After sleeping in a bit we called our butler to order room service. Jorji was easy to reach and understood about my allergies but informed us that it would be a wait for breakfast as they were very busy this morning. We weren't in a rush so that was fine. When Jorji brought our food he said he was overwhelmed with the amount of people in the suites (families). Breakfast was fine although a tad on the cold side but not really a big deal to us.
After breakfast we headed up a floor to the Haven pool deck. We found two chairs right next to the pool. The chairs were already set up with pillows and towels and were pretty comfortable. Today was a dangerous day in the sun because of the wind. We never felt hot (actually it was kind of chilly) but the sun was definitely strong.
There are staff members who bring around fruit skewers and ask if you would like a cocktail but we ended up going inside to the Haven bar to get out of the sun for a bit. The entire Haven area is relaxing, beautiful, and offers friendly staff who go out of their way to make your vacation wonderful.
In the afternoon we headed back to O'Sheehans for drinks, french fries and a friendly game of darts! We met a fun and bubbly couple from Miami. Such a great afternoon!
For dinner we chose to try the Haven Restaurant. We both started with the salad (mine had oil and vinegar dressing on the side). Greg enjoyed the Beef Shortrib dish while I enjoyed the Filet Mignon and steamed vegetables.
We had to cancel our tickets to Burn the Floor as my Sea Sickness struck again! The ship did have some movement heading down to the Caribbean and depending on where I sat on the ship it would hit me harder. I will say that the motion was never as bad as our cruise on Celebrity Reflection!
We originally booked this cruise in February in a Mini Spa Suite. We became extremely frustrated with Norwegian Cruise Line after they changed many options after our final payment date. Those changes were:
· Increase in Daily Service Charge.
· Increase in Beverage prices and Beverage package.
· Decrease in beverage menu offerings.
· Mandatory gratuity in specialty restaurants.
· Charging 7.95 for each room service order.
· Food can no longer be taken from any restaurants (later this was reverted thanks to customer complaints)
Thanks to Greg's hard work he received a bonus from work and so we decided to upgrade to the Haven Penthouse Suite. The Haven is "a ship within a ship." The Haven Suites are larger, offer more amenities, have access to a private lounge, have access to a private restaurant, have access to a private pool and sundeck, and receive priority treatment. With our Haven booking we received NCL's beverage package, dining package, gratuities, 300 OBC (on board credit), and 100 OBC from our travel agent Donna (BC Travel Company). We also ended up getting a $75 OBC for a price decrease on the room.
Another perk to booking in the Haven area is the pre-concierge. I contacted the pre-concierge department to customize our room. You can select from a pillow menu, tea menu, coffee menu, and ask for the mini fridge to be emptied.
Before we cruised we made dinner reservations, show reservations, and booked a shore excursion for Tortola.
As part of the Haven Suites category we receive a private check in area, private lounge area, and priority access onto the ship from the pier. Check in at Terminal B was very quick and efficient. We were in the initial lounge for only 5 minutes when we were escorted upstairs. Unfortunately, this is when everyone began getting frustrated (Greg and I were the least frustrated of the group as we figure we're on vacation). We were brought to a 2nd lounge where there were already suite guests as well as a wedding party. We started to notice that guests in the regular terminal were being allowed on board, then the wedding party got called on board, and finally someone explained that we should have been on board first. Off we went to the ship and the staff greeted us with a warm welcome and some dancing. We then had a private elevator ride up to the Haven Lounge. In the lounge we were offered a beverage, sliders, and french fries while the Concierge explained a little about the benefits. We were told that most of the rooms were ready however ours wasn't so we explored the ship for a while.
For lunch we chose to eat in the Haven restaurant. This is where we met Roluca! Roluca is the Maitre d of the Haven restaurant. Roluca is warm, friendly, funny and truly went out of her way to make sure my allergies (Dairy, Gluten, and Soy) weren't a problem when dining in the restaurant and even in some of other areas. I enjoyed a salad with oil and vinegar to start and the steak topped with rosemary. The steak was on the thin side and unfortunately it was a bit over cooked but very flavor. Greg enjoyed the salad to start and the swordfish.
Upon entering in 15122 we really liked what we saw! The Haven Penthouse Suite offers a large room, king size bed, table and chairs, flat screen tv, counter tops and drawers space, a mini fridge (which we had emptied so I could store my low fodmap snacks), a Lavazza coffee machine, 2 closets, a safe, large bathroom including a tub, a small balcony with two chairs and a small table. We did notice that the room was very dusty and that our room attendant Clark was only efficient not wonderful. Our butler Jorji stopped by our room to introduce himself. Throughout our stay Jorji was friendly and helpful but definitely seemed overloaded with suites that had more than 2 guests in them. Whenever we would call him he was running from one place to another and it would be a small wait.
Greg and I ventured around the ship again in the late afternoon. I read reviews prior to our cruise and here's my thoughts on some of the statements:
We started the evening with Anit at the Mojito bar. I loved my Pineapple Mojito (Tito Vodka since rum isn't Fodmap friendly)! Tonight we had dinner reservations at Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian. Ocean Blue was definitely our favorite restaurant on the ship and we booked it again for later in the week.
At Ocean Blue the staff came over to our table right away with the Chef to discuss my allergies. The chef took more order with out any hesitation. We started with Beef Tartar and Mussels. Both of these dishes were incredible! Full of flavor, texture, and beautifully presented. For entrees we enjoyed the duck and the sole. Our entrees were perfectly cooked and seasoned nicely. The staff at Ocean Blue are phenomenal. The staff executed service perfectly and you could tell they all had high standards. To end the meal I enjoyed a trio of sorbets. Creme de Casis, Coconut, and Strawberry. All three were dairy free, creamy, and well balanced.
After dinner I wish we could have gone out longer unfortunately my sea sickness was showing up even after taking medicine. Note: Bonine contains dairy! I ended up taking CVS brand fast melting motion sickness tabs.
Coming up: Day 2 At Sea
For our 16th wedding anniversary we decided to take a week's cruise to the Caribbean on Norwegian Getaway. Early on we decided we wanted to drive down to Florida. For some insane reason road trips relax us! Two goofballs in the car listening to music and watching the different sights go by really puts us at ease!
Our original plan was to leave before the sun rose on Friday morning. Drive to the Homewood Suites Daytona Beach Speedway and try to catch a few z's before heading to Miami Pier on Saturday morning. On Thursday afternoon we took Fred for a walk. Here's our conversation and why Greg and I fit together:
Greg: I wish we could just leave tonight after dinner with your family!
Me: Do you mean drive all through the night to Florida?
Me: You know you're insane right? We would be leaving in 5 hours!
Greg: Yup but we'd get to Daytona early :-)
Me: Okay I guess we should go buy some Monster energy drinks!
We celebrated our anniversary and our belated Mother's Day with my family. Said see you soon to Fred, hopped in the car and made our way to Florida!
21 hours later we arrived at Homewood Suites Daytona Beach Speedway. For my review of the hotel visit HERE Luckily we had several options for shopping and dining in the area. We went up the road to Five Guys . Five Guys can be free of Dairy, Gluten, and Soy. I ordered my bacon burger in a lettuce wrap with a side of french fries and we headed back to the hotel to relax for the night.
In the morning we left too early to try the breakfast offered by the Homewood Suites. We ventured over to Starbucks where I can enjoy an Iced Mocha that is Dairy, Gluten, and Soy free thanks to the new addition of coconut milk to the menu. I can also always find a fruit cup for breakfast at Starbucks.
4 hours later and we were at the Port of Miami. We ventured to Terminal B and dropped off our luggage(including a case of water for our room), tipped our porter, and drove to the next corner to the parking garage.
Up next is my full review of our Caribbean Cruise aboard Norwegian Getaway.