We just enjoyed a fabulous week aboard NCL’s newest ship, the Encore. For background, this was my 14th cruise overall and fourth with NCL, having previously sailed on the Pearl, Gem and Escape. I am 54 years old and sailed with my wife, who celebrated a birthday aboard the ship, and our 16-year-old daughter. We had a balcony stateroom on Deck 13.
My initial thoughts upon boarding were, “Wow, this ship is massive.” It reminded me of the Escape on steroids. In some ways, the design was similar in terms of the public areas on Decks 5, 6, 7 and 8. Some things were different as the Kids’ clubs were down on Deck 5. The Encore also has a Go Kart track and Laser Tag, which was not on the Escape (it had a Ropes Course and Spice H2O, an area that has drawn a lot of conversation on Cruise Critic and other boards).
The lack of space around the pool is a valid complaint. Chairs are literally on top of one another, and on sea days, it was a sea of humanity. Thankfully, we purchased Vibe passes. It gave my wife and I a piece of mind, even if meant paying $209 and having to get on the ship early to procure one of the 300 available passes. I’m not sure when this area sold out, but my guess is you had to be among the first three or four groups. We spent $179 to have Priority Access, which allowed us to board the ship with the Platinum, Platinum Plus and Ambassador guests. It gave us a chance to get to the Q Restaurant in time to purchase the passes.
Cabin was what I expected. A little tight between the bed and closet, but we had enough room to store all of our clothing. Bathroom was perfect. Great water pressure and no issues with hot water.
Waste of time. Docked from 5 p.m. to 11:30. Just not worth getting off the ship. Would have preferred skipping P.R. unless it was the daytime.
Nice port. We had been here several times. Just relaxed on the ship. It was a ghost town, which allowed us to enjoy the pool and water slides
Had our excursion to Jost Van Dyke canceled due to space availability and our shortened port time. Wish we had a full day in Tortola. Wanted to go to JVD. Had been to The Baths. Tortola is nothing special. Went into town and did some quick shopping for Cuban cigars.