The Observation Lounge, Norwegian Encore

Taking a Bow:Norwegian Encore

In 2015, Norwegian Cruise Line introduced Norwegian Escape, the first of its Breakaway Plus–class ships, packed with innovative dining, entertainment, and groundbreaking outdoor activities. Norwegian Joy (2017) and Norwegian Bliss (2018) added a go-kart race track, outdoor laser tag, expanded dining, a seagoing outpost of Liverpool’s Cavern Club, and a world of virtual-reality experiences. We wanted more.

We wanted the Encore, the fourth and final ship of Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus lineup.

Encore Aboard

With a 167,800 gross tonnage and a capacity of 3,998 passengers, Norwegian Encore is hard to miss. Her bow seems as if it has been dipped in a river of vivid yellows, reds, blues, and greens which swirl like festive ribbons along the sides of the ship. This bold design, created by renowned Spanish artist Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, may capture the round-the-clock party atmosphere on board, but in terms of the ship’s interior design, it couldn’t be more misleading.

Once aboard Norwegian Encore, guests are embraced by restful, classic color schemes, with beiges, creams, rusts, and blues predominating. Elegant fixtures or table lamps cast an amber glow while throw pillows rest on tufted leather couches and easy chairs. Woods, marble, and touches of copper add a homey feeling of warmth.

Within this peaceful ambience, there is the occasional surprise, like the sculpture that dangles from the ceiling of Encore’s three-deck atrium. Some believe this massive color-changing piece represents a bouquet of tulips, while others believe it more closely resembles enormous, multi-hued Chinese eggrolls. Art is subjective, I suppose.

From Studio to Haven

From solo digs to families, there are perfect accommodations for everyone … each with an in-room coffee maker, I’m happy to say!

The ingenious single-occupancy Studio, which first debuted in 2010 aboard Norwegian Epic, gives the solo traveler a cruising option that not only eliminates that pesky single supplement but gives exclusive key-card access to the Studio Complex and Studio Lounge.

Families can sail in comfort with adjoining mini-suites, balcony, or outside cabins … or, for the greatest value, Norwegian offers a family inside accommodation, a cozy, 135-square-foot stateroom that features two lower beds which convert to a queen, along with two Pullman beds.

But the most lavish and spacious option is, of course, The Haven, that private, all-suite, ship-within-a-ship that includes 24-hour butler service, concierge service, private restaurant and lounge, pool, sundeck, and more.

A Taste of Encore

Norwegian changed the face of cruise dining with its freestyle concept, which shattered the tradition of assigned seating, and was the first line to introduce a specialty restaurant: Le Bistro. Today, Encore takes those traditions to a staggering new level.

Guests find 20 dining venues; many, like Cagney’s Steakhouse, Teppanyaki, and Le Bistro, are old favorites that appear on other classes of ships. Others, like Q Barbecue, Ocean Blue, and Los Lobos, have been borrowed from…

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By Judi Cuervo

Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.