I do not think I have nearly enough time to write a review that adequately captures the fun we had on this cruise, so I will touch on the basics!
Embarkation and Disembarkation were a breeze. A little bit of a wait to get on the ship, with other Haven travellers, but once we got moving, it was smooth.
We traveled on this cruise as a couple, leaving our kids at home for an anniversary trip. We chose The NCL Haven option over a smaller, more luxurious ship thinking that perhaps NCL would offer us more interns of entertainment...and we were right!
Our Haven home, cabin 16130, was lovely. More than enough storage and room to move about comfortably. The bathroom has double sinks...a detail that really does make a difference. Our balcony was a little bit larger than other rooms, due to us being at the end of the hall and beside the Deck 16 but it was worth it! Even the conversations we got to overhear from the main deck were enjoyable;), while sipping our champagne in total privacy because of how the alcove is protected.
We dined in The Haven restaurant several times for breakfast, lunch and dinner and did not have a bad meal. The menu remains the same throughout the cruise. I have read that as being a negative from some reviewers, but it was not for us as there was more than enough delicious choices. Breakfast was terrific, even just the buffet, allowing you to get out and about quickly every day.
We also dined at Ocean Blue, Moderno, and at both dinner shows - The Wine Show and Cirque Dreams and Steam ( both worth the price of admission! ). We skipped Cagneys ( I KNOW! Crazy, right?) but we were so full by the end of our trip we enjoyed a night of noodles;) instead and we actually really enjoyed two meals at the sushi bar. It was almost always empty OR filled with staff. This intrigued us and we are glad we tried it...delicious with great service. I you love sushi, it is worth the price.
In terms of ship activities, Vincent, our Cruise Director, was awesome. We did not partake in any poolside activities as we were off the boat at every port and it was a bit chilly and windy after the first few days. Trivia games, however, were great, while having a drink at O'Sheehans. I have to say that the only food we did not love was the bar food, but how could it stand a chance with the great offerings on board? The atmosphere was enough.
The casino was fun but we are not huge gamblers, so a fun few hours over the course of the cruise, no big wins.
The highlight of the cruise for us, entertainment wise, was the duelling piano bar, Howling at the Moon. The musicians were awesome! Steve, Justin and Emily are funny and talented and made the club feel like a hometown dive. Between the Australians, the South Africans and our much quieter contingent of Canadians, we had a blast. We were also fans of Syd Norman's Pour House and loved that at the end of the night, you could often find the members of Back in the Day ( terrific band! ), the house band and performers from all over the ship, hanging out together and even sharing the stage wit the pianos. It was awesome.
The ports! Germany was so hot but so charming. Poland was a bit of a let down...the cruise tour was awful ( sorry, NCL, it has to be said ). Helsinki was lovely! There on the day of the Pride Parade which was 100,000 strong! We booked a FREE Green cap tour in Helsinki and really enjoyed the educated, funny, opinionated leadership of our guide, Micheal. SPB was too short...the second day is really just an at sea day. However, our tour, booked through Alla, was terrific. We connected with a group of people on Cruise Critic NCL Roll Call, and one member organized the excursion ( thanks Sherri! ). With only one day to explore SPB we were able to cover a lot of ground in a very effective manner as our tour guide was very experienced and kept us moving all day. Sweden was rainy but very fun on our own, using the water taxis, visiting the ABBA Museum, Viking Museum and feasting on meatballs and lingonberries in the old town! We had a day on each end in Copenhagen and it is a marvellous city. We were able to fill both days with activities on our own. Phew. This was not a cruise for someone who wanted to take it easy;). So much to see. My takeaway? The ship excursions fall short compared to the competition out here. We would have preferred to book through the ship, however again I am left feeling that this is an area that all large cruise companies could improve upon and we won't book through the cruise lines again.
Now...service. We opted for The Haven on NCL. Now we are in trouble because there is no going back to a regular level of cruising for us. The Haven lived up to it's name, offering a level of service that was incredible, with space to relax in ( both in the size of the cabin and in the dedicated Haven areas ), with easy disembarkations when it came to excursions ( our own elevator ), pre seating for shows, the treats in the room at the end of a long day, the availability of a quiet bar, a lounge, a dining room just for Haven guests, and the attention to detail for...everything else. Nothing was a problem. It is not inexpensive, but it elevated this cruise to a new level.
We had a fabulous time. We met great people ( Hi Laurie and Pete! ) and felt pampered and relaxed throughout the entire vacation. We will be cruising again on Norwegian, and likely in The Haven. We are already planning our next trip...
Amazing! Don't hesitate about selecting this room!
We explored on our own.
we were met by family and visited on our own.
Our tour was neither short nor a good overview. We had two tour guides, an experienced guide and a new guide who were not working well together. The tour was rerouted due to traffic several times and sights were cut short. We used the Shipyard Museum as a bathroom break, with only 10 minutes to look around...on the 30th anniversary of the Solidarity Movement, it felt like a criminal waste of an opportunity. 10 minutes to take in a huge historical movement in a beautiful museum...but we had an hour to wander and wait in front of an amber store. The tour was a waste of time and money. The tour was supposed to be 4 hours maximum and it ran over by at least an hour...no time to try and recoup any time on our own. A real shame.View All undefined undefined Reviews
This free tour was fabulous, thoughtful, relevant and interesting. It was only a few hours long but we left the tour feeling like we got to know the true spirit of Fins. Our guide Michael was fantastic! There were many people from our cruise on the tour and we all enjoyed it. We were then left with enough time to explore on our own and take advantage of a lunch resto recommendation from our guide. Terrific day, loved Helsinki.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Excellent tour, excellent value for our money. Everyone on our tour was from our ship. We will definitely book with Alla Tours again.View All undefined undefined Reviews