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We were on the first Alaska Cruise of this ship on May 4 2019. This is the sister to the Bliss and while a lot of things are similar, there were some big differences. The Good/Great - The shows (Footloose and Elements) were phenomenal. Do not miss these shows! - Our Cabin Steward Mark was amazing! Service in Savor/Taste/Buffet/Manhattan and Teppanyaki were good. Food was beautifully presented, temperature appropriate and yummy! - Excursions in all ports of call were spot on! - The shaded areas on deck 17...you can sit outside and not be in direct sunlight or rain depending on the weather. - Mini suite layout we loved. - No towel animals...yes this is good...it allows cabin stewards to go to bed earlier...they work hard enough. I requested a towel animal just for 1 night and our cabin steward was happy to do it and did it during the mid day shift. - The Cruise Director Dan Dan and his group were really fun! I miss Silas (Bliss) and Richard (Jade) though. The Bad - Embarkation - this was the first official cruise in the US market (not counting the TA cruise) and boy could you tell...almost everyone at check in was saying it was their "first day". Why they didn't train them extensively ahead of time is beyond me. - Disembarkation - horrible...absolutely horrible. We did the Port Valet in Seattle. Our boarding passes/luggage tags did not come together which caused me and a couple of hundred other passengers to wait in an hour + long line to get the other boarding pass on the last night of the cruise. The walk off the ship lines were extremely long and completely disorganized. - Arrival/Departure time changes - almost every port we went to had changes after we were on board to arrival and departure. We got in to Victoria, BC 2 1/2 hours early so they changed our excursion so we would have had to miss dinner with our friends the last night of cruise or go on the excursion. We cancelled the excursion (with another hour+ long line wait because the shore excursion desk was closed and wouldn't reopen until after the excursion was supposed to leave). In talking to a "supervisor" for the guest services desk, he insisted we were getting in at 8:30pm when the daily the night before said 6pm and the shore excursion ticket (which got changed and delivered at 4pm the date of the excursion) said we were departing at 6:30. Not even crew knew we were getting in early. - Galaxy Pavilion - $29 for 90 minutes of VR games...no thanks. it was empty every time we went past it. - $15 for the go carts. When we were on the Bliss a few months ago it was $10 and not that exciting. Another waste of space. the laser tag can go here too...another big waste of space. - No events in Spice H20...even on the warm days towards the end of the cruise. - Manhattan restaurant was only open for dinner towards the middle/end of the cruise...and I never saw it open for breakfast. - Shopping on this ship is mediocre at best. The sales were of really cheap merchandise...not the great sales we are used to on nice watches...could have been the itinerary (Alaska). - Just like Bliss...there are always events in the Atrium which are so loud that you cannot hear anyone at guest services/shore excursion/cruise next. - We had prebooked our specialty dining since we were traveling with friends and while we had confirmations via email ahead of time, on the TV in the room, the times and dates were wrong. We had to double check with restaurants to make sure our reservations were good. - Make sure to go to your shows at least 15 minutes ahead of time because apparently after that point, if you have had your individual cards swiped, they will give away your reservation to the standby line. This happened to some folks in our show who were turned away the previous night even though they had a reservation because it was less than 15 minutes and their seats had been given to others. - When I tried to go to a morning stretch and yoga, no one ever showed up. The Ugly - Class separation with the Haven being the only part having the outside front access on the ship. I really wish Norwegian would stop doing this. Not everyone wants to pay $$$$ on vacation or can afford it but all should have that great outdoor front view. We loved this on the Jade and other ships but the newer ones only give this privilege to Haven folks. - An hour+ every single time we had to go to guest services. - Taking your picture during dinner and then doing a hard sell on buy it now or not at all...we don't want to be interrupted during dinner to buy pictures or never see them again. they already printed them...why don't they just have them in the gallery to buy later? - Service in Cagneys...we waited about an hour after our appetizers for cold, undercooked steaks. The sides we received were also completely cold. - Service in La Cucina was mediocre at best...the waitress didin't understand how the Platinum vouchers work for dining at La Cucina and originally told us it was a maximum of $25/pp, not an appetizer, dessert and up to $25/pp for the entree. - Not in our room but a friend who was traveling with us...had a constant bad smell in her bathroom that no one ever looked at even though she requested multiple times to have it fixed. - I booked an excursion (which I later had to cancel per the above) for Victoria through our in cabin TV. Even though we are platinum, the discount didn't come through and the woman at the shore excursion desk said that it doesn't if you book in your room and that she would "waive it this time" because of our status. what? I've never had this happen on another ship and it's a little deceitful if you ask me. All in all, it was a good cruise and maybe some of these issues will get worked out with crew over time with more training but we were disappointed that things didn't run smoother. This may be a new itinerary for this ship but not Norwegian so the timing and disembarkation/embarkation should have been without issue. Will we cruise Norwegian again? Yes...and we are already booked on the Breakaway...will we cruise on the Joy again? Maybe...but we'll give them some time to work out the kinks.

Good but Not Great

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by basktchic

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
We were on the first Alaska Cruise of this ship on May 4 2019. This is the sister to the Bliss and while a lot of things are similar, there were some big differences.

The Good/Great

- The shows (Footloose and Elements) were phenomenal. Do not miss these shows!

- Our Cabin Steward Mark was amazing! Service in Savor/Taste/Buffet/Manhattan and Teppanyaki were good. Food was beautifully presented, temperature appropriate and yummy!

- Excursions in all ports of call were spot on!

- The shaded areas on deck 17...you can sit outside and not be in direct sunlight or rain depending on the weather.

- Mini suite layout we loved.

- No towel animals...yes this is good...it allows cabin stewards to go to bed earlier...they work hard enough. I requested a towel animal just for 1 night and our cabin steward was happy to do it and did it during the mid day shift.

- The Cruise Director Dan Dan and his group were really fun! I miss Silas (Bliss) and Richard (Jade) though.

The Bad

- Embarkation - this was the first official cruise in the US market (not counting the TA cruise) and boy could you tell...almost everyone at check in was saying it was their "first day". Why they didn't train them extensively ahead of time is beyond me.

- Disembarkation - horrible...absolutely horrible. We did the Port Valet in Seattle. Our boarding passes/luggage tags did not come together which caused me and a couple of hundred other passengers to wait in an hour + long line to get the other boarding pass on the last night of the cruise. The walk off the ship lines were extremely long and completely disorganized.

- Arrival/Departure time changes - almost every port we went to had changes after we were on board to arrival and departure. We got in to Victoria, BC 2 1/2 hours early so they changed our excursion so we would have had to miss dinner with our friends the last night of cruise or go on the excursion. We cancelled the excursion (with another hour+ long line wait because the shore excursion desk was closed and wouldn't reopen until after the excursion was supposed to leave). In talking to a "supervisor" for the guest services desk, he insisted we were getting in at 8:30pm when the daily the night before said 6pm and the shore excursion ticket (which got changed and delivered at 4pm the date of the excursion) said we were departing at 6:30. Not even crew knew we were getting in early.

- Galaxy Pavilion - $29 for 90 minutes of VR games...no thanks. it was empty every time we went past it.

- $15 for the go carts. When we were on the Bliss a few months ago it was $10 and not that exciting. Another waste of space. the laser tag can go here too...another big waste of space.

- No events in Spice H20...even on the warm days towards the end of the cruise.

- Manhattan restaurant was only open for dinner towards the middle/end of the cruise...and I never saw it open for breakfast.

- Shopping on this ship is mediocre at best. The sales were of really cheap merchandise...not the great sales we are used to on nice watches...could have been the itinerary (Alaska).

- Just like Bliss...there are always events in the Atrium which are so loud that you cannot hear anyone at guest services/shore excursion/cruise next.

- We had prebooked our specialty dining since we were traveling with friends and while we had confirmations via email ahead of time, on the TV in the room, the times and dates were wrong. We had to double check with restaurants to make sure our reservations were good.

- Make sure to go to your shows at least 15 minutes ahead of time because apparently after that point, if you have had your individual cards swiped, they will give away your reservation to the standby line. This happened to some folks in our show who were turned away the previous night even though they had a reservation because it was less than 15 minutes and their seats had been given to others.

- When I tried to go to a morning stretch and yoga, no one ever showed up.

The Ugly

- Class separation with the Haven being the only part having the outside front access on the ship. I really wish Norwegian would stop doing this. Not everyone wants to pay $$$$ on vacation or can afford it but all should have that great outdoor front view. We loved this on the Jade and other ships but the newer ones only give this privilege to Haven folks.

- An hour+ every single time we had to go to guest services.

- Taking your picture during dinner and then doing a hard sell on buy it now or not at all...we don't want to be interrupted during dinner to buy pictures or never see them again. they already printed them...why don't they just have them in the gallery to buy later?

- Service in Cagneys...we waited about an hour after our appetizers for cold, undercooked steaks. The sides we received were also completely cold.

- Service in La Cucina was mediocre at best...the waitress didin't understand how the Platinum vouchers work for dining at La Cucina and originally told us it was a maximum of $25/pp, not an appetizer, dessert and up to $25/pp for the entree.

- Not in our room but a friend who was traveling with us...had a constant bad smell in her bathroom that no one ever looked at even though she requested multiple times to have it fixed.

- I booked an excursion (which I later had to cancel per the above) for Victoria through our in cabin TV. Even though we are platinum, the discount didn't come through and the woman at the shore excursion desk said that it doesn't if you book in your room and that she would "waive it this time" because of our status. what? I've never had this happen on another ship and it's a little deceitful if you ask me.

All in all, it was a good cruise and maybe some of these issues will get worked out with crew over time with more training but we were disappointed that things didn't run smoother. This may be a new itinerary for this ship but not Norwegian so the timing and disembarkation/embarkation should have been without issue.

Will we cruise Norwegian again? Yes...and we are already booked on the Breakaway...will we cruise on the Joy again? Maybe...but we'll give them some time to work out the kinks.
basktchic’s Full Rating Summary
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