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Encore or Escape


cruisekitty22
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Escape. Not even close. It's NCL's "last good ship" before they jumped the shark "Titanic-izing" their new ships with large swaths of the open decks closed off to general passengers, and eliminating space's like the free adults only SpiceH20 with useless crap like laser tag and go-karts. 

 

Escape has a great crew, and the ship runs like a well-oiled machine. The food is great, and it's got the best buffet pizza of any NCL ship I've sailed. 

 

I'll never set foot on the Encore. The ship thoroughly disgusts me. 

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I haven't sailed the Encore yet, though I have sailed on the Bliss twice and I'm scheduled to do so again for a B2B in March. I definitely prefer the Escape to the Bliss. Here's why:

 

Escape Pros:

  • MUCH better buffet layout and late night snack
  • Howl at the Moon
  • Pincho Tapas
  • Ropes course is free
  • Better distribution of traffic between fore and aft elevators
  • Better Thermal Spa

Bliss Pros:

  • Observation Lounge
  • Enclosed smoking area in the Casino
  • Outdoor bar area at Sugarcane

 

The Observation Lounge is really nice, but it comes at the cost of the buffet being on the front of the ship and the spa being on the back. This makes the forward elevators REALLY crowded all the time, because just too many of the popular/public spaces are at the front of the ship. Also, the layout of the buffet and the spa both suffer as a result of the move. And I don't know why, but the Bliss' late night snack is just terrible. Truly terrible, compared to the Escape. Not sure if that is the case on the Encore, though.

 

Pincho is one of my absolute favorite places I have ever had lunch on a cruise. I miss it desperately on the Bliss. And Howl at the Moon cannot be beat for evening entertainment. The Silent Disco is a sad joke by comparison.

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Jaime has laid it out well.  I would add pros for Encore include specialty restaurants Onda, Los Lobos & Q.

We love both Escape and Encore.  Escape has the very unique Pincho Tapas.....wish they would add that to more ships!

Escape & Bliss have the Observation Lounge and enclosed smoking casino.

 

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The parties on the excape are better than bliss because they’re mostly held at Spice and Skyline on Excape. On bliss, some parties Are held around the pool which is too loud and echoey and the floor gets too slippery. Plus the open area of skyline is way more fun than social...because skyline is open to the corridor, it almost always gets busy during the parties whereas social can sometimes be dead all night 

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13 hours ago, cruisekitty22 said:

Which one would you rather sail on and why? I cant decide between these two ships!

We chose our cruises based on itinerary. The ship is some place to eat and sleep. Pick the cruise with the itinerary that is most attractive to you. Both ships are Breakaway-Plus ships. We have sailed on the Escape 5 times and will be on our second Encore cruise in a few months. The ships are similar enough without major flaws that the itinerary would be the only deciding factor for us. 

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Are you traveling with kids? If so I think they would like the Encore more because of the go karts and laser tag on board. Are you traveling with just adults? If so I think you would like the Escape better because it has Spice H20 which is a free/included 18+ sundeck with bar and hot tubs. Personally I'd pick the Escape, sailed her to Bermuda last August and had a great time.

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1 hour ago, RHilla619 said:

Are you traveling with kids? If so I think they would like the Encore more because of the go karts and laser tag on board. Are you traveling with just adults? If so I think you would like the Escape better because it has Spice H20 which is a free/included 18+ sundeck with bar and hot tubs. Personally I'd pick the Escape, sailed her to Bermuda last August and had a great time.

 

I feel like I would be more reluctant to take kids on the Encore. Laser tag and go karts are expensive ($15 per) and the kids would be disappointed I would only let them go a couple of times during the week because of that. On the Escape, I would let them do the ropes course and play mini-golf all day every day!

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We chose our cruises based on itinerary. The ship is some place to eat and sleep. Pick the cruise with the itinerary that is most attractive to you. Both ships are Breakaway-Plus ships. We have sailed on the Escape 5 times and will be on our second Encore cruise in a few months. The ships are similar enough without major flaws that the itinerary would be the only deciding factor for us. 

This[emoji651]️. First cruise on Escape coming late fall, and only because it’s Northern Europe. That Caribbean cruise box got checked a long time ago!


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Personally I'm a toss up between Escape and Bliss (which is very similar to Encore with one glaring difference). But with it comes to Encore I think I'd take Escape because the one glaring difference Encore has to Bliss - no Spice. I really like having a portion of the ship where I don't have to deal with kids. I'd sail Encore, but probably only if it was cheaper to cover the price of Vibe pass.

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On 2/19/2020 at 11:31 AM, JamieLogical said:

I haven't sailed the Encore yet, though I have sailed on the Bliss twice and I'm scheduled to do so again for a B2B in March. I definitely prefer the Escape to the Bliss. Here's why:

 

Escape Pros:

  • MUCH better buffet layout and late night snack
  • Howl at the Moon
  • Pincho Tapas
  • Ropes course is free
  • Better distribution of traffic between fore and aft elevators
  • Better Thermal Spa

Bliss Pros:

  • Observation Lounge
  • Enclosed smoking area in the Casino
  • Outdoor bar area at Sugarcane

 

The Observation Lounge is really nice, but it comes at the cost of the buffet being on the front of the ship and the spa being on the back. This makes the forward elevators REALLY crowded all the time, because just too many of the popular/public spaces are at the front of the ship. Also, the layout of the buffet and the spa both suffer as a result of the move. And I don't know why, but the Bliss' late night snack is just terrible. Truly terrible, compared to the Escape. Not sure if that is the case on the Encore, though.

 

Pincho is one of my absolute favorite places I have ever had lunch on a cruise. I miss it desperately on the Bliss. And Howl at the Moon cannot be beat for evening entertainment. The Silent Disco is a sad joke by comparison

 

Jamie, thanks for your thoughts on Escape vs Encore.   I really like the Escape and wish it was still leaving out of NY but am happy to be able to try the Encore  on the Canada NE route.  Wondering if you could provide some more specifics about the differences between the Bliss and Encore Thermal Suite.  I know the spa is aft on the Encore, but did you notice many other differences?  
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. 

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15 hours ago, McFins said:

 

Jamie, thanks for your thoughts on Escape vs Encore.   I really like the Escape and wish it was still leaving out of NY but am happy to be able to try the Encore  on the Canada NE route.  Wondering if you could provide some more specifics about the differences between the Bliss and Encore Thermal Suite.  I know the spa is aft on the Encore, but did you notice many other differences?  
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. 

 

The main difference that made the Escape better is that there are windows in the Sauna and Sanarium that look out onto the ocean, whereas those are interior spaces on the Bliss and instead there are windows in the bathroom/locker room, which seems to me the kind of space you might not want floor to ceiling windows... At least not in port!

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15 hours ago, McFins said:

Wondering if you could provide some more specifics about the differences between the Bliss and Encore Thermal Suite.  I know the spa is aft on the Encore, but did you notice many other differences?  
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. 

The Bliss and Encore thermal suites are mostly the same. Both were moved to the back of the ship because the Observation Lounge and Garden Cafe take up the front. The position at the back of the ship makes the physical space smaller (much smaller than the Escape). 
 

They have the same facilities (wet and dry saunas, steam, salt, snow, hydrotherapy pools). There are a few more partitions on the Bliss making the lounge space feel more private, but that takes away seating. Both fill up on busy sea days. 
 

Bliss

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Encore

 

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