Another great inaugural cruise!

Norwegian Encore Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 7
Helpful Votes: 98

Overall rating:

4.7 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Encore

Great Stirrup Cay Round Trip

Sail date: November 17, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Encore

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 11162

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 11 months ago

Review summary

Norwegian Encore is a beautiful ship with lots of good food and activities. Keep in mind that many of the dining venues and activities do cost extra, so budget for that when planning a cruise on this ship. Also remember to make reservations for specialty restaurants you want and activities that allow reservations ahead of time if possible.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Super easy, hardly had any lines all the way through security and the check-in desk. Only had to wait a few minutes in the terminal before our group was called and we were able to board.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Buffet had high quality food (my friend said the salmon was among the best she's had) and quite a large variety. Some meals had better variety than others and I would have liked more common options at times, but that's just because I don't have a super sophisticated palate when it comes to food. There's lots of seating but at peak mealtimes it might be hard to find a table. The observation lounge is just one deck below though, so some people took their food down there to eat. The Local was great, same type of food you'll find at The Local and O'Sheehan's on other NCL ships - I had fish and chips and spaghetti there and both were as good as I expected they would be. The Manhattan Room had quality food but the one night I dined there, nothing really caught my attention on the menu - again, too fancy for my taste. Teppanyaki was an absolute blast. Our chef was hilarious and we were rolling the entire time. The food was great too but the highlight was definitely the entertainment aspect of the dinner. Highly recommend!

Teppanyaki

5 out of 5

Teppanyaki is a blast and our chef was absolutely hilarious. This ship has more teppanyaki tables than I've ever seen on any other ship from any other cruise line. And it was really popular - seemed completely full the night we were there. Make reservations and prepare to have an awesome evening!

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
The activities were awesome. I did laser tag twice and go karting once. The laser tag course is awesome - someone asked me whether I preferred this course or the one on NCL Joy more, and it's hard to say. They're both good and unique but I will say that the one on Joy has a lot more places for people to easily trip and this one didn't - so safety-wise this one is definitely better. Go karts were awesome, definitely something to do once during your voyage. As for the slides, the drop slide that goes out over the edge of the ship is really unique because it actually propels you UP and over a curve. Some people don't make it over the first curve and some don't make it over the second (I made it over the first but not the second both times) and there are trap doors to get out if you don't make it. You have to weigh enough to do it and some people will be too light. I'm not positive, but I think the weight restriction is 120 lb. If you're lighter than that you won't be able to ride. The slide is unique and a cool concept, but between not everyone making it to the end and having a weight restriction that will exclude a lot of kids and thinner adults, the idea was better than the execution. Now for the spa: I didn't book any treatments but I did spend a little time in the thermal suite and wow. If you enjoy thermal suites, you will love the one on this ship. It's big, has floor to ceiling windows, and twinkling lights in the ceiling.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
The music around the ship seemed good - I didn't spend much time sitting and listening to anyone but what I heard was on par with Norwegian's quality of musicians. I didn't go to any stage shows or comedy - but I wish I had been able to fit in comedy because Rob Little was onboard - I saw him on both Carnival Vista and Norwegian Joy and he's hilarious.

Laser Tag

5 out of 5

Laser tag is so much fun! The course has a really cool theme and it's easy to learn how to play.

Children's Programs

Didn't have kids with me, but I did tour some of the kid's areas and they look great - there's even a large reading room with beanbag chairs, tables, and lots of books to choose from.

Observation Lounge

4 out of 5

The Observation Lounge is really large and reminds me so much of the Explorer's Lounge on Viking's ocean ships. I love the concept and all of the little conversation areas it has. The only thing I didn't like was that they seem to keep the AC really cool there. I was cold and wished I had long sleeves on.

Mandara Spa & Salon

5 out of 5

The thermal suite is beautiful and really large. The heated tile loungers are in front of floor to ceiling windows and it's just the best.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
The crew was great, very friendly and willing to help. We didn't really see our cabin steward much, but he was friendly in the hallway and did a great job.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Even though there are two pools on the main pool deck, I still think that they could be bigger or combined into one long, standout pool. I also wish there had been another outdoor pool - I feel like the lack of outdoor space at the ship's aft in particular is kind of a missed opportunity because other lines do that type of thing so well and it's great to have a second option. But otherwise, design was great and the ship was not difficult to navigate. Also everything was obviously very clean being an inaugural cruise, and it's a beautiful ship overall.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Cabin was great and as I expected. A good size, balcony had two chairs and a small table and the couch inside seemed long. The balcony door slides open and having it open didn't seem to affect the heating/cooling system like on some ships, which was nice because it meant we could sleep with the balcony door open every night.

Ship tip

Be sure to reserve the activities/dining you want most ahead of time, because some venues may be just about full by the time you board the ship.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

5 out of 5
Miami was the same as it always is. The day we debarked we went to Miami Beach for the morning since our flight wasn't until the evening and it was a perfect day for that. Sunny and warm.

Great Stirrup Cay (Cruise Line Private Island), Bahamas

5 out of 5
Great Stirrup Cay really impressed me. There was much more beachfront space than I was expecting, and people could be really spread out. The new cove area with the villas is absolutely stunning, too. We did a wave runner (jet ski) guided tour excursion and it was amazing. You'd think a guided tour would mean going slow and being bored because you can't go where you want, but it was actually better that way. You can go as fast as you want and we were in calm cove-type waters as well as out on the waves. We also stopped for a bit in the water to relax and one of our guides found a live starfish in the water that he pulled out to show us (he put it back, of course!). I would highly recommend that tour. Next time I want to go swimming with the pigs, which is another excursion option!

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
We got off at the latest we could, and half the ship it seems had the same idea. Elevators were so crowded we ended up carrying our bags down nine decks of stairs to get to the disembarkation line. Then the line was quite long on the ship before we could even get off. Once in the terminal though it went quickly and customs was easy.
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