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Joyous Occasion with Norwegian

by Michael Morcos, photos: NCL

How could anything go wrong on a ship called the ‘Joy”?

And true to the name, our cruise was a real joy. Not sure when to stop the puns but they come so easily and joyously!

The Norwegian Joy is now home to North Americans after originally being for the Chinese market. It has been refurbished for American tastes and pleasures and is ready to take on the best of Alaska this summer and onwards to the east coast of the USA.

This is easily the biggest ship I have ever sailed on and being used to much smaller ships, including riverboats, the ‘Joy’ is humongous. But comparing large and small does not mean better or worse, just different, and in this sailing, large was good. With so much to see, there was very little down time and I wanted to experience it all.

Our sailing was considered a re-launch. We would board in Vancouver and depart in Los Angeles with no port days, only sea days. This was a good thing as port days would have taken away from the full “Joy” experience.

With a capacity of 3,800 people, it is placed in the large ship category with mega everything, like a large theatre, multitude of dining options, plenty of public spaces on many levels, a casino, spa center, amusement centres, golf-putting area, multiple swimming areas, slides and the most unimaginable, a two level go-kart race track.

Dinning and bars

You will never starve on the “Joy”. Better put, you will feast like a king with a multitude of choices that range from self-serves to sit down serves at many different restaurants that include amazing steak houses to Asian cuisine.

My favourites were the Manhattan, Cagney’s and Fusion for their delicious and fresh sushi. There were restaurants for everyday eating and some really special spots.

To explain why I loved the Manhattan Room the most, I would just say the extra care taken to accommodate the guest’s specific taste was a wonderful experience. It offers modern and classic dishes and is a great choice for variety.

Cagney’s Steakhouse is upon reservation for a good reason. Though steak is the standard, you can sit on the side and can take a pick from premium cuts. It is mouth watering, and you can also order some jumbo crab cakes and a side of their truffle fries.

The Local was another great spot, and they offer great and simple classic pub fare in relaxed atmosphere 24-hours a day. With fish and chips or burgers, you can also enjoy a few beers and enjoy a game on a two-story TV screen.

Extraordinary activities

The cruise liner was built for all tastes when it comes to pleasurable activities. There was never a dull moment.

Imagine that you are on a cruise that offers you a Race Track! Passengers can zoom around twists and turns in high-powered, quick go-carts. For imaginative folks, there is a great arena for Laser Tag. Other family-friendly choices include Mini Golf, an Aqua Park with slides and pools and the Galaxy Pavilion, an ‘imaginarium’ with immersive visuals and a larger than-life 3D animated, interactive video screen.

For adults, there is a fully stocked Casino offering a wide range of thrilling games for every level of player. Added to that is the gym, fitness area, multiple pools, a spa and a salon.

What a show, (times two)

What a show and what a delight to have had the chance to view to magnificent live performances, with the Broadway style presentation of Footloose and a magical experience viewing Elements.

Great shows are part and parcel on Norwegian Cruise Line, and we were lucky to see their version of the musical Footloose. The show is based on the popular movie where a Chicago teen with a love of dancing moves to small town that has banned Rock n’ Roll and dancing. Fighting the town adults and the rules, he gets the ban lifted.

 The musical is added to their classic show, Elements, an aerial acrobatics show. This Norwegian Cruise Line favorite involves the four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire and features mesmerizing magic, high-flying feats and exciting music and dance.

As part of Norwegian’s specialty dining performances, Wine Lovers: The Musical, known as the world’s first wine tasting musical production, provides guests the opportunity to taste a variety of wines at a lunch club-style experience while enjoying a hilarious musical comedy about the joys of wine and love. The show will be performed at the Social Comedy and Night Club with wine served to guests 21 and older.

Norwegian Joy is set to reposition to North America in late April following an over $50 million renovation that will make her nearly identical to sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, with an extended go-kart race track and new dining and bar concepts. Her first seven-day, round-trip Alaska sailing from Seattle, Washington will be on May 4, 2019, and she will call to both Glacier Bay and Icy Strait Point during her inaugural season. Norwegian Joy continues with Panama Canal sailings in October before offering weekly sailings to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles in November.

La piece des resistance

It is heaven on earth and on the “Joy” it is called the Haven. This is a section of the ship that is reserved for those who are looking for the small ship feeling but want the many features found on much larger ships. Very attractively priced, they rival the smaller ships with capacities of 1000 or less passengers.

In the Haven, there are concierge serves and a privet elevator to get you to your suit without waiting with the crowds. This is especially helpful when getting to ports and back again on ship in a limited shore times. Additionally, the Haven guests have their own private pool and sunning area and still have the whole ship at their disposal.

The Joy is a versatile ship tailoring to a multi-generational family. Mom, Dad the kids and ever the grand parents will all have something to experience and enjoy on this beautiful ship the “Joy”!