Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Sthrngary

THE SECRETS OF THE NCL HAVEN LUXURY EXPERIENCE

Recommended Posts

57 minutes ago, nyc2pdx said:

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

 

I've also done both and it really depends on which ships are being compared. Not all Haven areas are the same just as not all Yacht Club areas are the same. 

 

I found MSC butlers to be superior to NCL butlers but I also found NCL concierges superior to MSC concierges. 

 

Stateroom choices favor NCL as far as variety and size for the suites but there are some aspects where MSC suites are better than NCL's. 

 

I enjoy both Haven and Yacht Club and will continue to sail both. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎10‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 10:36 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.

What are the extra cost items you talk about in the rooms?

Does the mini bar come stocked with soda?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are the extra cost items you talk about in the rooms?

Does the mini bar come stocked with soda?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, ccuttill said:

What are the extra cost items you talk about in the rooms?

Does the mini bar come stocked with soda?

The mini-fridge is stocked with wonderful things like soda, beer and mini-booze - but it is NOT included in the price of your Haven room.   Those in the DOS/GV have a complimentary liquor perk i.e. 3 full size bottles of liquor of their choosing (within reason) and the accompanying mixers.   Other Haven cabins do not have this perk.

 

You can ask your butler to remove the mini-fridge items and then you'll have room to store water (that you buy) or stash those wonderful treats if you want. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, TPgal said:

The mini-fridge is stocked with wonderful things like soda, beer and mini-booze - but it is NOT included in the price of your Haven room.   Those in the DOS/GV have a complimentary liquor perk i.e. 3 full size bottles of liquor of their choosing (within reason) and the accompanying mixers.   Other Haven cabins do not have this perk.

 

You can ask your butler to remove the mini-fridge items and then you'll have room to store water (that you buy) or stash those wonderful treats if you want. 

Thanks.. That makes sense now..we had a DOS once before and this time we have a two bedroom suite.   I didn't remember seeing any cost items in our DOS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, ccuttill said:

What are the extra cost items you talk about in the rooms?

Does the mini bar come stocked with soda?

Every in the fridge has a cost.  Make it go away. You pay enough for your cruise the way it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ccuttill said:

Thanks.. That makes sense now..we had a DOS once before and this time we have a two bedroom suite.   I didn't remember seeing any cost items in our DOS

We were in a 2BR Suite on the Jade (non-haven) and thought it was great.  The balcony was similar in size to that of our previous mini-suite, but we had lots of room for everything in the closets.  Our little dining table was covered from day 1 in treats, snacks and paperwork but it was so nice to have a corner for every person in our party (including my mom who bunked in an Inside across the hall.)

 

We booked the 2BR (haven) on the Breakaway and I'm excited to see how the decor and minor layout differences change the space.

 

I will tell you that the floor to ceiling windows in the shower provide a great view, but are not privacy coated so be careful if you're using the shower in port next to another ship.   ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, TPgal said:

The mini-fridge is stocked with wonderful things like soda, beer and mini-booze - but it is NOT included in the price of your Haven room.   Those in the DOS/GV have a complimentary liquor perk i.e. 3 full size bottles of liquor of their choosing (within reason) and the accompanying mixers.   Other Haven cabins do not have this perk.

 

You can ask your butler to remove the mini-fridge items and then you'll have room to store water (that you buy) or stash those wonderful treats if you want. 

I looked at the list of items you can purchase before the cruise.  We ordered the water because I had it on Princess and loved having it there.  I would like to order a full size bottle of liquor, however, I cannot find it on the list of items to purchase.  We are in the Haven aft suite.  Anyone know the cost or how I could get that done before the cruise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Momma Rene said:

I looked at the list of items you can purchase before the cruise.  We ordered the water because I had it on Princess and loved having it there.  I would like to order a full size bottle of liquor, however, I cannot find it on the list of items to purchase.  We are in the Haven aft suite.  Anyone know the cost or how I could get that done before the cruise?

Yes, you can call the preconcierge desk. I've had that done before. I don't know the number but I'm sure someone here does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Greenpea2 said:

Yes, you can call the preconcierge desk. I've had that done before. I don't know the number but I'm sure someone here does.

Hours of Operation:  9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. ET Monday - Friday

Phone Number:  1-855-NCL-HAVEN (625-4283)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone use the Haven on the Gem?  I understand its a smaller scale but it is hard to find out specific details. Here are a few questions I have:

1) Appears no bar located in the Haven, are servers there and do they get the drinks relatively quickly?

2) No restaurant specifically for the Haven, but appear to use Cagney's, is this for all 3 meals and is Cagney only open for Haven guests at Breakfast and Lunch?

3) Cell phones for butlers, do they have them? I read that this class ship they did not.  If not how do you get ahold of them?

4) I saw a user posted about distilled water for their cpap machine, did they fulfill this request as i will need the same?

 

THanks, I just bid on this and won today, so now I'm scrambling on getting info for my 14 day cruise from Boston to Southern Carribean.  and with 6.5 days at sea this seemed so worth it, plus with my recent back surgery, I think it will be more beneficial to keeping it less strained in the Haven area.  Thanks for any info.

 

Edited by daveb722
mispelled

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did the same thing last year - won an upgrade bid on the Gem.

 

1) Appears no bar located in the Haven, are servers there and do they get the drinks relatively quickly?No bar within the Gem Haven. I saw many folks avail the Butler to bring their drinks poolside in the Haven Courtyard.

 

2) No restaurant specifically for the Haven, but appear to use Cagney's, is this for all 3 meals and is Cagney only open for Haven guests at Breakfast and Lunch?  Based on my Nov 2018 experience, Haven breakfast was in the Moderno restaurant, which was closed to non-Haven guests during the morning.  Cagneys was used for Haven lunch, also closed to non-Haven guests during lunch.  Both venues are conveniently located adjacent to the Haven elevator and the short stairway to the Haven.

 

3) Cell phones for butlers, do they have them? I read that this class ship they did not.  If not how do you get a hold of them?

Butler seemed to be omnipresent, as I recall they gave us a phone number to reach them, which included off-hours . Concierge was also ever present and he/she can readily reach the butler.

 

Haven guest get one cellphone for their personal usage, that works in all areas of the ship (should your better half be looking for you)

 

4) I saw a user posted about distilled water for their cpap machine, did they fulfill this request as i will need the same?

Butler can do this for you.  You can email customer Access Desk at accessdesk@ncl.com and it will waiting in your cabin.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, daveb722 said:

Anyone use the Haven on the Gem?  I understand its a smaller scale but it is hard to find out specific details. Here are a few questions I have:

1) Appears no bar located in the Haven, are servers there and do they get the drinks relatively quickly?

2) No restaurant specifically for the Haven, but appear to use Cagney's, is this for all 3 meals and is Cagney only open for Haven guests at Breakfast and Lunch?

3) Cell phones for butlers, do they have them? I read that this class ship they did not.  If not how do you get ahold of them?

4) I saw a user posted about distilled water for their cpap machine, did they fulfill this request as i will need the same?

 

THanks, I just bid on this and won today, so now I'm scrambling on getting info for my 14 day cruise from Boston to Southern Carribean.  and with 6.5 days at sea this seemed so worth it, plus with my recent back surgery, I think it will be more beneficial to keeping it less strained in the Haven area.  Thanks for any info.

 

We had phones on the Gem in the Haven. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, daveb722 said:

Anyone use the Haven on the Gem?  I understand its a smaller scale but it is hard to find out specific details. Here are a few questions I have:

1) Appears no bar located in the Haven, are servers there and do they get the drinks relatively quickly?

2) No restaurant specifically for the Haven, but appear to use Cagney's, is this for all 3 meals and is Cagney only open for Haven guests at Breakfast and Lunch?

3) Cell phones for butlers, do they have them? I read that this class ship they did not.  If not how do you get ahold of them?

4) I saw a user posted about distilled water for their cpap machine, did they fulfill this request as i will need the same?

 

THanks, I just bid on this and won today, so now I'm scrambling on getting info for my 14 day cruise from Boston to Southern Carribean.  and with 6.5 days at sea this seemed so worth it, plus with my recent back surgery, I think it will be more beneficial to keeping it less strained in the Haven area.  Thanks for any info.

 

I sailed the Gem Aug 23rd in a Suite, so we did have some perks that Haven guests get.  Yes, the butler has a portable phone and he was always available.  We did not ask for much, but he seemed to be around in the am & pm (in the hallway).  I had to call him 2x and he answered right away (Ravi was his name and he was GREAT!).  For breakfast, we had the option to dine in Moderno, lunch was at Cagney's.  We never made it to breakfast but the lunch at Cagney's was really good and pretty empty. 

 

We had 2 Suites - my older daughter (21) and her BF in one and me and my 6 year old in another.  My eldest daughter called the Concierge one time to try to get into a show and he said it wouldn't be full and to just "walk in".  We were totally ok with that - we were not expecting to be escorted in or anything.  But it was certainly different than what your read about in terms of having these particular "perks".  

 

We loved the Gem and had a great time.  If you go to Spinnaker, Sherwin is the best bartender!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Sthrngary Thanks for putting this thread together.  What a great place to share "Haven" Secrets and Tips.

 

My wife and I are fairly "new" to cruising, our next cruise is December (35 days!) on the Joy out of LA and we have chosen the Haven for this one.

 

We have a family of 6 (4 Kids 20 down to 12) and have done 4 of our 5 past cruises with them including one cruise in the Haven (On the Jewel).  

 

I wanted to share some of our tips we learned on our Haven Experience and then share why we have chosen the Haven again for December.

 

1. Human Butlers - Our family is well traveled and one of the most inportant things we have learned and teach our kids is to "listen" and "ask".  We have learned that by listening you get some amazing stories out of people and suprisingly they are very willing to share them. 

 

The kids met our Butler for breakfast out on the Haven pool deck the first day and the kids asked him about his job and his family and in passing he would share all kinds of fun stories.  By day 2 in the Haven our kids and our Butler were best buds. He spoiled them pretty rotten the rest of the trip.

 

He was human and we connected with him in a special way and it really made our vacation special.

 

2. Get Creative with Food - What became one of my favorite things to do in the Haven restaurant was to get "creative" with what was on the menu.  A favorite request of mine was the Filet split with a poached egg on each half with the Seafood Hollandaise sauce over the top.  It was fantastical.  My wife is Keto and she also gets creative with the menu.  We found that in the Haven it's fun to talk to the waiter and the "chef" in the restaurant and they loved making stuff outside the norm.  And you have to be tactful here.  It was never a "demand" but rather a "proposal".  My wife would tell the waiter that she loves spinach and eggs and mushrooms but doesnt want it in a omelette, is there something the "Chef" could make? (While not true Chefs, the cooks loved being called Chef) and she would get an egg souffle that was amazing.  I'm sure at the busiest parts of the day it would be tough to request these things but coming in early or late for lunch gets you a little more personal interaction with the crew.

 

3. No lines - I dont think we waited in a line once the entire week.  We made a last minute decision to get chinese food on the Jewel and there were about 20 people waiting to be sat.  We walked up to the hostess stand (We didnt cut a line as there was no one at the stand, they were just waiting to be sat) and we asked how long the wait was.  The hostess said over an hour.  So we said we would like to be put on the list and she asked for our room key.  We took out our Haven key and were immediately sat at a table.  It was the same experience coming back to the ship at the end of the day or going to a show.  It was nice to not have to spend a minute of our vacation standing in line, waiting or missing out on last minute things we decided to do.

 

4. Tipping "Tips" - (Gambling that this doesn't turn this into a Tipping thread) What, who, where and how much you want to tip is an individual thing, sometimes experiential and often cultural.  That being said, what hard working person doesn't like to be handed some cash in recognition for going out of their way.  We always tip at the end of the trip but also bring some extra for the "extra efforts".  I dont tip up front but if I have an additional request (like on the first day) and its handled immediately I might tip a little cash for that "extra effort".  An example might be asking the steward for a couple extra pillows as we arrive in our room and he stops what he is doing and comes back immediately with 3 pillows.  We realize he is busy and has lots to do but took the time to stop and make sure our request was immediately handled so we hand him (or her) a little cash just to say thank you and let him know the effort is appreciated.  Also as a bartender in a previous life in the states Im programmed to always tip on drinks and get to know the barman if I plan on spending any amount of time there.  Certainly not a "bribe" rather a thankful recognition and the crew are certainly grateful for it.

 

 

On Choosing the Haven - 

 

While we do try to get the best bang for our dollar, there has to be a value or purpose to the dollar spent.  An example would be that I have no problems spending $100 on a meal but if the quality and experience of that meal isn't any better than the 50$ meal I bought last week then why spend the extra money?

 

When we booked our first Haven experience it was cheaper for a 2 bedroom family suite in the Haven than 2 balcony rooms for the 6 of us.  That was a no brainer.  But outside the cost, that 1st experience greatly drove our decision to spend 25% more on a Haven room over an aft non concierge/non suite balcony for this next trip. 

 

1. First reason was that we made a last minute decision to book a cruise.  Only about 45 days out and during the Holiday, the ship was practically sold out and not much available in the way of rooms.  Zero reservations were available for any entertainment or restaurants online.

 

2. The second reason was that it was over Christmas and we know that the ship will be sailing at or possibly slightly above max capacity.

 

We sailed on Anthem 2 Holidays ago and it was packed full of families and kids.  We had no problems finding quiet places to hide but dining and shows were maxed out.  After reading reviews of the Joy I decided that a similar sized ship to Anthem with half the scheduled activities and the other half of activities being pay as you go, common space may be more of an issue on this ship.  Decidedly we would have a more enjoyable cruise with a Haven to retreat to, especially with it's own dining room and hot tubs (which we love) on the sun deck.  

 

Last few observations - 

As a Dad with 4 kids, I am well versed in the challenges of parenting.  My kids are not perfect (nor am I, far from it).  That being said we should all ascertain a level of respect in regards to others when in public locations.  In addition to the expectation I have for my children to adhere to that level of respect, I enjoy having this conversation with other children and adults as well. 

 

I mention adults here as they can often be as inappropriate as children and in either case I have no reservations about communicating that they provide me with the same level of respect that they themselves deserve from others.

 

The Haven is not a quiet 55+ club, nor is it geared toward the rich and famous.  The concept is driven toward middle of life couples, families and those retirees who have worked hard and want to spoil their kids and grandkids.  It's a great option for a better experience on a large ship.  But you can't book a cruise on a ship where the main attraction is Go Carts and a VR arcade and expect to have an adults only experience.

 

Last thing here - This next trip is only my wife and I as we are celebrating 20 years of marriage together.  Our Anniversary was back in June and we wanted to go to Europe but it just did not work out.  We really want to try Holland America and we were going to book the same Mexican Riviera trip on a HAL ship.  One review that I read comparing NCL/RCCL with HAL was that NCL was exciting, fast and fun while HAL was cool, quiet and serene.  This is just one person's experience and it may be different for you but that's the review that pushed me over to the Haven on NCL. 

 

-Sean

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, wilmingtech said:

@Sthrngary Thanks for putting this thread together.  What a great place to share "Haven" Secrets and Tips.

 

My wife and I are fairly "new" to cruising, our next cruise is December (35 days!) on the Joy out of LA and we have chosen the Haven for this one.

 

We have a family of 6 (4 Kids 20 down to 12) and have done 4 of our 5 past cruises with them including one cruise in the Haven (On the Jewel).  

 

I wanted to share some of our tips we learned on our Haven Experience and then share why we have chosen the Haven again for December.

 

1. Human Butlers - Our family is well traveled and one of the most inportant things we have learned and teach our kids is to "listen" and "ask".  We have learned that by listening you get some amazing stories out of people and suprisingly they are very willing to share them. 

 

The kids met our Butler for breakfast out on the Haven pool deck the first day and the kids asked him about his job and his family and in passing he would share all kinds of fun stories.  By day 2 in the Haven our kids and our Butler were best buds. He spoiled them pretty rotten the rest of the trip.

 

He was human and we connected with him in a special way and it really made our vacation special.

 

2. Get Creative with Food - What became one of my favorite things to do in the Haven restaurant was to get "creative" with what was on the menu.  A favorite request of mine was the Filet split with a poached egg on each half with the Seafood Hollandaise sauce over the top.  It was fantastical.  My wife is Keto and she also gets creative with the menu.  We found that in the Haven it's fun to talk to the waiter and the "chef" in the restaurant and they loved making stuff outside the norm.  And you have to be tactful here.  It was never a "demand" but rather a "proposal".  My wife would tell the waiter that she loves spinach and eggs and mushrooms but doesnt want it in a omelette, is there something the "Chef" could make? (While not true Chefs, the cooks loved being called Chef) and she would get an egg souffle that was amazing.  I'm sure at the busiest parts of the day it would be tough to request these things but coming in early or late for lunch gets you a little more personal interaction with the crew.

 

3. No lines - I dont think we waited in a line once the entire week.  We made a last minute decision to get chinese food on the Jewel and there were about 20 people waiting to be sat.  We walked up to the hostess stand (We didnt cut a line as there was no one at the stand, they were just waiting to be sat) and we asked how long the wait was.  The hostess said over an hour.  So we said we would like to be put on the list and she asked for our room key.  We took out our Haven key and were immediately sat at a table.  It was the same experience coming back to the ship at the end of the day or going to a show.  It was nice to not have to spend a minute of our vacation standing in line, waiting or missing out on last minute things we decided to do.

 

4. Tipping "Tips" - (Gambling that this doesn't turn this into a Tipping thread) What, who, where and how much you want to tip is an individual thing, sometimes experiential and often cultural.  That being said, what hard working person doesn't like to be handed some cash in recognition for going out of their way.  We always tip at the end of the trip but also bring some extra for the "extra efforts".  I dont tip up front but if I have an additional request (like on the first day) and its handled immediately I might tip a little cash for that "extra effort".  An example might be asking the steward for a couple extra pillows as we arrive in our room and he stops what he is doing and comes back immediately with 3 pillows.  We realize he is busy and has lots to do but took the time to stop and make sure our request was immediately handled so we hand him (or her) a little cash just to say thank you and let him know the effort is appreciated.  Also as a bartender in a previous life in the states Im programmed to always tip on drinks and get to know the barman if I plan on spending any amount of time there.  Certainly not a "bribe" rather a thankful recognition and the crew are certainly grateful for it.

 

 

On Choosing the Haven - 

 

While we do try to get the best bang for our dollar, there has to be a value or purpose to the dollar spent.  An example would be that I have no problems spending $100 on a meal but if the quality and experience of that meal isn't any better than the 50$ meal I bought last week then why spend the extra money?

 

When we booked our first Haven experience it was cheaper for a 2 bedroom family suite in the Haven than 2 balcony rooms for the 6 of us.  That was a no brainer.  But outside the cost, that 1st experience greatly drove our decision to spend 25% more on a Haven room over an aft non concierge/non suite balcony for this next trip. 

 

1. First reason was that we made a last minute decision to book a cruise.  Only about 45 days out and during the Holiday, the ship was practically sold out and not much available in the way of rooms.  Zero reservations were available for any entertainment or restaurants online.

 

2. The second reason was that it was over Christmas and we know that the ship will be sailing at or possibly slightly above max capacity.

 

We sailed on Anthem 2 Holidays ago and it was packed full of families and kids.  We had no problems finding quiet places to hide but dining and shows were maxed out.  After reading reviews of the Joy I decided that a similar sized ship to Anthem with half the scheduled activities and the other half of activities being pay as you go, common space may be more of an issue on this ship.  Decidedly we would have a more enjoyable cruise with a Haven to retreat to, especially with it's own dining room and hot tubs (which we love) on the sun deck.  

 

Last few observations - 

As a Dad with 4 kids, I am well versed in the challenges of parenting.  My kids are not perfect (nor am I, far from it).  That being said we should all ascertain a level of respect in regards to others when in public locations.  In addition to the expectation I have for my children to adhere to that level of respect, I enjoy having this conversation with other children and adults as well. 

 

I mention adults here as they can often be as inappropriate as children and in either case I have no reservations about communicating that they provide me with the same level of respect that they themselves deserve from others.

 

The Haven is not a quiet 55+ club, nor is it geared toward the rich and famous.  The concept is driven toward middle of life couples, families and those retirees who have worked hard and want to spoil their kids and grandkids.  It's a great option for a better experience on a large ship.  But you can't book a cruise on a ship where the main attraction is Go Carts and a VR arcade and expect to have an adults only experience.

 

Last thing here - This next trip is only my wife and I as we are celebrating 20 years of marriage together.  Our Anniversary was back in June and we wanted to go to Europe but it just did not work out.  We really want to try Holland America and we were going to book the same Mexican Riviera trip on a HAL ship.  One review that I read comparing NCL/RCCL with HAL was that NCL was exciting, fast and fun while HAL was cool, quiet and serene.  This is just one person's experience and it may be different for you but that's the review that pushed me over to the Haven on NCL. 

 

-Sean

 

This was a GREAT response.  I thank you so much.  My favorite part was referencing that your wife is on Keto.  My wife and I have been on Keto for 5 months.  We both lost lost of weight with a lot more to go.  

 

Everyone comments on my reference to children in the Haven.  I am quite sure that most families teach their children manners.  My reason for making the initial comment in the op-ed  was because of experiences I have had.  Not all the time, but enough to be said.  I also feel the same way about adults that save sets in the theater and lounge chairs buy the pool.  

 

The bottom line of my post was that in most cases, utilizing the Haven and or the yacht club for MSC eliminate those issues.  I meant no offence to anyone with my comments.  Just attempting to be accurate based on my experience only.

 

My family of 5 are on the NCL Pearl in June 2020, going to New England and Canada.  I also had two suites booked and canceled them to re-book in the Haven Two Bedroom Suite.  My adult daughter (27 years old) was very upset with me for doing this.  Then again, she has never stayed in the Haven.  

 

Enjoy your upcoming cruise in December.  You guys will have an unbelievable time.  Be well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Sthrngary said:

This was a GREAT response.  I thank you so much.  My favorite part was referencing that your wife is on Keto.  My wife and I have been on Keto for 5 months.  We both lost lost of weight with a lot more to go.  

Great job on the Keto!  I never realized how many carbs I consumed until my wife went on Keto.  She keeps me healthy for sure.

13 minutes ago, Sthrngary said:

 

Everyone comments on my reference to children in the Haven.  I am quite sure that most families teach their children manners.  My reason for making the initial comment in the op-ed  was because of experiences I have had.  Not all the time, but enough to be said.  I also feel the same way about adults that save sets in the theater and lounge chairs buy the pool.  

No worries on the kid comment.  We have certainly had moments where we resemble those remarks 😉 And often feel the same way about other people's kids as well.  I just wanted to comment on the respect thing as so many people are quick to complain but keep quiet.  I've often found that just saying hello and introducing yourself immediately changes the overall "vibe".  Almost always for the better and if for the worse it's usually uncomfortable enough where the "offended" party takes their business elsewhere.  (again we are not perfect and have once or twice been the offended party)

13 minutes ago, Sthrngary said:

 

The bottom line of my post was that in most cases, utilizing the Haven and or the yacht club for MSC eliminate those issues.  I meant no offence to anyone with my comments.  Just attempting to be accurate based on my experience only.

 

My family of 5 are on the NCL Pearl in June 2020, going to New England and Canada.  I also had two suites booked and canceled them to re-book in the Haven Two Bedroom Suite.  My adult daughter (27 years old) was very upset with me for doing this.  Then again, she has never stayed in the Haven.  

Tell your daughter "Suck it up Buttercup" and have the butler bring her bowls of gummy bears.  She will get over it quickly 🙂

13 minutes ago, Sthrngary said:

 

Enjoy your upcoming cruise in December.  You guys will have an unbelievable time.  Be well. 

Thanks Much.  Enjoy your June cruise as well!  Its should be a great cruise for walking with only 1 sea day!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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. 

I am the OP.  No, it happens and not all the time.  When it does happen, it is not fair.  All I wanted to do was let folks know my experiences.  Hope that makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve stayed in the Haven a few times and also love The Seaside Yacht Club. The Yacht Club has priority elevators but I wasn’t aware the Haven also has one. Would you be able to provide more information?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, gmbhardy said:

We’ve stayed in the Haven a few times and also love The Seaside Yacht Club. The Yacht Club has priority elevators but I wasn’t aware the Haven also has one. Would you be able to provide more information?

 

i read in thread on here if you put your card in it takes you right to haven. the others on the elevator will no doubt enjoy the extra time in the elevator. is this true? ill try in a month

 

regarding the kid comment above, there better be no noise on my christmas cruise. 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, luckyinpa said:

 

i read in thread on here if you put your card in it takes you right to haven. the others on the elevator will no doubt enjoy the extra time in the elevator. is this true? ill try in a month

 

regarding the kid comment above, there better be no noise on my christmas cruise. 🙂

 

Deck 14 Elevator Manual 101

 

NCL DAWN & JEWEL to go to the Haven or GV (DAWN) you put your key card into a slot just above the floor/deck

buttons - when the little red light turns green push the deck 14 button - the elevator will make all the stops previously

selected by those on board but will not go non-stop only a Butler or the Concierge can cause that action with a

physical elevator key. Also note putting the card in the slot and waiting for the light to go green you must push the

deck 14 button WHILE THE ELEVATOR DOOR IS OPEN - timing is critical - if a miscue wait until the next floor

stop or cause the elevator door to abort closing and retry.

Amusing when others see what you are doing to go to your cabin and then they try it with their key card - Nothing-Magic !

Sometimes guests will ride the elevator going up to go down - a bird in hand - best move for those guests in a

scooter or wheelchair.

Guests should not get out on floor 14 - but they do - they don't belong here unless invited - leave the issue take care

of itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, don't-use-real-name said:

 

Deck 14 Elevator Manual 101

 

NCL DAWN & JEWEL to go to the Haven or GV (DAWN) you put your key card into a slot just above the floor/deck

buttons - when the little red light turns green push the deck 14 button - the elevator will make all the stops previously

selected by those on board but will not go non-stop only a Butler or the Concierge can cause that action with a

physical elevator key. Also note putting the card in the slot and waiting for the light to go green you must push the

deck 14 button WHILE THE ELEVATOR DOOR IS OPEN - timing is critical - if a miscue wait until the next floor

stop or cause the elevator door to abort closing and retry.

Amusing when others see what you are doing to go to your cabin and then they try it with their key card - Nothing-Magic !

Sometimes guests will ride the elevator going up to go down - a bird in hand - best move for those guests in a

scooter or wheelchair.

Guests should not get out on floor 14 - but they do - they don't belong here unless invited - leave the issue take care

of itself.

I don't understand.  What is the advantage of using your card and pushing 14? You still stop at other floors anyway. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone know process for Getaway?  I am assuming that they are all the elevators most forward or is it just one?  We have the haven aft cabin.  Could not resist that balcony for the Caribbean.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, tampadee said:

I don't understand.  What is the advantage of using your card and pushing 14? You still stop at other floors anyway. 

You need the key card inserted into the slot to access floor/deck 14 - you are not going there without doing this.

There is no priority in going non-stop to 14 - the elevators will stop at all floors that the guests select but only the

key card holder for 14 has access.

Have something urgent requiring elevator priority contact the Concierge or your Butler with the (FIRE) key to operate

the elevator non-stop to whatever deck/floor you need. - not something done routinely - usually reserved for

escorted events tendering to shore excursions and final disembarking. May also be used when embarking at the

origin port.

Key Card access to the Haven or Garden Villa is one of the perks of these staterooms - non-stop service without

the Concierge or Butler is not a priority - the elevator is therefore a common conveyance open to all guests from

deck 13 down to 4 on the JEWEL & DAWN class ships - the -AWAY class ships restricted access is I believe to

decks 17 & 18.

 

Oh you can walk the stairs from 13 up to 14 but you will still need the Key Card for access.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance w/ Steve Dasseos of the TripInsuranceStore.com June 2020
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...