After reading some negative reviews about the Encore prior to our cruise, I was apprehensive. All of that apprehension melted away quickly starting with embarkation in Civitivecchia. Embarkation was totally painless, taking less than ten minutes. We were ushered by smiling crew members to the Colonnade where a wonderful luncheon buffet awaited new passengers. While we were dining, it was announced that all rooms were ready for us and when we arrived in our room, all our luggage was there. Our Veranda 5 room was lovely. There was plenty of space, including a very comfortable queen size bed, a sofa, and a table with chairs large enough for dining for two. The bathroom including both a tub and shower (the shower was small) and two sinks. Our veranda was large enough for two chairs and a side table. The TV was large enough and very easy to operate. Our mini bar was stocked with the bourbon my husband has order, but not the vodka I had ordered. That was corrected soon enough as we let our stewardess know about the missing order. We did not see our stewardess again during the entire cruise, but our room was tidied and cleaned twice a day. She fell a bit short on replenishing our ice bucket and clearing away used glassware. Next time, we will point this kind of thing out--and hope for improvement.
On port days, we found that the excursions were very well organized. We took an excursion in each port and found several of them to be exceptional (our favorite was the Eze/Rothchild House at the port of Monte Carlo) and some were just ok. We don't regret taking any of them. With all but one excursion, we were back to the ship in time for a late lunch at the Colonnade. We LOVED lunching on the deck patio outside of the Colonnade. There were items to order from a menu if we did not wish to do the buffet. The lunches were leisurely and such a good memory now.
We ate most dinner in the Main Dining Room (called The Restaurant) on this ship. There were adequate choices--special entrees, appetizers of the day as well as mainstay classics like grilled salmon, steaks, etc. I found myself enjoying the classics more than the specials. All of the food in the MDR was good and the service was quite well done.