12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The destinations and timing were the primary reason for the selection of the ship after my family narrowed our choice of cruise line to NCL. My teenager selected the Joy because of its VR and go-kart track. This was our first time on the ... Read More
The destinations and timing were the primary reason for the selection of the ship after my family narrowed our choice of cruise line to NCL. My teenager selected the Joy because of its VR and go-kart track. This was our first time on the NCL line, so I spent many hours researching excursions and additional charges prior to leaving. However, some items are not obviously a good or poor value until you experience the cruise. More on additional costs later. My family arrived in Seattle early to visit local sites of interest to use prior to the cruise. The day and a half in Seattle ahead of the cruise was completely worthwhile. Pike Street Market, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Microsoft Visitor's Center (pretty far afield but of great interest to techies), the Space Needle, and trying local foods were all worthwhile. We used Uber to get to the ship from our hotel. Drop off and pick up at Pier 66 in Seattle is a rather scary and dangerous proposition. My family observed one fender bender and several near misses during drop off and pick up. The lanes for pick up and drop off have three minute limits with no clear enforcement and many drivers making their own lanes. I liked the staggered embarkation and debarkation. Although the lines were still quite long during both events, I suspect a less structured handling would have led to much worse lines. Getting on and off the ship at each port throughout the cruise was probably one of the best experiences I could imagine. The ship card for all services is another useful aspect of the cruise. Other than getting back on in some ports, the ship card was all anyone needed to get off or on the ship, to eat or drink, or to take advantage of any amenities. Unfortunately, the amenities often cam at an extra cost. If you wanted really amazing food, you pretty much had to go to one of the specialty restaurants, which cost extra. NCL offers the ability to prepay for these restaurants allegedly. It seemed like a good deal at ~$26 per person for each meal. Unfortunately, we found out that the prepaid meals were not honored by Food Republic, American Diner, or Teppanyaki. It turns out that American Diner SHOULD have been accepted but good luck getting that money back. I spent 30 minutes waiting in line a guest services to get the $42 spent credited back to my account only to find out the restaurant has to handle the refund. The restaurant staff never bothered to answer the call from guest services. So my ~$300 prepaid meals for four meals got me exactly one meal at Le Bistro that even with the choices my family made would have set us back a whopping ~$25 per person. Every place we had complimentary food was mediocre at best. The foods that were best were pastries and any Asian style foods. Eggs and Southern or Southwestern US foods were generally terrible. Another huge disappointment was the onboard activities. The ship offered game show after game show every day and the occasional dance party. The comedy shows were good and the Elements show was okay if you like modern dance mixed with magic. Footloose was a terrible movie and story, so we skipped that show. The various musicians were good but you can only listen to so many Rat Pack songs before those get old, too. The activities that were most enjoyable...cost extra. Go-kart, VR and Laser Tag all received high marks but were costly. Nearly everything extra also needed a reservation. We ended up spending at least a thousand dollars above the cost of the cruise for the meals, soda package, and onboard activities that were extra, The shore excursions were a mixed bag. I was happy with my decisions to manage my own excursions in Ketchikan and Victoria. We did a self-guided walking tour in Ketchikan and had a great time doing that but it was a significant physical effort even if the walk is only a couple of miles. We did a tour in Juneau to see the gold mine. It was informative but too short. Thankfully, when we ended up at the Alaska equivalent of the cruise line private island, we had a whaling excursion. This was probably the most valuable and enjoyable excursion we could have selected and at the right stop -- the stop designed to make more money for the cruise lines. Finally, in Victoria, we took the $10 CAD Victoria cab to downtown then walked around ourselves. For $20 CAD plus tip you can see the old hotels, the legislative buildings, an amazing park, and even set up a high tea (extra cost). Unlike the expensive trip to the Butchart Gardens, Beacon Hill is 55 acres of free beautiful park with flora and fauna to enjoy two blocks from the parliamentary building. The cruise staff and officers were all very nice and helpful. The ship was kept very clean and the crew took cleanliness seriously unlike some of the passengers who needed to learn proper buffet etiquette. Some of the highlights of the trip: Beautiful vistas at every stop Clean, well-kept ship Spacious cabins with good storage and steward service Excellent ship service Negatives outweighed the positives: Many extra costs Terrible value for meal packages Pepsi products for mixers (Rum and Pepsi, Bourbon and Pepsi, 7 and Sierra Mist?? These do not make sense) Terrible free activities onboard Limited shopping Mediocre free foods Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my third cruise with NCL to Alaska, first on the Joy. The boarding process was a breeze! We were greeted by very friendly staff and our rooms were ready when we got on the ship. The stateroom steward was very friendly and ... Read More
This was my third cruise with NCL to Alaska, first on the Joy. The boarding process was a breeze! We were greeted by very friendly staff and our rooms were ready when we got on the ship. The stateroom steward was very friendly and attentive. We saw the live shows Footloose and Elements. Both were beyond amazing!!! I wish we would have seen them more than once! The buffet food was decent but never seemed to be hot by the time we got to our table. It was impossible to find a free table, even during slower times. If we did find a table we would have to track down a busser to clear the table from the prior people because they weren't cleared in a timely manner. I felt the ethnic options were better on past cruises. There wasn't a lot of options in the buffet, just numerous stations serving the same things. The Local was a good place to stop for a quick bite. Service was good. We ate one meal at Savor. We sat over 5 minutes before even getting water. The menu options were very limited. I ordered a fish sandwich with waffle fries. It was served without the fries initially and the waitress said she would get the waffle fries. 15 minutes later I was served a dish of cold regular fries. We had to practically beg to get our drinks refilled. Needless to say we didn't go back there. I was traveling with a cigar smoker and a cigarette smoker. On past cruises with NCL they allowed both in the Cigar Lounge. This time they were not allowing cigarette smokers in the cigar lounge and only had one spot on the entire ship for all cigarette smokers to go. It was outside with no covering or tables. There was no drink service in the cigar lounge like there has been on prior ships and to purchase a cigar, there was a phone number posted on the wall but no phone to use so you'd have to go back to your room and call and run back down to meet the person to get the cigar. One member of our group has limited mobility and uses a walker. There were flatter handicapped accessible ramps when we got off in ports but at one Port when we came back the ramp was down but not able to be used because they didn't have adequate staff to work it. They had us wait for over 20 minutes and still didn't have staffing. I finally ended up pulling the walker and the family member with limited mobility up the very steep ramp to get back on the ship. They were also using the same ramp as an exit ramp which caused some major issues. The staff at the District bar was incredible. I can't say enough good things about them!!! The variety of onboard activities was limited. There were a lot of singing/dancing options. On prior cruises there was a lot more options such as Crafters meet-ups. I spent hours over the week cruise in line at guest services. My first cruise was under my married name, all cruises since have been under my maiden name. For some reason this time they kept trying to use my old married name. I showed them my certified divorce paperwork with the name change, photo id with the correct name and they couldn't seem to get it fixed. Almost every day I'd have to go to guest services because of another name issue. Disembark was a disaster to say the least. I have never seen such a disorganized mess of a disembark process. It was not a great way to end the cruise. I will definitely cruise Norwegian again but will be avoiding the Joy and if issues like this come up again I'll be switching to a different cruise company. That's a lot of money to deal with that many issues. Read Less
Norwegian Joy Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 3.8
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.4
Family 3.5 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 2.9
Service 4.5 4.0
Value For Money 3.5 3.2

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