Wonderful 16 night Panama Canal Cruise w 7 ports of call

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 31

Overall rating:

4.8 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Joy

16 Night Panama Canal (Los Angeles To Miami)

Sail date: January 17, 2020

Ship: Norwegian Joy

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 14168

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Wonderful. I think I have just about shared a capsule of it to give anyone food for thought. Met some very nice passengers, too.


4 out of 5
The embarkation process was excellent! BUT, getting from the airport (on an NCL pre-arranged flight with transportation) was HORRIBLE! The flight arrived on time w no delays. We were the second guests to check in w NCL representative. Then, we waited over two hours while about 100 other passengers added to the crowd waiting for buses to the port. Highly unorganized and very unpleasant. A few people took cabs. When the bus finally arrived, there was a 2 block walk with luggage and much scurrying to get a seat. This can be improved and while we left info on comment box this may not get to those who can remedy it. There was little to no communication from staff to let us know what was going on. Needless to say, this did not start the trip off on a good foot! At the port all went very smoothly from bag checkin to room cards and getting on board. Our room was ready and we began to enjoy the NCL Joy.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Specialty dining room were excellent! The main Manhattan room was also very good with great waiters and delicious food. The Savor and Taste main alternate dining options were not so good. The service was poor on both and the food delivered incomplete and barely warm. We did complain, but sorry was too little, too late. The Local option was burgers and fast food. They did serve the featured meal as in main dining. In upper atrium with a small rear area, so it was quite noisy. The buffet was good, but with 4000+ people on board very crowded. Options were limited. Very few fish choices; no shrimp. The observation deck had a great little buffet of snacks and sandwiches available between meals which was awesome and served as a better dining option.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
My husband used the fitness center daily and gave it high mark's.


5 out of 5
We thoroughly enjoyed all of the shows and performances. They were excellent, but with such a large number of people attending, getting a seat meant a 30 to45 mim. pre arrival. Two shows ran only 2 nights. One other show had a reservation, so that was good. With a sixteen night cruise multiple runnings of shows might alleviate the no seats problem. The Russian couple, Demitry and Kesenia were AMAZING!!! Small venue comedians were very good, too. They also had standby lines at some shows.

Children's Programs

5 out of 5
No children in our party

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Aside from restaurant service mentioned above which may stem from poor management ALL service personnel were a delight. They were always smiling and cordial striving to do the best they could to make your experience special. The Captain was very approachable; had neat sense of humor greeting us daily about what was happening. He and his executive staff had scheduled q and a sessions or met informally in the atrium for questions or concerns.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Great job. It sparkled. Staff were always scrubbing, cleaning, polishing everything all the time. The public restrooms were spotless with an attendant on duty most every time keeping all in order.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Fabulous. Huge king bed w great mattress and linens. Wonderful big bath and shower w double sink. No cramped quarters here. Loved our spacious deck w 2 chairs n table. Big enough for 2x that If needed. Big screen TV with lots of the usual ship and port channel info and cruise staff w updates of day's agenda. In addition, there were current TV programs taped and changed as days progressed. There were Netflix and current run movies to rent for a fee, but ours were free due to concierge level. Nice bonus. Our steward, Bai, from China, was a dream. She provided us with anything we needed. She remembered what we used or requested and made sure that was always on hand. The best!

Ship tip

Very big ship. Hard to acclimate oneself even in a day or two. Long journey, but after a bit ready to keep sailing. Nice to meet people, but can remain anonymous easily

Ports of call

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

4 out of 5
Actually just embarked, not a visit. Big city

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

5 out of 5
Toured and enjoyed a boat ride to bay scenic area. Nice people and a fun visit. We always choose a ship tour. Always enjoy

Mazatlan, Mexico

5 out of 5
NCL Tour thru city w church visit and historic sites. A little walking along ocean promenade was beautiful. Great.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

5 out of 5
NCL tour. Great guide w accent on historic sites. Alex, our guide sent us to family restaurant 2 blocks down a very shop and restaurant lined street where we had a beer in a courtyard restaurant and were welcomed like family during the free to explore time. Fun

Acapulco, Mexico

5 out of 5
NCL tour. Cliff divers Express was amazing. We loved it. We probably should have booked a longer tour here. We were across from fort right at pier, so we did our own walk up and back. Not all ports are safe to venture off too far .btw

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

5 out of 5
Great. Some tours are quite long as towns are far from the port. This is a huge ship, so we were at deep areas where containers are loaded. Many towns are a distance from ship. We had to change busses to get down tiny streets. All done very well. Guides very good

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

5 out of 5
NCL tour to a distant town,but there was much to see and a guide who showed us a lot and loved his country. A performance by children in the town square was awesome with 3 dances and colorful costumes. Another great church, too

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
We could enjoy the 8 hrs process from our balcony, the tv, the observation deck. Fascinating

Cartagena, Colombia

5 out of 5
NCL tour. Hop on hop off tour. Extremely hot. Venders very aggressive. We did no hopping off. Still 2 hrs. Lots of traffic. Great, but least enjoyable of all. Spoiled by air conditioning.

Miami, Florida

5 out of 5
NCL tour picked us up right after customs and kept our luggage all time we touted city and then delivered us to the airport. Guide was amazing. He knew it all. Super bowl Sunday and he managed it with aplomb. Adventure mall for a few hours then airport. We had a very late flight, so this used up day nicely. Air conditioned luxury felt good


3 out of 5
Bags were all unorganized. Other cruises have had all bags with samecolor lined up togrther. Not here. Did locate ours still coming off a bag mover, but this looked daunting. Hopefully this has something with the new terminal under construction and will be remedied asap.
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