Our Experience on The 12 days Norwegian Joy Panama Canal Cruise Vacation.

On the morning of Sunday, February 2nd, 2020, We embarked on a cruise vacation aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy after impatiently waiting for 3 and a half months. I could hardly contain my excitement at the airport waiting to take our flight to Miami, Florida where we took an Uber for the first time ever in our lives to head to the Port of Miami to meet our beautiful ship. That was a pretty fun 10 minutes. Just the check-in process was just a little longer than expected and the ship left a couple of hours later then it was planned to sail away which was 4pm. Ended up leaving around 6:30pm as passengers were coming onboard. The ship was at the wrong terminal which is the cause of the delay, but that was not such a huge issue and just waited out until officially going in.

As we took our first steps onboard the ship after checking in, it was such an awesome feeling. So, we familiarized ourselves with the ship, and then we had a mandatory mustering safety drill onboard which was compulsory. As we concluded, we grabbed a bite to eat quickly at the buffet on deck 16, which is the Garden Cafe. We saw other ships sailing out which were in the port with us. Later, the Super Bowl game was on the jumbo screens. We watched quite a bit of it. Then our ship began to move and then that began our 12-day journey where we first had 2 days at sea.

In those 2 days, we learned Norwegian Joy very quickly and we got used to it. We dined at The Local for the best chicken wings ever and other tasty food items on the menu. You could dine there for 24 hours a day with a large selection of your choice and you can order multiple if you wish. Then we dined at the Manhattan Main Dining Room most of the dinner times which we enjoyed. The food was so excellent and tasty. Great memories. We got to sit way at the aft(back of the ship) and the view was spectacular with the propellor turning the water as we were sailing. We also dined at the Savor and Taste restaurants which were complimentary as well that comes with your cruise.

The ship is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and the layout and everything was so nicely thought of and the ship design was organized and everything was easy to get to. I watched the Footloose musical production which was excellent by awesome performers. I participated in many games, trivia, and cupcake icing competition at the Atrium on Deck 6. Also got to enjoy the hot tubs, the swimming pools, lounged on the sunbeds while gazing at the beautiful blue teal sea. We also took part in a Question and Answer period with the Ships Captain Carl-Gunnar Hammerin and his crew. People asked them questions about the Norwegian Joy and the operations behind the scenes. It was quite interesting to partake in.

The ports of call we visited were beginning with Miami, 2 days at sea then to Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Cartagena, Colombia, Colon, we went through the Panama Canal Gatun locks, Anchored in Gatun lake for 2-3 hours, and then we went to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, 2 days at sea and back to Miami on the disembarkation day. We just went around the ship area and did not want to go too far out. I just enjoyed the scenery, got off the ship, took many photos of the cruise ship, and areas. Don’t like to do those excursions much as we just wanted to relax and enjoy and go back to the ship to shower, change and enjoy the scenery, and when the ship left to the next port.

It is awesome to see people disconnecting the ropes after mooring and how they release and reel in the ropes back onto the ship before sailing out from the docks. I love it when the propellors make the water turn and hearing the beautiful sounds of the waves, the peaceful and beautiful seas, watching the moon from afar, watching other ships from a distance, breathing in the beautiful ocean breeze and salty air which was so relaxing and beautiful. It truly makes you appreciate these hardworking people.

The staff on board were fantastic, and always maintaining, cleaning, and taking care of the ship, and everyone was so friendly and awesome. I absolutely enjoyed talking with the crew. they are onboard cruises for months at a time without seeing their families and friends which is very difficult emotionally as they can be homesick too. Its always so good to be kind to them, to be patient, and show respect to them. They are the hardest working bunch I have ever seen. Non-Stop all day and night to work for us passengers who get on board. I said thank you to them as much as I could. Common courtesy and dignity are very important.

It was so crazy about how quick 12 days went by. It was like a dream. I flew home, and I said, where did the time go? You wait and wait for the vacation to come, you begin to put things together to pack, doing research, enjoying the packing stage, and as the days get closer, excitement and anticipation gets to you and then the day comes and you get onboard and time just starts to zoom on by.

Met some great people on board from our Facebook group and other people recognized me too because of giving travel advice online. So it was pretty amazing to get noticed by people. It was such a great adventure filled with lots of fun, memories, relaxation, seeing different places, people and grabbing souvenirs, and postcards also took about 12 to 1300 photographs throughout the trip. I couldn’t stop taking pictures to document our memories. I love looking back at the photos and just remembering. February 14, 2020 was our last day 😦 It has been depressing since getting back into reality, but it is what it is.

I totally recommend Norwegian Cruise Line and I recommend cruising period. If you have never been on a cruise, get going and book it. You will not be disappointed. I can assist you if you have any questions and I will be happy to be there for you every step of the way to make your cruise ship vacation as memorable, fun, and awesome as it was for us. It is truly an amazing way to see the world and to travel. Do not delay, book and see for yourself how truly remarkable it really is.

I can’t wait to cruise again in the near future. It is the best and look forward to many more adventures. Panama Canal was definitely in my bucket list and I crossed it off.