An Honest Norwegian Encore Review

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I recently had the pleasure of staying on the Norwegian Encore, Norwegian’s newest ship, while it was docked at Pier 88 in New York City. I thought it apropos to give an honest review as I’m sure people will be booking a vacation on this ship for years to come.

The Norwegian Encore sails to the Caribbean, Central America, Canada, and more. While these destinations are sure to be filled with relaxing beach days and fun in the sun, if you stayed on the ship the entire time I wouldn’t judge you. The ship has 20 decks and 2,038 staterooms. That means it has the capacity for 3,998 passengers at double occupancy. The activities and amenities will make it hard for you to go home and after getting a taste of all this ship has to offer, I can relate.

Norwegian Encore Review

Watch my tour of the Norwegian Encore below via YouTube.

If you’re interested in booking a cruise on this ship or any other, contact Alison Mason, Luxury Travel Advisor, at amason@tzell.com

Activities

The activities are a big part of what made my time on the Norwegian Encore so enjoyable. I felt like a kid the entire time and sometimes that’s exactly what I look for in a vacation. It may be one of the best ships to simply have fun.

Galaxy Pavillion

Norwegian Encore Review

The Galaxy Pavilion is filled with virtual reality games and rides that will leave you wanting to go back every day. It’s an area of the ship where once you step into it, you feel like you’re in another world. I remember walking in and seeing everyone laughing or screaming and having fun, but until you put on that virtual reality headset, you won’t really get it.

I rode roller coasters, went on a jurassic jeep ride, killed zombies and other monsters all within a few feet of each other. I should say that this “game room” is just as fun for adults as it would be for kids. In fact, depending on the age of your kids and what you allow them to do, you may not even want them to play certain games.

Laser Tag

Norwegian Encore Review

Laser tag is one of those things you want to book as soon as possible as everyone will want to see what the lost city of Atlantis is all about. The setup consists of an enormous sea creature and city ruins, which make for perfect hiding spaces to beat your competitors. This activity is fun for families and solo travelers as you’ll always have someone to play with.

Speedway Racing

While there will most likely be standby lines for speedway racing, don’t risk not getting your turn and missing out on the fun. Reserve your spot asap to race along the 1,100 foot track complete with 13 feet of overhang if you like an adrenaline rush. I simply enjoyed being able to be a spectator and watching everyone whiz pass me and around the ship.

Arcade

The arcade was something we stumbled upon while deciding if we’d stand standby for a showing of Kinky Boots. Again I had an opportunity to let me inner child out while playing Mario Kart, shooting monsters yet again, and practicing my free throw skills. I think I played the basketball game at least four times so that was clearly my game of choice. The arcade is a great place to hang out while you’re waiting for a show or dinner to start.

Aqua Park

While it was way too cold to partake in an outdoor water park, I got to admire it from down below. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the double loops and virtually vertical drops on the waterslide but can wait to sail on this ship to find out what it’s all about. Another daredevil aspect was that part of the slide hangs over the side of the ship, leaving you to feel like you’re liable to fall straight into the water.

Spa & Fitness Center

Norwegian Encore Spa

I utilized the fitness center one free morning and spent about an hour there. I loved the selection of equipment and the fact that everything was easy to use and not a downgrade of the gym equipment I’m accustomed to. If you’re not into working out alone, I was excited to see that there are group classes offered (including HIIT and spin).

The spa was a place I’d want any vacation to begin and end with at least one trip in between. There were hot beds, a jacuzzi, a salt room, sauna, steam room, and more. And obviously you can book services such as facials and massages. Unfortunately there’s a fee for the spa even if you don’t book a service but for all that you get, it’s worth it.

Entertainment

The Norwegian Encore consisted of entertainment that you would have to reserve a seat for and plenty of entertainment that you could stumble into at any given time.

Kinky Boots

I’ve obviously heard of the movie, and now Broadway play, Kinky Boots but could never figure out what it was about. And for that reason, I never gave it a chance. I’m so glad that I got to see Kinky Boots on the Norwegian Encore as it was an amazing production worthy of Broadway itself. This was yet another thing that people reserved tickets for as soon as they boarded the ship, so we almost missed out. Luckily one night after dinner we decided to get in the standby line for the second showing and were thrilled to find out there was plenty of additional seating. 12/10 would recommend this show.

Beatles Cover Band

We popped into The Cavern Club – Liverpool for a performance by The Beatles. The house was packed and people sat with drinks in hand, watching the performance while others danced. Although I didn’t spend much time here as it was very crowded, if you can get a seat I recommend adding it to your things to do one night.

Live Music

I don’t think there was a single evening where I walked around the ship and there wasn’t live music coming from some bar or lounge. Whether it was Tina Turner or the Temptations, good music isn’t far nor hard to find. I especially loved that I could walk into a speciality bar to be entertained. You could also be at the pub or hanging out below and someone or something was guaranteed to be going on onstage.

Silent Disco

I have been to one silent disco before and that was probably back in college. The Silent Disco on the Norwegian Encore, which may have been especially for us, was a step up with the room being invisibly sectioned into quadrants. Depending on which area of the room you’re in, you could hear current hits, 90’s music, and more. The 90’s is definitely one of my favorite music eras so that’s where I hung out mostly.

Dining & Bars

Maltings Whiskey Bar

A Norwegian Encore review would not be complete without mentioning the food! My only problem with cruises has more to do with me than the actual cruise. I eat until I want someone to restrict my access to food. I’m the problem.

We definitely ate and drank our way around this ship and I’m still dealing with it today. My recommendation: eat everywhere and wash it down with a cocktail somewhere else. Buy the drink package, you won’t regret it.

The District Brewhouse

I like to think of myself as a beer connoisseur even though I tend to stick to IPAs everywhere I go. It was definitely a treat to have a brewhouse on this ship compete with a seemingly endless amount of draughts. There are  more than 50 different bottled and 22 draft beers but you can still get the bartender to whip you up anything your heart desires. While we were there a comedian was actually performing to keep us entertained.

Maltings Whiskey Bar

If you ask me my drink of choice it will always be whiskey. However I’m occasionally in the mood for gin and that was my cocktail of the night when I visited Matings Whiskey Bar. This speciality bar has an array of spirits and a delicious cocktail menu. I did find that cocktails weren’t as strong as I would’ve liked no matter where I ordered from, so I began to request a shot of my liquor of choice with a short pour of tonic or ginger ale.

The Local

A 24 hour pub is not something I, a person with little self control, needs. And it’s complimentary! At any hour of the day you can walk over to The Local and indulge in wings and fries (I did, twice), fish and chips, pretzel and cheese bites, and much more. To make matter worse, every time we were done the waiter would ask if we wanted dessert. When we declined they’d say diets aren’t for vacation. Diets are most certainly for vacation when you don’t want to be wheeled off of the ship due to a food coma!

Cagney's Norwegian Encore

Garden Cafe

The Garden Cafe is your standard cruise ship buffet, but turned up a notch or three. I was pleasantly surprised at the food selection and the first day onboard I opted for a mostly Indian lunch and loved every bite. I had to force myself to stay seated even though I very much wanted another round. The next days lunch was a seafood feast and although the lobster was overcooked, the fresh king crab legs and shrimp cocktail was divine. There’s also a bar where you can order mimosas, or anything you want really, at any time of day. You really can’t go wrong having breakfast and/or lunch here.

Cagney’s

I believe that Cagney’s was where we had out first dinner although most of the restaurants had an identical menu that night. I knew I wanted the surf and turf and that was absolutely all that mattered. I paired it with a wine and all I need to say is that it did not disappoint. The steak was perfectly seasoned and cooked while the lobster was buttery and tender. I actually had lobster at another restaurant the next night that was so overcooked that I just wanted to return to Cagney’s where they do it right.

It’s hard to decide whether I loved the food or the activities on the Norwegian Encore more but I think they’re tied. I would definitely book a trip on this ship and I look forward to it. After my first cruise on the Norwegian Sky many years ago I was unsure if I’d ever be in the mood to cruise again. I definitely am now.

If you need to book a car to get to your port, read here to find out how to book rentals for as little as $4 a day.

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