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  4. 16 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Los Angeles

16 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Los Angeles

16 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Los Angeles

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Norwegian Joy (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Los Angeles
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Cabo San Lucas
  • Day 4
    Mazatlan
  • Day 5
    Puerto Vallarta
  • Day 6
    Cruising
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)
  • Day 9
    Aqaba (Petra)
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)
  • Day 12
    Cruising
  • Day 13
    Panama Canal
  • Day 14
    Cartagena (Colombia)
  • Day 15
    Cruising
  • Day 16
    Cruising
  • Day 17
    Miami

Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Joy - Norwegian Cruise Line

Pros

Great selection of dining venues, plus fun activities like go-karts, laser tag and a VR arcade.

Cons

Most dining venues and activities cost extra; and everything requires reservations.

Bottom Line

A fun ship that has plenty to keep you busy.


Cruise Reviews

I have had my eye on this itinerary for a long time and was able to experience it on the new and improved Norwegian Joy. I have been on 10 cruises now, mostly with Princess with a little HAL, Carnival and Celebrity sprinkled in. I must ... Read More
I have had my eye on this itinerary for a long time and was able to experience it on the new and improved Norwegian Joy. I have been on 10 cruises now, mostly with Princess with a little HAL, Carnival and Celebrity sprinkled in. I must say that Norwegian has a stellar product with its Breakaway Plus class ships. I think the layout is superior to anything sailing out there for this market segment. This was a Panama Canal partial transit. The Panama Canal was a bucket list experience and the partial transit was only partially great. NCL canceled every shore excursion at this port! It was blamed on not enough available tenders from the Panama yacht club. (Was the reason given). We had pre-purchased the railroad excursion that tours the entire canal. The Island Princess was on a similar itinerary and I wonder if She won the Tender competition? I will put on my detective hat and find out here on Cruise Critic. Don't get me wrong, it was great to see the Joy sail through the Gatun locks and back. It really turned out to be another sea day which doesn't suck either. The other ports were awesome with the shore excursions that NCL offered. I highly recommend the Old City tour in Cartagena, the Rainforest/wildlife extravaganza in Puerto Limon, The Dolphin encounter in Roatan, catch and release fishing and snorkeling in Belize. They were some of the best excursions I've ever been on. What can I say about the Ship? She is gorgeous and well laid out. Our midship mini-suite was very comfortable and convenient to all the upper deck locations. Our favorite venue on the ship was the observation lounge on deck 15. There are great fore, port and starboard views with very classy and comfy chairs and loungers. There is a full bar, a Starbucks and a nice little buffet. The Waterfront on deck 8 is a treasure as well. Dining was hit and miss. Next time we will skip most of the specialty restaurants and opt for the Garden Cafe or the Manhatten dining room. Service was excellent for all dining venues. Joy hands down have the best shipboard entertainment of any cruise line I've been on. Footloose, Elements, and the Beatles act were top notch. All the lesser shows and comedy acts held their own as well. It was hard to leave on the last morning. (In more ways than one). We were supposed to disembark at 08:30 am due to a Miami city tour. We did not get off the Joy until 10:30! There were technical glitches that kept everyone's luggage from getting off the ship. I hope nobody had to cancel tours and/or missed their flights. We can't wait to get on the other Breakaway Plus class ships. We are drinking the NCL kool-aid now. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had a very fun cruise because we were traveling with several family members. The Norwegian Joy is a fairly new ship and had many good things about it. However the ship only had two banks of elevators and two stairways, which made it ... Read More
We had a very fun cruise because we were traveling with several family members. The Norwegian Joy is a fairly new ship and had many good things about it. However the ship only had two banks of elevators and two stairways, which made it seems very congested. The food was very good and the dine any time/any place policy was enjoyable. We didn't like the constant efforts to sale us something and get us to buy stuff. - "See it, like it, but it". They were always trying to "sign up for our next cruise". A little of the sales pitch was fine, but it because very annoying. The ship had a very nice 900 seat theater and good entertainment. The Footloose and Elements productions shows were by far the best we have seem on any cruise. We wish there were more activity options during the day like dance classes that were at a different time other than 5:00 PM. My wife was disappointed that there were not any Zumba classes. We were on a Princess cruise to Alaska in May 2019 and they had a great variety of Zumba and dance classes - which were very fun for my wife. We wish there were more and better lectures about the Panama Canal and other ports of call. There was one short lecture about the canal held in the small Atrium area. It was packed with people and many could not hear or see the lecture. This should have been held in the large theater. This was very poor planning. We also had to listen to a long presentation about signing up for our next cruise before the lecture started. Going through the Panama Canal was the highlight on the trip. The Customer Service staff, housekeeping staff, and waiters were all very friendly and helpful. We were also disappointed that there were no places to play games with my family. We had a group of 8 people and the ship had a very small game room. We had use the tables in the buffet area when they were not busy. This was certainly not ideal. Our cabin was very nice. The bed was great, and the bathroom was a little larger than many ship we have been on. The shower was especially nice. After many difference cabin types on many curses, we decided that a balcony room works best for us. It makes the room feel a little larger and certainly more bright and sunny. Even though the balcony was small it was very nice to go out side and see what was happening. It was especially nice when we went through the Panama Canal. We when on three shore excursions. Two were good, but the Cartagena Hop on Hop off tour was very poor. the bus was late arriving and we stand in the heat for about an hour. One passenger had heat stroke problems while waiting. The bus was so crowded and the various stops where we were supposed to "hop off" had many people waiting to "hop on" so we didn't dare get off because we could probably never get back on and would miss the ship departure. The narration on the bus was very poor. Not a good tour. The disembarkation process was a disaster. The crew seemed confused on what was happening and where we should go. We needed to disembark early and we were delayed for about an hour. The ship computer system failed and delayed passengers for 1 and 1/2 hours. This is not impact us, but it did cause problems for others in our group. Overall the cruise was fun but I thought Norwegian could have done many things better. I would travel with Norwegian again, but they are not my first choice. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Newer ship with specialty features, but really chose the cruise because of the itinerary and bucket list ports and partial transit of the Panama Canal. The ship was nice, similar layout to the Escape, which is the only other NCL ship ... Read More
Newer ship with specialty features, but really chose the cruise because of the itinerary and bucket list ports and partial transit of the Panama Canal. The ship was nice, similar layout to the Escape, which is the only other NCL ship I've been on. Much smaller pool deck and area, but had read and expected that. Similar kids water park and water slides. Top decks had a great, fun speedway and laser tag arena. Yes, they were extra costs, but well worth it and lots of fun. Reservations are necessary for both! Restaurants were pretty much the same as the Escape with the exception of The Local replacing O'Sheenan's; Q (BBQ) instead of Moderna and American Diner replacing Margaritaville. The replacement restaurants were about the same, though Moderna was better than Q, since I am on a salt-free diet and Q had significant difficulties providing me with food that I could eat. The band they had that night was good, but service at Q was awful. Frankly found that service wasn't good in the majority of the dining establishments on board, and food in the Manhattan dining room was very poor overall, got worse as we got later in the cruise. There was always something to eat, and since my meals were being prepared salt-free I could pick and choose what I wanted the night before based on the menu in the complementary or specialty dining rooms. There was more to this cruise than dining and it was the activities, entertainment, public spaces and the itinerary itself that made this an amazing cruise. Dining in each port was really special taking in local cuisines and that made the food on the ship bearable! My midship balcony cabin was very nice and its what I've come to expect from Norwegian cabins. Comfortable and roomy and my room steward was excellent at taking care of all of my needs and requests. I booked my own shore excursions with private companies and small groups, and all were excellent as I researched them in advance. Overall I enjoyed my experience on this new and wonderful ship, but dining especially in the complementary restaurants needs to be looked into and maybe overhauled. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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