Ship's Initial Panama Canal Transit

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 19

Overall rating:

4.5 out of 5
Norwegian Joy

16 Night Panama Canal (Los Angeles To Miami)

Sail date: October 11, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Joy

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 10232

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Cruising on the Norwegian JOY, was a Joy given its size and passenger capability (over 3800). Going into the experience we were skeptical about constantly having to que-up for meals, entertainment and activities. This was not the case at all except for post cruise airport transfers. That was a cluster f$(*! There are issues with a ship of this size with harbor depths and bridge clearances. These can be mitigated with better planning at NCL corporate levels. The ship's captain, I am sure, is presented with a cruise schedule and is charged with safe passage of the ship, his crew and passangers. Bottom line: Bigger may not always be better when planning your cruise. Also when visiting shoreside activities, seriously consider ship sponsored tours because you're responsible for being aboard before the ship departs if you are touring on your own.


5 out of 5
Embarcation at Long Beach was very efficient

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Overall service was excellent. All waitstaff were very friendly and supervisory personnel seemed to pitch-in and helped to buss tables, especially in the buffet dining area.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
The waterslide was a blast!


5 out of 5
All stage shows were excellent. The only negative was the adult comedy show where the female comic relied too heavily on dropping "F" bombs. IMHO this exhibited the lack of true talent.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Outstanding overall.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Having just come out of a major refit earlier this year, there were no signs of wear and tare. Much attention was given to hand sanitizing through-out the ship with hand cleansing dispensers located through out common areas. In addition staff were posted at entrances to all eating areas to spray your hands with anti bacterial chemicals.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
As first-time cruisers and yacht owners we were very satisfied with the amount of space in the cabin. A minor negative was the the use of shelving vice drawers. Aside from sleeping very little time was spent in the cabin. Being a midship cabin we didn't experience propellor vibrations whilst underway. Such was not the case in the same deck, aft cabin occupied by cruiseing friends.

Ship tip

Don't overpack. Utilize mix and match clothing. Buy the unlimited drinks package and prepaid gratuities package.

Ports of call

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

4 out of 5
Port of embarcation, very efficient check-in proceedures.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

3 out of 5
Very little to do shoreside unless one takes a tour. Wouldn't recommend Cabo unless visiting there for a sport fishing vacation.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4 out of 5
Have vacationed there before, so we were comfortable with doing our own exploring in the city.

Mazatlan, Mexico

3 out of 5
If you don't take a shore side excursion you're out of luck as there are no places to visit near the ship's berth. Berthing is done at the container port.

Acapulco, Mexico

3 out of 5
This port call was substituted for a scheduled stop in Costa Rica. The change was made supposedly because the port officials couldn't guarrentee depth of the channel given the size of the JOY. NCL should have known this prior to advertising this port stop in the initial cruise offering!

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

4 out of 5
Charming visit to the former capital city of Antigua, too bad the travel time to and from the city was nearly two hours each way. There are some sites to visit near the pier.

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
Overall a very interesting experience. Due to the size of the JOY we had to use the new Panamex locks which were a less involved proceedure than the original locks. The location of the new locks only afforded a glimpse of the originals.

Oranjestad, Aruba

5 out of 5
Much to do shorside since the ship docks "downtown"

Miami, Florida

3 out of 5
Port of embarcation.


1 out of 5
Disembarkation was a piece of cake since you are invited to do so by colors according to your further travel plans. HOWEVER the que for airport transfers was an over an hour long, the only real negative experience in 16 days.
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