Norwegian Joy Review

4.0 / 5.0
491 reviews

AVOID!! Total Money Grab!!!

Review for the Panama Canal & Central America Cruise on Norwegian Joy
10+ Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Nov 2019
Cabin: Balcony Stateroom

The 4 and 5 star reviews about this ship must have come from crew, family members or first-time cruisers. If you've ever cruised on other ships, you recognize them as lacking accuracy. We had the unfortunate experience of choosing the Joy to finish our back-to-back cruise and travel through the Panama Canal back to California. Boarding was a nightmare with long lines. While standing in line 4 hours to board, we observed numerous people coughing and obviously sick. I pointed this out to the person checking us in when we got to the front of the line, but was told they had paid for the trip and nothing could be done about it. GOUGING: From the moment you begin boarding, you are hit with gouging. WINE: For instance, we had purchased wine on our previous trip, and it was confiscated as we got on board -- no taking 1 bottle per passenger onto the Joy unless you pay a $15 per bottle fee. We recommend that passengers do bring their own wine, however, because it is cheaper in the long run to buy a good bottle and pay the $15 per bottle rather than pay the over-blown cost for the Joy's wine. Seriously, the Joy sells its least expensive wine at over $30 per bottle and it tastes like they bought it for $2 a bottle. CABIN: Standard cabin with verandah, super hard bed and pillows, raggedy worn-out sheets, in room water cost $5 per bottle, sodas $3, etc. CASINO: An entire deck. The Casino has a $2 minimum bet on slots, so if you invest $5 you will get two button pushes and the ship will keep $1 unless you decide to keep losing. POOLS: There is one very crowded, cold and dirty, small outside deck pool (maybe 18'x20') for over 3000 guests. There's also a small children's pool on deck. No heated or inside pool. TRACK: They block the jogging/walking track with deck chairs so you have to pick your way through the crowds of people to even walk. In the event of an emergency, you better hope you're not on a deck, because you can't even walk around. SLIDES: The 2 pool slides are free but have long lines so count on waiting up to an hour. RACE TRACK: The race track is $15 p.p. for about 1 minute of driving around a track. SHOWS: Tiny venue (about half the size of other cruise ship show venues) and prior reservations are required. When we inquired we were told that they were all booked prior to boarding, so we didn't get to experience any entertainment during the 16 day voyage. There are no entertainers like bands in bars or comedians where you can just walk in and enjoy the show. You must make a reservation or be put on a standby list, and then stand in another long line for more than an hour. GAME ROOM: Huge game room for kids, but it was so expensive it was always empty. They had an "Escape Room Game" which we signed up for since we own a real escape room business. They told us at the end that it wasn't really an escape room. In their exact words, it was meant to educate passengers with different kinds of jewels so that when passengers went to the jewelry stores onboard that they would know the difference in gems. In other words -- it was just another sales pitch!!! FOOD: The food on this ship couldn't get cheaper or worse if they tried. We have cruised for over 20 years and frequently travel on world and grand voyages, and this was the first time we had ever seen bologna served on a buffet -- not ham, not other lunch meat for sandwiches -- bologna. The buffet dishes were filthy, and I returned and complained about dirty glasses and cups on a daily basis -- the ship employees shrugged off the complaints. The food at the buffet was bland and lacked variety -- same food every day. The dinner menu was always the same, bland and tasteless. The meat was poor quality and the fish was unrecognizable. When I complained, they suggested I go to the pay restaurants and buy my food if I wanted good taste and quality. I really didn't care to invest more money on food that I presumed was going to be just as low quality. Instead, we just waited until shore visits and ate our main meals ashore in restaurants. I now believe the food is intentionally prepared subpar so passengers will be forced to spend money in the exorbitantly priced restaurants. LACK OF NAVIGATONAL SKILLS: This part was actually scary. All the port times were skewed and shortened, because the ship did not leave dock for 5-6 hours as scheduled, then we missed our first port because they said there was now a storm coming into the port. Then after making our way through the Panama Canal, the captain said we had to sit in the harbor for another 5 hours because "high tide" made the ship too high in the water, and we couldn't pass under the bridge until low tide. Now, you'd think an experienced captain would have known about the tides, but as I said, the ship's failure to keep a regular schedule resulted in all the shore times being cut by several hours. I believe it was to keep passengers on board to spend money rather than letting them off to spend money on shore. I became very leery that we were unsafe on this ship -- and I was right -- but it came in the form of illness. SANITATION: This ship is filthy. In addition to filthy dishes, we never saw anyone cleaning this ship, wiping down rails, etc. The elevators were packed with people and many were coughing and sick. As a result, hundreds of people contracted the Norovirus and other illnesses, and the CDC came on board about a week into the voyage and forced them to begin cleaning and using more sanitary practices, but it was too late. Like hundreds of other passengers, we also contracted Norovirus. My travelling companion became so ill he had to be in the ship's infirmary on oxygen and antibiotics. When we reached San Pedro/Long Beach to disembark, numerous passengers had to be taken off in ambulances. If you find this review hard to believe, look it up on the internet -- an article was written about the Norovirus outbreak. We got off the ship Sunday before Thanksgiving and could not have Thanksgiving with our family, because we were both too sick!! This is the first cruise we've ever been on that was nothing more than a filthy, filthy MONEY GRAB. Norwegian is not among the lower priced cruise lines. However, it deserves to be placed among the lower rated cruise lines and nothing about the experience deserves a 4 or 5 star rating. From an experienced "cruiser", if I could rate the Norwegian Joy less than 1 star -- I would.

Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom

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