The new Norwegian Joy cruise ship is spectacular. I was lucky enough to be a guest on a one-night U.S. Inaugural Cruise from Los Angeles to Ensenada last week to experience all she has to offer.
As my friend and I boarded the ship, we were struck by the luxuriousness and attention to detail as we walked through the ship to our stateroom. The Norwegian Joy started sailing two years ago in China and after the success of Norwegian’s ship “Bliss” that sails from Seattle, the company decided to make a few changes and bring the Joy to the West Coast.
Like the Bliss, it will sail to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera and the Panama Canal. The entire time I was on the Joy, I kept thinking about how my family would love it. And here’s why I think yours will, too.
Luxury Accomodations on the Norwegian Joy
Our stateroom was in The Haven, where you’ll find the ship’s most luxurious accommodations. The Haven is nestled at the top of the ship and can only be accessed by a stateroom key. Staying there gives families access to private areas and fabulous rooms.
The first thing I said when I saw our stateroom – The Haven 2-bedroom Family Villa – was “Wow!” and I kept saying it over and over again. We had a suite with a master bedroom and bathroom, living room with a pullout couch and another room with a pullout couch and bathroom. It also had a balcony with a small table and chairs, two televisions, a Nespresso maker AND A BUTLER! Yes, a butler. We never called for him, but it was comforting to know he was there.
The master bed was comfortable and the room was spacious with two closets and a vanity/desk. The bathroom was ridiculous! And I mean that in the best way. It had large windows so you could shower or take a bath while gazing at the ocean.
After I got over how awesome our stateroom was, we went exploring in The Haven. Guests are granted access to The Haven’s private restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Next to the restaurant and lounge you’ll find a private lounge that leads to an indoor pool and hot tub. Lounge chairs with fluffy towels lined the pool area.
If guests would rather be outside, there’s a lovely private sundeck with a hot tub and pool chairs.
The Haven was fabulous and if you can swing the extra cost, it’s the way to go. Haven guests also get to board and disembark before everyone else, and get priority access to the shows.
Food and Drink on the Norwegian Joy
As a family, we love to eat and try new restaurants. On board the Norwegian Joy, we could try a new restaurant every night of the cruise.
As part of our media tour of the ship, we went to the most fantastic food tasting at the Manhattan Main Dining Room. We were able to try a little bit of everything from the amazing dining options on the ship.
The way it works, there are 5 restaurants included with the price of the cruise that includes the Manhattan. If you stay in the Haven you also have access to that restaurant. The rest you purchase a la carte like you would at a hotel.
My favorite of the food we tasted was from Q Barbecue. We had ribs, sausage and brisket that was all cooked and seasoned perfectly. My other favorite was our breakfast from the Garden Cafe. It’s a buffet with any kind of breakfest food you can imagine. I was trying to eat healthy, but coudn’t resist french toast with banana compote. It was delicious and so was the coffee.
We were also treated to a special dinner at Teppanyaki, which is one of the specialty dining experiences. I’ve never been to a teppanyaki restaurant before (yes, I’ve never been to Benihana, which is shocking to everyone I mention that to). It was a lot of fun and the food was incredible!
If you do have the chance to get away from the kids while you’re on the cruise, there are many bars and clubs to spend time.
We were treated to a cruise ship pub crawl that began at the A-List Bar where we had a delightful cocktail called The Matador that had bourbon, elderflower and candied ginger. It was very good and not sweet.
We went from there to the Sugarcane Mojito Bar where a band duo was singing Tina Turner while we sipped Wiki Rum Punch. That was followed by an Alaskan beer tasting at the District Brew House and a wine tasting at The Cellars. You won’t go thirsty on your Norwegian Cruise!
Activities on the Norwegian Joy
Teenagers will love the Norwegian Joy’s entertainment options. The fun includes:
A Go-Cart Track! – I felt the same way about this as I did about the butler; I couldn’t believe it. It’s located on the top deck, outdoors. When you’re hugging corners around the track, you have no idea you’re on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. (Check out the video below to see it in action).
Laser Tag – Go on a galactic laser tag adventure with lots of room to run around.
Galaxy Pavilion – The pavilion is a great way to spend an afternoon at sea. You’ll find virtual reality games, a race car simulator, and 3D animation.
Mini Golf – play 5-holes on the course.
Entourage Teen Club – Teenagers can hang out and get to know each other.
Splash Academy – Parents can drop kids off at the Splash Academy while they enjoy a night out or for any reason at all!
Aqua Park – The Aqua Park was pretty amazing. There’s a giant tube slide , pools, splash pad and much more. Kids of all ages will love it.
Note: there is an extra cost for laser tag, go-carts and the Galaxy Pavilion.
Entertainment on the Norwegian Joy
I love musical theater so it was a big treat to get to see the musical Footloose, based on the 80s classic film! The actors were really good and their voices were fanstastic. It was funny that I haven’t heard Let’s Hear It for the Boy in decades, but I was singing along because I knew it by heart.
The show is good for families with older kids and I think they’ll be entertained. Speaking of being entertained, we had a great time at The Cellar bar listening to a very entertaining Beatles cover band.
In addition to that parents will find a comedy club and Wine Lovers: A Musical – A Wine Tasting Musical! It sounds perfect for me!
Relaxing on the Norwegian Joy
If you’re going on a cruise to unplug and relax, this is the ship for you. There are a lot of great places for mom (or dad) to escape and sit with a book and enjoy the ocean views.
There’s also a beautiful library to sit and hang out and, of course, the many bars to sit and have a glass of wine or a cocktail.
The way that I relax is to head to the gym for a workout and then enjoy the hotub. If you’re interested in going to the spa, it looked gorgeous.
There was so much to do on the ship and I didn’t even get to the shopping and the casino. If you’re thinking about a trip to Alaska, I would recommend checking out the Norwegian Joy. Here is a video so you can see more the ship.
Disclosure: My friend and I were guests of Norwegian Cruises for an overnight cruise. We were given accomodations, activities, food and drinks for review purposes. All opinions are my own.