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We had chosen The Norwegian Joy so we could experience a full transit of the Panama Canal and this cruise fit our time schedule. The Good: The ship is beautiful, there was a fun atmosphere, and a lot of different bars and areas inside and out to hang out. The Observation Deck on the ship is beautiful, and has it's own little buffet breakfast and lunch that provided lighter fare. The freestyle Dining...no jacket and tie requirements for the dining areas were perfect for my husband and me. I like to dress up a little for dinner, he thinks having a collard shirt on is formal wear. There were a couple of smaller complementary dining areas, the Taste and The Savor that we really enjoyed. The Manhattan is nice but large and noisy with staff running everywhere. We had a nice balcony room which was comfortable and we loved. I was really happy that there weren't cameras stuck in our face every time we turned around. The photographers were respectful of our wishes. The shows we attended were good and entertaining. The food in Cagney's was lovely and the service outstanding. The same with Ocean Blue. The not so good: There are extra charges upon extra charges. A bottle of wine with dinner is as little as $23, but there is a corkage fee (normal) and a 20% service fee AND a tip line with the expectation of a tip on top of it. This was true in the complimentary restaurants as well. There was a 20% service charge, a specialty dining charge and a line for an expected waiter tip. We prepaid our tips but felt awkward because the staff don't know who did and who didn't. Drinks are costly, I ordered a mudslide one day and it was $14, with the gratuity I gave the server I paid $16. We ate at the Teppanaki one night and the meal was terrible, it all tasted like burnt garlic. Things to know: Budget for extra service charges, extra tips and extra extra tips (giving the bar tender a couple of bucks with your wine order will get you a full glass of wine instead of a quarter glass). Budget extra for the specialty restaurants and the al la carte places. Budget extra for the gaming, race tracks and the virtual reality gaming places. Budget extra for tips for the excursions you go on. I did not purchase the Free At Sea packages so can't comment on that but wonder if the extra service charges are included in the packages or put on the bill. The Bad and Ugly Several of us contracted a gastrointestinal illness onboard the last part of the trip. When we disembarked, we (the sickies) were herded into an open fenced parking lot, without water, toilet facilities, or places to sit to be processed through customs which took 3-4 hours. Some of the sickies had to be transported out by EMS. I don't know if this was a ship decision or a customs decision, but hopefully they will review this process. Overall We had a great time, the food was good and the ports of call were great. In spite of our GI stuff we are ready to go again!

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by KathleenKl

Trip Details
We had chosen The Norwegian Joy so we could experience a full transit of the Panama Canal and this cruise fit our time schedule.

The Good:

The ship is beautiful, there was a fun atmosphere, and a lot of different bars and areas inside and out to hang out. The Observation Deck on the ship is beautiful, and has it's own little buffet breakfast and lunch that provided lighter fare. The freestyle Dining...no jacket and tie requirements for the dining areas were perfect for my husband and me. I like to dress up a little for dinner, he thinks having a collard shirt on is formal wear. There were a couple of smaller complementary dining areas, the Taste and The Savor that we really enjoyed. The Manhattan is nice but large and noisy with staff running everywhere. We had a nice balcony room which was comfortable and we loved. I was really happy that there weren't cameras stuck in our face every time we turned around. The photographers were respectful of our wishes. The shows we attended were good and entertaining. The food in Cagney's was lovely and the service outstanding. The same with Ocean Blue.

The not so good:

There are extra charges upon extra charges. A bottle of wine with dinner is as little as $23, but there is a corkage fee (normal) and a 20% service fee AND a tip line with the expectation of a tip on top of it. This was true in the complimentary restaurants as well. There was a 20% service charge, a specialty dining charge and a line for an expected waiter tip. We prepaid our tips but felt awkward because the staff don't know who did and who didn't. Drinks are costly, I ordered a mudslide one day and it was $14, with the gratuity I gave the server I paid $16. We ate at the Teppanaki one night and the meal was terrible, it all tasted like burnt garlic.

Things to know:

Budget for extra service charges, extra tips and extra extra tips (giving the bar tender a couple of bucks with your wine order will get you a full glass of wine instead of a quarter glass). Budget extra for the specialty restaurants and the al la carte places. Budget extra for the gaming, race tracks and the virtual reality gaming places. Budget extra for tips for the excursions you go on. I did not purchase the Free At Sea packages so can't comment on that but wonder if the extra service charges are included in the packages or put on the bill.

The Bad and Ugly

Several of us contracted a gastrointestinal illness onboard the last part of the trip.

When we disembarked, we (the sickies) were herded into an open fenced parking lot, without water, toilet facilities, or places to sit to be processed through customs which took 3-4 hours. Some of the sickies had to be transported out by EMS. I don't know if this was a ship decision or a customs decision, but hopefully they will review this process.

Overall

We had a great time, the food was good and the ports of call were great. In spite of our GI stuff we are ready to go again!
KathleenKl’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BF
The cabin was roomy with plenty of storage. The Balcony was unobstructed with two comfortable chairs and a small table. We had coffee and pastries there each morning. The bathroom is nice, shower is small, so a larger person would have trouble navigating in it.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins