Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Cruise Line

Ship information

Norwegian Joy

About Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Joy is packed with engaging activities and spaces, and while there's no doubt it has quiet areas -- such as the gorgeous and serene Observation Lounge -- the ship's character is driven more by all there is to do than anything else.

Maybe it's the ship's name that gets everyone in the mood for fun, but so many of the activities onboard are sure to put a smile on your face -- from go-kart racing and virtual reality gaming all day long to comedy, live music and the Broadway musical "Footloose" at night. Deck 8, which is lined from front to end with busy restaurants and bars is another spot where the energy level is high and everyone is having fun. Plus, the crew are among the friendliest we've encountered at sea -- you can't go 2 feet without being greeted or asked how your day is going -- and it's infectious.

But all the fun does come at a premium, and anyone sailing on Norwegian Joy should be prepared for a variety of extra costs onboard, including most of the outdoor fun (water slides are free, but that's about it), the virtual reality playroom Galaxy Pavilion and all of the specialty dining.

Longtime cruisers used to a more all-inclusive cruise experience may balk at all the extra charges, but for most people onboard, the pay-for-what-you-want system is appreciated. And all the "big kids" onboard have no problem shelling out for a few laps around the go-kart or 90 minutes shooting zombies, racing "Star Wars" pod racers or "Jeeping" it away from "Jurassic Park" dinosaurs in Galaxy.

A few notable missteps on this ship should be noted, as they certainly could color your enjoyment on the ship: Other than the suites-only pool, there are just two small pools to serve everyone onboard, plus the pool deck is one of the oddest we've seen. The two small pools are located diagonally across the deck from each other, leaving a massive open space in between. It's covered with deck chairs in warm weather, but it's a lot of wasted space and just looks weird. Additionally, there is no spa thermal suite or relaxation room. Adults can hit the Spice H2O sun deck to get away from the under-18s, but you won't get the same relaxed vibe you would in a spa thermal suite.

Cabins

Norwegian Joy has 39 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

7 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

19 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

16 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

 

 

Day & Night 

  • Daytime schedules are packed with trivia, silly games, wine tastings and other similar activities
  • The Broadway musical "Footloose" is the marque entertainment onboard, but a cover band of The Beatles, comedy shows and a lively bar scene also keep people going until late
  • Galaxy Pavilion, an extra-fee virtual reality arcade, is a lot of fun for all ages
  • Busy casino with a variety of table games, slot machines and a variety of tournaments

There's lots to do day and night on Norwegian Joy, but expect to shell out extra for quite a bit of it. While activities like trivia, Ping-Pong competitions, silly games in the atrium, art auctions and fruit carving or towel folding demonstrations are free to attend, if you want to hop on the go-karts, play Bingo, shoot lasers in the laser tag arena, participate in a wine or whiskey tasting, or experience flying a "Star Wars" pod racer in virtual reality, you'll have to pay extra.

Daytime activities are scheduled every 30 to 45 minutes from midmorning through late afternoon. Watch for mention of the Escape the Big Top escape room experience. It requires reservations but is free to do. You'll be partnered with up to nine others to solve a series of riddles, as you compete against other teams to see who can escape first. (Clue: Patterns are important!)

You'll get the most bang for your buck at the Galaxy Pavilion, a virtual reality arcade. It's a lot of fun. For $29 you can spend 90 minutes flying on a hang glider, racing others in a "Star Wars" pod racer or race car, escaping from dinosaurs in a "Jurassic Park" jeep, walking the plank on another NCL ship or shooting at zombies in a 7D movie theater. There are several other included VR attractions, including a Formula One race car simulator, but you'll have to pay an extra $10 for that. If you're prone to motion sickness, be careful -- remember, you can always close your eyes during the "ride." If 90 minutes isn't enough, there's a $199 weekly unlimited pass as well.

There's more that's complimentary at night; you'll need reservations for the Broadway show "Footloose," but attending doesn't cost a dime. The other big theater product show is "Elements," a mesmerizing spectacle full of acrobatics, aerialists and illusionists.

Beyond the theater, you'll find comedy in the Social most nights (it converts into a disco later in the night), sing-along piano music in The District Brew House, country music in Q, Latin music and dancing in Sugarcane Mojito Bar and rock 'n' roll covers from the ship's house band in lounges around the ship.

A popular spot (we're talking standing room only) on the ship is The Cavern Club (Deck 8), a recreation of the famous Liverpool-based club where The Beatles got their start. The tribute band usually performs three to four nights out of the week: Each show is themed -- Early Years, Middle Years or Later Years.

Norwegian Joy Bars and Lounges

Norwegian Joy has nearly 20 bars onboard, most with their own distinct feel and menu of specialty drinks. The ship also features the line's Cocktails on Tap program, which provides specialty cocktails created for select bars; the cocktails are mixed in bulk every few days and kept in kegs for easy pouring.

Highlights include:

Mixx (Deck 6): Located in between the Taste and Savor main dining rooms, the square-shaped Mixx is the place to go to grab a pre-dinner drink, though it also gets busy starting around midafternoon. The only seating is at stools around the bar.

Maltings Whiskey Bar (Deck 6): Tucked away in a corner, just next to the Social, this comfy lounge specializes in whiskey drinks, with dozens of whiskeys, scotches and bourbons, plus cocktails. The cocktails on tap options at this bar are a blackberry bourbon smash and a rye & rum sour, but other cocktails can be made on demand.

Social Comedy & Night Club (Deck 6): A multipurpose spot, this lounge is used for a number of different events, from comedy club sessions to late night dancing. The extra-fee Wine Lovers: The Musical show is held here on select evenings as well.

Starbucks (Decks 6 and 15): This at-sea Starbucks offers most of the same drinks and pastries you'd find on land. The main location is on Deck 6 in the atrium. You can sit and sip at one of the tables inside or take your drink to go. There's another, smaller, Starbucks at the very front of the Observation Lounge, but the selection here is smaller.

The District Brew House (Deck 8): One of the most popular bars on the ship, the District is the place for beer-lovers, with more than 20 beers on tap and another 59 or so in bottles. Whether you like a good ale, porter or IPA, you'll find it here. The bar even has a beer cocktail (pumpkin-spiced Guinness), as well as two cocktail on tap options. At night, a piano player entertains the crowds with jokes and sing-alongs.

The Cellars (Deck 8): Wine aficionados pack this sizable venue from late afternoon through till closing. There are 110 labels on offer from all over the world, and you can try out a few during one of the venue's extra-fee wine tastings. While it's quite popular, it's generally a more low-key spot than most of the other bars onboard.

Sugarcane Mojito Bar (Deck 8): Anyone looking for a Latin flair on their cruise will want to head to Sugarcane. Not only does the bar offering a wide selection of mojitos but it also has an evening house band which tends to get people up and dancing. It's a lively spot and popular most nights. There's an outdoor bar area that's mostly open when the ship is in warm-weather destinations.

The Cavern Club (Deck 8): Designed to look like the legendary club that The Beatles got their start in, The Cavern is popular on the nights the in-house The Beatles tribute band plays. (Come early as the limited seats fill up fast!) The group does three shows: Early Years, Middle Years and Later Years. You'll find standard drinks here. There's an outdoor bar area that's mostly open when the ship is in warm-weather destinations.

A-List Bar (Deck 8): Named for Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Andy Stuart, this cocktail-only bar offers a small menu of drinks, including several gin (or vermouth) and tonic varieties -- apparently Stuart's drink of choice. The bar is located between Cagney's and Le Bistro; it gets surprisingly busy in the evening considering its out-of-the-way location. There are stools surrounding the square bar, but nowhere else to sit.

The Humidor Cigar Lounge (Deck 8): A traditional cigar lounge with leather sofas and armchairs, this bar is the only place onboard where you can light up a stogie. It's not easy to find; the entrance to the bar is from outside, on the Deck 8 promenade. (This prevents the smell of cigar and cigarette smoking from permeating any public areas.)

The Observation Lounge (Deck 15): The most spectacular space onboard Norwegian Joy is the massive Observation Lounge at the front of the ship. The entire space is lined with windows, but you'll find the most impressive views at the front, where 180-degree views let you see everything in front of the ship. The space maintains a serene atmosphere (it's an all-day quiet zone), with plenty of places to sit and read, play cards quietly or just gaze out at the ocean. You'll find a bar at the front of the lounge, along with a Starbucks outlet.

Norwegian Joy Outside Recreation

  • Two small pools on the main pool deck, plus a third for suite guests
  • Top-deck fun includes two water slides, a kids aqua park, an electric go-kart track, a mini-golf-course and an outdoor laser tag arena

The two pools on Deck 16 are a bit perplexing; a comedian on our sailing joked that they were so small passengers were throwing in pennies and making wishes. On the other hand, there's plenty of space for sunbathing, with the bulk of the deck taken up by space for loungers. There is also space on Deck 17 overlooking the pool deck as well as further forward, outside of Vibe Beach Club. The main pool deck also has two hot tubs and there's another one outside of Vibe.

Additional lounge space can be found in the adults-only Spice H2O (Deck 19), along with a massive hot tub. For an extra-fee, you'll find more cushy loungers and a hot tub in Vibe Beach Club (Deck 17).

A third pool is located in The Haven Courtyard; it's also small but reserved exclusively for the use of The Haven suite passengers. One deck up is The Haven sun deck, with plenty of plush loungers and a selection of first-come, first-served cabanas.

Also on the main pool deck is the kids' aqua park with a variety of splash and climbing elements, and a tipping bucket. (Children must be potty-trained to use any of the pools or the water park.)

You'll find the entrance to two water slides on Deck 17. The Aqua Racer has riders zipping down the looping slide on one- or two-person inner tubes. The high-speed Ocean Loops slide is a free-fall affair that drops riders into two loops. Because the loops require riders to defy gravity and go up, you won't be permitted to wear anything that creates drag, including items like swim skirts and T-shirts.

Other active outdoor recreation can be found at the small mini-golf course on Deck 19 but more heart-poundingly at the laser tag arena and go-kart racetrack.

Themed around an abandoned space station, the laser tag arena is open during the day and well into the evening. Ten-minute sessions are held every half hour, and everyone signed up is divided into two groups to compete against each other. The cost is $9.95 and reservations are recommended. There are no age or height restrictions, participants simply need to be able to hold their own laser gun.

The two-level racetrack gives cruisers the chance to zip around a 755-foot-long track at up to 30 miles per hour. The cost is $15 for 10 laps, and it books up quickly so you'll want to reserve a spot as soon as you're onboard. There is no age limit, but you must be 4 feet or taller and weigh 300 pounds or less. Kids shorter than 4 feet can go as a passenger in a two-seater with a parent. (FYI, the go-kart viewing platform is located beneath the smoke stacks, and you will get soot falling on you if you stay there too long.)

Both the laser tag and go-karts offer $199 unlimited "play" packages.

Norwegian Joy Services

  • Guest and shore excursion services
  • Future cruise sales
  • Library and card room
  • Photo gallery and camera shop
  • Internet cafe (Find Norwegian Cruise Line prices here)
  • Shops: designer accessories, clothing and handbags; fine jewelry and watches; Norwegian-branded items; toiletries; snacks; duty-free alcohol and cigarettes
  • ATM
  • Meeting rooms
  • Medical center
Dining

Norwegian Joy Dining

  • 14 free and extra-fee dining options, representing American, Italian, Asian and French cuisines
  • Limited vegetarian options available in the main dining rooms; cruisers with other special dietary requests should let individual restaurants know ahead of time
  • Outdoor dining along The Waterfront is available for several restaurants
  • 24-hour room service incurs a $9.95 per order charge, except for morning coffee and continental breakfast; The Haven suite passengers receive complimentary room service from any restaurant onboard

Dining on Norwegian Joy is most notable for its variety, with more than enough venues to keep it interesting for a one-week cruise. Even if you choose not to indulge in any of the extra-fee restaurants, you'll have three choices (we're counting the three main dining rooms as one).

Food in the complimentary venues is mostly fine. Surprisingly, we found our favorite items were in the buffet, usually one of the weakest spots on a cruise ship. If you've got a little extra to spend, we can't recommend most of the specialty restaurants highly enough. The overall price is usually steep considering all the restaurants are a la carte (except Teppanyaki), but the food is definitely a step up from the free fare. Consider purchasing a dining package before your cruise to make the overall cost more reasonable.

Savor and Taste (Deck 6), and Manhattan Room (Deck 7)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)

Norwegian Cruise Line's three main dining rooms: the smaller Savor and Taste are located across from each other and differ only by decor and furniture. Manhattan Room is the largest of the three, has a more elegant feel and is only used for dinner.

Dining for all meals is freestyle; there are no set times, no assigned tables and you only have to eat with other people if you request a sharing table. If you find a waiter you love, however, feel free to ask to sit at his or her table when you show up.

Breakfast and lunch are served in Taste and Savor every day. The menu is the same each day. Breakfast offers your usual morning dishes, while lunch is a mix of soups and salads, finger foods, sandwiches and burgers, and hot dishes.

Lunch and dinner are served banquet style with a multicourse menu. Food is mostly Pan-American, though you'll find Asian and Italian dishes most nights as well. As with lunch, the dinner menu is the same across all three restaurants, but it does vary from day to day -- though appetizer choices do repeat several times. In addition, there is a "classic" menu with basic steak, chicken, fish and pasta items that are available every night.

Garden Cafe (Deck 16)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)

What's a cruise ship without an upper-deck buffet? There's something for everyone at Garden Cafe, from all the standard breakfast items to a wide variety of choice at lunch and dinner. Stations are mostly duplicated on both sides of the buffet (left versus right), but there are a few unique options so give the entire buffet a quick stroll for the most choice. Fans of Indian food will want to find the Taste of India station at lunch and dinner; the food is excellent. We also can't recommend the chocolate mousse highly enough.

Seating is as varied as the food, with round and square tables, high tops and booths, but seating can be difficult to find during high demand times (mornings on a port day, lunch on a sea day).

The Local Bar & Grill (Deck 7)
Meals: Open 24/7

This 24/7 venue is a casual spot to grab something to eat all day long, whether you're in the mood for finger foods for a quick snack (chicken wings, pretzel bites, etc.) or a proper sit-down meal (burgers, turkey potpie, etc.). You can choose to eat in the restaurant section, by the bar watching a game on TV or overlooking the atrium below for some prime people watching. We've had better bar food on land, but as an extra complimentary spot to grab food, it's not bad.

The Observation Lounge (Deck 15)
Meals: B, L

When you're in the mood for a light breakfast or lunch and don't want to deal with the crowds in the buffet or a full sit-down experience, head to the Observation Lounge for some light bites. You'll find items like yogurt parfaits, cereal, fruit and pastries at breakfast and DIY salad ingredients and finger sandwiches at lunch.

The Haven Restaurant (Deck 18)
Meals: B, L, D

A private restaurant for cruisers staying in any of The Haven-designated suites, you'll find more cultured menus than what's on offer in the three main dining rooms. Though you can still get all the standard breakfast items in the morning, the lunch and dinner menus are more expansive. Additionally, the chef is always willing to make something special with enough advance notice.

Pricing was accurate at time of review but may have changed since.

Teppanyaki (Deck 6); $29.95
Meals: D

One of Norwegian Cruise Line's most popular restaurants, Teppanyaki is a hibachi-style Japanese restaurant, where the chefs spend as much time performing as they do cooking. Expect to see a beating rice heart and slithering egg snake before your night is over. Oh, and the food is fantastic, too.

Q Texas Smokehouse (Deck 6); a la carte, $2–$24.99
Meals: D

Fans of barbecue will want to splurge on a dinner at Q, where you can get a variety of smoked meats and indulgent down-home sides. Our top recommendations: Go for the brisket, which is tender and tasty, but skip the half chicken -- it's too dry, even after adding on a sauce of your choice.

Starbucks (Deck 6); a la carte, $2.95–$3.95

While most people head here for their favorite specialty coffee or tea, you can pick up pastries here as well.

Food Republic (Deck 8); a la carte, $3.99–$13.99
Meals: D

With its eclectic menu (presented on touch screen tablets from which you order), Food Republic doesn't quite fit into any single culinary category. Items are designed to give diners a taste of various cultures around the world, with dishes from South America, Europe and Asia, as well as a large sushi menu. Plates are small and designed for sharing.

Ocean Blue (Deck 8); a la carte, $2.99–$31.99
Meals: D

Seafood-lovers will want to splurge a little on a dinner at Ocean Blue, where fresh grilled fish is the specialty of the house. There's also a small selection of meat dishes. If you're seeking a healthy meal, Ocean Blue is a good choice, but we don't recommend Ocean Blue for vegetarians unless you're content to make a meal of sides. Outdoor seating is available.

La Cucina (Deck 8); a la carte, $4.99–$29.99
Meals: D

Norwegian's ubiquitous Italian restaurant, you'll find all your favorites from pasta e fagioli to calamari and spaghetti carbonara to gnocchi, and, of course, leave room for the tiramisu. Outdoor seating is available.

Le Bistro (Deck 8); a la carte, $3.99–$26.99
Meals: D

The cruise line's signature French restaurant is one of Norwegian Joy's two fine dining establishments, and you'll need to dress up to dine here. It serves traditional French favorites, like escargot, coq au vin and veal in a morel sauce. Le Bistro is an excellent choice for a date night or to celebrate a special occasion. Keep in mind, everything on the menu is quite rich so try not to overdo it. Outdoor seating is available.

Cagney's Steakhouse (Deck 8); a la carte, $5–$32
Meals: D

The second of Norwegian Joy's fine dining restaurants (and located just across the way from Le Bistro), Cagney's is a traditional American steakhouse serving a selection of meat cuts and seafood. Like Le Bistro, there is a dress code. Outdoor seating is available.

The District Brew House (Deck 8); a la carte, $5.99–$8.99

If you're in need of a snack with your brew, you can choose one of four small-plate options at The District. It's more gastropub fare (salmon tandoori naan, for instance) than traditional pub grub.

American Diner (Deck 17); a la carte, $2.99–$14.99
Meals: L, D

This Americana-themed "diner" (you'll find tables sporting U.S. state license plates and booths carved out of classic American cars) offers a diverse menu of diner classics, including appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, salads and fried food baskets.