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kollegekreed

Random Joy Observations

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I was on the Joy from 10/27-11/8 to Panama Canal and Western Caribbean. 'Ive long grown tired of writing "traditional reviews" but like to share any random observations I made throughout the trip. There were 3000 people onboard (holds 3800) so that may color others experiences. 

 

Disclaimer: This was my sixteenth cruise, and my 12th on NCL. I am an NCL Loyalist, but NOT a Cheerleader. The opinions below are mine and mine alone. As with any vacation, the "small negatives" tend to stick in our head, so I will point some of them out as well.

 

Room:

9732 was average size. The balcony was very nice though also a little odd; the balconies on deck 9 look directly over the extended balconies on Deck 8. The air in the room was irreparably broken for the first couple days of the trip which was a real negative as it was about 75-80 in the room despite the AC all the way down. After two trips by the maintenance team, it was fixed for the rest of the trip/

I thought storage was a little on the leaner side than previous ships but nothing that couldn't be handled.

Steward was fine; remembered our names immediately. We don't ask for much so didn't interact a lot besides hello and goodbye

 

Restaurants:

We were blown away by the food at Q. I was expecting to be disappointed but instead we went twice!

La Cucina was fine; I really hate their new menu but I cant really control that

Teppanyaki was fine - friend said best filet steak he had ever had

Friends did Cagneys and enjoyed 

Food Republic was food, interesting. Also: EMPTY! 8:00 PM 5 people eating and 10-15 staff standing around

Buffet was average. I was really perturbed there was never meat sauce at the pasta station. Never had trouble finding seats.

The Local had really good grilled cheese and tomato, spinach and artichoke dip, and spaghetti Bolognese. I had a little bit of a temper tantrum when I sat down at 9:10 and was informed they were on their Late Night menu. OSheehans never went late night until midnight. I found out after the Local is supposed to go there at 10. 

Main Dining rooms were all good, with service time varying. Again, I miss old versions of the menu. The lasagna every night in the old days was 100% better than the "baked ziti" (awful) they have now. I will say, the food in the MDR seemed to be the biggest complaint heard around the ship

 

Public Spaces/Activities

I did not do the racetrack, laser tag, or virtual reality. I just frankly didn't feel like paying for it. Others that did these activities seemed to enjoy them, though the laser tag completely broke by the last night

I love the pool deck on this ship; I know its a "mistake" the way it looks due to the China design but having the pool in the corner is great. 

The tube slide was fun. I wouldn't go near the drop slide so cant comment; they were removing people from it in the middle pretty routinely.

The Observation Lounge is by far my favorite space on the ship. Quiet, great views, dozens of chairs and couches. 

The Casino REALLY ticked me off the whole cruise, and I was onboard after booking with Casinos at Seas. They flat out just refused to lower the tables from $10 - $5 the entire trip, despite the fact that they were 100% empty 90% of the time. It is incredible how dismissive and idiotic casino staff can be, but of course it was all "corporate". Also frankly surprised how small it was considering how big it was when in China. LOVED the enclosed smoking room! Made the whole ship smell better.

The Social is the "club" on the ship. It was fairly busy each night. 

One major complaint is the extremely poor use of party space. In 12 days, they used the huge, expansive pool deck for exactly one party. They hosted a few of them in the (small compared to the rest of the fleet) Spice. They actually threw several "main event" parties in Social. 

 

Which kind of seems like a good time to comment on the activities and staff. Maybe its just that this is my 12th NCL cruise and the activities are repetitive, but there was SO LITTLE scheduled to do on this ship. The cruise director was absolutely phoning it in (Dan Dan) and he was rarely seen. When he did appears at a party he stayed 10 minutes and then ducked out. When parties did have a good attendance at Spice, even with a couple hundred dancing, they ended it and threw everyone out to head to Social. The parties really were just weird. They scheduled the Glow Party on a night where the clocks were being set forward an hour and there was a port the next morning. There were at least 5 of 12 nights with no appreciable "activity" late night besides dancing in the social. This isn't an isolated opinion; I heard again and again how for such a huge ship there was absolutely nothing "to do".

 

The DJs were awful, with isolated exceptions. The Glow Party was by far the busiest event and the DJ would play 20 seconds of a song, get everyone excited to dance to it then change the song. Repeatedly. People were literally stomping off the dance floor.  The "Celebrity"  DJ started out 3 different nights with the wobble and electric slide.

 

Footloose was good fun. Elements was not my thing at all (and wasn't on the Dawn years ago, either) I never saw the comedians. The magician (PC Lai) was very good. 

 

Also wanted to comment briefly on the new Towel system. As many are aware, you don't get a towel in your room anymore. You must check them out on the pool deck. This is where it goes off the rails; they staff the counter with a guy with two clipboards with a couple dozen pieces of paper on them where they write down your name, room number, and how many towels. Ostensibly, if you don't check the towel back in you will receive a $25 fee. In reality, the guys had ZERO capability to work this system! By the end of the cruise they stopped even trying to find the entry where you checked out a towel; they just wrote a new entry at the bottom stating you returned two towels. It would be so simple to have a basic computer program to just swipe your card like everything else. 

 

All that said - It was a perfectly nice relaxing 12 day cruise. Nothing awful, nothing special. Good time away with friends and met many new friends as well.

 

Happy to answer any questions!

 

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We are going to be on the Joy next month and were wondering if they had any decent entertainers at any of the bars.  We like to hang out there and in the past have enjoyed many hours of decent vocalists/piano players/guitarists at the various bars on the different NCL ships we have been on.  Also glad to hear that the food at Q was good.  Q is one of the specialty dinners we have planned.  What did you order and were the serving sizes adequate?

Edited by seemoreroyals

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3 hours ago, kollegekreed said:

I was on the Joy from 10/27-11/8 to Panama Canal and Western Caribbean. 'Ive long grown tired of writing "traditional reviews" but like to share any random observations I made throughout the trip. There were 3000 people onboard (holds 3800) so that may color others experiences. 

 

Disclaimer: This was my sixteenth cruise, and my 12th on NCL. I am an NCL Loyalist, but NOT a Cheerleader. The opinions below are mine and mine alone. As with any vacation, the "small negatives" tend to stick in our head, so I will point some of them out as well.

 

Room:

9732 was average size. The balcony was very nice though also a little odd; the balconies on deck 9 look directly over the extended balconies on Deck 8. The air in the room was irreparably broken for the first couple days of the trip which was a real negative as it was about 75-80 in the room despite the AC all the way down. After two trips by the maintenance team, it was fixed for the rest of the trip/

I thought storage was a little on the leaner side than previous ships but nothing that couldn't be handled.

Steward was fine; remembered our names immediately. We don't ask for much so didn't interact a lot besides hello and goodbye

 

Restaurants:

We were blown away by the food at Q. I was expecting to be disappointed but instead we went twice!

La Cucina was fine; I really hate their new menu but I cant really control that

Teppanyaki was fine - friend said best filet steak he had ever had

Friends did Cagneys and enjoyed 

Food Republic was food, interesting. Also: EMPTY! 8:00 PM 5 people eating and 10-15 staff standing around

Buffet was average. I was really perturbed there was never meat sauce at the pasta station. Never had trouble finding seats.

The Local had really good grilled cheese and tomato, spinach and artichoke dip, and spaghetti Bolognese. I had a little bit of a temper tantrum when I sat down at 9:10 and was informed they were on their Late Night menu. OSheehans never went late night until midnight. I found out after the Local is supposed to go there at 10. 

Main Dining rooms were all good, with service time varying. Again, I miss old versions of the menu. The lasagna every night in the old days was 100% better than the "baked ziti" (awful) they have now. I will say, the food in the MDR seemed to be the biggest complaint heard around the ship

 

Public Spaces/Activities

I did not do the racetrack, laser tag, or virtual reality. I just frankly didn't feel like paying for it. Others that did these activities seemed to enjoy them, though the laser tag completely broke by the last night

I love the pool deck on this ship; I know its a "mistake" the way it looks due to the China design but having the pool in the corner is great. 

The tube slide was fun. I wouldn't go near the drop slide so cant comment; they were removing people from it in the middle pretty routinely.

The Observation Lounge is by far my favorite space on the ship. Quiet, great views, dozens of chairs and couches. 

The Casino REALLY ticked me off the whole cruise, and I was onboard after booking with Casinos at Seas. They flat out just refused to lower the tables from $10 - $5 the entire trip, despite the fact that they were 100% empty 90% of the time. It is incredible how dismissive and idiotic casino staff can be, but of course it was all "corporate". Also frankly surprised how small it was considering how big it was when in China. LOVED the enclosed smoking room! Made the whole ship smell better.

The Social is the "club" on the ship. It was fairly busy each night. 

One major complaint is the extremely poor use of party space. In 12 days, they used the huge, expansive pool deck for exactly one party. They hosted a few of them in the (small compared to the rest of the fleet) Spice. They actually threw several "main event" parties in Social. 

 

Which kind of seems like a good time to comment on the activities and staff. Maybe its just that this is my 12th NCL cruise and the activities are repetitive, but there was SO LITTLE scheduled to do on this ship. The cruise director was absolutely phoning it in (Dan Dan) and he was rarely seen. When he did appears at a party he stayed 10 minutes and then ducked out. When parties did have a good attendance at Spice, even with a couple hundred dancing, they ended it and threw everyone out to head to Social. The parties really were just weird. They scheduled the Glow Party on a night where the clocks were being set forward an hour and there was a port the next morning. There were at least 5 of 12 nights with no appreciable "activity" late night besides dancing in the social. This isn't an isolated opinion; I heard again and again how for such a huge ship there was absolutely nothing "to do".

 

The DJs were awful, with isolated exceptions. The Glow Party was by far the busiest event and the DJ would play 20 seconds of a song, get everyone excited to dance to it then change the song. Repeatedly. People were literally stomping off the dance floor.  The "Celebrity"  DJ started out 3 different nights with the wobble and electric slide.

 

Footloose was good fun. Elements was not my thing at all (and wasn't on the Dawn years ago, either) I never saw the comedians. The magician (PC Lai) was very good. 

 

Also wanted to comment briefly on the new Towel system. As many are aware, you don't get a towel in your room anymore. You must check them out on the pool deck. This is where it goes off the rails; they staff the counter with a guy with two clipboards with a couple dozen pieces of paper on them where they write down your name, room number, and how many towels. Ostensibly, if you don't check the towel back in you will receive a $25 fee. In reality, the guys had ZERO capability to work this system! By the end of the cruise they stopped even trying to find the entry where you checked out a towel; they just wrote a new entry at the bottom stating you returned two towels. It would be so simple to have a basic computer program to just swipe your card like everything else. 

 

All that said - It was a perfectly nice relaxing 12 day cruise. Nothing awful, nothing special. Good time away with friends and met many new friends as well.

 

Happy to answer any questions!

 

What do you mean about the pool?  

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6 minutes ago, Caroldoll said:

What do you mean about the pool?  

 

 I think this is what he means:https---blogs-images.forbes.com-tiffanyleigh-files-2019-04-Norwegian-Joy-Main-Pool-2-1200x801.jpg.793c3e18aa21b1cc0b44a5ac300b5e21.jpg

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I was also on the October 27th sailing, and found some of the late night activities to be lacking.  Karaoke was a joke, not sure what they were thinking.   People would sign up and instead of everyone getting at least one turn, they would have some singers perform 4 songs in a row, yes others were signed in.   DJ was useless and not entertaining.  Its a shame that on this big ship the only place to have a "dance class" is in the atrium.  At times the dancers were just stepping on each other and couldn't see the instructor.   I wasn't one of the dancers just making an observation.  None of these fine points, would make me not cruise, just question some the NCL staff decisions.   Also, having the Meet and Greet in such a small venue certainly wasn't ideal.

Regarding the Q, if you are on the dining plan, you are entitled to 2 starters, 1 entree, 2 sides and 1 dessert.  It was the most food I've seen served in any restaurant.    About the towel system, you can check them out by the pool, but per guest services, you can leave them in your room upon disembarkation.   

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I guess so.  The Asians are very superstitious.  Perhaps they feel that if it was in the middle, you could fall in to it and die.  

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On 11/12/2019 at 10:02 AM, Caroldoll said:

I guess so.  The Asians are very superstitious.  Perhaps they feel that if it was in the middle, you could fall in to it and die.  

Not at all.  Asians absolutely dont sunbathe. They try at all costs to keep their skin as white as can be.  It you ever get a chance to travel through asia you'll see tons of commercials for skin lightening cream.  Heck even at the beach no one is out and they are covered head to toe if they are there.  It's kind of strange compared to other beaches in the world.

 

The idea of the pool location here is that they were able to shade the entire pool with sails on the balcony level.  The remainder of the sun deck was a "Garden" with fake shady trees.  It looked kind of corny.  See pics for reference. (Not a chair hog in site)

636287741630845387-2017NorwegianJoy2-005.jpeg

NorDec-53773-1500245458.jpg

Edited by wilmingtech

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I am from Hawaii and I had forgotten that.  OMG are the trees still there?  In Hawaii lots of them walk with umbrellas all the time.  In California they do it too, but not so much. Did they change it?

Edited by Caroldoll
addition

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10 minutes ago, Caroldoll said:

I am from Hawaii and I had forgotten that.  OMG are the trees still there?  In Hawaii lots of them walk with umbrellas all the time.  In California they do it too, but not so much. Did they change it?

 

There is an updated pic a couple posts up that show the new deck... without trees or garden.

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The pool deck park concept was created because the Chinese love to do Tai Chi.  Outdoors if possible.  They don't sunbathe and as such an artificial park was designed just for the Chinese market.  On that note, since the first 2 years of life for the Joy was in China I feel the upper management does not yet understand how to operate the ship in the 'western' market.  So many things are just not right on this ship and management does not even seem to know or care.  

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6 hours ago, Love my butler said:

So many things are just not right on this ship and management does not even seem to know or care.  

Can you expound on what the "so many things" are?

 

I'm on Joy December 22nd. Curious minds would love to know.

 

-Sean

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6 minutes ago, wilmingtech said:

Can you expound on what the "so many things" are?

 

I'm on Joy December 22nd. Curious minds would love to know.

 

-Sean

No alcohol! They only like gambling and strictly come dancing... Only joking! I’m on the joy 14/02/19

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On 11/13/2019 at 10:24 PM, Love my butler said:

The pool deck park concept was created because the Chinese love to do Tai Chi.  Outdoors if possible.  They don't sunbathe and as such an artificial park was designed just for the Chinese market.  On that note, since the first 2 years of life for the Joy was in China I feel the upper management does not yet understand how to operate the ship in the 'western' market.  So many things are just not right on this ship and management does not even seem to know or care.  

 

Just the opposite, management did not understand how to operate the ship in the asian market so it was pulled after only 2 years.  Of course they understand the western market, thats the majority of NCL cruise offerings.  Unless you mean Western = Asia?  I’m European descent so I think of the Americas as Western, Asia as the Far East.

 

Asians believe the darker skin tone means you work harder labor outdoors and are of lower class.  I live in an area with a large asian population, don’t see them on the beaches sunbathing.  I do see them on the golf course, the women cover up with large brimmed sun hats and some even wear face masks to keep a lighter skin tone.

Edited by smithop

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Can anyone comment on the Race Track. At one point I did see “side by side” seating for two in the carts. This of course is ideal if you have a younger child too short to ride. Did they take these out or are they still there? 
can anyone recently in Joy comment.  We are sail Dec 22 with big family group.

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9 hours ago, smithop said:

 

Just the opposite, management did not understand how to operate the ship in the asian market so it was pulled after only 2 years.  Of course they understand the western market, thats the majority of NCL cruise offerings.  

Actually, no.  Spoke to many crew who had the pleasure of working in the Chinese market.  It was a nightmare according to them.  Many reasons NCL pulled out of the Chinese market with the main one being little to no profit margin.  The first few years of anythings life is the learning phase.  The Joy has not snapped out of those odd habits yet, IMO.  I have only cruised on the Joy a couple of times but for being a near new ship it needs some work, mainly in upper management.  Give it a couple more years to unlearn bad habits.

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