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A Worthwhile Getaway - My Husband and I Escape NY for Bermuda (4/17 - 4/24)


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Note to Readers: This is a really long review of my husband and I’s first cruise. We traveled on the Norwegian Getaway from Manhattan to Bermuda from April 17th to April 24th, 2022. I decided to write as inclusive a review as I could to pay it forward to future readers. Prior to this cruise I devoured all the reviews, NCL forums, Facebook groups, and YouTube videos I could. This is my small way to say thank you to everyone that provided information to me. 

 

Pre-Cruise: On a whim my husband and I decided to book a cruise back in February after a couple of snowstorms hit the Rochester area. At first I was looking at Royal Caribbean and found a great deal to the Caribbean, but decided to check out what Norwegian was offering.

 

Before going further, a little background. In 2009 I took a cruise with my grandmother and a few friends on Carnival. The food was gross, I was sea sick from rough North Atlantic seas, and it was so foggy we could hardly see. I decided then that it would be a long time, if ever, that I took a cruise again. My husband had never been on a cruise before, so this was his first cruise. 

 

As I consumed hours of Emma Cruises, Gary Bembridge’s Tips for Travellers, and Ben and David Cruises, my husband just kept shaking his head. He wasn’t really into being stuck on a boat for a few days in the ocean, nor had he heard great things from me about cruising based on my previous experience. I also watched several videos all about the Haven on NCL and Royal Caribbean’s suite class.


Back to booking - we looked for a similar cruise on NCL that would be a week in length and offer the experience of a larger ship even though I am not a people person (yet I work in a school haha). Honestly as long as the ship went toward warmer weather we didn’t care about the ports. As we booked our room, we clicked on the Haven and found ourselves making a final payment for the Haven within minutes of checking out NCL’s website. Forget Royal Caribbean and their balcony room, even though it was a much better price.

 

We’re going to Bermuda!!!!!! Where’s Bermuda? What is in Bermuda to do? We just chose Bermuda and figured we’d wing it. 

 

Given that my first cruise was so long ago, I’ve decided that this trip would be a first-time cruise for me too - and hey, first time ever on NCL and in the Haven! I continued to devour content wherever I could. DH just mumbled under his breath and couldn’t understand why I continued to read/watch so much cruising content. 

 

Biggest Concern: So here’s the deal, some of you will hate me - my biggest concern on this cruise was dressing up. Cruise culture is formal nights, formal nights, formal nights. No thank you! As I’ve mentioned in previous forum posts, I don’t dress up when on vacation. I have a shirt and tie (at minimum) when I’m at work. I don’t want to wear a choke collar while I’m on vacation. Thankfully I discovered NCL’s freestyle cruising approach applied to the Haven. We’d be having a wonderful vacation with lounge pants, t-shirts, and bathing suits for the entire week! Perfection to me…looks of hatred from some, but alas I’m on vacation!

 

COVID-19: I work in a school and am in charge of COVID compliance, so I’m totally over COVID. I’ll wear a mask, get a test, jab myself, whatever…so this didn’t matter to me. 

 

Packing: As mentioned above, we didn’t have too many concerns about packing since there would be no formal clothing for us! Neither of us pack a lot - when we went to Disney World for a week in December we shared a backpack between us. Since we were on a boat we did pack slightly more than normal, so we had one backpack and one medium-sized suitcase between us.

 

Packing List

  • Pair of sneakers

  • Pair of flip flops

  • 1 light jacket

  • 1 long sleeve shirt

  • 3 short sleeve shirts

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • 1 bathing suit

  • 1 robe, because I’m a fatty and figured even the Haven robe wouldn’t fit me

  • 1 pair of jeans just in case it was chilly in NYC

  • The requisite socks and undies

 

That’s it!! 

 

Pre-Cruise: Ready to go, we started our drive to NYC on April 16th, staying over at The Fifty Sonesta Select on Third Ave. We had a giant room with a king size bed and sofa. 

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Before checking into the hotel we dropped the car at the parking garage on W. 43rd St. across from the pier so that we would have no issue getting the car the morning of disembarkation. We walked the few blocks past Time Square and Rockefeller Center to our hotel. 

 

After checking in, we checked out the local restaurants, finding a dumpling shop not far from the hotel. I would highly recommend Joe’s Home of Soup Dumplings to anyone looking for some yummy noodle soup or dumplings. It was so freaking tasty! 

 

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I love when we find places like this - sometimes I’ll make these huge plans and others I just fly by the seat…this trip is totally flying by the seat and so far, so good!

 

I followed the advice of @Sthrngaryto write a letter to our butler. As this was the first time staying in the Haven I read both of the forum posts he wrote about the “Secrets of the Haven” and included what I thought would be appropriate for my husband and I as we embarked on our first cruise. Here is a copy of my letter, adapted from Gary's very thorough letter. 

 

Embarkation: Here’s where the chipper attitude goes away! First, I am so grateful that my husband and I did not have to wait 7 - 8 hours to get on the boat like others did. I cannot even imagine having to wait so long. We entered Pier 90 to have our Bermuda travel authorization approved. After waiting about 2.5 hours we finally made it to the front of the line where we were approved in a couple of minutes. NCL, you totally blew embarkation - we needed the 15 employees you sent over at 11 AM, not 1 PM. 

 

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After going through the Bermuda line (it’s NCL’s fault, not Bermuda’s for a lack of employees), we headed to Pier 88. We went through security with no issues and headed for the Haven Lounge. In the lounge it took a little time as my husband is a permanent resident, not a citizen so the documentation had to be looked at. Dorothy was amazing and really helped with this process! 

 

And then we headed for the gangway! Up we went, and we were whisked away to the Haven. When we got there, they told us we could either eat in the Haven Restaurant or American Diner. We chose American Diner as it is a specialty restaurant and we’d have to pay to eat there later in the week. The food was good, but I’m still not sure why this is a specialty restaurant, or why anyone would actually pay for a burger, chicken sandwich, etc. I do have to say the banana milkshake was the best I have ever had in my life!!! The mozzarella sticks were yummy as well. 

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First Day - April 17th, Day in Port:

 

Well, as luck would have it, we didn’t go anywhere this day. Our Norfolk stop was canceled which meant we had to purchase the streaming WiFi package. The inspection for the home we’re purchasing was scheduled for April 18th and we had planned to use our data in Norfolk to communicate with our realtor and the inspector. Since we would be at sea with no cell service, we had to purchase the streaming WiFI so we could receive all the photos, videos, and the inspection report. Not really a stressor, but that was $200 wasted that we were not planning on. 

 

We also looked ahead at the weather in Bermuda, talked with the shore excursion desk, and decided to cancel all our excursions. That gave us around $700 in on board credit which was a nice bonus and helped pay for the WiFi. We used the rest of the day to take a look around the boat, including attending the spa presentation as we attempted to get one of the gift certificates. No luck there, but we did score a deal - $149 - 80 minute massage which is about the same price as on land. Those spa prices are incredibly ridiculous!! It was nearly $300 for the same massage I received with the deal. 

 

Our first dinner in the Haven Restaurant was phenomenal. All that I had read about the Haven Restaurant came true that evening. Let’s just say, if you’re in the Haven, there is no need whatsoever for specialty dining (more on this later). I tried the pork belly and crab cakes. My husband had shrimp cocktail and prime rib. Yum! 

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Second Day - April 18th, unplanned sea day:

 

Even though the sea day cost us an extra $200 due to the WiFi package, I was ecstatic for an extra day at sea. Who really wants to go to Norfolk anyway? Not this guy (unless he’s buying a house haha)! 

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Thankfully, we slept in a bit past our normal wake up of 5 AM! Heading up to the Haven Restaurant, we discovered it was empty. We had a wonderful view from our table where we tried the much raved upon Almond Croissants! We were so not disappointed! In fact, we went to our favorite bakery last weekend and tried their Almond Croissant. The Haven’s is better! I only have a couple photos from this breakfast.

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After breakfast, back to the room to enjoy our balcony for a little bit. Upon returning, the requested M&M’s, gummy bears, and PB&J sandwiches were in our room! Wow, the service was amazing from our butler Totaram! These bowls would stay full and the sandwiches and other snacks just kept on coming all week long. 

 

The next day I told Totaram we didn’t need the French Press or pot of tea and pastries in our room at 7 AM. This was just too much given that we enjoyed breakfast in the Haven Restaurant every morning. 

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There was a welcome to the ship slot pull organized by @PattyWinters503 which was a great welcoming event. We met in Bliss, then went to the slot machine selected for the pull. Unfortunately we didn’t win big. After the pull, we walked about the ship then wandered back to the Haven for our lunch. Because, ya know, what is there to do on a sea day but munch and wander? 

 

After a lovely lunch, we decided to check out the thermal spa. What a cluster that was! I don’t know if passes were oversold or everyone decided to hit up the thermal spa, but it was packed. Those in the pool decided they needed to be chair hogs by throwing a towel on the ceramic lounger. I bravely made my way into the pool while the husband waited for a lounger to open up. He grabbed one, then I switched off with him. He went to the pool or hot tub, I went to the lounger, then we switched so our lounger was being utilized by more than a towel. NCL definitely needs to do better. We tried out the sauna and salt room, then left hoping for better luck next time. 

 

This first night at sea we made a reservation at Cagneys since it was part of the Free at Sea package we had. This was the worst dinner of the week. Teppanyaki was better than Cagneys and of course the Haven Restaurant was leaps and bounds above Cagneys. Honestly, we’ve had more tender, flavorful steak at Texas Roadhouse. Unless we get the Free at Sea in the future, I think we’ll stick with the Haven Restaurant. 

 

After dinner I tried out the thermal spa again. There were about five of us in the entire spa, including in each of the grottos. It was so much calmer and relaxed than earlier in the day. I could hear myself think. After a soak in the pool, I took a nap on one of the ceramic lounger before sweating out the toxins of the day. Ahhhhh, that’s the way to end a day. When I returned to our room, my husband had drawn himself a bath and enjoyed our jetted whirlpool tub for a bit.

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A word about the buffet: Speaking of bad food, we did try a little bit of the buffet food - can we talk about disgusting fare that shouldn’t be placed in a pig’s slop bucket? Nothing was good! It was Carnival cruise fare all over again. This just confirmed my position that I’ll never cruise not in the Haven or other ship-within-a-ship type boat. 

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Third Day - April 19th, first planned sea day, second sea day:

 

Today we ate solely in the Haven Restaurant, relaxed on the balcony, and sweated in the thermal spa. I believe this is the day we planned our massage, so I’ll cover it here, though it may have been the day before (the memory’s fuzzy). The massage itself was great, but about halfway in the lady giving the massage started talking about herself and asking about me. At first I was ok with this as it seemed we were having a nice conversation. After about 10 minutes I realized this was heading toward a hard sell. She wanted me to have an acupuncture consultation. The massage was no longer as relaxing - the price you pay for getting it nearly half price. 

 

I did take her up on the consultation. At first it was fine, then she asked to see my tongue. At that point she diagnosed me with “lower back pain.” Let’s see, I’m fat and almost 40. Of course I have lower back pain! I left the consultation, not disappointed in it, but disappointed that I didn’t fully enjoy my massage. 

 

The excitement of the day was the primary slot pull! About 30 of us gathered in the casino and won nothing. It was still a fun time filled with socialization. The husband did try out the slot machine we used the day before and won about $200 on it before giving it all back at the Blackjack table.

 

The dessert in the Haven Restaurant was delightful!

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Fourth Day - April 20th, Bermuda, Day 1

 

I woke up as the ship steamed (I know they don’t steam anymore, but it sounds better) past St. George’s Island on the way to the Royal Dockyard. I watched the boat dock and then we got breakfast (yes, in the Haven). We took the Concierge up on the priority disembarkation and made our way to NCL’s free ferry to St. George’s. 

 

It was an overcast, rainy day so we headed out on foot toward a fort. I’m not sure which fort it was as we got waylaid by looking at the beautiful unfinished church and then found our way to the beach at Tobacco Bay. What a gorgeous bay! I did go in as one little fellow’s Croc was floating away and his parents were telling him to get it…as it went further and further into the bay. I got a bit more wet than I was planning, but hey it’s the ocean and you gotta go swimming when you’re by the ocean! 

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After this we talked with a sweet lady at a small store where the bus stops. I can’t find the name of the store on Google Maps. She gave us advice on going to St. David’s Island so we could check out Clearwater Beach. We purchased our bus fare to get there and back. Our plan was to come back, then take the bus to Hamilton, and finally make our way back to the Royal Dockyard by bus. 

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Our plans were stymied as the bus was more than 30 minutes late. Since it was raining pretty hard and the NCL Ferry was back we decided to abandon town. We went back to the ship where we hung out in the thermal spa for most of the day.

 

I did have a chance to get a bit on the drunk side - I don’t drink unless the booze is free, so Free at Sea! After a couple of Long Island’s, Mojito’s, and Rum and Coke (Pepsi, blech), we went back to the room. I ordered a room service pizza which my sober husband said was disgusting. As I was drunk, it tasted wonderful to me! 

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After a bit of sobering up, we went to the Haven Restaurant for dinner. This night my husband enjoyed a movie while I dozed for a while before real sleep came over me.

 

Fifth Day - April 21st, Bermuda Day 2

 

Overcast and rainy again today! We decided to explore the dockyard and wound up paying the $15 to enter the Bermuda National Museum which offered free, good WiFi! I sent a few photos to family and then enjoyed the museum. The clock they have is amazing. I love that you can actually see the old mechanism that drives the ringing of the bells. So cool!!

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After checking these out, my husband found the dolphins. We had no idea this is where they were so we spent a few minutes just watching them be fed and do some tricks. I struggle with enjoying animals in captivity, especially when they can literally taste the ocean water, but yes, I did enjoy watching them. Hopefully someone sees them and becomes a biologist in the future, because of their experience with these wonderful creatures. 

 

We then decided to walk the ramparts of the old fort. We squeezed through a tiny hallway and learned about the slaves that built Bermuda. A sad history that I appreciate being told.

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Once we finished with the museum, I purchased a bottle of Lili Bermuda fragrance. The story of the Mary Celestia piqued my interest and smelled wonderful. My husband agreed this cologne would smell nicely on me. After this, we walked over to the Snorkel Park, but were not going to pay to access a beach in Bermuda. Instead, we went to the miniature golf course and enjoyed a delightful round of mini golf.

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We then finished our tour of the dockyard with a stop at the pharmacy to get some Benadryl - I really wanted to sleep past 5 AM at least one day on the cruise. We purchased a couple of souvenirs here, then continued walking around. When we were finished we caught the trolley back to the boat. 

 

Next up was some time in the thermal spa (notice the pattern here) and I bet you know where we had dinner! 

 

Sixth Day - April 22nd, Bermuda Day 3

 

We were up early to get our breakfast so we could make our way back to the NCL Ferry. Today was the day we would get to Clearwater Beach and Hamilton before our ship steamed away from Bermuda!

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When we got to St. George’s Island we went to the actual Lili Bermuda Perfumery to purchase an assorted package of colognes for my husband. Then we got on the bus to Clearwater Beach. The bus wasn’t traveling all the way to the beach so the locals on the bus gave us directions to walk across a field, over a berm, then down the road next to the airport. There we would find the beach. 

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The directions were spot on! We had the beach to ourselves and one other couple from the ship. What a glorious morning at the beach! There were Portuguese Man O’ War all around us, but we safely swam for a while before going to the bus stop. 

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The Bermudan buses failed us again. After waiting more than an hour we decided to walk…somewhere. We found a small restaurant, “Pizza House.” The owner was kind enough to call a taxi for us which took us to Hamilton for about $50. 

 

In Hamilton we walked around the town. I enjoyed a Boba Tea from NovelTea in Queen Elizabeth Park. The $5.00 fare to the Royal Dockyard got us one final ferry ride before boarding our ship for the last sea day. 

 

Upon returning to the ship, we put our bathing suits on and soaked in the Haven hot tub, then had dinner before returning to our room for the evening and watching a movie that I made it through!

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Seventh Day - April 23rd, 3rd and Final Day At Sea

 

Today was our final full day on the Norwegian Getaway. We went to the duty free shops. Nothing was very impressive: I suppose if you smoke or drink the prices for these vices are good. After this, I did have a few too many drinks (again) and took a nap in our room before dinner time. 

 

After the nap, we tried out American Diner for their mozzarella sticks and banana milkshake which was not as good as the first day, but still yummy. We dared the buffet one last time and were again disgusted by the food. Just say no to the buffet. 

 

Tonight, we had our final Free at Sea meal at Teppanyaki! The show was a typical hibachi show - food was good. I had steak and shrimp, and my husband had the same. We enjoyed our meal and spent the last two hours in the thermal spa before it closed. 

 

Eighth Day - April 24th, Disembarkation Day

 

Today we say goodbye to the Haven and the NCL Getaway. We had a great time and look forward to cruising with NCL again, even though the embarkation was a joke and the buffet was terrible.  

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Overall Impression: Would I cruise again? It will not be another 13 years before my next cruise! We loved it so much we purchased Cruise Next certificates while on board so we have to cruise before 2026. We ventured out of the Haven to the pool deck and were somewhat horrified at the number of people clamoring for a space by the pool. The lines for Guest Services were long (we had the Concierge, but I noticed this), bars and restaurants were packed. 

 

We will cruise NCL again, but only in the Haven. If we had just purchased a balcony cabin, there is no way we would have enjoyed the cruise so much. 

 

Going into the cruise I didn’t think we would utilize the concierge. Turns out we talked with Omar and Ivan more than our butler, Totaram. They were knowledgeable, helpful, and funny. 

 

Perks of the Haven we loved: 

The staff were simply wonderful. 

  • Janet, the hostess, was so kind and made sure we had our favorite seat next to the window if it was available

  • Yahones, a waiter, always made sure to say hello and check on us, even if he wasn’t our waiter. He is the nicest man! 

  • Jeanele (I am almost positive I spelled this wrong), a waiter, remembered our likes/dislikes, and always brought a smile and story to our table

  • Mark is a great bartender

  • Gusti was a wonderful room steward who made sure we were always comfortable

  • Totaram was hardly seen, but ensured we had what we needed

  • Omar is a joker and knows how to handle the Haven clientele

  • Ivan is a good assistant concierge and ensured we had everything we needed

The Haven Restaurant was perfection!

  • Multiple filet mignons and lobster tails were enjoyed

  • We enjoyed the small breakfast buffet, along with the cooked to order food

 

What we didn’t like: 

  • I think a reader of this review knows I’ll list the buffet at the top of this list.

  • The hard sell during our massage.

  • Embarkation!!!!

  • The mojito bar uses mixes, they don’t create the drink there which means little customization and no virgin mojitos

  • The thermal spa seemed oversold on this cruise

  • WiFi is terribly slow and expensive

  • Pool decks, outside of the Haven, were way too crowded

  • Chair hogs in the thermal spa (NCL could and should enforce the rules)

  • The only part of the Haven Restaurant we didn’t enjoy was the very long wait time for a drink and water refills (5 - 10 minutes each time)

 

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Overall, sounds like a good time. Bermuda was my first ever cruise also. Boss Lady (Wife), had been on a few, me, I like to hook up the camper and explore. The reason for Bermuda was the idea of not becoming a "You Tube pier runner", never had to rush back, the ship was our floating hotel. It sounds like the weather wasn't cooperating, which is a shame, ours was stellar. We just got off the Getaway on the 10th, other than food poisoning from Ocean Blue, was a great cruise. Did you happen to go to Syd Normans Pour House ?..... Million Dollar Quartet ?......Burn the Floor ?....in Bermuda....Crystal Caves ?....Swizzle Inn ?

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At the Teppanyaki dinner do they cook shrimp, chicken, beef and then you eat which one you want or do you have to choose before they begin cooking? If you have to choose beforehand can each person choose 1 or 2? Thanks and glad you enjoyed cruising again!

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3 minutes ago, sportscruiser said:

At the Teppanyaki dinner do they cook shrimp, chicken, beef and then you eat which one you want or do you have to choose before they begin cooking? If you have to choose beforehand can each person choose 1 or 2? Thanks and glad you enjoyed cruising again!

Here's the Teppanyaki Menu.  Looks like everyone gets the same apps and sides but you choose one or two meats as individuals i.e. before they start cooking.  

 

Teppanyaki_Mobile-Menu_v011122.pdf (ncl.com)

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Posted (edited)

What a fantastic review!   My partner and I were on Escape not long before Covid.  We did  NYC-Bermuda .. the Hurricane Dorian cruise.   We actually followed behind Dorian up the coast, but barely even noticed it (other than a 6 hour delay in getting back to NYC, which was fine with us).

 

You definitely sold me on The Haven with your details and pics.   We had a regular balcony cabin and it was beautiful, but I wouldn't miss the crowds .. I'm definitely with you there re: not really being a "people person"!   The Haven facilities look and sound amazing!

 

Your description of the massage made me LOL a little .. when you said she asked to see your tongue, i really thought that $300 massage was turning into the "other" kind .. 😉 

 

Thanks for such a terrific review .. really enjoyed it!

Edited by F27TW
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1 hour ago, aaroncstrong said:

Note to Readers: This is a really long review of my husband and I’s first cruise. We traveled on the Norwegian Getaway from Manhattan to Bermuda from April 17th to April 24th, 2022. I decided to write as inclusive a review as I could to pay it forward to future readers. Prior to this cruise I devoured all the reviews, NCL forums, Facebook groups, and YouTube videos I could. This is my small way to say thank you to everyone that provided information to me. 

 

Pre-Cruise: On a whim my husband and I decided to book a cruise back in February after a couple of snowstorms hit the Rochester area. At first I was looking at Royal Caribbean and found a great deal to the Caribbean, but decided to check out what Norwegian was offering.

 

Before going further, a little background. In 2009 I took a cruise with my grandmother and a few friends on Carnival. The food was gross, I was sea sick from rough North Atlantic seas, and it was so foggy we could hardly see. I decided then that it would be a long time, if ever, that I took a cruise again. My husband had never been on a cruise before, so this was his first cruise. 

 

As I consumed hours of Emma Cruises, Gary Bembridge’s Tips for Travellers, and Ben and David Cruises, my husband just kept shaking his head. He wasn’t really into being stuck on a boat for a few days in the ocean, nor had he heard great things from me about cruising based on my previous experience. I also watched several videos all about the Haven on NCL and Royal Caribbean’s suite class.


Back to booking - we looked for a similar cruise on NCL that would be a week in length and offer the experience of a larger ship even though I am not a people person (yet I work in a school haha). Honestly as long as the ship went toward warmer weather we didn’t care about the ports. As we booked our room, we clicked on the Haven and found ourselves making a final payment for the Haven within minutes of checking out NCL’s website. Forget Royal Caribbean and their balcony room, even though it was a much better price.

 

We’re going to Bermuda!!!!!! Where’s Bermuda? What is in Bermuda to do? We just chose Bermuda and figured we’d wing it. 

 

Given that my first cruise was so long ago, I’ve decided that this trip would be a first-time cruise for me too - and hey, first time ever on NCL and in the Haven! I continued to devour content wherever I could. DH just mumbled under his breath and couldn’t understand why I continued to read/watch so much cruising content. 

 

Biggest Concern: So here’s the deal, some of you will hate me - my biggest concern on this cruise was dressing up. Cruise culture is formal nights, formal nights, formal nights. No thank you! As I’ve mentioned in previous forum posts, I don’t dress up when on vacation. I have a shirt and tie (at minimum) when I’m at work. I don’t want to wear a choke collar while I’m on vacation. Thankfully I discovered NCL’s freestyle cruising approach applied to the Haven. We’d be having a wonderful vacation with lounge pants, t-shirts, and bathing suits for the entire week! Perfection to me…looks of hatred from some, but alas I’m on vacation!

 

COVID-19: I work in a school and am in charge of COVID compliance, so I’m totally over COVID. I’ll wear a mask, get a test, jab myself, whatever…so this didn’t matter to me. 

 

Packing: As mentioned above, we didn’t have too many concerns about packing since there would be no formal clothing for us! Neither of us pack a lot - when we went to Disney World for a week in December we shared a backpack between us. Since we were on a boat we did pack slightly more than normal, so we had one backpack and one medium-sized suitcase between us.

 

Packing List

  • Pair of sneakers

  • Pair of flip flops

  • 1 light jacket

  • 1 long sleeve shirt

  • 3 short sleeve shirts

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • 1 bathing suit

  • 1 robe, because I’m a fatty and figured even the Haven robe wouldn’t fit me

  • 1 pair of jeans just in case it was chilly in NYC

  • The requisite socks and undies

 

That’s it!! 

 

Pre-Cruise: Ready to go, we started our drive to NYC on April 16th, staying over at The Fifty Sonesta Select on Third Ave. We had a giant room with a king size bed and sofa. 

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Before checking into the hotel we dropped the car at the parking garage on W. 43rd St. across from the pier so that we would have no issue getting the car the morning of disembarkation. We walked the few blocks past Time Square and Rockefeller Center to our hotel. 

 

After checking in, we checked out the local restaurants, finding a dumpling shop not far from the hotel. I would highly recommend Joe’s Home of Soup Dumplings to anyone looking for some yummy noodle soup or dumplings. It was so freaking tasty! 

 

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I love when we find places like this - sometimes I’ll make these huge plans and others I just fly by the seat…this trip is totally flying by the seat and so far, so good!

 

I followed the advice of @Sthrngaryto write a letter to our butler. As this was the first time staying in the Haven I read both of the forum posts he wrote about the “Secrets of the Haven” and included what I thought would be appropriate for my husband and I as we embarked on our first cruise. Here is a copy of my letter, adapted from Gary's very thorough letter. 

 

Embarkation: Here’s where the chipper attitude goes away! First, I am so grateful that my husband and I did not have to wait 7 - 8 hours to get on the boat like others did. I cannot even imagine having to wait so long. We entered Pier 90 to have our Bermuda travel authorization approved. After waiting about 2.5 hours we finally made it to the front of the line where we were approved in a couple of minutes. NCL, you totally blew embarkation - we needed the 15 employees you sent over at 11 AM, not 1 PM. 

 

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After going through the Bermuda line (it’s NCL’s fault, not Bermuda’s for a lack of employees), we headed to Pier 88. We went through security with no issues and headed for the Haven Lounge. In the lounge it took a little time as my husband is a permanent resident, not a citizen so the documentation had to be looked at. Dorothy was amazing and really helped with this process! 

 

And then we headed for the gangway! Up we went, and we were whisked away to the Haven. When we got there, they told us we could either eat in the Haven Restaurant or American Diner. We chose American Diner as it is a specialty restaurant and we’d have to pay to eat there later in the week. The food was good, but I’m still not sure why this is a specialty restaurant, or why anyone would actually pay for a burger, chicken sandwich, etc. I do have to say the banana milkshake was the best I have ever had in my life!!! The mozzarella sticks were yummy as well. 

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First Day - April 17th, Day in Port:

 

Well, as luck would have it, we didn’t go anywhere this day. Our Norfolk stop was canceled which meant we had to purchase the streaming WiFi package. The inspection for the home we’re purchasing was scheduled for April 18th and we had planned to use our data in Norfolk to communicate with our realtor and the inspector. Since we would be at sea with no cell service, we had to purchase the streaming WiFI so we could receive all the photos, videos, and the inspection report. Not really a stressor, but that was $200 wasted that we were not planning on. 

 

We also looked ahead at the weather in Bermuda, talked with the shore excursion desk, and decided to cancel all our excursions. That gave us around $700 in on board credit which was a nice bonus and helped pay for the WiFi. We used the rest of the day to take a look around the boat, including attending the spa presentation as we attempted to get one of the gift certificates. No luck there, but we did score a deal - $149 - 80 minute massage which is about the same price as on land. Those spa prices are incredibly ridiculous!! It was nearly $300 for the same massage I received with the deal. 

 

Our first dinner in the Haven Restaurant was phenomenal. All that I had read about the Haven Restaurant came true that evening. Let’s just say, if you’re in the Haven, there is no need whatsoever for specialty dining (more on this later). I tried the pork belly and crab cakes. My husband had shrimp cocktail and prime rib. Yum! 

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Second Day - April 18th, unplanned sea day:

 

Even though the sea day cost us an extra $200 due to the WiFi package, I was ecstatic for an extra day at sea. Who really wants to go to Norfolk anyway? Not this guy (unless he’s buying a house haha)! 

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Thankfully, we slept in a bit past our normal wake up of 5 AM! Heading up to the Haven Restaurant, we discovered it was empty. We had a wonderful view from our table where we tried the much raved upon Almond Croissants! We were so not disappointed! In fact, we went to our favorite bakery last weekend and tried their Almond Croissant. The Haven’s is better! I only have a couple photos from this breakfast.

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After breakfast, back to the room to enjoy our balcony for a little bit. Upon returning, the requested M&M’s, gummy bears, and PB&J sandwiches were in our room! Wow, the service was amazing from our butler Totaram! These bowls would stay full and the sandwiches and other snacks just kept on coming all week long. 

 

The next day I told Totaram we didn’t need the French Press or pot of tea and pastries in our room at 7 AM. This was just too much given that we enjoyed breakfast in the Haven Restaurant every morning. 

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There was a welcome to the ship slot pull organized by @PattyWinters503 which was a great welcoming event. We met in Bliss, then went to the slot machine selected for the pull. Unfortunately we didn’t win big. After the pull, we walked about the ship then wandered back to the Haven for our lunch. Because, ya know, what is there to do on a sea day but munch and wander? 

 

After a lovely lunch, we decided to check out the thermal spa. What a cluster that was! I don’t know if passes were oversold or everyone decided to hit up the thermal spa, but it was packed. Those in the pool decided they needed to be chair hogs by throwing a towel on the ceramic lounger. I bravely made my way into the pool while the husband waited for a lounger to open up. He grabbed one, then I switched off with him. He went to the pool or hot tub, I went to the lounger, then we switched so our lounger was being utilized by more than a towel. NCL definitely needs to do better. We tried out the sauna and salt room, then left hoping for better luck next time. 

 

This first night at sea we made a reservation at Cagneys since it was part of the Free at Sea package we had. This was the worst dinner of the week. Teppanyaki was better than Cagneys and of course the Haven Restaurant was leaps and bounds above Cagneys. Honestly, we’ve had more tender, flavorful steak at Texas Roadhouse. Unless we get the Free at Sea in the future, I think we’ll stick with the Haven Restaurant. 

 

After dinner I tried out the thermal spa again. There were about five of us in the entire spa, including in each of the grottos. It was so much calmer and relaxed than earlier in the day. I could hear myself think. After a soak in the pool, I took a nap on one of the ceramic lounger before sweating out the toxins of the day. Ahhhhh, that’s the way to end a day. When I returned to our room, my husband had drawn himself a bath and enjoyed our jetted whirlpool tub for a bit.

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A word about the buffet: Speaking of bad food, we did try a little bit of the buffet food - can we talk about disgusting fare that shouldn’t be placed in a pig’s slop bucket? Nothing was good! It was Carnival cruise fare all over again. This just confirmed my position that I’ll never cruise not in the Haven or other ship-within-a-ship type boat. 

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Third Day - April 19th, first planned sea day, second sea day:

 

Today we ate solely in the Haven Restaurant, relaxed on the balcony, and sweated in the thermal spa. I believe this is the day we planned our massage, so I’ll cover it here, though it may have been the day before (the memory’s fuzzy). The massage itself was great, but about halfway in the lady giving the massage started talking about herself and asking about me. At first I was ok with this as it seemed we were having a nice conversation. After about 10 minutes I realized this was heading toward a hard sell. She wanted me to have an acupuncture consultation. The massage was no longer as relaxing - the price you pay for getting it nearly half price. 

 

I did take her up on the consultation. At first it was fine, then she asked to see my tongue. At that point she diagnosed me with “lower back pain.” Let’s see, I’m fat and almost 40. Of course I have lower back pain! I left the consultation, not disappointed in it, but disappointed that I didn’t fully enjoy my massage. 

 

The excitement of the day was the primary slot pull! About 30 of us gathered in the casino and won nothing. It was still a fun time filled with socialization. The husband did try out the slot machine we used the day before and won about $200 on it before giving it all back at the Blackjack table.

 

The dessert in the Haven Restaurant was delightful!

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Fourth Day - April 20th, Bermuda, Day 1

 

I woke up as the ship steamed (I know they don’t steam anymore, but it sounds better) past St. George’s Island on the way to the Royal Dockyard. I watched the boat dock and then we got breakfast (yes, in the Haven). We took the Concierge up on the priority disembarkation and made our way to NCL’s free ferry to St. George’s. 

 

It was an overcast, rainy day so we headed out on foot toward a fort. I’m not sure which fort it was as we got waylaid by looking at the beautiful unfinished church and then found our way to the beach at Tobacco Bay. What a gorgeous bay! I did go in as one little fellow’s Croc was floating away and his parents were telling him to get it…as it went further and further into the bay. I got a bit more wet than I was planning, but hey it’s the ocean and you gotta go swimming when you’re by the ocean! 

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After this we talked with a sweet lady at a small store where the bus stops. I can’t find the name of the store on Google Maps. She gave us advice on going to St. David’s Island so we could check out Clearwater Beach. We purchased our bus fare to get there and back. Our plan was to come back, then take the bus to Hamilton, and finally make our way back to the Royal Dockyard by bus. 

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Our plans were stymied as the bus was more than 30 minutes late. Since it was raining pretty hard and the NCL Ferry was back we decided to abandon town. We went back to the ship where we hung out in the thermal spa for most of the day.

 

I did have a chance to get a bit on the drunk side - I don’t drink unless the booze is free, so Free at Sea! After a couple of Long Island’s, Mojito’s, and Rum and Coke (Pepsi, blech), we went back to the room. I ordered a room service pizza which my sober husband said was disgusting. As I was drunk, it tasted wonderful to me! 

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After a bit of sobering up, we went to the Haven Restaurant for dinner. This night my husband enjoyed a movie while I dozed for a while before real sleep came over me.

 

Fifth Day - April 21st, Bermuda Day 2

 

Overcast and rainy again today! We decided to explore the dockyard and wound up paying the $15 to enter the Bermuda National Museum which offered free, good WiFi! I sent a few photos to family and then enjoyed the museum. The clock they have is amazing. I love that you can actually see the old mechanism that drives the ringing of the bells. So cool!!

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After checking these out, my husband found the dolphins. We had no idea this is where they were so we spent a few minutes just watching them be fed and do some tricks. I struggle with enjoying animals in captivity, especially when they can literally taste the ocean water, but yes, I did enjoy watching them. Hopefully someone sees them and becomes a biologist in the future, because of their experience with these wonderful creatures. 

 

We then decided to walk the ramparts of the old fort. We squeezed through a tiny hallway and learned about the slaves that built Bermuda. A sad history that I appreciate being told.

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Once we finished with the museum, I purchased a bottle of Lili Bermuda fragrance. The story of the Mary Celestia piqued my interest and smelled wonderful. My husband agreed this cologne would smell nicely on me. After this, we walked over to the Snorkel Park, but were not going to pay to access a beach in Bermuda. Instead, we went to the miniature golf course and enjoyed a delightful round of mini golf.

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We then finished our tour of the dockyard with a stop at the pharmacy to get some Benadryl - I really wanted to sleep past 5 AM at least one day on the cruise. We purchased a couple of souvenirs here, then continued walking around. When we were finished we caught the trolley back to the boat. 

 

Next up was some time in the thermal spa (notice the pattern here) and I bet you know where we had dinner! 

 

Sixth Day - April 22nd, Bermuda Day 3

 

We were up early to get our breakfast so we could make our way back to the NCL Ferry. Today was the day we would get to Clearwater Beach and Hamilton before our ship steamed away from Bermuda!

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When we got to St. George’s Island we went to the actual Lili Bermuda Perfumery to purchase an assorted package of colognes for my husband. Then we got on the bus to Clearwater Beach. The bus wasn’t traveling all the way to the beach so the locals on the bus gave us directions to walk across a field, over a berm, then down the road next to the airport. There we would find the beach. 

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The directions were spot on! We had the beach to ourselves and one other couple from the ship. What a glorious morning at the beach! There were Portuguese Man O’ War all around us, but we safely swam for a while before going to the bus stop. 

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The Bermudan buses failed us again. After waiting more than an hour we decided to walk…somewhere. We found a small restaurant, “Pizza House.” The owner was kind enough to call a taxi for us which took us to Hamilton for about $50. 

 

In Hamilton we walked around the town. I enjoyed a Boba Tea from NovelTea in Queen Elizabeth Park. The $5.00 fare to the Royal Dockyard got us one final ferry ride before boarding our ship for the last sea day. 

 

Upon returning to the ship, we put our bathing suits on and soaked in the Haven hot tub, then had dinner before returning to our room for the evening and watching a movie that I made it through!

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Seventh Day - April 23rd, 3rd and Final Day At Sea

 

Today was our final full day on the Norwegian Getaway. We went to the duty free shops. Nothing was very impressive: I suppose if you smoke or drink the prices for these vices are good. After this, I did have a few too many drinks (again) and took a nap in our room before dinner time. 

 

After the nap, we tried out American Diner for their mozzarella sticks and banana milkshake which was not as good as the first day, but still yummy. We dared the buffet one last time and were again disgusted by the food. Just say no to the buffet. 

 

Tonight, we had our final Free at Sea meal at Teppanyaki! The show was a typical hibachi show - food was good. I had steak and shrimp, and my husband had the same. We enjoyed our meal and spent the last two hours in the thermal spa before it closed. 

 

Eighth Day - April 24th, Disembarkation Day

 

Today we say goodbye to the Haven and the NCL Getaway. We had a great time and look forward to cruising with NCL again, even though the embarkation was a joke and the buffet was terrible.  

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Overall Impression: Would I cruise again? It will not be another 13 years before my next cruise! We loved it so much we purchased Cruise Next certificates while on board so we have to cruise before 2026. We ventured out of the Haven to the pool deck and were somewhat horrified at the number of people clamoring for a space by the pool. The lines for Guest Services were long (we had the Concierge, but I noticed this), bars and restaurants were packed. 

 

We will cruise NCL again, but only in the Haven. If we had just purchased a balcony cabin, there is no way we would have enjoyed the cruise so much. 

 

Going into the cruise I didn’t think we would utilize the concierge. Turns out we talked with Omar and Ivan more than our butler, Totaram. They were knowledgeable, helpful, and funny. 

 

Perks of the Haven we loved: 

The staff were simply wonderful. 

  • Janet, the hostess, was so kind and made sure we had our favorite seat next to the window if it was available

  • Yahones, a waiter, always made sure to say hello and check on us, even if he wasn’t our waiter. He is the nicest man! 

  • Jeanele (I am almost positive I spelled this wrong), a waiter, remembered our likes/dislikes, and always brought a smile and story to our table

  • Mark is a great bartender

  • Gusti was a wonderful room steward who made sure we were always comfortable

  • Totaram was hardly seen, but ensured we had what we needed

  • Omar is a joker and knows how to handle the Haven clientele

  • Ivan is a good assistant concierge and ensured we had everything we needed

The Haven Restaurant was perfection!

  • Multiple filet mignons and lobster tails were enjoyed

  • We enjoyed the small breakfast buffet, along with the cooked to order food

 

What we didn’t like: 

  • I think a reader of this review knows I’ll list the buffet at the top of this list.

  • The hard sell during our massage.

  • Embarkation!!!!

  • The mojito bar uses mixes, they don’t create the drink there which means little customization and no virgin mojitos

  • The thermal spa seemed oversold on this cruise

  • WiFi is terribly slow and expensive

  • Pool decks, outside of the Haven, were way too crowded

  • Chair hogs in the thermal spa (NCL could and should enforce the rules)

  • The only part of the Haven Restaurant we didn’t enjoy was the very long wait time for a drink and water refills (5 - 10 minutes each time)

 

This is one of the best thought out reviews I have ever read.  Well done.

 

Cruise well

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Thanks for your review, but if I may I'd like to correct a misimpression you have about embarkation. I don't disagree that there have been substantial embarkation issues, but you're blaming the wrong party. You said: 

1 hour ago, aaroncstrong said:

 

Embarkation: Here’s where the chipper attitude goes away! First, I am so grateful that my husband and I did not have to wait 7 - 8 hours to get on the boat like others did. I cannot even imagine having to wait so long. We entered Pier 90 to have our Bermuda travel authorization approved. After waiting about 2.5 hours we finally made it to the front of the line where we were approved in a couple of minutes. NCL, you totally blew embarkation - we needed the 15 employees you sent over at 11 AM, not 1 PM.

After going through the Bermuda line (it’s NCL’s fault, not Bermuda’s for a lack of employees), we headed to Pier 88. We went through security with no issues and headed for the Haven Lounge. In the lounge it took a little time as my husband is a permanent resident, not a citizen so the documentation had to be looked at. Dorothy was amazing and really helped with this process! 

The people providing embarkation services are not NCL employees, they are employees of a shoreside services contractor named Intercruises that is hired by the port. They apparently are experiencing severe staff shortages. These are by and large per diem employees working on weekends to earn some extra money and because of the long cruising shutdown caused by the pandemic it's likely that experienced people are in short supply. The day you embarked was Easter Sunday and it was also Passover, both major holidays that  undoubtedly made it even harder to find people willing to work.

 

Again...I'm not dismissing the problems you encountered. Your experience mirrors that of many others who have reported similar issues at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal even on embarkation days that were not holidays, but the problem largely isn't one of NCL's making. It's primarily a combination the bureaucratic requirements imposed by Bermuda and the shoreside services contractor's staffing issues.

I'm glad you were able to enjoy your cruise despite the initial bumps in the road.

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2 hours ago, Beer Belly said:

Overall, sounds like a good time. Bermuda was my first ever cruise also. Boss Lady (Wife), had been on a few, me, I like to hook up the camper and explore. The reason for Bermuda was the idea of not becoming a "You Tube pier runner", never had to rush back, the ship was our floating hotel. It sounds like the weather wasn't cooperating, which is a shame, ours was stellar. We just got off the Getaway on the 10th, other than food poisoning from Ocean Blue, was a great cruise. Did you happen to go to Syd Normans Pour House ?..... Million Dollar Quartet ?......Burn the Floor ?....in Bermuda....Crystal Caves ?....Swizzle Inn ?

So sorry to hear about your bout of food poisoning! That can ruin a trip, so I'm glad you were able to still enjoy yourself after that. Not enough hard liquor to fight off the slimy fish?

 

We did have a few pier runners! Though to be fair, they were running before the ship's departure time of 5 PM, so I think they just wanted the attention. I appreciated they could run that far! I'd be falling into the harbor bobbing on my way to becoming fish food after a run like that. 

 

So...we didn't participate in any of the entertainment - I kept asking the husband if he wanted to go, but he didn't and I'm not keen on live shows. The Broadway selection sounded interesting, but the thermal spa won out. 🙂

 

On the islands, we didn't go to Crystal Caves or Swizzle Inn. Originally we had an excursion booked to Crystal Caves and some beaches. When we saw what the weather looked like we cancelled those and just did our own thing. More reason to go back another time!

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2 hours ago, sprez33 said:

Here's the Teppanyaki Menu.  Looks like everyone gets the same apps and sides but you choose one or two meats as individuals i.e. before they start cooking.  

 

Teppanyaki_Mobile-Menu_v011122.pdf (ncl.com)

Everything @sprez33 says is true! We're used to a hibachi providing 2 shrimp to every diner, but this didn't happen at Teppanyaki. We had the soup, salad, then selected the type of protein we wanted. For dessert, it was a choice between the green tea cake and exotic fruit.

 

My husband got the green tea cake which was alright - I wasn't a huge fan of it, but it's not super sweet so if that's your thing, you might like it! The exotic fruit was not exotic to me: just some cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon, honey dew, and one strawberry. I was hoping for something a bit more "exotic." See the photo below - I wasn't brave enough to try it with the ginger. 

image.thumb.jpeg.6832377e5dd84f6fd1abfb66c81a8a36.jpeg

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1 hour ago, F27TW said:

I'm definitely with you there re: not really being a "people person"!   The Haven facilities look and sound amazing!

 

Your description of the massage made me LOL a little .. when you said she asked to see your tongue, i really thought that $300 massage was turning into the "other" kind .. 😉 

 

Thanks for such a terrific review .. really enjoyed it!

A cruise without people would be my kind of sailing...but my canoe is a bit scary in big ocean waves!!
 

Hahahaha I was so not thinking about that kind of massage, but for the regular price, they gotta add something (NOT REALLY PEOPLE, don't @ me!!!)

 

Glad you enjoyed and outran Dorian. I'd be ok with a delayed arrival to NYC. Anything to not work! 

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1 hour ago, Sthrngary said:

This is one of the best thought out reviews I have ever read.  Well done.

I'm...well...I'm speechless sir! Thank you. I've been following your posts for a very long time and appreciate all the advice. I knew I had to pay it back in some form.

 

And happy sailing to you! 

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1 hour ago, njhorseman said:

I don't disagree that there have been substantial embarkation issues, but you're blaming the wrong party.

I've heard this. Here's my issue with blaming the Port of NY. Every employee I saw inside both piers wore NCL scarves, nametags, etc. This tells me they are NCL employees. If they're not, then I'm barking at the wrong people and appreciate you calling me out on it. I'd prefer (and I assume NCL would too) that these employees wear their company's uniform, rather than pretending to be the cruise line du jour. 

 

I think I want you to be right so I stop blaming NCL - it was honestly a really great sailing, despite a few bumps and I'm looking forward to my next cruise with them. I'm trying for the fall...but I think I'm going to lose this battle with the finance guy in our house. 

 

Thanks @njhorseman for your thoughts at ensuring my review is as accurate as possible. 

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really great review and i enjoyed reading it very much.

 

i generally agree about the stark contrast between the haven areas of the ship and the gen pop areas.

 

i somewhat disagree about the buffet. i can't speak for the specific food and presentation on your cruise, but - in my experience - it truly is several notches above a carnival spread. i know, that's not saying much, but it is something. the buiffet is what you make of it. i have enjoyed the buffet, but i mostly have gone for specialty items... for a snack or to supplement the haven offerings.

 

on your way to or from someplace else, stop by for soft serve ice cream and customize it just the way you like. are you a fan of indian food? (i am!) well, the indian food at the buffet is some of the best food available on board. want a salad or a healthy fruit bowl?  the buffet has it. want a burger or a veggie burger... they'll cook it to your specifications. and any cut of meat they have available in the buffet, they can also cook to order. you just have to ask. and the pizza in the buffet is a hundred times better than room service pizza!

 

i guess what i'm saying is you gotta cherry pick your way around the buffet and make it work for you. without a doubt,  some of the food is awful, lowest common denominator unseasoned slop... but some of it is wonderful.

 

as for cagney's... i nearly wrote it off, too. i've had bad food and service and excellent food and service. depends on the ship and the team and the training, i guess. i recommend giving it another try, but, yeah, the haven restaurant has great food and no upcharge for crab cakes or lobster, so why go anyplace else?

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40 minutes ago, aaroncstrong said:

I've heard this. Here's my issue with blaming the Port of NY. Every employee I saw inside both piers wore NCL scarves, nametags, etc. This tells me they are NCL employees. If they're not, then I'm barking at the wrong people and appreciate you calling me out on it. I'd prefer (and I assume NCL would too) that these employees wear their company's uniform, rather than pretending to be the cruise line du jour. 

 

I think I want you to be right so I stop blaming NCL - it was honestly a really great sailing, despite a few bumps and I'm looking forward to my next cruise with them. I'm trying for the fall...but I think I'm going to lose this battle with the finance guy in our house. 

 

Thanks @njhorseman for your thoughts at ensuring my review is as accurate as possible. 

If there were a Carnival cruise departing the next day you'd see the same people wearing a scarf and a badge saying Carnival.  

Anyway, twist the arm of the finance guy...😉

 

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3 hours ago, sportscruiser said:

@sprez33. Thanks so much!!

 

 

My pleasure!  I need to play particular attention to the teppan grill because both my son and I are allergic to shellfish.  Typically, we inform the chef and he creates a little 'shellfish free zone' in the corner of the grill.  

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1st off as stated by others, this is one of the finest reviews I have ever seen on Cruise Critic and I go back to the original AOL only days. Thank you for taking to time to write this well written review. 👍

I do want to confirm that njhorseman is absolutely correct. The workers at the NY Passenger Ship terminal (NYPST)are NOT employed by NCL and work per diem for Intercruises, the manager of the NYPST.  
Thanks Again !!!

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12 hours ago, Mike A said:

I do want to confirm that njhorseman is absolutely correct. The workers at the NY Passenger Ship terminal (NYPST)are NOT employed by NCL and work per diem for Intercruises, the manager of the NYPST.  

This holds true with most ports.  They are usually union.  That is why when you ask, "Where is the Haven Entrance?" The associates have no clue what the Haven is.  I think NCL is aware the system is not perfect yet attempting to improve it is difficult.  Just my thoughts on the matter.

 

It is funny, the original Review was so great.  Yet we still focus on one small comment.  The same thing happened to me but the subject that because the topic was Children in the Haven Courtyard.  I hope we can always remember how hard it is to do a great review like this.  Bravo to the author.

 

Cruise well. 

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Since you plan on sailing NCL again and had some great service, make sure you fill out the Hero Cards for the employees. They really appreciate them.

 

We now have a system for the cards -- we ask employees if we can take pictures of their name tags (and tell them why) so we can remember who they are/how to spell their names. The last day, we sit down with a drink or two and fill them out.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise. Our first cruise was in the Haven and we've never sailed in anything less than a suite (and only if a ship doesn't have a Haven). We are definitely spoiled and we know it.

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On 5/4/2022 at 4:33 PM, UKstages said:

guess what i'm saying is you gotta cherry pick your way around the buffet and make it work for you. without a doubt,  some of the food is awful, lowest common denominator unseasoned slop... but some of it is wonderful.

 

as for cagney's... i nearly wrote it off, too. i've had bad food and service and excellent food and service. depends on the ship and the team and the training, i guess. i recommend giving it another try, but, yeah, the haven restaurant has great food and no upcharge for crab cakes or lobster, so why go anyplace else?

Point taken. It could have been an off sailing - first time the ship was at (actually above) 100% double occupancy capacity. The staff may have been struggling to keep up the pace. Alas, next time maybe I'll try it out again and see what items seem to be better than others. 

 

I did forget - I tried a breaded pork something or other from the buffet, and it was actually quite tasty! So not everything was slop. 

 

As for Cagney's - you're right. Unless I have the Free at Sea which appears all Haven guests get, I'll likely not go there again. Perhaps Moderno - we love, love, love Brazilian steakhouses! Ocean Blue is out of the question as the husband just won't eat seafood even if it's yummy. Or, if we're on a ship with the Mexican place, we'll definitely go there!! 

 

Thanks for bringing me down to earth a little bit. 

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On 5/4/2022 at 8:54 PM, Mike A said:

The workers at the NY Passenger Ship terminal (NYPST)are NOT employed by NCL

AOL certainly takes me back to those packages we would receive with the stupid disk and that lovely dial up sound....ugh elementary/middle school!! Don't remind me hah

 

But for real, thank you for confirming what @njhorsemansaid and your very kind words regarding my review. It took some time, but I was bored at work and needed something to do! 

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On 5/5/2022 at 12:51 PM, brookie848 said:

Since you plan on sailing NCL again and had some great service, make sure you fill out the Hero Cards for the employees. They really appreciate them.

 

We now have a system for the cards -- we ask employees if we can take pictures of their name tags (and tell them why) so we can remember who they are/how to spell their names. The last day, we sit down with a drink or two and fill them out.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise. Our first cruise was in the Haven and we've never sailed in anything less than a suite (and only if a ship doesn't have a Haven). We are definitely spoiled and we know it.

Oh! I didn't know anything about the Hero Cards - not exactly my definition of hero, but that's for a different time and place. I totally would have filled those out if I had known about them! I suppose you have to do them while onboard and can't do it after the cruise? 

 

I love the idea of taking photos of the name badges - I'm sure I messed the spelling of at least one or two of the crew members up. 

 

Spoiled? Yep...I suppose so, but I figure I work hard, so I can play hard (many backpacking trips under my belt) or play in luxury like the Haven. 

 

Best cruising to you!!

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On 5/6/2022 at 1:18 PM, cruiseny4life said:

Perhaps Moderno - we love, love, love Brazilian steakhouses! ...Or, if we're on a ship with the Mexican place, we'll definitely go there!! 

 

i have never been on a ship that had a great moderno and a great cagney's. it's usually one or the other... which is really odd, because they are usually serviced out of the same kitchen. if cagney's is good (food/service), moderno sucks. if moderno is good (food/service), cagney's sucks. it is... as the king of siam used to say in "the king and i"... "a puzzlement."

 

one thing is for sure... moderno has the best salad bar on board.

 

as for mexican, on NCL it's called "los lobos" and it's only available on a very limited number of  ships, i think.  in my experience, it is quite good: the table side guacamole and mexican street corn are fantastic.

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