Norwegian Joy Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 49

Overall rating:

2.7 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Joy

12 Night Panama Canal Partial Transit (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 02, 2020

Ship: Norwegian Joy

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

This was our 18th cruise and I don't think we'll be going again for awhile. At least not on NCL. The port stops on this itinerary were mostly bad. The itinerary was changed days before our departure with no compensation or explanation. Very disappointed all around with NCL.


1 out of 5
A disaster. Constant waiting. At one point we were told to wait at the bottom of an escalator. 45 minutes later they let us ascend to a hall jammed with people. This after waiting in long lines outside the terminal. Took hours to get onboard, and we're platinum members with priority boarding!

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Mostly good, could always find something tasty. One complaint; the fruit is never ripe, always hard melon, pineapple, etc. Most of mine was thrown away after ordering. Sad.

Onboard Activities

2 out of 5
No more shuffleboard? Most everything NCL offers now is an additional charge. We enjoyed the waterslide but the staff was so rude we only went down it twice (usually go 10+). Got pretty bored trying to find something to do. Have been to all the 'free' seminars, did a "50 minute" spa treatment that was 35 minutes + an uncomfortable 15 minute hard sell of product. Won't be doing that again!


3 out of 5
Sadly, I was sick for the two big shows. The video clips looked fantastic and I was sorry to miss them. Aerialists and magician were okay.

Children's Programs

no children with us.

Service and Staff

2 out of 5
This ship's staff (aside from waiters and our cabin steward) were noticeably not customer friendly. Many times we had to step aside to let them pass. A small thing, maybe, but very telling of what they think of the guests. It was all about them and their importance on the ship. Very sad.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Love the observation area. The poolside areas are crowded with saved chairs so we didn't ever get to sit by the pool. Danced in the atrium several evenings, which was nice but this class of ship, the earlier ones, had dancing in the Manhattan which we loved. Now the dance floors are tiny or have been removed altogether. Sad. The ship was very clean and the crew works hard at it. The ship is really too big for us, with not a lot of activities that we enjoy. Laser tag? No. Video game room? Looked great but it's not for us. Love the Waterfront area and spent time there each day playing games.

Cabin / Stateroom

2 out of 5
Cabins get smaller and smaller. Our balcony cabin was almost too small for 2 people to move in at the same time. It was clean and well maintained, mostly. Our cabin steward would not tuck the sheets (top or bottom) into the foot of the bed so every night we fought with sheets swirling around us. Finally we showed him how to bring the bottom sheet down and tuck it in but he would not tuck the top sheet in at the foot. Half the problem solved. I did not want to go over his head and get him in trouble so we had to remake the bed every day. Odd. One thing strikes me as odd; you are given storage room under the day bed, under the king bed, in the cabinets and closet, yet our steward used these spaces to store extra blankets, towels, sheets, whatever. We could not use the drawers under the day bed (full) and he had stuff stashed under the bed, in the closet, and one of the cabinets. If it's our cabin, why do they store their stuff in it? This happens on every NCL ship we've been on.

Ship tip

Book your entertainment and dining before you leave home.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida Did not visit port

Essentially just flew in and out.

Willemstad, Curacao

5 out of 5
We walked around the port and loved it. Easy to navigate, people were friendly, area was clean and felt safe.

Kralendijk, Bonaire

3 out of 5
Walked around the port. Safe, clean. Shopping. Same as the other ports.

Oranjestad, Aruba

5 out of 5
Took an excursion. Saw Aloe Factory, Rock Mountain, crashing waves, natural bridge. All was very good and we recommend doing this tour. Stopped at the beach for an hour after the tour.

Cartagena, Colombia

3 out of 5
Took the Pirates Tour. Saw Sir Francis Drake's ship, lots of historical sites in Old Town. Very interesting but a little boring and we were constantly barraged by hawkers that followed us everywhere.

Colon, Panama

1 out of 5
Filthy. Nothing to do. Not safe. We were docked here for 12 hours. Total waste! No one was happy.

Panama Canal (Cruise Into Canal)

4 out of 5
Interesting to watch the passage through the canal from our balcony while a guide told about the highlights on the television.

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

1 out of 5
We didn't bother to get off the ship. Another dirty, worthless stop. Should have taken an excursion but we had the flu.


3 out of 5
We got off fairly quickly in spite of the staff continuously contradicting one another. "Go there," "No, go over there." "He said to come over here." Back and forth we trotted. Finally they routed us to the back of the ship, we snaked along back to the front and exited exactly where we'd been standing in the first place. Never ceases to amaze me how confused the ship's staff is. And it wasn't a case of needing to put us in the rear of a line.
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