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Live from the Encore July 24-31


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10 hours ago, YVRteacher said:

I also wanted to add that there are 3600 passengers on board including 800 kids.

3600! That's about 90% capacity. We are on next week's sailing and I was hoping that it would only be in the 60-80% range. Bummer.

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I agree with your dad about the decorative pillows. I piled them on the couch with a note for the room steward to remove them. 

We weren't impressed with Bowen the concierge. Can't remember the ship we were on, but he pretty much shifted everything to the assistant concierge and butlers. Wasn't friendly either. 

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1 hour ago, gvgseg said:

3600! That's about 90% capacity. We are on next week's sailing and I was hoping that it would only be in the 60-80% range. Bummer.

I think the days of less than 90% capacity are over.  Good news is, that means NCL can get back to good financial health.  Bad news, all those cruises with more crew than guests are no longer.

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Cruise Day 3 Part 1

Yesterday we were sitting down and a deck manager was walking around chatting to people.  She stopped by and asked how we were enjoying the cruise.  We said it was wonderful so far, we told her the food was outstanding and we also mentioned that our cabin was very noisy due to the constant rattling.  An alarmed look passed across her face and she said she would have to report this.  I wasn’t telling her with the intent to report.  I was just making conversation.  Last night we were both in bed and the phone rang.  It was the deck manager’s supervisor wanting to come to our cabin to talk about the cabin.  I said I was in my pajamas.  She said ok, but could she come to the cabin to talk to us.  I didn’t even have a bra on!  Good grief.  I told her we could talk about this in the morning.  Besides, my dad Macgyvred the cabin with folded up pieces of yesterday’s Freestyle Daily wedged in all the rattling crevices so today the rattling is greatly reduced.  There are screws missing from the balcony divider so it hit the metal railings ALL NIGHT LONG the first night.  Note: this is not “how to jimmy open your balcony divider” lesson.


We are in a forward facing Haven penthouse (as I mentioned before it is not actually in the Haven but it is part of the Haven.) We normally cruise on the Jewel class ships in a two bedroom family penthouse.  Our cabin on the Encore is nice and it’s definitely a completely different experience.  I had read that the ship’s motion is more noticeable in these cabins and it’s true.  I assumed it would be a front to back motion but it’s much more side to side. There is  also a lurching motion which takes some getting used to.  On the first night it felt to me like being in the car with a new driver learning to handle a stick shift.

The decor on the Encore, in both the public spaces and the cabins, is much more elegant and calming than on the Jewel class ships.  Our cabin is different shades of light browns and greys with no garish turquoise door that feels like you’re entering a Tiki bar decorated with hula dancer action figures.


This morning we ran into our cabin steward.  He stopped to say to my dad “I noticed you’ve been piling all the pillows in the corner.  Do you not want them on the bed?😄

My dad said he has one head so he only needs one pillow.  The room steward (I Wayan) said “really, just one pillow?”  Tonight there were 8 pillows on his bed.


As we were enjoying delicious eggs Benedict for breakfast, whales appeared.  Whale after whale after whale!  We saw tail flips, spouts, dives and a baby learning to spout.  It’s puffs were just so little!  The captain was in the Haven restaurant for breakfast today but he didn’t talk to or say hi to anyone.


In the atrium the pastry ladies are handing out cinnamon sugar doughnuts.  I don’t take one because I had an almond croissant in the Haven. I choose my calories wisely!  The How To Run a Floating Hotel session was excellent.  9 crew members presented and answered questions.  Deepak did most of the talking!


At noon today we did Wines around the World.  It took place in Cellars.  12 people were present for the session.  I don’t really like wine but even if I did this wasn’t a fun activity.  It was lame.  There were 4 stations set up with a waiter at each station.  Wines from the United States, France, Argentina and Italy were featured and a red and a white from each country were available for tasting.  When we first gathered the manager of Cellars told us the staff members at each station knew a lot about the wines and would tell us about them.  

No one knew anything.  It was over in 15 minutes and the wines all tasted like disappointment.


I forgot to mention that yesterday we went to the District to enjoy Beau and we watched the Newlywed Not So Newlywed game.  Paquito rushed the questions and put words into people’s mouths.   There were families with little kids in the front row and at one point one of the wives said something about “scratching his scrotum” so the mom leapt up and took her kids with her.  One didn’t want to leave!


I told my dad the people want more of what he thinks.  

He said with the sheer volume of people you’re going to get conflict (this was right after a woman lunged at me and body checked me in the elevator on purpose. Everyone on the elevator was stunned and we all said we hope we don’t run into her again.  If this was you and you happen to be reading, I hope your day gets better, I hope you take off your backpack in the next elevator and I hope you get some professional counseling for your anger management issues.)

He also said “I don’t like the low ceilings as it makes me feel closed in.  Outside it’s not bad.  Inside it makes me feel claustrophobic.  However they did put on a good show in the theatre last night.  That was a plus.  The staff on board are excellent.  No complaints!  They must put up with an awful lot!”

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Cruise Day 3 Part 2


Today was epic.  

Not only did I finally figure out how to work all the light switches in the cabin but we had the best whale watching experience ever.

First, let’s talk about light switches.  One time my dad and I were on the NCL Pearl.  Our cabin felt a little dark and we noticed one of the ceiling lights wasn’t working.  We told our cabin steward and he looked up, looked at us and said, “ma’am, sir, that is the speaker.”


Onto whale watching.  On the Jewel in May we had an active Cruise Critic roll call and we ended up hitting it off so well we gathered most days for a couple of hours before dinner.  A woman and her mother came back from their privately-booked excursion and highly recommended the company.  We decided to try the same company and wow!  We went with Jayleen’s.  Our captain (Jim) picked us up at the ship and drove us to Auke Bay.  There were 6 of us in a small but mighty boat.  This boat could move!  We zipped over the water like a loon in flight.  We rode those waves and at one point I almost yelled yee haw; it was so fun! 

Then there were the leaping salmon, lounging sea lions and playful whales! We had three hours of constant whales.  There were two sets of moms and babies plus several lone whales.  Our captain was squealing with excitement as if he were a child on Christmas morning who had all his red rider bibi gun dreams come true.  (When I was a teenager my mom used to do laundry and hang it outside to dry.  She likes the fresh feeling of air dried clothes.  Personally, I like a real dryer with a Bounce sheet in there!  Anyhow, one time she hung up my bra and the 13-year-old next door neighbour shot it off the clothes line with his bibi gun.)


To see the massive humpbacks flinging themselves out of the ocean in a full breach was truly breathtaking.  Once, twice, three times we saw complete breaches.  A baby approached our boat and circled us while flapping flippers.  I was unsure about the timing for Juneau (3pm-11pm) and seeing the whales as the clouds lifted, the Chilkoot mountains were revealed and the sun made the ocean sparkle was just the biggest gift.  When I thanked the captain at the end of the tour I told him that part of what made this experience so special was seeing his joy and delight and sense of wonder.  He said not everyone gets how special these whales are and he in turn appreciated our excitement and awe and enthusiasm.  He said this was a really special afternoon.  He is right.

After the whale watching we had the option of being dropped off in Juneau or returning to the ship.  I asked my dad what he preferred and he said he wanted to return to the ship.  Sitting in the special seat next to the captain and being wowed by all those whales wore him right out!

We ate dinner in the Garden Cafe and there were so many items from which to choose!  I had some Indian food, part of a vegetarian burrito, some mac and cheese and a piece of fruit cake.  Not the kind of fruit cake that looks like a door stop at Christmas time but the good kind.  My dad felt like a burger so he had a burger and a piece of chocolate cake.  He also had a big bowl of butter pecan ice cream with butterscotch sauce.  If you travel with your dad and he gets grumbly, take him to the ice cream station and show him the sauce dispenser.  


We went to Speed Trivia then to the Encore Theatre for the comedy and magic show with Chase and Kaileigh.  They were great!  If you get a chance to see these two, go for it.  You won’t be disappointed.  We didn’t see Alexa today but she is doing Abba tomorrow night and I am already practicing my Dancing Queen moves in anticipation.


We definitely did not get our money’s worth from the beverage package today.  I only had one drink.  Luckily it was a good one.  Tomorrow I will need to double up after our full day in Skagway.


Tonight just before my dad went to sleep I knocked on his door and asked how he felt about the day.

He said “it was pretty good.”

Then he paused and asked, “what did we do today?”


Today’s book recommendation from this teacher librarian is for all the grandparents who might want to gift a book.  Mo Willems is known for Elephant and Piggie and he also wrote the lesser-known Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed.  It’s a must read!


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Today’s dad moment:

at lunch my dad ordered a Kona Longboard ale to go with his Frito Misto. When the waitress poured his beer from the bottle into the glass she didn’t tap the last few drops out like he always does.  He looked at me woefully and said, “she could have poured the whole thing.”

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54 minutes ago, YVRteacher said:

A woman and her mother came back from their privately-booked excursion and highly recommended the company.  We decided to try the same company and wow!  We went with Jayleen’s.  Our captain (Jim) picked us up at the ship and drove us to Auke Bay.  There were 6 of us in a small but mighty boat.  


I think those small boats are the best way to whale watch.  We went with Jayleen's uncle, Steve Olmstead (Alaska Humpback Adventures) and had a similar experience.  As I recall at one point Steve was on the radio to Jayleen and next thing we know we're zipping towards her location to see a group (pod?) of whales.  Seems those small boats have a lot more flexibility.

Loving the review, we're on Encore when she starts Caribbean cruises in November.

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On 7/26/2022 at 2:34 AM, YVRteacher said:

The Cruise Next Manager is telling everyone that if they book a future cruise by 8:00pm tonight they will get 40% plus an additional 10% off for booking on board and they will give a free cabin upgrade.  I know this is his job, but this doesn’t seem accurate to me.  Anyone experience booking incentives like this before???

Love your review thus far, thank you!


I wanted to mention that this sounds kind of like the sale NCL was running through Monday evening. NCL also added a 10% coupon into my account randomly which we applied to our March cruise. I wonder if this is why the Cruise Next guy was running a 50% sale, because it echoed what we received on that cruise.


As for the cabin upgrade - is this only for the lowest rooms? Typically, I've found that it doesn't apply to Club Balconies or Haven rooms. 


Having said that, I don't trust the Cruise Next people at all, so I would definitely be wary! 

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6 hours ago, YVRteacher said:

Wines Around the World



What is sad is that all of those wines are pretty much standard everyday lines that are readily available at most grocery stores except for the East and West, which is the NCL house wine, as I call it.  It's not terrible and if I were to price it in the store, it would be like a $9 bottle of everyday wine.


Loving your review and your dad.  My father worked in the cruise industry (engineer) for 52 years.  When he retired and was cruising, he was one of the biggest critics of the major brand lines.  He never had many nice things to say and couldn't enjoy himself except to see us kids and his wife having a great time.  Your dad and his comments remind me of him so much. 

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Thanks for the Wines Around the World pics and notes. Looks like they are all between $13-22 retail wines. Won't be overly sad if I miss it, but if I have nothing else going on, I'll do it. I think those that got the $50 credit while it was suspended got the best end of the deal.

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