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10,850 Norwegian (NCL) Miami Cruise Reviews

This cruise experience was truly a mix of positive and negative impressions. Our biggest frustration was that the Joy changed our itinerary without explanation less than a week before taking off. They eliminated a stop in Santa Marta, ... Read More
This cruise experience was truly a mix of positive and negative impressions. Our biggest frustration was that the Joy changed our itinerary without explanation less than a week before taking off. They eliminated a stop in Santa Marta, where we had planned to meet family members. We don't think it is fair to offer no explanation for changes of this magnitude. This is a newer ship that is spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated. There is a lovely Observation Deck and lounge on the 15th floor, with lots of nice seating and quiet space. There are a few nice places to sit outside along the 8th deck as well. Unfortunately, the ship pipes in music CONSTANTLY along the deck, as well as in the Garden Cafe (buffet). This can be very annoying, especially early in the morning when it is nice to have quiet time and also when you are seeking a quiet space to just listen to the waves, read a book, or enjoy the moonlight.Our stateroom was spacious and comfortable, with lots of storage and a large bathroom. Instead of having a private deck, we opted for a larger family room because we were originally planning to take our adult daughter who is handicapped. I'm glad we ended up not taking her . . . the elevators were very slow and extremely crowded. I would strongly recommend that the Joy consider having a handicapped only elevator and more handicapped accessibility features for the comfort of these guests. Another disappointing space is the Atrium. This area, which includes the guest services desk is being used as their main gathering space and it is SO loud and crowded! They set up folding chairs every day to accommodate the crowds. Unfortunately, there is no larger central dance hall space on the ship to handle large group events. There is also only one pool area with two fairly small saltwater pools and a kid's pool to accommodate over 4000 guests. So much space was used to provide a relatively unused race track, mini-golf course, and laser tag area. Remember, the vast majority of guests are over 60. There were other spaces for kids.Honestly, small hotels offer more pool space and bigger hot tubs than this huge cruise ship. The class system is alive and well on the Joy, giving lots of special privileges and choice spaces for those who can afford it. One of the biggest slaps to the average passenger is that all the reserved seats for the Social Club Comedy room were used up by Haven guests, so everyone else needed to wait in line for up to an hour if they wanted to see the shows. Again, the room is packed full with folding chairs to accommodate guests. In general, all the bars and clubs with live entertainment were much too small. Another solution would be to offer more entertainment with a more equitable distribution so everyone would have opportunities to to see them. The Beatles group was terrific, but again,the lines to get in the Cavern were sometimes over an hour long. Advance reservations to see Footloose and Elements in the theater are an absolute MUST because they are only shown on a couple nights. Most of the other entertainment was just okay, as was the food. We had both good and bad meals, with most being just average. The ship does not have ANY water filling stations, so in order to refill a water bottle, you need to go all the way to the cafeteria on 15th floor and fill it from water glasses. They would like you to buy bottled water, which is extremely wasteful and bad for the environment. We also had a mix of impressions of the Shore Excursions. In general, they were very expensive for what you receive in return. Norwegian Cruise lines should be ashamed for including and promoting the exploitation of human beings in Colon, Columbia. People are not to be gawked at as exhibitions, as the Embera people were on many of their sponsored Shore Excursions. Even if the Embera people volunteered to do this, it is reminiscent of the days when the US staged American Indian pageants, pretending that our native American people still lived as they did hundreds of years ago. The whole staged show is an inappropriate lie to the public in order to sell products, who seemed to eat it up as truth. it would be interesting to find out where most of the money for the products goes. If it truly goes to the tribes and if the products are truly made by the tribes that would be nice, but they could still be honest with the public about their current way of life and all it entails. The staff on this ship was EXTREMELY friendly and did an excellent job, from cleaning to waiting tables. We were very happy with that part of our trip and hope these people are paid well. Our itinerary to the Panama Canal, ABC islands, Columbia, and Costa Rica was wonderful, although we really would have liked to have had our day in Santa Marta, as well as have a morning time slot in Cartagena, instead of the hot afternoon. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
To start I have sailed with Norwegian 7 previous times on boats like epic getaway and breakaway. I have always loved them and hence bought into The cruise next which is a program that if you give them money to book again they give you ... Read More
To start I have sailed with Norwegian 7 previous times on boats like epic getaway and breakaway. I have always loved them and hence bought into The cruise next which is a program that if you give them money to book again they give you some extra money. I would never sail on the encore again. I will start out saying the room and employees were good and that was not my issue We booked everything with Norwegian including flight and transport to from the ship to airport. That is were the problems began. When we arrived in ft Lauderdale it was complete mess. People had been waiting since 8 am for a shuttle. We arrived at 11. Every other cruise line was very organized and had shuttle times and great communication. Norwegian had none of this. They kept telling us things like the shuttle wasn’t coming or they only had room for half of our family. At 200pm with the boat leaving at 4 and still no info on a shuttle coming we had to spend 300 dollars to cab the 11 of us to the ship. When we arrived at boat it took 6 tries for them to get me checked in and kept trying to give me keys with other people’s name on them. There were 30 to 50 people in line behind me. I ended up being the last one checked in. Because of that we had a really hard time booking things that you could only book on the boat as they were all sold out. Including passes to the go kart track. Which was main reason to go on this boat. The ship was very nice and clean. The boat had 2 water slides both fun but the ocean loop was barely ever open. The last day we left the beach just so we could do it one last time as the day before it was closed only to find out again it was closed for maintenance yet no one was working on it. Do not bring kids on this boat unless you have lots of money to spend. The laser tag and go karts cost 2 dollars a minute and are really only fun at night. The arcade and new vr games average a dollar a minute. There was no mini golf even thou they advertised that there is. There is no rock climbing wall or ropes coarse so there is very very little for kids to do. There is absolutely no night life on this ship at all. All the clubs and bars closed at midnight except a very small disco. Ever other ship has had piano bars and live music or something going on past midnight. You have a choose of 4 restaurants and a buffet. They only thing is that the 3 restaurant unlike other ships all have the same menu. The buffet was good but same things day after day. The local which is the new osheehan on other boats was good. It is open late but you also can’t get drinks after 12. The haven which is Norwegian’s high end rooms is 10 times the size of other ships and has its own buffet and restaurants. This leaves less room on ship for the things that others have. If you can afford haven I am sure you would enjoy this cruise. We took 11 people on this cruise not one of us wouldn’t rate this as the worst cruise we have ever been on. We have all done at least 12 cruises with Norwegian carnival royal Caribbean and Disney. It’s very sad this trip was not as advertised. It was very expensive This trip has completely turned me off of Norwegian cruise which is hard to believe that after the first 6 I thought and paid into cruise next because we were going to cruise Norwegian exclusively once a year as a group for ever. This trip actually broke my heart and love affair with Norwegian. I think the new ceo is looking to nickel and dime you instead of giving you a vacation you pay for. Final note the choir of men was fantastic Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because it was a new ship and we love cruising and have had great experiences with Norwegian. We love freestyle and being able to eat when we want and where we want. However, in light of all of the new family themed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a new ship and we love cruising and have had great experiences with Norwegian. We love freestyle and being able to eat when we want and where we want. However, in light of all of the new family themed additions to this ship like the speedway, the kids waterpark, laser tag, and the regular water slides, it was almost impossible to find a deck chair anywhere near the pool if you arrive topside later than 10 am. They say you are not allowed to hold seats for more than 15 minutes or your items will be collected for pickup. At any given time of the day there are as many empty seats with towels and people's belongings on chairs as there are with actual people sitting in chairs. This was a deal breaker for me. Since we travelled from the northeast for warmth and sunshine, it was hard to find on this ship. The food and staff at the buffet (main dining room) was totally amazing, and went out of their way at every interaction to make you feel welcomed and valued as a guest. We loved the movie nights on the pool deck, and the cruise director was awesome and fun and great at making us laugh and have a great time. Casino was fairly large and had a lot of different games to offer. Bars and dining options were aplenty! We did not particularly care for our dinner at Onda. Our waiter made us feel very uncomfortable throughout our dinner, food was disappointing. Choir of Man was an awesome show and highly recommend!! High energy and loved the engagement of the audience. Vocals were so awesome, performers were amazing!! Also went to Kinky Boots, this was very disappointing. Felt like I was at a middle school performance where performers were off key and forgot their lines. Set was boring and non engaging. We loved the deck options with nice comfy outdoor sofas which is where we spent a lot of time just relaxing in the shade or sun, depending on starboard or portside and time of day. Nice place to chill with a good book!! If I were traveling with children, this would be my first choice. However, traveling as an early senior couple. This ship was not for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were excited to try this new cruise ship. Everything went great on check in and getting to our room. Very efficient process for such a large ship. We got to our room and I use a CPAP and looked for a plug beside our bed. The closest ... Read More
We were excited to try this new cruise ship. Everything went great on check in and getting to our room. Very efficient process for such a large ship. We got to our room and I use a CPAP and looked for a plug beside our bed. The closest outlet was across the room and guess what, my electrical cord did not reach across the room. (BAD DESIGN). I asked our stewart what was up? He apologized and said he would try and get me an extension cord. Two days later he brought me a +/- 20' extension cord that took up a lot of space in our room. The room was ok, my wife liked that it had a bath tub. There was a flyer on our bed when we got there offering a 48 pack of water for $48.00. I trashed it because we bought the beverage package. Little did I know that bottled water was not included in the beverage package. Later we found out that bottled water was $5.00 each. We needed to buy the PREMIUM Beverage Package to get bottled water. HOLY COW..I could get 50 vodkas a day but no bottled water. My wife asked for fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. This was not included in our Beverage Package. She could get 50 oranges at the breakfast buffet but would have to squeeze them herself. The food was very good. We got the 3 specialty restaurant package, however we could not get reservations in any of the specialty restaurants. The only availability were the 8:30 - 9:00. This was a waste of money. The Manhattan Room ( the main dining room ) was great. Don't know about the others but we spent money on something that we could not use. The fitness center was small for a ship of this size. I went to the spa to use the steam room, that is an extra charge. The staff tried to sell me a week's use of the steam room for $250.00. I have been on several cruise ships and this is the first time I have been asked to pay for this feature. On their private island the tender was horrible as they jam 450 people on a tender boat. Had to wait in line coming and going. We picked beach chairs on their private beach, we sat down and one of the employees came up and asked us for our room #. I said I thought the chairs were free, guess what there was a beach umbrella that was closed up beside our chairs and the charge was $21.00 per person to have an umbrella beside your chair. We got up and move one chair over. I think they are out to nickel and dime you to death. I would pay more for the cruise if they included some of the simple things in the rate. I think next time we will definitely look for a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We just returned from our cruise to Eastern Caribbean on the Encore. We were in The Haven Aft Penthouse Suite. It was fabulous! Ginormous balcony, and top notch room. The Haven restaurant food was so great, we skipped one of our specialty ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise to Eastern Caribbean on the Encore. We were in The Haven Aft Penthouse Suite. It was fabulous! Ginormous balcony, and top notch room. The Haven restaurant food was so great, we skipped one of our specialty restaurant reservations. We spent some time in the main pool area, at the bar. The service there was also superb. I’ve seen some bad reviews about this ship, and don’t understand them. Yes, we were in the Haven, however we did go to the cafe, and spent time in all the bars, and also had dinner one night in one of the main restaurants. Again, all fabulous. We’ve been on a lot of cruises, and this one by far was our best. As far as up charges that some are complaining about, there’s always a charge to do a special activity like go karts, so I’m not sure why that’s a complaint. Don’t let the bad reviews turn you away. We experienced nothing but perfection. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Received quite a good deal when booking from the UK with less than 3 weeks to go. Online booking process very easy and straightforward. Having cruised with Celebrity in the past, who we love, we were looking forward to trying another ... Read More
Received quite a good deal when booking from the UK with less than 3 weeks to go. Online booking process very easy and straightforward. Having cruised with Celebrity in the past, who we love, we were looking forward to trying another cruise line. The ship; -Very well refurbished -Although smaller - seemed ample space for everyone -Layout can be a bit tricky at times but really not that much of a problem -Staff could do a better job ensuring public areas are well stocked (especially at the moment with the coronavirus) The Cabin; (balcony 9250) -Lovely decor -Very clean -No tea/coffee maker (we were told by NCL prior to cruise there would be one - once onboard guest services said they don't put them in balcony cabins and didn't know why we were told we would have one) -On the smaller side -All in all a lovely cabin Dining; -Food is a bit hit and miss, main dining room sometimes food was very tasty and hot, other times it was average and barely warm -Waiting staff hit and miss again, at times very slow and inattentive service -Le Bistro & Cagneys very nice.. worth the speciality dining package Entertainment; - one band - D'revelation were absolutely amazing, could sit and listen to them all day. -Always seemed to be plenty on the programme Service; -Unfortunately this is were NCL fall short, there are some amazing staff members however the vast majority seem disinterested and can barely manage a smile Ports/shore ex; -As expected, can't comment on excursions as didn't book any. -Disappointed we didn't get to Great Stirrup Cay as a result of the weather but totally understand safety comes first, so no fault of NCL. Travelled as a couple and have to say although had an average experience, this probably wouldn't deter us from NCL in the future and it certainly didn't spoil the holiday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was my first cruise and I really wanted to take my parents away for my mom's birthday. We were skeptical of how the trip would be since this is a small older ship. We were pleasantly surprised, the ship looks great with the ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I really wanted to take my parents away for my mom's birthday. We were skeptical of how the trip would be since this is a small older ship. We were pleasantly surprised, the ship looks great with the renovations, the room was lovely and perfect for a short 5 day itinerary. We really enjoyed the food at the palace and crossings! We had the premium beverage package and it was great, never had an issue with any drinks. All the ports were great, but the weather in Freeport (Grand Bahama) wasn't very good and for that reason our excursion (swimming with the pigs) wasn't worth it. Though we can't blame NCL for the weather. Sadly our final port, and the one we were most excited about, was great stirrup cay was cancelled due to the 10ft swells, so we were unable to tender. We were so upset, as we were all so excited for the day ashore. We understood that safety must come first, and that NCL would prefer us on the island making them money, but it put a damper on the end of the trip. Overall we were impressed with all the things to do on board the whole cruise, the room stew was so attentive, and the food amazing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our first time with NCL purely because of the price of the cruise--It was $1200 cheaper than sailing on Celebrity Edge, and approximately the same for Oasis of the Seas with very similar itinearies. There is a reason it is ... Read More
This was our first time with NCL purely because of the price of the cruise--It was $1200 cheaper than sailing on Celebrity Edge, and approximately the same for Oasis of the Seas with very similar itinearies. There is a reason it is cheaper!!--Its because of the quality! This ship comes across as all modern luxury etc etc but the reality could not be further from the truth. There is no quality involved with this ship--it is pack them in, take their money and get them off. We did not feel like we had had a holiday--there is no relaxing involved here!! There a constant announcements trying to get you to part with your money, constant calls, everywhere you go its sell sell sell--of course other ships do this but not to the level seen here. Buffet food is simply pathetic--everybody who cruises likes a nice buffet with a wide variety of choice--non existent here. If you like Pizza/Burgers etc you will be fine--the choice is extremely limited and you will be disappointed here. Breakfast in particular is a complete farce. With our "cheap" package we were offered 3 "speciality" dining evenings which we pre booked. NCL's version of speciality dining is very different from other cruise lines. Food Republic--extremely poor food and service and horrible IPad devices where you see a picture of what your food should look like. Cagneys Steak House--in fairness much better than the above but still failed to cook a fillet to a Medium Rare temp. Los Lobos--a completely bizarre and pathetic attempt at new world mexican cuisine--again dreadful and cheap and tacky. Now to the deck space--a lot has been written and said regarding this. In my opinion it is completely shocking, misplanned and somewhat classism. Approx 90% of guests are expected to fit into approx 15% of the top deck space. The simple maths would point to issues and there are many. Its like a sea of disgruntled humanity all looking for the next availble bed to become free, then a mass scramble and the odd argument when it does. I go for an early morning run each day (7-8am) and most sun loungers/chairs are already covered in towels as some kind of reservation system. Then there is another sundeck that sits approx 250 guests where you pay $99 per day for the priviledge of having a sunbed--there is no pool in this area. This area is walled off by a very unsightly white metal gate--Classism?! Unfortunately we were unable to use the gokarts as we could not get a reservation at all--again a sheer lack of planning and quality of care for guests. We saw a few shows which were for a cruise ship were good but nothing to write home about. It is easy to come on to a review platform and simply criticise for the sake of it--thankfully I am not one of these people. For me to write a 1 star review, the guest experience, the quality of holiday and the overall package has to be beyond a joke and completly dismal. That is what we found on NCL Encore. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This ship was built for more passengers but they neglected to enlarge the public spaces. Reservations are required for most everything making it a scramble every day to book restaurants and even the theater Up charges and fees for ... Read More
This ship was built for more passengers but they neglected to enlarge the public spaces. Reservations are required for most everything making it a scramble every day to book restaurants and even the theater Up charges and fees for every activity. The pool area is not separated from the kids pool, hot tubs are one deck up from the pool - only 2 on each side and they’re tiny and filled with children. There is no quiet adult area unless you pay $200 pp for the Vibe beach club which is just a sun deck with a bar and 2 small hot tubs. Cabins seem smaller than usual as are the balconies. Our cabin has the bed up against the tiny tiny closet so only 1 person get get at it at a time. No drawers, no hooks for clothes and very few shelves Dining was ok. Tough gettimg reservations at specialty restaurants due to number of passengers. The French Bistro was not available at all due to a large party booking it for the entire cruise. Smoking: smokers are relegated to a box (like in airports) on deck 8 ( where if you dare go out of the box the smoking police give you a ticket for a fine)or is a sealed off section of the casino. Gambling is REQUIRED OR THEY KICK YOU OUT. All in all it was the worst ship and the most frustrating and annoying cruise I’ve ever taken. Never again Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My wife and I joined friends who had booked Encore. We have cruised more than 20 times on 5 different lines and this was the worst. New clean ship with little room for most passengers. Picture a ship with 4000 passengers and one small ... Read More
My wife and I joined friends who had booked Encore. We have cruised more than 20 times on 5 different lines and this was the worst. New clean ship with little room for most passengers. Picture a ship with 4000 passengers and one small adult pool. Chairs 5 deep packed in like sardines. Why? Because too much space is wasted on Aqua racer, Laser tag, The Haven, and The Vibe Club. The fitness center is the smallest I've seen on any ship yet the Spa is three times larger. FOOD is below average for any ship we've been on. The specialty restaurants are a little better than the open seating ones but nothing terrific. CABIN We had a spa mini suite cabin. The cabin is no bigger than a regular balcony cabin and the balcony is smaller. However, the bathroom is larger with a walk-in shower and a double faucet sink. Very nice. STAFF Contrary to other reviews we found the staff pleasant and accommodating. Our cabin steward, Caesar was excellent. ITINERARY is ridiculous. Arrive in San Juan at 5:30 p.m. and leave at midnight. Tortola, arrive at 6:00 a.m. and depart at 2:00 p.m. We had booked a beach excursion only to find out they change the departing time to 6;:30 a.m. No thank you. We booked an excursion on St. Thomas "Downtown Shopping and Magen's Bay Beach" The beach is nice but it was overcrowded. No chairs, you had to rent them which we did. Three attendants sat on their rear ends and pointed to a stack of chairs and told us to drag them to an open spot. I'm 75 years old, dragging chairs through the water (high tide) about 100 yards. To get our deposit back we had to drag them back. We complained to Norwegian who called the tour operator, Virgin Excursions. They could care less! So, if you are looking for an overcrowded ship and like to wait on line for substandard food, entertainment, and the like, then Encore is for you. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have always wanted to sail on a new ship so that's why we selected this cruise. I have always sailed Celebrity or Royal Carribean and this was our first Norwegian cruise. Like many of the other reviews have stated this ship is WAY ... Read More
I have always wanted to sail on a new ship so that's why we selected this cruise. I have always sailed Celebrity or Royal Carribean and this was our first Norwegian cruise. Like many of the other reviews have stated this ship is WAY too crowded. Good luck getting a spot at the pool or on the sun deck if you want to sleep in. We tried many times to find chairs to lay in and we failed all but once and it was in the late afternoon. We ended up sitting on our balcony which was luckily getting sun. All of the public areas felt crowded except for the activities that were an upcharge. Speaking of activities and upcharges, I really felt like I was being nickeled and dimed on this entire cruise. Since every activity had a cost and they weren't that great after doing them once there was nothing to do and no space to hang out by the pool. The only redeeming thing about this ship is that it has a cigar lounge where I spent many hours since there wasn't much else to do. The food is what you would expect on a cruise, nothing exceptional but pretty good. Now on to the most annoying part. The ship itself. I have never been on a cruise with such smooth seas, I'm talking glass smoothe, not a wave in sight almost the entire time, and somehow this ship was still moving/rocking quite a bit. Myself and the other guests couldn't figure out why. There was also a constant very annoying mechanical vibration. The table cloth on the dinner table would shake, I would shake as I laid in bed, the one time we were on the pool deck we were shaking in our lounge chairs. One of the old-timers I spoke with actually timed the vibrations as it was bothering him and his wife. I could keep going but it is getting too long already, I would not recommend this cruise ship to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were excited when we heard about the new Norwegian encore boat and received a fair price for a 7-day cruise. We were disappointed to find out that almost everything on the boat was at an upcharge. When we pulled into Puerto Rico, they ... Read More
We were excited when we heard about the new Norwegian encore boat and received a fair price for a 7-day cruise. We were disappointed to find out that almost everything on the boat was at an upcharge. When we pulled into Puerto Rico, they put out a sign on the bar saying that we needed to pay tax on the drinks! the boat says that there's three pools but what they neglect to say is one pool is in the elite section called The Haven which costed considerably more for a VIP experience. that leaves the "regular" guests to share one adult pool and one kid pool and you'll be fighting for a deck chair like no other boat we've ever been on. it was extremely annoying and disappointing. About always felt crowded the elevators were always packed. You're required to make reservations for almost anything on the ship and if your travel agent didn't advise you ahead of time you'll be stuck with only the latest times on the ships. The complementary food is mediocre at best. We did splurge to spend on a specialty restaurant and the food was amazing at the tune of about $125 for a couple. I will say that the shows were excellent and they did have name brand movies that they would show so I felt like they had quality entertainment but I would have much preferred us more spacious pullback where I could enjoy the sun instead of fighting over a lounge chairs. Next time I will spend a little bit more and go to Royal Caribbean where all guests are treated with the same upscale service and you're not going to add hundreds of dollars to your bill once you step foot on the boat. We had high hopes Norwegian, but this was a miss. Get rid of the silly laser tag and add a pool And make the go-karts free! If you're thinking of going on this boat do your research everything you'll want to do costs money. Everyone on the boat was speaking about it. That and how it was so overpacked and you felt like you were always having people on top of you. We did have a cabin for five which was small but we didn't spend much time in the cabin so it was adequate. The state rooms were attended by a steward 24/7 which was nice our room was always clean. We did like the freestyle dining that you could eat at anywhere at any time. There were ample bars and we felt like we could always get a drink. I don't think I would go back to this boat unless they opened up the Haven for all guests or they booked less gas in the public spaces or if they made things like some of the specialty dining restaurants and go karts video games and virtual realities for free instead of making everything cost more than for goodness sakes it's ridiculous to charge tax on drinks and ports! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We wanted to be on NCL's newest ship and the itinerary suited our needs. Checking in at the Miami Cruise Pier was a pleasure. We were warmly welcomed by the very efficient staff. Our cabin wasn't ready so we went to the Garden ... Read More
We wanted to be on NCL's newest ship and the itinerary suited our needs. Checking in at the Miami Cruise Pier was a pleasure. We were warmly welcomed by the very efficient staff. Our cabin wasn't ready so we went to the Garden cafe for lunch. It was a typical NCL buffet, no different from the Bliss. Many items in the Garden Cafe were repeated on a daily basis. The specialty restaurant food was fantastic but the noise level in Onda was unreasonably very loud. We also dined at Cagney's and Q. The service was exceptional at the three we dined in. The savor and taste dining rooms left a lot to be desired as far as service goes. Many of our dinner orders were not prepared as ordered and the time between appetizers and main courses was way too long. The supervisors in those restaurants were very helpful and expedited the meals when we pointed out how long we were waiting. The shows, Kinky Boots, Choir of Man, Adult Comedy Show and the Beatles Experience were also very good. The house bands were also good. My only complaint regarding the entertainment venues is that the Cavern Club and Social Comedy Club are way too small for a 4000 plus ship. Now to my major complaint- We are invited Casino Guests and have gambled in many land based and cruiseline casino's. The Craps dealers and supervisors are extremely inept and unprofessional. For the most part, they had great difficulty determining what the correct payout was on many different wagers and most times they stopped the momentum of the game because two or three different dealers had to correct the previous payoff. The supervisors only corrected errors if it was in the casino's best interest.The same was true on ordinary bets. Either they are not trained correctly, cannot calculate simple addition & subtraction or NCL isn't concerned that their guests are being cheated or improperly paid. To top it off, the dealers and supervisors constantly converse in their native language to each other at the table, laugh when a seven comes out and make light of their mistakes without an apology. There is only 1 Dice table on the Encore and the placement is directly next to a bank of very loud and obnoxious slot machines. These machines are also used for slot tournaments so the noise is deafening for long periods of time.. If you are a Dice/Craps player please understand that I am a decent player and cannot tolerate incompetence and distractions at the table. I am not reviewing the casino poorly because I lost. In fact, I did very well on this cruise, in spite of the poor supervision and dealers. The pool had enough chairs, although a great majority were not full length chaise lounges. The chair hogs did their usual thing. They are trying a new concept on the Encore. Louis Vuitton Corp. is managing the jewelry and watch department and are now carrying very high end jewelry and watches. There's also a Bulgari Jewelry Boutique aboard. Getting off the ship was a breeze as we walked off by 8:15, located our luggage and were through Customs by 8:45. I'm not sure I'll be going on the Encore again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Wanted to get away and spend some time in the sun. Overall I did get some much needed time away and relaxed. There were some amazingly good points about this ship and some not so good moments as with anything. This is an extremely ... Read More
Wanted to get away and spend some time in the sun. Overall I did get some much needed time away and relaxed. There were some amazingly good points about this ship and some not so good moments as with anything. This is an extremely large ship but I was able to find ways to avoid the crazy crowds. The highlight was the Thermal Spa. This is one of the best-kept secrets and well worth the upcharge. The area is open, relaxing, and isolated from the crowds. Okay, the snow room is a bit much but you can float your cares away in the warm pool with jets. One thing that struck me was the attention Directors paid to the guests. They were constantly rounding and seeking feedback from guests. If there were issues they were quick to find a fix. It felt like a leader was rounding seeking feedback every day. They truly wanted to make your experience amazing. Unfortunately, not all of the staff buy into the concept of service excellence. Most of the bar staff seemed annoyed, disengaged, and just plain unhappy. There were definitely exceptions to this. For example, the guy at Starbucks was amazingly engaged and friendly. He looked like he actually enjoyed his job. Another notable shout out goes to Agnelo from the Manhattan Room. He was the highlight of service on the ship. Cinder in the Local was very good as well. Let's talk food. Okay went to Cagneys, Food Republic, Los Lobos, Le Bistro, and Ocean Blue. Los Lobos was a pleasant surprise. Amazing service (Marry) and food. Great atmosphere and a great meal well worth the upcharge. Cagney's was poor from start to finish. I will say the manager made every effort to make things better. We went on the first night and there was a large family with four boys and a little one. The family created the worst atmosphere ever. The little one was banging on the table constantly, the boys were running around the restaurant and climbing on the chairs with the adults completely disengaged from the entire situation. The poor staff had to move four tables due to the number of complaints. I will say the staff did everything they could to accommodate the guests. I wish parents would be respectful of those around them. Rember this wasn't the Garden Cafe, it was a specialty restaurant. EEEEKKKK. Ocean Blue has upcharges for lobster and even crab cakes. The food was just okay. The wine was amazing, try Emblem. I'm now a fan. The menu at Le Bistro was not impressive. Food Republic was horrible from start to finish. Poor menu, poor food, poor service. Honestly, I think I should have not spent the money and just went to the Manhattan Room. The Garden Cafe was not good with the one exception of the Indian Station. Very well done. The food overall lacked variety. I was able to find seating for the most part. The Local was fine. Nice bar food. Did get the highest beverage package. I primarily got this package because of speciality coffee (Yes, Starbucks is included in this one), fresh fruit juice, bottled water, and top-shelf liquors. Looking back on it now, I didn't drink nearly enough to make the cost worth it but it was nice to know I could get bottles of water and Starbucks without the charges. Let's talk ports. Pretty easy here. San Juan, a total waste of time. You don't get there in time to really do anything. St. Thomas was great! Nice place. Great Sturrup Cay was a total bust. You need to tender to Great Sturrup. You get on a tender like cattle packed with way too many people. Standing room only. Staff are not paying attention to the number of people actually boarding the tender. I was very concerned about the safety of folks on that tender. Was supposed to do Swimming with the Pigs, cancelled. Noone's fault there. These things happen. Not nearly enough seating at Great Sturrup. Stayed for an hour and left. Entertainment! Choir of Man was very good. very high energy. Very talented guys. Love the ending! Kinky Boots was just okay. I may not be fair about Kinky Boots because I saw it on Broadway. They had to cut a good portion which meant some of the scenes were left out. I remember it being much more compelling and moving on Broadway. It is a great show. Galaxy Pavilion was a bust. Not everything was working. Staff seemed to be annoyed with guests. Not impressed with this one. Didn't do laser tag or go-carts. Not my thing. Stayed in Solo Cabin. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Great space! I didn't want to room with anyone and this worked out amazingly well for me! Again, loved it. Room was clean, tidy, and absolutely perfect. Highly recommend. The overall condition of the ship was extremely clean. The crew were paying particular attention to the cleanliness. Great job with this! For all the Smokers out there: Okay they did create an open-air smoking section after the second day. Thank God! They had folks shoved in a glassed in box prior to this. Seemed disrespectful, unnecessary, and rude. There are lots of folks that don't smoke, I get it. We shouldn't push smokers in a tiny little hole like that. not cool. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
After reading all the negative reviews, I felt we were adequately prepared for the short comings that we read about and had a good attitude going in. The good: The ship is beautiful we loved the the decor of all the common areas, ... Read More
After reading all the negative reviews, I felt we were adequately prepared for the short comings that we read about and had a good attitude going in. The good: The ship is beautiful we loved the the decor of all the common areas, bars, restaurants. There was lots of activities to do throughout the day and service was great. The bad: The pool deck area is every bit as bad as the reviews say. When someone posted a picture of the top deck showing the front 1/3 is pay for (vibe/haven) and the back 1/3 is pay of (racetrack and laser tag) and everyone else is crammed in the middle third to try to enjoy. On the one day we tried to sit up there we were able to find a couple of chairs in the sun but it's so crammed together people can barely walk past. Which brings me to the next design flaw: the running track. It's one lane THROUGH the sun deck. They have it posted to use for running before 9am and after 6pm but it was a joke. It's like they designed the whole ship and then thought "shoot, we forgot the jogging track." It actually goes by the hot tubs so there is water on it all hours of the day and I felt bad for people actually trying to use it because it's impossible with everyone walking and standing on it. I usually use the track on a cruise several times through the week and this was not an option here. Also, the tube slide has huge design flaws because even with a minimum weight requirement of 120lbs, people kept getting stuck in it and then have to be pulled out of a hatch because they didn't have enough momentum to make it up and over the loop. We did try the other slide and it was fun. Even on a sea day we just went up when there wasn't much of a line. Good: We found that the best place to enjoy the sun in a better atmosphere was on deck 8. Lots of chairs and loungers to enjoy outside with bars readily available. The observation Lounge was really great too but I think they missed the mark where they could have made a portion of it open to the outdoors or adults only. As a side note - it was FREEZING in there everyday and I always wore long pants and sweater. It's really odd because you are really relegated to the only the middle third of the ship most the time. There is no place to be outside in the front or back at all. A couple of other design flaws: To operate the doors to go outside you have to physically touch a sensor. This is a germ gathering spot when it should just be motion sensor-ed. (I was on a norovirus cruise so I'm sensitive to this stuff). Also, in all the public women's restrooms the toilet does not flush when you get up and there is no way to make it flush manually. There is a long delay and wouldn't flush until you left the stall and were washing your hands. We also heard from the staff that all the motion sensor pieces like paper towel, soap, etc. were battery operated instead of hard wired so many were not working a lot of the time because they go through the batteries too quick. A good design piece is the addition of actual hand washing stations in the entry to the buffet. Hand sanitizer does NOT protect against norovirus so I was very glad to see hand washing stations. We used the laser tag, go karts, escape room, and VR each once during the cruise. It was fine and we expected the extra cost, but because of all these things they took away any of the free options available on other ships that we'd use way more than once like basketball, golf, rock climbing, aqua deck, etc. It seems odd to take up a full third of the top decks with something you use once and have to pay extra for. The casino was the best we've seen on a ship. As non-smoking gamblers, it was such a pleasant surprise to have a great deal of it non-smoking and open to other areas. Our balcony room was wonderful. Because of where we were on deck 9 it was extended a couple of feet from the rooms above us. We had the package that allowed us to do three dining places. We did the Q BBQ, Ocean Blue and Le Bistro. The Q was ok, Ocean Blue we felt was very subpar both in food and service, and the Le Bistro was excellent. I probably wouldn't pay for a dining package again. I was also disappointed to learn that there is no way to use the thermal suite unless you buy it for the entire week. They do not do day passes and you cannot add it onto your spa treatment. We did not do any of the main shows as they didn't really interest us (kinky boots and choir of men). The only one we would go to, the prohibition one, you have to pay extra for. Another design flaw: You have to book everything quickly (restaurants, shows, activities) but the app doesn't show you all your planned activities so it was hard to keep straight what time we had booked for each without overlapping. And yes, having to schedule everything does NOT feel Freestyle in my vacation book. Ports: Puerto Rico: Odd timing 5pm-12am, couldn't visit main sites or do much of anything except walk around and do dinner. St Thomas: Took a cab to Magen's Bay and really enjoyed even though it was pretty crowded. Tortola: Did The Baths. They opened a second tour time of 7am and it wasn't as crowded as later times. Enjoyed very much despite the crowds. Bahamas: Required a tender which took an hour each direction and then the amenities were really underwhelming. Packed beaches, long drink lines.I wish we would have just stayed on the ship. Overall, we had a great cruise but I do agree that the ship could have had some improvements in the design and the fact that such large portions of the ship are completely off limits unless you pay (and no day passes) really leave you with a much smaller offering than other similar sized cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this ship because it is the newest, most up to date ship in Norweigen’s fleet. We stayed in the Haven suite, which was an absolutely amazing experience. But thank God we did, because the normal pool and common areas are a zoo. ... Read More
We chose this ship because it is the newest, most up to date ship in Norweigen’s fleet. We stayed in the Haven suite, which was an absolutely amazing experience. But thank God we did, because the normal pool and common areas are a zoo. There are too many people on this boat to accommodate everyone at the pools and sun decks. We saw people fighting over beach chairs. The huge go cart track takes up a large part of the aft real estate, so the pool area is small. The go cart track costs $15 per person to use so I guess they’re trying to make money instead of accommodating guests. But our main complaint was the harmonic and rhythmic, horizontal ROCKING of this ship when it was underway. The Atlantic was like a lake for most of our cruise, with little to no wind. Yet while underway, we experienced a consistent horizontal rock at between 60 and 100 times per minute. I actually got up in the middle of the night and videoed the coat hangers in our closet rhythmically rocking that fast. There had to be something mechanically wrong - maybe a bent or out of balance prop or engine vibration. Believe me, I’ve been a boater my entire live and this was not a natural motion. It was so bad I even called to complain at 2:00am, but of course no one knew what was wrong. My wife, also a boater had to take Dramamine. And we weren’t the only ones complaining. I spoke to lots of folks who had the same issue. If you plan on cruising on the Encore you’d better be ready for some rocking/skating, and not the slow, pleasant kind. The food in all of the restaurants was wonderful. The Haven facilities are phenomenal, as was the spa and hot tub decks. If they could fix the shaking issue, this would have been a five star cruise for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The design of this ship is so fraught with problems that is amazes me it ever got through the design phase. The go-cart track and laser tag take us so much deck space that any other open deck area is chaotic and simply unbearable... it was ... Read More
The design of this ship is so fraught with problems that is amazes me it ever got through the design phase. The go-cart track and laser tag take us so much deck space that any other open deck area is chaotic and simply unbearable... it was like Butlins Holiday Camp on steroids for any other Brits reading this. Unless you pay extra, which I tried to do on day one once I released the terrible design and everything was sold out, there is not one other area on the whole ship where you can lay out in the sun in peace. Your balcony is the only quite place to read a book outside. One of my party was a smoker and treated like a leper with no facilities and security constantly trying to arrest people. Staff were the worst trained team ever and constantly messed up food and orders. Specialty restaurants fine, buffet average with no variety each morning at breakfast. Entertainment average and luckily we booked before we sailed as it was very hard to book if you did not pre-arrange. I came back almost the same color as I went as the port calls were short (one evening only) and there was simple no-where outside to go on sea days without being in the totally overcrowded deck area with no beds or seating unless you went out at 7am and put your towel down... it was boring on this ship as the relaxing cruise experience was hard to find. This is probably my 12th cruise and my second with NCL, but I would be hard pushed to return to them after this experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The Encore is a beautiful ship! Very modern and clean design. I’ve sailed on the Breakaway in the past and have to say the Encore is definitely the superior ship. The entire crew was so friendly and entertaining. They were all so ... Read More
The Encore is a beautiful ship! Very modern and clean design. I’ve sailed on the Breakaway in the past and have to say the Encore is definitely the superior ship. The entire crew was so friendly and entertaining. They were all so attentive and willing to go above and beyond to make the trip experience better. Throughout the entire trip we did not experience one rude staff member. There was some issues with the WiFi and after complaining to the manager at the Internet Cafe he refunded me and I was still able to use the WiFi for the rest of the trip. Our room steward was also AMAZING! Like clockwork this man cleaned our room in the morning and turned down the room at night. He was honestly the real MVP. I did read other reviews about not enough chairs or the pools and bars being crowded. However we did not experience this. We were told that the ship was full to capacity but it never felt that way. There was never a wait at any of the bars or restaurants. We were able to get into the pools and hot tubs without any issues. There was also decent amount of chairs still available on deck. We did make reservations for three specialty restaurants, Los Lobos Cagneys and Ocean Blue, and we missed every reservation because we got caught up doing something else. Each restaurant was able to still seat us quickly. The food overall is really good at the main dining restaurants and even better at the specialty restaurants. Everything at Cangneys was exceptional and you have to try the seafood gumbo at Ocean Blue. Hands down my favorite place on the ship was the Observation Deck. If you want to get away from the noise, but still have a view this is the perfect place to go. I spent a lot of my time up there on deck 15. My only real complaint is that I did not enjoy the buffet. However, I am not a buffet person and do not go to them when I am home. I probably ate there three times and found it hard to find something to eat. My advise is to stick to the main dining restaurants for all meals. Also the space used for the race track and laser tag really could have been used for something else like Spice H2O. Just a warning if you are a bigger person you won’t be allowed on the go karts or the water slide. I am 6’2 about 280lbs and was not able to go on either one. They will weigh you prior to being let on. Overall I really enjoyed my time on the Encore. Even though it is a larger ship it did not feel that way. It could have just been luck that we picked a good week to sail on her. Or the staff has worked out the kinks over the past few months the ship has been at sea. I will definitely continue to sail on NCL and currently planning my next trip on the Joy! Can’t wait! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I read many reviews and most of them were poor of the Encore, I do not agree. We live in South Florida and parked at the port. We checked in and were on the ship in 10 minutes. The ship is beautiful. We went to the Social and got ... Read More
I read many reviews and most of them were poor of the Encore, I do not agree. We live in South Florida and parked at the port. We checked in and were on the ship in 10 minutes. The ship is beautiful. We went to the Social and got reservations for the comedy shows as soon as we got on. Also got reservations for the escape room which has an upcharge of $15 per person. We travelled with our two sons in their early 20’s to celebrate a college graduation. We all enjoyed the escape room. Had dinner reservations before leaving home. We had a midship balcony cabin. The room was very nice as well as the bathroom. Plenty of room, only thing not good is the closest is hard to get into with the couch in the way. The attendant Christian was excellent. There was a bit of motion a few nights. The bed vibrated which woke us. The food was very good in all restaurants. We had breakfast mostly in Savor or Taste. Dinner was very good in both as well. We ate at Los Lobos, Cagney’s and Onda. Food was very good in Los Lobos and Cagney’s and fair at Onda. It was very loud and hard to hear each other when talking. Would skip that one. The buffet was good but only ate there a couple of times. The pool area is small as everyone says. We got chairs a couple of times but had to search for them. All the bars were good. We especially liked The District Brew House. The observation area on dec 15 is lovely. Great place to read, play cards etc. We had drinks there as well. Had no trouble getting drinks at any bar. We only attended a couple of comedy shows and they were good. Musicals is not our things. Guns and Rojas was good as well as others around the ship. San Juan was nothing to get excited about. Tortola was good but had to be on ship by 1:30 pm. We went to the beach. St Thomas was nice and went to the beach. We also went to private island which was nice. There was food and could use drink package. All and all we had a great time. We have cruised many times and this ship offered a lot. It never felt crowded. One negative is all the upcharges. Not many children onboard. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
On the plus side: Beautiful, new, very large ship. Beds were comfortable. Many eating spots to choose from, all with good food, some with excellent food. The specialty & Manhatten restaurants were my favs. Excellent service and ... Read More
On the plus side: Beautiful, new, very large ship. Beds were comfortable. Many eating spots to choose from, all with good food, some with excellent food. The specialty & Manhatten restaurants were my favs. Excellent service and well made drinks. Staff was helpful and friendly. Good variety of shore excursions & on- board activities. Easy on & off process. On the minus side: Outside pool deck area and bars are far too small to comfortably accommodate the number of passengers aboard ship. Leave the race track, double slides, virtual gaming, etc., to ships more suitable for families & give us a little more leg room. The very popular Beatle's show also needs to be moved to a larger venue. Most nights are SRO, no matter how early you get there. Shops were just okay. Shows also, just okay. Items that could be purchased for additional cost were pricey. I will say the plus easily surpasses the minus. Overall, a wonderful experience. Oh, & I have to mention, out of the 15 cruises I've been on, this was the smoothest. Most of the time it felt like we were just gliding over the water. Bravo NCL, you have definitely exceeded the norm. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This is my 4th time cruising with Norwegian, 7th time in total. The ship is 3 months old and is new and modern. Really enjoyed the virtual window in my inside solo cabin. The first lunch in the Taste dining room was really nice. The ... Read More
This is my 4th time cruising with Norwegian, 7th time in total. The ship is 3 months old and is new and modern. Really enjoyed the virtual window in my inside solo cabin. The first lunch in the Taste dining room was really nice. The food was fine and the wait staff was kind. My solo cabin was very well appointed, clean with crisp bedding. The food in the dining room was fine even though not photogenic. There are so many options catering to all preferences. Two shows Choir of Man and Kinky Boots were good. Even though there were limited space in the swimming pool area, there are nice common areas on the 8th floor waterfront and the 15th floor observation lounge for people to hang out. Food is available 24/7. The staff was nice and welcoming. Embarking and disembarking were smooth. The ports are one of the best. St Thomas and Tortola offer beautiful beaches and many activities. Great Stirrup Cay was nice and clean. Norwegian served food here too. Ship docked in Puerto Rico for a few hours just enough to do some quick shopping. Overall it was a very relaxing cruise. Would cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Encore, Jan 26 to Feb2. We drove down from Orlando to MIA rental car to drop the car. About a 300 mile trip. Dropped the car and took a cab to the port. Cabs are now flat rate of $27 to or from the port and airport. About a 20 minute ... Read More
Encore, Jan 26 to Feb2. We drove down from Orlando to MIA rental car to drop the car. About a 300 mile trip. Dropped the car and took a cab to the port. Cabs are now flat rate of $27 to or from the port and airport. About a 20 minute ride. Got to port about 1 PM and they were already boarding. We blew through the Casinos at Sea line, got our cards and boarded. Rooms were not ready yet, took about another hour. On the Encore they board at two locations, forward and aft. This was the week before super bowl so there was only the Pro Bowl which was playing at the time of the lifeboat drill. I missed it. The cruise ended on SB Sunday in Miami where the game was but we got a cab and got out of town long before the game started. Lots of red Jerseys in the airport. The ship was new and shiny, there were some changes I'll note. The mid ship bar and restaurant is called the Local Bar now but still offers the same comp sandwiches and wings and a sit-down breakfast and lunch. Open 24 hours. The Cuchina restaurant was replaced with Onda. Cuchina is my favorite and Onda was a disappointment. We cancelled our second reservation there after our first visit. It's ala carte now which invites everybody and the place was noisy. we sat outside. The room has a domed ceiling which I think made it worse. Everything is on a larger scale so you had to plan ahead for everything. We went to Cagneys and waited 30 minutes after being seated before somebody showed up. Also ala carte. The Manhattan dining room, too big for it's own good. We went there once then opted for Taste or Savor which have the same menu but are quieter. TV in the room, had your account info on it and a reservation site for shows and restaurants. The free movies were all old and anything newer was $9.95. We didn't watch any. We booked Kinky Boots, comp in the theater, 10:30 show. Not overly packed. We went to see the Beatles show also in the theater, comp and it was packed. The Beatles band plays 4 or more shows during the trip at various locations. They fill up fast. The band did an excellent job. Our M&G was Monday, first sea day at the District Brewhouse. NCL is really aware of it's Cruise Critic clients. They had sample beer flights for us. Hors D'oeuvres trays passed around and we got to meet some of the officers. The next day we had chocolate strawberries in our room. We also met up with another couple with plans for dinner ashore in San Juan. We got into San Juan at 530 PM, didn't leave us much else to do. A local place a few blocks from the port, had a nice dinner. NCL also had a notice on the Freestyle about the free Cruise Critic web site access. We had a Mini Mid on 13 which was nice. the shower has 6 body jet setup which I wasn't used to. so when I first went to use it, I twisted the handle instead of pulling it out and I activated the upper body jets. They happened to be pointed upward so water was squirting all over the place. On the ceiling, on the floor on the walls, got the towels wet and even made it across the room the get the toilet paper. I had to jump in with my clothes on to turn it off, then mop up the floor. Other than that it was a nice size shower and bath. It's still single file to walk around the foot of the bed. The seas were unusually calm the whole trip and I only felt some movement once or twice in bed. There are only two elevator banks and you go ashore on deck 4 but disembark on 7. There is a multi plug power strip on the desk and bedside lamp plug. The casino is on 7 and there is a closed smoking ROOM with both machines and table games. We play Texas Hold em and they had one on the main floor with a $10 minimum and another in the smoke room with a $5 bet. The bar is right in the middle of it all along with large screen TV's. Lots of soccer. They also have a live Texas Hold em dealer game table. Everybody always complains that they loose on the slots the first night. We are Casinos at Sea guests (discount room) plus Platinum so we get a few comp dinners. If you want some quiet the observation deck is an amazing place and it's size is unreal. There is also a bar there and three mini snack stations. The pool area had about a million people out there, elbow to elbow. There was a second pool and a kiddie splash area. Everything was packed. No poolside food, but you can bring it out from the cafe on the same floor. Watched the race cars for a while, looks like they have a 7 lap race going on. Didn't check prices. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I like this ship. Would I sail on it again? Yes, but not my first choice. Food, service and entertainment were actually very nice. I'm an explorer, I like to walk the whole ship. Don't miss the Observation Deck, it's a ... Read More
I like this ship. Would I sail on it again? Yes, but not my first choice. Food, service and entertainment were actually very nice. I'm an explorer, I like to walk the whole ship. Don't miss the Observation Deck, it's a great place for a quiet snack, drink or cup of coffee. Very nice indeed. As I roamed the Laser Tag area (which was empty - I think it wasn't operational) I realized, this would a great space for some more loungers and/or a pool/hot tub. I don't care for the Race Track thing or the Laser Tag and yes, like many reviews these areas have compromised the "free" public "sun worshiping" space. Yes, the adult pool is teensy and the hot tubs are miniature and filled with kids. Which, is a shame but it didn't ruin my cruise. I would be willing to try the Haven, but the price point didn't seem worth it. And I'd be careful about what NCL calls a 'mini suite.' Don't get me wrong, the cabin was very nice, but the reality is that it's a standard balcony with larger bathroom. I DID like the cabin. And the Encore makes up for some of these downfalls with the Waterfront. Very nice walk around the ship AND you can catch some rays if desired. The smoking situation is really weird. The glass room is too small, I mean, it's hard to walk through without turning sideways. There was a bit of 'mutiny' on board and I'll give it to NCL for opening up another smoking section by the pool/bar. See, that's customer service. Anyway, why not just make the ship non-smoking, problem solved. If you've already booked and have doubts, I think you will love this ship. But, yeah, for me - I don't need slides, race cars, laser tag etc. I just want good food, good service, good drinks and a place to relax and watch the sea roll by. The Encore accomplished this for me, but there are other ships that do better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Overall, we had a good time. We paid extra for priority embarkation and disembarkation. Definitely worth the cost. The ship is absolutely wonderful. It is new and in great shape. The state room was immaculate and the cabin steward was very ... Read More
Overall, we had a good time. We paid extra for priority embarkation and disembarkation. Definitely worth the cost. The ship is absolutely wonderful. It is new and in great shape. The state room was immaculate and the cabin steward was very accommodating. There were not a lot of kids on this cruise which was nice. The biggest drawback is the amount of pool and deck space available to guests. One third of the deck space is closed off to regular guests because of the private Vibe Beach Club. This is available for a significant additional cost. The cruise was already pricey, this should be available to all Lattitude members without additional cost. The bar service staff was almost non-existent unless you were lucky enough to get chairs around the pool. A wait of 15 minutes at the bar for drinks was not unusual. All of the food on board was excellent. The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. The shows were great. A lot of talent with the performers and very engaging. Would see them all again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
3 Adults. Eastern Caribbean. Miami. The more you're prepared, the better off you'll be. Study the reviews and make the reservations for what you can prior to the cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. For ... Read More
3 Adults. Eastern Caribbean. Miami. The more you're prepared, the better off you'll be. Study the reviews and make the reservations for what you can prior to the cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. For embarkation, we arrived early - they do not open the terminal doors for entry until around 9 or 9:30 am. There are limited facilities (trailer for bathrooms and a vending machine for water outside the terminal). Although, I know they're building a new one that will be ready February 2020. The photo associated with your ID is taken from your passport. They give you an group number for getting aboard. Choose your disembarkation group the day before based on your needs. The Norwegian Encore is a beautiful new ship. The capacity is almost 4000 people but it seems that everyone had their own interests, schedule that it didn't seem like it to me. We used the app and also the monitor/TV in the room to follow our reservations/the itinerary. Also, you can track your spending too. Observation Lounge was lovely. Enjoyed walking the decks too. The mid-ship balcony cabin worked for us nicely. Please see the cabin review attached here. Having good neighbors is so important, I feel it can make or break the experience. The dining options were varied and good. Le Bistro (a perfect spot to celebrate an event) and Ocean Blue were excellent and Food Republic was also very good. Savor, Taste and the Manhattan Room were good, the Garden Cafe did its job. Also tried The Local a number of times (ask for the entire meal to be brought out at once otherwise you'll be waiting for the main entree awhile). Enjoyed the sweets at the Bake Shop too. We got the Plus beverage package and made use of the finer selection. The Cellars Wine Bar was especially inviting, bourbon at the Maltings Whiskey Bar, the strawberry guava mojito at the Sugarcane Mojito Bar was fun. Reservations for the specialty restaurants were made prior to the cruise by calling NCL, so book early as there are a limited amount held. The entertainment and activities that were tried were the Encore Speedway, Aqua Racer, silent disco, trivia, comedy, Choir of Men, Kinky Boots, bingo, a quick $ casino/lotto and my husband went to the Glow/White party. Reservations were made either prior to the cruise by calling NCL or on the first day (in the Social Club) which is a good thing as the Kiosks were not always accurate or working as expected. Service was hospitable and what you'd expect throughout the ship. Thank you to guest services, and more. I can see how there may not be enough bartenders at times but lines were not long. As it is freestyle dining, you are less likely to form a connection though. Michael in the Vibe Beach Club was great. Speaking of the Vibe Beach Club, for 18yr/older, there is a limited number of passes (for a cost) provided each cruise and it was certainly worth it. The main pool and loungers were very crowded, children in the hot tubs, etc... Enjoyed San Juan Puerto Rico. We were able to get to the fort and explore there for 30 minutes before it closed for the day. Worth it. Ate at Raices in town and had tasty authentic food and drink. The statues, cobblestone streets, architecture was nice. St. Thomas was not as inviting as I remember it - rundown a bit and lots of construction. The BOSS underwater adventure was a fun excursion. Tortola was very nice - the shopping district and our excursion to Virgin Gorda / The Baths was a great one - beautiful beaches, nature, rock formations, hospitality. There were lines getting through The Baths but we knew this could be the case and wasn't a big deal. Great Stirrup Cay is good to check out. It was nice to do something that got us out and about and even pushed some boundaries. Some indicated that the ship rolls more than normal - I did not find that to be the case. It did some but any ship does and not enough that I needed Dramamine or other. Great weather. So, do your research and see if the activities, size of ship, and itinerary will meet you and your family/friends needs. I would recommend sailing on the Norwegian Encore. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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