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I had wanted to do an Alaska cruise since my parents went (with NCL) 20 years ago. But I was getting very worried because of the rather large number of negative reviews. I don't know where the complaints have come from. FIRST - we took the discounted airfare so NCL did the flight booking. Couldn't have been better. Perfect flights with perfect connections. Also, since we paid so little for the flight, upgrading was financially painless! EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION - What? Basically walked through the terminal and onto the ship. No fuss, no muss. Went straight to Savor and were served a wonderful lunch. Debarkation was just as painless. We were identified as NCL transfer so we had an early time to disembark. Not a single issue. Again, just about walked off the ship without pausing at any point. Now, we purchased a cruise that came with a dining package for three nights in specialty restaurants. Cagney's and Le Bistro are favourites and did not disappoint. We tried Q which was okay but the location is terrible. It is where the Illusionarium is on other ships and there are no windows - the only restaurant without any view. So dark, I couldn't read my menu and while the food was okay, my mom and I just weren't hungry enough to enjoy. My mother is a platinum member so we also got two extra nights of specialty dining - we tried La Cucina for the first time - I have one thing to say - OSSO BUCCO. Wow. The specialty dining rooms are excellent and should be as they are an extra charge. We had breakfast every morning in Savor and it was always excellent (except the last day, service was off but such a nothing thing to complain about.) We did have dinner in one of the complimentary dining rooms - The Manhattan - and wow. Just wow. I had the Boston Bluefish and, honestly, it was just as good as the Sole Meunier I had at Ocean Blue last year. I clearly do not agree with other reviews saying the food is not good in the complimentary restaurants. There were complaints about having to book ahead for the entertainment. I have only ever sailed with NCL and I have pre-booked everything each time. I guess it's disappointing if you think you can book on board and then can't but researching ahead of time is always a good idea so you aren't disappointed. The service was great, everyone seemed genuinely anxious that we have a great time and wanted to know about our adventures on shore. We only did one excursion - at Icy Strait Point - we did the Ziprider in combination with whale watching. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! My mom - 83 years old - also did the ziprider - this is something not to be missed and MUST be booked in advance. On our day - they were sold out. That amazing experience was followed by an astounding whale watching trip. First - a small boat with an appropriate number of watchers - we all had great views. The humpbacks were out in force - we even got to see a double breach. And we were out for just about THREE hours. Fabulous. And the Icy Strait Point port was adorable. Lots of great little shops - a real delight. The Observation Lounge was definitely well used - got very crowded on at sea days when weather did not permit being on deck and it did get loud but you could generally find some corner to curl up in. Everyone seemed very laid back and happy to be there. Did not feel at all like a booze cruise (like some of the Caribbean cruises) and most cruisers walked about with big smiles on their faces. Evening entertainment for me was hanging out at The District, drinking some very good German beer and enjoying the piano player/insult comic. Good times were had by all that I could see. Some issues with the ship itself - the pool deck was odd and there was a definite lack of hot tubs and the hot tubs were never hot. Also, a crazy small gym - that needed to be bigger with more, better equipment. But these things were not enough to wipe the smile off of my face - this was an awesome cruise.

Fabulous Week of great food, great views, great everything!

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by madvis33

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
I had wanted to do an Alaska cruise since my parents went (with NCL) 20 years ago. But I was getting very worried because of the rather large number of negative reviews. I don't know where the complaints have come from.

FIRST - we took the discounted airfare so NCL did the flight booking. Couldn't have been better. Perfect flights with perfect connections. Also, since we paid so little for the flight, upgrading was financially painless!

EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION - What? Basically walked through the terminal and onto the ship. No fuss, no muss. Went straight to Savor and were served a wonderful lunch. Debarkation was just as painless. We were identified as NCL transfer so we had an early time to disembark. Not a single issue. Again, just about walked off the ship without pausing at any point.

Now, we purchased a cruise that came with a dining package for three nights in specialty restaurants. Cagney's and Le Bistro are favourites and did not disappoint. We tried Q which was okay but the location is terrible. It is where the Illusionarium is on other ships and there are no windows - the only restaurant without any view. So dark, I couldn't read my menu and while the food was okay, my mom and I just weren't hungry enough to enjoy. My mother is a platinum member so we also got two extra nights of specialty dining - we tried La Cucina for the first time - I have one thing to say - OSSO BUCCO. Wow. The specialty dining rooms are excellent and should be as they are an extra charge.

We had breakfast every morning in Savor and it was always excellent (except the last day, service was off but such a nothing thing to complain about.) We did have dinner in one of the complimentary dining rooms - The Manhattan - and wow. Just wow. I had the Boston Bluefish and, honestly, it was just as good as the Sole Meunier I had at Ocean Blue last year. I clearly do not agree with other reviews saying the food is not good in the complimentary restaurants.

There were complaints about having to book ahead for the entertainment. I have only ever sailed with NCL and I have pre-booked everything each time. I guess it's disappointing if you think you can book on board and then can't but researching ahead of time is always a good idea so you aren't disappointed.

The service was great, everyone seemed genuinely anxious that we have a great time and wanted to know about our adventures on shore.

We only did one excursion - at Icy Strait Point - we did the Ziprider in combination with whale watching. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! My mom - 83 years old - also did the ziprider - this is something not to be missed and MUST be booked in advance. On our day - they were sold out. That amazing experience was followed by an astounding whale watching trip. First - a small boat with an appropriate number of watchers - we all had great views. The humpbacks were out in force - we even got to see a double breach. And we were out for just about THREE hours. Fabulous. And the Icy Strait Point port was adorable. Lots of great little shops - a real delight.

The Observation Lounge was definitely well used - got very crowded on at sea days when weather did not permit being on deck and it did get loud but you could generally find some corner to curl up in.

Everyone seemed very laid back and happy to be there. Did not feel at all like a booze cruise (like some of the Caribbean cruises) and most cruisers walked about with big smiles on their faces.

Evening entertainment for me was hanging out at The District, drinking some very good German beer and enjoying the piano player/insult comic. Good times were had by all that I could see.

Some issues with the ship itself - the pool deck was odd and there was a definite lack of hot tubs and the hot tubs were never hot. Also, a crazy small gym - that needed to be bigger with more, better equipment. But these things were not enough to wipe the smile off of my face - this was an awesome cruise.
madvis33’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
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Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BD 12132
The cabin was very well appointed (seemed smaller than the balcony cabin on the Getaway but we managed!) Room steward Kristian was amazing and made sure he knew our names on the first day. Beautifully cleaned and the beds were amazingly comfortable. NCL must have gotten some of the reviews about the harder beds because ours had mattress pads on them which made for a very comfy sleep. Pillows were like sleeping on clouds and the bedding provided appropriate heat for the cooler temperatures.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews