Disappointing Design Decisions by NCL with Encore

Norwegian Encore Cruise Review to Transatlantic

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 21

Overall rating:

3.1 out of 5
Norwegian Encore

9 Night Transatlantic Westbound (London To New York)

Sail date: November 02, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Encore

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 14886

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Overall, Encore is a standard Breakaway Plus class ship with a few odd design decisions made by NCL. I would avoid any warm weather sailings on this ship unless you prefer to sit indoors.


4 out of 5
NCL, like other lines, needs to work on the efficiency and intelligence of their embarkation process for individuals with disabilities. Otherwise the process was easy and standard.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Encore introduces Onda and American Diner to NCL. The menu/offerings from Onda were underwhelming. No real differences or 'wow' factor with this new option. American Diner is the lunch-only outdoor venue - a few of the offerings were particularly delicious (e.g., mozzarella sticks and marinara) while others left a lot to be desired (e.g., fried chicken and mac and cheese). I would not recommend using a dining plan option on American Diner or Onda. The other dining options (specialty + main) were standard NCL offerings. Personally, I'd like to see them bring back Moderno.

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
The entertainment offerings for this sailing (inaugural transatlantic) were extremely disappointing. The majority of 'engaging' activities craft, games, active activities, etc. were offered only prior to 12:00 pm. After that hour the offerings were primarily listening to music and trivia, with a handful of exceptions. I submitted feedback early in the voyage and saw no changes. Passengers should also be aware that the VR Pavillion and Speedway are weight/size limited but this information is not published anywhere so be prepared for an uncomfortable conversation with ship staff if you're questionable. Also you must have closed shoes (e.g., sneakers) for the speedway...no sandals/flip-flops, etc. allowed. Overall, very disappointing experience.


2 out of 5
Quality of Kinky Boots was very good - engaging show, quality cast, etc. As this was the inaugural sailing, the AV team was still working out some minor adjustments but overall it was a good show. The two headlining shows only offered 2 shows each and the communication about the limited offering was nonexistent so I wasn't able to see the second headlining show (Choir of Man). Particularly disappointing as the two offering were on days where most of the shipboard community was sick due to 40'+ waves. The other performers were a usual mix of hit and miss.

Children's Programs

I didn't sail with children so can't speak to the programming.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
NCL uses it's most senior and experienced staff to open its ships and it shows. Staff and Service were both 5+ stars. Crew was clearly excited to be part of the opening and were excited to deliver great service.

Ship Quality

1 out of 5
Ship was extremely clean (it was brand new, so no time for it to show cleanliness issues). Ship design is poor. NCL has made changes to the deck space that significantly limits the options for passengers to sit outdoors. Encore introduces an expanded Vibe Beach Club with downgraded furniture (loungers are more crammed in than previous iterations, and more like what is available in public space) and half of the beach club area is inexplicably inaccessible. There is no longer an adults only outside seating area (with the exception of vibe which is an added cost and limited # of passes available). While the ship's design worked well for us on this cold weather North Atlantic crossing, I cannot imagine being a passenger in the Caribbean. The ship's limited outdoor space will be ridiculously crowded. Very disappointing. Many disliked the primary chandelier in 678 Ocean Place...but that's a matter of opinion. Overall, I'd say NCL missed the mark with Encore design wise.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
14886 is an aft-facing accessible balcony cabin. It is spacious with standard accessible cabin accommodations and extremely generous storage. The bed is a standard NCL bed and very firm (too firm, in my opinion). With the exception of the seat at the desk (a small swivel chair) the cabin offers no occasional seating other than the bed.

Ship tip

Avoid for warm weather sailings, unless you prefer to stay inside.


3 out of 5
Again, NCL needs a more effective and efficient disembarkation process for those requiring handicap assistance. Otherwise the process was the standard chasing you off the ship at an excruciatingly early hour of the morning.
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