What a fantastic trip from embarkation to disembarkation. The Haven truly is worth the upgrade cost. When my family of 4 arrived at the Pier in NYC, we saw a daunting line of people waiting to check in, and luckily, we got to bypass it all ... Read More
What a fantastic trip from embarkation to disembarkation. The Haven truly is worth the upgrade cost. When my family of 4 arrived at the Pier in NYC, we saw a daunting line of people waiting to check in, and luckily, we got to bypass it all when we were escorted to an area specifically for Haven guests. We checked in with no line, and were told to wait in a cozy room with plenty of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages for us to nibble on while we waited for the call to be escorted onboard.
The staff took us in small groups to the Haven check in area on board the ship where they invited us to dine at either the Haven or Margaritaville, which was comped for embarkation. We dropped our carry-on bag's off at our room, and chose to go to Margaritaville. A bit of a warning if you're traveling in the cooler months, Margaritaville is an open-air dining area, so it can get very cold. I had fish taco's, my children had fried fish which we told them were chicken nuggets, and my wife had a salad I believe. Everything was very good, my margarita was delicious, and my children enjoyed their "chicken nuggets."
We then went back to our room to check it out a bit. We stayed in 11106, H7 category, which is a FWD facing Penthouse with Balcony. Our luggage was delivered promptly. We met our Room Steward and Butler, Ricardo & Ferdinand, respectively. These two men were absolutely fantastic at their jobs. Our room was always spotless, which is hard work with two young children under the age of 4. Ricardo was very accomodating in turning down our rooms at awkward times since our children went to bed early. Ferdinand predicted what we needed without us ever needing to ask for anything. Ferdinand did a wonderful job taking care of our cabin as well, making sure my children always had little snacks when we returned to our room for nap time. They were very courteous without ever being obtrusive, and I really hope we are lucky enough to sail with them again.
Our cabin was very comfortable. Our balcony was a nice size. We chose this room specifically for the separate bathtub and shower for our kids. The bathtub was a very generous size. Our shower had 3 options, a waterfall head, 4 jets, or a handheld showerhead. We had a dual sink and a a vanity as well in the bathroom.
There was plenty of closet space between the bedroom and living room. Our bed was quite comfortable. We had two televisions and another great amenity was that all the on demand movies were free. We had a table and 3 chairs for in-suite dining, and a desk for doing homework. Our penthouse view was the front of the ship area, and our balcony had a nice view of Bermuda when we were docked. I think that pretty much covers the cabin.
When we dined, we generally chose the Haven for breakfast, buffet for a quick lunch, and either Haven or Buffet for dinner depending on how the children were behaving. We had our dinner delivered to our room from the Haven one night as well. The Haven had a nice breakfast selection on the menu such as lobster eggs benedict to huevos rancheros to something simpler such as banana pancakes. There was a nice buffet area as well that had pastry, breads, fresh exotic fruit, parfait, antipasta, etc.inside the Haven restaurant.
The buffet was pretty standard fare for lunch and dinner. I did have a really good panini, I think it was Chicken Masala which was completely different take on it for me. I was also surprisingly impressed with the Cheesecakes and Flourless Chocolate cakes they had for dessert as well. They did some theme nights for dinner we saw at the buffet, such as Asian food and Indian food. Otherwise, pretty decent but nothing that was all that memorable aside from what I mentioned.
The Haven at Dinner was truly a different experience than anything else on the boat. Over the course of the cruise, we had the steak and shrimp, mustard crusted lamb, and mushroom ravioli. The lamb was OUTRAGEOUS and probably the most delicious thing we ate by far. The staff at the Haven restaurant, particularly the hostesses Alma and Pamela, were fantastic with my family. They absolutely made my family feel like part of their family. They were so very cordial, patient, and understanding with my two younger children. My daughter was very fond of Pamela especially. I cannot say enough nice things about them. The bar staff at the Haven was top notch, also very accomodating in finding apple juice at dinner time for my little ones. I know it's a difficult request at the end of the day, but they were able to find it for them and were adamant about getting it for them. The Haven bar staff is a notch above the rest of the cruise line's staff.
The concierges we only used a few times. They were able to get us tickets to the magic show and escorted us down to get prime seats. They were also very helpful in saving me a trip to guest services and the internet cafe. They were both very friendly and helpful and I hate that I can't remember their names right now. We didn't book any excursions or see too many shows, but they were very approachable and helpful.
The magic show with Cassandra & Ben was a great show. It was at the Supper Club and included a 3 course meal. The food wasn't my cup of tea, the appetizer reminded me of cat food. It was minced chicken on lettuce, and looked exactly like Friskies. The show on the other hand was excellent! Cassandra is a talented singer and magician and is destined for great things.
My children enjoyed the Splash Academy, and the little show they put on for us on the last day in the theatre is something that I'm sure my daughter will remember for years to come.
My children also enjoyed the Video Arcade and the bowling and arcade games near O'Sheehan's were a nice distraction on a sea day afternoon.
They had some new interactive shows since the last time I cruised, such as the Wheel of ill Will, a combination of Wheel of Fortune and silly games the contestants play in between solving the puzzle. We enjoyed watching that as well as the Family Compete gameshow. They still do the Not So Newlywed Game show as well, a favorite but also a bit tired. It's been 6 years since we last cruised and I felt like I watched the same exact show last time.
The service on-board the ship was absolutely another level in the Haven area and in the suites. The busboys at the buffet were very efficient at turning over tables. The bar staff at the Skyline bar were very friendly and engaging. There were other bar areas I went to where the service was generally lacking and leaving a bit to be desired, even if it wasn't crowded. For example, Tobacco Road & the Atrium bartenders seemed like they were trying to avoid the customers. I was surprised by that, I guess because I was spoiled in the Haven and Casino lounge areas. Live music was great all around the ship. There was a great lounge singer at Skyline, he really engaged the audience.
And finally, disembarking the ship was a breeze because we were Haven guests. We were escorted down the service elevators and bypassed the rest of the ship right to customs. I was very impressed at the efficiency at embarkation & disembarkation for Haven guests and think that alone is worth the premium. My family and I all loved the trip and will happily book with NCL-Haven again. Read Less