Great US Inaugural Cruise

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review to Coastal - West Coast

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 7
Helpful Votes: 177

Overall rating:

4.6 out of 5
Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Joy Inagural

Sail date: April 26, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Joy

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 12130

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

I think this was a great little cruise for travel agents/media to get to know the ship! While I think there are some design decisions (in particular) that I think NCL should have made differently for this ship, the food, service, and entertainment that I was involved with was great. I don't doubt that this is a good choice for those looking to sail to Alaska.


5 out of 5
Embarkation was extremely smooth, I got to the terminal just after 11 am and basically walked right through security and check-in without waiting in line, then walked straight onto the ship.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
I ate in the MDR, Q Barbecue Smokehouse, Food Republic, and the buffet and all were great! The steak I had for dinner in the MDR was delicious, and I'm not usually a steak person so that's saying something. Q Barbecue had a nice selection of meats and sides and we decided to order a bunch of things to share - I highly recommend this if your group wants to try different things because that's a great way to do so. Buffet was pretty standard, don't miss the seafood lunch one day! And Food Republic was great, there are lots of things to choose from and you don't just get one "main dish," you can pick a few things for variety.

Observation Lounge

5 out of 5

I LOVE the Observation Lounge on Norwegian Joy. It's very big but divided out into small areas for conversation so it really doesn't feel as large as it is. There's a bar inside as well as a drinks-only Starbucks counter, and I believe there's a small breakfast available there too. This is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon or evening hanging out. It reminded me of the Explorer's Lounge on Viking's ocean ships, and that's really saying something because I love that space.

The District Brew House

5 out of 5

This space is very popular in the evenings after dinner! It's a great place to try a huge variety of brews as well as your standard liquors and cocktails of course.

Sugarcane Mojito Bar

5 out of 5

The menu here is short, but options are both familiar and unique and give you a chance to maybe try a type of mojito you'd have never thought to make or order before. The space is also surprisingly large and has a small "stage" area for what I assume is live music at different times of day or evening. There's also an adjacent outdoor area.

Food Republic

5 out of 5

Loved Food Republic, I tried a couple kinds of sushi, had pad thai, and a very unique little ice cream dessert. I think overall this venue is best for adventurous eaters or just those who love sushi and other Asian food.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Laser tag is so much fun - it's on the very upper deck and we did it during the day, but I think it would be even better once the sun goes down. As for go karts, I made the mistake of not reserving a slot in time so the reservations filled up, and I waited in a while in a standby line before I realized it was barely going to move and left. I regret not doing them though because they look like a lot of fun - make reservations for it as soon as you board! I didn't do any swimming or get to try the waterslides because this was a pretty chilly cruise.


4 out of 5
I saw two comedians one night, and they were great. To my surprise, I had seen one of them on a previous Carnival cruise - Rob Little. He's hilarious and I knew it was gonna be good when he walked out. There's a country house band that plays in Q during late dinnertime, and they seemed to be great. We also went to the nightclub one night and while the music was decent overall, the DJ picked some odd choices throughout and also had some weird transitions between songs. Not a big deal though, we still had a fun time.

Laser Tag

5 out of 5

Loved laser tag, even during daylight hours. The course has an uneven floor, so make sure you're aware of where you're walking! Try to make reservations here for nighttime, but don't worry if you only get daytime because it's still a blast.

Children's Programs

Didn't have kids with me

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Since this was only a 3-night cruise I didn't really have much opportunity to get to know the crew, but the people I interacted with were very warm and friendly as they always are on a cruise ship that's run well.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
The ship was very clean and I have no complaints about that, for me the problems lie in design and layout. When the ship was renovated for the US market when they pulled it out of China, they stripped the lido deck of a great "garden" type of space with a lawn and these futuristic trees. It's basically a big empty space now, with a small pool way off to the end. We think it was wasted space and don't think they needed to take out the garden; Americans like greenery too! Also the video game/VR space Galaxy Pavilion is on an exterior wall of the ship, in a beautiful area with windows curving across the front. For a venue that is all about headsets and screens, this venue should have been somewhere in the middle of the ship - in a place where no one cares about windows. They wasted real estate with beautiful natural light on a place where no one will be paying attention to it.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Cabin was great, no complaints about design or size. Same with the balcony. The bathroom was nice because the shower has a glass door that's curved so 1 - that's way better than a shower curtain and 2 - it's curved out quite a bit which makes the shower feel really big.

Ship tip

Make reservations as soon as you board for the activities and dining you want to do that require them.

Ports of call

Vancouver (Canada Place), British Columbia

5 out of 5

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

5 out of 5


4 out of 5
Waited quite a while to get off the ship, I think it took a little longer to be cleared by the authorities than they thought it would. Waited in a line inside, then in a line on the outer deck for quite a while before disembarking. Since this was in LA and the ship is doing Alaska cruises now though, this same experience likely won't apply in Seattle.
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