86 Norwegian Encore Family Cruise Reviews

I wanted to experience a new mega ship and this one seemed right. I have sailed Norwegian several times and always enjoyed it. So getting right to it: Pros: beautiful decor and public areas. Food was very good overall and wonderful in ... Read More
I wanted to experience a new mega ship and this one seemed right. I have sailed Norwegian several times and always enjoyed it. So getting right to it: Pros: beautiful decor and public areas. Food was very good overall and wonderful in the Specialty restaurants. Bars were plentiful. The two main shows, Kinky Boots and Choir of Man, were the best I have seen at sea. Staterooms were well designed and spacious enough. The crew was cheerful and enthusiastic. I really enjoyed the day at beautiful Great Stirrup Cay with drinks and food included in the package, if you had it. Cons: Limited deck space due to the extensive areas taken up by teen activities: laser tag, VR games and race track. Smoking areas small, crowed and sad. Music on the decks seemed to be exclusively Cuban/Miami dance and very loud. Tiny, overly salty pool. Hot tubs always full of children. Daily activities basically trivia, bingo and spa/shopping seminars. No central elevators. There seemed to be extra charges for everything. Ports were lovely but only spending an evening in San Juan was a waste. BTW, we were on the last cruise before they were cancelled due to the Corona virus outbreak and the Encore crew were fantastic. They handled the extra precautions like champs. Washy-washy! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due ... Read More
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due to COVID-19. On that note, kudos and appreciation to the crew who worked tirelessly to keep passengers and crew safe and healthy. Each day, we noticed additional measures were put in place, including the cancellation of some events, crew serving passengers at the buffet instead of each grabbing the utensils themselves, tables in the dining room only being set once seated, paper menus, crew not handling keycards, and, of course, additional hand washing and sanitizing, to name just a few. Embarkation for this cruise took much longer than any previous cruise; partly because we couldn’t get to the port until the busiest time, but mostly because the additional screening (taking temperature and checking passports) to ensure ill people did not board. Once on board, my wife, 7 year old daughter and I marvelled at the “new-ness,” the size and the beauty of Encore. I quickly went to make reservations for dining and some of the activities. The lines for this were shorter than I expected and I was able to get most of my reservations quickly and easily. Do this on your first day on board. We ate at the Local (what is called O’Sheehan’s on most other NCL ships). There’s more space for The Local on this ship, and the food is just as good - though I missed the meat loaf this time. We looked to get our keycards hole-punched for our lanyards and were told these new keycards cannot be punched. The use a tap-system rather than a swipe-system and a hole-punch renders them useless. Conveniently - for NCL - they sell lanyards with a plastic pouch for your card for $10 - $12 on board. (And you can’t buy the plastic pouch separately.) Save the $ and just bring your own. Here is a bullet-point rundown of what’s on Encore that we really loved: - food; we only ever eat in the main dining rooms and the food on NCL is always delicious. We’ve heard great things about the specialty dining rooms but feel there’s no reason for us to try them yet as the food that’s included in the price is so good. - entertainment: Choir of Man and Kinky Boots were the best combo of main shows of any cruise I’ve been on to date. We watched Choir of Man twice, we loved it so much! Kinky Boots was so well done - a huge cast, 1:45 min show without intermission; it felt like Broadway. We took our 7 year old because she loves musicals and didn’t find the content all that inappropriate actually and the language was much better than other shows we’ve seen. Your call, if you sailing with kids. The two comedians were quite funny but we prefer improv and would love for NCL to renegotiate a contract with Second City and bring them back. - casino: we don’t ever gamble and appreciated the casino’s enclosed smoking area, keeping the smell of smoke in the public areas to a minimum. - kids aqua park: perfect size and amenities, my 7 year old loved it. - activities: lots to do for all ages; not enough time. I took my daughter with me in the go-carts for one session ($15 for about 5 or 6 laps). I did the VR experience in the Galaxy Pavilion - it wasn’t busy so I did the $29 for one hour deal. I tried 14 of the games and must admit I felt a bit woozy doing them in such rapid succession. I did the escape game BAMboozled - our team won! The Beatles show was over-crowded; great sound but a boring show actually (I expected better, given the other reviews here but perhaps didn’t give them a fair shake). - the Observation Lounge on Deck 15. A great place to relax, especially on rocky sea days. Not once did I feel like the ship was crowded or congested. - cabin: we usually book an interior room and this time we were assigned an accessible room with additional space. - wine package: I could never drink enough alcohol to make the all-inclusive drink package worthwhile, and my wife doesn’t drink at all. I usually take a few bottles of wine on board and pay the corkage fee, but this time I did the Viva Vino - 4 bottles for $110 + grat. This worked well, though still more expensive than paying corkage on my own bottles. What could have been better (certainly not make-or-break): - coffee; only good coffee on the ship is the Starbucks (extra $) - timing of the call in San Juan: arriving at 5:30 pm doesn’t leave chance to do much of anything - the ship is loud: the band on the pool deck, the blaring muster drill in the theatre, even the relentless creaking in staterooms and common areas during pitch and roll - just annoying more than anything - I’m no designer, but what is that strange chandelier hanging in 6-7-8? Not elegant. - I missed the live music in the Manhattan Room Excursions San Juan - as mentioned, arriving at 5:30 was not ideal. We walked around and bought a souvenir. St. Thomas - purchased an excursion through Godfrey Tours. I tried to give Godfrey a suggestion to give better directions as to where to find him - strangely he started arguing with me about it. Simply put: when you get off the ship, ask someone to direct you to the “pre-arranged tour” meeting area. 3rd party tours, not booked through your cruise line. That said, the tour was great! Very informative (did every hurricane hit St. Thomas?!?), and we loved our time at Megan’s Beach. Tortola - did nothing here except look at the shops within the cruise port. We did note how clean this port area was compared to St. Thomas. Will do something more elaborate here next time. Great Stirrup Cay - we made it! Tendering was possible this time. First time in three tries for my daughter; second time in four tries for my wife and I. Beautiful place, but NCL really has to build a pier here to ensure making this port of call. Shout out to a few crew members (we filled out our Vacation Hero cards but forgot to drop them off): - Henry - waiter in the Manhattan Room; friendly and quick service - John Milligan - pianist in the Observation Lounge who invited members of the Choir of Man and Kinky Boots to sing as he accompanied. I want to quickly address some of the major criticisms of Encore by other reviewers. ** Not enough space for sunning around the pool. I can see this being an issue, but we are not pool people or sun-worshippers so it didn’t bother us at all. We could always find a lounge chair in a shady part of the pool deck near the Kids Aqua Park. If this is a major priority for you, consider a different ship or purchase the Vibe Club. ** NCL “nickel and dimes” you. Yes. And thanks for doing so. By not including all the extras in the initial fare, passengers can pick and choose what they want to experience rather than pay up front for all of it. It keeps the price down, lets me pay for the activities I want to do, and minimizes long line-ups. We absolutely loved this cruise. A wonderful mix of active and relaxing vacation. Encore has a few kinks (no pun intended) but is a spectacular ship. We would love to sail on her again. NCL in general meets our family’s desires - great food, lots to do (or not to do), top rate kids programming and amenities, affordable. It’s remains our cruise line of choice. Thank you NCL for a great week - especially given what was going on in the world at the time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our 5th cruise. 4th one with Norwegian. a quick trip to get away from the Candian winter. The ship is big. VERY big... almost too big. I found the ship easy to move around in... easy to find things.. but the pool deck was ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise. 4th one with Norwegian. a quick trip to get away from the Candian winter. The ship is big. VERY big... almost too big. I found the ship easy to move around in... easy to find things.. but the pool deck was insane. I had read reviews so knew what to expect... had decided not to buy the package for the VIBE package - thought I could endure it... I could not. each chair is side by side along with the others... they had attendants coming to ask for a drink (great) but you could not MOVE - let alone save a seat if you could find one for the hubby or kids. I spent my time on the pool deck sitting way to close to strangers alone - with my headphones on to drown out the conversations of strangers beside me. we saw choir man - GREAT. Kinky boots very good (had seen it on broadway before-held it's own). Ate at the Mexican place and twice at Q as we could not get a reservation anywhere else. Kids really enjoyed the Buffet and we went to Savoir 3 times. all very good. Never used any of the shore excursions - did those on our own. The room was a good size for the 4 of us. (two parents and two teenagers.) complaints about the room.... it was above the cavern night club... for an 'upgraded' room and the noise that came out of that club just didn't compute with me. we survived - but they really shouldn't sell that room at an upgrade due to the noise... The next thing that really made me upset was out 'neighbor had a marijuana habit. every afternoon and evening they would smoke up. the smell was disgusting and foul. we could not sit out on our balcony due to the smell. (now - we are from Canada where it is legal... but seriously??) smell wafted into our room as well so venting is obviously not tight. Again - we survived. But I would have really rather not had to deal with that every day - all day. we did the race track and laser tag. did not do the virtual reality (kids just used the video arcade) my husband used the gym - said it was huge and nice... but crowded in the am - I told him because everyone else has the same idea as him. I would NOT go on this ship again. too big - not enough space in the sun. Kids said they enjoy the rope course more as they can go on it for free (thanks for saving money kids!) and do rock climbing. they did the race track twice. and a few video games. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Chose this cruise because we wanted to sail on the new ship. Encore is a beautiful ship but lack of pool space is a serious problem! And to top it off, Vibe now has fee which really is not right, especially because there was never a seat ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to sail on the new ship. Encore is a beautiful ship but lack of pool space is a serious problem! And to top it off, Vibe now has fee which really is not right, especially because there was never a seat at the pool. We loved Teppanyaki!! The food was outstanding as was Cagney’s! Los Lobos was not very good and the service was terrible. The buffet was always delicious and fresh. The behind the scenes tour was very well done and we really enjoyed seeing how the ship operated! Everyone was so friendly! We loved the shows in the atrium and saw the Beatles three times! They were fantastic! We also loved the Choir of Men! We only did one shore excursion and it was okay. The stop in Puerto Rico was a waste of time. We walked around but there was not much to do and shore excursions were way overpriced for what they were. Overall, we had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This cruise line always delivers the best 1- food ( we ate sushi x3 went to a fish/ meat restaurant and also to a pub all were excellent A- buffet excellent choices for all dietary restrictions ( just need to ask inform them B- ... Read More
This cruise line always delivers the best 1- food ( we ate sushi x3 went to a fish/ meat restaurant and also to a pub all were excellent A- buffet excellent choices for all dietary restrictions ( just need to ask inform them B- a la carte restaurant C- multiple bakery gelatos ice cream eatery 2- entertainment A-Broadway shows ( saw kinky boots: it was entertaining but lacked of energy that day B-multiple live bands ( saw the Beatles twice guns and Rojas a few time etc... C-top notch comedians Rooms We upgraded to a junior suite with balcony space was good even had a bath Very Clean the only problem we were on the 9th floor over live music so quiet time was only after the show were done ( 11:30 pm almost every night ) But the cruise line offered us to change rooms gave us a complimentary supper they suis so much to make sure everything would be perfect Staff The staff is amazing Polite respectful Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
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
I would not cruise on the Encore again. If you like Norwegian, try the Breakaway or Getaway instead. Overall, the food in the main dining rooms and buffet was good. We were a party of 8 and never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a ... Read More
I would not cruise on the Encore again. If you like Norwegian, try the Breakaway or Getaway instead. Overall, the food in the main dining rooms and buffet was good. We were a party of 8 and never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table at dinner without a reservation (we only made a reservation the first night on the ship) We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants, however many people on the cruise said that Cagney's was the best. We primarily went to Taste and Savor for dinner and never had an issue finding something we would eat (many times we ordered multiple appetizers, entrees or desserts). We did have dinner one night in the Manhattan Room and found it to be a little more formal. It was also dark and the service was slow. For breakfast and lunch, we split the time between the dining rooms and the buffet. The buffet had a variety of options, including a station for Indian and Asian selections which were great. At breakfast, there was an omelet station to get made to order omelets and eggs. The kids loved the soft server ice cream stations, pizza, and mac-n-cheese. My only negative is that there wasn't a formal night with a more fancier menu (surf and turf, crab legs etc...) The Go-Carts, Laser Tag, and Galaxy Pavilion are all additional charges. $15 for each Go-Cart Ride, $9.95 for each Laser Tag, and $8 for each virtual ride in the Galaxy Pavilion. We paid for 2 Go-Cart Rides, 2 Laser Tags, and 1 day session for the Galaxy Pavilion which was $49 for the day for our 15 year old. They do have unlimited packages for each or all, however they were expensive and not worth the extra money. Also, making reservations for the Go-Carts and Laser Tag didn't matter, because you still had to wait at least a half hour after your scheduled time slot. As for the Pools, both the adult and kids pool were small (and closed the first 2 days at sea) and there wasn't enough open deck space or chairs for the amount of people on this ship. If you didn't get to the pool area by 8:00 AM, forget about finding 2 chairs together. Choir of Man is definitely the star show on this cruise. Kinky Boots was just OK. The musicians were average at best and the DJ's should just stick to playing top 40 and Reggae. I'm an avid music listener and found that I only knew 1 out of every 5 songs they played the entire week on the pool deck. The MC's at the nightly parties were annoying and it would have been better if they just had the DJ. My 15 year old son and his friends joined the Entourage Club but found that there wasn't much to do there other than a single air hockey table, foosball table, and a few game consoles. And the daily teen activities (other than 1 game of dodgeball) were not very fun or interesting. How about planning a scavenger hunt, a tour of the non-public parts of the ship, more competitions etc... Service for the most part was good, but nothing to rave about. Never had to wait long at any of the bars to get a drink. The waiters were nice, but not very personable. I would much rather of had the same table and waitstaff each night at dinner to get to know them and for them to get to know us (know what drink we wanted each night, any dessert we particularly liked etc..). The room stewards did a great job of making sure our beds were made and turn-down service done each night when we got to our rooms. My wife was disappointed they didn't make any animals with the towels like they had on other cruises. All other personnel on the ship were friendly and accommodating. I would give 5 stars to the ship's cleanliness, however the design of the ship is poor. Too much space allocated to Vibe, Go-Carts, and Laser Tag and too little space allocated to pool and sundecks. Also, a sports court would have been a better use of the space that the laser tag takes up. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This is a very new ship with some cool stuff on it BUT NCL built it wrong. There's 4,000 people on this ship and the pool area is the size of a pea. The race track takes up needed space for another pool and decking space. There is a ... Read More
This is a very new ship with some cool stuff on it BUT NCL built it wrong. There's 4,000 people on this ship and the pool area is the size of a pea. The race track takes up needed space for another pool and decking space. There is a second pool on the ship but it's in the private club. Which needs to be opened to the general public in order to have enough space to lounge. When you do find a seat at the pool and the so called entertainment starts they have it cranked up so loud you can hardly stand listening to thier sub par band. I like to party but they have to turn it down a notch. Every cruise I've been on I've known the cruise staffs names and they knew me. Except this one. Without the pool space they are hardly outside doing their jobs. Waiting for a drink at times is another experience. Inside is beautiful but again their entertainment rooms are WAY too small for the amount of people on the ship. Standing in line is not my idea of fun. Having to make reservations b4 you get on the ship for the restaurants is crap too. Theater is nice. Food was good. Steakhouse was great but dont we pay enough to get that in regular dining? In all beautiful Big ship. Too many people not enough space. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The cruise was selected for our group (family/friends) by the Bride & Groom. We sailed during school vacation week and it was BUSY!! That being said, we didn't find the ship to be overly crowded except at the pool and during ... Read More
The cruise was selected for our group (family/friends) by the Bride & Groom. We sailed during school vacation week and it was BUSY!! That being said, we didn't find the ship to be overly crowded except at the pool and during embarkation/debarkation. This was my 4th sailing with ncl. Staff: OUTSTANDING!! Bartenders seemed the least friendly overall. Wait staff was incredible, cabin stewards top notch, guest services area (to include internet and excursion desk) all friendly, professional and extremely helpful. The ship is beautiful. I was hesitant going in since it is such a big ship, but was surprised at how everything was laid out well. Yes, as everyone else has said, the pool could be bigger. Both kids and adults enjoyed the extras...Go Karts, Virtual Reality room, water slides, etc. We had 2 persons with food allergies in the group. While at dinner, the staff inquired and made it a point to accommodate. We were given a special menu and ordered the day prior. The chef made sure there was no cross contamination. This was above and beyond and we are extremely grateful for the attention to detail here. Food everywhere was outstanding! SOOOOOOOOOOO many options!! An added benefit to the cabin refurb I want to mention... they now have a light up little sign outside the room that notes whether you're "in the room", "do not disturb", and "clean the room". You control it by buttons inside your room. There are no outlets in the bathroom, but the desk area is a great little vanity to get ready. Plenty of space overall to store items and clothing. On our prior sailings, we were never overly impressed with the shows. They were "ok". On this trip, we saw Choir of Man, Beatles, and Kinky Boots. Choir was OUTSTANDING!! Definitey a must! Beatles was great! The old folks were loving it (cute)! The members dressed up to look very similar to the Beatles and tried to talk with British accents. Music was fantastic!! Kinky Boots was "ok". I guess we all expected more. At times it was slow. The music wasn't as upbeat as the other shows. However, the drag queens were amazing! Fitness: The ships gym was awesome!! We used the outdoor track every morning. It became busy and congested around 8am. The biggest disappointment, imo, was the stop in San Juan, PR. It was at night for only a few hours, too dark to see anything, dirty, and most shops were closed. Everyone was shopping for souvenirs at the Walgreens! Wish we had stopped in Key West instead. I'm sure the point is to help the tourism in PR recover after the hurricane devastated the area, but it was a bummer to most everyone we spoke with. Overall very happy with NCL and the Encore. I will continue to sail with NCL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I choose this cruise because I wanted to bring my four grown sons to Jost Van Dyke an Excursion offered while in Tortola on 2/20. The excursion got sold out & the time being there was changed from 8:00 to 5:00 pm to 6:00am to 2:00pm. ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I wanted to bring my four grown sons to Jost Van Dyke an Excursion offered while in Tortola on 2/20. The excursion got sold out & the time being there was changed from 8:00 to 5:00 pm to 6:00am to 2:00pm. & was not notified. I called the cruise line To ask about being added for this excursion and was told I could put my name on a waitlist once onboard the ship. When I got onboard I went to guest services and was told there were 17 people on the waitlist ahead of us & it was very unlikely we would get to go. The reason they changed the itinerary was so that the ship could stop at their private island GREAT STIRRUP CAY in the Bahamas instead of a day at sea. Well on the day of that stop we were told it was too windy and not safe to go there due to tendering. So for a 7 day cruise we only had 1 full day in St. Thomas. So being on the ship 75% of the time...the place to hang was at the pool...if you did not get up by 8:00 am or earlier & get a seat by the pool you were outta luck. The big screen at the pool had a sign up for the entire 7 days....you can’t save chairs...if you were not present for 15 minutes they would take your belongings off your chair. So if you wanted to go eat ...you lost your chairs. It was a nightmare to say the least! Any place more civil on the ship to hang outside was an extra charge and that was sold out too! On the first nites dinner....asked for a glass of Pinot Grigio and was told at the Onda at Scarpetta restaurant that they did not have any...only to walk out of restaurant after dinner and pass wine cellar....attached to the restaurant to see 10 bottles of Pinot Grigio on the shelf! This was my second Norwegian Cruise and I would not cruise them again! Back to Royal Caribbean❤️ Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The laser tag and speedway are very cool but quite expensive. They seem to have taken the place of other free activities like basketball etc. which we missed. There are not enough chairs on the Pool deck perhaps forcing people to pay for ... Read More
The laser tag and speedway are very cool but quite expensive. They seem to have taken the place of other free activities like basketball etc. which we missed. There are not enough chairs on the Pool deck perhaps forcing people to pay for the beach club. The main dining rooms were every bit as good if not better than the specialty restaurants. We loved the deck 8 big blue couches and chairs and camped out there on all at sea days including the day that was supposed to be the private island, some usb plugs by all those chairs and sofas, may be helpful. Perhaps a dock at the private island would be a good idea rather than tendering so people can actually use the private island because it seems to be cancelled often due to safety issues with tendering. Our stateroom was very well appointed and our attendant was great. All the bar staff treated us well. The Chocolate Cowboy as he liked to call himself at sugarcane mojito bar outside on deck 8 was awesome. The cruise director was fine when we saw him, but not the best one we have ever had. Tortola needed to be way longer, no one wants to go snorkeling at 7:30 in the morning, especially when anyone who checked the weather report knew we weren’t getting off the ship the next day at the private island. We really enjoyed the Choir of Man, Kinky Boots was good but not for smaller children, we didn’t see the one you had to pay for, because really, we paid enough already, entertainment should be free. Overall, you have a beautiful ship that with a few tweaks would make me try again. For now, I will stick with Royal Caribbean or Disney. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We go for the newest ships, often sucked in by the gimmicks plus the itinerary. In this case it was the race track and laser tag and the chance to try a new line. This was our 8th cruise -- previously we've been on Disney, Royal ... Read More
We go for the newest ships, often sucked in by the gimmicks plus the itinerary. In this case it was the race track and laser tag and the chance to try a new line. This was our 8th cruise -- previously we've been on Disney, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. For our "free perks" I had selected 3 specialty dining (Cagney's, LeBistro, Ocean Blue), 250 minutes of wifi, and the drink package. Food I felt was on par with other lines except not many complimentary choices for lunch. For example nothing on the pool deck except the buffet. I've never done specialty restaurants before. It's fine if it's included but I wouldn't pay for them. Main dining room is perfectly sufficient for us. Staff I felt was on par with other lines. Typically if you're friendly and treat people with respect they respond in kind. Not very happy about all the extra activity fees. $10 for laser tag. $15 for race track. $30 for an hour in Galaxy Pavilion. They should let everybody do each thing once and pay for extra times. I ended up paying almost $400 for activities for the four of us (including a $160 arcade pass). Thankfully my wife thinks the spa is too expensive and didn't go there. I waited a year in order for my kids to be tall enough for the race track but my youngest still wasn't tall enough. But at least they have double car sessions and he could ride with me. Note even though this is supposed to be "free style," you seriously need to plan out and reserve dinners, shows and activities -- especially laser tag, race track and escape -- if you want to be assured that you can do them. So planning was actually a little tiring, especially since many items you can't reserve until you get on board. We had intended to do the escape room but I didn't book it fast enough and all the slots disappeared by day 2. But it's just as well based on the feedback I've read. I didn't realize until after I booked that all these gimmicks seriously impacted other areas on the ship. For example there is no adults only area unless you want to pay extra for the Vibe. There is just one small pool and a small shallow one for the kids. And four small hot tubs (capacity of 6-7 adults but typically was full of kids). This is the first cruise I ever went on where I didn't get in the hot tub. The pool was salt water so my kids didn't care to go in a second time as it burned their eyes and tasted nasty if it got in their mouths. The tube water slide was fun but we only did it once. Not really worth waiting for 30 minutes each time. The Ocean Loop slide is a failure due to poor design or implementation only people weighing 130 lbs or more could go on it. And even though I'm well over 130 lbs I failed to go through the first time. The second time I took off my rash guard (shirt) and made it through. And lounging space on the pool deck is extremely limited. Since we prefer shade it wasn't a big issue for us. The tv system and app is decent but doesn't have the ability to book certain things and you can't cancel anything either. So I had to visit guest services a number of times. If the app was more comprehensive this would not have been necessary. Texting via the app worked well. I think this should be a complimentary feature, not $10/device. The free wifi was so-so but it generally worked well enough. Trying to limit kid's accounts was very difficult. I couldn't put a dollar limit, it was either leave open or close it. I closed it just to be safe but that caused various problems (for example it wouldn't let me book laser tag for my son even though I was using my card to do it). So I shouldn't have bothered. My kids know enough not to charge stuff wantonly. I had only been doing it just in case. At least the kids activities and kids club was not an extra charge. We didn't use it much but my younger son spent about 5-6 hours total there. He enjoyed it enough to ask to go back after the first time. For some dumb reason they didn't properly accommodate smokers at launch so they scrambled to add an outdoor smoking area on the pool deck. They should have planned for this in the first place. I love that the main casino is smoke-free. You can actually walk through it without gagging. We thought the shows and entertainment (Choir of Men, Kinky Boots, Beatles) were quite good and entertaining. I refuse to pay extra for a show so I didn't attempt to see Prohibition. Bottom line is go for this ship if you are interested in race track, laser tag and galaxy pavilion. Or the overall itinerary. But if you won't use those anyway pick a ship that has the adults area (Spice H2O) and more space for the traditional areas. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I was anxious to come home and write this review after reading so many negative reviews since encore set sail in November. I can 100% say I don’t know why so many have complaints from this ship. This is my 4th Norwegian Cruise and it did ... Read More
I was anxious to come home and write this review after reading so many negative reviews since encore set sail in November. I can 100% say I don’t know why so many have complaints from this ship. This is my 4th Norwegian Cruise and it did not disappoint. The biggest complaint I read was the pool and lack of chairs. Is the pool a little smaller, yes. Was it full even once, no. Chairs on a 4000 person ship are never going to be Enough. I noticed people coming down at 12 complaining. No matter what ship your on, chairs will be an issue coming down at noon. Never once in 7 days did I not get chairs. Sometimes they were in the shade and I moved up when people moved. The not saving chair notices were in effect. A lady walked around and removed towels from seat savers. Impossible to be 100% effective though. As for the activities, yes people you need to book them. We booked first day and were able to make reservations for go carts and laser tag twice and an escape room. The galaxi pavilion you don’t need to book and they did offer a day pass for $50, which we picked our day at sea. All these new exciting options are pricy but worth every penny. We knew ahead of time so budgeted accordingly. The shows were amazing. Food amazing. Overall layout of ship was great, plenty of room everywhere. I read complaints of not getting in to see the Beatles. They now moved them to the big theater 2x during the cruise, so no issues getting to see them. The extra parties were so much fun. Silent disco and glow party were huge hits with my group. So my only advice for this cruise is bring a sweater cause this ship can be chilly in certain rooms. Other than that relax and ignore the negative reviews, this ship rocks!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
NCL Encore is the newest ship currently. NCL has really improved in traffic flow, decreasing congestion, a wide range of activities for all ages. Nightly bars, shows, comedy clubs, entertaining music all occurring at the same time in so ... Read More
NCL Encore is the newest ship currently. NCL has really improved in traffic flow, decreasing congestion, a wide range of activities for all ages. Nightly bars, shows, comedy clubs, entertaining music all occurring at the same time in so many different areas. We stayed on deck 15, close to the observation lounge. We thoroughly enjoyed the food presented at different stations, views, bar etc. Coffee, tea, water was always available. NCL really improved the Garden Cafe. Many different stations well placed to ease traffic flow. You no longer felt like you were a sardine in a can. The Comedy Club had family shows and adult shows. M Simone and Tom were excellent. Kept the audience laughing. My husband is telling their jokes to family amid many laughs. The band Guns and Rojas was very entertaining. They had a wide range of music and knew how to engage the audience. Dining was great. Complimentary and specialty both. The two sit down restaurants with a bar in between served delicious food. And staff would work with you to individualize orders. Q restaurant had outstanding barbecue sides and choices. Cagney’s, Los Lobos , and don’t forget the chicken wings at the Grill. We did several shore excursions. Kevin for St John by Land and Sea was excellent, informative and really talked to the group. Lance the Florida Everglades was superb. Very entertaining, brought a wealth of information, and different objects such as alligators teeth, alligator objects, for us to see and handle. During the Everglades Park part of the tour he stayed with the group providing additional information. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
For starters it blows my mind that people are actually complaining about the amount of kids on the ship. You're looking at a cruise ship that headline a go kart track, waterslides, laser tag, and virtual reality. You should know just ... Read More
For starters it blows my mind that people are actually complaining about the amount of kids on the ship. You're looking at a cruise ship that headline a go kart track, waterslides, laser tag, and virtual reality. You should know just by the look of this ship it's going to have plenty of families on it. I've seen a lot of complaints about the upcharges on the ship also for having to pay extra for a lot of the activities. Yes, this might be a shock if you don't look into it and go on the ship expecting it all to be included but it states online that these things do cost extra money so research it and go in budgeting accordingly. Also have seen a lot of complaints about people upset that you need to make reservations for things such as the go karts, laser tag, and the escape room. The ship does this to be organized so go on the first day of your cruise to make these reservations and you'll be stress free the rest of the time. For people wanting to sunbathe and complaining about the seating there is always seating if you walk up two levels from the pool for perfect sun seats. If you're going to try to get seats by the pool past noon you shouldn't expect to find seats together. There is a kid pool and an adult pool but the whole trip both pools were never even close to being full or had over 10 people in them at a time. The Choir of Man show is the best show on the ship make sure you go to that! Participate in the themed nights and games shows too, they're awesome! The food was great at every single place & every activity on the ship (go karts, virtual reality, laser tag, etc) was well worth the money and a great experience. TIP FOR WIFI** I purchased the unlimited social media wifi it cost me around a total of $90 for the week. I was able to use all social media with no problem and I was also able to iMessage and FaceTime. This was well worth the money! The only complaint I have was that my group was a big fan of going to karaoke which they had almost every single night but they don't have any classic songs or anything even remotely updated on the list which I know was extremely frustrating to many people who were trying to have a good time. Don't let the negative reviews drive you away, this ship was incredible! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My husband and I cruise each February so are not new to this vacation type We were new to Norwegian. We were joining other family on this cruise. our other cruises have been with Celebrity and once on Holland America. I ha e never had an ... Read More
My husband and I cruise each February so are not new to this vacation type We were new to Norwegian. We were joining other family on this cruise. our other cruises have been with Celebrity and once on Holland America. I ha e never had an experience where staff especially guest services was so rude. The ship is brand new. There is only 1 adult pool so imagine sea days. They put in a go cart track instead of a pool and laser tag all of which cost extra. There is 2 water slides only 1 was open the 7 days the second for 1 day only. Food was the same in the buffet and in their dining rooms. Who is serving corn on the cob in your main dining room? The custom restaurants were nice and food excellent. If you are a smoker this is not the ship for you. My husband is a smoker always smokes outside away from others. The smoking area is a 10x15 glass room no ventilation for hundreds of people. They created a second one after complaints right next to the out door bar but no smokers were ever offered a beverage if you were sitting in this area. The servers ignored you. These guest were treated horrible less than any other paying guest. Guest services response regarding smoking was “ you should have chosen another cruise line” we would have if it was advertised as a non smoking cruise. $ 250.00 fine for not smoking in the smoking area and cameras everywhere. Don’t risk the fine we saw many who did as there was no room in the smoking area. A passenger near our room was using a scooter to get around. It didn’t not fit into her room and she paid for a bigger handicap room. Our rooms were balcony rooms on the 9 th floor. Beverage package does not include bottled water or any canned soda. You need to buy a water package. All soda was fountain no cans. If you didn’t order a water package bottled water starts at $5.00. Entertainment was good but if you do not have a reservation you will not get in. I was surprised at the lack of activities on sea days. On celebrity there are multiple activities each hour not here. Our cabin steward was the nicest employee on the ship. Norwegian is not a cruise line I would recommend. A big waste of money this year Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are seasoned cruisers and have been on NCL, Royal, Celebrity and Holland, and I can easily say that this was our least favorite ship. If you are traveling with children, take one of the Royal giant ships of Symphony, Allure, Harmony or ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and have been on NCL, Royal, Celebrity and Holland, and I can easily say that this was our least favorite ship. If you are traveling with children, take one of the Royal giant ships of Symphony, Allure, Harmony or Oasis. We've been on Symphony and Allure and the Encore isn't even in the same league. Those ships are amazing and Encore seemed like the designer looked at all the goods things about those ships and decided to do the opposite. Encore seems like it was designed for cold weather itineraries, as the pool deck area is laughably small for a 4,000 passenger ship. NCL needs to dismantle the race track and laser tag and build another pool on this ship. The good: - Service was very good for the most part. General attitude of staff is more pleasant than we have found on other lines. - The food was the best we've experienced on any ship. From the Garden Cafe to the dining rooms to the specialty restaurants, we found everything to be above average for a cruise. - Choir of Man is a must see show on water or land. Beatles tribute was very entertaining. The BBQ restaurant had a country band playing mainstream country hits every night and is a very fun venue. - Our 7 and 6 year old kids loved the kids camp and said it was better than Royal although they couldn't really explain why. The bad: - The absolute worst thing about this ship is everything about the design and layout. More than a third of the ship's upper decks is devoted to outdoor space for the Haven suites and the beach club ($200/extra per person and that doesn't buy you access to the Haven pool). Another third is wasted on the go cart track and laser tag which were fun for the 10 minutes each takes (at an extra charge) but are a novelty that aren't worth the space they take on the ship. That leaves less than a third of the ship for the pool area which has two fairly small pools, one of which is adults only and the other while not kids only, basically is kids only. There are not nearly enough chairs for the amount of passengers and we witnessed several arguments over chairs as well as people lying on the floor. Of the chairs there are, maybe at most 100 are in the sun at any given moment. Also, if you're not outside by 9am, you will not get a chair for the rest of the day. - One other major engineering issue is there seems to be something wrong with the ships stabilizers. Having been on many ships of varying sizes, I've never felt a ship rocking in even rough seas, the way this one does in calm seas. There was never a moment, even when the ocean looked like a still lake, where you didn't feel this ship rolling from side to side. At night when moving at speed, it felt like we were sailing through a hurricane. The hangers in our closest were swaying back and forth and things in our room were creaking so loud we all had trouble sleeping. This happened every night. I can't believe this ship really rocks like this and have to think the stabilizers weren't working correctly. - The ship has two slides. One utilizes a tube and is so tame it's like a toddler slide. The other is a vertical drop looping slide which was broken and only opened to the second to last day for about 10 minutes and the last day for about 30 minutes. Of the maybe 10 people who were able to use it, about half got stuck and had to be let out an emergency hatch. The reason the slide was broken and closed was never made clear and many people were told different things. Compare this to the big royal ships which have three slides of varying excitement and lines that move very quickly. - While many reviews say this is a great ship for kids I couldn't disagree more. The fact that NCL includes a beverage package causes too many people to drink way too much. We experienced was too many incidents of drunk people acting inappropriately around children in public spaces to ever consider NCL again. When you're travelling with kids, its disconcerting to see 100s of people drinking alcohol at 8:30am, which many are at the pool for because you can forget getting a chair after 9am. While we thought service was mostly excellent, the bartenders in most venues were painfully slow and didn't seem to care, which again, I think is the product of nearly everyone having an unlimted drink package. - This ship has no open space where you don't feel cramped. I'm 5'11' and could touch the ceiling in every area of the shop except the atrium but even that area is very narrow and not a grand space. Compared to the Oasis class ships and their huge open neighborhoods, this feels like a ship built decades ago before designers found ways to open things up. Again, compared to Oasis class and its mall like promenade, the shopping area of this ship is a bit of a joke. Many reviews praise the observation deck which is fairly open but fully inside. This might be great for relaxing with great views on an Alaskan cruise but for the Caribbean we had no reason to be in there and the few times we walked through there were very few people using this area. There is no level where you can walk fully around the ship; the closes thing is walking around the middle pool deck, again, compare to Oasis class which has a 1/5 mile track around the ship. The 8th floor has and outdoor deck on both sides with restaurants and bars that have indoor/outdoor seating but the outdoor seating is useless when the ship is in motion at dinner time as the wind makes it unbearable. Compare to Oasis where Central Park area has outdoor seating full protected from the wind. - While the shows were entertaining and Choir of Man was excellent, they don't hold a candle to the shows on Oasis class which include a Vegas quality show on the multi story outdoor arena, an ice skating show complete with dozens of drones that put on a light show, and shows in a theater that is twice the size and three times the height allowing for more set, scenery and effects. - Finally, the phone app, room tv and hallway info centers are great in theory but don't actually work. We were never sure what show and restaurant reservations we actually had as all three systems displayed different information to us the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Embark and Disembark were handled smoothly out of Miami. Multiple time cruiser with Norwegian. Very good food dining options on the Upscale Dining Program. Cagney's and Los Lobos continue to be awesome. LeBistro and Ocean Blue ... Read More
Embark and Disembark were handled smoothly out of Miami. Multiple time cruiser with Norwegian. Very good food dining options on the Upscale Dining Program. Cagney's and Los Lobos continue to be awesome. LeBistro and Ocean Blue have modified menus so that was a nice change. Q and Food Republic are definitely worth a whirl. I will say that while food quality was good, the portions in some dining areas has clearly been diminished in size. Great Cabin and I had a balcony. Great room steward which is typical. The entertainment on board is great. Choir of Man and Kinky Boots are both great shows. Very enjoyable and I highly recommend giving both a whirl. The Silent Disco is a MUST DO. Great pool experience and was always able to find a chair with no major wait time or delays. Upper Decks have become pay and that is a bit of a change for me but not a dealbreaker. Escape Room is a must do as is the Galaxy Pavilion and Laser Tag. I recommend the $29 one hour pass to do it all and it's more than enough time. Mandara Spa is always great and I used it daily and had a great massage. Finally, my only complaint, while all in favor of every discernible equal rights offering, I am not sure if it was a particular event or a group but the large LGBT community on board was very cliquish and almost took over the ship at times on programs. As someone who flies the rainbow flag, I support the community but the need to "take over" events and to be so unhospitable to others is just not a good look. All in all, a great ship and one that I would highly recommend for a frequent NCL customer, for a family seeking fun, for a great getaway and for some refreshing new options from cruising. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I read every review of the new NCL Encore before going on our cruise that I booked in August 2019 and almost felt like I was not going to enjoy my vacation. I rarely write reviews, but felt obligated to do so after reading all the ... Read More
I read every review of the new NCL Encore before going on our cruise that I booked in August 2019 and almost felt like I was not going to enjoy my vacation. I rarely write reviews, but felt obligated to do so after reading all the whining and bad reviews about this ship, crew and itinerary. I am a single, late 30's male and went with my sister, nephew, Mom and Dad, this was my 2nd cruise ever and only with Norwegian..... Embarking was easy, as I stated earlier we planned this cruise in August 2019 so I was aware of all the things than need to be booked ahead of time to ensure a great cruise, with that being said we got to the port at 10am to be first on board to get Vibe passes and got them!! Then we also booked Go Carts and other thing WE wanted to do, including Choir of Men, GREAT SHOW. Prohibition Musical was good, it was an extra $35 for the drinks you get. I had an aft cabin with the biggest balcony available. Thanks Ralph Donatien (my NCL cruise guy) Smoking: I am a smoker and understood there were 2 places to smoke, not a big deal It's my problem I smoke, On our cruise, the 3rd day they did open an area up on the pool deck which was awesome of the crew to do. THANKS!! The pool area on sea days was packed as almost anyone would expect, but had no problems getting a chair or two when we wanted. The Ocean Loop water slide was only running for about two hours on one day, again not ideal, but there is no way a broken water slide is going ruin my vacation. The food was what is expected for buffet style eating. As for the specialty restaurants we did Teppanyaki: GREAT Onda: THE BEST and Cagney's: Disappointed (just got a bad piece of meat) again one bad meal was not going to ruin my vacation. Ports: In San Juan we did the Night Time Zip Line it was my nephews favorite part of the cruise. In USVI we did the jet boat, lasted about an hour and was informative and fun, we got WET. We then took a cab to Megan's Bay beach, lots of people, but no issues with food or drink lines at all, had a wonderful time on a breathtakingly beautiful beach. I did read several reviews about people whining about having to carry the chairs you rent, that is true, but again not a big deal. The rental personal have a job to do, and that job is not to be your personal beach boy for day. Grow up and grow a pair. In BVI we did the Escape to Jost Van Dyke, the catamaran ride to the island took about an hour because of the seas, but no biggie we made it to Soggy Dollar bar and had a blast. The catamaran crew were awesome. THANKS! Overall I had an amazing time on my 2nd cruise ever with Norwegian, will I book Encore again, yes if the itinerary is something I like. I am in retail as a profession, so understand how difficult some people can be, and assume the bad reviews are from folks who can never be happy. Be polite, understanding, and empathetic to others and you may enjoy your next vacation more and those around you may enjoy doing their job a little more... GREAT JOB NCL ENCORE CREW!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because our son and his family were sailing on it and since we were going to be in Florida at the time we decided to join them. I was hesitant about it because the ship was so big. However I was pleasantly surprised, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our son and his family were sailing on it and since we were going to be in Florida at the time we decided to join them. I was hesitant about it because the ship was so big. However I was pleasantly surprised, and ended up loving it! The public spaces were so generous. The Observation Lounge was a favorite. The view was beautiful and there were always seats available. The bar service there was great as well. The entertainment on the ship was top-notch. We saw the Beatles Show in the Cavern Club as well as the last show in the theatre. We saw the Choir of Man--excellent! We saw Kinky Boots--fabulous! We were able to get reservations for one of the comedy shows which was really good too. The only complaint we had about the entertainment was Prohibition, the Musical. It was fine, but the charge for it--almost $40 pp--was way out of line. Yes, it included 5 small cocktails, but we had the drink package so the charge was just unreasonable. And it wasn't near as good of a production as any of the free shows. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants we tried, with the exception of Q, the Texas Bar-b-q restaurant. We just weren't impressed with that one, compared to the others that we tried. Cagney's did not disappoint. Food and service were excellent. Onde, the Italian restaurant, was our favorite. Starting with the bread, which I could have made a complete meal out of. The service was excellent, as was the entire meal. The rest of our evening meals we took in either Taste, Savory or the Local. We also attended 2 art lectures. They were really interesting. Much better than an art auction. Since we are both in our 60's we had no interest in all of the VR, go kart track or water slides. Our son's family used some of it, but were not happy with the charges or need for reservations for so many activities. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Can't go wrong with Norwegian. Everything from embarkation to disembarkation was excellent. Encore not our favorite ship. No sports court or mini golf because of go cart race track. We did the go carts and they were tons of fun ... Read More
Can't go wrong with Norwegian. Everything from embarkation to disembarkation was excellent. Encore not our favorite ship. No sports court or mini golf because of go cart race track. We did the go carts and they were tons of fun but do like the configuration of other ships better. Also no bowling alley on this ship. So far Escape is our favorite ship. Jim Badger was on this ship and he is one of the best entertainers you will ever see. He was in the District, we saw him on the Escape a few years back. If you like to laugh and laugh lots he is a must see. Food and drinks excellent as always. Choir of Man was one of the main shows and one of the best we have ever seen. Kingy Boots was the other show and it was okay. Top Shelf country band was in the Q and they were awesome (and we are not huge country music fans). 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
This cruise was a total waste of time and money! Chose this ship to take our grandson age 11 thinking it would offer many different activities to keep him occupied. I had pre booked the arcade package, but found out that you are limited ... Read More
This cruise was a total waste of time and money! Chose this ship to take our grandson age 11 thinking it would offer many different activities to keep him occupied. I had pre booked the arcade package, but found out that you are limited to a very few baby games and had to pay extra for any of the other games. The race track was ok, but had to book in advance to ride (at $15 a pop) and the times were ridiculous (book Tues morning to get a Friday ride), you could go in the stand by lane and possibly get on quicker. The virtual reality room was more fun for him, but you either had to pay $50 for a day pass or $8.00 for each game you played. You have 2 water slides, one for very small children which my grandson didn't want to participate with, the other you had to be 120 lbs to ride so that was out for him. The swimming pool and hot tubs were always overcrowded and restricted to adults (children could go in with an adult). Overall not a friendly ship for a pre teen. We had a mini suite that was almost a 3rd smaller than other mini suites on the Norwegian line, but the bathroom was much larger and very nice. We managed ok, but was not impressed. Our cabin steward kept our room great. All the food venues (except buffet) had to be pre booked and unless you had a reservation, which was almost impossible to get, you either ate very early or very late or at the buffet. The first few night in the buffet all food was served to you, no option to take what you wanted, so this slowed down the lines and they did get long at some stations We had 5 specialty dinners, was able to use 4 and lost the last one only getting in by being there at 5:30pm before the crowds descended. The food was only average, nothing special. To see any show was also a joke. Again had to pre book. Shows in main theater (only 2) are at 7:30pm or 10:30pm. They had attendants swiping your card at enterance that act like the gestapo, not very friendly at all. To see any of the smaller venues, again pre book or stand in standby lane. The rooms were so crowded that seeing a show was almost impossible and not a pleasant experience. The smoking area was also a joke. You were relegated to an enclosed room about 8 x 20, with about 30 people at any given time, they did open an area on upper deck with room for about 15 people, and an enclosed room in the casino, but you had to be gambling to go in there. If you were outside the marked area you were fined (many were) and some even had their room key restricted if you complained. I am a smoker (yes I know all the negatives), but I paid my fare just as every one else on this ship and felt very discriminated against. I do have to give the Encore its due. The public areas were beautiful and spacious, but of the almost 4000 people very few used the common areas. The shore excursions were also very badly planned. Arriving in Puerto Rico at 5:30pm and leaving at midnight?? About the only thing most people could do was walk the boardwalk area with all the vendors out doing their business. St. Thomas, again arriving at 6amish and leaving at 2:30pm. What chance do you have of doing anything in that time frame except shopping. Tortola was the only port with enough time to go swimming/snorkelling. Going to Norwegians own island on the last day, again a disappointment. The 2 excursions we booked were cancelled due to high winds, so sitting on the beach was about the only option. They do supply a buffet and a hamburg/hotdog stand. They also had a couple of bars set up. Overall we were very disappointed with this cruise and never again would I book the Encore. Please note that if you choose this ship, book anything you want to do well in advance of cruise date to hopefully get to do what you would like and not be disappointed when you arrive. I did not know (my own fault) in advance the problems associated with not booking ahead. We have cruised with Norwegian many times almost always on their mid size ships and have been treated like royalty. This sure was a big disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This cruise was recommended from our travel agent. What a great choice. So much for the kids all ages to do. The embarkation and disembarkation went so smoothly I missed the leaving of Miami. Everything was clean and the entertainment was ... Read More
This cruise was recommended from our travel agent. What a great choice. So much for the kids all ages to do. The embarkation and disembarkation went so smoothly I missed the leaving of Miami. Everything was clean and the entertainment was good. I would go again no problem, but we like to try and see different ships. The service was good, the food was yummy, and never ran out of anything. We were a group of 11 and never had a problem sitting together. 9 of the 11 of us were first timers and they all were amazed at this experience. I found we had to pay for a few things that I figure should have been included like the go-carts and laser tag. the slides were alot of fun. At 62 years old I never thought I would be droped in a slide, but I did it. Great fun. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our first time with NCL purely because of the price of the cruise--It was $1200 cheaper than sailing on Celebrity Edge, and approximately the same for Oasis of the Seas with very similar itinearies. There is a reason it is ... Read More
This was our first time with NCL purely because of the price of the cruise--It was $1200 cheaper than sailing on Celebrity Edge, and approximately the same for Oasis of the Seas with very similar itinearies. There is a reason it is cheaper!!--Its because of the quality! This ship comes across as all modern luxury etc etc but the reality could not be further from the truth. There is no quality involved with this ship--it is pack them in, take their money and get them off. We did not feel like we had had a holiday--there is no relaxing involved here!! There a constant announcements trying to get you to part with your money, constant calls, everywhere you go its sell sell sell--of course other ships do this but not to the level seen here. Buffet food is simply pathetic--everybody who cruises likes a nice buffet with a wide variety of choice--non existent here. If you like Pizza/Burgers etc you will be fine--the choice is extremely limited and you will be disappointed here. Breakfast in particular is a complete farce. With our "cheap" package we were offered 3 "speciality" dining evenings which we pre booked. NCL's version of speciality dining is very different from other cruise lines. Food Republic--extremely poor food and service and horrible IPad devices where you see a picture of what your food should look like. Cagneys Steak House--in fairness much better than the above but still failed to cook a fillet to a Medium Rare temp. Los Lobos--a completely bizarre and pathetic attempt at new world mexican cuisine--again dreadful and cheap and tacky. Now to the deck space--a lot has been written and said regarding this. In my opinion it is completely shocking, misplanned and somewhat classism. Approx 90% of guests are expected to fit into approx 15% of the top deck space. The simple maths would point to issues and there are many. Its like a sea of disgruntled humanity all looking for the next availble bed to become free, then a mass scramble and the odd argument when it does. I go for an early morning run each day (7-8am) and most sun loungers/chairs are already covered in towels as some kind of reservation system. Then there is another sundeck that sits approx 250 guests where you pay $99 per day for the priviledge of having a sunbed--there is no pool in this area. This area is walled off by a very unsightly white metal gate--Classism?! Unfortunately we were unable to use the gokarts as we could not get a reservation at all--again a sheer lack of planning and quality of care for guests. We saw a few shows which were for a cruise ship were good but nothing to write home about. It is easy to come on to a review platform and simply criticise for the sake of it--thankfully I am not one of these people. For me to write a 1 star review, the guest experience, the quality of holiday and the overall package has to be beyond a joke and completly dismal. That is what we found on NCL Encore. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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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