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4,793 Norwegian (NCL) Eastern Caribbean 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
Initially we had an Asian destination cruise with Norwegian, that was canceled. We were able to secure the Bahamas cruise, departing in Miami. Everything about this cruise was great. The crew managed the increasing corona virus concerns ... Read More
Initially we had an Asian destination cruise with Norwegian, that was canceled. We were able to secure the Bahamas cruise, departing in Miami. Everything about this cruise was great. The crew managed the increasing corona virus concerns well, and passengers were generally patient and understood. With the exception of two adult passenger tantrums we witnessed, that I must say were handled very well by crew who were clearly working above and beyond their everyday responsibilities, things flowed well for the passengers. I’m sure behind the scenes it was a very busy and stressful time for all of the crew, especially considering whilst we were cruising, the orders came that all cruises were canceled, so crew were faced with the prospect of being without income for an unknown amount of time once our journey ended. Not once did any of the crew complain or make comment about this. They continued to work hard, showed grace and humour and managed their roles well. The ports were great, and our hearts are worried about the impact the cancelations will have on the beautiful people we met on the ship and in port. We loved the entertainment, the shopping guides with Dan & Dan, the wait staff in the restaurants, the bar tenders...all of the staff were fantastic! We will be booking another cruise as soon as we can. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was the worst ship I have ever been on. I don’t know who designed it. By the main pool was so small I have seen bigger pools in peoples yards. This one is for 4000 guests. They offer a vibe for adults. We were on board by 1120 ... Read More
This was the worst ship I have ever been on. I don’t know who designed it. By the main pool was so small I have seen bigger pools in peoples yards. This one is for 4000 guests. They offer a vibe for adults. We were on board by 1120 trying to sign into vibe and it was sold out. All week long we looked at vibes and saw hardly anyone there. The casino is open to the Atrium area, so all you smell is cigarette smoke and you have to walk through it to get from area to another. We went to a specialty area and the people at the table were so loud and drunk that we came out with a splitting headache. I mentioned it to the waitress and she just laughed. The Atrium area is loud and has low level games with a lot of noise, so you cannot enjoy a drink. Customer Service Reps were rude. The balcony was so small that you could only use small chairs sideways. The highest deck is a spaghetti of water tubes; all wasted space that should be pool areas. The SIX show was horrible. A lot of people walked out. I could go on for ever. Worse cruise ever and I have been on 10 cruises Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Let me start by saying I have been on many cruises. CCL, NCL, RCL, Disney and on the River Nile. Any time in the Caribbean in February is nothing I can complain about. Embarkation was pretty smooth. Debarkation was chaotic. I ... Read More
Let me start by saying I have been on many cruises. CCL, NCL, RCL, Disney and on the River Nile. Any time in the Caribbean in February is nothing I can complain about. Embarkation was pretty smooth. Debarkation was chaotic. I don't understand why St. Thomas was such a short stop. Either you went to the beach for a couple of hours or you shopped. No real time to explore St. Thomas or St. John. The ship was absolutely packed to the gills. Only two elevator banks for that many people? We thought we remembered more on the Getaway two years ago, or different location for them. Perhaps someone elss knows if I am wrong about that. The bars were ridiculous. You had to wait way too long for drinka. When you know you have that many who have the alcohol pkg, you should increase your number of bartenders. The bartenders did an amazing job considering that challenge. The food. Boring pretty much in the main dining. Nothing special. No filet or lobster night. And their salad bars are a joke. That is one of the things I most look forward to on Carnival ships. They have an amazing salad bar. Upcharge restaurants - it is true, no more crab at Ocean Blue. Cagney's was pretty good, except that we hsd a couple of crew, young performers on the ship clearly on their first date, and they gossiped about many of their colleagues by name all during the meal. Moderno was pretty good. Best salad bar on the boat, and never-ending meat, some of which was overcooked. The pool area. What pools? One pool for over 4,000 people? It looked like spring in Cancun. And the hot tubs were crawling with children all day. We thought we remembered at least another pool on the Getaway back by the Spice H2O area. The thermal suite was amazing. Well worth the money. The rest of tg h ed spa is just expensive, as usual. Entertainment - good. We saw Six, which I really liked. Those girls can sing and dance. We did not see Velvet. Escape The Big Top was sold out. The 80s band, Switch, at Syd's Pour House was good. The other band that played there I thought was only ok. Nowhere near as big a crowd. Didn't go in the disco. Stateroom - We upgrade bidded for a spa balcony. Probably paid too much, but I'm not sure of that. It was fine, deck 14 way up front near the bridge. Alot of people had problems with their toilet not flushing.no more towel animals and our room steward had absolutely no personality but he did an ok job. I think that is all I have to say. Maybe I will think of more. But I will not go on the Breakaway again. Too many others to choose from. And I am selling my cruise credits. A friend of mine was cruising Royal at the same time, and he posted a picture of them all dining on filet one night, and 30 lobster tails to share between 10 of them. This was in the regular dining room. You still get that on Carnival in the regular dining. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Have spent over 50 nights on NCL. We have been on the large and Mid size ships. Overall Program is very good . Each Cruise ship has its own personality , regarding cruise and experiences. NCL attempts to maintain consistency and they do a ... Read More
Have spent over 50 nights on NCL. We have been on the large and Mid size ships. Overall Program is very good . Each Cruise ship has its own personality , regarding cruise and experiences. NCL attempts to maintain consistency and they do a good job at what they can control. Hear are the positives and negatives we experienced on this trip . ----Boarding and Departure- very good - The heavy screening that is going on all over the country showed some backups on opening day , nothing to awful, Staff was friendly . Departure was excellent, especially with facial recognition they are now using, probably the fastest departure from a ship to date ( remember this ship had 4500 passengers ) . ---Meals in the garden cafe were themed at night - recommend going to the chef to cook the meal of the day ( Italian/ Mexican etc.) vs going to the cafe style food, It wasn't bad but sometimes not as hot as we would like. ---Specialty meals - We did LiBistro - Excellent ..period ...Staff excellent ....highly recommend.. not real excited about Cagneys on this ship - was just OK , probably wouldn't go back to them on this ship. Staff was just ok at cagneys . ---- CABIN Rooms - always good rooms - We had a mini Suite- Only issue We have with this class of ship with NCL ( Breakaway / Escape/ Getaway) is that the Balcony is smaller than the next class down ships with NCL. chairs on the balcony sitting straight puts my knees at the glass ( I am 6 foot). the next class down of NCL ships has more legroom on the balcony's. ---Casino- This might be the BIGGEST reason for us not returning to this ship. NCL has designated smoking areas . The casino is one of them ( supposedly for active players only) The smoke is so bad in there that you will NEVER get the smoke out of your clothes after stepping in there for two minutes. It is the worst experience of any ship NCL or others that we have gone on. Period. Ventilation is so poor . If you are a non smoker and this bothers you , FIND AN OTHER SHIP TO SAIL...... also the Bar area is much smaller than on the Escape and Breakaway .. The equivalent of six or seven seats wide. This is were you get your drinks for the whole casino if you get them yourself. Bar tenders were average at best in terms of speed and communication with the guests. Cruise director on this ship was not as good (personality wise) as on other ships we have sailed. Its is March 2020 and the shifts for these workers is 9 months , so My guess is that he will be on this ship for the next 1/2 a year. They change frequently and run the same set weekly , so the personality of the cruise director is what separates the excellent from good to average to bad... This guy was average ... we have had better cruise directors on other ships... -----Excursions We had a full day on Tortola - did a trip to the beach on the other side of the island ( called Island Beach Break) Two Mega ships in Port that Day ( us and a Disney Ship) Went there only to find about 4 Million people on this little beach ) Think of NY City with some sand ) stayed about 2 hours and returned to the ship. 2nd excursion was St Thomas - Great place , HOWEVER we only were in port for 6 Hours---7 am to 2 PM . excursion the St Johns island (St. John Beach Escape & Snorkel) was EXCELLENT Boat that took us over (island Girl) was EXCELLENT both ways ) Highly recommend this excursion..... only issue with St Thomas was is was not a lot of time on that island Last Excursion was Harvest Caye- - nice island , no issues , we liked the day on the beach ... These were the high and low points of this cruise. everything else with the cruise was in the satisfactory range, that being consistent with what NCL tries to deliver on each cruise regardless of destination and ship....... Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were on this cruise because my Wife is a Sweet Adeline's International Champion/Queen and she was asked to fill in for a missing "Tenor" in a quartet that was part of the faculty/program for "Harmony 2020" ... Read More
We were on this cruise because my Wife is a Sweet Adeline's International Champion/Queen and she was asked to fill in for a missing "Tenor" in a quartet that was part of the faculty/program for "Harmony 2020" onboard the Breakaway. There were about 80 people participating in this year's "Harmony" cruise. If my Wife hadn't been part of the faculty/program we wouldn’t have normally chosen this cruise. We've been to BVI and USVI before. BVI and USVI have few reasons to revisit and this cruise wasn't a bargain. We've been on NCL four times before and on six other cruises before as well. I have several observations..... Port Canaveral is a less than ideal port. Getting from the nearest airport (Orlando) is expensive and time consuming. The 1 to 1-1/2 hour travel time from and to Orlando adds risk and significant COST to your getting to and from the ship. It means you have to carefully plan for related air travel. If you choose other airports in the "area" like Ft. Lauderdale or Miami that are farther away this compounds your challenges. We used "Always Superb Transport" out of Orlando for our transfer to and from the ship. Their service WAS superb, comfortable, and timely. It was occasionally hard to understand their staff on the phone when making arrangements, and they were relatively expensive, but we enjoyed using them. We stayed at the Orlando Airport Residence Inn the night before the cruise because we had a "FREE NIGHT" certificate from Marriott Rewards we could use for the lodging and the hotel provides a free airport shuttle service. Compared to other Residence Inns we've stayed at in the past I was disappointed in the quality of the room and the breakfast but it was serviceable and it met our needs (though I feel a newer Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn or Springhill Suites might have been of higher quality if available). Embarkation for this cruise was a REAL PAIN. It took us 1-1/2 hours STANDING IN LINE from curb to cabin (the longest we've ever experienced on any of our previous cruises), but with extra passport checks due to COVID-19 and a rumored passenger who didn't disembark as expected from the previous cruise I can chalk this up to unusual and atypical events. However NCL could have done something significantly more than a few "announcements" in the terminal about why it took so long to process the embarking passengers (like adding more staff to the "checking passports" process). Our steward appeared at our cabin when we arrived and brought an extension cord for my CPAP and pointed out he'd already placed a gallon of distilled water in the cabin. It appears from this that NCL maintains a fairly detailed record of previous guests and some of their needs and preferences (something we've suspected for several cruises). While this was a nice gesture, there was NO follow-up to this service. I asked for a longer extension cord so I could use my CPAP on the side of the bed I usually sleep on, but the steward only suggested I should sleep on the other side of the bed. Fortunately I always travel with a couple extension cords, so I could fix the problem myself. However, I did ask him if he could bring us some "Duck" or wide masking tape so we could affix the cords to the floor so we wouldn't trip over them in the night. He gave a non-specific response and WE NEVER SAW HIM AGAIN FOR THE REST OF THE CRUISE (and the requested tape NEVER appeared either). There were only TWO well-worn and hard to plug into 110v outlets in the cabin (there's a "shaver" outlet in the bathroom but that's all it's good for). This is normal for most cruise ships we've experienced and even though Breakaway is a "newer" ship there are still not enough outlets. If you bring the usual amount of phones, tablets, laptops, curling irons, or similar you will need to bring a way to expand your power possibilities. Note that the cabin on Breakaway is wired like many European hotel rooms. You insert your key card in a slot by the door to enable power. When you remove your key card the power ends shortly after. This means you cannot charge phones, tablets, laptops etc. in the room in your absence. You can insert cards like your room key into the slot (a library card, half of an expired credit card, etc. could be used) and leave them, but you’re at risk that the room steward will remove them at cleaning. Our balcony cabin was smaller than we expected, especially the space between the bed and the closet. It was very awkward to turn around in the tiny space provided at this spot. The rest of the cabin was fairly normal, but we missed the extensive cupboards and storage spaces we'd found previously on the EPIC. The bathroom was fairly normal for a NCL ship and since there were only 2 of us we had enough space for our "stuff". If we'd been a "family" (since there was a small space for ONE other person to sleep on the "couch") the bathroom space for toiletries would have been a challenge. Overall our experience onboard tells me this ship was built to "house" LOTS of revenue-generating passengers but didn't plan well to "serve" the passengers. The public areas seemed always to be crowded and very hard to navigate because they were cramped. The restaurants and buffet were always crowded (on "sea days" they "opened" additional places where you could get Breakfast or Lunch beyond the buffet, regular restaurants or even O'Sheehan's because the "normal" places were overcrowded). There was a "line" almost everywhere. You had to "make a reservation" to "see" even the "free" shows (I've NEVER experienced this before). The pool appeared tiny and crowded when we saw it. The "specialty" restaurants were comparatively small, more like those in size that we've seen on Pride of America, Jewel and Dawn. It seemed that all the public areas and services were sized for a smaller ship. The library had space for about 6 small card/game tables and only a few bookcases. It was the smallest library I’ve ever seen on a NCL ship. The “take one leave one” space only occupied about six feet of shelving and half of the books shelved were in German. I'd read the reviews that admonished people to make reservations EARLY in the cruise, or even pre-cruise for the specialty restaurants, but we were unable to do this because of the unsettled schedule for the "Harmony 2020" activities. By the time the schedule was established we could only use our specialty dining package for two meals because the special restaurants were almost FULLY booked. To use the two opportunities we found ourselves eating at 9:15PM and 9:30PM. We wasted/lost the 3rd opportunity in our package. We ate in Moderno and Le Bistro. Our Moderno experience was mediocre at best. The waitress was nice and personable. The salad bar was not up to par and the meats were OK but not superb. We were expecting something akin to Fogo de Chao and instead got an ersatz or generic version. Le Bistro had very good food but comparatively mediocre service. In both cases we felt we were being "tolerated" by the end of the meal as the waitstaff cleaned up the restaurant and prepared for the following day. On a good note the quality of food on the buffet has improved since our last NCL cruise on Dawn, when it was more like a CHEAP Golden Corral. We still missed almost any vegetables. Though they're very hard to do well on a buffet at least Golden Corral can turn out some vegetables that are palatable. NCL seems to have forgotten what vegetables are except for providing salads. The buffet was HEAVY on carbs. However the food quality on the buffet has improved and the nightly focus on a different cuisine is entertaining. The service quality of waiters, bartenders, and similar support staff has continued to decline over our experience with NCL. Waiters no longer "serve from the left and remove from the right" in ANY of the venues we used as they should (even in the specialty restaurants). Bartenders don't know what a Sazerac is and haven't heard of a Vieux Carre. The quality of drinks whether it's a Bloody Mary, a "Mudslide", a Manhattan, an Old Fashioned or a Margarita varies throughout the ship (there is NO consistency). Based on earlier reviews about the lack of service from bar waiters I avoided them. I never had a problem getting prompt service at any of the bars I used. Rather than depending on the RARE bar waiter I usually ordered our drinks at the bar and carried them back to wherever we were seated. If I'd waited for a bar waiter I doubt we'd ever have been served in any of the venues we used. We "walked off" carrying our own luggage, which made disembarkation much easier. I'd also note a major improvement in our ability to disembark was that NCL offered the usual "room service" continental breakfast on the disembarking day. In the past this hasn’t been an option. This saved us lots of time, even though the breakfast arrived 30 minutes earlier than expected. Disembarkation was far faster than embarkation, though that was not hard to accomplish. Now that we're "Gold" in the Latitude program and MIGHT get a modicum of better service I MIGHT consider a future NCL cruise, but this cruise did NOT make me say I can't wait to take another NCL cruise, especially one as expensive as this one was and as poorly as it was executed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
NCL was our go-to cruise line for several years. My son wanted to try a larger ship so we took an Eastern Caribbean cruise on Breakaway. Been there, done that. Too many people for the size of the amenities. Tiny main pool. Difficulty ... Read More
NCL was our go-to cruise line for several years. My son wanted to try a larger ship so we took an Eastern Caribbean cruise on Breakaway. Been there, done that. Too many people for the size of the amenities. Tiny main pool. Difficulty getting a drink order during busy times and a horrible layout for smoking areas. The casino is a smoking area and unfortunately is open to the entire deck so after a day or two it smells like a giant ashtray. Not a problem if you smoke but hard on the rest of us. Also, the top deck smoking area is literally right next to the kiddie pool. An attempt to recruit new smokers? We have not cruised on NCL in four years. Celebrity and Princess since then, and it appears NCL has moved more toward Carnival. No enforced dress codes for dining, even at the Specialty restaurants. At Cagney's, their primary steak restaurant, the table next to mine was a girl in a tank top, short shorts and flip flops. I like to go with a blazer or sport coat and I am trying to show my son how to dress for dinner. The French Specialty restaurant had many diners in tee shirts. If the rest of NCL has moved in this direction, I probably need to move on to other cruise lines. We bought the Priority Access package so our boarding and debarkation was with the Platinum and Haven people so it could not have gone smoother, other than lack of directions for the paying passengers. Even some of the crew were not familiar with the program. My son has Aspergers so I wanted to get passes to the Vibe Beach Club which is less crowded but they only have 60 spaces and cannot be booked or reserved in advance. If you are not very first in line, chances are slim. We missed out. Service was not the crews' fault. Too many people. Dinner was a 2 hour experience on most nights which cost us our entertainment reservations twice. The main pool is the smallest I have seen on a cruise ship. Way too small for 4000 passengers. Chaise hogs were the norm with towels being spread around as early as 7 in the morning. Never saw a crew member doing anything about it. The Spa is very small based on ship size. The Pearl Spa is larger with more choices and Pearl carries almost half the passengers that Breakaway boards. Several times all the warm ceramic loungers were full, with people pulling the chaise hog routine in the spa.with draped towels on the loungers. The entertainment was good but everything was booked up months before the cruise. Several of the shows could only be booked onboard which gave those without early reservations a chance. There is a cruise on Pearl next year my son is interested in but with the excesses of those on the free drink packages and the apparent lowering of NCL's dinner and evening dress codes, It may be time to move on to another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This cruise was chosen for my kids & grand kids. The cruise was good ,crew members were friendly & accommodating. Cabin was alright enough storage but the balcony was to small. Dining was nice specially at OSheehan's, good ... Read More
This cruise was chosen for my kids & grand kids. The cruise was good ,crew members were friendly & accommodating. Cabin was alright enough storage but the balcony was to small. Dining was nice specially at OSheehan's, good food. Manhattan room was a nice dining experience with entertainment while you eat. This is first cruise I have been on where shrimp cocktail wasn't offered or Lobster at least once during the week. Entertainment was very good the show Burn the floor & Six were very energetic. Tortola beach was fun nice and sandy. St Thomas same as always lots of jewelry. Stirrup Cay was a lot of fun. Now for the complains why have the casino in the middle of ship that you have walk through to get to certain areas with kids & all the smelly smoke stinks ,so did my wife's sweater after walking though just once. Then another smoking place right at pool side great smell again. Then people come out of the smoking area & smoke at the pool bar I found. Our bus transfer from the motel to ship had no air for the 45 min ride. I love cruising but probably not going on NCL to soon.Embarkation was very long should have set times like Celebrity cruise has less line ups. Disembarkation was better than embarkation. I didn't take any excusions went on our own. went to canne garden beach on Tortola was great the kids loved it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I chose this cruise as a way of seeing the Virgin Islands for the first time. While the islands were fantastic, the standout feature of this trip was Norwegian's staff. They seemed truly concerned that we had a good experience. ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a way of seeing the Virgin Islands for the first time. While the islands were fantastic, the standout feature of this trip was Norwegian's staff. They seemed truly concerned that we had a good experience. Teppenyaki was our first dinner reservation on the first day. The show put on by the chef was good. He juggled, told jokes, and interacted well with the people seated. He dropped a spatula a time or two but we all seemed to not be surprised since what he was trying to do was difficult. We caught food he flicked into the air for us to snag with our mouths. Everything tasted fresh and perfectly done. I had chicken. My wife had shrimp and beef. All was good. We both enjoyed Wasabi cocktails too! This occasion was also the first time our waitress, Jayme, shined. I informed Jayme that my wife had a reservation in the spa that appeared as though it would overlap with the dinner at Teppenyaki. We added the spa reservation at the last minute and simply didn't plan enough time for dinner. Jayme called the spa and had them push back my wife's reservation one hour. I didn't expect anyone to do this. I thought this was very nice. At the buffet, I bumped into Jayme 3 or 4 more times over the week. We spoke each time. She asked about my wife and offered to bring drinks to our table. I wasn't expecting to be treated this well at the buffet. At Moderno ChurrascariaI, I enjoyed my first Brazilian barbeque. Several nicely cooked and juicy meats were offered with a garlic flavor on spears brought by the table. Filet mignon, fried yucca, brazilian cheese bread. I tried everything but lamb. I especially liked the beef. My wife was less happy then I was with this meal. She doesn't care for garlic. But I love it! :-) Syd Norman's Pour House accounted for some of my time every night. This is a small club with a bar menu that I was told was limited to what Syd would have us drink. Rock and R & B was played by an above average band whose members were dressed like wait staff. Great idea. Good music. Velvet is a dinner show that I initially had no interest in but ended up being glad I bought tickets for. Music by Earth, Wind, and and Fire, Chic, Gloria Estafan, and Donna Summers was played. Gymnastics in the Cirque du Soleil vein were also equally a part of it all. And, a big dude who could dance like Michael Jackson and Nureyev popped in and out of the show from time to time. He was awesome! Oh yes! The surf and turf dinner was good too! We skipped dessert though. Cagney's Steakhouse served me a 12 oz New York Strip steak that was juicy and flavorful with au gratin potatoes while my wife enjoyed shrimp. The Manhattan Room offered live jazz standards with a singer like Call Me Irresponsible, Georgia On My Mind, Tea for Two, ... While I ate Fettucini Alfredo with chicken, my wife had a salad. Shakers Martini bar on the waterfront had a chocolate martini that patrons raved about. I skipped it and had a manhattan. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We arrived in Orlando and took an Uber to Cocoa Beach the day before the cruise. The beach is beautiful and we really enjoyed our evening. Next day our hotel provided transportation to the port. Ideally we would have arrived earlier ... Read More
We arrived in Orlando and took an Uber to Cocoa Beach the day before the cruise. The beach is beautiful and we really enjoyed our evening. Next day our hotel provided transportation to the port. Ideally we would have arrived earlier because we ended up waiting in a very long line. However once we boarded the fun began! The Breakaway is a huge ship that has endless activities all day everyday. We saw the musical Six which was the highlight of the trip for me. We also chose to see Velvet for an extra fee and it was very entertaining. We had the drink package included and let me tell you we took advantage of it! The drinks on the ship are excellent. Don’t let anyone tell you they are watered down. But keep hydrated and eat and you can avoid the dreaded hangover. The food is excellent. Never had a bad meal. We ate breakfast mostly in the buffet if we had a port day and then we ate at O’Sheehans one day. We are early risers so 6:30 for breakfast was not busy normally. We enjoyed lunch at Moderno and occasionally O’Sheehans. We ate at the buffet for lunch maybe once. We had 3 speciality restaurants in our package and we ate at Moderno, La Cucina and Le Bistro. All 3 were very good and the service is always excellent. They go above and beyond to make your dinner memorable. Le Bistro has the best dinner hands down. We also enjoyed the included restaurants and the food was also very good. You cannot go hungry. The ship is extremely clean, lots of places to wash your hands and sanitize. I never encountered one slightly dirty bathroom. I really enjoyed our cruise director. He was available when we needed directions but not over the top. We had a balcony room and I will always choose that. We enjoyed our peace and quiet and could join in when we wanted. Yes the ship is large but I only waited in one line my entire trip. We didn’t see the dualing pianos or comedians due to time. Went to Karaoke one night. Burn the Floor was great! I loved all our ports- Tortola, St. Thomas and Great Stirrup Cay. The ship was very organized. I absolutely loved the Breakway and I will be back! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
While the seas were rough and the weather cold in Florida and the Bahamas, we had a lot of fun as first-time cruisers. Our trip took us from Port Canaveral Florida to Tortola BVI, St Thomas USVI and Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas). We ... Read More
While the seas were rough and the weather cold in Florida and the Bahamas, we had a lot of fun as first-time cruisers. Our trip took us from Port Canaveral Florida to Tortola BVI, St Thomas USVI and Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas). We enjoyed the shopping, history and the beach the most of any of the islands in Tortola. St Thomas is very small and commercialized, but the Jet Boat ride is one to not miss! Great Stirrup Cay was underwhelming with cold temperatures, a beach on the “wrong” side so as to get lots of wind and a beach full of seaweed to step around before getting into the water. There were vendors here, all of which pretty much sold the same stuff and seemed to be set up more life a street faire with the ability to close up and disappear when no ships were in port. Dinner at Cagney’s was not good, the steak was tough and service mediocre, prices exorbitant. Teppenyaki was AMAZING for the money, entertainment value and great food, some of the best food on the ship IMO. Moderno was ok, good value, but make sure you are seated in a main thoroughfare so as to not be missed by the many different offerings. By 9:00 the Moderno buffet was pretty wiped out and not restocked unless you specifically asked for. Taste/Savor were amazing food choices and quality to be included in the complimentary dining. Wait times were minimal. Dress code was changed and you may no longer wear shorts in the Manhattan Room, therefore we opted for Taste/ Savor instead. The Garden Buffet worked best for our family for any meal as everyone could get what they liked, the rotating themes for dinner kept the menu fresh. Poolside music by Natural Mystic was wonderful reggae with some Bob Marley trivia interwoven. Bars seemed to be understaffed, although keep exploring and find your favorite bar with the least crowds, tip the bartender and you will have no problems. We preferred the outdoor Syd Norman’s with Courtney as the bartender. Our room was decent, quiet with the exception of neighbors allowing their doors to slam. Our cabin Steward, Michael, went above and beyond daily with towel animal creations and knew us by name, a little cash each day in gratitude for their service goes a long way! We enjoyed Six, Burn the Floor and Howl at the Moon. The comedians left something to be desired. The Splash Academy did great at engaging the children and encouraging their attendance. I do wish the Splash Academy schedules were available on the NCL app. We enjoyed the family games and game shows hosted in the Atrium. Open smoking in the casino on Deck 8 was a huge turnoff and we often went out of our way to avoid this area on floors 6-8. Embarkation and dembarkation were terribly and seemingly unnecessarily long (hours!) Beware, Norwegian booked our flight home and we had 8 hours to kill in the airport! Ugh! Overall this was a great first cruise and we look forward to more. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Loved the fact it was two weeks and at the time of year when we needed a break. Beautiful new ship. Observation Lounge was very spacious, maybe too spacious as itwas half empty a lot of the time. Food was okay but not great. Better ... Read More
Loved the fact it was two weeks and at the time of year when we needed a break. Beautiful new ship. Observation Lounge was very spacious, maybe too spacious as itwas half empty a lot of the time. Food was okay but not great. Better on the Escape. Layout was good but prefer the Escape here as well. The entertainment/shows were inadequate for the number of days we were on the cruise ship, but perhaps it cateredto the average age of the cruisers which was "senior" - never seen so many walkers and scooters! Staff was fantastic as usual and the musical entertainment was good. One thing I can't figure out is why the seating on most of the ship is so uncomfortable? The Atrium, bar stools, and the chairs in the Observation Lounge were all terrible. Maybe that's the plan so you'll go to the Casino instead! Anyway, overall we love Norwegian and wouldgo on the ship again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I have wanted to take a cruise for many years. There were four in my group. My sister and I were in a balcony cabin near the center of Deck 10. My brother and his wife had an inside cabin on the same deck. My sister and I chose a ... Read More
I have wanted to take a cruise for many years. There were four in my group. My sister and I were in a balcony cabin near the center of Deck 10. My brother and his wife had an inside cabin on the same deck. My sister and I chose a balcony cabin to take advantage of the 5 "free" offers: airfare, 250 internet minutes, Premium Beverage Package (unlimited drinks up to $15 each per day), $50/port/cabin excursion credit, 3 Meal Specialty Dining Package. We felt it was a good value for our budget. I had made a checklist of what to do after boarding, based on other people’s recommendations online. We headed to Deck 6 to change one specialty dining reservation and reserve a date and time for the go karts. Next we went to the Atrium to the Internet Desk to arrange for our NCL text & talk feature and get instructions for using our 250 minutes of internet time. BEWARE: The most important direction was to log off after using it. My sister did not do that on our third day, so we lost all of our minutes. Next we found our cabin. It wasn’t ready, but we met our steward Elan and dropped off our carry-ons. Elan seemed to be in the hallway almost every time I was in it, whether that was morning, afternoon, or evening. After our first meeting, he greeted us by name and asked what we were doing that day or evening. He also asked us about those things if we saw him later or the next day. Amazing! He was always happy, remembered any special requests we made, and was one of the reasons I enjoyed my cruise so much. After a late, light lunch in the buffet, we returned to our cabin, which was ready. THE ENTRY: At the entry was a master light control, activated by inserting my cruise card. The bathroom was in a short hallway past the door. There were two hooks on the wall outside the bathroom. There was a panel above the light control which activated lights outside the door so we could indicate when we were in the room, when we did not want to be disturbed, and when the room was empty and could be cleaned. THE BATHROOM: The curved glass shower was large enough to be comfortable and had shelves. The only thing I had to get used to was stepping UP, because the bathroom was one step higher than the cabin. I tripped several times before I got it right. The counter extended from the sink down the long wall. The long wall with the sink and counter had a wall-sized mirror above with two narrow shelves, storage under the sink, and two wider shelves below the mirror. There were two hooks on the door. THE MAIN PART OF THE CABIN: Our single beds were separated by a bit of space. We each had a small nightstand with two shelves below and a lighted sconce with USB charging port above. Opposite the bed nearer the balcony was a shelf with magazines and an LCD TV above. On the wall next to the bed nearer to the balcony was a couch. Opposite the couch was a huge mirror that extended to the TV. There was a deep counter with a bench for seating, a small fridge, (which we did not use), and a deep angled storage unit. Above the counter were two narrow shelves and a plug in for my non-surge multi plug adapter. The closet was spacious with more than enough hanging space, hangers (I brought some of my clothes on hangers), and a floor-to-ceiling deep shelving unit. Maneuvering between the foot of one of the beds and the TV took some getting used to, but that was a minor issue. THE BALCONY: There was a large sliding door to access the balcony. It had two chairs and a table. I really appreciated having a balcony, even though I didn’t spend a lot of time sitting there. OVERALL: I was very pleased with our choice of a balcony cabin, especially for my first cruise. The cabin had more than enough storage space for everything we brought. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: ENCORE THEATER: We booked two shows online when the reservations became available. The Encore Theater is huge, and we got in line early to have good seats. First we saw Choir of Man. It was fabulous! High energy and wonderful singing and dancing. You could easily see how much fun the performers were having. Then we saw the musical Kinky Boots. I did not realize that was a true story, although I did know the music was written by Cindi Lauper. It was a marvelous story with wonderful acting, singing, and dancing and spectacular costumes. Both of these shows were the equal of any show I have seen on Broadway. THE DISTRICT: We saw Jim Badger, a pianist, singer, and comedian. It was crowded, but we found seats and had a good time. THE ATRIUM: We saw several different bands and a pianist/singer. All the entertainment was excellent, and the Atrium is a beautiful and comfortable place with a nice atmosphere for enjoying music. COMEDY CLUB: We went to the Comedy Club four times to see shows. Sometimes we had reserved seats, and sometimes we waited in the standby line but had no trouble getting in. The front row was always open, so that is where we chose to sit. A show would consist of the female warm-up act and one of two male comedians. They were all funny and provided great entertainment. Mike Blaustein was particularly hilarious and had the amazing ability to learn about people in the audience and use them throughout his act, but never in an embarrassing way. He was so funny that we saw him twice. Since he used material gathered by getting to know audience members, we didn’t see the same show twice. The last night they appeared together and featured all new material. POOL DECK: I am not a person who enjoys sitting in the sun by the pool, but did enjoy sitting in the shade reading on the pool deck. I also found many activities to take advantage of during the day. I watched numerous game shows and trivia contests, a fruit/vegetable carving demonstration, a napkin folding demonstration, dance classes to watch or participate in, etc. LATE-NIGHT POOL PARTIES: I went to the glow/white party and one other one. Although I didn’t get in the middle of the crowd and whoop it up, I enjoyed watching from a distance for a bit. MISC: One day I went to the Encore Theater to see a presentation about the ship and various facts about the ship and what is consumed during a one-week cruise. Then the Captain, Chief Engineer, and head of the hospitality part of the ship answered questions. It was very informative and interesting. GO KARTS: I drove my first go kart on the ship. We had to first put on a ski-type mask with an opening for our eyes, nose, and mouth. Unfortunately, while removing it, I also removed one of the new silver earrings I had purchased on my last trip, and I didn’t notice it until much later. The helmet went over this mask. The pressure of the helmet made the mask keep sliding down over my eyes while I was driving, making it difficult to see. Getting into the go kart was quite a feat, because it was a tight fit, and I don’t bend as well as I used to. This was my first time driving a go kart, and I admit that I was not the fastest and didn’t always go as close to the wall as I should have. As a result, I was intentionally hit several times, once so hard that I bounced off the wall. I don’t know why they bothered telling us this wasn’t allowed if they were unwilling to enforce their own rules. However, I still enjoyed it. The ride was 8-10 minutes long. I would be willing to try go karts again in a less aggressive environment. EXCURSIONS: FIESTA LATINA (San Juan, Puerto Rico): We boarded a bus and drove a short distance to the restaurant where the show was held. We were each given a glass of sangria. The flamenco guitarist was absolutely amazing and had wonderful stories to tell. At times he was very funny. The three female dancers were OK, but just repeated the same swirly twirly dances in different dresses. The show might have been better without them. I would have been disappointed had I paid full $79 price for the show. However, I had a $50 excursion credit to use in San Juan, and that reduced the cost of the $79 show to $29. So I was glad I did the excursion. TREE LIMIN’ EXTREME (St. Peter): I met the rest of the zip line excursion participants on the pier. We were escorted to our bus and met the driver Patrick. We drove up, up, up a narrow, twisting road that often provided gorgeous views. This is the an award winning zipline park which exceeds industry safety standards, and the guides are highly trained professionals. It has six ziplines, including a “yo-yo” zip at the end, and two rope bridges. After checking in, we met our tour guides. They outfitted us with our personal safety equipment and gave us instruction on the gear. As we arrived at each departure platforms, we received safety information for that platform, including how the guides would set us up to start and slow us down at the end. On various platforms we saw gorgeous views. It was obvious that safety was their number one priority. In spite of the fact that I knew it was safe, I was absolutely terrified. I was by far the oldest person in our group of nine. After I explained that I was doing this for the first time and to celebrate my 70th birthday in May, the encouragement and praise I received from the guides and from the group members kept me going. I have never done anything extreme before. This definitely put my tenacity to the test. I am glad I did it. ISLAND BEACH BREAK (Tortola, British Virgin Islands): We went to the pier to meet the excursion bus for our excursion. We boarded a bus with open sides and took a narrow, twisty road up the mountain and back down to the other side. The ride provided beautiful views of Tortola. When we arrived at the beach, we rented chairs and umbrellas for $15 and were shown to our assigned spot. You could sit in the sun or the shade. In addition to enjoying reading in the shade under my umbrella while watching the beautiful water, I explored the shops along the beach. I was very glad we did this excursion. FOOD: I ate at three specialty restaurants, all three complimentary restaurants, the buffet, The Locale (the 24/7 restaurant), and the Observation Lounge. I wish I had ordered dessert first. Most of the time I did not have room for dessert and did not want to become uncomfortable. All the food, including the breakfast and lunch buffets I tried a couple of times, was excellent. My best bite might have been the carrot cake at The Local. The service was 5* and outstanding, as good as any service I have had at any high-end restaurant. BARS/LOUNGES: My go-to favorites turned out to be the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, the Observation Lounge, and the Atrium Bar. Yes, sometimes I had to wait for service, just as I might have to on any busy night on shore. The bartenders worked like demons trying to keep up, and I appreciated their professionalism. I tried many kinds of cocktails on the various cocktail menus, and all were tasty. Since I had a drink package, I appreciated being able to get nonalcoholic drinks throughout the day and evening. The Observation Lounge was one of my favorite places to relax and read. SERVICE: Everyone I met was gracious, eager to serve, and provided excellent service. NOTE: I am so grateful that I got a prescription for scopolamine patches before I left home. I am so susceptible to motion sickness, and this ship rocks and rolls, sometimes more than others. It is especially noticeable in a small area, such as a bathroom. Occasionally, we were in rougher water, which exacerbates the movement. The scopolamine patches saved me. I had no seasickness. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose Norwegian Encore for two reasons: we wanted an Eastern Caribbean itinerary and had to book last minute. The quality of the food and entertainment were great. Probably some of the best food we have had on a cruise anywhere. ... Read More
We chose Norwegian Encore for two reasons: we wanted an Eastern Caribbean itinerary and had to book last minute. The quality of the food and entertainment were great. Probably some of the best food we have had on a cruise anywhere. However, we found several major issues that will keep us from ever booking with Encore again. First and foremost, the pool area is so cramped and small that even walking through it to get to the cafeteria is challenging. My wife and I were looking forward to laying by the pool and catching up with a few good books. However, that never materialized. The children’s pool and play area was even worse. We tried once taking our three year old to play, however the small and cramped space was so packed that we turned around and left. And even more puzzling is the insistence of Norwegian to blast dance (mostly rap music) very early morning throughout the pool deck and cafeteria. So, Having a relaxing breakfast was definitely out Of the question. The only quiet place on the ship is the Observation Lounge which was also very busy with limited seating. This experience may be unique to us but we felt it was worth sharing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Instead of listing a long list of likes and dislikes I'm going to describe this cruise using, what I think (I have taken several NCL cruises in the past), was the idea behind this new design . The theme of this new boat ... Read More
Instead of listing a long list of likes and dislikes I'm going to describe this cruise using, what I think (I have taken several NCL cruises in the past), was the idea behind this new design . The theme of this new boat is:"let's try to extract as much money from passengers as we can". This comes in two varieties: - Exploit parents through their kids (Laser Tag, Go-Karts and VR games' room) - Exploit non-parents by charging them a premium to enjoy adult only facilities (Spice H20 free of charge? = GONE) Even the workers were complaining (this is the first time ever that bartenders and stewards have talked badly about their working conditions during casual conversations). If you are the kind of person whose experience is impacted by the ship itself, I would recommend you choose the Bliss or even the Getaway/Breakaway over this one. You would have a way better time. What is the point of publicizing the new "water slide" if half of the people get stuck on it (what a great design), do you realize how claustrophobic that may feel? This really felt like a bad week, and for a cruise, that's really bad. More specific comments: Dinning Experience - On par with previous NCL cruises. Specialty restaurants I tried: Onda, Los Lobos, Cagney's. In general, the service was good, with Cageny's again being my favorite (Los Lobos was pretty good too). Activities - The cruise director seemed to be a little bit unenthusiastic (compared to other ones I had in the past). The activities in the atrium weren't as frequent as in other NCL cruises I've been tome (a lot of down time). In general, there was a lot of downtime during the day which became an issue with an overcrowded pool area. Entertainment - They had the typical set of activities at nigh. Since the spice H2O area doesn't exist in this boat, the parties were usually held at the comedy club which was little, dark and with a small bar that would make the task of getting a drink almost impossible at peak hours. Staff - The staff were courteous and accommodating. Working really hard. After discussing chatting with them in more detail, a few of them expressed a high level of stress and a "bad vibe" from management. Most of them mentioned their desire to get assigned to a different boat. Would I cruise on this boat again? Don't think so. It feel like a downgrade from previous NCL cruises I had. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This is a brand new ship and I was very excited. We cruised on the Escape and Getaway and we had great experiences. We spent thousands of dollars on this cruise thinking it was going to be awesome. Right away I realized I made a terrible ... Read More
This is a brand new ship and I was very excited. We cruised on the Escape and Getaway and we had great experiences. We spent thousands of dollars on this cruise thinking it was going to be awesome. Right away I realized I made a terrible mistake. The entertainment was not so good. The pool area was crowded all the time and not enough chairs for 4000 people. My daughter end up tanning in our balcony. At night they had parties by the pool area and only one bar open. We had to take the elevator to the 8th deck to get a drink at the Mojito bar and decided not to go back to the party. I don't understand why they would close the second bar by the pool during the parties. Room service is nonexistent. We stayed in a balcony mini suite. The cabin was very nice with a large shower. The bed was very comfortable, but they didn't change our towels for 3 days, so I called room service several time and no one picked up the phone, I continued to call until someone pick up the phone and hung up the phone several times. I think they thought I was going to stop calling, I don't even know how many times I called until finally a lady answered the phone. Our TV broke and the maintenance guy told us that we should get a new TV by 10am the next day. I begged like a little kid for another TV and he got it for us within few minutes. We spent a lot of money on this cruise and expected better service. The shows were okay. We couldn't see any comedian, all the shows were booked from day 1. The buffet food was horrible. The staff at the buffet were not friendly and most of them avoided eye contact. It seems they didn't want to be bother. The 3 specialty restaurants we used were excellent. Los Lobos, Cagneys, and the Italian Restaurant. The food was delicious and all the staff there were very friendly and attentive. For the smokers this ship is not for you. They have a smoking box outside on deck 8 without ventilation, even the smokers in there were suffocating. If you smoke cigars there is a very nice Cigar room. The Atrium was beautiful but they didn't use it like on the other ships. They had kids dancing classes during the day. At night I didn't see anything worth going there to see. The band was a 2 people band. The only night club was crowded and hot. I took many naps during the day since I didn't have anything to do. This cruise ship was overrated and overpriced for us. I enjoyed other cruises with Norwegian, but not this one. I forgot to mention the go karts. For $15 per person you can ride it for 8 minutes and only if you are lucky enough and able to book it. We did and it was fun, but 8min is not enough time to really enjoy it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This sailing was 2 days after my wedding and it was one of the worst I have been on (this was my 10th cruise). The food in the specialty restaurants and buffet were great.. The free dining areas (sit down).. service was slow and the ... Read More
This sailing was 2 days after my wedding and it was one of the worst I have been on (this was my 10th cruise). The food in the specialty restaurants and buffet were great.. The free dining areas (sit down).. service was slow and the food, in my opinion, was better in the buffet. We were sailing with our 3 children (6,5 and 1) everything for them to do, was an upcharge.. the go carts, laser tag. they charged for everything. The kids camp was free until 10:30 but if they lost their bracelet.. it was a $5 charge for a new one. Laser tag they had a cool snake thing but you werent allowed to climb underneath or over them..so hiding during laser tag isnt possible. SMOKING.. im a smoker.. and i felt like a caged animal. They have an outside area (literally a box..no windows.. totally enclosed) on deck 8 for smokers. How in the hell they expect people with children to enjoy a smoke.. is beyond me. and yes, they still sell smokes on board.. if you go right outside the box and smoke, they will fine you $250.00, which happened while i was on board. Security came around and grabbed everyones cards. The casino is non-smoking expect..once again.. in the box they have for smokers but you have to play the games while in there. I get smoking is a bad habit.. but to feel like an animal in a cage bc of my bad habit, made the trip so much worse. This will honestly be our last Norwegian cruise. The people were rude and just came off like they had better things to do than to help you. Just an awful experience. Cabins got smaller.. The ship is huge but its all rooms.. not much to do on the sea days either. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Now we are at Day 7 and will disembark tomorrow. I feel like I have to write something before I go. This is our second time cruising. The first time was with Regal Princess and everything was just fine. This time we are looking for ... Read More
Now we are at Day 7 and will disembark tomorrow. I feel like I have to write something before I go. This is our second time cruising. The first time was with Regal Princess and everything was just fine. This time we are looking for something more thrill and exciting, so we chose Norwegian Encore. The ship itself is super new and beautiful, and the design of cabin is modern and simplistic which we all like it. One thing we all feel regret about this ship is the port of calls — only three of them and two are very similar. I cannot believe they stopped at San Juan from 6PM-12AM — and it was raining heavily. Who will go to San Juan in a rainy and windy night? You can barely see nothing on the street because everything is so dark. St. Thomas was okay because the helmet diving was fun ( and pricey). But Tortola is so similar and close to St. Thomas. The sugar cane beach was crowed, small, and not many water activities. We would rather like the ship just spends one day at Norwegian’s own island so that at least we can have more water activities. So, that’s three days of our 7-day trip. What about the other four days? We are super bored and want to go to more activities on board. And here comes the question: cancellation all the times. My dad liked the brew house a lot and there was a beer tasting event, but when my dad got there, he was told the event is cancelled. We really want to see the kinky boots and it is fully booked. We finally got seats on Day 6 but it was canceled due to the actor’s sickness. It’s okay because we have one more day on board. Surprisingly, on day 7, it is cancelled AGAIN because of the same reason. Fine, we ended up seeing nothing before we left. We also booked the Speedway Kart on day 7 at 12:30 PM— why day 7? because it’s fully booked on day 1 as well. We were super excited and looking forward to go kart on the sea, so we arrived earlier and wanted to be on the car ASAP. Surprisingly, we got rescheduled to 2 PM because of the mechanical problem. They were calling the manufacturer in Germany to fix the problem. Okay, we totally understand. So we ordered some drinks from the poolside bar and took a nap on the sundeck chair, and set an alarm rat 1:45PM to make sure that we would be there on time. Finally, it’s 1:45. We ran up to Deck 18 and waited in the line, but (maybe not) surprisingly, they told us they are still fixing the problem and we can not reschedule again because it is fully booked after 2. The only thing we can do is to cancel it and get a refund. We ended up doing nothing in the last a few days onboard but taking naps. Also I want to mention the food part. The specialty dining is excellent. We tried the steakhouse, ocean blue and the teppanyaki and they are all good. But the buffet is kind of disappointing. We have the same breakfast everyday and there are not many variety on lunch and dinner with very few seafood choices. We barely see shrimps provided, they are all mixed in other dishes with a small portion. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have been on many cruises (lost count) but are NCL Latitudes Plus cruisers so likely more than 15 on NCL. Last 10 cruises have been suites/haven but we decided to try a regular balcony cabin. Save a few bucks and mainly we didn’t use ... Read More
We have been on many cruises (lost count) but are NCL Latitudes Plus cruisers so likely more than 15 on NCL. Last 10 cruises have been suites/haven but we decided to try a regular balcony cabin. Save a few bucks and mainly we didn’t use the suite perks that much. For example we never once ate breakfast in Cagney’s or haven. We also get many of the perks via Latitudes anyway. At arrival we went straight thru security, to a counter on the far right to check in with no wait and then walked right on board. No lines. Nice! We enjoyed a very nicely laid out cabin with adequate closet and drawer space. We really liked the privacy of NOT having the cabin steward, butler and concierge constantly knocking on our door and bringing more food we're not interested in and asking if we need anything. Ok, this may sound weird, but we actually enjoyed being left alone. Anyway, the ship is beautiful, food was consistently great in all venues. Ate in Main dining twice and 5 specialties. Had a hard time getting specialty restaurant res. Did it first thing upon boarding was to go for dining reservations. Not much luck so after lunch we went to stand in a short line to try and get reservations at a reservations desk. Better luck but no Platinum Plus VIP treatment. When cruising in a suite we would have the concierge make reservations upon boarding but subsequently we often just stopped at the reservations desk to make changes etc. on this ship we stopped during the week trying to get reservations or change to better times but nothing was ever available. I found this very aggravating and by far a bigger issue than other NCL ships. Either stop the free dining or build more room in those specialty restaurants. Wow, had the prices gone up since our last cruise! Shows were wonderful, “A Choir of Man” outstanding and “Kinky Boots” good. Comedians were also excellent. Here’s another complaint that it was difficult to get show reservations. We did them before the cruise and some right at boarding. Similar issue as the restaurants. No daily open admission shows, so a few nights we didn’t get into any shows. Another first for us. As mentioned, the ship was great but we like to walk around the boat and no decks went around the bow. In fact, no way to look out the bow of the ship unless you’re in the haven. No outdoor dining off the stern either. With the limited open deck space on the upper decks and so much indoors, this ship would be good for foul weather cruising! I’m surprised they used so much upper deck for laser tag and go carts. Why does laser tag need to be in a premium outdoor space? Had a good time playing slots in the casino. Initially didn’t see any machines we liked but eventually found some we deemed fun and gave us some play time. Overall still had a lot of fun but will likely go back to a smaller, better laid out (IMO) ship next time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were on back to back. the first week we were in a two bedroom Haven Suite. Cannot say enough good things about our experience. Food and service in The Haven is excellent. Only suggestions, the Haven pool is not heated and was not ... Read More
We were on back to back. the first week we were in a two bedroom Haven Suite. Cannot say enough good things about our experience. Food and service in The Haven is excellent. Only suggestions, the Haven pool is not heated and was not used all week. The Haven observation lounge does not have a bar in it and was seldom used. Second week, not so great. Haven was booked so we had a mini suite on deck 13. This cruise had a large group onboard that booked the Bistro for the entire week. Not exactly fair to the other passengers. Was told by staff that approximately 700 children were onboard, my observation was that many were unsupervised, allowed to run around the ship, down hallways until well after midnight. I even saw a group playing dodgeball in the elevator landing area on deck 14. The forward elevators are constantly full, stopping at nearly every floor. The buffet, observation lounge, theater and access to the adult area are all forward. Aft elevators not so busy. On Sabbath, NCL blocked one elevator forward and aft. This caused further delays for everyone else. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Was excited to book a cruise on this brand new ship. It has ALL the bells and whistles and then some but on the other-hand does have some areas that need improvement and some areas don't know how they are going to fix them. Let's ... Read More
Was excited to book a cruise on this brand new ship. It has ALL the bells and whistles and then some but on the other-hand does have some areas that need improvement and some areas don't know how they are going to fix them. Let's start with the lack of pool deck space, or should I say lack of. Since the kart track and laser tag area take up so much real estate on the ship the lounging area was sacrificed. On the sunny/hot days the pool area was packed. The lounge chairs were arranged so tight that there was maybe a 6 inch wide rows between them. So close than many people were banging up their toes. The main pool was also small. The jogging track is basically non-existent during on these days as well as the lounge chairs are basically covering half the track 3/4's of the way around. The amount of wait staff was not good. During the days there were at most 4-5 waiters walking the pool area. The water slides also had very long lines and they were not keeping up with the scheduled times of when they were open or were closed. The "15 minute" vacant lounge chair was not enforced even though the policy was on the huge screen all the time. But then again, if you got up to take a ride on the water slides you could be standing in line for 30-45 minutes for each. Now to get around all this you could spend an additional $209 per person for a weekly pass to the new and improved, but limited, VIBE area which is the only adults only area. Since NCL eliminated Spice H20 which is on most of their other ships which is he adults only section, they enlarged the VIBE area and also increased the price which many regular NCL customers were not too happy about, especially me. PLUS, if you don;t rush down to the Q Steakhouse as soon as you board the ship, you are S.O.L getting a VIBE pass because they are limited and sell out fast. So what's so special about VIBE? well only the fact that you are guaranteed a nice lounge chair or cabana chair, if you get there earlier enough, they have their own bar and hot tubs and the wait staff comes around with fruit every now and then. And the pool?? well sorry no pool but you do get a "misting station". Next. The two biggest attractions are the go-karts and laser tag. The go-karts, $15 per race which last about 10 minutes. You can purchase an unlimited pass for $199 per person for the week, but after I did them twice, that was enough for me. You can get stuck behind a slow person and it takes all the fun out of it. They are supposed to stay to the right and allow people to pass but...... Also they do close the track down for weather and this week it was shut down due to "computer" problems on two occasions for a few hours which then throws off the entire reservation times. The laser tag area. Cost $9.95 per person per game. I would have thought this would have been more popular then what I saw because even though they recommended you make reservations, people were having no problem just walking up, paying then playing. A lot of fun though. best to play this at night!. Finally the food and entertainment.. EXCELLENT! except you better make reservations for the shows or specialty dining or you risk the chance of not getting into either. A lot of people were complaining about that. Best to make these reservations prior to boarding or at the 120 day prior to embark date through the NCL app. I HIGHLY recommend Le Bistro as one of your picks for the specialty restaurants. Breakfast buffet was basically the same thing every morning. If you want to have a better breakfast go to either SAVOR or TASTE which are both complimentary restaurants. The lunch and dinner buffets they did change up however. The ship did seem to be a little short handed in the complimentary dining rooms for dinner. Things move kinda slow when your waiter or waitress are also busing the table... The American diner was ALWAYS dead.. Food was just ok.. The Local. good food, noisy, but try the chili dog and chicken wings. both very good. Cagney's was average Teppanyaki restaurant ALWAYS a lot of fun and very good. Went to Q Smokehouse was OK but nothing special. Did not eat at Los Lobos or the sushi restaurants so can't tell you about those places. Don't miss Choir of Man! Best show I've ever seen on a cruise and I've been on almost 30 cruises, but get there 15-20 minutes before the show starts for FREE beer! Kinky Boots, very good, very entertaining with a very talented cast. The Beatles cover bad was very good but you really need to get to the Cavern at least 20 minutes before they go on stage or you might not get in because the place fills up and you can not make reservations. Make reservations to see Levity the comedy show, you will laugh your butt off.. This is a 18+ comedy show. Embark. was a little bit of a cluster! hey said it was because the ship did not clear customs when they expected so everything got backed up where normally you can start getting on the ship around 10:30am, we did start until around 11:15am. Disembark was a lot smoother. We did self carry and was off the ship by 8:10am To sum it all up. Great ship, there is definitely room for improvement, but if you've never cruised before you would not notice them. I don't care for the "nickle and dimming" between the go-karts, laser tag, the Galaxy Pavilion which is also a costly venue on the ship where there are even more up-charges on some attractions up and beyond the cost to use many of the VR rides. Be prepared to lay out some bucks and budget yourself accordingly. When all said and done, without taken any of the ship's excursions I spent an additional $375 per person just playing around in these areas. I had a mid-ship mini-suite which was comfortable and tight. The bed was only inches away from the closet which makes it hard to squeeze between the two. The bathroom is great the shower is awesome. I would recommend this ship with no problem but would I sail on it again, probably not. and FINALLY... DON'T miss "GLOW NIGHT" which is on day 5 at night on the pool deck. The BEST party on the open seas! Hope this revue was helpful and informative. You'll love the Encore, just be aware of all the extra charges... Happy Sailing!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because we wanted to experience Encore during her first year. She is a beautiful ship with seemingly something for most everyone. Public areas are plentiful and spacious. Teenagers can be entertained by a huge arcade, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to experience Encore during her first year. She is a beautiful ship with seemingly something for most everyone. Public areas are plentiful and spacious. Teenagers can be entertained by a huge arcade, driving the heavily advertised “go-carts” on a big track located on the top deck aft, or enjoy the thrill of the water slides. The Haven areas are the most gorgeous and spacious we’ve experienced, but not perfect; For instance, Deck 19 sun/lounging area does have two hot tubs and two shower areas (nice!), but no bar ( like the Epic). The smoking area up there is extremely small... consisting of only TWO loungers and located totally forward (read VERY WINDY). As a matter of fact, smoking areas throughout the ship are scant and the no-smoking policy is STRICTLY enforced. This will make non-smokers giddy with joy, and smokers very unhappy. We found the entertainment sub-par, except for “Choir Of Man” excellent. Only our opinion, though. Haven restaurant food is excellent on this ship... kudos to the Chef and his team. Same menus as the last seven years (!) but with a couple new offerings (delicious prime rib and new prep of smoked salmon frittata, also very good). What seems to be making the same-old, same-old menu items taste better than before is the fact that they’re reaching the table at the perfect temperature and consistency and the artful presentation is very appealing. Only two specialty restaurants at which we dined were traditionally my favorites, LaBistro and Onda (LaCucina on other ships). LaBistro was not excellent on this ship on that night! The restaurant was loud, hot, and not at all relaxing, with the food being quite inferior to my past experiences. Their “famous” mushroom soup was grainy and room temp this visit and I sent it back... they nuked it (I guess) and then it was at least palpable. My main was forgettable and I didn’t finish it. Onda was okay and better than Bistro, but neither really worth the upcharge. O’Sheehans has been renamed but located still near the Atrium, still really noisy, still the same pub menu and still reliably tasty if you occasionally like that sort of food... and we do! We were generally pleased with the ship crew we encountered. Everyone greeted us with a smile and seemed happy to be working on this ship. The bar “runner” Oliver up on Deck 19 ideserves mention because he’s very hard working and attentive to those he “serves”. Our room steward, Julito, was always smiling and never forgot to follow up on a request and maintain our preferences. He really deserves to be a Butler! Misses Jennifer, May, and Ratzchelle in the Haven restaurant are outstanding! Although we chose this particular cruise because of the ship, We really liked the itinerary because it afforded us four sea days to explore the Encore, with the ports in between; an evening stop in SanJuan, St Thomas next day, and lastly Tortola. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose to go on the new Encore ship and while the ship was beautiful and the staff were amazing, the lack of smoking areas left much to be desired. I am a polite smoker and will smoke in designated areas, will not deface property and ... Read More
We chose to go on the new Encore ship and while the ship was beautiful and the staff were amazing, the lack of smoking areas left much to be desired. I am a polite smoker and will smoke in designated areas, will not deface property and will also not throw butts down; however the treatment of smokers on this ship was almost in-humane. 20 decks and over 1,000 feet long and we were only given a closed room in the casino and a small 10' x 30' enclosed room on one other deck. There were hundreds of us trying to fit in this 2 small areas and the ventilation was poor. There was a "Cigar Lounge" but you could only smoke cigars in it. The "Cigar Lounge" also had a bartender that waited on them. I don't understand why we didn't have a small portion on the back of one of the decks, so we could at least feel the ocean breeze while we smoked. I understand that non-smokers don't like to be around us but we are trained well. We will go where you tell us too. My husband and I love NCL but will never go aboard another new ship and we will be sure and check about the smoking areas for all future cruises. This is the worst experience we have ever had regarding smoking. Besides the above, everything else about the cruise was great. The staff were friendly and helpful, food was great and the ship is immaculate. Food was good as well. We saw Choir of Man and it was fantastic! Our Kinky Boots show was cancelled twice so that was a bit disappointing, but some of the cast was sick so now hard feelings. We rode the go-karts and they were really fun. As far as the ports we visited; San Juan was lack luster. We were only there from 6:30 pm until 11:30 pm. It was dark and rainy, most of the stores were closed and the streets were a little sketchy. St. Thomas was amazing!!!! One of my favorites so far. I recommend taking the Sky Lift. The views were incredible. Tortola left a lot to be desired. Unless you take a tour or do an excursion, it's a bore. All in all we had a great trip but there are improvements that need to be made so that all passengers can have a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I went on my first cruise ever with my wife and friends recently. we were on board of the brand new Encore by NCL. the ship is beautiful and huge! I don't have a lot of complaints. One thing that bugged me was the reservation ... Read More
I went on my first cruise ever with my wife and friends recently. we were on board of the brand new Encore by NCL. the ship is beautiful and huge! I don't have a lot of complaints. One thing that bugged me was the reservation system for the Go-karts. You have to reserve ahead of time and they go fast. The waterslides were fun, especially the free-fall one! The restaurants are amazing and the food was fantastic. our stateroom was a great size, the bathroom had a good layout and the balcony was a must! We took the stairs for the week as the elevators, though there are many, are always busy. The live shows were incredible (Choir of man, Kinky Boots) and there was some really fun entertainment in the bars such as live music, Trivia,game shoes, etc. The stops (Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Tortola) were all very nice. We had some great local food and drinks while on the islands. My next cruise will definitely be with Norwegian Cruise Lines again. It was a wonderful first experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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