Ship review: Norwegian Encore, NCL

Ship review: Norwegian Encore, NCL

Harry Kemble boards Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest vessel

Overview: Norwegian Encore is the fourth and final Breakaway-Plus class ship to launch. Like its sister ships, the 3,998-passenger vessel is jam-packed with innovative features. The enhancements are generally subtle; the go-kart track has been expanded and virtual reality park Galaxy Pavilion makes a return after being overlooked by Norwegian Bliss’ design team.

Cabins: Accommodation is broken down into 2,040 staterooms, which includes 82 studio staterooms and 80 Haven suites set on their own exclusive complex, offering 24-hour butler service, a concierge and private sundeck. Thirty are outside the actual complex, but still offer the same services. More than half the staterooms available are balcony cabins, featuring a double bed, sofa and sizeable bathroom.

There are 29 dining venues onboard – and you’ll be hard-pressed to eat at, let alone find, each one during a cruise

Food and Drink: There are 29 dining venues onboard – and you’ll be hard-pressed to eat at, let alone find, each one during a cruise. A la carte Italian restaurant Onda by Scarpetta on deck eight is new, with a menu featuring traditional and contemporary dishes; veal chop Milanese and black cod are among the highlights. It’s no surprise the line has already announced that the restaurant, which has made its name in some of the hottest cities across the world, is also being rolled out onto other ships in the fleet. NCL favourites – signature steakhouse Cagney’s, Japanese eatery Teppanyaki and Mexican restaurant Los Lobos – can also be found onboard.

Facilities: Commentators were wowed when NCL put a go-kart track on Bliss. Encore not only has an expanded track – with a section that goes over the side of the ship – but also a laser tag arena, water park, spa and the Galaxy Pavilion, featuring virtual reality rides and arcade games across 10,000sq ft. Yet despite all this, you never feel as though overcrowding is a problem. There are plenty of areas for those wanting to get away from the action – including the Observation Lounge on deck 15 and The Haven Lounge on deck 17 (adults-only, and included for passengers in The Haven suites).

The Mandara Spa can hold 120 passengers and costs $269 for unlimited access on a seven-day cruise

USP: It is always staggering how NCL manages to fit so much on its Breakaway-Plus class ships without ruining the aesthetic or the atmosphere on board. The quality remains high, regardless of the activity you are doing or the restaurant you’re eating in. This is the perfect vessel for a family as it has something for all age groups.

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