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papa B me

Random Epic Haven questions

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We will be on the Jan 31-Feb 7, 2021 sailing out of San Juan. We will be in a Haven DOS suite on deck 17. I’ve been reading threads and reviews of the Epic for months now. It seems to me that some of the most common complaints regarding the Epic will be less of an issue being in the DOS in the Haven. Especially the complaints about the bathroom layout, food quality(since we have the Haven restaurant), lack of views of ocean(have large balcony and access to Posh), lines(have concierge), etc....

 

So, I’m not too concerned about the negativity plus any cruise in the Caribbean in Jan/Feb is a good thing. But I do have a few questions I’m still not clear on:

 

#1. Lack of elevators and long waits is a common complaint. Does being in the Haven and having the concierge alleviate this in any way?

#2. We will fly into San Juan the day before boarding. What would be the ideal time to board to get the most out of the Haven benefits day of embarkation?
 

#3. How many cabins does a butler generally service and are they usually all together or spread out?
 

#4. Can you order room service from the Haven restaurant?
 

#5. Can you either have lunched served in the Haven Courtyard and/or Posh from the Haven restaurant or order it to go and bring it back to your lounge chairs?
 

#6. In our travels we’ve had absolutely fantastic butlers(NCL POA was the best) and non existent butlers(Silverseas). Has anyone ever asked the Concierge for a different butler after a couple days if not connecting with the one assigned?
 

Sorry for the silly questions but I find if I ask questions and adjust my expectations I’ve never had a bad trip 

 

Thanks

Brian

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I can help reply to some of your questions from our experience.  Have been in the Haven a few times, just not on the Epic...yet.

 

1.  Elevator wait time.  If you are going to a show, the Haven Concierge will escort you in the crew/Haven elevator so you will not be with the masses of people to get to where you need be.  If, however, you wander the ship on your own and explore, you will experience the common elevator wait time.

 

2. We always check into the Pier (Haven area) around 10am no matter what.  We like to arrive early and get on the ship as soon as they clear for boarding.  They have a nice waiting area for Haven guests, with refreshments and snacks.  

 

3. Not sure how many butlers and cabins - sorry can't help with that one.

 

4. I believe you can order room service from the Haven restaurant and your butler will bring to your room.

 

5.  Some Haven areas have tables and chairs in the pool area where you can eat your breakfast and lunch. Others do not and you can eat in the restaurant or they may have an outdoor seating area in the restaurant.  I have never seen anyone eat their lunch in the upper deck lounge area though.

 

6. We have experienced non-existent butlers on almost every Haven we booked.  Don't know why - luck of the draw.  We don't usually use them at all (other than the snacks .they bring daily to the rooms).  You, I am sure, could talk to the Concierge about the issue and get any issues resolved.  We never did, probably should have, but we are easy going people and having a butler really isn't that big of a deal to us and didn't really bother us at all.  It didn't ruin our trip and we still had a great time.

 

Enjoy  your cruise.  This is just from our experience, but I hope it helps somewhat.

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I think some of the negative reviews got in the OP's head.  I have never seen an uncrowded elevator on any cruise ship.  There is no central elevator on Epic and newer NCL ships.  However the NCL elevators are quite larger than the other ships that have another elevator bank.

OP:  You are sailing in a DOS on one of the best cruise ships in the world.  Unless the ship sinks there is no way you are not going to have a fantastic cruise with fantastic service.

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1 hour ago, papa B me said:

Just off the Epic and can answer some of your questions:

 

#1. Lack of elevators and long waits is a common complaint. Does being in the Haven and having the concierge alleviate this in any way?

Two of the blue elevators have "priority" slots...use them sparingly or risk the wrath of your fellow cruisers. The blue elevators go to the Haven floors, orange does not-So believe they stop at 15. The only times the elevator waits were unbearable was after muster drill and as shows let out.

#2. We will fly into San Juan the day before boarding. What would be the ideal time to board to get the most out of the Haven benefits day of embarkation?

There is one road in and out of the pier area. It is horribly crowded getting passengers off of the arriving cruise, so take that into consideration. The port check in area is a huge warehouse with no seating. I think the ideal arrival time would be 1pm ish...less crowded but enough time for lunch before everything closes for the muster drill
 

#3. How many cabins does a butler generally service and are they usually all together or spread out?

Our butler and steward served cabins that were clustered, not sure of the number. 
 

#4. Can you order room service from the Haven restaurant?

You would arrange this through your butler. 
 

#5. Can you either have lunched served in the Haven Courtyard and/or Posh from the Haven restaurant or order it to go and bring it back to your lounge chairs?

The indoor Haven restaurant menu isn't really conducive to courtyard consumption-even lunch is fine dining and served in several courses. The menu served in the outdoor bar area (burgers and wraps) might work, but there are only small drink tables at the pool and in posh, so you'll be eating on your lounger.
 

#6. In our travels we’ve had absolutely fantastic butlers(NCL POA was the best) and non existent butlers(Silverseas). Has anyone ever asked the Concierge for a different butler after a couple days if not connecting with the one assigned?

We've not had that issue so can't speak to it. Might be a bit awkward seeing your ex in the hall every day...
 

Happy cruising!

 

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Thanks for the great responses from those who have experienced the Haven. 

 

The bad reviews don’t concern me as I’ve never had a bad trip. I don’t let something that I don’t like ruin my whole trip. 

 

But the bad reviews do help me think of questions to ask to avoid issues if possible or just accept them ahead of time if there’s no remedy. 

 

This is why I pick the cabin/Suites I choose. On my past trips I’ve found I can add certain features/perks, pick certain locations, and plan in a way that eliminates most of the negatives I read in reviews. Plus I accept there are people who gravitate toward the negative so I take their reviews with a grain of salt. 

 

Thanks again for for the helpful responses 

 

Brian

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We have recently travelled in January in the haven on the epic and loved it. We too was worried about all the bad reviews but your right they aren’t about the haven.

 

one tip re the elevators enter your key card before pressing for the elevator it gives you priority being in the haven same when you enter the lift enter your card and it will block out everyone else. We didn’t use this if the lift was already full as I thought it a bit rude to other passengers but we did see people do it which upset others in the lift

 

we had room service a couple of times from the haven restaurant menu as the food was outstanding as was all the haven staff as was our butler

 

the epic haven has a large restaurant plus the outdoor courtyard restaurant for food

 

we boarded the ship at 12 was onboard with 15 minutes sat in the haven having lunch in the haven.
 

enjoy we had an amazing time

 

 

 

 

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We stayed in the Haven on the Epic on deck 17.  It was lovely.  They do designate one elevator for the Haven during very busy times so that helps.  We did have dinner from the restaurant in our cabin one night.  Our concierge was not overly helpful except with getting off the ship for excursions and disembarkation.  Our butler was very helpful, but our room steward was the most help.

 

 

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2 hours ago, papa B me said:

We will be on the Jan 31-Feb 7, 2021 sailing out of San Juan. We will be in a Haven DOS suite on deck 17. I’ve been reading threads and reviews of the Epic for months now. It seems to me that some of the most common complaints regarding the Epic will be less of an issue being in the DOS in the Haven. Especially the complaints about the bathroom layout, food quality(since we have the Haven restaurant), lack of views of ocean(have large balcony and access to Posh), lines(have concierge), etc....

 

So, I’m not too concerned about the negativity plus any cruise in the Caribbean in Jan/Feb is a good thing. But I do have a few questions I’m still not clear on:

 

#1. Lack of elevators and long waits is a common complaint. Does being in the Haven and having the concierge alleviate this in any way?
 

Yes, there are long waits.I hear you can use your key card to bypass all floors, but I never used it.

#2. We will fly into San Juan the day before boarding. What would be the ideal time to board to get the most out of the Haven benefits day of embarkation?
 

#3. How many cabins does a butler generally service and are they usually all together or spread out?

 

Butlers in the Haven proper usually have their rooms all in that area and not, say, some in the aft. 
 

#4. Can you order room service from the Haven restaurant?
 

yes
 

#5. Can you either have lunched served in the Haven Courtyard and/or Posh from the Haven restaurant or order it to go and bring it back to your lounge chairs?

 

There is a courtyard menu that you can have served, but when I asked for something off of the full Haven lunch menu, I was told no.
 

#6. In our travels we’ve had absolutely fantastic butlers(NCL POA was the best) and non existent butlers(Silverseas). Has anyone ever asked the Concierge for a different butler after a couple days if not connecting with the one assigned?
 

Sorry for the silly questions but I find if I ask questions and adjust my expectations I’ve never had a bad trip 

 

Thanks

Brian

 

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I am sort of amazed at the key card elevator call that someone reported.  I sailed Epic twice in the Haven and I remember this.  Our butler or concierge would key card the elevator for immediate access.  We were impressed and tried it ourselves.  We were quickly reminded by our butler it does not work for passengers and only for Haven staff.

Has this changed?  People are told by Haven staff their room card immediately calls the elevator?  I find that hard to believe especially since we were specifically told it does not.

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We were on the Epic last week in the Haven.  The key card does "capture" the elevator but we just did that a couple of times usually to by-pass deck 15 (buffet).  The concierge was not around a lot and we only used him on disembarkation and early access to Cirque Dreams Epicurean. On other NCL ships the Concierge came around to visit if you were in a specialty restaurant, at breakfast or in the line up getting back on the ship. He had three assistants. The Haven area in the theater was only offered twice on the cruise on really busy shows, the rest of the time you are on your own. We saw the butler a few times but was nothing special.

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The elevators are the worst I've experienced; you're haven so you get your own elevator and priority over the regular elevators so perhaps your experience will be better than most.  The problem isn't just the wait, between 6pm-9pm, after a 5min wait the elevator finally stops at your floor, opens only to reveal a completely full elevator with no room for you and this can happen multiple times in a row.

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26 minutes ago, NutsAboutGolf said:

The elevators are the worst I've experienced; you're haven so you get your own elevator and priority over the regular elevators so perhaps your experience will be better than most.  The problem isn't just the wait, between 6pm-9pm, after a 5min wait the elevator finally stops at your floor, opens only to reveal a completely full elevator with no room for you and this can happen multiple times in a row.

It has to be the worst ship for elevators for sure.  There are only at the bow and stern, non midships.   

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The chain of command for butlers is -> Concierge -> Guest Services Manager ->  General Manager.

 

If your butler is not performing as expected, DO NOT hesitate to take your concerns up the chain until it is resolved.

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10 hours ago, papa B me said:

We will be on the Jan 31-Feb 7, 2021 sailing out of San Juan. We will be in a Haven DOS suite on deck 17. I’ve been reading threads and reviews of the Epic for months now. It seems to me that some of the most common complaints regarding the Epic will be less of an issue being in the DOS in the Haven. Especially the complaints about the bathroom layout, food quality(since we have the Haven restaurant), lack of views of ocean(have large balcony and access to Posh), lines(have concierge), etc.... The Epic has one of the best Havens in the fleet. Now, the bathroom situation in the DOS still exists if that is an issue. 

 

Since the menu in the Haven restaurant doesn't change, we only would eat there for dinner twice on a 7-night cruise. Just not enough to have us come back.

 

So, I’m not too concerned about the negativity plus any cruise in the Caribbean in Jan/Feb is a good thing. But I do have a few questions I’m still not clear on:

 

#1. Lack of elevators and long waits is a common complaint. Does being in the Haven and having the concierge alleviate this in any way? Nope. You're out with the steerage class passengers waiting for elevators. There are a few instances like when you are going to the Cirque dinner show or being escorted off the ship where the concierge staff (not the concierge) will lock the elevator to give you an express trip. 

#2. We will fly into San Juan the day before boarding. What would be the ideal time to board to get the most out of the Haven benefits day of embarkation? Show up at 10:15. Board at 11:00. 
 

#3. How many cabins does a butler generally service and are they usually all together or spread out? A butler has about half dozen cabins. If you are in the Haven complex proper, the butler will serve rooms in the same area. But half the Haven rooms are not in the Haven complex and spread out all over the ship. In those cases, a butler may have rooms on different floors. 
 

#4. Can you order room service from the Haven restaurant? Most certainly. On port days, we order breakfast served in the room. You will get the "standard" breakfast cards with check boxes. IGNORE THE CHECKBOXES and just write what you want. Egg white omelet, filet steak, eggs over easy, bacon, ham, sausage, breakfast potatoes, hash browns, grilled tomato, mushrooms, avocado toast, fresh bread, fresh fruits, coffee, juice. (photo from Epic 2BR)
image.png.7011b12a6b9141e7e0b5847ce1b4faa3.png

 

#5. Can you either have lunched served in the Haven Courtyard and/or Posh from the Haven restaurant or order it to go and bring it back to your lounge chairs? I suppose you could ask your butler to deliver something to you. I have never seen anyone do this. The Haven Restaurant on the Epic has a large outdoors seating area with a different menu. 

 

#6. In our travels we’ve had absolutely fantastic butlers(NCL POA was the best) and non existent butlers(Silverseas). Has anyone ever asked the Concierge for a different butler after a couple days if not connecting with the one assigned? You could ask and the concierge would probably assign another butler to you. BUT,,, that butler is going to be taking on an additional room (yours) and the service to everyone that butler support will degrade. 
 

Sorry for the silly questions but I find if I ask questions and adjust my expectations I’ve never had a bad trip 

 

Thanks

Brian

Enjoy the Epic!

Edited by BirdTravels

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Thank you again for the great feedback. We actually use the stairs a lot unless in a hurry. So all should be good. 

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I did the Epic TA, the lifts I think it’s the end one certainly does accept your Haven card and give you priority service up and down from the Haven. We did it by mistake with a full lift of guests. 
the courtyard has a menu (different to the restaurant) as does Posh. We got our butler to deliver some food (pizza and wings) we had it by the pool and up in posh a few times. 
I’ve only ever had great experiences with butlers. I give them a letter outlining things I like etc. I give this on embarkation day it really helps. 
the Epic is a great ship and the Haven with access to Posh just amazing. You’ll have a great time. Have fun 

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we were on the EPIC, Dec 2018, in the Haven and had a wonderful experience. Omar, the concierge was great and Richard our butler was the best. You can use your room key in the elevators and all other floors will be bypassed.

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Thanks for the feedback. I’m sitting on a balcony at an all inclusive resort in Southern Jamaica looking out at the ocean and waiting for the butler to bring breakfast. And yet I’m sitting here thinking about my Epic/Haven cruise next year. What is it they say about what your favorite trip is?  The next one!  Ha

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The Haven elevator priority on Epic only works on two elevators on the ship.  They're located in the forward elevator bank on the starboard side.  The forward and aft elevators of that bank have the Haven priority.  Slip your keycard into the slot and press the deck you want.  Keep in mind that if the elevator is already occupied and other decks have been selected, you will erase all of those selections.  So you might not be alive when the elevator reaches your destination.  Overall, I didn't like Epic's layout and design, but her Haven is great.  The food in the Haven restaurant is terrific.

 

Epic was the first NCL ship to have the solo suites and she was already being built when NCL decided to install them.  To accommodate the solo cabins, the mid-ship elevators had to be removed, so the elevators do get backed up at certain times, such as when as show lets out or when folks are coming back from excursions.  The easy solution to get to the Haven after a show and there's a huge line for the 'vators is to just walk to the aft bank, where there's rarely a wait, or if you need some exercise, hoof it up those 1000 steps back to the Haven.

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