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  1. I don't really know how long each venue took. I would say main dining rooms about 1 1/2 hours, Local 45 to an hour and buffet as quickly as you want. I wasn't keeping close track of time though, I don't on vacation.
  2. Wow that is appalling. I didn't see much drunkenness on our cruise in January although I did see many more people than usual walking around with a drink in hand.
  3. We got to the port at about 10:30 I think and were in boarding group 10. We went right to Q on boarding to get the passes. We got four and they said half had gone when we got there, out of 240 that they were selling.
  4. I tend to agree with most of what you said. The buffet was not laid out well although I thought the food was fine (never had pizza though). We liked the dining rooms for dinner, although agree the times were bad if you want to see a show and then go to dinner. The Local was good but you wouldn't want to eat every meal there, too repetitive. We went in mid-January and it was too crowded so that can't be blamed entirely on the week. We had Vibe passes thank goodness. I don't spend a whole day in the sun but on a Caribbean cruise I want to spend some time there and the Vibe was very relaxing and I didn't have to fight for a seat. It was actually quite empty some days. We got our tickets as soon as we boarded, I would not recommend waiting if you think you want one. I did a review here after we got home, there were some good things but the bad overwhelmed it for the things we are interested in and that make a cruise enjoyable for us. We will never go on Encore again.
  5. I am loving your review! I think your motto is "I didn't let it ruin my vacation" which is a fabulous motto! I can't wait for the rest.
  6. Good to know. This is also important to us and we are booked on Star for this fall.
  7. Yeah that is why I wondered if Princess did the same thing. I didn't realize they included espresso drinks in the package. That does make it more tempting.
  8. Sorry if this has been answered already. I did a search and didn't see it. I am looking at a cruise for September 2020 and trying to figure if the higher booking rates are worth it for this sale. The only time we have had a drink package was on NCL and they charged a gratuity for the cost of the "free" drink package. Does Princess do that for this sale or is it actually free? Any disadvantages to booking this promo that I should be aware of?
  9. I agree, the Observation lounge seems like a huge missed opportunity for being used better and the atrium is just crazy hectic.
  10. I did think there was a lot of movement on the ship, especially the last few days, but I don't usually get seasick so didn't think about it too much, except to be surprised that such a large ship feels so rocky. Our room was a balcony midship deck 11 and I didn't hear noise at all.
  11. I can see that that would be a good spot in Alaska but it's just not the same as actually being outside.
  12. I was told they were only going to sell 240 passes and I'm not sure if they sold out. They were half gone when we got ours and we were in boarding group 11. We were also told that someone got one the next day. It was never full when I was up there. I agree that it was very windy up there a few days. We managed to get spots that were somewhat blocked by the wind on those days but there were not many of those spots.
  13. Just off the Encore last Sunday 1/26 and wanted to add my thoughts to those that have already been expressed. Of course this is my opinion and yours may differ. Our group was my husband and I along with another couple, all in our 50's and have cruised 13 times on NCL, RCCL and Princess. We became gold level after this cruise. We had not cruised on a ship this size or this new in the past and wanted to see what we might be missing. Pros : -Excellent food - we ate in all the main dining rooms, the buffet and the Local. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. No complaints except I would have like more seafood options in the dining rooms for dinner. -Nice decor. While this doesn't make or break a cruise for me the decor was beautiful. I actually didn't mind the big chandelier that is so hated here in person. -Service was excellent also. Bartenders, waiters, steward - all great service and friendly. -Vibe was wonderful - quiet, sunny. It was nice having the bar nearby. A small pool would be nice but the hot tubs were a plus. -Shows also were very good. I particularly loved Choir of Man and would have gone again but we saw the last show of the week. Kinky Boots was also liked by our group although not as much by me. Still way better than most cruise entertainment. -Snacks in the Observation lounge were nice late afternoon - fruit, scones, cheeses, sandwiches, desserts. We would often grab a plate when heading to our room after the day in the sun. Cons: -Too crowded. Too many people for our liking, in the stairwells, the restaurants, the lounges. Tons of kids but I am not sure if that will usually be true or if this was an unusual week. -Lounges too small. One thing we enjoy on cruises is relaxing and having before/after dinner drinks and dances in various lounges. When we tried this there were never seats and often folding chairs set up for overflow (usually also full). Not my idea of a relaxing evening. We did meet in the Observation lounge for drinks several evenings before dinner and it was deserted but no live music was playing at that time. The atrium was also packed during the day. We did trivia a few times and had to stand at the back. Gave up after a few times. In my opinion, the Observation lounge is way too big and the other lounges are way too small. -No outdoor seating for eating at the buffet. There are tables near the pool but they are covered and noisy and echo-y, more indoor/outdoor than outdoor. On previous cruises on the Jade and Sun we enjoyed the outdoor seating right off the buffet on the back of the ships. Encore doesn't have anything like that. -Noisy and busy atrium which also made the Local very noisy. We ate lunch there several times and the noise from the atrium was so loud we couldn't talk, especially one day when a movie was playing there. If these issues aren't important to you then you should love it. Personally we all agreed we will not cruise on Encore again and definitely prefer the smaller, more traditional ships. As has been said, any day on a cruise is a good day and we still had a good time.
  14. My expectation was that so soon after Christmas kids would be in school. I don't dislike kids but in my mind a cruise is more of an adult vacation and I avoid times when I can expect a lot of kids. This time was unexpected.
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