2 Norwegian Encore Cruise Reviews for Entertainment Cruises to Transatlantic

Basically used as transport from the UK to the Caribbean, we had time to take this trip as part of our itinerary to reach home. Southampton check in -very quick and efficient the only flaw was NCL’s oversight in prebooking information ... Read More
Basically used as transport from the UK to the Caribbean, we had time to take this trip as part of our itinerary to reach home. Southampton check in -very quick and efficient the only flaw was NCL’s oversight in prebooking information in failing to advise that documentary proof of ESTA is required. Ship-We had anticipated some shortcomings as this voyage was essentially a shake down , however it was interesting to see how the latest cruise ships have evolved with a lightly built, full bowed hull outfitted with low maintenance Internal modular units obviously designed for a refurbishment a few years down the road. Despite its huge size the vessel reacted like a much smaller one encountering some poor but not particularly rough sea states, surprising that it is classed for “winter North Atlantic” service. The internal ambience is very understated and the internal decorators have done an outstanding job in both layout and decor. Cabin-Mini suite on deck thirteen, was a little on the narrow side and the balcony, unused due to the weather, extremely small. A large amount of storage, more electrical points would be useful(US standard only). The king bed was comfortable and located inboard of the seating area, apparently the sofa converts to a double bed, it would be adequate only for small children. Bathroom was large with excellent shower, but poor quality toiletries. Restaurants-complimentary, were somewhat limited as Taste, Savor and the Manhattan Room have exactly the same menu which changes little from day to day. The Garden Cafe cafeteria was generally a better choice, being large, beautifully laid out and with an good selection, the carvery and Indian sections were the high spots. -specialty, Ocean Blue(seafood), very disappointing , Food Republic basically sushi with a rather annoying tablet menu, a little better, Le Bistro, worth a visit for a change, Cagneys, by far the best and really the only one worth paying for unless the very reasonable Free at Sea package had been purchased. Bars, although cumulatively quite large in number only the Observation deck had a lounge quality with adequate seating. Again the Free at Sea package is almost essential even for moderate drinkers as the per drink prices are high, a plus point is that only the excess cost is charged over the base prices for premium drinks. Wi Fi-worked well but the very reasonably priced unlimited use add on is essential as the basic 250minutes was consumed by an apparently arbitrary log in and out algorithm. Service-Generally good(vessel only 50%occupied), but could improve particularly in table clearing and cabin areas. Entertainment-Two free professional level productions but not continuously available meant that tickets were scarce. Smaller general acts very similar to other cruise lines. Excessive emphasis on trivia and TV type game shows indicate a Bingo rather than Bridge orientation. Outside facilities, did not use due to weather-vessel is geared to tropical cruises. Value-exceptional,even including Free at Sea and extra Wi Fi costs Disembarkation -An utter shambles, not the fault of NCL, or indeed the immigration officers who struggled to cope with 2000+ passengers using outdated technology and without the self clearance machines used at US airports. They were fortunate, as were we, that the crew were not permitted to disembark.Customs clearance on the following day was much easier as the officers basically just watched passengers collect luggage and leave. High spot-The sea approach to New York under the Verrazano Bridge , past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson to the terminal berth was stunning and could have been more so had the ships entertainers been used to provide NY music during the transit. Fellow passengers-mix of American , British, Canadian and some others. Many hugely overweight and large numbers of mobility scooters, walkers and wheel chairs, generally in 50 to 70 age group and preponderance of return NCL guests. Overview-A relative bargain on a new ship , perhaps a half star lower than Holland America or Celebrity but quite enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because we were excited to be on the first sailing of a brand new ship! The entertainment was great! We especially enjoy music and were not disappointed. We loved WT Greer, the piano player/singer, Rock and more with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were excited to be on the first sailing of a brand new ship! The entertainment was great! We especially enjoy music and were not disappointed. We loved WT Greer, the piano player/singer, Rock and more with Guns and Rojas, an Acoustic set with Camille Rae in the Q Texas Smokehouse, Pop and Rock music with the Duo Phil and Keysha, Calypso/R&B with Temperature Band and the Liverpool Beatles. These performers could be seen in several venues instead of just one spot each night, which gives a different feel for each performance. They could be seen in the Observation Lounge, The Atrium, Sugarcane and the Cavern Club. In The District was Music and Humor with Jim Badger(hilarious!). The headline entertainers were impressive as well. We saw Vox Fortura (music), Joseph Reohm (Magic), Kinky Boots (Musical),and our favorite The Choir of Man! I enjoyed the musical numbers of Kinky Boots but otherwise it felt at least as long as it was, at an hour and 45 minutes. The Choir of Man brings you into the story from the get go by inviting the audience on stage for a beer! The musicians and singers were all excellent at making you feel the emotion, exuberance and humor of the story. Go straight to make reservations when you board and board early! Although it's free, they ran out of reservations by early afternoon on embarkation day. One night in the Observation Lounge, WT Greer invited individual singers from both Kinky Boots and The Choir of Man to join him at the piano. He also invited a very talented guest to play his piano! A very memorable night for music! Happy Hour Prohibition the Musical was a cute musical production in The Social Club, but I do not recommend it. We paid nearly $40pp, I guess because of the intimate venue, but it was not worth it. They include 5 drinks(nearly everyone has a drink pkg) that were all awful. From the watery Moscow Mule to the final glass of what tasted like straight Sweet and Sour mix, they were all bad. No bar available to order a drink, so bring one with you as back up if you go! They should come up with a single signature drink for the show and charge half as much! Comedy club onboard was good, but we went less than we expected because the musicians onboard were Great! Food onboard was all very good to great. We ate in complimentary dining -Taste/Savor/The Manhattan- favorites: Italian Wedding Soup, Pasta Carbonara and the Yogurt parfait. The Local Bar & Grill, favorites: Pasta Bolognese and Chicken Salad Sandwich. Garden Café(Buffet) favorites: Snow Crab legs, Shrimp Tikka and Savory Chicken and Waffles. We also ate in Specialty Restaurants- Onda, favorite Short Rib Ravioli. Cagney's favorite: all the sides and the Salmon. I am not a steak eater, but the other guests seemed to be evenly split between loving the steak at Cagney's and Onda's. Ocean Blue favorites the Gumbo and the Fresh Fish Branzino w/White Wine Lemon Butter. Q Texas Smokehouse favorites: Loaded Fries w/Pulled Pork, Grilled Salmon and the Smoked Peach Margarita! Lots of great items to order a la carte in Q and make a lighter meal of it! The bartenders all over the ship were amazing and during the not so crazy busy times, could really put on a show and make great drinks! Our cabin, a midship mini suite was very comfortable and the shower was amazing with a rainhead shower and SIX directional massaging sprayer heads! Plenty of storage in the bathroom drawers and good space in the room. No drawers but shelves,hanging space and vanity space. Room attendant was great! The ship has lots of places to sit, hang out and make new friends. Take some time just to see the artwork around the ship. My favorite art area to walk was deck 8 near Sugarcane Mojito Bar. This was our first Transatlantic cruise and the weather was not ideal. Rough seas and rain resulted in outside areas being closed most of the cruise. We felt like the ship handled the rough seas well. Thank goodness for all that amazing indoor entertainment! When weather cleared up for a couple of days were able to experience The Speedway racecars. We had a blast! Be sure to make reservations and allow plenty of time, an hour and a half at least. They move guests through in an orderly fashion, but it takes time to go through the line with security/safety videos, getting your gear, futher instructions and then your on your way! Please let another driver pass! My husband got stuck behind a slower driver who wouldn't let him pass. He still had a great time though! If you enjoy trivia, strike up a group for the Progressive Trivia. They meet once each morning and it was Very popular! Great prize baskets for the winning team members(not us!) Another activity I enjoyed was the Wine and Chocolate Seminar. I would definitely try another of the seminars they offered in the Wine Bar! They do sell out! Lots of other activities: a variety of language classes, lectures, trivia, movies, crafts, games and more! We purchased Spa Passes for the Mandara Spa. Some guest complained because the Thalassotherapy Pool has to be closed several times because the rough seas made it unsafe. However we still enjoyed the heated beds, the Sauna, the Snow Room and the Salt Room. They also have a Hot Tub but guests turned that into very loud social hours. We did suggest they make it a No Talking Zone. The voices echo across the spa making for a less than tranquil atmosphere and it causes guests to stay in too long. The spa staff will ask them to quiet down if you ask but we hate to have to do that. I do think the Spa staff should routinely move towels off the Heated Loungers to prevent guests saving them for friends or themselves. There are plenty of cushioned loungers they can allow for saving if they must. The Observation Lounge is an amazing view and a great place to hang before dinner, but speaking of saving loungers... the Observation Lounge is like the new pool deck with the lounge chair hogs. The staff should remove items from these lounges as they go through cleaning. If you've been there long enough to have to go to the bathroom, it's time to give someone else a chance! I found the chairs with ottomans to be more comfortable than the loungers, but people save those as well. We did move some items once after confirming with other guests those items had been there an hour. Those guests showed up another half hour later but didn't say anything to us. The one negative area for us was Guest/Financial Services. We had a ridiculous time applying a $100 gift card to our account. We set up a credit card for our onboard account but they couldn't seem to get things straight and kept sending a letter saying we needed to put more cash on our account. After four visits, over three days, working with five different staff, the problem was corrected. The attitude was it must be your fault. After repeating myself to the last staff member 2X and my husband repeating it again, he finally looked and saw that it had been their error and corrected it. Ugh! Time for a drink and some good music! We ended our cruise with the Views of the Big Apple ending at the Airport tour and both our driver and guide were excellent. Although it's a bus tour, we also got out at the World Trade Center, saw the memorials and had a walking tour there. It was quite a bit of walking for some elderly guests. We also had a quick stop at Battery Park with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. It was a perfect ending for an almost perfect cruise! 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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