Stepping onto the brand-new Norwegian Encore feels like entering a magical mega resort. Accommodating nearly 4,000 passengers, this last ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class offers a dazzling spectrum of entertainment and activities designed to appeal to a wide range of travelers. “Unique enhancements on Encore include the largest race track at sea; The Galaxy Pavilion, a virtual reality wonderland; and the all-new elevated Italian dining experience Onda by Scarpetta,” says Norwegian’s chief sales officer Katina Athanasiou. She notes that on Encore, as on all the fleet’s ships, Norwegian’s iconic freestyle cruising model allows your clients to curate their vacation exactly how they want it.
My embarkation at PortMiami went smoothly, with a glimpse of Norwegian’s new terminal scheduled to open in June 2020. With a striking oval architectural profile and almost 166,500 sq. ft. of space, the new high-tech terminal will help passengers speed through the embarkation and disembarkation processes.
I thought for sure I’d get lost finding my way around the enormous ship, but it was surprisingly easy thanks to excellent signage, maps on interactive touch screens by the elevators, and directional carpeting in stateroom corridors showing groups of little fish swimming forward.
My balcony stateroom felt compact yet comfy. I enjoyed luxury touches such as a large, glass-fronted walk-in shower with multiple body jets. A magnificent view of Miami waterways and skyline set the tone for an exciting few days ahead.
Sailing on Encore’s inaugural cruise gave me a seat at the sensational opening ceremonies featuring Norwegian’s top brass, snippets of onboard entertainment, and a fabulous concert by Encore’s godmother Kelly Clarkson.
The choices on board can feel overwhelming. There are nearly 30 dining and drinking outlets; myriad play spaces from a large casino to a laser tag arena; a spacious
spa; an interactive kids aqua park, and much more.
With 2,040 staterooms, room categories run the gamut from a studio single to a mini-suite. For clients looking to experience onboard entertainment but retreat to quiet luxury, the ship has 80 suites in the upscale Haven complex, which also houses lounges, a restaurant, and a pool. “I think Encore works great for multigenerational family vacations,” says travel advisor Tina Oakes, Dream Vacations. “Grandparents who want time to to chill” she adds, “could stay in the Haven.” Oakes also recommends the spa staterooms as an upsell for clients who would enjoy using the included spa facilities.
New and Notable
Advise your clients not to miss the musical entertainment on board. From the shows “Kinky Boots” and “The Choir of Man,” to lounge singer WT Greer, this former New Yorker was impressed with the level of talent that rivaled the best on Broadway.
Our day on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in The Bahamas, offered everything from ziplining to paddleboarding to quiet shaded lounges on the beach overlooking the turquoise waters. Currently under construction on the island are resort-style villas and facilities.
What’s In it For Travel Advisors
“We are 100 percent committed to our travel agent partners,” says incoming Norwegian’s president and CEO Harry Sommer. Chief sales officer Katina Athanasiou adds that Norwegian’s sales support staff will double in 2020, “with more opportunities to focus on sales, marketing strategies, and promotional opportunities to drive more demand with travel partners…and exceed your business goals along with us.” She adds that Norwegian’s popular promotional campaign for travel advisors, Free at Sea, “will continue to emphasize value strategies while balancing the best pricing further out to keep us on a solid booking curve where guests are rewarded for planning ahead.”
Norwegian Cruise Line: ncl.com