11 Joy-ful Hits (and 2 Misses) on Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Joy aerial los angeles alaska
Norwegian Joy sailing out of Los Angeles, California. - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

The Cruiseline.com/Ship Mate app team had the pleasure of sailing on Norwegian Joy during her North American inaugural cruise in late April. Some of the team shared their favorite restaurants, activities and experiences... along with two aspects of the ship that didn't quite measure up.


Q Texas Smokehouse

norwegian joy q texas smokehouse barbecue
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

I had zero interest in trying this before getting onboard as my hubby is always smoking and grilling on the weekends and makes some amazing things. However, I have to say that I was impressed with the quality of the meats, overall selection, and presentation.  The brisket was top notch!  The side dishes were fantastic - lots of great choices and easy to order family style and share! - Kim, Head of Sales

Short ribs and brisket were on par with the best BBQ I’ve had in Texas. I would have loved to get a kitchen tour and learn how they prepare the BBQ. - Faraz, General Manager

The Pitmaster Platter can easily serve two (and maybe three) people and gives you a nice sampler of the whole menu. The Mason Jar Banana Pudding tops the dessert selections. - Simon, Community Manager


Smoothie Bar

I enjoyed the smoothie bar at the Garden Cafe; I don't think everyone knew it was there. And the self serve Starbucks coffee or tea at the garden cafe was great so users didn’t have to wait  in line at Starbucks. - Michelle, Quality Assurance Team



norwegian joy starbucks coffee shop cruise
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Joy boasts one full-service Starbucks in the lobby on Deck 5 and a drinks-only outpost in the Observation Lounge. You can even use your Starbucks Card/App to earn loyalty points on the ship. - Simon, Community Manager


Skyline Bar

They had videos playing and each full length screen was a band member.  Totally different approach and looked like it was something done uniquely for Norwegian as I’ve never seen that done before. You could see each band member simultaneously throughout the entire song. - Kim, Head of Sales


District Brewhouse

norwegian escape district brewhouse beer bar
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

The District Brewhouse was great because they had a great unique selection of beers for a non-regional ship and the staff there was also really great. One Russian guy remembered me and just brought me what I had ordered the night before after I walked in. - Bo, Ship Mate Developer


The Local

A worthy successor to O'Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill. The Local serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks. It's the best place for a quick breakfast on the ship - speedy table service and cooked to order food, without the crowds of the buffet. - Simon, Community Manager


Laser Tag

norwegian bliss joy laser tag course cruise
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Laser tag was surprisingly fun! You can have up to 10 players on each side, but the course was a touch small so it’s probably better for a 5v5 match, or maybe even fewer. Still, the course was well designed and the equipment worked great. It filled up fast on our sailing so be sure to reserve it on the TV in your cabin right when you board. - Tom, Web Content Manager

I enjoyed the Laser Tag much more than I had expected. - Michael, Ship Mate Product Manager

The Laser Tag was a blast - pun intended. We went during the day, but I expect it's even more fun during the dark of night. The instructional video was a bit confusing, but once you're playing it made sense. - Simon, Community Manager



Perhaps the best cruise-ship show I've seen yet. Such great music, an incredible cast that brought so much fun and energy to the stage, and a versatile set that transformed from a church to railroad tracks in mere seconds. - Simon, Community Manager

This show was pure fun and made me feel like a teenager again singing along to pop hits like “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Holding out for a Hero,” and of course, “Footloose." The cast and crew, especially the leads playing Ren and Ariel sang and danced and really got the crowd into it. I would not miss this show! - Michelle, Quality Assurance Team


Observation Lounge

norwegian joy observation lounge forward windows
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

I really like the Observation Lounge to hang out and relax. That they have a second Starbucks there was an excellent choice in addition to the bar. - Michael, Ship Mate Product Manager

The Observation Lounge is going to be the place to be on sea days. - Simon, Community Manager

I loved the Observation Lounge, it’s the perfect place to curl up with a book or settle in for a quiet afternoon with a friend and some Starbucks coffee (located inside!). In my opinion, this space is the closest thing to the Explorer’s Lounge on Viking’s ocean ships that I’ve experienced, and that’s a great thing. - Sarah, Social Media Coordinator


Mini Golf

In a weird way, the mini golf was really fun. 9 holes, no lines or waiting, and you're at the highest point on the ship. It was pretty up there and I liked it a lot. I'm not even a big mini golf person. - Bo, Ship Mate Developer


Norwegian Joy Speedway

norwegian joy speedway go karts track
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

I loved the adrenaline rush of going 30mph (I’m guessing). You forget you are on a ship. - Faraz, General Manager



Galaxy Pavilion

The Galaxy Pavilion seems out of place. On a ship so focused on nature and the outside environment, having prime real estate at the back of the ship taken up with virtual reality and similar games (where the technology will be obsolete in a few years) that have you staring at a screen is an anachronism I just can't get past. - Simon, Community Manager

The VR games are fun, but I wouldn’t recommend doing some of them (the flying one in particular) at the beginning of the day. I’m not super prone to motion sickness, but even I was feeling a bit woozy and it took me a bit to recover. - Tom, Web Content Manager

Several of the virtual reality games made me woozy. The gliding simulator made me most dizzy, because you can’t control it. - Max, Backend Developer


Lido Deck

norwegian joy lido deck cruise ship
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

During her time cruising in China, Norwegian Joy featured a Serenity Garden on the Lido deck. The garden was replaced with a large, empty space during the refurbishment prior to the ship relocating to North America. - Simon, Community Manager

The Lido Deck feels very large and empty. - Sarah, Social Media Coordinator

The one negative I have is the wide open space on Lido deck felt like it could have been better utilized (garden, bigger pool, etc.) - Faraz, General Manager


Join the discussion

Are you planning to sail Norwegian Joy soon?


Posted by WeCruiseToo

It was great getting to chat with a couple of the Cruiseline.com Team at the District Brew House! Wish we could’ve connected with more of you, but it was a crazy-busy few days. We definitely agree with all of your comments in this article. Looking forward to bumping into you again in the future!

Posted by 1sharstar

Cruising Joy to Alaska in 2 months, Ihave heard different prices on the Entertainment package, with the karts, tag and arcade. Did you happen to get the cost of the package?

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