Skip to Content

7 Days in a Balcony Cabin in Alaska – Worth It? (Norwegian Encore Cabin Review)

ad – DISCLAIMER: I was invited onboard Norwegian Encore on a press trip.

I recently went on a cruise sailing across Alaska and I stayed in a balcony cabin.

Normally I’m happy with an inside cabin or perhaps an ocean view, but as I was expecting beautiful Alaskan scenery and travelling 4300 miles from home, I decided to book a standard balcony cabin.

Balcony cabins are the most popular cabin type on this ship. There are over 1000 balcony cabins onboard Norwegian Encore – and I wanted to find out why.

I did wonder if I might end up spending all my time up on the top decks so perhaps the balcony upgrade would be a waste of money. I wondered if it might be too cold to use the balcony much anyway and I also wondered if I would regret not booking a suite or something even bigger. It could have gone either way… 

When I booked this cruise I didn’t pick my specific cabin location so I was excited to see my cabin number appear on my booking documents. I was assigned cabin 14266, and I went straight to Norwegian’s website to see where that was. I found it towards the back of deck 14. 

I wondered if we might feel more movement towards the back of the ship, but it looked like the cabin was in an otherwise good location with nothing that could be noisy around it.

It didn’t take me long to realise that the buffet was at the other end of the ship – but a walk between me and the buffet isn’t a bad idea at al…not that it stopped me from bringing snacks back to my room…

It was easy to find our cabin when we got on board, there were lots of signs and knowing that we were at the back made it easier.

I loved the modern decor of the stairs and carpets – and in particular, the fish carpets that are in the corridors.

The fish on the carpets on Norwegian ships always swim forward.

The fish always swim forward and this is something you’ll find on a few of the Norwegian ships, when I was on Norwegian Prima last year they had arrows in the carpets design pointing forward for the same reason. 

The modern decor continued into the cabin and I personally loved this style, it’s not overwhelming but not boring – a comfortable classy middle ground.

The carpet looked like fireworks and it brought some colour into the cabin. 

To the right-hand side there wa,s a big sofa, and opposite there was a desk with a big mirror. 

The bed was towards the balcony end, which I really liked. Some cabins are the other way around with the sofa near the balcony. I do really like waking up and looking out at the view. For me this is what Alaska cruises are all about. 

After watching the safety video on the cabin TV I headed out to the balcony, the balcony itself was a good size and there are two chairs and a table.

We were sailing from Seattle which was very exciting, but I saw some incredible things from this balcony as the cruise went on.

Next on my “to explore” list was the bathroom, I’ve cruised on quite a few of the newer Norwegian cruise ships and their bathrooms are some of my favourites.

It felt very spacious, the shower was big with a decent shower door and there was of course a toilet, a sink and space for our toiletries. 

On cruise ships, all your towels are provided and they’ll change them for you whenever you like.

Norwegian also provide some shampoo and conditioner – the smell always reminds me of my past Norwegian cruises – it’s funny how smells can do that.

I started cruising with Norwegian when I was 11 and I had a balcony cabin not too different from this one.

Back then though we were travelling with a big family group so we had two cabins next to each other and had an adjoining door between the cabins.

Find out whether having connecting cabins like that causes issues with noise in the article below:

Are Cruise Ship Cabins Soundproof? (Thin Walls, Balconies and Travelling Sound)

We didn’t need that this time, but this cruise really did bring back some lovely memories for me. 

Emma Cruises, Norwegian Spirit Alaska
Enjoying Glacier Bay from my balcony on Norwegian Spirit in 2005

It wasn’t long after this that our luggage arrived, we didn’t have a lot of stuff – helped in part by the fact that Norwegian don’t have any formal nights or dress codes.

This meant that I didn’t have to bring a change of clothes for dinner and that really helps when flying long distances with limited luggage like had to.

Find out more about Norwegian’s lack of dress codes in the article below:

Norwegian Cruise Line Don’t Have Formal Nights – Here’s What They Have Instead

There was a double wardrobe area and on the right-hand side, there were shelves and on the left, more hanging space.

We had plenty of room for the two of us and had more hangers than outfits. If there were 3 or 4 sharing this cabin which is possible you’d have to be a bit more organised with your clothes, but being able to put my suitcase under the bed helped a lot.

As the cruise went on I’d just put my dirty clothes into the suitcase and it was like it packed itself. 

Perhaps the most important shelf on this cruise was my jumper shelf (or sweater if you’re not from the UK.)

Everyday cruising in Alaska I had to make a decision, what colour jumper do I wear today? pink? green or blue? You know cruising is great when that’s really the only thing you have to think about – that and what to order for dinner! 

I chose the Pink jumper…

Speaking of flying a long distance, we were so tired at this point but decided to fight it and stay awake until bedtime.

The time difference between the UK and Seattle was 8 hours so that did take some getting used to – especially when there was the lovely big comfortable bed where I knew I could take a sleep at anytime. It was calling me – and it was hard to resist. 

When I did let myself go to sleep I had the best sleep ever, the cabin was perfectly quiet, the bed was so comfortable, the ship was moving very slightly so it was like being rocked to sleep.

I’m not sure I’ve ever appreciated a bed or a sleep as much as I did this first night.

The bed can be made up as a twin bed or a double and the beds are the same in all the cabins. I would have enjoyed a good sleep anywhere, but one thing I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy in an inside cabin was the sail into the lovely ports like Juneau. 

Arriving at Juneau

The thing about Alaska is that even if you aren’t docked in a port there are still hours and hours of things to look at. The best example of this would be a little later in the cruise when we sailed through Glacier Bay, I was hoping to see some wildlife from my balcony.

In the cabin, we had a minibar, a TV, a hairdryer (which was very powerful) and a Safe. You can use the minibar as a fridge to store your own things if you want to – but I didn’t bring anything that needed refrigeration on this cruise.

There were a few more cupboards near the desk where we put all of our bits and bobs and the little shelf up higher that was brilliant for putting things like my sunglasses so I didn’t lose them.

Also on the desk was a European plug socket and 3 US sockets, there were USBs in the lamps by the bed and there were loads of buttons for the lights.

This meant that we could turn off the lights when in bed instead of having to go back to the main light switch by the door. 

On Norwegian Encore you have to put your cruise card in the slot when you are in the cabin, this controls the electricity and it will turn off if you take out the card.

There is enough time to take out the card and gather your things before you leave the room – it isn’t like the lights all turn out as soon as you pull the card out and you’re left there in the dark. 

I imagine it’s a great way to save electricity – and the way that you tell your cabin steward if you’d like the room made up is just as clever. On some cruise ships you’ll find pieces of paper you have to put in the door, the same way you might in a hotel.

These are fine but they can fall out. People can change them – in the past I have had housekeeping knock and say they found it on “Makeup Room” when I put it on do not disturb – which isn’t great.

Norwegian has a solution to that though. When you want your room made up you press a button inside the cabin and it’ll light up outside your room, the same happens when you want to be on “Do Not Disturb.

All the cabins onboard were cleaned every day and our room steward was lovely, we’d stop and chat with him on our way out and he always did a fantastic job, the entire ship was flawlessly clean.

I’m always disappointed by how dirty real life is when I get off a cruise because I get so used to things being tidy and being cleaned all the time. 

The sofa became my office for a lot of the cruise and it was there that I did a live stream. I was expecting the internet to be a bit patchy given that we were sailing through mountains but I never had any problem with it.

My live stream didn’t crash or buffer once and I was always able to do the work that I needed to do, sometimes I’d bring my laptop on the balcony and it didn’t seem to mind the cold.

On one day my laptop did overheat which you wouldn’t expect from an Alaska cruise – but we did have pockets of sunshine when it was really quite warm.

Being able to sunbathe outside while the sun was on our side – but then go back inside to pick up a jacket when it got chillier is definitely a big benefit of a balcony cabin. I did see whales from the balcony and I wanted to see a bear. 

I spotted Orca from my balcony

Our cabin had air conditioning but I never felt the need to change the cabin’s temperature. Whatever it was set to when I arrived was the perfect temperature for me. Another thing that turned out to be perfect was the cabin location.

We did feel a bit of movement on the first day but it was nothing too bad. I’m sure we would have felt a little less if we were in the middle of the ship and further down – but given that I didn’t pick this location I was very happy with it.

The main thing for me was that it was so quiet and I slept so well.

Find out about the best cabin locations to choose onboard a ship if you want to avoid seasickness here:

What is The Best Cabin Location on a Cruise For Avoiding Seasickness? (I’ve Tried Them All!)

We could hear people around us when we were on our balcony of course, like the day that we ordered room service and ate it with the incredible views – but as soon as we shut the door it was silent. 

Having a balcony for our first couple of port stops was brilliant – but it really when we visited Glacier Bay when I used the outside space of the balcony the most.

See more about my balcony and the wonderful views in Glacier Bay in the video below:

We did spend quite a bit of time up on the top decks and on the promenade deck but being in our cabin meant that we could pop in to get a drink, or a hat, we could come in to use the toilet and our seats would be right there waiting. 

I loved this cabin, but there is one cabin on another ship that takes the things I love even further.

To take a look inside my favourite cruise ship cabin of all time – and to find out why I crawled under the bed – check out this video I filmed onboard Norwegian Prima below:

I loved this cabin – but there is a lot more to a cruise than just where you’ll stay.

To find out how the rest of the cruise went – including where we ate, what entertainment we watched and what my favourite things about Norwegian Encore were, watch this video next:

Before You Go

Find out about the seven things you should know before cruising with Norwegian here:

7 Things You Should Know Before Your First Cruise With Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Encore has a Go Kart track on the top deck – find out which other Norwegian ships have Go Karts too here:

Which Norwegian Ships Have Go Karts Tracks?

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.