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JamieLogical

How much would you pay for Haven?

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I am about to go on my 6th NCL sailing the first week in June on the Escape. Contemplating paying outright for a Haven upgrade, rather than relying on bidding. I've never been in a Haven before, but I constantly track their pricing and inventory for all of my sailings. The cost difference between say, a BA balcony and any of the Haven suites seems to vary greatly from ship to ship and sailing to sailing. For those of you who sail Haven occasionally, how do you decide when the time is right to book a Haven versus just a balcony or mini-suite. Is there a difference in price point that you pay attention to?

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We were in the Haven on the Breakaway 3 years ago. Originally were booked in a balcony cabin but then as our cruise was closer we realized the prices came down so changed our booking to the Haven and really loved it, worth every penny.  That being said, as much as we loved it and wished we could be in the Haven for every cruise I can't justify spending that amount on one cruise when we could pretty much take 2 cruises for the price of 1 Haven.  Last summer we sailed the Escape and put in a bid for the Haven that wasn't accepted but we knew we would be happy with our balcony room if we didn't win.  We are sailing the Escape again this summer and got a great deal on our balcony so definitely plan to put in a bid for the Haven if we get an offer, probably a bit more than we normally would.  This cruise will be the start of celebrating our daughter's 13th birthday so what a great surprise for her if we could move up to the Haven.  Either way we know we'll have a great time regardless of what room we end up in.  

 

You're getting close to your sailing date, do you have an offer to bid for an upgrade? If so, maybe bid on the higher side and hopefully that would still be less than if you had booked outright or if you really want to be guaranteed the Haven then I say if you can afford the Haven go for it.  I think the best part is knowing you don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get out to pool for a chair, plenty of loungers in the Haven. 

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This is an excellent question.  If the trip is port intensive, we find the Haven to be a waste of money.  You barely have time to enjoy it  when you are touring all day.  If not, you have more time to enjoy it, it's a possibility.  However, there is a difference between being in the Haven and having a Haven category cabin.  If your cabin is not in the Haven, you miss out on many of the niceties.  If it's Caribbean, I would take the Haven just to avoid the most crowded areas of the ship.  For Europe, it would have to be an incredible deal.  Either way...you are on the ship and as someone once said to me...we all get there at the same time...although my preference is to have at the very least, a mini suite.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, baflagg said:

I think the best part is knowing you don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get out to pool for a chair, plenty of loungers in the Haven. 

 

i am not at all a "pool and sun" person, so this is not a part of the equation for me. I think I might lounge in the area around the Haven pool since it is shady in there. But definitely not out on the Haven sun deck.

Edited by JamieLogical

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Posted (edited)

Seems like it'll depend highly on your vacation budget and what parts of Haven you value.

Having just got out of my first Haven sailing, the 'value added' did not add up to the extra money we paid, even on a pretty discounted cruise. The Haven restaurant food wasn't that spectacular. A lot of it was the same stuff as elsewhere on the ship, sometimes just plated differently. Our in-room service (butler, steward, etc) wasn't any better, although this was on BA and they are notoriously understaffed right now. I also have the sense we would have had better service (from stuff like getting luggage sooner, getting room servicing/turndown sooner, extra touches like having them note that we asked them not to keep bringing food, etc) if we'd been in the Haven proper instead of in an aft suite.

Having priority embark and disembark was nice. 


The restaurant access was good, just not as stellar as people make it out to be (food-wise). 

 

The Haven lounge was actually worse than the Studio lounge--in the studios, you may not have a full time bar, but you have coffee (from a nice espresso machine), tea, cookies, fruit, breakfast pastries, iced water, juice, etc, and it's available all day long (I mean, they swap out pastries and croissants for cookies etc later in the day). In the Haven lounge on BA, there was occasionally a small beverage station set up outside, but it was only there/supplied erratically. It was gone on disembark day, which means if you hauled your stuff to the lounge (as instructed) to await disembark, you couldn't even grab a quick cup of tea and a danish. 

 

So ... I guess for a typical non-fancy (so carib) 7-day cruise I wouldn't pay more than about $4000 for two people ... and that price seems unlikely to happen again unless there's another really bad hurricane season or an economic crash. 

Edited by perditax

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, perditax said:

So ... I guess for a typical non-fancy (so carib) 7-day cruise I wouldn't pay more than about $4000 for two people ... and that price seems unlikely to happen again unless there's another really bad hurricane season or an economic crash. 

 

I think it might be better to think of it in terms of how much MORE you would pay versus a normal balcony or mini-suite on the same sailing. Sometimes those alone cost over $4000 for two people depending on the ship and sailing. But, let me give you an two examples:

 

  • On my Escape sailing in June, the price for the lowest Haven category is $1650 more per person than a BA and $1450 more than an MA.
  • On my 12-day Bliss sailing in December, the price for the lowest Haven category is $3720 more per person than a BA and $3070 more than an MA.

I simply cannot imagine that the Haven experience is worth over $6000 more for two people on that Bliss sailing. But someone might be able to persuade me that it is worth $3000 more for two people on the Escape.

 

See what I am getting at?

Edited by JamieLogical

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I am going to go against the usual consensus and say that I would pay little if anything for Haven access. We really enjoy the public areas on the ships (after all, we regularly pay to cruise with access to those public areas), and when we did have a Haven room we felt that whilst it was nice in the Haven, we enjoy being in the general bars more.

 

Basically, I would probably pay a few hundred for the bigger room (depending on what other rooms are available), but for Haven access, concierge, butler, Cagneys breakfast/dinner etc I would pay very little if anything.

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My wife and I went Haven last time.  We will never go back to "normal" cabins again.  The Haven atmosphere and perks are just so worth it to us.  We decided we would rather save our money and cruise every other year in the Haven, than cruise 2-3 times a year in a "normal" cabin.  Our next cruise is really expensive, but it will definitely be worth the wait.

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Just my opinion, but I wouldn't do it unless it was $1000 or less.  You just don't have any guarantees about who else is in the Haven with you.  What if it's mostly young families with kids running everywhere and screaming?  What if some of the other people, whom you will bump into a lot, are not your "cup of tea"?  We had one lady in the Haven lounge pull open the curtains and anounce "Those are the peons".  Yuck.  Here is another way to look at it....  Take that money and go on a more upscale boutique cruise.... They are  so amazing and will cost less than what you would pay to be in the Haven.  We are doing Baltic in August, we have mini suite with large balcony and all the perks plus a very nice obc account. It would have to be an outrageous deal for me to consider the Haven again.  We've never had a good butler.  To be honest, our favorite part was the in suite coffee maker....lol

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I think the most I paid was $4,600 for 2 ($2,300 pp) for a Haven Spa Suite with all the "perks", service charges etc, included (drink package, dining package, 250 min internet, some excursion credits).  So, I guess that's what I would pay.

 

BTW, the least I paid for the Haven was $3,800 ($1,900 pp).  

 

One was a Breakway 7-day Bermuda cruise and the other was a 7-day Getaway Caribbean cruise.  I think I sailed a couple of times in the Haven in between those two cruises.  Don't remember what I paid, but somewhere in the middle of the two fares above.

 

Would I do it again?  Absolutely.

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What parts of the Haven are you interested in? If not the sun deck is it mostly the Haven restaurant and the suite perks like priority boarding?

 

Have you done the spa pass? I have sailed in many different categories on NCL. While the Haven is certainly wonderful, I felt that getting a balcony cabin and a spa pass was enough of an escape from the pool deck for us.

 

If you are not much of a pool person have you considered looking at a suite on a smaller ship or a non-haven suite on a Jewel class ship? 

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24 minutes ago, KeithJenner said:

I am going to go against the usual consensus and say that I would pay little if anything for Haven access. We really enjoy the public areas on the ships (after all, we regularly pay to cruise with access to those public areas), and when we did have a Haven room we felt that whilst it was nice in the Haven, we enjoy being in the general bars more.

 

Basically, I would probably pay a few hundred for the bigger room (depending on what other rooms are available), but for Haven access, concierge, butler, Cagneys breakfast/dinner etc I would pay very little if anything.

Keith....since turning Platinum Latitudes, the pull of the Haven has diminished a little.  I now get priority embarkation.  I get two free specialty dinners.  I one free bag of laundry.  I get some internet minutes (not a lot, though).  And, I get some other stuff I can't quite recall.  

 

What I miss the most is the Butler and Concierge Service in the Haven, however.  Really liked the Haven Restaurant, too.  Plus, I really made some nice friends in and around the Haven Bar whenever I cruised there.

 

Still, I can now look at fares about ½ of what the Haven cost.  That blunts the need/want of sailing in the Haven somewhat.

 

That said, I'm actually looking at either a full suite on one of the Jewel class ships (which gets me the Butler and Concierge without paying for the Haven).  Or, the Concierge class on the Joy, which gets me everything but access to the Haven (Concierge, better cabin, etc.).  I can do that for a little under $3K.

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We cruised in the Mediterranean in July 2017 and our first choice was the  Haven on the Epic, until we saw that it should cost close to $10000 for two persons for a week. We then decided to try the brand new MSC Meraviglia and saved around $3000 compared to the Epic cruise. A few days after that cruise we booked a new MSC cruise because we really liked it!

 

We may pay around $9000 för the Haven if the cruise is at least 11 nights long.

 

To book something cheaper than the Haven on NCL is not an option for us. Then we rather not cruise.

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9 minutes ago, GA Dave said:

My wife and I went Haven last time.  We will never go back to "normal" cabins again.  The Haven atmosphere and perks are just so worth it to us.  We decided we would rather save our money and cruise every other year in the Haven, than cruise 2-3 times a year in a "normal" cabin.  Our next cruise is really expensive, but it will definitely be worth the wait.

Wow! I would bet 100 to 1 that with most cruisers that wouldn't be the norm .......... But that is your personal choice of course. The people I spoke with on the Bliss that were in the Haven felt they were ripped off and felt obligated to stay in the haven most of the day for what they paid and didn't care for being enclosed in by the Haven pool out and away from the ocean air and views.  I could see getting a a mini suite with large balcony and spa passes as more than enough and with lots of cost savings. What is it exactly  that you would sail every other year versus 2-3 every year?

 

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1 hour ago, JamieLogical said:

I am about to go on my 6th NCL sailing the first week in June on the Escape. Contemplating paying outright for a Haven upgrade, rather than relying on bidding. I've never been in a Haven before, but I constantly track their pricing and inventory for all of my sailings. The cost difference between say, a BA balcony and any of the Haven suites seems to vary greatly from ship to ship and sailing to sailing. For those of you who sail Haven occasionally, how do you decide when the time is right to book a Haven versus just a balcony or mini-suite. Is there a difference in price point that you pay attention to?

 

We have no interest in the Haven at the current and most projected cruises (Escape and Bliss) prices.  It also makes no sense to book the Haven, then have a drink in the Haven lounge with someone who booked another stateroom and won a bid for a lot less than your booking cost.

 

Thankfully, we found MSC Yacht Club before that started to go up and have enjoyed 3 B2B's (Divina and Seaside) and have 2 B2B's Yacht Club upcoming on Meraviglia.  Seriously, when we booked these quite a while ago, we're getting 2+ weeks in the Yacht Club for the comparable lowest Haven stateroom at the time.  We also really like the Yacht Club "venue."  Quite nice.  The Haven is also nice, the restaurant is probably a notch better, but the "venue" just doesn't have it close to the Yacht Club (dedicated lounge, overlooking restaurant, pool deck and bar and grille; front of the ship, 180 views).

 

When we cruise NCL, recently B2B on Bliss and a cruise on Escape, we were quite happy with a mid-ship mini suite, a "spa week pass," and a "Vibe week pass," and enjoying the specialty restaurants (which we believe are really way above MSC's non-Yacht Club specialty restaurants).  

 

So, we schedule both NCL and MSC quite a bit.  We already have two Meraviglia B2B's booked and are looking the the Bliss 21-day Mexican-Panama-New York in the fall for a nice pre-Thanksgiving cruise.  Not the Haven though.

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10 minutes ago, tallnthensome said:

Wow! I would bet 100 to 1 that with most cruisers that wouldn't be the norm .......... But that is your personal choice of course. The people I spoke with on the Bliss that were in the Haven felt they were ripped off and felt obligated to stay in the haven most of the day for what they paid and didn't care for being enclosed in by the Haven pool out and away from the ocean air and views.  I could see getting a a mini suite with large balcony and spa passes as more than enough and with lots of cost savings. What is it exactly  that you would sail every other year versus 2-3 every year?

 

For us, the Haven feels like an exclusive resort within the ship.  The staff is absolutely amazing.  The food in the Haven restaurant is better than all of the specialty restaurants IMHO.  The sense of relaxation and seclusion we feel when we walk through that door into the Haven is well worth it for us.

IMG_1490 sm.jpg

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25 minutes ago, bww11 said:

What parts of the Haven are you interested in? If not the sun deck is it mostly the Haven restaurant and the suite perks like priority boarding?

 

We are interested in the restaurant and bar, the enclosed pool area, snacks in the room, room service, free pay-per-view, priority embarkation/debarkation, reserved seating for entertainment, larger room, and specifically the Spa Suite that has the jacuzzi next to the window.

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We love the Haven.  I can't imagine having to be in "just" a regular balcony on NCL again.  That being said, $3,000 more for two is NOT worth it.  I know the only way I will end up in the Haven is if the bidding fairy smiles upon me.  We only do NY cruises and have yet to see the Haven prices fall to a point where its economical to pay outright to upgrade as opposed to bidding and crossing fingers.  Our way of thinking about how much to spend total for a Haven room goes something like this.  We have found that the experience in a regular balcony room as a whole on Royal Caribbean is much better than that on NCL.  The most we have spent (before tax and fees) on that RCCL room is about $1500 a person.  So when it comes to how much total we are willing to spend on a Haven room including our initial price plus the amount we will bid up to, we figure that value is worth maybe $100-200 more per person than RCCL.  So for us, the most we are willing to spend for any category of Haven room is up to $1700 a person.  It is a wonderful experience, but it simply is not worth more than that to us.

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52 minutes ago, KeithJenner said:

I am going to go against the usual consensus and say that I would pay little if anything for Haven access. We really enjoy the public areas on the ships (after all, we regularly pay to cruise with access to those public areas), and when we did have a Haven room we felt that whilst it was nice in the Haven, we enjoy being in the general bars more.

 

I'm with you on this one.  I wouldn't know what to do with a butler if I had one.

 

I'd honestly rather the Haven didn't exist at all.  Real estate on a cruise ship is severely limited, and I don't love the amount of space that is dedicated to only a few people.  That's just the socialist hippie in me talking, though.  

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There are parts of the Haven that I really like and worth paying extra for and others that are not. I like special priority early boarding, the private pool, spa and enclosed sun deck (as I can't take direct sun).  Haven restaurant was just ok. Same menu every day - blah! - and not every meal had the expected "Haven quality".  MDR had some really good menu choices so we had them send up a few meals to the restaurant so we could get our menu choice without having to dine in the noisy main dining room.

 

Recently went on an older smaller ship that didn't have a "Haven per se". We had a suite with most of the "haven amenities" except no private pool or sundeck. Hesitated at first but found I enjoyed less people (2,000 vs 4500) onboard much better. It didn't have gocarts or ropes course but we had a good time. More relaxing.

 

Have booked outright on a few cruises and also bid upgrades from spa MS. I enjoy Haven perks but prices going into 2020 and 2021 have increased quite a bit and getting out of my budget.  If you can bid an upgrade, it's really nice to spend a week being pampered and catered to.

 

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I can’t really say how much I’d pay, but I am willing to cruise less often in order to pay for a Haven suite. My vacation is so much more satisfying sailing in the Haven. We won a bid last year, so we paid significantly less than list price. We’re in an owner’s suite on the Sun in June for a short cruise and in an H6 on the Breakaway in December. That one we ended up paying approximately $2750 pp.

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I only book a Haven category.  If it's too pricey, I either don't go or find a different ship or itinerary to works with my budget.  As far as I'm concerned, It's the only way to go on such a large ship.

Last year on the Sun I booked a standard balcony.  This was perfectly fine because the size of the ship is intimate and never felt crowded or overwhelming.

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 It also makes no sense to book the Haven, then have a drink in the Haven lounge with someone who booked another stateroom and won a bid for a lot less than your booking cost.

 

The heck?

 

No fraternizing with the peons, I guess. 

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