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saretaj

NCL Gem - Haven or balcony?

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I (44) will be sailing late August Boston-Bermuda on the Gem.  With me will be my 6 year old daughter, as well as my 21 year old daughter and her 24 year old BF (we have known him for 5 years - we are close).  I have sailed the Dawn a few times but it was only with my husband and youngest daughter and we always had a balcony room.

 

My question is - I kind of want to splurge and do the Haven this time around.  But is it true that only the first 2 passengers get the perks (unlimited bar, specialty dining etc)?  If that is the case, we may just do 2 balcony rooms.  Any advice here?

 

I realize I can call NCL but I am tied up out of town in work meetings / conferences and wanted to ask people with experience.  We plan to book next week so any insight is appreciated!  

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TOTALLY do the Haven.  First two passengers get the dining or drinks package, internet and shore excursion, but all of you get an amazing cabin, Haven area, priority embarkation and disembarkation.

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Haven on Gem - I have booked and sailed on several Gem balconies in the Caribbean and loved the experience.  On one booked balcony, we won the bidding system and received a discounted Haven 2-Bedroom. 

 

Don't get me wrong, the Haven is VERY nice, but on the older Jewel Class Ships,  the Gem does not of all the bells & whistles of the new ships.  There is a small courtyard with a tiny essentially a wading pool with a retractable roof that can be rolled open/shut depending on the weather.  The private sun deck was up one flight of stairs and was virtually empty for our 10-day cruise.   The second bedroom was very small and had two singles beds, very stiff beds (really not Haven quality, but available). The master bedroom is very nice, there is a beautiful private deck, small living room, small table & chairs for eating in your cabin, one giant luxurious bathroom and a second balcony side bathroom.

 

There is no bar or restaurant in the Gem Haven.  Breakfast and lunch was served in Cagneys exclusively for the Haven & Suite guests.  The butler could be utilize to bring bar drinks to you in the Haven (to the courtyard, sun deck or your room) from any of the "regular" bars.  Additionally, dinner or any food could be brought to you by the Butler, as well as any little num-num snacks during the day.  The concierge will get you any priority seating at shows, restaurants, excursions, as well as embarkation / disembarkation.

 

To repeat, its a VERY nice experience and you will want for nothing, but not as nice as the newer Havens.

 

In your particular case, if you booked two balcony rooms, all guest would be entitled to all five offers.  However, your 6-year old obviously does need the liquor plan. You are then paying for two cabins.

 

With that in mind, if you booked the more expensive Haven, first two guests receive all five offers.  As of right now, guests 3 & 4 can sail in the Haven for "free" - no fare but you pay the port taxes and gratuities only.

 

In summation, you may want to research pricing for two balcony rooms versus one Haven room.  Do a mock booking on both options for pricing.  Pick your rooms in this drill - NCL will advertise a Balcony as low as $1,049, but this is a guaranteed room and comes with ZERO perks. To get the 5 perks in a balcony you need to book each cabin somewhere between $1,300 to $1,600 each.  Single Haven 2-bedroom sells for $3,900. 

 

Here is what I see in TAKE ALL 5 issues on a seven day Boston to Bermuda.  With the Haven you would need to separately purchase the number of specialty dining nights for two guests. NCL will give guests #1 and #2 three specialty dining in the PICK 5.  This again assumes the 6-year old would be happy in a steakhouse, French restaurant Hibachi dinner experience, etc. as opposed to dining in one of the two the main dining rooms.  Drink package - depends on the volume of drinks consumed.  If alcohol usage would be considerable, then consider purchasing  one drink package for the third over-21 guest. If one of the three adults is not a heavy drinker, rather than buying a Beverage Package and spending $99 per day on the package, just purchase individual drinks (to make the package economical, your "weakest" drinker would need to consume 8-10 drinks each day, including the port days in Bermuda where you will probably be off ship most of the day).  Hint: Make sure the two "stronger" drinkers are listed a Guest #1 and Guest #2 if booking the Haven.  The $50 per port excursion benefit is per cabin, so 2 credits for 2 Balcony cabins verses one credit in the Haven. Cannot bank or stack the credits - if don't use it any day, you lose it.  Again economics depends on the number of NCL sponsored excursions taken.  If you use an outside vendor or go on your own, the $50 credit is worthless. No need to worry about getting back to the ship on port day 1 or 2.  Day three is obviously critical.  If Wifi access is critical, the TAKE 5 usually gives 250 minutes per cabin.  Three days in Bermuda - I'm relatively ceratin that the 2 twenty-somethings can easily locate free Wifi in shopping areas / restaurants etc..

 

My personal opinion - If I were looking to splurge, I would go for the Haven.

 

Either way, it sounds like a great vacation - Enjoy!

 

Several years ago we did an August NY-Bermuda on the Dawn.  It was VERY hot & humid for our cruise. YMMV

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My recommendation for 3 adults is two balcony rooms. The two bedroom suites are very nice, but the second bedroom is NOT comfortable for 2 adults. Unless you are going to put your daughter in the main bedroom and you take the small room, they will be very uncomfortable for a week in what is essentially a closet. Add in the perks for the 2nd room, and to me it's an easy decision. As was mentioned earlier, there is no bar or restaurant in the Gem haven, so it's essentially a watered down haven.

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We've been in Gem Haven.  I'd ask which is more important, the packages or more peace and quiet and if money not an option.  If you do Haven, book two biggest drinkers as pax 1 and 2 and just pay for others ala carte. 

 

You could also  just book a suite like a two bedroom and save money vs Haven and still get suite restaurant for breakfast and lunch.  Since this is Bermuda, getting on and off the ship is no real benefit and never been offered to us in Bermuda.

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Posted (edited)

We won a bid for a non-Haven 2BR suite on the Gem, and it was awesome. Pricing on the Haven 2BR suite was a lot more—and really, the regular suite got most of the perks anyway. To my recollection, the only thing that the Haven suite had that we didn’t was Courtyard access.

 

I’d save the Haven for a bigger ship, like the Escape or Bliss, and do a regular suite on the Gem. 

 

Others are correct that the second bedroom is small—it actually looks similar to an Inside cabin would on the Gem, if you’ve ever been in one of those.

 

I would venture a guess that two early-twenties adults would be fine in it, provided they aren’t NBA players. Your 6-year old could bunk in with you in the main bedroom (though the beds don’t separate), or the couch in the living room could be made up as a bed as well. She could also go in the second bedroom in the pullman bed, though that might be a bit cramped.

 

Having the living room and suite perks is awesome. 

 

When you swipe your keycard to get in the “front door” of the suite, there are two more doors in there with keycard readers: the second bedroom, and then the living room. So you can close off the different areas of the suite. There’s also a slider between the living room and the main bedroom.

 

I would imagine that 3 adults and 1 child could be comfortable there.

Edited by dcipjr

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We were in a non-Haven 2 bedroom suite on the Jewel — same layout. As above the only amenity missing from the equivalent Haven suite was access to the Haven courtyard. In my mind it’s a much better deal than the Haven 2br. I don’t think that 2 adults in the second bedroom would work though. The way the bed is situated the person sleeping farthest from the door would have to climb over the other person to get out the bed. 

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Do the two balconies for all the perks for everyone, and splurge on Bermuda.

 

Your younger daughter will get the soda package in lieu of the typical beverage package as passenger #2 in your cabin.

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Posted (edited)

Haven on the GEM is not good compared to the newer cruise ships. If you wanted just the perks, book 2 balcony room. You did not mention your tier level with NCL. Are you or someone else in the group a platinum with NCL? If so, book a book in your name and the other room in someone else name.

Edited by poohdreaming

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Wow!  Thank you everyone!  Especially Captain_Cruising!  These details were exactly what I was looking for.  

 

Money is really not an issue this time around so I was tempted to do Haven, but I believe 2 balcony rooms may be best in our situation.  We're not going to get hammered everyday, but having the drink package was high on my list of must haves.  My husband MAY be joining us, depending on work.  I think we will be fine without the butler etc as we like to go out a lot and just enjoy the ship.  I was looking for more of what room(s) is the most bang for my buck.

 

I have no clue what tier I am with NCL - I have sailed the Dawn 3x.  

 

Again, THANK YOU so much for your replies!  I will be sure to post a detailed review w/ pics after the trip!

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Love the Haven on the Gem. Not having a restaurant right there is absolutely no big deal to us. The pool is not a wading pool, it’s just not big. It’s not big on any ship that has a haven. 

 

But space wise for that many many people I would agree two balconies would probably be better. 

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Was on the Gem last year in an Aft Suite (non-Haven).  LOVED that cabin.  Had nearly all the amenities of the Haven (including a concierge), but at a much lower price.

 

As others have stated, the Haven on the Gem is pretty small.  There isn’t a Haven specific restaurant, nor a Haven Specific bar.

 

Did a cabin tour with some of our fellow CCers while on board.  I think the 2 bedroom suites (non Haven) were gorgeous.  My Suite wasn’t shabby either.

 

Suites had access to the afore mentioned concierge and was allowed breakfast in Moderno (which also happened to be where the Concierge set up shop).

 

If you were talking about the Haven on the Away ships (been in the Haven on both) or the newer ships (like Epic, Bliss, Escape, Joy), I’d say go for it as those Haven areas are all much larger with many more amenities. On the Gem, I would stick with one of the full suites (preferably the 2-bedroom) and get 95% of what you’d get with the Haven for much smaller fare.

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