Norwegian Joy is a Breakaway Plus-class cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and is the second of four Breakaway Plus-class vessels in the company’s fleet. Built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, she was delivered in April 2017.
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.
Norwegian Joy (2017-built, initially named “Norwegian Bliss”, last refurbished in 2019) is the second of all four Breakaway Plus-class NCL cruise ships – together with the sisterships Norwegian Escape (2015), Norwegian Bliss (2018), Norwegian Encore (2019). The ship was ordered in 2014. Its construction (under the name Norwegian Bliss) started on Sept 16, 2015. On Oct 12, 2015, was announced that the vessel will be renamed and designed specifically for the Chinese market, The new name “Norwegian Joy” (in Chinese glyphs / Xi Yue Hao) was officially announced on February 29, 2016 (leap year). The characters for “Joy” mean “Inner Joy”.
In 2019, NCL Joy was drydock refurbished to become virtually identical to sistership Norwegian Bliss – NCL’s most successful liner ever. The ship will be relocated from China to the USA. The refurb project will be managed by MJM Marine (part of MJM Group (Northern Ireland UK). The company specializes in cruise ship refurbishment and interior design services. The planned works will involve around 1400 people and 40+ onboard venues and areas. Following the refit, NCL Joy starts Alaskan cruises from homeport Seattle WA, then will be repositioned for a Mexican Riviera cruise from homeport Los Angeles CA.
Norwegian Joy cruise ship deck plan shows a total of 1926 staterooms (in 42 categories, 15 types) for 3804 passengers (max capacity is 4622) served by 1820 crew-staff. The boat has 20 decks (16 passenger-accessible, 11 with cabins), 29 dining options (9 complimentary), 22 lounges and bars, 3 swimming pools, 5 waterslides, and 9 jacuzzies, 16 elevators.
Follows a review of NCL Joy’s new features (venues, facilities, and innovations):
- The ship is specifically designed for the Chinese cruising market. Its interior decor, amenities, entertainment programs, and cuisine is tailored for China, providing top-luxury and stylish travel vacation experiences.
- This is the world’s first cruise vessel purpose-built for China.
- Norwegian Joy features the NCL fleet’s highest crew-to-passenger ratio. In comparison to NCL Escape, the ship carries 250 fewer passengers. The missing cabins space was given to the Casino area and also to the shopping areas.
- The ship has a Haven VVIP Casino (private high-stakes gambling room).
- Two new Observation Deck areas are part of both The Haven and Concierge Suite deck levels. These fore-located open-air areas offer 180-degree panoramic sea views.
- The ship’s top deck has a 2-level, family-friendly go-kart racetrack (a first at sea facility). The electric go-karting track was designed and built by the German company RiMO Supply and the Dutch company Bolidt.
- There is also located an open-air laser tag (a large-size touch screen for kids).
- On deck 16, the Galaxy Pavilion complex offers virtual reality and ultra gaming experiences. Among its features are interactive video walls, hovercraft bumper cars, a professional Formula 1 car simulator (real race car converted into a 3-screen simulator), other interactive simulators (space ship-, flight-, car racing) all with 3D graphics, surround sound and special effects, six Xbox game stations. There are also Star Wars movie-based space simulators (Star Wars Battle Pods), three dark ride simulators (with programmed roller coasters, hang gliding, plank walking between buildings, etc), Oculus (virtual reality game).
- The NCL Joy ship has 2 water slides. The “Double Aqua Loop” is a free-fall slide with 2 loops, of which one extends out over the ship’s side and the other has a transparent loop stretching down to the below deck. The high-speed Aqua Racer waterslide allows side-by-side racing competitions and features 360+ ft (110 m) long twisting and turning tubes.
- Forward on the ship’s top deck is located the Serenity Park (outdoor relaxation complex) with live plants, a large video screen, a swimming pool, sunbathing area with chaise lounges. The park’s area is also used for open-air classes (like Yoga and Tai-Chi).
- The onboard shopping options include an upscale duty-free shopping arcade, which is NCL’s fleet’s largest. The list of onboard shops includes luxury store brands selling fashion, jewelry, cosmetics, and electronics.
- The ship has the fleet’s fastest Wi-Fi connectivity (shipwide coverage – bow to stern).
- Other features – several karaoke rooms, a traditional tea room, new Concierge Suite cabins (part of a separate complex located above The Haven), exclusive Concierge Lounge & Bar, Interior cabins with virtual balconies, plenty of adjoining cabins (convenient for larger families (reflecting the China’s multiple generation travel tendency).
NCL Joy dining (new restaurants)
The NCL Joy ship has 29 restaurants, some of which are at a surcharge (including a Korean steakhouse and a Japanese restaurant for shabu-shabu food).
- (new) “Sakura and Hibiscus” is the ship’s Korean restaurant, also offering Korean barbecue specialties.
- (new) “Neptune’s” (seafood restaurant) also has a buffet (fresh seafood) section, offering chilled/raw food on ice, plus a separate a la carte priced menu.
- (new) “American Diner” serves comfort food (incl burgers, fried chicken, meatloaf, and pot pies).
- (new) “Grand Tea Room” serves premium leaf teas from China, complemented by snacks (incl finger sandwiches).
- (new) “The Bake Shop” (onboard bakery) sells Japanese mochi sweets, cupcakes, chocolate pralines, and macarons.
- (new) “La Cave” is a premium spirit and wine bar.
- Complimentary are the MDRs (main dining rooms) named “Savor” and “Taste”. They also serve traditional Chinese cuisine. The complimentary “Garden Cafe” buffet restaurant is organized as food pavilions/stations and offers both Chinese and Western menu items.
- “Manhattan Room” offers a huge Chinese cuisine selection complemented by Western food classics (including prime steak and seafood).
- Other popular and well-known NCL restaurants are the “Food Republic” (first introduced on NCL Escape), Teppanyaki (a hibachi restaurant), “Noodle Bar” (noodles and dim sum), “Cagney’s Steakhouse”, “La Cucina” (Italian restaurant) and “Le Bistro” (French restaurant).
|Owner||Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings|
|Operator||Norwegian Cruise Line|
|Port of registry||Nassau, Bahamas|
|Ordered||17 October 2012|
|Builder||Meyer Werft (Papenburg, Germany)|
|Cost||€700 million (2013)|
|Laid down||5 April 2016|
|Launched||4 March 2017|
|Sponsored by||Wang Leehom|
|Christened||27 June 2017|
|Acquired||27 April 2017|
|Class and type||Breakaway Plus-class cruise ship|
|Length||333.46 metres (1,094.0 ft)|
|Beam||41.4 metres (136 ft)|
|Draught||8.722 m (28.62 ft)|