Would not book a cruise on this ship again.

Norwegian Encore Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 11

Overall rating:

3.3 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Encore

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 23, 2020

Ship: Norwegian Encore

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 14146

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 5 months ago

Review summary

I would not cruise on the Encore again. If you like Norwegian, try the Breakaway or Getaway instead. Overall, the food in the main dining rooms and buffet was good. We were a party of 8 and never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table at dinner without a reservation (we only made a reservation the first night on the ship) We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants, however many people on the cruise said that Cagney's was the best. We primarily went to Taste and Savor for dinner and never had an issue finding something we would eat (many times we ordered multiple appetizers, entrees or desserts). We did have dinner one night in the Manhattan Room and found it to be a little more formal. It was also dark and the service was slow. For breakfast and lunch, we split the time between the dining rooms and the buffet. The buffet had a variety of options, including a station for Indian and Asian selections which were great. At breakfast, there was an omelet station to get made to order omelets and eggs. The kids loved the soft server ice cream stations, pizza, and mac-n-cheese. My only negative is that there wasn't a formal night with a more fancier menu (surf and turf, crab legs etc...) The Go-Carts, Laser Tag, and Galaxy Pavilion are all additional charges. $15 for each Go-Cart Ride, $9.95 for each Laser Tag, and $8 for each virtual ride in the Galaxy Pavilion. We paid for 2 Go-Cart Rides, 2 Laser Tags, and 1 day session for the Galaxy Pavilion which was $49 for the day for our 15 year old. They do have unlimited packages for each or all, however they were expensive and not worth the extra money. Also, making reservations for the Go-Carts and Laser Tag didn't matter, because you still had to wait at least a half hour after your scheduled time slot. As for the Pools, both the adult and kids pool were small (and closed the first 2 days at sea) and there wasn't enough open deck space or chairs for the amount of people on this ship. If you didn't get to the pool area by 8:00 AM, forget about finding 2 chairs together. Choir of Man is definitely the star show on this cruise. Kinky Boots was just OK. The musicians were average at best and the DJ's should just stick to playing top 40 and Reggae. I'm an avid music listener and found that I only knew 1 out of every 5 songs they played the entire week on the pool deck. The MC's at the nightly parties were annoying and it would have been better if they just had the DJ. My 15 year old son and his friends joined the Entourage Club but found that there wasn't much to do there other than a single air hockey table, foosball table, and a few game consoles. And the daily teen activities (other than 1 game of dodgeball) were not very fun or interesting. How about planning a scavenger hunt, a tour of the non-public parts of the ship, more competitions etc... Service for the most part was good, but nothing to rave about. Never had to wait long at any of the bars to get a drink. The waiters were nice, but not very personable. I would much rather of had the same table and waitstaff each night at dinner to get to know them and for them to get to know us (know what drink we wanted each night, any dessert we particularly liked etc..). The room stewards did a great job of making sure our beds were made and turn-down service done each night when we got to our rooms. My wife was disappointed they didn't make any animals with the towels like they had on other cruises. All other personnel on the ship were friendly and accommodating. I would give 5 stars to the ship's cleanliness, however the design of the ship is poor. Too much space allocated to Vibe, Go-Carts, and Laser Tag and too little space allocated to pool and sundecks. Also, a sports court would have been a better use of the space that the laser tag takes up.

Embarkation

5 out of 5

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Overall, the food in the main dining rooms and buffet was good. We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants, however many people on the cruise said that Cagney's was the best. We primarily went to Taste and Savor for dinner and never had an issue finding something we would eat (many times we ordered multiple appetizers, entrees or desserts). We did have dinner one night in the Manhattan Room and found it to be a little more formal, but dark and service was slow. For breakfast and lunch, we split the time between the dining rooms and the buffet. The buffet had a variety of options, including a station for Indian and Asian selections which were great. At breakfast, there was an omelet station to get made to order omelets and eggs. The kids loved the soft server ice cream stations, pizza, and mac-n-cheese. My only negative is that there wasn't a formal night with a more fancier menu (surf and turf, crab legs etc...)

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
The Go-Carts, Laser Tag, and Galaxy Pavilion are all additional charges. $15 for each Go-Cart Ride, $9.95 for each Laser Tag, and $8 for each virtual ride in the Galaxy Pavilion. We paid for 2 Go-Cart Rides, 2 Laser Tags, and 1 day session for the Galaxy Pavilion which was $49 for the day for our 15 year old. They do have unlimited packages for each or all, however they were expensive and not worth the extra money. Also, making reservations for the Go-Carts and Laser Tag didn't matter, because you still had to wait at least a half hour after your scheduled time slot. As for the Pools, both the adult and kids pool was small (and closed the first 2 days at sea) and there wasn't enough open deck space or chairs for the amount of people on this ship. If you didn't get to the pool area by 8:00 AM, forget about finding 2 chairs together.

Entertainment

3 out of 5
Choir of Man is definitely the star show on this cruise. Kinky Boots was just OK. The musicians were average at best and the DJ's should just stick to playing top 40 and Reggae. I'm an avid music listener and found that I only knew 1 out of every 5 songs they played the entire week on the pool deck. The MC's at the nightly parties were annoying and it would have been better if they just had the DJ.

Children's Programs

1 out of 5
My 15 year old son and his friends joined the Entourage Club but found that there wasn't much to do there other than a single air hockey table, foosball table, and a few game consoles. And the daily teen activities (other than 1 game of dodgeball) were not very fun or interesting. How about planning a scavenger hunt, a tour of the non-public parts of the ship, more competitions etc...

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Service for the most part was good, but nothing to rave about. Never had to wait long at any of the bars to get a drink. The waiters were nice, but not very personable. I would much rather of had the same table and waitstaff each night at dinner to get to know them and for them to get to know us (know what drink we wanted each night, any dessert we particularly liked etc..). The room stewards did a great job of making sure our beds were made and turn-down service done each night when we got to our rooms. My wife was disappointed they didn't make any animals with the towels like they had on other cruises. All other personnel on the ship were friendly and accommodating.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
I would give 5 stars to the ship's cleanliness, however the design of the ship is poor. Too much space allocated to Vibe and too little space allocated to pool and sundecks. Also, a sports court would have been a better use of the space that the laser tag takes up.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Balcony could have been a little larger, however we had no other issues.

Ship tip

If you have teenage kids, I would not recommend this ship since it doesn't have a sports court and all the other activities are an added expense.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

3 out of 5

San Juan, Puerto Rico

2 out of 5
We walked to one of the Forts and went to dinner at a restaurant in Old San Juan. Food was just OK and there were a lot of homeless people near the port.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

3 out of 5
We took a catamaran/snorkeling excursion. Catamaran was fun, but an abundance of fish to see snorkeling (much better in the Grand Cayman's). All the rum punch you could drink on the way back was a bonus.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

5 out of 5
We went to one of the beaches and had a fantastic day. Beautiful Island and people.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
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