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Aboard the Norwegian Encore, NCL’s new flagship

The three-day inaugural cruise of the « Norwegian Encore » took place from October 31 to November 2 and The Daily was on board to report on the launch of this magnificent cruise ship. With its undeniable know-how, the American company NCL has done everything possible to offer its passengers a very high quality on-board experience and a wide choice of cruise itineraries.

Mr Harry Sommer (photo below), President and CEO, and Mr Todd Hamilton, International Sales Vice President, were on board to present the new flagship of Norwegian Cruise Line.

The « Norwegian Encore » is the 17th ship in the NCL fleet and the fourth and last in the « Breakaway-Plus Class » range after the Norwegian Joy, Bliss and Escape, each built for $1 billion by the Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany.

With its 324 metres length and a tonnage of 167 800 GT, the « Norwegian Encore » is only slightly smaller than its recently launched competitors but, and this is a major difference, it accommodates less than 4 000 passengers (3 998 maximum) where its competitors accommodate around 6 000.

On the « Norwegian Encore » each passenger thus benefits from a significantly larger space in the cabins, on the outside decks or in restaurants and recreational places.

With its 17 ships NCL takes its passengers to 300 different destinations around the world including the company’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas and its private resort, Harvest Caye, in Belize.

After its inaugural cruise from Bremen in Germany to Southampton in England, the « Norwegian Encore » will head west to Miami.

From November 24th he will make 7-day cruises in the Caribbean, then from April 2020 from New York he will embark his passengers to Canada and New England.

After a new season in the Caribbean in winter 20020/21, it will sail along the west coast of the US from Seattle to Alaska during spring and summer 2021.

The company also offers oenological cruises with the participation of winegrowers and sommeliers from different countries.

Norwegian Encore already offers three of them (01/12/19, 26/01/20, 16/02/20) during which wine lovers will participate in tasting workshops, food and wine pairing workshops and meals with vintage wines.

NCL has created the « Sail and Sustain Environmental Program » within the company to develop environmental protection and sustainable development projects.

Since 2018, plastic straws have been banned from ships, which means 50 million fewer straws every year.

In 2020, plastic bottles will disappear from all boats in the fleet and be replaced by recycled cardboard bottles manufactured by JUST Goods Inc., a company created by the family of actor Will Smith.

In addition, to avoid the transport of millions of bottles of water by cargo ship between a single production site and the ports of call of NCL vessels, the company obtains spring water from several suppliers around the world, thus limiting their transport. And of course NCL invests in new technologies to minimize its emissions of CO2 and other pollutants into the air and the oceans.

NCL has been at the forefront of innovation in the cruise industry since its inception in 1966. It was the first company to own its own private island in 1977, Great Stirrup Cay, one of its flagship destinations in the Bahamas, which has just been completely renovated for $15 million.

The first to offer a specialty restaurant on board, the « Palm Tree » of the M/S Seaward, in 1988. The first to invent Freestyle Cruising, which frees passengers from the time constraints imposed for meals, activities and shows, all in a real holiday atmosphere with no obligations.

The first to offer a specialty restaurant on board, the « Palm Tree » of the M/S Seaward, in 1988. The first to invent Freestyle Cruising, which frees passengers from the time constraints imposed for meals, activities and shows, all in a real holiday atmosphere with no obligations.

It was also the first in 2010 to offer an exclusive luxury complex, « The Haven », open to passengers who have the desire and the means.

This « boat in the boat » offers spacious suites, an indoor swimming pool, a restaurant, a cocktail bar and sun decks with jacuzzi exclusively reserved for the « happy few ».

Finally, since 2010 single travellers have been particularly well cared for with the « Solo suites » offer, single cabins with access to a dedicated lounge, with no « single » supplement.

The only problem that can arise for passengers boarding a 7-day cruise is that they will probably not have time to do and experience everything that is offered on board!

The choice of restaurants, activities and shows is so wide that it will be necessary to choose. There are a total of 16 restaurants offering culinary specialities from around the world (including 7 included in the cruise price and 9 with extra charge), 14 bars plus a Starbucks café, an ice cream stand on board, a pastry shop and a confectionery shop.

In the evening several bars and restaurants welcome pop, rock, country or jazz bands for live sessions.

The shows offered by NCL on board its ships have always been recognized for their quality. Those offered on board the Norwegian Encore are no exception.

The theatre offers several shows alternately. « Kinky Boots » is an American musical that won six Tony Awards, created on Broadway and written and composed by Cindi Lauper. « The Choir of Man » brings together 9 artists who are both singers and dancers who revisit international song standards in their own way.

Finally « Happy Hour Prohibition » is a musical featuring the owner of a speakeasy from New Orleans during prohibition.

The activities on board are just as spectacular, starting with the karting course.

The 3.3 km long runway is the longest available on a cruise ship. The karts are electric but fast enough to create thrills especially in the part of the track that extends beyond the boat’s hull over the ocean!

The Galaxy Pavillion offers virtual reality immersion in F1 cars, hang gliding over mountains and other immersive experiences.

The « Laser Tag » offers an intergalactic battle where two teams battle to save Atlantis over the largest open-air area ever built on a boat.

Do not forget the « Water Park » with its huge slide installed on the upper deck that leads the most courageous along its huge loops, one in particular overlooking the ocean at an altitude of over 50 meters. Thrills guaranteed!

This inaugural cruise allowed us to discover this wonderful ship with the only regret that it was too short.

It was also the opportunity to meet Corinne Renard, the commercial director of UOC, « Un Océan de Croisières », which as its name suggests is the specialist in cruises for all companies around the world.

Leaders of « Oceania Cruises », which is part of the same group as NCL with « Regent Seven Seas Cruises », were also on board to celebrate this magnificent first cruise of the Norwegian Encore.

Annick Dournes