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Norwegian Joy Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
282 Reviews

Mexican Riviera - Cabo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review by Infidel007

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2019
  • Destination: the Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Balcony - Connecting Stateroom

We chose this cruise because the whole family (4 kids, 1 grandkid, mother in law) were all able to have the time off and the price was pretty good. The free at sea offers seemed like a good idea at first, but it turned out we would have saved more by not using the offer and just adding what we wanted. We ended up not using the internet at all as you can only have one person on it at a time and you share a pool of minutes. There would have been an additional four dollar charge per person who wanted to use the pool of minutes.

There was so much to do on the cruise we were not able to do everything. They had two magic shows, a broadway show, karaoke, two comedy shows, crew game shows, trivia, bingo etc. We also went to several of the art auctions and even though we did not plan on it, we ended up buying two "works of art."

The dining was one of the best things on the cruise. We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a sit down restaurant almost every day of the cruise. It was really great trying the different places and trying new dishes. The food and the service were top notch.

One of the drawbacks is there are only two hot tubs and they only let 6 people in each one at a time. There were over 3,000 people on the ship, so I think they need to add a few more. The term "hot" tub should be taken with a grain of salt as I do not think the water was over 96 degrees. We keep the tub at our house at 103-104.

The excursions I would recommend you not buy on the ship. Every port we called on had lots of locals offering the same thing the ship was for about 25% of what the ship charged. The absolute worst excursion was the horse ride, kayak, paddleboard, snorkel excursion in Puerto Vallarta. It was a total disappointment. They ran out of horses and stuck a few people on donkeys that were slow and too little to be carrying the large Americans. When we got to the beach there were zero paddle boards or kayaks. The guide claimed they had some but the weather was too rough to be used. This was in plain view of other people using kayaks on the same beach.

Disembarkation was a nightmare. We were supposed to get off the ship at 7:45, but they did not have the first group start getting off until after 9:00 so it looked like half the ship was sitting on the staircases and clogging up the halls waiting to get off.

Over all I would go on the Joy again, I would just do things a little different.

Infidel007's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Balcony - Connecting Stateroom

As this was the first cruise we were on we have nothing to compare it to, but it was big enough for my wife and I. The bathroom was a little tight and the toilet was a really loud flush type. I did wish there were outlets near the bed as I use a CPAP machine and had to run the cord across the room. The TV is small, more like a computer monitor.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


We did the Kayak, paddleboard, snorkel trip. The only thing I would change here is they should have taken us to the picture spot before the snorkling. Everyone looked like drowned rats in the pictures.

View All 74 Snorkeling Reviews
The Arch (El Arco) & Lover's Beach

The beach was nice and everyone wants a picture of the arch.

View All 37 The Arch (El Arco) & Lover's Beach Reviews

The zipline was really exciting. It was the first time we ever did it. After we were done we toured a tequila farm and they offered samples (2 shots) for free.

View All undefined undefined Reviews
Horseback Tour

This was a rip off. They overbooked and ran out of horses and stuck me on a tiny donkey who was either really lazy or tired. The company also had us down for kayaking and paddleboarding but took us to the beach and then said it was too rough to get them out of storage. I didn't believe they even had any as we could see others kayaking on the same beach. Lastly, the guy who took our pictures was asking for 60.00 and the other photographer in the same group was asking 40.00. At the end of the tour "Alex", our guide, took off his hat and asked everyone to tip him for such a great time.

View All 8 Horseback Tour Reviews
Sea Lion Encounter

The pictures at the end of the encounter were 120.00 but the experience is something we have never seen offered. We have swam with beluga whales and dolphins, but this was new and we liked it a lot.

View All 12 Sea Lion Encounter Reviews
Los Angeles

We live in CA so did not do an excursion here.

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