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We chose this cruise to run away from the heat of summer at least for a week and to experience the relaxing sights of Alaska. Ship: The ship looks amazing. Very clean and contemporary décor. Staff continuously cleans and maintains the ship in neat condition. The onboard staff was always courteous and helpful. Bad experience with NCL air travel: We had a very stressful experience with our air travel arrangements booked directly with NCL air. Due to a last minute rescheduling of the our outbound flight, we almost missed our cruise and the NCL emergency assistance line/nor the air travel department were available to help! From the initial booking of the reservation, the staff did not bother to sit our family of four together, which included two small children. Our seats were assigned all over the plane. Ports: One of the ports visited was Hoonah/Icy Strait for an entire day and in my opinion, it would have been a better value as a customer to have that much time at different port (Ketchikan, Juneau). At his point, the town itself needs further development and the frequency of the shuttles from the port to town needs to be increase during ship arrival dates. There is a nice shopping area and some restaurants as you get off the ship plus shore excursions. We wandered into town via the $5 shuttle and found some street vendors but the area needs significant tourist development. Unless you're willing to pay for $hore excursion$ at this point there is not a lot going on there. Food: The food at specialty restaurants was excellent, specially Cagney's Steakhouse. We liked it so much that we ended up dining at Cagney's twice! The food was also good at the buffet, and to my surprise they also had a section for Indian food which seemed to be very popular. I tried some of it and it was delicious. The complimentary restaurants as well as the specialty restaurants offer a wide variety of food choices. For the specialty restaurants, we tried Teppanyaki (Hibachi). and Cagney's (Steakhouse) . Portions at both specialty restaurant were VERY generous. The Hibachi staff was fun but compared to a 'land' Hibachi restaurant the food wasn't 'great'. Cagney's steakhouse was exceptional. From the service of the staff to the quality of the food and drinks. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin and it was well worth it! Would definitely recommend it as we could see glaciers and at some point whales as the cruise sailed! Bed: The bed in our cabin was very uncomfortable as well as the bunk bed + sleeper sofa. We asked our steward for extra padding but still I was waking up daily with body and neck pain : ( Onboard kids club/arcade: For the nicer games (ex. virtual reality, race track, laser tag), you have to pay extra per use. I'd wish they had some sort of packaged deal as some are $7/use and some others are $20/use per person. They have a coloring interactive station free of charge in the galaxy room that was pretty cool. Be sure to check the daily schedules for other no-charge events. They had a shirt glow paint event where they provide T-shirts and paint so the family can create a souvenir with glow pain. Make sure kids wear clothes that can be stained with permanent paint! Useful tips; Make sure to download the NCL app PRIOR to getting on the ship. You will be able to check the daily activities from your phone and mark your favorites. There is no charge for connecting to the ship Wi-Fi to use this app. The only enhancement I'd do to the app would be to specify which activities have an additional fee (ex. wine tastings, etc...). They also have the traditional daily schedule of activities printed and delivered to your room. The ship provides a FREE port valet service in Seattle that allows to check in your luggage all the way to your airline from the ship! The paperwork is provided in your cabin but they will have signs all over the ship at around Tuesday/Wednesday for this service. This is particularly useful if you're planning to walk around Seattle. You will still need to take a cab to the airport but don't have to carry your luggage around. Unfortunately, we were not able to use this service due to issue with NCL air travel. There is also a concierge service outside the terminal that charges $5 per piece of luggage but must pick up by 3 pm. In summary: We would do it again, but would choose an itinerary that does not include Icy Strait, as this port still has a few years to go to warrant spending so many hours of my precious vacation time. Would much rather have longer stays in Ketchikan, Juneau or Skagway.

Oh Joy! Beautiful ship - Amazing staff! - Not sure about Icy Strait

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by Luly

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We chose this cruise to run away from the heat of summer at least for a week and to experience the relaxing sights of Alaska.

Ship:

The ship looks amazing. Very clean and contemporary décor. Staff continuously cleans and maintains the ship in neat condition. The onboard staff was always courteous and helpful.

Bad experience with NCL air travel:

We had a very stressful experience with our air travel arrangements booked directly with NCL air. Due to a last minute rescheduling of the our outbound flight, we almost missed our cruise and the NCL emergency assistance line/nor the air travel department were available to help! From the initial booking of the reservation, the staff did not bother to sit our family of four together, which included two small children. Our seats were assigned all over the plane.

Ports:

One of the ports visited was Hoonah/Icy Strait for an entire day and in my opinion, it would have been a better value as a customer to have that much time at different port (Ketchikan, Juneau). At his point, the town itself needs further development and the frequency of the shuttles from the port to town needs to be increase during ship arrival dates. There is a nice shopping area and some restaurants as you get off the ship plus shore excursions. We wandered into town via the $5 shuttle and found some street vendors but the area needs significant tourist development. Unless you're willing to pay for $hore excursion$ at this point there is not a lot going on there.

Food:

The food at specialty restaurants was excellent, specially Cagney's Steakhouse. We liked it so much that we ended up dining at Cagney's twice!

The food was also good at the buffet, and to my surprise they also had a section for Indian food which seemed to be very popular. I tried some of it and it was delicious. The complimentary restaurants as well as the specialty restaurants offer a wide variety of food choices. For the specialty restaurants, we tried Teppanyaki (Hibachi). and Cagney's (Steakhouse) . Portions at both specialty restaurant were VERY generous. The Hibachi staff was fun but compared to a 'land' Hibachi restaurant the food wasn't 'great'. Cagney's steakhouse was exceptional. From the service of the staff to the quality of the food and drinks.

Cabin:

We had a balcony cabin and it was well worth it! Would definitely recommend it as we could see glaciers and at some point whales as the cruise sailed!

Bed:

The bed in our cabin was very uncomfortable as well as the bunk bed + sleeper sofa. We asked our steward for extra padding but still I was waking up daily with body and neck pain : (

Onboard kids club/arcade:

For the nicer games (ex. virtual reality, race track, laser tag), you have to pay extra per use. I'd wish they had some sort of packaged deal as some are $7/use and some others are $20/use per person. They have a coloring interactive station free of charge in the galaxy room that was pretty cool. Be sure to check the daily schedules for other no-charge events. They had a shirt glow paint event where they provide T-shirts and paint so the family can create a souvenir with glow pain. Make sure kids wear clothes that can be stained with permanent paint!

Useful tips;

Make sure to download the NCL app PRIOR to getting on the ship. You will be able to check the daily activities from your phone and mark your favorites. There is no charge for connecting to the ship Wi-Fi to use this app. The only enhancement I'd do to the app would be to specify which activities have an additional fee (ex. wine tastings, etc...). They also have the traditional daily schedule of activities printed and delivered to your room.

The ship provides a FREE port valet service in Seattle that allows to check in your luggage all the way to your airline from the ship! The paperwork is provided in your cabin but they will have signs all over the ship at around Tuesday/Wednesday for this service. This is particularly useful if you're planning to walk around Seattle. You will still need to take a cab to the airport but don't have to carry your luggage around. Unfortunately, we were not able to use this service due to issue with NCL air travel. There is also a concierge service outside the terminal that charges $5 per piece of luggage but must pick up by 3 pm.

In summary:

We would do it again, but would choose an itinerary that does not include Icy Strait, as this port still has a few years to go to warrant spending so many hours of my precious vacation time. Would much rather have longer stays in Ketchikan, Juneau or Skagway.
Luly’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BF
Cabin:
We had a balcony cabin and it was well worth it! Would definitely recommend it as we could see glaciers and at some point whales as the cruise sailed!
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Whale Watching
    The Naturalist on board the St. Gregory was really good at describing local whale behavior, etc... there was also a native lady (forgot her name) that did an excellent job describing the native culture and a bit of the history of Hoonah.
    View All 143 Whale Watching Reviews
  • Sea Cycles
    This was AMAZING. Must do. GREAT value. Vicky the owner was our tour guide and her tour was one of the highlights of our trip. Book quickly as they do tend to book. I believe they are the only Sea Cycling tour company in Ketchikan.
    View All 9 Sea Cycles Reviews