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1,471 Norwegian (NCL) Los Angeles Cruise Reviews

This was our first and last Norwegian cruise. Not anywhere near as good as Royal Caribbean. Boat was blah-no fun art anywhere, not colorful, small theater with cup holders like a movie theater-no balcony, other entertainment area had ... Read More
This was our first and last Norwegian cruise. Not anywhere near as good as Royal Caribbean. Boat was blah-no fun art anywhere, not colorful, small theater with cup holders like a movie theater-no balcony, other entertainment area had folding chairs and no sloped seating. Felt like an auditorium in a school. Only 2 shows instead of one very night. Food was absolutely awful in the main dining rooms. Fine dining was not fine dining and was insulting, especially for someone who has worked in fine dining. French fries and curly fries as sides?? Seriously??? We think they knew the ship wasn’t going back out due to the Coronavirus because there was a lot of repeat meals. They put all their efforts into the restaurants you have to pay for which was also insulting. This cruise is very expensive and to force folks to pay even more for food that is edible is shameful. No fun late night buffets. No fruit displays or ice sculptures. Very very very little live music. There was a section of the ship specifically for a higher paying group of people so we couldn’t use 1/3 of the ship. There were a tremendous amount of kids on the ship with no manners. They were unsupervised and running all over the place. If I wanted to go on a Disney Cruise, I would have. Our room ac was on a timer so woke up hot every night. No way to adjust this. Overall Norwegian completely lacks the effort that other cruise lines do. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
My BF and I just got back from our first Norwegian Cruise which was also the last that sailed before Corona Virus stopped cruise lines from continuing their cruises. I just have to say that Norwegian stepped up to the plate to make sure ... Read More
My BF and I just got back from our first Norwegian Cruise which was also the last that sailed before Corona Virus stopped cruise lines from continuing their cruises. I just have to say that Norwegian stepped up to the plate to make sure all the passengers on board were always safe from infection. There were extra precautions put in place with sanitation throughout the Joy and instructions for everyone to “washy washy” their hands as frequently as possible. There were hand sanitizer stations everywhere. Crew members were on the ready to spritz hands with sanitizer after washing as well. You couldn’t touch a railing or a wall where there wasn’t a crew member sanitizing it right behind you. Yes, some of the steps they took to keep passengers safe seemed like an inconvenience to some but we appreciated all the efforts. We enjoyed our vacation with Norwegian so much! Throughout all this chaos going on they never failed to make sure service was still on point. The food was absolutely delish all over the ship as well. The District Tap and Brew house quickly became our favorite little spot to go hang out, play some cards or listen to Zoe Jackson perform at her piano. Such fun. We will DEFINITELY be cruising with Norwegian in the future when all this stuff blows over. Hopefully that is soon. I already mis it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
20 of us from the Houston area sailed on March 8th - our spring break. While we considered cancelling, we made the decision to go forward not knowing that this would be the last sailing for the Joy for a while. It was absolutely amazing ... Read More
20 of us from the Houston area sailed on March 8th - our spring break. While we considered cancelling, we made the decision to go forward not knowing that this would be the last sailing for the Joy for a while. It was absolutely amazing how the ship was sanitized. Everyday a new process was implemented. throw pillows were removed from cabins and common area, tables were not set until people sat down. Salt and Pepper plus sugars were now on plates to be thrown away after each meal. People were not allowed to touch any food - if you wanted a glass of water, the crew got that for you. If you wanted Ketchup - the crew poured that on your plate. No one could touch the merchandise for sale. Hand washing required to enter the buffet along with sanitizer. Cabins cleaned at least 2x a day. Decks powerwashed nightly. Balconies powerwashed. Constant wiping down of common areas including the baseboards in the halls. To my knowledge, no one was sick and in fact, we felt very safe on this ship with a crew dedicated to ensure that we were safe. Thanks NCL for a vacation we will all remember for a very long time. Thanks to the Joy crew for taking such good care of us! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise because it is convenient for us in Arizona to go to the Mexican Riviera. We have been to all of these ports multiple times, so the trip was more about the experience, and getting away than targeting a specific ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it is convenient for us in Arizona to go to the Mexican Riviera. We have been to all of these ports multiple times, so the trip was more about the experience, and getting away than targeting a specific location. It was our first time on one of the LARGE ships, and I was afraid that it would feel crowded. I did not find this to be the case. After a few days, I figured many people must have cancelled at the last minute due to the corona virus scare, so I asked a customer service, and they confirmed that there was 4,300 passengers the week we sailed. Double occupancy is only 3,800 so it was a pretty full ship, yet I never felt too crowded. A synopsis of some of the good/not so good is below. Embarkation - we had flights included with our cruise fare, and arrived later than we would have planned for ourselves. Those that arrived before 10:30 got through security, health screening, and embarkation within about 1/2 hour. since we didn't get to the port till about 1:00 it took quite a bit longer. They were doing extra screenings of passports, and had extra health forms everyone had to fill out, so that slowed things down, that of course was not NCL's fault. Overall would have been better if we had arrived earlier. Cabin - We had a concierge villa suite with balcony, and loved it. the upgraded toiletries, nicer linens/pillows, and abundant storage made it a very comfortable week. We were able to get help from the concierge to arrange reservations to some of the comedy shows that we wanted to see. We had pre-reserved all of our dining, so didn't use him for that. The perk of having private Breakfast and Lunch in La Cucina was great. Dining - We did eat at Cagneys, La Cucina, and Ocean Blue as well as Taste, the Manhattan Room, the Buffet, and the Local. Once or twice an extra item we had requested was forgotten, but never had a bad meal. The staff was very attentive, and their job was made more difficult with enhanced sanitary guidelines. No one was allowed to serve themselves in the buffet, menu covers were not used in the restaurants, and the paper menu's were discarded, so as not to pass anything from one table to another. They were strict about washing hands and sanitizing before entering eateries, and it helped us feel confident that our health was being protected. The Shows, Footloose, Elements, Beatles Revolution, and Comedians, were all great. I've always been a fan of going to various trivia, but either because of the size of the ship, or technical difficulties, or doing them in the atrium, or just the staff, I didn't enjoy the trivia games on this ship. we walked away from several of them without finishing. If they had a better location for them and just stuck to basics instead of trying to make them high tech, it would have been better. The staff and service were outstanding. Our room steward kept our room spotless, and people were constantly cleaning and wiping down handrails/elevator buttons. I did need to go to customer service twice (I picked times they weren't busy as they weren't critical issues) and both times they were friendly, and helpful. There is some of everything on this ship, we really enjoyed the hot tub in Spice H20, and the Ocean Loop waterslide. A few things they could improve, the American Diner didn't seem to ever have people in it. If they could make that an included option for the dining, with perhaps some up-charge items (shakes, smoothies etc) I'm sure it would actually generate more money for them. The Galaxy Pavillion (VR Arcade) didn't seem to be very busy either. It seemed to be a chunk of prime real estate that they could have used for a better purpose. We didn't do the go karts or laser tag, so can't comment on that. We also didn't use any of the kids/teen clubs so no comment about that either. No trip is perfect, but I've found your enjoyment is based more on your attitude than other factors. If you want to be critical you can always find imperfections, but if you want to have fun, you will find that as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our first cruise and given the circumstances, it was awesome. We were worried about how this may turn out, but I wish we were still on the ship. So much to do every day! Crew was spectacular! Special hats off to Arsen from the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and given the circumstances, it was awesome. We were worried about how this may turn out, but I wish we were still on the ship. So much to do every day! Crew was spectacular! Special hats off to Arsen from the Ukraine. Just the best! My wife even started her art collection on this cruise. We would definitely sail with Norwegian again. The kids enjoyed all the activities on board. They were only disappointed that they did not weigh enough to do the loop water slide that goes out over the edge of the ship. The freestyle dining was awesome. We were able to eat when we wanted and where we wanted. There are a few premium restaurants, but for our taste, the Garden Cafe Buffet was great. The crew made sure that everyone was washing and disinfecting hands. All surfaces were constantly being cleaned and wiped down. Washy Washy was a new term we learned. :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
First cruise with the entire family, including 3 kids, ages 4 and 2. thought this would be a good starter since it was relatively close and we had been on the itinerary before with other cruise lines. Overall, it was a horrific ... Read More
First cruise with the entire family, including 3 kids, ages 4 and 2. thought this would be a good starter since it was relatively close and we had been on the itinerary before with other cruise lines. Overall, it was a horrific experience with few bright spots: * transfer bus from lax took 2 hours due to staff slowness and multiple stops at lax. note: traffic was light and not an issue. * the worse part was the embarkation process! took about 4 hours of waiting in line!! ncl never explained why, offered an apology or acknowledged the fiasco. i asked at a meet-the-officers opportunity and they said they are quite aware of the problem. heard all kinds of rumors about what happened. it put a damper on the entire cruise. * very few organized activities for the kids, like 30 minutes/day on certain days. * the atrium area, used for many events on board, is small and very dark, unlike other ships we have been on. * food in the mdr is about a d+ in quality. clearly, they are pushing customers to use the specialty restaurants. also, the service is extremely slow, even though staff are friendly average mdr dinners took 2+ hours. * bars are understaffed. disorganized and chaotic as people are waiting 2-deep with only 2 bartenders. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
All and all it was an average cruise, wasn’t our best or worst one. Pros Observation deck was one of my favorite places on the ship. They had light snacks (cheese, meat, crackers, fruit) and games to play but what set it apart from ... Read More
All and all it was an average cruise, wasn’t our best or worst one. Pros Observation deck was one of my favorite places on the ship. They had light snacks (cheese, meat, crackers, fruit) and games to play but what set it apart from other places On the ship were the views and it was quiet. Starbucks, gotta love 2 Starbuck locations on a ship Comedians were excellent and they didn’t make you feel like they were doing the same show between family and adult. we’ve been on other ships where the family and adult shows were very similar. The Country band at the Q was a nice touch, it’s hard finding music I like on ships They had healthy options if you’re watching calories but the salad dressings lacking (make your own) Breakfast buffet was good, I especially liked the omelet bar and turkey sausage but why is orange juice only an option at breakfast? Very clean, always seeing staff cleaning and making sure their passengers are practicing safe hygiene I especially liked bartenders Vladimir and Windel who were personable and remembered us from night to night. I also liked the complimentary bar snacks that were available for late night or between meals We only purchased one excursion from the the cruise line “Salsa and Salsa” and loved it. After all the cruises we’ve been on to find something this unique was great. Cons Buffet food lacked variety and their take on theme nights were interesting. For example, the beef tacos on Mexican day was chili wrapped in a tortilla triangle? (see picture) on a Mexican cruise! Sometimes you need late night food and it was really lacking on this ship, the Local was not great food, think store bought chips and nacho cheese. They also claimed to have late night snacks but they’re only available until 1130pm. This was by far my biggest disappointment on the ship, the margaritas. I understand efficiency but one of my favorite parts of ordering a Margarita is watching the bartender make it. Their version was premade, tasted terrible and was carbonated because it was on tap. Casino games were confusing as they’re still in Chinese and had very tight payouts. We also purchased the slot and blackjack tournament but it was only 3 minutes for slots and 8 rounds for blackjack, wouldn’t do it again. Customer service could be better (felt like new or inexperienced staff). Improve your app, it keeps crashing Popular shows should not be in the atrium, you can’t see shows you want to because it’s too crowd (an issue on all ships not just this one) Underutilized spaces on sea days Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
NCL Joy was a very nice ship. Food in specialty restaurants was wonderful. We tried Cagney’s, le bistro, Q smokehouse, Ocean Blue, and la cucina but main dining Manhattan room was just ok. Don’t eat all day before going to Q smokehouse ... Read More
NCL Joy was a very nice ship. Food in specialty restaurants was wonderful. We tried Cagney’s, le bistro, Q smokehouse, Ocean Blue, and la cucina but main dining Manhattan room was just ok. Don’t eat all day before going to Q smokehouse it was a lot of food. My husband and I did not like the Local. Atmosphere was noisy and poor food. Also too many high top tables. We enjoy O’Sheehans much better. Entertainment was great. Our room 14780 was great but wasn’t expecting a tub which wasn’t good with a hurt foot. We had concierge service but never saw him again after first day. Room steward did an excellent job. Slow bar service in casino but casino was kind to us. Elevators are super slow but with a bad foot stairs were out of the question. Only bad thing was getting on and off the ship. Port of San Pedro was the worse anywhere. 2 hours for us to get on but I heard people waited 4 hours. Getting off was almost as bad. Will never go out of this port again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Many options for dining. The buffet was great because it had so many stations to accommodate the massive amount of people and plenty of sitting areas. Did not like having to make a reservation for the shows. We normally see all the ... Read More
Many options for dining. The buffet was great because it had so many stations to accommodate the massive amount of people and plenty of sitting areas. Did not like having to make a reservation for the shows. We normally see all the shows when we cruise but having to keep up with making a reservation just took the fun out of it. Although, we did take advantage of the standby line for one show. We understand with so many people that reservations are probably needed. We chose to go back to our cabin and watch a movie most evenings. There were many movies available no extra cost that we had not seen. So that was a good option especially for this trip due to the coronavirus scare and the close encounters with all the people on the ship. Shore Excursions were nice but we saw many folks who hopped into a cab and took the same excursions at a cheaper rate. The port stops are great for seasoned travelers or someone who does not mind taking the risk on his/her own. Overall the ship staff did their best to keep us safe. We washed our hands several times. The staff do their best to enforce it especially in the Garden Café (Buffet). Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I chose this cruise because I wanted to experience the Mexican Riviera and my first cruise. Norwegian offered an excellent package of incentives, good value for cost, very helpful personal consultant to help me put together a trip ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to experience the Mexican Riviera and my first cruise. Norwegian offered an excellent package of incentives, good value for cost, very helpful personal consultant to help me put together a trip package that fit my needs. I just returned and am very , very happy. Our party was three, my two adult daughters and me . We chose a Mini Suite with balcony, mid ship on the 11th deck near the elevators. This made everything easy to get to. The food and service were outstanding everywhere we ate, both complimentary and speciality. The activities offered were diverse and fun and varied. Da nce lessons on pool deck or salsa lessons at Mojito Bar. Excursions were fun, varied for taste, The virtual reality offerings were a lot of fun and new to me. My daughters enjoyed the raceway and the giant water slide. The Winelovers Musical, Elements , and the Beatles Tribute Band in the Cavern were our favorites for shows. I am looking forward to planning my second trip with Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Overall the Gem is a nice ship but the poor quality of food and lack of interesting activities made for a rather ho hum three week cruise. My wife and I chose this cruise because the itinerary because the ship was scheduled to stop at ... Read More
Overall the Gem is a nice ship but the poor quality of food and lack of interesting activities made for a rather ho hum three week cruise. My wife and I chose this cruise because the itinerary because the ship was scheduled to stop at many ports, most of which we had not yet visited. After boarding in L.A. and a quiet day at sea, our first stop was in Cabo and that was an exciting port - beautiful scenery and plenty of excursions from which to choose. We selected the Electric Bike tour and had a wonderful time. The power assisted bikes made the ride along a breathtaking stretch of beach very easy. The next port we visited was Puerto Vallarta - again, this port did not disappoint. Lots to see and do. We took a city bus to the Malecon - a beach side shopping district about 25 minutes via the city bus from the port. It was quite nice, filled with many souvenier shops and lots of tourists so safety was never a concern. We unfortunately took the wrong bus back to the port and got a scenic ride through the town - a concern since it took twice as long and concerned us that we would miss the embarkation time. Our next stop was Zihuatanejo, very scenic port but not much to do unless you've made excursion arrangements. Walking around the town was a bit depressing - very impoverished and the beaches though beautiful did not seem too inviting. Most were at least a 20-30 minute walk from the pier. The armed military around the tourist areas made you stop and wonder if the area was safe but nothing too much to worry about. why. Well, I guess if I write detailed accounts of every port you'll lose interest so let's just say the next few, Puerto Quetzal, Corinto, and Puntarenas offer very little to do unless you schedule an excursion - which we did not. The areas immediately surrounding the port offered simple diversions but nothing we found interesting. Guess that could be just our taste and limited budget. As others we talked with shared stories of fun excursions. After another day at sea we made it to the Panama Canal. This was our first time through the locks and the experience was quite exciting. We had to get up rather early to secure a good spot up at the bow but it made for a terrific view. The transit through the various locks was indeed one of the highlights of our trip. The next two stops were in Colombia, Cartegena - a bustling metropolis with lots of beautiful modern and ancient architecture to enjoy. The other stop was in Santa Marta - not quite as nice as Cartegena but still plenty to do if just walking off the ship to take in the town. The next three port were referred to as the A,B.C's. We visited Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire - one day after the other. These are each beautiful ports with lots of water activities. We did snorkel tours in Aruba and Bonaire - we had a blast on each. On Curacao we simply walked through the many shops and strolled through the town - it is very picturesque and offers a smorgasbord of color. The next three days were spent at sea. Norwegian Gem is a smaller ship and just did not offer enough activities to keep us busy or entertained throughout the day. The food was not that great - especially the buffet service. Most personnel didn't seem too friendly or willing to be of much assistance in answering questions. The ship lacked informative lectures as we have experienced on other cruises and the entertainment was a rather crab shoot of hit or miss. One standout though was our cabin steward. He did a terrific job of keeping our room tidy and always offered a smile and friendly greeting. Speaking of our cabin - it was an inside cabin that could accommodate up to four. It was an okay size for two - perhaps even three but four would be rather cramped. Our final port was New York. Never before have we arrived by ship; what a thrilling experience even though the wind and cold made it tough. The view was quite spectacular. All in all it was an okay voyage. We landed a great price so it helped to negate some of the negative factors, things like the constant sales for pitch for CruiseNext and the added expense for basic on-board activities. It could have been much more enjoyable had there been more on-board activities, better entertainment, and appealing food choices. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our 3rd cruise with NCL, 15th in total. We choose this cruise for the itinerary. I must say, being European and living in a mediëval city our expectations are high. You can not surprise us with a 19th century church. So ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with NCL, 15th in total. We choose this cruise for the itinerary. I must say, being European and living in a mediëval city our expectations are high. You can not surprise us with a 19th century church. So history/culture and nature are the things we want to see. (CC why no history/culture in "Which of the following apply to your review?") We booked a balcony on deck 10 fwd., inclusive ultimate beverage package and 50 $ shore excursion credit. Boarding was ok and fast. But... no welcome drink. We immediately thought "economizing"...... Ship. The ship was very nice, even for its age! We prefer the smaller ships with no hi tech or roller coasters.... The "art collection" on board: no comments…. Cabin. The cabin was ok, right seize, clean and in a very good condition. Large safe for pc and cameras, even a coffee machine!. Small tv though. The bathroom has a door that closes off the toilet. Waste of space! I am 1,90m (6ft3) and needed that door open for "n°2". Dining. The MDR looked great: art deco style, must say the best of all the cruises we did before. Service was always excellent. (sometimes a bit to fast for us, but that's personal) The MDR menu was between mediocre and good. No more escargots, prime rib or lobster for the farewell. ("economizing"). Compared to other cruise lines we did, choice for breakfast was not as good. No mushrooms. But the icing on the cake we found out the 2nd week: there was smoked salmon for breakfast, but....it is hidden away. You had to ask for it were the bread stand was. Pleas NCL, better give nothing than hiding it away. You are not dealing with children but with passengers! We had an issue that there was only regular butter, no diet butter (a first in 15 cruises too). This was communicated to the F&B manager. What he (and the maitre D at the MDR) did for us was unbelievable. They know what customer service is. People at the office in Miami have to thank and learn a lesson from people like them. The last night my steak (ordered medium rare) was well done. For the first time on all the cruises we did I send it back. It came back.....well done. "Nobody does dining like Norwegian": luckily not..others are better. "Freestyle cruising": sometimes it was "no style cruising". We like it that there are no formal nights...but please in the main restaurant for dinner don't go in shorts.... Service. Was excellent. Everybody did their utter best. Just the "cruise director"....was a joke. Never saw her around. A cruise director should walk around the ship and be seen!!!! Entertainment and activities. We did not attend a show, nor activities. We just went to the presentation of het Panama Canal. Theatre was full, people sitting on the stairs. Normal: this is THE highlight and for many people the reason for the cruise. The explanation was given by "Darlene"....I should rather say the reading of the slides that were presented was done by Darlene. But the best was yet to come: at the end of the presentation she asked…..if there was a nautical lawyer or engineer in the audience to answer questions……????!!!!!???? This presentation had to be given by the captain or at least the staff captain since this is a nautical matter. Speaking of the captain....On this 3 week cruise, we saw him (passing by the martini bar) the one but last day of the cruise. Staff captain, 1st and other officers???Never seen! This was also a first in 15 cruises. Better work on a cargo ship! The only exception was the F&B Manager who was every night in the restaurants! Ports and shore excursions. Santa Barbara was a beautiful stop. Tendering went smooth. Rodeo Drive & Los Angeles tour was a disappointment. Not much to see there. Our guide did not even show us the "foot prints of famous movie stars" as mentioned in the tour description! (we found out they are in front of the Chinese Theatre, but to late...) Puerto Vallarta City sights: Nothing to see but a nice church. The description of the excursions is always so exaggerated. I'd wish they write a more honest description. Than you know what to expect. We always try to do an excursion without shopping. We can do that at home...Here we had a 40 minute stop in a silvershop. This was NOT mentioned in the tour description. Puerto Quetzal:Easy Antiqua: ok, but...40 minute Jade shop and 15 min photostop….. Corinto: Colonial City of Leon was ok Puntaresas: Pacific Train, Boat & Costa Rica traditions: started with the obvious shop (Costa Rica traditions were the guys playing music….) The "delicious buffet of seasonal fruits": a plate with a piece of banana, mango & pineapple. The "ride in a historical train through rural countryside and tropical fields"....what a joke! A ride in the slums would be a much better description. Luckily the boat trip was very good. Bonaire: Best of Bonaire: why did the ship stopped there anyway? Nothing to see. There were more flamingos printed on my polo....Tour was waste of money, and ship departed at midday, so no more time to walk around... Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the time of year. This was our first cruise in many years and our first on the NCL line. We originally booked a mini suite and put a bid on an upgrade about 30 days before the cruise. We won ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the time of year. This was our first cruise in many years and our first on the NCL line. We originally booked a mini suite and put a bid on an upgrade about 30 days before the cruise. We won the bid and were excited to have been placed in the Deluxe Owner's Suite #15500. The service there was wonderful and we had a delightful time. The Butler, Concierge, Room Steward and the Deck Steward were exceptionally friendly and helpful. More information about the room is the cabin section. Here are a few other observations: The Haven menus for breakfast and lunch do not change so toward the end of the cruise we tended to float around the ship to pick up food at the buffet or the grill on the pool deck area. But the service was so attentive that you could order anything at all and it would be there in a flash. The food was just okay in the complementary dining areas. It was plentiful but sometimes the descriptions didn't match what was prepared. I love hearty soups but most were a thin blended cream type soup. For example what was described as corned beef and cabbage as an entre was really a bland broth with some tiny diced potatoes, carrots and a bit of corned beef. I left a lot on my plate after getting samples of various items. They just didn't taste that good. For us the best specialty restaurants were Teppanyaki and Moderno. The others were fine but we especially liked the freshness of the food in these two restaurants. The $19 lobster in Cagneys is not worth the extra money. Tiny and only a couple of bites. The unlimited internet was worth it after we saw so many people on their phones and laptops off the ship in the port wifi areas. What a waste of port time to be trying to catch up on emails there. I don't think that the free 250 minutes would have lasted very long. The free beverage package worked for us. There were enough choices under $15 and if they ran out of a certain type of wine then they gave you the more expensive one without charge. The daily cocktail was usually $9. Unless you are really hankering for very expensive alcohol then this basic plan is fine. We also brought on board 15 bottles of our favorite wine. They didn't charge us the corkage fee. When we embarked in LA there was no one there to show the wine to. We looked. We mentioned at the time we got our cards but she just waved us through. And it was clear that we had it because it was in a cooler and was heavy. Went through security twice with no one asking about it. Maybe because we were in a suite? Don't know if that made a difference. The entertainment was very good but on this long of a cruise there were some repeats. Understandable. The musicians in the bars and on the pool deck were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My issues are mostly with the home office: 1. With an average passenger age of 66, we were required to stand in a long line to get to the line to go through the metal detector to go to the REALLY long line to check in. We stood in lines ... Read More
My issues are mostly with the home office: 1. With an average passenger age of 66, we were required to stand in a long line to get to the line to go through the metal detector to go to the REALLY long line to check in. We stood in lines for more than 3 hours. There were six people to check 4,000 passengers in--and they shut everything down for a 10 minute break while hundreds of us waited. 2. The shore excursions were hit or miss. A few that we took were excellent, most were OK and a couple were terrible. 3. The main dining rooms had maybe three different menus for a 16 night cruise--very little variety. In addition several of the entrees were very dry. 4. The evaluation process was non-existent. At the bottom of one of the daily newsletters was a note telling us that if we didn't get an e-mail, we could send our comments to a PO Box.Of course, there were no e-mails. I'd like to share some of this with the cruise line, but they have made it very clear that they don't want to hear from passengers. Issues with the cruise itself. 1. On-board communication was terrible.I had to call the front desk to find out which deck we would leave from. A fellow passenger mentioned that we could get our towels folded like animals if we asked. 2. No seats were available for several of the theater performances, including the first night, which had been completely booked before anyone boarded (and no one bothered to inform us that we could book in advance). 3. The final breakfast was a disaster. Many of us like a served breakfast before dis-boarding. Of the three main dining rooms, only one was open. Fortunately we were there when it opened and got seats. The line as we left was very long. It took us a hour and fifteen minutes to get our food. With staff and kitchen help for three dining rooms, surely they could have done an adequate job of staffing for the final breakfast rush. So, the cruise started with a terrible first impression and ended with a bad last impression. In between it was O.K. If this is the way Norwegian treats passengers on its largest, newest flagship, I shudder to think of how they treat people on their other ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My Husband and I were looking for a winter getaway from the cold of the Midwest and choose the Panama Canal Cruise because of the January departure from Los Angeles, Ca. This was one of those bucket list trips for us. There were lines ... Read More
My Husband and I were looking for a winter getaway from the cold of the Midwest and choose the Panama Canal Cruise because of the January departure from Los Angeles, Ca. This was one of those bucket list trips for us. There were lines to enter the cruise terminal but after check in there were seats for sitting while waiting. Entering the ship went pretty smooth and we were pleased how our bags and pre-ordered water were in the room. Our cabin was small but nice. On a couple of cleanings our cabin steward forgot to bring us any towels but that was okay as they came within a moment after calling them. The entertainment was top notch with Footloose, Elements, and a variety of entertainers. The main dining room was poor (The Manhattan). The service had no teamwork and we were without water refills and assistance with menu questions, wrong beverage coffee. It took way too long 2 hours for the little that we ordered. The food had tough meat and a menu that rarely changed. We did enjoy The Local which prepared food delivered to table and also The Savor and The Taste. The menus there repeated often as well but the food was okay and the dessert options better. The buffet at the Garden Cafe was usually not hot and sometimes the cold items not cold. After the 9th day they started removing salt, pepper, sugar, and silverware from tables Then a couple of days later no was was to serve their own food and ropes partitioned people from food items with staff handing out all silverware, plates napkins, stir sticks, and food. We were no longer asked to use the hand sanitizer or met at the door with washy, washy staff but rather stood in long lines to use a sink, soap and water. We all knew there was a problem of unknown illnesses and people quit eating there causing long lines at the other restaurants. We ended up eating some protein bars from home rather than risk the outbreak. Meals were now being delivered to rooms and we were told that stewards had less rooms to clean than when the cruise began. People everywhere were coughing and one day visitors were seen onboard wearing guest passes in Guatemala. That made us think CDC under the circumstances amid hearing on the news about the Corona virus. We were never told what illnesses were happening but elevators and stairs were no longer busy. People were out on deck in the air or at the observation deck and at the evening show only. Although the staff were cleaning constantly it did not seem to help. Disembarking was a disaster with handicapped and the rest of the cruisers all leaving at once. There were long lines and from cabin to bus took over 3 hours. There was only one gangway for all to depart on. (Norwegian blamed customs for the delays, but customs went very smoothly for us). After getting to the bus it took another 3 hours to travel 5 miles to the airport, get off the bus, walk over 30 minutes in the airport take a tram to the car rental place, rent the car and find it in the car rental parking garage. Total time from Cabin to leaving in car rental garage was 6 hours.) Because of the quality of the food, variety lacking menus, problems with communications from staff to what we were encountering, (people were sent off 3 different times from ship for medical problems to hospitals) we would not sail Norwegian again. Others we met who were Norwegian cruisers only or multiple times with Norwegian vowed never to use them again after this experience. We could not endorse them to others as well. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We took the Norwegian Joy from LA to Miami on Jan 17, 2020 because it went through the Panama Canal, which was on out bucket list. We have done several cruises on various cruise lines, but this was our first Norwegian cruise. It is also ... Read More
We took the Norwegian Joy from LA to Miami on Jan 17, 2020 because it went through the Panama Canal, which was on out bucket list. We have done several cruises on various cruise lines, but this was our first Norwegian cruise. It is also our last Norwegian cruise. Embarking/Disembarking This was the worst embarking experience we have had in 15 cruises. Very long line and wait times. No explanations as to why. Worst embarkation ever. This was the worst disembarking experience we have had in 15 cruises. They got 2 hours behind scheduled disembarking times. Worst disembarkation ever. Service The service on the Joy was not exceptional like other cruise ship. The service in the main dining rooms was excruciatingly slow, not just once in a while but always. And when we did get our food, it was usually not hot. Quite often they would get orders mixed up or not bring a complete order. We were actually surprised because we have never experienced such poor service on a cruise ship before. Food In general, food in the buffet and main dining rooms was disappointing and boring. Not what we have been used to on other cruises. Every night, in all three main dining rooms, for 16 days, we had the same choice of entrees with just one or two different options. Fish, beef, or chicken. We missed having prime rib, duck, lamb, lobster. You had to go to a specialty restaurant to get those. It seems like they do this so that you have to pay extra to upgrade to their specialty restaurants. Some of the beef meals we got were tough and inedible. The same chicken meal ordered on different days were quite different, spicy one time, not the other. The soups were often very salty. Desserts were disappointing as well. Entertainment The entertainment on the Joy was pretty good. Footloose and Elements were excellent. There were some very funny comedians/jugglers. Po the magician was a joke. There is a problem with the theater being way too small for the amount of passengers on the ship. If you got there 30 minutes before the show, you might not get a seat. There was a tribute Beatles band that were very good. The problem with them was that they were featured in a very small venue (50 seats) called the Cavern. We never did get to see them perform in the Cavern, even though we got there an hour before show time on several nights. Very disappointing. We did get to see them in the main theater however. They did a second main theater show but it was exactly same as the first. They have go-carts and laser-tag but you have to pay extra for them. Itinerary Started out bad as the itinerary kept changing in the months before we even left home. The stop in Costa Rica was at a cargo ship yard. Nice view of cargo containers. There was absolutely no touristy things around. You had to pay $15 to get a shuttle to the nearest town (20 miles away). There was a free shuttle to the dock gate, but nothing to see or do there. The Panama Canal crossing was interesting but was not on schedule. Communication Very poor communication on the ship about what was going on. Especially for when non-scheduled events were happening. Most people were puzzled and confused as to what was happening. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Figured it was time to spend a few bucks rather than just leave it to the kid. So with our slight cruise experience via Royal Caribbean cruise, we'll go big and take a long ride. Norwegian couldn't be that much different than RC. ... Read More
Figured it was time to spend a few bucks rather than just leave it to the kid. So with our slight cruise experience via Royal Caribbean cruise, we'll go big and take a long ride. Norwegian couldn't be that much different than RC. We were wrong. Knew something could be amiss when i visited the Garden Cafe for a bite to eat. Why any cruise company would supply about the cheapest hot dogs possible made me shake my head at the start. And since I'm from Michigan where hot dogs are an art form, yes, there is a massive difference in quality in something so simple. IOW, when you see a pack of hot dogs at the local store for less than a buck, you avoid them at all times yet NCL seems to think, cost cutting is a means towards success. But as the two weeks went on, most the staff was friendly and tried to make our stay as enjoyable as possible but the little things that were cheap just put a tarnish on the whole experience. While I didn't expect a 5 star meal at the breakfast or other buffets everyday, many things were cold and the menu just flat out didn't make sense. And the low ball quality really was evident. Let's face it, when people go on these adventures, they aren't there to be back of the bus passengers. But the ship was nice but the concept of the Haven is one thing I will never go anywhere near. Great that a few want to spend as much as the they want to and get perks. IOW, views were restricted. Again a disappointment. But the one thing that was completely inexcusable was how we let NCL make arrangements for travel to and from. While having nearly 4k passengers leave at once is a logistics nightmare, to book passengers on flight almost 12 hours after they exited, is an insult. Especially since there were other flights that could have easily gotten us out earlier. Will likely cruise again but most likely won't go NCL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We wanted a warm getaway in winter and Panama canal transit sounded great. Lots was available to do on the ship, but nearly every activity required extra $$$. In addition, there were several issues that either no crew working directly ... Read More
We wanted a warm getaway in winter and Panama canal transit sounded great. Lots was available to do on the ship, but nearly every activity required extra $$$. In addition, there were several issues that either no crew working directly with passengers had info about, OR they had been instructed to say nothing to passengers. It started with the Norwegian-provided transportation from LAX airport to cruise ship. About 200 or more folks were in the baggage claim waiting for the shuttle for more than 2 hours, without even a seat for some of the older folks who can't tolerate standing for that long. The ship reps who lined us up couldn't -or wouldn't?- tell us what was the delay. It was all aboard time before shuttle got to ship. Then about 3 days before the end of cruise all the condiments were removed from tables and you could no longer self-serve food and beverage at the buffet (instead, stand in line and tell them what you want on your plate... and get all jammed up). Again no one could-or would- explain why beyond 'it's to keep you safe'. The rumors and suppositions about the issue were probably worse than reality. Finally debarking was all jumbled. We were to leave on a 'tour' that transferred us to MIA at 9, but were barely getting off the ship by 9, at which time we stood for 45 minutes in the skyway/walkway watching all the luggage passengers set outside their rooms for collection the night before being transferred to the cruise terminal so we could pick it up. Once more no one was able, or maybe no one was authorized, to disclose what was the reason luggage hadn't been transferred when we first docked. Not communication issues, but other negatives: There were only 2 small pools for the majority of the approx. 3500 guests to use (altho the small number of Haven guests had a 3rd pool to themselves). The atrium was open to the internet cafe, guest services, shore excursions and cruise next areas making all the sounds run together so that it was difficult to think or hear responses to your questions. Positives: Entertainment was better than the other NCL cruise I took, and there were 3 large main dining rooms in addition to the buffet, so it wasn't too difficult to get a table for 2-4 during open hours. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Great route through the Panama Canal, very friendly staff and good service. On and off boarding went hours, even in the haven class. Beware of medical center. Good treatment, my wife was treated for a cold. 15 minutes consultation ... Read More
Great route through the Panama Canal, very friendly staff and good service. On and off boarding went hours, even in the haven class. Beware of medical center. Good treatment, my wife was treated for a cold. 15 minutes consultation and 3 medicines cost $1000, one medication costing 50$ in the US was sold for $200 on board. we weren‘t informed about charge until on our bill, then nothing could be changed and nobody was able to look in to this. Ship had many people ill and had to take additional precaution against viruses, ship seems to be too big to handle flow of people and contamination under passengers and crew. Crew is well trained and does its outmost to give a good experience. Food was very good, especially in the speciality restaurants that cost extra. All department laid a big effort on up selling and cross selling, it is all about additional revenues Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The cabins were clean ... and service was good ... staff were happy and helpful ... loved the observation deck on 15 ... BUT the food although plentiful was mediocre and lack variety ... often the blandness was masked by over salting ... ... Read More
The cabins were clean ... and service was good ... staff were happy and helpful ... loved the observation deck on 15 ... BUT the food although plentiful was mediocre and lack variety ... often the blandness was masked by over salting ... my biggest disappointment on this cruise line was that served restaurant breakfast end at 9:30 am ... so I was left to elbow my way thru the buffet resulting in a cold breakfast by the time I got to a table ... my cruise ship morning routine on other cruise lines consists of morning exercise, a shower and then a sit down breakfast after 10 am ... this routine in my definition of cruising so I will not be cruising on NCL again ... PS ... loved the spa ... went every seaday ... was very happy when the water cooler was moved to the waiting area ... Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The Joy is, unquestionably, a beautiful ship. That being stated, there are several deficiencies as to the ability to handle 3800+ guests. The theater is not able to handle the crowds and unless you got there at least 30 minutes prior to ... Read More
The Joy is, unquestionably, a beautiful ship. That being stated, there are several deficiencies as to the ability to handle 3800+ guests. The theater is not able to handle the crowds and unless you got there at least 30 minutes prior to a show, odds are that you wouldn't get a seat. I have never, ever experienced this issue on any other cruises. Additionally, both the Cavern Club (the Beatles tribute band venue) and the Social (stand up comedians venue) are woefully undersized. To go to a performance in the Cavern Club, you had to get in line a full hour before the show (which is 45 minutes!). Huge lines at the Social as well. It is clear that NCL has significantly (repeat - SIGNIFICANTLY) cheapened the offerings in the main dining rooms. Pretty much every night, you'd look at the menu and really struggle to find something appealing. No shrimp cocktails (ever!), no lobster night, and the utilization of really cheap fish varieties (swai, bluefish, etc). I guess that they really want you to buy additional nights in the specialty restaurants (which we did!). Additionally, even on a 16 night cruise, they never changed the limited lunch menu in the main dining rooms (or La Cucina, where Concierge Class could eat breakfast and lunch). Obviously, this is crazy! The specialty restaurants were wonderful. We dined in them 9 out of the 16 nights and loved every meal. It was clear to us that if we were ever to travel again on this ship, Concierge Class is an absolute necessity. Embarkation in LA was an absolute nightmare and the debarkation process in Miami was no better. Lines were beyond comprehension if you were not Concierge or guests in the Haven. You'd think they'd have these processes figured out, but it was utter chaos in both places. That being said, we had an absolutely fabulous concierge who did not have the word "no" in his vocabulary! This really enhanced the trip. Additionally, as noted in other reviews, the staff overall was as good as any we've ever had on a cruise. Kudos to NCL for what is obviously a terrific training program. Ports: Most were fine, but Acapulco is a disaster and there is virtually nothing to see on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. 40 years ago, we went to Acapulco a few times and it was "the" place to go in Mexico. Now, it's in shambles. No cruise ship should be going there. The cabin: Concierge Family Inside Suite. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! At 561 sq.ft., it was larger than our son's apartment in Brooklyn! It was comprised of 2 bedrooms, a living room, and 2 bathrooms (master bath with a double sink and bathtub). It is designed for up to 6 passengers, but as there were virtually no families on this sailing, NCL offered it at prices far below normal. While we occasionally missed having a balcony (especially while crossing the Panama Canal, we'd gladly sacrifice the balcony for this cabin any time. Now, we're spoiled!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Is bigger always better? That depends, of course, on whom you ask. In my opinion The Norwegian Joy is just too big. My wife and I took the Joy, from LA to Miami because of the itinerary: a full transit of the Panama Canal. While I ... Read More
Is bigger always better? That depends, of course, on whom you ask. In my opinion The Norwegian Joy is just too big. My wife and I took the Joy, from LA to Miami because of the itinerary: a full transit of the Panama Canal. While I have visited Panama a couple of times, neither of us have ever gone through the locks. It was extraordinary. I prefaced the journey by reading David McCullough’s “The Path between the Seas.” That detailed account of the politics and the construction challenges associated with this amazing waterway made the journey much more interesting. We have been cruising for years and have been on numerous lines. Years ago we traveled on the Norwegian Sun out of Texas. Because we enjoyed that so much, we thought we would give NCL another try. The crew is as good, friendly and service-oriented as we have found elsewhere. When the threat of a virus apparently became a reality they went to great measures to protect the ship’s occupants. But we were amused to note that all sliding doors in public areas (and they are everywhere) could only be activated by placing one’s hand squarely on an activation pad. All those hands (many unwashed) pressing those buttons seems to negate all the hand washing required regularly at points where food was served. I believe other ships we have been on employed automated doors. The entertainment, in most cases, is as good as we have found (The Band- Silent Shout, the stage production Elements and the piano man- Arvin, were favorites.) A huge entertainment favorite on board is a Beatles tribute band. Unfortunately (I guess to be historically correct) they picked what is one of the smallest venues on the ship- The Cavern for these guys to perform. Regularly, many annoyed people lined up at the door only to be turned away from the tiny room. The Savor, Taste and Manhattan restaurants were OK but not extraordinary. This was our first cruise without Lobster or Escargot. I was disappointed. The Buffet, The Garden Café, was a favorite with a wide selection of sandwiches, breakfast items, hot entrees, ethnic dishes, salads and desserts (including several strategically placed “soft serve” ice cream dispensing machines.) There are two banks of eight elevators fore and aft. There is a wait about 85% of the time. When a car does arrive, it is usually very crowded, and you risk unintentionally offending someone when you back into them. But that’s all to be expected with that huge number of (sometimes huge) fun-seekers. When you pick up a towel for the deck, they record your name and cabin number because if you don’t bring the towel back they charge $30 per towel. I understand the intent: don’t leave an untended towel on a chair to save it as it just might get pinched and you will be out the thirty bucks. I doubt anyone is ever charged for a missing towel as the process to get a towel is loose. The colossal number of people made finding deck chairs and chaise lounges a genuine task. The cabins are OK, but they skimped on electrical outlets. There was a grand total of two in our verandah cabin (10796); both right next to each other. Take extension cords. The bathroom and showers are bigger and better than most. There is a quirky little design flaw (probably to make the bathrooms larger) that makes it difficult to get into the closet, because the bed or sofa by necessity is jammed so close to the closet that there is very little space to access your wardrobe. Getting on the ship took about two hours. At one point there was no one staffing the computer points to process incoming passengers. I was told they had all gone to help at another area, near the street, because, it seems, they were understaffed. I don’t know if that was NCL’s problem or the Los Angeles World Cruise Center’s boondoggle. Disembarkation went quite well. I never sign up for excursions. I enjoy the challenge of finding a driver near each port’s terminal. I have saved thousands in doing so. So, nothing to report there. We will cruise with NCL again, but not on the monster ships. The prodigious crush of people diminishes the experience for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were on this cruise as part of a tour group to experience going through the Panama Canal. Therefore, most of the planning and details were taken care of for us. When we got to the ship, there was a long line to board, but once it ... Read More
We were on this cruise as part of a tour group to experience going through the Panama Canal. Therefore, most of the planning and details were taken care of for us. When we got to the ship, there was a long line to board, but once it got moving, it was slow but relatively steady. We were more than happy with our balcony suite, mid-ship on deck 13. Plenty of room, comfy bed, and great shower once we figured it out. Appreciated immediate hot water! Our steward was friendly and accommodating once we bridged the communication gap. Only concern was when announcements were made, we could not hear them so just hoped it wasn’t anything important. We knew it was probably OK when we were awakened at 5am by the captain letting us know we were about to enter the locks!! Dining: Manhattan, Savor, and Taste all basically have the same menu. The buffet was pretty typical; variety was there but, as usual, getting foods hot was nearly impossible. The Local was fine when we just wanted a fresh quick bite to eat. Since we were given five specialty dining meals, we ate at Q Steakhouse (portions were huge and the food we chose was excellent), American Diner (a nice surprise, not busy, food we chose was excellent, and the server wrapped up our desserts to take with us because we were so full!), Cagney’s (very good), Ocean Blue (very good), La Cucina (OK). To be fair, I am rather picky about my foods so many choices did not appeal to me. We never had any issues getting a table. Maybe it’s because we are early eaters, but there were always lots of empty tables. There was always plenty to do aboard ship, though most of it was not of interest to us. However, we enjoyed each day. Footloose, Elements, and Beatles were very good. Only one pool for adults and it kind of felt like the lounge chairs were packed together like sardines and, as usual, people “claimed” them early and we often saw them not being used for two+ hours. I don’t think we ever met a staff member who didn’t greet us with a smile. The team worked very hard to keep everything clean and sanitized which is an overwhelming task and even with their precautions, there obviously were health issues on board. Getting off and on the ship for shore excursions was pretty well organized and painless. Enjoyed the ones we took. Just a little unnerving when the catamaran taking us into Cartagena had the entire crew wearing breathing masks! Not sure we would take such a long cruise again, but overall we enjoyed the experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This ship was very clean and well maintained. The electronic door openers may have seemed like a good idea but when you are trying to keep germs at a minimum, having everyone touch the openers to open doors is not a good idea. They need to ... Read More
This ship was very clean and well maintained. The electronic door openers may have seemed like a good idea but when you are trying to keep germs at a minimum, having everyone touch the openers to open doors is not a good idea. They need to post a sign by these openers and tell people to use their elbow or the back of their hands to activate them. In general, I feel that all NCL cruise ship food in the buffet and free dining rooms is lackluster. Every night, in all three dining rooms, for 16 days, we had the same choice of entrees with just one or two different options. I feel like they scrimp on their free food so that you pay to upgrade to their specialty restaurants. The “Elements” show was very entertaining but all the other entertainment options were lackluster. The Speedway was unique and a fun experience. The slides were fun and the pools nice. I wouldn’t want to be on this ship with a lot of kids because the adult pool is small and it was difficult to find chairs in the pool area. The Panama Canal transit was amazing! This was certainly the highlight of the trip! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
As Platinum travelers on NCL and having cruised multiple times with other cruise lines all around the world, my wife and I selected this NCL cruise as we have never cruised through the Panama Canal and wanted to do so on a newer and larger ... Read More
As Platinum travelers on NCL and having cruised multiple times with other cruise lines all around the world, my wife and I selected this NCL cruise as we have never cruised through the Panama Canal and wanted to do so on a newer and larger boat. After reading numerous reviews regarding this cruise aboard the NCL Joy we were very concerned about all of the negativity, and therefore had low expectations. However, we were so pleasantly surprised and are now happy to write this rebuttal review regarding this particular cruise and this ship. The boat is absolutely pristine and clean with the most friendly, outgoing crew that we have ever encountered! You cannot pass by any of the 1700 crew members with receiving a warm and friendly greeting! This boat has something for everyone from Racing cars to water slides, to golf, to laser tag! The entertainment venues are the most varied and numerous we've ever encountered from numerous comedians, to numerous quality singers, hypnotists, aerialists, ventriloquists, tribute bands such as a wonderful Beatles Review, a full Broadway Production in "Footloose" as well as an original production of "Elements". Every evening we had several entertainment venues to keep us busy and involved. the boats itinerary was perfect with a mix of interesting ports mixed with some sea days. The Panama Canal crossing was truly spectacular with this boat due to the numerous viewing opportunities such as the opening of the front bow to the air-conditioned Observatory Deck, to The Front Cafe and the "Waterfront" areas with their cafes and sofas that all combined to offer different viewpoints along with a running commentary from a local historian from the Bridge. We were given explanatory pamphlets as well as a colorful certificate for framing. NCL went above & beyond to insure that the experience could be enjoyed by all! Frankly, as one who looks to these reviews for an objective perspective, I'm writing to say that, in the case of the NCL Joy, these negative reviews could not be any more off point! Anyone seeking a Panama Canal Crossing on a new ship should strongly consider this cruise as a great value for the money that offers numerous entertainment, eating, and activity options. My wife and I would happily repeat this cruise again! No complaints! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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