This was a good cruise, not a great one. The Norwegian Encore is a large ship and offers numerous venues for passengers to have a variety of experiences. This cruise sailed on March 26, 2023, from Miami, Florida for one week to the Caribbean. The itinerary was supposed to have four ports of call: Great Stirrup Cay (NCL private island), St. Thomas, Tortola, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, the port call at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic was cancelled due to “high winds” and resulted in an additional sea day.
This cruise was full, and I mean full. Crew told me there were 4,700 passengers onboard, and 1,200 were kids as it was spring break. The ship is big but it always felt crowded, there were people everywhere and in some venues it was difficult to find a seat. Also, Norwegian requires the passengers to reserve seating for some shows which was confusing as the large screens used to make the reservations did not always work. I had reserved some venues on the app prior to boarding but I could not reserve the racetrack, so I did it the first day onboard.
I was traveling solo, and I have been wanting to experience the Norwegian solo traveler cabins referred to as studios. The studio cabins include access to the solo traveler (studio) lounge. This is not available on all Norwegian cruise ships but it is on some of the newer ships including the Encore. The cabin was by far the smallest cabin I have ever had on a cruise ship. I’ve been going on cruises for years and I have had balconies to inside cabins but this one was small. It was, however, tolerable for a week; I could maybe do eight or nine nights in the cabin but that would be it. The cabin was very functional and every inch of space was used. It had a full-size bed, small desk, two closets, a separate room with a toilet and a tiny shower. I did not spend a lot of time in the cabin, so it was okay. I really enjoyed the studio lounge which always included fruits, water, iced tea, hot teas and coffees, and some sweets like cookies. Anyone traveling solo on the ship can access the studio lounge even if the passenger is not staying in a studio cabin.
Cabin was small but functional, read the narrative above where I discuss the cabin.
I have been here before, improvements have been made but not a lot of shade.
Downtown is deteriorated, it used to be nice. Shopped at stores, bought some shirts.
Did the Land and Sea excursion, it was disappointing. Read the narrative above, shopping in the port was not good due to lack of inventory.