The World Awaits Travel, LLC
"the educated way to travel"
By "Commodore" Camille Pepe Sperrazza
There is reason for excitement whenever a new ship sails weekly from New York - but the Encore calls for a standing ovation.
Having experienced its inaugural, and shortly afterward, a 7-night cruise from Miami, I can continue to say what I have always said about Norwegian: It has the best nightlife at sea!
Among the hotspots (and this is not a complete list):
The Cavern Club: This vibrant venue, one of my favorites, is a replica of the tavern located in Liverpool, where The Beatles and many other famous acts performed. The talented musicians are so good, they keep all twisting and shouting the night away.
Camille’s tip: Arrive at least half an hour before the show to make sure you can “Help” yourself to a seat, as it is often “standing room only,” just like in Liverpool.
Headliner’s Comedy Club: How fantastic to be able to enjoy comedy shows at sea - not inside a large theater - but in a small venue where comedians can and do interact with the audience. It makes for a completely different experience, a refreshing change from the usual song-and-dance routines.
Camille’s tip: If you neglect to make reservations, know that there’s a “standby” line each night, and most manage to get in.
Sugarcane Mojito Bar: Enjoy great music - much of it, Latin-themed - while sipping a variety of mojitos. This venue is jumpin’.
Camille’s Tip: Try a different mojito each night. My favorite is The Coco - heavy on coconut flavors.
The District Brewhouse: Sing along with the piano player while he cracks one-liners with patrons, many of whom return each night for unpredictable fun.
Camille’s Tip: No reservations are required, so when the other venues are booked, stroll right in.
The Observation Lounge: During the day, it’s a great place to relax on comfy couches and lounge chairs, while surrounded by breathtaking ocean views, courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s a big bar and several snack stations throughout this sprawling area. At night, come for live music and dancing.
Camille’s Tip: Get there around 4 pm or so for fantastic scones and afternoon tea with that majestic view.
“Kinky Boots”: There’s a Broadway play on every newer Norwegian ship, a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see a first-rate production at no cost. The Encore offers the musical, “Kinky Boots.”
Camille’s Tip: Reserve the first available show. One of the later performances on my sailing was canceled as a scene involves a moving stage that cannot be utilized when the ship is rockin’. Should the first show cancel, at least there is an opportunity to catch it later in the cruise.
“Choir of Man”: This musical takes place inside an Irish pub, with an all-male cast singing songs and telling tales. It opens with a long soliloquy, and the character speaks with such a thick Irish brogue, my mind wanders from the onset, and I am never drawn in. I tried. Twice. But I seem to be the exception as many people find it humorous and fun.
Camille’s Tip: Two women are selected from the audience to interact on stage with the guys. Sit up front, if interested. You may also get a free beer.
Q Texas Smokehouse: This is one of Norwegian’s specialty restaurants, serving fantastic smoked ribs, piled-high loaded fries, and an amazing banana whipped pudding served inside a mason jar. But in the evening, a country-western band performs here. Camille’s Tip: If you don’t mind a late dinner, you can dine while you watch the show. Or, eat elsewhere, and come later for the hoedown.
Atrium: This is the hub of the ship, defined by its giant screen. Come here for game shows and happenings throughout the day. In the evening, there’s sometimes live music. Located across from Starbucks, Guest Services, and The Shore Excursion Desk, there’s also a busy bar.
Camille’s Tip: If seating in this area is occupied, head to the deck above and watch the action from the overhang of The Local Bar and Grill, while munching on some chicken wings.
What else can you do onboard?
- Drive a speed car around the racetrack of the top deck. A fee applies.
Camille’s Tip: Pack sneakers because you can’t ride with open-toe shoes.
- Experience “virtual reality” games - a pavilion of possibilities.
Camille’s Tip: Consider the more cost-effective hourly rate rather than pay per game.
- Slide down the maze of pool tunnels that hang over the side of the ship.
Camille’s Tip: Not for the faint of heart. But it is fun to grab a nearby lounge chair and watch everyone else do it.
- Participate in game shows.
Camille’s Tip: While you’ll pay for a chance to be one of the contestants to win cash prizes on “Deal or No Deal,” there are other complimentary game shows for lesser prizes.
Play Laser Tag - A fee applies.
Camille’s Tip: The venue is outdoors so consider your strategy - will you play better in daylight or at night?
I enjoyed all the food aboard the Encore. Complimentary eateries include Savor, Taste, The Manhattan Room, and the buffet at the Garden Cafe. Specialty restaurants abound, and it is often possible to have three included specialty dinners on one-week Norwegian cruises. Making its debut on this ship is Onda by Scarpetta, featuring Italian fare. Food was terrific, with options like fried calamari and shrimp, Burrata, exotic flatbreads, veal chops, tuna, homemade pasta, steak, and salmon.
Scarpetta happens to be a high-end Manhattan restaurant.
Camille’s Tip: To avoid disappointment, make specialty dining reservations, on line, in advance. But don’t fret if you can’t find a suitable time, as some seating is held back for on-board bookings. Try using the touchscreens as soon as you board.
For more information or to book a trip, contact "Commodore" Camille today.
This article was accurate when it was written, but everything in life changes. Enjoy the journey!
Copyright: Camille Pepe Sperrazza
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