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Everything posted by ejincali

  1. True, but in Miami there were a lot of bags with Haven tags sitting there...a brightly colored something would still be very useful.
  2. Yes, those are a great option. We have been on Seabourn (ship capacity of 600 pax) which is a similar price point to Haven (Seabourn is all inclusive food and drink and no extra charge for gratuity). Wonderful experience, except not much entertainment.
  3. I don't know the number of Haven passengers on the Joy two weeks ago. But from my observations: bar stools usually full, lounge area busy, but could find a seat; indoor pool and hot tub, full mostly with kids; forward lounge, could always find a seat--but no bar service there just a wonderful automatic espresso machine and snacks most of the day.
  4. I don't know the reason, but the lack of daily specials is the biggest flaw with the Haven Restaurant in my opinion.
  5. Congratulations on being able to avoid the photographers, we encountered them every time we left the ship in ports, in public areas, and while dining. Of course you can say no thank you, but we found it annoying to be asked about being photographed while mid-conversation at dinner. We were also asked for key cards up front for any drinks--could be a difference in the two ships.
  6. One point I missed is that when the ship is in a port, the Haven staff escort you to the disembarkation deck using a service elevator. Its a nice touch on a crowded ship like the Joy. While I'm at it, here are my thoughts on the ports: Roatan - I had thought there was a beach close by, but I was wrong. So we just walked around and did some shopping. Harvest Caye - Here's where the beach is... In fact this island was developed by NCL. No tender needed, just walk off the ship to your beach chair. Clean beach, lifeguards, refreshing water--very enjoyable and I'm a big fan of this private island type of experience. One note, food and drink are not part of the cruise and need to be paid for with cash or credit card, not room key. Cozumel - Took the ships excursion to the beach at Passion Island. The beach is clean and nice, food and drink are included and are good. Not great, but good. It does take a good hour by catamaran to get there and there is not enough shade seating for all passengers on the boat. Costa Maya - Went to Hayhu Beach Club which we arranged ourselves. For $600, our group of six got a private shaded area and an area on the beach. They gave us a $350 credit towards food and drink. The food and beverages there were excellent. I recommend the grill platter, for $175, its plenty of food for 6 people and includes steak, lobster and other very good meats. The price also includes transportation to and from (about 30 minutes), their representative waits for you outside the port area and puts you in a taxi that they pay for.
  7. Yes, only tap water is complimentary in the Haven Restaurant. Bottled, sparkling or still trigger an upcharge. Back to the coffee, if you order an espresso drink in the Haven restaurant, there is no up-charge for it. So, very confusing as to when you will be charged extra for things...
  8. We had Free at Sea. The specific issue with the espresso martini was the included espresso (freshly made, so its a very good drink), that triggered the upcharge. Also, we went to Starbucks in the Observation Lounge, those drinks also were an extra charge.
  9. Recently sailed on the Joy. 5th time on NCL, first time in the Haven. Have also been on Seabourn which is a similar price point to the Haven. We were in 14798, a Haven Penthouse Suite. My thoughts: Room: Fantastic. As good as Seabourn. Spacious, comfortable, liked having the double sink and full tub. Nespresso machine is a nice touch. Butler also brings snacks every afternoon, and a pitcher of ice water every day on request. Service: Hit or miss. Haven bar (and all bars) usually slammed so not much time for bartenders to chit chat. Overall service is better in the Haven than the rest of the ship, but there are misses there too. Dining: Haven restaurant is very good, but they need daily dinner specials like the MDR has. Favorite items were lamb chops at dinner, scallops at lunch, and avocado toast at breakfast. Le Bistro was my favorite meal on the ship, their Dover Sole was as good as the Dover Sole at the Thomas Keller restaurant on Seabourn. DW's favorite meal was Teppanyaki. My thoughts, very entertaining but the food "good". DW thought the fried rice was awesome, I said I can make better--so now I need to rise to the challenge... Cagney's was a miss, waiter was grumpy and items were not at the proper temperatures. Waiter was not happy about us asking to re-do some of the items. One night we ate in the MDR, very busy, but the waitress was great and the food very good. Especially liked their lamb shank. Another highlight: the Indian items on the buffet at lunch time. Entertainment: Very good. Enjoyed the comedian, magic show and Elements. They also had a legit country duo on the ship. This is where NCL is a clear winner over Seabourn which has minimal entertainment. Ship overall: CROWDED! Elevators are slammed. Kids everywhere including the Haven. Seabourn with their small ships is much better in this regard. They also have no kid amenities so there are much fewer children on board. We have children and grandchildren, so nothing against kids--but was expecting the Haven area to be more calm. Annoyance: Upcharges and overzealous selling. Espresso Martini: $3 upcharge, for example. Someone is always trying to take your picture or sell you a gambling card of some sort. It made me appreciate the all-inclusive (even mini-bar) and no photographers on Seabourn. For us, the NCL Haven experience had its high points, but we liked Seabourn better. And I didn't even mention the included champagne and caviar yet...
  10. Just off the Joy. From the Haven lounge on Deck 17, you can go to Decks 18 and 19 only. We were in a Haven Suite on deck 14, needed to use either stairs or the packed main elevators for that journey. Lots of kids on deck 14, and lots of kids in the Haven lounges and pool. The nicest thing was on port days, a butler will take you from the Concierge desk on 17 to a freight elevator immediately behind for an express trip to deck 4. That elevator is also used on debarkation day and makes things much easier.
  11. Thanks for sharing that! I know you said you had Vibe, but curious if you saw how crowded the main pool was on sea days?
  12. I wonder if the TK Bar will be open during the period when the restaurant space is closed for the change over.
  13. Also, cabins on deck 5 may have a partial metal railing on the veranda. Deck 6 should be all plexiglass.
  14. Pic worked perfectly. Looks like it was a beautiful day there!
  15. Good choice, we were also mid-ship on Ovation. No noise, very minimal ship movement, and no need to tie down deck furniture due to wind.
  16. That .MOV file is big, but downloaded perfectly and played nicely. Thanks for sharing your un-edited, un-Photoshopped view of your suite.
  17. My wife is very picky on hair dryers and found the one on Ovation to be very good. Hopefully you will find a good one as well.
  18. Ovation has US style, Europe style, and USB on both sides of the bed.
  19. Our waitress discouraged that, she said it would take a long time for the kitchen to add in the items. However, no problem to arrange your own tasting menu up front and they will walk you through the choices and make suggestions.
  20. The dining guide I posted only covers dinner service. I remember them being open for lunch, but we didn't go and do not have a menu from the lunch service. I believe the sushi menu is the same every night except formal night when they do a set menu. I didn't see any meat (I'm assuming you mean from land animals) items on the menu, but I would imagine the menu changes periodically.
  21. This dining guide from Ovation includes a sushi dinner menu. file (5).pdf
  22. Our hidden gem is Sweetfield Manor. Only 10 rooms, each one is unique. Not as posh as a luxury cruise, but something different and the basics (bed, AC, etc.) were very good.
  23. That could be, in our case we found the dressing too lemony and that is an ingredient that they mix in. However, I think the main culprit is the "anchovy emulsion" which is pre-made.
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