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NCL Encore Daily Review "LIVE" With Freestyle Dailies


tx121
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On 2/4/2020 at 11:23 PM, tx121 said:

Day 3- San Juan

 

Last night the clocks went forward one hour so we would be on San Juan time. I don't know if we were just so tired, but we slept in until 12pm! Good thing it was a late arrival in to San Juan! 

We decided to get a quick snack in the observation lounge before heading to the outer decks. We found some loungers on deck 17 under a shaded area. I noticed we were heading in to some rain clouds and I smirked a little because I knew what was about to come. Sure enough 10 minutes later, the rain had come and some people ran for cover with their belongings. It only rained for about 5 minutes. Veteran cruisers stood their ground and weathered the "storm". But 1/3 of the people (probably new cruisers)on the pool deck scattered and abandoned their chairs! There was some prime real estate available and I chose wisely. Lol! I was able to get these seats!👍20200204_121050.thumb.jpg.a0ecc83e56b77c857ef1958d9dbbda01.jpg

 

We enjoyed our time sunbathing, listening to the Caribbean band and using the pool for about 3 hours. We were approaching San Juan earlier than expected so we went back to the room to get ready to go ashore. 

Since San Juan is on a different time zone, our early arrival allowed us to have more daylight time. We had time to walk around old San Juan and visit the fort just in time for the sunset. It was so peaceful and tranquil. 

20200204_171641.thumb.jpg.f46782c98e320beec9282e495f1c6630.jpg20200204_173441.thumb.jpg.8824eb53f55a7f4b92c306b9c98f50da.jpg20200204_173840.thumb.jpg.32f6391705ec41ff6b52a6df666455ee.jpg20200204_174126.thumb.jpg.096fab99bedb4abb2e27ad39e9b35864.jpg

 

After visiting the fort, we walked downtown to see some shops and have a pina colada at Barrachina which is supposedly where this drink was invented.  It was good but of course needed more alcohol! Lol! Our waiter recommended us to try a authentic puerto Rican dish called Monfongo which is mashed plantains with pork. It was good and I'm glad I had it even though we had reservations at Ocean Blue tonight back on the ship! Don't judge! Lol 🤣

20200204_181543.thumb.jpg.1ee5232250b8a49ff828b5667d097c45.jpg

20200204_183021.thumb.jpg.2b56beee6342600c6db0fd1ca2de49d8.jpg

As we were on our way back to the ship, we saw some outdoor markets and cafes open with many cruise ship passengers. 

20200204_185119.thumb.jpg.5d6c907c6099762bfce62efd53e18dae.jpg20200204_185251.thumb.jpg.9f345f67ae4a21b078371d88c7f3bb8f.jpg

 

One of the benefits of having a late departure is that you are able to get nice pictures at night with the cruise ship all lit up! Usually ships leave before sunset so seeing a ship at night was a treat! 

20200204_185559.thumb.jpg.a3852540347c6c05ef473a3b87aabb8d.jpg

 

Once we got back to the ship, we cleaned up and then went to Ocean Blue for dinner. The ambiance of the restaurant was very nice but I wish the quality of food matched the decor. Let's just say I was happy that we were using the dining package than paying al a carte. The food although passable, it did not impress. For anyone who is considering going here, do not pay al a carte for this restaurant. You will pay a pretty penny for food that does not match the price. If you have the dining package, then it may be worth your time. I have to say this restaurant is comparable to the "Bonefish Grill" chain restaurant back home. 

I started with the scallop and pork belly appetizer as it was recommended by the waitress. It was "ok"...a weird combination which I dont think works.

20200204_202548.thumb.jpg.d6ef367ec77b7f8c4d6bf42d6b62fd03.jpg

I then had the clam chowder soup which was actually very good.

My entree Cipponi,  which was also recommended by the waitress was not good at all. It had a foul smell to it and I believe one of the items in the soup/stew went bad. The waitress asked if I liked it and I said actually I don't. With no questions asked, she said let me get you something else which I thought was very accommodating.  I decided to get the Halibut with a white wine garlic sauce. This dish was better and the fish seemed to be very fresh. 

20200204_205057.thumb.jpg.6a8fc4a5910ed72246bb418476c2d58c.jpg20200204_210822.thumb.jpg.b95863e65b836cdb51896fe0eed8894c.jpg

 

We skipped dessert because we were so full and we also had to get to our Comedy show at The Social Club.

 

Side Note:

By the way, be careful if you buy any drinks or eat at a specialty restaurant on the ship while in port especially in San Juan. They will charge you 11.5% tax on your bill! We did not know this and surprised they charge tax while in port! So if you decide to eat a specialty restaurant while in San Juan port, be prepared to pay 31.5% extra in tips (20%) and tax (11.5%)! In my opinion that will be one hefty bill if you ate somewhere al a carte! I ordered a double grey goose on the rocks which came out to a whopping $39.45?!! I am all for tipping my bartender / bar server, but I feel like $6 for them to pour vodka over ice is a bit generous for a automatic tip. Grey goose is not part of the package, so it is $15 a shot. For a double with tip and tax, I could have bought a nice large bottle of grey goose! Lol! All I'm saying is Buyer Beware while in port in San Juan.

 

Screenshot_20200204-214314_Gallery.thumb.jpg.4645dc25d2b698cf9ef6429840025f13.jpg

Anyways, back to the show!

We thoroughly enjoyed the Comedy show. This was a 18+ adults only show, so the comedians could say whatever they wanted. We saw the same comedian at the First Night  welcome aboard show, but we didnt think he was funny because he had to watch what he said because there was kids in the audience. 

Overall, we had a very nice day! We are looking forward to our very first time in Tortola! 

Do you remember the time of your specialty dinner that night? How was the timing to the forts/back? Did you tour the whole thing or just take pictures?


Just trying to see the timing if we got off to see the forts when we would be back on the ship to make a reservation for dinner 

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On 2/4/2020 at 11:23 PM, tx121 said:

Day 3- San Juan

 

Last night the clocks went forward one hour so we would be on San Juan time. I don't know if we were just so tired, but we slept in until 12pm! Good thing it was a late arrival in to San Juan! 

We decided to get a quick snack in the observation lounge before heading to the outer decks. We found some loungers on deck 17 under a shaded area. I noticed we were heading in to some rain clouds and I smirked a little because I knew what was about to come. Sure enough 10 minutes later, the rain had come and some people ran for cover with their belongings. It only rained for about 5 minutes. Veteran cruisers stood their ground and weathered the "storm". But 1/3 of the people (probably new cruisers)on the pool deck scattered and abandoned their chairs! There was some prime real estate available and I chose wisely. Lol! I was able to get these seats!👍20200204_121050.thumb.jpg.a0ecc83e56b77c857ef1958d9dbbda01.jpg

 

We enjoyed our time sunbathing, listening to the Caribbean band and using the pool for about 3 hours. We were approaching San Juan earlier than expected so we went back to the room to get ready to go ashore. 

Since San Juan is on a different time zone, our early arrival allowed us to have more daylight time. We had time to walk around old San Juan and visit the fort just in time for the sunset. It was so peaceful and tranquil. 

20200204_171641.thumb.jpg.f46782c98e320beec9282e495f1c6630.jpg20200204_173441.thumb.jpg.8824eb53f55a7f4b92c306b9c98f50da.jpg20200204_173840.thumb.jpg.32f6391705ec41ff6b52a6df666455ee.jpg20200204_174126.thumb.jpg.096fab99bedb4abb2e27ad39e9b35864.jpg

 

After visiting the fort, we walked downtown to see some shops and have a pina colada at Barrachina which is supposedly where this drink was invented.  It was good but of course needed more alcohol! Lol! Our waiter recommended us to try a authentic puerto Rican dish called Monfongo which is mashed plantains with pork. It was good and I'm glad I had it even though we had reservations at Ocean Blue tonight back on the ship! Don't judge! Lol 🤣

20200204_181543.thumb.jpg.1ee5232250b8a49ff828b5667d097c45.jpg

20200204_183021.thumb.jpg.2b56beee6342600c6db0fd1ca2de49d8.jpg

As we were on our way back to the ship, we saw some outdoor markets and cafes open with many cruise ship passengers. 

20200204_185119.thumb.jpg.5d6c907c6099762bfce62efd53e18dae.jpg20200204_185251.thumb.jpg.9f345f67ae4a21b078371d88c7f3bb8f.jpg

 

One of the benefits of having a late departure is that you are able to get nice pictures at night with the cruise ship all lit up! Usually ships leave before sunset so seeing a ship at night was a treat! 

20200204_185559.thumb.jpg.a3852540347c6c05ef473a3b87aabb8d.jpg

 

Once we got back to the ship, we cleaned up and then went to Ocean Blue for dinner. The ambiance of the restaurant was very nice but I wish the quality of food matched the decor. Let's just say I was happy that we were using the dining package than paying al a carte. The food although passable, it did not impress. For anyone who is considering going here, do not pay al a carte for this restaurant. You will pay a pretty penny for food that does not match the price. If you have the dining package, then it may be worth your time. I have to say this restaurant is comparable to the "Bonefish Grill" chain restaurant back home. 

I started with the scallop and pork belly appetizer as it was recommended by the waitress. It was "ok"...a weird combination which I dont think works.

20200204_202548.thumb.jpg.d6ef367ec77b7f8c4d6bf42d6b62fd03.jpg

I then had the clam chowder soup which was actually very good.

My entree Cipponi,  which was also recommended by the waitress was not good at all. It had a foul smell to it and I believe one of the items in the soup/stew went bad. The waitress asked if I liked it and I said actually I don't. With no questions asked, she said let me get you something else which I thought was very accommodating.  I decided to get the Halibut with a white wine garlic sauce. This dish was better and the fish seemed to be very fresh. 

20200204_205057.thumb.jpg.6a8fc4a5910ed72246bb418476c2d58c.jpg20200204_210822.thumb.jpg.b95863e65b836cdb51896fe0eed8894c.jpg

 

We skipped dessert because we were so full and we also had to get to our Comedy show at The Social Club.

 

Side Note:

By the way, be careful if you buy any drinks or eat at a specialty restaurant on the ship while in port especially in San Juan. They will charge you 11.5% tax on your bill! We did not know this and surprised they charge tax while in port! So if you decide to eat a specialty restaurant while in San Juan port, be prepared to pay 31.5% extra in tips (20%) and tax (11.5%)! In my opinion that will be one hefty bill if you ate somewhere al a carte! I ordered a double grey goose on the rocks which came out to a whopping $39.45?!! I am all for tipping my bartender / bar server, but I feel like $6 for them to pour vodka over ice is a bit generous for a automatic tip. Grey goose is not part of the package, so it is $15 a shot. For a double with tip and tax, I could have bought a nice large bottle of grey goose! Lol! All I'm saying is Buyer Beware while in port in San Juan.

 

Screenshot_20200204-214314_Gallery.thumb.jpg.4645dc25d2b698cf9ef6429840025f13.jpg

Anyways, back to the show!

We thoroughly enjoyed the Comedy show. This was a 18+ adults only show, so the comedians could say whatever they wanted. We saw the same comedian at the First Night  welcome aboard show, but we didnt think he was funny because he had to watch what he said because there was kids in the audience. 

Overall, we had a very nice day! We are looking forward to our very first time in Tortola! 

The beverage package flyer that I downloaded from NCL says grey goose is part of the beverage package that is included as a perk. (not the premium). Is that not accurate? Is grey goose really not included? Also I thought the package was drinks up to 15 dollars and your post said goose was 15 a shot?

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18 minutes ago, XuGator said:

The beverage package flyer that I downloaded from NCL says grey goose is part of the beverage package that is included as a perk. (not the premium). Is that not accurate? Is grey goose really not included? Also I thought the package was drinks up to 15 dollars and your post said goose was 15 a shot?

 

I'm sorry I should of clarified that the drink package we have only includes soft drinks, wine and beer. We only had 1 perk since we are staying in a inside cabin. We chose the specialty dining as our perk and booked the Beer and Wine package.

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1 hour ago, Lanic24 said:

Do you remember the time of your specialty dinner that night? How was the timing to the forts/back? Did you tour the whole thing or just take pictures?


Just trying to see the timing if we got off to see the forts when we would be back on the ship to make a reservation for dinner 

 

We had a 8pm reservation so we had enough time to walk to the fort which was about 25 minutes. We did not go inside the fort, just around the area. We had time to go for drinks and a quick bite before heading to the ship for dinner.

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1 hour ago, worktocruise610 said:

I'm loving your review & pictures & thanks again for the spa specials! Sorry if I missed it but can I ask what type of cabin you have? 

Youre welcome! We have a inside cabin.

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1 hour ago, tx121 said:

 

I'm sorry I should of clarified that the drink package we have only includes soft drinks, wine and beer. We only had 1 perk since we are staying in a inside cabin. We chose the specialty dining as our perk and booked the Beer and Wine package.

Thanks again for this wealth of information. This has been extremely insightful and helpful!

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2 hours ago, tx121 said:

 

I'm sorry I should of clarified that the drink package we have only includes soft drinks, wine and beer. We only had 1 perk since we are staying in a inside cabin. We chose the specialty dining as our perk and booked the Beer and Wine package.

Oh my god, could you explain why you went this route and if it was economical? The Corks and Caps package would have been about $600 for the week per person, whereas had you just added the regular beverage package, it would have been only the cost of gratuities, and you could have paid for your specialty dining out of pocket. Surely that would have been significantly cheaper?

 

You'd be saving almost the cost of an entire cruise!

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16 minutes ago, marktwothousand said:

Oh my god, could you explain why you went this route and if it was economical? The Corks and Caps package would have been about $600 for the week per person, whereas had you just added the regular beverage package, it would have been only the cost of gratuities, and you could have paid for your specialty dining out of pocket. Surely that would have been significantly cheaper?

 

You'd be saving almost the cost of an entire cruise!

Agreed! The cost of a three or four day dining package is minimal compared to the menu prices. 

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2 minutes ago, Zippeedee said:

Agreed! The cost of a three or four day dining package is minimal compared to the menu prices. 

Maybe they didn’t want to be enticed by the temptation of having access to actual free liquor. For some people, liquor is a whole other demon compared to wine and beer.

 

Let’s see what they say

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Just now, marktwothousand said:

Oh my god, could you explain why you went this route and if it was economical? The Corks and Caps package would have been about $600 for the week per person, whereas had you just added the regular beverage package, it would have been only the cost of gratuities, and you could have paid for your specialty dining out of pocket. Surely that would have been significantly cheaper?

 

You'd be saving almost the cost of an entire cruise!

 

Yes if we went through NCL, we would have done the beverage package. We went with cruise dot com. Their promotion was an interior room with a specialty dining package or $50 shore excursion credit for another $10pp. There was no beverage option. We also had a credit from a past cruise with the travel agency and we had to use it, so we booked with them.

If we booked higher than a interior , then we could've gotten 2 or more perks- drink package as options. Oceanview guarantee cabins were only available and no perks came with them. The price between the interior and balcony was significant enough where we said we will just purchase the Corks and Cap package onboard, instead of upgrading to a balcony which would of cost us more. 

Again we booked this in January as a last minute deal, so many options were not available. 

I would also think this guy has to be out of his mind for choosing the specialty dining over the beverage package as a perk! Basically we factored in the credit from the travel agency to pay for the Corks and Cap package. 

 

 

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15 hours ago, mdchachi said:

 

Oh wow, thanks again.  If so I'm leaning on getting the arcade pass. $160 is a lot of money but there's six of us so I think we could get our money's worth. 

I just noticed in that sign I posted it said that the SR3 Radical VR experience is not included in the $8 rate. Do you happen to know how much that one is?

 

The SR3 Radical is $20/ride. 2 people can fit in the car at a time.

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30 minutes ago, tx121 said:

 

Yes if we went through NCL, we would have done the beverage package. We went with cruise dot com. Their promotion was an interior room with a specialty dining package or $50 shore excursion credit for another $10pp. There was no beverage option. We also had a credit from a past cruise with the travel agency and we had to use it, so we booked with them.

If we booked higher than a interior , then we could've gotten 2 or more perks- drink package as options. Oceanview guarantee cabins were only available and no perks came with them. The price between the interior and balcony was significant enough where we said we will just purchase the Corks and Cap package onboard, instead of upgrading to a balcony which would of cost us more. 

Again we booked this in January as a last minute deal, so many options were not available. 

I would also think this guy has to be out of his mind for choosing the specialty dining over the beverage package as a perk! Basically we factored in the credit from the travel agency to pay for the Corks and Cap package. 

 

did you book online? USUALLY agents are able to switch out perks if you call on the phone and they manually do it thru Norwegian. That is what I usually do with another agent for someone who doesn't drink, as their package automatically includes beverage, and the person usually wants dining instead. Thanks so much for the updates and keep them coming. Especially if you know anything about the following:

- The nighttime outdoor deck parties.

- Party nights at the social

- How is the cruise director and their staff

- Does Encore have interesting slot machines or is it mostly the usual? When I was on Joy, they had such a narrow selection of machines and way too many with an oriental theme.

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53 minutes ago, marktwothousand said:

did you book online? USUALLY agents are able to switch out perks if you call on the phone and they manually do it thru Norwegian. That is what I usually do with another agent for someone who doesn't drink, as their package automatically includes beverage, and the person usually wants dining instead. Thanks so much for the updates and keep them coming. Especially if you know anything about the following:

- The nighttime outdoor deck parties.

- Party nights at the social

- How is the cruise director and their staff

- Does Encore have interesting slot machines or is it mostly the usual? When I was on Joy, they had such a narrow selection of machines and way too many with an oriental theme.

 

Yes we booked online and then called the travel agency to apply the credit to the reservation in the morning. I never thought of asking them if we had the option to switch to a different perk. Good thing to know in the future. 👍

We went to the 80s outdoor deck party. It was fun but not many people attended as I thought. The social has a better scene and more 20s-40s group there. The silent disco at the social was packed. Tonight is the GLOW party outside which is usually a huge turn out, so we will see how it goes.

The cruise director Ricardo and his staff are upbeat and gets the crowd for the pool activities.  

There are still a lot of Asian type games in the casino but probably more variety than the Joy which was launched in Asia. I'll take some pictures. I havent gone in the smoking area in the casino yet so I'll check that out as well.

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I agree with others...you are way too nice to do all this while you are on vacation !!  I think NCL should pay you for answering everyone's questions!  ☺️  I certainly wouldn't have the patience!

 

We are going on the Encore in October to Fla and the Bahamas...our 3rd time there, but first time on Encore.  I normally like the smaller ships - the Dawn is one of my favorites, but hubby is SUPER SUPER SUPER excited about the go-kart track!  I have been on the Breakaway 4 times and enjoyed that EXCEPT for the crowds.  But it sounds like there are enough areas on the Encore to get away from them!  And we are not big on shore excursions, so we usually stay on board on port days.

 

I agree about Teppanyaki - the best meal I've had on a cruise ship...

 

The stage for the Choir of Man (?) looks almost identical set-up wise to Rock of Ages on the Breakaway!  

 

Thanks again!   Denise

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5 hours ago, ahoyle77 said:

More a general question, but do they allow door decor?  Ive seen some things online about it being banned on certain ships?  

I am not sure if door decor is banned on this ship. I've been keeping my eye out to see if anyone has any decorations on their door, but I have not seen any. Will let you know if I do. 

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24 minutes ago, ottoflash said:

I agree with others...you are way too nice to do all this while you are on vacation !!  I think NCL should pay you for answering everyone's questions!  ☺️  I certainly wouldn't have the patience!

 

We are going on the Encore in October to Fla and the Bahamas...our 3rd time there, but first time on Encore.  I normally like the smaller ships - the Dawn is one of my favorites, but hubby is SUPER SUPER SUPER excited about the go-kart track!  I have been on the Breakaway 4 times and enjoyed that EXCEPT for the crowds.  But it sounds like there are enough areas on the Encore to get away from them!  And we are not big on shore excursions, so we usually stay on board on port days.

 

I agree about Teppanyaki - the best meal I've had on a cruise ship...

 

The stage for the Choir of Man (?) looks almost identical set-up wise to Rock of Ages on the Breakaway!  

 

Thanks again!   Denise

 

I also think NCL should pay me or just send me on cruises for free so I can be their live correspondent for questions. Lol! We all know the people who work in the call centers sometimes have no clue about the ships and read from a script. So this solves the problem. Sign me up! Lol.

 

Yes I also enjoy the small ships when I want to wind down and relax. The Encore does a good job spreading people out, except at the pool deck where everyone is looking for space in the sun on sea days. I have been either going to the pool deck later in the afternoon or when I get back from the ports and have no trouble finding loungers. Since you stay on the ship or come back early from a port, you will have enough loungers to choose from. 👍

 

 

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Day 5- St Thomas

 

Today was more of a day to relax by the pool and enjoy the empty ship while most guests went ashore. Because of this, I apologize if there isnt anything informative or exciting in this post.

Our day started by going up to the Waterfront Deck to take in the beautiful views of St Thomas.

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One day I plan to own one of these yachts and travel the world! 🤣

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It has become a tradition in St Thomas for me to stop by and get a slice of pizza from Pizza Amore. It is located right across the street from the Havensight Mall entrance where the cruise ship docks. So we got off the ship for an hour to look around the shops in the Havensight mall and get pizza. 

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This pizza is just Yum! 

 

On our way back to the ship, I took a picture of the taxi prices which includes popular destinations of St Thomas. Usually if I plan a beach day, I would goto Meagans Bay or Emerald Beach. Prices are one way.20200206_111323.thumb.jpg.075d4128856cd1dcd381f6191432a339.jpg

There is also free wifi in the port area where you show your ID to get back to the ship.

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Heading back to the ship, I took a picture of the Hull Art on the Encore. Now usually I am a fan of the artwork on NCL ships, but this one.....do I need to say more? Lol!

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What a Glorious sight!! I really enjoyed having this time on the pool deck without the chaos and having space to spread out! I love a empty ship! 

As the crowds started to come back in, poolside activities started. Watching the Queen of the Seven Seas was hilarious! Again, you never know what people will do!

After spending most of the day around the pool deck, we went back to the room after sail away to rest. 

We had dinner at The Local before going to the Encore Theater to see Kinky Boots! I have seen Kinky Boots on Broadway 2 times. The cast did well for a cruise ship performance and it was entertaining. It was a 90 minute show without intermission, so some scenes were cut and the show felt a little rushed in parts. But overall it was good. Not as good as Choir of Man, but that would be hard to top! 

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Again the entertainment on this ship has just been amazing! The GLOW party is coming up and the crowd is already forming. Its gonna be a good night! 👍

 

One hour back tonight! 

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15 hours ago, marktwothousand said:

@tx121 you’re wayyyyy too nice. And I dont mind the casino smoking area in small doses when I want to cut loose, so I’m always interested in the machines there. There were a few machines in the Joy smoking section which were not available in gen pop. 

 

Thanks for all this info. 

For all you casino slot players, here are some of the games you will see on the Encore. The casino has many machines. There are some machines in the smoking section that you won't find in the non smoking section. There are also many Asian themed games as well.

 

First is the Non Smoking section

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Here are some machines you will find in the smoking section.

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Our final stop tomorrow is Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

Since Great Stirrup Cay is a tender port, you need to reserve a spot if you want to go ashore before 1pm. 

Now I just noticed in the Day 3 Freestyle Daily -San Juan that you can reserve tickets on the TV or the touch screens around the ship.20200207_091959.thumb.jpg.34b81c3b653e70a3819638a3f4c8a1df.jpg

Luckily people don't read these things and all times were still available for when I reserved it this morning on the TV. I bet there will be a lot of people by the touch screens tomorrow morning!

 

To reserve, turn on the TV and select the tendering option. Select the time and you are all set! They use your room key card as your ticket.

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