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I will skip over the details of the ships appointments and furnishings as all is as detailed on the website and is exactly as described. I will hit mostly highlight and lowlights and helpful tidbits during the cruise. This was a 16 day mexican cruise from L.A to Miami. Overall we enjoyed the ship and the cruise and would recommend to others. Cabin: see review below for details. Hint: according to cabin steward do not push the SNOWFLAKE icon on ac controls. this will shut off the ac after a few hours. Just use temperature adjustment UP/Down button. Also if balcony door is open AC will adjust as well. After first night we didn't have any issues with proper AC temp. Also the bedding is heavily bedded for me personally. Cabin service was perfunctory but not exceptional. Good tip is to utilize the wall switches inside to room to notify steward of DND or Make up room. Zero disruptions by steward in 16 days when used. I wish all NCL ships had this. Dining: Garden Cafe: Just as you would expect but i was impressed with the daily choices. The standards are offered daily: pizza, hotdogs and hamburgers for the those that wanted it. but also and daily rotating theme to the hot favorites sections but done tastefully and good quality. also a noodle station, daily asian and indian dishes plus salad bar. Liked: Sometimes Garden Cafe was better then main dining room with broader choices Disliked: NCL can never get making a cake right so the dessert choices were better with the basics: ice cream, banana bread, pound cake etc. almost all the gourmet type desserts were subpar and not worth consuming...however the desserts in the specialty restaurants excelled. So an obvious disconnect in the kitchen somewhere. TIp: plenty of seats toward the front the buffet. We never in 16 days were unable to find a seat at any time. You cant expect to sit 6 feet from the buffet line every day! These are the same people who complain about the elevator...if you can take the stairs. Q: was excellent value for UDP. great atmosphere, service and food. Went twice and had to cut back on second visit our choices. More then enough food if you use the UDP. disliked:the bananna pudding was inedible but all other items excellent. liked: Charcuterie, jalapeno cheese grits ,combo platter pulled pork, beef ribs etc..excellent. Food Republic: We also did 2 visits here with UDP which each person gets 4 choices from the extensive menu. By using the ipad to order each dish you could control the pace of your meal either order all at once or one dish at a time. The service by staff was impeccable such as explaining the menu, explaining the dish, small talk between plates without being intrusive. liked: almost everything on menu! disliked: Thai cocktail Ocean Blue: excellent food and service. Surf and turf prepared perfectly. This retooled concept was better then my first experience with this concept a few years ago on the Getaway. Liked: dining on waterfront during sunset while eating surf and turf. Disliked: we couldn't order another lobster tail without an upcharge Savior/Taste/Manhattan: Lunch menu was the same everyday. The dinner menu wasn't the most ambitious. However the food was tasty and presented well with good service. Liked: easy to get table with no reservations Disliked: daily lunch menu didnt change nor dinner menu not adventurous Teppanyaki: Good experience, good entertainment and good chef. Used the UDP and and exceeded my expectations. Not sure if i would pay al a carte pricing though. Liked: will cook more food if you want another go around Disliked: An upcharge if not on UDP. Le Bistro: I have eaten in the past and the experience exceeded all expectations for taste and service. Liked: Menu - lamb chops..yum Disliked: nothing Cagneys: Ambience as described but with proliferation of steakhouses across American dining scene. This restaurant didn't stand out in taste or experience. Liked: service was good, apps where tasty. disliked: The ribeye was of poor quality and was sent back to the kitchen and replaced with another dish with no issues. But overall the beef quality was subpar. Entertainment: Footloose : Too long and cast not strong. Suggestions change name to Footloose Revue and just sing and dance the hits off the soundtrack and call it a night. Liked: soundtrack hits and the hardest working performing: the staircase. dislike: everything else Elements: Another marquee show but wasnt impressed. Basically a magic act and with semi professional dancing to distract from the magician set ups. Thats it. Rinse and repeat. The closing act was good though. liked : final act. disliked: 10 minutes of a performer singing "bleep bleep" - actual lyrics while a woman bounced on a tethered slingshot was beyond inane. Comedy act: Good but will vary on each cruise i suppose as we had 4 comedians . Adult means adult which i preferred over the G routines and the corny cruise jokes. Tips: take time to plan in advance but if not was able to secure reservations once on board to entertainment. The social on embarkation day has people to assist and kiosks on ship to use to book during the trip. Also stand by lines even though long only took a few minutes to be ushered in especially for comedy shows which were packed nightly. the following was two major issues on the entire trip that need correction and improvement from NCL and passengers should be prepared disembarkation at ports: disembarkation: We did self assist and took over hour to walk off the ship not including the one hour delay in getting clearance from Miami. Staff had directed us into the wrong line when approaching line. But after 45 minutes we exited line(line was merging with excursions from theater and was not moving) we switched to the exit at aft ship which we initially was told was for Canadians and birth certificates only and not passports. Once there walk off was 10 minutes. A frustrating way to end a nice cruise. Tendering: Also major miscommunication with staff and passengers on process. Times for platinum members changed without any notification to us. Also tendering process was chaotic. Met and wait in theater for thirty minutes (after realizing our time had changed) follow long cue to disembarkation point. Wait ten more minutes. Whoops staff mistake. We Must now follow guide back the way we came up two flights and then merge with general passengers exiting from alternate disembarkation point. General rudeness/overcrowding/evil glares from other passengers for merging into line Another delay then proceed to gangway then a tender full of entertainers arrive. after they unload a discussion between security and entertainers on who responsible to unload the entertainers equipment from tender ensures in my presence All while I am literally standing at the entrance of the gang plank. Entertainers are told they have to unload. They are pissed! They take an unbelievable amount of time to unload boat of all the gear while we have to shuffle back and forth in the room and multiple staff yelling instructions. Finally tender boat is empty and we start to load and NCL staffer says we have to exit and go back to the other tender stations for a 3 rd time. Obviously we didn't and we all boarded the tender. Staff need better understanding of disembarkation process even if not their primary duty. I have tendered countless times in big and small ports and this was unbelievably inept. Over the 16 days there were a few other with service such as: missing laundry, poor restaurant satisfaction in one restaurant, etc. but NCL dealt with each one more then satisfactorily when asked. Was everything on the ship perfect to my standards no but the experience was excellent and small bumps in service or expectations didn't ruin my overall experience.

Mexican Riviera - Oct 13

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by JBEAS11

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I will skip over the details of the ships appointments and furnishings as all is as detailed on the website and is exactly as described. I will hit mostly highlight and lowlights and helpful tidbits during the cruise. This was a 16 day mexican cruise from L.A to Miami. Overall we enjoyed the ship and the cruise and would recommend to others.

Cabin: see review below for details. Hint: according to cabin steward do not push the SNOWFLAKE icon on ac controls. this will shut off the ac after a few hours. Just use temperature adjustment UP/Down button. Also if balcony door is open AC will adjust as well. After first night we didn't have any issues with proper AC temp. Also the bedding is heavily bedded for me personally. Cabin service was perfunctory but not exceptional. Good tip is to utilize the wall switches inside to room to notify steward of DND or Make up room. Zero disruptions by steward in 16 days when used. I wish all NCL ships had this.

Dining:

Garden Cafe: Just as you would expect but i was impressed with the daily choices. The standards are offered daily: pizza, hotdogs and hamburgers for the those that wanted it. but also and daily rotating theme to the hot favorites sections but done tastefully and good quality. also a noodle station, daily asian and indian dishes plus salad bar.

Liked: Sometimes Garden Cafe was better then main dining room with broader choices

Disliked: NCL can never get making a cake right so the dessert choices were better with the basics: ice cream, banana bread, pound cake etc. almost all the gourmet type desserts were subpar and not worth consuming...however the desserts in the specialty restaurants excelled. So an obvious disconnect in the kitchen somewhere.

TIp: plenty of seats toward the front the buffet. We never in 16 days were unable to find a seat at any time. You cant expect to sit 6 feet from the buffet line every day! These are the same people who complain about the elevator...if you can take the stairs.


Q: was excellent value for UDP. great atmosphere, service and food. Went twice and had to cut back on second visit our choices. More then enough food if you use the UDP. disliked:the bananna pudding was inedible but all other items excellent.

liked: Charcuterie, jalapeno cheese grits ,combo platter pulled pork, beef ribs etc..excellent.

Food Republic: We also did 2 visits here with UDP which each person gets 4 choices from the extensive menu. By using the ipad to order each dish you could control the pace of your meal either order all at once or one dish at a time. The service by staff was impeccable such as explaining the menu, explaining the dish, small talk between plates without being intrusive.

liked: almost everything on menu!

disliked: Thai cocktail

Ocean Blue: excellent food and service. Surf and turf prepared perfectly. This retooled concept was better then my first experience with this concept a few years ago on the Getaway.

Liked: dining on waterfront during sunset while eating surf and turf.

Disliked: we couldn't order another lobster tail without an upcharge

Savior/Taste/Manhattan: Lunch menu was the same everyday. The dinner menu wasn't the most ambitious. However the food was tasty and presented well with good service.

Liked: easy to get table with no reservations

Disliked: daily lunch menu didnt change nor dinner menu not adventurous

Teppanyaki: Good experience, good entertainment and good chef. Used the UDP and and exceeded my expectations. Not sure if i would pay al a carte pricing though.

Liked: will cook more food if you want another go around

Disliked: An upcharge if not on UDP.

Le Bistro: I have eaten in the past and the experience exceeded all expectations for taste and service.

Liked: Menu - lamb chops..yum

Disliked: nothing

Cagneys: Ambience as described but with proliferation of steakhouses across American dining scene. This restaurant didn't stand out in taste or experience.

Liked: service was good, apps where tasty.

disliked: The ribeye was of poor quality and was sent back to the kitchen and replaced with another dish with no issues. But overall the beef quality was subpar.


Entertainment:

Footloose : Too long and cast not strong. Suggestions change name to Footloose Revue and just sing and dance the hits off the soundtrack and call it a night.

Liked: soundtrack hits and the hardest working performing: the staircase.

dislike: everything else

Elements: Another marquee show but wasnt impressed. Basically a magic act and with semi professional dancing to distract from the magician set ups. Thats it. Rinse and repeat. The closing act was good though.

liked : final act.

disliked: 10 minutes of a performer singing "bleep bleep" - actual lyrics while a woman bounced on a tethered slingshot was beyond inane.

Comedy act: Good but will vary on each cruise i suppose as we had 4 comedians . Adult means adult which i preferred over the G routines and the corny cruise jokes.

Tips: take time to plan in advance but if not was able to secure reservations once on board to entertainment. The social on embarkation day has people to assist and kiosks on ship to use to book during the trip. Also stand by lines even though long only took a few minutes to be ushered in especially for comedy shows which were packed nightly.

the following was two major issues on the entire trip that need correction and improvement from NCL and passengers should be prepared

disembarkation at ports: disembarkation: We did self assist and took over hour to walk off the ship not including the one hour delay in getting clearance from Miami. Staff had directed us into the wrong line when approaching line. But after 45 minutes we exited line(line was merging with excursions from theater and was not moving) we switched to the exit at aft ship which we initially was told was for Canadians and birth certificates only and not passports. Once there walk off was 10 minutes. A frustrating way to end a nice cruise.


Tendering: Also major miscommunication with staff and passengers on process. Times for platinum members changed without any notification to us. Also tendering process was chaotic. Met and wait in theater for thirty minutes (after realizing our time had changed) follow long cue to disembarkation point. Wait ten more minutes. Whoops staff mistake. We Must now follow guide back the way we came up two flights and then merge with general passengers exiting from alternate disembarkation point. General rudeness/overcrowding/evil glares from other passengers for merging into line Another delay then proceed to gangway then a tender full of entertainers arrive. after they unload a discussion between security and entertainers on who responsible to unload the entertainers equipment from tender ensures in my presence All while I am literally standing at the entrance of the gang plank. Entertainers are told they have to unload. They are pissed! They take an unbelievable amount of time to unload boat of all the gear while we have to shuffle back and forth in the room and multiple staff yelling instructions. Finally tender boat is empty and we start to load and NCL staffer says we have to exit and go back to the other tender stations for a 3 rd time. Obviously we didn't and we all boarded the tender. Staff need better understanding of disembarkation process even if not their primary duty. I have tendered countless times in big and small ports and this was unbelievably inept.

Over the 16 days there were a few other with service such as: missing laundry, poor restaurant satisfaction in one restaurant, etc. but NCL dealt with each one more then satisfactorily when asked. Was everything on the ship perfect to my standards no but the experience was excellent and small bumps in service or expectations didn't ruin my overall experience.
JBEAS11’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 13796
cabin is as described on the website. we had a bed near the balcony which made using the closet wardrobe easier to access. plenty of storage in bathroom and room. This area of staterooms was easy access to the elevators, observation lounge, garden cafe , Q, waterfront area and the district among others. this reduced use of the elevators half of the time.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews