Exceptional Panama Canal Cruise

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 51

Overall rating:

4.6 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Joy

16 Night Panama Canal (Los Angeles To Miami)

Sail date: October 11, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Joy

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 15756

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

What a deal! Great ship/cabin/crew/entertainment.


4 out of 5
Great once I got to the Port but San Pedro port is not super accessible to airports.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Specialty restaurants universally great. Good variety that offered a few new items each night in the main dining rooms. Buffet excellent with special sections e.g. Indian cuisine.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
Laser tag and go-carts … over the side high water tube slide … 2 pools … fitness center … lots to do if you want to take part.


5 out of 5
Exceptional entertainment in main theater as well as the small clubs. Broadway quality shows as well a great specialty groups.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Can't say enough about the crew and staff … as just one example there was a letter circulated with over 500 signatures complimenting staff on customer treatment during Panama Canal crossing. Everyone has a smile …

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The ship is huge ... passengers + crew number around 5500. So tall it had to enter the Canal at lowest tide after refueling to clear the Bridge of the America's. Loved the observation lounge. Everything kept meticulously clean and buffets constantly refreshed.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Room was perfect. Comfortable bed. Some movies on the TV. Great balcony view. Loved the observation deck and its proximity to the observation lounge. Evelyn kept everything spotless. Shower was hot with great water pressure.

Ship tip

The specialty package choice of $200 for $50 per port excursion credit AND 5 specialty restaurants was well worth the value. A hint I suppose would be that ships in this larger class on NCL do not have obstructed ocean views so no reason not to select just a basic ocean view ... but on this cruise the upcharge for balcony was only $50.

Ports of call

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

3 out of 5
Did not do anything in San Pedro except transfer to the ship. Not expecially convenient port to either LAX or Long Beach airports.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

3 out of 5
Nice stop with a number of excursion choices. Did the countryside tour. Port activities were closed due to high winds/weather. Tour was OK … saw glassblowing for example.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

5 out of 5
Really attractive city … both beach, river, and mountains (did a combined tour). I would fly back just to visit it on my own.

Mazatlan, Mexico

4 out of 5
Several tour options … enjoyed my choice of the mountain tour,

Acapulco, Mexico

4 out of 5
Way better than expected but limited choices. This was substituted for the originally scheduled stop in Costa Rica … corporate decision that even the staff could not explain. Still, the cliff diving and fort were worth the tour visit … especially with the package deal.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

5 out of 5
Enjoyed this port with excursion to Antigua. Took a long time to get there due to road construction following Fuego volcano eruption … but well worth it once we got there.

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
What's not to like?? Opened the front deck of the ship for passengers desiring to go there to watch the transit. Lots of information along the way. Great staff ...

Oranjestad, Aruba

4 out of 5
Nice port that is walking distance to downtown with a million shops, restaurants, and hotels as well as things to do. Took an island tour that was informative but a bit rushed with limited time at the various stops. Would have been better if the tour were a little longer.

Miami, Florida

4 out of 5
I've been to Miami at least 200 times so nothing new to me in the City … but enjoyed the airboat tour ... dropped me at MIA at the end where I rented a 1-way Avis car to drive home.


4 out of 5
Pretty good ... took a little time but not the cruise line's fault ... with well over 3000 customers the customs people slow things down a little. Still there was plenty of time to get to the tour ... and they extended the tour to make up for the 30 minute late start.
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