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Everything posted by vinotinto

  1. How does the priority tender work for Great Stirrup Cay? If we want to get on an early tender, do they just take us to the early tender or do we sign up through the concierge for an early tender?
  2. What time of the year were these pics taken? I grew up in the Caribbean and ocean conditions tend to vary quite a bit between summer and winter. p.s. - Awesome pics!
  3. Thank you! 🙏🏽 that’s what I was leaning towards! Have a lovely trip.
  4. We have a very odd port day in Tortola, where we are in port 6am - 2pm. I believe all aboard will be at 1:30pm. We are planning on either going to a beach for a couple of hours or take a short tour. We're not staying in the ship. My question is, it doesn't look likely that there will be much open for food in the local beaches early enough, and the excursions also don't include any food. By the time we get back on the ship and get refreshened up, lunch service will have concluded. Have any of you ordered any snacks / room service to take with you out of the ship? If so, did they package it for you, or did you bring stuff to package it. I've sailed many times and always prefer to sample local restaurants and beach bars on my port days, but the timing of this day is super odd and I don't want to find ourselves in a hangry situation. 😉
  5. Do you know if we can rent chairs if we are not staying at the hotel there?
  6. @mitsugirly I see on your awesome site that you’ve had many land vacations in STT. If you were spending a port day via NCL, which beach would you choose? They all look great! Looking for calm, clear water, a little snorkeling, chair rentals, a beach restaurant for sustenance. There is another large ship in port that day (RCCL). Megans, Sapphire, Coki, Secret, Brewster or something else?
  7. Thank you, we’ll reach out to Concierge about the waiting list. We have a solid Plan B in case that doesn’t pan out.
  8. This may or not be a Haven question, we booked last minute (as we usually do), and the excursion pickings are pretty slim. Do they have additional availability for excursions once we are on the ship, the same way that they have additional availability for specialty dining, either through the Shore Excursion desk or the Concierge? Thanks!
  9. Thank you @Sailing12Away and @bookbabe - All 6 of us are in The Haven, so I believe we get priority tendering too. How was the beach near the ocean villas?
  10. @SaltyPawz I love spicy margaritas and spicy bloody Mary’s, so, this sounds great!
  11. Can someone confirm that I’m understanding this correctly: 1) only one person needs to book the Villa? 2) the Villas accommodate 6+ people? 3) if we are traveling with friends and we have 6 people total in different reservations, we just go together to Silver Cove and we get access to the villa reserved by one person? 4) all the villas (beach/lagoon) have an ocean view? thank you!
  12. This is super helpful! Do you remember if they still have Oberon? My plan right now is to NOT upgrade before the cruise and assess the situation once we are in the Haven. Last time, we did not come close to the $500 extra in drink upgrades, and we usually ordered wines that were more per glass than $15. But there weren't a lot of choices as they seem to run out of the higher prices wines rather quickly.
  13. Hi all! Just booked the Escape Haven for March and wondering if anyone has pics of the wine list available at the Haven bar/restaurant by the glass and also by the bottle for the Premium Plus package. We are trying to decide between keeping the free at sea premium package or upgrading and we mostly drink wine. Last time, it made more sense to pay the difference than to commit to $60 extra per day. I’m wondering how much the list and prices has changed since we went in 2022 (I posted pics earlier in this thread). Has anyone returned recently from the Escape, and can comment on how the availability of wines has been recently? We encountered issues with availability of certain wines last time we sailed in 2022. thank you!
  14. We tried basically all the red wines they had by the glass and paid the difference between the price and $15. They have a great red - Oberon. Highly recommend it! Better than some of the other higher priced ones. Two caveats: First, they do run out of wines or they may not have all the wines on that list, so it is a gamble to go with the premium plus, as they may not have the best wines in stock, or if they have them, they may run out. Second caveat, Oberon was $21/glass, so we paid the $6/glass difference. I usually had 1-2 of these upgraded wines with dinner every day, so depending on what you drink and how much you drink and whether some of what you drink is around $20/drink, it can be more cost effective to pay the difference than to pay for the premium plus package. Now, I did not know they had done away with corkage. That is HUGE!
  15. I would love to hear more details about your experience testing positive because the information I've read is sparse and negative. Were you able to stay in your cabin, or were you moved to a quarantine cabin? Were you able to stay with your travel companions? Was the testing required for a port? Were you able to order specific meals from the room service / Haven / main dining room or were they set meals? What about drinks? Were you able to order wine and drinks with your drink package?
  16. This is correct. They are posted fairly early (late morning sounds about right). I would try to let your butler know at least by early afternoon. Note that I highly recommend eating in the main dining room. At least in the Breakway, the atmosphere there was wonderful. They had a jazz band and the dancers from Burn the Floor put up a nice show 2 nights per week. We really enjoyed eating in the MDR and the food was really good!
  17. DH had both of those and enjoyed them very much! I agree it would have been nice to have them fully included. I remember the "proprietary blends" being included in our cruise back in 2016. But, $2 or $4 is a small upcharge and not worth the cost to upgrade to premium plus. The Oberon is very nice. That is $8 upcharge, We would have needed 7 glasses of those *daily* to make up the difference to premium plus. Not worth it. I feel we upgraded a lot and we did not come anywhere near the $500 price tag for Plus for the week. I noticed the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was gone from all the lists, but available by the bottle and you do get 20%/40% depending on the package. It's a bit crazy what they charge on board for wines that are $12-$20 at the store. The included SV was pretty close. Of course, they ran out of that. By the end of the cruise, they were offering Pinot Grigio, LOL (no, thank you!).
  18. And here are some pics from Haven meals: Poolside fish shrimp with the grilled cabbage from salmon dish at lunch. lunch lobster bisque typical goodies from butler.
  19. And here is the pic of the included wines in the Premium package and the cost to upgrade to the Premium Plus wines if you have the regular Premium package:
  20. We got back on Sunday from the Breakaway. It was lovely. Here are some of my thoughts. Please note that these are my experiences, and they may be different than others and that doesn't mean one is correct and one is incorrect. We may have different experiences and we may do things differently! We loved the room. The 2-bedroom suite was perfect for traveling with teens (or young adults). The second bedroom is much smaller than the master and has a much smaller bathroom, but it was fine for the teens. They each had their own bed (one couch and one bed that pulled from above), which was important as they do not like to share. And we had a lovely hangout "living room" space. And of course, the master bath was huge. Balcony was a bit small, but we could leave the door open and sit in the couch in the living room. Our butler provided excellent service. He tracked us down the first day (we were in and out a lot exploring the ship!). He suggested to bring us hot coffee every morning (yes, please!). He brought us coffee and hot milk and when we were awake, he poured it for us. We also had some food one night from the restaurant delivered to the suite for our teens to have after hanging out in Entourage and a full breakfast in the suite one morning. The snacks they brought us were perfect. Lots of veggies with dip (which I mentioned the first day) and we ordered a cheesecake back to the room one day and after that, cheesecake showed up in our afternoon snacks a few times. I cannot think of a single situation where he didn't meet or exceed expectations. Our steward was lovely. He had the best attitude and left us these elaborate towel animals. The food at the Haven was very good. I particularly liked the breakfast menu. I found the shrimp toast to be addictive. Cappuccinos and French Press are included (we had the regular premium drink package). I often swapped the sides from a different dish with my protein and they were very accommodating. The lunch and dinner menu were nice, but they became repetitive very quickly. The adults only had dinner 3 out of 7 nights in the Haven restaurant and lunch on 2 out of 7 days. My mostly vegetarian daughter who eats some fish and seafood had dinner at the Noodle Bar 3 out of 7 nights as that was more varied and interesting than the Haven menu. It felt that because the Haven has a filet and a lobster tail in the Haven everyone immediately thinks it's "better," but they don't have a lot of variety and the preparations could be more interesting. It felt a bit 'meat and potatoes' at times instead of more interesting food. All in all, the Haven restaurant was good, but not something we were wowed at. If they rotated some dishes, and perhaps included some international flavors, it would be better. I think this is what I was most surprised. We found the food in the specialty restaurants and the main dining room (MDR) to be on par with the Haven. I also liked the atmosphere in the MDR - I liked the jazz singer and the mini-dance-presentations from the Burn the Floor dancers. I thought we would be eating in the Haven restaurant all the time, but we wound up eating there less than half of the time. We did enjoy our meals there, but just did not use this feature as much. Our favorite dish was the dover sole at Le Bistro. OMG, I had this on the last night, otherwise I would have made another reservation or two. It was that good. The bar at the Haven was excellent as was the martini bar. I may have ordered 10 breakfast entrees for 4 people for the following morning after returning a bit tipsy from the martini bar (oh dear!). Fun place. The bartender at the Haven was great and made some great cocktails. We opted NOT to upgrade to Premium Plus. However, my DH and I enjoy nicer wines so we often paid the difference for upgraded ones. I will post a picture. Most were $2 - $9 extra per glass since the drink package covers $15 on each glass. We often had an Oberon (extra $8). Our upgrades added up to under $150 instead of $500 which would have been the cost to upgrade to premium plus. Note that we are not champagne drinkers; I like reds, whites and roses and an occasional cocktail, DH likes reds, cocktails and beers. The house rose (6 sens) was included in the regular package (and $8 if paying out of pocket) and it was delicious, but sadly, they ran out of it early in the cruise and we could not find it at any of the bars. There were some issues with wine and alcohol supplies. We always found something else to enjoy, but if you are upgrading to the Plus for a specific brand, it is best to wait to upgrade in the ship after determining how much supply they have. For those traveling with kids/teens, if we ordered a soda for them, they just put it in our drink package. If they had dinner without us and ordered a soda, they were charged $3+ service charge. The Haven area was great, never crowded. Servers were constantly coming by to see if you needed anything. I only have two wishes - I wish they would have opened the roof when we were in Harvest Caye. It remained close the entire cruise and felt a bit enclosed. I also missed having hot tubs outside. The hot tubs were inside and they were tepid. I also have to say that half of the pool lounge area is used for restaurant overflow (which is great because we never had a wait to get seated). But, it's a bit awkward, there's people that could be in the pool right next to a table. I think because of this, no one was ever in the pool. Ever. Concierge handed us a form for the Entertainment reservations and she made them all. We were also escorted through the service elevator to exit in Cozumel and to exit the ship on Sunday. Do not miss the entertainment. Six, Burn the Floor, Howl at the Moon, Syd Norma's and Levity Comedy - all recommended. This is where NCL really shines. Very fun. Only thing lacking that RCCL has is a Latin band. Finally, I know the recommendation from the host of this thread is to provide a tip to the butler in advance. My recommendation is to tip at the end of your cruise, unless you have a very big ask (like a party in your room). We chose to tip at the end because we wanted to tip according to how much we used the butler's services and how well these services were provided, and this worked very well for us. Note that Guest Services has no idea how to add a tip to specific employees, but the Haven concierge staff is easily able to do this. I guess if I had to summarize our experience, we were blown away by the room and service; we took advantage of the dining options throughout the ship, including the MDRs; the upgraded wines and cocktails were quite good; Haven was never too crowded and there was never a wait; we tipped at the end; Breakaway itself was a bit ho-hum; we hated the casino and smell of smoke in the middle; we had a great time and will never book a non-Haven room. Also, for those of you with the flexibility of time, if you want to experience the Haven, do not book in advance. Wait until 2-4 weeks out and look for Haven and select a ship based on Haven prices. Sometimes prices for Haven drop, but if you are already booked on a specific date and ship, you are locked into that ship and won't be able to shift to a ship that is offering these reduced prices (unless your specific ship and your specific sailing is reduced). Happy to answer any questions!
  21. Updating my post. Guest Services had no clue but Haven concierge had the forms you fill out and they add the tip to account. Very easy. I guess the Guest Services do not see a lot of people wanting to add gratuities.
  22. Just did that and it was easy peasy. I think the Guest Services people don’t see a lot of people wanting to add tips to account. Haven Concierge handled it.
  23. I just tried to do this and they said they could not. Tried at Guest Services. Did I get someone who was uninformed?
  24. I was under the impression that you could add extra tips for butler, steward, and concierge through onboard account (these would be in addition to the prepaid gratuities). Guest Services just told me they won’t individually get it. That’s a bummer and figured I would post here as we would have brought a lot more cash if I would have known we could not add to our room account. It’s been 6 years since our last cruise, but this was possible in the past but seems like it’s not possible anymore.
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