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Everything posted by Captain_Cruising

  1. The Gem does not have a restaurant within the haven area. Therefore, the Moderno restaurant and attached Sugarcane bar are closed for breakfast for the haven guests. Later (not sure exactly when) it opens to all passengers. Likewise, Cagney's is closed for haven lunch and afterwards opens for all passengers.
  2. I was also on that cruise in a concierge balcony. I recall seeing a couple with three (red headed) kids at several of the breakfasts and lunches. We were a group of five adults (4 seniors) and I noticed no issues and recall them being well behaved. Regardless of what others may have said, the kids were not an issue and we were NOT unhappy to see them. As for Cartagena, it was my fist visit to this port of call. Although the city looked beautiful, the traffic was horrible. Had we not been on an NCL excursion but on our own, I would have been very concerned that we would not be back at the dock in time. The vendors were horrible - the same group of vendors followed us off the bus, throughout each site visit , and then flanked us back to the bus. The whole time they shouted and shoved their products in our face. They were human mosquitoes, that could not be shaken off. The maracas vendors in particular, refused to stop rattling their wares in my face. Based on stifling traffic and the incessant encroachment of the "vendors", should I ever revisit this port of call, I would opt to stay on the ship.
  3. 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.
  4. You can use the drink plan immediately upon boarding. I'm uncertain of the exact distance that needs to be traveled to be considered out to sea. However, until the ship leaves port and is "out to sea", you will be responsible for the local sales taxes on your drinks.
  5. On a Caribbean Cruise sailing from New York, we went to lunch - probably between 12:00 - 2:00 PM. Hostess was initially hesitant to seat us, as she explained the occupants of our room from the previous sailing, were still on board. I "assume" it was an NCL snafu, as I doubt Homeland Security would allow us to board while passengers had not yet disembarked (no zero count). I very carefully perused my on-board charges for that day.
  6. Haven on Gem - I have booked and sailed on several Gem balconies in the Caribbean and loved the experience. On one booked balcony, we won the bidding system and received a discounted Haven 2-Bedroom. Don't get me wrong, the Haven is VERY nice, but on the older Jewel Class Ships, the Gem does not of all the bells & whistles of the new ships. There is a small courtyard with a tiny essentially a wading pool with a retractable roof that can be rolled open/shut depending on the weather. The private sun deck was up one flight of stairs and was virtually empty for our 10-day cruise. The second bedroom was very small and had two singles beds, very stiff beds (really not Haven quality, but available). The master bedroom is very nice, there is a beautiful private deck, small living room, small table & chairs for eating in your cabin, one giant luxurious bathroom and a second balcony side bathroom. There is no bar or restaurant in the Gem Haven. Breakfast and lunch was served in Cagneys exclusively for the Haven & Suite guests. The butler could be utilize to bring bar drinks to you in the Haven (to the courtyard, sun deck or your room) from any of the "regular" bars. Additionally, dinner or any food could be brought to you by the Butler, as well as any little num-num snacks during the day. The concierge will get you any priority seating at shows, restaurants, excursions, as well as embarkation / disembarkation. To repeat, its a VERY nice experience and you will want for nothing, but not as nice as the newer Havens. In your particular case, if you booked two balcony rooms, all guest would be entitled to all five offers. However, your 6-year old obviously does need the liquor plan. You are then paying for two cabins. With that in mind, if you booked the more expensive Haven, first two guests receive all five offers. As of right now, guests 3 & 4 can sail in the Haven for "free" - no fare but you pay the port taxes and gratuities only. In summation, you may want to research pricing for two balcony rooms versus one Haven room. Do a mock booking on both options for pricing. Pick your rooms in this drill - NCL will advertise a Balcony as low as $1,049, but this is a guaranteed room and comes with ZERO perks. To get the 5 perks in a balcony you need to book each cabin somewhere between $1,300 to $1,600 each. Single Haven 2-bedroom sells for $3,900. Here is what I see in TAKE ALL 5 issues on a seven day Boston to Bermuda. With the Haven you would need to separately purchase the number of specialty dining nights for two guests. NCL will give guests #1 and #2 three specialty dining in the PICK 5. This again assumes the 6-year old would be happy in a steakhouse, French restaurant Hibachi dinner experience, etc. as opposed to dining in one of the two the main dining rooms. Drink package - depends on the volume of drinks consumed. If alcohol usage would be considerable, then consider purchasing one drink package for the third over-21 guest. If one of the three adults is not a heavy drinker, rather than buying a Beverage Package and spending $99 per day on the package, just purchase individual drinks (to make the package economical, your "weakest" drinker would need to consume 8-10 drinks each day, including the port days in Bermuda where you will probably be off ship most of the day). Hint: Make sure the two "stronger" drinkers are listed a Guest #1 and Guest #2 if booking the Haven. The $50 per port excursion benefit is per cabin, so 2 credits for 2 Balcony cabins verses one credit in the Haven. Cannot bank or stack the credits - if don't use it any day, you lose it. Again economics depends on the number of NCL sponsored excursions taken. If you use an outside vendor or go on your own, the $50 credit is worthless. No need to worry about getting back to the ship on port day 1 or 2. Day three is obviously critical. If Wifi access is critical, the TAKE 5 usually gives 250 minutes per cabin. Three days in Bermuda - I'm relatively ceratin that the 2 twenty-somethings can easily locate free Wifi in shopping areas / restaurants etc.. My personal opinion - If I were looking to splurge, I would go for the Haven. Either way, it sounds like a great vacation - Enjoy! Several years ago we did an August NY-Bermuda on the Dawn. It was VERY hot & humid for our cruise. YMMV
  7. We won a Gem Haven upgrade a year and a half ago. There was an elevator up to the haven courtyard level, one flight above the Cagney / Moderno area. Needed to insert a Haven access card into the elevator to get the courtyard level. The sundeck was definitely up a flight of stairs right off the pool / hot tub area of the courtyard. I don't recall an elevator, however, as I wasn't looking for it, may have missed it.
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