Not convinced Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, Norwegian Encore, is for you? With an impressive array of top-deck activities, nearly 20 restaurants and more day and evening fun than you can get to in a week, there's plenty for everyone to do. Before you risk missing out on a ship you're bound to love, Cruise Critic has rounded up the most exciting things you need to know.
These boots were made for sashaying across a stage, and that's just what they'll do. The hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Kinky Boots, based on the film of the same name and featuring songs written by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, will be the headline show on Norwegian Encore. The 90-minute production, cut down from 140 minutes, follows the story of drag queen Lola and her unlikely friendship with a struggling shoe factory owner. It's great fun for everyone.
Norwegian Encore will be the third ship in the cruise line's fleet to have an outdoor go-kart track, but on this ship it'll be the longest track by about 100 feet. Plus, the 1,100-foot track will have 13 feet that actually extend over the side of the ship, so you'll be putting the pedal to the metal over the open water. We also like that there will now be a covered viewing area in the middle of the track, so you can watch even if it's raining. Spectators can also get in on the action using laser guns to give their favorite drivers a boost.
Famed Italian restaurant chain Scarpetta will take to the high seas when it opens Onda by Scarpetta onboard Norwegian Encore. The restaurant -- which can be found on land in such storied hotels as The Fontainebleau in Miami, The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia and The James New York -- offers up freshly made pasta, classic Italian favorites and signature seafood dishes (both raw and cooked).
Norwegian Encore will be just the second ship in the Norwegian fleet to have the 10,000-square-foot Galaxy Pavilion, one of the most fun cruise ship additions we've experienced. Almost entirely driven by virtual reality, the arcade of attractions will be the first to feature a VR-based escape room; it will also include race car, hang gliding and roller coaster simulators (among many others) and an interactive 4D cinema in which you compete against other movie-goers to kill the most monsters.
Solo cruisers are often left out of the discussion when it comes to designing a cruise ship, but not with Norwegian Cruise Line. The line's popular Studio solo cabins return on Encore, along with the Studio Lounge, an exclusive spot for solo cruisers to meet and mingle. Each of the 82 Studio rooms, which are priced for a solo traveler and require no supplemental fee, is 99 square feet and features a full-sized bed and separate areas for the toilet, sink and shower.
Do you have the courage to face the Ocean Loops water slide? With its 159-foot drop, double loop and 11 feet of twisting slide that extends out over the side of the ship, it's not for the faint-hearted. The multi-story Aqua Racer is another exhilarating slide with dual tubes; grab a friend and race each other down to the bottom. For the younger set, there's the kids' Aqua Park with a pint-sized tube slide, tipping buckets and water cannons.
The aforementioned Onda by Scarpetta is just one of nearly 20 dining venues that will be on Norwegian Encore. Five of these will be complimentary (six, if you're staying in The Haven suite complex), including three main dining rooms, an extensive buffet restaurant and The Local Bar and Grill with its 24-hour casual pub fare. Just a few of the specialty restaurant highlights include: Q, with its authentic, finger-licking Texas barbecue; Food Republic, which offers a fusion of small plate tastes from the Mediterranean, Mexico and Asia; Coco's, with a kaleidoscope of chocolates, sweets and ice cream concoctions that have to be seen to be believed; and a full-service Starbucks.
We're not entirely sure how we feel about having the resurrected lost city of Atlantis perched on the back of the ship (it was washed away in a giant wave, after all) but we'd bet anything it's a fantastic setting for a laser tag arena. Even better, this laser tag arena layers on augmented reality, so you can uncover hidden treasures as you hide behind ruins and run past giant tentacled sea creatures.
The largest Vibe Beach Club in the fleet, this extra-fee, adults-only outdoor space will be two levels and offer two hot tubs, a misting water feature, a full-service bar, chaise loungers, chilled towels and complimentary fruit skewers. The club is only for those ages 18 and older, so you're guaranteed quiet, child-free sunbathing during the day. The spot heats up at night, usually with a live band and dancing.