Sail Date: September 2019
7 days of nickel and diming... and when u wuestion the chatges on the card.. they look at you stupid. Every thing is over crowded..the staff is rude.. people stuffed on elevators like sardines...ans the says at sea there is nothing to do ... Read More
7 days of nickel and diming... and when u wuestion the chatges on the card.. they look at you stupid. Every thing is over crowded..the staff is rude.. people stuffed on elevators like sardines...ans the says at sea there is nothing to do that does not include money. Got a pedicure..it was a good one .. however the while time they are insulting my skin care.. telling u ne I need botox for my face and a skin care regiment for the rest of my body...when i turned it down..they told me that she doesnt understand because what i am using isn't working ....so much for a relaxing 45 minutes that cost $75 with a self imposed 20% tip for herself .. mu whole party had the ultimate dining package..my oldest son for left out..their mistake.. and would not fix it.. good thing there is so much food they allowed us to share Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We have traveled with NCL before and had a great time. This time was absolutely the worst cruise/vacation I have ever been on. The Joy is Disorganized and overcrowded. Ship is under staffed, and overworked with rude employees. Not enough ... Read More
We have traveled with NCL before and had a great time. This time was absolutely the worst cruise/vacation I have ever been on. The Joy is Disorganized and overcrowded. Ship is under staffed, and overworked with rude employees. Not enough elevators, food was average, everything took longer than it should. Shows were booked, crowded, people standing along the walls. Some video games broken, WiFi wasn’t very good. (Has two unlimited packages). The ports were extra crowded. Victoria was so bad we didn’t even go into town. Everything seems like they are trying to get an extra dollar from you. I would avoid the larger ship and try to find something smaller if you decide to give NCL a try. We were really looking forward to this trip. We had enjoyed the last NCL cruise and bought the cruise next deposits. This time the 8 of us in our party will never sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We took the Alaskan cruise at the end of August on the Joy. It is a very large ship with lots of people. There was a lot of competition for everything....chairs, restaurants, the hot tons, shoes and especially elevators. Buffet food ... Read More
We took the Alaskan cruise at the end of August on the Joy. It is a very large ship with lots of people. There was a lot of competition for everything....chairs, restaurants, the hot tons, shoes and especially elevators. Buffet food was mediocre. Specialty dining was only slightly better if you were lucky enough to get a reservation. We booked two weeks ahead of sailing and were only able to get one night at Q and a 9 pm reservation at Cagneys for the night before our cruise was over. The entertainment was ditto. We got reservations for one show at 10 pm but we’re too exhausted to go. The Beatles tribute band was awesome and did two shows every night. We arrived 45 minutes early and it was well worth the wait! Staff in the Local (a specialty restaurant) was rude (eye rolling and argumentative)! Alaska is amazing and not to be missed, but look for another cruise line. Norwegian was horrible! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We experienced a laundry list of issues, some which I am sure I am forgetting. There were inconsistent/incorrect answers to questions, service and food are mediocre. I have been on an Royal Caribbean cruise prior to this and it was head ... Read More
We experienced a laundry list of issues, some which I am sure I am forgetting. There were inconsistent/incorrect answers to questions, service and food are mediocre. I have been on an Royal Caribbean cruise prior to this and it was head and shoulders above this ship service and experience wise. We had to ask multiple times at dinner for drink refills and sometimes they were cleaned up even before asking if you were done or wanted anything else. My overall perception is that the staff is only there to do a job, not to make a outstanding memorable experience. Our experience on this ship makes me to never want to cruise again. Overall the ship is clean, however there's a lot that needs to be addressed to make vacations a truly memorable experience. I wish the outstanding service provided by the excursion vendors matched the service on the ship. Unfortunately, the service on the ship is no where close. Lastly, if you travel with children (ours are 7 & 11 y.o.) and they were bored out of their minds at the kids club after being there only an hour and never went back. I will never again even consider Norwegian for a cruise, I will stick to Royal Carribean and Disney. They might be more expensive but I'd rather invest more money to insure a better experience than to flush it on a Norwegian cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Our family really didn't know what to expect for cruising Alaska, but overall NCL Joy and Alaska blew us away! The ship is huge, beautiful, and FUN! And Alaska's scenery is stunning and we were blessed with the most perfect ... Read More
Our family really didn't know what to expect for cruising Alaska, but overall NCL Joy and Alaska blew us away! The ship is huge, beautiful, and FUN! And Alaska's scenery is stunning and we were blessed with the most perfect warm and sunny weather! Keeping this review on the brief side, yes, the ship has its crowded areas (mostly the Garden Cafe buffet) and yes, it has a strange pool deck layout, but look elsewhere on the whole ship, book ahead for the shows (or go earlier), and take the stairs! Win Win! Oh, one negative, didn't like the short port times in Ketchikan and Juneau. But loved cruising Dawes glacier bay - SO beautiful and relaxing. Yes, the Speedway go-carts and Laser Tag cost extra, but worth the thrilling smiles and laughter. Virtual Reality games and Arcade also lots of fun. Food wasn't super outstanding or high-end (no lobster night), but still no complaints and obviously was never hungry. Entertainment was all worthy and bravo excellent. Service was always friendly and with a cheerful smile (no matter the grief and grit they must endure with 5000 passengers every 7 days). Options galore with so much to do/see/eat for everyone. Or sit back and do nothing but watch the amazing scenery (or a movie!). This was our first time booking in the aptly named Haven. We were Aft-Facing Penthouse which we loved (how could you not?) - especially the huge corner balcony (no wind). The only peeve was our long trek to The Haven area which was way forward. Yes, you may roll your eyes now. Embarkation was also wee let-down as it was a fair confusing wait and felt like a long process with our high excitement and anticipation levels. Yes, I pre-checked online and had the app. The NCL app BTW was very handy to text to other family members. Also the screens on every deck by the elevators (and your stateroom TV) could help you book anything. All in all, we were pretty much wow-ed by NCL Joy and Alaska. And spoiled in The Haven. Sigh, fond holiday memories made. From happy past cruise passengers: Thanks NCL! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We sailed in early August on the Joy out of Seattle. This was our 4th family trip on a cruise and second on NCL. We spent 2 days in Seattle prior to boarding the Joy. We had great weather and our hotel downtown (Hilton Garden Inn) was ... Read More
We sailed in early August on the Joy out of Seattle. This was our 4th family trip on a cruise and second on NCL. We spent 2 days in Seattle prior to boarding the Joy. We had great weather and our hotel downtown (Hilton Garden Inn) was nice, clean and convenient. My parents were staying at the Westin, also downtown, and they enjoyed it as well. We did the usual touristy things in Seattle and enjoyed the nice cool weather. Since my parents were there a day longer than us, they did a wine and chocolate tour which they really enjoyed. We all did a Seattle highlight tour and of course the Space Needle. My husband and son took an uber out to the Boeing plant for that tour and enjoyed it. In addition, we went to Pike's Market and had a great lunch on the water. We booked this trip sort of last minute, (early June) but we were lucky to get great cabins located fairly close together. We had our 12 year old son with us along with my parents and in-laws. We all had mid-ship mini suites with balconies. The cabin didn't seem to be any larger than cabins we had before on NCL, but the bathroom was much larger. The shower was very nice and there was a double vanity and lots of storage. I also thought the closet was well organized and there were multiple cabinets in the cabin. Plenty of room for us to unpack. On previous cruises our son stayed in another cabin with our older daughter but since she couldn't go on this trip he stayed with us in our cabin. He said the sofa/pull out bed was comfortable enough. The cabin was a little tight when the bed was pulled out but we made it work. Embarkation and disembarkation were both very easy. We chose to get on board early on Saturday morning and walked right through. We went straight to the Social to make our show reservations - and alter some we had already made - as well as make reservations for the racetrack and Laser Tag. We were able to make the reservations for our entire group. After that we went to The Local to meet our group for lunch. I thought the ship was beautiful and I loved the color schemes and design. I agree with what some have said about wasted space on the pool deck but didn't let that bother me much. We used the NCL app to communicate with our three parties and it worked quite well. The observation deck did get crowded at times but we were always able to find spots to sit and enjoy. My parents went up most afternoons and were able to get the front loungers. We really enjoyed the area during the glacier cruising. Again, it got crowded but not a huge deal. People were very nice and we didn't see many camping out and or saving large groups of chairs. The elevators were slow but we used the stairs most of the time and my parents learned to just get on when one arrived and not worry if it wasn't going in the direction you needed. We were on vacation after all so not ever in a huge hurry. Dining - I was quite worried about the quality of the food based on the reviews I read, but I was pleasantly surprised. We live in Atlanta and have many great restaurants here. So although I wouldn't call us "Foodies", we do eat out quite a bit and know what we like. I think as with everything, you have to go in with realistic expectations. We ate at The Manhattan room twice, Cagney's, Ocean Blue, Teppanyaki, Savor and Taste for dinner. For lunch we either ate on shore or at The Local. We also tried Food Republic for sushi once. All of the specialty restaurants were as good as anything in Atlanta. We loved all the specialty dining venues especially Ocean Blue as the food was spectacular and we were seated in a private room/wine cellar. I thought the service at these restaurants was outstanding. The food served in the main dining rooms was fine. It came out hot and many of the dishes were quite good. I wouldn't say it was 5 star dining, however I compared it to a wedding reception where they are serving hundreds of people. Again, I thought the service was great. We never waited long for drinks and/or wine. We tried to stay away from the Garden Cafe as much as possible but we did go a couple of times for breakfast and a few nights we took our son up there for dinner before he went to the kids club. He enjoyed the food (and ice cream) very much! I thought it was well organized, very clean and had a nice variety. I enjoyed that they had a bar located in the cafe as I would usually make a cheese plate and get a glass of wine while my son had his dinner. For breakfast, we ate at Taste and Savor a few times. The food was great and the service was awesome. Much more relaxing to me than fighting the crowds in the garden cafe. One morning we just had coffee and pastries on the Observation Deck. (We also had lunch there one day when we weren't too hungry. They put out some small sandwiches and salad along with desert.) We liked to meet for drinks before dinner so we tried many of the bars on board :) Mixx bar was great, SugarCane was nice and comfortable outside when leaving port, The Alist was perfect before Cagney's and they made great martinis. The Cellars had a nice wine selection which we enjoyed a few times. We also went to the District one afternoon to try some of the beers and play cards. Entertainment - We saw the Footloose show, Elements, went to the comedy club a few times (for the family show and adult show) and also saw The Beatles Band and a few other bands in The Cavern Club. We enjoyed them all! I really thought there was something for everyone in our group aged 12 - 82. We also did the racetrack twice, the laser tag once and my son did the virtual reality games a few times. Others have complained about the extra cost for these but honestly if they didn't the lines would be crazy. We told our son ahead of time what he could do and not do and it wasn't an issue. My son also really enjoyed going to the kids club a few nights on the trip. Luckily, he met a friend the first sea day while doing the race track and they made plans on which nights they would meet there. It was a good mix for him..some nights he enjoyed eating dinner with the family and others he liked not having to get dressed up and running around with friends. He never really told me what they did but he seemed to have a good time. Other than that, the water slide seemed to be a big attraction on the warmer days. Unfortunately my son didn't make the weight cut so he couldn't do it but my husband enjoyed it a few times. We were lucky to have great weather most of the trip and the pool deck was pretty crowded. We didn't care to actually go in the pool but we sat outside each time we left port and were able to enjoy a cocktail and just appreciate the beauty of Alaska. I also went to the 18+ hot tub/sundeck area - Spice - and it was very peaceful and quiet there. The bar was empty and it was a great place to grab a drink and read out in the sun. Finally, we did do the Minute to Win It game and watched a few other game show events. We didn't do bingo or gamble this time so can't comment on those activities. Excursions - we booked most of our excursions privately as it was more economical than going through NCL. In Ketchikan we did the Lumber Jack show (very touristy but cute), had lunch on the dock at a seafood shack and hired a private cab to drive us around the area. It was a beautiful day and we had a nice time. In Juneau, we hired a private charter to go Salmon Fishing for 5 of our group. It was another beautiful day and we saw the glacier, many bald eagles and enjoyed the scenery. Unfortunately, we didn't catch any salmon but enjoyed the beauty of Alaska. In Icy Strait my husband and son did the zip line (loved it!) and we all did the whale watching excursion through NCL. We saw a few different pods and the crew on the vessel were all very nice and shared a lot of great information. After that we walked around a little and had lunch at The Cookhouse. The halibut was great and we enjoyed the live music. In Victoria, we got off the ship and took a couple of cabs to town. We walked around the Fairmont for a few minutes before wandering around the wharf area. We had lunch at The Local which was a cute little place right across from the Wharf area and also located at the base of the a great local craft market. After lunch our group split up with half of us renting electric bikes for a ride around the city and the other (less mobile half) doing the hop on /hop off bus. We enjoyed it and it gave us a nice overview of the city. We went back around dinner time for cocktails and one last dinner. I will say I agree with others who mentioned our time in both Juneau and Ketchikan were too short and maybe the time in Victoria was too long. Not sure why they do that other than NCL has the bliss basically doing the same itinerary so I guess they have to space the arrival and departure times. I wouldn't let that stop me from booking, but in a perfect world we would have had more time in Juneau and Ketchikan. All in all it was a great trip. We like to escape the Atlanta heat late summer so this was a good trip for that alone. It was also a great way to do a relaxing trip with both sets of parents. Everyone enjoyed it and we are trying to figure out where we can go next year! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to run away from the heat of summer at least for a week and to experience the relaxing sights of Alaska. Ship: The ship looks amazing. Very clean and contemporary décor. Staff continuously cleans and maintains ... Read More
We chose this cruise to run away from the heat of summer at least for a week and to experience the relaxing sights of Alaska. Ship: The ship looks amazing. Very clean and contemporary décor. Staff continuously cleans and maintains the ship in neat condition. The onboard staff was always courteous and helpful. Bad experience with NCL air travel: We had a very stressful experience with our air travel arrangements booked directly with NCL air. Due to a last minute rescheduling of the our outbound flight, we almost missed our cruise and the NCL emergency assistance line/nor the air travel department were available to help! From the initial booking of the reservation, the staff did not bother to sit our family of four together, which included two small children. Our seats were assigned all over the plane. Ports: One of the ports visited was Hoonah/Icy Strait for an entire day and in my opinion, it would have been a better value as a customer to have that much time at different port (Ketchikan, Juneau). At his point, the town itself needs further development and the frequency of the shuttles from the port to town needs to be increase during ship arrival dates. There is a nice shopping area and some restaurants as you get off the ship plus shore excursions. We wandered into town via the $5 shuttle and found some street vendors but the area needs significant tourist development. Unless you're willing to pay for $hore excursion$ at this point there is not a lot going on there. Food: The food at specialty restaurants was excellent, specially Cagney's Steakhouse. We liked it so much that we ended up dining at Cagney's twice! The food was also good at the buffet, and to my surprise they also had a section for Indian food which seemed to be very popular. I tried some of it and it was delicious. The complimentary restaurants as well as the specialty restaurants offer a wide variety of food choices. For the specialty restaurants, we tried Teppanyaki (Hibachi). and Cagney's (Steakhouse) . Portions at both specialty restaurant were VERY generous. The Hibachi staff was fun but compared to a 'land' Hibachi restaurant the food wasn't 'great'. Cagney's steakhouse was exceptional. From the service of the staff to the quality of the food and drinks. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin and it was well worth it! Would definitely recommend it as we could see glaciers and at some point whales as the cruise sailed! Bed: The bed in our cabin was very uncomfortable as well as the bunk bed + sleeper sofa. We asked our steward for extra padding but still I was waking up daily with body and neck pain : ( Onboard kids club/arcade: For the nicer games (ex. virtual reality, race track, laser tag), you have to pay extra per use. I'd wish they had some sort of packaged deal as some are $7/use and some others are $20/use per person. They have a coloring interactive station free of charge in the galaxy room that was pretty cool. Be sure to check the daily schedules for other no-charge events. They had a shirt glow paint event where they provide T-shirts and paint so the family can create a souvenir with glow pain. Make sure kids wear clothes that can be stained with permanent paint! Useful tips; Make sure to download the NCL app PRIOR to getting on the ship. You will be able to check the daily activities from your phone and mark your favorites. There is no charge for connecting to the ship Wi-Fi to use this app. The only enhancement I'd do to the app would be to specify which activities have an additional fee (ex. wine tastings, etc...). They also have the traditional daily schedule of activities printed and delivered to your room. The ship provides a FREE port valet service in Seattle that allows to check in your luggage all the way to your airline from the ship! The paperwork is provided in your cabin but they will have signs all over the ship at around Tuesday/Wednesday for this service. This is particularly useful if you're planning to walk around Seattle. You will still need to take a cab to the airport but don't have to carry your luggage around. Unfortunately, we were not able to use this service due to issue with NCL air travel. There is also a concierge service outside the terminal that charges $5 per piece of luggage but must pick up by 3 pm. In summary: We would do it again, but would choose an itinerary that does not include Icy Strait, as this port still has a few years to go to warrant spending so many hours of my precious vacation time. Would much rather have longer stays in Ketchikan, Juneau or Skagway. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We just wrapped up a fantastic, seven-day sailing to Alaska aboard the Norwegian Joy (Seattle to Seattle in July 2019). Our stateroom was a two-bedroom family villa in The Haven. While we identified some areas where Norwegian can improve ... Read More
We just wrapped up a fantastic, seven-day sailing to Alaska aboard the Norwegian Joy (Seattle to Seattle in July 2019). Our stateroom was a two-bedroom family villa in The Haven. While we identified some areas where Norwegian can improve its service, this cruise was an enjoyable adventure. In this review, I describe what we liked, and I talk about what I think NCL can do to improve specific areas where service wasn’t up to the standards the cruise line advertises for Haven guests. Here’s what we liked: The Ship – Built in 2017 and retrofitted again in 2019, the Joy is an elegant ship with quality furnishings, beautiful flooring and lighting, attractive designs, comfortable common areas, and a bounty of entertainment and dining options. When compared to the two other NCL ships we’ve sailed on—the Norwegian Jewel and the Norwegian Breakaway—the Joy felt more luxurious. Embarkation and Disembarkation – We had a flawless experience getting on the ship in Seattle. We entered our stateroom just 40 minutes after first arriving at the port. On the last day of the cruise, we exited the port building just 20 minutes after leaving our stateroom. The disembarkation process was less stressful than other cruises, in part because of the Port Valet program. This program allows you to check your luggage, for a fee, with your airline the night before you depart the ship, simply by leaving your bags in the hallway with special bag tags. When the ship arrived at ports, we were able to exit the ship quickly. When it was time to get back on board, the embarkation process was relatively stress-free; there were Haven priority embarkation lines at all but one port (Victoria). Accommodations – We found the two-bedroom family villa to be spacious and beautifully furnished, with the feel of a luxury hotel suite. The layout was well designed and maximized space, and my mother and I enjoyed a week together without ever feeling crowded. The placement of the bathrooms allowed for extra privacy. The room offered lots of natural light in the main bedroom and living area, too. If the price was right, I would book this room again in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, given NCL’s rapidly increasing fares for The Haven over the past year and a half – without increasing or improving the quality of services in The Haven –means the value proposition is, for now, poor. Dining – We enjoyed delicious dinners at The Haven Restaurant, Le Bistro, and La Cucina. The staff at these restaurants are unfailingly cheerful, professional, and efficient. Specifically, one hostess (Arnalita), was particularly friendly and helpful. We also enjoyed lunch at the Garden Café, which was much larger than I expected and offered a variety of quality foods. Meals at The Manhattan Dining Room and The Local were adequate, but not memorable. In general, NCL’s restaurant menus provide great options. However, vegan or vegetarian travelers might be frustrated by limited options. My mother (a vegetarian) enjoyed all of her meals, but there were not enough vegetarian dishes available. Entertainment – I was truly impressed by the quality of all of the entertainment options on the ship. The musical, Footloose, was fun, well-acted, and fast-paced. The specialty show, Elements, was also beautifully produced and included impressive acrobatics. The game shows, such as Deal or No Deal, Battle of the Sexes, and Movie Trivia, were lots of fun and featured high quality video graphics and music. Without exception, the entertainment staff – under the leadership of the awesome Cruise Director, Soozy Atkins – went above and beyond to make these shows so enjoyable. We also saw two comedy shows at the Social. While we enjoyed one of the comics and laughed a lot, the other (a teacher, no less!) was unkind to young children in the audience; we didn’t think it was fair to pick on little kids during the family-friendly comedy show. Shore Excursions – Our excursions were fantastic. We enjoyed a rainforest hike in Ketchikan, a five-glacier seaplane tour in Juneau, a helicopter tour with dogsledding in Skagway, and whale watching in Victoria. Each of these excursions was better than we expected, and we were particularly impressed with the people who worked for the local companies that ran the excursions. They love their work, and they love Alaska! The ShoreEx team deserves credit for identifying these quality local vendors. The team was also helpful to us. At one port, we walked to the excursion meeting destination and realized we had forgotten our excursion tickets; a ShoreEx staffer helped us immediately. The Haven – I was particularly impressed with The Haven area on the Joy. On previous NCL cruises, I have felt that the Haven hard product – furnishings, accommodations, etc. – could benefit from some improvements. The Haven section of the Joy was a happy exception. It was luxurious, attractive, and comfortable at the same time. I felt like I was traveling in a sailing St. Regis. What truly makes the Haven so enjoyable and memorable, though, is the staff. Our butler (Amit) was friendly, helpful, courteous, and accommodating. NCL is lucky to have him. Our steward (Fernando) was friendly and hardworking, and he and kept our room spotlessly clean. We were also grateful to meet the helpful and friendly assistant maître d’ of The Haven restaurant (Evalee). We found the concierge (Phoebe) to be personally friendly, too. With that said, the concierge program could benefit from some improvements. Here’s what we think could be improved: Haven Concierge Program – The level of service offered by the concierge desk and staff in The Haven seems to vary too much from ship to ship. For example, our concierge on the NCL Jewel, Bruno, was always in command of his work, could solve any problem, and was constantly accessible. We had the same experience on the Breakaway earlier this year with Bowen. While we liked Phoebe personally and were grateful that she helped make our restaurant reservations on our first day, her two assistants might benefit from additional NCL hospitality training. For example, they rarely looked up from their desk to greet or make eye contact with guests entering The Haven. In addition, there was a general lack of follow through on requests made to the concierge staff. If Phoebe herself was unable to book a reservation or excursion while we waited, we generally never heard about the request again unless we inquired about it on our own. In one case, we tried to book a behind-the-scenes tour. We only found out that we were unable to take the tour (because of space limitations), two days after we made the request – and only after we asked about it again. Training concierge staff to be more proactive or, at a minimum, to make follow-up calls to guests could help alleviate this problem. Haven Port Embarkation – Priority embarkation on port days is a worthy and beneficial perk for Haven passengers. However, the policy is inconsistent, making it unpredictable and often frustrating. Some ports offer a priority line and, without explanation, others do not. We’d rather see they be smarter about how they implement this, such as having a Haven tent that is staffed on port days to facilitate getting back on board and to assist Haven guests with other issues, much like MSC does with the Yacht Club. Access to The Haven by Elevator – As a product that is priced to compete with high-end luxury accommodations and more elite cruise lines, The Haven should have a dedicated, express elevator. It is generally more time-consuming for Haven passengers to get an elevator than for anyone else on the ship, because Haven staterooms are located on Decks 17 and 18. Once you get on an elevator on Deck 17 or 18, you usually stop at every floor on the way down, and the elevators easily get overcrowded. An express elevator from Deck 17 (The Haven main reception area) to the 678 Ocean Place decks would solve many of these problems and cut down on the biggest complaints we hear from Haven passengers. Vegetarian Options – I remain confused about NCL’s vegetarian meals policy. On previous cruises – and on this one – NCL staff told me that additional, vegetarian meal options would be offered at restaurants if we notified the restaurants of dietary restrictions at the time we made our dining reservations. That is exactly what we tried to do. We made all of our restaurant reservations on the first or second day, and we conveyed to Phoebe that my mother is a vegetarian and would like vegetarian meal options. None of the restaurants received this information, despite our attempts to follow up with the concierge desk. Given that there is usually only one vegetarian item on each restaurant’s menu, this lack of communication seriously limited my mother’s meal options at restaurants like Le Bistro. The Haven Restaurant was a notable exception to this challenge, because Evalee took note of my mother’s dietary restrictions and asked the chef to prepare special meals. In conclusion: If the price was right, I would jump at the opportunity to sail in The Haven on the Norwegian Joy again. The ship, the staff, the entertainment, the dining, and the excursions were excellent. Most importantly, we had a blast! It was a great trip to a pristine, amazing destination. And with some minor adjustments and improvements, the NCJ Joy could get as close to perfection as possible for almost any traveler. We do, however, think NCL needs to reevaluate its pricing model for The Haven. While we are comfortable paying these fares, we are also conscientious consumers who focus on the value we receive for the price we paid. NCL can and should do a better job of aligning its Haven services with the price they’re now asking Haven guests to pay, particularly in the face of more reasonably priced competition. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My family and I just returned from an Alaskan cruise on the NCL Joy on Saturday. I was reluctant to book after seeing so many negative opinions about the ship, but booked our trip for July 13-20. I couldn't be happier that I did!! ... Read More
My family and I just returned from an Alaskan cruise on the NCL Joy on Saturday. I was reluctant to book after seeing so many negative opinions about the ship, but booked our trip for July 13-20. I couldn't be happier that I did!! First off, the ship is clean. I mean even in the food buffet area (Garden Café) there was never food or spilled drink to step in. Not like a typical buffet option. And there was plentiful options of really good food in the buffet. And there were so many staff covering the area, my plate never sat empty or a table left dirty for long! Staff was abundant all over the ship. We were always greeted with a smile by the many staff on board and they were all so friendly! Our room steward Rodney was incredible too. He had even decorated our cabin and left a birthday cake for my husband on his birthday. The dining rooms and food were also fantastic onboard. We ate at each of the three complimentary dining rooms (Manhattan Room, Savor and Taste) and the service and food at each were incredible. And these are FREE dining rooms! We also had dinner at three of the ship's specialty restaurants - Cagney's steakhouse, Teppanyaki (hibachi) and La Cucina (Italian). All three of these dinners were first class and the food/service was amazing! I love this ship in that even at the finer dining restaurants you could choose to dress up or dress down. Given the array of Alaskan clothing we had to bring, we wore jeans and nice shirts and it was more than acceptable. We also took part in the Speedway racetrack and laser tag on the top level of the ship. So fun!! The pools, though small, are indeed heated and the hot tubs nice. We also booked three shore excursions with NCL which was so easy and chose to participate in the Seattle Port Valet which delivered our luggage to the airport for us on the day of departure. NCL made everything so easy!! Again, nothing but great things to say about the food, waits in lines, reservation making and friendliness of all of the staff!!! I would also add we saw the performance of Footloose and Elements in the JOY theater and they were top notch productions!!! This was our first NCL cruise and I can definitely say we will sail again with them!! For history, my family has also sailed Disney Cruise Line and Celebrity. NCL is a great choice for anyone looking for great entertainment, good quality, friendliness and accommodations. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We traveled with 3 other couples and two 12 year olds on our very first cruise. Factors in choosing this particular cruise: Marriage retreat seminars, itinerary (never been to Alaska), promises of smooth waters (easily seasick), and ... Read More
We traveled with 3 other couples and two 12 year olds on our very first cruise. Factors in choosing this particular cruise: Marriage retreat seminars, itinerary (never been to Alaska), promises of smooth waters (easily seasick), and traveling with experienced cruisers. Check-in, embarkation/debarkation was a breeze. PROS: 1. Service. Hands-down excellent service provided by the mostly Filipino crew. They were friendly, professional, and helpful at every turn. They kept everything (and everyone) sanitary with their Washy Washy sanitizer bottles. 2. Cabin. Although small, ours was adequately outfitted with storage and conveniences (see cabin comments below). Nice and quiet! 3. Food and drinks. We found the food to be of good quality with variety, and plentiful (TIP: get your table first-mealtimes can be crowded and you don't want to walk around with plates of rapidly cooling food in search of a table). Drinks were made quickly and were very tasty. 4. Entertainment. The Elements show and the family time comedy shows were very good. We also really enjoyed the staff Movie Sketch show (could tone down the risque factor in one of the skits, other than that-hilarious!). Piano player/singer Arvin, as well as the guitarist (can't remember his name) were outstanding. 5. Observation deck on 15 and outdoor areas on deck 8. Both great areas to relax and watch the scenery. 6. Port Valet to get all of our checked luggage home was a big plus. We signed up, they checked us in, gave us boarding passes plus tags. We just put our luggage outside the door on the last night and never saw it again until baggage claim at our home airport! It was nice to be able to walk around Seattle with just our backpacks. CONS: 1. Extras...extras...extras...Felt nickel and dimed on so many things. Thought it would be great to have go-karts ($15/10 laps which took forever because people kept getting stuck. -Please have staff explain how to drive/use the karts before letting them go!), arcades (pay by the game), laser tag ($10 pp) Galaxy pavilion ($7+ per game), bingo ($30/4 cards or something like that), Starbucks (priced similar to brick/mortar store). Unlimited Beverage package is only for drinks priced below $15 but all of the staff informed us when ordering. Smoothies are $6 at the buffet. Just so many extra charges to keep in mind. 2. Pool area. Ok, I know it was an Alaskan itinerary, we didn't expect to be running around in bikinis, however, we did expect that the hot tubs would be hot (they weren't-warmish at best). The pools were heated but once you stepped out, brrrr. Waterslide...hmmm if you didn't get stuck-bravo!-if you didn't get pneumonia from standing in line in a wet bathing suit-bravo again! The kids only went down the waterslide twice. In my humble opinion, it would've been nice to have that whole area enclosed so it was more like an indoor water park?? 3. Putt-putt. Well, it was free. Seemed like a complete after thought, as though they saw a tiny bit of space and threw it in there as another offering. It was too windy and cold to play the course, which was pretty flat and lacked any fun obstacles! All in all, the Pros outweighed the Cons and our family would happily cruise NCL again, just probably not this particular ship for a cold-weather itinerary. Two of the couples we traveled with booked a cruise in 2020 before we got off the ship! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I am an experienced cruiser and wanted to share Alaska with my kids, ages 9 and 13. I am horrible at committing to vacations and only decided to book a cruise a month before we sailed. Given that our passports had expired and the kids ... Read More
I am an experienced cruiser and wanted to share Alaska with my kids, ages 9 and 13. I am horrible at committing to vacations and only decided to book a cruise a month before we sailed. Given that our passports had expired and the kids don't have them, I didn't want to jump through a bunch of hoops so I had to sail out of a roundtrip port. Seattle it was! We had last sailed on the Breakaway so I decided to give NCL another chance. We weren't in love with that ship, but we also had crummy weather on our previous cruise which didn't help. I chose the Joy over the Bliss just based on the available dates. After I booked it, I started reading reviews and was getting a little nervous. There seemed to be few positive reviews, but I figured we'd make the best of it. When I looked closer at the itinerary, I started worrying that there was going to be too much time at sea on the ship. By the end, my entire family concluded there was not ENOUGH time at sea! We ran out of time to do everything we wanted. So now on to the cruise. We flew to Seattle two nights before so that we'd have a full day to explore. We stayed at the Marriott Waterfront. On the day of the cruise, we left our room at 10:30 and were on the ship by 11! We literally walked across the street and embarkation was no wait at all. A far more pleasant experience than when we boarded the Breakaway in New York City. We immediately booked times for the Speedway and Laser Tag as well as a comedy show. I had booked the other shows and Teppanyaki before we left. Next, we signed the kids up for Splash Academy and Entourage. We enjoyed lunch at the Local to avoid the chaos at the buffet. While we were sitting down to eat, we got the announcement that staterooms were available. We were able to leave our stuff in the room and explore. The 9-year-old had worn her bathing suit onto the ship, so we enjoyed some cocktails by the pool while she swam. It was a beautiful afternoon in Seattle! By the time the muster drill was over, our bags had arrived. We were in a balcony cabin for 4 on deck 11. We traveled with 4 suitcases, 2 smallish rolling duffles and 4 backpacks. We were able to fully unpack our largest suitcase. I used all the hangers in the closet and the two hooks by the door. We used three of the remaining suitcases as drawers and slid them under the bed so they could easily be pulled out from under each side of the bed as needed. Just as we finished, we met our amazing cabin steward, Gete. He pointed out that there was a large empty drawer under the couch. We didn't even need it, but it would have been nice to know about it before we unpacked. Bathroom storage was plentiful as well. When we were on the Breakaway, we had a mini-suite balcony. The only difference between them is the bathroom. The shower and sink in the regular balcony rooms is tiny compared to the mini-suite. We soon got used to it, but it was a surprise at first! The bed itself if not very comfortable, and of course, it's a tight squeeze when you add a ladder for the bunk bed, but we knew what to expect so it worked great for us. As soon as the waterslides were open after sailaway, we headed up that way. I was afraid the weather wouldn't be good for the rest of the trip and the kids definitely wanted to try them. The Aqua Racer was super fun, but even with a short line, be prepared to wait. The crew working the slides makes each person get all the way through the slide and out before even summoning the next person to get a raft. I appreciate safety, but it was windy up there and cold so a bit frustrating. You have to weigh at least 120 pounds to do the Ocean Loop. Since the 9-year-old couldn't go on it, none of us did. It seemed to be open quite a bit less than Aqua Racer anyway. We lucked out with great weather and did experience Aqua Racer several times throughout the week. As far as food, I am not a foodie by any means. I read many of the reviews that complained about the food and I came to a conclusion. Many cruisers don't realize that the crew is not American. That includes the Food & Beverage department. So some of the food is different than you might expect. My favorite dining room was Manhattan. Especially, if you can sit at the back by a window and see the wake. We ate there twice. I appreciated the service and attentiveness at all the dining establishments. The crew works hard and it shows! The buffet was usually busy, but that is to be expected. There are multiple stations with the same dishes so just walk a bit further to find a less busy one. Plenty of variety and, if all else fails, there's always pizza or burgers. I also appreciated that there was a bar in the buffet! We had a 3 meal Specialty dining plan and only managed to use 2 of them! Teppanyaki was a family favorite. Great food and entertainment. One night we tried Q because we didn't need reservations. The food was great and there was a ton of it. Dessert is not included which I didn't realize until I saw the charge the next day. I was so stuffed, I only had a couple of bites so that was a waste. I had planned to use our last meal the Victoria night, but we got back to the ship too late and had to get a snack from the buffet instead. I read many reviews about the added costs of everything. As long as you know that going in, I think it's actually a good thing. If laser tag and the Speedway were included, they'd be overwhelmed with people. It cost us extra, but both were very fun and worth the fees. No one in my family was interested in what the Galaxy Pavilion had to offer so we saved money there. The Observation Lounge was generally pretty full. It reminded me of a hotel lobby and was not entirely appealing to me. We didn't spend much time there. We visited Spice H2O a couple of times. It was very quiet so we basically had the bar to ourselves. With the number of people onboard, I was very pleasantly surprised with the number of quiet spots we found. The Waterfront on Deck 8 was my favorite! Very few people and easily accessible bars. My 9-year-old loved the Splash Academy! She went there most days. My 13-year-old complained about having to wear a wristband for Entourage because he was "sure he wouldn't go". By the second night, he was there, or hanging out with kids he'd met there, every night of the cruise! Footloose was enjoyable, but a little long in my opinion. The acrobatics in Elements was AMAZING! I could have done without some of the magic tricks, but overall it was a very cool show. Jim Badger in the District is very funny. We stumbled on him the second to last night. I can't even describe what he does, but check him out for a few minutes, if you can. We didn't manage to squeeze in any other formal entertainment, except for one family-friendly comedy show that was pretty good. I will agree with several other reviews that the time in port is too short. My daughter and I did the Lumberjack show in Ketchikan. She loved it while I thought it was kind of corny. Husband and son went fishing on a private charter and caught lots of fish, including a King Salmon. In Juneau, we took the Mt. Roberts Tram and hiked straight up the mountain. Even with an early start, we didn't have time to see anything else in town. In Skagway, we did the White Pass Railroad which was fascinating. We met friends in Victoria. I would have liked a bit more time in all of the ports. That being said, getting off and on the ship was as smooth as can be. Never more than a minute or so wait either way. We were not in a rush to get off the ship so we opted to disembark with the green group. It's always a pain packing the day before, but we wanted to enjoy our last morning onboard. We left our cabin at 8:30, enjoyed breakfast at the buffet, and walked right off the ship with no waiting. Our luggage was right there waiting and we were on our way. Super easy! All in all, it was a fabulous time for all of us! The Joy brought us joy and what more can you ask for? I would go again in a heartbeat! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Wonderful ship with a fantastic crew. All the crew was friendly. Enjoyed the food especially The Local. Harold Hough (asst maitre d), the chef and servers made us feel like a part of the family. We also tried the specialty dining and the ... Read More
Wonderful ship with a fantastic crew. All the crew was friendly. Enjoyed the food especially The Local. Harold Hough (asst maitre d), the chef and servers made us feel like a part of the family. We also tried the specialty dining and the dining rooms but we always found ourselves headed back to the Local. On board entertainment was continual and enjoyable from the Footloose musical production to the pianist to the activities of the cruise director's staff. Scenery and excursions very memorable. The transfer vehicles were handicap friendly. Room and steward were marvelous. Loved being able to sit on the balcony and watch the glaciers and wildlife. If you want to have a fantastic time and see beautiful Alaska the Norwegian Joy is the way to go. Getting on and off the ship was so very easy the people who helped with the wheelchair were very nice. We tried the new valet baggage at the end of the cruise enjoyed that also. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The cruise was amazing for the views, service, and ports of call. Just wish the time spent in the ports of call were longer. If you signed up for an excursion, that didn’t give much time, if any, to explore the port towns. As far as ... Read More
The cruise was amazing for the views, service, and ports of call. Just wish the time spent in the ports of call were longer. If you signed up for an excursion, that didn’t give much time, if any, to explore the port towns. As far as the food, the options were great, as long as you weren’t vegan...I was limited to eating mostly Indian food at the buffet, which I happen to like, but not a lot of variety for me. I was very limited in what was available on the menu at the main dining rooms as well, and they ran out of tofu 2 days before the cruise was over. Only vegetarian options on the menu, and no vegan options. My husband and I loved the balcony room! Our only complaint about the room was the mattress...felt like sleeping on a box spring with a thin layer of cushion on it, so our lower backs were hurting throughout the night. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We flew into SEA the night before and stayed at a hotel near the airport. The next day we took a Lyft to the port which cost around $28 before tip. Embarkation: I sent our luggage to the porters and headed into the Terminal. We are ... Read More
We flew into SEA the night before and stayed at a hotel near the airport. The next day we took a Lyft to the port which cost around $28 before tip. Embarkation: I sent our luggage to the porters and headed into the Terminal. We are Platinum so we were able to get priority check-in. After we received our key cards, we boarded the ship for lunch. We were disappointed that Savor wasn't open until 12:30pm even though all the staff was saying it was already open. This came from one of the waitstaff at The Local, when she saw the line up waiting for tables. She even checked her Freestyle Daily but you can't doubt someone who was just on Deck 6. The ship is well kept for its age. I know she's only a couple years old, but I've sailed on newer ships during their inaugural season and they are already showing age of a 5 year old vessel (rhymes with Harnival Corizon). I digress. The ship was clean and well looked after. Staff were always clearing plates and pushing water around so there were no slip hazards. Not many instances where cups or dishes were sitting for any length of time. Cabin review below. Dining: Folks in my party said, "Good Food, Good Food, Good Food." There was an abundance of Indian cuisine and the lines there proved that the quality was high too. The variety at lunch in the Garden Cafe is second to none. This was a great change from my Harnival Corizon cruise. You'll have to read that review if you want to know more. We did feel that the MDR food selections were not as good as previous NCL cruises though. This is the first time I had the dining perk so we had a total of five specialty dining nights at a total of four restaurants (La Cucina, Teppanyaki (2x), Q, Cagney's). I think I would be more disappointed in the MDR if we ate there five times and only had the two Platinum specialty dining options. Entertainment and Activities: I know it's about the bottom line for all cruise lines, not just NCL, but it would've been nice to have a rock wall to use or even a basketball court/soccer play area. The mini-golf was laughable at best but my kids were there every day. Up-charges for laser tag, Joy Speedway, Galaxy Pavilion. The water slides were fun, especially Aqua Racer after my 6 year figured out he was tall enough to go. Minimum height is 40". I didn't bother with the free fall slide as I've done it before. I love the fact that NCL heats the water in the pools and Kid's Aqua park. Makes it more comfortable considering the area of the world you are vacationing in. We participated in the Behind the Scenes Tour for Platinum and above. There were 18 of us and it was definitely one of the more disappointing tours. However, after speaking with the Executive Chef and asking why there were no almond croissants in the Garden Cafe, he sent 6 to the room the following day. On previous BTST, we would ask and the chef would take our cabin number but no croissants. There was a "Vacation Hero." I took in one comedy show, David Graham. He was very entertaining! We saw Elements, Footloose and PJ Wen (magician). My 6 year old son watched PJ Wen first and when he found out he was in the Elements show, he wanted to go to see that too. He enjoyed both nights in the Joy Theater. We hung around the Atrium a bit and caught whatever was going on at that time on the big screen. Deal or No Deal, Canada Day and July Fourth celebrations, CruiseNext talks, dance classes, dance off and trivia. Splash Academy: My kids 6 and 8 were finally in the same group in Splash Academy. I don't know if that matters (since they're always at each others throat on land) but they were usually reluctant to go but all smiles on the way out. They even asked why we picked them up so early on a couple occasions. Service: This is an area where NCL excels over its competition. Much more attentive and detail oriented at meals in specialty and in the Garden Cafe. There was one MDR night that was very slow and they weren't busy with all the empty tables that were around us. Dioni at Q even asked if we were in a rush to catch a show. Nice touch. Ports and Shore Excurions: With two young kids, we rarely booked excursions not knowing if the kids wanted to participate in the past. Since we had the $50 per port shore excursion credits, we decided to book a few. I had booked in advance by calling the toll free number so I didn't have to pay for the excursion until it was completed. We chose Ketchikan Duck Tour (which I ended up cancelling on board since the kids didn't want to do that after all). You would need to cancel that by 6pm on embarkation night to be eligible for a refund or not be charged a penalty since it is less than 48 hours before you reach Ketchikan. We did gold panning in Juneau and since it was done before noon, we wen to the main part of town and also bought tickets on our own for the Mount Roberts Tramway. The adult price is $35 and the child price is $18. NCL charges $25 for a child, so a bit of savings there. There was a small line up to get on but not unbearable. I would check the line before buying tickets just in case you are too close to your ship's departure. In Skagway, we did the White Pass Summit Train ride. It is definitely a nice time and very scenic. It was hard to hear the tour guide over the PA system. Rest rooms are a sight to be seen since you have to pump the flushing system a couple times. Disembarkation: I can't say enough about Port Valet. That is a godsend. I'm not one for checking luggage but since we had a 1:30pm flight and I wasn't concerned if I received my luggage late on my trip home, I decided to sign up. I'm sure glad that I did. We were worry free without luggage for a few hours in Seattle after leaving the ship. We went to Pike Place Market, Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee's graves before picking up some food before another Lyft to SEA which was another $28. I hope you enjoy your trip! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I had to come review this cruise, because passengers on the first few trips had some negative things to say and I really think they just needed to work out the kinks since it's basically a brand new sailing. With that being said, ... Read More
I had to come review this cruise, because passengers on the first few trips had some negative things to say and I really think they just needed to work out the kinks since it's basically a brand new sailing. With that being said, I'm not super hard to please. I want a fun, relaxing time on a ship with cool ports, good food and drinks. We cruise a few times per year, typically on Carnival, RCI, or Celebrity. I've been on one Norwegian cruise about 10 years ago, a three nighter to the Bahamas and was NOT impressed, so I was a little nervous, but I shouldn't have been. The Joy was a delight! Beautiful, brand new everything. The food was very good. We ate in the Manhattan Room once for dinner, and the menu was fine. We enjoyed The Local twice for lunch and once for breakfast. Lunch was great, and breakfast was tasty although the morning menu is definitely limited. Service everywhere was excellent. Teppanyaki is a must-do if you enjoy hibachi-style food-- entertaining and tasty! We also ate at Cagney's one night, and had a great filet mignon there. Le Bistro was good but my least favorite of the specialty places we tried, I had some difficulty finding an entree that sounded appealing. I ended up with the shrimp dish, which was light and tasty. One thing I appreciated were the special cocktail menus for each venue. My husband and I really loved the variety and found the bartenders friendly and efficient. We had three of our kids with us, 16, 8 and 6. They loved the laser tag, the go karts and the virtual reality gaming area. These cost extra, which we were expecting. Go karts were $30 per person, which seemed a little steep, but it's vacation. Little kids loved the kids club and the staff there was terrific! Our older son did some of the teen activities and said some were fun and some were boring. The Alaska ports were phenomenal. We did the lumberjack show and crab feast in Ketchikan, whale watching in Juneau and the helicopter/dogsledding in Skagway. All of these were great and worth it, although we were glad to have booked the lumberjack show directly from the show's website and individual whale watching. Helicopter/dogsledding in Skagway was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and it's crazy expensive but I'm so glad we did it. Victoria was a weird stop, as we docked at 4 pm on the last day, so we got off the ship, took a taxi into downtown and wandered around for a bit. We did a horse and carriage tour, which was okay. All aboard was at 11 pm, which feels too late on the last day of the cruise for me. If I can find anything negative to say about this cruise, it's that the buffet really is a zoo. Finding a table was a serious struggle unless it was a weird hour, so we mostly tried to stay out of there. We walked stairs a lot because waiting for elevators was an issue. PRO-TIP: for the forward elevators, you must hit the buttons on BOTH sides of the hall or you will only call the side you hit. Also, the aft elevators were always way more crowded, so if we really needed them, we often walked up to the other ones. Overall, Alaska is amazing. We got incredibly lucky with warmish weather and no rain, calm seas. I've never seen nature like we saw. The glaciers are phenomenal. The Joy is beautiful, the staff is warm and helpful. Tip them well, they deserve it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first cruise and will definitely not be our last! Everything was fantastic! Every staff member thanked us for being there, was welcoming and treated us so well. We ate almost somewhere different every day and could not speak ... Read More
This was our first cruise and will definitely not be our last! Everything was fantastic! Every staff member thanked us for being there, was welcoming and treated us so well. We ate almost somewhere different every day and could not speak more highly of it, especially Carney’s, Q, and Teppanyaki. The ship was spotless, and our balcony room was spacious in comparison to the things I read prior to cruising on other ships. We saw Footloose, the game shows, Arvin, Marie Hawkins Band, The Beatles cover band, and thought they were all so talented. Our times in port were great as well too. We checked out a few breweries, the lumberjack show, and Ketchikan was my favorite, Skagway my husband’s. I think I went in with an easy going attitude that just was there to enjoy anything the ship had to offer, and it was even better than I expected. Biggest tip- go to Sugarcane Mojito Bar! We sampled ALL of them, and took a rum class where we learned to make 5 cocktails. It was a great week! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Let me preface this review by stating that this was my 50th cruise. Prior to this cruise I have sailed on other NCL ships, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. Embarkation was smooth and quick, we were on ... Read More
Let me preface this review by stating that this was my 50th cruise. Prior to this cruise I have sailed on other NCL ships, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. Embarkation was smooth and quick, we were on the ship within 30 minutes from arriving at the dock. The ship is brand new and modern but is quite odd. I know it recently underwent a dry dock to convert it from the Chinese market to the US market but I feel it still needs quite a few updates / changes. There is a HUGE pool deck, probably the largest I have seen on any ship. Problem is, it has one very small pool for adults (off to the side) and one very small pool for kids (towards the far end). When I say small, envision a large Jacuzzi, it's crazy how small the pools are and these are the ONLY pools on the entire ship! We were very fortunate that we had incredible weather (shorts and tank-tops) so the pool deck was a popular place. There really isn't a flow to this ship, there are a lot of long dark corridors which lead you into different lounges / restaurants / bars. Seems as though there is also A LOT of wasted space. We had a group of 13 traveling for my dad's 70th Birthday, of which 5 were under 18. The kids were turned away from Kids Club on more than one occasion because they were "at capacity"! I've never heard of such a thing, did NCL not know how many kids would be travelling and staff accordingly? We felt nickeled and dimed at every corner. They charge for EVERYTHING under the sun. Go Karts, Laser Tag, Virtual Realty, even room service! Even if you pay for the $118.80 per day drink package you still have to pay for a bottle of water or a coffee, it was insane! This was by far thee most expensive drink package I have ever had! Service in all areas left a lot to be desired. We never had any bar service, no matter where we were we always had to go up to the bar ourselves for a drink. Not a huge deal but where did the servers go? My kids asked where the sports court was because they wanted to play basketball, they were told they did not have one because there were so many other amenities on-board, revenue generating amenities that is! The nightclub "the Social" was a nightmare and seems like a law suit waiting to happen. There is NO person checking cards to enter so every night there were minors in the club (under 18). One night there was a young girl so visibly intoxicated that she could barely stand on her own. She was being led out of the club by an "older" gentleman so my daughter (age 21) followed them out of the club and got the attention of a security person who proceeded to stop them. After checking her ship card they let them wander off and my husband asked the security WTH was going on and he responded saying, there's nothing we can do she's 18! How about escorting her back to her cabin so she doesn't get taken advantage of by this older guy! It was a mess! They only have the one large show room so they use the atrium to host EVERYTHING which is loud and obnoxious. While trying to have a meal at The Local, or playing a slot machine in the casino you'll hear yelling and screaming and loud blaring music, those activities would be in a smaller showroom on any other ship. Food was ok in the Manhattan (free) dining room, but each dinner service took 2 1/2 - 3 hours! Food in Le Bistro & La Cucina was fantastic, Cagney's not so much. My sister also said that the food at Food Republic was amazing. Our cabin was a Concierge class inside 2 bedroom 2 bath with a virtual balcony, it was fantastic! Wish other ships offered this type of room. Only problem was I'm 5'7' and my feet hung off the bed lol! I hope that NCL will dry dock this ship again and make some necessary changes to make it more appealing for warm weather itineraries. You cannot have only one pool the size of a large Jacuzzi for 4,000+ passengers! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our family of 9 (two 11 year olds) boarded the Norwegian Joy on June 22nd out of Seattle, and returned on June 29th. Overall, it was a great way to see Alaska. The staff and cabin were great, partially offset by the large number of ... Read More
Our family of 9 (two 11 year olds) boarded the Norwegian Joy on June 22nd out of Seattle, and returned on June 29th. Overall, it was a great way to see Alaska. The staff and cabin were great, partially offset by the large number of cruise goers, the daily service charge, and the benefits/activities/restaurants that weren't covered by the basic fare. We had four cabins next to each other with balconies. Each cabin was nicely appointed including the bathroom. I couldn't hear the neighbors on either side of us. Our room was made up and cleaned daily, and we also had turn down service. We ate at each of the three complementary restaurants for dinner and sometimes lunch daily, avoiding the buffet as much as our schedule would allow. The buffet was extremely crowded every time we were there, with many cruise goers lacking courtesy and manners. The hibachi grill, BBQ, and steakhouse restaurants are a la carte which was disappointing. We paid extra for the premium beverage service and were led to believe it didn't include wine and beer, only mixed drinks. We were bummed to find out our last day that glasses of wine and beer were included in the premium beverage service. There were several options for entertainment like performances, the splash pad, pool, the one slide that was operational, and putt putt golf. Kid's day camp, laser tag, go carts, and the arcade were not included in the base fare. Each of the paid for add ons were pricey. The gym was well equipped and busy. It's fine if your workout is on a rower, treadmill or bike only, but circuit work was difficult if not impossible. There is an outside track (200M?) if that is your jam but be prepared to share the route with others. We wish the gym opened up at 5am vs. 6am. Quiet spaces were hard to come by except in our cabin. We booked excursions through Trip Advisor at each port and we very happy with our choices. Time in Juneau was too short and time in Hoonah was too long. We asked for the $14.95 charge/day/person to be removed and guest services complied. We tipped in cash. Net/net, we believe an Alaskan cruise is still the best way to see Alaska. If we go back it will be to Juneau via flight for a few days to fully explore the area including the Mendenhall Glacier. Separately, our flights to Seattle were nothing short of a disaster arriving 14 hours later than planned due to airline crew rest and two separate mechanical issues. Trip insurance is a must. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Just got off the Joy 6/29. Seattle is a cool city! We stayed for a few night pre cruise. Bought the city pass; I recommend! Like many other cruisers have stated, getting on the ship was seamless. We literally walked right on board and ... Read More
Just got off the Joy 6/29. Seattle is a cool city! We stayed for a few night pre cruise. Bought the city pass; I recommend! Like many other cruisers have stated, getting on the ship was seamless. We literally walked right on board and started enjoying lunch. Ate at The Local and had wings, pretzel bites, and a Corona! Had the drink package included, but they have to charge tax on alcohol while in port (this didn't seem to apply to all ports however). Staterooms were ready before we knew it! Cabins were nice. We had a balcony upgrade (we won with a bid). Ship is beautiful! Check out the observation deck on 15 and get there early for premium chase loungers right by the huge windows. They have a limited buffet on 15 and beverage service too! Full buffet one deck up. We played games in the observation lounge, watched glaciers...it's very serene. There's plenty to do on the ship. Some of it is an extra charge. DO NOT miss out on Elements show. Been on 7 cruises and never seen one quite as good on a ship! Footloose was corny, in my opinion. Book shows in advance and even with that show up 30 min early to get good seats! They have big touch screens by elevators to make reservations. They also hold other shows in the atrium ...which I agree with other reviews...not enough seating! However, it you go up one floor (where the local is) you can view atrium and shows from above. We had a delicious dinner (ribs, and shrimp) while watching one night! Speaking of food...it is plentiful but nooooo crab legs! A seafood buffet was offered on night 2 with shrimp, mussels, clams, fish...I wasn't terribly impressed. Wished we had gone to the dining room (which I prefer over the buffet). The Sugarcane mojito bar is great. Try the spicy honey mojito. Wish I had one right now! Ports were all good. We did totems, and rainbird trail, creek street in Ketchikan-went off on our own using bus system. Stop at info building to your right for map and info. Lady was very helpful with exact times and locations of buses! Tramway and Mendenhall glacier in Juneau. Zip line, shopping, crab legs in Icy Strait Point. Book zip in advance. It was sold out and lots of people were disappointed. Not too much to do in Icy Strait. Maybe try booking 2 excursions?! We were back on the ships hours early! Victoria rented bikes. Inexpensive way to see city , but beware it was a little sketchy with traffic! Cannot ride on sidewalks. Went to Beacon Hill Park and government building with a free guided tour,informative and entertaining! We had a great time. If you need a place to stow luggage a hotel, Edge Water by the cruise terminal will store them for $5 a bag! We had a super late flight and the airline was apparently not participating in the port valet service. That was a little disappointing because the pamphlet I picked up in the terminal said they did! A little hard to figure out when you don't have internet access! ugh! Guest services was not big help in regards to this. However, crew overall were very friendly. Have fun; try not to sweat the small! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Whatever issues were present in the 1st few weeks from the move from China to Alaska have been ironed out. We are experienced Norwegian cruisers and have lots to compare to, the service aboard the Joy equaled or surpassed other cruises ... Read More
Whatever issues were present in the 1st few weeks from the move from China to Alaska have been ironed out. We are experienced Norwegian cruisers and have lots to compare to, the service aboard the Joy equaled or surpassed other cruises we have been on. BTW, Alaska is amazing. The views never disappointed and more importantly; the people we met were genuinely nice and eager to share their love of their state. General: The embarkation was the best and fastest we have ever had. 10 minutes from walking in the door to on the ship. Notable improvements from prior cruises: 1) no pictures of each family member (used passport pictures automatically 2) Key cards pre-made and ready to hand to us rather than printed on the spot 3) Used on line CC info and did not take credit card 3) Sent right on board rather then wait for group to be called like in NY Disembarkation using the FREE Port Valet has set the standard for our vacations. We filled out a form and the night before leaving ship; ship delivered Southwest luggage tags and boarding passes. We had breakfast at 0700 in La Cucina and then literally walked off the ship at 0745 through a separate port valet door and went thru customs without having to find luggage in terminal. Even customs was quick. Literally 10 minutes off the ship and most of that walking rather than waiting. Booked a small Uber rather than a SUV since we had no luggage. Walked right into airport security without having to stop to check in and tag luggage. Luggage showed up at final destination without a hitch. HUGE IMPROVEMENT and has spoiled us. I hope other all other ports replicate this service. Other comments: The concierge inside family suite was the best cabin we ever had. It was even better then a one bedroom suite on Celebrity (royal suite). I was able to have morning coffee in the LR without walking up the wife or kids. We stayed in 14605 which was down a short hallway from the forward stairs and elevator. We had no extra noise from hall, above or below and were close to most things we really liked like the observation deck, buffet and outside activities. We expected the 3 room suite to be small but were pleasantly surprised by the size of each of the 3 rooms. The kids room has bunk beds and plenty of room. The living room was large and a had a fabulous virtual balcony. We definitely felt like it added to our experience. The master was very large with a tub in the bath room. As far as concierge level. Here are the perks: 1) Priority boarding (not sure it mattered, we got right on board as did most other people) 2) Direct phone to concierge: only used to report issue with AC. Like others, we had issue with AC in master. It would shut off after 30 minutes and room would get warm and stuffy (inside room so could not open balcony). We told concierge and they sent someone to fix it on day 2 and no change. Saw concierge in person on day 3 and they finally fixed it and last 4 days were pleasant temp wise. 3) He sent a bottle of wine to room which was nice but we left it there. We had unlimited drinks so no need to drink in room. 4) The best perk of concierge class is access to La Cucina for breakfast and lunch. This is limited to concierge class. The menu does not change but the food is very good and service excellent. One can also eat outdoors which we did on a few occasions. The entertainment was top notch especially Foot Loose, Comedy, Cavern Club and the Brew Pub. The food was on par with other cruises and highly recommend Cagneys. In summary; great cruise; highly recommend the concierge family inside more so because it is an amazing and a huge suite and less for the perks of concierge class. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was a first cruise for my husband and me. We took our 9 & 11 year old grandchildren with us on this Alaskan cruise. The Norwegian Joy was recommended due to how new the ship was as well as the size. I have a trouble with ... Read More
This was a first cruise for my husband and me. We took our 9 & 11 year old grandchildren with us on this Alaskan cruise. The Norwegian Joy was recommended due to how new the ship was as well as the size. I have a trouble with seasickness and wanted to prevent if possible. We had a balcony, mini-suite, mid-ship on deck 10. The room was very spacious for the 4 of us. It was obviously very new and had a very large bathroom with plenty of storage. The overall experience was wonderful. There was any activity imaginable to keep anyone from getting bored. The camp for children was great though we did not use it that much. The kids enjoyed the laser tag & speed track as well as mini-golf. You do need to register for the laser tag and speed track at the beginning of the cruise because it fills up and then there are no slots later in the week. The biggest slide has a weight restriction that prevented the kids from participating. There was a smaller water slide. We had such wonderful weather that the majority of days, it was nice enough to sit outside near the pool if we wanted to do so. The shows, Footloose & Elements, were great. We made reservations before the cruise so had no problem getting in. We did go early to both shows to get good seats as it is open seating. The food was excellent. The quantity and quality was very good with tons of options for picky kids! Service was outstanding. They are also very focused on infection control. They made it a fun thing to use the hand sanitizer before each meal. The embarkation and disembarkation processes were seamless. The port entry for each stop was also very seamless. The Joy goes to Ketchican, Juneau, and Hoonah (Icy Straight) as well as Victoria. We enjoyed Hoonah the best because we don’t care for the touristy towns. Hoonah was what we thought a small coastal town would be which is very little ! We enjoyed walking the beach and enjoyed the scenery. The inside passage is gorgeous. I can’t imagine taking an Alaskan cruise and not having a balcony. However, for those inside rooms, there are tons of options to relax and enjoy the view or just walk out on deck of the ship. I had nothing to compare to given this was our first cruise but I had others on the ship that are frequent cruise travelers to say how nice this ship was compared to some of the older ships. I would highly recommend if you want to do the inside passage. Seattle is a great city to visit before or after the cruise. Our grandchildren enjoyed Seattle around the Space Needle area almost as much as the cruise. There is a great park near the Space Needle. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We took this cruise at the end of June. Since we live close to the port it was a short ride to downtown Seattle. From the moment we entered the ship we were totally mesmerized! We've been on over 30 cruises, but his was the ... Read More
We took this cruise at the end of June. Since we live close to the port it was a short ride to downtown Seattle. From the moment we entered the ship we were totally mesmerized! We've been on over 30 cruises, but his was the first time that we had a balcony. The room was the perfect size and being a new ship everything worked. Our cabin staff was the best and everywhere we went the crew and passengers were cheerful and smiling. My wife Esther was amazed at the functional design of this ship. There were several beautiful dining rooms and the food was great and the service too. We were fortunate that the weather was beautiful everyday. A seven day cruise to Alaska is a fantastic way to relax and unwind. This ship had wonderful entertainment with Broadway style shows. The Norwegian Joy----is a true Joy! Can't wait to sail again! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We always wanted to see Alaska, and the Joy was the ship that we booked on. The ship is very large, and has a huge pool deck area. It also had two huge water slides that hung over the side rails. Which is great, except that the weather ... Read More
We always wanted to see Alaska, and the Joy was the ship that we booked on. The ship is very large, and has a huge pool deck area. It also had two huge water slides that hung over the side rails. Which is great, except that the weather was too cold to enjoy the outdoor area. Because of the size of the pool deck area, the theater was smaller than on most Norwegian ships. When we went to see a show the second night, we were told that we had to have reservations to see the shows. This was all new to us. We have sailed Norwegian many times and never had to have a reservation to see any of the free shows. Shame on Norwegian for not letting us know ahead of time, as every show was fully booked by the end of the first day. That includes all the comedy and entertainment shows. We did go to play Bingo, but was charged $69.00 per person to only play 3 games. You were not told this until after you had purchased your cards and the games were ready to start. No towel animals on this cruise. It may seem silly, but that is something we looked forward at the end of the evenings. We had a teenager with us who was very bored as there was really nothing for the older teens to do. There were go carts, but they were $15 per person to use. We did make reservations, but these were cancelled due to weather. He was too mature for the teen club and the game room was very small. He pent most of his time in the room when we were on board. I do not recommend this ship. We were very disappointed with the ship and would never sail on the Joy again. This ship belongs in warmer waters. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The Joy is a lovely new ship. We chose this cruise because we brought our family for an Alaskan adventure. Our group included my husband and I (50’s - 60’s), daughter and son-in-law (early 40’s) and grandkids (13 & 15). The Joy ... Read More
The Joy is a lovely new ship. We chose this cruise because we brought our family for an Alaskan adventure. Our group included my husband and I (50’s - 60’s), daughter and son-in-law (early 40’s) and grandkids (13 & 15). The Joy offered amenities for family members of all ages. The all-inclusive nature of the trip also was a factor in choosing NCL over other lines. We selected the adult beverage package and the specialty dining package. The value of those complimentary packages would have added about $1,500 per person on other lines. The main dining facilities (multiple) and the specialty dining selections were fabulous. We are wine drinkers and enjoyed The Cellar and its amazing crew (Elena and Murat). Multiple wine-tastings were offered and all were well-attended. Our family enjoyed the Mojito Bar and the Beer and Whiskey bars. The kids loved the entertainment offerings for teenagers. The go-kart track was amazing and the mini-golf and teenage center offered multiple fun activities for them. We had a mini-suite and it was a great room. We had cabin # 13802, which was a mid-ship cabin. Great location and plenty of space in the room for storage. Dual vanity bathroom with a great shower. An excellent spot on this ship was the Observation Lounge on Deck 15. It was a comfortable and great place to observe the many pods of humpback whales and also to see the glaciers. The ports were all great, although the weather was cold and rainy most of the time. Ketchikan was our first port (after leaving Seattle). We attended the Lumberjack Show and crab feast at the George Inlet. We booked the trip through Viator and paid significantly less than the NCL excursions. The excursion was fun and the crab feast was great. The next port was Juneau. We pre-booked a shipping charter for the 6 of us through Big Jim’s Charters for a 1/2 day. It was cold, raining and a bit rough; but our Captain Toni (yes, she was a woman) found a spot for halibut. The 15 year old caught a 55” 83 lb. halibut that was too big to keep, but the thrill of catching that large fish was amazIng. Then he caught a smaller “keeper” halibut along with his grandfather and sister so we are shipping back three halibuts. We also saw beautiful sea lions and a mother and baby humpback on the way back in. What a wonderful experience. Later that afternoon, we cruised through the Endicott Arm and the Dawes glacier. It was absolutely stunning. Our next port was Skagway. We booked another tour with Viator for a full-day tour of the Yukon. This was our first time in Skagway and we wanted to see as much of the area as possible. The tour was gorgeous! The weather cooperated and the sites were breathtaking. We were lucky enough to see a cinnamon black bear munching on dandelions, mountain goats in the mountains, Dahl Sheep in the mountains and Alaskan Huskies in Carcross, Canada. We also stopped by Emerald Lake for some stunning scenery and photo ops. The skies were bright enough to see a glacier in the mountains on the way back to Skagway. Skagway is a lovely and clean city. We had enough time to explore it before we had to return to the ship. We stopped in Victoria, BC for our next port. What a lovely place! Fisherman’s Wharf was fun and we walked to Downtown. The weather was clear and beautiful. That was the end of the cruise. I wish that we had another week! All-in-all, we had a great cruise. All 6 of us loved the Joy and the wonders of Alaska and the Yukon Territory. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I read reviews of the joy before I went and honestly was a little nervous about the experience. I've cruised NCL, Disney, and RCL a few times. What I've learned is so many people get on to give not so great reviews and those ... Read More
I read reviews of the joy before I went and honestly was a little nervous about the experience. I've cruised NCL, Disney, and RCL a few times. What I've learned is so many people get on to give not so great reviews and those who had good experiences just go on with their lives. This review is more what to know before you go to have a good experience. Here is what to know. The buffet is not fun. There is a great variety but by the time you get through the crowds and all the options and get back to your seat, the food isn't exactly warm anymore. People in the buffet act like the food is going to run out. Know what you are getting into. Get your table before your food as tables aren't always easy to find. Or, skip the buffet and look into other options. Not extra charge options, just other options. The dining rooms are nice. A reservation at night helps but you don't absolutely need one. The food there comes hot to you and the service is good. The local is also another great option. it is pub style food but it comes out hot and tastes good. If desserts interest you, you definitely want to get the anywhere else but the buffet. The observation deck is a great place if your happy with an expanded continental breakfast and a lighter lunch. If not, go up to the buffet on the 16th floor, get the food you want, then simply walk down stairs and eat in the observation lounge. This is a better fit for adults and older children than younger ones though as you are eating more on couches than tables. Young kids running around the observation lounge isn't what it is for. The cruise itself was nice. Easy embarkation and disembarkation. We did self disembarkation. I've seen many complaints about the elevators. Yes they do seem crazy the first few days but they really aren't bad. On the nights they are bad, if possible, take the stairs. If a show is letting out and you can't walk stairs, simply walk to the casino side elevators and take those. Walk down a flight or up a flight and catch the elevators there or walk some food off by climbing the stairs. It's really not all that bad. I am physically able to take stairs but for those not able to, it would have been nice to see a dedicated elevator for them. The shows were good for cruise ships. Even if you have reservations, get there early because it is crowded and if you aren't there by about 15 min early, they will give your seats away. If you know this going in, you will get a seat and have a good time. Book your excursions early and honestly booking through private companies is cheaper and they are skilled at getting you back in time. The cruise ships are booking with the exact same companies you are and it is just more expensive. I booked zodiac boat tour in ketchikan and whale watching on my own. Because i was late booking the cruise, I had to book a helicopter excursion up to the glacier through the ship directly in Skagway because Temsco is the only company and they were sold out due to the cruise ship pre-booking spots. It was worth every penny but I would have saved $150 per person had I not had to book through the ship. Don't be scared to book private excursions. Overall my daughters and I had a great experience. They only did the racetrack as an extra on the ship. If you want those activities, book ahead. There are great touchscreens around the ship that make it easy. GET THE NCL APP the minute you get on the ship. This app was amazing. You can pay $10 per person and have free texting and calling abilities to each other the entire time while your phone is on airplane mode. The app also allows you to book dining reservations. It's so easy. You can also see what is going on throughout the ship rather than carrying around paper. Get to game shows in the atrium early if you want a seat. They are popular and crowded. I wouldn't hesitate to go on this ship again. We do tend to pick megaships as I like them. Just know you are on a ship with a lot of other people. If you want a smaller more personal experience, go on a smaller ship. A little research before always helps. 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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