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THE SECRETS OF THE NCL HAVEN LUXURY EXPERIENCE


Sthrngary
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2 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

The below link is of my family and me on our recent NCL Joy family cruise vacation.  We stayed in the H2-Haven Deluxe Owners Suite with Large Balcony.  The YouTube.com video has a Timeline Table of Contents agenda so you can go to the area you would like to hear and see.  

 

I discuss the Haven Amenities, Amenities special to just the H2 Owners Suite, Pros/Cons and a lot more.  The entire video last 14 minutes.  If you like it, give it a thumbs up.  If you have a comment on how I can improve my presentation, let me know. My goal was to provide a real consumers point of view.  This is part of a video series I do called, "The Cranky Old Man" Which I am.  

 

Cruise Well Everyone and Enjoy Every Minute.

 

Link:  

 

Thank you, enjoyed the video. If I find it on you tube, I'll click the like button

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1 minute ago, raitch said:

How soon before a sailing do you receive the pre-cruise concierge email?  We’re sailing in 14 days and I haven’t received anything.

I'm sailing in 21 days and received the email at ~day 25. I think you should have seen it by now so I would go ahead and contact them with any requests. 

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3 hours ago, Sthrngary said:

The below link is of my family and me on our recent NCL Joy family cruise vacation.  We stayed in the H2-Haven Deluxe Owners Suite with Large Balcony.  The YouTube.com video has a Timeline Table of Contents agenda so you can go to the area you would like to hear and see.  

 

I discuss the Haven Amenities, Amenities special to just the H2 Owners Suite, Pros/Cons and a lot more.  The entire video last 14 minutes.  If you like it, give it a thumbs up.  If you have a comment on how I can improve my presentation, let me know. My goal was to provide a real consumers point of view.  This is part of a video series I do called, "The Cranky Old Man" Which I am.  

 

Cruise Well Everyone and Enjoy Every Minute.

 

Link:  

 

I enjoyed the video! Thanks Gary! 👍🏼

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We are travelling on the Escape out of Port Canaveral in January and was wondering if there are separate covid testing procedures at the port for Haven guests. This will be our first cruise since covid so would appreciate any insight on boarding/testing procedures.

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1 hour ago, Ryesguy said:

We are travelling on the Escape out of Port Canaveral in January and was wondering if there are separate covid testing procedures at the port for Haven guests. This will be our first cruise since covid so would appreciate any insight on boarding/testing procedures.

Our understanding is that all groups go through COVID tents together and then you go to separate Haven check in after COVID process. If you are traveling before January 17. 

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2 hours ago, Kfamilycruise said:

Our understanding is that all groups go through COVID tents together and then you go to separate Haven check in after COVID process. If you are traveling before January 17. 


I realize different ports do different things, but this is exactly how it worked for us boarding Bliss in San Pedro. 

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On 10/16/2019 at 5:54 PM, Sthrngary said:

Thank you for your comment.  I am going to address it.  Your point is well taken.  I love huge ships, love them. I am a little older and don't mind paying extra to get certain perks. I will be cruising three times in less then 12 months which clearly shows I am spoiled.  During those three cruises, I am on the NCL Getaway in the Haven (4000 passengers) with my wife; the NCL Pearl in the Haven (2500 passengers) with my family of five; Oceania Marina to Europe (Premium Brand, most folks over 18, smaller ship 1250 passengers).

 

When I attempt to save some money by not going a Premium Brand, I do the Haven and really like it. I thought that is what my post said.  Instead not it is all about my single complaint about kids.  So as you can see, I agree with your over arching theme and realize I made the choice for my own reasons.  What this teaches me is that folks really don't want a first hand transparent view of unique aspects of cruise brands, cabins and accommodations. Sad but true.

 

I learned my lesson. My heart was in the right place.

Our cruise is coming up on the Escape in February and while I'm going with 4 Children (1 adult flying in and one getting ready to turn 18 and start College in the fall) I enjoyed ALL of your article. I have read it twice already to make sure I remembered everything or notated it. So, people are benefiting from your piece. It is much appreciated even now. There is really very little Haven information out there and I was thrilled to find your article.  Thank you!!

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10 hours ago, momofjohnjr said:

Our cruise is coming up on the Escape in February and while I'm going with 4 Children (1 adult flying in and one getting ready to turn 18 and start College in the fall) I enjoyed ALL of your article. I have read it twice already to make sure I remembered everything or notated it. So, people are benefiting from your piece. It is much appreciated even now. There is really very little Haven information out there and I was thrilled to find your article.  Thank you!!

Now that is exactly why I wrote it. If one invests the money, you should know and get all the potential benefits.

 

Cruise well.

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On 12/9/2021 at 2:41 PM, familytradition said:

I want to get the most out of the experience, but I don't want to over-ask and end up paying for something we really don't need or want. I also don't want my excitement and giddiness about all of the perks to make me come across as an entitled brat because I don't know what's acceptable!

Don't worry about overasking!  But, always show your appreciation for the work they do.  According to my last butler, she loves her job because she loves to see people smile as a result of her work.  I think it is so important to remember that not everyone can afford the Haven, and it is only by the blessings I have in my life that I can.  I never forget that I worked incredibly hard to have that experience, there was no silver spoon.  My butler is the same, working very hard to get ahead in life.  

 

I make sure I go out of my way to recognise the hard work the staff do.  I don't complain, I don't expect rules to be broken for me, and I always, always make sure the staff knows how much I appreciate all their hard work on my account.

 

Entitlement I've seen include ordering 10 things from the menu and then not eating any of it, or leaving a mess of drinks, plates, and food anywhere in the Haven (it could have been anywhere on the ship!).  This last cruise I witnessed a man arguing with the Maitre D' the day before thanksgiving trying to get his non-haven family/friends to be able to join him in the Haven Restaurant for the holiday meal.  The Maitre d' mentioned several times that they expected a full house on Thanksgiving and they would normally try to accommodate, but just could not displace Haven guests to allow non-Haven guests in.  He stormed off saying he would never stay in the Haven again.  My thought-if you wanted to eat together, you should have all stayed in the Haven...or reserved a large table in a specialty restaurant.  This came across to me as entitled.

 

Just show your appreciation and it will go a long way!

 

bon voyage!

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On 10/18/2019 at 6:29 AM, BNBR said:

 

There is no denying that the Haven is marketed as a Shang ri la luxury experience.  It's not unreasonable for people to expect a relaxed, relatively quiet atmosphere.  A dozen kids playing pool games in the tiny courtyard is a far cry from what is advertised.  I have no issue with kids on ships. I have kids. I love the fun atmosphere of family friendly ships from NCL, Royal, etc.  At the same time, I don't think it's unreasonable to have fairly strict rules regarding behavior in the Haven courtyard.  Which may mean no kids under 12 allowed in the pool and tubs, for example.  NCL has no trouble asking people to keep quiet and respectful at the thermal spa.  The Haven should be treated similarly.

I'm paying a lot for my family to be in the Haven for you to insist at least one of us leave whenever my 5 year old wants to swim.  They should be stricter about behavior but banning under 12 from the pool. I wouldn't book it then. We booked it as a huge splurge so we could all be together for possibly the only vacation all 6 of us will have together.  My oldest lives in a different state and my 2nd oldest starts college in the fall. But I shouldn't feel I have to defend my vacation choices wealthy or not. It may be an old post but it struck a nerve.

Edited by momofjohnjr
I was too cranky.
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On 11/16/2019 at 3:57 PM, Sthrngary said:

This was a GREAT response.  I thank you so much.  My favorite part was referencing that your wife is on Keto.  My wife and I have been on Keto for 5 months.  We both lost lost of weight with a lot more to go.  

 

Everyone comments on my reference to children in the Haven.  I am quite sure that most families teach their children manners.  My reason for making the initial comment in the op-ed  was because of experiences I have had.  Not all the time, but enough to be said.  I also feel the same way about adults that save sets in the theater and lounge chairs buy the pool.  

 

The bottom line of my post was that in most cases, utilizing the Haven and or the yacht club for MSC eliminate those issues.  I meant no offence to anyone with my comments.  Just attempting to be accurate based on my experience only.

 

My family of 5 are on the NCL Pearl in June 2020, going to New England and Canada.  I also had two suites booked and canceled them to re-book in the Haven Two Bedroom Suite.  My adult daughter (27 years old) was very upset with me for doing this.  Then again, she has never stayed in the Haven.  

 

Enjoy your upcoming cruise in December.  You guys will have an unbelievable time.  Be well. 

So what did your daughter think? 😀

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50 minutes ago, momofjohnjr said:

I'm paying a lot for my family to be in the Haven for you to insist at least one of us leave whenever my 5 year old wants to swim.  They should be stricter about behavior but banning under 12 from the pool. I wouldn't book it then. We booked it as a huge splurge so we could all be together for possibly the only vacation all 6 of us will have together.  My oldest lives in a different state and my 2nd oldest starts college in the fall. But I shouldn't feel I have to defend my vacation choices wealthy or not. It may be an old post but it struck a nerve.

Don’t worry about it. The Haven was full on the Joy and I saw few people in the pool area. I saw only a couple people get in the pool. There were a few more in the hot tub. My cabin was next to the indoor pool and I had a good view of the activity. There will always be those who will complain. Enjoy your vacation, wild kids or adults don’t belong in any of the pools. 

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On 12/5/2019 at 3:55 PM, mafig said:

 

I'm looking at a couple of cruises but when I make my mind up it'll probably be around 90 days.  It's for the Haven.

 

For what, exactly, do I need to make prior reservations?

 

Will booking at the 90 day mark put me at a disadvantage?

I wish I knew. I haven't been able to book anything yet. Well. Shore excursions opened up at Day 60. But nothing else this entire time. "Escape"

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On 12/5/2019 at 9:44 PM, Sthrngary said:

I loved the Getaway and just did a review.  Last year I was on the Celebrity Equinox for a lot more money.  I did not enjoy that experience half as much as the Getaway.  So because you were so nice, I am going to give you some more hints:

Haven Bar: The Bartender's name is Patrick.  Say a guy named Gary suggested he make you the Smokey drink.  It is a show and a half.

Water Slides: Go after the first day at sea. I never had to stand in a line for more then a few minutes.

Show Reservations:  Make your show reservation now and coordinate your specialty restaurants reservations based on that. As I mentioned in other post, the Haven Restaurant does not take reservations. 

Haven Desk on the Ship: You have a question, ask them.  You have an issue, tell them.  

Smoking: If you smoke, do not smoke anywhere that is not an expressly approved smoking area.  They will fine you.

Tour the Ship Day One:  They will give you an invitation for lunch at the Haven Restaurant or Margarettaville. Don't take the bait, have lunch at 12:00 PM day one in the Haven.  Prior, bring your carry on to your suite even if it is not completely ready for you.  Then come back to the Haven.  After lunch, tour the ship before it gets to crowded.  

Fish On the Rugs/Carpet:  In the halls, look down at the fish in the carpet.  There heads indicate the front of the ship, tails back of the ship. Harder to get lost knowing that.

Room Service:  Don't order off the in-room menu.  Have the butler get you your food from the Haven.  That being said, if you have an early excursion, room service breakfast is a nice way to go providing a kind of wake up call. 

Venture All Over the Ship:  As nice as the Haven is, you got to see the rest of this ship.  Putt Putt Golf, Rope course which my wife would not allow me to do (I was drunk at the time, good wife and I am 62), shuffle board for shots is fun.

Premium Plus Drink Package: If it does not blow up your budget AND you do like to indulge with adult beverages AND you like to have really great bottles of water (with or without gas) at meals AND you like specialty coffee's AND you would like to have a full bottle of wine at dinner then take what is left over to your room AND you like top shelf brands of Liquors. Then pay the upgrade from the Premium Drink Package.  If you don't drink and don't intend to drink, skip this bullet point. 

Shows: Go into the theater on the left side,  the Haven reserved section is mid-way on the left.  Nice perk.

Burger By the Haven Pool:  The Haven Burger comes this the cute basket of fries.  Sit by the pool, the servers will be out there, have a burger by the pool one day.  So good and no nice. 

Chocolate Haven Cake: Unbelievable.  I broke my Keto diet for this cake with vanilla ice cream three times.  

Other Must Eat Items: Salmon or Pork Chop for lunch; Beef Short Rib appetizer for dinner;  Prime Rib for dinner is crazy good, Smoke Salmon is on the Breakfast Buffet for a starter, the almond danish is great, my Favorite breakfast was the steak and eggs.  Love the French Restaurant for the experience and the deserts are to die for. 

 

Enjoy your trip and keep on cruising.  Encore here we come in May.  Be well. 

We weren't planning on paying extra for speciality restaurants but you got my curiosity at "go to the french restaurant for the experience". I went to one in High School with my french class and it was very fun with several courses more than a American dinner. Is this what you mean? If so I think we will have to do it! I was already planning on ordering myself Escargot a'la carte. Escargot is incredible 😍

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On 12/29/2019 at 8:47 PM, Sthrngary said:

I will tell you two stories.  First about 30 years ago, I took my wife to a very nice restaurant in New Orleans.  I was wearing a ball cap.  The owner came up to me and asked me to take it off.  I was more then happy to do so.  I had no idea it insulted folks.  The key here is the owner in a nice way asked me to take it off.  Second, during my last cruise in the Haven on the Getaway, I really never saw anyone inappropriately dressed in the Haven Restaurant.  Since the Haven Bar was right next to the pool, I did see some folks ordering drinks with bathing suits on at the Haven Bar.  None of that bothered me.  What bothered me was a group of eight 20 year olds drunk in the hot tub making a scene.  Only one of them was a Haven Guest and he let his friends in.  The Haven Staff was made aware of it and did nothing.  That was disappointment however it only happened once.  

No cruise or cruise passengers are perfect.  The key is go with the flow and enjoy yourself.  We paid a lot of money to be both on the cruise and in the Haven.  The rule for today is just enjoy life. 

Haha. I'd be pretty tempted in using part of my free wifi to email NCL on all the email addresses I could find. They have strict rules about guests and that needs to be enforced. Sigh.

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On 1/2/2020 at 7:03 AM, raitch said:

I’m honestly curious what the appropriate noise level should be in the Haven.  Whispers only, like a library?  Normal conversation voice and laughter levels but no exclamations?  

I assume normal conversations and volume with exclamations. Not noidy drunkenness.  

 

Yes everyone. I'm commenting on very old posts. Lol.  

Edited by momofjohnjr
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On 10/9/2020 at 1:39 PM, Sthrngary said:

I am the original Op-Ed on this topic. I thought I would engage again.  Cruise Ships and RV's are kind of similar.  One is a house on wheels and the other is a house at see.  RV's have a tank called a black tank.  That is where all your Toilet/head waste goes including toilet paper.  The issue is regular toilet paper does not dissolve very quickly and clogs black tank and often the lines. 

 

Any cruise ship is very similar.  Just a lot more people (like 4000).  Side note, a very good friend of mine whom has done very well financially owned a lovely yacht.  His request was to take care of "#2" prior to and after leaving his yacht.  You can't do that nor should you on a cruise ship.  That is why the paper is not the nicest to some of our more, sensitive area's.  I was in the Haven, no difference in paper there then anywhere on the ship. 

 

Hope in some way this helps everyone with the concern.

Wipes with extra water and a bit of baby wash and into the trash after use. Much cleaner than tp anyway!

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On 10/23/2020 at 10:34 AM, GA Dave said:

Agree with your assessment. 

Just as someone previously suggested families go to Disney cruises, it can also be suggested that adults wanting to avoid kids at all costs should go to Virgin Cruises.  NCL is a mass market cruise line.  With mass market anything, you are exposed to all types, ages, etc. of people.  If you are a person that truly cannot stand being around kids, there are adult-only resorts and communities all around the world.  I know my "kids" were better behaved at high-end restaurants when they were young than many adults I had the unfortunate experience to be exposed to.  Why should they be restricted on a mass market cruise line when misbehaving adults are not?  The adults already have the Haven sundeck, Vibe and, on some ships, Spice H2O.  Is that not enough?

We were at first thinking Disney because animated walls but after comparing the prices I suddenly clicked something else in my head. Can u imagine cruising with possibly 50% kids on a kids centered cruise!? Suddenly Disney became a nightmare! Lol! 

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On 12/14/2021 at 7:42 AM, Sthrngary said:

Now that is exactly why I wrote it. If one invests the money, you should know and get all the potential benefits.

 

Cruise well.

Gary, 

I've just directed our TA to cancel our anniversary cruise scheduled for 6 March on Breakaway.

We did this because of NCL's change of policy on masks.  Our final payment would have been due the first week of January and we did not want to risk that much money.

Whether mask are a big deal or interfere with enjoyment is  a personal decision.  

We considered, we decided, we cancelled.

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