5 Norwegian Encore Entertainment Cruise Reviews

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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
To start I have sailed with Norwegian 7 previous times on boats like epic getaway and breakaway. I have always loved them and hence bought into The cruise next which is a program that if you give them money to book again they give you ... Read More
To start I have sailed with Norwegian 7 previous times on boats like epic getaway and breakaway. I have always loved them and hence bought into The cruise next which is a program that if you give them money to book again they give you some extra money. I would never sail on the encore again. I will start out saying the room and employees were good and that was not my issue We booked everything with Norwegian including flight and transport to from the ship to airport. That is were the problems began. When we arrived in ft Lauderdale it was complete mess. People had been waiting since 8 am for a shuttle. We arrived at 11. Every other cruise line was very organized and had shuttle times and great communication. Norwegian had none of this. They kept telling us things like the shuttle wasn’t coming or they only had room for half of our family. At 200pm with the boat leaving at 4 and still no info on a shuttle coming we had to spend 300 dollars to cab the 11 of us to the ship. When we arrived at boat it took 6 tries for them to get me checked in and kept trying to give me keys with other people’s name on them. There were 30 to 50 people in line behind me. I ended up being the last one checked in. Because of that we had a really hard time booking things that you could only book on the boat as they were all sold out. Including passes to the go kart track. Which was main reason to go on this boat. The ship was very nice and clean. The boat had 2 water slides both fun but the ocean loop was barely ever open. The last day we left the beach just so we could do it one last time as the day before it was closed only to find out again it was closed for maintenance yet no one was working on it. Do not bring kids on this boat unless you have lots of money to spend. The laser tag and go karts cost 2 dollars a minute and are really only fun at night. The arcade and new vr games average a dollar a minute. There was no mini golf even thou they advertised that there is. There is no rock climbing wall or ropes coarse so there is very very little for kids to do. There is absolutely no night life on this ship at all. All the clubs and bars closed at midnight except a very small disco. Ever other ship has had piano bars and live music or something going on past midnight. You have a choose of 4 restaurants and a buffet. They only thing is that the 3 restaurant unlike other ships all have the same menu. The buffet was good but same things day after day. The local which is the new osheehan on other boats was good. It is open late but you also can’t get drinks after 12. The haven which is Norwegian’s high end rooms is 10 times the size of other ships and has its own buffet and restaurants. This leaves less room on ship for the things that others have. If you can afford haven I am sure you would enjoy this cruise. We took 11 people on this cruise not one of us wouldn’t rate this as the worst cruise we have ever been on. We have all done at least 12 cruises with Norwegian carnival royal Caribbean and Disney. It’s very sad this trip was not as advertised. It was very expensive This trip has completely turned me off of Norwegian cruise which is hard to believe that after the first 6 I thought and paid into cruise next because we were going to cruise Norwegian exclusively once a year as a group for ever. This trip actually broke my heart and love affair with Norwegian. I think the new ceo is looking to nickel and dime you instead of giving you a vacation you pay for. Final note the choir of men was fantastic Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Way overcrowded, bad use of space on the ship. You have to be on the sun deck by 7am to maybe get a chair, 2 very small pools, 1 kids, 1 adult.. 4 very tiny hot tubs. Way too many children, 1 hour wait for water slides most of the time. ... Read More
Way overcrowded, bad use of space on the ship. You have to be on the sun deck by 7am to maybe get a chair, 2 very small pools, 1 kids, 1 adult.. 4 very tiny hot tubs. Way too many children, 1 hour wait for water slides most of the time. The gym is way, way too small and lacks equipment. Room, food, restaurants, entertainment were all good. Make any RSVPs for spa, excursions, go kart etc before you get on the ship. It will be sold out by the time you get on the ship. Watch out for the drink package, be sure to ask when getting a drink if what you want is extra charge or not. They don't let you know then it's on your bill. Starbucks on board and good service. NCL blew it on this ship, bad design/layout, not such a stable ride either due what I am told is a German built ship that lacks the stabllizers on other ships. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Have been cruising for years and this is the first time I left the ship feeling truly disappointed. I usually like to linger onboard and disembark after the crowds, but I went ashore at the first opportunity. I was surprised by the ... Read More
Have been cruising for years and this is the first time I left the ship feeling truly disappointed. I usually like to linger onboard and disembark after the crowds, but I went ashore at the first opportunity. I was surprised by the ambivalence of many of the crew, though polite, they just seemed to be going through the motions. Especially considering this is a new ship, I was expecting to have the Norwegian “A” team onboard. It was a holiday cruise, so I anticipated having to book early for premium dinners and activities. However, I was unable to book all of the prepaid premium restaurants I wanted to dine in as everything was booked before we even left port. I also was unable to get a spot on the go carts, which wasn’t the end of the world, but I would have liked to try it. The highlight of the cruise for me was the Choir of Man Show, which was superb. I didn’t enjoy Kinky Boots as much, the lead singer’s voice and performance was just not compelling. I have enjoyed Norwegian Ships in the past and have sailed with them many times. I am surprised how disappointed I feel after a week on a cruise, I will definitely not sail on the Encore again. I usually buy Cruise Next while onboard but didn’t this time. If you are a smoker, do not get on the Encore. You will feel like a second class citizen and there are no outdoor venues which allow smoking. Their other ships had smoking corners outdoors, but not Encore. There is a very small enclosed smoking room with poor air circulation on Deck 8. The stool seating is uncomfortable, and the space was perpetually crowded. The seating in the Atlanta Airport smoking lounges is more comfortable. The acoustics are horrible, and it just amplified the constant complaining by the other passengers in the small space. The only other options are an enclosed space in the casino if you are gambling. As well as a Cigar lounge with great club chairs, but you are only allowed to smoke cigars in there. The spa thermal suite is nice and only marred by rude passengers talking loudly, ruining the tranquility of the space. The food was ok, nothing memorable, and the beverages were decent. The new Onda restaurant food was good, but the space is all hard surfaces and the noise level was just ridiculous with a full dining room. You could barely hear the server trying to take your order. They did apologize for the noise level and seemed to know this was a problem. I have been loyal to Norwegian for years, but will likely try a different Cruise Line now. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Over a year ago my family of five, along with some friends of ours and their families, excitedly purchased tickets for a Thanksgiving cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Encore. Our cruise was the second voyage after the maiden the week ... Read More
Over a year ago my family of five, along with some friends of ours and their families, excitedly purchased tickets for a Thanksgiving cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Encore. Our cruise was the second voyage after the maiden the week preceding. The Breakaway Plus-class of ships is touted as NCL’s top of the line cruising experience boasting “more than two dozen dining venues, some with waterfront dining experiences; a racetrack; a virtual galaxy pavilion; a laser tag course; and water slides that will take adventure-seekers’ breath away” according to a USA Today article (ref: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2019/11/26/norwegian-encore-cruise-ship-sails-norwegian-cruise-line-new-ceo/4296007002/) Well NCL, you took our breath away, but not in the way that the article claims you would. Three days in to the cruise we feel as though the wind has been knocked out of us and are overwhelmed with disappointment. The best way to liken this experience is to commercial airlines, and I can say with absolute honesty that NCL is the Spirit Airlines of cruising. We have been nickel and dimed every step of the way. After claiming that kids eat free if kids menus at the specialty dining restaurants we have come to find that they only “eat free” if there is a kids menu (which includes Campbell’s quality chicken noodle soup, Kraft-style macaroni and cheese, and PB & J). However, there was no kid’s menu at the hibachi restaurant (or at least not one the servers knew of). So, in order to eat with the family, they must order off of the main menu at full cost. All of the free activities that were included on competitor lines like Disney Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean have been replaced with a pay to play structure and most require reservations prior to setting sail, leaving spontaneity out of the question for this cruise experience. To offer another comparison, the onboard activity experience is like paying to go to Disney World and then having to pay per ride once inside. As a mother of three children ages 8-11 I am left with two options, pay a premium for my children to be able to do nearly any activity except swimming or leave them to roam the decks endlessly with nothing fun to do. Not to mention that the majority of the ship’s virtual reality experiences are not even available due to technical breakdown. Just today, when we showed up for our 3:30PM laser tag reservation, we were turned away because it was broken, and told there were no more available reservations for the duration of our trip. After spending about 30 minutes speaking with numerous staff, one of whom was extremely rude and disrespectful, a supervisor finally rebooked us for Thursday evening. Which is not ideal, since we will have been in port all day and have Thanksgiving dinner reservations, but it was our only option to play laser tag, which our kids have been eagerly anticipating for the past year. Additionally, upon check-in, we were given the opportunity to block charging on our kids’ cards. We blocked their ability to make charges, so if a card was misplaced and found by someone else, it couldn’t be used to make charges to our account. However, we were not informed that blocking them from making purchases also prohibits us, as parents, for booking any onboard activities for them. It took 2 trips to guest services, two trips to the box office, a trip to the finance office and a total of 2 hours to resolve this issue. By this time, nearly all onboard activities were booked for the week. It makes no sense that a parent cannot book activities for their own children without unlocking charging on the kids’ cards, and even less sense that it took so long to correct the issue and we were not informed of that restriction when blocking charging for the kids. Shows, one can always count on the shows onboard right? Wrong. Not on the NCL Encore. Show tickets must be booked well in advance before boarding the ship and getting tickets for a family of 5 is nearly out of the question. Grasping at straws to find a way to enjoy our vacation I figure that we can always swim or soak in the hot tub; again, not on the Encore. By day three the hot tub was broken (along with the outdoor ice/water machines) and one can only access the 18+ pool area by buying a pass. We thought we would try the kids area, but there are only 110 spots available for 4,000+ guests, so, we were told unless we drop the kids early (they pay extra for them to go to dinner with the group), it would be unlikely we would ever get a spot. However, there is not lack of availability for the “after-hours” childcare that garners an hourly fee. Even the 250 minutes of “free” internet requires an activation fee! How on earth is it free internet if you have to pay in advance to access it? At least they don’t try to hide the à la carte experience once onboard. There are 2-3 min long announcements that come on the ship-wide speakers advertising any and everything else they can to up-sell passengers, and, if that isn’t enough, the little red light on our in room phones is constantly blinking to alert us of the infomercial like messages that have been so graciously recorded to reiterate all of the “offerings” onboard. Sell, sell, sell. I can only imagine what the sales quotas are for each department on ship with this kind of constant harassment. It feels more like a flea market than an all-inclusive cruise. Whether Andy Stuart (president and CEO of NCL from 1988 to 2019) or Stuart’s successor Harry Sommer (ref: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2019/11/26/norwegian-encore-cruise-ship-sails-norwegian-cruise-line-new-ceo/4296007002/) who manipulated the onboard experience to be what it is on the Encore and presumably other Breakaway Plus NCL ships, the experience for my family and my friends’ has been a massive disappointment and one we wish to help other families avoid in the future. In short, we paid well over $5,000 for snake oil. A family friendly experience marketed as all-inclusive is anything but. NCL has missed every mark and left us feeling the overwhelming disappointment of a bait and switch scheme. Shame on you NCL. Shame on you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Norwegian Encore Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.3
Family 4.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.5 3.0
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 3.0 2.9

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