Norwegian Encore of Norwegian Cruise Line

Sandy Cohen from Columbia Tours invited me to experience the new Norwegian Encore cruise. Cruise lines invite travel agencies and press in their inaugural trips so they get know their cruises. These trips about their destinations. They want you to live the cruise experience to be able to sell and promote it. The exciting thing about these trips is the ability to explore a ship for the first time, before any tourist.

Norwegian Encore

“Encore” means “again” in French and the name is part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s effort to become more international. This cruise was designed for the western market like the Norwegian Bliss. It is the last of the “Breakaway Plus class” series that consists of four cruises. The scandalous price to build the Norwegian Encore was almost one billion dollars. Its construction began on January 31, 2018. The inaugural trip was on October 31, 2019, combining European and Latin markets for the first time.

Our trip on the Norwegian Encore began in the port of Bremerhaven which is one hour away from the beautiful city of Bremen in Germany. The two-night tour ended in Southampton, England. Then the cruise made a transatlantic trip to New York and continued to Miami. November 21 will be the christening ceremony in the Home Port of Norwegian Cruise Line with singer Kelly Clarkson who will be the godmother.

Itineraries by seasons

Destinations are the decisive factors in getting people to travel on a cruise. Therefore, Norwegian Encore will begin tours of the Eastern Caribbean on November 24 , including Miami, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Between April and November 2020, it will go to New York to complete itineraries in Bermuda and Canada / New England. From December 12, 2020 to January 9, 2021 the cruise will go to the Western Caribbean, to visit Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico. In May, 2021 the Norwegian Encore will transit through the Panama Canal to reach Seattle, Washington. From this destination it will tour Alaska including Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria in British Columbia.

Norwegian Cruise Line

We were invited to a press conference where Andy Stuart spoke. The former president of Norwegian Cruise Line mentioned that building a cruise ship like the Norwegian Encore was “something they couldn’t have imagined a few years ago.” This last cruise increases the fleet of the shipping company to 17 cruises in total.

With this act he also gave his resignation, passing the reins of the company to his protégé, Harry Sommer. He talked about how Harry had managed to transition the brand from an American approach to a world-class product. The company was founded in 1966 with headquarters in the United States. Today they have offices and representations in almost every country in the world. Columbia Tours represents the brand in Panama but cruises can be purchased in all travel agencies.

The cruise industry has a bad environmental reputation, which is why four years ago Norwegian Cruise Line started publishing annual sustainability reports. Last year they eliminated plastic straws (which amounted to 15 million annually), plastic water bottles and individual toiletries.

Rooms

Norwegian Encore has capacity for about 4,000 passengers with a crew of 1,735. There are screens all over the cruise that show crew members. It struck me to see that the captain of the staff was a Panamanian named Kevin Bellido, who was the youngest person promoted to this position in the history of Norwegian Cruise Line.

I was surprised at how spacious my room was, which included a closet, sofa, work area and a balcony. The bathroom was also very spacious, usually the showers are so small that you must open the door if you drop the soap. I must admit, it is exciting to be the first person to sleep in a bed that will be used by many people. 1,088 of the 2,206 rooms were in my category. I had previously made another inaugural cruise, Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas, which had even more rooms.

In total there are 42 categories. A category that caught my attention was the single cabins for people traveling alone. If you stay in this category you are not charged additional as they do in double occupancy. They also have rooms for people with disabilities.

The premium category is called Haven which is like another more luxurious cruise within Norwegian Encore. Everything is different, starting from the check-in process when the passenger is received by a butler. The room card is platinum. Only those who are staying or are invited can access. This section of the cruise is located on the 17th and 18th floor in the front offering the best views. If you stay in Haven you have your own pool, lounge, bar and gourmet restaurant.

Food and drinks

There are 29 food options on board Norwegian Encore. There are five options included: Savor Restaurant, Garden Café, The Manhattan Room, Taste Restaurant and The Local Bar and Grill, which opens 24 hours a day. The rooms have a food menu but it was not available on the inaugural cruise. The rest of the options can be taken with additional charges.

The first night I was invited to Food Republic which is an international restaurant that offers many Asian options, including sushi.

The second night I went to Cagney’s Steakhouse which is a seafood and meat restaurant. I ordered a prawn cocktail and lamb chops with truffle mashed potatoes. Another restaurant I tried was American Diner which felt like being transported to the 1930s. You can eat fast food in style sitting in a booth that is a vintage car. Onda by Scarpetta is the new Italian restaurant, adding to the Norwegian Cruise Line options.

Dolce Gelato at The Waterfront has delicious Italian ice cream. If you have a sweet tooth you can go to Coco’s or The Bake Shop. The Norwegian Encore also has a Starbucks store. Beer lovers (like me) can have one at District Brew House. Other bar options are The Cellars Wine Bar or Sugarcane Mojito Bar.

Go-Karts and Laser Tag

Unfortunately, the inaugural trip of Norwegian Encore was at the end of autumn and it was very cold to enjoy the pools and the four water slides. One of the biggest attractions is a Formula 1 Ferrari race track. Go-karts can reach speeds of 40 mph (65 kph) on the longest track of all Norwegian Cruise Line cruises. Up to 10 people can run along the track that has 10 laps on two levels with beautiful views.

Laser tag is another activity that will bring out your inner child. The outdoor area measures 2,788 meters (9,150 feet) being the largest in the world. It has elements of augmented reality that it pretends as if you were in the lost city of Atlantis. Another virtual reality is the Galaxy Pavilion with walls and simulator rides that make you feel like you are flying.

Entertainment

The best thing about cruises is to be able to see Broadway quality works without additional costs. The first night we saw “Choir of Men” which has a stage called “The Jungle”. You will be able to sing bar and rock songs with a group of men. I loved this show!

The second night we saw “Kinky Boots” which has received the Tony Award® six times. It tells the story of an heir of a shoe factory that associated with a drag queen. Almost everyone who saw the play fell asleep. It is very long and the songs in monologues are tedious.

The Cavern Club transports you to Liverpool in 1962 to listen to Beatles rock and roll. Another slightly unusual nightclub is Silent Disco that gives you headphones to listen to the music. The headphones are turned on with different colors throughout the night.

With so many options to eat, drink and enjoy, time flies aboard Norwegian Encore.

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