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I have had my eye on this itinerary for a long time and was able to experience it on the new and improved Norwegian Joy. I have been on 10 cruises now, mostly with Princess with a little HAL, Carnival and Celebrity sprinkled in. I must say that Norwegian has a stellar product with its Breakaway Plus class ships. I think the layout is superior to anything sailing out there for this market segment. This was a Panama Canal partial transit. The Panama Canal was a bucket list experience and the partial transit was only partially great. NCL canceled every shore excursion at this port! It was blamed on not enough available tenders from the Panama yacht club. (Was the reason given). We had pre-purchased the railroad excursion that tours the entire canal. The Island Princess was on a similar itinerary and I wonder if She won the Tender competition? I will put on my detective hat and find out here on Cruise Critic. Don't get me wrong, it was great to see the Joy sail through the Gatun locks and back. It really turned out to be another sea day which doesn't suck either. The other ports were awesome with the shore excursions that NCL offered. I highly recommend the Old City tour in Cartagena, the Rainforest/wildlife extravaganza in Puerto Limon, The Dolphin encounter in Roatan, catch and release fishing and snorkeling in Belize. They were some of the best excursions I've ever been on. What can I say about the Ship? She is gorgeous and well laid out. Our midship mini-suite was very comfortable and convenient to all the upper deck locations. Our favorite venue on the ship was the observation lounge on deck 15. There are great fore, port and starboard views with very classy and comfy chairs and loungers. There is a full bar, a Starbucks and a nice little buffet. The Waterfront on deck 8 is a treasure as well. Dining was hit and miss. Next time we will skip most of the specialty restaurants and opt for the Garden Cafe or the Manhatten dining room. Service was excellent for all dining venues. Joy hands down have the best shipboard entertainment of any cruise line I've been on. Footloose, Elements, and the Beatles act were top notch. All the lesser shows and comedy acts held their own as well. It was hard to leave on the last morning. (In more ways than one). We were supposed to disembark at 08:30 am due to a Miami city tour. We did not get off the Joy until 10:30! There were technical glitches that kept everyone's luggage from getting off the ship. I hope nobody had to cancel tours and/or missed their flights. We can't wait to get on the other Breakaway Plus class ships. We are drinking the NCL kool-aid now.

NCL First Timer, Ode to Joy!

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by jgreenwo17

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I have had my eye on this itinerary for a long time and was able to experience it on the new and improved Norwegian Joy. I have been on 10 cruises now, mostly with Princess with a little HAL, Carnival and Celebrity sprinkled in. I must say that Norwegian has a stellar product with its Breakaway Plus class ships. I think the layout is superior to anything sailing out there for this market segment.

This was a Panama Canal partial transit. The Panama Canal was a bucket list experience and the partial transit was only partially great. NCL canceled every shore excursion at this port! It was blamed on not enough available tenders from the Panama yacht club. (Was the reason given). We had pre-purchased the railroad excursion that tours the entire canal. The Island Princess was on a similar itinerary and I wonder if She won the Tender competition? I will put on my detective hat and find out here on Cruise Critic. Don't get me wrong, it was great to see the Joy sail through the Gatun locks and back. It really turned out to be another sea day which doesn't suck either.

The other ports were awesome with the shore excursions that NCL offered. I highly recommend the Old City tour in Cartagena, the Rainforest/wildlife extravaganza in Puerto Limon, The Dolphin encounter in Roatan, catch and release fishing and snorkeling in Belize. They were some of the best excursions I've ever been on.

What can I say about the Ship? She is gorgeous and well laid out. Our midship mini-suite was very comfortable and convenient to all the upper deck locations. Our favorite venue on the ship was the observation lounge on deck 15. There are great fore, port and starboard views with very classy and comfy chairs and loungers. There is a full bar, a Starbucks and a nice little buffet. The Waterfront on deck 8 is a treasure as well.

Dining was hit and miss. Next time we will skip most of the specialty restaurants and opt for the Garden Cafe or the Manhatten dining room. Service was excellent for all dining venues.

Joy hands down have the best shipboard entertainment of any cruise line I've been on.

Footloose, Elements, and the Beatles act were top notch. All the lesser shows and comedy acts held their own as well.

It was hard to leave on the last morning. (In more ways than one). We were supposed to disembark at 08:30 am due to a Miami city tour. We did not get off the Joy until 10:30! There were technical glitches that kept everyone's luggage from getting off the ship. I hope nobody had to cancel tours and/or missed their flights.

We can't wait to get on the other Breakaway Plus class ships. We are drinking the NCL kool-aid now.
jgreenwo17’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA
Very classy and comfy. The best shower of any stateroom I've experienced after 10 cruises.
King bed and spacious bath area. Tons of storage space. The teeny deck was adequate.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews