Escape's Haven – How the Other Half Cruises
Earlier in the week, the Hotel Director, Jovo Sekulovic, invited me and SP to have dinner at The Haven Restaurant which is part of the ship-within-a-ship concept Norwegian has developed. Because we had reservations at Teppanyaki the evening of Day 6 and Cagney’s on Day 7, I asked the Hotel Director’s Secretary, Pamela, if we could dine at The Haven Restaurant for lunch instead. She agreed and asked us to meet her at the iConcierge lounge at 1pm and she would escort us up to The Haven.
When we met Pamela, she took up up to the Deck 17 and we entered The Haven via a keycard controlled door. Beyond the dedicated Concierge desk, Pamela gave us a tour of the three levels of The Haven. The Haven area features a restaurant a bar along with its own pool and hot tubs in a lounge area with retractable solarium roof. From an upper deck, there is access to a separate sun deck area called Vibe on the Escape. It may go by other names on other ships. Vibe is shared by both guests staying in The Haven and guest who purchase cruise-long passes. While giving us the tour, a couple of guests stopped Pamela to chat. She’s obviously made a good impression on the other guests.At the end of our tour, Pamela dropped us off on Deck 18 at the entrance to The Haven Restaurant.
We were seated with a view off the starboard side of the ship through gauzy white and blue layered drapes. SP and I shared the charcuterie and cheese plate to start. SP then had the Cobb salad while I had the Niçoise salad. The centerpiece of the salad, the tuna, was fantastic. SP wanted the linguine, but not the clams. Our waiter recommended substituting salmon. The pasta was served with chorizo and sun-dried tomatoes with a large piece of baked salmon on top. I had the scallops and the goat cheese galette. The scallops were good, but I wish they had been served with a more substantial side than the baby bok choy. The goat cheese galette was very good — somewhat like a sauceless pizza.
Dessert was the star of the meal. The carrot cake was a good version with a soft cream cheese frosting. SP and I both enjoyed the espresso brownies. Again, the ice cream was one of the best parts. This one was macadamia flavored. Not something I’ve had before. The best dessert was the banana cream tartlet. It was a sophisticated presentation of banana pudding with toasted coconut and an abundance of whipped cream. Knowing that we still had a dinner ahead of us plus the Glow Party, SP and I napped again after lunch.
While we had reservations for the 7:30pm production of For The Record: The Brat Pack, we decided to skip it again. I grew up on movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink” that the show is built on, but SP didn’t. That’s probably why when I described it, it didn’t resonate with him. We got to dinner at Teppanyaki at 8:45pm and were seated at the hibachi immediately.
You Can’t Stand on the Chair, You Can Cook on the Table
Teppanyaki features two signature cocktails. The Wasabi is lychee and orange juice-based and is served with a lychee on a skewer. I preferred the Shaku Shaku cucumber-based cocktail. Dinner was a standard hibachi dinner with multiple parties seated around the cooktop with a chef putting on a show while preparing the meal. We started with edamame, followed by miso soup and a cabbage and seaweed salad. Then the chef served a vegetable appetizer of stacked slices of onion, squash, zucchini, and carrot. After the vegetables, the chef performed some tricks with eggs while preparing the fried rice. SP wanted more pasta, so he got the chicken and udon noodles while I got the filet mignon knowing I’d be asked to share. The meal ended with a kind of fruit sashimi of watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and kiwi. The other dessert was a green tea cake served with green tea ice cream. This was not a dish I’d order again, but SP really enjoyed both the cake and the ice cream.
Around 11pm, SP and I got ready for the Glow Party and walked up to Spice H2O. I really wanted to have a good time, have some drinks, and dance a little. However, the music was painfully loud. I’m not the only one who thought so, as we went in, we heard people leaving complaining about the volume. While we were walking around the ship after we left, we heard people saying they wanted to stay at the party, but left because the music was physically overwhelming. Hopefully, Norwegian can find a lower volume that lets everyone hear the music, but doesn’t chase people off. Again, I truly wanted to enjoy myself here, but there was just no way I was going to put my ears through that kind of abuse to dance. I’m hopeful that on the Epic, the party will be more enjoyable.
Last Stop, Nassau
Tomorrow, we’ll dock in Nassau. This will be at least my fourth trip to Nassau, so I’m not sure I’ll be getting off the ship. Whatever SP wants to do will be fine with me. Sadly, at some point tomorrow, I’ll have to pack. On all my previous cruises, I’ve carried my luggage off myself, however, hearing Matt on the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast describe the process of hiring a porter to get luggage back to the car, I’m thinking I’ll pack during the day and have Norwegian handle my luggage. One more day on the cruise, and then it’s back to reality (temporarily).
Escape Live Blog Day 1 - Embarkation Day
Escape Live Blog Day 2 - Sea Day
Escape Live Blog Day 3 - Our Sea Day in Falmouth, Jamaica
Escape Live Blog Day 4 - George Town, Grand Cayman
Escape Live Blog Day 5 - A Sea Day at The Movies, and a Surprise
Escape Live Blog Day 6 - Sea Day, The Haven, And Amplitude
Escape Live Blog Day 7 - Nassau, Bahamas (as seen from the ship)