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