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jfio1021

Encore's low ratings

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1 hour ago, CruiserDan53 said:

I could be wrong but I'm almost positive you can. We were able to book them for our cruise last month.

Not available. We booked specialty restaurants but not main ones. Not worried about getting a table as we are just 3 people

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10 minutes ago, dshefter said:

Not available. We booked specialty restaurants but not main ones. Not worried about getting a table as we are just 3 people

MDR dining doesn't need to be booked.  Just show up when you're hungry.  Just like a land based restaurant you might have a small wait if the dining room is full.  Its not a big deal.   Have a super cruise.

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20 hours ago, jfio1021 said:

This is my first ever cruise, so excuse me if this is not the right spot to post but the Norwegian encore is getting slammed in the review section with a 2.5/5, which is making me really nervous for my upcoming trip this summer. People who have cruised it, do you really thing its as bad as these people are describing or is this a normal occurrence with brand new cruise ships, where kinks need to be worked out and it generally improves in a couple months. 

Hi jfio 1021,

No, it's not a normal occurrence with brand new cruise ship.

A ship like this has never set sail before (and never should have). What you read in the reviews is what this ship really is, and the rating 2.5* is what it probably deserves  (actually I rate it 3.0* minus)

I am back from the Bliss (the  nearest sister ship to the Encore) , and currently working on the review.

I knew what Encore was going to be like (I was shocked by the renderings as I knew how it would be seen in reality). My thought was: "It should not happen".

 

Norwegian+Encore+cruiseadmiral.com.jpg

 

We did not need a Vibe pass, but I saw people from the Group 1 (first boarding group of "regular' passengers, boarded after "Haven" guests , etc.) running to the Social (where Vibe passes were sold). There was no single pass sold to a "regular" passenger on our cruise.

However, the sold out Vibe looked like this almost any time for the duration of the cruise (empty!):

39-1.jpg

 

The Haven deck was slightly more busy, but often looked like this:

 

36-1.jpg

 

If I add the Go-karts race track (IMO - slow, boring, stop-and-go-and-stop all the time).... I will have to say that I have never seen such a horrible waste of space on a cruise ship.

But it's wasted for the passengers. It wasn't wasted for the cruise line: it was sold!

The "free" pool deck was overcrowded as much as it could be.

The water slide: people are getting stuck from time to time. So... waiting, waiting.

 

Now the Encore...

The free sun deck space is two (if not three) times smaller.

The Vibe will be in higher demand. However the Vibe has been expanded x3, so you'll probably have more chances to get one ($$$) if you are a good runner.

If it were about the Caribbean (where options are plenty), I would suggest that you change the ship asap.

As to the Bermuda....

You know what, some people never use sun decks, pools, water slides, get sick of silly pool games, etc.

So for that category of cruisers (especially the older folks),  the Bliss and the Encore are excellent options. The ships feature spectacular observation lounge (largest at sea).

The spa on the largest NCL ships are just wonderful (must do!):

 

Dining: get specialty dining package. Do not rely on the restaurants that are included in the price. We stop there occasionally for a bite (if there is something interesting in the menu). What I suggest: specialty dining, buffet and the Local (watch for "special events").

"Freestyle" on the Bliss/Encore is oxymoron. So be prepared to add $$$ to your cruise fare if you want to have a good cruise, and plan your days carefully & make reservations well in advance.

 

A beautiful open promenade ("Waterfront"):

Norwegian+Bliss+cruiseadmiral.com_1.jpg

 

The Encore is a very expensive experience and it wants you to play by its rules. Be prepared and accept it, or change the ship.

Try to get the best of it and avoid the worst.

 

Happy cruising!

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Like some people have said, reviews needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  I was on the post dry dock cruise for the Dawn a few years ago.  I had an awesome time.  There were some minor issues with work still being done in some areas and some public toilets not working right.  I read reviews of that cruise and some people made it out to be a nightmare cruise.  

 

I will be sailing on the Encore in about 100 days.  I booked my shows for Choir of Man and Kinky boots 120 days out.  You can do so with specialty dinning.  Do a little bit of planning and have an open mind and you should have a great time.  

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11 hours ago, Sauer-kraut said:

MDR dining doesn't need to be booked.  Just show up when you're hungry.  Just like a land based restaurant you might have a small wait if the dining room is full.  Its not a big deal.   Have a super cruise.

It doesn't need to be but you can.  I have the Manhattan Room book on my upcoming cruise 1 FEB on one of the nights we are seeing SIX.  It's on the Breakaway but I doubt Encore would be any different. 

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18 hours ago, Apsalar said:

One of the recent reviews was either 4 or 5 stars, they said they had a great time (not perfect but great nonetheless) and they flat out said the people leaving the 1 star reviews must be extremely hard to please because they couldn't explain it. 

 

Many of those 1 star reviews have almost nothing good to say about the entire cruise. Room is too small, crew is unfriendly, food is bad, shows are impossible to get into, everything costs too much, yadda yadda yadda. When they can't find anything nice to say about a cruise, I am inclined not to take them too seriously. 

 

Most of the people leaving the good reviews are not crazy about the lack of deck space, but somehow it doesn't ruin their vacation. Some of the people leaving good reviews have teenagers who love the race track / laser tag and say this is the only way their kids would have had a good time. Granted this seems to be a minority, but I think this is exactly the type of customer NCL was hoping to attract to the Encore. The expanded Vibe seems to be no win for some people. Either NCL can keep Vibe the same size as on other ships, with low numbers of passes, leaving more demand than supply, or they can keep Vibe the same and sell more passes, making the area more crowded, or they can make it bigger and sell more passes. All of these options will leave some people complaining. 

 

We'll be on the Encore in 4.5 weeks and I'm very much looking forward to it. We won't be getting Vibe passes, we're not in the Haven, and I still have a couple of specialty restaurants I'll need to book once onboard. I'm pretty sure it will all be fine. 

I tend to agree with you.

I'll be sailing Encore in 3 days (yaaaaaaay!!!).

I have zero priority as it will only be my 3rd NCL cruise (and I'd never pay for priority access as I believe it's a total waste of $) so I'll get to the pier early and board with the "regular" passengers. I have been on many rccl and celebrity cruises so I'm not an inexperienced cruiser.

I, also will not be getting Vibe passes and I'm not in the Haven.

My family likes to be up on deck every day so we'll be there every day (probably deck 17 near the whirlpools). I'm not thrilled with the amount of sun deck space but every cruise I've been on had a crowded pool deck and we survived wonderfully.

When I board, I'll need to change one of my specialty dining reservations and I have to book the comedy shows. I'm certain I will get these things done within 45 minutes of boarding and will be sipping a cocktail in the OL immediately after.

If I had to do all of these things and was completely unprepared as to what to expect, it could become awfully frustrating.

But I've been reading these forums for many months now and I pretty much know how everything works (I also was on Escape 7/2018). I am prepared and my family will benefit as we'll enjoy a fantastic cruise as we always do.

My point is that I believe the bad reviews come from two kinds of people, the ones that can never be satisfied and the ones that don't know what to expect and are unprepared. 

I feel bad for those that don't do any research as all the info you need to have a successful vacation is right here on these forums. 25 years ago you didn't need to do the research. You could just board and let it all happen. It was a much simpler cruise experience and I preferred it but that's not the world we live in anymore.

As I said, I'm sailing Encore 1/19, and when I return I'll come back here and let you know how a non-vibe, non-haven, low level passenger survived the big bad Norwegian Encore. I have a regular balcony cabin on deck 14 aft with my wife and 19yo daughter. We've never been affected by motion but I'll try and pay attention to see if Encore is worse than other ships as some are saying on here.

If you have anything you want me to check out (and it doesn't interfere with my 7 day "Happy Hour" Lmao!), let me know and I'll do my best.

 

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So many different points of view and they all have some valid points. Having sailed the Encore

there was one thing that bothered us that yes, we could have seen coming. The overrun of kids in

the Haven pool. We had only sailed the Jewell class Haven and never had that problem. That one

is on us. However....the rocking, shaking and crashing noises were something we could not have

anticipated as we booked the ship before it had even set sail and I attributed the reports of this to the

poor weather during the transatlantic. Did not expect it during basically almost calm seas.

That said, the Encore is a beautiful ship with a fabulous crew, excellent food and entertainment.

I am thinking that people who say those who have some complaints are hard to please are not

taking into account that nothing is perfect and people will have a BETTER time if they know any

negatives ahead of time and plan to work around them. Our next cruise is on a Jewell class ship

and since we have been on them numerous times we know what to expect.

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55 minutes ago, Peachypooh said:

So many different points of view and they all have some valid points. Having sailed the Encore

there was one thing that bothered us that yes, we could have seen coming. The overrun of kids in

the Haven pool. We had only sailed the Jewell class Haven and never had that problem. That one

is on us. However....the rocking, shaking and crashing noises were something we could not have

anticipated as we booked the ship before it had even set sail and I attributed the reports of this to the

poor weather during the transatlantic. Did not expect it during basically almost calm seas.

That said, the Encore is a beautiful ship with a fabulous crew, excellent food and entertainment.

I am thinking that people who say those who have some complaints are hard to please are not

taking into account that nothing is perfect and people will have a BETTER time if they know any

negatives ahead of time and plan to work around them. Our next cruise is on a Jewell class ship

and since we have been on them numerous times we know what to expect.

Totally agree with that assessment. A lot of people just like to ***** and moan. Remember taking a Carnival cruise a few years ago and there was this one lady who was constantly complaining. It was a great cruise, but nothing could satisfy her. I live by the motto: Treat the Crew like you would treat your friends and they will give you a smile and good service. Are there outliers? Of course, but most are friendly and know you are on vacation. But I will provide a fully detailed review of the Encore after we debark on Jan. 26. We have Priority Boarding and plan to purchase Vibe passes as I like the peace and quiet away from the all the noise of the main pool area.

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I’m happy to read all of the positive comments here. In retrospect, we should probably have booked a different ship as we don’t care about the go carts, laser tag and VR. I’m really into aesthetics and how spaces feel so not too thrilled with the prospect of the small pool deck. That being said, we are looking forward to the spa, gym, shows, dining, bars/live music, ports of call and just general R&R. We’ve booked as much as we can in advance so we don’t miss out on what’s important to us. We’re still 70+ days out so looking forward to reading more tips and advice and will post mine here as well. Happy Sailing!

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4 hours ago, bkrickles1 said:

 

My point is that I believe the bad reviews come from two kinds of people, the ones that can never be satisfied and the ones that don't know what to expect and are unprepared. 

 

 

This is a great point that allows cruise lines do whatever they want without feeling guilty. 

Following this logic, less of those never satisfied & unprepared tend to cruise on Norwegian Escape (satisfaction score 3.5) or Symphony of the Seas (4*).

 

What is so special about the Encore that attracts complainers, moaners, etc. more than other ships do? 

 

Happy cruising!

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On 1/15/2020 at 2:48 PM, dshefter said:

You can't book the main dining rooms anymore prior to the cruise.

 

You can. I did for our March 1st cruise.

 

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It depends what you'd like to do. I did NCL in 2006 on the Spirit and loved it, but my next cruise on NCL (did a yearly cruise from 2007+ with RCCL or Celebrity) was in 2017 on the Breakway. For what me and my family like to do, it wasn't ideal. As we enjoy trivia daily, the atrium did not have the "pub" atmosphere of the smaller lounges that hold trivia that we're used to, and the entire ship to me felt dark and compartmentalized. However, when planning this year's trip to Bermuda, Celebrity didn't offer a 7 day at the time we needed to go and felt like we'd try the Encore.

 

I was nervous reading the deck plans and the negative reviews sealed it for us with the tiny amount of deckspace. My mom is in her 60s and I'm in my 30s - we don't have a need for Go Karts, Laser Tag, etc, and we both felt that we'd be confined to a lot of dark indoor space again, even more so on the Encore. We pulled our deposit and are going on the Empress of the Seas on RCCL. She also has mixed reviews because she is the smallest and one of the oldest of the RCCL fleets. But because of the way we like to vacation (read on deck, go to trivia, leisurely trips to the beach, etc, the Empress seemed more of a fit for *us*. 

 

However, the Encore, depending on what you want to do, could be more right for you. She certainly has a lot more entertainment and shows and I'm sure a younger crowd because of her amenities. Bermuda is an amazing country - my mom and I have visited most of the Caribbean and we now see no need to go anywhere else.  Relax, and have a great trip! 

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^^ I'm surprised that he didn't mention the Waterfront as an alternative for people who want to sightsee (no charge).

Edited by Two Wheels Only

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1 hour ago, Two Wheels Only said:

^^ I'm surprised that he didn't mention the Waterfront as an alternative for people who want to sightsee (no charge).

He also didn't mention any of the specialty restaurants.

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My view on the review issue is to not pay attention to what's posted to the review page. Those that post the bad reviews look to mostly have a grand total of that 1 posting.  I don't doubt that most of them had a bad experience, but unless the volumes of these people posting are in the thousands, I'll take it with a grain of salt.  Read the message boards if you want honest good and bad opinions from experienced cruisers who know what you do and don't get on a cruise.

 

That said, I rebooked my upcoming 7 days to Bermuda from Encore to the Gem out of Boston based partially on negative comments/opinions.  But let me explain.

 

Had it just been myself and my SO, we probably would have stayed with Encore.  But there are 7 of us and several in the group were not happy with a 'mega' ship and wanted something smaller.  In addition, it was proving difficult to get all 7 of us from MA to NY without it costing hundreds more dollars, either for pre-cruise hotels and transportation or parking for multiple vehicles.

 

The problem for me were the comments about the lack of public deck space, along with a boatload (pun intended!) of extra charges.  Even some of the folks that posted about how they had enjoyed it made mention of these things.  No one in our group really would use the VR arena or go karts so these are large portions of the boat that would just be wasted for us.

 

One could state that this is more of a fit issue, with the Gem being a better fit for my group and you probably would be correct.  However had there been less mentioned of these issues, I might have been more inclined to give it a shot.

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4 hours ago, dshefter said:

He also didn't mention any of the specialty restaurants.

 

I'm guessing that because they are "cost extra", he didn't mention them.

 

Was the Observation Lounge mentioned?

Edited by Two Wheels Only

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15 hours ago, david_sobe said:

 

Yeah, this review doesn't change anything for me.

His target audience for this review is pretty small.

Don is a 57 year old single guy who doesn't really drink and doesn't like Broadway type shows (although he does like the shows on Encore. Odd?). It appears he wasn't thrilled with the amount of bars on board. Every mega ship has a bar around every corner. Complaining about the decor in the hallway leading to his cabin? I haven't heard that before. Lmao!!

He had one good meal and one not so good? What about the rest? He didn't love the buffet because of amount of choices but I know there are a lot of choices. Odd?

He's not a go cart guy or laser tag guy. Ok, that I understand as I have zero plans of going near that stuff.

He is right about the activities costing $ compared to some other ships. On some rccl ships I've done bumper cars and ice skating and it was included. But I know this ahead of time and, as I said, I'm staying clear of these activities on Encore.

No mention of specialty dining, Observation Lounge or Waterfront. Odd?

What about the terrific musical entertainment in all the various lounges? Maybe Don is not a music guy either.

If you haven't watched his video, I'd say give it a pass. I don't think it's a real world review.

I'm sailing Encore in 2 days and I bet it's fantastic!

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I refuse to watch anything from Don's channel... he's one of the worst cruise vloggers out there imo. 

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1 hour ago, CazV said:

I refuse to watch anything from Don's channel... he's one of the worst cruise vloggers out there imo. 

I was wondering why you have this opinion (not saying anything negative to you) as I watch all of

his videos. Maybe it is just I like him as a person but curious as to what vloggers you like better.

Maybe I will give them a try too.

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2 hours ago, bkrickles1 said:

Yeah, this review doesn't change anything for me.

His target audience for this review is pretty small.

Don is a 57 year old single guy who doesn't really drink and doesn't like Broadway type shows (although he does like the shows on Encore. Odd?). It appears he wasn't thrilled with the amount of bars on board. Every mega ship has a bar around every corner. Complaining about the decor in the hallway leading to his cabin? I haven't heard that before. Lmao!!

He had one good meal and one not so good? What about the rest? He didn't love the buffet because of amount of choices but I know there are a lot of choices. Odd?

He's not a go cart guy or laser tag guy. Ok, that I understand as I have zero plans of going near that stuff.

He is right about the activities costing $ compared to some other ships. On some rccl ships I've done bumper cars and ice skating and it was included. But I know this ahead of time and, as I said, I'm staying clear of these activities on Encore.

No mention of specialty dining, Observation Lounge or Waterfront. Odd?

What about the terrific musical entertainment in all the various lounges? Maybe Don is not a music guy either.

If you haven't watched his video, I'd say give it a pass. I don't think it's a real world review.

I'm sailing Encore in 2 days and I bet it's fantastic!

I thought his review was a little bit incomplete. Should have talked more about Specialty Dining. Should have discussed the Observation Lounge. Some of the ports. What meal did he like and didn't like? Doesn't specify what he ordered. Every ship I have been on  -- large or small -- always has a lot of bars. That is how the cruise ships bring in oodles of cash. Nobody says you have to drink on a cruise ship. You can get a soda package. Or just have water with dinner. Each to his own. How about the comedy shows? Cavern Club? Even the spa.

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