Great way to see the Canal

Norwegian Joy Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 25

Overall rating:

3.5 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Joy

16 Night Panama Canal (Miami To Los Angeles)

Sail date: February 14, 2020

Ship: Norwegian Joy

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 9342

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Great way to see the canal. We were disappointed in our room location and noise. Service was not as good or as friendly as on previous NCL cruise.


2 out of 5
One hour and 45 minutes to get onboard. We were actually past the 2pm onboard time requirement.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Main dining was good, most specialty restaurants very good, only ate at buffet for mid day snacks. Don't bother booking specialty dining until onboard, they save the good times for then.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Waste of space for Laser Tag and the Speedway. They weren't open for very long and few used them. The space was needed for sun chairs which people reserved(not allowed but not enforced).


5 out of 5
Beatles Revolution was incredible, Dmitry and Ksenia amazing, Footloose very good, Summer Breeze great for easy listening, Top Shelf Country band was great but very loud.

Children's Programs

No kides

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Food service seemed very new or poor training. Bartenders were stingy with alcohol and not at all friendly.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Again, wasted space with Laser Tag and Speedway. Deck 9 was noisy with chairs being moved constantly on the Waterfront.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Connecting door, which we didn't request, rattled constantly. Cabinets rasttled in anything over 4' seas. Noise from deck below. Lifeboat maintenance early morning woke us 3 times. Engines and stern thrusters woke every docking. We paid for a room on decks 11-15 midship and supposedly got an "upgrade" to deck 9 and aft. Totally unacceptable cabin change.

Ship tip

Get a mid ship cabin up high, which we requested but were supposedly "upgraded" to lower deck aft. Make all dining and entertainment reservations as soon as you board the ship.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida Did not visit port

Live in FL

Great Stirrup Cay (Cruise Line Private Island), Bahamas

1 out of 5
I had been to this Island by private boat previously and it is a shame to see what has been done to it. It is not representative of the Bahamas.

Cartagena, Colombia

5 out of 5
Very interesting. We took the harbor boat across to Old Town.

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
By ship is the only way to view this!

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

2 out of 5
Port was far from town, nothing at port. We didn't do an excursion here.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

5 out of 5
Beautiful town that we enjoyed. However, our bus driver rode the brakes all the way back to the ship and the smell was very toxic. He even stopped and threw buckets of water on the brakes, not a good idea in my opinion. The driver claimed they were new and needed broken in.

Mazatlan, Mexico

5 out of 5
Another beautiful city. We walked into town, very easy. There were expat volunteers to guide you along the way. We watched the cliff divers here.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

5 out of 5
We did the Jungle/River hike. Due to it being overbooked we were on the smaller van with only 10 people. The hike was great but there were a couple of people that shouldn't have been there. It is rated a level 3 for a reason. Slowed us down and shortened the hike quite a bit. Nice meal for lunch.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

2 out of 5
First off it was cold here and too cold too snorkel for us. We booked the Chileno Bay boat and thought it was supposed to be a 60+ passenger sailing catamaran. Turned into a 20 person small trimaran powered by 2 outboard motors. The rest of the group thought the same as us. They did, however, provide a nice lunch and plenty of drinks. The snorkel gear looked new but no one stayed in the water much over 20 minutes. We did see some whales from a distance.

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

2 out of 5
We tried to book a day tour of LA prior to the cruise through NCL but they were sold out. I called and they said no more would be added and spaces were not saved for after boarding the ship. So we booked through Sunseeker Tours which was very good. But after boarding we checked and miracuously there were many spaces available for the NCL tours. Too late for us to change and so we lost a $50 shore credit.


4 out of 5
This went fairly quickly after a lengthy delay before anyone could get off. But only 1 restaurant was open for breakfast and the buffet. There was a 30 minute at Savor. Taste and the Local should have been open too. Our steward started tearing our room apart while we were at breakfast even though our luggage and toiletries were still there and it was only 0730.
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