This is post 3 of 4, the remaining post will be sent out tomorrow. Thanks for joining us!
Other than the ports of call, which I’ll feature in tomorrow’s post, The Haven was the main reason for trying out Norwegian. So what is the mysterious area called The Haven? And why is it worth the extra money?
The Haven is comprised of all junior suites and above, including the largest suites at sea – the 5,000 square foot, three-bedroom Garden Villas.
There are also two-bedroom, 572-square-foot Family Villas and 440-square-foot Courtyard Penthouses, all of these suites surround The Haven Courtyard that includes a pool, sundeck, hot tub, fitness room, concierge lounge, private restaurant access and more.
Anyone staying in a suite or villa has access to the concierge, which can be useful especially if you don’t what to do on port days and didn’t book excursions prior to stepping on the boat. You can also call them to make restaurant reservations and so on.
And, you also get your own butler. I can imagine some people use the butler service constantly, but we were consistently asking ourselves, what are we supposed to be asking Walter (our butler) to do for us?
We are pretty self-sufficient on trips and while it was great knowing we could ask for anything at any time (including Jeremy’s request of National Treasure on DVD), it just wasn’t totally necessary for us.
The butler, concierge and room steward are all very friendly and make a real effort to get to know you, which we didn’t feel happened on the rest of the ship. On previous cruises, the bartenders you visit regularly make an effort to know your name, what you like to drink and what you liked about the day’s events. We’ve always liked getting to know them as well – where they’re from, their families, and their experience working on a cruise ship.
Every day Haven rooms get fresh food in the afternoon – little appetizers, canapés, sandwiches, fruits, cheeses, and sweets.
You can order room service, for free, at any time, but we preferred to try out all of the restaurants on the boat.
We ate breakfast in our room twice, one of which was debarkation day and we thought this was key to not having to worry about where to find food prior to getting off the boat.
Another benefit is that we had access to a separate breakfast and lunch restaurant than the rest of the ship, held in Cagney’s Steakhouse.
For those who are booked in the suites and preferred to not battle crowds of people for food at the buffet, having access to this restaurants for those meals also helped keep portions much more modest. (Or if you order the steak, eggs and french toast you defeat the whole purpose!)
But let’s talk about The Haven.
The suites and villas in this area of the ship are secluded because they are on the top two decks and only accessed by special keycards. There is a small indoor pool, gym, bar and lots of outdoor sun loungers as well as a sundeck, open to lounging for Haven guests only. The Haven was so quiet and at times too quiet, but a nice respite away from the noise and crowds. I was able to full rest and relax, including couple 2+ hour naps!
We also could eat in The Haven courtyard area and grab snacks at anytime during the day. I think Jeremy ate the boat out of gummy bears at one point!
In the evenings, you have reserved seating in the theater which is a nice bonus not having to worry about getting a good seat and we also had private access to our own server for drinks. Especially for the Elements production, it was PACKED, but because of our reserved seats we had a great view for all of the shows!For anyone that has cruise before, the embarkation and debarkation processes can be and tend to be long and laborious. While it appeared that Norwegian had an incredibly orderly process and lines were short at the Tampa port, we had an exceptionally quick and enjoyable process getting on board through priority embarkation and debarkation by booking a room in The Haven. We had a personal escort to our room and bypassed all the lines, we felt VIP from the moment we arrived in Tampa to when we got off the boat. Normally, you wait in long lines with every other passenger or you wait until your color is called (let’s be real, no one waits for their color); however, because of we were in The Haven, we had a special meeting location and our own elevators that took us right down to the terminal – no extra waiting in long lines or carrying our suitcases down 10 flights of stairs!
You also get priority disembarkation at all the ports of call, which is a great advantage when you need off quickly to make an early morning excursion. We spent every morning lounging on our balcony drinking coffee and tea (actually a highlight of the trip for me), so this wasn’t something we really needed, but saw the value of it.
If your budget can stretch or if you want to travel as a family in a much larger room, I definitely recommend upgrading to a suite. Since we spent a lot of time lounging in the morning and hanging out in the room, we appreciated the extra space, but our room was almost too big for the two of us.
The second bedroom became our walk in closet, which with the amount of storage, drawers and cubbies in our room, it was totally unnecessary that we were so messy and didn’t just unpack and put everything away! We did love having two bathrooms, one with a double sink, glass shower, separate soaking tub and truly felt like we were staying at a hotel rather than a cruise cabin, which for 8 days made the trip very comfortable and enjoyable.
You could even request your butler to draw a luxury bath for you…Jeremy said no to reviewing the $500 bath, sorry guys.
This room, even at a Junior Suite level could easily have held 5 or 6 people comfortably; in fact in the room adjacent to us was celebrating their son’s 21st birthday and Christmas together as a family. They had 5 adults (mom, dad, and 3 grown children) in the same room and they didn’t seem cramped by the accommodations, at all.
So once we were outside of our room, where exactly did we explore and what were our ports of call like? Check out tomorrow’s post and travel with us through Central America.