I recently had the opportunity to sail for a week aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand new ship the Escape. Not only did I get to experience all the bells and whistles of a new ship, but I got to sail in an exclusive area of the ship called the “Haven”. It can best be described as a tranquil, relaxing, retreat from the hustle and bustle of a 4,000+ passenger ship. Or in one word, Amazing!
To set the stage I should mention that this was my 30th cruise, so I have a pretty good base for what a cruise should be like. Also, to put into perspective there are only about 300 passengers with access to the Haven out of over 4,000 on this sailing. I loved almost everything about this ship but the Haven was truly an appreciated bonus. It made for what I possibly consider the best cruise I have been on. I couldn’t resist including my traditional cruise selfie!
The Haven experience begins immediately after getting through the port security as you are invited to be checked in through the Haven Lounge. They offer water, coffee, and small snacks in the waiting area and you are seated in comfortable couches to wait for your key cards. Depending on your arrival time to the port you still may have to wait to board the ship, but as soon as the ship is cleared to take on passengers you will be some of the first guests onboard.
You are escorted to the Haven lounge and introduced to the concierge. The concierge goes over important details for the week and lets you know what he or she can do for you. You are then dismissed to go drop off any luggage in your suite, go get lunch, or explore the ship as you please. Below you will see the Haven courtyard which includes a private pool, Jacuzzis, and loungers.
Next up was our “special” cabin. We booked what is called a Haven Spa Suite. Not only did we have access to the Haven and all of its perks but we also had access for the week in the Spa Thermal Suite. I have not spent much time in the thermal spa on previous cruises but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I spent an hour or two in there every morning and left feeling refreshed.
Our cabin was located next to the spa and one deck down from the Haven itself. What is interesting is that this category of cabin is usually one of the lower priced Haven Suites yet it’s the only one to come with spa access. The Haven Spa Suite is clearly aimed towards couples as it only allows for double occupancy and has only one king sized bed.
Most standard cruise cabins have a king that is comprised of two twins pushed together. On top of all this it also has an in suite Jacuzzi tub, pictured below. We checked out the cabin for a bit and while we were there we were introduced to our butler. The butler can get you anything you may need from room service to afternoon snacks to drawn baths. It is just another one of the great perks of being in the Haven.
In addition to everything I’ve mentioned so far the Haven also comes with a private sun deck (seen below), a private restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a private bar, and a laundry list of added perks and benefits. We got to experience all the public venues on this beautiful ship but it was always nice to have this retreat.
While I would love to say I could afford to sail this way every cruise, the truth is I cannot. However, if you can, this is the way to go. And for those of you in my situation you at least have to try it once! It truly was a fantastic way to experience the Norwegian Escape and cruising in general. Does the NCL Haven experience sound like it’s for you?
Written by Matt Theriault.
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