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Encore / Live / Solo(*)- Dec 1-8-2019...


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                        A long

                time ago... In a

       shipyard far, far away........


Men (And, women, I assume) worked around the clock, to bring to fruition, the newest vessel in Norwegian Cruise Lines' Breakaway Plus Class fleet... Her name would be Encore, and she would take NCL where it had never been before... Her racetrack would be the largest at sea, and new, intriguing dining venues such as Onda and American Diner would make their debut. Sadly, Spice H2O would be eliminated, and replaced by Laser Tag and the Galaxy Pavilion, a virtual realty experience... All the old favorites, such as Cagney's, the District Brew House, and Food Republic, would remain, but would the loss of valuable "not for fee" deck space be the death knell of this new, and impressive ship? Come sail with me, and we'll all find out together on the seas of the sunny Caribbean...


*** Image "borrowed" from the NCL website... A rendering, actually...





encore cover.jpg

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If you're a frequent reader of Cruise Critic, then you may have followed the "Everything...Norwegian Encore! Launch Nov 2019" thread started by TheDougOut wayyy back in January 2018... This discussion covered each and every step in the construction of the Encore, which will be the final Breakaway Plus Class ship, in case you didn't know. 


When the renderings for the Encore hull artwork were first released, there was a good bit of moanin' and groanin' going on here on Cruise Critic... The general consensus it seemed, is that most people didn't really like it. There have been others who even said they hated the artwork so much, that they would never sail the Encore because of it. I'm in the camp that really couldn't care less what's painted on the side of a ship, it's what's inside that counts...


Many thought that "Hull Art Gate" was the worst of what was to come, that is until the full deck plans were released. The space, formerly known as Spice H2O had been written out of the plans, and replaced by Laser Tag and the Galaxy Pavilion... 


The problem wasn't that people had something against laser tag and virtual reality games. The problem was that a significant percentage of "free" deck space was being eliminated. All of the passengers who would normally enjoy the serenity of the adults only area, would have to compete for deck space in the main pool area, or try to obtain a Vibe Pass at a cost of over $200 per week...


Although I'm not really excited about forking over two hundred something bucks, in addition to everything I've already paid, I do plan on securing a Vibe Pass, just to be able to enjoy some un-crowded deck space. I'm just not one of those people who enjoy the "hustle & bustle" of the main pool area. I like to have somewhere to escape to, and if it costs extra, then I'm just going to have to grin and bear it. 


***Another rendering "borrowed" from NCL...


ncl encore.jpg

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For the past 5 years, I've cruised during the first week of December, which is always one of the least expensive weeks of the year... I was completely oblivious to the fact that it was Thanksgiving weekend, and rates with the airlines were well above what I usually pay. But, what could I do? There's no way I would ever drive to Miami, and pay to park my car for the week. And the thought of spending the entire day in the car after the cruise is just not the way I want to end my vacation. 


Again, I'll be staying in the Downtown area. I booked a Priceline Express Deal, where you don't actually know the hotel until after you book. I selected "4 star hotels Downtown" and ended up with a pretty good rate at the InterContinental. I usually stay a bit further South in Brickell, but it's only a short ride away on the Metro Mover... As usual, I'll be bouncing from place to place, in search of food and adult beverages. Unfortunately, there aren't many Happy Hour options on Saturday as there are on weekdays, so I'll be paying full price, which in Miami can be pretty steep. I'll most likely be hitting some of my old favorites, and hopefully at least 1 or 2 "new to me" establishments... 


*** Another " borrowed from the interwebs" photo...


encore 1.jpg

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The story you're about to read is true... In fact, 99% of it hasn't even been written yet...


Part review, part novel, and part confession...


For those of you who've never run across one of my "reviews" before, I just want to prepare you a bit about what you're getting into... This isn't going to be one of those milquetoast reviews that provides bullet points, such as what was good, bad, or ugly. It'll be more of a series of observations, happening in real time. A play by play narrative of my travels from Atlanta to Miami, including happy hour and dinner. The next morning, we'll head to the port together, and ultimately board the beautiful Norwegian Encore!... 


I like to joke around a lot, so try not to take any of it too seriously. When I am being serious, I promise, you'll know it... This whole thing is meant to be lighthearted and fun. I will try to be informative at times, but a lot of it will be just for pure entertainment value. There will be plenty of food and beverage p0rn along the way, and I'll be visiting many of the specialty restaurants to document and devour everything I can... I like to bring you the ship and all she has to offer in a different way than most. I'm going to try and give you the experience of being right there as best I can...


*** Pic stolen from NCL...




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I normally just book directly with NCL online, but my travel agent was able to get me a 4 night Specialty Dining Package in addition to the Premium Beverage Package, with no "Free at Sea" gratuities... Add in my 2 Platinum meals, and I'm looking at 6 free specialty meals for nothing. When reservations opened up at 120 days out, I made plans for Onda, Ocean Blue, Cagney's, and Los Lobos, leaving 2 more to decide upon once on board. 

Since I paid nothing for the beverage package, I've decided to upgrade my plan to the Premium Plus Beverage Package for around $35 per day... This way, I can take advantage of all of the best name brands of liquor, in addition to bottled water, specialty coffee, and fresh squeezed juices. 

*** I promise that when I get to Miami I'll get you some of my actual photos of the Encore... Until then, another "stolen from NCL" photo...


encore 2.jpg

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