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How The Norwegian Encore & Norwegian Bliss cruise ships compare

NCL Encore vs Bliss

This year I have had the privilege of sailing on both the Norwegian Encore and the Norwegian Bliss cruise ships. These massive Norwegian Cruise Line vessels are very similar, but they have some small differences as well. 

Both the Norwegian Bliss and the Norwegian Encore are apart of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus Class of ship. Meaning both these ships are very large and offer similar amenities onboard. The Norwegian Bliss was built in 2018 and the Norwegian Encore was built just one year later in 2019. 

Below I will go over some of the notable differences between these similar vessels. I hope that this article helps prospective Norwegian Cruise Line guests decide which of these two ships they would like to set sail with!

Size and Layout 

NCL sunset

Due to these two ships being apart of the same vessel class, they are similar in size. However, the Norwegian Encore is larger, measuring in at 169,116 gross register tonnage. While the Norwegian Bliss measures in at 168,028 gross register tonnage. 

The Norwegian Encore while the largest ship in terms of overall size, does carry less passengers. The Norwegian Encore can accommodate up to 3,998 guests at double occupancy, while the Norwegian Bliss can house up to 4,004 guests at double occupancy. 

The layout of these two ships is extremely similar. Guests who have travelled on either of these ships will have no problem navigating the other. In fact, the general layout of these two ships is quite similar to that of vessels in the Norwegian Cruise Line Breakaway Class ships, such as the Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway. 

Design and Aesthetics 

NCL design

The design and aesthetics of these two ships are rather similar in most areas. However I did notice some differences in certain venues onboard. 

For example, I noticed in the restaurants that Norwegian has chosen to go with a more light, airy, and neutral design and color scheme on the Norwegian Encore. While darker woods and colors were more prevalent on the Norwegian Bliss in many of the restaurants onboard.

Many of the spaces and venues onboard were the exact same for both ships, such as the Observation Lounge. This large lounge area is located at the front of both ships and has the exact same design and layout on both the Norwegian Encore and the Norwegian Bliss. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Speedway at Sea

NCL speedway

A race track at sea is something that is truly unique to Norwegian Cruise Line! And luckily for prospective cruise guests, both the Norwegian Bliss and the Norwegian Encore have a speedway. 

These speedways are a great onboard activity, and while they do come at an extra charge, we think this experience is well worth it! Check out our article on the Norwegian Speedways and if they are worth the cost here. 

The Norwegian Encore Speedway is slightly larger than the Norwegian Bliss Speedway. The Encore’s speedway measures at over 1,100 feet in length, while the Bliss’s speedway measures at almost 1,000 feet in length. 

NCL speedway

(Glimpse of Norwegian Encore Speedway)

Something that I personally enjoyed more about the Norwegian Encore’s speedway is that the Encore’s speedway had a lot more viewing spaces and opportunities for guests. This meant that guests who wanted to watch other guests race, there was a lot of spots and angles from which to watch the racetrack. 

The Norwegian Bliss was the very first speedway at sea that was introduced by Norwegian Cruise Line, and it seems that the cruise line took the success of the racetrack and expanded on it with the Norwegian Encore’s rendition. In addition to more viewing space, the Norwegian Encore introduces a spectator interactive element that is really fun and unique. Norwegian Cruise Line says the following about the speedway onboard the Norwegian Encore, “watch the ocean blur by as you zoom around high-speed curves suspended 13 feet off the side of the ship. And spectators can get in on the action too! Revolutionary interactivity lets you boost your favorite racer past the finish.” 

NCL speedway

If you are someone who is very interested in the Norwegian Speedway, I would maybe recommend taking a sailing on the Norwegian Encore over the Norwegian Bliss! 

Outdoor Laser Tag Courses

NCL lasertag

Both the Norwegian Bliss and the Norwegian Encore have outdoor laser tag courses, which is another rather unique onboard activity for a cruise line. 

The laser tag courses on both these ships are located on the upper outdoor decks, however they do have different theming. The laser tag onboard the Norwegian Bliss has a futuristic, almost space apocalyptic, sci-fi theme. While the laser tag onboard the Norwegian Encore is more of a fantasy, greek mythology, Atlantis theme. 

NCL lasertag

(Laser Tag course onboard Norwegian Encore)

I really liked that the laser tag onboard the Norwegian Encore is rather open. This means that guests have the opportunity to walk around the complex to get a preview of the experience before they actually participate in laser tag. While the Norwegian Bliss’ laser tag is more sectioned off, meaning that guests really are only able to see inside if they are participating in laser tag themselves. 

The overall course size did seem to be larger on the Norwegian Encore, however it was more open. Which means there seemed to be less fun obstacles to hide and run around, while the Norwegian Bliss course seemed to have more of a maze for participants to navigate. 

NCL lasertag

(Laser Tag onboard Norwegian Bliss ship)

Both laser tag complexes on both the Norwegian Bliss and Encore are an additional charge to participate in. Currently guests are charged $9.95 USD per person (for both adults and children), per game. 

Spice H2O vs. Galaxy Pavilion 

NCL galaxy pavilion

Something that I did not completely realize before sailing with the Norwegian Encore, is that there is no Spice H2O onboard this ship. 

The Spice H2O is a great outdoor space onboard many Norwegian Cruise Line ships. This space is described as, “inspired by the renowned summer beach parties on the island of Ibiza, Spice H2O is an adult-only escape. By day, you can soak in hot tubs or sip cold cocktails from your reclined lounge chair. By night, its a whole different beat. Let loose and dance beneath the stars,” by Norwegian Cruise Line. 

I have enjoyed the Spice H2O venue onboard other Norwegian ships I have been on, and was a little disappointed to discover it was not present onboard the Norwegian Encore. However, in place of Spice H2O, is the Galaxy Pavilion on the Norwegian Encore. 

Spice H20 NCL

(Spice H2O venue onboard Norwegian Bliss)

The Spice H2O is present onboard the Norwegian Bliss. This area has lots of lounge chairs, two hot tubes, and a water feature. 

The Galaxy Pavilion is a large venue specializing in virtual reality experiences, simulators, fun and exciting activities for guests to participate in while onboard. The Galaxy Pavilion is described by Norwegian Cruise Line as, “immersive VR experiences and thrilling simulator rides are just the beginning. Use your wits to solve the puzzles of an escape room featuring holograms and enchanted artifacts.” 

The Galaxy Pavilion is one of those activities that does cost extra for guests to participate in. Currently, games start at $8 USD per play. 

NCL galaxy pavilion

The Galaxy Pavilion is a great and unique onboard activity offered by Norwegian Cruise Lines. This activity is great for families, friends, and teens looking for something fun and memory-making to do while onboard or during a sea day. 

However, guests will not be able to find the relaxing and beautiful Spice H2O venue onboard the Norwegian Encore. To break it down, the Norwegian Bliss has Spice H2O while the Norwegian Encore has the Galaxy Pavilion. Whether guests are more interested in the Spice H2O or the Galaxy Pavilion, they should choose the corresponding ship based on their interests. 

Specialty Restaurants

NCL specialty dining

(Onda by Scarpetta onboard the Norwegian Encore ship)

Both the Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Bliss have the same amount of specialty dining restaurants onboard, twelve to be exact. 

Almost all of the restaurants on these ships are the same, except for one small difference. The Norwegian Encore has ‘Onda by Scarpetta’ while the Norwegian Bliss has the Norwegian Cruise Line classic, ‘La Cucina’. 

Onda is an Italian style restaurant merging elegance and modern design with tasty and gourmet cuisine. This restaurant is beautiful and is a great addition to the Norwegian Encore. Modern Italian dishes are the specialty at this venue. 

La Cucina is a specialty restaurant that has become a classic staple on many Norwegian ships, and is present onboard Norwegian Bliss. La Cucina is also an Italian style restaurant. This venue specializes in serving classic Italian dishes, including homemade Tiramisu. 

Both these restaurants have a sophisticated indoor area and feature outdoor space. These outdoor dining spaces are located on The Waterfront, and give guests the great opportunity to catch the sunset, enjoy the ocean views, and dine at the same time. 

Theater Style Shows and Entertainment 

NCL six

Both of these ships have phenomenal theater style entertainment onboard! Whether guests choose to sail on Norwegian Encore or Norwegian Bliss, they are in store for a true entertainment treat.

Norwegian Bliss does take the win for me when it comes to theater entertainment due to the simple fact that this ship has two major theater shows. The Norwegian Bliss features the shows ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘Six’ onboard. Both of these shows feature incredible vocal performances as well as dancing and acting. Both of these Norwegian Bliss shows delve into history a little bit, with Jersey Boys going into the true story of the band The Four Seasons. While the show Six is a fun and modern twist on the story of the six wives of English King Henry VIII. To read more about our thoughts on these two shows, check out this article!

The Norwegian Encore has just one main theater style show, ‘Choir of Man’. I truly loved this fun and interactive performance and recommend that all guests onboard the Norwegian Encore go see this show at least once. This show also features impressive singing in multiple genres, engaging dancing, and much more. Choir of Man is all about a group of friends who frequent an English pub and the fun that ensues. This show is so much fun and really up lifting. Read more about our thoughts on this show here! 

NCL choir of man

(Choir of Man show onboard on the Norwegian Encore ship)

All of these shows on both ships are wonderful, and I truly believe will be enjoyed by everyone. If you are someone who wants more shows I would maybe choose the Norwegian Bliss. However, the Norwegian Encore offering ‘Choir of Man’ is a great perk. 



The Norwegian Bliss and the Norwegian Encore are both really great cruise ships offered by Norwegian Cruise Line. Both these vessels are capable of delivering an epic cruise vacation. Whether its activities or shows that is important to prospective guests, choosing between these two ships should be relatively easy because they both make for an awesome vacation! 

We hope that this article helps detail some of the differences between the Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Bliss. We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent on both these ships, and we know that anyone who chooses to sail with Norwegian Cruise Line will as well!

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