Huge Ship not for everyone

Norwegian Encore Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 21

Overall rating:

3.2 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Encore

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 22, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Encore

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 14220

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Overall rating is inflated...wouldn't give higher than 2.5; Not for large families or folks looking forward to slides, racetrack, pools-just too many people & too few operating hours to accommodate # of passengers; put off by the nickel & diming aspects-lots of extra charges for activities--mandatory "gratuity" on everything of 20%--whether deserved or not & not included in perks--ie, had to pay ~$400 gratuity for "free" dining/beverage pckgs even though also had "free gratuities" perk. Not a gratuity--simply another charge!--Be honest and at least put the daily charge in the original booking price. Having to reserve everything makes this anything BUT a "freestyle" cruising experience--way too Disneyfied now...will opt for much smaller ships and more all-inclusive pricing cruise lines in future

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Very efficient checkin and boarding process

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Manhattan, Local, Cagney's, Odna--all extremely noisy; buffet didn't offer PB&J at lunch for kids...insisted we had to use room service to get it --for $8 fee! LeBistro was very nice experience; suggest Savor or Taste over Manhattan; advertised as a "family friendly"--freestyle experience, but wouldn't allow reservations for 7 except before 5:30 or after 9:30! In spite of having a ship-wide bar menu, many locations didn't have those drinks available-appeared to be random-eg, Odna couldn't provide Irish coffee after dinner but right across the hall at Ocean Blue, they could!

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
pools are way too small for the number of passengers--standing room only in kids' pool on first sea day; wait times for slides were in excess of 1 hour and biggest slide was only open for 3hrs and only on a couple of days to boot! all slots for racetrack for entire cruise were reserved by end of first day; fitness center overwhelmed on sea days; deck chairs overlapped running track so couldn't use; chairs packed so close together (touching sides) could hardly get in/out of them; best places to relax--Observation Lounge & Waterfront (if you could get a seat on the shaded side!)

Entertainment

2 out of 5
had to make reservations for main shows-if made from cabin--very few slots available and only for late shows; hallway monitors showed much greater availability--what's with that??

Children's Programs

didn't use

Service and Staff

2 out of 5
room steward was invisible, but we had no issues; Low rating absed on dining staff who, in general, appeared tired, bored, "just doing their job"--had to ask for drink orders to be taken; served folks at the table at all different times; removed plates while others still eating; had to request refills of water; buffet supervisor told us to use room service (for $8 fee) to get PB&J for a kid at lunch--that it was ONLY available during breakfast!?? Odna was the worst. However, LeBistro was great!

Ship Quality

1 out of 5
Terrible layout & design--Vibe (cost extra) & Haven (private costing$$) along with racetrack and laser tag take up way too much deck space! No outside forward access-only aft outdoor access on deck 8; way too much noise (no carpeting/acoustic damping) in dining areas--specialty (except LeBistro), Local, Manhattan. Terrible deck design for jogging track--chairs overlap and so close together, aisles were crammed with people. Folks took to jogging on deck 8 (waterfront); However, public areas & restrooms were clean

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Very clean, nominal size for a cruise ship; king bed made space extra cramped--hard to get around it-a queen would have been better suited to the space; balcony was the highlight!; Cabin TV had a "weather" option that never had any information on it except to say "at sea"...if you're not going to provide a weather report, remove this!

Ship tip

don't if you're counting on using the waterslides, pools, racetrack--just too many people and not enough hours of operation for these activities

Ports of call

Miami, Florida Did not visit port

not interested

San Juan, Puerto Rico Did not visit port

didn't dock until almost dark (5:30pm) and depared before midnight--not enough time and not the right time to enjoy Puerto Rico--everything closed except bars/restaurants

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

5 out of 5
rented a minivan and enjoyed an extended day at the beach...cost was less than 1/2 what taxi would have cost and was much more flexible for 7 people. Great that rental agency was right at cruise dock.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

5 out of 5
took taxi to Smugglers' Cove for day of snorkeling and beach fun...wonderful day!

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
Had ample time to enjoy sit-down breakfast; long line to disembark kept moving so not a problem; Luggage locations were strewn all over the place; no indications of what colors were located where
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