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david_sobe

LIVE from the Encore

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Hello to everyone from the beautiful Encore.   Taking a quick moment with the unlimited wifi to post some random thoughts.  Embarkation was easy and was on the ship before noon.  Food has been pretty good but I agree with  many posters who reviewed Bliss.  The dining experience takes so much longer than it used to on NCL ships.  No way can you do dinner before a show unless you eat at 5 and show is at 10.  Not sure what changed in the dining process.  Its not the workers because they work hard but it takes 30 mins for appetizers and another 40 for entree and full dining experience is well over 2 hours.  Not complaining just pointing that out.  Someone in our party was not going to order an appetizer but the waiter told us the entrees take a long time so please order an appetizer.

I dont see huge crowds.  Believe it or not on Sunday night was at the Mojito bar with Bong and Chocolate Cowboy and only 4 people there at 8pm and that was including me.  4300 on board this week.  Did the go carts yesterday.  We had reservations and no line at all.  I came in 6th of 7 so I sucked.  Some crazy girl who crashed into me won.  Good for her because she took no prisoners on the track.

Haven is top notch.  only 3 people in the Horizon lounge this morning.  Water is very hot.  I was shaving in the sink and steam was coming out of the sink. One of the best shaves Ive gotten.  Spa is crowded.  Yesterday was the first sea day and it reminded me of the Huey Lewis video "if this is it" where the family wanders the entire beach with their towels looking for a place to sit.  Chair hogs reserving the heated loungers like crazy too.

Ship smells so good.  No smoke.  My last ships were Getaway and Epic that allow smoking in the center casino.   

Very rocky so far.  Could not sleep the first night.  But we are forward on deck 17 which  makes it worse.  Its hard to keep up with everything with so many reservations.  Pool deck is crowded but like any other ship. We had a great chef at Teppanyaki last night.  Also saw Choir of Man.  Good but dont understand how people keep saying "best show at sea"  Hardly.

More on that later.  It was the first night and lots of empty seats too.  No problem getting drinks but since I could not sleep I have not been drinking.

Will try and post more later but will do a quick review when I get back.   

Off to lunch at the Food Republic!

 

Oh BTW, internet works amazing.  SO much faster than my last cruise and unlimited wifi def worth the upgrade.  No need to wait in any line. Instructions are waiting for you in your cabin when you arrive.

Oh we had a blast at the Virtual reality area with Jurassic Escape and the Zombie experience.  Doing more later 

 

 

Edited by david_sobe

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I’m following along!  Did you by chance get Vibe passes?  If so, any difficulties?

Thanks and have a great cruise!

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Good to hear from you... enjoy the rest of your trip. 🙂 Will look forward to reading your updates. 

 

I guess not everyone can think Choir of Man is the best show... 😉 I can't wait to see it again in two weeks. 

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Is your sailing this itinerary? 

 

Day 1 - Miami Embarkation

Day 2 - At Sea

Day 3 - San Juan (5:30pm-midnight)

Day 4 - St. Thomas (8:00am-6:00pm)

Day 5 - Tortola (6:00am-2:00pm)

Day 6 - At Sea

Day 7 - GSC (10:00am-6:00pm)

 

If so, would you mind sharing the dailies? 

 

No worries if you don't have them!

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15 minutes ago, marktwothousand said:

I love how your review is totally opposite what someone else just posted. So confusing what to believe!

I read the other review also but with only 38 posts as opposed to this review and a poster with over 6,000 I tend to believe and trust David_Sobe

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2 minutes ago, TSUmom said:

I read the other review also but with only 38 posts as opposed to this review and a poster with over 6,000 I tend to believe and trust David_Sobe

 

Well, also, he is in Haven with spa access. Definitely a different POV that being one of the many. 

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just back from lunch at Food Republic.  Very good.  Had the Korean Fried Chicken and Terrayaki chicken skewers.  Both were delicious.  Wife and family had the sushi.  They said it was good to average.

Did not get a vibe pass since we are not sun worshippers and staying in the Haven.

A few interesting tid bids

The smashed Horizon lounge window that was shattered during the transatlantic was finally repaired this cruise.  Saw them working and you cant even tell it was broken now.

Bvrgari had a  grand opening of their store yesterday. They cut the ribbon and was told its the first Bvrgari store to ever be on a NCL ship.  They have men's watches from $10,000 - $15,000 !!!!!!

Del Rio personally picked the chandalier.  It looks more like bubble wrap in person than the photos.  I would not say its ugly but it needs to change color to make any sort of impact.

The crew gets to use the spa on the Tortola night of the crew.   Good for them.  They deserve it.  This is after hours of course.

Lots of planning for this cruise.  Definately need to do your homework because so many reservations compete with eachother.  We really wanted to see the Perfect Couple game last night but we had reservations for the Choir of Man.  

This is my favorite time to cruise.  Late Feb.  Weather is not hot and right before spring break.  Very few kids this cruise.  Its actually an older crowd believe it or not.  I just turned 50 and so many are well older than me.  SO the family friendly upcharges is not scaring away the older crowd.
Remember that every cruise is different from sailing to sailing.   We dont really use swimming pools on cruise ships so I cant comment on the zoo of the pool deck but I do walk past it every day on the way to the spa or go carts.

NCL is making their money off me because Ive hardly had anything to drink and I have the drink package!!!!

This is my first cruise where the captain speaks almost perfect English.  I understand every word he says over the loud speaker.

I may check in later tonight after Puerto Rico.

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3 minutes ago, smplybcause said:

 

Well, also, he is in Haven with spa access. Definitely a different POV that being one of the many. 

Yes, I think this probably has much more to do with the different reports than the persons writing the reviews.

 

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I'm also curious about Vibe - even if you didn't try to purchase (I assume you didn't) if you have any info on whether it is sold out or not I'd appreciate hearing it.

 

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1 hour ago, PATRLR said:

I'm also curious about Vibe - even if you didn't try to purchase (I assume you didn't) if you have any info on whether it is sold out or not I'd appreciate hearing it.

 

ok here is the Vibe information

Vibe is sold out this cruise and was told it sells out within the first hour on every cruise.  There are 216 chairs that sell out the first hour during embarkation day.

To put this cruise in perspective:  Today is mostly cloudy and windy day at sea.  We have not had good sun weather yet.  Its either too windy or cloudy.  If Vibe is important it will pay to get to the port early and wait in line.

 

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I was wondering where do you sign up for go karts  laser tag ?   Do you need to do this ASAP  when you get on ship?   Also interested in escape room.  Do you know how we sign up for  this?   

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Hi,

You are in the exact same cabin as we were  but you are port and we were starboard. Do you just feel the

rocking motion or was there that shaking/vibrating/smashing sounds thing going on?

Tonight if it happens again sleeping on the sofa in the living room helps somewhat.

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1 hour ago, marktwothousand said:

I love how your review is totally opposite what someone else just posted. So confusing what to believe!

We are also going this weekend.... if everything is as bad as that other guy.... i guess i'll see you in the District Brew House!  lol

 

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2 hours ago, marktwothousand said:

I love how your review is totally opposite what someone else just posted. So confusing what to believe!

 

I'm not sure why it's confusing. Different people have different experiences. I think every review should be taken with a grain of salt because experiences + reactions won't be the same firsthand vs what you read from someone else's viewpoint. 

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2 minutes ago, Bonobochick said:

 

I'm not sure why it's confusing. Different people have different experiences. I think every review should be taken with a grain of salt because experiences + reactions won't be the same firsthand vs what you read from someone else's viewpoint. 

It’s because Sometimes when I see too many differing opinions or choices, I’m not sure what to believe or do 

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Thanks for taking the time to write this.  Excited to hear the rest of your experiences!

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I dont know about any price drops of internet use. I prepaid about $84 prior to the cruise for unlimited wifi.  I already had the 250 mins perk during booking.  Best deal ever.  And since my last NCL cruise 5 years ago, the internet is light years faster. I think if you wait till you are on board, the upgrade is about $100 more more.

One thing I wanted to mention because it blew my mind was something I saw during embarkation day.  As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.  We were on the waterfront and walking past the smoking "box".  There was a woman in her late 60s smoking a cigarette with an oxygen tank and she was taking oxygen and smoking at the same time.  I was in shock what I saw almost like if I saw a sasquatch in the woods.  She had an oxygen tank with the clear plastic  nose insert and smoking her cigarette at the same time. OMG.  It was not until the next day it dawned on me that oxygen is no supposed to be around anything with flames.  How crazy.

Still in port in Puerto Rico. It rained today here.  I did not want to get off the ship but my inlaws have never been here before so we walked and walked until we got tired and came back to the ship. Not much to see in Puerto Rico.  We had dinner tonight at Los Lobos.  The restaurant was empty because so many in port.  However, you pay 11% Puerto Rican tax on items purchased on board.  We did not use one of our dinner packages and  paid ala carte.  We shared alot to keep the prices down.  Too much food anyway.  BTW, everything was delicious!!!!

 

PeachyPoo - yes the cabin rocks and we do hear the smashing sounds.  I tell my wife we must have hit another whale lol

The cabin rocks so hard that it literally unlocks and opens the second bedroom door.  They supposedly fixed it tonight.  The first night it felt like someone was jumping on my bed the whole night. I felt like a bowl of jello in an earthquake!!!  Hoping for smooth seas tonight going such a short distance to St Thomas and then Tortola.

 

Go carts are signed up at the Haven if you are in the Haven or the comedy club (name escapes me after 3 margaritas).  Its wise to sign up for everything you can ASAP when you board.  You can always cancel or no show but you cant always make a spontaneous reservation.  Yes the Escape room must be booked ASAP since it sells out.  The other games in the virtual reality gameroom are available most times for everyone and $8 pp.

 

My camera broke tonight which sucks because of the lost photos.  The digital camera was 10 years old but I had photos of several things around the ship and meals.  SO my review may be without any photos.  We were in Puerto Rico next to the "I LOVE PUERTO RICO" sign and everyone was in line taking photos. I had my camera out with the lens out.  A couple asked me to take their photo.  When he handed me their phone, I dropped my camera on the lens and it broke.  SO I am more upset about the lost photos than the old camera.  

 

Tomorrow is a busy day.  We get the ship all morning and lunch then Saphire beach excursion at 1:30 and all aboard at 5:30pm ( I think).  SO we love we get to stay on the ship while so many are off yet still get our beach day. Hopefully the weather is better than today.

 

Edited by david_sobe

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24 minutes ago, david_sobe said:

One thing I wanted to mention because it blew my mind was something I saw during embarkation day.  As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.  We were on the waterfront and walking past the smoking "box".  There was a woman in her late 60s smoking a cigarette with an oxygen tank and she was taking oxygen and smoking at the same time.  I was in shock what I saw almost like if I saw a sasquatch in the woods.  She had an oxygen tank with the clear plastic  nose insert and smoking her cigarette at the same time. OMG.  It was not until the next day it dawned on me that oxygen is no supposed to be around anything with flames.  How crazy.

 

 

 

You must not work in health care haha.

 

I have a couple of questions: I saw you're in the haven, the sun deck is 16+ right?  I just put in an upgrade bid for 3/8 (showing sold out but I am hoping...you know) and I was hoping that would eliminate our need for Vibe passes, since someone ELSE commented that there is an MLM group on our sailing that buys out that whole section (bs if you ask me but I digress...)

 

Is the dining service in the Haven restaurant super slow as well?  I have heard it's that way in the MDR but I wanted to see if that was similar across those classes.

 

Do you feel like the spa is "worth it" like are you finding value in that area or is it just sort of "just ok?"

 

Also I wanted to say, I read your bit about your camera (man I hate when I break stuff!!!  The worst.) and your photos should still be on an SD card yeah?  My computer (super old macbook pro) has an SD card reader; if you're super desperate/want those photos the internet cafe place might have something available like that.  And if that doesn't work then you can bring it to a repair place on land, they can get most data off of most anything.  Just in case that is helpful idk.

 

Thanks a lot!!!  Have a great trip!!!

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Thank you, we will be on the Encore in May and I'm still looking for as much info as I can glean. Good to know about the slow meal times, as we don't want to miss our show reservations. Sorry about your camera and photos, that sucks! Quick question if you can help. We have an aft balcony (I'm a suite girl, but going with a group who wouldn't be in Haven and would prefer to hang with the group more if we can) however, we did put in a bid for a Spa Mini (M9) and the only cabin locations are on deck 15 and are by the ocean loops (deck 16) the loops dip down below the pool deck and I'm not sure if they cross right in front of the M9 balconies on deck 15. Any insight would help.  I already feel like the upgrade would be a downgrade as the aft balconies on 12 are large, and there really isn't much more space in a mini than a balcony. Only reason to even try for that upsell bid would be for the spa passes. Have a great time and hope the weather gets better!

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Good morning from sunny and hot St Thomas!  The weather was poor yesterday and started to downpour in Puerto Rico.  Not much to do there at night anyway.  I was sleeping by sail away.  Before you laugh at me I will point out that I am up at 4am for my job so I am normally in bed by 8.

Doing Saphire beach today at 1:30.  Just had breakfast at the Haven and looked down at the pool deck.  Just a few people enjoying a mostly empty ship getting any chair they want and swimming in a pool that is mostly theirs.

I will answer a few questions.  Yes dinners in the Haven are just as slow.  The embarkation day lunch was so slow that I was about to abandon dessert because I wanted to go book stuff.  Even odder was that once we were done with lunch the dirty plates were in front of us for 30 mins before being cleared and offered dessert.  However that could have been out of the ordinary because it was embarkation day.  One table had 10 guests and they need workers to bus the tables. One waiter for a table of 10.  Just to clear the table he/she can only take 3 plates at a time so you are going to have to wait a long time before your waiter shows up again.  It would make sense to have bus boys to help clear tables but they make the waiters do everything which really slows down the process.  I asked for  refill of pepsi and I thought they forgot but delivered it 30 mins later after I was finished with my meal.  Its not the staff.  Its the process they must deal with.  However my breakfast this morning was really quick and I was impressed.  Not complaining.  First world problems but just pointing out observations.

I always think the spa is worth it even though the pass is expensive.  I thought the snow room would be a novelty but I really enjoyed it.  Its an adrenaline rush and makes you feel very good.

Tortola excursions sold out even today.  Even if you are in the Haven they cant get you into sold out excursions.  No biggie.  We are only doing beaches and I hate to book in advance for fear the weather would be bad.  We will take a cab to the Long (something) beach in Tortola.

Remember cruising with thousands of people takes patience and the mass and crowded elevators are breeding grounds for fights.  People want to rush in the elevator without letting people get off first.

Slow moving ship last night meant calm waters and a good night sleep.

BTW, one thing that did improve from my last NCL trip years ago is the French Toast in the Haven.

I did go to the Observation lounge yesterday and it was not too crowed but there were a few sleepers but the Encore has pleather seats which are easier to clean.  The spread is the same if not nicer than the Haven's Horizon lounge.  I booked my suite next to the Horizon lounge which is great but you really cant go wrong anywhere because every cabin is close to something i.e.  Haven restaurant, Pool, concierge desk, lounge, etc.  Every suite has great proximity to everything.

Ok will hopefully check in later after the beach.

 

Edited by david_sobe

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