1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Norwegian Cruise Line
  4. Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Reviews

2,754 Norwegian (NCL) Caribbean Cruise Reviews

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
Any Ratings listed will be on a scale of 1-5 Stars. The main purpose of the review is to give you ratings wherever possible and focus on the ship. Day 1 We got to the terminal around 11 am. Encore took up terminals B&C. Naturally ... Read More
Any Ratings listed will be on a scale of 1-5 Stars. The main purpose of the review is to give you ratings wherever possible and focus on the ship. Day 1 We got to the terminal around 11 am. Encore took up terminals B&C. Naturally we went to the wrong one, but there were no signs saying that one was for odd numbered decks and the other for even. We had our sea passes within 15 minutes of arriving, but had over 30 minutes wait to get on the ship. We went to the Local Bar to wait for the cabin to be ready. We have a standard balcony cabin. The bed is really comfortable, the shower is nice and there is lots of storage space. There are three outlets by the desk and a USB port on each side of the bed. The muster drill went off pretty well. We had ours down by the Main Dining Room. Everything being digital these days, made it go smooth. Afterwards, though was like a herd of cattle with everyone scrambling to the elevators. The problem with that is that people in wheel chairs get trampled. That is sad that some folks can be so inconsiderate. We spent the rest of the time getting to know the ship and we had supper at a BBQ restaurant. Food and service get 5 stars. Day 2- At Sea Day Bit of a bumpy ride last night. We had breakfast at The Local Bar, which is open 24/7. They serve breakfast longer than the buffet and are closer. The food gets 4 stars and the service gets 5. Very limited menu, but very quick. Good coffee and real orange juice. Good day for a nap. We had supper at Ocean Blue, which is a sea food restaurant. Again service gets 5 stars. The Appetizers, soup and desert were excellent, but alas, the entrée’s only rate a 3. We had 6:00 reservations and let them know we were going to the 7:30 show. They were very prompt to make sure we were done in time. We also used our free bottle of champagne which came with the cabin. The show was Choir of Men and it was really, really good! I don’t usually like musicals, but this one was centered on a local pub. If you have a chance to see it, give it a look. Day 2- San Juan This is a little bit misleading as we don’t get to port until 5:30 and leave at 11 pm, so most of it will be after dark. We turned our clocks ahead last night, so we are 2 hours ahead of back home in Wisconsin. Once again we had breakfast at The Local Bar and once again the service was fantastic. We finally made it up to deck 16 where the pool and buffet are. Met several from our group there. The pool area was packed. The important thing is, I found the soft serve ice cream machine! There are several of them and they serve hard packed ice cream too, when the buffet is open. It seems that most of the best venues are at the other end of the ship from our cabin. We had supper at Teppanyaki, which is a Japanese restaurant. It is worth trying once for the entertainment value, if nothing else. The food is really good, though, so not to worry. The chef cooks the food right in front of you. They have a lot of stations and they are divided in half. One chef does one side (8 guests to a side) and another chef does the other. They have to time it right, because the chef banters and jokes with the guests. The entertainment gets a definite 5 stars and the food gets a 5. Day 4- St. Thomas In port all day, but it is very hot and humid outside. We are staying on the ship and taking pictures as we have been to this port more times than any other. We had breakfast in the buffet and were disappointed. Usually we like their breakfast. We did get there a little late, but they started closing down early. They weren’t putting fresh food out. Coffee was good but they had the orange juice switched over. The French bread was dry. Hopefully I can give you a better report the next time we go. For now, it gets 3 Stars. Dinner was at Cagney’s. We had the dining package as one of the perks, so it included a bottle of Champaign. Both of the steaks were perfectly cooked and tender. 5 Stars. Day 5- Tortola Finally, a port we haven’t been to! Good long day in port. We had breakfast at The Local again, with very different results. The service was not very good. I asked for eggs over easy and got them scrambled. Both of our eggs weren’t warm and we had to send them back. We had to ask for the toast and butter. Much different than the 1st 2 times we were there. The Assistant Maitre”D came over and was basically annoying. He was annoying again when we went back for supper. Our excursion was a tour of Tortola and we almost didn’t go. First of all, it was a very hot day and I don’t do well with heat. The coach we were going to be on was open air. But the coach was also very high and no stool was provided to help people get on board. Lynette has bad knees and there was no way for her to board. This excursion was rated as level 1, meaning anyone should be able to do it. We really lucked out here, because we were able to get on 1 of the air conditioned coaches which was lower. It was a very nice tour. Tortola is a British possession, although the driver said it is owned by the people. They drive on the left. Lots of hair pin curves. 4 Stars for the tour. We stopped an hour at a beach. Fortunately, they also had a bar and shopping. As mentioned, we went to The Local for supper. Overall, I would give the food 4 Stars. Days 6&7- At Sea. Not a lot to report for the last two days. We ate breakfast at the café one day and The Local Bar the next. Both were very good, so that erases the bad experiences we had at each. We had supper at The Oservation Lounge one night The Local the other. So we did not eat supper at the Garden Café or the main dining room the entire cruise. This is a first for us. It was mostly due to the fact that we had the dining package for a perk. Friday afternoon, see saw a ship band Guns and Rojas. They were good. We had heard them before and weren’t impressed, so it must have been the style of music they were singing. This time they were doing a Frank Sinatra tribute. In the evening we went to see a comedy show that was quite good. One of the groups that we got to really like, during the cruise, was Jelly Bean Duo. GENERAL IMPRESSIONS • CABIN- 5 Stars; Very spacious for a standard balcony, lots of storage space, bed was comfortable. • CABIN STEWARD- 4 Stars; He did his job, or most of it, but seemed very late each day. Friendly enough to talk to. • FOOD QUALITY- 5 Stars for Specialty restaurants and 4 Stars for complimentary. • FOOD VARIETY- 4 Stars; They don’t seem to have the variety they used to have. They can no longer list breads and rolls as their specialty. They didn’t serve smoked salmon for breakfast and we never saw escargot on the menu for supper. Little things like that add up • ENTERTAINMENT- 4 Stars. Choir of Men and the comedian were terrific. We saw 3 of the house bands and 2 of them were very good. Not a lot of options. • FOOD SERVICE- 5 Stars; In spite of the few problems we had • BAR SERVICE- 4 Stars; It depends on where you are and when you are there • BARS- 5 Stars; A lot of the bars were at the other end of the ship so we didn’t spend much time there. The Local has a limited beer selection, so I had to stop somewhere along the way to get the beer. 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
- The food, especially the beef was probably the best of any cruise I have been on.Enjoyed the BBQ restaurant. - Onda Italian restaurant was very good. - Buffet was very good. - We got passes to the Vibe Beach club, if your ... Read More
- The food, especially the beef was probably the best of any cruise I have been on.Enjoyed the BBQ restaurant. - Onda Italian restaurant was very good. - Buffet was very good. - We got passes to the Vibe Beach club, if your favorite thing on a cruise is to lay out in the sun, definitely consider spending the extra money for the Vibe. (209$ for the week) When you go to the vibe, there is never any problem getting a seat at any time of the day. Servers in the Vibe area are great. - pool area is very crowded, see the attached pictures of the beach club vs the regular pool area. - shows were very good - Enjoyed the Boardwalk around deck 8 - Large balcony mini suites on deck 8 are great, balcony is great size and lots of bars/stuff to do on deck 8. - Make sure you check out the observation lounge on deck 15. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
NCL excels on customer service and the Encore is the best of the best. The cabin’s layout allows for so much storage and room to walk around. Big bathroom with excellent shower. Two Broadway shows were very entertaining. I usually only ... Read More
NCL excels on customer service and the Encore is the best of the best. The cabin’s layout allows for so much storage and room to walk around. Big bathroom with excellent shower. Two Broadway shows were very entertaining. I usually only eat in restaurants on the ship but the Encore’s buffet was exceptional. So many delicious varieties of food. Enough pool lounges for all passengers. The Encore has everything I ever thought could be better on a ship. The large public spaces allowed for lots of social interaction or not. Two big pools with hot tubs and outdoor showers on two levels. I never passed a staff member who didn’t say hello with a big smile. The decorative touches on the ship were elegant. Eight fast elevators made all levels easily accessible. The returning cruisers cocktail party with open bar was a great way to start off the cruise. It is nice to be appreciated for sailing with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Just finished a 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic. This was our second cruise. First was aboard the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas which was wonderful so we only have this to compare it to. The RC cruise was ... Read More
Just finished a 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic. This was our second cruise. First was aboard the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas which was wonderful so we only have this to compare it to. The RC cruise was also Southern Caribbean. The ship was beautiful as are all of them. Equal to Freedom of the Seas. Buffet food was good, typical buffet food. We did eat in the specialty restaurants Cagney's Steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaria, Teppanyaki (Japanese Steakhouse). They were all excellent. No issues with the food or the service at those restaurants. We also ate at O’Sheehan’s. Food was good. No complains about the food. Service was a different matter. We were ordering our food and my wife decided to change what she was getting. The waiter actually rolled his eyes at us. Really? We were stunned. He never came back to re-fill out water glasses or ask how our food was. Absolutely terrible service. Our cabin was good. The layout of the cabin is a no great with there being no ”bathroom” but we knew that going into to it. It’s a little odd at first but you get used to it. The service at the pool bars sucked, both the main pool and adults only area. It was not the fault of the waiters or bartenders. They were SEVERLY understaffed. We spent most of you time the adults only area, Spice H2O which is at the back of the ship. On our sea day it was completely full and there were maybe 3 bartenders and 2 waiters. They tried their best but they could only do so much. It was not unusual to wait at the bar 10-20 minutes to get a drink. This was a complete failure of management. We didn’t spend too much time at the main pool but from what we could see it was the same. The bars would routinely run out of a specific liquor and beer. Here’s an idea; have more brought from one of the other bars. Entertainment was ok. We only saw one show, Burn the Floor, which was really good. No complaints. They are very good dancers. The nightly entertainment on the upper deck was hit or miss. We really enjoyed the 70’s, 80’s, and Glow parties. We would have enjoyed the Latin night more had it gone for more than an hour. I don’t know why they cut that short. We decide to cruise on NCL because we went with friends that have been on 4 or 5 cruises and loved each one. They said that this was by far the worst service they’ve had. Other people we met on the ship said the same thing. The atmosphere was also different from what I remember of Royal Caribbean. The RC cruise seemed to have more of a fun, party type atmosphere. The staff all seemed happy. There was always music going. Just a lot of fun. NCL Epic seemed very somber and not very cheerful. I gave a poor rating of the cruise because of the poor service. I could live with a lot of things not being very good but the poor service really ruined the cruise. We will never cruise on the Epic again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. My sister and I decided to take a cruise together. Overall, the service was great, the activities were fun and we had a great time. However, after reading the reviews of the cabins, I wasn't ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. My sister and I decided to take a cruise together. Overall, the service was great, the activities were fun and we had a great time. However, after reading the reviews of the cabins, I wasn't very optimistic about the accommodations. We had a "large balcony cabin". The previous reviews were spot-on in terms of what to expect for that room. The cabin was long and skinny. There was so little room between the end of the bed and the vanity that we couldn't get a suitcase through and had to unpack at the entrance to the room and carry everything to the closet. And you have to turn sideways to get past the bed. Walls are curved. As such, the beds cannot be separated more than 2-3 inches, so if you aren't comfortable sleeping that close to someone....don't choose this type of cabin. The beds are short. I'm 5'4" tall and my feet easily touched the end of the bed. The "toilet stall" is very narrow and cramped. We chose to use the restrooms in the public lobbies for "number 2" as the ventilation left something to be desired, and it was really too small in there to practice appropriate hygiene. True, there is a curtain to pull across the shower area for privacy, but you still have to dry off outside the shower. The frosted glass leaves little to the imagination. You can't see details, but you can still see a naked person. The curved sofa made no sense, as it was uncomfortable to sit on, and faced the closet. It is supposed to be the third bed, but when it is pulled out it is still too short for an adult. There is plenty of storage space. The balcony was huge and about the size of half the room. The cabin steward was amazing. The only other real complaint was that we allowed NCL to make our airline arrangements. My sister lives in Seattle. I live in Atlanta. We docked at 5:30am but NCL booked us on a 4:45 flight out of San Juan. Instead of a direct flight back to Atlanta, I had a connection in Charlotte along with my sister. That wouldn't have been so bad, but NCL booked her connection so that, one we deplaned, she would have 35 minutes to get from one end of the airport to the other and board her connecting flight, with absolutely no leeway for delay. Well, the flight was 45 minutes late leaving San Juan, so she missed her connection. So...due to NCL trying to save money and putting us on a late flight with a tight connection, her trip home to Seattle took over 24 hours. I will never trust a cruise line with my airline arrangements again. Also to note....the pools on this ship are very small. There are 4100 people on board this ship, and the two swimming pools on deck 15 would probably accommodate 20 people each at any given time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Choose this cruise as it was to go to St. Martin. However the itinerary changed. Did research on the vessel and activities before going. Found San Juan hotels to be expensive as we went a day early. I used Costco travel to book the trip, ... Read More
Choose this cruise as it was to go to St. Martin. However the itinerary changed. Did research on the vessel and activities before going. Found San Juan hotels to be expensive as we went a day early. I used Costco travel to book the trip, it was easy to use and offered lots of perks. The photo package alone was worth the money. We found that the excursions were very repetitive as the were all volcanic islands. The restaurant’s aboard were fantastic, the quality of the food was great. We had a chance to talk with the executive chef on the second day on the ship and were very impressed with history. The boarding process went smoothly as we as the disembarkation. Entertainment was very good, we enjoyed almost every show on-board. My wife would have liked to see the Beatles group performance however it never started before 2200. This is very late if you have excursions booked. Overall we would definitely recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I am a NCL latitudes member and we wanted to take a February cruise with some Carribean ports we hadn't visited yet. The Epic's itinerary fit the bill. We started our cruise by staying the night before embarkation in San ... Read More
I am a NCL latitudes member and we wanted to take a February cruise with some Carribean ports we hadn't visited yet. The Epic's itinerary fit the bill. We started our cruise by staying the night before embarkation in San Juan. The San Juan Airport has an easy to use taxi stand near the baggage claims. We spent $20 from the airport to our Old San Juan hotel called the Hotel Milano. I loved this hotel. If you go look at some of the review sights, this hotel gets mixed reviews, but it is in the middle of the Old San Juan and is not a chain hotel. It reminded my wife and I very much of a hotel we stayed in Switzerland. Because 3 ships were in port, Old San Juan was mobbed and we were not able to have dinner at the hotel, however, the hotel employees guided us to a very good restaurant for dinner that is more frequented by locals than by tourists. It is called Mojito's Restaurant around the corner from the hotel. Before embarkation, we had breakfast Cafeteria Mallorca, which is around the corner from the hotel in a different direction. A mallorca is like a sweet panini filled with ham and cheese. Very delish. Great coffee, too and local cops eat there. I highly recommend this place for breakfast. After breakfast, the hotel looked after our luggage until it was time to go to the port so we could walk around the old city. The ride was from the hotel to the port was fine. No problems. Embarkation was a pain because they were screening everyone for the Coronavirus. They took us into the port building a few hundred at a time and sat us down to fill out surveys about where we had been and if we had any symptoms of the virus. By the time we got onto the ship, it was dinner time which we ate at the Garden Cafe. I can't tell you anything about specialty restaurants on this ship. We ate only in the free restaurants and all were fine. The servers were very accommodating about letting us switch around the menu to our liking. For instance, for a few meals in the Manhattan room I got the pasta entree for my appetizer. One of your party members was indecisive about what to order so the server said, "I will bring it all" so it was not uncommon for our table mate to have a few appetizers and several deserts. One of the features of the evening dinner at the Manhattan room is that they had Burn Floor dancers do 30-minute shows as we were eating. This happened twice. Another night they had live music with dancing which was also very nice. We didn't attend Pricilla Queen of the Desert or Cirque de Sole. We did enjoy very much the Epic Beatles, the comics, Burn the Floor and the Howl at the Moon dueling piano show. For the Cavern Club and Comedy Club shows, get there at least a half-hour early to get a seat. We pre-planned excursions for St. Lucia and St. Kitts. In St. Lucia we booked the "Land and Sea Tour" with Edmund Tours. This tour took us to Soufriere by van, then by speed boat to a Sugar Beach between the Pitons. Wonderful snorkeling at the marine reserve at this beach. After the swim, we went back to Soufriere for a locally cooked lunch buffet. Then to the volcano, sulfur springs, and the waterfall. A great trip. In St. Kitts we pre-arranged a taxi tour with driver Chris Brookes who did a great job of showing us his Island. We loved seeing the beautiful black rock formations and stopping by the Batik shop at Romney Manor. For the rest of the ports, we got taxi cabs at the port and went to the beaches. In Barbados taxi driver Merlene took us to a little tucked away beach and bar called Surfside a few blocks up from the Chattel Village shops in Holetown. Nice quiet beach with Steep Pan music, horses for hire and a nice local Bajan restaurant. In Tortola, we took a cab to Brewers Bay. It was a nice uncrowded beach with good snorkeling, a big flock of pelicans and a place to rent chairs and snorkels called Nicoles. The best beach of the trip was in St. Thomas. We took a water taxi from Crown Bay Marina to Water Island and spent the day at Dinghy's Bar and Beach. We snorkeled with turtles there and enjoyed the sugar sand and aquamarine water. Closing out our week, we took the pre-arranged transportation to the airport which made debarkation super easy. Already planning my next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My husband and I picked Encore for our 15 year wedding anniversary getaway. The first one without kids. We were so looking forward to poolside relaxation and sunshine. The promise and allure of a shiny new ship seemed wonderful. After ... Read More
My husband and I picked Encore for our 15 year wedding anniversary getaway. The first one without kids. We were so looking forward to poolside relaxation and sunshine. The promise and allure of a shiny new ship seemed wonderful. After we started reading reviews after its initial voyages, we could tell there were going to be problems. I contacted customer support in advance of my cruise to see if there was something we could do- anticipating this ship would not be conducive to the romantic getaway I planned (go on another ship, get access to the Haven or Vibe). No one ever responded . I called, and he assured me someone would be calling me back. No one ever did. We went on the trip, crossing our fingers to have a different experience- but the problems reported online were more severe than we had even read about because it was school vacation week. Pros: - Food and bar service was actually better than expected. We were unable to get a reservation at Cagney's until the last minute on the last day, however. - Our favorite bar/ bartender was Clarence at Mojito Bar. -Entertainment was top notch. We thoroughly enjoyed Choir of Man, Kinky Boots, Guns and Rojas and more. -Excursions were great. We were really disappointed when Bahamas was cancelled though (we needed to get off that ship). - Decor and rooms were well appointed and although small- worked fine. - While most customer service on board the ship was really non-responsive (after walking around the pool deck for 2 hours unable to find a chair- I went to guest services only to wait an hour to speak to a manager- who proceeded to offer me a chair in the shade, and then another manager offered to come walk around with me to look. This is hardly resolution). Candy finally came through for us on the last days- meeting me on deck 17 at 7 am with reserved chairs after all of my challenges. Cons: -The ship was SEVERELY deficient of pool space, hot tub space and lounge chairs- just general access to the sun. For a ship with 5000 people, one adult pool seems absurd. There were literally 3 layers of people around the pool at all times- we never even tried to get in. There were 4 small hot tubs that were always teeming with people. The 2 times I got in, kids started piling in swimming over and under my legs. - More regulation is needed. There is a 15 minute chair reservation policy, but every morning I'd go out at 7 am, and women with large ziplock bags with clips were already setting up long rows of chairs. I finally started taking time stamped pictures and showing them to the staff to get chairs freed up- it shouldn't have been on me to regulate ship rules. There also should be regulation of kids in the hot tubs. The kids have their own pool, water park, waterslides- there should be at least a few hottubs that are adult only. Most times I couldn't even get in the hot tubs because they were full of kids swimming around. -Chairs were literally RIGHT next to each other. It was impossible to maneuver. Chairs were also on top of the jogging track, which made for an utter cluster in the morning when joggers/ walkers and lounge chair seekers were colliding into eachother all morning. -The ship was the rockiest we've ever been on. It felt like you were rolling in bed, as you listened to the hangers banging the walls. It seems the top heavy ship caused it to be rockier than most. -Flights were the most inconvenient as could be possible. We had a 5 am departure with a connection the first day and then we docked at 7 am the last day and didn't have a flight out until 8 pm. You are not allowed to change them because they are bulk purchased. -Our package came with a $50 shore excursion credit per port. It was only in the fine print that it stated it was only for the 1st person. -Our package came with 250 minutes of wifi. THey don't tell you that after you go online you need to go to "logout.com" to end your session. And the wifi is so poor, it literally took 20 minutes just to check e-mail. We had to go to the communications desk to reset minutes twice because it was so buggy. - We were NOT the only people that felt this way. This was the common theme in all discussions of the patrons of the ship. This will be our last NCL voyage. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was my first voyage with NCL and I chose Encore due to it being a new vessel and even though I have cruised several times before I had yet to sail on a brand new ship and was excited at the prospect. The ship is indeed beautiful but ... Read More
This was my first voyage with NCL and I chose Encore due to it being a new vessel and even though I have cruised several times before I had yet to sail on a brand new ship and was excited at the prospect. The ship is indeed beautiful but with most things new there were some glitches that need to be worked out and in my opinion, policies that need some fine tuning. For starters too many things had an extra up charge attached to it, whether it was an activity, an amusement, a location such as the Vibe Beach Club ($209.00 for the week) and some food items such as crab cakes or a lobster tail for example. This was bothersome and by far was a common complaint among many of the other passengers I had spoken with during the voyage. Three standouts include what would be considered "selling points" such as the Go Kart track, Laser tag which offered a week long pass and Galaxy Pavilion which offered a tiered pricing option to experience the VR attractions (I chose the $29 for one hour option) but if you wanted to try the full size SR8 race car, for instance, there was an additional charge of $15 on top of the charges previously mentioned, so basically you pay an up charge on top of an up charge area and there simply is no need of it. Another policy that was frustrating was that reservations had to be made for the chance to experience many things on this ship but what seemed to be equally frustrating was that while some could be made ahead of time online or thru NCL, others had to be done onboard and it was a mad dash on Day 1 to get these or be shut out before the ship ever leaves the dock. If you are a first time passenger you may not even know of this policy and run the risk of a ruined vacation. Cabin: I traveled as a solo and wanted to try the solo studio area and this experience was quite simply a home run. The cabins are perfectly laid out for one with ample closet space and shelving, a roomy stand up shower and private enclosed toilet. The sink is adequate but the traditional desk is not very wide so a lap top wouldn't fit on it. There is a safe available for items such as a wallet or other such small items. The other thing of not is that there is no mini fridge in the room but overall it was a perfect cabin for the solo traveler. The area is exclusive in that a key card is required to enter the area and contains a private and spacious lounge with it's own coffee machine and a daily assortment of fruits, cookies or cakes, orange juice and ice water. My dining experiences pretty much follow other reviews here just beware of up charges for certain menu items as mentioned earlier. As far as entertainment goes I didn't really experience much however I did see the Beatles cover band in the Cavern Club and they were ok but wasn't able to get in to see the comedian, which I would have liked. There is one stand out, again, in my opinion, that is Choir of Man. The show is fantastic and I saw it twice and my only regret is that I couldn't see it a third or fourth time. The whole idea revolves around the guys at the pub and they sing and dance and tell "stories" through their songs and dance. The cast is tremendously talented, approachable and personable. They clearly love what they do, as does the audience and the two feed off each other for a tremendously enjoyable evening....and they'll even serve up a pint for their guests on stage for their "mates" at the pub. A must see! One other item worth mentioning is the ships smoking policy. Even though it is a touchy subject with some cruisers, it needs to be mentioned that there were only 3 relatively small areas for smokers, one was The Humidor for cigar smokers only at the Whiskey Bar, where cigarette smokers were told point blank to leave and for cigarette smokers there is a narrow enclosure on Deck 8 towards the aft of the ship and an enclosed room in the Casino where those who wished to have a cigarette while gambling (I actually applaud this decision due to smoke infiltrating the casino area and surrounding hallways etc.) However to utilize this room you had to gamble or be asked to leave there as well. The ship did cordon off a small area on Deck 16 out doors and that was for cigarette smokers and anyone found smoking a cigar, a pipe or used a vape pen were also told to leave that area. This policy needs an overhaul in my view because with the monies invested by smoking passengers is exactly the same as non smokers and should not have to worry about being singled out and embarrassed by being thrown out of a certain area of the ship in front of other passengers. That's not right My experience with the service on the ship was positive from bartenders, servers to the cabin steward and the coordinator assigned to the solo travelers who tended to the solo guests. Again, a huge positive. Overall, I may give Norwegian another shot but I would do so on a different ship that has the Spice H20 area and a more spacious pool deck but certainly without the ridiculous amount of up charges that Encore requires. I hope this review was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I am an NCL loyalist and have been on 6 other NCL cruises. I’ve also cruised with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. My husband and I booked this cruise a year ago and were very excited to sail on this brand new ship. Sadly, we ... Read More
I am an NCL loyalist and have been on 6 other NCL cruises. I’ve also cruised with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. My husband and I booked this cruise a year ago and were very excited to sail on this brand new ship. Sadly, we were a bit disappointed with this cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. The ship itself is immaculate and the crew was overall very friendly. With the exception of the bad experiences we had at some of the specialty restaurants, the service onboard was very good. Entertainment throughout the ship was really good. Our room steward did a fantastic job of keeping our cabin clean. The specialty dining was hit or miss. We loved Le Bistro, Food Republic, Los Lobos and Onda. Service and food at all of these restaurants was excellent. We were bitterly disappointed with Ocean Blue. Service was terrible and the food was beyond bad. I’ve had better seafood at Red Lobster. They claim to have a dress code that requires gentlemen to wear long pants and collared shirts. However, there were several men wearing shorts and t-shirts the night we went there. Cagneys, normally the crown jewel of the NCL specialty dining, was also a huge disappointment both in terms of food and service. Both Ocean Blue and Cagneys added a $19.00 upcharge to people who have a dining package for surf and turf. Upcharges were added for certain appetizers as well. We just sailed on Escape 6 months ago and this was not being done at that time. We really enjoyed our meal at The Manhattan Room and had a great lunch every day at The Local. The American Diner was empty pretty much the entire cruise just like Margaritaville is on other NCL ships. Such a waste of space. The pool is considerably smaller than on Bliss or Escape. Way too small for the 4,000+ passengers. Also, they have eliminated Spice H2O from this ship so the only option to get away from the crowds at the pool is the Vibe Beach Club at $200 pp for the week. They claim you are not allowed to save pool chairs; however this was not enforced. The chairs were full of towels with no one sitting in them all day every day. We couldn’t get a seat out there the entire week. The laser tag, galaxy pavillion and race track are cool things to have but they come with a hefty price tag. If you want an unlimited ticket for all three it will set you back $400. We rode the speedway once and it was hard to get a reservation for one ride!! One ride is $15.00 pp. The clear tube slide was closed pretty much the whole cruise. Not sure why. I felt movement and vibration on this ship more than any of the other NCL ships I’ve been on. It just didn’t feel very stable. There are constant creaking noises throughout the ship too. The time in all the ports was ridiculously short. They cancelled our stop at Great Stirrup Cay because the seas were too rough for the tender boats. Royal Caribbean has a dock at their Coco Cay. I can’t understand why NCL doesn’t build one too. From what I’ve read they cancel this stop more often than they actually go there. The thermal suite was amazing. I went there every day. Also loved the observation room; however, the people sprawled all over the couches in their bare feet sleeping all day was really annoying. They claim in your daily paper this is not allowed but, again, this policy was not enforced. I would still sail with NCL but never again on this ship. I would choose Bliss over Encore any day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were on the Encore for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise departing on Feb 16th in accessible room 10886.  Automatic room door was a great help.  My husband in his wheelchair could handle room access unassisted.  The roll-in shower ... Read More
We were on the Encore for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise departing on Feb 16th in accessible room 10886.  Automatic room door was a great help.  My husband in his wheelchair could handle room access unassisted.  The roll-in shower arrangement was excellent - no water to mop up after showers.  The ramping to the balcony was easy to use because there was no drop off going out the door onto the balcony.  There was enough space to maneuver both his manual day chair and commode wheelchair. As the caregiver, I was disappointed that the only chair in the cabin was an uncomfortable desk chair.  When it was too cool to sit on the balcony, I sat on the bed.  We were disappointed with accessible seating in entertainment venues.  This was quite a surprise given how well our room has been designed for accessibility.  When we attempted to enter The Cavern, his wheelchair got stuck between the two entrance doors.  Seating at the rear of the theater had too high of a blockage for a short person to see the stage.  I was also surprised that the only wheelchair companion seating was a hard plastic folding chair.  For those who can take a few steps, they can park their wheelchair or walker at the top and move to handicapped seating.  Since my husband cannot walk,  theater staff then directed me to go to Customer Service to request access to the wheelchair seating in the front of the theater.  Marina Caparros was very helpful at making access arrangements once we connected with her.  Seating at the front of the theater requires access thru crew areas and when you get to the wheelchair area, there is no reserved handicapped companion seating is marked.  Sometimes these seats were already taken so I had to sit elsewhere.  I felt public entertainment venues  were not welcoming or well planned for wheelchairs.  This is my 16th cruise with a wheelchair.  Never before was it necessary to work with an access coordinator to access public spaces on previous cruises. The entertainment, Choir of Men and Kinky Boots, were well done. Maneuvering the Garden Cafe for someone in a wheelchair was very challenging.  Difficult to find a table with wheelchair access and way to crowded.  Almost had a plate of food dumped on my husband's head by another passenger who didn't see him because of the height of a wheelchair.  So we avoided this whenever possible.   Getting from one end of the ship to the other with a wheelchair took several tries before we found what worked for us.   After one attempt to go from one end of the ship to the other via the pool decks, it became obvious that it is NOT a pathway for wheelchairs.  We had to ask several people to move their chairs out of the pathway so we could get through.  Attempting to go cross ship in cabin hallways resulted in needing to move multiple carts so we could get through.  Because going across the ship on 6-8 was mostly carpeted and difficult to push a wheelchair, when weather permitted, we used the Waterfront to traverse the distance between elevators.  The Waterfront and Observation Lounge  were wonderful.  Automatic doors often required push button activation and activation buttons were not consistently located.  Some automatic doors closed too quickly to enable a wheelchair to pass though.  On sea days the Observation Lounge had several groups of very enthusiastic teens.  More separate space is needed for teens.  With 4600 passengers there was insufficient public spaces on sea days.  I would hate to see what this is like when school is out....    Of all the eating venues, it was much easier to maneuver a wheelchair in Taste and Savor.  Portion size was hard to predict.  Some appetizers were entree size.  Maitre 'D Scott Goes ensured that our dining experience was excellent.  Our primary server, Odessa and her assistant, Alyanna, did an outstanding job.    This is a lovely ship with good food and entertainment.  We wanted to give it a try.  A smaller ship that is less congested works better for us.  Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise primarily because it was a new ship and we wanted to experience the latest and greatest in cruise ship offerings. This was also our longest cruise to date (7 nights) so we spent the extra money on a balcony suite, ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because it was a new ship and we wanted to experience the latest and greatest in cruise ship offerings. This was also our longest cruise to date (7 nights) so we spent the extra money on a balcony suite, especially since there were a couple total days at sea. As for the ship itself, it was quite beautiful and clean, as you might expect a new ship to be. However, our biggest complaint (and the complaint of many others we spoke with) was that there were not enough common deck areas where you could just lay out and enjoy some sunshine. A large amount of what would appear as common area were actually upgrade areas. Part is reserved for Haven guests, which is an understandable upgrade... but an incredibly large area is reserved for the Vibe Beach club which is an extra $209 per person for the week of cruising! If you weren't out on deck by 7:30 am, don't expect to find a deck chair in the sun. Another issue was that many of the deck chairs that were available were in areas where the sun was obscured by the go-kart track, water slides or other features (all of which were also an extra charge). There are 4500 passengers on this ship and maybe 2 or 3 hundred common area deck chairs in the sun. We tried to buy the upgrade to the Vibe Beach club but all were already sold out, yet the area remained largely empty anytime I looked. Also on deck are two small pools. One for the kids and one for the adults. Very small pools and that's it. Aside for four tiny hot tubs on the upper deck loop, that was all of the common pool area. There is not even a pool in the Vibe Beach Club area. Also, with 4500 passengers, it was almost impossible to book dining, quality shore excursions or any shows on board. On previous cruises on smaller NCL ships we could just walk into anywhere and did not realize, in advance, that you would have to book so much so far ahead. We actually called customer service when we were trying to make various reservations and she actually laughed at us saying "oh, people book this stuff MONTHS in advance". Mind you, we paid about 3800 for our balcony suite. This is not small change but yet so many things were still upcharges if you wanted to partake. The Virtual Reality lounge, Go-kart track, water slides, premium deck space... all extra bucks. I was also surprised at how much the ship moved even in fairly calm seas. A few days the seas were a little higher and when the ship moved that much, everything creaked and popped. Maybe it was just that it was all so new that it sounded louder than a ship that was "worn in". But, for such a big ship, it moved way more than expected. Here's the good stuff. Our balcony suite was quite nice and roomy. The balcony was a little tight but was a great place to sit out and relax with my wife. For half the cruise, it was the only place to get sun (for the other half of the cruise it was on the shade side of the ship). The young man who cared for our room new our names by heart. He was fantastic and just as helpful and accommodating as you could ever want. I can't say enough what a great job he did. The rest of the crew was also amazing, for the most part. Cheerful, helpful, kind and just top notch all the way around. I think of the long days they work, 7 days a week, and am even more impressed at the incredible quality of service they provide. Honestly, they were the saving grace of this cruise. "Washy washy, happy happy!"... the lady who squirts your hands with sanitizer before you enter the buffet area is like a ship icon and mascot! Speaking of the buffet, the food was amazing and plentiful! We did eat well and the selections were seemingly endless. Private dining, for what we could book (only late bookings were left for us), was good. We ate at the Q Smokehouse where the food was ok and the service was incredible. We ate at the Mexican restaurant which we didn't care for but the service was the best of all and then we ate at the Japanese hibachi place which was delicious and entertaining. Those were our complimentary specialty dining credit choices. Even though we could only get bookings for after 9pm, we were able to call or stop in earlier and they adjusted our times to something reasonable... so there's a great tip for you if you're stuck in our situation. We dined our last night in the nice complimentary restaurant in the front of the ship (I forget the name)... the food was good and the service was fantastic. My wife has vowed never to sail this ship again. I am not as much of a lay-out-in-the-sun guy but am still upset by the principle of paying almost 4k for a week cruise and not having the option. Far too many extra charges and far too few entertainment and relaxation options included. We had far better experiences on their older, smaller ships. 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
Just returned from a week on Encore. It is a fabulous new ship with tons to do on it and decorated to NCL's high standard. Unfortunately for us we chose a school holiday week, being from the UK this was unknown to us. However, with ... Read More
Just returned from a week on Encore. It is a fabulous new ship with tons to do on it and decorated to NCL's high standard. Unfortunately for us we chose a school holiday week, being from the UK this was unknown to us. However, with that said the 1000+ children on board didn't really bother us, other then sitting on stair cases and running the cabin corridors, then I did get a bit peed off with them! With all the things to do on this ship like Go carts, VR room and Laser Tag it is always going to attracted more families. We had an inside cabin (13665) which was plenty big enough or the 2 of us and was fine as we don't spend much time in there. It was spotlessly clean and had everything we needed. The reason I haven't given this ship 5 stars is due to the lack of quiet sunbathing space. H2O has been removed on this ship to make way for the VR room so that leaves Vibe, which I refuse to pay extra for! We spent our sea days sitting on the Waterfront, this has now also turned into sun bathing deck as some people were laying on towels on the walk way or dragging chairs out blocking the walk way in order to catch some sun. I am aware that there is always space available on the pool deck but it is far too busy and loud for us. We ate at Taste, The Local (breakfast) Garden cafe (lunch), observation lounge (lunch), Teppenyaki, Cagney's and Los Lobos. All were great with wonderful service. The only negative i can find is that Cagney's is so over booked that they are always running late with tables and its far from a nice relaxing environment to have dinner, tables crammed in and even spilling out into the A List bar. All the entertainment we seen was really good, Choir of Man is unmissable and we loved Jim Badgers humour! Unfortunately we didn't make it to see Kinky Boots but I heard others say it was great. Over all we had a great time, met some great people really liked Encore but it wouldn't be my first choice of ship in future. 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
I chose this cruise because I wanted to experience a brand new ship. I’m glad we cruised on the Encore. It’s a stunning ship. There is lots to like, but some legitimate drawbacks in a couple areas. I would cruise again with NCL, ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to experience a brand new ship. I’m glad we cruised on the Encore. It’s a stunning ship. There is lots to like, but some legitimate drawbacks in a couple areas. I would cruise again with NCL, but probably not on this particular ship. A bit about us. We are in our early 50s and do not have children. We like cruises, but every vacation is not a cruise vacation. We have taken cruises with Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Viking (a river cruise). This was our second cruise with NCL. The ship is indeed beautiful and offers to many choices of activities, dining, and entertainment. Our cabin (10226) was a mini-suite with a balcony. It was large enough for a couple. For a family, it would be tight. (The sofa could turn into a bed, and there was an upper bunk that could be pulled down from the ceiling, if desired.) The bathroom was the largest one we have ever had on a ship. The shower is nearly full-sized and a most welcome improvement over the telephone booth style showers we have encountered on some other ships. The shower head was quite fancy. It featured different spray options. Water pressure was good and the range of water temperatures was excellent. There is a trough-style double sink. A double sink was useless for us, but it could be helpful for a family. There are two dispensers in the shower: one containing shower gel and the other containing a combined shampoo & hair conditioner. Both my husband & I have short hair, so this was not a big deal. If you have longer hair, you might want to bring your own hair products. The shampoo/conditioner did not rinse as “cleanly” as I would have liked, but this was a minor issue. There is no standard waste receptacle in the bathroom, which I found odd and inconvenient. Instead, there is a very small waste container in a drawer below the sink. The bed was comfortable. There was plenty of storage space for two people. The TV worked well, but it seemed a little small. If you enjoy quiet time on your balcony, this is NOT the cabin for you. We were located two decks above the Sugar Cane Mojito Bar on the Waterfront. I could hear the bartender shaking drinks. As long as the bar was open, it was quite noisy on our balcony. Speaking of the Waterfront, I was looking forward to this set-up as it sounded like a great idea…in concept. We never saw anyone dine outside the specialty restaurants on the Waterfront. It was either too warm, too windy, or too chilly…and we were in the Caribbean. There is lots of seating scattered throughout the Waterfront, and these areas were popular with families and large groups, and probably people looking to escape interior cabins. I missed having a deck that we could walk around the entire ship, as we have done on other cruises. There is nothing comparable on the Encore. (The jogging track above the main pool area is a joke.) Many reviewers have commented about the lack of pool space and deck chairs, and this is very fair criticism of this ship. There is not nearly enough public pool and deck area for a ship with this many passengers. The hot tubs were packed full. The music was way too loud. It gave us a headache just to walk through the area. We did not pay for the more exclusive pool area because we never use the pools, so I can’t comment on conditions there. Some have commented about poor service on the Encore. That was NOT our experience at all. In nearly every instance – wait staff, our cabin steward (Elan), spa, guest services, and excursions, the service was outstanding. In most cases, the food was very good. Food in the specialty restaurants was OUTSTANDING. We ate at Cagney’s, Onda, Q, Los Lobos, and the American Diner. Food in The Local Bar was okay. I did like the set-up. Food was a little bland there, except for the hot dog. The basic level wine & alcoholic beverage package was included in our cruise fare, and worked well for me. I’m a wine drinker and fully enjoyed the wines (had to be less than $15 per glass) that qualified under the basic package. Without prompting, the wait staff always offered to refill a glass. The Garden Café (buffet) was my least favorite eating area. There were lots of choices, but it was always way too crowded and difficult to find a table. Pizza ordered through room service was okay. We've had much better pizza on other cruise lines and ships. The Observatory Lounge on Deck 15 is a GREAT space. It is really a unique area of this ship. It is a quiet space where many families gathered to play board games or complete puzzles during the sea days. Singles and couples read books there, or just sat and enjoyed a drink. There was always an abundant and varied offering of snacks, desserts and other food items – all complimentary. The panoramic view is amazing. The spa was nice. I enjoyed two different massages there. Ask for Raj. Yes, they do subject you to the usual sales pitch, which always annoys me. I would pay more just to avoid the stupid sales pitch and health “coaching”. To the question “What are you doing to reduce stress?”, I responded, “I am taking this cruise.” Raj thought that was funny. We went to Choir of Man on the Encore. I highly recommend it, and we generally don’t get all that excited about musicals and shows. The cast was incredibly talented, and the music was infectious. The entire audience was participating by the latter half of the show. We also enjoyed the piano player (can’t recall his name) in the Atrium. There were a lot of children and teenagers on this cruise. Nothing against children and teenagers, just against parents who don’t believe in teaching their children to respect others and behave reasonably. There were quite a few “entitled” young folks on this cruise. My husband summed it up, “I know I sound like a grumpy old person, but I never hear these young folks say ‘thank you’”. We tried the race track. It was fun, but once was enough. I think most people would have been much happier with this ship if the space dedicated to the race track was instead dedicated to more pool and lounging deck space. Don’t bother with the Internet and Wi-Fi packages offered on the ship. Connections (when available) are SLOW. Ditch the electronics and use it as a good excuse to unplug and get away. We participated in shore excursions offered by NCL in San Juan, St. Thomas, and Tortola. We did “Sips & Bites” in San Juan. I was hoping for more history about San Juan and Puerto Rico. Instead, the guide got really detailed about the “art” of “craft cocktails”. I love a good cocktail, but this guy acted like they were finding a cure for cancer -- took himself way too seriously. We had some nice cocktails and appetizers, but definitely not worth the price for this excursion. In both St. Thomas and Tortola we opted for the standard minibus tour of each island. On the St. Thomas tour, they forced way too many people into the wagon. Be prepared to get to know your seatmates very well. Due to choppy waters and poor weather, the Great Stirrup Cay stop was cancelled and became a sea day instead. By this point in the cruise, I was getting stir crazy and ready to get off the ship, so that was my least favorite day. The disembarkation process was very disorganized. Embarkation was okay. Many cabins were not ready until 3:00 or 3:30 pm. In summary, I'm glad we experienced the Encore, but I don't need to experience it again. 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
Everything was a mess, dis-organized and un-professional from beginning to end! Arrived at the NYC port at 11am and had priority embarkation through the Haven, took 30 minutes to go through security and we were told no one was off yet ... Read More
Everything was a mess, dis-organized and un-professional from beginning to end! Arrived at the NYC port at 11am and had priority embarkation through the Haven, took 30 minutes to go through security and we were told no one was off yet because the ship came in at 10am that morning would be nice if NCL had text or email updates on the ship status otherwise we would have came later to avoid the crowds, anyway had to wait in the Haven area for over 3 hours 1:30 we finally boarded the ship and were told we couldn't go to our rooms we had to go to lunch first? So we go to lunch and it was basically quick serve items and by the time we were just being served it was time to go to the mandatory safety demonstration? So we hustle over there (party of 3 small child in tow) to hurry up and wait for over 20 minutes for people to get there so they can start the demonstration couldn't even get any type of drink was very parched at the time, after the demonstration the hallways and all common areas became severely over crowded and had to wait a very long time for the elevators and definitely wasn't walking up 5 flights of stairs with a stroller. Luggage came in about 7:30 that night with a few missing pieces that showed up around 9pm not a big deal at the very least they didn't loose it, we called it a night at 10:30 as we were exhausted after the day of traveling and non stop general pandemonium of the first day! Second day we are at sea and it's cold not much to do when you see large groups of kids in the library you know boredom has hit a new level. We basically went around the interior of the ship, did the stores o sheehans, arcade, and general exploration of the ship easy to navigate crowds seemed to gather in typical hot spots, atrium, bars, shops. 3rd day finally warms up also key note if you don't want to be woken up super early put up the "do not disturb sign" otherwise you will be woken up around 9am give or take. Service in all restaurants excluding the Haven was lacking, food quality was horrendous everywhere they use the cheapest food possible you can taste it in the food and they dress it up with garnish to make it look nice.For specialty restaurants the best one is Moderno or Cagneys steak house the others are junk. They have a wide wine selection but they are all inexpensive wines $15 on land price or less but $75+ on the ship so be careful what you order buy the bottle not the ambiance. Getting into activities they do give you a"free style daily" basically the run down of activities for the day on the boat 70% of them have an additional fee involved and they have parties at night like a glow party which is designed to sell alcoholic drinks and last an hour with drunk old people dancing which is ok but what if your not a drunk person not too much fun. They have activities for kids but requires you to leave your child with strangers on the ship sounds like a bad idea in general! Casino on the ship is rigged no one wins try it out and see you will believe not a gambler but made plenty of friends and when 20 seasoned casino gamblers say it's rigged watch out! Room was toe up from the floor up had lots of dents and dings, worn light switches, bodily fluid stained all over the chair and couches brought the black light all I can is WOW get a bissel machine on that asap before someone gets pregnant. Ports we visited were the best part getting out to the beaches, buying local stuff, and enjoying the great weather down side to all of this you don't get enough time in these ports less than 7 hours from getting off to getting back on which restricts what you can or can't do. Captain said we couldn't go to the last port which was ST.Thomas because we would run into bad weather and would put us back in NYC late so we ditched St.Thomas and hit 20ft waves all day Saturday from 4AM TO 10pm that night so bad we couldn't be in our room due to not being able to walk without the risk of falling over or becoming sea sick ( barf bags were put in public areas bright and early). Lets talk about the shows junk, in room entertainment ? 15 channels 5 are the ship promoting themselves on board shopping etc. they had a selection of 20 movies which were free to watch in the HAVEN but if you have a regular room they were like $10 each. Room service takes a while order 1 hour ahead of being hungry for best results. They have a nice gym but sort of dangerous to run on a treadmill on a rocking boat. ***Key take aways are if your a seasoned traveler and cruiser use a different cruise line or fly directly into a nice all inclusive resort that is well reviewed and has a long history of good vacation stories behind it. This was utterly disappointing in every way I have always cruised NCL 15 cruises and it has been getting worse and worse every year this is the last time will definitely try something else. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Not a cruise line devotee - i book for itinerary - so the 10 day caribbean out of NYC fit the bill to get some warmth and a break from old man winter with no airplane travel involved - last did NCL in 1989 on the Norway (anyone remember ... Read More
Not a cruise line devotee - i book for itinerary - so the 10 day caribbean out of NYC fit the bill to get some warmth and a break from old man winter with no airplane travel involved - last did NCL in 1989 on the Norway (anyone remember her?) - and had gotten mixed reviews since then - but figured what the heck, let's give her a try THE SHIP: the gem is one of NCL's smallest ships - but with 2700 people onboard is probably the biggest ship i have ever been on - but most of the time nothing felt crowded - the ship is in very nice shape and she is a pretty ship - kept clean - only saw minor wear and tear ( a ripped cushion here, a broken seat there, but nothing outrageous) - with the abuse these ships take on a weekly basis it's understandable - like i said clean - with the disease scares lately there is a large push to keep the passengers from being unsanitary - but some of them are just plain slobs (trying to walk barefoot into the restaurant, leaving empty dishes on the stairs, grabbing slices of cheese with their bare hands (thats what the utensils are for) ) - so all in all we liked the ship EMBARKATION: This was one of the biggest problems and a warning for future NYC sailings - the previous cruise got in a few hours late - we heard 2/3/or/4 hours late - so naturally we had to wait extra long to board - so 2700 people jammed on a warehouse/dock - yes NYC's piers leave much to be desired - do you think the cruise line could've broke down and splurged on some sandwiches, pretzels, chips or granola bars - NOPE - this could not have been the first time this has ever happened - no preparations - there was one vendor in the area selling food and obviously sold out - so no lunch for us that day because when we finally got on board three hours late - they shut down the restaurants for an hour to prepare for and do the muster drill - not a good way to start - TWO CAVEATS to learn from this - if sailing out of NYC in winter be prepared for bad weather to screw up plans - we boarded late as the ship came in late and then later on we lost a port due to more bad weather - also - always pack a snack just in case embarkation is delayed - particularly in NYC as the piers have nothing available THE FOOD: probably our biggest complaint - it wasn't bad - but it was very unimaginative - the menu is meat-centric and geared to the "all you can eat, eat all you can" crowd - being vegetarian (and my wife a fish eater) - it was very very unimaginative - first off - they threw meat into everything - at the lunch buffets the prepared salads and pastas - all had meat thrown in - a nice pasta salad doesn't need ham - a serving of salmon doesn't need bacon sprinkled on it - if you are looking to eat healthy - it is a bit of work - and there is more to vegetarian dining than pasta, pasta and more pasta --- then of course - there was the "food descriptions" - a cherry pie would come out blueberry, bagel chips would be pita bread, arugula would be mixed greens, if you asked the servers to explain something they were baffled - i ordered a cafoutis (sp?) dessert one night but asked first what is was like - no clue - (flan-ish for those interested) - and lastly (let me get the complaints out of the way) -- no menu changes - on a ten day cruise - sit down lunches and sit down breakfasts always the same menu - so for example the only veggie option at lunch was a frittata (or ask them to take the shrimp off the pasta) - for ten days - that gets fairly boring We had the 4 free speciality dining package - so we did that - but honestly except for tepanaki i could not see paying the ala carte prices for that food - it was just as unimaginative as the main dining rooms - and don't worry about each night if grand pacific or magenta has the better choices - they are the same - just a change of scenery... THE ENTERTAINMENT - this really shone - very energetic entertainers - and very talented - the 3 shows were all good - although blazing boots was obviously geared to the "meat crowd" - the guest performers again were mostly top notch - a singer, magician, pianist, comedian and aerialists ... a good mix for the ten days - the theater was probably the best i've ever been on on a ship - it is a theater - not a re-purposed lounge - so not a bad seat/obstructed view in the house THE STAFF - mostly every one was friendly, helpful and good at their jobs (with possibly the wait staff being unknowledgable being the worst crime - a few unhappy faces at times from the wait staff but everyone is entitled to a bad day THE CABIN - if you're expecting a huge suite - you're gonna have to pay for one - we had a regular balcony cabin and it was fine - yeah it's small (yeah it's a cruise ship) - but lots of storage/shelves and once it got warm the balcony was our hangout anyway ACTIVITIES - the schedule was crammed with games/activities (I think alot geared towards kids and families as well as adult activities) - we really didn't do much of it - but it was there if you wanted it - one thing we did do which we highly recommend (it was pricey) - was the behind the scenes tour - and if you have an inquisitive kid with you take them along - it was well worth it SHORE EXCURSIONS - they are always hit & miss - but ours were mostly hits - i think i can review them elsewhere on the website - but here's a quickie - SAN JUAN - bioluminescent (sp?) kayaking - very cool to see - not as extravagant as they make it out to be but if you love natural things, it is cool (as well as the experience of kayaking in the dark) - ST KITTS - hiking to souffa stone mtn - maybe a mile round trip - straight up and straight down with some rock scrambling - watch for the ants at the top they will climb up you and bite - great home made food at the end and a chance to meet with some locals and see an abandoned sugar mill - SAN LUCIA - souffra/diamond falls - we loved the botanical garden - but it is a long drive to get there - and too many little 5 minute stops here and there that drag the drive out - we didn't bother with the hot springs as we wanted to walk the garden more - you can spend a good hour there - but it was over an hour drive each way - this excursion needs some tweaking ANTIGUA - kayak/snorkeling - great tour guide (Christal) - snorkel wasn't the best but saw some fish and coral and just enjoyed being in the water - the kayaking was fun - and the kayak center afterwards was very relaxing - one of those excursions you wish was longer because it was so good THE GYM - last but not least - not everyone's place to go on board - but it was fine - had a good mix of machines - and the scenery out the windows was inspiring Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Love to get away from the cold in Cle! Embarkation experience? Ship (Gem) got in to NY late, so embarkation was delayed perhaps a text would have help .I wouldn’t have gone to the pear to stand in line for 2+hr! Ship ... Read More
Love to get away from the cold in Cle! Embarkation experience? Ship (Gem) got in to NY late, so embarkation was delayed perhaps a text would have help .I wouldn’t have gone to the pear to stand in line for 2+hr! Ship experiences Food good, drinks even better Onboard activities Enjoyed: the comedian Frink Townson (sp), Bourbon tasting, and the thermal suite. Dislikes: Unruly teenagers talking over the pool/hot tubs .running up and down the halls banging on doors! Service & Staff : Room Steward Budi was great! Room 11626 Ship Design & Cleanliness: Cleanliness was great but ship’s layout and design was hard for me to navigate, had to go down floors to get to the elevators to go to the thermal suite. In the front of the ship! Got mix up many times, contemplating blaming my drink package LOL Rate your cabin: 11626 closes to elevator & Stairs. No noise from above. Didn’t like the bathtub, hard to get in & out, Preferred a shower .Balcony extremely nice. Share a tip about your ship: Don’t go out of NY in Feb (NE STATES WINTER BREAK FOR KIDS!) Unruly teenagers !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click