Norwegian Cruise Line's Joy just underwent $50 million in renovations and it's ready for US sailing

Norwegian Joy was originally built in 2017 to sail the Chinese seas. But after undergoing over $50 million in renovations—including 902,016 square feet of new flooring, 2,240 new light fixtures, 21,527 square feet of new upholstery, updated public spaces, an enhanced pool deck, new go-kart speedway and expanded observation lounge—it's finally ready to sail the US

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A quick view of Norwegian Joy
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A quick view of Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Joy    
Norwegian Joy Pool Deck
Norwegian Joy Observation Lounge    
Norwegian Joy Oceanplace
Norwegian Joy Atrium
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The nearly new ship is the 15th in Norwegian Cruise Line's fleet and is the second in the Breakaway-Plus class (their largest ships in size). It will spend the summer touring Alaska by way of Seattle and will head to the Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal come wintertime.

We were able to hop aboard for the ship's inaugural four-day trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles to take in all 20 decks of dining, entertainment, relaxation and more! Keep reading for everything there is to experience on Norwegian Joy, including all those upgrades.

Dining and bars

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Norwegian Joy's dining options
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Norwegian Joy's dining options

Q is home to Texas BBQ, meaning ribs, chicken, brisket, smoked peach margaritas and the best jalapeño cornbread we ever did have. Once you finish your dinner, stick around for a darn good live country band that plays throughout the night.

Cagney's Steakhouse 

Like any good steakhouse, you can get a wide range of rich options at Cagney's and either sit inside a beautiful dining room or out on the deck by the waterfront.

At Cagney's Steakhouse we enjoyed a wedge salad, crab cakes and lobster bisque followed by an extremely tender filet mignon, asparagus and truffle fries (highly recommend those).

For dessert, we tried the "OMG" cheesecake, 7-layer chocolate cake (which was actually chocolate cake and chocolate mousse each layered seven times, totaling 14 layers) and a brownie sundae. We rolled out of the restaurant stuffed up to our throats, but we can assure you, it was well worth it. 

Teppanyaki

Like your traditional hibachi, take a seat around a shared table while chefs cook your meal on a large steel grill. 

American Diner

The diner is open for lunch and dinner and features your classic burger, fries, shakes and all your other favorite diner foods. Sit inside or sit outside by the pool deck for views of the ocean. 

La Cucina

This restaurant is where you can find your favorite classic Italian dishes like pasta carbonara or seafood fettuccine with a big glass of wine. 

The Local

The Local is located at the center of the ship and is open 24 hours a day, featuring casual pub food and drinks. Catch a game or stop by after winning big (hopefully) at the casino nearby. 

Dining here is also complimentary, unlike other restaurants which are paid for à la carte. 

Food Republic

This restaurant features a smorgasbord of tapas and noodles. Think: sushi, ramen, chicken satay, ceviche, Mexican street corn and reuben dumplings. 

Our cruise director Dan Dan recommended the Pad Thai and we have to say, it did not disappoint! 

Starbucks

Just because you're on a cruise ship doesn't mean you have to totally forgo your usual morning routine. Stop by Starbucks for your regular brew, located at the center of the ship. 

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Norwegian Cruise Line is known for its casual dining policy, aka eat whenever you want. There are no strict dining times and no need to dress up (although, you can if you want to). Norwegian Joy boasts three main dining rooms, a buffet, a 24-hour pub restaurant and nine specialty à la carte restaurants. In the dining rooms, the menu features dishes like Beef Wellington, Chicken Milanese, lobster claws and scallops with creamy pasta. 

The restaurants include Food Republic (sushi/tapas), Cagney's Steakhouse, Ocean Blue (seafood), La Cucina (Italian), Le Bistro (French), Q (Texas BBQ), Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi), American Diner and, of course, Starbucks

Pro tip: Guests have the option to make dinner reservations at these restaurants in advance, prior to boarding. We suggest that you do, as many book up quickly. You can always change your plans once you're onboard, but if you're really interested in trying something, it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Entertainment

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Norwegian Joy's entertainment options
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Norwegian Joy's entertainment options

Pool Deck 

On the top of the ship guests can take a dip in the pool, enjoy several hot tubs and go for a ride down two different waterslides. The Aqua Racer is a fast, looping waterslide (shown on the right in the picture) that sits above a family-friendly Aqua Park.

Go to the next slide to see the second waterslide!

Ocean Loop Waterslide

This waterslide has a few clear windows so riders can see when they're going over the ocean in the Ocean Loop, which hangs off the side of the ship. 

Race Track 

According to President and COO of Norwegian Cruise Line Andy Stuart, who we heard speak aboard the ship, one renovation they knew they had to make was was widening this track so passing is easier and more fun! 

You'll have a blast taking a spin around the race track (the first race track at sea!) and racing your friends and family.

Laser Tag

Enjoy the sea breeze as you play laser tag atop the ship. This is best enjoyed when the sunsets and the stars are out.

Mini Golf

Play a round of mini golf while you watch go-karts race around the track. There's nothing too fancy about the course, unless you count the amazing ocean views. 

Galaxy Pavilion

Think of this as extremely upgraded arcade! You'll find some traditional games like skee-ball and pinball, but this arcade is mostly rides that use virtual reality (VR) to create a 7D experience.

Wearing a VR headset you can sit in a life-size Indy race car simulator to whip around a racecourse, ride through Jurassic Park, or ride a rollercoaster. 

Galaxy Pavilion, Continued

Step inside the immersive VR gameplay experience that is Dark Ride 7D. 

Casino

Play cards or hit the slots in the onboard casino. Fingers crossed you get lucky!

"Footloose"

Have a seat in the theater and watch as a young Chicago teenager moves to a small town and soon finds out his love of dancing has been banned. Based on the '80s movie, this musical packs in some of your favorite music from the decade as well as originals.

"Elements"

Head to the theater for "Elements," a show which combines dance, magic and acrobatics to portray earth, wind, fire and air.

"Wine Lovers The Musical"

If you love wine and comedy, this is the show for you. Have a laugh while you watch the world's first wine tasting musical and enjoy lunch. 

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One thing is for sure—you will not be bored on this ship. Joy features the first at-sea go-kart track, as well as outdoor laser tag, mini golf, virtual reality arcade, two waterslides, pools, shops, a theater, spa and fitness center (complete with spin classes!). Adults can also spend time in the casino, comedy club and Beatles-inspired pub.

In the theater, you can go see "Elements," a dance, acrobatic and magic show as well as "Footloose," a musical based on the fan-favorite '80s movie. A third show for adults only called "Wine Lovers The Musical" explores the joys of wine while you drink it and eat lunch.

Kids can also spend supervised time with the Splash Academy while adults enjoy dinner, and teens can make friends at the Entourage Teen Club. 

Nightlife

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Norwegian Joy's bars and lounges
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Norwegian Joy's bars and lounges
Spice H2O

This bar is located on the top deck and is inspired by the beach parties on the island of Ibiza. The adult-only area features three large hot tubs and lounge chairs for enjoying a drink during the day. Come night it, it's a full outdoor dance club.

Sugarcane Mojito Bar

Order a classic mojito or try a new version like the honey ginger mojito that's refreshing day or night.

Mixx Bar

Grab a drink before or after dinner and enjoy live piano music at this bar that sits between two of the main dining rooms.

The District Brew House

Order up one of 60 plus brews or a specialty cocktail at this this bar with floor-to-ceiling windows, live music and games.

Skyline Bar

Take a break from the poker table and have a drink at the Skyline Bar. You can start a new game with bar-top poker screens so you won't miss out on winning. 

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Guests 21 and older can check out over 13 bars and lounges on board. Some standouts include Sugarcane, a mojito bar with a live band, Spice H20, an adults-only pool deck bar, The District Brew House for beers and board games, Social Comedy & Nightclub, a comedy club by evening and a late-night dance club by night, and The Cellars Wine Bar, where aficionados can recommend a good blend.

Rooms

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Norwegian Joy's concierge suites and staterooms
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Norwegian Joy's concierge suites and staterooms
Concierge Family Suite with Balcony
Concierge Family Inside with Virtual Balcony
Concierge Villa Suite with Balcony
Concierge Family Inside with Virtual Balcony
Concierge Penthouse with Balcony
Balcony Room
Mini Suite
Oceanview
Mini Suit Bathroom
Family Oceanview with Large Picture Window
Family Inside
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There are several types of accommodations available onboard, from inside rooms and ocean rooms to suites to penthouses. For added luxury, Concierge Suites provide extra space, 24/7 concierge service, private dining, priority embarkation and disembarkation and other special perks.

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Norwegian Joy's The Haven
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Norwegian Joy's The Haven
The Haven Penthouse Suite with Balcony
The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite (living room)
The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite (bathroom)
The Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite (bedroom)
The Haven Aft Penthouse (bedroom)
The Haven Aft Penthouse (living room)
The Haven Forward Facing Penthouse (bedroom)
 The Haven Forward-Facing Penthouse (living room)
The Haven Two-Bedroom Family Villa (bedroom)
The Haven Two-Bedroom Family Villa (living room)
The Haven Two-Bedroom Family Villa (bathroom)
The Haven Courtyard Penthouse
The Haven Courtyard (private pool with retractable roof)
The Haven Courtyard (private pool with retractable roof)
The Haven Lounge (private bar)
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For even more spacious accommodations and even more perks, Norwegian Joy has The Haven. The Haven is like a private country club on board, where guests staying in Haven rooms get access to a private sundeck, lounge, restaurant and concierge service. Each room also comes with a 24-hour butler, who can also help guests get on and off the ship through a private elevator.

If all of this has you wondering where to book, you should know Norwegian Cruise Line currently has a promotion going on called "Free at Sea" where guests can receive up to four free offers—open bar, specialty dining, shore excursions, wifi, friends and family stays and airfare—based on their stateroom category. 

So, are you ready for an amazing vacation? Norwegian Joy has our stamp of approval. 

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How to avoid getting seasick while on a cruise
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How to avoid getting seasick while on a cruise

1. Call guest services

A lot of people feel queasy once on board. Consequently, most cruise lines offer anti-nausea pills at their guest service counters at no extra charge. The motion sickness medicine will help until your body becomes accustomed to the movement of the ship. 

2. Choose your cabin wisely.

A cabin with windows and a balcony will allow more air and light into the room, alleviating queasiness. Alternatively, an indoor cabin can exacerbate these symptoms.

The location of the cabin can do wonders as well. According to Cruise Critic, cabin location is "a question of engineering, really." Choose a cabin lower and more central to the rest of the ship -- you won't feel the ship's movement nearly as much. 

"The higher decks and cabins at the very front (forward) or back (aft) of the ship will rock and roll the most," they said

3. You can still manage in an indoor cabin.

While an outdoor/balcony cabin is better for those prone to seasickness, an indoor cabin might be okay. One insider insists the TV should be turned onto the "ship camera" channel. It "will create the illusion of having a window when you have an inside room."

4. Invest in a relief band

It may be expensive, but a relief band could be your cure. Many cruise-goers insist on this small device, which fits on your wrist like a watch. 

This FDA-approved device has been proven to stop motion sickness and nausea -- just remember batteries! 

BUY IT

5. Opt for nausea-reducing foods.

If you call room service and complain of seasickness, more likely than not they'll send you up a bottle of ginger ale, saltines and green apples. 

Vacationers swear by green apples. For many people, the sour taste is the cure for all sorts of motion sickness. 

6. Keep your eye on the horizon 

In doing so, your brain "can use the horizon as a point of reference." It helps in reminding your brain that you are moving, solving the conflict between your ears and your eyes. 

7. Your journey and time of year matters. 

The rockiness of the boat can depend on the season or even the route of the cruise. Sailing across the Atlantic may face rougher waters than cruising in the Caribbean.

If you're going to the Caribbean, it might best to avoid the summer or fall (aka hurricane season). You don't want choppy waters, high wind or rain. 

8. Go with a more modern ship

No, not for safety concerns. Big ships that were built recently were probably built with stabilizers. Also used in ferries, the stabilizers are used to help prevent sea sickness. 

9. Talk to your doctor about anti-nausea medicine. 

Dramamine helps to calm, prevent and treat motion sickness. Bonine is also a popular medication to treat seasickness. 

10. Check your posture

Some doctors believe that posture can influence how your body reacts to movement, like the rocking of a boat. If you're feeling nauseous, try sitting upright or with a pillow to support the neck. 

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