You may be thinking what does luxury cruising have to do with a 4000 passenger cruise ship? I found it aboard the Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship in their fleet of Breakaway-plus class of ships.

Elements of luxury, through tastes and sights, are felt throughout the ship. It’s in the decor, the furniture, and the artwork. It’s in the few dozen beautiful and intimate lounges, bars, and restaurants. Each time I ordered a drink, I felt the bartender was hand-crafting a cocktail personally for me using individual ingredients, not pre-mixes, and atttractively garnished. Restaurants ranged from white-gloved, wood-paneled steak and seafood dining experiences to a casual Texas BBQ Smokehouse, to Asian fusion to gourmet Mexican fare. 

Luxury does not mean stodgy entertainment and activities. Shows such as Broadway’s Kinky Boots and Choir of Men add an element of edginess to the fun onboard. On the top deck, I discovered one of the most unique thrills at sea, a race track with 360 degree views of the ocean. And just below, an open-air laser tag course next to a virtual reality pavilion with enough excitement to stir up your adrenaline.

True luxury comes to Norwegian Cruise Line’s 270 acre private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. Suite guests, select loyalty club members, and passengers booking Silver Cove villas are greeted and shuttled by tram to Silver Cove, an upscale area of the island overlooking a spectacular beach. Recently added are 38 new villas ranging from studios to one bedrooms and two bedroom villas and two very impressive family suite villas with a private dining area, spa tub, and more. Villas and cabanas are equipped with a coffee-tea bar, beverage chiller, large flat-screen TV with on demand movies, lounge chairs, beach umbrella, and feature unobstructed views of the beach, room service, and a private island experience like no other. There is even the full service Mandara Spa just like on the ship and a Moet & Chandon Bar. It is hard to imagine anything more special than this experience.

John Werner

As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry and the President of MAST Travel Network since 2002, John’s career has included 14 years as a travel agency owner. He has served in various capacities on the Board of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA including Treasurer and Vice President. John has also held several positions on the Board of Directors for MAST including Vice Chairman and Board Chairman during the years he owned Travel Group International, a MAST member during the 1990s.