This review is about our honeymoon cruise on The Norwegian Escape and our fabulous experience in the exclusive area of the ship called The Haven. You can read about everything The Haven has to offer here. My blog is mostly recipes and food-related content, but I also want to include some of the travel that I do. I like the idea of having a place to keep stories and pictures of my trips and adventures. I also love to research my trips through other people’s blogs, pictures and reviews, so if I’m able to help out other people with my reviews, that will make me happy.
Since this is going to be a long review, so I’m going to break it up into parts so it doesn’t come out as one mile long post. We sailed on the Norwegian Escape for our Honeymoon on the September 2nd, 2017 sailing. With all of the craziness that happened during and after the cruise, it has taken me quite some time to get to where I could write this review. So…here we go!
I love, love, love cruises! I had been driving my then fiancé crazy for the seven months prior to the start of this highly anticipated trip, with the planning, watching YouTube videos and endless reading of forum boards. Finally the day had arrived!
Port Arrival and Haven Check-In
Since we live on the West coast of Florida, we headed out early in the day to make the drive over to the Port of Miami. Of course at the exact moment we arrived, it started raining cats and dogs. Luckily, the summer storms in Florida are almost always quick. We parked at the port in the garage directly across from the terminal which charged $20.00 a day. Although some other lots nearby were charging a bit less, it seemed worth it to us to not have to wait for a shuttle, or try to fight large crowds for shuttles when trying to leave the port to go home.
The security line was quick and painless and probably only took 10 minutes or less. Once through security, the check-in room for The Haven was right to the left. The Haven is an exclusive “VIP” section of the ship that includes an enclosed courtyard with a small pool, hot tubs, a sauna, extra-thick padded sun-loungers, an open sun-deck, a restaurant, a lounge and many other extras. Also, each Haven suite has a 24-hour butler, which was a nice perk.
After checking in and getting our ship cards, we patiently waited for our priority escort to arrive and take us on the ship. The Haven waiting area has comfy couches and chairs along with a drink and snack area that consisted of coffee, teas, juices, cookies and small snacks. This was very welcomed since I skipped breakfast in my rush to get to the port early, and I’m sure some of you know exactly why I was so anxious to get there so early….Vibe passes!
We probably got in the waiting room around 10:15-10:30-ish and had to wait around an hour or less. The priority escort came and took a small group of us through the very large crowds of other passengers waiting to board, parading us through single file, holding up a sign high in the air with the words “PRIORITY” on it. We did get a lot of stares and what felt like laser beams shooting through our bodies. The escort took us to yet another waiting area, sectioned off with velveteen ropes. Fortunately, this wait was much shorter. The escort came back and we were off to begin our honeymoon!
We walked onto the beautiful ship with the other Haven passengers, and the crew attempted to steer everyone into the elevator to go directly to the Haven lounge. We made a quick detour to go down the stairs and straight to the Headliners Comedy Club to get our coveted week-long Vibe Beach Club passes, as there are only around 75-80 sold, or so I hear. I was so happy to see that we were the first ones in there and we scored numbers #20 and #21.
We did let our concierge know prior to the cruise that we did want Vibe passes, in hopes they could get them for us and avoid the pre-cruise anxiety of wondering if it was going to happen or not, but I could never get a clear cut answer as to whether we would get them or not. So we decided to just take matters into our own hands. Later on in the day, I did see a couple getting Vibe passes at the Haven concierge desk, so I guess I could have just waited. Either way, we were happy and took off for the Haven lounge.
Entering the Haven for the first time
We entered just at the right time. The concierge, Adrian, had just begun explaining where everything was and other benefits we would get in the Haven. He did let us know that lunch in Margaritaville was free on the first day for Haven passengers. Food Republic was 50% off (also on the first day only)-yassss!
We decided to make a quick stop to drop off our carry-on bags in our room. Our room was 16120, a Haven Spa Suite, and one floor down from the Haven lounge and courtyard. Our room was not ready yet, but we did get to meet our room steward. Unfortunately I can’t remember his name…but he was a wonderful steward though! We headed back up to the Haven lounge to get our first drink of the day, (made by one of my favorite Haven bartenders, Miroslav), and then walked around a little before lunch.
After exploring the Haven courtyard area, we decided to go check out Vibe. Since we were one of the first groups on the ship, it was still fairly empty.
Vibe Beach Club
Lunch in the Haven restaurant
After our quick tour around the Haven and Vibe, we decided to go have our first lunch in the Haven restaurant. I’m a bit of a foodie, and I have heard nothing but good things about the food there, so I wanted to make sure I ate there as many chances as I could get. Little did I know how many chances that would be! (Foreshadowing….)
First, I know these first pics are just of bread, but it was oh so good bread. These will be my only bread pics…(I think).
My appetizer was the Lobster Bisque…
My entree was the Pan-Seared Diver Scallops with Baby Bok Choy, Radishes and Vegetable Nage. I had never heard of “nage” before, but apparently it’s a flavored broth used to poach seafood, and later thickened with cream and/or butter. It. Was. So. Good. More nage, please.
My man’s entree was Linguine with Littleneck Clams, Chorizo, Semi-Dried Tomatoes (yes, semi-dried…not sun-dried…another new one for me), and Zucchini in a White Wine and Garlic sauce. Also amazing.
We skipped out on dessert when we heard our rooms were ready. Off to check out our home for the next week!
Haven Spa Suite Room 16120
As I mentioned earlier, we were in room 16120 in a Haven Spa Suite, which is on the Port side of the ship. Below are a few pics around the room. Note there are drawers and storage everywhere. I put everything away, and I still don’t think I used all of the drawers and storage. Suitcases also fit under the bed perfectly.
I realized later on in our trip that I neglected to take any pictures of the bathroom, so those will come later.
Back to Vibe Beach Club
We headed back out to have a drink before it was time for the dreaded Muster Drill.
We walked back to Vibe and there were now people! One thing to note…there is a door in the second floor Haven courtyard stairwell that exits directly into Vibe and there is the keycard slot there too that you must have in order to open the door to get into Vibe. We tried numerous times throughout the entire trip to get it to open with the keycard, and it just wouldn’t work. Rommel in Vibe showed us a trick where you can just slide your card in the door latch and get it to open that way. Great security! Although, if anyone without Vibe passes did this and got in, they would be shooed out pretty quickly, as the bartenders there seem to have the most amazing memories in remembering everybody and their names. They know who should be there and who should not be there.
After a quick drink and meeting some of our fellow Vibe friends, we wanted to stop back at the room one more time before muster. This stop, we met our wonderful butler, Akhmad and got our first delivery of his afternoon snacks.
I think the canapés were salami/cheese, olive tapenade/cheese, caviar/creme fraiche, chicken salad and cranberries (possibly?) and cheese wrapped in prosciutto. These are my closest guesses. They were all very tasty!
We headed out for the Muster Drill…our station was in the Theater. I didn’t get any pics here since it was pretty unexciting. After Muster was over, we headed up one deck to one of our favorite places on the ship…The District Brew House.
The District Brew House ♥
I believe this is the Due South Caramel Cream Ale and the Stone IPA.
To be continued…