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1,146 Norwegian (NCL) Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

3rd cruise. Last one in the early 2000's. SAME FAKE art auction and same tanzanite sales pitch. Its old and scammy, cruiselines ! The show Elements was a 10 ! Other entertainment very good ! All meat was tough. All hot food not ... Read More
3rd cruise. Last one in the early 2000's. SAME FAKE art auction and same tanzanite sales pitch. Its old and scammy, cruiselines ! The show Elements was a 10 ! Other entertainment very good ! All meat was tough. All hot food not hot. All food a mix of very good and not so good. Complimentary dining room service is slow between courses. I had to start ordering to get the appetizer and entree at the same time and skipping dessert. The three complimentary dining rooms were beautiful and was able to sit by a window if arrived early. Pool cold. Hot tub not hot. Fitness center too small and crowded except on port days. Observation deck was beautiful, large, comfy and had refreshments. Cabin inside made into large queen. One side had only about six inches from the wall. Other side ok. This cabin also had 2 pull down beds that store in the ceiling. I really don't see this tiny cabin serving four people even if two are small children. Nice shower. TV had good programming including some good movies. Room steward did a good job at getting the job done. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I thought the food at the buffet was pretty bad. Although the Indian food was superb. The buffet had hot dog, hamburger and low quality chow mein without meat. The deserts were lacking in taste. I've been on a lot of cruise and never ... Read More
I thought the food at the buffet was pretty bad. Although the Indian food was superb. The buffet had hot dog, hamburger and low quality chow mein without meat. The deserts were lacking in taste. I've been on a lot of cruise and never been on a cruise so bad. When we returned to cabin there was never chocolate nor towel animals. I don't usually like to write reviews because I am lazy but I just want to let you know the Joy was a big letdown. The price is cheap but they get you with other fees like $10 to watch movies in the cabin, nothing on-demand on the television. The only other pros was that the show Footloose was good. I thought the directing and the singing was superb one of the best I've seen in a cruise. The overall con was that the food was bad and low quality Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
First time on the Norwegian line. We had high hopes since this is a pretty new ship (built in 2017) and then had a major refurbishing in 2019. And while some of those hopes were met, others were not. We had heard of the Premium ... Read More
First time on the Norwegian line. We had high hopes since this is a pretty new ship (built in 2017) and then had a major refurbishing in 2019. And while some of those hopes were met, others were not. We had heard of the Premium Beverage Package that comes with the 5 free offers and so we were looking forward to that. Yes, it was nice, but in all honesty, my husband and I are not big drinkers and so we would have been fine without it. The food was just ok. The first night's dinner was inedible. Horrible. I ordered the strip steak and it was extremely tough. My husband had scallops as an appitizer. They were the tiny little bay scallops and the plate was kind of a joke that they put in front of him. Needless to say, the food is definitely not up to par with the food we have had on Royal Caribbean and Princess. There is only one small pool for adults which was odd. And in order to use the sauna/steam room, you had to pay or book a treatment in the spa. We have never encountered that on other cruise lines and were disappointed in that. Our stateroom, on the other hand, was fabulous! We had a concierge level family suite with a virtual balcony. Very, very nice. Two bedrooms and a sitting/living area. The one bathroom had a large shower and the main bedroom was complete with a basically full-sized tub. The stateroom was actually the best part of the cruise! The entertainment was also just so-so. The comedy shows were fabulous and the comedians were very, very funny. We also so Footloose which was adequate. The magician, Po, was not very good. Very rudimentary magic. We were very disappointed in him. The Elements show was somewhat entertaining but a lot of it featured the magician Po and that was its downfall. The staff was friendly and accommodating. I know they work very hard and it shows. The ship is clean and they do a good job on the upkeep. So did we have fun? Yes, we did. Are we rushing to book another Norwegian cruise? No, we are not. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were on a casino comp cruise. We were initially assigned an interior room. A month before the cruise Norwegian sent an email advising we could bid for an upgrade. The link takes you to a bid screen with a graph barometer indicating ... Read More
We were on a casino comp cruise. We were initially assigned an interior room. A month before the cruise Norwegian sent an email advising we could bid for an upgrade. The link takes you to a bid screen with a graph barometer indicating your bid strength. The range poor to excellent. I bid $165 Per Person right on the first tick over from "Fair" to "Good" $165. Per Person total $330. Which in our case was a small supplement to pay. NOTE: for our Casino cruise we did have to pay a $100 per person admin fee plus Port fees and Tax of $144.14 Per person. To get on the cruise for two passengers was $488.28 (interior room) not including Bid. Now add the Upgrade Program Bid for Balcony which was accepted at $165.00 Per Person FINAL Total for two people in a Mid Ship Balcony was $808.38 Norwegian offered us ONE free perk. We chose 100 minute internet package. My husband requires internet to work and he agreed to join me with the hope he could get some work done. Norwegian sent a few more emails to up sell drink packages and shore excursions and an unlimited Internet package. This internet pkg was $99 (only one device can be on but we switched from lap top to phone very easily). Download the app on your smart phone, it was handy. I strongly suggest if you need Internet to purchase this if its offered, if you wait till you get on the ship it will be much more expensive. I recommend purchasing the communication option for $9.95 per person. This will enable you to text, call and send pics to your cruise mate. It was great to use when we needed to meet up, and touch base . The internet worked great for me, checking email, banking, and posting pics, etc. However, using it for my husband"s software work, and online meetings, it barely got him by, but he managed and was satisfied. I set up low expectations due to my experience with other cruise ship internet packages. Unlike my Carnival set time dinning experiences, the Free Style dining was awesome. I can not stress enough how important it is to book your dinner venue well before the cruise. Especially if you want a 5:30 to 7pm time. I noticed while we breezed to our table (during the 530 - 7pm hours) , the other passengers who did not have reservations were in line and waiting . The same goes for your onboard Show Productions. We were able to go inside right away/no line and find great seats with our reservations. Go 20-25 minutes early to get the best seats as it's open seating for all shows. The Magic Act, go even earlier you will need to get up to the front portion for the theatre to get a good view of Po's magic. Using the reservation options I was able to time dinner at 5:30 so I could make my 7pm show times. I highly encourage spending time reviewing the online planning tools The website scheduling tools were very helpful, go online early so you can get the times you want. American Dinner is a specially restaurant, charging for ala carte with the exception of Breakfast which is complimentary. I do not recommend paying extra for the Texas BBQ restaurant "Q" The entree charge of over $20 ($48 bill after gratuity ) for pulled pork , beef brisket, no drinks, wasn't worth it. In my opinion its an unnecessary expense for those of us that have access to Texas/good style BBQ ,and pay the same if not less for superior taste and quality. Highly recommend the the Luxury Sailing and Snorkeling Excursion Tour, however if you are into decent snorkeling conditions book it after April when the water is clear. Though the snorkeling wasn't great , the sailing, food, service and the impromptu whale watching made it AMAZING and still an outstanding value! Recommend pre purchase the water package, it was inside our room when we checked in. First and Last day : Be prepared for long wait lines when embarking and disembarking. We found the Observation lounge a quiet and not a crowded place to wait for our call to disembark. The Observation lounge offered a limited continental type buffet, but for us it was enough. The expected dreaded safety drill did not come .... it was quick under 25 minutes, point by point emergency instruction, organization excellent, you report to a specific person upon arrival to your muster station he/she checks you off the list. Our favorite dinning option was Savor for a sit down breakfast. Pound cake French Toast was yummy .. the fresh fruit was flavorful, and a nice variety. Dinner we enjoyed Taste, we were fortunate and got table #73 a table for 2 at the window twice!. Its hypnotic watching the ocean as the ship powers through it. I didn't care for the Manhattan dinning room. Its grand in style, extra large space two story ceilings , your table will most likely be some where in the sea of tables. Savor was a nice place to relax for dinner, intimate vibe like Taste. Every wait staff we had contact with was happy, friendly, caring, and took pride in the food they were serving. Casino: Spacious, lots of current games, however if you are a smoker , the casino has a separate small glass enclosed cube room with maybe 55 to 60 machines. and table games . Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise looking for a short get away. This was our second on NCL after having done the Jewel Oct 2018 for a New England cruise. We live in Southern Calif. and we usually go to Las Vegas, San Francisco, or Reno for 4 nights ... Read More
We chose this cruise looking for a short get away. This was our second on NCL after having done the Jewel Oct 2018 for a New England cruise. We live in Southern Calif. and we usually go to Las Vegas, San Francisco, or Reno for 4 nights just to get away. So we wanted to shake it up. We love cruising (maybe 25 cruises in our background typically 7-14 days) so thought about trying this 5 night cruise on the Joy instead. Great decision and now we have other options for those short getaways. As to restaurants, the main dining room (we tried Savor for embarkation lunch and the Manhattan for dinner) were ok at best. Service in the former was poor, the hamburger was, as I said, ok at best. Dinner in Manhattan: service good, but food just ok. Le Bistro was exceptional--service, food, ambience. Loved it. Ocean Blue: service was good, all courses except my entree were great. I had the grouper with lemon and oil The fish was done properly but the sauce was tasteless. Everyone else (there were 4 of us) enjoyed their entrees so I guess I just chose the wrong sauce (my fault and I should have sent it back). Cagney's: Service was poor. The four of us were all using our specialty dinner package (as we did at Le Bistro), and the waiter told us that we could have an appetizer or a soup/salad, not both When we pressed him on that he relented and allowed us each to have both. The restaurant lost one of our party's special diet order placed several days earlier. The waiter kept getting the order wrong in the sense of not knowing who ordered what and, thereby, placing the order in front of the wrong person. This was after checking several times. We had the premium wine package (the standard one, not the premium plus). With the wine steward I had requested that she surprise me with a wine paired to what I had ordered for each course. (Doing that at Ocean Blue the night before, Richard, the wine steward had done an exceptional job and I wanted to try it again.) It took her a long while to understand what I was requesting (in fairness, Richard didn't understand right off either but caught on relatively quickly), asking me several times what wine I wanted with dinner. She missed one course (there were 4 courses) and other than pouring never came back to see how we liked the wine. The port wine she gave me for dessert was significantly less enjoyable than what Richard had supplied the night before (or the wine steward at Le Bistro). My veal was sort of fatty (again, I should have sent it back), and my wife's Porterhouse was gristly on the New York Strip side). Q, the barbeque restaurant, was a pleasant surprise. After a bit of a delay for the waiter to recognize us and start service, he did a great job. The food was excellent, service, very good, and the decor was creative and enjoyable. Embarkation: with Concierge Suite one has not only priority check in but priority boarding. It took less than 10 minutes for us to be on board from when we entered the terminal. And there were substantial lines that we were able to bypass. Right after check in they took us around a corner and right up the gang plank--wonderful! Debarkation: USA authorities had delayed "releasing" the ship for debarkation. And of course, everyone poured out of their cabins at their assigned times, anyway. So there was one big clog in the hallway with the usual serpentine lines. Fortunately, someone right ahead of us asked a crew member where we should go since we had priority debarkation, also. She directed us through a hall way that got us close to the front of the serpentine line. That got us off the ship relatively quickly. After retrieving our bags (really, really easy as Concierge is a whole separate debarkation class to itself), we found ourselves in a long line to get to immigration/customs. But we noticed that we could "buy" our way out via a porter. With a porter, we went to a separate line that took about 5 minutes vs a probable 45 minutes. We definitely didn't need a porter for our two checked bags and two carry ons. I gave the porter $7 (no official charge just tips for the porter)----well worth it. The whole process took about 35 minutes from once the debarkation line on the ship started to actual move to get through Immigration/customs and out of the terminal. Entertainment: Foot Loose was great---enjoyed it immensely. Wine, the musical, with 3 cast members from Foot Loose was fun, well acted, and well worth the money. The comedy club had two entertainers performing at different times. So we went on two different days. Enjoyed one, not the other. But again, in fairness, the rest of the audience seemed to like the second guy so I guess, just not to my liking. Elements was also not my cup of tea. But my wife loved it and I could appreciate the amazing talent and energy that was displayed. I should have gone to the Cavern Club instead as I just could never fit in the Beatles. Shore Excursions: We did the coastal whale watching in Cabo through NCL. As was explained, it was the luck of the draw as to whether you see whales and how many. We got lucky. There were perhaps 3 whales in front of the boat for a long time, diving and surfacing. Just before we got back to port, another whale decided to do a full breach. Amazing! That whale also had a baby with her who was trying to mimick her mom but wasn't quite strong enough yet. It was fun to see them both. Beverage service on the boat was excellent, they also served chips and guacomole which was quite tasty. All included in the price. Ensenada Wine Tasting: I set up a private tour at this port as we only wanted two wineries as opposed to the usual three and didn't want the 50-75 person bus tour. We were taken by Alain (the owner of Baja Wine and Sun) to a small family owned winery and then a large winery. It was interesting to see the differences and enjoyable not to be with a cattle car of people. Price was less than the cruise ship version, also. Alain had said he would meet us outside the terminal--I thought that meant the terminal building. It didn't; it meant the actual terminal. So we had to walk maybe a quarter mile, not a big deal. We had a comfortable van. Water in a cooler in back. Alain's English was excellent and his knowledge deep. He is actually a CPA by training and I would recommend him highly. The English of the person guiding us at the small winery was also excellent--turns out she just received her BS from UCSD in biology. The English of the guide at the big winery was perhaps not quite as good but still excellent. After the tours Alain dropped us off at El Rey Sol, a french restaurant that has been around since at least the early 50's, about a half mile from the ship. We had eaten there on our last trip to Ensenada (I think a land trip) many years ago and wanted to return. Interesting for the memories but I would not do it again. The food was just not up to what I was anticipating. Instead, I would have had lunch in the valley near the wineries as there are many excellent ones there. Room Steward: Poor. We didn't actually meet her until the second day. She never gave us a tour of the room. We didn't discover a big trash can next to the desk until the last night. She left two partially filled drink glasses on the desk for two days. One day, she didn't make the bed properly so that the bottom sheet wasn't properly tucked in and pulled out in the middle of the night. I was not pleased with her. Crowds: This is a big ship but NCL does a great job of keeping everyone dispersed so other than the elevators which often were crowded, we never felt it to be a problem. And even the elevator situation was acceptable. Noise: For some reason the powers that be seem to think that cranking up the PA system to maximum is the way things should be. So it is extremely noisy in the area where customer service/shore excursions are located. The activities they hold there are so noisy that I actually could not converse with the person at the CruiseNext desk. And that is another issue. When I do business, I want to be sitting down at a desk and able to hear the other person. Maybe that doesn't bother a Millenial, but I can't do that anymore. I would suggest to NCL that if they want me to sign up for a future cruise they find a room to put their CruiseNext people. Even at the CruiseCritic Meet & Mingle, the cruise director had the PA system at what seemed like maximum--for a group of maybe 20 people. Bothersome. But what was good was that there were maybe 12 officers and managers at that meeting. Impressive. I would do the Joy again and we are actually thinking of doing the Pacific Coastal cruise on her. Only hesitation is will the enterainment (Footloose, etc.) get swapped with a different NCL ship. While I enjoyed all the entertainment I don't know that I want to see the same stuff too soon. All in all--a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Shout out to Terri (DT) and Julian who did an amazing job. NCL arranged transportation. You meet them in the baggage claim area and wait for bus that takes you to port. Check in was (despite reviews I had read) was very organized ... Read More
Shout out to Terri (DT) and Julian who did an amazing job. NCL arranged transportation. You meet them in the baggage claim area and wait for bus that takes you to port. Check in was (despite reviews I had read) was very organized and quick. From drop off to on the ship was 30 minutes. Cruise staff, entertainment, and food were all great. Ship is large and easy to find your way. Good cruise for solo travelers as there are plenty of outgoing people. Observation Deck on 15 was a great place to unwind at the end of the day, have a cup of tea, and meet people or read a book. Sign up for meals and entertainment prior to boarding the ship. Free style was great if you had those reservations. Staff in The Local were always organized, friendly and helpful. The TASTE was much more organized that The Savor. Manhattan was good too. Helpful hint--don't wait for your tag color to be called at the end of the cruise or you will, as did many people, miss you flight. Clearance was given about an hour behind schedule and If I had waited I would not have made a 2pm flight. Also, it is worth getting your bag and asking for the porter to take you in a separate line and you clear re-entry very quickly. Overall, the ship staff was amazing, friendly, interactive. The ship was clean and they made efforts to maintain hygiene. I would take the cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We booked this cruise last minute (less than 60 days out) as a getaway for the two of us. We wanted to try the Haven on Norwegian as we have heard great things about it and prefer to travel in similar class suites on other cruise lines. ... Read More
We booked this cruise last minute (less than 60 days out) as a getaway for the two of us. We wanted to try the Haven on Norwegian as we have heard great things about it and prefer to travel in similar class suites on other cruise lines. The Haven on Norwegian did not disappoint! When booking a Haven class cabin, the embarkation process is sped up by a personal escort past the mass of people trying to onboard and straight into the Haven onboard at floor 17. As a person who hates waiting in line, to me this alone would be worth the extra cost of the cabin class...but there was much more to love about it. Located at the front of the ship on the top 3-4 levels, the Haven comprises of a bar area (where the concierge is also located), a 3-story atrium area (with a pool, jacuzzi, waterfall, lounge chairs and bar service), an observation lounge (with light buffet, very comfortable indoor seating, and panoramic views from one of the top floors at the front of the ship), and an outdoor sun deck with dual hot tubs at the very top of the boat! We love cruising for the all-inclusive nature and took full advantage. Food on this boat (Norwegian Joy) was better than most of the other cruises we have been on but we stuck to the Haven restaurant and the specialty restaurants because that’s what we prefer. The menu in the Haven restaurant was great, but does not change for the entire cruise which is not ideal, but the salmon and filet were both so amazing that I didn’t care. This itinerary at this time of year was colder than I thought it would be (had I researched average temperatures I probably would not have been surprised) so other than the one day we were in Cabo there was not much sunning happening and standing out on the outdoor areas was too cold for comfort. We thoroughly enjoyed the 2 shows, Footloose and Elements which were put on well, done to recorded music (not my preferred live orchestra) and had very strong performers in all the roles. I am frequently disappointed by the lack of horn players on the ships and this was no exception. No sax/trumpet/trombone to be found and no real jazz lounge on board, mostly cruise-style popular piano singers but the country/rock band in the ‘Q’ restaurant was really really good. As far as the service goes, it was very good, but for the Haven class we were in I would say there were several time I was disappointed with them. Whenever my concierge made a reservation for me, the people at the destination (gaming, go karts, restaurants) all said the reservation was not present when I arrived and that I should have contacted them anyway, even after the concierge made the reservation. If this is the case, why have a concierge at all? Also, while having a butler for the room we did not see him once after the day he introduced himself at embarkation. All in all, the service was very good and 100% worth being in the Haven instead of in a regular cabin class. My recommendations: 1) get to know the restaurant managers as they often enjoy pampering you and giving some special attention 2) stay in the Haven if you can because the privacy and luxury are definitely worth the extra dollars for a special vacation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We selected this cruise because we were originally booked on a cruise to Cuba (with a different cruise line) which had to be cancelled due to our government's policy that US citizens can no longer travel to Cuba. And, our 20th ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we were originally booked on a cruise to Cuba (with a different cruise line) which had to be cancelled due to our government's policy that US citizens can no longer travel to Cuba. And, our 20th wedding anniversary coincided with the cruise. This was our 72nd cruise. We have sailed on Azamara, Crystal, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, Raddison, Royal Caribbean, and Viking. So, my opinions are based on comparing this cruise experience to those we have had in the past. First of all, I wrote a letter to NCL's CEO more than a month prior to the cruise and never received a reply. I also emailed two different customer relations staff prior to the cruise and never received a reply. I did not call because I have a hearing disability and email or mail works best for me - I mentioned this within my communications to all three of them. I felt the lack of a response reflected a lack of customer service and basic customer relations. In addition, on several documents, I indicated that we would be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary during the cruise and the date. On other cruise lines they typically bring a piece of cake to your dinner table on your anniversary and/or the Captain sends a card. Nothing was done and I found that disappointing. Embarkation was slow but considering the number of passengers I was not surprised. I can say, however, that our luggage was delivered to our cabin quickly. Given the number of passengers, my husband and I decided to walk off with our luggage at the end of the cruise to be among the first off the ship. Apparently, half of the other passengers shared the same idea and we stood in line - actually there were two long lines. It took quite a while to make it off the ship, to the terminal and through customs. We booked a mini-suite which turned out to be a waste of money. It was small by comparison to a Princess mini-suite and also regular balcony cabins we have had on other cruise lines. I never met our cabin attendant. The grab bar in the bathroom was broken and trim was peeling off the front of one of the shelves in the closet. A bottle of champagne was delivered to our cabin without ice or glasses. When my husband inquired about ice, he was told to go down to Deck 6 to get it! We were told the ship was refurbished in 2019. Staff could be seen cleaning throughout the ship. So, in general, things were in good shape - with the exception of the things I mentioned about our cabin. I was disappointed with NCL's policy banning passengers from bringing on bottled water. Also, I thought it was curious that they no longer have plastic straws (an attempt to save the environment) yet they use plastic disposable cups - rather than plastic reusable (washable) glasses. The dining in the three "complimentary" dining rooms was good, as was the service. We never had to wait to be seated. We ate at two of the specialty restaurants and they were both very good. We ate lunch one time in the Garden Cafe (buffet) and I got sick from something I ate there. So, we did not return to eat there for the rest of the cruise. I would have to say that there were more daily activities offered on the Joy than on other ships we have cruised on. That being said, the noise level was horrible when popular activities were taking place in the Atrium. The sound simply took over. It was often impossible to find a place to sit it is Atrium during popular activities. The ship apparently can accommodate 5000 passengers. We were told there were "only" 4200 on our cruise - I could not imagine 800 more people! I thought winter school break for kids was over but the number of children on board indicated otherwise. Elevators were very slow - again, due to the volume of people trying to use them. I did not care for the elevators because they did not have the typical illuminated floor information. Instead there was a TV type monitor with a continuous loop playing pictures of the production shows. The lack of traditional floor information was confusing for many people. One thing I thought was a good idea is that the hall carpets had schools of fish swimming in the same direction - the direction was pointing to the front of the ship. A gentleman from Cruise Critic, and his helpers, organized a very nice Meet & Greet as well as other activities. My thanks to Mark et al. I feel the Joy is really a ship for young families with children. Given that, and our experience on this cruise, it is unlikely we will book again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise as it allowed us to go to warm-weather ports in the winter, and we could use 2 Cruise Next certificates. Our last NCL cruise had not been great - especially the service. We'd been on the ship before, as well ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it allowed us to go to warm-weather ports in the winter, and we could use 2 Cruise Next certificates. Our last NCL cruise had not been great - especially the service. We'd been on the ship before, as well as its sister ships Bliss and Escape, so we knew (and don't love) the design. We booked an inside cabin, which was OK, although I had hopes of winning the bid for a balcony upgrade as has happened previously. That didn't happen this time. So we boarded the ship with reasonably low expectations, but we were immediately pleasantly surprised with the service in the dining room where we had lunch, as well as the quality of the food. Our steward introduced himself promptly upon our arrival to our cabin, which was clean and well-designed, although obviously quite small. Throughout the cruise, we continued to be impressed with the service in the restaurants and bars. I particularly liked the bar waiter Bruce in the atrium, who was always friendly and smiling. There were some clunkers among the entrees and desserts (a particularly unfortunate cannoli), but on balance the food in the MDRs and The Local was good. We didn't eat in the specialty restaurants. We'd been to all the ports, but we had great weather and enjoyed our time in the ports. The tender operation for Cabo went quicker and more smoothly than anticipated. Now for the negatives. The ship's unfortunate design limitations mean that some venues (particularly The Cavern and The Social) are too small for their current purposes. So we didn't get to see the Beatles or comedy shows, except for the performances in the main theater. Because we'd already seen Footloose (which isn't as good as Jersey Boys), we didn't have to deal with getting reservations for that, which was a pain we avoided. We did like the rock band Silent Shout though, and I enjoyed the Beatles tribute in the main theater on the last night. And there wasn't enough to do on the sea days since we don't gamble or sunbathe. As people have pointed out (and is increasingly true on all ships) most things were selling-focused. I did attend some of the trivia events and went to a couple of the art auctions for something to do. Didn't try the pool, but we did go to the giant aft hot tub, strategically timed for when we thought it would be the least crowded. It was still quite crowded and not really hot enough, but the huge size was a saving grace for being able to use it. Having to check out towels was a little annoying. Embarkation was OK, but the self-assist disembarkation was a nightmare. They need to deploy more staff to help with crowd control. Overall, it was a much better cruise than expected, due to the excellent service we received. We'd been thinking about calling it a day on NCL, but now are looking to book our next NCL cruise for later this year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Absolutely Terrible Cruiseline and Ship. Embarkation: 2.25 hours - Yes you read this correctly - one endless line after the other. On ship: lots of cool stuff but almost impossible to reserve anything (activities, restaraunts, ... Read More
Absolutely Terrible Cruiseline and Ship. Embarkation: 2.25 hours - Yes you read this correctly - one endless line after the other. On ship: lots of cool stuff but almost impossible to reserve anything (activities, restaraunts, anything) because 5,000 people crammed on the ship! Lines and crowds literally everywhere. NO FUN. Security is terrible - had our and our neighbor’s safe broken into with money stolen (several hundred dollars) and security did everything to cast the blame away from the ship. Almost got assaulted on the ship another time and security once again did nothing. Crew is not commensurate with size of ship and number of guests so you will have terrible service throughout by an overworked crew. Is a newer ship so clean and in good repair. Met a couple who got off at first port because service was so terrible and the ship employee’s lying and singing the company line - said they got a hotel and we’re going to enjoy their week on the beach instead of on that mad house - how I wish I had done the same.... You been warned . If you do not heed this advice and fine another line and ship to sail on you will be thinking of this review while saint in your first 2+ hour embarkation line... Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is my 7th cruise. I cruise along with my family twice a year. The embarkation was process on the cruise was a nightmare. It took over 2 hours to board the ship. The food on the ship was adequate. The french specialty restaurant was ... Read More
This is my 7th cruise. I cruise along with my family twice a year. The embarkation was process on the cruise was a nightmare. It took over 2 hours to board the ship. The food on the ship was adequate. The french specialty restaurant was nice. The productions were also great. The ship was very loud. Priority was given to Haven Guests for everything, while others spent ridiculous periods waiting for food and service. The Japanese steak house involved a lot of loud singing and clapping. It was so loud, I felt like I was at a frat party. We chose the dining package, but most restaurants were filled almost immediately. Many people were not able to get into the shows, specialty dining choices, race track or laser tag. They attempted to sell 150 to 200 packages for unlimited attractions. Norwegian did not allow me to put a limit on my 13 year old son's spending. There was definite price goudging. One game in the arcade was seven dollars. They also do not open the partitions between balconies. I also booked the airline reservations through Norwegian. They booked me on red eye flight that would have arrived at 2am on Monday morning. I had to call corporate in order to get this changed. When you book multiple rooms, Norwegian will not link the accounts, making it very difficult to book excursions or anything. We cruised on the Norwegian Escape a couple of years ago and had a much more positive experience. I made the most of this and enjoyed myself because I believe in making the most of every situation. Overall, we probably spent 10k on this trip. However, we were not treated well. People talk about Carnival, but I have found them to be consistent with their services. If you don't have the money to spend for Haven, don't waste your time. I will not. Norwegian needs to realize that there are more people booking regular accommodations than Haven Guests. In the future, I will spend my money with Carnival or Royal Carribbean. Norwegian has been taken off of my list. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our 5th cruise with NCL and by far the largest ship we've been on. Prior to this sailing with over 4,900 passengers plus crew, I want to say our next largest ship had just under 3,000 passengers. We've always enjoyed ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with NCL and by far the largest ship we've been on. Prior to this sailing with over 4,900 passengers plus crew, I want to say our next largest ship had just under 3,000 passengers. We've always enjoyed NCL's style of cruising, but sad to say this time we didn't have the same experience as prior sailings. We chose a Concierge Class family cabin because there were 5 of us, so we thought the 2 bedroom cabin plus the living room area would be a good fit. We were not wrong on that! The cabin was very spacious and the layout was perfect. We didn't get a balcony, but the virtual screen was kind of cool to get a decent view of the outside during the day. We chose the 9:30-10:00 sign in time and got there around 9:00. There were about 100 people in line already, so we took our place in line and waiting till about 10:00 when the line started moving. Upon entering the registration area, we were directed to the "Priority" area for "Concierge Class" members to check in. Check in took about 15 minutes any by 11:00 or so we were walking onto the ship. I normally like to do a walkthrough of the ship, starting from top to bottom, to get an idea of the layout, but I kept reading how important it was to make reservations immediately, both for the specialty restaurants as well as the entertainment. Yes, you will need to make reservations for most of the shows and comedy acts, as well as laser tag and go karting. We made our first mistake when we only reserved 3 restaurants. We chose 3 at random because they sounded good, but we really should have spent more time looking at the menus because we ended up canceling two because we just couldn't find things our 11 and 14 year olds would eat. We then moved to make reservations for all the on board entertainment. Again, more mistakes were made, mainly because we felt rushed to choose show times and times for laser tag/go karting. Initially we were going to go with the "unlimited" go kart package, but DO NOT do that, as there is zero chance you'll get your money's worth. The track just wasn't open enough hours to get more than a couple rides in, UNLESS you planned to not go ashore on a port day or if you planned on skipping dinner and/or the evening shows. After making our reservations, I did a walkthrough of the ship, top to bottom. The ship is beautiful, no doubt about it. It didn't "feel" old and seemed to have a really good layout in my opinion. Let me address some of the areas in more detail: Joy Theater - Decently sized, two shows a night for the production shows. Plenty of folks walking around taking drink orders. Didn't seem like many "bad" places to sit in the whole theater. BUT, again, make your reservations early or take a chance and wait in the stand by line for space to open up. Social Club - This is where the comedians performed (most of the time). In my opinion, this area was too small. Almost every other ship we've been on had a lounge area that was around 1/3 the size of the main theater for acts like this, but the Joy did not. But in fairness, some of the comedy performances were performed in the Joy theater. Ocean Blue - We LOVED this restaurant, so much that we went twice on the cruise. Our kids fell in love with Adrian, our waiter. The food was outstanding, and the service was top notch. Q - Our first night was spent dining in the Q, the BBQ restaurant aboard the Joy. They offered live music which was pretty good as well. The food was pretty darn good and the brisket was actually better than some of the BBQ places at home. Sides were so so, but again, the service was just incredible. The desserts were WAY too big, but scrumptious! Buffet - We never ate a meal here, we're just not buffet people. We did snag some of the soft serve and hand-scooped ice cream, and it was of course delicious. MDR - Savor/Taste - Very enjoyable, we didn't think there was much difference between the two, aside from the obviously different decorations. However, we felt both were VERY loud at dinner time. Breakfast was always pretty quiet here, but we go here before 8 each morning. Lunches were also very good, albeit a little on the loud side. MDR - Manhattan Room - Same thoughts with this one as for the Savor/Taste. But, we felt this was the loudest of all the MDRs, mainly because it's so much bigger. Bars - I had the drink package, so I tried all the bars. Often times they were crowded and the more loud and demanding a passenger was, the quicker he/she got served. Can't tell you how many times I waited while people coming after me were served first. I'm just not that person, so it is what it is. Starbucks - We are Starbucks nuts, so it was nice having all the Starbucks our system could tolerate during the week. Rarely was there a line, but we also avoided it at the peak morning hours. Local Pub - This was our favorites spot for lunch. We enjoyed the food here, rarely had to wait (again, we don't eat at the rush hour times), and thought the service was pretty good. The menu was varied and had something for all of us. My biggest complaint is you could hear the noise from the Atrium, two decks below, and it was often very loud as they seemed to always have something going on. Observation Lounge - We REALLY wanted this place to be our "go to" spot for relaxing, but that was not to be the case. It was pretty much non-stop noise from start to finish unfortunately. They did have two smaller food stations on each side, as well as a Starbucks and bar, but it was just always packed and obnoxiously loud in here. Waterfront - This ended up being our "go to" spot, even though it was outside. It seemed like very few people even knew about this place, as we were often the only ones out there. And the plus is we were just steps away from the Mojito bar, our favorite bar of them all! District Brew House - Another great spot to relax, and I think it's because people just didn't know it was there. Tucked away in a corner off deck 8, this was a great spot to read and drink a beer (or two). As for Go Karts, our kids ended up riding the go karts a total of 3 times. They really weren't impressed, as you are instructed not to pass anyone unless you have a very clear path, and if you do pass and it's considered "aggressive" the crew member watching the track will slow your kart down, which happened to every one of us. The "race" then became a "follow the slowest person" event because the track just isn't wide enough to make a smooth and clean pass without coming too close to the person in front of you. And each "race" we had, there always seemed to be that one person who was intimidated and didn't want to go very fast, so everyone else suffered. One other issue is we waited nearly an hour for our turn, even though we had appointments. So, even after all that, if you still want to ride the Go Karts, make your appointments early, as I believe they were completely full by the end of the first night. Laser tag was pretty fun, and I was even able to join my kids even though I didn't sign up. But again, make your reservations early, they were also full by the first night. At the time of writing, there was no package deal offered. Disembarkation wasn't too bad. We opted for the self assist as we always like to debark as soon as possible and don't mind carrying our own bags. After all, what are kids for? We did encounter a few crew memeber who pointed us in different directions, but once we found the line, it was just a matter of waiting for the green light. We were off the ship and through custom by 7:35am. Summary - This cruise ranked near the bottom of all our cruises, mainly because it just seemed like 20 decks with nearly 5,000 people was a bit excessive given that we really didn't get any more interior public space out of it. I would have assumed more public space, not less. But, the food quality and specialty restaurants were way above average, so we don't feel like it was a waste of time. We definitely won't sail on a ship this large again, but we'd probably consider NCL again. However, we just booked our next cruise, and it's with Holland America as it seems their style might more closely meet ours. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are a 60ish couple who traveled for the New Year's cruise to the Mexican Riviera. We have experienced over 20 cruises with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Oceania, Azamara, Seabourn, and Viking Ocean. I was not expecting a ... Read More
We are a 60ish couple who traveled for the New Year's cruise to the Mexican Riviera. We have experienced over 20 cruises with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Oceania, Azamara, Seabourn, and Viking Ocean. I was not expecting a very good cruise based on reviews, but it was really not that bad provided you are in a select class of cabin, meaning Concierge or Haven. We were in Concierge. Anything else and it would have been a very bad use of my money. Embarkation We arrived at 10:30 AM and were able to actually enter the terminal building right away and were directed to the concierge line (enter go all the way to the rear, last line near wall) and waiting area. It was pretty painless. Please note that without concierge or Haven, you will wait a very long time to board, standing in line. Room Very nice décor - very nice décor throughout ship. The bathroom shower was terrific for the pricing, the bed linens great, mattress fine, room temp perfect and perfectly adjustable. The shortened coach was bad bordering on useless. The balcony was fine with very clean see through railing. Unacceptable - Pillows were very hard and price of water is really criminal. Please note you cannot bring your own water - even one bottle on board. I had brought a bottle to use while waiting for ship entry and I had to throw it away. What a waste. Good timing for luggage delivery. Room steward kept everything clean and neat. Liked the signal lights for "do not disturb" and "make up room". However, my tablet computer which would not fit in the safe, had a message that attempted log ins failed and I was locked out.... Hmmmm. It was not me. Deck 14 forward was very quiet. Look at direction you are traveling coming into ports to select port or starboard. Cabo entry is gorgeous. Food As others have stated you can't go wrong with the for fee restaurants. All great service and food. Menus and presentation were not that exciting, but service and food worth the price. The lamb was best I have had on any cruise ship in years. Savor was our best experience in the regular dining rooms, great service and our food that night was actually the best I had in all restaurants with a sun-dried tomato polenta that was wonderful. By contrast, the service in Taste was terrible. My husband and I never received a full compliment of silverware or bread plates. We shared even when we requested a fork and knife. The local had one of the worst hamburgers I have every had, very reminiscent of elementary school cafeteria food. I would avoid The Local. The Manhattan room was not memorable, but acceptable. A great alternative when you don't want a big meal is the Observation Lounge with three different serving spots. We did not use the buffet. As part of concierge service you can have breakfast and lunch in La Cucina. This was absolutely wonderful. The omelets, French toast, fresh fruit were so wonderful. Service was great including a morning greeting and help from Amit the concierge. The view always great and lunch also worthwhile and quiet. The absolute most disappointing food was at the Wine Lovers the Musical - Horrible, totally expected better. While on the subject, wine was not exceptional, and the play script sophomoric (not the performers). If you know wine, I would say don't waste your money. Bars All bartenders and servers were very attentive and friendly. Wine Wine selection very good, except in Manhattan where they were put out if you ordered anything not already open. We were so excited about the wine selection in the wine bar, however, the Asian attendant was the most rude and sullen of the whole crew. I point out it was a specific person as we received great service from another wine steward in one of the restaurants who also worked there occasionally. My husband was prepared to spend money there due to the list. This guy hid for awhile, then walked around while 6 people sat at the wine bar waiting for service a good 15 to 20 minutes. He never even said something like, "I will be with you in a minute". So we never ordered or returned. Norwegian's profit loss. Entertainment - Wow, the comedy club an A, Arvin the piano, vocalist A+++, cruise director great A, Beatles A++, other bands an A. Elements okay, but this kind of entertainment is just done too much now, C+. So overall great entertainment but an F for the venues and timing of events.. Everything was too crowded, can't get in unless you make reservations on a touch screen as soon as you board. Arrive 45 minutes before the Beatles in the Cavern Club if you want to see them. Dance floors (spice too cold outside and too late) way too small. Sorry, dancing is not jumping up and down. If you want to rhumba, swing, etc., you need a little bit more space. Trivia, etc. too small an area for number of people, quite challenging for the staff who did an amazing job. Seriously boring during sea days. Internet - the worst at sea - don't pay for it. Norwegian App never updated, ever. Disembarkation - fine again if you are Haven or Concierge class as you go out a crew elevator before the masses. Immigration is silly as it is after luggage pick up instead of before so it takes about 1/3 time longer as everyone has to wait until people are able to clear all their luggage away from the officer. We bought a transfer to the airport from Norwegian on the way out and it was great. - $20 a piece. Tours - Cabo Whale watching in zodiac - great guide and nice trip, saw many whales, but no breaching Mazatlán - Salsa and Salsa - perfect as it was a rainy day. Fun and filling, but not a beautiful location. Puerta Vallarta - beautiful port, Las Calitas beach day very nice and would do again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We really enjoy cruising and never had a negative thing to say about any cruise we had taken before but since cruising on the Norwegian Joy we felt we needed to warn people about cruising on this ship. We had chosen this cruise to get ... Read More
We really enjoy cruising and never had a negative thing to say about any cruise we had taken before but since cruising on the Norwegian Joy we felt we needed to warn people about cruising on this ship. We had chosen this cruise to get away for Christmas. This is the third Christmas cruise we have been on and the 8th cruise overall. We have traveled with all different cruise lines and never the same ship. Norwegian Joy was by far the worst cruise experience of all of them. The ship it self was cramped and there was not enough entertainment for everyone they cram on to it. They only have one area of the ship for people to sit and enjoy shows. It is the Atrium which is in the middle of the ship and only has enough chairs for about 100 people and that would be giving it some. They would bring in folding chairs in the evening and line them up behind the comfy chairs. People were complaining constantly about having to stand or sit on hard chairs for long period of time to just enjoy a little entertainment. The theater only had 2 shows the entire time (Footloose and Elements). You had to reserve tickets in order to attend or stand in a line up at the door hoping to get in. All other cruise ships we have been on had different shows every night (2 shows a night 7 and 9) and it was first come first serve. The Social was split between the Comedy Club and the Night Club. This was on deck 6 and in the middle of the ship with no windows. Again you had to reserve if you wanted to see one of two comedy shows that they put on. There was always a huge standby line up to get in an if you did not reserve the first day then you were out of luck. The room was very small and did not hold a lot of people. Again they brought in folding chairs to seat everyone. At night it became the night club. There was again a line up to get in with what looked like a bouncer standing at the door, very intimidating! They would just move the chairs to the side so people could dance on the little dance floor. There was not even a bar in there so servers had to go to the Atrium to get drinks. Absolutely crazy! The food on the ship was not good at all. They did not have any variety and would just put the same thing every night on the menu and call it something different. One of us in our party had ordered and got the same roast beef dinner each night for 3 nights but it was called something different every time. We felt like we were eating left overs every night. One of us had ordered a classic Caesar salad as an appetizer and received it with shrimp. Weird as the menu did not say it came with shrimp. Ate it anyway and spent the next day becoming familiar with the toilet and garbage can in the room. The pasta bar server in the buffet refused to make me pasta when I asked saying we have some already made over there. I heard him refuse another person the day before as well. The food was cold in the buffet and you could never find any seating. The cabins were the smallest that we have seen which is not a big deal as you should only be in your room to sleep. The unfortunate thing is you did not have much to keep you entertained so you spent a lot of down time in your room which did not even have a chair to sit in. There was no shelving in the room and you only had 3 shelves to put your clothes on in the closet and with very limited hanger space. They do have a race track as well as laser tag and an arcade. We did not experience any of that but heard people talking about the race track and how fun it was. There was an observation deck on deck 16 which we never saw more than 30 people in and no entertainment. It felt like you were in a library when you went there as it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. There were 2 very tiny pools which again we did not experience. They only had one area for the smokers on this ship. It was at the very back of the ship on deck 17 at Spice H2O. This was suppose to be a 18+ from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm but there were kids in there all the time. There were only about 30 chairs and it was very busy with smokers huddled in the corner as it was a small roped off area. They had a bar but no coffee machine so in the morning you had to go up to the buffet and then walk all the way to the other end of the ship and have your smoke. We felt like they were shaming us into hiding. We were not the only ones who thought this and everyone was annoyed. You could smoke in this small room of the casino but if you weren't gambling they asked you to leave. They had a room that you could go to to smoke cigars but you were not aloud to go in and smoke cigarettes or vape. Crazy that we went in 3 times to check it out and not one person was in there smoking cigars. They did move the smokers one night to the outside hallway (we were allowed 20 chairs at this time). If you wanted a drink the server had to go all the way down to the casino on deck 7. They were having a crew party in the Spice H2O. Crazy that they made this ship for China and when it did not do very well there they sent it to North America. We were very disappointed and may rethink Norwegian all together. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Where is the Norwegian I used to love? As a long time NCL customer I had a number of issues with this ship and changes NCL has made. We were given a 50 pictures for 500 dollars deal which is way more expensive than in the past but we also ... Read More
Where is the Norwegian I used to love? As a long time NCL customer I had a number of issues with this ship and changes NCL has made. We were given a 50 pictures for 500 dollars deal which is way more expensive than in the past but we also knew we were getting a 30% discount so we thought 350 is not too bad. So after spending 2 hours to pick out the 50 we liked best they told us we could not use our picture rewards program on this deal. We walked away - NCL lost 350 dollars and we lost our pictures. Who wins on this? Also - Their Cruise Next staff are about as aggressive as they come. 5 times I said I only wanted to spend 150 dollars for a 250 credit on my next cruise. They pushed so hard they were practically calling me stupid and even falsely told me I cannot buy a single 250 credit. I was so frustrated I stopped working with the first sales rep and moved to another. And the new one used the same aggressive tactics. Finally, We noticed our balcony and the dinner tables much more compact and tight. As if NCL wanted to save money by shrinking the non-income providing areas. And there is a fee for many activities that used to be free. And those fees are very high. All shows are booked up at Day 1... Where have you gone NCL? I want you back! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The cruise was very poor, the ship seems old and there is only 1 pool and it was the size of a deck of cards. All that room on the deck and 1 adult pool and one child's pool and both are very small. The entertainment was subpar and ... Read More
The cruise was very poor, the ship seems old and there is only 1 pool and it was the size of a deck of cards. All that room on the deck and 1 adult pool and one child's pool and both are very small. The entertainment was subpar and the food was void of taste and or had subpar ingredients (had 2 good meals the whole cruise). The rooms are very small and you have way too many people on the ship as it was crowded everywhere. We have been on several other cruises and this was the worst by far. The teen club was very boring and i had hoped our kids would love it but they said all the kids did not like it. We only stayed in port for a few hours it seemed and it was just not enough time. Onboarding and offboarding were terrible. Find another boat to go on, this one was not good in any way. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have sailed with Norweigan Cruise lines many times in the past, but this will probably be the last time. I almost considered cancelling this cruise after i read the reviews for this ship. Unfortunately most of the negative comments ... Read More
We have sailed with Norweigan Cruise lines many times in the past, but this will probably be the last time. I almost considered cancelling this cruise after i read the reviews for this ship. Unfortunately most of the negative comments turned out to be true. The embarkation was the worst i have ever experienced. They requested that all the passangers be aboard the ship by 1:00 PM as they planned on sailing at 3:00. They actually didn't leave till almost 5:00 PM. When we arrived at the dock at 11:00 AM we were greated with several hundred people who had already arrived to check in and they were was sitting around. We were put into a que to process our papers. We stood in the line until about 12:30 when they finally started to check the papers. Unlike all other cruise lines I have been on there was only 2 agents doing the check in. Finally about 1:30 we were allowed to board the ship. Since their dock facility appeared to be temporary they had no ability to take the photos for the ships card or make adjustments to previously submitted information. This had to be done at guest services which as typical was a zoo with long waits. Thank god for the cabin attendant that was filling in for our regular cabin stewart who was getting the luggage as he was extremely helpful. He got us all the items that were sup[posed to already be in the cabin as had been requested including distilled water for the CPAP machine, extension cord for machine hookup, towels, ice bucket and numerous other items routinely found in the cabin upon arrival. In Norweigan's quest to add more cabins they appeared to make the cabins narrower evident by the reduction in shelf widths and less space between the bed and the wall. Overall this reduction was minor as there was plenty of storage for 2 in the cabin. It was our hope that from this point forward the rest of the cruise would be as good an experience as it has always been with Norweigan. The entertainment was relatively good with an excellent holiday show and a Beatles show the last night. Teppanyaki and Cagney's did not disappoint, but Ocean Blue was a major disappointment. They upcharged for items that used to be included in the specialty dining packages. Although the food was better than in the main dining it was not as good as on past experiences with Ocean Blue. The food in the main dining and other complimentary venues was average to poor. The quality was lacking and the variety was obviously an attempt to lower their food costs. The feeling was that we were on a budget cruise and not an upscale cruise ship. Our excursions went well, but they were provided by an independent vendor. Sanitation procedures were quite extensive as an obvious response to the earlier problems they experienced with outbreaks of viruses. The deck and pool area seemed OK, but the weather did not allow for extensive use of the facilities. This of course was not the ships fault. The enclosed smoking area in the casino was a good idea as both my wife and i are extremely allergic to smoke. The port stops were fine. The cruise concluded with the debarkation process almost being as bad as the embarkation. Totally disorganized. Nobody from Norweigan taking responsibility. They did handle the luggage retreval in a reasonable manner. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Should have researched more .. horrible experience.... even the elevator crowded all the time. You are like a cow in a cattle call line EVERYWHERE you go....huge line ups. Going off and on excursions same thing..BIG borrible to get on ... Read More
Should have researched more .. horrible experience.... even the elevator crowded all the time. You are like a cow in a cattle call line EVERYWHERE you go....huge line ups. Going off and on excursions same thing..BIG borrible to get on and off boat. We had a four hour wait to board the boat it ..... which was the start of a complete gong show. Everyone was leterally standing around at the LA pier wondering what to do for 4 hours. NO Norwegian employees greeting you ANYWHERE and NO SIGNAGE. It was unbelievable. Hidden costs everywhere. Some shows and restaurants free, some not. Very unclear. You literally have to FIGHT for a reservations with Guest services, because the 2nd day ALL the shows were FULL even the free ones which you have prepaid for with your cruise cost!!! Same went for the race track. We finally fought with guest services to get the last spot on the 7th day. No kidding. I I wanted to leave the boat by the 2nd day. You are literally fighting for everything. The pools which look so great online are TINY and too COLD to enjoy at all. They are not heated and the ship is cold outside.. Kids and adults were literally freezing so very boring. Hot tub was ok but only allows 6 people at a time. There are hundreds of people milling around the pool deck with no place to go. Restaurants all had same menus. Very deceiving. Each bottle of water you take on your cabin counter will bill you $7.00 US. This is NOT the water that is in the mini-bar, it is a small cardboard container of water that looks totally complimentary...but again another hidden rip off. The free- style seating makes it impossible to connect with others.Cabin extremely small, and deck is tiny... clean but extremely cramped .Bath room too tiny and bed takes up complete cabin. Deck very disappointing......way to small, and can hear all conversations of passengers upstairs, and on both sides. Both myself and husband got a bad flu the 5th day. UGH! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We sailed with the Norwegian Joy over Christmas week 2019. When we made reservation about 8 months in advance, we asked about vegan food and were told it was no problem. That was a total sales pitch with no truth behind it. Two of us have ... Read More
We sailed with the Norwegian Joy over Christmas week 2019. When we made reservation about 8 months in advance, we asked about vegan food and were told it was no problem. That was a total sales pitch with no truth behind it. Two of us have been vegan for more than 6 years and are used to navigating non-vegan environments, but this was over the top unpleasant and difficult. Other members of our family remarked that it seemed that Norwegian Cruise Lines just didn't want us on the ship by the way they make it so incredibly awkward to have a balanced meal. The Garden Cafe (cafeteria/buffet) didn't label anything as vegan or list ingredients and servers didn't know what was in the dishes, so every buffet meal required standing around until the chef could come out and let us know. And the answer usually was that something was made with dairy, including a lot of the Indian food. We complained at guest services and were told that green labels meant vegan. Then I showed them a photo of ham with a green label. The main dining rooms were maximally awkward: staff handed us menus for the next day and asked us to special order in advance. Every menu on the ship was really meat heavy, so they'd be handing us a menu with choices like beef wellington, turkey medallions, chicken piccata, and then ask us what we wanted even though the menu didn't contain any vegan dishes and the maitre'd couldn't make any suggestions. That was so rude! Each night, we had to play the guessing game as to which sides could be made vegan and the maitre'd would run back and forth asking the chef what was possible. It didn't occur to them to actually offer us a vegan choice instead of making us do the work to plan our meal based on the sides. For Christmas dinner, they delivered to us the "chef's choice," which was a plate of steamed vegetables with some sauce. We had to ask for rice because it didn't come with anything else. No thought at all into making something special like the rest of the family was eating on Christmas. It was disappointing for the entire table that we were being treated so badly while everybody else had choices and didn't have to order 24 hours ahead of time. We paid for speciality dining, but there was nothing to even veganize at some places and too much of a hassle to try, so that was a waste of money. We did try at the teppanyaki place and that was a disaster to the point that even our chef seemed embarrassed at the fact that they were just offering us white rice and then rice noodles with no sauce. Servers weren't trained on what vegan meant so there was a server who brought us food and promised that it didn't contain seaweed. Last time I checked, seaweed was still vegan... And somehow they seated the vegans on the meat side of the grill, which was painful for us, and then despite the reservation and 24-hour warning that vegans were on the premises, we got served our bland food as others were finishing. They couldn't even offer us miso soup at the Japanese restaurant because they'd made it with chicken stock, who ever heard of that? My mother accurately described the vegan dessert as styrofoam. And after not eating it and shoving the plate away, they served it to us again the next night because there wasn't a choice for vegans. The vegan dessert option at the buffet also didn't appear to change for 7 days. We vegans had planned this cruise for a party of six and chosen to spend a large sum of money for six people to sail for seven days at Christmas. In the end, I felt terribly disrespected by Norwegian's hostility to vegans and how they made us feel like pariahs for not eating animals. The maitre'd at the Manhattan Room was openly annoyed, so we only ate there once. That was my last Norwegian cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The good: It was a wonderful and festive cruise. We had never been on a Christmas cruise. The ship was decorated to the max. The crew was feeling the atmosphere and it showed in their interaction with the guests. The shows ... Read More
The good: It was a wonderful and festive cruise. We had never been on a Christmas cruise. The ship was decorated to the max. The crew was feeling the atmosphere and it showed in their interaction with the guests. The shows were outstanding. Footloose, Elements, and the Beatles show on the last night should not be missed. We were also treated to a special presentation on Christmas day that was right up there with the others. Excellent voices. Great showmanship. These were the best shows we have seen on any cruise we have been on. The food was hit and miss. Favorites: The filet mignon at Teppanyaki and the brisket and banana pudding at the Q. The low, the carving brisket at the Buffet that was inedible. It was like chewing on a rubber band. The weather was clear and warm at all three ports .North of Cabo it was cooler and windy. That's the way it is in the winter. The bad: At al the restaurants there was a long time between placing your order and when it arrived resulting in a lot of meals not eaten there by us. We had an aft balcony on the twelfth floor. Every evening from 9 to midnight you could hear/feel the boomba, boomba, beat from the nightclub above which was loud enough that we had to wear earplugs. The other problem was the soot. Little black spots that glob on anything on the balcony including you. One night at about 3am, I opened the slider door to get some fresh air. I was greeted with an aweful burnt stench. What were they burning? As a result, no more aft rooms for us! This was not a reflection on our rooom steward who was friendly and did the standard of keeping our room neat and tidy. The ugly: The embarkation was ugly. There was a 1 !/2 hour delay getting started. We got in a line that was moving through a tent, but when we got up to the tent we were told it was for Haven guests. Not a problem.They paid for it. The Port yellow vests told the rest of us to line up against the white tent going east. Most people did so. The line ended up being a big "U" that went well past the entrance to the port terminal. They had the black ribbon partitions. around the front of the opening of the tent and in front of the people in line against the white tent.. One of the port guys opened one of  the black ribbons not in front of the people in line. Then a wohle bunch of people not in line bum rushed into the terminal. People in line started yelling and.opened their ribbon. Then it was a free for all. Not a good scene. Nobody was hurt that I know of.but an ugly scene nonetheless. Signage was needed for guests to be in the proper line. Once inside and through security things went smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Cabin 14318 Enjoyed this cabin. Large balcony. Plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the sun and view. Enjoyed the sound of the wake. Like being near a waterfall or creek. Relaxing. Con Occasional soot from the smokestack. ... Read More
Cabin 14318 Enjoyed this cabin. Large balcony. Plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the sun and view. Enjoyed the sound of the wake. Like being near a waterfall or creek. Relaxing. Con Occasional soot from the smokestack. Room was clean. Bed comfy. Bathroom pretty roomy. Lots of storage space. The cruise was relaxing. Had the specialty dinging and a drink package. No hidden charges. Date at 3 specialty restaurants. I was a little disappointed with Ocean Blue. Nothing special. The Italian and Carney’s were better. Actually I enjoyed the buffet. Good choice of food. Healthy if you make the right choices. Drinks were plentiful. Enjoyed the District Brewhouse. Good selection of beer on tap including a favorite of mine Left Hand Milk Stout. Entertainment was good. Caught Footloose. Or was excellent. Observation deck is nice but spent a lot of time on our sunny warm balcony. No problem with the virus that was onboard a couple weeks earlier. Lots of clean stations. Getting on and off was not too bad. No complaints Relaxing cruise Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I started to write down the long story of how the Norwegian Joy mistreated my disabled wife, but when it got to five pages long (no joke), I stopped. The short version is that the treatment was so bad that we seriously considered getting ... Read More
I started to write down the long story of how the Norwegian Joy mistreated my disabled wife, but when it got to five pages long (no joke), I stopped. The short version is that the treatment was so bad that we seriously considered getting off in a port, flying home, and skipping the rest of our cruise. For travelers with disabilities, I recommend trying any other cruise line before Norwegian. If you are disabled and have to cruise on the Norwegian Joy, here are some of the tips I learned from my experience that might help you: 1) The departure times at the port are not accurate. Our check-in time was 10:30, but the Norwegian employee said we’ll be boarding an hour later, at 11:30, because “we just tell people to arrive earlier so that they won’t all arrive at the same time.” Many, many people with disabilities are sensitive to temperature because of neurological problems, etc, and you could end up sitting around in a hot or cold terminal. Tip: be prepared for a long wait, bring cold packs, etc. 2) The boarding lines for disabled people are poorly managed. Lines suddenly start forming, but it’s one of those situations where there are no employees to tell you what line is for what, everyone is trying to ask everyone else what the lines are for, and so you risk waiting in a long line only to be told you were in the wrong one. Tip: be very assertive in trying to get info from anyone you can about what to do. 3) The ordinary Guest Services personnel are not prepared to deal with any unusual requests related to disability. They are good at non-disability accommodations and requests that they get all the time, like getting you an extra bathrobe. They are *not* good at helping with the multitude of individual requests or needs that travelers with disabilities might have. My guess is that this is partly just because they aren’t trained well about disability-related issues, but another part of it is that employees on the Norwegian Joy generally seemed scared of getting in trouble with their superiors, and if they do anything out of the ordinary for you, they risk being disciplined. They will also not call a supervisor when they are in over the heads, and I’m guessing that’s because they’re under orders to use supervisors as little as possible. Tip: go ahead and try guest services if you want, but don’t make the mistake I did of trying to work with them again and again even after they don’t solve your problems. Instead, after the first time they don't fix your problem, ask for the highest-level person you can get in Guest Services, which in my experience was an assistant manager. (There are entry-level people, then supervisors, then assistant managers.) 4) Even with supervisors or assistant managers in Guest Services, be prepared to push hard. They were blowing me off until I got openly angry with them. I’m sure they thought I was being too aggressive, but the flipside is that the only time they started solving my problems was when I was openly angry. Tip: a little righteous anger doesn’t hurt. Remember that they’re the ones who are mistreating you. 5) With either front line people or managers, remember that if one Norwegian employee tells you there’s not a solution for you, or they can’t do something, don’t trust it. The crew doesn’t seem very well informed about what other people in other departments can do. Sometimes we were told something was impossible, only to have another Norwegian employee tell us they could easily do it. Tip: you might have to talk to multiple people in multiple departments. 6) If you have a medical diet and notify Norwegian in advance, you might get the form letter we did, which says you won’t be able to eat in the buffet but that you can go to any specialty restaurant (paid or unpaid) and they will cook things that match your diet. This is completely misleading. In fact, all the food served in those restaurants is pre-prepared, so no one is there who can cook things to order. Instead, Norwegian’s system is that you have to notify them 24 hours in advance of where you’ll eat, what you’ll eat, and when you’ll eat. (How many of you know 24 hours in advance how hungry you’ll be, what you’ll want, etc?) Tip: Norwegian’s letter is wrong about their own ship's services. The awesome executive chef or one of his sous chefs can in fact read any list of dietary restrictions and tell you what things at the buffet you can eat or not. (You might have to get the assistant manager at guest services to set this up for you, though.) If you have allergies be sure to ask whether the food not only contains an ingredient but was also prepared in a kitchen that uses that ingredient. Another tip: the front-line servers at the buffet will try to answer questions about what’s in the food, but they don’t really know what they’re talking about and will give you contradictory or nonsensical answers. 7) When dealing with problems related to disability, we were often told to meet a person at a certain place at a certain time, but they weren’t there. You’re then stuck getting in some massive line so that someone else can try to track down the person you were supposed to meet with. You’ll end up standing in long lines—some half an hour long—and if you have problems standing in line, this will wear you down. Tip: avoid setting these kinds of meetings. Get yourself the phone number of someone highly-ranked and don’t waste your time try to work through the broken system. 8) In general, most employees of the Norwegian Joy seemed to have an understanding of disability that is, by American standards, about 30-50 years behind the times (no joke.) I even spoke to the Group Operations Officer, who is the person officially in charge of dealing with disability, and her understanding of disability seemed way behind the times too. For instance, she said that if they “see” anyone with a disability in a line, they move that person to the front, but she didn’t seem to realize that you can’t always see who is disabled and who isn’t. Tip: In general, be prepared to educate Norwegian Joy’s crew about disability issues. They don’t seem to really understand them. 9) One consequence of Norwegian not understanding disability is that thye assume all travelers with disabilities are in wheelchairs. For example, here’s a conversation I had multiple times with different members of the crew: I say “My wife is disabled.” They say, “We can accommodate wheelchairs. I say: “My wife is not in a wheelchair.” Crew: “I thought you said she was disabled?” Another example: after getting off the ship and waiting to clear customs, a Norwegian employee told us that unless you’re in a wheelchair, you can’t use the customs special access line for disabled people. Tip: Norwegian thinks that all disabled people are in wheelchairs, and if you’re disabled and not in a wheelchair, be prepared to educated Norwegian about that. Another Tip: Be ready to push Norwegian employees when they tell you that you can’t use access lines, maybe even just ignoring them, and also talk to non-Norwegian personnel when possible. When I asked the actual port security whether my disabled wife could use the access line even though she wasn’t in a wheelchair, the person said that of course she could. 10) On the ship, Norwegian has no special access lines on the ship for travelers with disabilities, even if they *are* in wheelchairs. Tip: you’ll probably have to try to fix these access problems on your own. Be bold about just walking to the front of any lines and saying something like “I’m disabled and can’t wait in this line without being in pain, can someone help me?” 11) At least one of our problems on the ship was something that fell under the heading of “security,” so one way I avoided the nonsense with Guest Services was to ask to speak to a Security Supervisor. That person was amazing and solved the problem instantly. Tip: security is way more competent than guest services and might solve some of your problems faster if it’s within their jurisdiction. 12) At a certain point I fell into the trap of thinking that the treatment of travelers with disabilities was poor because Norwegian is a multinational operation and maybe the standards in other places just aren’t the same as in America. But that was wrong. Norwegian’s shoddy treatment contrasted with the treatment from the other companies we interacted with during our cruise—e.g., the Mexican operator of a whale watching excursion. When I got on the whale watching boat, I said “my wife’s disabled,” and the first reaction from employee was “how can I help?” This is pretty normal in my experience—most people are sympathetic and want to help accommodate travelers with disabilities—and it’s totally different from what you get on Norwegian. Tip: things might get better off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My parents came up with the idea of us spending the holidays together on this cruise. I had never been on one and had reservations about ever trying but I went with an open mind. I have to say all my assumptions and the stereotypes about ... Read More
My parents came up with the idea of us spending the holidays together on this cruise. I had never been on one and had reservations about ever trying but I went with an open mind. I have to say all my assumptions and the stereotypes about cruises were justified and it was own worse than I expected. The main issue with this ship is that there's just too many people on it. Almost 5,000! So the ship felt very crowded, and even though there is food available 24/7, every meal time felt like being in the midst of a starving mob. If you wanted a sit down dinner and didn't have reservations, you were looking at an hour wait. Also, imagine the time it takes to get 5000 people off a ship at the end. Their disembarking process took about 4 hours! My other gripes: No designated adult pool area vs kids are. So everything was smashed together in the middle of the ship where you could never find a chair to sit down in peace, there were shrieking kids everywhere and the adult pool was more like a fish pond than a pool. Also the pool servers were rude and not very courteous or helpful. The shows were cheesy and not very professional, the shops were sparse and didn't offer much, and the cleaning staff made you well aware they expected a tip and the food quality was fair at best - even in the sit down dining rooms. Also, if you ever needed to go to, or call, guest services - good luck! long lines to talk to someone, and no one ever picked up if you were calling from your room. OH! And the worst yet - Wifi service is $30/day but barely works. Lastly, the shore excursions are way over priced and you don't really get to see each town in the short time you are there, but then you're stuck on the ship for two days each way sailing time. This is probably because they want to make more money off you on the ship during that time. I will probably never try another cruise based on this experience and if I do, it won't be with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I will start by saying we are Platnium Plus cruisers with a decade long history with NCL 40+ cruises. We were using a Cruise certificate from Caesars Ent. to book the cruise and we were told we had a choice of 2 perks. We opted for ... Read More
I will start by saying we are Platnium Plus cruisers with a decade long history with NCL 40+ cruises. We were using a Cruise certificate from Caesars Ent. to book the cruise and we were told we had a choice of 2 perks. We opted for Gratuities and WIFI. So we arrive on the ship and I try to log in and can't. I did notice on the TV my name is misspelled so I figured if they had it wrong there maybe the internet had it wrong as well. I was correct using the misspelled last name I was able to log in. Once logged in I noticed we had the 60 min free from being Platnium plus but no 250 min from the perks promo. So I head down to the internet service desk for assistance and need to wait 30 min till he arrives. While waiting I get in customer service line 20-30 people hoping they may be able to fix the misspelled name. After the 30 min wait CS advises they cannot fix the name the Internet may be able too. So I go back and the internet desk tells me that it would just be easier to " misspell my name for the cruise if I can log in that way ". I then ask about the 250 and was told that would not show up until after I had used the free 60 min. So after the 2nd day, 60 min is all used up and there is no option for the 250 min wifi perk. I then go back to the internet desk where he actually looked it up and said I did not have any wifi package and to go to customer service. By this time I realize I am getting nowhere so I buy a package so I can use the internet to go find proof that I had a perk of 250 WiFI minutes when I booked. I was able to find the email with the AMENITY Invoice clearly showing Internet Package (250 Minutes or 1000 MB) per day 1 in cabin stateroom. Feeling validated that I was correct I again run downstairs and patiently wait my turn in line for the 3rd time to show them I should have received a wifi package. I showed amenity invoice to the desk clerk and he looked it up and said he did not show anything and would need to communicate with the corporate offices. The next day I get a call from the front desk and they advised me that Corporate said I didn't have a package and that I could call them when I return. I paid $179. internet fee and will probably just dispute the transaction with my CC company. My experience with the OLD NCL was vastly different they used to bend over backward to accommodate the guest especially a long term highest level Lattitudes member. Employees were empowered to make it right and fix issues. We noticed service failures throughout the trip the Anytime dining option on the ship was anything but. The first night we went down to Savor, 1 of 3 main dining venues at 5:10 we were told to come back in 30-40 min we returned at 5:45 and my wife asked if our name had been called yet and the host said no. My wife then asked how she knew if she didn't know our name or cabin number we patiently waited for another 20 min and were finally sat at 6:10. Dinner service was more of the same and I saw why there was no turnover from the tables 10 min to get bread and water, needless to say, we did not see the 7:00 show. We quickly determined that dining reservations were essential and booked them all the first night. Even with reservations, we waited 20-30 min. My other meltdown was we had booked an NCL excursion and the meeting time was 12:00. I wanted to get a hamburger before we left the ship so we went to the garden cafe and were told that they don't start serving lunch till11:30. Staff told us to try the Local so we head down to the 7th floor and were told they were closed till noon so back to the Cafe where it's almost 11:30 and the lunch buffet is open but the hamburger station wasn't converted over from breakfast. My complaint is your on a "cruise" and you can't get a hamburger @ 11:30. We used our Platnium PLus free dining at Cagney's and they have changed some menu items they finally have surf and turf back on the menu with a real filet and lobster, not shrimp. However, that is a $19 surcharge when using your dining certificate. I could go on and on about the disappointments and to be honest, we have tried almost all the other cruise line and the only other line we like better CRYSTAL we can't afford on a regular basis so I guess we just suck it up and realize that NCL is just another cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The stateroom was not a highlight of this trip. It was very creaky and did not provide three people with adequate room. However, the other amenities on board including the racetrack and bars were excellent. Overall, I would return to ... Read More
The stateroom was not a highlight of this trip. It was very creaky and did not provide three people with adequate room. However, the other amenities on board including the racetrack and bars were excellent. Overall, I would return to Norwegian but not to this particular ship. The entertainment options were fantastic, from the Wine Lovers the Musical show to the Elements and nightly country music from Top Shelf Country. I would say that these were my favorite aspects of the ship, which is different than cruises I’ve taken in the past in which the pool and hot tubs were always a highlight. The pool deck on this ship is a bit of a disappointment; there is one tiny adult pool and two hot tubs that are perpetually filled with children. The better hot tub is actually located at Spice H2O which is the well known party spot aboard most Norwegian cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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