Four Embrace the Journey Travel team members set sail on the Norwegian Encore from August 2 – August 6, 2021.
This was a test cruise, and let me tell you, it was beyond amazing.
I want to give you an insider’s look into what cruising on NCL currently looks like. We needed to check-in before the cruise, and we loaded our vaccine cards because, at this time, all guests and crew sailing on NCL must be vaccinated. We set up accounts with Eurofins, and they verified our vaccines. Then, when we went to board the cruise, we got a quick, easy, rapid covid test 20 minutes before the cruise. This was so much easier than I ever dreamed it would be.
We got our bracelets confirming our negative test, and we headed off to the ship.
Once we boarded the ship it was incredible, because it felt like life before covid since the ship requires 100% vaccination and a negative covid test before the cruise. The buffet was even open and self-serve, which after the last 17 months, was a normal experience and who doesn’t need normal now.
The Norwegian Encore was fully staffed, but this sailing only allowed 50% guest capacity, so the service was over the top. We had double the staff needed, so the ship was immaculate, and the service was amazing. My entire team said this cruise after covid spoiled us for the future cruises. It was incredible. It will be hard to beat this incredible experience.
We got to attend a meeting on the future of NCL cruising with executives.
We sailed into Ketchikan, a site to see after not seeing a ship sail in for the last 18 months and thinking we would not get an Alaskan sailing in 2021. The port town had lower crowds than I have ever seen, and it was fun to see the town with fewer crowds.
The shows on ship were going like normal, the dining was great, we had no waits, and the service was over the top. We have experienced service issues at hotels in the USA due to being short-staffed, but on the Norwegian ships, they are overstaffed, so you will more than likely get better than normal service.
YUM!!! These are some of the incredible treats you can get.
After reading all of this, the big question you may have is in the next few months, who is cruising good for right now as cruising comes back online? It is a great time for adult-only trips. For adults who are fully vaccinated, the low crowds and over-the-top service will spoil you, and it gives guests a break from the reality of life currently. It’s also a great time for families with kids who are 12 and up that the entire family is vaccinated. There was no wait for the go-carts and all the fun activities that NCL has to offer.
This will/may change over the next few months; these current protocols are set to be in place for sailings until October 31, 2021, and after that, they could/can change. This is a link for more information on NCL’s requirements to sail.
We expect to see changes to the rules as the months go on, but I wanted to cover who would really enjoy an NCL cruise from now to October 31, 2021. If you are vaccinated and need a break from reality and to be spoiled with incredible service, then an NCL cruise is the perfect fit for you.
I expect to see NCL do everything safely, and I am excited to see the return to sailing. We are expecting to see our guests on future cruises having amazing, safe trips as we see the world work back towards normal sailings and vacations.
Do you have cruise questions?
Our team has first-hand knowledge to walk you through the restart of cruising. Embrace the Journey Travel has had team members sail on Norwegian and Royal Caribbean Cruise in the last 6 weeks. We have also attended training and education classes with our sales managers of the cruise lines.
Royal Caribbean and every other cruise line have different rules and protocols. Journey Planner Karen Walton will be writing a blog on what it’s like to sail on RCCL currently and RCCL has different vaccine and testing requirements than NCL.
If you have questions, please fill out this form or reach out to us at email@example.com. We are here to help.