190 Norwegian Encore Cruise Reviews

Initially we had an Asian destination cruise with Norwegian, that was canceled. We were able to secure the Bahamas cruise, departing in Miami. Everything about this cruise was great. The crew managed the increasing corona virus concerns ... Read More
Initially we had an Asian destination cruise with Norwegian, that was canceled. We were able to secure the Bahamas cruise, departing in Miami. Everything about this cruise was great. The crew managed the increasing corona virus concerns well, and passengers were generally patient and understood. With the exception of two adult passenger tantrums we witnessed, that I must say were handled very well by crew who were clearly working above and beyond their everyday responsibilities, things flowed well for the passengers. I’m sure behind the scenes it was a very busy and stressful time for all of the crew, especially considering whilst we were cruising, the orders came that all cruises were canceled, so crew were faced with the prospect of being without income for an unknown amount of time once our journey ended. Not once did any of the crew complain or make comment about this. They continued to work hard, showed grace and humour and managed their roles well. The ports were great, and our hearts are worried about the impact the cancelations will have on the beautiful people we met on the ship and in port. We loved the entertainment, the shopping guides with Dan & Dan, the wait staff in the restaurants, the bar tenders...all of the staff were fantastic! We will be booking another cruise as soon as we can. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due ... Read More
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due to COVID-19. On that note, kudos and appreciation to the crew who worked tirelessly to keep passengers and crew safe and healthy. Each day, we noticed additional measures were put in place, including the cancellation of some events, crew serving passengers at the buffet instead of each grabbing the utensils themselves, tables in the dining room only being set once seated, paper menus, crew not handling keycards, and, of course, additional hand washing and sanitizing, to name just a few. Embarkation for this cruise took much longer than any previous cruise; partly because we couldn’t get to the port until the busiest time, but mostly because the additional screening (taking temperature and checking passports) to ensure ill people did not board. Once on board, my wife, 7 year old daughter and I marvelled at the “new-ness,” the size and the beauty of Encore. I quickly went to make reservations for dining and some of the activities. The lines for this were shorter than I expected and I was able to get most of my reservations quickly and easily. Do this on your first day on board. We ate at the Local (what is called O’Sheehan’s on most other NCL ships). There’s more space for The Local on this ship, and the food is just as good - though I missed the meat loaf this time. We looked to get our keycards hole-punched for our lanyards and were told these new keycards cannot be punched. The use a tap-system rather than a swipe-system and a hole-punch renders them useless. Conveniently - for NCL - they sell lanyards with a plastic pouch for your card for $10 - $12 on board. (And you can’t buy the plastic pouch separately.) Save the $ and just bring your own. Here is a bullet-point rundown of what’s on Encore that we really loved: - food; we only ever eat in the main dining rooms and the food on NCL is always delicious. We’ve heard great things about the specialty dining rooms but feel there’s no reason for us to try them yet as the food that’s included in the price is so good. - entertainment: Choir of Man and Kinky Boots were the best combo of main shows of any cruise I’ve been on to date. We watched Choir of Man twice, we loved it so much! Kinky Boots was so well done - a huge cast, 1:45 min show without intermission; it felt like Broadway. We took our 7 year old because she loves musicals and didn’t find the content all that inappropriate actually and the language was much better than other shows we’ve seen. Your call, if you sailing with kids. The two comedians were quite funny but we prefer improv and would love for NCL to renegotiate a contract with Second City and bring them back. - casino: we don’t ever gamble and appreciated the casino’s enclosed smoking area, keeping the smell of smoke in the public areas to a minimum. - kids aqua park: perfect size and amenities, my 7 year old loved it. - activities: lots to do for all ages; not enough time. I took my daughter with me in the go-carts for one session ($15 for about 5 or 6 laps). I did the VR experience in the Galaxy Pavilion - it wasn’t busy so I did the $29 for one hour deal. I tried 14 of the games and must admit I felt a bit woozy doing them in such rapid succession. I did the escape game BAMboozled - our team won! The Beatles show was over-crowded; great sound but a boring show actually (I expected better, given the other reviews here but perhaps didn’t give them a fair shake). - the Observation Lounge on Deck 15. A great place to relax, especially on rocky sea days. Not once did I feel like the ship was crowded or congested. - cabin: we usually book an interior room and this time we were assigned an accessible room with additional space. - wine package: I could never drink enough alcohol to make the all-inclusive drink package worthwhile, and my wife doesn’t drink at all. I usually take a few bottles of wine on board and pay the corkage fee, but this time I did the Viva Vino - 4 bottles for $110 + grat. This worked well, though still more expensive than paying corkage on my own bottles. What could have been better (certainly not make-or-break): - coffee; only good coffee on the ship is the Starbucks (extra $) - timing of the call in San Juan: arriving at 5:30 pm doesn’t leave chance to do much of anything - the ship is loud: the band on the pool deck, the blaring muster drill in the theatre, even the relentless creaking in staterooms and common areas during pitch and roll - just annoying more than anything - I’m no designer, but what is that strange chandelier hanging in 6-7-8? Not elegant. - I missed the live music in the Manhattan Room Excursions San Juan - as mentioned, arriving at 5:30 was not ideal. We walked around and bought a souvenir. St. Thomas - purchased an excursion through Godfrey Tours. I tried to give Godfrey a suggestion to give better directions as to where to find him - strangely he started arguing with me about it. Simply put: when you get off the ship, ask someone to direct you to the “pre-arranged tour” meeting area. 3rd party tours, not booked through your cruise line. That said, the tour was great! Very informative (did every hurricane hit St. Thomas?!?), and we loved our time at Megan’s Beach. Tortola - did nothing here except look at the shops within the cruise port. We did note how clean this port area was compared to St. Thomas. Will do something more elaborate here next time. Great Stirrup Cay - we made it! Tendering was possible this time. First time in three tries for my daughter; second time in four tries for my wife and I. Beautiful place, but NCL really has to build a pier here to ensure making this port of call. Shout out to a few crew members (we filled out our Vacation Hero cards but forgot to drop them off): - Henry - waiter in the Manhattan Room; friendly and quick service - John Milligan - pianist in the Observation Lounge who invited members of the Choir of Man and Kinky Boots to sing as he accompanied. I want to quickly address some of the major criticisms of Encore by other reviewers. ** Not enough space for sunning around the pool. I can see this being an issue, but we are not pool people or sun-worshippers so it didn’t bother us at all. We could always find a lounge chair in a shady part of the pool deck near the Kids Aqua Park. If this is a major priority for you, consider a different ship or purchase the Vibe Club. ** NCL “nickel and dimes” you. Yes. And thanks for doing so. By not including all the extras in the initial fare, passengers can pick and choose what they want to experience rather than pay up front for all of it. It keeps the price down, lets me pay for the activities I want to do, and minimizes long line-ups. We absolutely loved this cruise. A wonderful mix of active and relaxing vacation. Encore has a few kinks (no pun intended) but is a spectacular ship. We would love to sail on her again. NCL in general meets our family’s desires - great food, lots to do (or not to do), top rate kids programming and amenities, affordable. It’s remains our cruise line of choice. Thank you NCL for a great week - especially given what was going on in the world at the time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I wanted to experience a new mega ship and this one seemed right. I have sailed Norwegian several times and always enjoyed it. So getting right to it: Pros: beautiful decor and public areas. Food was very good overall and wonderful in ... Read More
I wanted to experience a new mega ship and this one seemed right. I have sailed Norwegian several times and always enjoyed it. So getting right to it: Pros: beautiful decor and public areas. Food was very good overall and wonderful in the Specialty restaurants. Bars were plentiful. The two main shows, Kinky Boots and Choir of Man, were the best I have seen at sea. Staterooms were well designed and spacious enough. The crew was cheerful and enthusiastic. I really enjoyed the day at beautiful Great Stirrup Cay with drinks and food included in the package, if you had it. Cons: Limited deck space due to the extensive areas taken up by teen activities: laser tag, VR games and race track. Smoking areas small, crowed and sad. Music on the decks seemed to be exclusively Cuban/Miami dance and very loud. Tiny, overly salty pool. Hot tubs always full of children. Daily activities basically trivia, bingo and spa/shopping seminars. No central elevators. There seemed to be extra charges for everything. Ports were lovely but only spending an evening in San Juan was a waste. BTW, we were on the last cruise before they were cancelled due to the Corona virus outbreak and the Encore crew were fantastic. They handled the extra precautions like champs. Washy-washy! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This cruise line always delivers the best 1- food ( we ate sushi x3 went to a fish/ meat restaurant and also to a pub all were excellent A- buffet excellent choices for all dietary restrictions ( just need to ask inform them B- ... Read More
This cruise line always delivers the best 1- food ( we ate sushi x3 went to a fish/ meat restaurant and also to a pub all were excellent A- buffet excellent choices for all dietary restrictions ( just need to ask inform them B- a la carte restaurant C- multiple bakery gelatos ice cream eatery 2- entertainment A-Broadway shows ( saw kinky boots: it was entertaining but lacked of energy that day B-multiple live bands ( saw the Beatles twice guns and Rojas a few time etc... C-top notch comedians Rooms We upgraded to a junior suite with balcony space was good even had a bath Very Clean the only problem we were on the 9th floor over live music so quiet time was only after the show were done ( 11:30 pm almost every night ) But the cruise line offered us to change rooms gave us a complimentary supper they suis so much to make sure everything would be perfect Staff The staff is amazing Polite respectful Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose to do an eastern Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Encore because of the destinations. We were quite unhappy with multiple aspects of the cruise starting with the 2 hour boarding process. The rooms seemed significantly smaller ... Read More
We chose to do an eastern Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Encore because of the destinations. We were quite unhappy with multiple aspects of the cruise starting with the 2 hour boarding process. The rooms seemed significantly smaller than the Carnival cruise. We even booked a more expensive balcony room but still preferred our basic Carnival room. This ship is new to the water and we were not impressed at all with the amount of motion the ship had. Granted we did have rough weather, we have had rough weather on other cruises and never felt it as much as this. The entire trip had a lot of unappreciated motion even by my standards (I am a sport fisherman). The cost structure is designed to give the bare minimum and charge additional for most commodities. Im sorry, but if I buy a drink package I would like to be able to get a bottle of water without paying $5 for it. The pool was closed at times because it was a liability with the amount of sway of the ship. We spend approx. $5500 in cruise and airfare fees and were not even allowed to do our main destination (Bahamas) because the tender boats could not get to the ship. However right next to us there were (2) Royal Carribbean ships that had a dock on their private island and were able to disembark. No compensation was given. Their lack of infrastructure on their private Grand Stirrup Cay made us spend a day on a rough sea instead of the prime destination. I would say about half of the usable deck space on the ship was reserved for an even higher cost package which limited the majority of the ship to (1) adult pool. Lounge chairs, chairs, and even pool deck seating was next to impossible unless you went out at 7am to reserve a spot. The food was also much better on Carnival. Our specialty dining package allowed us into (3) restaurants of our choosing with caveats. Reservations to some places needed to be made months before even boarding the ship. In addition to that multiple menu items had additional costs above and beyond buying the premium dining package. All in all we were quite disappointed with this ship and will not use it or potentially Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our(two of us) 3rd cruise with Norwegian (Escape & Getaway prior) and we did enjoy the crown jewel. There were many things we missed and many things that made us scratch our heads. Check in/embarkation was fast and simple as ... Read More
This was our(two of us) 3rd cruise with Norwegian (Escape & Getaway prior) and we did enjoy the crown jewel. There were many things we missed and many things that made us scratch our heads. Check in/embarkation was fast and simple as usual with NCL, though we were a tad confused as to why we were ushered to the waiting area for the Pearl and unable to hear the announcements for Encore boarding. After boarding we were in awe of how beautiful the interior was decorated and how large each of the areas were, enough space for many people with ample elbow room. Making our way to what we thought was going to be the only smoking section on the ship, other than the enclosed casino area, we were told there was an outside smoking section on Deck 16. Bravo NCL for accommodating the "outcast" we truly appreciated it. Though I do understand that some whom do not smoke still complained and I agree it could have been in a better ventilated area, but being close to the bar was huge plus. The weather could, of course, been better but that is not NCL's fault. it was very windy and the water was rough for most of the cruise, we have learned our lesson and will wait to later in the year to cruise again. Ports of call were great and un-boarding and boarding were simple as always. San Juan we took the Bacardi distillery tour (1/2 star for this one) was very boring. Not sure what we were expecting but this was not it. St. Thomas ( 5 stars) this is my favorite place on the planet and was very much looking forward to the this port once again. We did the helmet dive at Coral Park, it was little windy but the warmer weather helped beat the chill. The experience was amazing and the instructors were awesome. After we hung out at Cokie beach the water was so blue and so clear it was truly a much needed relaxing area. Tortola was the warmest day of the cruise, we took the "un"Speedy boat over to the Baths and spent about 2 hours swimming and exploring all the nooks and crannies. Due to the weather we were unable to stop at Great Stirrup Cay, which I kinda figured was going to happen once I stepped out on the balcony and saw the clouds and how choppy the water was. We made the best of the extra sea day and it turned out to be lucrative in the casino $$$. The food was outstanding, and coming from me who only eats once a day, that's saying something. Ocean Blue was by far the best sea bass I have ever had. Manhattan Room was so much fun (if you have a chance to have Franklin as your server, you will not be disappointed) Taste or was it Savior, whichever, server could not be bothered and was very rude, however the steak was very good. The Garden Cafe was very good and seemed larger on the Encore compared to the others, though partner says it wasn't. The things we missed; Spice H2O, this is just a great space on the other ships allowing only adults and is a welcome space to escape (no pun intended) from the family drama on the pool deck(s). We also missed the Irish Pub (who by the way was open 24 hours, unlike the Local which claims to be) food was better than the Local. Why we scratched our heads; All the up charges, talk about being nickle and dimed to death..good grief. We were also bewildered as to why some bars closed so early, this made no sense to us, with as many people that are on this ship and as many bars that are on it, no one should have to wait at an over crowded bar. Overall we were very glad we took this ship, though we will not cruise it again, we will step back down to either the Escape, Bliss or Joy. Thanks Norwegian for another great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
CONS Ship design The go karts laser tag and the Haven take up to much space on the ship The burger diner under the track was empty every time we walked by Not enough pools and deck space The lawn chairs are set up so tight ... Read More
CONS Ship design The go karts laser tag and the Haven take up to much space on the ship The burger diner under the track was empty every time we walked by Not enough pools and deck space The lawn chairs are set up so tight it’s hard to get on them 1 small adult pool for everyone Tiny hot tubs People were crammed around the pool like sardines the music was so loud you couldn’t have a conversation The cabin was the smallest we’ve had on any cruise ship PLUS’S Food was great lots to choose from and good quality Service was good We liked the observation lounge lots of places to sit and read or just relax and look outside Choir of Men and Kinky Boots were great comedian was funny Beatles cover band was good We will definitely cruise on Norwegian again But won’t recommend the Encore The pool areas are the dealbreaker for us Way to crowded Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Chose this cruise because we wanted to sail on the new ship. Encore is a beautiful ship but lack of pool space is a serious problem! And to top it off, Vibe now has fee which really is not right, especially because there was never a seat ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to sail on the new ship. Encore is a beautiful ship but lack of pool space is a serious problem! And to top it off, Vibe now has fee which really is not right, especially because there was never a seat at the pool. We loved Teppanyaki!! The food was outstanding as was Cagney’s! Los Lobos was not very good and the service was terrible. The buffet was always delicious and fresh. The behind the scenes tour was very well done and we really enjoyed seeing how the ship operated! Everyone was so friendly! We loved the shows in the atrium and saw the Beatles three times! They were fantastic! We also loved the Choir of Men! We only did one shore excursion and it was okay. The stop in Puerto Rico was a waste of time. We walked around but there was not much to do and shore excursions were way overpriced for what they were. Overall, we had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our 5th cruise. 4th one with Norwegian. a quick trip to get away from the Candian winter. The ship is big. VERY big... almost too big. I found the ship easy to move around in... easy to find things.. but the pool deck was ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise. 4th one with Norwegian. a quick trip to get away from the Candian winter. The ship is big. VERY big... almost too big. I found the ship easy to move around in... easy to find things.. but the pool deck was insane. I had read reviews so knew what to expect... had decided not to buy the package for the VIBE package - thought I could endure it... I could not. each chair is side by side along with the others... they had attendants coming to ask for a drink (great) but you could not MOVE - let alone save a seat if you could find one for the hubby or kids. I spent my time on the pool deck sitting way to close to strangers alone - with my headphones on to drown out the conversations of strangers beside me. we saw choir man - GREAT. Kinky boots very good (had seen it on broadway before-held it's own). Ate at the Mexican place and twice at Q as we could not get a reservation anywhere else. Kids really enjoyed the Buffet and we went to Savoir 3 times. all very good. Never used any of the shore excursions - did those on our own. The room was a good size for the 4 of us. (two parents and two teenagers.) complaints about the room.... it was above the cavern night club... for an 'upgraded' room and the noise that came out of that club just didn't compute with me. we survived - but they really shouldn't sell that room at an upgrade due to the noise... The next thing that really made me upset was out 'neighbor had a marijuana habit. every afternoon and evening they would smoke up. the smell was disgusting and foul. we could not sit out on our balcony due to the smell. (now - we are from Canada where it is legal... but seriously??) smell wafted into our room as well so venting is obviously not tight. Again - we survived. But I would have really rather not had to deal with that every day - all day. we did the race track and laser tag. did not do the virtual reality (kids just used the video arcade) my husband used the gym - said it was huge and nice... but crowded in the am - I told him because everyone else has the same idea as him. I would NOT go on this ship again. too big - not enough space in the sun. Kids said they enjoy the rope course more as they can go on it for free (thanks for saving money kids!) and do rock climbing. they did the race track twice. and a few video games. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our 17th cruise, our 2nd on NCL. I was really excited when I booked this cruise over a year ago on this new 'amazing' ship, but alas it did not live up to my expectations. Embarkation was fairly fast, we arrived at ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise, our 2nd on NCL. I was really excited when I booked this cruise over a year ago on this new 'amazing' ship, but alas it did not live up to my expectations. Embarkation was fairly fast, we arrived at the port approx. 10:30am and they started letting us board at 11:30, then the race begins. If there are any shows, meals etc. that you want to attend you have to rush to different venues and stand in long lines to try to register. Our first goal was to buy Vibe Beach Club passes. This was held in the Barbeque restaurant Q Texas Smokehouse. We got tickets #83 & 84. Lucky, I thought. Choose wisely as it was extremely windy up there the entire cruise. There is no cover if it rains, a few umbrellas if the sun is intense. Bar service there was good and I did love the very quiet hot tubs. We did not spend enough time there to warrant the $209/pp price tag though. It did offer a retreat from the disastrous pool deck though. When buying the passes they did mention numerous times that it was not refundable!! The lines for the comedy were way too long, and by that time we were tired of standing around and waiting. I was able to score only one night at the comedy show on the NCL app. Thank goodness I booked Choir of Men before we sailed or I wouldn't have gotten into that one either. I wish they would have had everything available on the website to book pre-cruise; entertainment, go-karts, laser tag etc. I would have tried more activities. Cabin-MA14170 mini suite- very small cabin- one tv-small balcony-weird storage under mirrors and counters. The bathroom was quite nice with a large shower no bathtub. Not much different that a typical balcony cabin though. You have to pay for good movies, or 3 channels with other movies that you cannot schedule or re-start. The dining on the ship was very good. We ate at specialty restaurants Teppanyaki-awesome so fun entertainment, Cagney's-very good, and LeBistro-very good. Note: the 4-6oz lobster at Cagney's was not worth the 22.80 upcharge. I barely had enough to share with my DH. The rest of our meals were typically at the Taste DR or The local. Nice food and choices but no frills and don't ask for anything not on the menu, they typically can't accommodate. Escargot was only available in LeBistro. The bar staff on this cruise get's my highest praise. Those people work like maniacs trying to keep up with the demand on all those drinking packages. Sometimes there would only be one bartender on duty with 10-15 guests all waiting to order. Some cruisers would get angry, but there is only so much a guy or gal can do. Cudos to Bong-mojito bar, Mary Grace-A-list bar, Lovely, Atec, Ida(sp), Thomas, Daniel-Observation bar; amazing, amazing people how hard they work and their pleasant attitudes. Port stops were fair- San Juan (didn't even get off) we first arrived at 5:30pm. St. Thomas did the Champagne Cat Snorkel-nice, Tortola did the Baths-nice but long cat ride to get there and back. Lucky the water wasn't too rough. Great Stirrup Cay-sailed right by, was too windy to tender. RC had two ships tied to their dock at Coco Cay (lucky they bought a pier) Overall, though, it was a nice cruise. Vacation is always good. I would definitely NOT sail on the Encore again unless they made some huge changes (more pools, scrap the laser tag and go karts etc. etc.) I do not understand what they mean by Freestyle cruising, there was nothing free about it except the dress code in the dining rooms and restaurants. That's what brings me back to my title. Choose your ship wisely for what is most important to YOU. I thought I did, but definitely learned my lesson. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We had a mid ship mini suite on the Encore. There was plenty of storage and a gorgeous bathroom that had a double sink and a step in shower. We booked all our entertainment and dining either online before we embarked or the day of ... Read More
We had a mid ship mini suite on the Encore. There was plenty of storage and a gorgeous bathroom that had a double sink and a step in shower. We booked all our entertainment and dining either online before we embarked or the day of embarkation. We had absolutely no problem scheduling all the things we wanted to do. Anyone who complains about doing this is flat out not computer literate or they are not calling NCL. The food in the free restaurants and Specialty dining was excellent. The service was top notch. Once again those that are complaining must eat 5 star quality at all their meals! The ports were all well scheduled and embarkation and debarkation was a breeze. The ship does not move anymore than other ships we have sailed. We have been on Disney, Holland and Royal Caribbean and NCL compared with all of them. Now people have complained about seating at the pool. Well I am here to tell you that all the pools on the 15 voyages we have been on are small. If cruise lines made them bigger there would be no seats to speak of. Get a balcony if u don’t like crowds. We would sail this ship again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
NCL Encore - room 12605. 3/2020 Embarkation - showed up at 10:30. By 10:45 we were seated in a huge airport-like waiting area, checked in and ready for them to start boarding. With so many people, even on a day that was 60 degrees ... Read More
NCL Encore - room 12605. 3/2020 Embarkation - showed up at 10:30. By 10:45 we were seated in a huge airport-like waiting area, checked in and ready for them to start boarding. With so many people, even on a day that was 60 degrees outdoors, the area warmed up pretty fast. Cool water and unclean restrooms available. Group 9. Started calling #s at 11:08 am with people who required special assistance and priority boarding. 11:25 we were called and were on board in no time! Vibe club pass: Rushed to purchase vibe passes. We were #92 & 93. The cost of the vibe beach club for 7 days was $209 per person. The fee is non-refundable and you are warned of inclement weather closing of the entire area which may include rain or high winds. There is no pool. Only a misting station. On sea days there is extremely high winds. So much so, that 1 jacuzzi was closed off and even tho the sunning area on that side of the club was open, there was no-one who could stand the strong winds enough to hang out there. Fortunately, they did not close the entire area, but most logical adults could reason that unattended belongings would fly away if left in the high winds. They do give you clip-on, removable, brightly-colored wrist bracelets to wear in the club area. The attendants will ask you to put it on if you forget and will escort any non-wearing, non-paying guests out of the club area on the 1st days as they get to know everyone by name after only a day or 2. The area includes shade umbrellas but, as we quickly discovered, they are rarely put out for use. The winds are pretty intense on the top decks where the club is located and so they have a few issues. Even while in port, in Miami, they had to take the umbrellas down as they started toppling with the high winds. Jacuzzis fit about 8 people comfortably. There are no bubbles. Just warm (not hot) water. No drinks allowed in jacuzzi. The explanations was that drinks have toppled into the jacuzzi which then take 2+ hours to empty, clean, and refill the tub. On the plus side, if you bring your yeti cup, bartenders seem to be nice enough to fill those with your drink of choice or fresh water or alcoholic concoction throughout the day. I also saw them bring out pitchers of citrus flavored water to small groups with plastic cups to go with it. On the sea day towards the Bahamas, they were able to open a few umbrellas and played some soothing jazz music. Enjoyable weather and good times. Muster drill @ 3:30 in indoor air-conditioned area. Lasted 15 mins total. As always, if you would like seats, show up 30 mins before. If you’re ok standing for 15 mins, then wait for the alarm to ring then walk towards your muster station to have your card swiped for check-in. They demonstrate the exits and how to put on a life vest. And then the bars re-open. Taste of India and taste of China in buffet area towards back after you pass all the American fare. The food has been an excellent surprise in the buffet as the tastes and spiciness have been just right with absolutely no complaints for the buffet variety and seasonings. Ice cream cups and cones served during lunch with an options of 10+ flavors including rocky road. Also available towards the bow at the buffet is soft serve ice cream cones. On sea day, taco bar served towards the back area as well. Extra charges: $9.95 per device per week for unlimited text messaging with other passengers who purchase the plan. Make sure you bring your yeti cup, etc. water is not included on the beverage package and they charge $5 per paper bottle. (Non-refillable) Using clean glassware, you can refill your water bottle at the water & tea dispensing areas in the buffet area. Observation lounge still smells brand new. Like a new construction site. Huge living room type spaces for your small or large party of people. Cold cuts, sandwiches, fruits, and dessert varieties are served throughout the area up until dinner time when all food and drinks disappear. Beverages can be purchased at the bar or self-serve areas dispense lemonade, tea, and various flavored waters. The times we went to the lounge, it was very quiet library-like ambiance except the people hanging out at the bar. No music streaming. No piano playing. Very serene. People napping here and there. Except the unexpected cold sea day. The observation lounge on that day quickly filled with loud families and teens finding somewhere to hide from the cold winds. Brew house seats still smell of new leather. For your Latin music fix, hang out at the indoor & outdoor mojito bar area with comfy couches in the shade. Latin music plays when bar opens around 11:30 am at a pretty low volume with a variety of songs sprinkled around throughout the day until the live music takes over with the usual English music cruise ship sing alongs and requests in the evening. Entertainment throughout the ship consists of karaoke-type bands with a few instruments playing over the pre-arrangement along with a singer. Good for entertaining the masses but no great stand-outs overall. The encore theater has cooling fans at the back of every seat. Makes it a very comfortable temperature. As others have reported, shortly after 9:00 am, the running/walking track disappears under a sea of chairs. Deck 8 has “the waterfront” which includes a wooden floor all the way around the ship. Some people use this as a walking exercise area. No jogging possible as intermittent window walls are strewn about. Fun morning dance for sea days includes Zumba! Drinks are pretty good, varied, and strong. You can substitute tequilas, rums, etc in your favorite concoction to your liking. No frozen mojitos or margaritas available at most bars as bartenders inform us they do not have blenders at all the bars. Frozen sangria and frozen red wine blend available at the vibe as they have a slushy machine that dispenses those 2 drinks & an array of pina coladas, daqueries, and the infamous Miami vice. Paper straws provided for frozen drinks only - which quickly get soggy and give you that wet paper after taste every time you sip. So bring your own plastic ones if it takes you a while to get thru your drink or if you prefer to straw sip you beverages. BBQ smokehouse is the country dance place to be at night for all those country music fans. The food is ok. Plates served are much smaller than that of a usuals “authentic” Texas bbq place. But taste was good. Service was slow. They play 45 min sets from 8:30pm until way after midnight. Feel free to bring your boots and join everyone in the dance floor or just sit back in the bar and sing along! The NCL app is great but you still have to rely on the daily planner for the details on what the shows and activities are about. Also, you need to book your entertainment activities for future days at the screens around the ship as they don’t show up until 24 hours before the event on the app. And, unlike other cruise apps, other people in your contacts or room reservation cannot see what activities you like or plan to attend. Nor can you see the dinner menus at the public or reserved restaurants for the ability to weigh your options in the app. You can only see them posted at the restaurants or ask for a menu at each restaurant. Also, unlike other cruise lines, you cannot map your way to the next venue from the touchscreens around the ship. So a very useful navigational tool for these 1st few days is very much missing. In PR- walgreens & CVS store right by the pier. Needed some water bottles for the day & to take back onboard as empties for water storage for our beach day next day. Great shops with lots of souvenirs, travel size amenities & last minute gadgets. St. Thomas - do your research. Pick a beach and take a taxi from the beach. There will always be a taxi near any popular beach to take you back at whatever time you need. Usually about $10 per person each way. Most beaches have amenities with bars and restaurants nearby. Then take a stroll thru the shops at the pier. Remember that all jewelry purchases are negotiable. Tortola - we did the cruise line’s escape to Jost Van Dike. They pick you up at 8:00 am. Drop you off at 9:00 am at the soggy dollar beach area. Then pick you up at 12:15 for the 45 min boat run back to the ship. Because of the early departure, there was no time to do anything else as far as shopping or sight seeing. Made it back just in time to re-board. Bahamas - great stirrup cay was completely skipped because of the high waves and wind conditions. Many months ago when we booked this cruise, we were ok with only 3 stops with Tortola being a long day as we figured we would enjoy the warm weather and hot sunny days on each island. We were not excited when the itinerary was changed just 2 months before the sail date to shorten the Tortola stop and include a Bahamas stop instead. As frequent cruisers, we know about the weather conditions in March in the Bahamas. And sure enough, it was not beach weather at the beginning of March. The outside temp was in the 60s. So maybe not a bad thing we skipped the cold beach water. Made the vibe beach pass even more worth the purchase! More activities were added to the daily planner such as Latin Cardio Dance class and more open times at the “for purchase” activities onboard. All excursions were reimbursed. Pool area was empty. Jacuzzi were full. NCL announces on its daily planner that you can access cruisecritic.com free of charge with no internet package to buy to post reviews. I have not found that to be the case. The main page comes up on my smart phone but once you click “boards” or “reviews” it freezes. Inside stateroom #12605: overall smaller than most ships we have been on. The location was fabulous! Right next to the elevators. There are only 2 main elevator areas on the ship - forward and aft. That’s it. The down side to having our room so close to the elevators was we could hear the kids running the hallways at night and the nighttime entertainment seemed to be funneled into the elevator shafts and dispersed into the hallways. Nice if you’re at the party. Awful if you need to get rest for a very early excursion next day. The neighbors across the hall taped paper decorations to their door (non-magnetic) and were allowed to keep them up the whole voyage. But not very many people did that. Suction cup hangers work on the inside windows of your shower stall but not the walls. Lots of hangers provided. You also have just enough storage space for 2 people. (Don’t think 4 could do it.) apart from the closet with a long upper shelf and 4 smaller side shelves inside the closet (one which is occupied by the in-room safe), you also have 2 small shelves next to the mini-fridge, shelving under the bathroom sink, shelving next to toilet area, and 2 night time shelves next to the bed. Along with a place for small, trivial accessories above the headboard. Disembarkation: The ship arrived super early at the pier because of the missed Bahamas stop. Arrival on all paperwork we had seen was 10:00 am. We were there well before 5:00 am. On the app’s “farewell” screen, they had a screen for information on disembarkation, immigration & customs, and final day info. None of those worked. Message was “oops. Content not found”. So had a hard time deciphering if they would let us leave early or what the status was. We took our luggage with us and made our way to the 7th floor gangway. They make us line up along the casino area. As much as they try not to let the smoke penetrate outside the smokers lounge, it still does & will affect those with sensitivity to smoke. Lines were long but moved quickly. We lined up at 7:15. We were allowed off the boat at 7:35. Out thru customs at 7:50. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I would not cruise on the Encore again. If you like Norwegian, try the Breakaway or Getaway instead. Overall, the food in the main dining rooms and buffet was good. We were a party of 8 and never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a ... Read More
I would not cruise on the Encore again. If you like Norwegian, try the Breakaway or Getaway instead. Overall, the food in the main dining rooms and buffet was good. We were a party of 8 and never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table at dinner without a reservation (we only made a reservation the first night on the ship) We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants, however many people on the cruise said that Cagney's was the best. We primarily went to Taste and Savor for dinner and never had an issue finding something we would eat (many times we ordered multiple appetizers, entrees or desserts). We did have dinner one night in the Manhattan Room and found it to be a little more formal. It was also dark and the service was slow. For breakfast and lunch, we split the time between the dining rooms and the buffet. The buffet had a variety of options, including a station for Indian and Asian selections which were great. At breakfast, there was an omelet station to get made to order omelets and eggs. The kids loved the soft server ice cream stations, pizza, and mac-n-cheese. My only negative is that there wasn't a formal night with a more fancier menu (surf and turf, crab legs etc...) The Go-Carts, Laser Tag, and Galaxy Pavilion are all additional charges. $15 for each Go-Cart Ride, $9.95 for each Laser Tag, and $8 for each virtual ride in the Galaxy Pavilion. We paid for 2 Go-Cart Rides, 2 Laser Tags, and 1 day session for the Galaxy Pavilion which was $49 for the day for our 15 year old. They do have unlimited packages for each or all, however they were expensive and not worth the extra money. Also, making reservations for the Go-Carts and Laser Tag didn't matter, because you still had to wait at least a half hour after your scheduled time slot. As for the Pools, both the adult and kids pool were small (and closed the first 2 days at sea) and there wasn't enough open deck space or chairs for the amount of people on this ship. If you didn't get to the pool area by 8:00 AM, forget about finding 2 chairs together. Choir of Man is definitely the star show on this cruise. Kinky Boots was just OK. The musicians were average at best and the DJ's should just stick to playing top 40 and Reggae. I'm an avid music listener and found that I only knew 1 out of every 5 songs they played the entire week on the pool deck. The MC's at the nightly parties were annoying and it would have been better if they just had the DJ. My 15 year old son and his friends joined the Entourage Club but found that there wasn't much to do there other than a single air hockey table, foosball table, and a few game consoles. And the daily teen activities (other than 1 game of dodgeball) were not very fun or interesting. How about planning a scavenger hunt, a tour of the non-public parts of the ship, more competitions etc... Service for the most part was good, but nothing to rave about. Never had to wait long at any of the bars to get a drink. The waiters were nice, but not very personable. I would much rather of had the same table and waitstaff each night at dinner to get to know them and for them to get to know us (know what drink we wanted each night, any dessert we particularly liked etc..). The room stewards did a great job of making sure our beds were made and turn-down service done each night when we got to our rooms. My wife was disappointed they didn't make any animals with the towels like they had on other cruises. All other personnel on the ship were friendly and accommodating. I would give 5 stars to the ship's cleanliness, however the design of the ship is poor. Too much space allocated to Vibe, Go-Carts, and Laser Tag and too little space allocated to pool and sundecks. Also, a sports court would have been a better use of the space that the laser tag takes up. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The cruise was selected for our group (family/friends) by the Bride & Groom. We sailed during school vacation week and it was BUSY!! That being said, we didn't find the ship to be overly crowded except at the pool and during ... Read More
The cruise was selected for our group (family/friends) by the Bride & Groom. We sailed during school vacation week and it was BUSY!! That being said, we didn't find the ship to be overly crowded except at the pool and during embarkation/debarkation. This was my 4th sailing with ncl. Staff: OUTSTANDING!! Bartenders seemed the least friendly overall. Wait staff was incredible, cabin stewards top notch, guest services area (to include internet and excursion desk) all friendly, professional and extremely helpful. The ship is beautiful. I was hesitant going in since it is such a big ship, but was surprised at how everything was laid out well. Yes, as everyone else has said, the pool could be bigger. Both kids and adults enjoyed the extras...Go Karts, Virtual Reality room, water slides, etc. We had 2 persons with food allergies in the group. While at dinner, the staff inquired and made it a point to accommodate. We were given a special menu and ordered the day prior. The chef made sure there was no cross contamination. This was above and beyond and we are extremely grateful for the attention to detail here. Food everywhere was outstanding! SOOOOOOOOOOO many options!! An added benefit to the cabin refurb I want to mention... they now have a light up little sign outside the room that notes whether you're "in the room", "do not disturb", and "clean the room". You control it by buttons inside your room. There are no outlets in the bathroom, but the desk area is a great little vanity to get ready. Plenty of space overall to store items and clothing. On our prior sailings, we were never overly impressed with the shows. They were "ok". On this trip, we saw Choir of Man, Beatles, and Kinky Boots. Choir was OUTSTANDING!! Definitey a must! Beatles was great! The old folks were loving it (cute)! The members dressed up to look very similar to the Beatles and tried to talk with British accents. Music was fantastic!! Kinky Boots was "ok". I guess we all expected more. At times it was slow. The music wasn't as upbeat as the other shows. However, the drag queens were amazing! Fitness: The ships gym was awesome!! We used the outdoor track every morning. It became busy and congested around 8am. The biggest disappointment, imo, was the stop in San Juan, PR. It was at night for only a few hours, too dark to see anything, dirty, and most shops were closed. Everyone was shopping for souvenirs at the Walgreens! Wish we had stopped in Key West instead. I'm sure the point is to help the tourism in PR recover after the hurricane devastated the area, but it was a bummer to most everyone we spoke with. Overall very happy with NCL and the Encore. I will continue to sail with NCL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This is a very new ship with some cool stuff on it BUT NCL built it wrong. There's 4,000 people on this ship and the pool area is the size of a pea. The race track takes up needed space for another pool and decking space. There is a ... Read More
This is a very new ship with some cool stuff on it BUT NCL built it wrong. There's 4,000 people on this ship and the pool area is the size of a pea. The race track takes up needed space for another pool and decking space. There is a second pool on the ship but it's in the private club. Which needs to be opened to the general public in order to have enough space to lounge. When you do find a seat at the pool and the so called entertainment starts they have it cranked up so loud you can hardly stand listening to thier sub par band. I like to party but they have to turn it down a notch. Every cruise I've been on I've known the cruise staffs names and they knew me. Except this one. Without the pool space they are hardly outside doing their jobs. Waiting for a drink at times is another experience. Inside is beautiful but again their entertainment rooms are WAY too small for the amount of people on the ship. Standing in line is not my idea of fun. Having to make reservations b4 you get on the ship for the restaurants is crap too. Theater is nice. Food was good. Steakhouse was great but dont we pay enough to get that in regular dining? In all beautiful Big ship. Too many people not enough space. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Any Ratings listed will be on a scale of 1-5 Stars. The main purpose of the review is to give you ratings wherever possible and focus on the ship. Day 1 We got to the terminal around 11 am. Encore took up terminals B&C. Naturally ... Read More
Any Ratings listed will be on a scale of 1-5 Stars. The main purpose of the review is to give you ratings wherever possible and focus on the ship. Day 1 We got to the terminal around 11 am. Encore took up terminals B&C. Naturally we went to the wrong one, but there were no signs saying that one was for odd numbered decks and the other for even. We had our sea passes within 15 minutes of arriving, but had over 30 minutes wait to get on the ship. We went to the Local Bar to wait for the cabin to be ready. We have a standard balcony cabin. The bed is really comfortable, the shower is nice and there is lots of storage space. There are three outlets by the desk and a USB port on each side of the bed. The muster drill went off pretty well. We had ours down by the Main Dining Room. Everything being digital these days, made it go smooth. Afterwards, though was like a herd of cattle with everyone scrambling to the elevators. The problem with that is that people in wheel chairs get trampled. That is sad that some folks can be so inconsiderate. We spent the rest of the time getting to know the ship and we had supper at a BBQ restaurant. Food and service get 5 stars. Day 2- At Sea Day Bit of a bumpy ride last night. We had breakfast at The Local Bar, which is open 24/7. They serve breakfast longer than the buffet and are closer. The food gets 4 stars and the service gets 5. Very limited menu, but very quick. Good coffee and real orange juice. Good day for a nap. We had supper at Ocean Blue, which is a sea food restaurant. Again service gets 5 stars. The Appetizers, soup and desert were excellent, but alas, the entrée’s only rate a 3. We had 6:00 reservations and let them know we were going to the 7:30 show. They were very prompt to make sure we were done in time. We also used our free bottle of champagne which came with the cabin. The show was Choir of Men and it was really, really good! I don’t usually like musicals, but this one was centered on a local pub. If you have a chance to see it, give it a look. Day 2- San Juan This is a little bit misleading as we don’t get to port until 5:30 and leave at 11 pm, so most of it will be after dark. We turned our clocks ahead last night, so we are 2 hours ahead of back home in Wisconsin. Once again we had breakfast at The Local Bar and once again the service was fantastic. We finally made it up to deck 16 where the pool and buffet are. Met several from our group there. The pool area was packed. The important thing is, I found the soft serve ice cream machine! There are several of them and they serve hard packed ice cream too, when the buffet is open. It seems that most of the best venues are at the other end of the ship from our cabin. We had supper at Teppanyaki, which is a Japanese restaurant. It is worth trying once for the entertainment value, if nothing else. The food is really good, though, so not to worry. The chef cooks the food right in front of you. They have a lot of stations and they are divided in half. One chef does one side (8 guests to a side) and another chef does the other. They have to time it right, because the chef banters and jokes with the guests. The entertainment gets a definite 5 stars and the food gets a 5. Day 4- St. Thomas In port all day, but it is very hot and humid outside. We are staying on the ship and taking pictures as we have been to this port more times than any other. We had breakfast in the buffet and were disappointed. Usually we like their breakfast. We did get there a little late, but they started closing down early. They weren’t putting fresh food out. Coffee was good but they had the orange juice switched over. The French bread was dry. Hopefully I can give you a better report the next time we go. For now, it gets 3 Stars. Dinner was at Cagney’s. We had the dining package as one of the perks, so it included a bottle of Champaign. Both of the steaks were perfectly cooked and tender. 5 Stars. Day 5- Tortola Finally, a port we haven’t been to! Good long day in port. We had breakfast at The Local again, with very different results. The service was not very good. I asked for eggs over easy and got them scrambled. Both of our eggs weren’t warm and we had to send them back. We had to ask for the toast and butter. Much different than the 1st 2 times we were there. The Assistant Maitre”D came over and was basically annoying. He was annoying again when we went back for supper. Our excursion was a tour of Tortola and we almost didn’t go. First of all, it was a very hot day and I don’t do well with heat. The coach we were going to be on was open air. But the coach was also very high and no stool was provided to help people get on board. Lynette has bad knees and there was no way for her to board. This excursion was rated as level 1, meaning anyone should be able to do it. We really lucked out here, because we were able to get on 1 of the air conditioned coaches which was lower. It was a very nice tour. Tortola is a British possession, although the driver said it is owned by the people. They drive on the left. Lots of hair pin curves. 4 Stars for the tour. We stopped an hour at a beach. Fortunately, they also had a bar and shopping. As mentioned, we went to The Local for supper. Overall, I would give the food 4 Stars. Days 6&7- At Sea. Not a lot to report for the last two days. We ate breakfast at the café one day and The Local Bar the next. Both were very good, so that erases the bad experiences we had at each. We had supper at The Oservation Lounge one night The Local the other. So we did not eat supper at the Garden Café or the main dining room the entire cruise. This is a first for us. It was mostly due to the fact that we had the dining package for a perk. Friday afternoon, see saw a ship band Guns and Rojas. They were good. We had heard them before and weren’t impressed, so it must have been the style of music they were singing. This time they were doing a Frank Sinatra tribute. In the evening we went to see a comedy show that was quite good. One of the groups that we got to really like, during the cruise, was Jelly Bean Duo. GENERAL IMPRESSIONS • CABIN- 5 Stars; Very spacious for a standard balcony, lots of storage space, bed was comfortable. • CABIN STEWARD- 4 Stars; He did his job, or most of it, but seemed very late each day. Friendly enough to talk to. • FOOD QUALITY- 5 Stars for Specialty restaurants and 4 Stars for complimentary. • FOOD VARIETY- 4 Stars; They don’t seem to have the variety they used to have. They can no longer list breads and rolls as their specialty. They didn’t serve smoked salmon for breakfast and we never saw escargot on the menu for supper. Little things like that add up • ENTERTAINMENT- 4 Stars. Choir of Men and the comedian were terrific. We saw 3 of the house bands and 2 of them were very good. Not a lot of options. • FOOD SERVICE- 5 Stars; In spite of the few problems we had • BAR SERVICE- 4 Stars; It depends on where you are and when you are there • BARS- 5 Stars; A lot of the bars were at the other end of the ship so we didn’t spend much time there. The Local has a limited beer selection, so I had to stop somewhere along the way to get the beer. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
You're already paying a huge amount to go and then they charge you insane daily service fees for nothing just to be in you room you paid for. We always had "do not disturb" on room door so we never used the stewardess cause ... Read More
You're already paying a huge amount to go and then they charge you insane daily service fees for nothing just to be in you room you paid for. We always had "do not disturb" on room door so we never used the stewardess cause we are already neat and clean. WE ate the buffet only which is all included in the prices... Limited on drinks, cofffee is horrible. ALL the cakes and dessert are like fancy cardboard (sure taste like it). Only the ice cream was decent. Gym is so tiny and crowded. The observer deck is horribly laid out, only limited chaise lounges (ocean view)... all the rest are just coffee table and chairs which people would sit and wait to grab a chaise as soon as person stood up. They note on the LAST night that the service fees charged to your room are mandatory. What the ! Didn't know we were charged 7nights of service fee for nothing. Obsurd! Restrooms always had issues. Most of the toilets DO NOT work properly. even some soap dispensers dont work. just save yourself the money and headache book another cruise line.. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
NCL excels on customer service and the Encore is the best of the best. The cabin’s layout allows for so much storage and room to walk around. Big bathroom with excellent shower. Two Broadway shows were very entertaining. I usually only ... Read More
NCL excels on customer service and the Encore is the best of the best. The cabin’s layout allows for so much storage and room to walk around. Big bathroom with excellent shower. Two Broadway shows were very entertaining. I usually only eat in restaurants on the ship but the Encore’s buffet was exceptional. So many delicious varieties of food. Enough pool lounges for all passengers. The Encore has everything I ever thought could be better on a ship. The large public spaces allowed for lots of social interaction or not. Two big pools with hot tubs and outdoor showers on two levels. I never passed a staff member who didn’t say hello with a big smile. The decorative touches on the ship were elegant. Eight fast elevators made all levels easily accessible. The returning cruisers cocktail party with open bar was a great way to start off the cruise. It is nice to be appreciated for sailing with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I booked Norwegian because I have enjoyed my previous 2 cruises with them. I love the free-style dining and always felt like I had great value for an exceptional overall experience. Not this time. Here is why I would consider another ... Read More
I booked Norwegian because I have enjoyed my previous 2 cruises with them. I love the free-style dining and always felt like I had great value for an exceptional overall experience. Not this time. Here is why I would consider another cruise line or at the very least a different ship than Encore. Pool layout - The top deck is broken down into 3 somewhat equal areas. The Haven, The main pool/kid pool and The Aft that has the go-cart track and laser tag. This is a terrible design. The Haven does not need 33% of the boat - We were able to check it out (someone left a door open and it was EMPTY). Everyone else had to fight for EVERY single chair available. Literally there were NO chairs available (in the sun) if you were out after 9am. And some of the chairs left you with no space to even stretch your legs out. TERRIBLE. Other Norwegian cruises have had "stages" the band is off to corner and there is no dancing or stage area. So basically no entertainment. The cruise director NEVER saw him on the pool deck. People go to the pool to be entertained and get sun and go in the pool. OH the pool... one day it was closed (I guess the waves were too much - but how would the guests know -NO staff or director gave us updates) a Full Pool day with a closed pool. I can't comment if the Haven pool was open that day but wouldn't surprise me if it was. OH and another Pool day someone threw up in the pool at 11am. Without any urgency or communication the pool was drained and refilled at 4:30 or so the pool was finally opened. Seriously 5 1/2 hours in the sun/heat and it takes that long to refill what a JOKE and complete disgrace of a service and expectations we paid for. The Fifties Dinner - Specialty dinning for burgers REALLY ? It takes up valuable space on the top deck that could be used for more pool area. Poor design. The jogging track is a joke how short it is because the pool area is so small (because of the Haven and Track) Internet - paying for water when you have the ultimate drink package - the list goes on and on how they charge you at every corner. Kinda like flying on a cheap airline only to find out they charge $$$ for bags and carryon's. The casino TERRIBLE.... they have a dedicated smoking section (closed doors) so it makes the rest of the casino smaller so they can cater to the smokers. I have done decent (as well as can be expected at slots) on other cruises - this one seems like they have turned the knob up on how tight they are. Payouts were awful - bonus games paid virtually nothing. Other cruises (Princess) I felt like Royalty that I was more than $$ ... This past cruise felt anything but that was treated like were just a number and a $. It will be awhile if ever before I choose Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
- The food, especially the beef was probably the best of any cruise I have been on.Enjoyed the BBQ restaurant. - Onda Italian restaurant was very good. - Buffet was very good. - We got passes to the Vibe Beach club, if your ... Read More
- The food, especially the beef was probably the best of any cruise I have been on.Enjoyed the BBQ restaurant. - Onda Italian restaurant was very good. - Buffet was very good. - We got passes to the Vibe Beach club, if your favorite thing on a cruise is to lay out in the sun, definitely consider spending the extra money for the Vibe. (209$ for the week) When you go to the vibe, there is never any problem getting a seat at any time of the day. Servers in the Vibe area are great. - pool area is very crowded, see the attached pictures of the beach club vs the regular pool area. - shows were very good - Enjoyed the Boardwalk around deck 8 - Large balcony mini suites on deck 8 are great, balcony is great size and lots of bars/stuff to do on deck 8. - Make sure you check out the observation lounge on deck 15. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was my first voyage with NCL and I chose Encore due to it being a new vessel and even though I have cruised several times before I had yet to sail on a brand new ship and was excited at the prospect. The ship is indeed beautiful but ... Read More
This was my first voyage with NCL and I chose Encore due to it being a new vessel and even though I have cruised several times before I had yet to sail on a brand new ship and was excited at the prospect. The ship is indeed beautiful but with most things new there were some glitches that need to be worked out and in my opinion, policies that need some fine tuning. For starters too many things had an extra up charge attached to it, whether it was an activity, an amusement, a location such as the Vibe Beach Club ($209.00 for the week) and some food items such as crab cakes or a lobster tail for example. This was bothersome and by far was a common complaint among many of the other passengers I had spoken with during the voyage. Three standouts include what would be considered "selling points" such as the Go Kart track, Laser tag which offered a week long pass and Galaxy Pavilion which offered a tiered pricing option to experience the VR attractions (I chose the $29 for one hour option) but if you wanted to try the full size SR8 race car, for instance, there was an additional charge of $15 on top of the charges previously mentioned, so basically you pay an up charge on top of an up charge area and there simply is no need of it. Another policy that was frustrating was that reservations had to be made for the chance to experience many things on this ship but what seemed to be equally frustrating was that while some could be made ahead of time online or thru NCL, others had to be done onboard and it was a mad dash on Day 1 to get these or be shut out before the ship ever leaves the dock. If you are a first time passenger you may not even know of this policy and run the risk of a ruined vacation. Cabin: I traveled as a solo and wanted to try the solo studio area and this experience was quite simply a home run. The cabins are perfectly laid out for one with ample closet space and shelving, a roomy stand up shower and private enclosed toilet. The sink is adequate but the traditional desk is not very wide so a lap top wouldn't fit on it. There is a safe available for items such as a wallet or other such small items. The other thing of not is that there is no mini fridge in the room but overall it was a perfect cabin for the solo traveler. The area is exclusive in that a key card is required to enter the area and contains a private and spacious lounge with it's own coffee machine and a daily assortment of fruits, cookies or cakes, orange juice and ice water. My dining experiences pretty much follow other reviews here just beware of up charges for certain menu items as mentioned earlier. As far as entertainment goes I didn't really experience much however I did see the Beatles cover band in the Cavern Club and they were ok but wasn't able to get in to see the comedian, which I would have liked. There is one stand out, again, in my opinion, that is Choir of Man. The show is fantastic and I saw it twice and my only regret is that I couldn't see it a third or fourth time. The whole idea revolves around the guys at the pub and they sing and dance and tell "stories" through their songs and dance. The cast is tremendously talented, approachable and personable. They clearly love what they do, as does the audience and the two feed off each other for a tremendously enjoyable evening....and they'll even serve up a pint for their guests on stage for their "mates" at the pub. A must see! One other item worth mentioning is the ships smoking policy. Even though it is a touchy subject with some cruisers, it needs to be mentioned that there were only 3 relatively small areas for smokers, one was The Humidor for cigar smokers only at the Whiskey Bar, where cigarette smokers were told point blank to leave and for cigarette smokers there is a narrow enclosure on Deck 8 towards the aft of the ship and an enclosed room in the Casino where those who wished to have a cigarette while gambling (I actually applaud this decision due to smoke infiltrating the casino area and surrounding hallways etc.) However to utilize this room you had to gamble or be asked to leave there as well. The ship did cordon off a small area on Deck 16 out doors and that was for cigarette smokers and anyone found smoking a cigar, a pipe or used a vape pen were also told to leave that area. This policy needs an overhaul in my view because with the monies invested by smoking passengers is exactly the same as non smokers and should not have to worry about being singled out and embarrassed by being thrown out of a certain area of the ship in front of other passengers. That's not right My experience with the service on the ship was positive from bartenders, servers to the cabin steward and the coordinator assigned to the solo travelers who tended to the solo guests. Again, a huge positive. Overall, I may give Norwegian another shot but I would do so on a different ship that has the Spice H20 area and a more spacious pool deck but certainly without the ridiculous amount of up charges that Encore requires. I hope this review was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Just returned from a week on Encore. It is a fabulous new ship with tons to do on it and decorated to NCL's high standard. Unfortunately for us we chose a school holiday week, being from the UK this was unknown to us. However, with ... Read More
Just returned from a week on Encore. It is a fabulous new ship with tons to do on it and decorated to NCL's high standard. Unfortunately for us we chose a school holiday week, being from the UK this was unknown to us. However, with that said the 1000+ children on board didn't really bother us, other then sitting on stair cases and running the cabin corridors, then I did get a bit peed off with them! With all the things to do on this ship like Go carts, VR room and Laser Tag it is always going to attracted more families. We had an inside cabin (13665) which was plenty big enough or the 2 of us and was fine as we don't spend much time in there. It was spotlessly clean and had everything we needed. The reason I haven't given this ship 5 stars is due to the lack of quiet sunbathing space. H2O has been removed on this ship to make way for the VR room so that leaves Vibe, which I refuse to pay extra for! We spent our sea days sitting on the Waterfront, this has now also turned into sun bathing deck as some people were laying on towels on the walk way or dragging chairs out blocking the walk way in order to catch some sun. I am aware that there is always space available on the pool deck but it is far too busy and loud for us. We ate at Taste, The Local (breakfast) Garden cafe (lunch), observation lounge (lunch), Teppenyaki, Cagney's and Los Lobos. All were great with wonderful service. The only negative i can find is that Cagney's is so over booked that they are always running late with tables and its far from a nice relaxing environment to have dinner, tables crammed in and even spilling out into the A List bar. All the entertainment we seen was really good, Choir of Man is unmissable and we loved Jim Badgers humour! Unfortunately we didn't make it to see Kinky Boots but I heard others say it was great. Over all we had a great time, met some great people really liked Encore but it wouldn't be my first choice of ship in future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were on the Encore for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise departing on Feb 16th in accessible room 10886.  Automatic room door was a great help.  My husband in his wheelchair could handle room access unassisted.  The roll-in shower ... Read More
We were on the Encore for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise departing on Feb 16th in accessible room 10886.  Automatic room door was a great help.  My husband in his wheelchair could handle room access unassisted.  The roll-in shower arrangement was excellent - no water to mop up after showers.  The ramping to the balcony was easy to use because there was no drop off going out the door onto the balcony.  There was enough space to maneuver both his manual day chair and commode wheelchair. As the caregiver, I was disappointed that the only chair in the cabin was an uncomfortable desk chair.  When it was too cool to sit on the balcony, I sat on the bed.  We were disappointed with accessible seating in entertainment venues.  This was quite a surprise given how well our room has been designed for accessibility.  When we attempted to enter The Cavern, his wheelchair got stuck between the two entrance doors.  Seating at the rear of the theater had too high of a blockage for a short person to see the stage.  I was also surprised that the only wheelchair companion seating was a hard plastic folding chair.  For those who can take a few steps, they can park their wheelchair or walker at the top and move to handicapped seating.  Since my husband cannot walk,  theater staff then directed me to go to Customer Service to request access to the wheelchair seating in the front of the theater.  Marina Caparros was very helpful at making access arrangements once we connected with her.  Seating at the front of the theater requires access thru crew areas and when you get to the wheelchair area, there is no reserved handicapped companion seating is marked.  Sometimes these seats were already taken so I had to sit elsewhere.  I felt public entertainment venues  were not welcoming or well planned for wheelchairs.  This is my 16th cruise with a wheelchair.  Never before was it necessary to work with an access coordinator to access public spaces on previous cruises. The entertainment, Choir of Men and Kinky Boots, were well done. Maneuvering the Garden Cafe for someone in a wheelchair was very challenging.  Difficult to find a table with wheelchair access and way to crowded.  Almost had a plate of food dumped on my husband's head by another passenger who didn't see him because of the height of a wheelchair.  So we avoided this whenever possible.   Getting from one end of the ship to the other with a wheelchair took several tries before we found what worked for us.   After one attempt to go from one end of the ship to the other via the pool decks, it became obvious that it is NOT a pathway for wheelchairs.  We had to ask several people to move their chairs out of the pathway so we could get through.  Attempting to go cross ship in cabin hallways resulted in needing to move multiple carts so we could get through.  Because going across the ship on 6-8 was mostly carpeted and difficult to push a wheelchair, when weather permitted, we used the Waterfront to traverse the distance between elevators.  The Waterfront and Observation Lounge  were wonderful.  Automatic doors often required push button activation and activation buttons were not consistently located.  Some automatic doors closed too quickly to enable a wheelchair to pass though.  On sea days the Observation Lounge had several groups of very enthusiastic teens.  More separate space is needed for teens.  With 4600 passengers there was insufficient public spaces on sea days.  I would hate to see what this is like when school is out....    Of all the eating venues, it was much easier to maneuver a wheelchair in Taste and Savor.  Portion size was hard to predict.  Some appetizers were entree size.  Maitre 'D Scott Goes ensured that our dining experience was excellent.  Our primary server, Odessa and her assistant, Alyanna, did an outstanding job.    This is a lovely ship with good food and entertainment.  We wanted to give it a try.  A smaller ship that is less congested works better for us.  Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The laser tag and speedway are very cool but quite expensive. They seem to have taken the place of other free activities like basketball etc. which we missed. There are not enough chairs on the Pool deck perhaps forcing people to pay for ... Read More
The laser tag and speedway are very cool but quite expensive. They seem to have taken the place of other free activities like basketball etc. which we missed. There are not enough chairs on the Pool deck perhaps forcing people to pay for the beach club. The main dining rooms were every bit as good if not better than the specialty restaurants. We loved the deck 8 big blue couches and chairs and camped out there on all at sea days including the day that was supposed to be the private island, some usb plugs by all those chairs and sofas, may be helpful. Perhaps a dock at the private island would be a good idea rather than tendering so people can actually use the private island because it seems to be cancelled often due to safety issues with tendering. Our stateroom was very well appointed and our attendant was great. All the bar staff treated us well. The Chocolate Cowboy as he liked to call himself at sugarcane mojito bar outside on deck 8 was awesome. The cruise director was fine when we saw him, but not the best one we have ever had. Tortola needed to be way longer, no one wants to go snorkeling at 7:30 in the morning, especially when anyone who checked the weather report knew we weren’t getting off the ship the next day at the private island. We really enjoyed the Choir of Man, Kinky Boots was good but not for smaller children, we didn’t see the one you had to pay for, because really, we paid enough already, entertainment should be free. Overall, you have a beautiful ship that with a few tweaks would make me try again. For now, I will stick with Royal Caribbean or Disney. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I was anxious to come home and write this review after reading so many negative reviews since encore set sail in November. I can 100% say I don’t know why so many have complaints from this ship. This is my 4th Norwegian Cruise and it did ... Read More
I was anxious to come home and write this review after reading so many negative reviews since encore set sail in November. I can 100% say I don’t know why so many have complaints from this ship. This is my 4th Norwegian Cruise and it did not disappoint. The biggest complaint I read was the pool and lack of chairs. Is the pool a little smaller, yes. Was it full even once, no. Chairs on a 4000 person ship are never going to be Enough. I noticed people coming down at 12 complaining. No matter what ship your on, chairs will be an issue coming down at noon. Never once in 7 days did I not get chairs. Sometimes they were in the shade and I moved up when people moved. The not saving chair notices were in effect. A lady walked around and removed towels from seat savers. Impossible to be 100% effective though. As for the activities, yes people you need to book them. We booked first day and were able to make reservations for go carts and laser tag twice and an escape room. The galaxi pavilion you don’t need to book and they did offer a day pass for $50, which we picked our day at sea. All these new exciting options are pricy but worth every penny. We knew ahead of time so budgeted accordingly. The shows were amazing. Food amazing. Overall layout of ship was great, plenty of room everywhere. I read complaints of not getting in to see the Beatles. They now moved them to the big theater 2x during the cruise, so no issues getting to see them. The extra parties were so much fun. Silent disco and glow party were huge hits with my group. So my only advice for this cruise is bring a sweater cause this ship can be chilly in certain rooms. Other than that relax and ignore the negative reviews, this ship rocks!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Norwegian Encore Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 3.6
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.3
Enrichment Activities 3.5 N/A
Service 4.0 3.8
Value for Money 3.0 N/A

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