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Sthrngary

THE SECRETS OF THE NCL HAVEN LUXURY EXPERIENCE

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Regarding kids in the Haven.....We were on the Bliss last week and first of all we were surprised at the number of children on this cruise due to the time of year but for the most part they were all well behaved. I thought most were in school during this time of year...🙂
 

Several times during different days we walked from the Haven lounge forward to the Horizon lounge and the Haven pool area was nothing but kids. One day we saw what looked to be a three to four year old boy get out of the spa/hot tub that was full of kids and get into the pool. Not an adult around plus he had no flotation devices on. I was surprised that a parent would allow this and better yet why the cruise line does not require an adult be present. I have no problem with families or kids in the Haven as there is room for everyone but I do think that NCL needs to tighten up the rules regarding an adult being present with kids under a certain age.  
 

Overall we enjoyed the Haven but our stateroom was all the way aft. I think if we were to book the Haven again I would trade in the very large aft balcony to be closer to the actual Haven. 

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The thing I love about Cruise Critic posters is that none of them have kids that act up on the ship.  They are all well behaved.  😉

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Question - I've made my dining reservations already but I want to change one for sure.  Can I make that arrangement with the pre-concierge email?

 

Looking forward to my first Haven experience in January (yes, the kids will be there too).

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40 minutes ago, ColeThornton said:

The thing I love about Cruise Critic posters is that none of them have kids that act up on the ship.  They are all well behaved.  😉

 

Mine are absolutely well behaved.  We don't tolerate them acting out.  But unfortunately, that's not normal.

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11 hours ago, Navis said:

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).

 

 

Excellent post.  My issue with the Haven is the value. It's an ok product, and great if you can get a deal on it, but for the regular prices they are charging now?  No way.  So many better, more luxurious cruise experiences out there.  Even a standard room on Royal and Celebrity gets access to the 16+ solarium... Which is better than the Haven courtyard in almost every way 

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8 minutes ago, BNBR said:

 

Excellent post.  My issue with the Haven is the value. It's an ok product, and great if you can get a deal on it, but for the regular prices they are charging now?  No way.  So many better, more luxurious cruise experiences out there.  Even a standard room on Royal and Celebrity gets access to the 16+ solarium... Which is better than the Haven courtyard in almost every way 

 

I would agree. We just got back from a 9 day Haven cruise because we got a great deal. To me the best part was the Haven Bar and Haven Restaurant and because it is a relatively small group we got to know some of our fellow haven cruisers. It was a nice experience but not something for which I would pay a huge premium. The bonus latitude points were cool...we were bronze and skipped silver straight to gold :).  

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1 minute ago, fastpitchdad said:

 

I would agree. We just got back from a 9 day Haven cruise because we got a great deal. To me the best part was the Haven Bar and Haven Restaurant and because it is a relatively small group we got to know some of our fellow haven cruisers. It was a nice experience but not something for which I would pay a huge premium. The bonus latitude points were cool...we were bronze and skipped silver straight to gold :).  

 

I personally prefer the other bars and specialty dining.  So the haven restaurant and bar had little value for us. I wanted to sit on the waterfront or at District, or casino bar with entertainment, etc.  And the Haven restaurant menu was stale by day 2.

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9 hours ago, ceilidh1 said:

My unruly, out of control child in the Haven....doing her homework! 90% of the time, we were the ONLY people in there!

 

image.thumb.png.b6ed43d3e57cd75647d90b0a6215f273.png

It is clear you are both a Great Parent and Raised  wonderful  young lady.  I am so impressed she is doing her homework.  You and your wife should be very proud. 

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1 hour ago, BNBR said:

 

I personally prefer the other bars and specialty dining.  So the haven restaurant and bar had little value for us. I wanted to sit on the waterfront or at District, or casino bar with entertainment, etc.  And the Haven restaurant menu was stale by day 2.

You make so great points.  The benefit of the Haven bar is proximity to the Haven pool/courtyard. The Haven Restaurant is a great mix with several specialty restaurants.  Having a quite place to go when the crowds and craziness gets to much is awfully nice.  The secret to the Haven and all other brands Haven type area's is knowing all you can get, applying it to your way of vacationing, and enjoying yourself to the best of our abilities.  The premium price is all relative but is substantial. 

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10 minutes ago, Sthrngary said:

It is clear you are both a Great Parent and Raised  wonderful  young lady.  I am so impressed she is doing her homework.  You and your wife should be very proud. 

Lol - I AM the wife (or ex wife). There is no husband. He walked out on his two kids 10 years ago and hasn't contacted them since. I am raising them both single handedly, with no input from dad (including financially). You bet they are well behaved - they have cruised since they were a year old and value cruising too much to screw it up by acting out. They know the consequences to bad behaviour and don't even try it! This is most definitely not true of many children these days....but for every poorly behaved child, I bet you I could point out an equally poorly behaved adult!

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8 minutes ago, Sthrngary said:

You make so great points.  The benefit of the Haven bar is proximity to the Haven pool/courtyard. The Haven Restaurant is a great mix with several specialty restaurants.  Having a quite place to go when the crowds and craziness gets to much is awfully nice.  The secret to the Haven and all other brands Haven type area's is knowing all you can get, applying it to your way of vacationing, and enjoying yourself to the best of our abilities.  The premium price is all relative but is substantial. 

 

In my mind, I'd rather sail on a ship that doesn't have the crowds and craziness that you need to escape from 🙂

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On 10/13/2019 at 2:17 PM, erdoran said:

Everyone has their own financial priorities and what is “worth the $” to them, and it’s all individual.  My hubby will ONLY sail Haven.  Period.  He is so satisfied with this product he won’t even look elsewhere, and he is a very difficult traveler.  For him, the “ship within a ship”, the lack of crowds, uncrowded sundeck, access to a (usually) empty hot tub, bar only a few steps away, private restaurant that caters to his pickiness, being able to eat in the room and order whatever he wants, priority embarkation/debarkation at ports is worth every penny.

 

Others may not put this much value on it, and that’s fine.  We are all different.  For us, we are very happy with the product.  The blips we have had are due more to staff (mediocre butler or concierge) than the Haven itself; had either been enough of an issue we’d have complained but both were minor in the scheme of things.

 

We have three more Haven cruises booked, thanks to the 20% off Latitudes promotion, and very much looking forward to all three.

Great comment.  Thank you. My favorite part was when you described your husband as a "difficult traveler".  YES I AM also.  I agree with every single thing you said. Thank you again. 

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2 minutes ago, ceilidh1 said:

Lol - I AM the wife (or ex wife). There is no husband. He walked out on his two kids 10 years ago and hasn't contacted them since. I am raising them both single handedly, with no input from dad (including financially). You bet they are well behaved - they have cruised since they were a year old and value cruising too much to screw it up by acting out. They know the consequences to bad behaviour and don't even try it! This is most definitely not true of many children these days....but for every poorly behaved child, I bet you I could point out an equally poorly behaved adult!

Job well done!  You obviously set the bar high, and are a model of successful parenting, even with the challenges you have faced.  I'd be happy to cruise with you and your family!  🙂

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15 minutes ago, ceilidh1 said:

Lol - I AM the wife (or ex wife). There is no husband. He walked out on his two kids 10 years ago and hasn't contacted them since. I am raising them both single handedly, with no input from dad (including financially). You bet they are well behaved - they have cruised since they were a year old and value cruising too much to screw it up by acting out. They know the consequences to bad behaviour and don't even try it! This is most definitely not true of many children these days....but for every poorly behaved child, I bet you I could point out an equally poorly behaved adult!

I was raised by my mom also.  Bravo to you.  Shame on their dad (and mine also). 

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2 hours ago, ColeThornton said:

The thing I love about Cruise Critic posters is that none of them have kids that act up on the ship.  They are all well behaved.  😉

Cruise Critic doesn’t allow parents with poorly behaved kids on this website. 😉

 

In my humble opinion, there are parents with poorly behaved kids and parents with well behaved kids. But the parents with poorly behaved kids are divided between those who are blind about their kids poor behavior, and those who know they have kids with poor behavior and who assume that everybody else’s must be the same. 🤔

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3 hours ago, cruisingator2 said:

Regarding kids in the Haven.....We were on the Bliss last week and first of all we were surprised at the number of children on this cruise due to the time of year but for the most part they were all well behaved. I thought most were in school during this time of year...🙂
 

Several times during different days we walked from the Haven lounge forward to the Horizon lounge and the Haven pool area was nothing but kids. One day we saw what looked to be a three to four year old boy get out of the spa/hot tub that was full of kids and get into the pool. Not an adult around plus he had no flotation devices on. I was surprised that a parent would allow this and better yet why the cruise line does not require an adult be present. I have no problem with families or kids in the Haven as there is room for everyone but I do think that NCL needs to tighten up the rules regarding an adult being present with kids under a certain age.  
 

Overall we enjoyed the Haven but our stateroom was all the way aft. I think if we were to book the Haven again I would trade in the very large aft balcony to be closer to the actual Haven. 

 

A lot of schools had Fall Break last week. 

 

As for the kids without a parent, I'm pretty sure they do require an adult to be present in the pool area, but there's the rule, and then there's actually enforcing the rule. 

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On 10/15/2019 at 12:41 AM, ashleyriley said:

The comment about "kids running amok in the Haven" has me a little concerned.  Does this scenario happen frequently in the Haven?  We are cruising the second week in December. 

We sailed the week of Christmas on the Escape in the Haven last year and had zero issues with kids running amok in the pool or lounge area. It was actually almost a ghost town in the pool area so my teenager (gasp a child) and I sat in the loungers reading books for hours one day. We had food delivered. It was very relaxing. I would not base your decision on a few negative posts as my experience was the exact opposite. 

 

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4 hours ago, ColeThornton said:

The thing I love about Cruise Critic posters is that none of them have kids that act up on the ship.  They are all well behaved.  😉

Fact, I have never taken a child under 21 on a cruise.  

 

I will also add that I got a big chuckle reading the OP's loquacious writings about the Haven.  

Edited by PTC DAWG

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15 minutes ago, StormiB said:

We sailed the week of Christmas on the Escape in the Haven last year and had zero issues with kids running amok in the pool or lounge area. It was actually almost a ghost town in the pool area so my teenager (gasp a child) and I sat in the loungers reading books for hours one day. We had food delivered. It was very relaxing. I would not base your decision on a few negative posts as my experience was the exact opposite. 

 

This is all very interesting.  My post was the secrets to really enjoying the Haven.  I love the concept and the idea.  Yet now it is about on line on a "Way To Long" post about kids.  The concern is real, yet it doesn't mean that it is going to be an issue on your cruises.  The Haven will still be SOOOOO much better then the ships pools and hot tubs on a Holiday Cruise.  I am on the Thanksgiving Cruise coming up Nov.  Not my first rodeo so I also have access to the Spa indoor pool and lounge which is 18 and up.  We all have the opportunity to buy a VIBE beach club pass when you get on board if you get to the Haven lounge quickly.  They save a few for Haven guest purchases.  I wonder why????

Lets keep this focus on leveraging the most posible when investing the cash into the Haven.  Who we all can get our money's worth making our vacation awesome.  Thanks. 

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5 minutes ago, PTC DAWG said:

Fact, I have never taken a child under 21 on a cruise.  

 

I will also add that I got a big chuckle reading he OP's loquacious writings about the Haven.  

I am the OP, yep, you are right. My bad!!!!

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On 10/14/2019 at 7:57 PM, nyc2pdx said:

Thanks for the great overview.  I am taking my first cruise in December, and booked into a Haven stateroom-an H8 (Forward Haven Suite-Connecting).

 

One thing that does concern me as I am outside the Haven area, is the Butler.  How responsive they will be?  I've seen comment on here for those in the Aft and Fwd suites that they never saw their butler.  I intend to use my Butler (since I am paying for it!) and have started to compile a list of things I would like.  

 

What if my Butler is one of these MIA butlers?  I'd expect to meet them within a few hours of being onboard, and I would tip them appropriately for the services they provide.  I wouldn't ask them to do too much, but there are a couple of daily things that are important to me, and the Butler service was one of the main reasons I went with booking into the Haven.

I rarely saw our butler. The rest of the experience was so wonderful that I didn't want to be a complainer. However, on the last day, I mentioned this to our Concierge who had been exceptional. He assured me that I should have brought this to his attention right away. He explained that they were a team and this could have and should have been handled. He also explained that our aft facing suites had dedicated Butlers, so the distance from the actual Haven was not the issue.

In retrospect, I sure wish I had been proactive.

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2 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

This is all very interesting.  My post was the secrets to really enjoying the Haven.  I love the concept and the idea.  Yet now it is about on line on a "Way To Long" post about kids.  The concern is real, yet it doesn't mean that it is going to be an issue on your cruises.  The Haven will still be SOOOOO much better then the ships pools and hot tubs on a Holiday Cruise.  I am on the Thanksgiving Cruise coming up Nov.  Not my first rodeo so I also have access to the Spa indoor pool and lounge which is 18 and up.  We all have the opportunity to buy a VIBE beach club pass when you get on board if you get to the Haven lounge quickly.  They save a few for Haven guest purchases.  I wonder why????

Lets keep this focus on leveraging the most posible when investing the cash into the Haven.  Who we all can get our money's worth making our vacation awesome.  Thanks. 

 

As you said, the concerns about it being overrun by kids is real.  So when talking about getting your money's worth, it's very fair to let people know ahead of time that the best value might be skipping Haven all together.  Or sailing on a line or ship that doesn't have a mad house that you need to "escape to the Haven" to.  Just the concept seems crazy to me.  The ship is so bad, you need a private area to escape the insanity and crowds.... Lol.

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25 minutes ago, BNBR said:

 

As you said, the concerns about it being overrun by kids is real.  So when talking about getting your money's worth, it's very fair to let people know ahead of time that the best value might be skipping Haven all together.  Or sailing on a line or ship that doesn't have a mad house that you need to "escape to the Haven" to.  Just the concept seems crazy to me.  The ship is so bad, you need a private area to escape the insanity and crowds.... Lol.

Thank you for your comment.  I am going to address it.  Your point is well taken.  I love huge ships, love them. I am a little older and don't mind paying extra to get certain perks. I will be cruising three times in less then 12 months which clearly shows I am spoiled.  During those three cruises, I am on the NCL Getaway in the Haven (4000 passengers) with my wife; the NCL Pearl in the Haven (2500 passengers) with my family of five; Oceania Marina to Europe (Premium Brand, most folks over 18, smaller ship 1250 passengers).

 

When I attempt to save some money by not going a Premium Brand, I do the Haven and really like it. I thought that is what my post said.  Instead not it is all about my single complaint about kids.  So as you can see, I agree with your over arching theme and realize I made the choice for my own reasons.  What this teaches me is that folks really don't want a first hand transparent view of unique aspects of cruise brands, cabins and accommodations. Sad but true.

 

I learned my lesson. My heart was in the right place.

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2 hours ago, Bright1 said:

I rarely saw our butler. The rest of the experience was so wonderful that I didn't want to be a complainer. However, on the last day, I mentioned this to our Concierge who had been exceptional. He assured me that I should have brought this to his attention right away. He explained that they were a team and this could have and should have been handled. He also explained that our aft facing suites had dedicated Butlers, so the distance from the actual Haven was not the issue.

In retrospect, I sure wish I had been proactive.

Thanks for this-I will make sure to inform the concierge if my butler is MIA.  Can't wait to get onboard...52 days to go.

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