3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Had to get to US from Barcelona. Balcony Cabin was fine. Room steward was excellent. “My time dining” was very inconvenient. We had to check in on deck 5 and then proceed 2 decks down to deck 3 restaurant. Food was mediocre at ... Read More
Had to get to US from Barcelona. Balcony Cabin was fine. Room steward was excellent. “My time dining” was very inconvenient. We had to check in on deck 5 and then proceed 2 decks down to deck 3 restaurant. Food was mediocre at best and sometimes inedible. Presentation was poor. Table settings were without tablecloths. I witnessed tables being wiped with wet cloths and silver ware placed on wet surfaces. Unsanitary!. General activities and entertainment were “hokey”. Shows were difficult to see due to poor seating arrangement and technical flaws. (Spotlights directed into audience for long duration. We had to leave 2 shows because lights were in our eyes.) We missed live band. Shows had recorded music. Unfair to talented performers! Lido buffets had very limited choices. Could only get a dessert by waiting in long lines. (We passed on them as a result). General atmosphere in Lido was less than pleasant due to guests gross eating behaviors, tables not being cleared, and no service for beverages from servers. We are experienced cruisers who understand inaugural voyage glitches and are tolerant of minor problems. However, we experienced an overall experience on board that appears to be the modus operation on this line. As such we will not be guests again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We sailed on the transatlantic cruise and had a wonderful two weeks. Having sailed on Vista a couple of years previously in The Med we knew what to expect from this class of ship and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation: very quick ... Read More
We sailed on the transatlantic cruise and had a wonderful two weeks. Having sailed on Vista a couple of years previously in The Med we knew what to expect from this class of ship and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation: very quick and easy, comfortable big cruise terminal in Barcelona with plenty of seats, a cafe, bar and a duty free shop that had its shelves picked clean - it was funny to watch. The Ship: it was great to see some familiar faces from the crew on Vista, most of the crew were brilliant and really create a fun, lively atmosphere on board. It has almost the same layout as Vista but they've made a couple of changes which are not an improvement such as opening the Steakhouse to flow into the Piano bar. We had an inside cabin on deck 7 which had a comfortable bed, plenty of hangers but could do with some shelves beside the wardrobe. The room steward asked if we wanted the room cleaned once or twice a day. Very friendly guy who always had a smile and a chat every time we saw him. Entertainment: we love the production shows, the comedy club, the lively atmosphere all around the ship. The entertainment on Carnival is far better than any other cruise line we've sailed with. The comedians were really funny especially the three British guys. All the shows we watched in the Liquid Lounge were excellent, including the guest singers and the hypnotist. Unfortunately Carnival have not listened to feedback from Vista and changed the design of the Liquid Lounge which is undoubtedly the worst theatre on any cruise ship afloat. It is totally inadequate in size and has a terrible layout meaning that only half the seats have a decent view of the stage. As a result people queue for up to 45 minutes to get a seat with a view. Design Flaws: the Liquid Lounge is not the only design flaw on this class of ship, they have repeated the same flaws as Vista. The gym is far too small and appears to be an after thought stuck at the end of the Spa. Two of the additional fee restaurants are located directly below the sports court so you hear a constant thump, thump, thump of basketballs while you're having lunch or dinner. There's a big massive waste of space covering three floors of the ship, the Imax. Surely a better use of this space would be more cabins and a bigger gym. Food: some good and some not so good experiences. We had YTD and it worked great every night. We never had to wait for a table whether we were sharing or just a table for two. Service was always very friendly, courteous and quick. Every night we had a really enjoyable meal, good food well served. The Lido could get busy during breakfast and lunch but we always found plenty to eat and always found a table. Plenty of variety although the signs above the serving stations in the Lido could be a lot bigger to make them easier to read. The Pig and Anchor always had a queue at 1200 when it opened but if you went in after 1300 there was no queue and plenty of seats available. Mongolian Wok and Ji Ji's - we went twice to each and had superb meals each time. Well worth the $15 fee for dinner. Its a shame they don't close the sports court directly above so you don't have to listen to the constant thump of basketballs. Cucina del Capitano was terrible, very poor service. We went for lunch on a port day, it wasn't busy so there can be no excuses for such poor service. Very slow, unattentive and they forgot two dishes. The food was nothing special so we didn't go back and certainly were not minded to go for dinner and pay a fee. They need trained on service standards by the staff from Ji Ji's. Overall we had a great cruise, met some lovely fellow cruisers, had some great experiences on a ship who's crew create a fun, lively, wonderful atmosphere on board. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Notes for our Carnival Horizon Our 8th crossing... our 78th Cruise with multiple cruise lines. Booking and Air We booked this Maiden transatlantic of the Horizon looking forward to enjoying sea days on the newest ship in the ... Read More
Notes for our Carnival Horizon Our 8th crossing... our 78th Cruise with multiple cruise lines. Booking and Air We booked this Maiden transatlantic of the Horizon looking forward to enjoying sea days on the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. Fortunately, Carnival had very reasonable pricing for our flights on United from Newark to Barcelona. Our flight departed Newark about 3 hrs. late, but the airplane seating, crew and experience itself was great. We arrived in Barcelona followed the crowd to immigration, picked up our luggage and headed to the baggage exit. Finding the Carnival representative was NOT easy. We had to ask several other cruise reps where we might find Carnival agents. After finding them, we stapled our pre-printed Carnival luggage tags to each piece, dropped them off with the Carnival porters and were directed to seats nearby. The process took about an hour with what we thought was check in at the airport (not).... the bus ride was about 30 minutes... after which we had to answer the same information once we arrived at the port terminal. As Platinum VIFP we were promptly led to the sign in desk and ready to board...however, we learned the we could bring our own wine and alcohol! The terminal has an extensive duty free selection of wine at reasonable prices, so we purchased a few bottles for the cabin. Boarding was fast, but the small, smart elevators caused long lines once on the ship as we waited our turn to go from deck 3 to our deck 6. Many angry guests could not imagine why it was taking so long! After about 20 minutes, we reached our cabin, 6461. We freshened up, checked the refrigerator only to find it was not working...we needed it fixed or replaced. (The 3rd replacement worked) The room and closet space were adequate, the extra long veranda however, was very narrow! Those sailing in warm weather would find it difficult to relax on the veranda with outstretched legs unless each chair was set on a 45 degree angle. The bathroom had a shower curtain and decor was in the retro old style and colors, it lacked enough space to keep toiletries conveniently nearby. No night light, no typical amenities such as body lotion, or shampoo conditioner... only shampoo and body wash dispensers in the shower. The one phone in the cabin was on the desk, as were the only 2 - 110v electrical 1 - 220v and 2 USB outlets. Again, not convenient to the bed or well thought out. We briefly met our cabin attendant, Daniel who asked if we wanted 1 or 2 make ups daily.... duh. We told him twice daily please. He and his partner Jelena were great at keeping the cabin tidy, clean and constantly filled our jumbo ice bucket! Off to lunch at the Lido Marketplace on deck 10, aft. Loved the layout, easy to find seating, several sections (front, mid and aft) each with much the same buffet selections, allowing for comfortable self service and finding tables. Many tables for 2, several up to 8. Liked the variety, happy with the quality, taste and prompt availability of whatever seems missing, just for the asking... (smoked salmon and poached eggs) in the morning. Never a food complaint in the Marketplace. Getting tables cleaned promptly was however, a challenge. Note: cookies are rare, and sugar free cookies never. Selection limited for all deserts, lines of 10 or more common. Need self service ... and additional sugar free deserts for those whose diet demands. Following lunch, we visited the maître D to change our dining time and table. Then it was time for the muster drill. Dinner was early 6PM at table 745. A lovely location, at the aft with a view of the ocean set for 4, our waiter and assistants were fabulous, the food was however, mediocre, never very hot, not up to our Carnival expectations (had always been better than other lines). Not a complaint, rather an observation. Usually after dinner, we would visit the casino! Not so on Horizon! The smell of smoke was unbearable despite Pierre’s (Hotel mgr.) assurance otherwise. He went into great detail at our Cruise Critic mtg about how much better the casino air filtration system was and how much effort and money went into making it so. Apparently it needs more effort, money or repair! Many guests we met had the same comment. Back to food.. Tried the Guys Hamburgers... they are absolutely delicious, fast service and excellent selection of toppings make for a great lunch. The BBQ was a disappointment... perhaps our expectations were set too high... long lines, hard to find tables, fatty ribs.. we found ourselves headed back to the Marketplace to finish lunch. The Seafood Shack is worth the few dollars extra. We shared a lunch combo platter (10.00. We are able to substitute clam strips for calamari, added shrimp, scallops, battered cod and fries. Plenty to share, all fried, all hot and delicious. Place your order, get notification via assigned buzzer when ready, pick up your meal and take back to a table in Marketplace. Ship The ship itself is not your typical Carnival décor. It's very attractive, just no glitz or glitter we are accustomed to. A guest we met said "there's no WOW factor". We were pleased with the extensive use of warm woods, glass and more "conservative" interiors.. Elevators Smart elevators ... good, but hard to get used to. More like some high rise buildings in metro cities, these are very efficient, but you need to indicate where you intend to go BEFORE entering the elevator, as there an NO buttons inside the elevator. You do this by approaching a pedestal, then touching the 6" X 10" display screen with the deck number you want to get to. The display then shows and sounds an Alpha Letters (A, B, C etc.) which elevator to use for that request. On most decks there's also a large display screen near the elevator bank with info. about which elevator will will stop on which decks etc. Frustrating at first, however, takes getting used to.. TV at seas, it's incredible how good the reception actually is. Just wish there were US stations. We had BBC, CNN international Sky News, CNBC etc. Great selection of movies... many are included, a few of the LATEST are priced at 4.99. Interactive menu lacks music channels, ship info. is minimal (ship camera, speed and depth, sunrise, sunset only) Would like temperature, wave heights and wind info.. Would also be nice if we could order room service ... perhaps this is coming. Veranda - Best said... this is a ship built for warm weather and outdoor activities. As such, our Veranda while longer than most, is so narrow as to make it impossible to pass when someone is using a lounge chair with legs extended. Theater - Liquid Lounge is MUCH too small, difficult to see stage from many seats, no pitch to the floor, so it's hard to see over guests seated in front of you. IMAX - Great experience, excellent selection, worth the small surcharge. Crew - Outstanding.. obviously these are selected for their experience and have been trained well. Always a smile, always do their very best to satisfy the guest. Dining Room - Moving away from the open, no division between sections, each area is a bit more defined a bit quieter than typical. There were however, NO table cloths, (except for formal nights), and the tables themselves are fairly close to each other making any privacy impossible. Overall, we had a pleasant cruise, we would do it again (if they offer another transatlantic). NOT a cold weather ship!! Not enough space at the indoor venues for games, cards, mahjong etc. when everyone is "indoors". Disembarkation Well coordinated - moved quickly. Note that customs declaration forms were not required UNLESS you had to something to declare. Hard to find porters in the luggage area. Lines waiting to get one as they returned to the terminal. Only other comment has really to do with the Carnival VFIP program. Just not very competitive with most others. Would love if they added things like some free wifi, 2 coupon drinks per day, etc. at Platinum level. Love the laundry perk, boarding priority, private phone contact and Platinum Line at Guest Services. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to New York City --The main reason for taking this cruise was the itinerary and the cost was relatively reasonable. Embarkation/Disembarkation: In Barcelona we had an embarkation window of time ... Read More
Transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to New York City --The main reason for taking this cruise was the itinerary and the cost was relatively reasonable. Embarkation/Disembarkation: In Barcelona we had an embarkation window of time assigned of 1:00 to 1:30, arrived, and flew through onto the ship. Fasted embarkation I have ever experienced on any cruise line. Once on the ship, we were hit with a wall of people! Many enjoying the first bar they saw in the atrium, most others standing in a mob waiting for elevators. We used the stairs. Carnival did a great job of getting people off ship in NYC, though mighty early because they had a christening party planned for that afternoon. Organization fell apart in the terminal but that was not Carnival’s area of responsibility. Once aboard our airport transfer bus I looked across the street at a line of passengers and their baggage that went down the street and around the corner! Very happy we had purchased Carnival transfers. Elevators: A new system that generally worked very efficiently, unless there were many people at one time, on multiple floors, trying to access them. Use a keypad and enter your floor and you are assigned a car that is programed to go to your floor (among others). But, when that car arrives and is full, you have to start over. TV screens on some floors, that displayed car letters, and what floors they were going to, helped a lot. Stateroom: 8302 balcony room, midship. Great location. Super room attendants (thank you Pedro!). Size was generally fine but storage was I thought a bit skimpy. And did those twin beds seem narrower than a standard twin? And with one bed shoved up against the curtained window, the only sunlight we easily got was through the balcony door. Probably not a problem for one bed, but maybe the room could have been a couple inches bigger? Food: Main Dining Room: Hit or miss to be kind. Biggest problem was often not having hot food served to you. Not just tepid but cold food. Breakfast in the MDR was ice cold and so was its replacement meal – didn’t eat there again. Wait staff in the MDR for dinner seemed overwhelmed at times, and they were certainly gracious enough if you had to send back any cold food, which probably compounded their stress levels. Selection of entrée choices seemed less than on other lines. Only linens on the tables for formal night and the first night without them, I felt like I was eating at Perkins. I was ok with the anytime dining getting a seat assignment or beeper from deck 5. We were perhaps later diners than most and we really never experienced any lines. I had a thought after we returned home about the MDR – is the bar being lowered there to steer guests to the specialty (additional cost) restaurants? Conceivable. Specialty restaurants: Of the 14 days we were on this cruise, we ate 7 evenings in the MDR and 7 evenings at the various specialty restaurants. We did not take advantage of the no-cost lunch buffets offered at some of the specialty restaurants on at-sea days. Though we were told before we sailed that both the Chef’s Table and the Bonsai Teppanyaki restaurants were fully booked, we were waitlisted and did get into both. The Chef’s Table was an extraordinary experience and worth every penny. We ate multiple times at the teppanyaki restaurant and it was a little different each time, which was ok. I enjoyed the food and the experiences very much. Kudos on the dessert box! The steakhouse was excellent. The Italian restaurant was very good – I did notice that their menu has “evolved” from the menu posted on Carnival’s website. JiJi Asian restaurant was a fiasco – too rushed and the entrees were ice cold. When had to sit way too long looking at the cold meal congealing in front of us, we decided to just leave. We did not eat at the Pig and Anchor. Suggestion though – if on a transatlantic cruise, with many days at sea, maybe giving away food at free lunch buffets is the reason Carnival doesn’t have many people in these dining rooms in the evening. Lido Buffet: In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a buffet fan but did eat there a few times for both breakfast and lunch. Breakfast had the same fare, in steam trays, each morning. I did think it was odd that toast and bagels were laid out on a side buffet and not kept hot. The omelet station was the busiest place of all and even with the lines, it was worth the wait. For lunch they served mostly heavier fare in the steam tray buffet. The salad area was small (as were the bowls) but if you wanted a more substantial salad you could go the Serenity area on deck 15. The best, by far, was the deli and the length of the lines there were long. Biggest complaint was the people who parked themselves in the seating area all day to read, play cards, do crafts, etc. so that finding a spot to eat was difficult. Other dining options: Room service breakfast started out delivering not hot coffee but that did improve as the cruise progressed. We did not order room service for other than breakfast. The wood fire pizza station on the stern served great pizza. We did not order from the Seafood Shack but clearly it was popular with seafood loving guests. The Mexican station was good and the Guy burgers were just outstanding. Cleanliness: Often the had santizers either didn't work or where pushed aside. The people cleaning the common areas seemed to do a cursory job and looked universally bored to tears. No norovirus outbreak but every other person seemed to have a cold. Entertainment: We were late diners so we never really could sync up to the shows in the Liquid Lounge. The lines for the comedy club queued early and were long. Karaoke was ok. The piano bar, with Eden, was great. The casino was not lucky for us and they need to improve that room ventilation system. We did not participate in bingo, trivia or other games. Nor did we go on the Skyride though people looked like they were having a great time. The IMAX movies did not interest me. No kids with us. Beverage Package/Bars: We did the math and the Cheers package was a pretty good deal given our beverage preferences. And obviously many others on the ship thought so too -- they actually ran out of some wines, liquor brands and canned mixers. I thought the on-deck and casino servers were often slow to return with beverages. But for the most part, the service at the various bars aboard was very good. Jorge in the Havana Bar was exceptional. Who knew a daiquiri could taste that good? WiFi: We bought a shared plan that cost way too much money. Shame on all cruise lines for gouging guests for this service! But it is clearly a profit center for them so I don’t see it going away soon. Excursions: I thought Carnival pricing was reasonable so we did not book any independent tours. As with all excursions/tours from cruise lines, or independent, some were better than others. My one wish, for all excursion/tours on all cruise lines – quit walking so glacially slow! There is a comfortable walking gait, and there is not. I realize there are passengers with some diminished capabilities but I don’t even think they want to walk at a funeral pace. Laundry: With nearly 2000 top tier frequent floaters aboard this ship entitled to the free laundry perk, getting a laundry bag special, ever, during a 14-day cruise was just a dream. (Though from what I heard we were probably better off without it.) Summation: Carnival Horizon is a new ship with some kinks in it. But once they are fixed, it is going to make for one heck of a party ship in the Caribbean. Clearly it was made for people enjoying the outdoors. The food in some venues, especially the serving temperatures, need to improve for sure. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this ship because we were doing a transatlantic from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome on Celebrity Reflection and and we could fly to Barcelona for a couple days and catch the Horizon back home. Being a new ship we anticipated it being ... Read More
We chose this ship because we were doing a transatlantic from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome on Celebrity Reflection and and we could fly to Barcelona for a couple days and catch the Horizon back home. Being a new ship we anticipated it being top notch! Just the opposite. Embarkation - We were told to be at the dock for 11am check in. We then had to sit and wait 2 hours before we could get on the ship. After we were on we were directed to a dining room for lunch. The servers were all new and it took forever to get our food. That's when we first realized there was a shortage of help on this ship. That's probably an understatement! Cabin - When we got to our cabin the cabin steward was on his first cruise and could hardly speak English. Could not carry on a conversation with him. He ask if wanted room service in the morning or afternoon? We have always had room service twice a day! That was odd. We were in Cabin 6226 toward the front with a balcony. It happened to be over the main show room so the noise was quite loud with the music and vibrations. The first couple nights the ship was rocking and pounding. Our big window creaked and popped all night. We had to call maintenance. Worried the window would not make the transatlantic trip! Luckily the rest of the cruise was relatively smooth. You do not get chocolates on your pillow at night. There were no writing pens or pads, no Carnival bags. We had to carry our cards, etc. around in a Celebrity Bag. The doors to the balcony slam shut if you let them go. The next door neighbor was constantly slamming their door. The balcony is so small there is only room for 2 chairs and a short small table. It is also not private. We were used to foot stools and tall table for dining on the balcony. No such thing on this ship. The balcony was not very private either. You could see both sides if they were in their chairs. On the plus side they did have a fairly good selection of movies on the TV which came in handy considering it was too cold outside for the big screen. They only provided Beach towels to cover up with, no blankets. Bathroom - Very retro turquoise molded vinyl. Shower curtain, no doors! I always bring my own shampoo but I ran out halfway through and had to use the shampoo on the ship. There was no conditioner and I couldn't hardly get my hair combed out after using their shampoo. They also do not provide body lotion as most ships do. There is not a night light in bathroom. Main Areas - The casino is the designated smoking area for all smokers. There is not a non smoking night. My husband was very disappointed and it kept him from using the casino. It was designed so that the smoke filtered to 2 floors and around. Card Room - IT was a joke. 3 card tables. The library and card room were together with a wine bar also. It was impossible to get a table so we had to use tables in the cafeteria to play cards. They also had an electronic door that opened to the outside deck and when it opened the wind would blow your cards over. Plus it was a huge distraction for readers and card players. People would just use it as a pass through! Liquid Lounge - This was their main show room and it was the smallest show room I've encountered plus huge columns in the way. Always lines to get in. Not enough room for a third of the people the ship was carrying. The entertainment was just so so. It was so hard to get a seat we just quit trying. Limelight Lounge - They had a comedy show in this room a couple times a day. There was always a huge line and overflow crowd. They had PG and PG 18 rated shows. The comedian Mark Palmer was great. Even his PG18 show was not bad. They had one comedian that had no business being on a ship he was so filthy! Ocean Plaza - This room was for trivia, etc. It was too small to accommodate those that wanted to play. Since the weather was not ideal most everyone had to be indoors. This ship was not able to accommodate bad weather. Public Restrooms - No attendents. Mostly blow dryers. No seat covers. Laundry Mat - Was happy to see that that had a do it yourself laundry. IMAX Theatre - Extra cost. We scheduled a movie for the last day at sea only to receive a call and say it had been cancelled due to maintenance issues. That was disappointing. Of course we had just got off a Celebrity Cruise so the comparisons stuck out without trying. We paid the same price so the differences were unbelievable. For instance we had received twice daily room service, Fresh fruit daily in room, bottle of champagne in room, tote bag, bathroom with individual shampoo, conditioner, soap, cream. Chocolates on pillow every night. Also a built in night light in bathroom. Dining - The main dining room was 2 floors and very nice looking. We had a table for 2 that was crowded between 2 other tables so we may as well been at one table with them. Food was good some nights but not every night. Ate in cafeteria some evenings. It was a different arrangement. There were 2 sections, each section had 8 stations of buffet food. Every station had the same food so the menu was very small. There was a salad bar which had limited selections but it seemed fresh. They had beautiful cakes at the lunch time buffet but you always had to stand in line while they sliced it for you. There was a Deli that always had a line. Outside by the pool was Guys Burgers, they were good and a popular spot. On the other side was a Taco station. The Taco Salad was alright. There was several separate restaurants for extra dollars, Guys Pig and Anchor, Steak House, Italian, Sushi and Teppanyaki. We were disappointed in the lack of attention to hand washing. Nobody at the entrance of restaurants to give you squirts of sanitizer and the stand alone stations were not always visible. My husband got a stomach bug and I came home with a cold. The moral of this story is that cruising has taken a dive! We've been cruising since 1980 and remember when cruising was something special and everything was included. It has become something I don't even recognize. We have decided to take a break from cruising. Most definitely will not be going on any more Carnival Cruises. Sorry Carnival, you were our first 2 cruises in the 80's and it was so different then. You don't even have a record of us from the Carnival Festival! Oh well. We are small fish in a big sea! You'll do fine with guests that have not cruised other lines! Children would probably love this ship but I imagine it will be crowded in the summer at the outside venues. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
It was our first Trans Atlantic cruise and we were the fourth cruise itinerary on the Horizon. Everything was wonderful. The ship is beautiful and we found it easy to navigate. The Room Stewards and Wait Staff were great - could not ... Read More
It was our first Trans Atlantic cruise and we were the fourth cruise itinerary on the Horizon. Everything was wonderful. The ship is beautiful and we found it easy to navigate. The Room Stewards and Wait Staff were great - could not have done more for us. Food was excellent in the Dining Room and on Lido. Deck. In the evenings on Lido the choices were outstanding - we typically do not eat on Lido in the evenings but did so on this longer cruise. Guys Pig and Anchor food also great - no charge at lunch time although only open for lunch on Sea Days so a really good time to go is your first day upon Embarkation. Pizza was great - they will make variations of the four listings that are on the wall. Oh yes, Gelato is served daily on Lido at lunchtime - two different choices offered. We were on Deck 11 Cabin 11266 which for us was the perfect location - it is an Inside Cabin - not Spa even though Spa Cabins are further down the hall - with easy access to Lido Deck and Gym and Serenity Deck and elevators and really everything - we loved it - we were in a similar Cabin location on Vista a year ago. The evening entertainment was typical Carnival entertainment - no complaints - but similar to what we have seen in the past. The music/musician offerings throughout the ship were excellent - I would suggest there was something for everyone's taste. We had a really wonderful cruise - no hiccups for us - would not hesitate to cruise again on the Horizon. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first time to go to Europe and to sail across the Atlantic. We really enjoyed all the ports in Europe and then the sea days on the ship. There is so much to do and loved all the food options available on this new ship. The ... Read More
This was our first time to go to Europe and to sail across the Atlantic. We really enjoyed all the ports in Europe and then the sea days on the ship. There is so much to do and loved all the food options available on this new ship. The Cruise Director, Mike Pack was the best cruise director that we have ever sailed with and we have been cruising since 1990. The entire crew was so helpful and this was one of the best cruises we have had, Along with the 4 ports we stopped at in Europe, we also visited Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and this was a great experience. We then sailed into New York Harbor and we docked next to the Intrepid so that was exciting. We sailed right by the Statue of Liberty as we came into New York and that is an experience that we will never forget. This cruise ranks as one of the best that we have ever sailed on Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
ELEVATORS - You can’t just jump on an elevator because there are no buttons inside to select your floor. You must select a floor BEFORE entering, so 2 elevators arrive, you miss them both while programing your desired floor, or even ... Read More
ELEVATORS - You can’t just jump on an elevator because there are no buttons inside to select your floor. You must select a floor BEFORE entering, so 2 elevators arrive, you miss them both while programing your desired floor, or even worse, a passenger holds the door, but the elevator simply won’t take the command because the elevator has arrived, huh? and you wait forever for the next elevator. They are more labor intensive, have longer waits because normally, people changing their mind about taking the elevator isn’t a problem because they never actually enter the elevator (to select a floor); with this system, the floor is selected before entering so the elevator stops at every floor where passengers gave up on the elevator or made an entry mistake. There’s no display to show where the elevator is (if you have an idea of wait time, it makes the wait seem shorter). A couple of the elevator selection panels have broken down already. What a stupid system! On the positive side, it’s a good incentive to use the stairs. EMBARKATION didn’t start until 12:15 pm. Most hotel check out is by 10 am so naturally people head to the pier. Just less than 70% of the passengers were Diamond/Platinum/Suites/Faster-To-the-Fun payers, so the majority stood in a “priority” line that SLOWLY snaked around the waiting area (after waiting that hour or two beforehand). Only sporadically were passengers double checked if they were indeed “priority”. EVEN WORSE, once on board, there was a huge line to get on the elevators, which were far in the distance. Everywhere else was cordoned off except the stairs. Two main reasons for the elevator line. a) The crazy unconventional elevators, so just like when the Titanic went down, elevators (instead of lifeboats) were leaving with only 4 people inside, and stopping on all floors. b) The ship’s design doesn’t include crew-area luggage elevators, so the passenger elevators were used. Essentially luggage had priority as almost all elevators were closed to passengers for luggage. Considering our ship was due to sail at 7 pm, would have thought passengers could be the priority. EVEN AFTER the late lunch, the chaos continued at the elevators where there was very little standing room since the area was jam packed with luggage waiting to be distributed. The perk of allowing “priority” passengers IMMEDIATE access to their cabin is a contributing factor to elevator chaos and a later embarkation starting time. Carnival offers, and charges for, “Faster to the Fun” making “Priority” is a misnomer. EATING IS INCONVENIENT: Unless you upload their app and carry your iphone, anytime diners with cabins on, say the 2nd deck, must travel to the 5th deck, line up to get a dining entrance ticket, then travel and line up on the 3rd deck to get in to eat. What’s that all about? The cafeteria is in two sections not immediately next to each other. They have similar, but not identical offerings, so we constantly walked back and forth between the two cafeteria areas (53 yards) for a single item (adding to the traffic congestion to boot). FOOD: There is hype about “Guy’s Hamburger Joint”, but I felt nauseous from the grease afterwards so I only visited once. More hype over the Pig & Anchor where I had pulled pork. Aside from the fat and crust I discarded, it wasn’t as bad. CAFETERIA: The cafeteria food at my work is better for preparation and selection. The often-browning lettuce was generally iceberg (no nutrition) displayed in a bowl no bigger than one at home (for 4000) and only about 6 items to add vs. well over a dozen selections at most land restaurants. I enjoy a salad daily, but with the meager choices, I never bothered. Dessert cakes are cut one slice at a time upon request, which meant there was always a line at the counter. Everything for a deli sandwich is behind one counter and made up by one server, so a long line is inevitable. It’s not like a Subway restaurant where you order what type of fresh baked roll etc. you want. You get hamburger/hot dog buns taken from a plastic package of 8 (think supermarket) likewise bread slice choice was packaged white or rye. Meatballs inside a hot bun were cold. The cafeteria, and everywhere INDOORS, was FRIGID so most passengers ate (and watched evening shows) wearing sweaters, heavy jackets and even wool hats. Cheaper cuts of meat such as chicken, Salisbury steak, meatloaf, meatballs, pizza and hamburgers were plentiful and so was rice and pasta. Dining hit a new low for us. Staff didn’t monitor passenger hand sanitation. I caught a bad cold. First time I’ve ever been sick on a ship. FREE DINING, I liken to TV dinners set on a plate except the cordon bleu chicken was tough, gammon (ham) was dry and hard to cut. I couldn’t cut through the Brussel sprouts. I suspect all food is previously frozen. Fresh berries seem to be a thing of the past on cruise ships. The food offering on “Elegant Night” is better and makes up for having to pack the extra clothing. SPECIALTY DINING: Since the food was so poor we tried “specialty” for the first time ever (steak house). It’s everything I remember that cruising “used to” be like. Delicious and inviting. With the price of a cruise varying around $400 or $500 depending on location, season, and different cruise lines, this is about the same as the cost to specialty dine. Had this cost been in the upfront price, I’d hardly have noticed and it wouldn’t have been a problem. However, paying for specialty when there’s food upstairs that’s supposed to be dining, just rubs me the wrong way (probably because I “remember when . . .”) CASINO SMOKE: The casino is slap bang in the middle of the ship and allows smoking. The 3rd deck isn’t a through-deck so you always seem to find yourself at the 4th floor casino. Because the layout is open, the stench permeates that area out to the elevators and stairwells, and to a lesser degree, the floors above and below. Management must be smokers if they think the ventilation system is adequate. SHIP’S DESIGN is excellent for warm Caribbean travel. But choose carefully if going on cold weather or transatlantic crossing. There’s NO “Skyline Bar” type place where you can settle down at the front of the ship to relax with a 180-degree view of the ocean. Nor is there an indoor pool. There are lots of water activities, but the water was too cold to use them. The sports deck is great, but the top deck high wind is tiring. Other than taking up seating in a busy cafeteria, there ISN’T ANY indoor relaxation areas where you can sit by a window. The ENTERTAINMENT audio level throughout the ship could damage your ears (even the elevator “dong” to announce floor arrival is ear piercing). One entertainer even asked the sound technician to turn the volume down a notch. I really appreciated that. SAILING ON A SHIP OF 4000 PASSENGERS – Except for embarkation and disembarkation, I’ve never felt crowded on ships. Not so with this ship. Standing room only for almost everything, shows and even activities like Trivia, etc. The cafeteria at lunch and breakfast was jam packed with lines everywhere and not enough seats. Because seating at a window for relaxation is nonexistent, passengers sat in the cafeteria playing cards or reading, compounding the shortage of tables for eating. Same with the other “free” restaurants. You needed a buzzer for one and outdoor long line for the other. Not just for food, lines were everywhere, for almost anything. One gangway might be OK for smaller big ships, but its essential a 4000-passenger ship have a minimum of 2 passenger gangways. In Halifax for instance, the line to get through the ONE onboard x-ray machine ran from outside the terminal, through the terminal, along the pier, UP a flight of stairs to another line, inside the ship. The only reason the ship left an hour late was processing passengers through their one x-ray machine (even though they do possess more). Invariably that one gangway was at the furthest point from the pier exit. The ship is long rather than tall (pool is deck 10). Being a l o n g mega ship, walking from the cabin to activities on this ship is even longer. ON THE POSITIVE SIDE, all sinks have nonautomatic faucets which tend to conserve water. The ship lived up to the “Fun Ship” reputation. The activities director was excellent, certainly visible and there were more activities offered than on most ships I’ve been on (suggest using 2 locations for the same activity due to crowding). We even had free Zumba which they told us was not on the other ships. On disembarkation there was plenty to keep passengers occupied. If you haven’t cruised much, are summer cruising, and don’t mind paying for the extras, you’ll have a really great time. I notice Carnival past cruisers are staunchly loyal. One lady at a Q&A session, broke down and couldn’t talk trying to tell the officers how much she appreciated the staff. COST I did a quick calculation of what an all-inclusive cruise ACTUALLY costs. While on board I picked a random 8-day cruise to the Caribbean in August advertised at $979 ea. WOW! Over 80% of the cabins are balcony, so let’s realistically calculate for the vast majority. $2,728 Cabin ($1364 each, pay more if there’s more than 2 in the cabin) $350 Taxes and port charges $208 Gratuities ($13 each = $26 times 8 days) $245 Internet package that most hotels provide anyway, and works much faster $400 Dinner at the “specialty” restaurants vary from $15 to $35 each, so let’s take an average of $25 x 2 people x 8 days. (This is dinner ONLY) $120 Soft drinks (not including real orange juice or specialty coffee for breakfast) TOTAL $4,051 cabin (rather than the bold print $979 ea. p.p) = $506 per night rather than $122 ea. p.p. (add $100+ per night if including alcohol) I didn’t bother to include the cost of entertainment on board such as IMAX, babysitting etc. that I’m guessing you’d pay for on any other all inclusive. Although not added is single serving fruit tarts $3, “specialty” coffee $3-$6 or cookies $1.25 which in the past were free. We’re now at well over $600 per night for a tiny cabin and miniature bathroom for a great summer time vacation. With a hotel you can walk out if it doesn’t meet expectations, not so much in the middle of the ocean. I’ve been cruising since the 1990s (41 cruises; 50% Celebrity, 50% equally with the other cruise lines) so maybe that’s too long. I’m having difficulty adapting to the evolution of what cruise lines now offer as all inclusive (I see it akin to how the airlines have changed and charge). I used to regard cruising as luxury travel, even used to regard flying that way. Probably it’s time (for me anyway) to move on to something else. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
PROS: The ship itself was very nice, Never felt crowded. Getting on and off the ship was very smooth for arrival, for departure, and for all ports, we enjoyed the Ping Pong tables which were in doors as opposed to our past cruises in ... Read More
PROS: The ship itself was very nice, Never felt crowded. Getting on and off the ship was very smooth for arrival, for departure, and for all ports, we enjoyed the Ping Pong tables which were in doors as opposed to our past cruises in which the tables were outdoors, For most days it was too cold and windy to enjoy the outdoor ship facilities. The gym also was very good, and we never had trouble in getting to use the equipment that we wanted. CONS: The Lido Buffet was by far the worst and most limited buffet that we have experienced on a cruise, There were basically no vegetables, and when there were they were bland. In addition, there were typically only around 6 to 8 choices including sides and half of the choices were in the second of 2 rows and hard to reach. The lunch buffet was a little better than the dinner buffet as they had better desserts including a gelato station that we only tried once due the length of the line. We ate in the main dining room only 3 nights out of the 14 as it just took too long to eat. The lobster on formal night was very good, and the lamb chops on another night was also very good. We ate lunch once at the Mongolian restaurant and selected numerous vegetables, however what we received was basically a bowl of noodles with a couple of tiny vegetables included. We also ate one night at the Asian specialty restaurant for $15 per person. The food was good, however all our choices tasted pretty much the same. The sandwiches at the deli were OK as was the Pizza. On the whole the dining experience was extremely disappointing. The theater was very poorly designed and it was very hard to find a decent seat from which the show could be seen unobstructed. The shows themselves were good but the design of the theater took a lot away from the experience, The activities on sea days were very limited, unless you wanted to play trivia all day long. I have been on other cruises where there were multiple dance classes per day. On this cruise other than the Zumba activity which they had 3 or 4 times during the cruise there were basically no decent dance classes. I went to one class which lasted a total of 11 minutes, Why even bother,. There were movies that were shown outside on a big, beautiful and sharp screen, However, for the most part it was too windy and cold to enjoy. This will probably not be an issue when the ship cruises in warmer climates. There was a sports bar with lots of screens that showed the same game on every screen which for the most part was a game that appealed to Europeans as opposed to Americans. This should also be rectified when the ship sails in the US. The TV in the room had very little to watch. The stations were European stations, except for CNBC which at least allowed me to keep up with the Stock Market. Given that 80 percent of the people on the ship were American not clear why they could not offer more American stations, On the whole we were very disappointed with the cruise. The poor choice of food, and the lack of activity makes me rate the overall experience as poor. In fact, we were so disappointed that in the future we will probably not cruise Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Prior to embarcation, we stayed 3 days n Barcelona, the departing city, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire city. Embarcation n Europe is a dream, compared to any US port. Just seemed to have ample staff directing everyone as to wat was ... Read More
Prior to embarcation, we stayed 3 days n Barcelona, the departing city, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire city. Embarcation n Europe is a dream, compared to any US port. Just seemed to have ample staff directing everyone as to wat was needed n hand and where to proceed to. This kept the short lines moving along quickly. The carnival staff at terminal were helpful and efficient. We were able to board the ship ahead of schedule. And u are allowed to carry on as many bottles of alcohol as you'd like. That holds true at all the European ports as well. So needless to say, my bar tab was mighty little this cruise, which was a plus. DisembarkationbEgan at 7am was completely finished by 9am. The only waiting was for more taxis to arrive back at the terminal. It was about a 20 min ride to the airport. Overall impression of the ship was terrific. Italy was a let down; was crowded beyond belief, felt like mice n a maze, was filthy, graffete everywhere, pick pockets on every corner. Store owners were less than polite to americans. NO restrooms!! Prices were within reason tho. Crew members on board were top notch, service and food n dining room was fair. Shore excursions were expensive and WAY TOO LONG, 8-10 hrs. Each port. Not worth the time or money. Could have easily done them on r own or n small groups w private guide. Read Less
Carnival Horizon Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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