LUXURY CRUISING ON NCL
Norwegian Cruise Line shines the spotlight on The Haven.
Richard H. Wagner
The courtyard on Norwegian Epic is much larger than on the Jewel class.
The Haven also includes a sun deck on the Epic.
Guests staying in the Haven can have cocktails indoors or at a sheltered bar just off the courtyard.
The Courtyard Grill has both a sheltered loung and a sheltered dining area.
Haven guests have exclusive access to the Epic Club restaurant.
Above: Artitst's impressions of The Haven on the Project Breakaway ships. (Images courtesy of NCL)
Luxury on the Jewel Class
The luxury enclave on each of NCL's four Jewel class ships (Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem) is centered around a private courtyard on Deck 14. Flanked by one and two bedroom Villa suites, the courtyard is open to the sky and indeed, on a sunny day, this serene area has the ambiance of an ancient Roman villa. In its center is a flow pool for exercise and a sheltered hot tub for just relaxing. There is also a small exercise room at the aft end of the courtyard. Chairs and tables nestled amongst a small palm and other fauna provide a place to read or have a drink.
The courtyard is not all there is to The Haven on the Jewel class ships. There is also a private sun deck on the port side of Deck 15 just above the courtyard.
Up to 18 suites are part of The Haven on the Jewel-class ships. These include two 5,000 square foot Garden Villas, which according to NCL are the largest suites at sea. These are multi-room ultra-luxury accommodations, each with its own whirlpool, sun deck and steam room that is separate from the rest of The Haven. The other Haven accommodations are only somewhat less opulent.
On the Jewel class ships, the Haven does not have a dedicated restaurant. However, for breakfast and lunch, the Cagney's Steakhouse specialty restaurant located on Deck 13 just below The Haven is open to Haven guests on a complimentary basis. The menu is exclusive to Cagney's (i.e., it is offered nowhere else onboard) and guests have the option of just a light meal or a multi-course feast.
Along the same lines, the Star Bar just across the way is a concierge lounge during the day.
Most guests traveling on the Jewel-class ships probably do not even know that The Haven exists. NCL is discreet about its location. This is because privacy is important to a true luxury experience.
As noted earlier, personalized service is another key part of the NCL luxury experience. Starting in the Fall of 2011, NCL will be enhancing this aspect by making butler service 24 hours and by having its butlers trained and certified by the International Institute of Modern Butlers. In-suite dining is being enhanced to white tablecloth service.
Then there are the little things. The Haven's exclusive benefits include priority embarkation and disembarkation; a personal escort to the guest's suite; distinctive platinum keycard; priority boarding of tenders to shore; in-suite espresso/cappuccino machines; gourmet treats delivered each evening; Bliss Collection by Norwegian pillow-top mattress; fine linens, feather duvet and pillow menu; along with plush bathrobes, slippers, oversized towels and a cocktail party with the ship's officers. "Just ways to treat people special, make their life easier," comments Steven Jacobsen, Hotel Director on Norwegian Gem.
Luxury on Norwegian Epic
With The Haven on Norwegian Epic, NCL greatly expanded the concept developed on the Jewel-class ships both in size and scope. It is that two-deck high structure at the top of the forward end of Epic's superstructure. 60 suites located in that area as well as 15 suites located elsewhere in the ship are considered part of The Haven.
Within that structure is a much larger courtyard. The pool is a cruise ship-size pool. There are two whirlpools, a gym, saunas, and premium outdoor seating. In addition, The Haven has its own private sundeck located on the top of the structure.
On The Epic, The Haven has its own restaurant, the elegant Epic Club, as well as the adjoining Epic Club Lounge cocktail bar. For outdoor dining, it has the Courtyard Grill, which opens out into the main courtyard area. There is also a Concierge Lounge.
The Haven on Epic is more self-contained than its counterparts on The Jewel-class ships. It would be perfectly possible to spend ones entire cruise in this area and have a luxurious time. Of course, Haven guests are also entitled to preferred seating at shows taking place elsewhere on the ship. Thus, there is an incentive to go out and explore.
Luxury on Project Breakaway
Project Breakaway is NCL's working name for two new ships that it has ordered and which are due to enter service in April 2013 and April 2014. At 144,000 gross tons, the two ships will be slightly smaller than Epic (155,873 gross tons) but they will be built by the Meyer Werft shipyard, which is known for its high quality ships including NCL's Jewel-class and Celebrity Cruises' Solstice-class.
Similar to Epic, The Haven will be located at the top of the forward part of the superstructure. 42 suites will be located within The Haven. The largest of these will be two Deluxe Owner's Suites, which will have a living room and a dining area as well as a separate bedroom. Each Deluxe Owner's Suite will be capable of being combined with the neighboring Owner's Suite to make one massive suite capable of sleeping eight.
At the center of The Haven will be a two-deck high courtyard. Its centerpiece will be a large pool, with both a deep end and a shallow end. There will also be two whirlpools. Other features will include massage rooms, a sauna, and a sundeck. Haven guests will also have direct access to the ship's spa.
The Haven on each ship will also have a private restaurant, a cocktail bar and a concierge desk.
NCL's CEO Kevin Sheehan sums up NCL's luxury offering as follows: "Norwegian was the first cruise line to introduce the ship within a ship complex with the introduction of Norwegian Jewel in 2005. With The Haven by Norwegian, we truly have our own private boutique hotel on Norwegian Epic, Gem, Pearl, Jade, and Jewel, along with our new Project Breakaway ships, offering the ultimate in luxury and service at sea."
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