Ship Review: Norwegian Encore

by  Laura Motta | Feb 24, 2020
Norwegian Encore exterior
Norwegian Encore exterior / Courtesy of the cruise line

The last in Norwegian’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Encore set sail in November of 2019 and joined her sisters — Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy — to become one of the highest-profile megaships at sea. Here’s what we saw when we attended her inaugural celebrations in Germany.  

What We Love

Onda by Scarpetta: This elegant Italian specialty eatery comes courtesy of the team at the blockbuster restaurant, Scarpetta, which has locations in places like New York and Las Vegas. It's the ship’s best dining venue, and among the best Italian restaurants at sea. You’ll enjoy the sleek decor, plus the spaghetti with tomato and basil; it's Scarpetta's signature dish for a good reason.  

High-Drama Laser Tag: The whole sports-and-recreation area has been re-thought from previous ships, with an expansive laser tag game occupying an open-air space on the top deck. Taking its inspiration from the lost city of Atlantis, this eye-popping area contains an enormous sculpture of a coiling snake that players can run through and around during the game. Augmented reality elements and settings that can remove any realistic shooting gestures for smaller kids (and their concerned parents) are impressive and technically ambitious. We can see families and groups having a blast with this.  

It Offers Excellent Value: As with all of Norwegian’s newer ships, Encore offers impressive value. Smart and often elegant design, varied and well-prepared food, and high-wattage entertainment elements combine here in a vacation that costs significantly less than comparable land options. 

Read More: Photo Tour: Norwegian Encore

Best Known For

Being the Best (And Last) in the Class: Norwegian’s Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus classes enter retirement after Norwegian Encore, ending a productive era for the cruise line that began in 2013 and included six ships. This ship combines all of the elements that worked well on her sister ships and is the most finely tuned of the class.

The Most Daring Go-Kart Racing: All of the Breakaway-Plus ships have a fun go-kart racing course, but this one is faster than ever and includes an observation deck for friends and family who want to cheer on their favorite driver. The track, too, is cantilevered over the side of the ship so that you’ll feel like you’re closer to the open sky than ever.

Read More: Norwegian Joy vs. Bliss: A Closer Look at Two Major New Cruise Ships

Who It's Best For: 

Families and Groups With Varying Tastes and Needs: We like that all of the Breakaway-Plus class ships have a lot to offer groups and families traveling together. From the elegant luxury cabins in The Haven, to the expansive spa, to the high-watt entertainment options (Kinky Boots, The Choir of Man), there’s enough variety here to cater to a wide swath of travelers.

Tweens and Teens: With a cutting edge gaming space that includes augmented reality challenges, an F1 racing game, and multiple escape rooms, this ship is a good fit for families with bigger kids and teens. Waterslides, laser tag, and the go-karts seem designed to lure kids away from their phones, even for just a few hours.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You:

It’s Still a Megaship: There’s a Mondavi-branded wine bar, a breathtaking luxury ship-within-a-ship in The Haven, a spa with dozens of thermal beds plus plush amenities like a pink sea salt room, but at the end of the day, you’re still sailing with nearly 4,000 other passengers.

Perfect Day at CocoCay
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