Panama Canal

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 11

Overall rating:

3.1 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Joy

16 Night Panama Canal (Miami To Los Angeles)

Sail date: November 08, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Joy

Cabin number: 10308

Traveled as: Family (young children)

Reviewed: 9 months ago

Review summary

I would not recommend this cruise line to people. Below says I would rate this cruise a 3.4 stars, I am unable to change that. I would not rate this cruise a 3.1, I would rate this cruise a 1.5/2.0. I have had better experiences on other cruise lines. Friendlier staff including the Captain. The cruise ship was not for me, rather a boring ship because we had to pay for most all our entertainment. A warm welcoming from each port would be great. We experienced this once on this cruise with music and staff outside greeting us playing limbo, but we felt the only reason we were greeted that way was just because there was another cruise line next to Norwegian. It would be great to have that welcoming at all ports not just because another cruise line is at the same port. People talk and word of mouth is the best compliment any business can receive.


3 out of 5
The embarkation experience was ok. As we were waiting in line to enter the terminal to check in, and get through security, there was a guy who worked for Norwegian that brought the Havens to the front of the line. There should be a separate line for the handicapped, the Havens, and a few lines for the rest. It would of been better if more staff lined the entrance and greeted the guests with a warm smile, a friendly how are you, welcome aboard.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
The staff on the ship was not as friendly. It is nice to have conversations with them to see where they are from and chat a little, but it seemed like the management team did not like the staff to chat with the guests. The specialty restaurants were great - If I could have afforded to eat at the specialty restaurants every night I would have. The food was good and the staff in the specialty restaurants seemed to be more happy/up beat. This is something the main dining room and buffet staff should learn. The food in the main dining room and buffet was not great. It was ok, could have been better.

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
The only activity we did on the ship was the pool. The pools could have been bigger, most days the only pool that allowed children seemed crowded. The slides were fun, but the life guard at the top of the slide with the tubs should stand at the top to hold the tub while getting adjusted and provide a little push to help get you going. The other activities were very expensive. There should be an option to be able to purchase the unlimited packages for the arcade/activities at anytime during the cruise. It was a bummer that we were unable to purchase the unlimited arcade card on day three of the cruise especially since we had our daughter on the cruise with us. The activities on the ship should be included in the price of what we are paying for the cruise. To pay that amount of money on top of the money we spent for the cruise is ridiculous. Or if you are going to charge people allow them to purchase the unlimited/packages any day of the cruise, not just day one and two.


3 out of 5
Let's start of by saying the Footloose, Juggler, and Elements shows were fantastic. We went to some of the music shows around the ship in the evening, but the same music/songs were played all the time. It would also be nice if we could meet some of the performers before or after the program is over. A meet/greet time to take pictures or chat with them. Especially the children. My daughter really liked a few of the performers and wanted to meet them and take pictures with them, but we never saw them again.

Children's Programs

2 out of 5
I was not to familiar with the kids club, we could of done a better job at getting information for this. However, we are there to spend time with our family and not put our daughter into a "daycare" while on board. I get some people are, but not us. The ship was not very kid friendly. Not many activities for kids to do on this ship without having to pay an extra price for them to have fun. It would be great to have more activities for kids on the ship; storytime every night before bed, dance parties, ice cream parties, pool parties, mini golf games, savanger hunts, coloring contests, cupcake decorating (each kid gets to decorate their own), tour of the ship, bingo. To be honest, our daughter was very board on this ship. She had more fun in the room than out in the main areas of the ship especially during the evening when the pool was closed.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
It depended on the waiters, if we were in the specialty restaurants it was great. The buffet I could hardly get one waiter to smile at me or ask if they could help me find something. I always had to approach someone for help even when I looked lost. The waiters in the main dining rooms, some were good and some not so much. Our account was messed up several times and we had to talk to guest services multiple times to get it corrected. I get the staff on the ship are missing their families or having a bad day, but the key to having a better day is to choose to have a good day. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Dan Dan and Beanka were very friendly. Always smiling when we saw them and would seemed to enjoy seeing our daughter. Our daughter really enjoyed seeing the two of them. It was almost her mission to find them everyday just to say hi. Thank you for your great smiles and friendliness.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
The ship layout was a little confusing. It seemed closed off not too open. The common area's could have been cleaned better. I think the hand rails, elevators could have been wiped down more frequently. If the ship was clean less people / no one would have gotten sick with the virus. Making the news in a negative way doesn't help with business either. "Washy Washy Makes you Happy Happy"

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
The cabin was nice. The size is typical for the room we paid for on the ship. I felt like our room could have been more clean. The floor didn't appear to be vacuumed daily. The counter tops and door handles could be disinfected every day. Our cabin guy was nice.

Ship tip

I would not recommend the Norwegian cruise line to anyone. Did not have a good experience.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida Did not visit port

Only boarded the ship from Miami

Great Stirrup Cay (Cruise Line Private Island), Bahamas Did not visit port

The port was cancelled due to weather.

Cartagena, Colombia

3 out of 5

Panama Canal Transit

4 out of 5
The panama canal transit was interesting to see. I feel like the speaker could have been better about explaining the history and talking about the panama canal. I think it would have been a nice gesture if the ship gave each family a free cd/usb of the panama canal experience.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

3 out of 5

Acapulco, Mexico

4 out of 5

Mazatlan, Mexico

4 out of 5

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4 out of 5

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

3 out of 5

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California Did not visit port

Just got off the ship and went to the airport to come home


3 out of 5
I did not like that we had to put our luggage out the night before to go look for our luggage in a massive area. There was a cruise that I was on that would send your luggage from the ship to the airport for $20 per person. It would get put on the flight we were flying and the next time we saw our luggage was when we landed. This was an amazing experience, didn't have to worry about dragging our luggage from the ship to the bus, to the airport and tipping multiple people along the way for their service to help us.
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