Last week, several excited members of The Cruise Web’s team packed their carry-on’s and headed to New York City for an exclusive 2-night inaugural event. November 11, 2019 marked our first look at Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest addition to their Breakaway Plus Class: Norwegian Encore. See what made our team want an encore in the highlights below:
For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of being invited to preview Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus Class ships: Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy, and mostly recently, Norwegian Encore. I boarded Norwegian Encore with pure excitement, and being familiar with the layout of her sister ships, I felt like I was at home. Once onboard I found the décor to be modern, innovative, and inviting. I stayed in a mini-suite with a balcony on Deck 12, which had a wildly cool bathroom. The shower was one of the best I have ever used on a cruise ship with plenty of room to move around. The entire experience was amazing but there were two highlights for me on this trip: The Galaxy Pavilion and laser tag.
The first time I had ever experienced virtual reality (VR) was on Norwegian Joy. While that was an entertaining experience, the Galaxy Pavilion aboard Norwegian Encore was twice as fun. There were around 15 different VR experiences to check out, including escape rooms, roller coaster rides through the city, and hang gliding through the mountains.
To preface my second favorite onboard activity, I have always been a fan of laser tag so I make a point to try it out during my time on Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus Class Ships. It’s safe to say that I fell in love with Norwegian Encore’s version. The theme here is the Lost City of Atlantis, which I thought was very unique and beautiful at night as everything in the venue lights up and glows! It’s a fast paced game that is sure to keep high energy cruisers happy. Overall, Norwegian Encore is a perfect ship for multigenerational families, foodies, and thrill seekers.
The Manhattan dining room was beautiful and the service was excellent. I truly appreciated that the server asked if there were any dietary needs – and when I meekly mentioned Gluten Free – he made sure that all my food was absolutely without a whiff of wheat. He even found me a dessert that was luscious that I could eat! Very caring!
I enjoyed the wide variety of live music that was happening onboard Norwegian Encore. The charming duo performing at the Sugarcane Mojito Bar played a variety of rock and alternative hits and the band in the Atrium really wowed everyone with the breadth of their repertoire and flawless musicianship. The live music interlaced in the show The Choir of Man kept everyone toe tapping and cheering. I was delightfully surprised by the Beatles show in The Cavern Club venue as the impersonations of the Fab Four were uncanny and deftly presented with all the good humor of the real band. Their renditions of all the well-known songs were simply perfect! They made it easy to cheer like mad just for the fun of it!
Norwegian Encore is NCL’s latest offering and I can say from experience that it does not disappoint. Everything from their eggs benedict over smoked salmon on the breakfast buffet in the Garden Café to lamb chops in the Manhattan dining room, there is a wide variety of food selections, restaurants, bars and lounges to eat in. A cucumber jalapeno mojito is not to be missed in Sugarcane Mojito Bar, nor is the view from the floor to ceiling windows in the Observation Lounge, especially at sunset. Tony Award winning shows, laser tag, a race track, virtual reality games and even a pool table in the video arcade will keep all ages entertained—three days was certainly not enough time to experience it all.
Norwegian Encore impresses as the best new ship for active entertainment evidenced by the futuristic virtual reality gaming experiences in the Galaxy Pavilion, the thrilling immersion of racing go-karts on the outdoor speedway or challenging VR-augmented laser-tag battles, and wide array of critically-acclaimed staged performances to entertain your senses.
Something that I must share about my time aboard Norwegian Encore is the inclusion of two dining venues, Taste and Savor, which act as inclusive alternatives to the main dining room, but seem more like specialty restaurants that rival the best dining establishments in your home town. Can’t decide between the beef tenderloin and the scallop entrees? No problem! Just ask your server to combine them or serve them back-to-back, and see which you enjoyed more!
I loved Norwegian Encore! I think, for me at least, one of the highlights was the Sugarcane Mojito Bar! Every drink was so delicious and the bartenders kept us entertained while serving our drinks up quickly. Throughout the ship, there were plenty of activities for the whole family – even if your favorite activity is just lounging around on the comfy, outdoor couches! With so much do to, it’s hard to find time to enjoy your stateroom, but make sure you do. Our mid-ship mini-suite balcony gave us amazing panoramic views and the bathroom can be summed up in one word: outstanding. From a double vanity to a spacious shower, all I could say is wow. Also, since we left, I haven’t stopped thinking about the brisket in the Garden Café! I guess you could say I’m ready for an Encore.
Wow! What a great time aboard Norwegian Encore. With most of my cruising experience being on smaller ships, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on my first stay onboard the last of NCL’s Breakaway-PLUS class ships. My biggest concern was getting lost! There was little need for worry, as Norwegian has sensibly designed this vessel so that it only takes the first evening onboard to get familiarized with the ship and the routes to your favorite locations.
At the top of my list of favorite locations is the Atlantis-themed Laser Tag Arena. Norwegian Encore has the most high-tech laser tag equipment I’ve ever used and I had a fantastic time despite our team getting obliterated. I’m impressed that Norwegian seems to be listening to the feedback provided by their guests. There are simple touches like widening the Go-Kart track and larger touches like having an enclosed section in the casino for smokers. It may not have been a concern on our inaugural, as the casino wasn’t open, but for someone who has asthma and very negative reactions to cigarette smoke (like me), it was nice to know it would be a minimal issue on this ship, given the casino’s very central location.
Overall, I left the ship very impressed by the entertainment and general enthusiasm of the Norwegian Encore staff. Many seem to have worked with Norwegian for quite a while, and that really says something about the company as a whole!
Unfortunately, I spent a good amount of my Norwegian Encore inaugural experience in the medical center. Though this isn’t the way I’d recommend you spend your time onboard, I discovered that they have state of the art medical services. The medical staff were very attentive and even came to my cabin and took me down the back way via wheelchair. Again, this is not a part of the ship that I suggest customer’s come visit, but know that if you have to, you will be taken care of by some of the best medical professionals at sea!
Without a doubt, I was most impressed with the delicious food onboard! My husband and I agree that we had some of the best meals we’ve had on any cruise during this inaugural sailing. And the staff, not just in the dining rooms, was exceptional. No matter where we went, someone was always making sure we were well-taken care of! Guests of any age would be well entertained on Norwegian Encore, since she has such a wide variety of things to do. Kinky Boots and The Choir of Man were perfectly done, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Galaxy Pavilion, which had immersive virtual reality experiences that were unlike anything I had ever experienced. In my mini-suite, the bathrooms were a highlight! Double sinks and a massaging shower made it feel like home. Looking forward to sailing on Norwegian Encore in the future!
One of the features of Norwegian Encore that really surprised me was the wide variety of specialty bars. I had the pleasure of visiting Maltings Whiskey Bar, Sugarcane Mojito Bar, The District Brew House draft bar and The A-List martini bar during my inaugural experience, and I was impressed with every drink that was crafted for me. I’ve been able to narrow down my list of Norwegian Encore cocktail favorites to the Jalapeno Cucumber Mojito and the Espresso Martini for a much needed energy boost. In fact, energy is embraced onboard through an incredible array of activities for families with kids to enjoy, including laser tag, the go-kart speedway, multiple virtual reality worlds, and waterslides!
Overall, Norwegian Encore is one of the most beautiful ships I’ve been on. Visually, everything onboard is stunning–from the common-area artwork to the cabin layout. One last thing: the mini-suite bathroom size is well worth the additional cost. That extra square footage in your room definitely makes a huge difference in having an indulgent cruise experience.
This was my first experience on a Norwegian Cruise Line Breakaway Plus Class ship – and I was impressed! Every item on the buffet was mouth-watering, and there were even lots of options for my picky girlfriend! I’d have to say that the Manhattan Room has some delicious options, considering it isn’t a specialty restaurant, and trust me, I tried most of them. The beef tenderloin entrée paired perfectly with the scallop entrée, which were both brought out quickly and piping hot since I had let the waiter know that we were trying to make the 7pm comedy show at the Social Club. He even offered to wrap us a dessert to go, and that’s just one example of the amazing customer service from all the crew!
Now to my favorite part: the comedy show! I’m a big stand-up comedy guy and was impressed to recognize the headliner as an actor from the movie Joe Dirt, Lenny Schmidt. His jokes were great (clean for this sailing) and I was a huge fan of how he got the audience involved. Overall, I’d say I can’t wait for my next cruise, my girlfriend is already looking at other Norwegian ships she wants to try!
I had never really expected to have a cruise experience in New York City during the chilly time of mid-November, but it still exceeded my wildest dreams! When I think of cruising, my mind goes straight to sunbathing and margaritas, so of course I made a point to check out the hot tubs on the main deck. Though attractions like the water slides and pools were a bit too cold for New York in November, the hot tub was incredible. The jets were therapeutic and I loved the space and views from my perch. I was transported to Caribbean paradise.
Being a live music lover, I was most excited to see shows onboard Norwegian Encore. I reserved my spot for Kinky Boots as soon as I boarded the ship, and I was blown away! The set and costumes were Broadway caliber, each crafted specifically to transport the audience into the jazzy setting of the musical. The performers really made the show their own, making bold acting choices and confident vocal leaps. I would compare the talent to Broadway in a heartbeat.
In only three days, it’s hard to experience all that a large ship has to offer, but we really gave it a try! From Jalapeno Cucumber Mojitos and laser-tagging in the lost city of Atlantis to Broadway musicals and relaxing in the Observation Lounge, Norwegian Encore has no trouble keeping every guest entertained and wanting more.
The Cruise Web is so incredibly grateful to Norwegian Cruise Line for giving us this awesome first-hand opportunity to experience Norwegian Encore. This month she will begin sailing guests to the Caribbean and is officially open for booking!
To learn more about Norwegian Encore or to book a cruise aboard this incredible ship, contact The Cruise Web’s experienced cruise consultants at 1-800-377-9383.
Plus, for a more visual representation of what we saw aboard Norwegian Encore, check out our recent infographic showcasing the best of this new ship.
NOTE: The Cruise Web, Inc. received complimentary inaugural staterooms from Norwegian Cruise Line, which in turn were offered to the employees listed above. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Cruise Web or Norwegian Cruise Line.