We just returned from this cruise yesterday. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Embarkation in NYC was quite easy for us, but we used wheelchair service due to disability, so that usually helps. While the review below may seem a list of gripes, please know we have no regrets, are glad we did the cruise, and would do this cruise again in a heartbeat. I merely share the below to level set expectations for future guests.
Ray in the Atrium and Wilson at the A-List were phenomenal bartenders. When Ray learned we were not heavy drinkers (mostly sweet wines) he was excited to show us new things that were on our drink package. If you get a chance, try a mini-beer, amazing! Wilson, was often sought out by the Facebook group members for our cruise, too. He worked mostly in the A-List and made a surprise sweet martini when my wife asked to try something new.
During theater performances you hear music from the Q beneath the theater. The Q is a restaurant just beneath the theater. This cost a point in the review below. When entertainment is happening in the Q, the entertainment is easily heard and felt a deck above inside the theater. So as we were listening to a comedian in the theatre, we could hear the thump thump thumping of the band playing in the Q beneath the theatre. It was very frustrating. During Footloose, the beat of the music in the Q was off from the beat in the theatre and it was very distracting. I was quite surprised by this as it's our fifth NCL ship and we've never experienced that. In fact, we were on Joy's sister ship, the Bliss, in March of this year and did not hear this same issue.
We had a Club Balcony this trip. Initially we booked a penthouse suite, but after some research, my wife figured the club balcony was a better buy. Many of the perks that the penthouse suite would come with on other ships were missing on the Joy.
The Club Balcony was our favorite room type thus far. We usually get a normal balcony. The bathroom on the Club Balcony made for a much more comfortable trip. The shower seemed to be 1.5 - 2x the size of previous showers in a normal balcony room. For perspective, there were also two sinks in the bathroom. It was spacious enough to be a functional space for showering and dressing. Our room was on deck 14. We learned from our time on the Bliss that Deck 9 balconies had an obstructed view as the roof of deck 8 extended four feet from the deck 9 balcony. Our deck 14 balcony had a great view! The bed was not terribly comfortable, but we learned we could ask for an egg crate mattress, so that helped. The pillows were amazingly soft (I loved it, wife didn't).
We chose the walking tour of the freedom trail. It was cool to see, but felt very rushed with such a large group. I wish there was more time. SO much history.
We did a bike ride excursion here. Loved it! It was a three hour excursion - one hour riding, one hour hiking, one hour ride back. The ride and hike were both easy and the views amazing.
We did the hop on hop off tour in St John. There weren't enough busses. It took too long for us to get on the first bus. Once we got on the busses, it was good. I wish we had more time at the reversing falls. We would've needed to be there long enough to see the changing of the tides and timing just didn't permit it. There are some pretty crazy tides in this port, so that made it really fascinating.
Peggy's Cove was breathtaking. Between the rocks, the lighthouse, and everything else, just wow. The ride there was beautiful as was the destination. Wish we had more time. We were the second bus there. There was a restaurant there I would've liked to eaten at, but no time. After this, the bus took us back pier side where we jumped on the hop on/hop off busses.
The hop on hop off tour here had more busses than St. John, it was easier to navigate. The highlight of the busses, IMO, was seeing the Fairview Lawn Cemetary where many of the Titanic victims were buried. By dumb luck, we caught the tail end of a guided tour of the site and got to hear about the graves there. Very sobering to see the headstones and realize it's only a fraction of those that perished.
We did the Alexander Graham Bell museum. It was pretty disappointing. We barely had an hour to go through a museum that, at best, needed three. I spent the entire hour taking photos of all the exhibits and what was written there so I could read it later.
Museum aside, the views from the ship of the area were spectacular. It felt like we'd stepped straight out of a postcard! I wished we'd rented a car here and driven ourselves around.
This was the highlight of the cruise and the reason we booked it. My wife is an Anne of Green Gables fan and grew up on the books and movies. We did the ultimate Anne of Green Gables tour. Again, it was too short. It took maybe an hour to get to the home where the author was married and had spent time growing up. At this home you could see the body of water that was the inspiration for "the lake of shining waters". It was impressive, but we had 35 minutes to spend in the home, so we raced through it, photographing to experience it later. We were on borrowed time when we visited the building next door to get our photo with Anne and a taste of Raspberry Cordial. Then the bus drove another 10 minutes away to the actual Green Gables home that Canada purchased to preserve. The author lived in the Green Gables house for a time (or visited, it was a cousin's home). There was maybe 45 minutes at this stop, which was just barely enough.
The bus had us back pierside with 4+ hours to spare, so we went across the street to Water Prince Corner Shop and Lobster Pound for lunch. Lunch did not disappoint, highly recommend.