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8/21 Encore to Alaska - LET'S GO!! Tips & Ideas?


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Hi all,

 

A cruise was our last major vacation in February 2020 (side note - there's a very interesting historical thread about deciding whether to on that cruise here).

Anyway, enough with the past - we're booked to depart out of our home port for the 1st time (Seattle) - Alaska here we come!

 

As I've seen discussed, the Encore in currently in Seattle. She's not scheduled to depart Seattle with passengers until 8/1, according to the Port of Seattle (PDF). I guess it will take her a full month to get staff trained up, and operations humming along? I can only imagine mothballing a brand new billion dollar ship for almost a year and a half. 

 

We're excited to get on board Encore, when I checked a few months ago, the Bliss was coming to Seattle, but Encore is a NICE upgrade!

No children under 12 (the youngest that can be vaccinated) will be onboard, making my daughter the youngest child on the ship - that'll be interesting. I assume they'll just close "guppies" and "splash academy", and roll her into the teen club?

 

Would love your tips and tricks for the Encore or this itinerary.

It's weird, there's almost no youtube content on the Encore, except for a media sailing in November 2019. Usually we spend hours watching videos of past guests to get ideas and tips.

 

Have a great day!

 

 

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My daughter is coming.  She is 14.  🙂  We are looking forward to this cruise. 

We are going through the excursions now.  So many fun things to choose from.

I am excited to see the Encore and Alaska.

I have watched a bunch of the videos already.  Now watching excursion videos.

 

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8 hours ago, Seattle_Guy said:

We're excited to get on board Encore, when I checked a few months ago, the Bliss was coming to Seattle, but Encore is a NICE upgrade!

Talk to those on your cruise on your roll call

 

 

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@Seattle_Guy - I was supposed to go on the Encore last May, but will now being going from Seattle to Alaska in 2023. In turn, could you please make some recommendations on what to see 2-3 days before the cruise starts? Thanks, I appreciate it. 

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3 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

Talk to those on your cruise on your roll call

 

 

I am on this sailing as well. Come on over and join us. We have a Meet & Greet, Slot pull and a Gift exchange set up and maybe there will be a pup crawl. 

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I've been on a few Alaska cruises, though never on the Encore.  Hubby and I will be aboard for the Sept. 4 sailing, so I hope you'll be posting your adventures.  60 days for us ... but who's counting. 😄

 

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30 minutes ago, TheSecondSister said:

I've been on a few Alaska cruises, though never on the Encore.  Hubby and I will be aboard for the Sept. 4 sailing, so I hope you'll be posting your adventures.  60 days for us ... but who's counting. 😄

 

Have a great cruise!

 

The Encore has never sailed in Alaskan waters before. In fact, the Encore only operated a few months after being built and turned over to NCL, before the pandemic shutdown. She's still a brand new ship. 

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Here are a few ideas from me that we always do.

 

Grab a rum cake martini at the sugarcane bar.

 

Order from food Republic. Try the dumplings and sushi!

 

Get a $5 photo in the district photo booth.

 

Light breakfast and lunch served in the observation lounge.

 

Order a cheese tray or pizza from room service. It's a flat rate $9.95 for whatever you'd like.

 

Catch a comedy show

 

Play the coin pusher machine in the casino. Great time killer and  we love collecting dice if they have them. We used to get a bubbly poker chip for a free champagne bottle from them on other ships.

 

Buy a martini flight at shakers. 

 

For $1 go to the arcade and play the claw machine to win a rubber duck. You play till you win!

 

Probably teppanyaki,  le bistro, and cagneys. 

 

If you like ice cream there are 4 soft serve machines in the buffet, 2 in the front and 2 in the back which people miss often.

 

Scooped ice cream in the buffet.

 

If they make crepes in the buffet, it's a must.

 

Sometimes on other ships we've seen small snacks in the casino after dinner till maybe 10 or so if I remember correctly. 

 

We're booked for October, can't wait. Definitely a live review to happen. Hope that list gets some ideas going for you. Not everyone's favorites,  just mine. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ClevelandCruisin said:

Here are a few ideas from me that we always do.

 

Grab a rum cake martini at the sugarcane bar.

 

Order from food Republic. Try the dumplings and sushi!

 

Get a $5 photo in the district photo booth.

 

Light breakfast and lunch served in the observation lounge.

 

Order a cheese tray or pizza from room service. It's a flat rate $9.95 for whatever you'd like.

 

Catch a comedy show

 

Play the coin pusher machine in the casino. Great time killer and  we love collecting dice if they have them. We used to get a bubbly poker chip for a free champagne bottle from them on other ships.

 

Buy a martini flight at shakers. 

 

For $1 go to the arcade and play the claw machine to win a rubber duck. You play till you win!

 

Probably teppanyaki,  le bistro, and cagneys. 

 

If you like ice cream there are 4 soft serve machines in the buffet, 2 in the front and 2 in the back which people miss often.

 

Scooped ice cream in the buffet.

 

If they make crepes in the buffet, it's a must.

 

Sometimes on other ships we've seen small snacks in the casino after dinner till maybe 10 or so if I remember correctly. 

 

We're booked for October, can't wait. Definitely a live review to happen. Hope that list gets some ideas going for you. Not everyone's favorites,  just mine. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Great list!

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There's nothing really to add after Clevelands list but I'll expand on one thing regarding Observation Lounge.

On every cruise I've been on, everyone seems to go straight to the buffet to eat lunch after boarding.

On the Escape, it was the buffet and O'Sheehans (the Local).

Both get so crowded.

We sailed Encore January, 2020 and after finalizing our reservations, went straight to the OL.

It was practically empty.

It's a stunning venue with super comfortable seating, lots of snacks/food and a great bar.

It's a great spot to meet new people or, as we were doing, meet others from our party after they boarded.

We're sailing the Joy in January and that will be our go to when we board again.

Happy sailing!

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We are on this sailing too! So excited! I hope someone on a cruise before posts or does some video blogging so we can watch. Never been on the Encore or that class of ship, so even more excited for that. Looking forward to seeing crew and all of you and enjoying Alaska!

 

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10 hours ago, ClevelandCruisin said:

If you like ice cream there are 4 soft serve machines in the buffet, 2 in the front and 2 in the back which people miss often.

Wish I could indulge. For some reason, Soft-Serve on cruise ships and at buffets on land do not agree with my stomach. But Soft-Serve from an ice cream shop I have no issue with.

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I like to open the cruise with a round of dark and stormys at Local/Osheenan at 11:30AM before lunch is served there at noon. Then I like to have 2 more drinks and at 1:30PM get talked into getting premium internet because after a few or 5 dark and stormy's I am agreeable to anything.

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10 hours ago, bkrickles1 said:

There's nothing really to add after Clevelands list but I'll expand on one thing regarding Observation Lounge.

On every cruise I've been on, everyone seems to go straight to the buffet to eat lunch after boarding.

On the Escape, it was the buffet and O'Sheehans (the Local).

Both get so crowded.

We sailed Encore January, 2020 and after finalizing our reservations, went straight to the OL.

It was practically empty.

It's a stunning venue with super comfortable seating, lots of snacks/food and a great bar.

It's a great spot to meet new people or, as we were doing, meet others from our party after they boarded.

We're sailing the Joy in January and that will be our go to when we board again.

Happy sailing!

Shhhh, don’t tell everyone! This is my go-to as well. The OL lunch buffet offers lighter food - flatbreads, soups, etc. - and is a quiet alternative to the Garden Cafe. It’s also the first place open for breakfast, handy for early birds like me. 

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4 hours ago, HowardK said:

I like to open the cruise with a round of dark and stormys at Local/Osheenan at 11:30AM before lunch is served there at noon. Then I like to have 2 more drinks and at 1:30PM get talked into getting premium internet because after a few or 5 dark and stormy's I am agreeable to anything.

I go for a Moscow Mule. Ginger is a seasickness preventative, so it’s healthy, right?

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1 hour ago, coastcat said:

I go for a Moscow Mule. Ginger is a seasickness preventative, so it’s healthy, right?

I started to have a few early 2020 but haven't had any since then-- they were excellent! 

There was also a premade one available in a can that was pretty good.

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Posted (edited)

I cant offer any tips on the itinerary since I have never been to Alaska but can offer a few tips about Encore.  Make as many reservations as you can prior to boarding.  Once onboard immediately finish your reservations.  You can always cancel if you cant make it but its better to cancel an existing reservation than try and get one and the venue is sold out.  Small venues like the Escape Room are limited to small parties and sell out fast. The go karts and laser tag can be cancelled some nights because of weather which makes early reservations even more important.

The highlights for me were:
Onda - so good I could eat there every night.  We went twice

Cagneys - always GOOD

Galaxy Pavilion -  some of these virtual games are so much fun.  We were all screaming like little kids.  Its just silly family fun

Food Republic - make time for at least one lunch there

Snow Room in the spa - It does jolt your body with endorphins 

 

 

The go carts and laser tag were meh for me.  But Encore is packed with fun family fun.  The ship is built for Alaska so you are going to have a blast. Make sure to come back and give us a review.

Edited by david_sobe
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In Ketchikan there is a lumberjack show that is very fun. A block or so away is a Tongass Rainforest museum/conservation education center. It is almost free to get in. The big attraction is a room with a huge screen that has an IMAX type movie of flying over the forest and glaciers. After that I didn't feel so bad about not taking a helicopter tour it was so beautiful.

In Juneau we rented a car and drove to the Mendenhall glacier and then to Douglas Island and ate at  a local pizza place. We were the only cruise passengers there.

The Encore is a beautiful ship. My favorite part was the Observation lounge.

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16 hours ago, david_sobe said:

I cant offer any tips on the itinerary since I have never been to Alaska but can offer a few tips about Encore.  Make as many reservations as you can prior to boarding.  Once onboard immediately finish your reservations.  You can always cancel if you cant make it but its better to cancel an existing reservation than try and get one and the venue is sold out.  Small venues like the Escape Room are limited to small parties and sell out fast. The go karts and laser tag can be cancelled some nights because of weather which makes early reservations even more important.

The highlights for me were:
Onda - so good I could eat there every night.  We went twice

Cagneys - always GOOD

Galaxy Pavilion -  some of these virtual games are so much fun.  We were all screaming like little kids.  Its just silly family fun

Food Republic - make time for at least one lunch there

Snow Room in the spa - It does jolt your body with endorphins 

 

 

The go carts and laser tag were meh for me.  But Encore is packed with fun family fun.  The ship is built for Alaska so you are going to have a blast. Make sure to come back and give us a review.

People don't realize the go karts are electric with sounds to make them sound real. They actually don't go too fast. But your friends can give you the win by shooting you with laser guns on the bridge when you pass.

 

The 3d machines are how much per ride? $9? The week pass is $199 and excludes certain rides. Maybe though.

 

Laser tag... meh. Not for me. 

 

A lot of unique offerings though.

 

 

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3 hours ago, ClevelandCruisin said:

People don't realize the go karts are electric with sounds to make them sound real. They actually don't go too fast. But your friends can give you the win by shooting you with laser guns on the bridge when you pass.

 

The 3d machines are how much per ride? $9? The week pass is $199 and excludes certain rides. Maybe though.

 

Laser tag... meh. Not for me. 

 

A lot of unique offerings though.

 

 

I thought the carts went fairly fast esp for a race track on the ocean.  I was not aware of any week pass for the Galaxy Pavilion.  I think you may be confusing the gaming week package that lets you play video games but excludes some games.  The Galaxy Pavilion is not the arcade and separate area.  Each of the rides costs different amounts.  Not all the rides are for kids either.  The race cars are like driving a real car.  The kids dont drive and cant keep the car on the road.  This frustrates the staff because the cars are stuck after crashing constantly and the kids are always signaling for help to rescue them.  Its not a video game where a car crashes and you just turn the wheel to get back on the road.

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I was looking forward to the go karts (of course cruise was cancelled). However, as I have posted elsewhere I'm not sure I would ever want to share a helmet and covering (even though they have been cleaned and washed). Personally, I think the laser tag could have been used as more outdoor space.

I still might do the Escape or Breakaway next time based on port. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/6/2021 at 6:13 PM, HowardK said:

@Seattle_Guy - I was supposed to go on the Encore last May, but will now being going from Seattle to Alaska in 2023. In turn, could you please make some recommendations on what to see 2-3 days before the cruise starts? Thanks, I appreciate it. 

 

Just some ideas:

* Of course Pike Place Market
* Head 1 hour east into the cascade mountains to Snoqualmie falls, have a meal ($$$) at the lodge. 

* Do something like rent a kayak or boat on Lake Union, the nation's premier urban lake, barring that eat somewhere on Lake Union.

* Explore Ballard in north Seattle, farmers market if timing is right, cute shops and lunch/dinner. If you make it to Ballard hit the Locks and see the salmon climb the fish ladder. 

 

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3 hours ago, Seattle_Guy said:

 

Just some ideas:

* Of course Pike Place Market
* Head 1 hour east into the cascade mountains to Snoqualmie falls, have a meal ($$$) at the lodge. 

* Do something like rent a kayak or boat on Lake Union, the nation's premier urban lake, barring that eat somewhere on Lake Union.

* Explore Ballard in north Seattle, farmers market if timing is right, cute shops and lunch/dinner. If you make it to Ballard hit the Locks and see the salmon climb the fish ladder. 

 

To really experience Lake Union, you could rent an Airbnb houseboat on Lake Union for the few days prior to your cruise. 

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