Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Norwegian Getaway, The Haven Courtyard Penthouse

My husband and I just returned from a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise on board Norwegian Getaway.  We stopped in St. Thomas, Tortola and Nassau.  This cruise was a relaxing getaway for us, and we only briefly got off the ship in St. Thomas so I could buy a new pair of sunglasses and visit Senor Frogs.  We wanted to just enjoy the ship and go at our own pace.

Category H5, Courtyard Penthouse

Haven Pool Area
I had toured The Haven in the past, but not stayed there.  For this trip, we booked a Category H5, The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony.  The room was spacious, about 270 square feet, and very well appointed.  The bed was super comfy, upgraded amenities for the bath, I could go on and on, but I won’t!  Being in The Haven, you have exclusive key card access to The Haven area, which has a private lounge, private pool and sun deck, private dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner, butler and concierge service.  Talk about being spoiled.

On the day of embarkation, we got to the cruise terminal in Miami at about 11:45 am.  There is a separate check in location for guests sailing in The Haven.  This was nice, as there was one person ahead of us.  We were finished in no time.  We then waited in another area (which was rather small) for an escort on to the ship to meet our concierge team.  This was a nice change from waiting in long lines for check in.  Our rooms were also ready when we boarded, so it was nice to drop our stuff off so we could walk around the ship.

There was a lot to do on board, but we chose not to partake in a lot of activities.   We did some trivia, watched some movies (pay per view movies in The Haven are free), and played in the arcade.  We also walked the ropes course and walked the plank, which was a fun and unique experience.  For the ropes course, you are harnessed in, and walk along ropes and beams.  There is an actual plank that hangs over the side of the ship that you can walk out on if you wish.  The one thing I wish we were told is that if we pulled the rope, a photo would be taken.  Nobody informed us of this, so we missed the money shot of us being out on the plank.  We spent an evening watching comedy, another listening to the dueling pianos at Howl at the Moon.  We also did a cake decorating class, as there is a Carlo’s Bakery on board.  This was a fun (expensive) experience, as I enjoy baking and decorating.

Norwegian has so many dining options:  main dining rooms, casual dining, buffet area, and specialty dining (which has a per person fee).  We had the entire week planned out, eating in different venues each night.  Day one was Teppanyaki, which is the Japanese Steakhouse/Hibachi restaurant.  We have eaten in this restaurant on other ships, and it is our favorite.  Dinner was delicious as usual.  Day two, we ate in Moderno, which is the Brazilian restaurant.  Here you get continuously served different kinds of meat, and keep eating until you tell them to stop.  Good way to sample different meats and tastes.  Day three we ate at La Cucina’s Italian Restaurant, yummy!  Day four, Cagney’s Steakhouse.  Day five, we ate at the Illusionarium.  This is a magic/illusion dinner show, which was fantastic.  Need to inject here about being a Haven guest … we were escorted to the theater by the Haven Concierge at 8:00pm for an 8:45 show start.  We went down in the crew elevator, which let us out right outside the Illusionarium entrance.  We bypassed the regular line (in fact, didn’t even see the regular line).  The doors opened for us, we were greeted by the cast and had front row seats.  Pretty cool perk!  Day six we were back at Teppanyaki and day seven we ate dinner in The Haven restaurant, which exceeded my expectations.  Yes, you do pay extra to dine in these venues, but we feel it is worth it.   Our breakfast was spent each morning at The Haven restaurant.  I cannot tell you how fantastic it was to sit in a restaurant without waiting, without battling crowds.  Lunches were scattered between The Haven restaurant, O’Sheehan’s which is a 24 hour bar and grill, and the buffet area.

On night two, while we were dining in Moderno, we heard the Captain come over the speakers “Code Oscar, Port Side” and we watched numerous staff members rush out of the restaurant.  At this point, we felt the ship turning.  We knew exactly what this meant, a cloud of concern and sadness filled the area.  My husband went out on deck, he could see the staff members, the spectators.  He also saw search lights scanning the water.  It was pitch black out, except for the occasional flash of lighting alerting us that a storm was nearby.  The Captain came back over the speakers stating that there was a man over board situation and that the ship was being turned and to be careful as items could shift.  Keep in mind that the Norwegian Getaway is 1,062 feet long, 18 decks high and weighs 146,600 gross tons.  She is a big ship that was traveling probably somewhere between 18-22 knots at the time.  About 20 minutes or so after the initial “Code Oscar” call was made, the Captain came back on and announced that the rescue was successful.  Cheers and applause could be heard from every area of the ship.  I am mentioning this for a reason … a huge kudos to the Captain of Norwegian Getaway and the staff.  I cannot even imagine how difficult it is to turn a ship around in that amount of time and actually find a passenger that jumped overboard.  Very impressive, and that passenger is luckier than one can imagine.  Back on course we were … never missing a beat and arriving to our port on time as scheduled.

So, is The Haven worth it?  Well I certainly say so!  It is quite a bit higher of a price tag (and yes, I pay for my cruises just like you do), but there is so much that comes with it.  It was so nice to have a quiet place to go to.  Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the crowds and this was a perfect escape.  We are wondering if we will ever be able to sail Norwegian any other way!  We have already booked The Haven for July of 2016 on the Breakaway to Bermuda, which we will take all the kids on that cruise.

Would you like more info on Norwegian or The Haven?  Just let me know and I would be happy to answer all of your questions!  You can reach me by phone at 888-882-5793, by email or visit my website.

Happy Sailing!
Kathy Freer
CruiseOne Freer & Associates