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Sthrngary

THE SECRETS OF THE NCL HAVEN LUXURY EXPERIENCE

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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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I agree with the OP. Its great to be able to retreat away from the crowds and enjoy what is usually a peaceful place. Nothing wrong with that. We all do it everyday in our own lives. Man caves etc .

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On ‎10‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 8:36 AM, Sthrngary said:

 

I hope this information helps some folks enjoy their next cruise experience.  Whether you go with a NCL Haven luxury experience; Celebrity suites or any other brands upper level experience, you now know what to expect.  Be well and stay healthy.

Great job in putting this together.

 

I had looked at Heaven the last couple of cruises.

 

With your input I can truly say that the Haven would not add value to the type of cruising that we do.

 

Again, thank you very much.  

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1 hour ago, Sthrngary said:

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.

 

You may misinterpreting my comment. I like your post and think you did a great job with it, clearly spending considerable time.  But this is a discussion forum so people will discuss it in any way they want.  Kids is a hot topic in the Haven, and my first hand experience was that I wouldn't do the Haven again because of it.  I think the best thing is to just provide honest feedback, that gives everyone a clear picture of the product so they can make decisions that are right for them.  

 

Would you not consider the issue of kids in the haven a unique and transparent view of the Haven?  It may bother some more than others.  But the NCL marketing certainly doesn't present this aspect.  So people like us are the only way new cruises can get this important information.  Share your story and keep doing it!  Just know there are thousands of people here who will respond in different ways, and that's ok, too.

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On 10/16/2019 at 6:52 AM, 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.  😉

Conversely, every other haven patron has had to endure gangs of despicable & unruly children.  (Perhaps unsupervised?)

 

Someone above suggested that families with children should stick to Disney, which makes me want to pop off with those who want to vacation in an adult only environment should cruise exclusively on adult only cruise lines.  

 

NCL markets to adults and families.  There is nothing in the Haven marketing that implies it is an adult only experience.   Images that show that one beautiful lady alone on her Haven lounger while the steward hands her an umbrella drink is no different than the photo of the beautiful lady alone in the main pool -it's a dream.  Nowhere on the marketing materials do they show people queued up, the muster event, dodging drunk becky, or listening to loungy larry hit on everything.    

 

NCL runs a great kids program and the effort and space on the ship that they put into that tells me that families are a very profitable segment of their customer base.    

 

With that off my chest, I will admit that I am hopeful that our too-far-in-the-future Canada/NE cruise in the Haven is not overrun with the Lord of the Flies group of pre-teens who have hoodwinked their adults into letting them roam without any manners.   On the same note, I'm also hopeful not to be cruising with adults with the same behaviors.   In truth I am expecting that on our Haven cruise (and the Disney inside cabin cruise) we will again encounter many kind, wonderful people and enjoy our holidays.  

 

Thanks for listening.  

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Thank you for your post, I had just upgraded to an H5 on the Escape and really enjoyed your insights.  Made my night.

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15 hours ago, TPgal said:

Conversely, every other haven patron has had to endure gangs of despicable & unruly children.  (Perhaps unsupervised?)

 

Someone above suggested that families with children should stick to Disney, which makes me want to pop off with those who want to vacation in an adult only environment should cruise exclusively on adult only cruise lines.  

 

NCL markets to adults and families.  There is nothing in the Haven marketing that implies it is an adult only experience.   Images that show that one beautiful lady alone on her Haven lounger while the steward hands her an umbrella drink is no different than the photo of the beautiful lady alone in the main pool -it's a dream.  Nowhere on the marketing materials do they show people queued up, the muster event, dodging drunk becky, or listening to loungy larry hit on everything.    

 

NCL runs a great kids program and the effort and space on the ship that they put into that tells me that families are a very profitable segment of their customer base.    

 

With that off my chest, I will admit that I am hopeful that our too-far-in-the-future Canada/NE cruise in the Haven is not overrun with the Lord of the Flies group of pre-teens who have hoodwinked their adults into letting them roam without any manners.   On the same note, I'm also hopeful not to be cruising with adults with the same behaviors.   In truth I am expecting that on our Haven cruise (and the Disney inside cabin cruise) we will again encounter many kind, wonderful people and enjoy our holidays.  

 

Thanks for listening.  

 

There is no denying that the Haven is marketed as a Shang ri la luxury experience.  It's not unreasonable for people to expect a relaxed, relatively quiet atmosphere.  A dozen kids playing pool games in the tiny courtyard is a far cry from what is advertised.  I have no issue with kids on ships. I have kids. I love the fun atmosphere of family friendly ships from NCL, Royal, etc.  At the same time, I don't think it's unreasonable to have fairly strict rules regarding behavior in the Haven courtyard.  Which may mean no kids under 12 allowed in the pool and tubs, for example.  NCL has no trouble asking people to keep quiet and respectful at the thermal spa.  The Haven should be treated similarly.

Edited by BNBR

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On 10/13/2019 at 8:36 AM, Sthrngary said:

This content is very long and detailed. It was designed to give a perspective on the sometimes controversial NCL Haven Luxury Experience.  Prior to booking the Haven, the information on it was incomplete and or an advertisement.  It costs a lot and I wanted more before I was willing to pay the premium. So I wrote this.  I hope it is helpful.  If not, please don't be TO CRUEL!!!!

 

As a frequent cruiser, I research my experience prior to taking all my cruises.  This trait, provides me with a high level of enjoyment.  It allows me to visualize my cruise even before it happens.  For me personality, it also allows me to take care of details ahead of time. Now I can relax from the first second of my cruising experience throughout its conclusion.  Of recently, my wife and I have chosen to attempt to improve our cruise experience by upgrading our cabins to suites levels sometimes in exclusive sections of a larger cruise ship (Reference: NCL Haven; Celebrity Suite).  This trend on our part, started about 10 years ago, when we entered into our 50's.  We started the trend with Holland America Line (HAL), then to Celebrity Cruises and now NCL.  In the cruising industry, the last 10 years has shown a rise in the popularity exclusive suites/ship area’s; also, the perks and amenities these premium cabins provide.

Before I go on, a special note.  My wife and I, for the first time are taking the jump from Main-stream cruise brands (NCL, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America), to an ultra-premium brand in 2020, Oceania Cruises.  This is a first for us and we made this decision because our best friends booked a European cruise and asked us to join. The ship is smaller, it is a different cruising experience then the huge 4000 plus passenger’s ships.  These sailings are also mostly adults due to investment, entertainment, food and accommodations. The ship sailings focus much more on itinerary, since small ships can get into different much more unique ports.  The brand we choose was Oceania Cruises, which is a sister to NCL and the Luxury brand of Regents Seven Seas.  All this for the quest of the best cruise experience possible.

Most recently in November 2018, my family and I went on the Celebrity Equinox in a cabin upgraded cabin level called the “Celebrity Suite”.  This included access to the ships Michael's Club and the “Suites Only” restaurant called the “Luminae”. This upgraded category also provided a butler.  Michael's club was a small, quite private lounge with a full bar. During the day it would provide little appetizers and treats. Even though it was small, I loved this private little hangout perk. The Suites only restaurant, Luminae, was the best restaurant on the ship by far. This is including the so-called specialty restaurants. The Butler was a non-issue because we simply did not know how to utilize their services effectively.  This brings us to topics of this document, “Secrets to the NCL Haven Experience”.

If you don't already know, the NCL Haven is a "Ship within a Ship" concept.  It allows, for a premium investment, a certain level of exclusivity and privacy without taking away a large cruise ship experience.  Another word, you can have a private pool, padded lounge chairs, hot tubs, bars, restaurants, and butler. You can also have complete access to all other amenities that a large ship provides.  Some cruisers get very upset with these special and restricted premium areas.  They don't understand why the cruise ship brands, allow this to happen.  Why they can’t have access to the entire ship for the cruise investment they have made.

The answer is quite simple.  The average cost for an inside state room, is about $499.00 per person (not including taxes & fees).  The lowest cost for a Haven Suite is approximately $2,099.00 per person on average. The cruise brands profit much more on a Haven type level guest.  Even more interesting is these exclusive special guest area suites sell out very quickly.  If a guest can afford the premium, the question, is it worth it? You first must know what are some secrets to getting all the value you can, from the NCL Haven Luxury Experiences.  Here are just a few:

  • Pre-Cruise Haven Concierge Desk Requests:

When you book the Haven luxury experience, approximately 60-days prior to your sail date, you get a U.S. mail letter from NCL.  In the envelope are special luggage tags (I will discuss this next) and a letter requesting any special requests. You can communication these request via a special 800 number or send an email.  I always choose to send an email due to my many requests.

My always “pre-thought-out” email, addressed things I would normally ask for, when I arrive on the ship.  40-years of cruising experience, helped my preparation greatly. My Haven requests included, but were not limited to:

  1. Extension cord, power strip & sterilized water for my CPAP machine.

  2. Removal of all “Extra Cost” or “For Sale” items from our suite. I hate being nickeled and dimed on a cruise.

  3. Dietary considerations, as it related to afternoon snacks/teas provided. My wife and I are on Keto. In our opinion, a big perk of the Haven luxury experience is this lovely pre-dinner snacks.

  4. Adjustments for specialty restaurant dates and times, prior to cruise. As long-time cruisers, we always pre-book our specialty restaurants online the moment reservations are accepted.  The times as well as dates for these reservations, were not acceptable. The Haven guest have priority.

  5. Cruiser personality profile are provided, allowing our butler to knew about us, prior to the cruise. We don’t want our butler to have to read our minds.  This is somewhat over the top, I know. However, has gotten great results in the past.

Think about how much less stress, you would feel if you had some of these issues handled pre-cruise.  The NCL Haven luxury experience gives you this opportunity, for a price of course.

  • Haven Layout of Private Sundeck:

From a frequent cruiser stand point, this little perk is much more then it seems to be at face value. Let me explain my three (3) key points.

  1. Cushioned Private Lounge Chairs: The lounge chairs have soft nice cushions on them, which is a great plus yet, not the biggest benefit.  The fact that you always have enough sunning lounge chairs with GREAT views, is the major plus.  Unlike the distasteful fact that many cruise guest, wake up early in the morning to put considerable efforts to reserve a pool side lounge chair for their all-day usage.  Chairs that are often unoccupied most of the day.  For me, just not dealing with this situation, is almost worth the entire premium paid for the Haven. Boy I can tell you stories about this one. I love a good argument, just not on a cruise vacation.

  2. Bar Service While Lounging at Haven Pool or Sundeck: The Haven pool/hot tubs are usually very close to the Haven bar.  This is not the case on the smaller ships like the Pearl, so they make up for it by having attendants cruise the Haven pool/sundeck area often.  I am not ashamed to tell everyone reading this document, I tip servers, especially by the pool and bartenders on day one.  I do this much more for my wife benefit, then for myself.  My wife is an introvert and won’t ask for anything. I want her service to be over-the-top because selfishly I want her to want to come on another cruise.  If she is not by the Haven pool and is instead up the short set of steps to the private Haven Sundeck; I want that server to check on her drink situation often.  When my wife is HAPPY, I am HAPPY.   

  3. Haven Restaurant: Just like my reference to the Celebrity Suite Only restaurant, the Haven Restaurant is known as the best food on the ship.  What you must remember, its menu is fixed and does not change from night to night.  The best strategy is to eat in the Haven Restaurant on the first night of cruising. This allows you to get a feel for the food, service, menu and make relationships with the staff.  This holds true for breakfast and lunch on day two as well.  A couple of notes.

    1. The smaller ships like the NCL Pearl do not have Haven Restaurants or bars.  They provide exclusive use of a specialty restaurant for breakfast and lunch for their Haven guest.  They do have a smaller scaled down version of the Haven pool, hot tub and sundeck.

    2. Most cruise lines have a sale for the first evening of sailing. They reduce the cost for the specialty restaurants by excess of 30% if you go the very first night.  I chose not to do this, yet know it could be available if I would so choose.

    3. If you don’t like what is on the Haven Restaurant Menu, tell your server in the afternoon you want something else and they will do their best to have it for you.  The best examples are steaks, lunch menu double pork chops, salmon and the list go on.  Ask and you will receive.

  4. The Haven Bar: This is no ordinary bar.  As a percentage, most Haven guest receive the “Premium Beverage Package” perk.  In addition, most Haven adult guest upgrade that beverage package to the “Premium Plus Beverage Package”. The Haven bar knows this and is a kind of unique mixology experience bar.  There is a very nice video on YouTube titled, the Haven Bar, that give you an example.  My routine is to fine my favorite bar on a cruise ship and make great friends of the bartender.  When in the Haven, this is a no-brainer.

  5. Embarkations & Lunch: My history, 40 years ago, was to cruise with the least expensive cabin possible.  That is when deals were available, and cruises were not 4,000 plus guests. I have stood on all the very long embarkation and debarkation lines.  Initially, I just thought it added to the excitement of the cruise experience.  This was until, of course, I could avoid these lines completely.  Then I realized I was missing some quite special treatment.  With your Haven luxury experience, your embarkation is quick, smooth, professional and personalized.  You are escorted to the Haven lounge or specific specialty restaurant, provided with “ship snacks”, drinks and can also have lunch at the Haven Restaurant (space available). Careful though, get to the Haven Restaurant early, they get super busy, fast.  That is where I beeline too.  I also meet the host/hostess.  If they have a wait, here is what I say.

“I fully understand if you are booked up.  Busy exciting day for everyone.  My wife and I are going to have a drink at the bar. We will wait there, if you have a no show or cancelation.”

I then shake their hand with a $10.00 bill in my hand. I never miss.  Sorry if anyone does not approve.  I have done this for years. I used to get upset, but now I get seated for lunch and the rest of the week I get lots of smiles. All I say is that, “I am on vacation!”.

  1. Escorts to Shows and Debarkation:

    1. Shows: There are special seating for Haven guest, at most shows.  I do not take advantage of this perk ever.  I always sit in the back of the theatre, on the end of the row. This allows my wife and I to leave any show, without making a scene.  It also gives me quicker access to bathrooms and closest bars.  The bar service in a show is, well, not great.

    2. Debarkation while at a Port: There is a special exit that is quick and seamless from most ships accommodating Haven Guests.  Especially nice when you need to get to a tour, quickly. You might be late or want to get to the beach before the crowds.  The same special treatment happens when re-boarding the cruise ship after the excursion.

  2. Haven Select Elevators Access:  The Haven is usually located on the top floors of the ship.  There is one specific elevator that is specially coded to go directly to the Haven area.  All you do is use your access key card.  Watch out though, this deletes the other floors, other guests might have checked prior to your arrival in the elevator. Always play nice.  Regardless, a very nice perk.

  3. Haven Spa Suite:  This is a little hint to some of us out there.  When you book a spa suite, in the Haven, the special spa access comes with it as a perk.  The Haven spa suite, is on the same level as the ships spa itself.  The spa on the larger ships, have special heated tile loungers that view the ocean.  Sauna, steam, showers, and salt rooms.  The highlight is a very special indoor spa heated bathing hot tub.  This area is limited to 18 and older.  It only accessible to those with spa suites, Haven or otherwise, and a few passed that can be purchased.  The Haven spa suite also has a huge jacuzzi big enough for two in your suite, with a view of the ocean.  Finally, unlike other spa suites, you also have access to the Haven which is two decks up.  The down side is the suite is a much smaller sq. then other Haven suite. The per guest expense is also the lowest investment they offer Haven suite for.

  4. Butler Services:  I read a lot of review of folks that simply don’t utilize their butlers.  I did the same, the first time I had a butler. It was we did not know what to ask for and they feel uncomfortable asking for special services. What a waste of a great services opportunity that you could never get in real everyday life. I researched what a Butler will and won’t do. 

    1. What the butlers won’t do:

      1. They won’t watch your kids, when you go out for an evening. 

      2. They won’t spend all day, escorting you around the ship. 

      3. They won’t be your date, for a show or dinner.

      4. They won’t bring your adult beverages to the room, unless they are charging the cost to the suite.

They will do almost any small task you ask, within reason.  Here are a few things I have had my Butlers do, to enhance my families cruising experience.  Before I provide my list, please know I tip my Butler between $100 and $150 per seven-day cruise, depending on service requested and provided during the week.

    1. What the Butler will do:

      1. Unpack Your Bags When You Arrive: This is a request I never ask. To some folks, this is a great benefit.  Up to you, just know it is a request that is totally fine.

      2. Parties in Our Suites: This depends on the size of our suite and balcony.  My next cruise, we have a Haven Spa Suite. Lovely however to small for parties.  If you are in a two-bedroom or owner’s suite, party hardy with all your new friends or family. One of my fondest memories was the huge balcony had with all my extended family singing show tunes.  If on my next cruise with my smaller suite, I want to entertain, I will ask the butler to have it setup in a part of the Haven lounge, if, those guests are also Haven guest.  If you are not in the Haven, you are not getting into the Haven lounge, bar, pool, or restaurants; PERIOD. 

      3. Dinning in your Suite: NCL charges for room service to the tune of $8.00 plus per service.  It is fair, but takes away from the notion of all inclusive cruise.  This fee is complementary because you have a Butler.  The Haven suite room service menu, is also much better then the other cabins.  Your butler will serve you in courses as if you were in the restaurant. You can choose any restaurant including specialty restaurants, if, you have paid that specialty restaurants fee. A little hint about breakfast. I pre-print my breakfast requests on an index card and bring them with me on my cruises.  I staple them to the door room service menu and give my butler a heads up.  Finally, please remember, Room Service for Breakfast sounds good on paper.  It is so much better just to go to the Haven Restaurant.  My biggest reason for saying this is the “French Press” coffee on your table, hotter food and the breakfast side buffet that is super special for the Haven guests.

      4. Afternoon Snacks: Not that we all need more food; yet an afternoon snack is kind of nice.  My wife and I are on the Keto diet.  We lost a ton of weight and love all the foods this diet provides us.  However, the normal afternoon fair, usually is not Keto friendly.  So, we outline what is and is not keto for our butler.  For an example, a meat, cheese, nut, and raw vegie plate would be great.  Key word small plate, just a taste. Tell me if that does not sound awesome as an option? Loss the complementary chocolate dipped strawberries, tasteless so called Belgian chocolate on the pillow, basket of fruit that never gets eaten and cheap champagne. Time to custom design your cruise around just enough however great quality options. Your call.

      5. Shows and Specialty Restaurant Reservations: This is done by the Haven Concierge, not your butler.  The Concierge will absolutely pull some strings to get you a reservation and or change your reservation you have made.  I need to have some dates and times changed, for some specialty restaurants I booked 60 days out.  I also want one of my specialty restaurant reservations outside over-looking the ocean. 

      6. Extra Towels in your Suite: We all ask for extra towels from time to time.  I know I have, haven’t you?  However, my room steward was so busy, I would get the towels eventually.  This does not happen with Butlers.  They get them right away or have them in your room when you ask.  Remember, butlers do lots of stuff behind the scenes. Yet their tips are all about what you give them at the end of the week.  They do not participate in the tips taken out of your account.

      7. NOTE: Adult Beverages in Your Suite: NOT going to happen.  Policy for NCL (and other cruise lines) won’t allow your butler to bring drinks or bottles unless you pay for them on your account.  One acceptations, the initial bottle of champagne on day one.

  1. Children in the Haven Area: This is NOT a benefit, it can be a very negative aspect to the Haven.  During Holiday cruises, when school is out, families with the financial means book Haven Two & Three Bedroom Suites.  You can have up to 6 cruisers in each suite.  Therefore, a family can really take all the kids.  The cruise specials usually allow 3 & 4 passengers free. The kids end up taking over the Haven pool and hot tubs areas. Even though the signs are clearly posted not to run, noise, jump or splash; the kids can’t help themselves.  They are usually unsupervised and can be unruly. When this happens, you can go up to the Haven private sun lounge where it is 18 years or older to have accesses. I am the person that WILL let the Haven staff know this issue on day one.  If it persists, I will say something to the parents, whom react differently based on their children’s entitlement issues. The cruise line is in a rock-and-a-hard-place on this topic.

      1. NOTE: On my upcoming cruise, in my special requests pre-cruise.  I outlined this situation with children very clearly.  I know the staff already gets lots of complaints about this from Haven guests.  I asked for a professional courtesy in my written request.  The Larger NCL cruise ships have a special area called the “Vibe Beach Club”.  It has a special access card and only a very few cruise guests have access.  It has a bar, hot tubs and cushioned lounge chairs.  It access is 18-year-old or older all the time.  You must pay $200.00 per guest to get it and they have very limited passes.  It is completely unnecessary, if the Haven luxury experience is as advertised. It is common knowledge that the Concierge desk have a few passes for Haven guest at a price.  I feel they should include the “Vibe Beach Club” because we would not use the area, unless the kids take over our premium area.

Conclusion:

We all must make the decision, if an exclusive area like the NCL Haven is worth the premium investment it demands.  For my family’s needs, yes it does.  For many, it does not.  It is nice to have the option, without having to double your cruise fare again, to go on an Ultra-Premium or Luxury Cruise line.  I personally love the big ships and the feel it gives us when you see it and venture through it.  I don’t want the crowds 24/7, therefore the NCL Haven gives us the best of both worlds.

I can’t leave this conclusion section, without saying a few more words.  Cruises are what you make of them.  Attitude makes a cruise.  Finding compatible new friends will make a cruise.  What we all must understand; no cruise is perfect. Things happen, crew members, like any other humans, have good and bad days.  I believe the best cruises are really the obligation of the cruiser. 

This might sound crazy I know.  I have personally experiences during dinning, show, excursion and entire cruise experiences suffer, because of one issue or interaction with a crew member or fellow passenger.  I have come to realize that no amount of research, will match my perfect visualization of what a cruise should be.  There is no perfect cruise, just the next one in the future. 

I hope this information helps some folks enjoy their next cruise experience.  Whether you go with a NCL Haven luxury experience; Celebrity suites or any other brands upper level experience, you now know what to expect.  Be well and stay healthy.

Thank you for your thoughtful review.  We also are on the search for a wonderful suite experience.  We have been on Princess and Celebrity suite level.  We are trying NCL for our 50th anniversary.  Like you, we may try Oceania for our next experience.  We loved Celebrity for Michael's Club and Lumanae.  We are now at 56 days and looking forward to the US Mail letter.  Hopefully, we receive it.  I really hate waiting to meet the Butler to ask for our requests and hoping the language barrier does not affect our requests.  We don't typically ask for too much but we like what we ask for to actually occur.  Can you share the email so we can send our requests in case we do not receive the letter?  We are in the Haven Aft Penthouse.  

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On 10/16/2019 at 2:13 AM, 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

 

 

isnt there some kind of law against doing homework on a vacation? 

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2 hours ago, Momma Rene said:

Thank you for your thoughtful review.  We also are on the search for a wonderful suite experience.  We have been on Princess and Celebrity suite level.  We are trying NCL for our 50th anniversary.  Like you, we may try Oceania for our next experience.  We loved Celebrity for Michael's Club and Lumanae.  We are now at 56 days and looking forward to the US Mail letter.  Hopefully, we receive it.  I really hate waiting to meet the Butler to ask for our requests and hoping the language barrier does not affect our requests.  We don't typically ask for too much but we like what we ask for to actually occur.  Can you share the email so we can send our requests in case we do not receive the letter?  We are in the Haven Aft Penthouse.  

NorwegianConciergeDesk@ncl.com , I sent three emails.  First, I gave my requests. Second, I clarified something. Third, I asked a specific question. I also sailed last year on the Celebrity Equinox in a "Celebrity Suite".  The Michael's Club and Lumanae were excellent.  Made my Voyager.  The Oceania Marina Cruise is my 40th wedding anniversary in October 2020.  Smaller ship, all adults, Europe. 

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1 hour ago, mcgorr said:

Can anyone tell me does an MA grade have Haven access?


no. That’s a mini suite. You need to book a H category suite. 

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13 hours ago, mcgorr said:

Can anyone tell me does an MA grade have Haven access?

@mcgorr , No, you have an excellent suite called a Mini-Suite. The only Haven Suites have an "H" I believe in the suite/cabin code.  Prior to the cruise, NCL does a upgrade program. They do this with a bid process.  If you are interested in a Haven Suite, do some math and look at your budget.  If upgrading is affordable, look at what the rate would have been if you bought it normally, they your rate for your mini suite.  If it makes sense, make a bid.  During busy cruises, this is very hard to get. During less busy cruises it is possible to get it. 

When I wrote this article, I did it because there was very little information about the Haven Experience.  Please know, it took me 62 years, and 19 previous cruises to afford to cruise this way. If truth be told, my most memorial cruises was inside state rooms with no windows and just enough room for the beds.  We has no money and that was when you could sneak a bottle of vodka on board.  We dressed up, got the late dinning room sitting, went to every show, did every bingo, eat breakfast every morning in the dinning room and did the mid-night buffet.  Now we are happy to make it to 9:00 before we want to go to sleep.  That is why the cabin and accommodations are more important now then back then. 

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On 10/16/2019 at 5:54 PM, Sthrngary said:

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.

I certainly understand your frustration. Your post was a great idea and I personally truly appreciate it. Like you I research my trips to death therefore rarely am surprised by our travel experiences. We have booked a DOS in the Haven on the Epic for Jan 2021 and have had trouble gathering detailed first hand accounts of how to get the most from the experience. So your post was fantastic. I've been somewhat frustrated there weren't more posts along the lines of your intent and that it has morphed into a thread about unruly kids. But rest assured that there are probably many who appreciated what you've written and have found it helpful. Thanks again!

Brian

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58 minutes ago, papa B me said:

I certainly understand your frustration. Your post was a great idea and I personally truly appreciate it. Like you I research my trips to death therefore rarely am surprised by our travel experiences. We have booked a DOS in the Haven on the Epic for Jan 2021 and have had trouble gathering detailed first hand accounts of how to get the most from the experience. So your post was fantastic. I've been somewhat frustrated there weren't more posts along the lines of your intent and that it has morphed into a thread about unruly kids. But rest assured that there are probably many who appreciated what you've written and have found it helpful. Thanks again!

Brian

Wow, so nice of you. You will have a great time.  Enjoy

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Another product to look at is the MSC Yacht Club.

We did Haven on the Getaway a few years back, then did the Yacht Club the following year.

The Yacht Club was significantly less expensive, but included far more perks;

Free drinks around the ship for EVERYONE, a great restaurant that had different menus at EVERY meal (the Haven Restaurant had the same menu every single day). It had a very nice lounge with free snacks, free drinks, nightly violinists and pianists, and daily high tea service.

The pool on the YC was larger than the Haven's, and had butlers coming by non-stop bringing you drinks and food (and you never had to flash a card or anything.)

There were a few Haven passengers on our Yacht Club trip, and we all agreed it was a superior value and product.

 

That said, I'm next doing NCL Escape (non-Haven) as there is no MSC ship close to me in NYC, and the water park is better on NCL.

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2 minutes ago, jacksonx said:

Another product to look at is the MSC Yacht Club.

We did Haven on the Getaway a few years back, then did the Yacht Club the following year.

The Yacht Club was significantly less expensive, but included far more perks;

Free drinks around the ship for EVERYONE, a great restaurant that had different menus at EVERY meal (the Haven Restaurant had the same menu every single day). It had a very nice lounge with free snacks, free drinks, nightly violinists and pianists, and daily high tea service.

The pool on the YC was larger than the Haven's, and had butlers coming by non-stop bringing you drinks and food (and you never had to flash a card or anything.)

There were a few Haven passengers on our Yacht Club trip, and we all agreed it was a superior value and product.

 

That said, I'm next doing NCL Escape (non-Haven) as there is no MSC ship close to me in NYC, and the water park is better on NCL.

This was really good information.  What I see is the trend for these types of upgrades on most main stream brands.  Like you, I am on NCL Getaway because my Thanksgiving trip is out of New Orleans.  I can drive there in 5 hours.  Made a difference for my wife and I .  Much easier then flying to Miami.  My next cruise is indeed out of New York.  That will be a first for my family and I. Be well.

 

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I think it's fantastic to have so many choices. We continue to try different experiences and find pros and cons to each but feel so blessed to travel the way we do that the pros alway out weigh the cons. We love the small ship experience on SilverSea and have two Azamara trips booked. At the same time we enjoy the shows and restaurants of larger ships. Anxious to see if the Haven experience gives us the feel of both. Booked the Epic for its southern Caribbean itinerary. Takes us to 5 islands we haven't been to yet. So experiencing the Haven is an added benefit o a great itinerary. I suspect we will keep exploring different cruise lines and ships for different experiences so will need to add MSC to the list along with Oceania, Regent and Seabourn

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The Haven with their 2 bedroom offerings is an attractive option for families looking to cruise. I think it’s unrealistic to expect no children will be in the haven or to restrict children access to the pool. I can also certainly understand how unruly children can affect other passengers experience. In those situations, the parents need to monitor and better control their unruly children. Every passenger deserves to enjoy their vacation they paid for. 

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6 hours ago, jacksonx said:

Another product to look at is the MSC Yacht Club.

We did Haven on the Getaway a few years back, then did the Yacht Club the following year.

The Yacht Club was significantly less expensive, but included far more perks;

Free drinks around the ship for EVERYONE, a great restaurant that had different menus at EVERY meal (the Haven Restaurant had the same menu every single day). It had a very nice lounge with free snacks, free drinks, nightly violinists and pianists, and daily high tea service.

The pool on the YC was larger than the Haven's, and had butlers coming by non-stop bringing you drinks and food (and you never had to flash a card or anything.)

There were a few Haven passengers on our Yacht Club trip, and we all agreed it was a superior value and product.

 

That said, I'm next doing NCL Escape (non-Haven) as there is no MSC ship close to me in NYC, and the water park is better on NCL.


I was just about to post the same thing. OP, I bet you and your wife would love the MSC Yacht Club. It is IMO many times better than Haven, and often cheaper. We will never go back!

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6 hours ago, CruisinKJ said:

The Haven with their 2 bedroom offerings is an attractive option for families looking to cruise. I think it’s unrealistic to expect no children will be in the haven or to restrict children access to the pool. I can also certainly understand how unruly children can affect other passengers experience. In those situations, the parents need to monitor and better control their unruly children. Every passenger deserves to enjoy their vacation they paid for. 

That was exactly my point.  I have personally booked Haven two-bedroom suites for my family.  The reason most of the time was the third and forth passenger were free or reduced.  If you have a family, this is a GREAT deal in a GREAT suite. The issue I share was just not mine, it was many folks.  All I was saying is "Don't be surprised."  It is 100% the parents responsibility to watch their children and handle them is they are unruly, PERIOD.

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On 10/19/2019 at 10:27 AM, jacksonx said:

Another product to look at is the MSC Yacht Club.

We did Haven on the Getaway a few years back, then did the Yacht Club the following year.

The Yacht Club was significantly less expensive, but included far more perks;

Free drinks around the ship for EVERYONE, a great restaurant that had different menus at EVERY meal (the Haven Restaurant had the same menu every single day). It had a very nice lounge with free snacks, free drinks, nightly violinists and pianists, and daily high tea service.

The pool on the YC was larger than the Haven's, and had butlers coming by non-stop bringing you drinks and food (and you never had to flash a card or anything.)

There were a few Haven passengers on our Yacht Club trip, and we all agreed it was a superior value and product.

 

That said, I'm next doing NCL Escape (non-Haven) as there is no MSC ship close to me in NYC, and the water park is better on NCL.

How is the entertainment?  Especially on MSC Seaside (if that is the ship you are talking about)

 

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8 minutes ago, tampadee said:

How is the entertainment?  Especially on MSC Seaside (if that is the ship you are talking about)

 

We went on the Divina.

The the entertainment had a very European feel.

The shows included opera singers, a Michael Jackson dancer, and some stage shows that used pre-recorded music. 

I'd say overall the entertainment on a larger NCL ship is more attuned to Americans' expectations.

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Have done both the YC on MSC (Divina, Meriviglia) and The Haven with NCL (Breakaway, Getaway).  Not taking anything away from MSC, but the only thing I found better with MSC was the price differential.  But, that has since not been a factor when I’ve looked at the YC over the last few cruise bookings.

 

The Entertainment on NCL is worlds better than MSC’s.  The exclusive Haven areas (like the loungers on the Haven upper deck) are nicer than MSC’s.  Food was hit or miss with MSC’s YC dining room, also.  MSC still has dress requirements in the YC restaurant, too. That’s a “no-no” for me.

 

I found the service on NCL (and in particular, the Haven) to be much better than MSC.  MSC wasn’t bad.  It’s just that they were much more non-chalant about providing great service, whereas the NCL Concierges, Butlers, Bartenders, Waitstaff, even the cabin attendants, seemed more focused on giving great service.

 

If the YC drops in price again, I’d sail MSC.  But, choosing The Haven over the YC at the same fare, my money would go to the Haven.

Edited by graphicguy

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6 hours ago, graphicguy said:

Have done both the YC on MSC (Divina, Meriviglia) and The Haven with NCL (Breakaway, Getaway).  Not taking anything away from MSC, but the only thing I found better with MSC was the price differential.  But, that has since not been a factor when I’ve looked at the YC over the last few cruise bookings.

 

The Entertainment on NCL is worlds better than MSC’s.  The exclusive Haven areas (like the loungers on the Haven upper deck) are nicer than MSC’s.  Food was hit or miss with MSC’s YC dining room, also.  MSC still has dress requirements in the YC restaurant, too. That’s a “no-no” for me.

 

I found the service on NCL (and in particular, the Haven) to be much better than MSC.  MSC wasn’t bad.  It’s just that they were much more non-chalant about providing great service, whereas the NCL Concierges, Butlers, Bartenders, Waitstaff, even the cabin attendants, seemed more focused on giving great service.

 

If the YC drops in price again, I’d sail MSC.  But, choosing The Haven over the YC at the same fare, my money would go to the Haven.

Thanks for your insight!  Been hearing MSC YC as an alternative to the Haven, so I appreciate the counterpoint.

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