A few years ago my family and I went on a cruise and booked a standard room with a view. We had a bed, a little half dividing wall with a fold out couch and a balcony. Of course as P was only 6 months old, we pretty much all had to quit for the night at 6pm so he could go to bed.
Although that sounds like a complaint, I sorta miss the days of P going to bed at 6pm. Just sayin.
While we have fond memories of that trip and was a pretty decent vacation with two little ones in tow, this time we were hoping for more. Phoenyx is now just over 2, Charlotte’s nearly 9 and we decided to book the Topaz Penthouse, which is a 2 bedroom family suite, on the Norwegian Jewel out of the port of New Orleans.
Rather than telling you all about it, I took some video for you to see the room here:
The room opens up into a mini hallway. Off to the immediate left is a bedroom that includes a bathroom and shower, a closet, a bed that folds down from the wall, and a couch bed. This room also contains its own thermostat, TV, and lock on the doors via your key.
Just forward into the room you have a living area with a small bar area. The room comes with an espresso maker, a mini bar below that contains various items for purchase, a table and four chairs, a couch that folds into a bed and a flat screen TV.
Then you can go into the master bedroom which closes off with curtains (helps if you want to take a nap during the day). Inside the master there is a flat screen TV and DVD player.
The room itself opens up to a bathroom that includes a bathtub, shower and water closet.
Highlights of booking out a 2 bedroom suite
1) For us, everyone in our family having their own “space” made it a nice vacation. We do not relax in a crammed environment and with a child that is 2, we are still on nap and early bedtime schedules. It was really nice to put our son down in a separate room, let him sleep, and then sit down to a meal and a DVD or go sit on the balcony and look at the stars.
2) This room had a tub! Again, 2 year olds not that great in showers…so the tub was a saving grace.
3) As a guest on the Norwegian Jewel that stays in a suite or penthouse, you are considered a VIP cruiser. You receive a butler and a concierge assigned to your room. You want something? The butler brings it. Something goes wrong? The concierge fixes it. We were able to rely on our butler (Henry was great!) to bring us breakfast, sometimes lunch, and sometimes dinner, anytime we wanted. It was fantastic to sit down and let the kids eat in the room without sacrificing good food. He could bring meals from any of the restaurants. The concierge helped us book out an excursion without standing in any lines…we called, he brought the tickets, case closed. There was a time that I wanted to rent a movie that I hadn’t been able to get and he went to the guest to see if they were done and brought it to our room. As a VIP there were also a lot of extras like getting into the chocolate buffet before anyone else on the ship, champagne meet and greet with the ship captain, previews of the ships art and more.
4) Another REALLY BIG PERK of booking out a 2 bedroom family suite was Priority embarking and disembarking. We got to skip all the lines and were ushered right to the front to take our ID pictures the day of boarding. Then we were escorted into a separate area with food waiting at the port. We met our concierge and were escorted on the boat by our butler. My only feedback here is that we went in with another family and the family they assigned at the same time was elderly. So while our butler pushed them, our kids were losing their minds walking that slowly so we went on ahead and just entered the ship. On the day we left, we had a special meeting area that had food available.
Our wait time was 8:45am and we were allowed to walk off the ship pretty shortly thereafter. We were actually in our car by 9:15am….we are talking off the ship, picked up our bags, and porter-ed to our vehicle in under 20 minutes. I cannot say that ANY other cruise we have been on has been that efficient.
5) As part of a villa or penthouse you also were allowed to eat in Cagneys for breakfast and lunch (without any extra ship charges), which was the steakhouse on the ship for dinner. We did this once…ONCE. We went for lunch and P acted a fool. So we left before they had really poured water into our glasses to save other patrons and from that moment on we had all meals, including Cagneys, delivered to our stateroom.
6) This stateroom also had a connecting suite you could book out if you wanted. It had a small living area, bathroom, bedroom and a balcony that could open up to your room to elongate the outside. What is nice is if you were going on this cruise with your parents or in laws, you could connect the rooms to create one very large penthouse.
Now no vacation is without a few bumps in the road so lets talk about the stateroom issues we had. This room (11024) on deck 11 was a lot noisier then we expected. We thought because no other staterooms were above us that it would be pretty quiet. What we did find above us was Perspectives Photography and part of the pool deck. At nighttime when were laying down for the evening, there were always shoots going on and people wandering around on the deck. We could hear the high heels clicking across the ceiling and had to complain a few times. Our concierge did let the photo studio know of the noise and what was funny is Saturday morning during our photo shoot she said we had to stay quiet cause there was a little boy and girl below us that were resting…and we were like, yah, that’s us. HA!
Also if I had to nitpick the room, the window from the bathtub to the balcony was a bit weird. If I wanted to take a bath during the day and my daughter was on the porch it was like HI! This is your naked mom! It had a little tiny see through screening, but you see right through it. Something a little more private on that window would be a plus consider a suite usually denotes a family rooming together and not just a couple.
Want to see the rest of the ship? Click on some of the photos I took to view the Norwegian Jewel:
Would I book a 2 bedroom family suite again?
Without a doubt! I actually do not think I could cruise with the kids without one. It was perfect for our family. My only change is if I could afford it, I would book in the Haven. The haven had this exact room but it was on the top level of the ship with nothing above you and includes its own private pool for only Haven guests.
Now that would be cruising in style!
Have you taken a toddler on a cruise before? What was your experience?