We booked a family vacation on the Encore hoping that a large boat would have enough activities for all ages.
The embarkation process was a total mess. There was long lines where it seems that no one paid attention to the check in time assigned to them.
We were in the Haven and had priority checkin but there was no Haven line to check in. Haven guests had to check in with normal guests. Not that I need priority check in but when you are paying that much money it would be nice to get what you pay for.
We stayed in a Haven forward facing penthouse. The room was nice but not exceptional for the price. It was honestly on par with what you can expect for a basic level room with Celebrity (only difference being the size of the bathroom & layout of the “living room”). Despite this being a premium room, I am not sure I would pick this cabin again since I do like to lay in bed and stare out my balcony. Having the balcony in another room and a small window in the bedroom that you cannot see out of from the bed isn’t ideal. I will also add that the balcony is much smaller than expected and the ceiling slopes due to it being at the forward of the ship. It was hard to see out of the balcony and the overall size of the balcony was depressing.
When we arrived I noticed a dirty sharps container left in the bathroom as well as used q-tips in the folded towels. So much for hygiene. The coffee mugs that were replaced daily also had to be double checked since they were often dirty.
The room was also SUPER loud. It rattled like a tin can. You can hear everything. We could heard children in the hall, doors slamming, as well as waves hitting the boat. The seal on the balcony door was broken and it made a loud whistling noise as we traveled. Compared to other boats it doesn’t seem that the Encore is very sturdy.
Glacier Bay is honestly boring. There are a couple glaciers to see but save the time and go see Hubbard or Dawes glacier instead. Also go on a smaller boat that allows you to get closer.
Inadequate time in this port. We had to dock off site.
The worst of all. We docked in Wards Cove outside of town and had to take shuttle busses for a 30 minute ride each way into town or respective excursions. We were only in port for 5 hours so by the time you account for the shuttle it is really 4 hours. That is not enough time.
Again we docked on the opposite side of town and had to take shuttle buses over to town. Long lines to take the shuttle cut into the time spent in port.
All of that aside the natural beauty of Skagway is worth it
We docked at 8pm and it got dark around 9:30pm. It was a bit of a wasted day. A good number of passengers did not exit the boat. The Butchart gardens are a 40 min shuttle drive from port each direction but are very pretty.