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We sailed in early August on the Joy out of Seattle. This was our 4th family trip on a cruise and second on NCL. We spent 2 days in Seattle prior to boarding the Joy. We had great weather and our hotel downtown (Hilton Garden Inn) was nice, clean and convenient. My parents were staying at the Westin, also downtown, and they enjoyed it as well. We did the usual touristy things in Seattle and enjoyed the nice cool weather. Since my parents were there a day longer than us, they did a wine and chocolate tour which they really enjoyed. We all did a Seattle highlight tour and of course the Space Needle. My husband and son took an uber out to the Boeing plant for that tour and enjoyed it. In addition, we went to Pike's Market and had a great lunch on the water. We booked this trip sort of last minute, (early June) but we were lucky to get great cabins located fairly close together. We had our 12 year old son with us along with my parents and in-laws. We all had mid-ship mini suites with balconies. The cabin didn't seem to be any larger than cabins we had before on NCL, but the bathroom was much larger. The shower was very nice and there was a double vanity and lots of storage. I also thought the closet was well organized and there were multiple cabinets in the cabin. Plenty of room for us to unpack. On previous cruises our son stayed in another cabin with our older daughter but since she couldn't go on this trip he stayed with us in our cabin. He said the sofa/pull out bed was comfortable enough. The cabin was a little tight when the bed was pulled out but we made it work. Embarkation and disembarkation were both very easy. We chose to get on board early on Saturday morning and walked right through. We went straight to the Social to make our show reservations - and alter some we had already made - as well as make reservations for the racetrack and Laser Tag. We were able to make the reservations for our entire group. After that we went to The Local to meet our group for lunch. I thought the ship was beautiful and I loved the color schemes and design. I agree with what some have said about wasted space on the pool deck but didn't let that bother me much. We used the NCL app to communicate with our three parties and it worked quite well. The observation deck did get crowded at times but we were always able to find spots to sit and enjoy. My parents went up most afternoons and were able to get the front loungers. We really enjoyed the area during the glacier cruising. Again, it got crowded but not a huge deal. People were very nice and we didn't see many camping out and or saving large groups of chairs. The elevators were slow but we used the stairs most of the time and my parents learned to just get on when one arrived and not worry if it wasn't going in the direction you needed. We were on vacation after all so not ever in a huge hurry. Dining - I was quite worried about the quality of the food based on the reviews I read, but I was pleasantly surprised. We live in Atlanta and have many great restaurants here. So although I wouldn't call us "Foodies", we do eat out quite a bit and know what we like. I think as with everything, you have to go in with realistic expectations. We ate at The Manhattan room twice, Cagney's, Ocean Blue, Teppanyaki, Savor and Taste for dinner. For lunch we either ate on shore or at The Local. We also tried Food Republic for sushi once. All of the specialty restaurants were as good as anything in Atlanta. We loved all the specialty dining venues especially Ocean Blue as the food was spectacular and we were seated in a private room/wine cellar. I thought the service at these restaurants was outstanding. The food served in the main dining rooms was fine. It came out hot and many of the dishes were quite good. I wouldn't say it was 5 star dining, however I compared it to a wedding reception where they are serving hundreds of people. Again, I thought the service was great. We never waited long for drinks and/or wine. We tried to stay away from the Garden Cafe as much as possible but we did go a couple of times for breakfast and a few nights we took our son up there for dinner before he went to the kids club. He enjoyed the food (and ice cream) very much! I thought it was well organized, very clean and had a nice variety. I enjoyed that they had a bar located in the cafe as I would usually make a cheese plate and get a glass of wine while my son had his dinner. For breakfast, we ate at Taste and Savor a few times. The food was great and the service was awesome. Much more relaxing to me than fighting the crowds in the garden cafe. One morning we just had coffee and pastries on the Observation Deck. (We also had lunch there one day when we weren't too hungry. They put out some small sandwiches and salad along with desert.) We liked to meet for drinks before dinner so we tried many of the bars on board :) Mixx bar was great, SugarCane was nice and comfortable outside when leaving port, The Alist was perfect before Cagney's and they made great martinis. The Cellars had a nice wine selection which we enjoyed a few times. We also went to the District one afternoon to try some of the beers and play cards. Entertainment - We saw the Footloose show, Elements, went to the comedy club a few times (for the family show and adult show) and also saw The Beatles Band and a few other bands in The Cavern Club. We enjoyed them all! I really thought there was something for everyone in our group aged 12 - 82. We also did the racetrack twice, the laser tag once and my son did the virtual reality games a few times. Others have complained about the extra cost for these but honestly if they didn't the lines would be crazy. We told our son ahead of time what he could do and not do and it wasn't an issue. My son also really enjoyed going to the kids club a few nights on the trip. Luckily, he met a friend the first sea day while doing the race track and they made plans on which nights they would meet there. It was a good mix for him..some nights he enjoyed eating dinner with the family and others he liked not having to get dressed up and running around with friends. He never really told me what they did but he seemed to have a good time. Other than that, the water slide seemed to be a big attraction on the warmer days. Unfortunately my son didn't make the weight cut so he couldn't do it but my husband enjoyed it a few times. We were lucky to have great weather most of the trip and the pool deck was pretty crowded. We didn't care to actually go in the pool but we sat outside each time we left port and were able to enjoy a cocktail and just appreciate the beauty of Alaska. I also went to the 18+ hot tub/sundeck area - Spice - and it was very peaceful and quiet there. The bar was empty and it was a great place to grab a drink and read out in the sun. Finally, we did do the Minute to Win It game and watched a few other game show events. We didn't do bingo or gamble this time so can't comment on those activities. Excursions - we booked most of our excursions privately as it was more economical than going through NCL. In Ketchikan we did the Lumber Jack show (very touristy but cute), had lunch on the dock at a seafood shack and hired a private cab to drive us around the area. It was a beautiful day and we had a nice time. In Juneau, we hired a private charter to go Salmon Fishing for 5 of our group. It was another beautiful day and we saw the glacier, many bald eagles and enjoyed the scenery. Unfortunately, we didn't catch any salmon but enjoyed the beauty of Alaska. In Icy Strait my husband and son did the zip line (loved it!) and we all did the whale watching excursion through NCL. We saw a few different pods and the crew on the vessel were all very nice and shared a lot of great information. After that we walked around a little and had lunch at The Cookhouse. The halibut was great and we enjoyed the live music. In Victoria, we got off the ship and took a couple of cabs to town. We walked around the Fairmont for a few minutes before wandering around the wharf area. We had lunch at The Local which was a cute little place right across from the Wharf area and also located at the base of the a great local craft market. After lunch our group split up with half of us renting electric bikes for a ride around the city and the other (less mobile half) doing the hop on /hop off bus. We enjoyed it and it gave us a nice overview of the city. We went back around dinner time for cocktails and one last dinner. I will say I agree with others who mentioned our time in both Juneau and Ketchikan were too short and maybe the time in Victoria was too long. Not sure why they do that other than NCL has the bliss basically doing the same itinerary so I guess they have to space the arrival and departure times. I wouldn't let that stop me from booking, but in a perfect world we would have had more time in Juneau and Ketchikan. All in all it was a great trip. We like to escape the Atlanta heat late summer so this was a good trip for that alone. It was also a great way to do a relaxing trip with both sets of parents. Everyone enjoyed it and we are trying to figure out where we can go next year!

A great multi-generational family trip!

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by 92ufgator

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
We sailed in early August on the Joy out of Seattle. This was our 4th family trip on a cruise and second on NCL.

We spent 2 days in Seattle prior to boarding the Joy. We had great weather and our hotel downtown (Hilton Garden Inn) was nice, clean and convenient. My parents were staying at the Westin, also downtown, and they enjoyed it as well. We did the usual touristy things in Seattle and enjoyed the nice cool weather. Since my parents were there a day longer than us, they did a wine and chocolate tour which they really enjoyed. We all did a Seattle highlight tour and of course the Space Needle. My husband and son took an uber out to the Boeing plant for that tour and enjoyed it. In addition, we went to Pike's Market and had a great lunch on the water.

We booked this trip sort of last minute, (early June) but we were lucky to get great cabins located fairly close together. We had our 12 year old son with us along with my parents and in-laws. We all had mid-ship mini suites with balconies. The cabin didn't seem to be any larger than cabins we had before on NCL, but the bathroom was much larger. The shower was very nice and there was a double vanity and lots of storage. I also thought the closet was well organized and there were multiple cabinets in the cabin. Plenty of room for us to unpack. On previous cruises our son stayed in another cabin with our older daughter but since she couldn't go on this trip he stayed with us in our cabin. He said the sofa/pull out bed was comfortable enough. The cabin was a little tight when the bed was pulled out but we made it work.

Embarkation and disembarkation were both very easy. We chose to get on board early on Saturday morning and walked right through. We went straight to the Social to make our show reservations - and alter some we had already made - as well as make reservations for the racetrack and Laser Tag. We were able to make the reservations for our entire group. After that we went to The Local to meet our group for lunch.

I thought the ship was beautiful and I loved the color schemes and design. I agree with what some have said about wasted space on the pool deck but didn't let that bother me much. We used the NCL app to communicate with our three parties and it worked quite well. The observation deck did get crowded at times but we were always able to find spots to sit and enjoy. My parents went up most afternoons and were able to get the front loungers. We really enjoyed the area during the glacier cruising. Again, it got crowded but not a huge deal. People were very nice and we didn't see many camping out and or saving large groups of chairs. The elevators were slow but we used the stairs most of the time and my parents learned to just get on when one arrived and not worry if it wasn't going in the direction you needed. We were on vacation after all so not ever in a huge hurry.

Dining - I was quite worried about the quality of the food based on the reviews I read, but I was pleasantly surprised. We live in Atlanta and have many great restaurants here. So although I wouldn't call us "Foodies", we do eat out quite a bit and know what we like. I think as with everything, you have to go in with realistic expectations. We ate at The Manhattan room twice, Cagney's, Ocean Blue, Teppanyaki, Savor and Taste for dinner. For lunch we either ate on shore or at The Local. We also tried Food Republic for sushi once. All of the specialty restaurants were as good as anything in Atlanta. We loved all the specialty dining venues especially Ocean Blue as the food was spectacular and we were seated in a private room/wine cellar. I thought the service at these restaurants was outstanding.

The food served in the main dining rooms was fine. It came out hot and many of the dishes were quite good. I wouldn't say it was 5 star dining, however I compared it to a wedding reception where they are serving hundreds of people. Again, I thought the service was great. We never waited long for drinks and/or wine. We tried to stay away from the Garden Cafe as much as possible but we did go a couple of times for breakfast and a few nights we took our son up there for dinner before he went to the kids club. He enjoyed the food (and ice cream) very much! I thought it was well organized, very clean and had a nice variety. I enjoyed that they had a bar located in the cafe as I would usually make a cheese plate and get a glass of wine while my son had his dinner. For breakfast, we ate at Taste and Savor a few times. The food was great and the service was awesome. Much more relaxing to me than fighting the crowds in the garden cafe. One morning we just had coffee and pastries on the Observation Deck. (We also had lunch there one day when we weren't too hungry. They put out some small sandwiches and salad along with desert.)

We liked to meet for drinks before dinner so we tried many of the bars on board :) Mixx bar was great, SugarCane was nice and comfortable outside when leaving port, The Alist was perfect before Cagney's and they made great martinis. The Cellars had a nice wine selection which we enjoyed a few times. We also went to the District one afternoon to try some of the beers and play cards.

Entertainment - We saw the Footloose show, Elements, went to the comedy club a few times (for the family show and adult show) and also saw The Beatles Band and a few other bands in The Cavern Club. We enjoyed them all! I really thought there was something for everyone in our group aged 12 - 82. We also did the racetrack twice, the laser tag once and my son did the virtual reality games a few times. Others have complained about the extra cost for these but honestly if they didn't the lines would be crazy. We told our son ahead of time what he could do and not do and it wasn't an issue.

My son also really enjoyed going to the kids club a few nights on the trip. Luckily, he met a friend the first sea day while doing the race track and they made plans on which nights they would meet there. It was a good mix for him..some nights he enjoyed eating dinner with the family and others he liked not having to get dressed up and running around with friends. He never really told me what they did but he seemed to have a good time.

Other than that, the water slide seemed to be a big attraction on the warmer days. Unfortunately my son didn't make the weight cut so he couldn't do it but my husband enjoyed it a few times. We were lucky to have great weather most of the trip and the pool deck was pretty crowded. We didn't care to actually go in the pool but we sat outside each time we left port and were able to enjoy a cocktail and just appreciate the beauty of Alaska. I also went to the 18+ hot tub/sundeck area - Spice - and it was very peaceful and quiet there. The bar was empty and it was a great place to grab a drink and read out in the sun.

Finally, we did do the Minute to Win It game and watched a few other game show events. We didn't do bingo or gamble this time so can't comment on those activities.

Excursions - we booked most of our excursions privately as it was more economical than going through NCL. In Ketchikan we did the Lumber Jack show (very touristy but cute), had lunch on the dock at a seafood shack and hired a private cab to drive us around the area. It was a beautiful day and we had a nice time. In Juneau, we hired a private charter to go Salmon Fishing for 5 of our group. It was another beautiful day and we saw the glacier, many bald eagles and enjoyed the scenery. Unfortunately, we didn't catch any salmon but enjoyed the beauty of Alaska. In Icy Strait my husband and son did the zip line (loved it!) and we all did the whale watching excursion through NCL. We saw a few different pods and the crew on the vessel were all very nice and shared a lot of great information. After that we walked around a little and had lunch at The Cookhouse. The halibut was great and we enjoyed the live music. In Victoria, we got off the ship and took a couple of cabs to town. We walked around the Fairmont for a few minutes before wandering around the wharf area. We had lunch at The Local which was a cute little place right across from the Wharf area and also located at the base of the a great local craft market. After lunch our group split up with half of us renting electric bikes for a ride around the city and the other (less mobile half) doing the hop on /hop off bus. We enjoyed it and it gave us a nice overview of the city. We went back around dinner time for cocktails and one last dinner.

I will say I agree with others who mentioned our time in both Juneau and Ketchikan were too short and maybe the time in Victoria was too long. Not sure why they do that other than NCL has the bliss basically doing the same itinerary so I guess they have to space the arrival and departure times. I wouldn't let that stop me from booking, but in a perfect world we would have had more time in Juneau and Ketchikan.

All in all it was a great trip. We like to escape the Atlanta heat late summer so this was a good trip for that alone. It was also a great way to do a relaxing trip with both sets of parents. Everyone enjoyed it and we are trying to figure out where we can go next year!
92ufgator’s Full Rating Summary
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