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BirdTravels on the Inaugural Voyage of the Encore to the Eastern Caribbean

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Thank you @BirdTravels for such a detailed review!  I think this was just what we needed to pull the plug on a 2nd cruise in 2020!   

 

Wishing you safe travels as you journey home!

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Try your luck in the Casino or even join a tournament

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The enclosed smoking area works pretty well in keeping smoke from the public areas 

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Because Deck 7 is narrow (due to the inboard life boats), the main casino is smaller 

 

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The 7-Day Arcade pass is available from the Casino for $175. You can play all of the games with Green Card readers (non prize winning and non gambling machines). 
 

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Cigarette smokers have a smoking lounge on the Waterfront. You still need to go outside to access it, but it is enclosed and air conditioned with great views. 
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Before packing, we needed to get some laundry done. The 12-stage washer moves laundry from compartment to compartment and up one deck to dry. 
 

 

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Edited by BirdTravels

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Every restaurant meal starts with a question about food allergies and dietary restrictions. Every item served has reminders to the servers and galley staff on potential restricted items. 
 

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Hi everyone. We just got off Encore this morning. We had a very smooth debarkation. Made the line at the Local 645am and was off the ship by 720 am. All great. On our personal experience, the level of care and attention my son had on the Bliss Alaska sailing did not materialized on this cruise but we understand they still need to get things better. Splash Academy was chaotic as this cruise had over 1300 kids and they only had capacity for 108( i believe). So what happen is most of us had to make line on deck 5 about 30-40 mn each time on sea days. NCL had this corporate representative ( Janet) that listen to all the complains parents had. Many were not able to drop kids and by this ruining some events. After talking to Janet, we learned that the other NCL ships have overflow rooms when they need to split them but on the Encore, they took that space and gave it to concierge. This meant there was no overflow for more kids. The best they were able to do was move the 3-5 ages to the guppies room to free more space for the 6-9 group. Some future sailings will have this issue( next one is christmas week). What we saw also was that kids 10 and up that did not made it to camp, were running around races on decks, pressing all the buttons of elevators and over all disruptive to the rest of the passengers. Some cruises were very upset with this, we just moved along to another location.

As for our only failure was the accomodations requested in writting months in advance. My son ( been autistic) only eats tenders and fries. Also we carry pediasure which we had approval to carry. Starting at the port, we were told no liquids. I told them I had approval to sail with pediasure and they did not believe me. I showed them my boarding paper showing fluids approval but that did not fly. After talking, we were finally were able to go. Now on the ship, I Had a very hard time finding Tenders. They only had them one time at the Garden Cafe. You can get them in the dinning rooms but when we asked for them on days the buffet did not have them or at the LOcal, i was given run around. At Bliss, my son was given tenders no matter were since we had made the arrangements. On Encore, we were denied several times and given excuses. I persisted but it felt it was a burden since they had to go to another kitchen. We got them but this was a challenge just about every day. One night, At the Local, the maitre'D told us he could not get my hungry child tenders. I got upset because i knew that the room service menu had them. He had the nerve to tell us to order it in the room( got his card). Did not give in and finally got them thanks to a hostess.

 

Other than those bumps above, we had a great time. Onda was by far the best meal we had- do not miss having dinner here. Choir of Men was spectacular. In all, we loved the ship and will sail again soon.

 

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Family and adult pools were crowded this week. With 4900 passengers, the ship sailed at near capacity (sleeps just shy of 4000 double occupancy - I.e., lots of people in 3rd and 4th bunks). 
 

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Thanks for taking us along again Bird.  Have a safe trip home.  The Dailies you posted along with the menus will help all of us plan our upcoming Encore cruise.  Great photos and review as always!

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Good Morning Miami!

 

Well, that’s a wrap. Thank you for joining the Bird on the Inaugural voyage of the Norwegian Encore to the Eastern Caribbean. We traveled 2072 miles round trip from Miami to San Juan, St Thomas, and Tortola. It’s been a blast and we hope that our live post has helped answer the most frequently asked questions here on Cruise Critic. 

Disembarkation Metrics

 

Self walk-off started before 7:15. 
 

We left our stateroom at 8:10.

 

We we’re on the curb by 8:30. 


Uber 8:35-8:49 to MIA

 

Checked bags are the counter and at the gate by 9:10 at MIA (using priority checkin and pre-check). 

 

Note: there is no Uber zone at the port and the terminal is very chaotic with police moving cars before you have time to get to them. We would strongly recommend NOT using Uber and just taking a flat rate taxi to the airport. 
 

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Thank you so much for the time to write your review Bird!  You have helped many in planning.  Seems like a great week!

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Great reiview, as always!  I can't wait to try out the Encore ourselves in a little over a year.

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Just curious if the Starbucks star rewards / mobile paying work in the Starbucks on the ship? Has anyone tried using the app or the physical card?

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Thanks for another well-written, comprehensive, picture-filled report, Bird. I look forward to sailing this ship in the future.

Heather

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3 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

Note: there is no Uber zone at the port and the terminal is very chaotic with police moving cars before you have time to get to them. We would strongly recommend NOT using Uber and just taking a flat rate taxi to the airport. 

 

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Will there be taxis waiting at the port? Are they cheaper than the arranged transfers by ncl?

 

Thanks so much for all the info. 

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17 minutes ago, The_Portlandian said:

 

Will there be taxis waiting at the port? Are they cheaper than the arranged transfers by ncl?

 

Thanks so much for all the info. 

There are a long line of taxis waiting at the port. 
 

I think that the flat rate is $27. So, if you are traveling solo, the transfer is cheaper. 2 or more, taxi is cheaper.
 

My Uber today was $15.30 (slightly cheaper than Lyft). But we were chasing the car with our bags as the sun police kept him from stopping. 
 

The one thing about the transfer is that they drop off at the airport bus terminal which could be a long hike to your airlines. A taxi or Uber will drop you right at the door to your airlines. 

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How far in advance can you make reservations for the speciality restaurants & the shows? Can you also make advance reservations for the included MDR? We are a group of 6 and would like to sit

together. Thank you

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