The Norwegian Encore, a 335 meter long ship with a passenger capacity just shy of 4,000, has officially raised its anchor and set sail. With 17 ships in the company’s fleet, Norwegian, running for over 50 years, offers a level of cruising know-how to meet the expectations of every generation hopping on board. What’s more, its impressive stylish, modern and functional staterooms (decked with USB outlets), as well as its bedazzling Haven wing where 24-hour butlers, private dining and an exclusive indoor pool are on tap, offer a variety of accommodation that caters to every budget and preference.
Its latest ship launch took to the sea with a European preview tour, sailing from Bremerhaven, Germany and arriving in Southampton, England. The preview, taking place ahead of the official christening ceremony by the ship’s godmother and Grammy Award-winning singer Kelly Clarkson, was an opportunity to experience two days of life at sea, with a jam-packed schedule putting every minute to use.
As part of a fun, freestyle, come as you are cruise line, Norwegian Encore lives up to its reputation, and the preview was a welcome opportunity to indulge in all the ship had to offer during its first voyage.
Here are the not to be missed highlights of the Norwegian Encore:
It’s easy to dedicate an entire day to the ship’s never-ending activities, from the new Galaxy Pavilion, featuring over 900m² of immersive virtual reality experiences to make your head spin; and Speedway, the world’s longest race track at sea spanning 335 meters for a thrilling experience through four high-speed curves extending beyond the side of the ship; to open-air laser tag utilizing cutting edge technology which sends passengers to battle the sea creature in the lost city of Atlantis. Weather permitting, the Aqua park is an inviting attractive whizzing through ocean loops and waterslides, which is guaranteed to awaken the inner-child.
The freedom to float between performances, a drink in hand and a taster of all that’s on offer, is an appealing aspect of the cruising lifestyle. One evening was dedicated to the Broadway hit musical Kinky Boots, followed by a stop at the legendary Liverpool Cavern Club to clap along to a Beatles cover band. Another was enjoying the light-hearted showing of The Choir of Man – a melody of songs performed by a male cast in an Irish pub. And as the fun continues into the early hours of the morning, the Social Comedy & Night Club is there to welcome you with comedy and a dance floor of hits.
No matter your taste, preference or how complex the dietary requirement, the Norwegian Encore delivers in the culinary department. Nachos and cheesecake at the American Diner, served at our Chevrolet leather booth – check. A seafood buffet extravaganza at the Garden Café – check. And with such an expanse of restaurants and dessert haunts dotted throughout the ship, rumbling tummies were never a concern. At breakfast, we opted for the buffet, where stations churned out omelettes, waffles, fresh fruit platters and all the hot comforts one’s heart desires. By evening, it was time to dawn our evening best for a lavish meal at Cagney’s steakhouse, where the tuna steak was in a world of its own. With the option to chow down on a slap up plate of fish n’ chips, and other hearty delights at the 24/7 The Local, our next meal was never far from sight.
What better way to spend an evening than working through a cocktail menu at one of a dozen bars? For a moment of grandeur, mood lighting and a luxurious ambience, the A-List Bar was just the spot, where drinks flowed pre and post dinner. Another indulgent hangout is the Atrium Bar, smack in the ship’s center, where mid-day and late-night tipples are encouraged amid the hustle and bustle of fellow passengers. In warmer weather, the ship’s outdoor drinking holes, including Sugarcane and Vibe Beach Club, are a refreshing pitstop to cool off with a hand-crafted cocktail.
With little time to spare, we chose to burn away some calories at the state-of-the-art fitness center, where spin, HIIT, Pilates and meditation classes are quick to fill. A hop away is the oh-so pampering spa with a Thermal Suite, Vitality Pool and tempting repertoire of massages to knead out the knots, and a menu of treatments designed for de-stressing. To round off the experience, the indoor Observation Lounge is a welcoming moment of calm amid a sprawl of loungers and picturesque backdrops, framing expansive 180-degree views of ever-changing sea and landscapes.