I recently had the opportunity to sail on the Norwegian Encore on a cruise to Alaska. As someone who has been on 24 cruises, I was excited to experience Norwegian Cruise Line for the first time and sail to Glacier Bay National Park. The Norwegian Encore, the largest ship in the NCL fleet, offered multiple dining options and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, particularly at the Mexican restaurant Los Lobos and the BBQ restaurant Q Smokehouse. However, there were some issues with crowd management on the ship, including long lines for shuttles and elevators, and the ship’s app and internet connectivity were problematic. I also found the service from the crew to be lacking, with impersonal and rushed interactions. Overall, I rate the Norwegian Encore a 3.5 out of 5 and provide a detailed review of the ship, dining and food, entertainment, Alaska ports, and service in my video review.
The Norwegian Encore is a stunning cruise ship and a great choice for those looking to sail with Norwegian Cruise Line. However, when it comes to Alaska cruises, the ship’s size may not be ideal. As the largest ship in the Norwegian fleet, it can accommodate over 4,000 guests, but it may struggle to port in the smaller cruise ports of Alaska. Keep this in mind when considering an Alaska cruise on the Norwegian Encore.
The ship itself is impressive, with a beautiful design and a modern aesthetic. From the moment you step on board, you’ll notice the attention to detail and the thought that has gone into the ship’s furnishings and decor. Whether it’s the carpet in the elevators, the light fixtures, or the design of the encore theater, you’ll be amazed by the ship’s overall look and feel.
One of the highlights of the ship is the waterfront. Located on Deck Eight, it hangs out over both sides of the ship and offers a great outdoor dining experience. Many of the specialty dining restaurants have outdoor seating areas here. Additionally, it’s a fantastic place to walk and enjoy the views. While it doesn’t go all the way around the ship, it stretches from the forward on one side to the forward on the other, allowing for leisurely strolls and breathtaking scenery.
Another notable area of the ship is Ocean Place 678, which encompasses decks six, seven, and eight. This is where you’ll find most of the ship’s public areas, including the specialty dining restaurants and the Encore Theater. It serves as the main hub of guest activity and offers a variety of spaces to explore and enjoy.
While the Norwegian Encore offers a fantastic overall experience, it’s important to consider the ship’s size and its limitations when planning an Alaska cruise. If exploring smaller, more intimate ports is a priority for you, it may be worth considering other options within the Norwegian fleet.
Dining and Food Review
When it comes to dining options, the Norwegian Encore does not disappoint. With a range of specialty restaurants and a 24-hour eatery, there is something for everyone’s taste and cravings.
The ship offers several specialty restaurants, each with its own unique cuisine and atmosphere. From the Mexican flavors of Los Lobos to the BBQ goodness of Q Smokehouse, you’ll find a variety of culinary experiences to indulge in. Other options include Cagney’s Steakhouse, Ocean Blue, Le Bistro, Taste, and Savor. Each restaurant offers a different dining experience, whether you’re in the mood for seafood, steak, or international cuisine.
In addition to the specialty restaurants, The Local is another dining option that deserves a mention. This 24-hour eatery offers comfort food favorites such as burgers, wings, and fish and chips. It’s a great place to grab a quick bite or satisfy late-night cravings.
During my time on board, I had the opportunity to try several specialty restaurants, and I can confidently say that the food was surprisingly good. Standout meals for me included the delicious dishes at Los Lobos and the mouthwatering BBQ at Q Smokehouse. The quality and flavor of the food exceeded my expectations, and I thoroughly enjoyed every dining experience during my cruise.
I am currently working on a full dining and food review video, where I will provide detailed opinions on each restaurant I dined at. So stay tuned for that!
While the Norwegian Encore offers a variety of entertainment options, there were limitations and a lack of variety during my cruise. One of the main shows on board is Choir of Man, which is a high-energy performance filled with music, comedy, and audience interaction. It’s a fun and entertaining show that is definitely worth watching.
However, beyond the main show, there was a lack of variety in terms of entertainment options. There were some smaller acts and performances throughout the cruise, but they were limited in number and did not offer the same level of excitement as the main show. This was a bit disappointing, as I had hoped for more diverse entertainment options to choose from.
Despite the limitations, I still found enjoyment in the entertainment that was available. Choir of Man was a highlight for me, and I appreciated the talent and energy of the performers. It’s important to note that entertainment offerings may vary depending on the specific cruise and itinerary, so it’s always good to check the schedule in advance to see what shows and performances will be available during your trip.
Alaska Ports Review
The Norwegian Encore’s Alaska itinerary includes stops in Juno, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria. Each port offers unique experiences and opportunities for exploration. However, there were certain ports that stood out to me during my cruise.
Juno, the capital of Alaska, is a charming city with a rich history and natural beauty. It’s known for its stunning glaciers, including the Mendenhall Glacier, which is a must-visit attraction. The city itself offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural sites to explore. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities like hiking or prefer to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant arts scene, Juno has something for everyone.
Skagway is another port that left a lasting impression on me. It’s a small town with a rich gold rush history, and you can still feel the spirit of the past as you explore its streets. Skagway is the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and offers opportunities for scenic hikes, historic tours, and even a ride on the restored White Pass and Yukon Route Railway. It’s a picturesque and nostalgic destination that captures the essence of Alaska’s past.
Ketchikan is known as the “Salmon Capital of the World” and offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions. The city is home to the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States, and offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Ketchikan is also known for its rich Native American heritage, and you can immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Totem Heritage Center or watching a traditional dance performance.
Victoria, British Columbia, is the final port on the itinerary and offers a taste of Canadian charm. The city is known for its stunning gardens, including the world-famous Butchart Gardens. Other highlights include the historic Empress Hotel, the Royal British Columbia Museum, and the picturesque Inner Harbour. Victoria is a great place to stroll around, enjoy the local cuisine, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
Overall, the ports of call on the Norwegian Encore’s Alaska itinerary offer a mix of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and opportunities for adventure. Each port has its own unique charm, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring each destination during my cruise.
When it comes to service, the Norwegian Encore fell short of my expectations. I found the interactions with the crew to be impersonal and rushed, which was disappointing. The level of service did not match the high standards I had experienced on other cruise lines.
Throughout the cruise, I encountered several instances where the crew seemed disengaged and uninterested in providing exceptional service. Whether it was at the guest services desk, in the restaurants, or during onboard activities, there was a lack of warmth and attentiveness. This was especially noticeable in comparison to the friendly and attentive service I had experienced on other cruises.
While it’s important to keep in mind that individual experiences may vary, it’s worth noting that the service quality on the Norwegian Encore during my cruise was not up to par. I hope that the cruise line takes steps to address these issues and improve the overall service experience for future guests.
Overall, my experience on the Norwegian Encore was a mix of highs and lows. The ship itself is beautiful, with impressive design and amenities. The dining options exceeded my expectations, with standout meals at specialty restaurants like Los Lobos and Q Smokehouse. However, the entertainment options were limited, with only one main show and a lack of variety in smaller acts. The Alaska ports of call were enjoyable, with Juno and Skagway standing out as highlights. Unfortunately, there were issues with crowd management on the ship and problems with the app and internet connectivity. The service quality also fell short of expectations, with impersonal and rushed interactions with the crew.
Taking all factors into consideration, I would rate the Norwegian Encore a 3.5 out of 5. While there were aspects of the cruise that I enjoyed, there were also areas that could be improved. If you’re considering sailing on the Norwegian Encore, it’s important to keep in mind the limitations of the ship’s size when it comes to Alaska cruises. Additionally, be prepared for potential issues with crowd management, app and internet connectivity, and service quality.
Despite the shortcomings, I still had a memorable experience and enjoyed my time on board the Norwegian Encore. It’s important to approach any cruise with realistic expectations and an open mind, as every cruise and every ship is unique. Happy sailing!
Hi, I'm Mike, the author of Ocean Bliss Journeys. As the captain of this incredible website, my mission is to provide you with the ultimate sailing experience. Set sail on a journey of discovery with us and indulge in the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. Our handpicked cruises offer unparalleled luxury and unforgettable destinations. From romantic getaways to family vacations and hidden gem exploration, I've carefully curated tailored packages to ensure every moment is cherished. So, join me and embark on your dream cruise today. Let's create memories that will last a lifetime.