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About Phaedrus78

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Indianapolis, IN

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  1. I respect everyone's right to get what they want, but damn, y'all really need more food at these restaurants? Even sticking to just one item for each course, they had to practically roll me out the door after meals at Cagney's, Food Republic and Q last month. And I'm not exactly what you'd call skinny. 😄
  2. Price > destination > ship, but it's gotta be a ship I want to be on. I like the big ships, but I wasn't into the Encore so much because my favorite area is Spice H20. I'd actually love to do the Southern Caribbean itinerary early next year on the Epic, but the cost of flights to San Juan are KILLING me. It's got me considering going on a Celebrity Apex cruise instead, balcony rooms on that new ship look like a really good deal right now even though it'll be a set of Caribbean destinations we've already done.
  3. We specifically brought white outfits to wear to the GLOW party. On Encore it was on the general pool deck as there is no Spice H2O. We had an all right time, but to be honest the DJ kind of sucked. There are only so many Pitbull songs I can stand... there are other artists that can be mixed in.
  4. I think I remember seeing one on the Encore? It was around the Local. I may be wrong on that. I definitely got my money's worth out of the beverage package that week.
  5. Just sailed Encore a couple of weeks ago, ate at Cagney's, Q and Food Republic. Cagney's was excellent, on par with most high end steakhouses I've visited. Q was decent, but I wouldn't do it again. I can get better BBQ here at home. Food Republic was OUTSTANDING. Can't recommend it enough. Try the tuna poke nachos.
  6. I wouldn't let it stop you, especially from accepting a gift. The Encore is a beautiful ship, and I definitely don't regret what we spent for a great week. I just know that other ships in the NCL line have an area outdoors on the top deck, so I'd rather book on them. A week on the Encore sure beats the hell out a week at home, though. At least for me.
  7. That itinerary rocks. I wish they were doing something similar next spring, but it appears to be all 7 day trips. Have fun!
  8. Obviously we have had a few people sharing their thoughts on NCL’s latest and greatest. I’m not sure we need another perspective, but I seem to have a different take than most. I think background is important, because everyone wants something different from their cruise. Me, I’m 41 years old, working in the tech industry. My wife is 35, and we were on this trip with friends, a younger couple in their mid 20’s. We’re fairly simple people, not looking for anything fancy. We like good drink, good food, lounging by the pool or on the beach and relaxing. We’re not Haven people, can’t imagine paying for more than a balcony room. Oh, and I smoke. That’ll be important later. I won’t get into thoughts about the ports or itinerary. People know about those. What’s new is the ship. And it’s quite a ship. I’ll break it down with pros and cons. PROS * The Encore is a BEAUTIFUL ship. I mean, stunning. I found all of the art to be extremely tasteful and the overall design aesthetics pleasing. * We stayed in a balcony room with an angled balcony (requested specifically, thanks for the heads up CC) and I had zero complaints. Storage is good, bed is comfortable, everything clean and well appointed. * The observation lounge is amazing. Gorgeous. I didn’t note a ton of people in there sleeping like others have, but I wasn’t in there much during the day. * Main dining room food was good to great. * Service was mostly on point everywhere. Exceptions around the pool area due to sheer number of people more so than fault of the staff. * Specialty dining was excellent. Cagney’s was on par with most high-end steakhouses I’ve ever visited on land, Food Republic was STUNNINGLY good. Q was all right, but I can honestly think of at least 3 or 4 better barbecue joints here in Indianapolis. * Buffet food was pretty meh as usual, but the layout of the buffet is really good. We never had any problem finding seats even in the middle of the lunch rush. CONS * There is so much valuable space wasted on this ship. The go-kart track and laser tag are cute diversions, but they’re eating a ton of valuable outdoor space that could be put to better use. American Diner is absolutely useless. I never saw a soul in there other than crew standing around waiting for something to do. * Because of the wasted space, the pool deck is crazy. Yes, it’s possible to find a couple of loungers. But they very well could be tucked away somewhere, and they are stacked right on top of each other. There’s not even a proper jogging track. * If you’re a smoker, you’re screwed. The only smoking area on the entire ship that doesn’t require you to be gambling is the smoker box on the Waterfront, and that thing is miserable. Many people would stand on the rail outside the box and smoke to not be in the box, and balcony smoking was pretty rampant. I understand people not wanting to be around cigarette smoke. But you have to provide some outdoor space for smokers somewhere. The loss of Spice H2O and the typical smoking corner that comes with it is glaring on Encore. * Speaking of which, this was enough of a con to stand on its own: The loss of Spice was an absolute killer for me on this ship. Say what you will about the faults of the Epic, but the Spice area on Epic is awesome, and I spent most of my Epic cruise back there. I never found anywhere on Encore to regularly hang out. And no, I’m not paying for Vibe. $420 to get a sun deck and to have to wear an annoying bracelet all week isn’t worth it to me. OVERALL VERDICT I enjoyed the hell out of my cruise on the Encore. It’s a fantastic ship. But the decisions NCL has made over how to allocate the space, especially the outdoor space, have me unwilling to ever sail on it again. Other people may have different priorities and fall in love with it, but I now have an NCL ship I will actively avoid in the future.
  9. Epic's got its good and bad points. A lot of people have issues with the room and bathroom design, and those are justified I think. They're weird. I wasn't into them, but some people are. There are also some ship design issues, I get the complaints that it feels very closed off. On the other hand, the Spice H2O area is fantastic, the Thermal Suite is probably the best in the fleet, and the Epicurean show was one of the coolest performances I've ever seen, at sea or off. I'm not a Haven guy, but I also understand the Haven setup is one of the best in the fleet as well. Pluses and minuses, all ships have them. I'm on Encore leaving Sunday, and I'm sure I'll have things that I will and won't like, even on the new hotness. I wouldn't worry, the Epic's a fine boat and I'm sure you'll have a good time.
  10. In multiple threads, I’ve seen people claim that the Haven, the thermal spa and Spice H2O on Epic are the best in the fleet. I’m not saying they’re right or wrong on the first two, but I’ll bet I’m going to miss Spice on my Encore cruise in a couple weeks.
  11. Last year we were on Epic the weekend before the Super Bowl, and they showed the Pro Bowl on the big screen at Spice H2O, as someone else mentioned here. I would imagine they'd do the same for the playoff games. Highly recommended. Chilling out in the sun on a lounge chair with a cold beverage and taking occasional dips in the pool is one of the best ways to watch any sporting event. We made the comment that scheduling for the Super Bowl would be awesome, but didn't go that way this year.
  12. Absolutely this. I don’t understand all of the drama that gets wrapped up in the availability of some frozen lobster tails.
  13. On any of the cruises I’ve ever taken, the worst part has always been the other passengers. I’ve worked in service and support positions for so long that I have a low tolerance for rudeness. The level of completely unreasonable complaints and the absolute entitlement of some people just blows me away.
  14. From the link: On Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe smoking and vapor smoking devices are permitted at Spice H2O, starboard side. If only there WERE a Spice H2O on the Encore. Unless I missed something somewhere...
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