Alaska was beautiful

Norwegian Encore Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Reviews: 4
Helpful Votes: 33

Overall rating:

4.2 out of 5
Norwegian Encore

7 Night Alaska Glacier Bay (Seattle Roundtrip)

Sail date: September 04, 2021

Ship: Norwegian Encore

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 12507

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 1 month ago

Review summary

There is a lot to love about NCL and Alaska. Some quirks with the ship and some COVID disruptions, but overall, a good vacation. I will be back.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Testing was quick and efficient. From arriving curbside to the waiting area in 45 minutes. That said, the wait in the waiting area was a bit long.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Main dining was just okay, but the specialty restaurants, especially Cagney’s, were spectacular. Buffet was great for breakfast and lunch. Speciality dining appears to be the main focus for dinner - a traveler needs look no farther than the quality of the bread served in the MDR vs a speciality restaurant. Cold and stale vs. warm and fresh.

The Manhattan Room - Main Dining Room

3 out of 5

Just okay. I was seated quickly, but I found the fare and service just okay.

The District Brew House

4 out of 5

Great beer selection. The only real problem was the hours of availability.

Teppanyaki

5 out of 5

A fun experience for a cruise ship and affordable as a premium option as well.

Ocean Blue

5 out of 5

Dress code for this venue (pants and a collared shirt for gentlemen). But the food was excellent. The bread was fresh and delicious. The halibut was amazing.

Los Lobos

5 out of 5

Great food. I was surprised to find this venue mostly empty every time I passed by.

Garden Cafe

4 out of 5

Breakfast buffet was great, but repetitive. Evening menus did not align with the Freestyle Daily in terms of ‘specials’ but I could always find something to eat.

Cagney's Steakhouse

5 out of 5

Amazing venue. Great quality. I went twice - once on the dining package and once a la cart. Worth it either way. The maitre’d was very friendly and offered to box a dessert to go or even to have it delivered to my room.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5

Observation Lounge

5 out of 5

I spent most of my onboard time here. The bar was great, and the employees (Giselle, Febri, and Kurt) were engaging and fun. Most hours of the day, this space was largely empty, and the massive floor to ceiling windows provide a spectacular view. We even saw whales from here.

Encore Casino

4 out of 5

An overall decent casino. Despite a separate smoking area, the aroma lingers.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
Comedians were funny, but the large shows were cancelled for “staffing and technical difficulties” - AKA COVID.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Service was exceptional. Everyone seemed genuinely happy for us to be aboard.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Ship was clean. I understand that it was an Alaskan cruise, but I felt that most of the indoor spaces were kept too warm. I found myself sweating everywhere indoors.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Studio cabin - size was about right, although I would have appreciated a bit more shoulder space in the head and in the shower. My real concern was over the air conditioning. I lost hours of sleep to an inability to sleep in the heat. I reported the issue, and was told an AC Tech would be by to check out my unit. I never laid eyes on this person, and the room remained warm for the entirety of my cruise. Perhaps it was just a bad room, but in a sailing at reduced capacity, it would have been nice to have been offered a transfer after the second time I reported the issue.

Ship tip

Observation Lounge on Deck 15 - great space to hang out, enjoy a drink, and take in the views.

Ports of call

Seattle, Washington

4 out of 5

Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Alaska

3 out of 5
There is not much here. Encore had to dock away from everything and you had to take a gondola or a half mile nature path to get to anything, and even that was just a restaurant and a gift shop.

Cruise Glacier Bay

5 out of 5
Majestic views. Rangers from the park board the ship and provide narration as you pass through the area. Go down to deck 8, grab a seat outside and take it all in.

Juneau, Alaska

5 out of 5
I did a Luxury whale watch, which provided nice transportation to and from the ship. I also enjoyed the Red Dog Saloon - highly recommended.

Ketchikan, Alaska

4 out of 5
We had lovely weather for this port. I caught the Lumberjack show, but unless you are using a promo on the price, it was not worth it. If you are looking for a no-nonsense bar, check out the Arctic Bar - the owner Paula is a riot. The only downside is again the distance from the ship to the activities downtown. A 20 minute bus each way.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Quick and painless if you are carrying off your gear yourself.
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