2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My husband and I have been on various itineraries of Alaskan cruises (Holland America, Celebrity, Norwegian). This ship is sparkling clean and beautiful and it rarely feels "jam packed" despite carrying so many people. What ... Read More
My husband and I have been on various itineraries of Alaskan cruises (Holland America, Celebrity, Norwegian). This ship is sparkling clean and beautiful and it rarely feels "jam packed" despite carrying so many people. What we liked: * Mini-balcony - love love loved our room. For us, the extra space in the bathroom was much appreciated. We spent hours on the balcony watching the exquisite scenery go by and kept our door open a bit each night to hear the ocean while we slept. * Food options - we're not buffet people, although we did take advantage of the small buffet option in the Observation lounge in the mornings. We like Norwegian because of its well developed specialty dining program. Our favorites were Cagney's, Le Bistro, La Cucina, and Food Republic. (Teppanyaki was ok but too much food/too loud for us.) * Amazing views and scenery. We weren't looking for excursions (been there/done that). * lovely service - service in all areas, from room steward to restaurants was respectful and sincere. * Observation Lounge - amazing views, comfortable seating, plus snacks & bar all day long. * embarkation/debarkation - about as easy as it gets, and we didn't have any standing to give us a special line or other edge. * activities. we were mostly interested in relaxing on our own and watching the scenery go by. But if we had wanted to play games or take part in other activities, we could have: something for everyone it seems! What we didn't care for: * The bed was too firm (but we managed) * Shows - definitely amateur hour, but what do you want "for free"? My husband was more ok with it than I was. I wouldn't waste my time on that again! * Internet package - the minutes in the package are only good for one device. I would've chosen a different freebie if I had realized this - maybe that's my bad. * No thermal spa. I probably wouldn't go on this ship again just because I love the thermal spa for this particular trip (Alaska). The facilities on this ship are laughable and not in sync with all of the other amenities. * Breakfast timing/brunch - while we loved getting a pot of coffee delivered to us (gratis) each morning, we wish there were one restaurant on board that would serve breakfast all day. We heard others comment on this, too, especially on sea days - where's the brunch option?? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to run away from the heat of summer at least for a week and to experience the relaxing sights of Alaska. Ship: The ship looks amazing. Very clean and contemporary décor. Staff continuously cleans and maintains ... Read More
We chose this cruise to run away from the heat of summer at least for a week and to experience the relaxing sights of Alaska. Ship: The ship looks amazing. Very clean and contemporary décor. Staff continuously cleans and maintains the ship in neat condition. The onboard staff was always courteous and helpful. Bad experience with NCL air travel: We had a very stressful experience with our air travel arrangements booked directly with NCL air. Due to a last minute rescheduling of the our outbound flight, we almost missed our cruise and the NCL emergency assistance line/nor the air travel department were available to help! From the initial booking of the reservation, the staff did not bother to sit our family of four together, which included two small children. Our seats were assigned all over the plane. Ports: One of the ports visited was Hoonah/Icy Strait for an entire day and in my opinion, it would have been a better value as a customer to have that much time at different port (Ketchikan, Juneau). At his point, the town itself needs further development and the frequency of the shuttles from the port to town needs to be increase during ship arrival dates. There is a nice shopping area and some restaurants as you get off the ship plus shore excursions. We wandered into town via the $5 shuttle and found some street vendors but the area needs significant tourist development. Unless you're willing to pay for $hore excursion$ at this point there is not a lot going on there. Food: The food at specialty restaurants was excellent, specially Cagney's Steakhouse. We liked it so much that we ended up dining at Cagney's twice! The food was also good at the buffet, and to my surprise they also had a section for Indian food which seemed to be very popular. I tried some of it and it was delicious. The complimentary restaurants as well as the specialty restaurants offer a wide variety of food choices. For the specialty restaurants, we tried Teppanyaki (Hibachi). and Cagney's (Steakhouse) . Portions at both specialty restaurant were VERY generous. The Hibachi staff was fun but compared to a 'land' Hibachi restaurant the food wasn't 'great'. Cagney's steakhouse was exceptional. From the service of the staff to the quality of the food and drinks. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin and it was well worth it! Would definitely recommend it as we could see glaciers and at some point whales as the cruise sailed! Bed: The bed in our cabin was very uncomfortable as well as the bunk bed + sleeper sofa. We asked our steward for extra padding but still I was waking up daily with body and neck pain : ( Onboard kids club/arcade: For the nicer games (ex. virtual reality, race track, laser tag), you have to pay extra per use. I'd wish they had some sort of packaged deal as some are $7/use and some others are $20/use per person. They have a coloring interactive station free of charge in the galaxy room that was pretty cool. Be sure to check the daily schedules for other no-charge events. They had a shirt glow paint event where they provide T-shirts and paint so the family can create a souvenir with glow pain. Make sure kids wear clothes that can be stained with permanent paint! Useful tips; Make sure to download the NCL app PRIOR to getting on the ship. You will be able to check the daily activities from your phone and mark your favorites. There is no charge for connecting to the ship Wi-Fi to use this app. The only enhancement I'd do to the app would be to specify which activities have an additional fee (ex. wine tastings, etc...). They also have the traditional daily schedule of activities printed and delivered to your room. The ship provides a FREE port valet service in Seattle that allows to check in your luggage all the way to your airline from the ship! The paperwork is provided in your cabin but they will have signs all over the ship at around Tuesday/Wednesday for this service. This is particularly useful if you're planning to walk around Seattle. You will still need to take a cab to the airport but don't have to carry your luggage around. Unfortunately, we were not able to use this service due to issue with NCL air travel. There is also a concierge service outside the terminal that charges $5 per piece of luggage but must pick up by 3 pm. In summary: We would do it again, but would choose an itinerary that does not include Icy Strait, as this port still has a few years to go to warrant spending so many hours of my precious vacation time. Would much rather have longer stays in Ketchikan, Juneau or Skagway. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We booked this cruise about a month before sailing as a last minute vacation. I then began reading reviews and was hoping we had not made a mistake. This was our first Norwegian cruise. We have sailed on Carnival previously nine times, so ... Read More
We booked this cruise about a month before sailing as a last minute vacation. I then began reading reviews and was hoping we had not made a mistake. This was our first Norwegian cruise. We have sailed on Carnival previously nine times, so my comparisons are with Carnival ships not other Norwegian ships. I will try to address the major areas of complaints I saw in other reviews. Embarkation and debarkation - This was the quickest embarkation and debarkation I have ever had. The staff was very friendly. Passengers were directed to gangplanks on two different decks, so passenger were not all trying to crowd on to one set of elevators. Our cabin was already ready, so we could drop off our carry on bags and head to lunch. Decor - The decor of the ship is shades of brown, blue and green. Much more tasteful than Carnival ships with one huge exception. The atrium, color changing chandelier and staircase are small and kind of Vegas tacky compared to every single Carnival ship I have been on, even the older ones. In fact we walked through it twice before we realized that it was actually the main atrium. Dining - Overall I will just say if you want seriously fine dining - do not travel on a ship that is feeding 3,500 people every meal. That being said, I thought that overall the food was very good. Compared to Carnival ships, the buffet is enormous. Beyond the standard buffet fare, there are also stations for Asian food, Indian food, pasta, soups. The hot food bar had rotating menus including pot roast and Yorkshire pudding. In addition to soft serve ice cream, there is a regular ice cream station with eight daily flavors. There was a different specialty for dinner every night. We ate the buffet for lunch most days. We ate dinner there the night they had prime rib and it was as good as the steak in the dining rooms. I think the Norwegian buffet easily tops Carnival in both quantity and quality. I do prefer the Guys Burger Bar and Mongolian Wok on Carnival for non buffet lunch options. The three main dining rooms appears to have the same rotating menu. Taste and Savor are smaller with lower ceilings. I liked the atmosphere. The Manhattan Room has a higher ceiling, more similar to dining rooms on Carnival ships. Freestyle dining means that you can eat whenever you want, but you are not going to have waiters who know your name and preferences. There are no nightly dancing waiters and no last night Baked Alaska. I would say the food was at least as good as food on Carnival ships. The only specialty dining we did was the Japanese restaurant. The chef put on a very good show and was friendly and entertaining. The food was very good, but a little garlic heavy for my taste. Entertainment - The Footloose and Elements shows were much higher quality than anything Carnival has to offer. I can't rate the comedy because we were never able to get in to see a show. Small comedy clubs are a huge problem on every Carnival ship I have been on. However, with Norwegian's reservation system, you are probably not going to get in if you can't get a reservation. There are stand by lines if you want to try. I booked our show times two weeks before sailing, but the comedy shows were already full. My advice - book your entertainment, specialty dining, race track times long before your sail date. Service - I was concerned after reading the reviews about service. I made a point to go to guest services on two occasions, ask for assistance from store clerks, and random crew members. Every single time I was met with courteous and friendly assistance. Ports of Call - In general, I have booked my own excursions with local companies for years without problem (until this trip). The cruise ships keep 70% of the fees they charge, and I would rather my money go to local companies. Ketchikan - Went on sight seeing tour with Aurora tours which is run by a life long native Tlinglit. We saw a ton of eagles, salmon, and beautiful sites that the large tour groups did not. It was too hot and the tide was too low to see bears that day. But no one else did either. It was a great tour and we got great photos including an eagle carrying off a salmon. Juneau - We took the shuttle in to town and bought tickets for the bus to Mendenhall Glacier. We spent three hours there which was plenty of time to walk to the Nugget Falls and also take the path to the photo point. There were a ton of people almost running to the falls and not taking time to look at the beautiful scenery on the trail. The park is a rainforest, and it is gorgeous. We still had about an hour to walk around downtown. I agree that this stop should be longer than it is. The afternoon was spent cruising Tracy Arm Fjord. We saw lots of floating ice, beautiful mountains, and a glacier at the end. Icy Strait Point - Here is where I have to agree with the critical reviews. This is a Norwegian only port owned and run by the Icy Strait Point Corporation. I had booked a whale watching trip through Trip Adviser. The company was owned by a member of the ISP Corp. Their boat broke down several days earlier, but they did not leave us a message on our phone, so we sat there for an hour before another local guide helped us figure out what was going on. Now, this is not Norwegian's fault. However, in any other port there are plenty of booths offering tours. Because this is a privately owned stop, there are NO other options to book a tour. Everything was sold out. We spent an hour walking through the museum and gift shops and went back to the ship. It is billed as a native village, with native crafts. Only one store had some actual local wood crafts, everything else was over priced typical tourist ware. There is a nature walk and beach walk, but my husband has a bad knee, so that was not an option. Overall, I agree that this stop is a disappointment, and way too long. This is one stop I would say book a tour through the ship, and book it early. Victoria - We booked a last minute whale watching excursion with Eagle Wing Whale tours. It was absolutely wonderful. We saw a pod of killer whales, and watched a humpback whale breach repeatedly for ten minutes. This tour and the trip to Mendenhall Glacier were the highlights of the cruise. A few other points: 1. The casino is non-smoking except for a glassed in enclosure 2. The push to sell photos, spa treatments, etc was much more low key than on Carnival 3. There was a complaint about no educational opportunities in some reviews. There were three audio lectures about various aspects of Alaska and Alaskan wildlife a day for the first four days on the observation deck. 4. There were indeed movies shown on deck several nights in the evening. There were also a 3D movie in the theater one afternoon. 5. There are several sit down bars with live music, and a nightly dance club. Overall, we were very happy with this ship and this cruise and would sail Norwegian again. We would pick a different itinerary next time to avoid the Icy Strait Point. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We just wrapped up a fantastic, seven-day sailing to Alaska aboard the Norwegian Joy (Seattle to Seattle in July 2019). Our stateroom was a two-bedroom family villa in The Haven. While we identified some areas where Norwegian can improve ... Read More
We just wrapped up a fantastic, seven-day sailing to Alaska aboard the Norwegian Joy (Seattle to Seattle in July 2019). Our stateroom was a two-bedroom family villa in The Haven. While we identified some areas where Norwegian can improve its service, this cruise was an enjoyable adventure. In this review, I describe what we liked, and I talk about what I think NCL can do to improve specific areas where service wasn’t up to the standards the cruise line advertises for Haven guests. Here’s what we liked: The Ship – Built in 2017 and retrofitted again in 2019, the Joy is an elegant ship with quality furnishings, beautiful flooring and lighting, attractive designs, comfortable common areas, and a bounty of entertainment and dining options. When compared to the two other NCL ships we’ve sailed on—the Norwegian Jewel and the Norwegian Breakaway—the Joy felt more luxurious. Embarkation and Disembarkation – We had a flawless experience getting on the ship in Seattle. We entered our stateroom just 40 minutes after first arriving at the port. On the last day of the cruise, we exited the port building just 20 minutes after leaving our stateroom. The disembarkation process was less stressful than other cruises, in part because of the Port Valet program. This program allows you to check your luggage, for a fee, with your airline the night before you depart the ship, simply by leaving your bags in the hallway with special bag tags. When the ship arrived at ports, we were able to exit the ship quickly. When it was time to get back on board, the embarkation process was relatively stress-free; there were Haven priority embarkation lines at all but one port (Victoria). Accommodations – We found the two-bedroom family villa to be spacious and beautifully furnished, with the feel of a luxury hotel suite. The layout was well designed and maximized space, and my mother and I enjoyed a week together without ever feeling crowded. The placement of the bathrooms allowed for extra privacy. The room offered lots of natural light in the main bedroom and living area, too. If the price was right, I would book this room again in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, given NCL’s rapidly increasing fares for The Haven over the past year and a half – without increasing or improving the quality of services in The Haven –means the value proposition is, for now, poor. Dining – We enjoyed delicious dinners at The Haven Restaurant, Le Bistro, and La Cucina. The staff at these restaurants are unfailingly cheerful, professional, and efficient. Specifically, one hostess (Arnalita), was particularly friendly and helpful. We also enjoyed lunch at the Garden Café, which was much larger than I expected and offered a variety of quality foods. Meals at The Manhattan Dining Room and The Local were adequate, but not memorable. In general, NCL’s restaurant menus provide great options. However, vegan or vegetarian travelers might be frustrated by limited options. My mother (a vegetarian) enjoyed all of her meals, but there were not enough vegetarian dishes available. Entertainment – I was truly impressed by the quality of all of the entertainment options on the ship. The musical, Footloose, was fun, well-acted, and fast-paced. The specialty show, Elements, was also beautifully produced and included impressive acrobatics. The game shows, such as Deal or No Deal, Battle of the Sexes, and Movie Trivia, were lots of fun and featured high quality video graphics and music. Without exception, the entertainment staff – under the leadership of the awesome Cruise Director, Soozy Atkins – went above and beyond to make these shows so enjoyable. We also saw two comedy shows at the Social. While we enjoyed one of the comics and laughed a lot, the other (a teacher, no less!) was unkind to young children in the audience; we didn’t think it was fair to pick on little kids during the family-friendly comedy show. Shore Excursions – Our excursions were fantastic. We enjoyed a rainforest hike in Ketchikan, a five-glacier seaplane tour in Juneau, a helicopter tour with dogsledding in Skagway, and whale watching in Victoria. Each of these excursions was better than we expected, and we were particularly impressed with the people who worked for the local companies that ran the excursions. They love their work, and they love Alaska! The ShoreEx team deserves credit for identifying these quality local vendors. The team was also helpful to us. At one port, we walked to the excursion meeting destination and realized we had forgotten our excursion tickets; a ShoreEx staffer helped us immediately. The Haven – I was particularly impressed with The Haven area on the Joy. On previous NCL cruises, I have felt that the Haven hard product – furnishings, accommodations, etc. – could benefit from some improvements. The Haven section of the Joy was a happy exception. It was luxurious, attractive, and comfortable at the same time. I felt like I was traveling in a sailing St. Regis. What truly makes the Haven so enjoyable and memorable, though, is the staff. Our butler (Amit) was friendly, helpful, courteous, and accommodating. NCL is lucky to have him. Our steward (Fernando) was friendly and hardworking, and he and kept our room spotlessly clean. We were also grateful to meet the helpful and friendly assistant maître d’ of The Haven restaurant (Evalee). We found the concierge (Phoebe) to be personally friendly, too. With that said, the concierge program could benefit from some improvements. Here’s what we think could be improved: Haven Concierge Program – The level of service offered by the concierge desk and staff in The Haven seems to vary too much from ship to ship. For example, our concierge on the NCL Jewel, Bruno, was always in command of his work, could solve any problem, and was constantly accessible. We had the same experience on the Breakaway earlier this year with Bowen. While we liked Phoebe personally and were grateful that she helped make our restaurant reservations on our first day, her two assistants might benefit from additional NCL hospitality training. For example, they rarely looked up from their desk to greet or make eye contact with guests entering The Haven. In addition, there was a general lack of follow through on requests made to the concierge staff. If Phoebe herself was unable to book a reservation or excursion while we waited, we generally never heard about the request again unless we inquired about it on our own. In one case, we tried to book a behind-the-scenes tour. We only found out that we were unable to take the tour (because of space limitations), two days after we made the request – and only after we asked about it again. Training concierge staff to be more proactive or, at a minimum, to make follow-up calls to guests could help alleviate this problem. Haven Port Embarkation – Priority embarkation on port days is a worthy and beneficial perk for Haven passengers. However, the policy is inconsistent, making it unpredictable and often frustrating. Some ports offer a priority line and, without explanation, others do not. We’d rather see they be smarter about how they implement this, such as having a Haven tent that is staffed on port days to facilitate getting back on board and to assist Haven guests with other issues, much like MSC does with the Yacht Club. Access to The Haven by Elevator – As a product that is priced to compete with high-end luxury accommodations and more elite cruise lines, The Haven should have a dedicated, express elevator. It is generally more time-consuming for Haven passengers to get an elevator than for anyone else on the ship, because Haven staterooms are located on Decks 17 and 18. Once you get on an elevator on Deck 17 or 18, you usually stop at every floor on the way down, and the elevators easily get overcrowded. An express elevator from Deck 17 (The Haven main reception area) to the 678 Ocean Place decks would solve many of these problems and cut down on the biggest complaints we hear from Haven passengers. Vegetarian Options – I remain confused about NCL’s vegetarian meals policy. On previous cruises – and on this one – NCL staff told me that additional, vegetarian meal options would be offered at restaurants if we notified the restaurants of dietary restrictions at the time we made our dining reservations. That is exactly what we tried to do. We made all of our restaurant reservations on the first or second day, and we conveyed to Phoebe that my mother is a vegetarian and would like vegetarian meal options. None of the restaurants received this information, despite our attempts to follow up with the concierge desk. Given that there is usually only one vegetarian item on each restaurant’s menu, this lack of communication seriously limited my mother’s meal options at restaurants like Le Bistro. The Haven Restaurant was a notable exception to this challenge, because Evalee took note of my mother’s dietary restrictions and asked the chef to prepare special meals. In conclusion: If the price was right, I would jump at the opportunity to sail in The Haven on the Norwegian Joy again. The ship, the staff, the entertainment, the dining, and the excursions were excellent. Most importantly, we had a blast! It was a great trip to a pristine, amazing destination. And with some minor adjustments and improvements, the NCJ Joy could get as close to perfection as possible for almost any traveler. We do, however, think NCL needs to reevaluate its pricing model for The Haven. While we are comfortable paying these fares, we are also conscientious consumers who focus on the value we receive for the price we paid. NCL can and should do a better job of aligning its Haven services with the price they’re now asking Haven guests to pay, particularly in the face of more reasonably priced competition. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My family and I just returned from an Alaskan cruise on the NCL Joy on Saturday. I was reluctant to book after seeing so many negative opinions about the ship, but booked our trip for July 13-20. I couldn't be happier that I did!! ... Read More
My family and I just returned from an Alaskan cruise on the NCL Joy on Saturday. I was reluctant to book after seeing so many negative opinions about the ship, but booked our trip for July 13-20. I couldn't be happier that I did!! First off, the ship is clean. I mean even in the food buffet area (Garden Café) there was never food or spilled drink to step in. Not like a typical buffet option. And there was plentiful options of really good food in the buffet. And there were so many staff covering the area, my plate never sat empty or a table left dirty for long! Staff was abundant all over the ship. We were always greeted with a smile by the many staff on board and they were all so friendly! Our room steward Rodney was incredible too. He had even decorated our cabin and left a birthday cake for my husband on his birthday. The dining rooms and food were also fantastic onboard. We ate at each of the three complimentary dining rooms (Manhattan Room, Savor and Taste) and the service and food at each were incredible. And these are FREE dining rooms! We also had dinner at three of the ship's specialty restaurants - Cagney's steakhouse, Teppanyaki (hibachi) and La Cucina (Italian). All three of these dinners were first class and the food/service was amazing! I love this ship in that even at the finer dining restaurants you could choose to dress up or dress down. Given the array of Alaskan clothing we had to bring, we wore jeans and nice shirts and it was more than acceptable. We also took part in the Speedway racetrack and laser tag on the top level of the ship. So fun!! The pools, though small, are indeed heated and the hot tubs nice. We also booked three shore excursions with NCL which was so easy and chose to participate in the Seattle Port Valet which delivered our luggage to the airport for us on the day of departure. NCL made everything so easy!! Again, nothing but great things to say about the food, waits in lines, reservation making and friendliness of all of the staff!!! I would also add we saw the performance of Footloose and Elements in the JOY theater and they were top notch productions!!! This was our first NCL cruise and I can definitely say we will sail again with them!! For history, my family has also sailed Disney Cruise Line and Celebrity. NCL is a great choice for anyone looking for great entertainment, good quality, friendliness and accommodations. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Offer received through Latitudes Rewards. Loved the ship itself. Much better than the Star. Everything was clean and shiny new. Loved how many options you had available to keep you occupied. Decent pricing on cruise itself, but a ... Read More
Offer received through Latitudes Rewards. Loved the ship itself. Much better than the Star. Everything was clean and shiny new. Loved how many options you had available to keep you occupied. Decent pricing on cruise itself, but a nightmare upgrading the drink package. Got a cocktail when I got on ship (Long Island) which was absolutely awful. Switched to Vodka Cranberry and then got the receipt for it. Almost $26 per drink!! I went to upgrade and had to pay over $800. Paying that much, I still got charged extra for drinks from the mini bar!!! With that much money spent to drink anything anywhere I want, I should be able to get a drink in my room without paying through the nose for it. NOT happy about all that. There was a total of 1 smoking area on the ship. Yes....ONE! We were put in a corner like a child being put in time out. The area was very small too. In my opinion, doing this will make smokers (lepers of society now) to not want to take a cruise again. I'm not asking to allow us to smoke inside, but having a small space without proper coverage (rained on many times) is just not very nice! On that note....the bartenders and staff by the Leper's corner (17th deck) were absolutely wonderful! Especially Michael! He always checked on me and the others there constantly and made us feel welcome every day. Warm welcomes every time I got there made me feel a bit better about the whole "corner" situation for us smokers. He remembered everyone's name and what we drank. Very impressive! Thank you Michael!! Dining was ok at complimentary restaurants. Deserts were questionable at times. In my opinion, Boston Cream pie should be made of cream, not gelatin. Peach Cobbler was also off a bit. Q was absolutely wonderful. Best salmon I had on the ship. Hibachi restaurant was amazing as well. Best fried rice I've ever had! All in all. Good food options. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We traveled with 3 other couples and two 12 year olds on our very first cruise. Factors in choosing this particular cruise: Marriage retreat seminars, itinerary (never been to Alaska), promises of smooth waters (easily seasick), and ... Read More
We traveled with 3 other couples and two 12 year olds on our very first cruise. Factors in choosing this particular cruise: Marriage retreat seminars, itinerary (never been to Alaska), promises of smooth waters (easily seasick), and traveling with experienced cruisers. Check-in, embarkation/debarkation was a breeze. PROS: 1. Service. Hands-down excellent service provided by the mostly Filipino crew. They were friendly, professional, and helpful at every turn. They kept everything (and everyone) sanitary with their Washy Washy sanitizer bottles. 2. Cabin. Although small, ours was adequately outfitted with storage and conveniences (see cabin comments below). Nice and quiet! 3. Food and drinks. We found the food to be of good quality with variety, and plentiful (TIP: get your table first-mealtimes can be crowded and you don't want to walk around with plates of rapidly cooling food in search of a table). Drinks were made quickly and were very tasty. 4. Entertainment. The Elements show and the family time comedy shows were very good. We also really enjoyed the staff Movie Sketch show (could tone down the risque factor in one of the skits, other than that-hilarious!). Piano player/singer Arvin, as well as the guitarist (can't remember his name) were outstanding. 5. Observation deck on 15 and outdoor areas on deck 8. Both great areas to relax and watch the scenery. 6. Port Valet to get all of our checked luggage home was a big plus. We signed up, they checked us in, gave us boarding passes plus tags. We just put our luggage outside the door on the last night and never saw it again until baggage claim at our home airport! It was nice to be able to walk around Seattle with just our backpacks. CONS: 1. Extras...extras...extras...Felt nickel and dimed on so many things. Thought it would be great to have go-karts ($15/10 laps which took forever because people kept getting stuck. -Please have staff explain how to drive/use the karts before letting them go!), arcades (pay by the game), laser tag ($10 pp) Galaxy pavilion ($7+ per game), bingo ($30/4 cards or something like that), Starbucks (priced similar to brick/mortar store). Unlimited Beverage package is only for drinks priced below $15 but all of the staff informed us when ordering. Smoothies are $6 at the buffet. Just so many extra charges to keep in mind. 2. Pool area. Ok, I know it was an Alaskan itinerary, we didn't expect to be running around in bikinis, however, we did expect that the hot tubs would be hot (they weren't-warmish at best). The pools were heated but once you stepped out, brrrr. Waterslide...hmmm if you didn't get stuck-bravo!-if you didn't get pneumonia from standing in line in a wet bathing suit-bravo again! The kids only went down the waterslide twice. In my humble opinion, it would've been nice to have that whole area enclosed so it was more like an indoor water park?? 3. Putt-putt. Well, it was free. Seemed like a complete after thought, as though they saw a tiny bit of space and threw it in there as another offering. It was too windy and cold to play the course, which was pretty flat and lacked any fun obstacles! All in all, the Pros outweighed the Cons and our family would happily cruise NCL again, just probably not this particular ship for a cold-weather itinerary. Two of the couples we traveled with booked a cruise in 2020 before we got off the ship! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I am an experienced cruiser and wanted to share Alaska with my kids, ages 9 and 13. I am horrible at committing to vacations and only decided to book a cruise a month before we sailed. Given that our passports had expired and the kids ... Read More
I am an experienced cruiser and wanted to share Alaska with my kids, ages 9 and 13. I am horrible at committing to vacations and only decided to book a cruise a month before we sailed. Given that our passports had expired and the kids don't have them, I didn't want to jump through a bunch of hoops so I had to sail out of a roundtrip port. Seattle it was! We had last sailed on the Breakaway so I decided to give NCL another chance. We weren't in love with that ship, but we also had crummy weather on our previous cruise which didn't help. I chose the Joy over the Bliss just based on the available dates. After I booked it, I started reading reviews and was getting a little nervous. There seemed to be few positive reviews, but I figured we'd make the best of it. When I looked closer at the itinerary, I started worrying that there was going to be too much time at sea on the ship. By the end, my entire family concluded there was not ENOUGH time at sea! We ran out of time to do everything we wanted. So now on to the cruise. We flew to Seattle two nights before so that we'd have a full day to explore. We stayed at the Marriott Waterfront. On the day of the cruise, we left our room at 10:30 and were on the ship by 11! We literally walked across the street and embarkation was no wait at all. A far more pleasant experience than when we boarded the Breakaway in New York City. We immediately booked times for the Speedway and Laser Tag as well as a comedy show. I had booked the other shows and Teppanyaki before we left. Next, we signed the kids up for Splash Academy and Entourage. We enjoyed lunch at the Local to avoid the chaos at the buffet. While we were sitting down to eat, we got the announcement that staterooms were available. We were able to leave our stuff in the room and explore. The 9-year-old had worn her bathing suit onto the ship, so we enjoyed some cocktails by the pool while she swam. It was a beautiful afternoon in Seattle! By the time the muster drill was over, our bags had arrived. We were in a balcony cabin for 4 on deck 11. We traveled with 4 suitcases, 2 smallish rolling duffles and 4 backpacks. We were able to fully unpack our largest suitcase. I used all the hangers in the closet and the two hooks by the door. We used three of the remaining suitcases as drawers and slid them under the bed so they could easily be pulled out from under each side of the bed as needed. Just as we finished, we met our amazing cabin steward, Gete. He pointed out that there was a large empty drawer under the couch. We didn't even need it, but it would have been nice to know about it before we unpacked. Bathroom storage was plentiful as well. When we were on the Breakaway, we had a mini-suite balcony. The only difference between them is the bathroom. The shower and sink in the regular balcony rooms is tiny compared to the mini-suite. We soon got used to it, but it was a surprise at first! The bed itself if not very comfortable, and of course, it's a tight squeeze when you add a ladder for the bunk bed, but we knew what to expect so it worked great for us. As soon as the waterslides were open after sailaway, we headed up that way. I was afraid the weather wouldn't be good for the rest of the trip and the kids definitely wanted to try them. The Aqua Racer was super fun, but even with a short line, be prepared to wait. The crew working the slides makes each person get all the way through the slide and out before even summoning the next person to get a raft. I appreciate safety, but it was windy up there and cold so a bit frustrating. You have to weigh at least 120 pounds to do the Ocean Loop. Since the 9-year-old couldn't go on it, none of us did. It seemed to be open quite a bit less than Aqua Racer anyway. We lucked out with great weather and did experience Aqua Racer several times throughout the week. As far as food, I am not a foodie by any means. I read many of the reviews that complained about the food and I came to a conclusion. Many cruisers don't realize that the crew is not American. That includes the Food & Beverage department. So some of the food is different than you might expect. My favorite dining room was Manhattan. Especially, if you can sit at the back by a window and see the wake. We ate there twice. I appreciated the service and attentiveness at all the dining establishments. The crew works hard and it shows! The buffet was usually busy, but that is to be expected. There are multiple stations with the same dishes so just walk a bit further to find a less busy one. Plenty of variety and, if all else fails, there's always pizza or burgers. I also appreciated that there was a bar in the buffet! We had a 3 meal Specialty dining plan and only managed to use 2 of them! Teppanyaki was a family favorite. Great food and entertainment. One night we tried Q because we didn't need reservations. The food was great and there was a ton of it. Dessert is not included which I didn't realize until I saw the charge the next day. I was so stuffed, I only had a couple of bites so that was a waste. I had planned to use our last meal the Victoria night, but we got back to the ship too late and had to get a snack from the buffet instead. I read many reviews about the added costs of everything. As long as you know that going in, I think it's actually a good thing. If laser tag and the Speedway were included, they'd be overwhelmed with people. It cost us extra, but both were very fun and worth the fees. No one in my family was interested in what the Galaxy Pavilion had to offer so we saved money there. The Observation Lounge was generally pretty full. It reminded me of a hotel lobby and was not entirely appealing to me. We didn't spend much time there. We visited Spice H2O a couple of times. It was very quiet so we basically had the bar to ourselves. With the number of people onboard, I was very pleasantly surprised with the number of quiet spots we found. The Waterfront on Deck 8 was my favorite! Very few people and easily accessible bars. My 9-year-old loved the Splash Academy! She went there most days. My 13-year-old complained about having to wear a wristband for Entourage because he was "sure he wouldn't go". By the second night, he was there, or hanging out with kids he'd met there, every night of the cruise! Footloose was enjoyable, but a little long in my opinion. The acrobatics in Elements was AMAZING! I could have done without some of the magic tricks, but overall it was a very cool show. Jim Badger in the District is very funny. We stumbled on him the second to last night. I can't even describe what he does, but check him out for a few minutes, if you can. We didn't manage to squeeze in any other formal entertainment, except for one family-friendly comedy show that was pretty good. I will agree with several other reviews that the time in port is too short. My daughter and I did the Lumberjack show in Ketchikan. She loved it while I thought it was kind of corny. Husband and son went fishing on a private charter and caught lots of fish, including a King Salmon. In Juneau, we took the Mt. Roberts Tram and hiked straight up the mountain. Even with an early start, we didn't have time to see anything else in town. In Skagway, we did the White Pass Railroad which was fascinating. We met friends in Victoria. I would have liked a bit more time in all of the ports. That being said, getting off and on the ship was as smooth as can be. Never more than a minute or so wait either way. We were not in a rush to get off the ship so we opted to disembark with the green group. It's always a pain packing the day before, but we wanted to enjoy our last morning onboard. We left our cabin at 8:30, enjoyed breakfast at the buffet, and walked right off the ship with no waiting. Our luggage was right there waiting and we were on our way. Super easy! All in all, it was a fabulous time for all of us! The Joy brought us joy and what more can you ask for? I would go again in a heartbeat! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a wonderful time on the Joy. The staff were exemplary with our steward Gusti providing us with excellent service. We booked a concierge family suite, 14738, and were delighted with the accommodations. The walk-in closet was the ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the Joy. The staff were exemplary with our steward Gusti providing us with excellent service. We booked a concierge family suite, 14738, and were delighted with the accommodations. The walk-in closet was the crown jewel of the suite as it allowed us to be completely organized, and having enough storage where everything was quickly available. We found the food to be very good with special acknowledgment to the staff of the Teppanyaki restaurant. I was amazed at the variety of food in the Garden Cafe, and thought the addition of the Indian cuisine to be a special treat. Of the speciality restaurants, La Cucina, was our least favorite. If you choose this restaurant on the afternoon of the Dawes glacier sighting, please note that the outside seating area has no heat lamps, so bring a blanket! A side note, if you like your steak rare, you must indicate that you wish it "blue" or you will receive a medium rare steak. We took several excursions. I would highly recommend the Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake. Ours included a stop at the Hatchery, which was not advertised, and was not worth the time! At Icy Strait Point, we took the Whale and Wildlife trip. We got to see both Orca's and a Humpback whale, however, saw zero bears on the wildlife expedition. Victoria B. C. was a city to be enjoyed on your own! It is lovely and afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel was grand. Make sure you spend some time in Parliament. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
The cruise was amazing for the views, service, and ports of call. Just wish the time spent in the ports of call were longer. If you signed up for an excursion, that didn’t give much time, if any, to explore the port towns. As far as ... Read More
The cruise was amazing for the views, service, and ports of call. Just wish the time spent in the ports of call were longer. If you signed up for an excursion, that didn’t give much time, if any, to explore the port towns. As far as the food, the options were great, as long as you weren’t vegan...I was limited to eating mostly Indian food at the buffet, which I happen to like, but not a lot of variety for me. I was very limited in what was available on the menu at the main dining rooms as well, and they ran out of tofu 2 days before the cruise was over. Only vegetarian options on the menu, and no vegan options. My husband and I loved the balcony room! Our only complaint about the room was the mattress...felt like sleeping on a box spring with a thin layer of cushion on it, so our lower backs were hurting throughout the night. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We flew into SEA the night before and stayed at a hotel near the airport. The next day we took a Lyft to the port which cost around $28 before tip. Embarkation: I sent our luggage to the porters and headed into the Terminal. We are ... Read More
We flew into SEA the night before and stayed at a hotel near the airport. The next day we took a Lyft to the port which cost around $28 before tip. Embarkation: I sent our luggage to the porters and headed into the Terminal. We are Platinum so we were able to get priority check-in. After we received our key cards, we boarded the ship for lunch. We were disappointed that Savor wasn't open until 12:30pm even though all the staff was saying it was already open. This came from one of the waitstaff at The Local, when she saw the line up waiting for tables. She even checked her Freestyle Daily but you can't doubt someone who was just on Deck 6. The ship is well kept for its age. I know she's only a couple years old, but I've sailed on newer ships during their inaugural season and they are already showing age of a 5 year old vessel (rhymes with Harnival Corizon). I digress. The ship was clean and well looked after. Staff were always clearing plates and pushing water around so there were no slip hazards. Not many instances where cups or dishes were sitting for any length of time. Cabin review below. Dining: Folks in my party said, "Good Food, Good Food, Good Food." There was an abundance of Indian cuisine and the lines there proved that the quality was high too. The variety at lunch in the Garden Cafe is second to none. This was a great change from my Harnival Corizon cruise. You'll have to read that review if you want to know more. We did feel that the MDR food selections were not as good as previous NCL cruises though. This is the first time I had the dining perk so we had a total of five specialty dining nights at a total of four restaurants (La Cucina, Teppanyaki (2x), Q, Cagney's). I think I would be more disappointed in the MDR if we ate there five times and only had the two Platinum specialty dining options. Entertainment and Activities: I know it's about the bottom line for all cruise lines, not just NCL, but it would've been nice to have a rock wall to use or even a basketball court/soccer play area. The mini-golf was laughable at best but my kids were there every day. Up-charges for laser tag, Joy Speedway, Galaxy Pavilion. The water slides were fun, especially Aqua Racer after my 6 year figured out he was tall enough to go. Minimum height is 40". I didn't bother with the free fall slide as I've done it before. I love the fact that NCL heats the water in the pools and Kid's Aqua park. Makes it more comfortable considering the area of the world you are vacationing in. We participated in the Behind the Scenes Tour for Platinum and above. There were 18 of us and it was definitely one of the more disappointing tours. However, after speaking with the Executive Chef and asking why there were no almond croissants in the Garden Cafe, he sent 6 to the room the following day. On previous BTST, we would ask and the chef would take our cabin number but no croissants. There was a "Vacation Hero." I took in one comedy show, David Graham. He was very entertaining! We saw Elements, Footloose and PJ Wen (magician). My 6 year old son watched PJ Wen first and when he found out he was in the Elements show, he wanted to go to see that too. He enjoyed both nights in the Joy Theater. We hung around the Atrium a bit and caught whatever was going on at that time on the big screen. Deal or No Deal, Canada Day and July Fourth celebrations, CruiseNext talks, dance classes, dance off and trivia. Splash Academy: My kids 6 and 8 were finally in the same group in Splash Academy. I don't know if that matters (since they're always at each others throat on land) but they were usually reluctant to go but all smiles on the way out. They even asked why we picked them up so early on a couple occasions. Service: This is an area where NCL excels over its competition. Much more attentive and detail oriented at meals in specialty and in the Garden Cafe. There was one MDR night that was very slow and they weren't busy with all the empty tables that were around us. Dioni at Q even asked if we were in a rush to catch a show. Nice touch. Ports and Shore Excurions: With two young kids, we rarely booked excursions not knowing if the kids wanted to participate in the past. Since we had the $50 per port shore excursion credits, we decided to book a few. I had booked in advance by calling the toll free number so I didn't have to pay for the excursion until it was completed. We chose Ketchikan Duck Tour (which I ended up cancelling on board since the kids didn't want to do that after all). You would need to cancel that by 6pm on embarkation night to be eligible for a refund or not be charged a penalty since it is less than 48 hours before you reach Ketchikan. We did gold panning in Juneau and since it was done before noon, we wen to the main part of town and also bought tickets on our own for the Mount Roberts Tramway. The adult price is $35 and the child price is $18. NCL charges $25 for a child, so a bit of savings there. There was a small line up to get on but not unbearable. I would check the line before buying tickets just in case you are too close to your ship's departure. In Skagway, we did the White Pass Summit Train ride. It is definitely a nice time and very scenic. It was hard to hear the tour guide over the PA system. Rest rooms are a sight to be seen since you have to pump the flushing system a couple times. Disembarkation: I can't say enough about Port Valet. That is a godsend. I'm not one for checking luggage but since we had a 1:30pm flight and I wasn't concerned if I received my luggage late on my trip home, I decided to sign up. I'm sure glad that I did. We were worry free without luggage for a few hours in Seattle after leaving the ship. We went to Pike Place Market, Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee's graves before picking up some food before another Lyft to SEA which was another $28. I hope you enjoy your trip! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Firstly, this was my first cruise, and quite honestly my last. Aside from the good service, we came across many issues that constantly made me regret the decision to go on the cruise in the first place. One of the most important things to ... Read More
Firstly, this was my first cruise, and quite honestly my last. Aside from the good service, we came across many issues that constantly made me regret the decision to go on the cruise in the first place. One of the most important things to know is that they charge you for EVERYTHING and profit off of not enlightening their guests on their many policies. One of my family members of mine had booked a suite, which costs DOUBLE the amount of a regular cabin, for his family and once they got to the ship, they received a regular cabin with just a bed and couch. They refused to give him a new room or refund him. His daughter had to sleep on a bunk the staff had pulled from the ceiling, which quite honestly was a little alarming. Service was pretty good, everyone was nice. Food: Unless you want to pay for your food every time you go to eat, you would probably go to either the buffet or the complimentary restaurants. The buffet is just filled with mediocre items that they ruin someway or another. On the other hand the complimentary restaurants, Taste, Savor, and the Manhattan Room, all have basically the same menu, but are disguised as different restaurants. Their food either hits the mark or tastes REALLY bad. Dessert is the only good thing. Ultimately, prepare for the food to leave you unsatisfied. Onboard Experience: Laser tag was $10 but was not worth the experience. We had to reserve to play but only 9 people in total showed up. Shows were okay. Social Club was lame. Really not that much to do. Main thing was the view mid-ship from our balcony was amazing we ended up seeing whales on our way to Alaska. Ports and Excursions: Only thing that got me through was the ports and activities OUTSIDE of the ship. First stop, Ketchikan, Alaska, was pretty nice, walked into town and browsed some stores. Did not have any excursions, but it was pleasant. Celebrated birthday in Juneau and that was pleasant. Had an excursion to Mendenhall Glacier, Gardens, and Hatchery Tour. Insanely beautiful, but hatchery was not all that. Next stop, Skagway, was a great place to do zip lining, staff their was amazing and we had a good time. Last stop, Victoria was pleasant and excursion to Butchart Gardens was stunning, wish we had more time. Honestly, the destinations were great, but there is no way in hell I would sail with NCL ever again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I had to come review this cruise, because passengers on the first few trips had some negative things to say and I really think they just needed to work out the kinks since it's basically a brand new sailing. With that being said, ... Read More
I had to come review this cruise, because passengers on the first few trips had some negative things to say and I really think they just needed to work out the kinks since it's basically a brand new sailing. With that being said, I'm not super hard to please. I want a fun, relaxing time on a ship with cool ports, good food and drinks. We cruise a few times per year, typically on Carnival, RCI, or Celebrity. I've been on one Norwegian cruise about 10 years ago, a three nighter to the Bahamas and was NOT impressed, so I was a little nervous, but I shouldn't have been. The Joy was a delight! Beautiful, brand new everything. The food was very good. We ate in the Manhattan Room once for dinner, and the menu was fine. We enjoyed The Local twice for lunch and once for breakfast. Lunch was great, and breakfast was tasty although the morning menu is definitely limited. Service everywhere was excellent. Teppanyaki is a must-do if you enjoy hibachi-style food-- entertaining and tasty! We also ate at Cagney's one night, and had a great filet mignon there. Le Bistro was good but my least favorite of the specialty places we tried, I had some difficulty finding an entree that sounded appealing. I ended up with the shrimp dish, which was light and tasty. One thing I appreciated were the special cocktail menus for each venue. My husband and I really loved the variety and found the bartenders friendly and efficient. We had three of our kids with us, 16, 8 and 6. They loved the laser tag, the go karts and the virtual reality gaming area. These cost extra, which we were expecting. Go karts were $30 per person, which seemed a little steep, but it's vacation. Little kids loved the kids club and the staff there was terrific! Our older son did some of the teen activities and said some were fun and some were boring. The Alaska ports were phenomenal. We did the lumberjack show and crab feast in Ketchikan, whale watching in Juneau and the helicopter/dogsledding in Skagway. All of these were great and worth it, although we were glad to have booked the lumberjack show directly from the show's website and individual whale watching. Helicopter/dogsledding in Skagway was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and it's crazy expensive but I'm so glad we did it. Victoria was a weird stop, as we docked at 4 pm on the last day, so we got off the ship, took a taxi into downtown and wandered around for a bit. We did a horse and carriage tour, which was okay. All aboard was at 11 pm, which feels too late on the last day of the cruise for me. If I can find anything negative to say about this cruise, it's that the buffet really is a zoo. Finding a table was a serious struggle unless it was a weird hour, so we mostly tried to stay out of there. We walked stairs a lot because waiting for elevators was an issue. PRO-TIP: for the forward elevators, you must hit the buttons on BOTH sides of the hall or you will only call the side you hit. Also, the aft elevators were always way more crowded, so if we really needed them, we often walked up to the other ones. Overall, Alaska is amazing. We got incredibly lucky with warmish weather and no rain, calm seas. I've never seen nature like we saw. The glaciers are phenomenal. The Joy is beautiful, the staff is warm and helpful. Tip them well, they deserve it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first cruise and will definitely not be our last! Everything was fantastic! Every staff member thanked us for being there, was welcoming and treated us so well. We ate almost somewhere different every day and could not speak ... Read More
This was our first cruise and will definitely not be our last! Everything was fantastic! Every staff member thanked us for being there, was welcoming and treated us so well. We ate almost somewhere different every day and could not speak more highly of it, especially Carney’s, Q, and Teppanyaki. The ship was spotless, and our balcony room was spacious in comparison to the things I read prior to cruising on other ships. We saw Footloose, the game shows, Arvin, Marie Hawkins Band, The Beatles cover band, and thought they were all so talented. Our times in port were great as well too. We checked out a few breweries, the lumberjack show, and Ketchikan was my favorite, Skagway my husband’s. I think I went in with an easy going attitude that just was there to enjoy anything the ship had to offer, and it was even better than I expected. Biggest tip- go to Sugarcane Mojito Bar! We sampled ALL of them, and took a rum class where we learned to make 5 cocktails. It was a great week! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This is our fourth cruise on NCL, and it has left us wanting. After getting on the boat my wife and I instantly noticed that the Joy was lacking compared to the other ships. Below is a list of glaring issues that made our overall ... Read More
This is our fourth cruise on NCL, and it has left us wanting. After getting on the boat my wife and I instantly noticed that the Joy was lacking compared to the other ships. Below is a list of glaring issues that made our overall experience less than desirable. 1. Despite the fact that the website shows pictures of a thermal suite on board, we asked the staff where it was and they informed us that this boat didn't have it. 2. The Starbucks cost extra, despite us having the drink package, which already cost a fortune, and the free coffee in the buffet was terrible. 3. The water slides were never open, the Ocean loop was only open 2 days from 9am to 11am, which is just stupid. Although my wife and I both got stuck on it, and it seemed like every other person got stuck too, so I guess that's why. 4. The Aqua Racer slide now has a 300 lb. weight limit on it, and despite the fact that after my wife and I were weighed and showed a combined total of 295 lbs the staff would not let us ride because we were too close. Also the fact there are only 2 slides on board, and the fact they are never open together made the line for this one way too long. 5. The whole top deck front part of the boat was closed off for the Haven guests, and Vibe beach club, so everyone else had to share 3 hot tubs, 2 of which always had screaming children in them. 6. The pool deck has 2 pools (one filled with children) and a giant open space with nothing in it, just making me wonder what it is there for. 7. There are two giant TV screens on the deck areas, but no movies were ever played on them. My wife and I loved NCL when we first cruised for the movies in the pool and spa areas, but nothing was ever played. 8. The mini golf course is terrible. A flat green with some pieces of wood to form obstacles. No statues, no challenges, no theme, just an uninspired second thought. 9. The race track after watching it for 2 days is not good. People were constantly getting stuck on one of the corners because it was too tight, so everyone has to stop and wait for it to get fixed. Also it costs way too much, and its not a race track if you can’t pass. You can only go as fast as the person in front of you, so my wife and I decided not to do it. 10. The laser tag costs way too much and looked really lame. 11. The galaxy pavilion costs way too much, and the people we talked to who said it was an overall bad experience. 12. La Cucina was gross, the pizza was soggy and had way too much cheese, and the staff gave us a hard time for not having a reservation, despite the fact no one was there, we were quite literally the only people outside the entire meal, and the inside had a bunch of empty seats. 13. Tepanyaki was not nearly as good as last time, the waiter was in a bad mood, and the cook seemed tired and was not putting on a great show. Also the entire dinner took about 2 hours, which is just way too long. Long periods of waiting with no food. 14. Everytime the cruise director introduced a show they were trying to sell the raffle scratch off tickets, which after the 3rd show was really annoying. 15. The comedians weren’t very good. Our first 2 NCL cruise comedians were so funny, and the ones on this boat were not very funny. Long awkward pauses, lots of failed audience interactions. Billy Anderson the intro comedian, was way funnier than the two main guys, and he had a very limited time onstage. 16. The overall entertainment during the sea days was abysmal. No movies outside, no movies in the theaters, no game shows that didn’t cost you extra. We really miss the NCL that didn’t nickle and dime you at every chance they got. The Escape, Breakaway, and Getaway all had so much to do (Ropes Courses, 5 water slides, tons of hot tubs, great mini golf, rock climbing walls, shuffle board) but the Joy is severely lacking in included experiences. A good indication of people being bored is when you go to the board game cabinet and quite literally every single game is gone, and people are waiting in the area to take the games from you when you return. 17. The observation deck was always packed, with people leaving stuff on the couches to reserve them. 18. The Haven guests always had there own gangway entrance while everyone else had to wait in giant lines, despite the Haven line always being empty. Just let them go to the front when they come! 19. Ketchikan and Juneau, were both great ports, but the time spent there was too short. Icy Straight point was a dump, ($160 per person to go on a zip line!) and Victoria was way too long of a time to be there. 20. Our balcony cabin was in the back of the boat, and when the wind blew right all the exhaust made the balcony unusable. 21. The food in the dining halls has gone way down hill, and the buffet food was pretty poor overall. I loved the Indian section, but everything else was only mediocre to poor on most days. Overall my wife and I used to love NCL, hence why we have gone on 4 in a row for the past 4 years. We even got engaged on the NCL Escape because we had both loved our first cruise so much. But the past two cruises (Breakaway and Joy) we have been on show the company has changed, and moved away from everything that used to make it special and a great value. We seriously hope NCL changes their business model for future cruises, and looks to provide more complementary experiences to its guests in the future.But until then this cruise was the nail in the coffin, and my wife and I will be looking at Royal Caribbean for our next cruise vacation. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Let me preface this review by stating that this was my 50th cruise. Prior to this cruise I have sailed on other NCL ships, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. Embarkation was smooth and quick, we were on ... Read More
Let me preface this review by stating that this was my 50th cruise. Prior to this cruise I have sailed on other NCL ships, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. Embarkation was smooth and quick, we were on the ship within 30 minutes from arriving at the dock. The ship is brand new and modern but is quite odd. I know it recently underwent a dry dock to convert it from the Chinese market to the US market but I feel it still needs quite a few updates / changes. There is a HUGE pool deck, probably the largest I have seen on any ship. Problem is, it has one very small pool for adults (off to the side) and one very small pool for kids (towards the far end). When I say small, envision a large Jacuzzi, it's crazy how small the pools are and these are the ONLY pools on the entire ship! We were very fortunate that we had incredible weather (shorts and tank-tops) so the pool deck was a popular place. There really isn't a flow to this ship, there are a lot of long dark corridors which lead you into different lounges / restaurants / bars. Seems as though there is also A LOT of wasted space. We had a group of 13 traveling for my dad's 70th Birthday, of which 5 were under 18. The kids were turned away from Kids Club on more than one occasion because they were "at capacity"! I've never heard of such a thing, did NCL not know how many kids would be travelling and staff accordingly? We felt nickeled and dimed at every corner. They charge for EVERYTHING under the sun. Go Karts, Laser Tag, Virtual Realty, even room service! Even if you pay for the $118.80 per day drink package you still have to pay for a bottle of water or a coffee, it was insane! This was by far thee most expensive drink package I have ever had! Service in all areas left a lot to be desired. We never had any bar service, no matter where we were we always had to go up to the bar ourselves for a drink. Not a huge deal but where did the servers go? My kids asked where the sports court was because they wanted to play basketball, they were told they did not have one because there were so many other amenities on-board, revenue generating amenities that is! The nightclub "the Social" was a nightmare and seems like a law suit waiting to happen. There is NO person checking cards to enter so every night there were minors in the club (under 18). One night there was a young girl so visibly intoxicated that she could barely stand on her own. She was being led out of the club by an "older" gentleman so my daughter (age 21) followed them out of the club and got the attention of a security person who proceeded to stop them. After checking her ship card they let them wander off and my husband asked the security WTH was going on and he responded saying, there's nothing we can do she's 18! How about escorting her back to her cabin so she doesn't get taken advantage of by this older guy! It was a mess! They only have the one large show room so they use the atrium to host EVERYTHING which is loud and obnoxious. While trying to have a meal at The Local, or playing a slot machine in the casino you'll hear yelling and screaming and loud blaring music, those activities would be in a smaller showroom on any other ship. Food was ok in the Manhattan (free) dining room, but each dinner service took 2 1/2 - 3 hours! Food in Le Bistro & La Cucina was fantastic, Cagney's not so much. My sister also said that the food at Food Republic was amazing. Our cabin was a Concierge class inside 2 bedroom 2 bath with a virtual balcony, it was fantastic! Wish other ships offered this type of room. Only problem was I'm 5'7' and my feet hung off the bed lol! I hope that NCL will dry dock this ship again and make some necessary changes to make it more appealing for warm weather itineraries. You cannot have only one pool the size of a large Jacuzzi for 4,000+ passengers! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Just got off the Joy 6/29. Seattle is a cool city! We stayed for a few night pre cruise. Bought the city pass; I recommend! Like many other cruisers have stated, getting on the ship was seamless. We literally walked right on board and ... Read More
Just got off the Joy 6/29. Seattle is a cool city! We stayed for a few night pre cruise. Bought the city pass; I recommend! Like many other cruisers have stated, getting on the ship was seamless. We literally walked right on board and started enjoying lunch. Ate at The Local and had wings, pretzel bites, and a Corona! Had the drink package included, but they have to charge tax on alcohol while in port (this didn't seem to apply to all ports however). Staterooms were ready before we knew it! Cabins were nice. We had a balcony upgrade (we won with a bid). Ship is beautiful! Check out the observation deck on 15 and get there early for premium chase loungers right by the huge windows. They have a limited buffet on 15 and beverage service too! Full buffet one deck up. We played games in the observation lounge, watched glaciers...it's very serene. There's plenty to do on the ship. Some of it is an extra charge. DO NOT miss out on Elements show. Been on 7 cruises and never seen one quite as good on a ship! Footloose was corny, in my opinion. Book shows in advance and even with that show up 30 min early to get good seats! They have big touch screens by elevators to make reservations. They also hold other shows in the atrium ...which I agree with other reviews...not enough seating! However, it you go up one floor (where the local is) you can view atrium and shows from above. We had a delicious dinner (ribs, and shrimp) while watching one night! Speaking of food...it is plentiful but nooooo crab legs! A seafood buffet was offered on night 2 with shrimp, mussels, clams, fish...I wasn't terribly impressed. Wished we had gone to the dining room (which I prefer over the buffet). The Sugarcane mojito bar is great. Try the spicy honey mojito. Wish I had one right now! Ports were all good. We did totems, and rainbird trail, creek street in Ketchikan-went off on our own using bus system. Stop at info building to your right for map and info. Lady was very helpful with exact times and locations of buses! Tramway and Mendenhall glacier in Juneau. Zip line, shopping, crab legs in Icy Strait Point. Book zip in advance. It was sold out and lots of people were disappointed. Not too much to do in Icy Strait. Maybe try booking 2 excursions?! We were back on the ships hours early! Victoria rented bikes. Inexpensive way to see city , but beware it was a little sketchy with traffic! Cannot ride on sidewalks. Went to Beacon Hill Park and government building with a free guided tour,informative and entertaining! We had a great time. If you need a place to stow luggage a hotel, Edge Water by the cruise terminal will store them for $5 a bag! We had a super late flight and the airline was apparently not participating in the port valet service. That was a little disappointing because the pamphlet I picked up in the terminal said they did! A little hard to figure out when you don't have internet access! ugh! Guest services was not big help in regards to this. However, crew overall were very friendly. Have fun; try not to sweat the small! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The food in the dining halls has gone way down hill, and the buffet food was ok. Manhatan and the other formal dining rooms were awful. We returned ordered food back to kitchen and stopped going there. Never seen a cruise ship with so ... Read More
The food in the dining halls has gone way down hill, and the buffet food was ok. Manhatan and the other formal dining rooms were awful. We returned ordered food back to kitchen and stopped going there. Never seen a cruise ship with so very few entertainment programs. Elements and Lavity Comedy were very good. Other shows were so boring and waste of time. We were glad had good friends with us that keep us busy. Never seen a cruise that many people were playing game/cards. Every time the cruise director introduced a show they were trying to sell the raffle scratch off tickets, Ir was really annoying. Small size pool, very little outside activities. The pool deck has 2 pools (one filled with children) and a giant open space with nothing in it. I was told by one of the employs that new management main goal is profitability and they have cut a lot - including high quality entertainment and food services. This was our last cruise on Norwegian Cruises Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
This was a first cruise for my husband and me. We took our 9 & 11 year old grandchildren with us on this Alaskan cruise. The Norwegian Joy was recommended due to how new the ship was as well as the size. I have a trouble with ... Read More
This was a first cruise for my husband and me. We took our 9 & 11 year old grandchildren with us on this Alaskan cruise. The Norwegian Joy was recommended due to how new the ship was as well as the size. I have a trouble with seasickness and wanted to prevent if possible. We had a balcony, mini-suite, mid-ship on deck 10. The room was very spacious for the 4 of us. It was obviously very new and had a very large bathroom with plenty of storage. The overall experience was wonderful. There was any activity imaginable to keep anyone from getting bored. The camp for children was great though we did not use it that much. The kids enjoyed the laser tag & speed track as well as mini-golf. You do need to register for the laser tag and speed track at the beginning of the cruise because it fills up and then there are no slots later in the week. The biggest slide has a weight restriction that prevented the kids from participating. There was a smaller water slide. We had such wonderful weather that the majority of days, it was nice enough to sit outside near the pool if we wanted to do so. The shows, Footloose & Elements, were great. We made reservations before the cruise so had no problem getting in. We did go early to both shows to get good seats as it is open seating. The food was excellent. The quantity and quality was very good with tons of options for picky kids! Service was outstanding. They are also very focused on infection control. They made it a fun thing to use the hand sanitizer before each meal. The embarkation and disembarkation processes were seamless. The port entry for each stop was also very seamless. The Joy goes to Ketchican, Juneau, and Hoonah (Icy Straight) as well as Victoria. We enjoyed Hoonah the best because we don’t care for the touristy towns. Hoonah was what we thought a small coastal town would be which is very little ! We enjoyed walking the beach and enjoyed the scenery. The inside passage is gorgeous. I can’t imagine taking an Alaskan cruise and not having a balcony. However, for those inside rooms, there are tons of options to relax and enjoy the view or just walk out on deck of the ship. I had nothing to compare to given this was our first cruise but I had others on the ship that are frequent cruise travelers to say how nice this ship was compared to some of the older ships. I would highly recommend if you want to do the inside passage. Seattle is a great city to visit before or after the cruise. Our grandchildren enjoyed Seattle around the Space Needle area almost as much as the cruise. There is a great park near the Space Needle. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Our travel agent recommended this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. We have gone on 7 cruises before but this was our first on a ship this size. We didn't know what to expect but after reading several reviews beforehand, was ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. We have gone on 7 cruises before but this was our first on a ship this size. We didn't know what to expect but after reading several reviews beforehand, was worried that we made a bad choice. Not so! Everything was great and better than we were expecting. The only 2 things that were a little off, but certainly were not worth a bad review for were the Historic Gold Mine and panning for Gold tour in Juneau and the chaos at the Victoria Excursion area. Were there a lot of people? Yes but that was expected, it's quite clear the ship size right from the start. The elevators really were only super crowded after shows. We are in good shape and just took the stairs as much as possible anyway. The buffet was really busy but there was always seating, you maybe had to search a little but we always found seating. There was always plenty outside and there are heaters if you think you'd be too chilly. We ate at 4 specialty dining, Ocean Blue (our favorite. ) La Cuchina, Q and Teppanyaki. The main dining rooms were good too. Our cabin was great, lots of storage, more outlets than expected and constantly looked after. Our steward was in about 3 times a day. We never saw him, which I consider great thing but he always took care of things plus always made sure we had extra coffee when he realized we were drinking it. We really enjoyed the entertainment. Footloose and Elements were very good (make sure to reserve before you leave home) . The comedy shows were okay, not our favorite but were super crowded so it may have just not been our taste in comedy. I heard you can reserve those on the touch screens around the boat. We spent most evenings in the District. Jim the piano guy was very funny. And we saw him around the ship and he remembered us and actually spoke to us. Contrary to what we read about service before we went, we had very good service. In the main dining room we were always asked about any dietary restrictions and if we had show reservations, but service was never slow for us. We went on the fishing and wilderness dining in Ketchikan. We really enjoyed it. Saw Eagles. Our guide was making certain that everyone was catching fish or at least getting bites., The excursion mentioned above, Gold Mine and panning for gold...well there was no mine. You basically got on a bus, the guide spoke a little about the area and then took us to the creek and we "panned for gold". The pans were already premade up for us. Definately not worth the money. We were hoping for a little more history. Hoonah....Boring and way too long. I enjoyed my balcony that day after we were in town for a couple hours and had had enough. Victoria was nice, a bit long. There was a lot of confusion for our excursion because our bus was not there and they told us to go somewhere to wait but then never came to tell us and a few other groups when it arrived and where to go. Of course the Gardens are beautiful and we enjoyed the castle. I would recommend doing these on your own because the excursion only allowed you about an hour at the Garden and 30min at the castle. It was mostly driving time. I would say the highlight for me was the Holkham Bay Glaciers. Absolutely stunning. Even saw a few whale along the way. All in all we had an exceptional time. Of course the weather was close to perfect every day. Will we be back on NCL, for sure 2 more cruises as we booked 2 deposits while onboard for the price of one! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Whatever issues were present in the 1st few weeks from the move from China to Alaska have been ironed out. We are experienced Norwegian cruisers and have lots to compare to, the service aboard the Joy equaled or surpassed other cruises ... Read More
Whatever issues were present in the 1st few weeks from the move from China to Alaska have been ironed out. We are experienced Norwegian cruisers and have lots to compare to, the service aboard the Joy equaled or surpassed other cruises we have been on. BTW, Alaska is amazing. The views never disappointed and more importantly; the people we met were genuinely nice and eager to share their love of their state. General: The embarkation was the best and fastest we have ever had. 10 minutes from walking in the door to on the ship. Notable improvements from prior cruises: 1) no pictures of each family member (used passport pictures automatically 2) Key cards pre-made and ready to hand to us rather than printed on the spot 3) Used on line CC info and did not take credit card 3) Sent right on board rather then wait for group to be called like in NY Disembarkation using the FREE Port Valet has set the standard for our vacations. We filled out a form and the night before leaving ship; ship delivered Southwest luggage tags and boarding passes. We had breakfast at 0700 in La Cucina and then literally walked off the ship at 0745 through a separate port valet door and went thru customs without having to find luggage in terminal. Even customs was quick. Literally 10 minutes off the ship and most of that walking rather than waiting. Booked a small Uber rather than a SUV since we had no luggage. Walked right into airport security without having to stop to check in and tag luggage. Luggage showed up at final destination without a hitch. HUGE IMPROVEMENT and has spoiled us. I hope other all other ports replicate this service. Other comments: The concierge inside family suite was the best cabin we ever had. It was even better then a one bedroom suite on Celebrity (royal suite). I was able to have morning coffee in the LR without walking up the wife or kids. We stayed in 14605 which was down a short hallway from the forward stairs and elevator. We had no extra noise from hall, above or below and were close to most things we really liked like the observation deck, buffet and outside activities. We expected the 3 room suite to be small but were pleasantly surprised by the size of each of the 3 rooms. The kids room has bunk beds and plenty of room. The living room was large and a had a fabulous virtual balcony. We definitely felt like it added to our experience. The master was very large with a tub in the bath room. As far as concierge level. Here are the perks: 1) Priority boarding (not sure it mattered, we got right on board as did most other people) 2) Direct phone to concierge: only used to report issue with AC. Like others, we had issue with AC in master. It would shut off after 30 minutes and room would get warm and stuffy (inside room so could not open balcony). We told concierge and they sent someone to fix it on day 2 and no change. Saw concierge in person on day 3 and they finally fixed it and last 4 days were pleasant temp wise. 3) He sent a bottle of wine to room which was nice but we left it there. We had unlimited drinks so no need to drink in room. 4) The best perk of concierge class is access to La Cucina for breakfast and lunch. This is limited to concierge class. The menu does not change but the food is very good and service excellent. One can also eat outdoors which we did on a few occasions. The entertainment was top notch especially Foot Loose, Comedy, Cavern Club and the Brew Pub. The food was on par with other cruises and highly recommend Cagneys. In summary; great cruise; highly recommend the concierge family inside more so because it is an amazing and a huge suite and less for the perks of concierge class. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had a roomy balcony room, starboard side. Fast and easy to get on and off. FOOD: Cagney's was the highlight, the only specialty restaurant I would do again. We saved Ocean Blue, the seafood restaurant for after our first ... Read More
We had a roomy balcony room, starboard side. Fast and easy to get on and off. FOOD: Cagney's was the highlight, the only specialty restaurant I would do again. We saved Ocean Blue, the seafood restaurant for after our first Alaskan stop, thinking they would stock with Alaskan salmon. Wrong. Only farmed, Atlantic...a disappointment. Food just ok. La Cucina, worst veal marsala ever. Only one small mushroom slice on generous serving of veal, ruined by regular, opaque beef gravy. We enjoyed Taste the most outside of Cagney. Buffet had yummy Indian food. Loved the crepes, but wish I could have had savory rather than only dessert. Despite this, we still ate. A lot. So it must have been better than ok =) Up 8 lbs at the end of the trip. Best bar was A-List, which has a different bar menu from the rest. The Napa Valley VT was refreshing and a must figure out how to do when we get home. Pina coladas are not on the menu but can be ordered if you need to get your tropical fruity drink on. Beverage service better at the beginning of cruise than at end, but there was never a long walk to a bar if noone came to refill. Bottled water is oddly not part of the bev service and complementary bottles are not provided daily for the room. You can get another package for that. Wish we had. SHIP EVENTS: Atrium game shows were fun! But crowded and hard to find a seat and if no seat, to see. Elements and magic shows were great. Comics funny and tailored to the trip. Audio/video talks about Alaska, wildlife etc were impossible. They should have been in the theater where people could hear and see as everyone talked over them so you couldn't hear in the observation deck and couldn't see in the Atrium. So know before you go as you won't be able to pick up any info on the cruise. They try to sell you on nutritional supplements (we signed up for the $149 couples body scan which also had a mandatory 20% service charge on top!) and walked away from the $900 per person 6 month plan after researching their product and website (tough to get the info from the personal trainer to research...for a reason!). Loved the wine cellar events, both the Riedel glass tasting and the wine and cheese pairing. Elena is a delight and a very good som. Enjoyed glacier viewing of Dawes Glacier. Captain moved boat so front, starboard and port...and aft! could all view for long periods of time. PORTS: Ketchikan was awesome. Plenty of time to tour, shop, with the best prices we saw. We had an amazing tour booked via Viator. Juneau: Speed dating only...Barely enough time to get to Mendenhall glacier, see the short movie in the visitor center and rush back. We used the $45/pp white bus shuttle and tour bought after arrival. No time to shop. Grabbed a salmon burger to go as time was too short to stay and eat it before getting back to the ship. Icy Strait Point: Tourist trap. Glad we shopped in Ketchikan. This is a good place to do nature tours or fishing. We separately arranged for a bear search and saw a HUGE brown bear. But tour groups are not friendly with each other, and the Icy Point folks aren't friendly with non Icy Point guides...kinda made it awkward for us. Got the impression guests are to be separated from their money rather than have a good experience. Even the comic joked what a horrible stop Hoonah was. We still loved seeing the big bear, but it was after 2.5 hour of driving around looking for it. Would have preferred to have gone to Skagway. Victoria: walkable to Empress Hotel and we splurged on a tea for two, which we reserved on Open Table when we booked the trip. Memorable and worth saving up for. SEATTLE: First and last - great location, near Pike's market where we did our final fish shopping which they packed up for our airplane back. Yum! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our family of 9 (two 11 year olds) boarded the Norwegian Joy on June 22nd out of Seattle, and returned on June 29th. Overall, it was a great way to see Alaska. The staff and cabin were great, partially offset by the large number of ... Read More
Our family of 9 (two 11 year olds) boarded the Norwegian Joy on June 22nd out of Seattle, and returned on June 29th. Overall, it was a great way to see Alaska. The staff and cabin were great, partially offset by the large number of cruise goers, the daily service charge, and the benefits/activities/restaurants that weren't covered by the basic fare. We had four cabins next to each other with balconies. Each cabin was nicely appointed including the bathroom. I couldn't hear the neighbors on either side of us. Our room was made up and cleaned daily, and we also had turn down service. We ate at each of the three complementary restaurants for dinner and sometimes lunch daily, avoiding the buffet as much as our schedule would allow. The buffet was extremely crowded every time we were there, with many cruise goers lacking courtesy and manners. The hibachi grill, BBQ, and steakhouse restaurants are a la carte which was disappointing. We paid extra for the premium beverage service and were led to believe it didn't include wine and beer, only mixed drinks. We were bummed to find out our last day that glasses of wine and beer were included in the premium beverage service. There were several options for entertainment like performances, the splash pad, pool, the one slide that was operational, and putt putt golf. Kid's day camp, laser tag, go carts, and the arcade were not included in the base fare. Each of the paid for add ons were pricey. The gym was well equipped and busy. It's fine if your workout is on a rower, treadmill or bike only, but circuit work was difficult if not impossible. There is an outside track (200M?) if that is your jam but be prepared to share the route with others. We wish the gym opened up at 5am vs. 6am. Quiet spaces were hard to come by except in our cabin. We booked excursions through Trip Advisor at each port and we very happy with our choices. Time in Juneau was too short and time in Hoonah was too long. We asked for the $14.95 charge/day/person to be removed and guest services complied. We tipped in cash. Net/net, we believe an Alaskan cruise is still the best way to see Alaska. If we go back it will be to Juneau via flight for a few days to fully explore the area including the Mendenhall Glacier. Separately, our flights to Seattle were nothing short of a disaster arriving 14 hours later than planned due to airline crew rest and two separate mechanical issues. Trip insurance is a must. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Like Norwegian’s Freestyle dining options and itinerary to Alaska covering a couple of places we had not yet bee. Staff is helpful, efficient and well trained in all areas we used (casino, bar, dining, stateroom). Stateroom 12308 as ... Read More
Like Norwegian’s Freestyle dining options and itinerary to Alaska covering a couple of places we had not yet bee. Staff is helpful, efficient and well trained in all areas we used (casino, bar, dining, stateroom). Stateroom 12308 as described with no view blocked even though we booked a BX category in which that was a possibility. Cons: 1. Tried 3 times to book next cruise but the Atrium area was so congested and noisy with music and game shows we left without doing so. No privacy, no noise barrier. 2. Message in booking stated we should plan on port disembarkation up to 2 hours after docking and embarkation 2 hours prior to departure. I called Norwegian to verify and rep stuck to this guideline. NOT TRUE, plan accordingly. Disembark usually within 30 minutes of docking and embark within 30 minutes of departure from any port. Had we known we would have planned additional or longer shore excursions. 3.Norwegian Joy has no quiet space. Library hours barely open, not usually more than 2 hours morning and 2 hours afternoon/early evening. This leaves no quiet space to read onboard other than in one’s room. 4. Dearth of activities, especially as it relates to education on itinerary, other than one 1-hour program that included the usual shopping stuff. 5. We’re wondering about the Park West affiliation with so many cruise lines, Norwegian being no exception. After the devastating New York Times article on Peter Max’s dementia and his inability to do nothing more than being led to sign his name on painted over lithographs, we remain surprised his items as well as Dali’s are still being sold ships in general. Ditto with the deceased Thomas Kincade. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise but it could be so much better with a little effort on increasing the variety of activities and education, and a rework of some of the space. Not everyone enjoys game shows, art auctions, and karaoke after all. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I choose NCL for the extra percks included like the bar package and specialty dining and the Joy because it was new, big and went out of Seattle. I have been on several cruises but this was my first on NCL and this was my husbands first ... Read More
I choose NCL for the extra percks included like the bar package and specialty dining and the Joy because it was new, big and went out of Seattle. I have been on several cruises but this was my first on NCL and this was my husbands first ever. I wanted a ship that had a lot to do so he would never be bored. I was nervous because there were no reviews before I booked it and once they started coming in it wasn't looking good. But as I started reading them it seemed like some people just wanted to complain or did not go in with the correct mindset. This ship holds 4,000 people! It is going to get crowded at times but I never really experienced some of the issues previous travelers had. Getting on and off was fairly easy. There really wasn't that bad of a wait for the elevators, we usually took the stairs if going down and the elevator if going more than 5 floors up. When we got back on from the ports we would walk up 2 flights and had no problem getting an elevator there. We avoided the buffet as much as possible, it's just not our thing and it was super crowded all the time. We only ate at in the Manhattan Room once, it was very crowded. We had most meals in either Taste or Savor. ALL 3 HAVE THE SAME MENU. I don't understand why the other 2 were never crowded- it's all the same. And remember they are cooking for 4,000 for 3 meals a day, do not go on this cruise if you are expecting 5-star meals. I'm not saying the food was bad at all, it's just not gourmet 5-star dining. For specialty dining we chose Q, La Cucina and Cagneys. They don't really tell you this but you cannot order as much food as you want in these restaurants, they limit you to 1 or 2 options per category. But trust me it is still plenty of food. Q was definitely the best. La Cucina was just ok, wouldn't choose that one again. I felt that NCL made it pretty clear to book things in advance so I did. Although I really didn't like having to choose restaurants and shows a over month out as I would have preferred to be a little more spontaneous based on how we were feeling that day. The day we boarded we booked the comedy show- which wasn't full when attended- and the racetrack- which also didn't seem that hard to find a time available. We even changed the reservation time I had made for Cagneys with no issues. The Spa seemed to have the least availability out of anything. It seems like NCL is always offering the extra perks but if for some reason you don't get them it is not worth it to pay for drinks or specialty dining without the packages. Also they charge an extra 10% on all drinks when in port in Seattle and heading back towards Victoria regardless of having the drink package, just be forewarned. Our 2 favorite bars were the District and Maltings whiskey bar, they were never crowded, like ever, it was a little strange. Once everyone figured out how cool the Observation Lounge was I think that is where everyone went, if you don't get a chair early it is hard to find any space near a window. The only thing I was disappointed in was the amount of time spent in each port. It was really hard to be able to do everything we wanted when we weren't in port all day. And getting into Victoria at 4pm? Why? They easily can get there earlier. We got off the ship for a couple hours but I wasn't going to spend money on dinner and drinks in port when we already paid for that on the ship. One last thing as this is already long- there are USB outlets on the lights next to bed and 3 plugs on the desk/vanity. I brought an extra outlet thing but never needed it. I also brought a water bottle based on recommendations but only filled it up once, I never saw anywhere to fill them up, just usually grabbed a glass from the Observation Lounge or Buffet. Read Less
Norwegian Joy Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 3.7
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.4
Family 3.5 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 3.5 2.9
Service 4.5 3.9
Value For Money 3.5 3.2

Find a Norwegian Joy Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise