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10,965 Norwegian (NCL) Miami Cruise Reviews

We selected a 12 night cruise to see the Panama Canal. We got to visit some cool places in addition, and have lunches in local bistros. We're not into sailing or snorkeling, but would rather walk/tour around to get the individual ... Read More
We selected a 12 night cruise to see the Panama Canal. We got to visit some cool places in addition, and have lunches in local bistros. We're not into sailing or snorkeling, but would rather walk/tour around to get the individual flavor of each place. We kind of enjoyed the relaxation of two sea days both starting and ending the cruise. There were the ABC's-Aruba, Bonair & Curacao. We chose the basic 'see the island' excursions to experience the particular flavor of each- aloe vera factory, salt harvesting, flora/fauna, climbing outcrops, caves, and ... seeing deserts for a large part of them! Because of scheduling changes, we only had time for a great lunch in only one, Curacao- an outdoor table in a charming bistro sheltered by trees. ..and riding the wild pontoon bridge as it opened! We ventured into the 'Old City' of Cartagena, Columbia, a large cluster of shops, restaurants and chapels surrounded by a centuries-old stone wall. Great for shopping and photos, but lousy with street vendors who continually swarmed you like mosquitoes. One even sat down at our bistro table and tried to sell us dominos! There was a nature garden/zoo a short walk from our dock, to provide further photo ops. The Panama two day stop provided various excursions to experience the country- we chose the bus/walking tour of New/Old Panama City, experiencing the third world flavor (like a torn-down 12 foot high wall separating the rich section from the poor) and actually seeing the Pacific. The port city itself, Colon, was NOT recommended as a tourist exploration site. The canal itself was kind of overwhelming- waking before dawn to a full moon on the water, seeing the array of waiting ships, riding our 1100' cruise ship through three locks, rising up 85', turning around in Lake Gatin, then back out to the Caribbean sea. 7 hours experience in all. Final stop was Puerta Limon, Costa Rica- taking a canal/jungle cruise with animal spotting, then a train ride through banana plantations. They had a huge cluster of shops for last minute shopping next to the docking area. AS TO THE CRUISE, my wife and I differ. I am of the opinion that 3800 passengers is JUST TOO DAMN MANY. The ship was beautiful, with room for ALL kind of diversions- almost a dozen restaurants, huge theater, 60 foot water slides, and two story race car track. The normal pool area was replaced by a floor, to accommodate billions of beach chairs, and two smallish pools, the size of a large room. There was an activity going every minute of the day, and choice of 8 music acts (besides the theater 'Footloose' musical, Circe du Soleil clone, and other performers). It was refreshing to be surrounded by 95% shipmates as old as us; definitely friendly and courteous interactions through out. BUT EVERYTHING WAS A WAIT- elevators, bars, restaurant food service, concierge service, etc. Wifi wasn't bad, depending on time of day. It JUST BUGS me. Even walking to our room I felt like we were walking the gauntlet. I felt bad for the EXTREMELY HARDWORKING staff to be the target of occasional impatient outcries. Also annoying was the fact that we had to correct 4 misbilled items on our room check over the 12 days, each entailing another wait in lines.. A MAJOR PROBLEM WAS a change in scheduling when the JOY arrived to pick us up- it was late, a terminal had to be reassigned, luggage moved for some, and they were playing catch up to process. The actual boarding was 2-3 hours late and all 3800 folk were packed into the boarding area trying to hear the PA system announcements. Again, the staff did do a great job trying to get us registered. A final strangeness was new procedures put in place to combat spread of virus's (The Joy apparently had two norovirus outbreaks in December). For the first 3 days, all access to buffet food was made by staff, and menus were paper, not books. I guess there was a 'quarantine' period delay in place. Don't let my annoyances cloud the fact that we had a SPLENDID time, both onship and off. The food in the specialty restaurants seemed a step above normally good, and even the middle tier sitdowns were 4/5 stars. Entertainment was great, and where else can you walk from a brew pub to a whiskey bar to a mojito bar while traversing the sea? And once again, thanks to the hardworking staff, who made this excursion great. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
To start I have sailed with Norwegian 7 previous times on boats like epic getaway and breakaway. I have always loved them and hence bought into The cruise next which is a program that if you give them money to book again they give you ... Read More
To start I have sailed with Norwegian 7 previous times on boats like epic getaway and breakaway. I have always loved them and hence bought into The cruise next which is a program that if you give them money to book again they give you some extra money. I would never sail on the encore again. I will start out saying the room and employees were good and that was not my issue We booked everything with Norwegian including flight and transport to from the ship to airport. That is were the problems began. When we arrived in ft Lauderdale it was complete mess. People had been waiting since 8 am for a shuttle. We arrived at 11. Every other cruise line was very organized and had shuttle times and great communication. Norwegian had none of this. They kept telling us things like the shuttle wasn’t coming or they only had room for half of our family. At 200pm with the boat leaving at 4 and still no info on a shuttle coming we had to spend 300 dollars to cab the 11 of us to the ship. When we arrived at boat it took 6 tries for them to get me checked in and kept trying to give me keys with other people’s name on them. There were 30 to 50 people in line behind me. I ended up being the last one checked in. Because of that we had a really hard time booking things that you could only book on the boat as they were all sold out. Including passes to the go kart track. Which was main reason to go on this boat. The ship was very nice and clean. The boat had 2 water slides both fun but the ocean loop was barely ever open. The last day we left the beach just so we could do it one last time as the day before it was closed only to find out again it was closed for maintenance yet no one was working on it. Do not bring kids on this boat unless you have lots of money to spend. The laser tag and go karts cost 2 dollars a minute and are really only fun at night. The arcade and new vr games average a dollar a minute. There was no mini golf even thou they advertised that there is. There is no rock climbing wall or ropes coarse so there is very very little for kids to do. There is absolutely no night life on this ship at all. All the clubs and bars closed at midnight except a very small disco. Ever other ship has had piano bars and live music or something going on past midnight. You have a choose of 4 restaurants and a buffet. They only thing is that the 3 restaurant unlike other ships all have the same menu. The buffet was good but same things day after day. The local which is the new osheehan on other boats was good. It is open late but you also can’t get drinks after 12. The haven which is Norwegian’s high end rooms is 10 times the size of other ships and has its own buffet and restaurants. This leaves less room on ship for the things that others have. If you can afford haven I am sure you would enjoy this cruise. We took 11 people on this cruise not one of us wouldn’t rate this as the worst cruise we have ever been on. We have all done at least 12 cruises with Norwegian carnival royal Caribbean and Disney. It’s very sad this trip was not as advertised. It was very expensive This trip has completely turned me off of Norwegian cruise which is hard to believe that after the first 6 I thought and paid into cruise next because we were going to cruise Norwegian exclusively once a year as a group for ever. This trip actually broke my heart and love affair with Norwegian. I think the new ceo is looking to nickel and dime you instead of giving you a vacation you pay for. Final note the choir of men was fantastic Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This cruise was a total waste of time and money! Chose this ship to take our grandson age 11 thinking it would offer many different activities to keep him occupied. I had pre booked the arcade package, but found out that you are limited ... Read More
This cruise was a total waste of time and money! Chose this ship to take our grandson age 11 thinking it would offer many different activities to keep him occupied. I had pre booked the arcade package, but found out that you are limited to a very few baby games and had to pay extra for any of the other games. The race track was ok, but had to book in advance to ride (at $15 a pop) and the times were ridiculous (book Tues morning to get a Friday ride), you could go in the stand by lane and possibly get on quicker. The virtual reality room was more fun for him, but you either had to pay $50 for a day pass or $8.00 for each game you played. You have 2 water slides, one for very small children which my grandson didn't want to participate with, the other you had to be 120 lbs to ride so that was out for him. The swimming pool and hot tubs were always overcrowded and restricted to adults (children could go in with an adult). Overall not a friendly ship for a pre teen. We had a mini suite that was almost a 3rd smaller than other mini suites on the Norwegian line, but the bathroom was much larger and very nice. We managed ok, but was not impressed. Our cabin steward kept our room great. All the food venues (except buffet) had to be pre booked and unless you had a reservation, which was almost impossible to get, you either ate very early or very late or at the buffet. The first few night in the buffet all food was served to you, no option to take what you wanted, so this slowed down the lines and they did get long at some stations We had 5 specialty dinners, was able to use 4 and lost the last one only getting in by being there at 5:30pm before the crowds descended. The food was only average, nothing special. To see any show was also a joke. Again had to pre book. Shows in main theater (only 2) are at 7:30pm or 10:30pm. They had attendants swiping your card at enterance that act like the gestapo, not very friendly at all. To see any of the smaller venues, again pre book or stand in standby lane. The rooms were so crowded that seeing a show was almost impossible and not a pleasant experience. The smoking area was also a joke. You were relegated to an enclosed room about 8 x 20, with about 30 people at any given time, they did open an area on upper deck with room for about 15 people, and an enclosed room in the casino, but you had to be gambling to go in there. If you were outside the marked area you were fined (many were) and some even had their room key restricted if you complained. I am a smoker (yes I know all the negatives), but I paid my fare just as every one else on this ship and felt very discriminated against. I do have to give the Encore its due. The public areas were beautiful and spacious, but of the almost 4000 people very few used the common areas. The shore excursions were also very badly planned. Arriving in Puerto Rico at 5:30pm and leaving at midnight?? About the only thing most people could do was walk the boardwalk area with all the vendors out doing their business. St. Thomas, again arriving at 6amish and leaving at 2:30pm. What chance do you have of doing anything in that time frame except shopping. Tortola was the only port with enough time to go swimming/snorkelling. Going to Norwegians own island on the last day, again a disappointment. The 2 excursions we booked were cancelled due to high winds, so sitting on the beach was about the only option. They do supply a buffet and a hamburg/hotdog stand. They also had a couple of bars set up. Overall we were very disappointed with this cruise and never again would I book the Encore. Please note that if you choose this ship, book anything you want to do well in advance of cruise date to hopefully get to do what you would like and not be disappointed when you arrive. I did not know (my own fault) in advance the problems associated with not booking ahead. We have cruised with Norwegian many times almost always on their mid size ships and have been treated like royalty. This sure was a big disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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
Embarkation - It was a breeze. The only issue I had was we got off at Building A when we should have gone to Building C. The process was very quick through security. The lines were a little confusing because they had two entrances to ... Read More
Embarkation - It was a breeze. The only issue I had was we got off at Building A when we should have gone to Building C. The process was very quick through security. The lines were a little confusing because they had two entrances to the same place in line. We arrived around 12:45 pm. The whole process took us 15 minutes. As soon as we got on board they make sure to spray your hands with sanitizer before stepping onto the ship. Which I thought was pretty cool. As soon as we got on, we went to the sixth floor and signed up for comedy shows, escape room, laser tag, and Prohibition Musical. We had already signed up for our three specialty dining, Choir of Man(I wish I would have signed up twice) and Kinky Boots. Then we proceed to go to Taste Dining room for lunch since our room was not ready. Food - The food was excellent. I loved the fact they had buffalo wings 24/7 and you did not have to pay extra for it. I also loved the fact you can preorder your food if you have an allergy-like my husband and me. We were able to order any item that we wanted. However, if you preorder your meal at Taste or Savior, then you can only eat at one of those two restaurants. If you preorder at Manhattan, then you can only eat that pre-ordered meal in Manhattan. My rating for food went down because of finding a piece of hair in my burger at the Local. We showed the Maitre D. He investigated and sent some chocolate covered strawberries to the room as an apology. Walkways - The walkways were so small to me. You were not able to pass someone. You have to stand to the side and let that person pass. The deck was a nightmare. There were deck chairs everywhere. You barely had any space to walk from one side to the other. My husband and I pretty much stayed away from the deck area during the day. Especially after we found out he could not do some of the activites on the deck floor. Entertainment - Choir of Man, Kinky Boots, and Prohibition Musical were very good. I did not care too much for the comedy shows and the Beatle show in the Encore Theater. The one in the Cavern Club was good. I guess I was not a fan of that decade of their music. Any games done by the Entertainment staff were boring to me. If it was on the deck then we did not go due to the crowd of people. Galaxy Pavillion - It was fun for the first three VR rides but after the fourth/fifth ride, my husband and I were dizzy. So we did not complete the full hour that we paid for and went down to our room to sleep off the dizziness. We were able to get on six in forty-five minutes. We went at 1pm on the first sea day. Escape Room - We kept on being the only people to show up. It is not fun to do it we just two people. After the third time of just being the two of us, we decided not to do it and save our money. Laser Tag - We scheduled laser tag on the same day as Galaxy Pavillion. So we were too dizzy to do the laser tag and canceled. Go-Karts - My husband did not meet the weight requirement so we did not schedule this activity. My husband wanted at least one of us to try it out. So I stood in the stand-by line for ten minutes and was able to ride. It was nice to do it but I am do not have to do it again. Itinerary - I was not a fan of the itinerary. Going to Puerto Rico at night and leaving St. Thomas at 2pm was not the best. I could have skipped the private island in the Bahamas. Internet Package - We upgraded our free at sea perk to the unlimited package. It worked great for us. I was able to keep in contact with my kids back home. Disembarkation - We were one of the last groups to go out. We paid a luggage handler and so it took 15 minutes to go through customs. I did not like the way they had us to take the scenic route around the seventh floor to disembark from the ship. Overall we had a good time but will not go back on this particular ship for Norwegian. This was our first Norwegian ship. We prefer a ship that has more deck space and free activities for you to do like the basketball court and rock climbing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 39 th cruise, 8th NCL, 6 th Haven. I read the reviews before booking and didn’t have high expectations however I did expect more being in the Haven. Let me start by saying when arriving at the port there were no Haven reps ... Read More
This was our 39 th cruise, 8th NCL, 6 th Haven. I read the reviews before booking and didn’t have high expectations however I did expect more being in the Haven. Let me start by saying when arriving at the port there were no Haven reps so we got in the very long security line while my husband went up to find someone to ask, about 15 mins later he came and got us and a guy took us through the security (we just did this in Miami 3 weeks prior with no wait on the Encore as they had a kiosk booth) the. The man actually asked my husband for a tip! That was a first for us. We waited in there for another 20 mins and finally got escorted onto the ship. Our service from our Butler was wonderful and the staff in the area was great in that they greeted us by name when seeing us in the halls. The smaller ships allow for that personalized experience and we like that. We had a two bedroom next to the Haven pool which was fantastic in size even though it is dated a bit. The cabin should have been cleaner there was hair and other things indicating it wasn’t cleaned properly. I always bring Clorox wipes so I got to work however they seemed to clean throughout the rest of our cruise. The upper sun deck for the Haven was nice also really loved that. In general food was ok. This ship to us was great for a weekend in the Haven but our disappointment continued because we paid $2,900.00 for 2 people in a 2 bedroom for a 3 night cruise thinking we were getting some what of a Haven experience. This is not like any Haven I’ve been in. I realized we had to go to the restaurant for dinners but didn’t realize we had no way to get drinks but to go downstairs to the bars to get in line to get our drinks. For that price it’s a big deal! There’s no escort to shows or reservations, no concierge desks or even area for them just an ext. if you want to contact them. The private island had to be cancelled so we spent a day at sea, it happens but unfortunately we had planned to spend money so pre-paid $500.00 OBC as we reserved a villa at GSC also. Now that was canceled we had a credit and concierge confirmed we had to go and stand in a pretty long line at guest services to give us cash back said it could not be put back on the credit card we charged it with. We tried to spend it but the spa but it was booked and the shops didn’t have shirts or much with the Pearl logo on it. I felt sorry for the guest service team they were no stop dealing with people over this mess of giving us all cash back. So if I was to book this ship again because I really liked the itinerary I’d consider the Haven like this, you’re paying for a nice cabin and priority disembarkation, complimentary room service and you get to get the extra perks like drinks, and shore excursions credit per day, but I’ve seen NCL offering those with out Haven and is it worth the extra money since there’s no restaurant, no bar, no concierge desk, the Haven area is hard to access unlike other Havens I’ve been in with key card access. I would consider sailing this ship again if there were really good deals with the understanding I’ll be in long lines for everything (it was hard to get a drink) but never pay the Haven prices again, it’s just simply not worth it in my opinion Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This cruise was recommended from our travel agent. What a great choice. So much for the kids all ages to do. The embarkation and disembarkation went so smoothly I missed the leaving of Miami. Everything was clean and the entertainment was ... Read More
This cruise was recommended from our travel agent. What a great choice. So much for the kids all ages to do. The embarkation and disembarkation went so smoothly I missed the leaving of Miami. Everything was clean and the entertainment was good. I would go again no problem, but we like to try and see different ships. The service was good, the food was yummy, and never ran out of anything. We were a group of 11 and never had a problem sitting together. 9 of the 11 of us were first timers and they all were amazed at this experience. I found we had to pay for a few things that I figure should have been included like the go-carts and laser tag. the slides were alot of fun. At 62 years old I never thought I would be droped in a slide, but I did it. Great fun. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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
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