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Joy repositioning cruise - 6th October review


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I appreciate the itinerary won't be the same but I thought I'd share my review. If you have any questions about Joy or my first time experience with NCL fire away.


Recently returned from a repositioning cruise from Vancouver on 6th October and arriving in LA on 11th October.


Originally the itinerary included two ports 1. Victoria, BC and 2. San Francisco. Sadly a few days prior to departing, we were informed Victoria had to be cancelled due to tidal issues and this resulted in a delay of departure from Vancouver due to passing under Lions Bridge. Naturally this was quite disappointing for such a short cruise however we were issued $50 onboard credit. We were not issued any refund of port fees though.



Relatively straight forward and I was on the ship within 15 minutes. I had completed everything online so it was a matter of collecting my sea pass and signing paperwork.

Cabin: I had 13162 which was on deck 13 (ironically the medical centre is also located on this deck) and this was a port side mid ship balcony. The cabin was fine with plenty of storage space and a nice (albeit small) balcony.


I liked the location as I wasn't far from the stairs and just two levels up to the Observation Deck and close to the Garden Café.

My attendant was friendly enough but I wouldn't say he went above and beyond. On one day close to the end, he didn't even bother removing the glasses from my room or wiping the coffee from the side table.


I had breakfast here three times during the trip. I liked sitting by the window and watching the World go by. I found the service to be very good as was the food. I highly recommend the chocolate pancakes. Also try the cinnamon rolls - literally the best ever!!


I had lunch here and the cheese burger was very disappointing however the philly steak sandwich was good. Personally I found The Local to be better for the fast food types such as hot dogs/burgers.


I had dinner and it was very nice. The menu was the same each night though and the same in all restaurants (Savour/Taste/The Manhattan).


Taste/The Manhattan:
I had dinner in both and as mentioned above the menu is the same. The service was excellent in The Manhattan and fine in Taste.

One point to note on the service in the restaurants, every time someone interacted with me they were shocked I was dining alone. In the end it was comical but also rather draining. Women are able to dine alone and it's not some sad affair.


Garden café:
The worse place ever! So chaotic. I only went once for breakfast and it was awful. The food was average but trying to get a table was awful. Walking around with your food and having to rush for a table is not enjoyable.


American Diner:
I decided to try breakfast here one day and it was fine, nothing special. Limited buffet available but nice service.


La Cucina Italian:
I had two specialist dinning available, sadly I regret dining here. The food was average at best. Pear salad was nice but on the main dining menu and I can't even remember my mine so it shows how uneventful that was.


Ocean Blue:
This was the best meal of my cruise. Incredible sea food and lovely service. Try the scallops for starter (they are very small!) and the mixed seafood for main - perfect.

Just a note with the specialist dining, they were very restrictive with when you could book. I was informed they were fully booked however both times I was seated, there were plenty of free tables. This is disappointing as I could've switched my reservation to Cagney's but they said they were full.


The Local:
I had lunch here on embarkment and it was bit manic but the nachos were good. I had another lunch here and whilst the line was long to be seated, it went fairly quickly and the hot dog was great. Again lovely service.


The Observation Deck:
Snacks were regularly available during the day here although I didn't eat any. They had soups and salad for lunch and a few other items. I would often fill up my water bottle here and grab a decaff coffee before heading to bed.


I won't comment on each bar but all had a great selection of drinks. I do want to say how wonderful Jomar Parculos and Maxime Mathurin at the H20 spice bar were. Always so friendly and happy.


H20 Spice:
I loved coming here in the afternoon for a dip in the hot tub. It was great being adults only. Only suggestion would be to show a film or something on the big screen. Whilst the beach pictures were nice, it could have been put to better use.


Great adults only pool, very deep. Sadly a little chilly for our cruise. The hot tubs on the pool deck were full of unaccompanied children - not good. Maximum capacity in the hot tubs were always over due to the amount of kids in there.


I did the water slide with the ring. This was great fun with the lights however I whimpered out of the ocean loop. Although it was only a few seconds long, it looked so scary and some lighter people were getting stuck.


Pulse fitness centre:
The gym was average size but always pretty busy (surprisingly). People were often using equipment and had no clue how to do it safely. Wearing sandals and man bags on the cross trainer was ridiculous.


They held a stretch class (7am) and abs class (7.30am) in The Cavan Club. I assume they held it there as there is no room in the gym.


Go karting:
Again this seemed to be fully booked all the time but I managed to secure a slot. It was worth the wait as it was fun but it was very difficult to overtake other drivers. Worth the $15.



An excellent show! I was so impressed with the singing and dancing. You must go watch the show.


Unbelievably disappointing. Everything they did, I could have done (I'm intermediate aerialist). I expected the show to be a lot better. It was very colourful so I think that's what makes people think it's great when the actual acrobatics was pretty tame.


Personally the issue I had was the lack of quality entertainment. It felt like there wasn't much going on, especially in the evenings. If you couldn't get a show booked then the other entertainment was in the Atrium. Sometimes it was good and other times not such much. There wasn't much going on during the day either. Hardly any activities.



You simply chose your own luggage tag and which time you'd like to leave the ship. I chose 9am but wish I'd chosen earlier as I was finished with breakfast and out of the room by 8am. It was a quick process once you were called to leave.


Overall I was impressed with my first NCL cruise. I personally prefer bigger ships so perhaps I should consider that in the future.

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I was looking at last minute deals for this cruise because my birthday fell on one of the days and I live in Seattle. I wasn’t able to book but maybe next time! Thanks for the quick review! I won’t cruise in the Joy because they don’t have a thermal Spa like the other ships and you definitely need that in Canada/ PNW. Your comment about dining alone cracked me up! Even women get harassed about it. At least no one tried pick up lines on you 😑

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4 hours ago, beckyboo1986 said:

One point to note on the service in the restaurants, every time someone interacted with me they were shocked I was dining alone. In the end it was comical but also rather draining. Women are able to dine alone and it's not some sad affair.



Sorry, but I am glad to hear that doesn't happen to just me. The reaction I have gotten varies from "Oh you poor thing" to "What on earth is wrong with you".

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My wife and I were on the same cruise. I'll add to what you said that our dinner in Le Bistro was also superb (we also ate in Ocean Blue one night, and loved it as much as you did).


I need, though, to clarify one thing you said about the three MDR's. It's not true that "the menu was the same each night..." The MDR menu changed every night (at least the three nights we went to Savor or Taste). In other words, the menu on, say, Tuesday, was different from the menu on Monday or the menu on Wednesday. It IS true that whatever the menu is that night will be the same in all three of the MDR's.


The lunch menu, though, is the same every day in all three restaurants. On such a short cruise, that didn't bother me because I liked all of the luncheon items I tried and was happy to have some of them repeatedly.


As for the Garden Cafe, I agree with you that it's to be avoided, UNLESS you can get there really early for breakfast. Same with the Observation Lounge, at least as far as the crowds. It's a great venue, but only when it's relatively quiet.

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I totally agree with your review.  My husband I were in 10918 balcony.  

Our room steward was subpar.  He would leave dirty glasses and not replace; ice was hit and miss and only at night never in day.  The room service forms were missing and  he always cleaned our room late. We seldom saw him.  Not like the service we were used to receiving.  

Lack of  Buffet seating caused us to never return after one lunch, but it always looked good.   American Dinner was good breakfast option with lots of seating.     
Food was good overall everywhere.  

We ate at Q and only five other tables in use.  Very empty.   Food was good.  Ribs and brisket were good the sides with meal (listed on menu) is 2 oz size.  Order a side.  I didn’t like house margarita with special salt.


 Room service scheduled for 7 am came at 6:20.  Local is handy.  Observation Deck lady bartender made best spicy Bloody Mary.  


Ocean Blue was wonderful, gumbo was a meal in itself. Clam chowder was seasoned odd and overwhelmed.  Service the best.  


Cavern Club was our favorite but arrive 1 hour early for seating.  Good bar staff.  


Embarkation was the best ever and went right to our room at 11 am.  Ship had no passengers and totally ready. 

It was a fun cruise, it went by too fast.  

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Oh wow about the comments on your eating alone. I would request they find me a cast member from Choir of Man or they better apologize for the comment on me being alone. I am solo on the Encore TA and if I eat alone I hope people are more just friendly about asking me how my experience is rather than assuming it's sad. 

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We too were on this Joy sailing. Girls trip, so there were three of us.  Adding my two cents:


Anyone else questioning the "tidal conditions" cause for the cancellation of the Victoria port? I mean c'mon, we have tidal calendars printed for the year.  As first time cruisers, we felt this really wasn't what we signed up for.  One week with one stop.  But the 2 separate medical evacuations added some interest.  Although hearing the announcements about people interfering with the nighttime helicopter one, made me we want to slap the people who have no sense.  Just put the cameras/phones/lights away people.


Smallest scallops ever...like chickpea size.  Seriously.  Was not expecting that.


We ventured to the Garden Cafe on a couple of occasions, mainly for the Indian food.  The rest of the items were okay.  And yes, seating was hit or miss.  Liked having the hand-washing stations.


For specialty dining, we opted for Cagney's (disappointment) and Le Bistro (pleasantly surprised - maybe that's the wine talking).  Didn't care for the dining rooms, so once was enough for the experience.  Our running joke was that the French Onion Soup was rather like onion broth at times.  No bread or cheese?  The chicken wings in the Local were good without sauce and with just salt & pepper at the table.  


Did you check out the comedians?  We thought the 3 were all excellent.  Wasn't able to make it to their big show in the theater, but we caught their acts in the Social and laughed a lot.


We originally booked a mini-suite but then pre-cruise upgraded to a Concierge room, since we had 3 sharing a room.  Somehow our $50 onboard credit that was there when we first booked went missing, even though when I did the upgrade she said our promos were the same.  Never to be seen again. 


Our room steward was friendly, diligent, and greeted us by name whenever we saw him. And the towel animals were a nice touch.


And when we got to San Francisco, we were waiting for an announcement about which deck to use to get off.  We were lucky to stumble upon it, but were confused why it wasn't announced.  There were a bunch of people who were ahead of us, but maybe it was still early on? 


Even for the priority disembarkation (concierge with self-assist), we were left waiting and unsure.  By the time we were collected, it was as if it would have been faster just going with the general group.  


Maybe cruising isn't for me. Ha ha.     

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Another female solo cruiser here.  I've even chosen to eat solo at 2-top tables and been hounded by neighbors insisting that I join them.  If I'd wanted to eat with others (and I often opt to do just that), I'd have told the Maitre D that I wanted to be seated with others!


One of the things I enjoy most about sailing solo is that I get to people watch.  When you're sailing with family/friends, you spend most of the time chatting with them.  When you're solo, you have all that time to watch the crew/staff do their amazing jobs.


There have also been too many instances where I've been seated and then ignored.  Once I finally get someone's attention, the remarks are always "oh, I thought you were waiting for someone!"  Really?  And it didn't occur to you to even come and pour some water and ASK ME?


And just because I'm alone doesn't mean I'm lonely!  It is frustrating.  

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6 minutes ago, enyliram said:

hi  thanks for your review as a solo.. i am going solo on the joy for 12 nights leaving oct 27

was there a solo host on your cruise?

Yes, his name is Romeo and he's wonderful.  We had a great turn out for most of the evenings and Romeo went out of his way to ensure our wishes were met.  Meet ups were generally in Maltings on deck 6 and will be listed in your Freestyle Daily. 


Have a great cruise. 


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You're welcome Marilyne,  please tell Romeo, Connie says "hi" ((hugs)).   

Romeo made our dining reservations every evening.  Sometimes our table was 10-12 ppl, others it was only 4-5.  The only MDR I really didn't care for, had nothing to do with the food, was Manhattan.  For some reason it seemed really loud the entire time we were in that venue. 


PS - don't miss the 80s dance party, was a hoot and Romeo was in charge/DJ.  Great fun, place was packed.  If you're into theme parties and like to dress the part, this would be the 1 I'd dress for. 



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7 hours ago, NCTribeFan said:

 There have also been too many instances where I've been seated and then ignored.  Once I finally get someone's attention, the remarks are always "oh, I thought you were waiting for someone!"  Really?  And it didn't occur to you to even come and pour some water and ASK ME?


And just because I'm alone doesn't mean I'm lonely!  It is frustrating.  

This is a big part of the reason I don't ever eat in the MDRs. At a specialty they already know I'm solo and except for one annoying waiter in La Cucina on the Gem who didn't seem to think I belonged there, I have always received excellent service. 

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My cousin and I were on the same cruise.  Her first cruise, my 40th, on various cruise lines.


The menu in Taste, Savor, and Manhattan are the same for each venue, but with nightly specials.  Some things the same every night, with nightly specials. 


We thought the room layout odd.  No drawers.  Very small shelves in the desk/vanity, and a silly 6 inch wide unit by the bed with one small shelf for our things, and one for the steward to use for the folded-up decorative panel from the end of the bed.


Walkways and hallways very narrow.  Taste and Savor are across the deck from each other, but there is a bar in between, making it very crowded to walk.  Same with the shopping area, with permanent display units outside of the shops, and one in the middle of the walkway.


What group were you in for Customs disembarkation in San Francisco?  We were in group 2.  They called groups 1-4 in ten minutes, which meant a very long line snaking from the elevator banks thru the casino, zig-zag lines, like at Disneyland, in the Manhattan Room, along the promenade, and both levels of the gangway.  It took us 90 minutes to get thru Customs.  People we talked to later said they waited for three hours, but groups 5, 6, and 7 were never called.


The Garden Cafe was a horrific  exercise in swimming against the current trying to get food and find a place to sit. 


This was the first cruise I have been on where I felt claustrophobic. 



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Nice review.

I ate once in dining room by myself, husband wasn’t feeling well. I brought a book to read while dining; but I was glad to get out of there. I ate at the local a couple of times by myself and didn’t feel weird there.

Oh I am so sorry that you missed Victoria port! We were deciding between your Joy Cruise (5 day) and the Jewel Pacific Coastal (6 day). We chose the Jewel. Glad we did because we loved Butchart gardens and the tea in the dining room on our own. I’m going to be writing a review soon about our cruise 10/7-10/13. 

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