Fabulous scenery, ship and crew, but ...

Norwegian Encore Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage

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

Overall rating:

4.1 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Encore

Sail date: August 17, 2021

Ship: Norwegian Encore

Cabin number: 13252

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 months ago

Review summary

This is an awesome cruise/itinerary with good ports of call. Unfortunately, a delay due to a medical emergency at sea which involved an RCAF air-sea helicopter rescue of one of the passengers, the cruise line skipped the Skagway stop. Icy Strait point was nice and it appears that there is a lot of development going on there -- will be interesting to see how that progresses in the future. Juneau was a nice port of call -- try the Mount Roberts tramway and hike the trails overlooking the city. We did the NLC excursion which you take a small boat into Endicott Arm, get up close and personal with the Dawes glacier, and then rendezvous with the ship in the middle of Endicott Arm. Highly recommend this excursion. Highlight of the cruise for us. The Ketchikan stop however was a disorganized mess. My understanding is NCL built their own dock outside the city which is where Encore tied up. The dock is 8 miles from the city. OK, so shuttle buses were provided -- for $8 for a roundtrip. Seems a little cheap on NCL's part not to provide the shuttle gratis since we could have docked at the port in the city. But the worst part was the chaos in the terminal. there were insufficient shuttle buses to handle the influx and the wait to board the buses was 1-2 hours depending on when you left the ship. Given that the ship arrived over an hour late and you could spend up to 3 hours waiting for and riding on buses, this stop was a complete waste of time for us. We understand that standing in line is sometimes unavoidable, but this was ridiculous -- I'm on vacation, I don't want to waste my time in a queue for 2 hours. I suggest NCL figure out a more efficient process to move passengers from their new port to the city of Ketchikan or go back to docking in the city. And our ship was only 60% full -- this situation will only get worse when they return to full capacity sailings. VERY disappointed in NCL. We will be avoiding Ketchikan on any future NCL Alaska sailings until this situation is improved.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Embarkation was easy, but COVID testing prior to boarding was a bit disorganized. There was little communication from NCL prior to arriving at the port on how the testing would be done other than "you will be tested". Upon finding the test area (at a hotel across the viaduct)we waited in line for an hour to get tested and then another hour for the results. In NCL's defense, it was the first voyage at this port they were implementing the testing regimen so not surprised by the delay.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Better than I recall from previous NCL sailings

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5

Entertainment

3 out of 5
I would rate the entertainment as adequate.

Children's Programs

No children

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
The crew was outstanding. they were clearly glad to be on board and working again. Very attentive to every need/want.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The observation deck (Deck 15) is a fantastic area to hang out, view the scenery, and have a drink or three.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Lots of stowage, comfortable overall, relatively large balcony.

Ship tip

We would book a cabin closer to the forward part of the ship. The observation deck and garden cafe are both forward. We also noticed that engine vibration seemed significant in the aft sections -- or at least more significant than we recall on ships like Jewel and Breakaway

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
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