Norwegian Joy Review

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Norwegian Joy Overview

The second ship in Norwegian's Breakaway Plus Class, Norwegian Joy, will debut in spring 2017; it is being purpose-built for the Chinese market and will sail in China full time, homeporting from Shanghai and Tianjin (Beijing). This ship will be the sister ship to Norwegian Escape; coming in at 163,000-gross tons, although it will house 3,900 passengers, with fewer staterooms than its sibling as well as Norwegian's Breakaway and Getaway.

Norwegian Joy is being built at Meyer Werft GMBH shipyard in Germany. The ship originally was named Norwegian Bliss, but the company acknowledged the ship name would change when it announced its China deployment. Mandarin will be the official language onboard.

The features that have been announced so far for Norwegian Joy include:

  • A two-level competitive racetrack on the top deck, the first at sea. Ten passengers will be able to race each other in electric carts over a course (approximately five-to-six minutes) and have photos taken at the end.
  • An open-air laser tag course, also on the top deck. The racetrack and laser tag course will occupy the same area that the ropes course does on Escape, Breakaway and Getaway.
  • Norwegian's signature ship-within-a-ship concept, The Haven, on Decks 17, 18 and 19. Similar to other ships, the Haven will have butler service, a dedicated concierge, priority access to specialty dining and entertainment, a private restaurant and an enclosed courtyard. There are slightly fewer suites in Joy's Haven, 74 as opposed to 95 on Escape. On Joy, the Haven will also include a brand-new Observation Deck with the same view that ship officers experience from the bridge, as well as gourmet canapes and premium beverages.
  • A new accommodations category called Concierge Level. Although this category is not as luxurious as the Haven, passengers in this category will have larger balcony cabins, as well as a new interior suite class with two bedrooms and a simulated balcony; access to a concierge, and an exclusive Concierge Lounge with a private bar and refreshments. The Concierge Level will be located on Decks 14 and 15, and have the same forward views as the Haven.
  • A new area for games and virtual reality simulators on Deck 16 called the Galaxy Pavilion. This technology-heavy space will include hover craft bumper cars, a state-of-the-art racing simulator, three interactive dark ride simulators (where you appear to be riding roller coaster rides in the dark), Star Wars battle pods video game, six Xbox console stations and Oculus, a virtual reality game. The ship will also have karaoke rooms.
  • Two multi-story waterslides. The Double Aqua Loop free fall slide has two loops, one that extends over the side of the ship and one that is see-through. The Aqua Racer slide allows passengers to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet.
  • An open-air Serenity Park on the top deck, with greenery, a soothing pool and chaise lounges. Norwegian bills the park as the perfect spot to practice tai chi or yoga.
  • An upscale shopping venue, the largest in Norwegian's fleet. The line says the store will feature high-end international brands, a move that's sure to appeal to brand-conscious cruisers.
  • More family-friendly suites and rooms with connecting doors than on previous Norwegian ships, to appeal to the Chinese tendency to travel with multiple generations. Unlike other Norwegian Cruise Line ships built recently, Norwegian Joy will not have single cabins.

In addition, Norwegian has said there will be 29 restaurants onboard. Here is what's been announced:

Complimentary restaurants include main dining rooms Savor and Taste, which will serve traditional and fusion Chinese cuisine with Korean and Japanese accents. The Garden Cafe buffet will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner with Chinese and Western classic menu items, as well as food stations.

Just like the line's Breakaway-class ships, Norwegian Joy will have a Manhattan Room; the new ship's version, however, will offer a vast selection of Chinese cuisine complemented by Western-style classics such as steaks and seafood.

Other familiar names on the ship include the following specialty restaurants: Food Republic, which debuted on Norwegian Escape; Teppanyaki, a Japanese hibachi restaurant; the Noodle Bar, for noodles and dim sum; and Cagney's Steakhouse, a traditional chop house. La Cucina, the line's Italian restaurant, and French restaurant Le Bistro will also be onboard. Fees for dining have not been released. 

New-to-the-line restaurants include Sakura & Hibiscus, which will have hot pot and Korean barbecue. American Diner will serve American comfort food, such as meatloaf, pot pies, burgers and fried chicken. Neptune's will have a buffet of fresh seafood, both chilled and raw on ice, as well as an a la carte menu. The Grand Tea Room will serve high-end loose leaf teas from China along with elegant snacks and high tea-style finger foods.

A boutique bakery known as The Bake Shop will sell cupcakes, macarons, chocolate pralines and Japanese mocha sweets.

In terms of drinks, Norwegian Joy will have a fine wine and spirits bar named La Cave. A cigar bar, Humidor, will also be onboard. Other bars slated for the ship include Mixx Bar, Prime Meridian, a poolside Spice H20 and Atrium Bar.

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