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Haven Access for non-Haven Guests - Thoughts?

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So, just spoke to my TA, as they're making reservations for me to Bermuda for this weekend on the Escape (nothing like waiting until the last minute).

 

I asked her about the ability to buy a dinner at the Haven Restaurant. She put me on hold and called NCL.  According to her, that option was always available to join other guests who are already in the Haven.  Instead of just paying for dinner in the Haven restaurant (the old policy), friends/relatives of guests can spend more now and spend 2-3 hours in the Haven than just to have dinner (subject to Concierges' approval given the amount of people in the Haven).

 

It can be done ONCE and does not included drinks, unless the guests have the drink package.

 

 

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And, what keeps one of those non-Haven guests from telling others to meet them at the door to the Haven and opening it up to others? They'd have to walk past the concierge desk, but they're not always there and you can gain access from a lower floor and sneak into the lounge.

 

I don't know... this has soured me on paying full price for the Haven. For a few grand more, I'll cruise Regent.

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16 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

According to her, that option was always available to join other guests who are already in the Haven.  Instead of just paying for dinner in the Haven restaurant (the old policy), friends/relatives of guests can spend more now and spend 2-3 hours in the Haven than just to have dinner

I'm not convinced this is correct.  When I have invited guests to have dinner in the Haven in the past, the charge for their dinner was placed on MY onboard account, not theirs.  So if you have to be "sponsored" by a Haven guest as part of the new policy, who pays the $50 charge?  Does the Haven guest have to be present?  The offering on NCL.com doesn't mention anything about the necessity of being sponsored by a Haven guest.

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4 minutes ago, newty25 said:

I don't know... this has soured me on paying full price for the Haven. For a few grand more, I'll cruise Regent. 

 

Maybe that's FDR's plan. Force Haven regulars to "move up" to Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. NCLH still gets your money.

 

Unfortunately for FDR, many people will move to MSC's Yacht Club (they already offer limited day passes, btw) or Celebrity's Retreat (limited number of ships but is being added to older ships during the refurbs).

 

 

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23 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

So, just spoke to my TA, as they're making reservations for me to Bermuda for this weekend on the Escape (nothing like waiting until the last minute).

 

I asked her about the ability to buy a dinner at the Haven Restaurant. She put me on hold and called NCL.  According to her, that option was always available to join other guests who are already in the Haven.  Instead of just paying for dinner in the Haven restaurant (the old policy), friends/relatives of guests can spend more now and spend 2-3 hours in the Haven than just to have dinner (subject to Concierges' approval given the amount of people in the Haven).

 

It can be done ONCE and does not included drinks, unless the guests have the drink package.

 

 

Well, the promo for it sure doesn’t sound like that....

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$100 for dinner for two is nothing. We have a steakhouse in town where entrees alone start at $80, plus vegetables/salad, whatever. Four of us did it fairly lean one night and it still came to $450. Plus tax and tip. The place was packed.

People will pay the $100 just to do something a bit different and have something to talk about. A float plane trip or a whale watching cruise is going to cost you a thousand dollars for two. A hundred dollars for dinner is pocket change to do something interesting.

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Maybe the Haven passenger will have to initiate the process by giving name or cabin number of the guest(s) they are looking to "sponsor" to the concierge?  Once that process is complete the guest may then have the option to book the dinner once on board?  It doesn't look like it can be booked online.

 

That's a glass-half-full take, I hope it's wrong... we have a 2 BR Villa on the Breakaway next May.  

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16 minutes ago, Greenpea2 said:

Well, the promo for it sure doesn’t sound like that....

I think that NCL rep and/or TA is making things up as they go along - or just making assumptions.

 

Folks have expressed dissatisfaction with the new policy on the official NCL FB page, and no one from NCL has posted to indicate or clarify that this is ONLY for friends/family of existing Haven guests.

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11 minutes ago, elwood_98034 said:

$100 for dinner for two is nothing......People will pay the $100 just to do something a bit different and have something to talk about.... A hundred dollars for dinner is pocket change to do something interesting.

I completely agree with this.  $100 for dinner for two is cheap where I come from (NYC area.)

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11 minutes ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

Maybe that's FDR's plan. Force Haven regulars to "move up" to Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. NCLH still gets your money.

 

Unfortunately for FDR, many people will move to MSC's Yacht Club (they already offer limited day passes, btw) or Celebrity's Retreat (limited number of ships but is being added to older ships during the refurbs).

 

 

We have many travel options that cost nowhere near the $1,800 a night that we are paying for the Haven. We travel a fair bit, and usually go fairly up market, but we are picky. This is our first time in the Haven, but our third NCL cruise. We did suites the other two times. But we had a disappointment on the Jewel about seven years ago, and went elsewhere after that. The week we have booked will cost us close to twenty thousand dollars, which is about what we would normally pay for a week somewhere. If the Haven experience doesn't live up to the slick videos and advertising there is a 100% guarantee that we will go away from NCL again. We have zero loyalty. They haven't earned it. Especially with this.

We actually looked to cancel our upcoming cruise as soon as we heard of this, but we are locked in with their policy. My wife had put in a high bid on a DOS, but we have halved that, and will probably withdraw it entirely depending on what we see going on on here. There are a lot of vacant Haven suites on the cruise that we have booked, and I know for sure that some of the big travel agents who are prominent on YouTube are becoming aware of this. The agents will hesitate to sell the Haven if their customers aren't coming back happy or feel like they were ripped off.

 

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

Maybe that's FDR's plan. Force Haven regulars to "move up" to Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. NCLH still gets your money.

 

Unfortunately for FDR, many people will move to MSC's Yacht Club (they already offer limited day passes, btw) or Celebrity's Retreat (limited number of ships but is being added to older ships during the refurbs).

 

Loads of ways for me to spend that Haven money on a vacation.

 

We're heading to Hong Kong and Thailand next month (if they stop protesting) and it's costing double what we pay for the Haven. So, in that respect... we save money cruising the Haven!

Edited by newty25

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NCL has implemented (or tried to implement) some pretty irrational things over the last few years, but this one takes the cake.

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4 minutes ago, gmbhardy said:

NCL has implemented (or tried to implement) some pretty irrational things over the last few years, but this one takes the cake.

 

 

Is cake included in the $50 fee?   🙂

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15 minutes ago, ColinIllinois said:

 

 

Is cake included in the $50 fee?   🙂

 

Subject to an additional gratuity  added to the cake ... for your convenience of course

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Posted (edited)

While I agree with most on this thread.  I believe many are over reacting a bit.  First, there was already a similar policy in effect for $25 (Yes 2 wheels, subject to availability and the concierge).  This new policy actually doubles the price making it less available.  For a couple in the Haven to bring another couple to dinner for $100, all 4 of them could eat at Cagneys.  I applaud NCL for trying to please everyone.  Yes you can do it but the cost is going to put many off.

What I wish NCL would do is stop granting Haven meals and access to all sorts of people they deem VIP.  If those of you are angry because someone is paying $50 to eat with their friends, then how do you feel about people with cruise blogs eating for free?  Its common if NCL sees a review they like to comp someone a meal in the Haven.  No $50 required.  I think people would be surprised at the amount of guests who eat there and are not part of the Haven, nor an invited guest from a Haven passenger.  Long story short, I agree in part with most of you but most of your anger is misdirected IMHO.

Remember a few months ago the couple who sailed an inside cabin wanted access to the Haven because they had a small cruise vlog.  They were denied in embarkation day but complained and NCL gave both of them a dinner FREE. 
That was an extreme example but free comps happen more than people think.  Those comps should go to La Cucina or something IMHO. 

Edited by david_sobe

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11 minutes ago, david_sobe said:

While I agree with most on this thread.  I believe many are over reacting a bit.  First, there was already a similar policy in effect for $25 (Yes 2 wheels, subject to availability and the concierge).  This new policy actually doubles the price making it less available.  For a couple in the Haven to bring another couple to dinner for $100, all 4 of them could eat at Cagneys.  I applaud NCL for trying to please everyone.  Yes you can do it but the cost is going to put many off.

What I wish NCL would do is stop granting Haven meals and access to all sorts of people they deem VIP.  If those of you are angry because someone is paying $50 to eat with their friends, then how do you feel about people with cruise blogs eating for free?  Its common if NCL sees a review they like to comp someone a meal in the Haven.  No $50 required.  I think people would be surprised at the amount of guests who eat there and are not part of the Haven, nor an invited guest from a Haven passenger.  Long story short, I agree in part with most of you but most of your anger is misdirected IMHO.

Remember a few months ago the couple who sailed an inside cabin wanted access to the Haven because they had a small cruise vlog.  They were denied in embarkation day but complained and NCL gave both of them a dinner FREE. 
That was an extreme example but free comps happen more than people think.  Those comps should go to La Cucina or something IMHO. 

 

 

This isn't about people eating with their friends. This is for anyone on the ship who wants to dine there can dine there, subject to reservations, so basically like any other specialty restaurant. 

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8 minutes ago, LrgPizza said:

 

 

This isn't about people eating with their friends. This is for anyone on the ship who wants to dine there can dine there, subject to reservations, so basically like any other specialty restaurant. 

My bad.  Sorry I did not read ALL 9 pages.  Thanks for the clarification.

Don't think this is a good idea because that is the perk of being in the Haven, not having to do reservations at the Haven restaurant.  So yes, there are going to be full tables blocking Haven passengers from eating.

My bad.  Sorry everyone.

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I am not going ballistic but I am done with NCL. I always book a Haven suite but if non Haven guests are now competing with me for a table I am done. I just cancelled 2 of my upcoming cruises and am rebooking with MSC in Yacht Club. The power of the consumer is supreme! 

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1 hour ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

Maybe that's FDR's plan. Force Haven regulars to "move up" to Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. NCLH still gets your money.

 

Unfortunately for FDR, many people will move to MSC's Yacht Club (they already offer limited day passes, btw) or Celebrity's Retreat (limited number of ships but is being added to older ships during the refurbs).

 

 

 

There is already no reason to chose the Haven over the Yacht Club.  This just adds to the lead MSC have.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, e2011 said:

I am not going ballistic but I am done with NCL. I always book a Haven suite but if non Haven guests are now competing with me for a table I am done. I just cancelled 2 of my upcoming cruises and am rebooking with MSC in Yacht Club. The power of the consumer is supreme! 

 

Voting with one's wallet is definitely the way to go.

 

I'm not convinced NCL cares much about customer feedback right now, what with the record profits and all. I don't think they even do post-cruise surveys anymore. They have the luxury of not having to care about customer loyalty/repeat customers because unemployment is low and new, moneyed travelers are entering the market single every day (hence the nonstop launching of megaships). 

I don't really remember them backing off anything under FDR except their attempt to force people not to bring food out of the buffet. 

 

But still, there's really not much else one can do. Vote with your wallet. 

 

I've been holding off booking an upcoming Bermuda run to use my last two CruiseNext certs, but at 13 days out NCL is trying NOT to run last-minute discounts on this particular sailing even though they have loads of inventory left (~30ish studio staterooms, for example). I'm not giving them $1800 for a studio. If they stick to their guns and sail with empty rooms at the inflated prices, I'll just ebay my certs and jump on Cunard or spend the week in NYC. (Already booked flights.) 

Edited by perditax

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22 minutes ago, david_sobe said:

What I wish NCL would do is stop granting Haven meals and access to all sorts of people they deem VIP.  If those of you are angry because someone is paying $50 to eat with their friends, then how do you feel about people with cruise blogs eating for free?

 

TBH, I don't really care about how the non-Haven guests get to the Haven restaurant. I care about how many non-Haven guests are there.  For me, it's about the numbers and if my wait time to get a table (which is usually zero) and my wait time for the meal (which is already high) is negatively impacted. 

 

If NCL offered the Haven restaurant to non-Haven guests but limited the offer to specific times, Haven guests would dine at times when the staff isn't likely to be overwhelmed with Haven and non-Haven guests. For ex., if non-Haven was given 5:30pm-6:30pm for dinner, Haven guests having dinner at 7:30pm wouldn't notice much of a decline in service. The way that it seems now, the concierge may give a reservation for a specific time but what if a dozen Haven guests show up for dinner 5 minutes after the non-Haven guests arrive?

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There is another thread on here where a guy reports a bunch of drunks rolling around on the floor during dinner on the Breakaway on the 14th. It has been reported elsewhere that this new policy came in on the 13th. He was unaware of the change until I told him about it, and has suggested that the drunks he saw are a result of the new Haven reality.

It will be interesting to see if we get more reports of bad behaviour coming out as the weeks go by.

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People were capable of being drunk and behaving badly in Haven before this change.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, david_sobe said:

So yes, there are going to be full tables blocking Haven passengers from eating.

 

That sums up the problem for me.

I don't care about "bid vs. direct book". 

I don't believe that behavior has anything to do with what someone paid to get into the Haven.

I don't think any type of guest should look down on (nor look up to) any other guest because of stateroom type/category.

 

There are a limited number of tables in the restaurant and a limited number of servers. Anything that increases the number of guests beyond Haven guests can be a problem.  

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19 minutes ago, JohnIreland said:

 

There is already no reason to chose the Haven over the Yacht Club.  This just adds to the lead MSC have.

 

Well, there are a few areas where Haven beats Yacht Club just as there are areas where Yacht Club beats Haven. I enjoy both but since NCL hasn't done anything POSITIVE for Haven guests in at least 5 years (the "16 and up" sundeck isn't a positive for my family), this latest change is just another negative for NCL. 

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