I Take a look at Out The VIP-Solely Space On Norwegian Cruise Line: The Haven
Simply earlier than my a lot anticipated and expensive $1,800 an evening cruise in Norwegian Cruise Strains’ Viva’s all-suite Haven, “Cruise with Ben and David”, one of many greatest YouTube cruise channels, launched a vital evaluate elevating many points and complaints about it. A lot so, that many who pals of mine instructed I cancel, as they knew that it was THE costliest Mediterranean cruise I had ever booked.
In the long run I went, hoping that as they’d been on the maiden voyage, issues might need improved. That is what I found.
What’s The Haven?
What’s “The Haven”? It’s what’s referred to as a “ship-within-a-ship”, a devoted space for all of the suites crammed with unique amenities behind card-controlled doorways.
However, as I found, some perks and experiences began earlier than entering into The Haven space itself.
Though once I arrived at Civitavecchia terminal close to Rome for my cruise, I discovered there was no Haven precedence lane till after bag drop off and safety. As soon as by that, there was a devoted Haven check-in desk, a lounge space with drinks and snacks after which a butler escorted us up into The Haven.
The Haven Areas
On getting into my preliminary response, which remained all through the cruise, was Norwegian Cruise Strains’ The Haven seemed and felt trendy and premium, though it was missing in a number of areas.
One which didn’t although was The Haven card-controlled elevators in direction of the rear of the ship, as all of the Haven suites and the Haven amenities are on the rear. It was an absolute boon on a giant ship like Norwegian Viva with hundreds of friends.
I by no means needed to anticipate the elevator when heading anyplace, and as fewer folks have been utilizing them they rarely stopped on decks on the best way. They provided a fast means of getting round.
In The Haven space itself, there was a big lounge with numerous seating areas, a round bar, restaurant, a big concierge desk and a two-level exterior deck.
Right here’s what I thought of every of those together with some unusual calls by Norwegian Cruise Line.
The Haven restaurant was open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with indoor and outside seating. It seemed nice and the meals was good, however I didn’t find yourself utilizing it a lot. Right here’s why.
In contrast to different suite eating places I’ve been in, the Haven menus didn’t change. It was the identical breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu each single day.
The menus additionally had a lot much less alternative than the primary eating room ones, which did change on daily basis.
So, being on a 10-night journey meant repeating meals if I ate in there on a regular basis.
Regardless of paying that massive premium to entry it, I ate in different venues far more than on another suite cruise I’ve been on.
Over the ten nights, I ate elsewhere on half of them. I went to 2 speciality eating places, as a result of throughout the fare I booked I had the “Free at Sea” package deal which included two – I went to the Teppanyaki and Meals Republic.
I ate in one of many major eating rooms (Hudsons) as soon as to strive the menu and meals there, which was good. And I went to the Indulge Meals Corridor on two nights.
I solely ate lunch within the Haven as soon as, although did have breakfast there on daily basis because it was handy.
Service was superb, however not memorable or personalised, a damaging for me from Norwegian Cruise Line.
The lounge was an incredible trying area however had a number of downsides which meant I didn’t use it a lot.
The lounge had no motive to exist, one thing Ben and David additionally felt. And that’s as a result of there’s nothing within the lounge.
In contrast to different cruise line suite lounges, there was no espresso and tea station, and no snacks throughout the day. So, nobody ever sat within the lounge as a result of there was nothing occurring or motive to take action. In different line’s suite lounges with these amenities, they’re a social place to hang around, meet different friends and chat.
If I did need a espresso or tea, the barman may get me one – however there could be a cost for it!
As an alternative, I both used the espresso machine in my suite or extra usually went all the best way to the Remark Lounge, overlooking the bow of the ship, with comfortable seating, tea and occasional on faucet, and snacks a lot of the day, together with afternoon tea.
The Haven Bar, once more seemed good and was busy earlier than and after dinner, however because it additionally serves the Haven restaurant, drink service each within the restaurant and on the bar throughout mealtimes could possibly be on the sluggish facet.
In contrast to different cruise line suite lounges or bar there was no comfortable hour, and no included drinks. So once more, it meant that it didn’t turn into as a lot of a social hub.
Having the Haven Concierges meant avoiding the longer queues on the major Visitor Providers Desk, as they may reply questions, e book the exhibits, excursions, and eating. Although I may additionally do all that on the App!
I didn’t actually use the Concierge, as I additionally didn’t discover them particularly pleasant or significantly useful. I solely used them to alter eating reservations, as a result of though I may e book eating on the App, you couldn’t change them on it.
They did deal with a number of the precedence perks.
We may meet a Concierge 45 minutes earlier than the exhibits and be escorted to the theatre, previous any traces and proven to devoted Haven seating.
In all ports they’d escort Haven friends to leap the traces and get off the ship to go discover.
Additionally they escorted us off at disembarkation at any time we wished. On my cruise it was a giant plus as a result of we have been delayed entering into Lisbon as a result of a strike. It was absolute carnage with folks making an attempt to push and shove and get off to catch flights. So, the Concierge created a blocked-off pathway by the ship to get Haven friends off quicker.
In comparison with different suite experiences I’ve been on; I didn’t discover the concierge significantly proactive, nor did they make a degree of chatting to friends and attending to know us. They by no means referred to as me by my title.
There was the good trying two-level deck space with comfortable loungers and day beds. On one stage was an infinity pool and steam and chilly rooms, and on the higher stage there have been sizzling tubs. This stage was imagined to be for adults aged 16 and over.
That wasn’t enforced. There would usually be children up there operating about and taking on the new tubs.
This brings me to a key situation about The Haven that I want to speak about. Why? As a result of if you’re a traveller like me this is able to have a big effect on if its best for you.
The Haven – Grownup Expertise?
The Haven isn’t an grownup expertise, however as I’ll clarify, Norwegian Cruise Line may have performed some issues that will have catered each for adults wanting that and households on the similar time.
After all, it’s prone to be largely adults if cruising out of college holidays and on longer cruises. That was the case on my cruise, however there have been nonetheless a number of households starting from younger infants, toddlers, to teenagers.
That is to be anticipated as Norwegian is a household pleasant and centered line, within the college holidays count on lots of children onboard.
In case you are searching for a extra grownup expertise, as I do, keep in mind even out of vacation time, children have been a bit intrusive. Crying, operating round and doing what children do.
As that higher Haven deck was not enforced for 16 and over, if I had wished an adult-only expertise, I wanted to pay to enter the Vibe Adults Solely Membership.
One other missed alternative I believed was within the restaurant. There have been two areas, one a room to the left on getting into after which the primary restaurant space. I felt they may have had the room as a extra family-friendly eating space and the remaining as a extra adult-only space and glad each audiences. They didn’t.
However what about my suite? How was that?
The Haven Suite
I actually appreciated my suite. All that cash had acquired me an H5 class, a Haven Homeowners Suite (12302).
I did have essentially the most superb sleep in there, a number of the greatest that I’ve had on a ship.
The cabin felt very plush and premium. It had a eating space with espresso machine, seating space, huge balcony, separate bed room with an precise double mattress not two beds pushed collectively, walk-in dressing room and cabinet, and toilet with bathe and a shower.
It was general quiet, though I may hear subsequent door’s tv within the lounge space, however not massively loudly.
The Haven suite got here with butler service, and due to the grade, additionally included bottle of champagne on embarkation, a alternative of three bottles of liquor as my cruise was over 7 days (it’s one bottle if on a 7-night cruise), water and sodas, fruit basket and every day canapes.
The suite was the spotlight of The Haven for me, and there have been just some niggly issues.
It had extremely sophisticated lights and blind controls which I by no means fairly found out. One other type over substance level is it had stylish railings for hanging your garments on, however the garments hangers didn’t match significantly properly on them. And the scanner gadget for my door key card was a bit damaged and by no means acquired fastened.
I wish to speak about another points of The Haven expertise that have been additionally niggly and unusual, as they do influence my ultimate ideas.
The Haven – Inclusions and Exclusions
Taking into consideration that this cabin and the Haven price $1,800 an evening, an insane amount of cash, it didn’t embody as a lot as I might have hoped.
First, gratuities have been further and was $25 per particular person per day in The Haven, however that didn’t cowl gratuities for butlers, the concierge and (though it didn’t have an effect on me) the youth staff. In order that was extra too.
It additionally was uncomfortable as a result of the butler saved lobbying me and stressing, he was not coated.
Second, as I touched on, I needed to pay for drinks or purchase a drink package deal on prime of that top fare, and even then, mini-bar drinks and room service drinks weren’t coated by the drinks package deal or included within the Norwegian Cruise Line Haven fare. I had acquired a drinks package deal as a part of the “Free at Sea” package deal as a suggestion when reserving.
Third, all the things else across the ship, just like the go-karts, loopy golf, immersive video games and so forth that had a charge nonetheless did for Haven friends because it was for each different visitor.
The Haven – Waste of Cash?
Whereas like Ben and David general I didn’t suppose The Haven was good worth for what it was, it was for a unique motive.
They appeared to conclude pushing your finances to improve from a balcony cabin into The Haven was not good worth, because the perks with the constraints I additionally discovered weren’t definitely worth the added price.
However I checked out it barely otherwise.
If, like me you, are assessing the very best suite expertise on your finances, I got here away satisfied that I might have had a extra particular, personalised, and pampered expertise and with higher eating had I used my finances to go on a smaller luxurious all-suite ship, like Seabourn, Silversea or Regent, as a substitute.
In return I might have needed to miss out on the massive exhibits, Go Kart monitor, enormous program of issues to do, huge on line casino, a great deal of bars and eating venues, Starbucks, and the massive cabin. However for me they didn’t outweigh the plusses of the small ship luxurious remedy and expertise.
So, whereas I had a good time and was happy I attempted it, if I’ve that a lot finances a set cruise expertise once more, I really feel I’ll get higher worth for what I like utilizing that to go small luxurious ship over Norwegian Cruise Strains’ The Haven.
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