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Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review


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Ship Overview

Having just returned from Alaska on Princess Cruises, we were eager to explore more of the region on this trip. It had been a while since we sailed on a Norwegian Cruise Line Breakaway-Plus Class ship. We attended the 3-day naming ceremony for Norwegian Encore back in 2019 and we also sailed Norwegian Bliss to Alaska back in 2018.

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. She is one of five Norwegian Cruise Line ships sailing in Alaska this year, along with sister ship, Norwegian Bliss.

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Norwegian Encore boasts all the bells and whistles of modern mega-ships making it an attractive option for families and multi-generational groups. From a 1,100 foot long racetrack at the top of the ship, to the largest and most immersive laser tag arena at sea, and the Galaxy Pavilion VR gaming area, there is plenty to keep the kids and teens entertained between ports of call.

Not to mention, the ship features the forward-facing Observation Lounge perfect for Alaska, two pools and whirlpools, a spa and thermal suite, and the deck 8 Waterfront promenade. There’s also everybody’s favorite production show, Choir of Man; Beatles tribute bands in The Cavern Club; comedy shows in The Social; and all your other typical cruise activities from trivia to a silent disco and the GLOW party.

When it comes to dining, Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator of the Freestyle approach. Thus, Norwegian Encore features several specialty restaurants including the signature steakhouse Cagney’s, Onda by Scarpetta, Le Bistro, and more. There’s also three complimentary main dining rooms, The Local Bar & Grill, and the Garden Café buffet. When you get thirsty, there’s plenty of bars to grab a drink too, including two of our favorites, the Sugarcane Mojito Bar and the District Brewhouse.

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Don’t worry, Norwegian’s Free at Sea has you covered with a free open bar, specialty dining, and even more perks. This offer features a Premium Beverage Package and 2-meal specialty dining package for a 7-day cruise (balcony and above). It is important to note that guests still need to pay the 20% gratuity on these free perks at the time of booking.

Since our last sailing on Norwegian Encore back in 2019, not much has changed. The ship is still in great condition and you can find all your NCL favorites on board. The one noticeable difference is that Kinky Boots is no longer a main theater production show, which is a bit of a disappointment as it was great.

This Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review was a 7-day roundtrip cruise from Seattle including a stop in Glacier Bay. Additionally, it included four ports of call: Juneau; Skagway; Ketchikan; and Victoria, BC. As always, in our signature day-by-day review below, we detail our sailing in the region on Norwegian Encore.

SCORE BIG ON NCL ENCORE ALASKA CRUISES BY BOOKING NOW!

Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review – Day 1

A Pre-Cruise Night

For this Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review, we flew into Seattle a day early as we always recommend. Booking a hotel stay at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront, we were in a prime location to get to Pier 66 on embarkation day.

Feeling a bit tired from all our recent travels, we didn’t do much in Seattle this time around. With the beautiful weather, we did manage to walk around the waterfront area a bit and grabbed some food at Elliott’s Oyster House.

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The Seattle Marriott Waterfront is literally across the street from NCL’s docking location in Seattle. Checking out of the hotel by 11 AM, we simply walked across the street, dropped our bags with the porters, and were onward to the terminal check-in process in no time.

Welcome Aboard Norwegian Encore

Given priority embarkation by NCL, we breezed through this process and were onboard in about 20 minutes. We decided to immediately proceed to our muster station to check-in for this mandatory safety briefing. Much like other cruise lines, you can watch the safety video on your stateroom television or smartphone and just simply need to stop by your actual assembly station for a quick overview.

Since we were being hosted by the cruise line on this sailing, we then met with our onboard contact before beginning our typical embarkation day routine. This took us up to the top of the ship where we began taking photos and videos for about the next 1.5 hours. This included areas like the pool deck, fitness center, Vibe Beach Club, the Encore Speedway, laser tag, and the Seattle skyline.

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Approaching 2 PM, and the cabins still not ready, we decided to grab some lunch at The Local Bar & Grill. This sit-down venue is a great complimentary option and alternative to the buffet. I sampled the chicken salad sandwich, while Don devoured some of what he calls the best chicken wings at sea.

By the time we finished lunch, the cabins were ready. So, we decided to grab some Starbucks and head upstairs to drop off our carry-on items. Of note, Starbucks is included in the Premium Plus beverage package on NCL!

Our cabin was 12718, a Category BA cabin located pretty far forward on the starboard side of Deck 12. This cabin looked in really good shape still considering the ship is a few years old now. It had modern décor and was a pretty standard size and layout when it comes to balcony cabins.

The bathroom and shower did feel a bit more spacious, whereas the balcony itself is somewhat smaller when compared to other cruise lines. Nonetheless, we still recommend a balcony cabin especially in Alaska.

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The layout of the room had the desk and sofa closer to the entrance and the bed closer to the balcony, which is our preferred layout. We also liked that there were USB outlets near the bed for charging our phones at night.

Given that sail away was not until 5 PM, we took some time to get photos and videos of our cabin and begin some unpacking.

Come Sail Away

Taking a break around 4 PM, we headed outside to scout out a spot for the sail away. Perched over the pool deck, we had a great vantage spot of the ship with the Space Needle on one side and Mount Rainier on the other side. After a bit, we also headed down to the pool deck to catch some of the sail away party. It was certainly more lively than our recent sail away on Princess Cruises.

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While it was a gorgeous day in Seattle, as the ship pulled away and starting picking up some speed, it got noticeably windier and colder. Thus, we headed back inside to prepare for our first evening on Norwegian Encore. With a busy Alaska itinerary, we needed to make good use of our time to ensure we still got to experience everything on the ship.

Back to the cabin, we finished unpacking and got ready for dinner. Tonight, we were dining at Cagney’s our first of seven specialty dinners.

Our First of Many Specialty Dinners

Surprisingly, Cagney’s is one cruise line’s steakhouse that does not offer any chicken or vegetarian option on the menu. Thus, I had to make a special request, with which the manager was happy to oblige.

Starting off the meal, I sampled the baked onion soup and the wedge salad, while Don ordered the shrimp cocktail and ahi tuna tartare. All were pretty typical steakhouse appetizers; though, I would have to admit that the soup did not live up to the famous black and blue onion soup at the Crown Grill on Princess Cruises.

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For entrees, the chef grilled me up some chicken breasts, and Don enjoyed his filet mignon. Perhaps the highlight of the meal though was the aptly named OMG caramel-butterscotch cheesecake.

With dinner taking a solid two hours this evening, we made a brief stop at the Social to check out the silent disco before heading to the theater for the first show of the cruise at 9:30 PM. The two comedians, who would perform multiple sets over the course of the week in the more intimate Social Comedy Club, had an introductory show in the theater tonight.

The two comedians on this sailing were Travis Nelson and Lucas Bohn. Of the two, we thought Lucas was funnier and definitely the edgier comedian. Let’s just say a couple may have stormed out of the theater because they didn’t agree with his material.

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Following the comedy show, we made one more stop of the night at my favorite bar on the ship, the Sugarcane Mojito Bar. We had to start the cruise off right with a Raspberry-Guava and Jalapeno Cucumber mojito.

Chatting and enjoying our drinks, we decided to call it a night around 11:30 PM.

Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review – Day 2

Our First Sea Day

Day 2 of this Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review was a sea day. Since Don was working his full-time job again during this trip, we were up around 5:30 AM. Don headed out to grab our morning Starbucks along with some photos and videos around the ship before jumping on some conference calls by 7 AM. This is about the only time that the Observation Lounge was relatively empty.

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Around 10 AM, we took a break to attend the This is Alaska presentation in the theater. Unfortunately, this was a glorified shore excursions talk with some Alaska facts interspersed. Curated Alaska programming is definitely one thing we missed on NCL.

Attempting to head outdoors on the Waterfront, it was extremely windy, so we decided to stay indoors instead. Exploring more of the ship, we decided it was time for lunch around 12:30 PM. The fusion restaurant, Food Republic, was open for lunch on this sea day. So, what better time to grab some tapas than right now.

An Afternoon Feast

We think the Food Republic is a hidden gem, but for some reason the venue is never busy. With the specialty dining package, cruisers can order 4 plates off the menu. This makes it a great dining option with friends as you can share multiple plates.

Don ordered the tiger rolls, pastrami and sauerkraut dumplings, kimchee fried rice, and salt & pepper calamari. He enjoyed all these selections and still stands by this being his favorite NCL restaurant. I ordered the Thai chicken lettuce wraps, chicken teriyaki, Korean fried chicken, and liege waffle for dessert. While all were good, my favorite was the Korean chicken.

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This feast did take 90+ minutes, so by now, we were in need of our afternoon coffee. Back to Starbucks, we stumbled upon a Deal or No Deal game starting soon in the Atrium. Why not stick around and play? We purchased two cards for $49. While always fun to watch, we weren’t very lucky this time. We won an instant play ticket which resulted in a whopping $1.

By now, it was after 3:30 PM. Thus, we headed back to our cabin for a little work and scenic cruising before dinner. Tonight’s dinner was at 7 PM in Le Bistro; it was also the line’s Dress Up or Not Night.

Dinner and a Show

To dinner right on time, tonight’s specialty dining experience also lasted just about 2 hours. While our meal was good, Le Bistro is probably our least favorite restaurant on the ship.

Don started with the escargot and endive salad, while I did the goat cheese croquettes salad. For an entrée, I ordered the coq au vin and Don did the lamb chops. For dessert, we tested out the chocolate marquise and fraisier cake. Of all the items, the coq au vin was the standout dish of the evening.

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With the Not So Newlywed game show occurring at 9 PM and our Choir of Man reservation at 10 PM, we made our way to the Atrium after dinner for the first half of this game show. While always a good time, a rather tipsy contestant made the show even funnier.

Honestly, we don’t really like that many of these game shows and activities take place in the Atrium as opposed to the theater or another entertainment venue as it’s almost impossible to ever score a seat.

Around 9:30 PM, we walked over to the theater for Choir of Man, the signature production show on Norwegian Encore. This show does require reservations, which can be made pre-cruise or upon boarding the ship. Cruisers can also go standby if they don’t get a reservation.

We highly recommend that you do see this show as it is a lot of fun. The 75-minute production is a high-energy singing and dancing spectacle. Set in The Jungle (also known as the local pub), the talented cast perform everything from classic rock hits to sing-a-long favorites. So, leave your worries behind and toast along with the lads during this award-winning show.

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After the show, we felt it was only proper to round out our night at the District Brewhouse. If the Sugarcane Mojito Bar is my favorite, this is definitely Don’s favorite. The Brewhouse has one of the largest beer selections on any cruise ship. Thus, we grabbed a final drink and listened to the guitarist and piano vocalist, Ryan.

When his set wrapped up, so did we. Tomorrow was our first port of call.

Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review – Day 3

A Late Call into Port

Day 3 of this Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review was our first port of call in Juneau. Though, it was a late day stop with our time in port scheduled for 2:30 to 11 PM. We also gained an hour of sleep last evening to align with Alaska time which is 4 hours behind EST.

Still, Don had work meetings beginning at 10 AM EST. This meant another early morning for us. Following this call, he met our onboard contact to check out the Studio Lounge and the Mandara Spa. The rest of the morning was mostly consumed with work and some sightseeing from our balcony. Though, it was pretty foggy out.

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Since today was a late port of call, the main dining room was open for lunch. Thus, we decided to grab a bigger lunch since we didn’t know how long we’d be out in Juneau or what our dinner plans would be.

As our first meal in the main dining room this cruise, we were pleasantly surprised. Historically, we have not been very impressed with NCL’s MDR, but this meal might have changed our mind. I ordered the chicken parm and Don did the rotisserie chicken. Both options were very good and probably some of the best we’ve had at sea. The peanut butter cheesecake dessert was also quite tasty.

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An Evening in Juneau

Finishing lunch around 2 PM, we headed back to our room for a bit before meeting for a tour of the Haven at 3:15 PM.

Securing the necessary photos and videos, we were finally ready to go ashore around 5 PM. About 2 hours after the ship was cleared, there were no lines or waits to get off the ship or secure a shuttle to the downtown area.

By the time we booked this cruise, most of the excursions were already sold out. So, we decided to take a ride on the Goldbelt Tram and then just walk around the area afterwards. Even though it was foggy and misty most of the day, it did clear up a bit in time for our tram ride.

Taking the approximately six-minute trip up Mount Roberts from the lower terminal, we ascended to a height of about 1,800 feet. At the top, there are viewing platforms where you can look down onto Juneau and several of the docked cruise ships.

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There is also a small theater with a video about the Tlingit people, a gift shop, a restaurant, and walking trails. The trails were rather wet and muggy, so we decided not to venture far beyond the viewing platforms. Still, we spent about 75 minutes exploring before getting in line to take the tram back down.

To our surprise, we were greeted with a long line of others also waiting to take the ride to ground level, which ending up taking about 45 minutes. While a ticket entitles you to ride anytime during the day, make sure you give yourself plenty of time for the roundtrip so you don’t miss your all-aboard time.

A Walk Along the Waterfront

We then spent the next hour or so walking along the boardwalk in Juneau. This took us past Tracy’s Crab Shack and some other shops. We then continued to a great vantage point of the cruise ships, where we took some photos of Norwegian Encore, Ovation of the Seas, and an Un-Cruise vessel.

We ventured along the Juneau Seawalk to The Whale Project which is just over a mile away from Downtown. Despite popular belief, our amazing photo of a whale breaching was just this sculpture. It is a great depiction of a humpback with intermittent water spraying up from the fountains.

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While Don debated grabbing something to eat at Tracy’s, it was getting a bit chilly so we just headed back to the ship instead. Back onboard, we b-lined directly to the dining room to ensure we could get sat before it closed.

Tonight on the menu for Don was Asian spareribs summer roll, bang bang chicken & shrimp, and the lava cake. I did the potato soup, chicken madeira, and brownie s’more. While still better than our original expectations, we did enjoy today’s lunch better than dinner.

Out of dinner past 10:30 PM, we were exhausted so decided to call it a night. Tomorrow was a long day and shore excursion in Skagway.

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Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review – Day 4

Welcome to Skagway

Day 4 of this Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review had us calling into Skagway for a full day. We also had a comprehensive tour booked for today, the aptly named Best of Skagway shore excursion.

Up around 6:30 AM, Don headed out to continue collecting photos and videos while I got ready. He had to meet our host this morning for access to the Galaxy Pavilion and the kids areas.

We had placed an order for room service breakfast the night before to be delivered between 8 and 8:30 AM, but it ended up arriving a few minutes early, even before Don returned to our cabin.

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Enjoying our breakfast and doing a little morning work, we then headed out for the day. We made our way ashore to meet our tour at the assigned location on the pier. This tour included a stop at Liarsville, a ride on the White Pass Rail, and a visit to the Red Onion Saloon.

Traveling Back in Time to the Gold Rush

Boarding a large tour bus from the pier, we arrived at our first stop right around 11:30 AM. Liarsville is a replica of a Gold Rush trail camp where we watched a short show then got to try our hand at panning for gold. Let’s just say that we didn’t strike it rich!

After collecting our earnings, we had a few minutes to explore the area before it was time for the salmon bake. The included lunch consisted of a buffet of side dishes along with freshly prepared salmon.

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Around 1 PM, we re-boarded our bus to head back into town for our visit to the Red Onion Saloon. Here, one of the madams gave us a “quickie tour” of the former brothel along with some insight into what it was like living and working here during the gold rush times. There are also some props on display from the era. Be sure to be on the lookout for the resident ghost as well.

Now, it was time for the highlight of the tour–our trek up the Klondike Highway into Frasier to board the White Pass Rail. During this nearly 3,000 foot climb in elevation, we made a couple stops for photo ops.

Once on the train, we took the approximately 2 hour, 27.7 mile scenic ride back to sea level in Skagway. Along the way, we admired the beautiful vistas and other landmarks like the Trial of ’98, the steel bridge, inspiration point, bridal veil falls, and more.

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If you are taking the train from Frasier down to Skagway, you will want to sit on the right side as this is where most of the landmarks are located. However, if the weather allows, passengers can also venture outside on to the platforms for sightseeing and photos.

Upon arriving back into Skagway around 5 PM, we decided to walk back to the ship given the nice weather. We strolled through Downtown, taking some photos along the way. Unfortunately, the fudge store was closed and Starbucks was no longer in existence. So, we had to wait until we got back to the ship for our afternoon dose of caffeine.

Time to Mangia!

Back onboard, it was straight to Starbucks then back to our room to relax for a few minutes and change up for dinner. Tonight, we were dining at one of our favorite Italian specialty restaurants as sea, Onda by Scarpetta, at 7 PM.

You can always tell how good an Italian restaurant is going to be by its bread basket, and this one did not disappoint. Although, we wanted to make sure to save enough room for all the additional delicious courses too.

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I started with the burrata, while Don ordered the fritto misto. We also split the Marcellaio pizza which featured a ricotta stuffed crust. For entrees, we both opted for a pasta dish. I did the Mezzalune and Don the Scialatielli. Everything at Onda was just at flavorful as we remembered. Although, we would probably stick with the Margherita pizza in the future.

Saving just a tiny bit of room for dessert, we finished off the meal with the butterscotch budino and tiramisu. After this nearly 2-hour feast, we waddled our way up to the Observation Lounge for some music by the Lemon Duo, one of the live music acts we had yet to see. After about a half hour, we continued on our music tour to the Cavern Club.

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The Cavern Club, inspired by the Liverpool landmark, typically hosts Beatles tribute bands. However, we were told that one of the members of the group was sick, so the ship’s rock band mostly played this venue during our sailing. Still, the Cavern Club was packed with fellow cruisers rocking out to Royal Flush.

Following this set, we ended our evening in the Sugarcane Mojito Bar with some drinks and live Latin music. Tomorrow were were cruising through Glacier Bay early in the morning, and we certainly did not want to miss it.

Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review – Day 5

A Morning of Glaciers

Day 5 of this Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review was another “sea day” with scenic cruising into Glacier Bay National Park.

Up at 6:30 AM again this morning, Don grabbed some morning coffee as we interspersed getting ready and some sightseeing from our balcony. We were also listening to the narration on the bridge cam that was pointing out landmarks, wildlife, and such.

During a cruise through Glacier Bay, there is the opportunity to typically see 5 glaciers depending on the weather. Thus, our first, and probably longest, glacier visit was Margerie Glacier around 9 AM.

One of the nice things about Norwegian Encore, when compared to our recent Princess cruise, was the abundance of spaces to glacier view.

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Normally a crew area, the ship’s helipad was open today for guests to marvel at these glaciers. We started our day here, accessing it through a hallway on Deck 8 near the District Brewhouse. Honestly, we weren’t all that impressed with the view from here, especially being short like me.

In search of the best spot on the ship, we walked back to the Waterfront. From here, we were able to walk around this 1/3-mile long promenade keeping up with the glacier as the Captain made his first 360′ turn.

Where’s the Best View?

Wanting to see what the view was like from our balcony, we then hurried our way up to our cabin in time to catch the view on the starboard side. If you are not crazy like us, there is no need to hustle from one location to the other, as all guests will get a view regardless of whether they are on the starboard side or portside of the ship.

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What did throw off our timing a bit was the sequence this Captain took compared to our previous visits. While all ships spend about an hour admiring this glacier, our previous trips on Princess and Holland America spent about a half hour on one side before turning and spending about a half hour on the other side. However, our Captain on Norwegian Encore completed three full turns.

After our balcony, we ended up spending the rest of our glacier viewing time between the Vibe Beach Club and the pool deck. The Vibe Beach Club, while an up-charge, is a hidden gem even in Alaska. This outdoor space provided uninterrupted views with fewer crowds and great views from the hot tubs.

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Along the way, there’s also opportunity to see the Lamplugh Glacier, Grand Pacific Glacier, Reid Glacier, and the John Hopkins Glacier. During this time of year, cruise ships are not allowed past Jaw Point, meaning the John Hopkins Glacier is about 6 miles away. Still, on a clearer day, the views are fantastic.

With most of the glacier viewing done around noon time, we made our first (and only) visit to the Garden Café for lunch all week. The selections were pretty typical of a cruise ship buffet, with nothing really wow’ing us.

From here, it was down to the theater to catch the 1 PM presentation by the Park Ranger. If your cruise ship is calling in Glacier Bay, a park ranger will board the vessel to provide commentary while cruising the area and will also give an informational presentation either before or after your sightseeing.

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Each presentation is different as it not only includes facts and figures but also some personal narrative. Ranger Rachel’s talk was interesting as she first visited Glacier Bay as a child on a cruise ship!

With a busy morning, we decided to head back to the room to rest a bit before our busy afternoon.

Testing Out All the Thrills

On Norwegian Encore, you can be as chill or as thrill as you want. But if you want to do both, you end up with a schedule something like ours!

We had reservations for the Encore Speedway at 4:30 PM followed by the laser tag. For an up-charge of $15, cruisers can set off on an 8-minute race to the finish. Where else can you race family and friends with views like these?

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This course 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.

Let’s just say that thanks to a tween driver who caused a 5-car crash, Don came out victoriously in this race!

Next up was laser tag, which I decided to bow out of and capture the photos and videos instead. I didn’t need another loss on my scorecard. So, Don and our friend Adam suited up for a battle on this most intricate laser tag course at sea. The lost city of Atlantis laser tag course is $9.95 for a 10-minute game and is a fun activity for all ages.

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Dinner and Some Laughs

Following laser tag, it was time to change up for dinner. Tonight’s dinner was at Los Lobos, the Mexican specialty restaurant on Norwegian Encore, for 7 PM.

Of course, we had to start the meal off right with some tableside-prepared guacamole. We may have also ordered the queso fundido as an appetizer alongside some margaritas. What’s Mexican without margaritas?

For entrees, I decided to order the appetizer-portion of chicken quesadillas with the Mexican corn and Don ordered the cochinita pibil. Everything we ordered was great up until the dessert. The fried beignets were the weakest portion of this meal and did not compare to the similar option we had on Norwegian Prima last year.

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Rushing out of dinner rather abruptly, we made it to the Social comedy club just in time for the 9 PM show. Besides Choir of Man, this is the other show that requires reservations. There are two comedians featured here with several showings throughout the week. So, we made sure to reserve one of each comedians’ sets. Tonight was Lucas Bohn.

Lucas was certainly the funnier of the two comedians. Though, we actually enjoyed his material from the theater on the first night more.

Following the comedy show, we headed over to Q for Nashville Nights and Lights. This pretty much consisted of a country line dance class followed by live music and dancing. It’s too bad there wasn’t a country band featured in this venue as there was in pre-COVID times.

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Sipping the signature smoked peach margarita, we stayed for a bit before calling it a night. Tomorrow was our next port of call in Ketchikan.

Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review – Day 6

A Short Stay in Ketchikan

Day 6 of this Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review was our next port of call into Ketchikan. This stop was a short, early morning stop, with us only in port from 7 AM to 1:15 PM, which meant all aboard was 12:45 PM.

Knowing that Norwegian Cruise Line ships dock in Ward Cove, which is about a 20 minute drive from the Downtown area, we decided to book an organized shore excursion to avoid the hassle of taking the shuttle back and forth in this short amount of time. In fact, the last shuttle from Downtown was scheduled for 11 AM!

Thus, we were up early and headed ashore by 8 AM to meet our tour in the main terminal building. This building is quite large but is basically just a gift shop and tour meeting area.

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Today’s tour consisted of a visit to the Totem Bight state park and the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. Our tour, and tour guide, for Totem Bight was much more organized than our one a few weeks prior to Saxman Village.

Our guide gave us a brief tour of the grounds with some narrative about the poles, as well as visiting a replica clan house and a restoration building with some artifacts. After some free time to walk around on our own and visit the gift shop, we were off to Downtown for our lumberjack show.

Yo-Ho!

While we have seen this show before, it’s always a good time. Starting a bit late, due to a medical emergency that happened to occur right beside me, this show lasted just about an hour. It featured two teams of lumberjacks, Spruce Mill and Dawson Creek, competing in a series of challenges. Alas, our team did not take the victory. Still, it was fun to watch the competitions including axe throwing, speed climbing, sawing challenges, log rolling, and more.

A quick lumberjack photo later, we immediately took the quick walk back to our bus which got us back to Ward Cove around 1 PM. This is one of the benefits of booking shore excursions with the cruise line. Even if your tour is delayed, the ship will not leave without you.

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Arriving to a line of other cruisers still waiting to get back onto the ship as well, it was about 20 minutes later when we actually got back onboard. We did hear that the shuttle back to the ship was a bit of a disaster as well. So, needless to say, the ship did not depart Ketchikan on time today.

Given the time, we decided to grab a quick lunch at The Local to hold us over until our dinner at Q Texas Smokehouse this evening. With some coffee in hand, we went back to the room after lunch to get some work done before our 7 PM reservation.

Another Night of Dinner and Comedy

While NCL fans give Q mixed reviews, we enjoy this BBQ specialty restaurant. It’s a casual atmosphere with good food and good drinks. We started off the night with the Lone Star chili and deviled eggs. Then, I opted for the smoked turkey breast, and Don went all in on the Pitmaster. The turkey breast was better than I remember, and the Pitmaster featured it all–brisket, spare rib, chicken, and sausage.

For desserts, I went with my go-to at this venue, the mason jar banana pudding, while Don tried something new, the bread pudding. Both were great choices.

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Scurrying out of dinner by 8:45 PM, we grabbed seats for the 9 PM comedy show in the Social. Tonight’s show was with comedian Travis Nelson. Unfortunately, at least 75% of his show was the same material from the first night’s welcome aboard comedy show in the theater. Oh well.

After the comedy show, we ended up running into a couple that we knew and grabbed drinks and chatted for a while before taking the conversation back to the Social for the night’s GLOW Party.

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Always a popular event, there was a crowd dancing along to all the hits. We decided to make our exit around 11:30 PM. Tomorrow was already the last day of the cruise and we were losing an hour of sleep tonight to get back on to Pacific Time.

Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review – Day 7

Let’s Make it a Sea Day

Day 7 of this Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review was our final day with an evening call into Victoria, BC. This was a short stop from 8 to 11:59 PM but mandatory for this roundtrip Seattle cruise.

Given the short amount of time in port, we decided to make this our own sea day, tying up some loose ends and enjoying more of the ship’s amenities.

With nothing concrete on the agenda, we slept in until around 8 AM this morning. Don walked around collecting the remaining photos and videos returning with our morning dose of Starbucks.

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We finally headed out around 10:30 AM to check out the Galaxy Pavilion. While we had walked through here earlier in the week, we had yet to test out any of the attractions. At the Galaxy Pavilion, cruisers have the option to pay per attraction, per hour, per day, or purchase a week-long pass. We opted for the hour pass which was $29 per person.

The venue was actually pretty quiet so we were able to knock out most of the games during this one hour. We tried the Walk the Plank, Descendant, the car racing, the Jurassic Escape, two different games in the 7D cinema, and more.

Of note, the virtual escape room is extra money and does require reservations. By the time we realized it, the game was already sold out for the week.

After all this gaming, we had worked up an appetite, so we headed to lunch at the American Diner. This venue is an up-charge, where you can either pay a la carte or use a specialty dining credit. Since we had already used all our credits, we paid a la carte. Unfortunately though, this was the worst meal we had all week and not worth an up-charge in our opinion.

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Now for Some Relaxation

With the afternoon to ourselves, we decided to catch a little of two different events occurring at 1:30 PM. First, we stopped by the Atrium for the All About Alaska trivia session, and then we stopped into the theater for the Ocean Music Fest. This show was basically a compilation of most of the ship’s musicians playing in one show.

Then, we stopped in at the shops to use our remaining onboard credit on a ship model and t-shirt.

Since we were docking in Victoria this evening, only one bar per deck was allowed open on the ship. This meant that we wouldn’t be able to grab final drinks at the Sugarcane Mojito Bar this evening. So naturally, this meant we stopped by for a drink now before it closed.

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Next on our list was to finally spend some time in the thermal suite beyond just taking photos and videos of it. We spent just under 1.5 hours here, alternating between the heated loungers and the experiences. My personal favorite is the salt room, while Don enjoys the sauna. The snow room was a bit too cold and icy for us.

This thermal suite on Norwegian Encore is quite large and features several padded and heated stone loungers. So, even though it was fairly busy, we had no issues finding a spot to call our own. Even in the sauna and salt room, there were only a few other cruisers with us. The therapy pool was the only spot that seemed crowded.

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Cruisers can purchase week-long passes, or day passes on port days pending availability, to this thermal suite. However, there are only a total of 200 passes provided, so be sure to book early.

While we wished we could have stayed longer, we did have an early 5:30 PM dinner at Teppanyaki tonight. Thus, it was back to the room to get ready for our final specialty dinner.

Our Final Night on Norwegian Encore

The dinner and a show experience at Teppanyaki is always a good time, and this visit was no different. Our chef served up the grilled veggies, garlic fried rice, and our entrée of choice with a side of humor. Of course, I opted for the Chicken Yaki Udon and Don did a combo of steak and calamari. Everything was well-prepared and flavorful.

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Stuffed from dinner, we made our way up to the Observation Lounge to catch some of Archie’s set, this was the only musical act on the ship that we hadn’t seen yet. So, we enjoyed the music, views of Victoria, and some espresso martinis.

About an hour later, we decided it was time for the worst part of the cruise–packing. We packed up our two larger suitcases and placed them outside our door. While we usually do self-assist walk-off, we were in no rush tomorrow as our flight wasn’t until 3:40 PM.

After packing, we snuck into Coco’s right before it closed at 9:30 PM. I justified this by saying that we didn’t really have dessert at Teppanyaki. After all, we couldn’t go a whole week on Norwegian Encore without indulging on something at Coco’s. We opted to share the Nutella and Milk Chocolate ice cream sundae. Yum!

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Speaking of something else we hadn’t done all cruise, that was get a mango meltdown, one of NCL’s signature frozen drinks. So, in the name of research, we headed outside to the Surf Bar to do just that. Then, given our limited bar options this evening, we grabbed out final drinks of the cruise at the A-List Bar before calling it a night around 11 PM.

Today was the perfect ending to a fabulous week on Norwegian Encore in Alaska!

BOOK NOW: Get Exclusive Rates on Your Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise!

Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review – Disembarkation

Time to Say Goodbye

Just like that our Norwegian Encore Alaska cruise review had come to an end. It was already disembarkation day.

NCL had provided us with priority disembarkation which meant that we did not have to leave the ship until around 9 AM, but we needed to be out of our cabin by 8:30 AM. So, we set an alarm for 6 AM to get ready, grab some coffee, and finish packing.

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Around 8:30 AM, we headed off to our meeting spot where we were escorted to a separate line with Haven guests to get scanned off the ship. This took no time at all for us; though, it didn’t look like there was a long line for other guests either at this point.

Off the ship, in an Uber, and to the airport, we made ourselves comfy and did work until our late afternoon flight. Thankfully, we made it home without any real delays.

Now, we have some time at home until our next trip, which isn’t until August at the moment.

Comments

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