Norwegian Encore will have guests on their feet

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Norwegian Encore outside Meyer Werft where she was built.

NEW YORK — The Norwegian Encore arrived here Monday to make its debut as the newest Norwegian Cruise Line ship and take a bow as the last in the Breakaway Plus class.

Travel sellers who have seen any of the Encore’s sisters — the Escape, Bliss or Joy — will be familiar with the basic layout of the ship. But there are always modifications to each ship in a class, and so it is with the Encore. Norwegian has added a chic new restaurant, Ondo by Scarpetta, and brought on new evening entertainment. 

The ship is also notable for being the last to be delivered to president and CEO Andy Stuart, who is leaving the company and will be replaced in 2020 by Harry Sommer.

In an interview on board the Encore, Sommer said the Norwegian brand was “in a great place,” and a priority would be to “spend more time on that marketing message to really have guests understand what a fascinating experience, a fantastic vacation a ship like this represents.

A popular feature of the Norwegian Bliss is the Speedway race track, where passengers can drive go-karts. Photo Credit: Dave Jones

“I credit Andy for creating experiences — a combination of ships, restaurant choices and activities onboard — that really provide a wonderful vacation for our guests,” Sommer said. “We’re not changing that.”

A two-day, pierside preview of the Encore was conducted for travel partners, VIPs and media ahead of the ship’s repositioning to South Florida. 

The experiences on the Encore appear at first glance to be tilted toward active ones. The aft sections of the top decks are devoted to activities like the Speedway, a fast-paced, go-kart ride that got its start on the Norwegian Joy. Waterslide options include the Ocean Loops, which, as its name suggests, drops riders down a tube that twists up and down and beyond the edge of the ship. 

Norwegian describes the laser-tag section as “laser tag meets augmented reality” set in Atlantis. 

On Deck 17 are the Galaxy Pavilion, a room with multiple virtual-reality games, simulator rides and an escape room.

Even the evening performance in the Encore Theater was active in a sense. “Choir of Man” features about a dozen young men singing and playing contemporary and classic hits in unique and fun ways under the pretence of hanging out in an Irish pub. In the hour-long show, the performers sing (occasionally in beautiful a capella harmony), dance and play live instruments. As I said, it was active: The show brought the audience to its feet for two standing ovations. 

A view of the Norwegian Encore's midship pools.

A view of the Norwegian Encore’s midship pools. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin

However, the Encore isn’t all about heart-racing activity. The ship also has a large observation lounge that wraps around the forward section of Deck 15, where there are couches, loungers and nooks galore for relaxing with a Kindle and a coffee (a Starbucks shop is located on Deck 6). Or if the sun is what passengers desire, there is the Vibe Beach Club, which occupies the topmost Deck 20 of the Encore. Additional relaxation options are offered to Haven passengers in an exclusive zone of the ship. 

As far as dining options, the Encore introduces Onda by Scarpetta, an a la carte Italian restaurant. There are about 20 eateries on the Encore, from old favourites like Le Bistro, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Teppanyaki to relatively newer entrants such as Ocean Blue and the Food Republic.

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Norwegian Bliss’ keel laying ceremony held at MEYER WERFT in germany

Meyer Werft Press Release 

First block placed in the building hall for Norwegian Bliss, signifying the start of major construction for first ever custom-built ship for the ultimate Alaska cruising experience

Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT today celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss at the yard’s state of the art facility in Papenburg, Germany. During the ceremony, the first of 90 blocks that will comprise the 167,800 gross ton vessel was lifted into the covered building hall, officially marking the start of the ship’s assembly. Norwegian Bliss is due for delivery in April 2018 and will be the first cruise ship custom built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience.

Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer, was present in the hall and laid the traditional “lucky coin”, etched with the outline of the ship’s signature hull designed by wildlife artist Wyland, before the first block was lowered into place.

“We are overjoyed to celebrate the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss, our sixteenth ship and sure to be our most innovative ship to date,” Stuart said. “We have seen overwhelming anticipation and excitement from our guests and travel partners for Norwegian Bliss, from her awe-inspiring custom-designed spaces like her observation lounges to her elegant suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, and we are all thrilled to see this magnificent ship begin to come to life with the craftsmanship, precision and cutting edge technology that MEYER WERFT consistently delivers.”

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will accommodate 4,000 guests and will be the 12th ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to be built by MEYER WERFT.

“We are very happy to celebrate the start of the block assembly for another new build with Norwegian Cruise Line. This ship will be another milestone in our collaboration to create most efficient and innovative cruise ships”, said Tim Meyer, Managing Director of MEYER WERFT.

During her inaugural summer 2018 season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from the recently expanded Pier 66 Cruise Terminal in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Bliss’ curated design will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to “Imagine Bliss” and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, Studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families traveling together. Norwegian Bliss will also feature two observation lounges, including one exclusive to guests of The Haven®, perfect for whale watching in Alaska or taking in sunsets in the Caribbean.

Norwegian Cruise Line will take its award-winning entertainment programming to the next level aboard Norwegian Bliss, bringing the best of Broadway to sea, with the 2006 Tony Award® winner for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys, and a completely new and original show created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, headlining on the ship’s main stage, the Bliss Theater. Norwegian Bliss will also feature a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical. Alibi, the ship’s reimagined comedy club and nightlife venue will feature two comedy performances six nights a week. Rock and roll will take center stage at The Cavern Club, an outpost of the legendary Liverpool club where the Beatles’ performed frequently in the 1960s, with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.

Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ships’ hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line has commissioned Wyland, one of the world’s premier marine life artists, to design the hull art for Norwegian Bliss; the artwork will feature images of humpback whales, found in every ocean around the world. The ship’s hull will serve as a large canvas to showcase the importance of conservation and ocean preservation.

Why You Should Consider Cruising in The Haven


The Haven Suite on Norwegian Escape

Whilst there’s plenty to love on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise, there’s one place on board that will turn your holiday from great to perfection. Tucked away at the tops of Epic, Breakaway, and Breakaway Plus class ships lay a little slice of paradise known as The Haven. Where glorious rooms meet unmatched pampering, a cruise in The Haven is like cruising in first-class. If you can swing it, here’s why spending a little more for this exclusive enclave may be worth your whilst.

ACCOMMODATIONS

If you have to pick The Haven for one reason and one reason alone, let it be for their accommodations. Not only are these rooms beautifully decorated, they are the most spacious. If you are travelling in a big group there’s nothing better than the 3-Bedroom Garden Villa, one of the grandest rooms Norwegian has to offer. Start off your holiday with a complimentary limousine, ready to whisk you to your awaiting 4800+ square feet suite. Complete with a courtyard, hot tub and a sprawling living room with a baby grand piano, the 3-Bedroom Garden Villa is the ultimate way to cruise.

The Haven 3-Bedroom Garden Villa
Hot tub in your own private courtyard

If you are travelling in a smaller group, stay in the Deluxe Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony or Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony. These rooms, though smaller than the 3-Bedroom Garden Villa, do not skimp on luxury. Sweeping floor to ceiling views and private balcony makes these rooms worth the price tag.

Deluxe Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony

For those who are looking for something more intimate I suggest unwinding in The Haven Spa Suite with Balcony. Offering an oversized waterfall shower with body jets, in-room Jacuzzi, and free access to the Thermal Spa Suite, this room is the ultimate way to relax and rejuvenate.

The Haven Spa Suite with Balcony

PRIVATE VENUES

Gone are the days of elbowing through buffet crowds or fighting for the last deck chair because The Haven offers exclusive venues only accessible by Haven members. In The Haven Lounge you’ll find a comfortable seating area perfect for meeting other Haven guests and a private bar ready to concoct your favourite drinks.

The Haven Lounge opens up to The Haven Courtyard where you will find a pool, multiple hot tubs and a private sun deck with plenty of loungers for you to enjoy. Keep an eye out for the deck valets who come around with complimentary wet towels and cold fruit skewers! If you have a hankering for something more, make your way to The Haven Restaurant where you can order items such as Foie Gras, Grilled Atlantic Cod, and Whole Roasted Prime Rib.

The Haven Restaurant on Norwegian Escape

UNPARALLELED SERVICE

If you like to be pampered you’re in the right place. Haven guests are the only people on board that will have access to a 24-hour trained and certified butler. Waiting on your beck and call, your butler can assist with tasks ranging from pouring your champagne, setting up in suite dining, and even unpacking and packing your suitcase.

Exclusive Service in The Haven

In addition to that you have access to a private concierge, perfect for a stress free holiday. Whether you want to make a last minute reservation in a Speciality Restaurant, attend a Broadway show or register for a Shore Excursion, your private concierge can pull together your plans in a drop of a hat.

EXCLUSIVE AMENITIES

As if all of this wasn’t enough, as a Haven guest you will receive exclusive extras. Personal favourites include a complimentary bottle of French Champagne or Sparkling Wine, a bottomless fruit basket, savory or sweet gourmet treats delivered to your room each evening, and a special cocktail party with the ship’s officers!

Exclusive Amenities in The Haven

A cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line will bring you to beautiful destinations on a ship with more options than you’ll know what to do with. If you want a holiday experience like no other, cruise in The Haven, where luxurious accommodations, unparalleled service, and indulgent amenities are the standard. Once you have the best of the best in The Haven, you’ll never want to cruise any other way.