My family of four just returned from our seven nights on the Joy, and we couldn't be more thrilled about our vacation! This was our first time cruising with Norwegian but our eighth cruise overall. We have previously sailed with Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and after reading about how much Norwegian has improved over the years, we couldn't wait to give them a try. Think NCL is the red-headed step-child of the cruising industry? Think again! From our experience, and while there are some areas that can be improved, they are right up there with the other top dogs, and I'll explain why.
We flew into LAX from Chicago the day before we set sail as it is always nice to have a cushion in case anything decides to go crazy. When we arrived, we took an hour long Lyft from the airport to Long Beach where we were staying, conveniently located about ten minutes from the port. With the airport being so far from the our hotel (and the cruise port), it was a good $50 to get us there, and you can expect to pay more on peak travel times during the day (more on this later). Finally its the day we've been waiting for for MONTHS, and we couldn't wait to get going! On the morning of our sailing, we took another Lyft to the port around 10am and arrived with no issues. After handing off our bags, we walked into the terminal to find a massive amount of cruisers already there. Overall, the embarkation process was pretty smooth. They separate you into lines based on which deck your stateroom is on, check over your documents, give you your sailing cards, and send you on your way. However, since we arrived before the ship was ready to board, we ended up waiting a little bit which was the only minor drawback. For this sailing, we booked a Concierge level stateroom (in between a regular stateroom and The Haven), so we were given a dedicated line and area to wait in. Still, there were many other excited cruisers waiting in a small corner, along with those in regular staterooms waiting in chairs in the main area. Given the size of the terminal, it can fill up quite quickly if the ship is not open yet, but if you arrive after opening, you should have no problems. When they opened the gates, we were the first to board, so it was a pretty painless process.
This cabin was a steal for the price, as is the Concierge Level as a whole. Our cabin had a living room, master bed and bath, and a separate bedroom with another bath. The room was over 500 sqft. and had a massive amount of storage space as well as a virtual balcony. Four of shared this room comfortably.