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neilmae_ko

NCL Getaway 9N Baltic Haven Cruise Report / Review June 7 to 16, 2019

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Posted (edited)

This was our 1st Cruise with NCL as we are always cruising with Celebrity.  This is also my 1st cruise review in this

Board; please bear with me.  From time to time, I will also compare my experience with NCL in Haven Class vs.

Celebrity Suite Class.

 

Pre Cruise - Copenhagen:

Arrived in Copenhagen June 3 noontime; a good 4 days before the sailing date since we are from the Philippines

and coming from our Country to Copenhagen takes more than 20 hours of travel time.  This is to adjust ourselves

with the time difference before sailing. We stayed for 4 nights at SKT Petri Hotel; it is a modern hotel with air

conditioning  and rooms are bigger than most hotels in Copenhagen.  Many hotels in Copenhagen have no

airconditioning, old and have small rooms.  The Hotel is walking distance to most sites, restaurants, shops.  

Notable places we visited which I think is a must are Christiansborg Palace, Tivoli Gardens, Nyhavn, Stroget Area,

and the Kronborg Castle.

 

Day 1 - Embarkation:

Left our Hotel 10:30am (private bus) and arrived at the cruise terminal at 11:00am.  NCL was using 2 terminals

and check-in depends on your deck number.  Since my parents are staying at Deck 16 - Haven Deluxe Owner's

Suite and me with my own family at Deck 15 - Haven 2-Bedroom Family Villa; we have to separately check-in in

different terminals.  It would be best if they just assigned all Haven Guests in just 1 terminal since the other 

terminal was near the back of the ship and you have to walk a long way after check-in to go to the Haven Lounge.  

Before entering the terminal; someone will get all your bags.  Be sure to tag your bags before arriving the terminal

to prevent delay.  After entering the terminal, there's a security check which checks all your hand-carry bags.  If

you put bottled water, beer and liquors in your hand-carry bags, it will be confiscated.  Only wines and champagne

will be allowed.  After security check; there's a table which they will charge your room the corkage if you bought

with you wines or champagne.  Each bottle costs USD 15.00 for the corkage.  This is also the same if you put it

in your bags; bottled water, beer, liquors will also be confiscated.  Since we arrived early, lines at check-in was

short even on lines on non-haven guests.  Check-in was not that fast since the system that was provided by

NCL to the cruise port did not have passport scanner like the one they used at airports.  Check-in personel will

manually type and check your passport details.  During that time; we were the only Haven Guests in that terminal

thus we were ushered immediately to the Haven Lounge using a elevator which was reserved for Haven Guests.  

Upon arriving at the Haven Lounge, we were greeted with the Concierge and was served sliders and welcome

drinks. Arrived and sat at the Haven Lounge around 11:45am and after a while, my parents arrived.  From time

to time; the Concierge will make a welcome announcement explaining what Haven is.  Around 12:15pm; we

decided to have lunch at the Haven Restaurant.  Around 1:00pm; we were told that our staterooms were ready

for us and after our lunch, we settled to our staterooms.  at 4:30pm; the mandatory drill begun which lasted

around 40mins.  We had our dinner at the Haven Restaurant at 7:00pm before taking a early sleep.

Edited by neilmae_ko

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My Review:

Check-in Process - good, should have been better if the system being used on check-in has a scanner.  

Welcome Food & Drink - a good hearty meal as the sliders where big enough to make you full.  Drink was 

a bit too sour for our taste.

 

Haven Restaurant - becomes a bit crowded during embarkation days since most Haven Guests eat there.

During regular days, I did not experience it to be full.  Lunch and Dinner have different menus but both menus

does not change the whole sailing.  However, there are many items to choose from which you wont able 

to try all if you also eat at other restaurants in the ship. 

 

Haven Lounge / Bar - with adequate sitting and where we usually sit and meet up.

 

Deluxe Owner's Suite - not as spacious as you think.  I think the lay-out makes it look like small compared 

to Celebrity's Penthouse Suite at their Solstice Class ships.  What was great was there is a big cabinets

for storage of your luggages. 

 

2 Bedroom Family Villa - the stateroom was not as big but with enough space.  If I will compare this with 

the Royal Suite of Celebrity.  However, it has a small bathroom in the other bedroom which is great if 

you have kids.  

 

Butler - our butler and my parent's butler was great.  Your regular butler assigned to your room is only 

available during daytime.  Around 9pm onwards; there's a butler assigned as a night shift butler which is 

shared by many rooms.  The regular butler assigned to your room is also being shared by around 8 other

rooms.  I find the service of the butler limited versus the butler in Celebrity.  Based on our experience

NCL Butler takes care of your needs within your room whereas the butler of Celebrity takes care of your

needs throughout the whole ship.  Celebrity's Butler even usher you from where you are to the restaurant

where you are going to dine and even make sure that you are settled in the restaurant.  

 

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Day 2 - Warnemunde, Germany:

Ship arrived before its scheduled arrival at 7:30am.  Most passengers start early since most of them have shore

excursions to Berlin; which is 3.5 hours away from Warnemunde.  Due to the distance, it makes no sense for us 

to spend almost 7 hours on the road just to visit Berlin for 6 hours maximum since the ship will depart 10:00pm.

We decided to go to Schwerin instead which is just 1 hour away from Warnemunde.  Our family meet at the 

Haven Lounge and was ushered directly to the Gangway by using the service elevator which are used by the

ship crew. Left around 9:10am and was in the cruise port 10 minutes after.  Since we wanted that all our shore

excursion are private; we got the private transportation service of www.lsm-rostock.de for 8 full hours on a 

minivan.  At the cruise port, we were greeted by Anne and was introduced to our english speaking driver / guide.

From Warnemunde, drove around 1 hour to Schwerin and our first stop was the Schwerin Castle.  After seeing the

castle for 1.5 hours, we decided to walk to the Market Square which is just nearby.  We also took our lunch in 

at the Market Square and has a nice stroll around the area.  Around 3:00pm, we left Schwerin to Rostock.  At

Rostock, we went to the Market Square also and the cathedral.  Since Rostock is just 15 minutes away from the 

cruise port, we left Rostock around 5:15pm and arrived at the cruise port around 5:30pm.  We ate dinner at 

Cagnay's Steakhouse - a specialty restaurant at Deck 8.  

 

Review:

Cagney's - its just ok, nothing great or spectacular.  The Lump Crab Cakes are mushy, not Lump, Beef Quality is

just normal although we ordered the premium black angus dry aged steaks, it was just ordinary. 

 

Wine List - NCL Getaway's Wine List is the same throughout the ship.  I feel that the wine list is limited and must

be improved.  Compared to Celebrity - Celebrity had intensive wine list than NCL. 

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Posted (edited)

Day 3 - Sea Day:

1st of the 2 sea day.  Had Breakfast at Haven Lounge, we usually do Room Service during port days. Breakfast

items are the usual, eggs any style, bacon, sausages, cereals, etc.  At Lunch, we decided to try the Buffet -

Garden Cafe at Deck 15.  We arrived at Garden Cafe around 12:20pm and there were lots of people already.  

I was surprised that despite the number of passengers in the buffet, some sections of the buffet are close.  

Food items are somewhat limited.  Went around to see if its worth the calories, after seeing the food, we decided

to go back to the Haven Restaurant.  After lunch, we walked around the ship .  One thing I noticed that the ship

lacks elevators.  The whole ship has only 8 elevators whereas Celebrity Solstice Class Ships which are a little

bit smaller have more than 15 elevators.  Before heading to our rooms, my daughter wanted to try the soft serve

ice cream at Garden Cafe - which is the only thing we liked at Garden Cafe.  Almost every after lunch or dinner,

my daughter and son goes there to have some ice cream.  Around 4:00pm, we went to the Gym at Deck 15.  

Haven areas have direct access to the gym at Deck 15.  It has a door which upon opening, the entrance of the

gym is just steps away.  The Gym is divided into 4 sections. The cardio section where the threadmill, bikes,

rowers, etc are located.  Then there's the weights sections, spinning bike section and the gym floor section

where they do the yogas and Zumba. Technogym is the Brand of the Gym Equipment in NCL. We had our dinner 

at Haven Restaurant that night.

 

Review:

Elevators - lacking number of elevators considering the size of the ship

 

Public Spaces - due to the number of passengers, sometimes the public places gets crowded

 

Gym - Not a fan of Technogym Equipments; would prefer Lifefitness Brand.  Celebrity uses Lifefitness.  The 

spinning bikes or the spinning section are always closed and the door has a sign "class session on-going"

even though there are no class on going.  i guess they dont want the passengers to use it if you are not 

getting the spinning class. On the 4 days I've been coming to the gym; the spinning section is close and 

I also did not saw the gym instructor at the gym giving tips to the passengers on how to use the machine

properly.  In Celebrity, if there's no class on-going, you can use the spinning bikes plus the gym instructors

from time to time give tips to passengers and even assisting them wher they use the machine.

 

Garden Cafe - Food Quality needs a lot of improvement including the selection.  All sections must be 

open especially if there are lots of passengers or during Sea Days.

Edited by neilmae_ko

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Some Pics I forgot to share during Day 1 - Embarkation Day:

 

Port Arrival 

 

65106212_684252098662812_7168505136640163840_n.thumb.jpg.9ed938873f423b2a77eca40f7523eb62.jpg

 

Welcome Drink

 

65013475_921871948185040_6230474186020618240_n.thumb.jpg.a49f3a133f5c968899221aeedcffb95e.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Day 4 - Tallinn: (My Favorite)

Ship arrived almost 8:30am.  We departed the ship around 9:30am.  The ship docked a little bit far from the

gate of the cruise port.  Private Transportation were not allowed to go inside the cruise port thus we have

to walked up to the gate of the cruise port - around 400meters away.  This time; we used Limos4.com as

our transportation.  Our First Stop Was Kadriog Palace.  It was great seeing the palace.  Our Driver / Guide

then toured us around Tallinn city before heading to the Old Town.  We passed thru Viru gate since my 

mother could not walk well.  Ended up taking our lunch at Olde Hansa Restaurant - serving medieval style 

foods.  I had their mushroom soup - the best mushroom soup I ever tasted.  I also had their sausages;

3 kinds of sausages which are made from bear, wild boar and elk.  We visited the square at the old city 

and it was awesome.  Had a chance to wander around the many small streets in the old town.  Plenty of

unique stuff which are very interesting.  Went back to the ship around 3:00pm since the ship will depart 

at 4:30pm.  During dinner; we ate at Ocean Blue - Seafood Specialty Restaurant.  

 

Kadriog Palace

 

65190000_2485349261526740_6679916649253961728_n.thumb.jpg.2f67f9cc38acc1649010dde16e0d350e.jpg

 

Old Town

 

65268516_367809543938964_2477115460185751552_n.thumb.jpg.19f3e1e8492fb3183d7a24c28c0d7434.jpg

 

Review:

Ship Arrival in Tallinn - the ship should have arrived at Tallinn before its scheduled arrival at 

9:00am.  Around 6:00am, I saw in the TV from Navigation Channel that the ship is running at

9 knots only.  If the ship run around 18 knots, we could have arrived earlier and have more 

time at Tallinn.  I think 7.5 hours in Tallinn, which gives only around 6 hours for passengers

to enjoy the city, is not enough.  It would have been great if the ship arrived around 7am which

will give the passenger at least 8 hours of time to enjoy Tallinn.

 

Ocean Blue - This was the best specialty restaurant in the whole ship.  The food were superb

and as well as the service.  We even asked for the Executive Chef so that we can congratulate

him/her.  The Chef was from our country, and he is also the executive chef that handles the

Haven Restaurant.  

 

Wine - a ordered bottle of opus one; surprised that it was not stored properly.  I think the ship

does not have proper wine storage.  

 

Edited by neilmae_ko

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Ocean Blue Desserts - Food was superb; we forgot to take pics of the food

 

65578769_352557332121032_8950141267048660992_n.thumb.jpg.3917d47cb92b9ad1971f0072ce1e18f5.jpg

 

65386442_324203305122250_4316142425367117824_n.thumb.jpg.899b95833b99731a6c68bdd5a74bec3c.jpg

 

Poor Wine Storage 

 

65952276_386164068772300_9079113426936004608_n.thumb.jpg.4b3bfc6286adf67654efbb1cc3aa7130.jpg 

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2 minutes ago, neilmae_ko said:

Ocean Blue Desserts - Food was superb; we forgot to take pics of the food

 

65578769_352557332121032_8950141267048660992_n.thumb.jpg.3917d47cb92b9ad1971f0072ce1e18f5.jpg

 

65386442_324203305122250_4316142425367117824_n.thumb.jpg.899b95833b99731a6c68bdd5a74bec3c.jpg

 

Poor Wine Storage 

 

65952276_386164068772300_9079113426936004608_n.thumb.jpg.4b3bfc6286adf67654efbb1cc3aa7130.jpg 

Wow, that Opus had to be stored standing straight up for that cork to be cracked like that.  Did you say anything to the Sommelier on board?

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Day 5 - St. Petersburg:

Ship arrived earlier than 7:00am.  We were told by the Haven Concierge that if we are not in a hurry, leave the 

ship a little bit later than others.  Most passengers get off the ship early which makes the immigration process

slower.  They said that during rush hour, in order to clear the immigration, it will take you around 1 hour.  With

this in mind; we opted to depart the ship at 9:30am.  At the immigration area; there were already short lines by

that time.  We were able to meet our tour guide at 10:15am outside the cruise terminal.  In Our Russia tours;

we used SPB Tours and we got their private service with Driver and a english speaking driver.  Same driver,

vehicle and guide will be used for 2 days.  Our first day stops were - Peter & Paul's Fortress, Peterhof Palace 

and Gardens and Church on the Spilled Blood.  Our guide brought us to a local russian restaurant where they

serve russian dish where local Russian's dine.   We also go the Evening Option - Ballet.  It was very good and 

my daughter who is a ballet dancer really was amaze.  

 

Peterhof

 

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Spilled Blood

 

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Evening at Russian Ballet

 

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16 minutes ago, Lupush said:

Wow, that Opus had to be stored standing straight up for that cork to be cracked like that.  Did you say anything to the Sommelier on board?

 

Yes, apparently, NCL does not have a licensed Sommelier on board.  What they have are just wine stewards.  However, the wine was ok to drink, but maybe a few months more not storing it properly, the wine will not be drinkable. 

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Posted (edited)

Day 6 - St. Petersburg (Day 2):

We also left the ship 10:00am and when we arrived at the immigration, there was no line.  We quickly finished 

the immigration process. We were told by out Concierge that normally, day 2 in St. Petersburg is not busy 

since most of the passengers only take a 1 day tour.  Passengers who have their russian visa, they normally

dont take tours on the 2nd day and just tour independently.  Our 2nd day stops were - Hermitage Museum,

Catherine's Palace.  Hermitage Museum was awesome.  We are not a fan of arts or museum but we ourselves

were impressed.  We went to Louve in Paris and I can say that I find Hermitage Museum more impressive.  

Catherine Palace were also grand.  Went back on the ship around 5:00pm. We had our dinner at 

Teppanyaki - Japanese.  

 

Hermitage Museum

 

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Catherine's Palace

 

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Review:

SPB Tours - I would really recommend this tour company.  They are great in looking after us and is very much 

flexible in us on what our interest or what we wanted to see.  They have special access to almost all sites and 

we did not have to wait in long lines just to get in the sites.

 

Teppanyaki - our 3rd best specialty restaurant.  Teppanyaki Show was fun and the food was good.  

Edited by neilmae_ko

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16 minutes ago, susan196222 said:

Could you please tell us who your Concierge was ??

 

Thank you

 

Virginia Brotherton (not sure if i got her family name correctly) - she's from the Philippines.  

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Posted (edited)

Day 7 - Helsinki:

Ship arrived before 7:00am and we went down the ship around 8:15am.  We begun our private tour around

8:30am.  This time we again used Limos4.com for 6 hours tour.  During that day, 3 big cruise ships docked

at Helsinki, the roads were a bit busy than usual.  Our Stops was Sibelius Park, Upenski Cathedral, President's

Palace, Senado Square, Esplanade, Market Square and Old Market Building.  Helsinki is a small city which you

can easily walk around.  For us, this was our least favorite port.  We went back on the ship at 2:00pm as the 

ship is departing at 4:00pm.  We ate at Shanghai Noodle Bar at Deck 7.  Late that night, there was 

fog at sea and the visibility was poor, the whole night until early in the morning, the ship was keep

on honking its horn, as a additional navigational safety.  Kuddos to the bridge.

 

Sibelius Park

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President's Palace

 

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Senado Square

 

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Old Market

 

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Review:

Old Market - a small renovated old market, limited items to see, gets crowded

 

Shanghai Noodle Bar - worst restaurant in the ship, the food was not good.  Ended up ordering Pizza

in the room service and asked our butler to serve it in the Haven Lounge while having some drinks.

Edited by neilmae_ko

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Day 8 - Nynashamn / Stockholm:

The ship was docked at Nynashamn, a good 1 hour drive to Stockholm.  In this trip, we used 

www.stockholmguiding.com as our private transportation.  We left the cruise port at 8:30am

and arrived Stockholm around 9:30am.  During this day, Stockholm was very busy and roads

have slow traffic.  Apparently, Former Pres. Obama was there and also the President of 

South Korea was also in Stockholm.  Many road were blocked for security reasons.  Our stops

was - City Hall, Drive around the City, Royal Palace, Old Town.  The City Hall is where the Nobel

Peace Prize awarding are held each year.  A good place to have a tour.  The Old town of

Stockholm is also great.  We were not able to visit the Vasa Musuem because of the traffic.  

We left Stockholm around 4:30pm and arrive at the cruise port at 5:30pm.  The Ship departed

7:00pm.  This time; we had our dinner at Le Bistro - French Specialty Restaurant.

 

City Hall

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Royal Palace

65391851_2484740894898864_4118234812018327552_n.thumb.jpg.80fc5a6c789b5b78845ca975566e80a6.jpg

 

Old Town

65868408_2084825941823488_5221343934466228224_n.thumb.jpg.4d7d9920dc34902985782c2f5acb6d79.jpg

 

Review:

stockholmguiding.com - I reserved a minivan with them and when we arrived - a brand new bus were waiting for us.  

Although the bus was very nice, it is hard to use it since the bus is very big for just 7 of us.  It would have

been easier to tour the city if it was a minivan.   The guide was a local, however, she cannot speak english 

very well.  I would not recommend this tour company.

 

Le Bistro - our 2nd favorite specialty restaurant.  Food was great including the service.  A bit crowded since 

it is a popular restaurant in the ship.  

65176044_295919644509801_4673101134477393920_n.jpg

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Day 9 - Sea Day:

A lazy day for us.  All we did was to sit around and eat.  We also took this day to packed our things since the 

next day will be embarkation day.  Had lunch at Haven Restaurant and also dinner.  However, at dinner - we

requested a day before that we be served Filipino Foods.  This was not a problem since most cooks in the 

ship is from our country.  This was also the time where we hand out additonal tips to ship crew who did a great

job.  We left our luggage outside our room before we slept.

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Day 10 - Embarkation Day:

Since our flight to London is at 10:30am, we opted to leave the ship at 7:30am.  Luckily, the ship arrived

early at Copenhagen and was cleared at 7:00am.  When the ship was cleared, we were one of the first to

be ushered to get off the ship.  The Concierge was able to meet us at the gangway and ushered us until

we exited the terminal.  Our bags were also at the terminal when we arrived.  Haven guests are given Gold

color lugagge tags which means that it will be the first bags off the ship.  We left the cruise port at 7:50am

using our pre-arranged service - we used Limos4.com.  We arrived at Copenhagen Airport 8:20am, giving

us plenty of time for our 10:30am flight.  

 

Summarized Review soon:

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1 hour ago, cruisinginmay said:

Following!  Thanks for the review!  We are on this cruise in September.

 

Ask me anytime if your have something to ask about your upcoming cruise

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Sounds like a great cruise!  What did you think about the main part of the ship?

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