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Nolewis3

Norwegian joy Alaska cruise

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Hi we sail out on the joy on the 25 of May and I have to say I am really scared lol based on reviews coming in. I guess as this is only second cruise first was on getaway and we loved it and food was awesome. Seeking reassurance that maybe some of the bugs will have worked out by 4th sailing lol as it sounds like elevators are horrid and no reservations for specialty dining any tips on how to make beat of it lol

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12 minutes ago, Nolewis3 said:

Hi we sail out on the joy on the 25 of May and I have to say I am really scared lol based on reviews coming in. I guess as this is only second cruise first was on getaway and we loved it and food was awesome. Seeking reassurance that maybe some of the bugs will have worked out by 4th sailing lol as it sounds like elevators are horrid and no reservations for specialty dining any tips on how to make beat of it lol

Plan in advance.  I was on the 5/4 sailing and my experience was mostly fantastic.  Are the elevators crowded? Sure.  They are especially heinous around muster, port days and disembarkation.  But, what do you expect when 4k people are trying to get on and off the ship at once?  If you're physically able to, just plan to take some stairs during those times.  If not, understand that you will have to wait and don't make time sensitive plans.  Tip - just get on an elevator, any elevator, and ride it.  If you want to go down and the elevator that stops on your floor is going up, but there is room, just ride it up and then back down to where you need to go.  You never know how long you're waiting for the down elevator with room on it.

 

My agent booked my specialty dining reservations in advance.  If you haven't been able to do that yet, go to a reservations kiosk (on every floor by the elevators and throughout the ship) as soon as you get on the ship and make them. Don't wait until one morning you decide, hey let's eat at Cagney's tonight, and get upset when no reservations are left.  

 

I read negative reviews before my cruises because I like to see the common complaints and problems people encounter so that I can plan to work around them.  I find that more often than not, the problem could have been avoided with better planning on part of the complainer. Sure, this cuts against the concept of "freestyle" cruising, but at the end of the day you have up to 4k people trying to get into the same elevators and limited seating shows, restaurants, etc.  If you want to make the most out of your experience, you absolutely have to plan. If you've managed to snag a last minute show seating or reservation at one of the busier restaurants, you got lucky.

 

Our MDR (Savor) service was pretty bad on the first night.  The servers seemed stressed and it was a bit chaotic.  The bar between Taste and Savor was making all of the drinks for both dining rooms AND its own patrons, so drink times were suuuuuper slow.  Food was good though.  The Manhattan room a few days later was much better.  If you plan to eat in the MDR, I suggest giving yourself at least an hour an a half, up to 2 hours, to eat dinner.  I also learned to show up to dinner with a drink in hand and order a second one when I sat down - because it would finally arrive by the time I finished my first. 

 

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Please keep in mind that a lot of the bar and wait staff are very new to The Joy.  It takes awhile to physically learn the ship, a particular restaurant and how things operate in each of the spaces.

 

By the 25th, things should be a lot better as far as the staff is concerned.

 

Enjoy

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We sail on the Joy in August.  We only sail NCL and my experience says a cruise is what we make it..never had a bad cruise..Go cruise on the on the Joy and dont listen to negativity or the crybabies..Attitude is everything, IMHO.

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Just now, Action Dave said:

We sail on the Joy in August.  We only sail NCL and my experience says a cruise is what we make it..never had a bad cruise..Go cruise on the on the Joy and dont listen to negativity or the crybabies..Attitude is everything, IMHO.

Could not agree more! 

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Thank you to you all and I totally agree! I am not complainer just taking my 76 year old father and my 70 year old mother in law both due to losses last year and trust me they can complain ! But I appreciate the feedback and will just go with flow !

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I sincerely hope they enjoy their cruise and bless you  for making sure they have the best time they can.  Im 75 so i relate with us complaining..Life is sometimes not easy for some of us.  Especially if we have suffered a loss of a loved one..Be patient.

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Enjoy your cruise! Ignore the grumblers who take great pleasure in complaining about anything and everything. 

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In my experience you will almost always get a specialty booking if you go early or late. There are also people who book but don't show, so you can try just walking in and asking. You never know. 

The cruise is what you make it. If you sit around and fret about everything you won't enjoy it. 

One thing that did annoy us was people staking out tables in the cafe. You could see that they planned to spend the entire day there. The problem was when there were a lot of them you had nowhere to sit to eat. Same as the pool area. If we saw towels on a chair and no one was around we just moved the towels, did our thing, and left again. 

The best thing is it is a big ship, so if something or someone irritates you there are plenty of other things to do somewhere else.

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Posted (edited)

I was curious, what bad reviews?  So I went to the review section and read what people were posting in the very limited review section of the Joy that they did not like.

One negative review complained no lobster.  Another complained the weather was too cold on the outside decks to use the facilities (can you imagine it cold in Alaska.  Go figure).  Then another had issues with getting on the ship because their married/maiden name were mixed up (hardly an NCL problem).  Then another review complained of a disaster disembarkation which usually something at Customs holds things up, not the cruise line.  Another person's most negative thing to say was the menu stated the sandwich was served with waffle fries and regular French fries were served instead. (Not making any of this up)

A few long waits for meals, etc.  Even in the most negative review, there was nothing that does not normally happen on every cruise around the world.

Perspective is everything.  If you book a cruise to Alaska on one of the largest cruise ships in the world be prepared for cold weather and yes with so many passengers there may be waits for food and elevators.  If that is all you can complain about, its one of the most successful cruises I have ever taken.

Edited by david_sobe

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As with all cruises, ignore the haters. On the Joy last week I got stuck next to complaining women in the dining rooms who hated everything, sent most of their food back, and were just generally miserable people.  I had my own frustrations and mini-meltdowns (my safe wouldn't open the final evening and I had to make several calls to get someone to open it), but now that I'm rested I can look on the positives of the cruise.

 

Then you have to be smart. I avoided the forward elevators, because those are the ones that everyone takes to the buffet and to get on and off the ship. Book show tickets as soon as you get on the ship in the comedy club, or else go to the late show for standby--I had no trouble getting into "Elements" that way. The comedy shows sell out quickly, so I'd book every one you can and then skip it if the time or comedian doesn't work for you. I brought long johns and a glove and stocking cap, and had wonderful views out on the nearly-deserted promenade decks, sitting on a bar stool to admire the sunsets, views, and whales. It wasn't as loud or crowded as the Observation Lounge, and I simply followed the sun to stay on the side that was warmest. It's also a great place for glacier viewing after the ship leaves Juneau, and they open up the bow of the ship also. Instead of waiting to board the ship with hundreds of others, show up at 11:30-12 and you'll go right on. If you want to avoid the customs line at debarkation, hire a porter, who get their own express line to the front, and to avoid the zoo in front of the terminal, take a stroll down to the Olympic Sculpture Park and order and Uber or Lyft from there (I was even more creative, parking my car in a nearby neighborhood with no parking restrictions and riding to the terminal on an app-rented electric bike, with my duffel bag over my shoulder). 

 

If you're going to go to the buffet or restaurants during peak hours, expect crowds. I simply ate at 8, and only made buffet visits for a quick plate of Indian food or a dessert of cookies, scoop ice cream, and gummi bears (plus peanut brittle one night). The Local was also a great choice if I was in a hurry or the dining room menu didn't appeal to me (they don't change the dining room lunch menu, but there are many choices). Another hidden breakfast option is the American Diner, which has a small buffet and is quiet with plenty of tables with views. 

 

If you want to explore the ship, wait for a port day, when most people are gone--there's just beautiful modern art and decor everywhere, the most beautiful ship I've seen. If you want to see the Beatles band in the Cavern club, show up at least a half-hour early if you want a chair, otherwise stand or watch the show they do one night in the main theater. If you want to visit Hoonah, go early and walk, instead of waiting in line for a 1.5-mile bus ride, and Hoonah Adventure Tours offers $3 return trips to the ship from the church parking lot. Walking also allows you to visit the Trading Company outside of town that has groceries and a little souvenir shop at the end of the pier, and there's a little tavern next door if you want to have a beer with locals. 

 

As for food, try something different (Indian food, Chinese noodles, crepes), and look for other things they do well, like pasta, salmon, chicken wings in The Local, and shrimp. They try hard to get people to the buffet for dinner, with themed nights, but to me the stress and temptation to gluttony isn't worth it, except for a quick bite when I could find a more secluded area or ate outside. 

 

Finally, look for the experiences that bring Joy--whales appearing suddenly, watching the leads of "Footloose" holding hands on a beach, the exciting main shows, watching Ringo having breakfast every morning on the pool deck, laughing myself to tears from a comedian mocking a drunken heckler, amazing sunsets on the promenade deck, watching Elliott Bay in Seattle in the deserted Observation Lounge the final morning, and witnessing the wonder in the faces of the Filipino ship workers who were seeing a glacier for the first time in their lives, as well as Southerners who'd never seen a whale or bald eagle or majestic mountains before.

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11 minutes ago, rj42 said:

As with all cruises, ignore the haters. On the Joy last week I got stuck next to complaining women in the dining rooms who hated everything, sent most of their food back, and were just generally miserable people.  I had my own frustrations and mini-meltdowns (my safe wouldn't open the final evening and I had to make several calls to get someone to open it), but now that I'm rested I can look on the positives of the cruise.

 

Then you have to be smart. I avoided the forward elevators, because those are the ones that everyone takes to the buffet and to get on and off the ship. Book show tickets as soon as you get on the ship in the comedy club, or else go to the late show for standby--I had no trouble getting into "Elements" that way. The comedy shows sell out quickly, so I'd book every one you can and then skip it if the time or comedian doesn't work for you. I brought long johns and a glove and stocking cap, and had wonderful views out on the nearly-deserted promenade decks, sitting on a bar stool to admire the sunsets, views, and whales. It wasn't as loud or crowded as the Observation Lounge, and I simply followed the sun to stay on the side that was warmest. It's also a great place for glacier viewing after the ship leaves Juneau, and they open up the bow of the ship also. Instead of waiting to board the ship with hundreds of others, show up at 11:30-12 and you'll go right on. If you want to avoid the customs line at debarkation, hire a porter, who get their own express line to the front, and to avoid the zoo in front of the terminal, take a stroll down to the Olympic Sculpture Park and order and Uber or Lyft from there (I was even more creative, parking my car in a nearby neighborhood with no parking restrictions and riding to the terminal on an app-rented electric bike, with my duffel bag over my shoulder). 

 

If you're going to go to the buffet or restaurants during peak hours, expect crowds. I simply ate at 8, and only made buffet visits for a quick plate of Indian food or a dessert of cookies, scoop ice cream, and gummi bears (plus peanut brittle one night). The Local was also a great choice if I was in a hurry or the dining room menu didn't appeal to me (they don't change the dining room lunch menu, but there are many choices). Another hidden breakfast option is the American Diner, which has a small buffet and is quiet with plenty of tables with views. 

 

If you want to explore the ship, wait for a port day, when most people are gone--there's just beautiful modern art and decor everywhere, the most beautiful ship I've seen. If you want to see the Beatles band in the Cavern club, show up at least a half-hour early if you want a chair, otherwise stand or watch the show they do one night in the main theater. If you want to visit Hoonah, go early and walk, instead of waiting in line for a 1.5-mile bus ride, and Hoonah Adventure Tours offers $3 return trips to the ship from the church parking lot. Walking also allows you to visit the Trading Company outside of town that has groceries and a little souvenir shop at the end of the pier, and there's a little tavern next door if you want to have a beer with locals. 

 

As for food, try something different (Indian food, Chinese noodles, crepes), and look for other things they do well, like pasta, salmon, chicken wings in The Local, and shrimp. They try hard to get people to the buffet for dinner, with themed nights, but to me the stress and temptation to gluttony isn't worth it, except for a quick bite when I could find a more secluded area or ate outside. 

 

Finally, look for the experiences that bring Joy--whales appearing suddenly, watching the leads of "Footloose" holding hands on a beach, the exciting main shows, watching Ringo having breakfast every morning on the pool deck, laughing myself to tears from a comedian mocking a drunken heckler, amazing sunsets on the promenade deck, watching Elliott Bay in Seattle in the deserted Observation Lounge the final morning, and witnessing the wonder in the faces of the Filipino ship workers who were seeing a glacier for the first time in their lives, as well as Southerners who'd never seen a whale or bald eagle or majestic mountains before.

Thank you so much for your wonderful, positive post!  A cruise is what you make of it.  Planning ahead is key.  We are sailing on Joy in 2020.  I’m glad to see that not everyone thinks everything is horrible. 

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13 minutes ago, janice2348 said:

Thank you so much for your wonderful, positive post!  A cruise is what you make of it.  Planning ahead is key.  We are sailing on Joy in 2020.  I’m glad to see that not everyone thinks everything is horrible. 

Exactly!    We have never had a bad cruise. 

Looking forward to seeing Footloose.  Also hope to enjoy the Beatles show as we did on Bliss.  

Elevators and elevator lobbies are always crowded after muster.  We just step to the nearest door to the deck and enjoy the ocean for a little while.     You can let yourself be frustrated, or you can enjoy the ocean😎

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Posted (edited)

We just got off the Joy yesterday from the 5/11 Alaska sailing. As always had a great cruise. Ship definitely working some kinks out for example left our Canadian customs form for our cabin steward (as instructed) and he took it, - but ship never received it so had to fill in another (not a big deal but annoying). They switched footloose and elements shows around and on arrival we had a letter saying date/time for new Elements show. Didn't think about it at time but then found out Footloose had moved as well but they had not re-booked us for that - we had no reservations. Party of 12 for us so very difficult to get that fixed. Long lines at Guest Services and many had this same problem on bookings.

 

Buffet was excellent (seafood night especially), MDR's "ok" (not  fan of NCL MDR's in general versus other cruise lines), Cagneys, Ocean Blue and Q were excellent as was "The Local".

 

Entertainment was good but Atrium just not large enough for the crowds there. Effectively only two main shows in theater or three if you include The Beatles. Cavern Club crazy small for the crowd first Beatles show draws.

 

Listen to the advice above on Hoonah. We enjoyed a lovely walk into the town (nothing much to see/do but its just a great walk) and we took the $3 shuttle back. Or grab lunch at "Fishermans Daughter" (i think that was name) and walk back too....

 

I didn't like the Joy as a ship. Elevators crazy crowded (our cabin was mid ship next to "front elevators" which are busier due to buffet) but only other elevator bank is at back of ship. Major pain point and Garden Cafe incredibly crowded too - often hard to find seats (tip: go outside to pool area it has heating above in the side areas). Social Club way to small - didn't bother trying to get in there. Also hated not having the Garden Cafe area go out onto the back of the ship for open air aft dining/drinking.

 

Edited by pmd98052

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