Review of Norwegian Encore
Ship: Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Cruise Line, launched October 2019.
Passenger capacity: around 4000 double occupancy (max capacity is XNUMX guests).
Cruise tested: 31st of October - 2nd of November 2019 between Bremerhaven, Germany and Southampton, United Kingdom.
Destinations for the opening season 2019: The ship will make 7-day cruises from Miami every Sunday into the eastern Caribbean. The stops will include San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Tortola (British Virgin Islands).
Built on the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, Norwegian Encore is the fourth vessel in the Breakaway-Plus class. It is also the last and most successful vessel class in the company's history.
Seafun participated in the inaugural cruise from Bremerhaven before the ship began its voyage to the US, and was given the opportunity to see and test everything from the range of the many exclusive restaurants to the VR experiences in the Galaxy Pavillion, shows and entertainment. Here we go through the different parts of the ship and give an idea of what we think about the range.
The ship has a modern, fresh style and atmosphere. The wide range of restaurants as well as playful and action-packed activities mean that you will always have something to do even on the hours / days when you are on board. Add to that the company's freestyle concept and package Free at Sea and you have a cruise that provides both flexibility and freedom to create the experience you want on your cruise.
I stayed in a Minisuite with large balcony (in total they are between 30-40 sqm). The colors were sober and went in dark blue, white and beige. The style is elegant and calm, which is great when you want to take a paus from this large ship's extensive range of activities.
The complimentary water in the cabin that awaits upon arrival is now packed in tetra, not plastic, as part of the cruise lines environmental work. In the wardrobe hung lovely bathrobes, the towels were so new that they were loosing small fibers when I used them - but then this was also an opening cruise and probably no one had used the towels before me!
The furnishings were the usual; two beds (stand-alone that could also be pushed together), a sofa, table with mirror, tea / coffee maker, TV on the wall and telephone. I saw one (!) European plug as well as a USB socket on each bedside lamp, which wasn't much (a whole family of four with phones and tablets needs at least four times as many). One detail - however so important - that they got just right was the pillow. So soft and perfect! I loathe high, hard synthetic things that can't be shaped and give neck rest but only headaches the following day. Here the pillow was heaven. No design in the world can measure up to a good night's sleep, here you get both. 🙂
The bathroom had a double sink which was luxurious but then again, this was a mini suite. The shower was large and spacious and had built-in massage functions. There were both hand soap in containers on the wall at the sink as well as shampoo and conditioner on the wall in the shower. In addition, there were also a "body bar" and body lotion in minisize.
Plus for plenty of hangers in the closet. Shelves were also available as well a safe. Nowadays, all modern vessels have button functions instead of these hanging signs to put on the door, to notify "Do not disturb", "Make up Room" and here you could also choose "At home". :-)
All in all, a really great cabin to get well needed rest in, only thing missing was more electrical outlets. The balcony was very deep with two chairs, a table and a sunbed. If you also want a large balcony, you should book a cabin with "balcony large". However, this was on deck 8 and here the balconies above can look down on you.
There are mainly three top activities on Norwegian Encore which makes the ship a magnet for those who are attracted by speed and excitement. The race track for go-karting, laser tag and the virtual reality gaming pavillion. However, be quick to book what you want to do, for example, on the interactive screens that are scattered a bit here and there on the ship, because it's popular!
Encore Speedway is the world's longest go-kart track at sea. Here you have 335 meters to compete on. Everyone's results come up digitally and there are also interactive elements. Fee: 9,95 USD, or you buy a pass that gives unlimited race (if available) the entire cruise.
Laser tag on Norwegian Encore looks a little different from the sister ships Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy. Here you can sneak around among Roman / Greek ruins from some ancient temple that has been invaded by a giant snake that winds its way forward. Fee: 9 USD.
The Galaxy Pavillion is a large department with no less than 15 different VR experiences, from riding a jeep in Jurassic Park, a racing car or shooting everything from cute rabbits to skeletons in a maze - and much more. Fee: 8 USD per game or 20 USD for 4 games.
Worth noticing is that most of these activities are suitable for older children and adults, plus they cost extra.
Pool deck has a large main pool, a water play area for children as well as a couple of different water slides. Ocean Loops begins with a free fall where you continue down through two loops. There is also a wide tubeslide were you use a ring to go in, which is less wild, as well as a small slide in the kids water park for the youngest. More about this in the section on bathing.
Mandara Spa. The spa area at Norwegian Encore is large and offers a wide sea view. There is both a vitality pool and several saunas, as well as a gym, hairdresser and the opportunity to enjoy treatments. The entrance costs 59 USD per day or 269 USD for a whole week.
In addition to these activities, there are casinos, bars and nightclubs, a theater with great famous musicals and performances and many restaurants for a varied dining experience during the cruise. For the children there are several children's clubs depending on age and of course a solid day program with activities and things happening on board.
Children and family
Norwegian Cruise Line has several age-specific children's clubs; from Guppies for the youngest to Splash Academy and Entourage for the teens, offering plenty of suitable activities of various kinds.
Creative play, active sports competitions, theme parties and more. If the children are not amused by the excursion the parents are planning to go on, there are also the opportunity to leave them in the good hands of the staff for the children's club.
Guppies is the club for 6 months up to 3 years, where parents and children get a customized space to play together for a while. Here there are mind-expanding activities and time to discover toys together with a trained coordinator, while the parents are also involved.
Splash Academy is for children between 3 and 12 years (the children are divided again into smalelr groups depending on age within this group) with various theme based programs and interactive games and more.
For the teens there are movies, music, video games, dance parties - and much more. At the club Entourage, young people can hang out and get to know others of the same age. And what they probably will like the most: no parents are allowed!
On the press trip I was on, however, I did not have my family with me, which means that I could not test any of these facilities first-hand myself, so I have to base my rating on other vessels in the same class.
As I also tell you below in the bath section there are both water slides, a children's pool (however deep) and an area for water splashing and play; Kids Aqua Park.
Food and drink
Encore has a wide range of restaurants and eateries. The cruise line itself counts to 18 (they also include cafes and bakeries), I would say 14.
There are mainly five restaurants that are included for everyone without having to pay extra. First and foremost, there are the three main dining rooms; The Manhattan Room, Savor and Taste Restaurant. In addition, there is The Local Bar & Grill and the buffet restaurant Garden Café. Guests at The Haven also have their own restaurant where they can dine plus everyone can order from room service (for a fixed service fee of 7,95 USD for food, drinks cost extra).
The food is modern, fresh and relatively classic, sometimes with a twist. The buffet has a wide selection of different gratin and pots, pizza and pasta, salad station, fruits and much more. The dessert section is dangerously tempting. There is also a soft ice cream machine as well as a glass fridge with a couple of "basic flavors".
There are a further nine specialty restaurants in different styles and with different food orientations to vary between if you do not mind adding a fee for a wider dining experience. On most of them you can pay per dish you choose, just like at any regular restaurant. Choose from Asian, steakhouse, seafood, Italian, hamburger, French and Mexican! Several have outdoor tables along The Waterfront.
The pricing of these is usually per right (what is usually called à la carte pricingWith a dining package you can buy meals in advance for a fixed price, such as 3 restaurants for 99 USD. Or better yet; add "Free At Sea" for 99 USD and select 2 of 5 benefits (including "specialty dining package").
For those who love sweets (or coffee), the ship also has Starbucks, the ice cream kiosk Dolce Gelato, the chocolate & ice cream shop Coco's and The Bake Shop.
Regarding bars , the Norwegian Encore has 12, of which 10 are for everyone (the one in the Haven is only available for the guests there and The Vibe costs extra). These include:
- Skyline casino bar; a bar where you can play while sipping a drink.
- Maltings Whiskey Bar; wide range of whiskey but of course you can get something else in the glass.
- Atrium Bar; classy and with airy feel thanks to the high height in the middle.
- The Local; here you probbaly order a beer or maybe a coke depending on which pub food you want to match.
- Mixx bar; perfect location between Taste and Savor, therefore also an obvious meeting place before dinner. Wide and good drink list.
- The District Brew House; cool somewhat "raw" atmosphere that is dominated by leather and metal. The beer selection consist of 150 kinds!
- The Cellars; for those of you who feel more satisfied when you roll around drops of red or white grapes in the glass.
- Sugarcane Mojito bar; here the Caribbean feeling is screwed up to max while enjoying tropical flavors outdoors or indoors.
- Observation Lounge; Aperol spritz, wine, caipirinha or cosmopolitan - regardless of your order, I dare say that most drinks fit well with this view.
- A-list bar; in the middle of the special restaurants Cagney's and Los Lobos, you grab a classic drink before sitting down to the table.
Service / Staff
My previous experience with the Norwegian Cruise Line staff was also valid here; the language skills are good (many nationalities work on board and everyone knows English well so you don't have to get misunderstood) and everyone is always helpful. If you ask for something, you get help. Nobody says no (if they don't really have to!). In addition, you get a smile back.
Now I was on board for less than two days so my opportunities to get enough impressions to review this was clearly limited, but I still want to say that the staff is of a high class and very sharp, which you can not always say about other (cheaper) cruise lines. You get what you pay for as you know!
Norwegian Encore has plenty of entertainment which holds high class. One of the musicals on board is Happy Hour Prohibition. This musical takes part in the US during the prohibition period between 1920-1933 when it alcohol was banned. The age recommendation for this musical is 16 years and the price (the only one that costs - about 350 USD) includes five typical cocktails.
The Choir of Man is more show than musical and takes place in the English pub The Jungle (but is still played in the theatre ;-)). Expect full speed with dance and music from rock songs to sing-a-long and other music. Compelling, really good and very appreciated by the audience, it was noticeable!
Kinky Boots was the one I least believed in before for some reason but most enjoyed! This Broadway musical with music and lyrics written by Cyndi Lauper, has been awarded numerous times. On Norwegian Encore it is included in your cruise which is pretty amazing!
I thought it started a little slow and for me as a Swede it was difficult to understand at first (since I was not familiar with the story) but soon it picked up and when "the curtain went down" so to say I was one of those who clapped the most - I simply loved it! The performers are very good and charming (although he who played one of the main characters Charlie when I was onboard had a bit of a weak voice).
In addition to the large theater with professional music productions, Norwegian Encore has several clubs, entertainment bars, parties and other fun happening.
The Cavern Club, named after the legendary Liverpool club where the Beatles performed, is very popular among those who like music from the 60's in general and The Beatles in particular. Here, a cover band that look and sound like The Beatles are playing.
Social media & nightclub is where you should be heading if you want to party and have fun until late. Often a disco is held here - both the usual or the silent type ("silent disco") where everyone listens to their music with headphones on. Other performances are also held here, plus that troubadours and singers also entertain in the various bars on board such as the Sugarcane Mojito Bar and The District.
Norwegian Encore has two pools out on deck; a main pool and a pool located between the Waves pool bar and Kids Aqua Park. The pools are not that big considering that it is a big ship with many passengers, maybe the cruise line thought there is so much else to do that the pool will never be busy anyway. Whether that is true remains to be seen.
There is also a swimming pool inside the luxury department The Haven but it is of course exclusive to the Haven guests, others will not come in here. A fourth pool is in the Mandara Spa, but in order to access it you have to buy a so-called "day pass" for 59 USD (in addition, they are limited, they do not release as many).
In addition to the larger pools, there are 9 hot tubs, but they are not easy to find. Five of them "hide" inside the relaxation section The Vibe (only for adults, here too pay in) and at The Haven. The other four are on deck 17.
For anyone with a "playful mind", there are also three water slides, if you count the very small one in the area Kids Aqua Park. The two larger ones are partly a large tube where you ride on a ring (great fun, we have tested this on the sister ship Norwegian Escape), the other - Ocean Loops - is shaped like an eight outside the ship and starts with a free fall.
If the weather gets worse there is no indoor pool open to everyone, but since Norwegian Encore (for now at least) is planned to go in the Caribbean there will be no major risk of chilly weather. All in all, it may not be the first vessel of choice if it is a sun and bathing cruise you see ahead. Although the supply is not bad, there are better vessels for it.
Anyone who wants to shop aboard, whether it is a treat or a necessity, something that you forgot on the trip, has choices. There are several different stores for the purchase of brand watches, genuine jewelry as well as bijouteries, sunglasses and clothing. Also spirits and travel necessities and some hygiene items that you may have forgotten to pack are to be found.
Tradewinds tax & dutyfree is located on deck 8. In addition to their accessories such as shawls, hats and evening bags - all often very affordable - there are several other stores on board from logoshop with mugs, ship models, t-shirts and more with NCL print on, but also a more exclusive shop with everything from beach bags to brand handbags, souvenirs and more.
Norwegian Encore is another cool and classy cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Line. Here you will find modern and elegant environments, a wide selection of restaurants for all tastes, bars and nightlife as well as adrenaline pumping activities.
On one hand, I think of the ship as a bit "masculine", or a ship for families with teenagers who feel "need for speed & action". On the other hand - in addition to the go-kart track, laser tag activity and VR pavilion - there is also Kids Aqua Park for smaller kids and kids clubs that cater to all ages. Also, the musical "Kinky Boots" doesn't feel so masculine! 😉
Although it is not a purely family vessel or a pure "sun & pool-ship", there are plenty of choices for both these purposes. The large spa and shopping area, lovely cabins and environments make it also suitable for couples who want to enjoy, perhaps with an active touch!
For those who have already fallen for this cruise line and like this ship class (as well as the Waterfront where you can eat out and so on), but are craving something new, this ship will be a fantastic way to still get a new experience, not least thanks to the classic Caribbean destinations and the practical port of departure.https://www.seafun.se/recensioner/recension-av-norwegian-encore/https://www.seafun.se/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ncl_Encore_aerial_0083_low.jpghttps://www.seafun.se/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ncl_Encore_aerial_0083_low-150x150.jpgBlogNorwegian Cruise LineNorwegian Encorerecensioncruise review, cruise, norwegian cruise line, norwegian encore, reviewVessels: Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Cruise Line, launched October 2019. Passenger capacity: approximately 4000. Tested cruise: 31 October - 2 November 2019 between Bremerhaven, Germany and Southampton, United Kingdom. Destinations for the inaugural season 2019: The ship will make 7-day cruises from Miami every Sunday out in the eastern Caribbean. The stops will include San Juan (Puerto Rico), ...Heidi RovenHeidi Rovenheidi@cobertura.seAdministratorSeaFun