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Norwegian Encore Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
219 reviews
1 Award

Huge disappointment for the first NCL Alaska cruisers

Review for Norwegian Encore to Alaska
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10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Aug 2021
Cabin: Family Inside

The return to cruising with NCL offered initial excitement until we were waiting in a 2 block long line for pre cruise antigen testing. Good thing it was not raining or that would have made it even more miserable. Cruise critic's editor Aaron Saunders did not quite touch on just how bad this initial experience was. He claimed to have been cleared in 15 minutes after his test. Ours took over 45 minutes after the 2 hour long wait in the line. The disappointments did not end there. The next day at sea, a non-COVID medical emergency necessitated a need to change the itinerary by dropping one of the more popular ports, Skagway. This was done and more time added to NCL's new port of call, Icy Strait Point, which I believe is a port being promoted by NCL. After an excursion, there was not anything else to do after limited shopping, so more time was wasted aboard the ship. Belief is that the ship could have went on to Skagway and skipped Icy Strait Point, but that was not done. The disappointments did not stop there as the stop in Juneau was not at the berths available in the city center but instead farther away which required a bus ride wasting more time in lines and on a bus in a port with only 6 1/2 hours of port time. As if that was not enough, the ship did not arrive in Ketchikan at its reported time and was over 1 hour late. Time was not added to the back end of this stop so another shortened time in port. This was also where NCL has chose to dock in an abandoned industrial site 8 miles away from the city center, requiring yet another line for buses and a bus ride reducing time in port. Mr. Saunders seems to think this is okay while NCL builds up this place to dock, but as current cruisers spend thousands of dollars on this cruise we did not care about what the future may hold for future cruisers at this Ward Cove location. They did not need to dock there until it is complete or near complete. Instead the ship should have docked in the city center as it has done in the past to offer its welcome back customers the best cruise experience it could offer. As for this review, all was not bad on the cruise. The cruise personnel was very attentive to its guests, the ship was astounding, and the food was some of the best food we have ever had on a cruise. All in all, we were very glad to get back to cruising, and appreciate NCL's decision to make it the safest it could possibly be, but we feel that there were many wrong decisions made that will be corrected, but that does not help the ones that chose to be the first.

Cabin Review

Family Inside

The cabin was well organized for an inside cabin. There was plenty of room for two guests, but I could see where it would get really cramped with three or four guests in the cabin.

Port Reviews

Icy Strait

Icy Strait Point is a nice location, but it only has limited activities for anyone who does not take an excursion. Very little shopping and either a long hike, or standing in line for the tram to take you to the small town area.


Arrive in port too early in the morning for shopping and too short of time in this capital city port. Only allotted approximately 6 hours, so after a 4 and 1/2 hour excursion there is not much if any time left to shop, eat, etc.


Beautiful port, but wished NCL had docked at the city center piers. Lots of shopping/eating.

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