I recently got invited to spend two nights onboard Norwegian’s newest ship, Encore, as part of an inaugural event in NYC. She arrived in NYC on Sunday November 10th, at the end of her transatlantic crossing from Southampton England, and I boarded on the following day. The ship is absolutely stunning and boasts endless food, drink, and entertainment options. Since I was only onboard for about 45 hours, I simply could not see everything she had to offer. I would like to touch on a few venues and entertainment options, that really stuck out. Some of which were a bit of a surprise to me. Let’s jump right in.
American Diner has taken the place of Margaritaville (Escape & Bliss). In my opinion this is a major improvement. It is still an a la carte venue but the menu offerings are more to my liking. In fact the best thing I had during my time onboard Encore, was the Lobster Roll Sliders from American Diner. I’ve been raving about them since having them for lunch on embarkation day. I live in New England, so I consider myself a lobster snob. Trust me when I say, they were amazing!
As you might recall, I was really excited to try out the go karts on the Norwegian Bliss inaugural last year. However, by the time I went to sign up for them, all the time slots were full. I was determined to ride them this time. My time slot was on day two at 10:00 am. The weather had deteriorated over night and we were greeted with freezing temperatures and quite a bit of rain. Fortunately, the rain stopped shortly before our time slot and they were opening up the track! Unfortunately, it was still freezing, but that wasn’t going to stop me! They were super fun, but apparently I was a little to fast for everyone in my group. I never actually got to race with anyone, and only encountered another kart as I was lapping some of the field on the last lap. In any case, I could see myself doing these quite a bit on a warmer sailing, and look forward to doing so on the Cruise Life Group Cruise in February 2021.
Choir of Man
Typically I’m not one to go to shows when I cruise. Mostly because after drinking and eating all day, if I sit down and don’t stay on the go, I will most likely fall asleep. However, a few friends had really insisted that I check it out this time. I obliged, and was pleasantly surprised. Beer drinking and singing of popular hits kept me entertained throughout the show. The show is offered in the main show lounge on Norwegian Encore. Be sure to book a time slot pre-cruise or immediately upon boarding. They do have a stand by line in a pinch, but better to know you’ll definitely get in. Even if you are an anti-show guy like myself, I’d give Choir of Man a shot next time you have the chance.
Los Lobos was one of the few NCL specialty restaurants that I had not been to yet. With all the great reviews I had heard about it, I was super excited when it was my assigned dining for night two. I started with a spicy margarita and the shrimp ceviche appetizer. Everyone enjoyed the table side guacamole and for my main course I had the carne asada. Between the great food and great conversation with our table mates, it was a perfect meal! Los Lobos certainly lived up to its rave reviews.
Pre-cruise I had very little interest in Galaxy Pavilion. I sort of viewed it as a space for kids to have fun with virtual reality. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Our media and influencer meet and greet was held here on night one, and I had an absolute blast! “The Descent” was probably the highlight for me, but you’ll have to go try it for yourself to find out what its all about. Most people I talked to seemed to really enjoy the space, and were surprised with everything they added into it versus the Norwegian Joy offerings. They also have an escape room in Galaxy Pavilion, but it was still being worked on and not available on our sailing. I definitely will have to give it a try when I am back onboard in 2021.
In addition to everything above, there are a number of great venues that are worth mentioning. Food Republic was as good as ever, and is still my favorite specialty restaurant at sea. I also spent quite a bit of time at the District Brew House and the Sugarcane Mojito Bar. Both were in line with their offerings across the Norwegian fleet. There were also a number of venues that I either did not get to see because I ran out of time, or because they were closed due to the weather. The water slides, laser tag, Q BBQ restaurant, and the thermal suite will be on my list of must dos on the Cruise Life Group Cruise in 2021.
If you would like to check out everything the Norwegian Encore has to offer, you can do so here. I really enjoyed my two nights onboard, and look forward to sailing her again. Do you have Encore booked? If you’re considering booking, but haven’t, what is holding you back?
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