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THE SECRETS OF THE NCL HAVEN LUXURY EXPERIENCE


Sthrngary
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1 hour ago, Sthrngary said:

On post 398 in this stream you can download the document.  On post 427 is the Excel Spreadsheet Calender.  I hope you like them.

 

On a side note, my review for the NCL Getaway for November 2019 won Review of the Week.  We stayed in a Haven Spa Suite.  I loved the Ship.  Ask me anything.  Be well. 

Thank you!  Very informative!

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On 4/30/2021 at 3:49 PM, Sthrngary said:

Your notion of a Once in a Life Time situation is exactly what I have been saying.  If we cruised a lot, we had some issues all of which could have been eliminated with less folks on the ship.  This may be all of our last opportunity to have a 60% or less filled ship.  

 

I have to add this note.  I have attempted, throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic to always be as positive as possible. Especially on CruiseCritic. I am now noticing the focus on future positive cruise experience more and more.  This was a tough and uncertain time for all.  Hopefully we can all finally vacation since most of us paid for that vacation a long time ago. 

 

I have to Thank NCL.  When my cruise was originally cancelled due to Covid, they gave 125% FCC.  People said I was nuts taking it but I did.  When my second cruise was cancelled, NCL gave me 10% of my next cruise booking.  I was able to take my family of Five whom were originally in a Haven 2-Bedroom Family Villa and upgrade them to the Haven (H2) Deluxe Owners Suite with no out of pocket expense.  That for me after all these years is a true "Once in a Life Time Event".  If you are on my cruise, there will be party in my room every night. I will make my 42 Wedding anniversary count!!!!

Those fcc offerings due to cancelling are amazing.  Princess cancelled our cruise and would even offer the same price the following year.  So much for loyalty when we’ve cruised 11 times on their ships.  Now the positive part.  We’re booked on our first NCL cruise and it’s on the inaugural sailing of Prima and it’s in a penthouse Haven category.   I’m learning everyday about what that means as I had not previously heard of the Haven.  Thanks for this thread as it’s been very informative. I check the internet every week to see if there are any updates on the prima.  I expect news to trickle out every few months.  The haven looks wonderful.

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When I wrote this op-ed, I was hoping to reduce some of the misunderstandings about the NCL Haven.  My challenge was very little at the time was written about how a guest can fully utilize the NCL Haven Experience.  Lots of folks were asking, “Is the Haven worth it?”.  Others were fixated that they could cruise three times for what it cost for one cruise in the Haven.  After all this time, I wanted to add a few thoughts that I hope is helpful.

 

Over 40 plus years our taste change.  Our careers and income level grow.  Our stress in our personal and business lives increase.  The older I get, the more I look back at things and say, “They used to be bigger, taste better, or simple feel better.”  I am a very logical person and realize most of what I am remembering is not accurate.  Just my perception at the time and now.  Hell, I can’t even remember what happened yesterday.

 

All I know is I was missing something in my cruising experience that I THOUGHT I used to have.  Then by pure accident, I booked NCL after many, many years.  Not just NCL, the NCL Haven.  Seemed like a good idea at the time and for what ever reason, the price was right.  Not cheap, just not as much as it seemed to be in the past.  Add to that, for the first time in my life, I could actually drive to the cruise port.  All the stars were working together.

 

I studied the Haven and all I could find on its amenities.  Everything from early boarding to how to effectively utilize your butler.  This information was not as easy to find as I had hoped.  I could never figure out why more specific and accurate information on an item that had a serious premium was not readily available.  So, I wrote this op-ed on the Haven. Then Covid-19 hit hard.  I hope my thoughts gave some folks a positive topic to learn about.  Some level of enjoyment over the months. 

 

The end of my story and my commitment to NCL and the Haven.  My adult children have never cruised in the Haven.  We as a family of five have not cruise together for many years.  At the end of November 2021, after three cancelled cruises due to Covid-19.  Appling all of our FCC with the bonus, 10 % off on next cruise; we as a family will be in the (H2) Haven Deluxe Owners Suite on the NCL Joy.  Could have never afforded this under normal circumstances. MAYBE, for the first time in my life, my adult children will be impressed.  We all have to have a goal in life.  Cruise Well Everyone.  

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1 hour ago, Sthrngary said:

When I wrote this op-ed, I was hoping to reduce some of the misunderstandings about the NCL Haven.  My challenge was very little at the time was written about how a guest can fully utilize the NCL Haven Experience.  Lots of folks were asking, “Is the Haven worth it?”.  Others were fixated that they could cruise three times for what it cost for one cruise in the Haven.  After all this time, I wanted to add a few thoughts that I hope is helpful.

 

Over 40 plus years our taste change.  Our careers and income level grow.  Our stress in our personal and business lives increase.  The older I get, the more I look back at things and say, “They used to be bigger, taste better, or simple feel better.”  I am a very logical person and realize most of what I am remembering is not accurate.  Just my perception at the time and now.  Hell, I can’t even remember what happened yesterday.

 

All I know is I was missing something in my cruising experience that I THOUGHT I used to have.  Then by pure accident, I booked NCL after many, many years.  Not just NCL, the NCL Haven.  Seemed like a good idea at the time and for what ever reason, the price was right.  Not cheap, just not as much as it seemed to be in the past.  Add to that, for the first time in my life, I could actually drive to the cruise port.  All the stars were working together.

 

I studied the Haven and all I could find on its amenities.  Everything from early boarding to how to effectively utilize your butler.  This information was not as easy to find as I had hoped.  I could never figure out why more specific and accurate information on an item that had a serious premium was not readily available.  So, I wrote this op-ed on the Haven. Then Covid-19 hit hard.  I hope my thoughts gave some folks a positive topic to learn about.  Some level of enjoyment over the months. 

 

The end of my story and my commitment to NCL and the Haven.  My adult children have never cruised in the Haven.  We as a family of five have not cruise together for many years.  At the end of November 2021, after three cancelled cruises due to Covid-19.  Appling all of our FCC with the bonus, 10 % off on next cruise; we as a family will be in the (H2) Haven Deluxe Owners Suite on the NCL Joy.  Could have never afforded this under normal circumstances. MAYBE, for the first time in my life, my adult children will be impressed.  We all have to have a goal in life.  Cruise Well Everyone.  

Well said! The question “is it worth it”, is unanswerable. Everyone’s taste, financial access and personal preference can only be answered by the person asking the question. You have done a wonderful job providing all the information available to help us make that choice, but it always comes down to the individual to decide what is best for them. My wife and I have been lucky enough to sail in the Haven on our last several cruises (pre-Covid) and are booked for 4 more in 2022. You have allowed us to go forward and get the absolute most out of the experience!! Your tips have made that possible! Thank you for all the time and effort you have put into this post! As time goes by, I’m sure even more tips/suggestions will be posted in this forum that will help us have the experience of a lifetime on each sailing. Thank you!

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2 minutes ago, copper004 said:

Well said! The question “is it worth it”, is unanswerable. Everyone’s taste, financial access and personal preference can only be answered by the person asking the question. You have done a wonderful job providing all the information available to help us make that choice, but it always comes down to the individual to decide what is best for them. My wife and I have been lucky enough to sail in the Haven on our last several cruises (pre-Covid) and are booked for 4 more in 2022. You have allowed us to go forward and get the absolute most out of the experience!! Your tips have made that possible! Thank you for all the time and effort you have put into this post! As time goes by, I’m sure even more tips/suggestions will be posted in this forum that will help us have the experience of a lifetime on each sailing. Thank you!

Hear! Hear!

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You retired types with money to burn might have just a tiny bit of sympathy one in a while for us working stiffs who don't pull down six-figure salaries, you know, (he said, not showing any jealousy whatsoever)... 😉🤣😂

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1 hour ago, copper004 said:

Well said! The question “is it worth it”, is unanswerable. Everyone’s taste, financial access and personal preference can only be answered by the person asking the question. You have done a wonderful job providing all the information available to help us make that choice, but it always comes down to the individual to decide what is best for them. My wife and I have been lucky enough to sail in the Haven on our last several cruises (pre-Covid) and are booked for 4 more in 2022. You have allowed us to go forward and get the absolute most out of the experience!! Your tips have made that possible! Thank you for all the time and effort you have put into this post! As time goes by, I’m sure even more tips/suggestions will be posted in this forum that will help us have the experience of a lifetime on each sailing. Thank you!

Wow, you are more then welcome.  Really.  It has keep me sane during these last 15 months.  Something to look forward too.  Thank you for the kind words.

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31 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

You retired types with money to burn might have just a tiny bit of sympathy one in a while for us working stiffs who don't pull down six-figure salaries, you know, (he said, not showing any jealousy whatsoever)... 😉🤣😂

LOL, The issue is not being retired.  It is being "REALLY OLD".  I was going to leave all my money, the little I have, to my children.  Then I rethought that notion.  I had to work for it so they should too. SO, I am taking them in the Haven instead.  Not their choice but it is my cash and I want to die bankrupt. 

 

DCGuy64, see you at the bar my brother from a different mother. 

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1 minute ago, Sthrngary said:

LOL, The issue is not being retired.  It is being "REALLY OLD".  I was going to leave all my money, the little I have, to my children.  Then I rethought that notion.  I had to work for it so they should too. SO, I am taking them in the Haven instead.  Not their choice but it is my cash and I want to die bankrupt. 

 

DCGuy64, see you at the bar my brother from a different mother. 

LOL well said! It's your money, after all, not theirs! I really enjoy your posts, by the way. Great mix of information and humor. 😄 See you at the bar. 🍹

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41 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

You retired types with money to burn might have just a tiny bit of sympathy one in a while for us working stiffs who don't pull down six-figure salaries, you know, (he said, not showing any jealousy whatsoever)... 😉🤣😂

I'm no where near six figures but thanks to that bonus plus 10% discount I'll be there the week before Mr Gary and I'm excited! First NCL experience and it'll be in the Haven. My family and I originally only booked a mini suite. 

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We have been fortunate to have only ever sailed in the Haven.   My question for those who travel with friends/family - 

 

Can you really enjoy your Haven experience if you have friends who are not staying in the Haven?  DH and I booked a 16 day Panama Canal cruise 2 years ago (HA cabin) for our upcoming 30th anniversary in February.  Now our friends want to join, but don't want to spend the $ for the Haven.  (I understand.  For this cruise it would be in the $30k range, as pricing has gone up considerably since we booked!).   Our cabin is an Aft large balcony penthouse, so they can come use our balcony all the time.  Are we being rude for thinking that we'll use the Haven amenities during some sea days, while our friends are not?  

 

Thoughts from those who have traveled with friends (Or not!). 

 

Travel well!

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7 minutes ago, nhtravels said:

We have been fortunate to have only ever sailed in the Haven.   My question for those who travel with friends/family - 

 

Can you really enjoy your Haven experience if you have friends who are not staying in the Haven?  DH and I booked a 16 day Panama Canal cruise 2 years ago (HA cabin) for our upcoming 30th anniversary in February.  Now our friends want to join, but don't want to spend the $ for the Haven.  (I understand.  For this cruise it would be in the $30k range, as pricing has gone up considerably since we booked!).   Our cabin is an Aft large balcony penthouse, so they can come use our balcony all the time.  Are we being rude for thinking that we'll use the Haven amenities during some sea days, while our friends are not?  

 

Thoughts from those who have traveled with friends (Or not!). 

 

Travel well!

Absolutely not being rude.  I did this with family on an MSC cruise in the Mediterranean.  We (GF and I) stayed in the Yacht Club.  My two sisters stayed in the Yacht Club, too.  Had two cousins who wanted to stay in the Yacht Club with us.  I said "NO".  We had a nice time in the Yacht Club, particularly when we wanted to stay out of the crowds.  We ate dinner twice in the MDR with our cousins.  But, most of the time, we either went on excursions together or shows together, but that's about it as far as sailing in the Yacht Club vs hanging with them at the pools, at the bars, etc.

 

I got the silent treatment the entire cruise from the cousins.  I considered that a "win" in my book.  My sisters and I  dropped $15K for the Yacht Club, not including specialty dinners, or other "additional cost" items.  Cousins paid ⅓-½ that amount.  They got what they paid for.

 

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

Absolutely not being rude.  I did this with family on an MSC cruise in the Mediterranean.  We (GF and I) stayed in the Yacht Club.  My two sisters stayed in the Yacht Club, too.  Had two cousins who wanted to stay in the Yacht Club with us.  I said "NO".  We had a nice time in the Yacht Club, particularly when we wanted to stay out of the crowds.  We ate dinner twice in the MDR with our cousins.  But, most of the time, we either went on excursions together or shows together, but that's about it as far as sailing in the Yacht Club vs hanging with them at the pools, at the bars, etc.

 

I got the silent treatment the entire cruise from the cousins.  I considered that a "win" in my book.  My sisters and I  dropped $15K for the Yacht Club, not including specialty dinners, or other "additional cost" items.  Cousins paid ⅓-½ that amount.  They got what they paid for.

 

 

 

 

 

I don't understand what you mean! Were your cousins not allowed to book Yacht Club? First I thought that you paid for the trip but since they paid themself why did you say NO? Was it because you didn't wanted to spend all the time with them?

32 minutes ago, nhtravels said:

 

Can you really enjoy your Haven experience if you have friends who are not staying in the Haven?  

 

I should probably not cruise with friends or relatives if they didn't book Haven too. Since we are the only ones with cruiseexperience  I should prefer that they all were in the Haven because they might expect me to help them with things.

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41 minutes ago, nhtravels said:

We have been fortunate to have only ever sailed in the Haven.   My question for those who travel with friends/family - 

 

Can you really enjoy your Haven experience if you have friends who are not staying in the Haven?  DH and I booked a 16 day Panama Canal cruise 2 years ago (HA cabin) for our upcoming 30th anniversary in February.  Now our friends want to join, but don't want to spend the $ for the Haven.  (I understand.  For this cruise it would be in the $30k range, as pricing has gone up considerably since we booked!).   Our cabin is an Aft large balcony penthouse, so they can come use our balcony all the time.  Are we being rude for thinking that we'll use the Haven amenities during some sea days, while our friends are not?  

 

Thoughts from those who have traveled with friends (Or not!). 

 

Travel well!

It is not rude at all.  I know the balcony you will have and it has lots of room.  You can also have them join you in the Haven Restaurant at a price.  Just ask. Three additional pieces of information.

  1. Haven Hot tub My Last Cruise: A group teenagers made friends at the main pool.  The next thing I new, 8 teams, 6 of which were not Haven Guests were controlling the hot tub in the Haven Courtyard.  I am not the kind of person that would even care.  However, lets say they might have been a bit to drunk and loud for me.  Even with that, the Haven Staff did not ask them to leave.  I fully understood because that might get the Haven staff a bad review from the Haven Guest.  
  2. My Sisters: On my November sailing, I will be staying in a Haven suite located in the Haven area.  I will absolutely invite them to my suite and balcony.  I think if they want to go to the deck 19 sun deck, I could sneak them up there.  However, they won't go.  They would be to embarrassed to being asked to leave. 
  3. Friends Understand: The ship has so much to offer.  Friends fully understand.  The good news i bet the will have specialty restaurants and you all can have that meal together.  Then go back to your suite for balcony and a drink.

I have many suites before, friend did not also get a suites.  It was never an issue and nobody really cared. I hope that helps.

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1 hour ago, sverigecruiser said:

 

I don't understand what you mean! Were your cousins not allowed to book Yacht Club? First I thought that you paid for the trip but since they paid themself why did you say NO? Was it because you didn't wanted to spend all the time with them?

 

I should probably not cruise with friends or relatives if they didn't book Haven too. Since we are the only ones with cruiseexperience  I should prefer that they all were in the Haven because they might expect me to help them with things.

Oh, they could have booked the Yacht Club.  They chose not to.

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7 minutes ago, sverigecruiser said:

 

But you wrote: I said "NO". 

Correct.  I would not allow them to stay with me in my cabin.  My GF and I were already staying there, and I didn't want another person or two staying with us.

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11 minutes ago, graphicguy said:

Correct.  I would not allow them to stay with me in my cabin.  My GF and I were already staying there, and I didn't want another person or two staying with us.

 

Then I understand. I didn't understood that they wanted to stay in your cabin.

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2 hours ago, nhtravels said:

We have been fortunate to have only ever sailed in the Haven.   My question for those who travel with friends/family - 

 

Can you really enjoy your Haven experience if you have friends who are not staying in the Haven?  DH and I booked a 16 day Panama Canal cruise 2 years ago (HA cabin) for our upcoming 30th anniversary in February.  Now our friends want to join, but don't want to spend the $ for the Haven.  (I understand.  For this cruise it would be in the $30k range, as pricing has gone up considerably since we booked!).   Our cabin is an Aft large balcony penthouse, so they can come use our balcony all the time.  Are we being rude for thinking that we'll use the Haven amenities during some sea days, while our friends are not?  

 

Thoughts from those who have traveled with friends (Or not!). 

 

Travel well!


The question is really how much of the Haven amenities are you willing to give up?  In general with those Aft Penthouses the question is whether you would use the Haven pool deck/sun deck vs your own balcony?  If you’re going to spend most of the time on your own balcony, as is sometimes the case with people who book those rooms, then yes, having them with you might be a lot of fun!   But if not, then obviously time in the Haven area wouldn’t be time with them.  Similarly same with dining — do you do a lot of room service, specialty dining, other restaurants, or do you do most of your meals in the Haven Restaurant? Obviously you get the point!  Also the other question is how clingy are these friends?  😁 would they be fine with fending for themselves when you do eat in the Haven restaurant without them?

 

 

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4 hours ago, nhtravels said:

We have been fortunate to have only ever sailed in the Haven.   My question for those who travel with friends/family - 

 

Can you really enjoy your Haven experience if you have friends who are not staying in the Haven?  DH and I booked a 16 day Panama Canal cruise 2 years ago (HA cabin) for our upcoming 30th anniversary in February.  Now our friends want to join, but don't want to spend the $ for the Haven.  (I understand.  For this cruise it would be in the $30k range, as pricing has gone up considerably since we booked!).   Our cabin is an Aft large balcony penthouse, so they can come use our balcony all the time.  Are we being rude for thinking that we'll use the Haven amenities during some sea days, while our friends are not?  

 

Thoughts from those who have traveled with friends (Or not!). 

 

Travel well!

I think you are allowed to book more than 1 stateroom. If so, you can inquire with NCL how much more will cost you adding two (presumably) of your friends to your cabin. Then present this figure to your friends. If they accept, they will have their own cabin + full access to Haven. If not, you will be spared from any moral obligations.

Edited by voyager1964
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3 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

Haven Hot tub My Last Cruise: A group teenagers made friends at the main pool.  The next thing I new, 8 teams, 6 of which were not Haven Guests were controlling the hot tub in the Haven Courtyard.  I am not the kind of person that would even care.

 

If I couldn't use the hot-tub in the courtyard because non-Haven guests were using it, I would care. A quick stop at the Concierge Desk would solve the problem

especially if Adrien is the Concierge. Actually, if Adrien was the concierge, the non-Haven guests probably wouldn't have gotten as far as they did.

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1 minute ago, voyager1964 said:

I think you are allowed to book more than 1 stateroom. If so, you can inquire with NCL how much more will cost you adding two (presumably) of your friends to your cabin. Then present this figure to your friends. If they accept, they will have their own cabins + full access to Haven. If not, you will be spared from any moral obligations.

 

The system will eventually catch it. 2 people can't be booked as guests 3&4 in the suite at the same time that they are booked as guests 1&2 somewhere else.

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25 minutes ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

The system will eventually catch it. 2 people can't be booked as guests 3&4 in the suite at the same time that they are booked as guests 1&2 somewhere else.

A supervisor can override the system

 

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24 minutes ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

If I couldn't use the hot-tub in the courtyard because non-Haven guests were using it, I would care. A quick stop at the Concierge Desk would solve the problem

especially if Adrien is the Concierge. Actually, if Adrien was the concierge, the non-Haven guests probably wouldn't have gotten as far as they did.

Two-Wheels, I know you are right.  I also know that Adrien is a legend and is super protective for the Haven's he represents.  I could have and should have said something.  I did not.  That was my complete bad.  Over the last 10 years, I have had to change my approach.  10 years ago, I would have go wild.  Especially knowing the premium I paid for the opportunity to be in the Haven. 

 

I had to learn that I would ruin my vacation if I let the evil Gary come out.  I am actually not making a joke here.  So I let it go.  I don't know if this happened to me again if I would let it go.  You were right to call me out on this one. 

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5 hours ago, nhtravels said:

We have been fortunate to have only ever sailed in the Haven.   My question for those who travel with friends/family - 

 

Can you really enjoy your Haven experience if you have friends who are not staying in the Haven?  DH and I booked a 16 day Panama Canal cruise 2 years ago (HA cabin) for our upcoming 30th anniversary in February.  Now our friends want to join, but don't want to spend the $ for the Haven.  (I understand.  For this cruise it would be in the $30k range, as pricing has gone up considerably since we booked!).   Our cabin is an Aft large balcony penthouse, so they can come use our balcony all the time.  Are we being rude for thinking that we'll use the Haven amenities during some sea days, while our friends are not?  

 

Thoughts from those who have traveled with friends (Or not!). 

 

Travel well!

We have experienced that exact situation.  Luckily, it was our very good friends who chose not pony up for the Haven (They were Princess Cruisers).  Having explained to them the benefits I did not feel bad when we spent time in the Haven Proper, or used other Haven perks.  We had them to our suite for drinks...and by day 2, they were sold.  We now have 3 cruises booked (including the Prima)....and we are all in the Haven.

 

In our case, we were close enough that I could let the Haven sell itself....and frankly I enjoyed it (particularly when I sent pics of the Haven bartender making me a Smokey Old Fashioned) .  These were friends of ours for 30yrs, so no hard feelings.  We laugh about it now.

 

It really depends how close you are with your friends.  We used the opportunity to convert...and it worked.  Next cruise is on the NCL Joy in January.

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