We just returned from an Alaska cruise with NCL and want to share the 10 things you need to do on your Norwegian Encore cruise.
Norwegian Encore is the final ship in the Breakaway-Plus Class, with a gross tonnage of 169K and accommodating just under 4,000 guests at double occupancy, Norwegian Encore boasts all the bells and whistles of modern mega-ships making it an attractive option for families, multi-generational groups, and couples.
We personally love all the onboard attractions, entertainment options, and specialty dining venues. Having been over 4 years since we last cruised on this class of ship, we almost forgot how much we liked Norwegian Encore.
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10 Things You Need to Do During Your Norwegian Encore Cruise
Zoom Your Way to the Finish Line on the Encore Speedway
One of our favorite attractions on the ship is the Encore Speedway. Yes, this racetrack is still open even in Alaska. In fact, we put the pedal to the metal in the afternoon after cruising Glacier Bay National Park. Where else can you race family and friends with views like these?
Found only on select ships in the NCL fleet, guests can purchase single rides or week-long passes for this attraction.
The Encore Speedway covers over 1,100 feet with 10 turns and 4 points that extend up to 13 feet over the side of the ship. There is also a viewing area where bystanders can watch the race and provide a temporary speed boost to their favorite drivers.
Battle it Out in a Game of Laser Tag
Join a team, get suited up with a blaster, and prepare for the most thrilling laser tag experience at sea on Norwegian Encore. It’s certainly a step above the inflatable laser tag experiences found on some other cruise lines.
As one of the largest and most intricate laser tag arenas at sea, be prepared to use some strategy if you want your team to emerge from this 10-minute game with some bragging rights.
This lost city of Atlantis-themed game is a great activity for kids, families, and kids at heart like us. It is open most evenings of the cruise, weather dependent.
Get Virtual in the Galaxy Pavilion
Norwegian Encore features one of the most interactive gaming areas at sea as well, the Galaxy Pavilion. This family-friendly space features a variety of virtual reality experiences including dark ride simulators, a drive simulator, a virtual reality escape room, and much more.
Guests have the option to purchase single rides, an hour of play, a day pass, or the ultimate pass depending on how much gaming they plan to do during the cruise.
The escape room is an additional fee and reservations are required for this attraction, so be sure to make them early in the cruise.
Take the Plunge on the Waterslides
Similar to other NCL ships, Norwegian Encore has an aqua park featuring some of the most adventurous waterslides at sea. The Ocean Loops free fall slide will have you twisting and turning and even extending over the side of the ship during your ride. There is even a see-through portion so you can witness it all.
For those looking for a tamer experience, there is also the multi-story Aqua Racer waterslide and the kids’ aqua park.
Yes, these waterslides are open even in Alaska and some brave souls did take the plunge. We weren’t one of them!
Enjoy all the Signature Entertainment
Norwegian Encore is home to one of the best NCL signature productions, Choir of Man. Join the boys for a drink at The Jungle and get ready for some high-energy dancing and singing. Set in an English pub, the talented cast perform a number of hits that will have you singing right along with them. There’s even some audience participation involved.
Besides this signature production, the main theater features other headliner acts during the cruise.
There’s also additional nightly entertainment in the Social and the Cavern Club. The Social is the place to be for comedy shows, various parties like the popular GLOW party or silent disco, and the late night club. The Cavern Club, inspired by the Liverpool landmark, offers Beatles tribute band performances during the cruise as well. If that’s not enough, there are several other live musical acts found around the ship.
The Choir of Man and comedy shows do require reservations, or you can attempt to go standby for the performances.
Admire the Views from the Observation Lounge
One of the reasons that we love Norwegian Encore is that there are so many different places to admire the views.
The Observation Lounge, located all the way forward on Deck 15, features wall-to-wall glass windows overlooking the bow and several different seating options– making it the perfect place to watch the ship sail into port, which is particularly appealing in Alaska.
This indoor venue also offers snacks during the day, as well as a full bar. It was a very popular spot during our cruise, especially during our time in Glacier Bay when the park rangers set up shop for Q&A.
Guests staying in the Haven have their very own Horizon Lounge offering a similar yet more private experience.
Stroll the Waterfront
If you’d prefer to spend your time outdoors, Norwegian Encore is also home to the very popular Waterfront on Deck 8. This 1/3-of-a-mile-long promenade gets you closer to the ocean and is another perfect spot for glacier viewing or wildlife sighting.
The Waterfront features several comfortable seating options (some of which even have overhead heaters), along with outdoor dining and bars if the weather allows. The outdoor portion of the Sugarcane Mojito Bar features a small selection of sustainable cocktails, similar to those found at the Metropolitan Bar on Norwegian Prima.
So, carve out your own quiet nook to relax, be on the lookout for wildlife, grab a drink, or just enjoy the serenity of Alaska.
Grab a Drink at One of Our Favorite Bars
Speaking of drinks, Norwegian Encore is home to two of our favorite bars. Personally, one of my favorite bars at sea is the Sugarcane Mojito Bar. This bar features a large selection of mojitos, including our go-to Raspberry Guava and Jalapeno Cucumber mojitos. It also has live Latin music in the evenings, which might get you up on your feet.
While the Sugarcane Mojito Bar is my favorite bar, Don loves the District Brewhouse. This bar offers up to 50 different bottled and 22 draft beers. There’s also plenty of comfy seating and large windows so you never miss a view. In the evenings, this brewhouse comes alive with piano bar vibes.
The best part is that the drinks at these bars are included in the NCL beverage packages. With the Free Open Bar included in the popular Free at Sea booking promotion, you can enjoy all these drinks and more. (There’s also a wine bar and a whiskey bar!)
If you decide to upgrade your drink package to the Premium Plus package, Starbucks is also included. Actually, this might be the “bar” we frequented the most during our Alaska cruise on Norwegian Encore.
Savor All the Dining Options
When it comes to dining, Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator of the Freestyle approach. Norwegian Encore features several specialty restaurants to suit all tastes including the popular Cagney’s steakhouse, the upscale Le Bistro, and the seafood-centric Ocean Blue.
There’s also the more casual Q Texas Smokehouse with live music, Los Lobos with some table-made guacamole, and the entertaining dinner-and-a-show at Teppanyaki, along with Onda by Scarpetta and the Food Republic which are two of our favorites. Onda features high-end Italian cuisine, while Food Republic offers a wide selection of tapas with a fusion of flavors.
While these restaurants are an up-charge, guests booking with Free at Sea will receive a set number of free meals— two for a week-long cruise in a balcony stateroom. Guests with certain NCL loyalty status will even receive additional meals.
Of course, there are many complimentary dining options to enjoy on Norwegian Encore as well. The ship features three main dining rooms: Savor, Taste, and The Manhattan Room. Each of these venues is open nightly for dinner offering a rotational menu with different selections each night. Savor and Taste also open for sit-down breakfast and lunch on select days.
There’s also the Garden Café buffet, which featured a “steak and shrimp dinner” one evening of our cruise, and the popular The Local Bar & Grill. This 24-hour pub serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as late-night snacks that are completely complimentary. Let’s just say that Don may have had his fair share of chicken wings!
Upgrade Your Vacation
If you are looking to splurge a little on your vacation, there are two upgrades that we think are worth the added fee, whether you are sailing in Alaska or the Caribbean.
The Vibe Beach Club is a 2-story private retreat for the 18+ crowd. It features plenty of comfy loungers, hot tubs that extend off the side of the ship, a full bar, and light snacks during the day. This space was a great outdoor spot for glacier viewing away from the crowds. The hot tubs were pretty popular on our Alaska cruise as well.
The Mandara Spa’s thermal suite is another great upgrade, especially in Alaska. This aft-facing relaxation zone features hot tile loungers with 270’ views. There’s also a hydrotherapy pool, which is indoors unlike the two main pools, and other rejuvenating experiences—like a sauna, steam rooms, a salt room, and a snow room. Guests can purchase week-long passes to the thermal suite or day passes on port days based on availability.
Do you agree with our list of the top things to do on Norwegian Encore? What are your favorite activities on this NCL Breakaway-Plus Class ship? Drop us an anchor below to share what you love about Norwegian Cruise Line.