Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by eiloo
- Sail Date: June 2019
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
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!
250,000+ people have entered their email
We had a BA mid-ship balcony. It was "nice" to have, but it wasn't totally necessary in Alaska due to the temps in the mornings and evenings (when we were in the cabin). It did come in handy to watch the "pier walker" get paged on the PA and then stroll up the gangway.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
JuneauKids loved this excursion. Matt was our guide and he is very entertaining.View All 1,559 Juneau Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Juneau Cruise Port Review
JuneauNice views going up and down the mountain.View All 1,559 Juneau Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Juneau Cruise Port Review
KetchikanNice quaint place to walk around in. Went to Creek Street and saw salmon from the red bridge in town.View All 1,791 Ketchikan Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Ketchikan Cruise Port Review
SeattleWalked around the waterfront near the pier. We had wonderful weather that day but lazy kids to tow.View All 839 Seattle Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Seattle Cruise Port Review
SkagwayNice train ride. Very scenic. I hope you don't have to go to the restroom.View All 1,129 Skagway Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Skagway Cruise Port Review
VictoriaWe took a cab to town and walked around. I wish NCL would consider moving the arrival time in Victoria to earlier in the day, even noon would be better than 4pm PT.View All 1,320 Victoria Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Victoria Cruise Port Review