Norwegian Joy Inaugural Sailing, Part 1.
I had the privilege of being invited on the beautiful newly redone Norwegian Joy, for its inaugural sailing out of Long Beach, California on Monday, April 29, 2019. I love being invited to visit ships so I can get a better feel for the shape they are in, what they have to offer my clients, and how to rate their service. This was a one night cruise, not the typical 4 hour cruise ship tour I usually get offered to attend. Norwegian really stepped up their game this time and offered travel agents and media the opportunity to stay over night on the ship, with drinks and activities included. I was able to bring one adult guest, my husband, Troy.
The Joy is only 2 years old, but was originally designed for the China market. It has 19 decks, can accommodate 3,804 guests with the Crew count being just under half the guest count. So after two years in the China market, Norwegian decided the ship would be better served in Alaska and the Mexican Rivera, so it went through an extensive re-design. Let me tell you, it is one gorgeous ship. I love the color pallet of different hues of blue with tan and brown. It speaks modern luxury. The public spaces are all very thought out, and open and airy feeling. The fixtures are modern Scandinavian lux with sleek and simple lines. You won't find any kitschy decor on this ship, gratefully so.
Our cabin was an Family Interior Stateroom, category I1, which has 2 twin beds with 2 twin upper bunks, if needed. The bathroom has one sink, small but sufficient counter space, two shelves, a toilet and a walk in shower. I appreciated that the shower had glass enclosures and a glass door, rather than a shower curtain (a wet shower curtain that moves with the movement of a ship can be unpleasant for the one showering). The room was rather small, it didn't have a designated sitting area, not even a chair- just a small square foot stool to sit at the desk/vanity. I cannot see how 4 people would be comfortable in this tiny room. But not to worry, this ship has plenty of other (better) options for families.
I was able to view several available staterooms on board. The one that really caught my eye is the "Concierge Family Inside" stateroom, category CF. This cabin is absolutely perfect for bringing kids. The spacious stateroom has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with a living area that has a double sofa bed and a large table to seat 4. The stateroom accommodates 5-6 people and is up to 561 sq. ft. One bathroom has a tub, the other has a shower. What makes this even better? It has a virtual screen that shows you EXACTLY what your view would be, if you had one. It projects a live view of that side of the ship to mimic having a balcony view! How cool is that?!? And you don't have to have the anxiety of worrying whether your kids will fall over the balcony, you get the view without the worry! This is such a great option for families with several young children that don't want to be split up into different staterooms.
The other stateroom that "wowed" me is "The Haven Family Villa Suite with Balcony", category HA. First, I will say I'm not quite sure why they call it a "villa suite" as it doesn't have other rooms attached to it. But it is a very spacious open room that has a comfy and luxurious king size bed, with additional bedding for 3 more guests, with a privacy curtain to separate the king bed from the other beds. It has dining and sitting areas too. The room is decorated beautifully and I love the upgraded touch of having a Nespresso in the room, which the standard rooms don't have. This stateroom is part of The Haven which is much more than Concierge class. The Haven gives you access to a secluded courtyard area with private pool, private restaurant and the Horizon Lounge. You even get priority onboard reservations and a dedicated line at the Speedway. The HA category staterooms offer forward-facing views, located mid-ship close to the action of the top desks and The Haven. The total size of this stateroom is 417 sq. ft, with the balcony at 84 sq. ft.
If you're looking for a truly spacious balcony, then look no further than the "The Haven Aft-Facing Penthouse with Balcony", category H6. Not only is this stateroom large (up to 667 sq.ft), but it is l-u-x-u-r-i-o-u-s. It has a living and dining room decorated stunningly, that includes a double sofa bed, mini bar and Nespresso maker. It has floor-to-ceiling windows and a spacious balcony with 2 cushioned chaise lounges and an outdoor table with cushioned chairs. The Master Bedroom has luxurious king size bed with pillow top mattress, feature duvet, feather pillows, 600 thread count linen and upgraded bath amenities. The master bath has a bathtub and separate shower and 2 modern vanity sinks. There's a second guest bathroom with it's own shower. And let's not forget that this comes with Concierge and The Haven service as well as 24-hour Butler service. It can accommodate up to 4 guests (although I feel it's a fantastic splurge for a couple celebrating something special). The Joy also has several other Haven suites I was not able to view, such as "The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony (Wheelchair Accessible, category H5", "The Haven 2-bedroom Family Villa with Balcony, category H4", "The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite with Large Balcony", category H2", "The Haven Family Villa Suite with Balcony, category HA" and "The Haven Aft-Facing Penthouse with Balcony, category H6".
I was also able to view a "Forward Facing Oceanview with Large Picture Window", category OA as well as a "Mid-Ship Balcony", category MA and a "Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony", category BA. All of these are standard staterooms that I would be totally fine in had I not seen the Concierge and Haven staterooms, goshdarnit. I really liked that the inside staterooms have their own corridor in the middle of the ship, rather than being across from outside facing staterooms. This is a huge plus for those outside staterooms who don't have to hear others across from them going in and out of their rooms. It definitely cuts down on noise. The major downside to the stateroom floors is how they are numbered. Port side rooms have one set of numbers and interior rooms have their own set of numbers with Starboard side rooms with their own set of numbers. It can make it very confusing to locate your room or someone else's room, especially on a 1 night cruise.
That's it for Part 1 of my Norwegian Joy personal review. Although the standard staterooms are nice and fairly comfortable, I think splurging for Concierge or The Haven staterooms are the way to go. If you want a basic stateroom, cruise with a more basic cruise line. If you want a more luxurious experience, then stay in one of Norwegian Joy's upgraded stunning staterooms!