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We are not first time cruisers but have been cruising for 20 years. Nor are we whiners who expect perfection in every area, so this is an honest account of our experience on the NCL Joy 16 day Panama Canal Cruise: We arrived at the pier in Los Angeles (San Pedro) at around 10:30 and were checked in quickly and escorted to a special area in the building to enjoy snacks, drinks and at around 11:30 we were escorted to the ship by an attendant for the haven and concierge guests. We had a Family Inside Concierge with a virtual balcony for 4 people (adults) and let me tell you it was so roomy and nice to have plenty of room to move around and enjoy the space. The concierge we had (Reynoldo) introduced himself the next morning at breakfast and I can only speak for us, but we used him a lot so as not to have to stand in line at Guest Services to get things done. He took care of our go kart reservations (all 3 times), laser tag reservations, our dining reservations, our entertainment reservations and any time we had a problem he made it right. Because we were concierge, we could eat breakfast and lunch in La Cucina and it was never busy for those even though the food was the same every day for 16 days. As for the ship, it was beautiful. You could tell it was new and well taken care of and it was very clean and elegant looking. When it came to entertainment, we did the go karts 3 times and they went faster than we thought they would and we had an amazing time racing others from our group. The Galaxy Pavilion offered some fantastic VR experiences and we bought at least 2 packages for rides. Hint: Keep an eye out on your Freestyle Daily for the tournaments they offer in the Galaxy Pavilion as it is a good way to see if the experience is for you for free. The laser tag was exhausting in a very fun way. Be sure to play at night for a different experience. We played twice because the first time the staff guy who worked there played as a member of the other team and we did not enjoy the game at all as were were just sniper practice for the worker and did not feel we were able to enjoy or interact with the game. One call to the concierge and we were offered another game at no charge with no workers allowed to play. In regards to ship activities, they had a nice variety of things happening around the ship for different likes. Most of the main activities were held in the Atrium and I could not for the life of me figure out why they could not have enough chairs for people if they insisted on doing things there. It was ridiculously hard to ever find a chair and if the ship was not even full, I can't imagine what they were thinking. The juggler (Scotty Cavanaugh), Elements, and the aerialists Dimitry and Maria, were absolutely fabulous shows. Footloose was worth watching but I felt the violence and cursing really made it inappropriate at times. As for the service, I really have no idea what has happened here and hope it is only the Joy that this is occurring on and not company-wide. The room steward was fine, nothing special, but fine. The service in the Local and La Cucina was good. As for the buffet and the main dining areas it was not good at all. As avid cruisers, we know dinner takes a while to get through and don't expect to be done in an hour, but it was bordering on ridiculous on how slow everything was going and I have never seen so many crew members standing around doing nothing on a ship as I did here. We even videoed 2 waitresses standing in the cubby hole of the restaurant putting lip gloss on each other. We also witnessed buffet workers on their phones or joking with 2-3 other workers while we stood in front of them waiting to order ice cream or cut meat and then it was like we were bothering them to come do it. That is completely unacceptable service and I believe it starts at the top with management giving them expectations to follow. We honestly felt like since they know the service charges are added automatically, there is no need to try harder of go that little extra special bit to make the vacation experience memorable. We did not book any excursions through the ship, but chose to go it alone. Which leads me to my last issue: The Food! If it were not for the food, I probably would consider booking on the Joy again as long as it wasn't full, but for the food alone, my husband and I both agreed, we just could not get past how horrid the food was. Out of 16 days of meals, we can maybe pick 5 things we would eat again and not a single one of them would be a dessert. I told the Maitre D one night about 8 days in that if they did not find a new chef, there was no way people would be repeating this ship, it was seriously that bad. He said they do get quite a few complaints about the food. It's pretty bad when you see the crew eating off the ship in ports and though they can't say it on the ship, many will tell you it is awful. It is pretty sad that they make the regular dining room food so terrible just to try and up sell the fee restaurants. All in all passing through the Panama Canal was an experience of a lifetime and I am happy that we did that. However the three reasons I will never cruise with them again is 1)Food, 2)Service, and 3)the cruise was reduced by 70% 2 weeks before we cruised in order to try and fill the ship and those of us who booked ahead got nothing. I hope they can fix these issues for future cruisers to enjoy their time aboard.

Not as Expected from NCL

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by sheila1112

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We are not first time cruisers but have been cruising for 20 years. Nor are we whiners who expect perfection in every area, so this is an honest account of our experience on the NCL Joy 16 day Panama Canal Cruise:

We arrived at the pier in Los Angeles (San Pedro) at around 10:30 and were checked in quickly and escorted to a special area in the building to enjoy snacks, drinks and at around 11:30 we were escorted to the ship by an attendant for the haven and concierge guests. We had a Family Inside Concierge with a virtual balcony for 4 people (adults) and let me tell you it was so roomy and nice to have plenty of room to move around and enjoy the space. The concierge we had (Reynoldo) introduced himself the next morning at breakfast and I can only speak for us, but we used him a lot so as not to have to stand in line at Guest Services to get things done. He took care of our go kart reservations (all 3 times), laser tag reservations, our dining reservations, our entertainment reservations and any time we had a problem he made it right. Because we were concierge, we could eat breakfast and lunch in La Cucina and it was never busy for those even though the food was the same every day for 16 days.

As for the ship, it was beautiful. You could tell it was new and well taken care of and it was very clean and elegant looking.

When it came to entertainment, we did the go karts 3 times and they went faster than we thought they would and we had an amazing time racing others from our group. The Galaxy Pavilion offered some fantastic VR experiences and we bought at least 2 packages for rides. Hint: Keep an eye out on your Freestyle Daily for the tournaments they offer in the Galaxy Pavilion as it is a good way to see if the experience is for you for free. The laser tag was exhausting in a very fun way. Be sure to play at night for a different experience. We played twice because the first time the staff guy who worked there played as a member of the other team and we did not enjoy the game at all as were were just sniper practice for the worker and did not feel we were able to enjoy or interact with the game. One call to the concierge and we were offered another game at no charge with no workers allowed to play.

In regards to ship activities, they had a nice variety of things happening around the ship for different likes. Most of the main activities were held in the Atrium and I could not for the life of me figure out why they could not have enough chairs for people if they insisted on doing things there. It was ridiculously hard to ever find a chair and if the ship was not even full, I can't imagine what they were thinking. The juggler (Scotty Cavanaugh), Elements, and the aerialists Dimitry and Maria, were absolutely fabulous shows. Footloose was worth watching but I felt the violence and cursing really made it inappropriate at times.

As for the service, I really have no idea what has happened here and hope it is only the Joy that this is occurring on and not company-wide. The room steward was fine, nothing special, but fine. The service in the Local and La Cucina was good. As for the buffet and the main dining areas it was not good at all. As avid cruisers, we know dinner takes a while to get through and don't expect to be done in an hour, but it was bordering on ridiculous on how slow everything was going and I have never seen so many crew members standing around doing nothing on a ship as I did here. We even videoed 2 waitresses standing in the cubby hole of the restaurant putting lip gloss on each other. We also witnessed buffet workers on their phones or joking with 2-3 other workers while we stood in front of them waiting to order ice cream or cut meat and then it was like we were bothering them to come do it. That is completely unacceptable service and I believe it starts at the top with management giving them expectations to follow. We honestly felt like since they know the service charges are added automatically, there is no need to try harder of go that little extra special bit to make the vacation experience memorable.

We did not book any excursions through the ship, but chose to go it alone.

Which leads me to my last issue: The Food! If it were not for the food, I probably would consider booking on the Joy again as long as it wasn't full, but for the food alone, my husband and I both agreed, we just could not get past how horrid the food was. Out of 16 days of meals, we can maybe pick 5 things we would eat again and not a single one of them would be a dessert. I told the Maitre D one night about 8 days in that if they did not find a new chef, there was no way people would be repeating this ship, it was seriously that bad. He said they do get quite a few complaints about the food. It's pretty bad when you see the crew eating off the ship in ports and though they can't say it on the ship, many will tell you it is awful. It is pretty sad that they make the regular dining room food so terrible just to try and up sell the fee restaurants.

All in all passing through the Panama Canal was an experience of a lifetime and I am happy that we did that. However the three reasons I will never cruise with them again is 1)Food, 2)Service, and 3)the cruise was reduced by 70% 2 weeks before we cruised in order to try and fill the ship and those of us who booked ahead got nothing.

I hope they can fix these issues for future cruisers to enjoy their time aboard.
sheila1112’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Concierge Family Inside
Cabin CF
This cabin is almose 600 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Absolutely wonderful room and the virtual balcony lets in light and you can check the weather before leaving your room.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins