Panama Canal transit

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 17

Overall rating:

3.9 out of 5
Norwegian Joy

16 Night Panama Canal (Los Angeles To Miami)

Sail date: January 17, 2020

Ship: Norwegian Joy

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 10330

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

We had a very enjoyable time. The average of the cruisers was 67 so it was definitely an older crowd. We were impressed with the medical actions taken to assist people who became ill during the cruiser. At least 6 ambulances came to the ship to take people for medical attention.


3 out of 5
The line moved fairly quickly until the employees checking cruisers in disappeared for approximately 30 minutes. We were given a boarding group number which meant nothing as all of a sudden all groups were allowed to board so there was a mad rush. Positive note we didn’t have to pose for a picture as our passport photo was linked to the account.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
The specialty restaurants were very delicious. We didn’t eat in the buffet too often as people’s hygiene practices were scary. Food in the main dining rooms arrived slowly and was not always hot.

The Cavern Club

3 out of 5

Small space for hearing live music. Beatles Sgt. Pepper show was great entertainment but could have been a bit louder. Great bar service. Line up 1 hour before show so one can get seats.

Savor Restaurant - Main Dining Room

3 out of 5

The service at Savour didn’t feel as friendly as at Taste or the Manhattan Room. As on other cruises the entrées on the left side of the menu don’t change but the right side does. Good variety of options but food frequently arrives lukewarm.

The Waterfront

4 out of 5

It was nice to walk around the Waterfront, sit and read while taking in the views

Ocean Blue

5 out of 5

Delicious seafood

Observation Lounge

4 out of 5

Large lounge area with comfy chairs for sitting and watching the ocean. Light snacks available.

Le Bistro French Restaurant

5 out of 5

Delicious meal and great service.

Atrium Bar

5 out of 5

Great location to people watch, listen to music, see the activities. Leo, Salvador and the many others working there make it a fun spot.

The Local

5 out of 5

Nice option that we used for breakfast, lunch and snacks over the course of our cruise. Really yummy grilled cheese and tomato sandwich on gluten free bread. Also enjoyed the nachos, Ruben sandwich and fries.

Garden Cafe

3 out of 5

Very large area due to size of the ship. People would use bear hands to pick their preferred slices of bacon. Saw a person use the tongs to place food on their plate, lick their finger and then use another set of tongs. Fresh eggs omelets were delicious. We used the buffet to get ice cream and cold drinks. Health measures were brought in as cruisers were getting gastrointestinal issues and possibly because of the coronavirus. We were thankful for the efforts to keep us healthy. One could use a sink and soap to wash their hands or the spray.

Cagney's Steakhouse

5 out of 5

Delicious food both times we ate there. Filet mignon and rack of lamb. Eunice was a wonderful attendant.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
We played mini-putt once. It was a good course at the top of the ship. The drop zone slide was exhilarating. My husband made it all the way through and I went 3/4 of the way through it. I was aware that not all people made it the whole distance so was calm when I knew I wasn’t going any further and waited for the hatch to open. Women with bathing suits that cover their backs don’t make it all the way as speed is lost. The double loop slide is taken on a tube. It was a nice gentle ride. We both did that one twice. The swimming pools are nice saltwater pools and many people used them. Only 25 children on the cruise so there were no issues with adults and children sharing pools.


4 out of 5
Footloose and Elements were very good shows. The Beatles Revolution in the Joy Theatre was fantastic as was the Sargent Peppers show in the Cavern. Silent Shout was a really good band and played at a variety of locations. The other musicians who performed in the Atrium were also good entertainment. The juggler and 2 of the 3 comedians were funny. One must get in line early for the shows as they are limited in number and space is restricted.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
All staff work very hard to please the cruisers. Leo and Salvador in the Atrium really work to make people happy. Adriane in Ocean Blue took initiative to bring me a soothing cup of green tea with honey and lemon when I was having a coughing attack. Gluten free options were available upon request with no issues.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
There was much effort to keeping the ship clean and everyone healthy. The public bathroom doors were propped open to reduce the transmission of germs. Additional health measures were implemented during the last few days of the cruise (no self-serve at the buffet, sheets instead of covered menus, nothing on the tables). It is not clear if the measures were due to norovirus or coronavirus.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
The cabin was in a good location relative to the location of the elevators. As many people have commented the placement of the couch in front of the closet is inconvenient. There was lots of storage place in the desk area. The safe is too small to hold an iPad but is suitable for most items. The bathroom was a nice size and the bed was comfortable. The room was towards the aft but didn’t cause any issues for us motion wise.

Ship tip

Book entertainment and restaurants before boarding. If you want to eat in Ocean Blue book it as soon as you board. The app worked for us as we were only using to view the daily activities (no charge).

Ports of call

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

3 out of 5
We just walked around the area off the ship where local vendors were set up.

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
This was a wonderful experience. Many great vantage points for viewing the canal.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

3 out of 5
We took the tender to the port. Usual stores and people trying to get you to take a tour. Didn’t spend much time there.

Miami, Florida

3 out of 5
We did an excursion to the Everglades. It was interesting and fun to ride on an air boat. We saw many birds and 4 or 5 alligators.

Cartagena, Colombia

3 out of 5
I thought I knew humidity until we went ashore in Columbia. It was so hot and humid my eyes were sweating. Not complaining just a statement of fact. :-) We took an excursion as we were not sure what to expect traffic and safety wise. The street vendors are very agressive. They put their products on the bus windows and start talking before the doors are even open. The fortress was interesting to see, steep incline to walk up. There is a gift shop inside which sells water at a reasonable price. 1 litre/750 ml for $1 US. The street vendors are trying to sell smaller bottles for $2 US so definitely negotiate.

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

3 out of 5
We stayed on the ship as I was getting a cold. We had toured the other side of Costa Rica so were ok staying onboard.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4 out of 5
Took the shuttle into Puerto Vallarta and walked around. We had been there before.

Mazatlan, Mexico

3 out of 5
There were people with blue shirts on the blue line answering questions and providing directions. We took an open air taxi for a drive around. $20 US for both of us. Interesting to see the divers there.

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

4 out of 5
We stayed at the Best Western Plus on Gaffey street. It was convenient to the port with a free shuttle. Breakfast included. Uber was used to drive out to Redondo Beach. It is probably a very lively spot in the warmer months.


1 out of 5
Work needs to be done to improve the disembarkation process. Communication was extremely limited. We were taking an excursion and given a specific meeting time. Departure from the ship was delayed by approximately 1 hour and waiting in the joy theatre was not the most comfortable. Once we entered the luggage holding are it was complete chaos. The luggage was not in the colour coded areas so one was required to search throughout the area. Our bags were no where each other which raise questions about the storage and offloading practices.
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