Norwegian Cruise Line has notified guests booked on several early 2024 departures of Norwegian Encore that the ship’s itinerary has been changed. The changes apply to the January 28 and February 4 sailing dates.
While each cruise will still be visiting the same ports of call, the arrival and departure times have been adjusted which could impact any shore tours passengers may have privately arranged.
Norwegian Encore Itinerary Changes
Guests booked on the January 28 and February 4 departures of Norwegian Encore – both 7-night cruises – have received notifications of slight itinerary changes. Every port of call on each cruise has been adjusted, though the changes are somewhat minor. No ports are cancelled and the port order remains the same, but the times in every port have been altered.
“We are committed to providing the best vacations at sea and have been working tirelessly to continue to elevate the quality of our offerings and overall guest experience while driving a positive impact on society and the environment,” the notification read. “As we optimize itineraries for fuel efficiencies, we have modified Norwegian Encore’s itinerary.”
The ship will still be departing Miami, Florida, but will leave at 5 p.m. rather than 5:30 p.m. as originally planned. Guests with very late arrival appointments will want to be sure their travel to the cruise port is adjusted so they arrive well before the cutoff for check-in and boarding.
The first day of the cruise is a day at sea, but the ship’s visit to Puerto Plata on the second day has been trimmed by one hour. Norwegian Encore will still arrive in the Dominican Republic at 7 a.m., but will now be leaving at 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.
The next day’s arrival in St. Thomas will be two hours earlier than the original schedule, now at 9 a.m. rather than 11 a.m. The ship will still remain docked until 7 p.m., giving guests an extra two hours in the morning to enjoy the picturesque destination.
The fourth day’s visit to Tortola, however, has been trimmed both in the morning and the afternoon. The ship will now arrive at 6:45 a.m. rather than 6 a.m., and will depart at 2:30 p.m. instead of 3 p.m.
The stops in the Virgin Islands are followed by a day at sea as planned, and the last port of call is at the cruise line’s private island destination in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. That visit has also been trimmed by one hour, with Norwegian Encore departing at 5 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. as originally scheduled.
The arrival back in Miami is unchanged at 7 a.m., so guests’ onward travel plans after the cruise do not need to be adjusted, which will be a relief for passengers with early flights to reach as they return home.
In total, the overall time in all ports of call has been reduced by 75 minutes. While not a significant change, the small adjustments do add up.
Why Such Slight Changes?
The reasoning given for these tweaks to Norwegian Encore‘s cruise schedule is “fuel efficiency.” With earlier departures, the ship can sail more slowly between ports of call, conserving fuel along the way.
It is also possible that dock availability and other ships’ schedules may be influencing Norwegian Encore‘s timing in order to avoid time idling while waiting for other ships to clear channels or turning basins. The timing of tides might also have a slight influence on the ship’s schedule, though this is unlikely.
Notifying guests about these changes gives travelers time to contact any private tour companies they may have used for shore excursions to reschedule or cancel if necessary. Pre-paid tours booked through Norwegian Cruise Line will be automatically adjusted to the new port times if needed.
Cruise lines often make schedule adjustments in the weeks or months before sailing as port times become more clear. Factors like port dredging or construction, other ship schedules, cargo operations, and staffing changes can all impact cruise ship schedules.
Guests booked on any upcoming Norwegian Encore cruise should stay in close communication with their travel agent or directly with the cruise line in case of similar adjustments to their sailing.
The 169,116-gross-ton Norwegian Encore is a Breakaway-plus vessel that joined Norwegian Cruise Line in 2019. The ship is able to welcome 3,998 guests per sailing (double occupancy), and is also home to more than 2,000 international crew members.