Florida has its first brand spanking new cruise ship of the season as Norwegian Encore arrived to PortMiami on Friday.
The fourth Breakaway Plus-class ship from Norwegian Cruise Line was delivered to the company a little more than two weeks ago and sailed into South Florida for the first time as it preps for its inaugural season.
The 1,100-foot-long, 169,000-gross-ton ship will have a christening ceremony with godmother Kelly Clarkson on Nov. 21.
The ship has a guest capacity of 3,998 based on double occupancy and will begin seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries three days later on Nov. 24. Next April, the ship will head to New York, then tackle the Western Caribbean from Miami in fall 2020. In the spring, NCL will send Encore to Alaska for the first time.
Encore is the sister ship to Norwegian Escape, Joy and Bliss, all built at Meyer-Werft shipyard in Germany.
All Breakaway Plus class ships accommodate around 4,000 guests and are the fleet’s largest. All feature more than 20 dining options, several with waterfront seating. Unique to Encore is the elevated Italian dining experience, Onda by Scarpetta.
The ship’s signature stage show is Tony-award winning “Kinky Boots,” which features original songs by Cyndi Lauper. Also on board are “The Choir of Man,” a show that also appears on Norwegian Escape and features music, dance and foot-stomping percussion plus “Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical,” a cocktail and theater show that debuted on Bliss. And fans of The Beatles can enjoy the The Cavern Club, which features a live cover band of the Fab Four.
The standout visible feature of the ship is its go-kart track. This is the third ship behind Joy and Bliss to feature one, and Encore’s is the largest with nearly 1,100 feet of track across a 10-turn course that has four sections that extend up to 13 feet beyond the side of the ship. Encore’s version is the first to feature a covered spectator area with an interactive feature that allows viewers to target racers with a laser and allow them a bump of speed.
Encore also follows Bliss’ lead with another open-air laser tag course at the top of the deck, but Encore’s is themed to Atlantis and has augmented reality options during game play with the use of a headset.
Also on the top deck is Encore’s aqua park with two water slides. One of them is a speedy, figure-eight drop slide that sends riders 11 feet over the side of the ship with acrylic tubes that let riders see the water below.
Another borrowed feature from a sister ship, but new to Florida, is the Galaxy Pavilion, which debuted on Norwegian Joy, a ship that has spent most of its life in Asia. The venue is a 10,000-square-foot interactive entertainment option with virtual reality, an escape room and other technology-based features.
Encore will be the third of that class to call Miami home, taking over for Norwegian Bliss.
Florida has already seen the arrival of a couple of sort-of-new ships: One was the renovated Carnival Sunrise, which was Carnival Triumph, but underwent a $200 million makeover that included a new name, and already sailing from Port Everglades. Also new to Florida, but having debuted in 2017, is the seventh largest ship in the world, the MSC Meraviglia, already sailing from PortMiami.
Only one other brand new ship will arrive this year when Sky Princess from Princess Cruises comes to Port Everglades next month while a revamped Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas with a $165 million makeover will also soon arrive to PortMiami.
By Richard Tribou, USA Today
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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