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.
Cabin was what I expected. It was nice
Took a taxi to Smugglers cove beach - so worth the 35 minute drive. It is remote beautiful and very few people go to this beach. Was our best day of the cruise.