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Family cruise to Alaska with family of seven with ages ranging from 20 to 80. We are the type of travelers that go with the flow and are going to make the best of any situation. That being said, we experienced both excellent and very bad. We were unable to travel a day ahead which I prefer because it makes the day less stressful. Our day began at 3am with a two hour drive to the airport and a 7:20 boarding time to Dallas then another flight to Seattle. Checking luggage was a nightmare but the security was a breeze. (TSA Pre=approved). We were on a tight schedule but all went well and we arrived in Seattle a little early with all bags! We had NCL transfers and that went easy. Staff on hand at baggage claim to point you in the right direction to find buses. Quick bus ride to port. Then we encountered the worst check-in in over 25 cruises. Our luggage was supposed to be taken off the bus by NCL staff and sent to the cabins. Instead we had to unload the bus ourselves and the luggage handlers turned us away. Said they were done for the day. This was around 3pm. Our family could handle this but I saw families with small children and multiple bags and elderly and disabled struggling with luggage. NCL staff would not even look you in the eye. After all us helping where we could get bags lifted to go through security (keep in mind this is not small bags) we made it upstairs for check-in. The only passengers in the room were the people of our bus and the bus in front of us. Maybe a hundred passengers at most. I don't really understand why they were having so many issues with check-in. When I got to the front the NCL staff member directed me to a certain check=in desk. The girl at the desk looked at me and said "I can't help you...I'm done for the day" I was so shocked I just turned around and went back to the line. Of course that irritated the lady at the line-up. I overheard one of the staff say "Why are they all dragging all their luggage with them...Don't they know to check the large stuff." That's when another guest literally lost it and shouted "The luggage crew said they were done for day and would not help us." One of the guys in charge was clearly irritated, told everyone they could leave their luggage to the side and he would take care of it for us. Needless to say we took him up on it. Finally checked in..no boarding picture..and all food was shutting down for life-boat drill. By this time we were functioning on 3 hours of sleep, a breakfast bar, and inches away from starring in our own "Snickers" commercial. My DH made a mad dash for the food and brought plates back so at least we all got a small snack before the drill. With time change we were operating on a 16 hour day on a breakfast bar. Airlines make even the worst cruise seem like a huge bargain. Early dinner at Savor (which I honestly will not review because I probably would not be fair) early show then BED! The ship is beautiful. I would not like it for warm climates though because limited outdoor space is available. The observation lounge was beautiful but always packed and loud. Not for me. Hated the buffet. We often eat buffet for meals instead of dining room but not this trip. Set up is awful, food was NOT good, and never anywhere to sit. We resorted to the Local. Everything I got there was good but the area is chaos too. Set up around atrium so always crowded and loud but at least the food was good. We ate at Cagney's (a disappointment) Le Bistro (excellent) Q (excellent) and Teppanyaki (excellent) and two nights at Savor and Manhatten (Just OK but better than buffet). Biggest disappointment was lack of crablegs or decent salmon the entire cruise and we were in Alaska!!! The night of the seafood buffet we went but after looking around and the overcooked, mash up of not good food we went to the Manhatten. We did "Wine Lovers, the Musical" and loved it. They served the best meal we had the entire week and even our non=wine drinkers enjoyed to lunch and play. Well worth the charge for this. The entertainment was excellent. We saw Footloose two nights, Elements, Comedy, Beatles Band, and comedians. NCL does the best with entertainment! We looked at the Go-Karts and determined this to be a waste. They go VERY slow and kids who could not drive would run into the wall and everyone would have to stop while they dislodged the Kart. This happened continuously so we decided to not waste our $$$ on this. Same with games and laser tag. My young adult children (20 & 23) would have done the activities if they had appeared worth the $$$. We were fortunate to only have one day of bad weather but it fell on Juneau so all our tours were canceled and the ship had to turn around before reaching glacier so we missed that too. Ketchikan we just walked around on our own. Junea...unable to do our helicopter ride to glacier and dogsledding so very disappointed, Icy Strait we did a private whale watch tour and saw many whales but the rest of the day just a waste. Nothing to do in Icy Strait. Skagway is a much better destination. Victoria was pretty and we easily walked to the downtown area, chinatown, and fisherman's wharf. Bottom line, Alaska is beautiful and worth a visit. The cruise did NOT give adequate time in ports of Ketchikan and Juneau and too much time in Icy Strait and Victoria. I will probably NOT go back on the Joy. I won't be going back to Alaska and this ship would not work well in the caribbean market. Will I cruise NCL again...yes for entertainment alone. For the most part, the food was excellent too. Not much to do on the ship unless you want to gamble or like game shows so the two days at sea were not that great because too cold to be outside. Of all the cruises we have taken it was the most expensive and had the most problems. But we had a great time visiting as a family and had no major missteps so all in all I would say this was a successful vacation. I hope Joy can work out the kinks because she is a beautiful ship and deserves better from NCL!

Norwegian Joy to Alaska

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by littlebird26

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Family cruise to Alaska with family of seven with ages ranging from 20 to 80. We are the type of travelers that go with the flow and are going to make the best of any situation. That being said, we experienced both excellent and very bad. We were unable to travel a day ahead which I prefer because it makes the day less stressful. Our day began at 3am with a two hour drive to the airport and a 7:20 boarding time to Dallas then another flight to Seattle.

Checking luggage was a nightmare but the security was a breeze. (TSA Pre=approved). We were on a tight schedule but all went well and we arrived in Seattle a little early with all bags! We had NCL transfers and that went easy. Staff on hand at baggage claim to point you in the right direction to find buses. Quick bus ride to port. Then we encountered the worst check-in in over 25 cruises. Our luggage was supposed to be taken off the bus by NCL staff and sent to the cabins. Instead we had to unload the bus ourselves and the luggage handlers turned us away. Said they were done for the day. This was around 3pm.

Our family could handle this but I saw families with small children and multiple bags and elderly and disabled struggling with luggage. NCL staff would not even look you in the eye.

After all us helping where we could get bags lifted to go through security (keep in mind this is not small bags) we made it upstairs for check-in. The only passengers in the room were the people of our bus and the bus in front of us. Maybe a hundred passengers at most. I don't really understand why they were having so many issues with check-in. When I got to the front the NCL staff member directed me to a certain check=in desk. The girl at the desk looked at me and said "I can't help you...I'm done for the day" I was so shocked I just turned around and went back to the line. Of course that irritated the lady at the line-up. I overheard one of the staff say "Why are they all dragging all their luggage with them...Don't they know to check the large stuff." That's when another guest literally lost it and shouted "The luggage crew said they were done for day and would not help us." One of the guys in charge was clearly irritated, told everyone they could leave their luggage to the side and he would take care of it for us. Needless to say we took him up on it. Finally checked in..no boarding picture..and all food was shutting down for life-boat drill. By this time we were functioning on 3 hours of sleep, a breakfast bar, and inches away from starring in our own "Snickers" commercial. My DH made a mad dash for the food and brought plates back so at least we all got a small snack before the drill. With time change we were operating on a 16 hour day on a breakfast bar. Airlines make even the worst cruise seem like a huge bargain. Early dinner at Savor (which I honestly will not review because I probably would not be fair) early show then BED!

The ship is beautiful. I would not like it for warm climates though because limited outdoor space is available. The observation lounge was beautiful but always packed and loud. Not for me. Hated the buffet. We often eat buffet for meals instead of dining room but not this trip. Set up is awful, food was NOT good, and never anywhere to sit. We resorted to the Local. Everything I got there was good but the area is chaos too. Set up around atrium so always crowded and loud but at least the food was good. We ate at Cagney's (a disappointment) Le Bistro (excellent) Q (excellent) and Teppanyaki (excellent) and two nights at Savor and Manhatten (Just OK but better than buffet). Biggest disappointment was lack of crablegs or decent salmon the entire cruise and we were in Alaska!!! The night of the seafood buffet we went but after looking around and the overcooked, mash up of not good food we went to the Manhatten. We did "Wine Lovers, the Musical" and loved it. They served the best meal we had the entire week and even our non=wine drinkers enjoyed to lunch and play. Well worth the charge for this.

The entertainment was excellent. We saw Footloose two nights, Elements, Comedy, Beatles Band, and comedians. NCL does the best with entertainment! We looked at the Go-Karts and determined this to be a waste. They go VERY slow and kids who could not drive would run into the wall and everyone would have to stop while they dislodged the Kart. This happened continuously so we decided to not waste our $$$ on this. Same with games and laser tag. My young adult children (20 & 23) would have done the activities if they had appeared worth the $$$.

We were fortunate to only have one day of bad weather but it fell on Juneau so all our tours were canceled and the ship had to turn around before reaching glacier so we missed that too. Ketchikan we just walked around on our own. Junea...unable to do our helicopter ride to glacier and dogsledding so very disappointed, Icy Strait we did a private whale watch tour and saw many whales but the rest of the day just a waste. Nothing to do in Icy Strait. Skagway is a much better destination. Victoria was pretty and we easily walked to the downtown area, chinatown, and fisherman's wharf. Bottom line, Alaska is beautiful and worth a visit. The cruise did NOT give adequate time in ports of Ketchikan and Juneau and too much time in Icy Strait and Victoria.

I will probably NOT go back on the Joy. I won't be going back to Alaska and this ship would not work well in the caribbean market. Will I cruise NCL again...yes for entertainment alone. For the most part, the food was excellent too. Not much to do on the ship unless you want to gamble or like game shows so the two days at sea were not that great because too cold to be outside. Of all the cruises we have taken it was the most expensive and had the most problems. But we had a great time visiting as a family and had no major missteps so all in all I would say this was a successful vacation. I hope Joy can work out the kinks because she is a beautiful ship and deserves better from NCL!
littlebird26’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BD 11332
Very nice room. We had plenty of room. We have been on a variety of ships and this was one of the nicer cabins.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews