to be sure you turn the handle all the way down, but they do open. Be sure to hold on to the door and close it manually once you are through otherwise it will slam quite loudly! As for the the noise leak, that is very much in issue ... all 4 times I was on the Breakaway I heard almost every word the passengers on the OS were saying. They were not yelling either . . . just regular conversation level. It did not ruin our vacation and you will get used to it, but you will hear them come and go and move around the cabin.
  7. Wow, what a small world indeed! Assuming our travel arrangements go as planned, while you are disembarking we will be embarking on the next identical cruise! Being as this will be our first Seabourn cruise, I've done more research than we normally do when we cruise on a mass market line (we usually just go with the flow and don't plan anything, but I want to get as much as possible out of this cruise). So far my research is consistent with the great advice you've already got on here and I agree that some of the ports are also frequented by mass market lines, but many of the islands on the itinerary look quite idyllic! Even for those larger ports, I actually looked up each port schedule and, as of now, there are never more than 2 other ships in those ports the days we are scheduled to be there (I understand that can change, of course). All that said, as of now we are doing ship excursions on 5 of the days. We left the Carambola Beach and Saline Bay days open (figuring those would be the beach picnic days). If it helps, we tried focus our ship excursion days on the bigger port days (just to get us out of the crowd), but there were two we signed up for on two smaller islands that we just really want to try (the plantation and turtle sanctuary tour on Bequia and the old rum and new chocolate excursion on Ills des Saintes), but both of those are under 3 hours so we should still have time to tour on our own after.
  8. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience in the Haven. I would have loved to have seen something like this in advance of our first NCL cruise a few years ago! Since that time we have done 6 NCL cruises (Breakaway and Escape) and overall we enjoyed each one, but like many others on here, we too noticed a steady decline in product from cruise 1 to cruise 6. In the end, our last cruise could not hold a candle to our first (both the NY to Bermuda trip). Everything (and I really mean everything) just appears to have degraded in quality cruise over cruise (e.g., service, atmosphere, quality, included amenities). Don't get me wrong, we still had a great time, but after our last cruise we decided to look hard at how we wanted to spend our cruise budget going forward. We always thought that we too wanted that "ship within a ship" concept so we could take advantage of large ship amenities but still have a small ship feel. As we thought about our actual activity on the ship, however, we realized that between the Haven and the Thermal Spa pass (which I absolutely LOVE), we rarely went to the other parts of the ship save for dinner and that quality too has gone way down since the ubiquitous SDP promo. And don't even get me started on the ridiculous beverage package . . . talk about inflated prices for well liquor offerings . . . smh. We did a ton a research and ended up following a similar path as OP. We are heading over to Seabourn next March . . . much smaller ship with only 450 passengers, but with a nearly 1:1 passenger to crew ratio and a truly all-inclusive offering we are looking forward to trying a luxury line. What sealed it for us was comparing our perceived "value" of NCL Haven vs. Seabourn vis-a-vis the price and inclusions. Granted, I'll be giving up that nice DOS on NCL, but for the same price as that suite we'll be in an Owner's Suite on Seabourn . . . but the Owner's Suite includes unlimited internet, complete full in suite bar set up and refill (6 bottles of my choosing, unlimited wines and champagne), all dining included (even their Thomas Keller offering), complimentary limo to and from the airport/cruise port, all beverages at all ship locations/bars (premium liquors, wines, champagne, coffees, sodas), and even caviar on demand (not a selling point for me and I'm hoping I can swap that out for some cheese and crackers, ha). Now, I understand that all of that may not be appealing to everyone and some may prioritize one or more over others, but what cannot be argued is that offering should give NCL pause on their pricing models for the Haven. On all my cruises, even in a DOS, all those things would have been extra charges . . . and one thing that I came to really hate was the constant nickel and diming even after I paid $13-15K for my accommodations. I am looking forward to my $13K on Seabourn to really mean $13K inclusive of everything mentioned above (I've been told it very common for passengers on Seabourn to disembark with a $0 balance on their accounts).
  9. Very happy to hear you made it home safe and sound and apologies for the cancellation of your cruise. I agree with posters like you who focus more on the lack of communication and decision making process then the ultimate outcome (which seems very reasonable given Dorian's strength and location). We were on the ill fated Escape out of NYC last September that squared off with Florence. It was clear to us about 72 hours out that we would not be heading to Bermuda (given the then-anticipated path), but NCL was firm that we would sail the scheduled itinerary. We were going to be driving to NYC the day before and we were sure we'd hear something by Friday night at the latest. Well, sure enough we did find out our cruise was changed to the dreaded PC, GSC and Nassau cruise (but being from Boston, was WAY better than the Canada/NE option would have been so we were happy). Again, we knew the risks of cruising during hurricane season so we just rolled with the punches. We thought, "better to be on a ship in a beautiful suite with great service than at work!" All an all, we had a good cruise (we were sad to miss family in Bermuda, but they understood), but too many things happened over the course of the week that turned me off to NCL going forward. And like OP, it really all related to poor communication and information dissemination. It started when no one thought it would be necessary to tell us we would be arriving in PC 3 hours late . . . leaving us with a very short 5 hour visit. When confronted by some other Haven passengers, the Conceirge's response was a shocking "well, I mean, until 48 hours ago you didn't even know you would be stopping at PC so how upsetting can this be?" It got worse from there. While in PC many of us were talking in the Haven lounge area and a couple again raised the issue of why were were not going to Bermuda as the path had shifted and Bermuda was nowhere close to Bermuda. I did not say anything, but having been in touch with my family in Bermuda I knew that, in fact, Bermuda had reopened the harbors earlier that morning and that two Celebrity ships had arrived at the wharfs in the Dockyard. The answer for why we were not adjusting back to Bermuda was obvious . . . NCL has released the wharf for the week and Celebrity scooped it up. Again, this was totally understandable as NCL made the best decision they could at the time and the path changed. No big deal and not their fault. When the couple asked the Concierge about going to Bermuda he was firm that that was not an option as Bermuda was "completely shut down." I did not confront him publicly, but I did have my family go down to the Dockyard and take a video of the two celebrity ships docked at King's and Heritage wharf and I showed it to him in private later that day. He just shrugged his shoulders and said that was the information he was given (which, I believed). I just kept thinking, if they would misinform us on these little things, what else might they be withholding/embellishing? It honestly left me disturbed. Next day we did stop at GSC and we did have a wonderful day there. Our butler even came ashore with us and said it just so happened that a bunch of his cabins rented villas so he was coming ashore to take care of us for the day. Although we were not pumped for Nassau we were looking forward to getting off the ship for bit. Well, as we were pulling out of GSC the captain made an announcement that because Florence was blocking our path home, we were not going to Nassau and needed to spend another day at sea to go around the storm, but we were all getting a $25 OBC, yay. So, all in all, we paid $13K (sorry, $12,975 after credit) to visit GSC. Again, we knew the risks sailing during hurricane season so we made the best of it, but the poor communication/lack of information was disturbing. What I think NCL needs to realize is that in today's day and age, access to information is ubiquitous and society places a premium on transparency . . . because EVERYTHING can be independently researched/verified. If they had just been honest and open they would have kept this cruiser because everything they did this time was reasonable. But I cannot give my money to a cruise line I cannot trust. Now, NCL won't care that they lost this cruiser . . I was only Gold level, but all 6 of my cruises were in a DOS so I'd like to think i was a valued customer to some extent. We moved on and will be doing a 14-night on Seabourn next March and we've already noticed a 180 degree difference in communication! Over 300 days out they told us the cancellation of the Cuba cruises would not affect our itinerary (something that was hotly debated on the Seabourn CC link) and that the "unrest" in St John's would not affect our stop there as Seabourn has a longstanding relationship with the island. Anyway, sorry for the long post, wishing all impacted by Dorian safe travels.
  10. Our experience with JW Blue is consistent with others on here. In 2016, both cruises we took the "upcharge" was $4.95, which we felt was totally worth it. Then the 2 we took in 2017 the upcharge bumped up to $24.95 and we thought that was way too much. Finally, the 2 we took last year it was $34.95, we laughed and walked away. We were close with the Haven bartender for the 2016 and 2017 cruises and he told us the $4.95 was a mistake (and might have just been limited to the Breakaway out of NYC) and that the $24.95 was the "corporate standard." To us, I think anything under $10 would have been worth it, anything higher seems like gouging to me.
  11. Michelle, many thanks for clarifying this thread! You are exactly correct that a charge back is an inappropriate venue to ligitgate "value." As outside counsel for several credit providers, you said it better than many of the briefs we have written for court submission.
  12. I have to agree with the other posters that think it's more hit or miss. We've only been on 6 NCL cruises, but all in DOS. 4 on the Breakaway and 2 on the Escape. When it comes to butler service, we had 2 fantastic butlers and 4 sub par. I think it has more to do with rotation than suite level.
  13. This just confirms for me that we made the right choice to move on from NCL. I guess the dining room access would be okay given I've never seen it busy on any of our cruises and we've never waited to be seated, but the Haven bar is too small as it is. When we first started cruising in the Haven the bar was a huge plus for us. We'd stop and grab a drink and catch up with the bartenders and then grab a drink to bring back to the room for the evening. It was quiet, relaxing and everything we like in a cocktail bar. The last few cruises, however, that was not the case . . . packed bar 2 deep from about 5 right through to closing, stressed out bartenders, less personalized service, etc. I can only imagine what the Haven + bar scene would be like.
  14. Totally agree with everything dexddd said. Been on the Escspe and Breakaway 6 times, all in the Haven and all in DOS. The Escape, for us, was more enjoyable than the Breakaway. Not only did they fix the big DOS issue with the Breakaway class cabins, I found the restaurant options better and more varied and the Haven was better laid out (although I did miss the bar being right outside the restaurant). I am confident you’ll have a great cruise as we have enjoyed all of our NCL cruises. That said, I would caution you to manage expectations on the Butler front. I think some people come back and have “bad” Haven experiences in part because they expect, well, a true butler. Don’t my get me wrong they are helpful but they are not truly butlers ... more like in room situational Concierges. When we first started cruising with NCL in the Haven, the Butlers were truly exceptional. Ramona, our first butler, was amazing and would take care of things before we even knew it was an issue or was something we didn’t even know we wanted. For example, she noticed we were always back to the cabin early (around 9pm). Asked us if we were having fun and why we were back so early. We told her we like to relax at night with a drink and watch a movie. Next night, we return at 9 to find a huge bowl of popcorn and candies waiting on the table with some movie recommendations from her. Did we need that? No. Was it nice that she thought about us and how she could make our vacation a little more special? Absolutely. We had similar exceptional experiences with Peter. Ramona I know for sure is gone from NCL and i’m not sure where Peter is now. The last 4 cruises we noticed a significant decline in the level of service and, well, it’s just not the same. Now it’s more of a homogenized product ... “let me tell you what we do” rather than “what can I do to make this a memorable vacation.” Again, I totally understand NCL here ... as they roll out more and more Havens, they need more people as butlers and they need to ensure consistency of product. For us, though, this has resulted in just mediocre service (in fact, I don’t even remember our other butlers’ names). So much so that we are off to Seabourn for our next cruise. We’ll see how we handle a 450 passenger vessel! It might be luxury ... but that is still awful small!
  15. So were are also a “Haven or nothing” NCL crew. Been on only 6 cruises but all in the Haven on the breakaway and escape. Although we loved each of our cruises, we’ve decided to move on from NCL and try another line. Over time, we have witnessed a sharp decline in the Haven product and the service levels and we simply do not find it worth the money any more. This may not be the PC thing to say, but the bidding program has certainly changed the dynamic in a significant way. Jamie, I am definitely in the same camp as you in that I really don’t care what anyone paid for their Haven experience, but it’s the demands that come with the “once in a lifetime bidding win” environment that has been hard to adapt to and the cumulative effect of so many bidding winners is simply crushing the staff. When we first started cruising with NCL, the Haven service was exceptional ... butlers there when you needed them, Conceirge available to help where they could, friendly bar and restaurant wait staff, almost all your specific requests met. Then the bidding sustem started and we noticed and amazing uptick in passenger demands ... everything from having every single meal and multiple snacks a day delivered to a room to literally a woman asking the Conceirge what else she could “get for free because she’s Haven” (seriously, she wanted a printed list). Again, i’m not saying they don’t have the right to do it ... it is their vacation and their money ... but when it cuts into my perceived value of a cruise, I have to reconsider where I spend my money. The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was last cruise when we were going to have our anniversary dinner on our deck (we were in a DOS on the Escape) overlooking the Dockyard in Bermuda .. simply beautiful view. Our poor Butler was running around crazy all week and kept telling us all the demands the other rooms were making. He knew we were accommodating so he asked if we could move back our dinner 1 hour because he had too many other cabins to accommodate that night. Of course, that message never got to the kitchen and our dinner arrived all at once (not course by course plated) and was cold. That was it for us. So, to answer your question, for us what the Haven is “worth” became an external comparison more than anything. I realized for the same price as my Haven DOS suite I could get an owner’s suite on a luxury line (seabourn) for a cruise TWICE as long with literally everything included ...free limo to and from airport to port, all meals, all specialities, all drinks (premium included), free WiFi, etc. When you can sail on a true luxury line with more included for the same price as NCL Haven ... the Haven is overpriced by a wide margin.
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