3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Many months ago, we chose this cruise primarily because of date availability and number of activities for our 3 grandchildren, ages 6-14. When we realized booking in the Family Harbor was basically the same price as a regular interior, we ... Read More
Many months ago, we chose this cruise primarily because of date availability and number of activities for our 3 grandchildren, ages 6-14. When we realized booking in the Family Harbor was basically the same price as a regular interior, we went that route because of the private lounge for gaming, snacks, coffee, television, etc. This was the first time we have tried doing a family cruise with 11 of us. There were some challenges with that. But overall, it was still super. My wife and I have cruised about 12 times on various ships, but this was the largest ship we've booked and there is good and bad that goes with that. The embarkation was very smooth. We chose to park our cars off-sight, so we did a drive-through the Port of Miami to drop 9 people plus all our luggage. The 2 drivers then headed off to park the vehicles on the mainland, catch the shuttle back to the Port, and get with the family. Family was dropped off at 12:00 noon, and we boarded the boat at 1:00 pm. We couldn't get to our rooms right then, but with a little sweet-talking, they did allow us to head into the Family Harbor area just to drop off our carry on's at our room before heading on to lunch. We chose Guy's Pig & Anchor on Deck 5 for our lunch rather than head to the Lido Buffet. Overall, a good decision. The food at the BBQ was not quite what I had hoped for, but it was good, and it was even better when very few people seemed to opt for that choice despite it being free on sailing day. Overall, meals were good--above average. Nothing just wowed me at dinners, but all was good. We chose Anytime Dining, but after our first night of meeting our waiters that night, we zeroed in on making a point to get to them each night. "Big G" was our waiter---he was phenomenal with our kids! He was a grandfather of 3, and I think our 3 must have reminded him of his own grandkids. He made them feel so special. So, as the week wore on, our "Anytime Dining" was driven by our ability to get to Big G's table. The process of getting your Anytime Dining seating was a little different. You had to go to the coffee bar on Floor 5 to "check in" and show your entire party. At that point, you would be sent back to floor 3 to the dining hall, or given a beeper and told you would be called in a while. Sea Days were incredibly busy in the Water Parks area and Ropes Course/SkyRider. On the day the boat was in Cozumel, we made a decision to stay onboard with the grandkids so they could have complete access to those activities without the long lines. I would advise thinking about doing that as well. Pick a day you are not going into a port and use the ship's activities without all the hassles. All of those activities also have limited hours. The Water Park closes at 6:00 pm every evening. Check the hours on your Carnival Hub regularly to make sure you don't miss opportunities to do things. We found the Deli line and Pizza Line to not even be worth the hassle in the late evenings. I don't ever recall being on a cruise where I didn't hit up the Pizza Place at least a few times late in the evening. One night on the way to the Ice Cream dispenser, I hit a line and asked the people what it was for. "The Deli" was the answer. I refuse to wait 45 minutes for a Reuben at 10:30 at night. That was probably the biggest downer on the cruise for us was more long lines. We knew with the bigger ships, that might be an issue. It was a little more than I was comfortable with. Guy's Burger Joint on the Pool Deck on Sea Days was at least 30 people deep for hours at a time. Sea Days, normally a favorite of mine, were uncomfortable due to the crowds. I also acknowledge if we were not traveling with kids, there were other options available for adult pools and areas. Highlights were our excursions of Mystic Mountain/Jamaican Bobsled Run & Dunn River Falls climb in Jamaica. Our oldest son and wife took the 3 kids on a swim with the stingrays trip in Grand Cayman. They had a real blast doing that as well. Both of these excursions were great. My wife did not care for the Promenade Shops at all on this boar. They are good for expensive watches, perfume, or liquor. The normal shops where you can walk around and look at clothes and knick-knacks just weren't there. In her eyes, this was a major bummer. PIxels photo lobby was great--had not been on a cruise since the photo shops have gone more modern. Now you just log in and look at your photos vs. see all the photos lined up on the wall. Much smoother. Debarkation was a disaster for some reason. We were very, very late getting off the boat. In fact, still sitting there at 11:00 waiting for number to be called. This was contrary to everything I'd read about the new procedures in Port of Miami being smoother. I will assume it was an anomaly, but on this particular day, it was a long, long wait. We were beginning to think we'd get to sail away with the next group of passenger. Overall, it was a great trip with family. A memory maker. We didn't care for the long lines, the shoppes, casino (super small), but there were plenty of activities, wonderful dining room staff, nice sea day brunch, and plenty of positives. We enjoy Carnival--just understand it is what it is---low cost (for the most part) carrier with not a lot of the frills, bells and whistles you might like, but it got the job done for the 11 of us. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We just got back from 6 nights on the Horizon. Had a great time and would sail this ship again. We were a family of 4 sailing at the same time as several other families from our neighborhood. My family stayed at Sunny Isles Residence Inn ... Read More
We just got back from 6 nights on the Horizon. Had a great time and would sail this ship again. We were a family of 4 sailing at the same time as several other families from our neighborhood. My family stayed at Sunny Isles Residence Inn and loved the pool and room. Price was more reasonable than anything closer to South Beach. Left for port around 9:30 AM and we were in the priority line by 10:00. We only had to wait about 5 minutes to get into the building. They began boarding the ship around 11am and we went straight to our cabins since we had Faster to Fun. We had Havana cabins 5209 and 5211. We had a cabana and our 13 and 16 yo had an interior. Our steward was efficient but I barely saw him. Our luggage didn’t arrive until after muster even with priority. Therefore plan accordingly and bring a carryon with a swim suit and change of clothes. We loved the Havana area but since our kids were mostly upstairs on decks 10 and 12. we didn’t use it as much as we thought. I did love the easy access of our location to the back stairs and everything on deck 5 including breakfast in Ocean Plaza and Coffee at Java Blue. We also loved having elevators and stairs nearby. We had early dining for our group of 17. Servers were good. Food was hit or miss. I had great short ribs but my friends was dry and crusty. Same with the prime rib. Best meal for me was taking advantage of the steakhouse selection and getting the filet and lobster. That and the teppayaki were worth the extra money. I also loved the pizza and I am disappointed they are switching to Papa Johns. I don’t even get that at home! My husband tried the Mongolian wok and hated it. He also had Sushi with my daughter and liked it. I tried guys burger and didn’t like it as much as last year on Glory. We only ate at the buffet 1 time and that was the late day in Cozumel. It was okay but nothing special. Kids did the ropes course and sky ride. They enjoyed the dive in movies but didn’t try the IMAX. Might be because the movies weren’t something they would want to see. My daughter said the waterslide was okay but gave her a wedgie. My son went to club O2 a lot and made a lot of good friends. He even went to Sea day brunch with a group of 16. Except for a couple of comedy shows we mostly went to the casino after dinner. Nice pit bosses but some of the dealers weren’t super friendly but most okay. I lost overall but that’s just bad luck or choice of seat! Overall it was s great week. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise because I like the new larger ships. It was also easier for my bother to fly into the area from Sweden. We traveled with 5 sibs and spouses, also my sisters oldest son and 3 of his kids. Loved the ship, but ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I like the new larger ships. It was also easier for my bother to fly into the area from Sweden. We traveled with 5 sibs and spouses, also my sisters oldest son and 3 of his kids. Loved the ship, but missed the awesome spa we are used to from the Breeze and Dream. They did away with that great thalasso pool! I sure did miss that! Another disappointment was the new lounge. They changes from those old school large seating areas with tables to basically folding chairs on the ground level, other seats were very hard to see anything. The dinning seamed to be better then past Carnival cruises, including the main dining room. We stayed in a spa balcony cabin, nothing changed here, still a nice room, but seams like they could work on giving the cabins a fresher look. Our steward was fine, not much interaction like on other ships. Did a great large group excursion in Cozumel, Private Oasis At Passion Island! It was $739 for up to 12 people. They treated us like Platinum VIP guests, food, drink and our own private area of beach away from others on the island. Check it out, it must be catching on, because the price just went up to $799. Para sailed in Grand Cayman, also fun, we always book with the Carnival website. Both embarkation and disembarkation went very smooth, We are Platinum sailors, but the others in our group were not, and we all managed to get on ship the same time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Good: The ship has so many nooks and crannies and places to get away, there was always a way to party or take it easy. Loved the skyride and my kids loved the theater and the water slide/ ropes course/ sports complex. As far as bars go, we ... Read More
Good: The ship has so many nooks and crannies and places to get away, there was always a way to party or take it easy. Loved the skyride and my kids loved the theater and the water slide/ ropes course/ sports complex. As far as bars go, we Adored Pig and Anchor enjoyed the presentation at the alchemy bar and had fun at the comedy club and ocean plaza bar. The service was outstanding everywhere, except maybe the red frog rum bar, but they are busy ALWAYS. Ivana makes the best bloody marys at Pig and Anchor, Marvin was our room steward and he did a great job of taking care of us. Ollie was our waiter in the dining room and he was always going above and beyond for our big group of 11. Schwartz was the best cruise director I've had on a ship, he made the parties great. Sea day brunch, guys burgers, blue iguana cantina were great. We stayed in the family harbor area and loved our room and the lounge was really helpful, especially on port days for eating breakfast or having a small lunch when it was late, and awesome that we didn't have to go to lido on debarkation for lunch. My kids also loved all the free movies. The ship was also very smooth. Lastly, it was the smoothest embarkation and debarkation ever. Bad: Our room was an ocean view family harbor deluxe. It was a nice size, but tight for 5 people. (Go figure!) It needed more storage also. A big downfall is the room was underneath the elevator on the third floor and it was loud EVERY morning. We ended up borrowing an ambient noise machine from my sister and it helped a little. Also, the ship has a confusing layout, and my husband never really figured it out. The pools were really small too. Food in dining room was hit or miss. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
It was our first experience with sailing on the Carnival Cruise Line. We have sailed 27 times using five other cruise lines in the past. The ship, the Carnival Horizon, is very nice and the decor very eye appealing. The staff was a ... Read More
It was our first experience with sailing on the Carnival Cruise Line. We have sailed 27 times using five other cruise lines in the past. The ship, the Carnival Horizon, is very nice and the decor very eye appealing. The staff was a friendly group and willing helpful and accommodating. The food was ok but not exceptional in any way. It was rather repetitive actually except for the evening meals in the dining room. The dining room evening meals did offer a variety but was just ok in the preparation and taste. I probably would have given the ship a rating of five overall except the food lowered the score. “Schwartz” was the cruise director and rated in my top three all time directors. He was super! He stayed on top of things, was very energetic, seemed to enjoy his job, and actually was some of our best entertainment. It was a very relaxing, enjoyable cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Embarkation is standard - when you check in online, you get a 30 minute window to show up. If you show up outside the window, you go in another line. Passports are check before security. Keys are in your room mailbox. Getting on the ... Read More
Embarkation is standard - when you check in online, you get a 30 minute window to show up. If you show up outside the window, you go in another line. Passports are check before security. Keys are in your room mailbox. Getting on the ship is much faster now. Carnival app - not sure why no other cruise has this. Has all activities on the app. What food is available. Chat with your group for $5 for the entire cruise. Can check into dining for any time dining. Maps of decks. A lot of rooms are smaller and used more efficiently. The main theater is on 2 floors instead of 3. Only some small tables on the outside. The main floor seats are like dining seats, so they can be move around based on the show needs. No tables so there are more seats in a smaller area. There is a bar in the theater. Punchliner club is smaller as well. Moveable seats with no tables. Seems like less capacity than before. Need to line up to get in. There wasn't comedy every night like other ships. Not sure if that is the new standard or because this ship has a higher focus on kids. The 2 comedians on this ship repeated shows. I've been on other Carnival ships where the comedians never repeated a show. Water park area looked good for kids - large play area and 2 water slides - longer than avg. Theme is Dr Suess - Cat in the Hat and Thing 1/2 were on board. Skyride - like a bicycle in the sky. It's more exercise than a ride. There is one part where it is downhill on each track. There are 2 tracks - same length. 2 cars per track, so it can take a while to get on. Absolutely nothing allowed in your pockets - they have temporary lockers to put your belongings in. Skycourse - obstacle course in the sky. 2 tracks - 1 easier than the other. Normally lines weren't long for this one. Walk across an elevated course tethered to a beam above. Cabins - we had an inside cabin - they are shorter and wider now. Instead of 3 door cabinet, there are 2. from the washroom door in, the wall is on an angle so there is more room by the desk area. TVs are large 42" LEDs. Very few channels. CBS news instead of CNN. Beds were comfortable. Luggage fit under bed. Washroom same size as before. Desk has 2 usb plugs in addition to regular power outlets. Mini fridge in room. Standard safe. No more controls for speaker announcements. Shower have containers of shampoo and body wash. Shower head power is adjustable. Test water temp for kids - can be very hot. Room stewards come once a day - you can ask for 2x a day. Thermostat is electronic instead of dial. Dining - seemed liked there are more any time dining slots now. Food was excellent- as good as more expensive supposedly luxury cruise lines. Service was great. Big emphasis for servers to address you by name. For any time dining, you check in on the 5th floor by the cafe. They give you a ticket with your table and then you proceed to the restaurant. The carnival app allows you to check in on the app- tells you your table number when ready and you just show up at the entrance. Lido buffet - seating decor is much nicer now. Looks more like a restaurant. Food is no longer against the kitchen area. There are 2 rectangular areas for food. More efficient use of space. Separate area for salads, desserts. One day was chocolate day - entire area of chocolate cakes/treats. Snacks - Pizza normally has a line. have about 5 types of pizza, but mostly make cheese and pepperoni. Deli sandwiches. By the pool, there is a Mexican shop and Guy's burgers. Juice was always available - other ships they were only available at meal times. Specialty dining - seems like with the extra space they have more specialty dining. Steakhouse, seafood, Guys bistro, Sushi, Teppanyaki, Italian. There is a brewery on board. Entertainment - standard singing and dancing. Dancers and female singers were strong. Male singers were ok. The other musicians were more geared to the older crowd - little odd given the kids theme. Shops - more shops. Jewellery store was one of biggest I've seen on a ship. Usual great alcohol deals. Candy store is about 4x bigger than other ships and has ice cream. Atrium - main 3 story atrium has your standard bar. There is a seperate area for musicians now, instead of playing on the main floor area. There is a 3 story column that is basically a video screen - images are constantly changing. There is a 2 story one in the casino. Pool area - main pool area only has 1 pool now instead of 2 - allows for more chairs and room for dancing....makes sense. the upper decks are now narrower and only have room for 1 row of chairs vs 2 on other ships. They added a pool on the 5th floor aft of ship- need to go through Havana room to get there- not sure if it is only available to rooms backing onto the pool. As the upper decks are narrower, it is an issue to get chairs on sea days. Go early. They do walk around and put sticker on unattended chairs warning they will come back and remove your towels. Some aggressive passengers will remove your towels even if you haven't been away long. Photos - finally using technology. They are available to view electronically. they ask for your cabin # when they take your picture and you can view them later for purchase. Movies - standard big screen by main pool area. Also an IMAX theater on board - $10. Casino is still smoking. The walkway goes through the middle of the casino instead of the side....so we avoided crossing on deck 4. Ventilation was poor. Kids clubs - looked great. Dr Seuss theme was nice. If I had young kids, I would go on this ship. Looked like a lot of fun for young ones. Ocho Rios - dock right by Ocho Rios beach. $3 to get in. Clean. Go to the further area - less sea grass and less people. Water sports are available. We went snorkeling out to the reef less than a mile off shore - there was 4 of us - they started at $45 each, we got it for $20 - not much out there. There is zero snorkeling on the beach. To get to the beach, hang a sharp left out of the main port gates, towards the marina. Grand Cayman - have to tender into port. Can take some time to get off ship. If you have your own tour, go early. Sit on the upper deck to get off faster. Cozumel - The port is south of the main city. They force you to go through a duty free shop that is super narrow - like rush hour in a subway. There can be up to 4 ships in at once - I think they time it so no more than 2 arriving at the same time. They have dogs smelling for food in your bags, which slows things down as well. A variety of vendors in port - seemed expensive. Don't do the jeep tour - complete waste of money - rent your own jeep and drive around - it's safe and the roads are not busy, no crazy drivers like other islands. Jeep tour takes you to a tequila place and tries to sell you over priced tequila, then to a fruit juice place charging USA shopping mall prices, except they don't have minimum wages, rent or taxes, and the lunch places charges more for water than in the USA - completely taking advantage of tourists. Beaches on the east side of the island had nice waves - not suited for kids. if you have kids, go to Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park - just take a cab, not a tour. It is just south of the port. Debarkation - we did self debarkation. Was easy and fast. Customs was faster than normal as well. Summary - if you have young kids, this is one of the best ships to go on. Otherwise, better value on other Carnival ships. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
i chose this cruise in order to be on the newest carnival ship, i enjoyed all the new amenities on this ship,was however dissappointed in some things. the one thing i was really looking forward to was the sky course which was unfortunately ... Read More
i chose this cruise in order to be on the newest carnival ship, i enjoyed all the new amenities on this ship,was however dissappointed in some things. the one thing i was really looking forward to was the sky course which was unfortunately under maintenaice for our whole cruise , this was one of the reason we chose this ship., this was very disaapointing ,i also feel like the dinner menu is getting pretty bad, this was my 8th cruise and i use to dress up and go to dinner each night but for this cruise and my last one , i have skipped dinner several nights because the menu was not good at all, you can get the same stuff at the open service on lido, menu needs to be revamped, my last complaint is the hold carnival places on your account on the day of embarkation, it is probably written some where when you book your cruise but it needs to be high lighted or place in big bold letters so you are aware, this caused lots of confusion and my daughter account to be locked to futher charging ability beccause we were unaware of this. thanks to Talum,customer service manager for helping us out.good things were , we had a great cruise director, so much energy and fun, the carnival app is great, down load it to your phone and you can get all the info you need, everything, also the tv in your room has all your account information, you can view your pictures, this great !!!!!!!good job carnival, overall i had a great time and wonderful memories Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Carnival Horizon is a beautiful ship! Ship maintenance seems to be well done and few, if any, common areas require additional maintenance. The crew members were friendly and went out of their way to ensure a carefree vacation for my ... Read More
Carnival Horizon is a beautiful ship! Ship maintenance seems to be well done and few, if any, common areas require additional maintenance. The crew members were friendly and went out of their way to ensure a carefree vacation for my wife and myself. We really felt that the crew members were motivated to provide excellent, friendly service. Our stateroom. #7426, was larger than most inside staterooms I've experienced on other lines. Fit and finish were excellent as was the care that our room steward took to ensure that each of our needs were met. This is one of the few times I did not feel cramped in our stateroom. Our room was very quiet in the evenings. Dining - ate breakfast and lunch on the Lido Deck, and dinners were taken in the Meridian Dining Room upper level. Breakfast - it's difficult to ruin a breakfast meal. Buffet items were limited and each buffet counter was a pretty much the same as all others. The eggs to order lines became long but chefs did a good job of preparation. Lunch options were improved over breakfast with Guys Burgers, separate BBQ smokehouse "Pig and Anchor" and a Taco Stand which were all excellent. We all enjoyed the automatic hand washing machines on the Lido Deck. Dining in the Meridian Dining Room was generally excellent. Our servers at table #646 were attentive and exceeded expectations each evening. The menus were tasty and the preparation was generally good. Kudos to the cruise line for including good cuts of Prime Rib and one night of Lobster!!! My only complaint was the Fried Chicken meal where the chicken was cold and the mashed potatoes wouldn't melt the whipped butter I put on top. The fried oysters were actually raw oysters inside a thick coating of flour. The entertainers were very good and the quality of the musicians was excellent given some challenging material performed without error. We enjoyed the shows and felt that the rooms were well managed and the supporting crew was very good. The Cruise Director was engaging and made us all feel at home on the sea without becoming annoying as so many directors do. Getting on and off this ship was a study in efficiency. Very good work by staff!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife, two kids (11 & 7) and I cruised on the Carnival Horizon in early January. It's my second Carnival cruise, my wife's third. It was our first time on a "big ship", we sailed with just over 4800 passengers. ... Read More
My wife, two kids (11 & 7) and I cruised on the Carnival Horizon in early January. It's my second Carnival cruise, my wife's third. It was our first time on a "big ship", we sailed with just over 4800 passengers. Embarkation was a breeze. We had an appointment for 1:00pm. We arrived at 12:45 and was on the ship by 1:30.First problem: when you get on the ship, they are using the central elevators to haul luggage and it's difficult to find your way out of the atrium. End result - about 500 people crammed into a small, hot space. Second problem: when we finally found the buffet, the room is too small for all the guests. We ended up climbing two decks with our plates to find a lounge chair to sit in. Embarkation day is always confusing, but this day was worse by far. The room in the "family harbor" was great. Slept our family of four easily. The family harbor lounge is not open 24 hours, just during certain times. However, it was nice to eat breakfast there instead of the buffet. No complaints about the room. I can't review the production shows. There weren't any. We received a letter in our room that all production shows were cancelled for the sailing. I could tell the cruise director was trying to fill spots; the shows we saw were not built for the big stage. Comedians in the lounge were ok, and did both PG and R rated shows. I did notice a distinct lack of live music. The main dining room was fine. The buffet, not so much. We saw the menu in the dining room one night and decided to hit the buffet. There were nine hot items for dinner. Nine. They were the same entrées that were in the dining room. There's also no outside seating at the buffet. There is no pool on the serenity deck. Two hot tubs, but no pool. There is a private pool for guests in the Havana suites. Saw "Aquaman" in the IMAX theater. Really comfortable. My kids loved the sports deck. Here's where it gets confusing: the staff on that ship is incredibly good at their jobs and working hard to make everyone happy. There just isn't enough of them. The ship is understaffed. I felt as if Carnival (corporate) doesn't want me at the buffet or main dining room or in the pool. They want me in the specialty restaurants, paying more for rooms with pools, nickel and diming my way through the cruise. Those areas are staffed to the detriment of the rest of the ship. In short, the staff is incredible in spite of the corporate baloney they are put through. End result: this is the first cruise on any line that I left saying "meh". I sailed on the Carnival Sensation - before it's refit - and would rather sail again on that 30 year old 2500 passenger ship than on the flagship of the line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Much needed vacation with my daughter who was home for the holidays. I booked this cruise as a spur of the moment thing last March and did not know about this ship until I started researching it and what sold me on it was the Skyride. ... Read More
Much needed vacation with my daughter who was home for the holidays. I booked this cruise as a spur of the moment thing last March and did not know about this ship until I started researching it and what sold me on it was the Skyride. From the start of our cruise to the very end, we had no complaints and enjoyed ourselves tremendously and will be back for another sailing on this beautiful ship, because we did not get to see everything. From our cabin steward Novi to our waiter at dinner Marlon (asked for lemons one night for my water and had them every night after) and staff, they went above and beyond to make sure that we had everything that we needed and the ports of call where definitely an added bonus. If you get to sail on her, go with an open mind and try not to take the negative reviews to heart, form your own opinion. The elevators at times did take a while so be patient, they were not difficult to figure out at all. If you only have to go up or down a deck, take the stairs. We where on Deck 9 and we would walk up to the Lido Deck all the time We had not complaints on any of the food that we ate. I am a pescatarian and I had something to choose from daily. We did eat at two of the specialty restaurants Ji Ji's and Bonsai Teppanyaki, go with an empty stomach because you do get a LOT of food. Cruise Director Mike Pack is so full of energy and it is very infectious and always has a smile on his face and very approachable. We only did one excursion on this sailing in La Romana to Monkeyland and thoroughly enjoyed it and I would definitely do it again. Grand Turk, Curacao and Aruba are beautiful islands, but we only did the beach and some shopping in those ports. As the saying goes you can't make everyone happy, but if you go with an open mind you will definitely enjoy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My party had a great time! I think the only 2 real complaints we had about the boat was about the elevators and the smoky casino. The elevators are suppose to be "smart" elevators. They are only as smart as the people using them ... Read More
My party had a great time! I think the only 2 real complaints we had about the boat was about the elevators and the smoky casino. The elevators are suppose to be "smart" elevators. They are only as smart as the people using them or shown how to use them. There is no real explanation on how to use them. We learned by others who showed us that you need to press the floor number you're going to as many times as there are people in your party. This would prevent the elevator from stopping on other floors if it knew that it was full to capacity. Not everyone knew this or how to do this, so the "smart" elevators are essentially dumb. Also, we were on the 14th floor, so only 2 of the elevators went to that floor. Often our elevators were locked due to crew using them for luggage or other reasons. There were times we would have to wait 20 minutes or more for an elevator. Often relenting to walking up or down several flights of stairs pending on where we wanted to go. Not that we couldn't use the exercise, but it was inconvenient at times when carrying packages, etc The casino wreaked badly of stale cigarettes. You had to walk through the casino to get to some of the places or go the long way around. They said they have a filtration system to eliminate the smoke. If they do, they need a new one or a better one. Just quickly walking through, our clothes smelled so badly and it was really hard to breathe in the area. Other than these two things, we had a great time. Plenty to do and be entertained. The crew that took care of our stateroom was fabulous. Always courteous and willing, even remembered our names. That's quite a task when every week you get new people to care for. We zip lined in Jamaica. Fabulous! Beach day in Grand Cayman! Cozumel Port itself was nice. Unless you're going to an excursion I wouldn't recommend leaving the shopping area of the port. We accidentally did without realizing. Went into a store where they tried to separate us and then shut the door behind us. Tried pressuring us into buying certain things we didn't care to buy. Lesson learned, know the boundaries. All in all a good time had by our family! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
If you have kids under 8 years old. This is the cruise for you. This is our first cruise with the kids (5, 3). They enjoyed the Dr. Seuss Waterpark a lot. Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast on the last sea day was a wonderful experience. The ... Read More
If you have kids under 8 years old. This is the cruise for you. This is our first cruise with the kids (5, 3). They enjoyed the Dr. Seuss Waterpark a lot. Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast on the last sea day was a wonderful experience. The Seuss-a-palooza parade and storytime was one of the most memorable activities. The Hasbro game show was also a great hit! The fun squad were always smiling, upbeat and made things fun all the time. If you have picky eaters, there are plenty of "plain" kid friendly options. If you don't see what you are looking for just ask. I requested a plate of sliced raw carrots and cucumbers at dinner for the kids and our wait staff, Milosh, had it ready for us when we went for dinner. Kid's menu had lots of options: pizza, hot dog, hamburger, pasta, chicken nuggets and even filet mignon. These are usually paired with French fries. They had a large dessert option too: banana split, jello, brownie, ice cream and fruit. We didnt have issues using the main pool either since we usually go on port days around lunchtime. We would get off the ship and enjoy the beach for a few hours then get back on just in time for lunch by the pool. The kids would jump back into the pool after lunch for a swim again. Life jackets are available for use and you can exchange for fresh pool towels as needed. We would usually head back to the room for a quick shower and nap before dinner at 5:30pm. After dinner, we would go to the show or just walk around the Promenade. The Hasbro game show was lots of fun. Leilani (or LeiLei) was great at hosting. She is full of enthusiasm and greeted our group each time she saw us on the ship. The music productions were great too. Definitely not your cheesy shows. The promenade always had great musicians playing and singing after dinner. We also found the library a quite spot to play board games and hang out. Ocean Club for kids is a great option if your kids are willing to part with you. Sterling was very friendly, he showed us around and invited us back the last day for a take home prize. We also enjoyed going to the Dr. Seuss reading room to read the books there. It's a colorful inviting space for kids of all ages. The two things I did not like were some guests just had no class. This is not Carnival's fault and we dont have control who you end up sailing with. In the Lido buffet we were greeted by a large group being very rowdy. Using inappropriate language and creating a scene on multiple occasions. Many other guests could not hold their tongues and asked this group to stop as they are embarrassing themselves and bothering other guests. I chose to get up and move my family to a different spot and continue our lunch. Secondly, the spa and gym area were quite small. The spa and gym share a change room and shower facility. It only has ONE washroom and TWO showers. I dont think that was a well thought out layout for such a large ship. Also there were only a few public washrooms available. On my past sailings with other cruise lines. Every floor had pucluc restrooms horizon only had public restrooms on 3, 4, 5, 10 (by the pool) and 11. Staff were all great and super friendly. My kids were greeted every morning by Dusan at the Lido buffet. He made special heart straws and napkin parrots in a cup for my son. Milosh, our wait staff in the Meridian dining room had our hot water ready and colouring books laid out for the kids. Service was slow at times but we had a table of 10 with many others in our area. The staff were doing their best. We tried most of the eateries on the ship and my favorite was Farenheit 555 (worth the $). Guys burger and the soft tacos at Cucina were great too. Anytime pizzas and make your own pasta were great options too. I would recommend this ship for kids. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I choose the Carnival Horizon for a 2 day cruise because I wasn't sure when I would be able to go on this one for a week or longer. The ship is beautiful! The food was great, however at the lido for breakfast their weren't many ... Read More
I choose the Carnival Horizon for a 2 day cruise because I wasn't sure when I would be able to go on this one for a week or longer. The ship is beautiful! The food was great, however at the lido for breakfast their weren't many options as I expected. There are 2 buffets at the lido and each station is set up with 4 sides, each station had the same stuff. Also, for lunch at the lido it was the same set up so of course we had many options besides the lido such as the pizza, Guy's burgers, the deli and Blue Iguana. Guy's Burgers as usual is awesome. Blue Iguana was great. The deli really surprised us. Normally on Carnival ships the deli is pretty basic with wraps and not too many options but this deli had a menu of cold and hot items, plus fries and cookies. The hot items were great you had hot dogs, buffalo chicken sandwiches and meatball subs plus more. The gelato station was nice they offer 2 flavors and then you have a toppings bar. Unfortunately we couldn't find the cotton candy station. The dinner at the main dining was great we never had a complain about the service or the food. The breakfast served at the Meridian restaurant was just as great. Another big surprise was seeing a Victoria Secret which was very different. Cherry on top was great especially in the back where you can sit and eat your ice cream, it was very quiet and relaxing. We do have unfortunately some cons to write about. When we first got on the ship until about after the Muster drill ended, the elevators were not working so most people did not want to wait 20 plus minutes so we all decided to take the stairs to each deck which was horrible. This has never happened on any ship. Every Carnival ship that we go on we get 1 free liter of water for each guest and after asking our room steward for them we only ended up getting 2 bottles and we were 4 in our cabin. I didn't have the time or energy to continue asking for them. Another disappointment was the comedian (PG) I completely forgot his name but he was not funny at all and I feel like Carnival failed when it came to this type of entertainment. Also the Sky ride and obstacle course were down due to maintenance...really? Why couldn't this get fixed before you boarded 3,000 plus people? Huge disappointment that we couldn't experience that. The thrill theater was very fun and when we got there it was 8 pm and I was able to book tickets for an 8:15 show so we were very lucky. Overall we had a great time although it was very short. We are looking forward to booking on the Horizon again for a much longer time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
First off, a little background. I am a 62 year old widower traveling with my 33 year old son.This was my 5th cruise with Carnival (in addition to 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess, and 1 with Norweigan). This was the 6th with my son, ... Read More
First off, a little background. I am a 62 year old widower traveling with my 33 year old son.This was my 5th cruise with Carnival (in addition to 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess, and 1 with Norweigan). This was the 6th with my son, so we have a pretty good level of experience. Embarkation in New York went smoothly and we were on the ship within an hour of arrival to the port. The ship: We selected this ship because my son wanted to try a new ship that was large and had the newest "bells and whistles".The Horizon just hit the water a few months prior and with The Vista is the largest of the Carnival fleet.Its passenger capacity is about 4,000 (double occupancy, but when you consider the 3rd and 4th in the cabins, the census is probably over 5,000.We had an inside cabin (our usual choice ) that was quite adequate for us with everything in good working order.It has a new computerized elevator system (more on that later), a "sky ride", a rope course, a large waterpark area, an I-Max theatre, and a few other "bells and whistles". Because of the large capacity, some of the lunch venues and activities sometimes have some sort of lines, but only a very few times were the lines a problem. For the most part, the ship handled the passenger density well enough with the many food and activity venues. For those who have cruised before, you'll appreciate that it was rare not to find lounge chairs when you looked for one. The flaws: My main complaint with the ship is that it seemed every venue's music was blasting. I understand during a party or whatever, but when one seeks out an area to converse with a bar and some background music, it was almost impossible to find. Also (but it didn't really apply to me), this was the 1st ship I've sailed on that didn't have a dedicated dance club. If that is your thing, you have to check out the daily activities sheet to find out the location of that night's dancing. The elevators: You may read about the computerized system from other reviews, etc. It is a big bag of "nothing". Yes, it works differently from your usual elevator experience, but you get used to it with a short period of time...and it does work a bit better, but not earthshattering. The food: First dinners in the main dining room: Plenty of variety every night with at least several choices for soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, and desserts...all quite yummy. The breakfast and lunch and other included dinner venues (mostly on the Lido deck, but also spread out on other decks) include a large general buffet, a deli, 24 hour pizza, a Guy Fieri branded hamburger stand, a build your own burrito area, as well as quite a few more (plus the availability of a sit down meal in the dining room). We never ate in any of the "premium" venues, but in speaking to some who did, they apparently were top notch. I can never understand those that think negatively of Carnival's food. The activities: Typical cruise stuff- trivia, bingo, comedy shows, multiple movie venues (poolside under the stars, I-Max, etc.), shows in the main theatre, themed parties, etc....certainly the "something for everybody" mentality. The staff: I can't compliment them enough, especially our dining room waitstaff headed by Antonio, and the 2 ladies handling the bar at the Guy Fieri BBQ restaurant on deck 5. They were, without exception, wonderful. However, the stateroom staff had a habit of waking us early (3 x including 7:00 AM on disembarkation day). An annoyance that shouldn't occur on a cruise vacation. The ports: Did not do any of the excursions, walked the Old City of San Juan which was right at the ship's location in port. Hung out at Margaritaville in Grand Turk, and walked the port area at Amber Cove. Disembarkation: Not nearly as smooth as getting on the ship, but tolerable. Took a bit long with delays. Overall, a good, experience.My son loved the Sky Ride and the other "bells and whistles" Should lower the volume is some of the venues, but overall the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Great last-minute Carnival Cruise (booked 2 weeks before 8/28 departure) from Home Port. Carnival works for us THE POSITIVES: Great Value especially with not having to pay for flights No Flights for locals (No worry about ... Read More
Great last-minute Carnival Cruise (booked 2 weeks before 8/28 departure) from Home Port. Carnival works for us THE POSITIVES: Great Value especially with not having to pay for flights No Flights for locals (No worry about what to pack, bag weight, liquids, early airport arrivals, carry-on vs check-in, TSA lines, delays, car service to and from airport). Pack what you want and bring it aboard!!! Less than 1 Hour Drive from Home to Port 1/2 hour from port arrival to being on-board New York Departure (Harbor, Statue of Liberty, Verrazano Bridge, etc.) New Carnival Ship with nice features Rare itinerary especially from New York (Grand Turk, Amber Cove and Puerto Rico) Room 9377 –inside category for 4, very convenient location (Underneath the Lido restaurant). No noise issues, easy to walk up to all action. Room Stewart was awesome FREE Carnival Hub app was great for checking and setting favorites for activities with reminders, Account balance check, Dinner reservations, $5 per person texting option was a good value and useful. Great FREE lunch options (Guys, Burgers, Guys Pig & Anchor BBQ, Serenity Salad Bar, Blue Iguana Cantina, Cucina de Capitano, JiJi Asian Kitchen, Sandwiches, Pizza,etc Cake Bar in Lido deck had different selections of at least 5 different cakes everyday Main Dinning for Dinner was great (Good food and varying selection every night). Carnival still serves Lobster! Requested table via the Carnival Hub app and 5 – 10 minutes later table # was available on the app. Just walked down and was seated immediately every night. I don't know why so many people were waiting at the 5th floor desk. Sky Ride, Sky Course amazing over the blue water Water Slides Entertainment and game staff are engaged and enthusiastic (Good shows, great trivia and games (Digital scavenger hunts, Celebrity identify crisis, CLUE, Lip Sync,etc). Newly Wed show, Battle of the sexes The Club House and O2 teen club – great for kids. My 16 year old would disappear except for meeting ups for Dinner and to sleep at 1:30AM. AMBER COVE: Beautiful, private and new. We did the Damajagua 27 waterfalls with an outside excursion company (Actually did 12 of 27 as most excursions do because of time constraints but it was great). You will have to walk out of the port, parking and meet unauthorized excursion companies at the highway- before the port entry PUERTO RICO: San Juan is back and better than ever. We walk to the closest fort Castilo San Cristobal, paid admission then walked to El Morro fort via the road overlooking the ocean and passing by “La Perla” where the Despacito video was filmed. We got into El Morro for free with our receipt from San Cristobal. Then we walk back to the ship via the old streets full of shops, food, and people. Everyone was so nice. AMAZING! I am a NewYorkRican so yes, I am Bias THE NEGATIVES: Muster Drill took almost 1 hour (guests must take some blame as many just ignored the request) Inside category room with 2 drop down bunks was a little tight for my wife, myself and 2 teenagers Main Dining Room Staff is efficient but not friendly. No small talk, no getting to know you, just take your order, bring your food and thanks for coming. Did not mind it much as we did not have to wait for a table on any night. But a little more friendly and interactive service would be nice. Pool Decks and Lounge chairs were always crowded and ‘reserved’ with towels and items. Not much of a bother for us as we did a lot of the “inside activities such as trivia, demos, etc. We also found some nice chairs in the Serenity Deck and also above the Havana Pool. Lunch Buffet selection was not great and small. Issue is they have 2 small buffet stations on each side of the Lido restaurant serving the same items. Again, this was not a big deal for us because we took advantage of the many FREE lunch options (see positives above) Grand Turk: Just a strip of beach overwhelmed with too many people from the ship. We walked all the way to the end and laid out in front of Jacks Shack where it was less crowded and the water had less seaweed. I did go out and snorkel by the pier, although pretty deep and clear, not much to see. I would prefer an overnight in Puerto Rico instead. Disembarkation - a NIGHTMARE first experiment with new system of guests going up to the LIDO deck and get their own luggage tag #s during the last night. By the time I got up there only #s 27-30 which were 9:00 – 10:00AM disembak. We got # 27 which was 9:00AM We did not get off the ship until 11:00AM. It was horrible. New Elevator System was a bit of a mess and I think increased wait times. But again it did not bother us as we walked up and down most of time from our 9th floor Cabin to 5th floor for many of the games and trivia SUMMARY: We had a great cruise. This was our 8th Carnival Cruise and it just works for us. We did RCCL Allure last year and for us Carnival is much better value. The price, FREE dining options, and Entertainment, the Free useful App. I feel RCCL nickels and dimes you for everything. Also, the RCCL staff was not very friendly and arrogant on Allure. We have also done Princess, MSC and Norwegian but we are Carnivalers cruisers. I feel Carnival tries hard t is not just about the $. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had a great time on this cruise and I would sail on the same ship again. That being said, it was imperfect. I thought the staff on the ship was great. By the pool a waitress asked if I wanted a drink, suggested a drink, brought it ... Read More
We had a great time on this cruise and I would sail on the same ship again. That being said, it was imperfect. I thought the staff on the ship was great. By the pool a waitress asked if I wanted a drink, suggested a drink, brought it quickly, and later remembered what I'd had and corrected the number when I accidentally gave her one of the kids cards. The drinks were sufficiently strong. I mostly drank the wine I brought from home on the cruise but we're not big drinkers. If you need anything from the front desk you have to go in person. They never pick up the phone no matter how long you hold. I tried calling 4 times while on the ship. The lines weren't long in person. None of the little items I lost on the ship were ever turned in, that speaks to the guests rather than the staff. We got a massage package that was deeply discounted if you got 3 massages. Mel (a woman) gave me all my massages and I was very happy with her. She had strong hands, followed my cue on how much chatting to do, was very warm and personable, and never tweaked my back nor did I have to tell her to stop doing anything, which I commonly have to do with other massages. I was even a little late one day because I got the time wrong and she let me have the full massage time because she didn't have another booking afterwards. The buffet was sub par. It seemed like they were phasing it out that style of service. On Princess, Costa, MSC, Norwegian, and previously on Carnival there were full buffets with lots of things to try, this buffet had maybe ten things. The food tasted good but we wound up going to the dining room with the kids every night because it seemed like there was more variety there. Also if you wanted a sandwich, hamburger, or hotdog from the buffet area there were long waits. There was never much variety of fruits at the buffet, I never saw a berry or a grape. There were some delicious and beautiful cakes at lunch that you had to wait on line to get but then at dinner there would be pre-cut sheet cakes with flavors I didn't find appealing. My guess is that they prefer for people to eat in the dining rooms. My general sense of the ship is that they added bedrooms without providing much additional living space. As a result the main lobby/atrium was tiny. When there was live music they played from a higher floor while the chairs were downstairs and you had to look up. It was odd. Despite being the biggest ship I've ever been on there didn't seem to be more musicians, bars, or events. The kids didn't want to go to camp. The camp however looked pretty fun with lots of high energy activities like a DJ guiding them in dancing, art projects, toys to play with, two playgrounds that were open to the ship when the camp wasn't using them. There was no real nap area however so we had to watch the kids nap in our room. There were a couple of cushions for resting but the counselors said the kids would have to ask to nap, that they don't really do that and there was no quiet area. The waiting area for camp could be a nicer play area if they added a few toys that weren't just for babies. The toddler area seemed more geared to 2 year olds than 5 year olds. On the positive side, there was a large staff and my allergy kid never had a problem. A special call out to Kai Kai here, she was a manager and she and her staff always made special efforts to help my kids separate and join in the fun, even when they didn't want to. The camp seemed pretty good as these things go. People were nice about the kids being in the pools. Early morning the pools were fun, by noon they were pretty packed. The hot tubs allowed children and other passengers were very tolerant. My kids loved the recreation area that included extensive miniature golf with no wait, corn hole, ping pong, soccer pool, and foozball. My oldest wasn't big enough for the big water slides but there was a small one that he was briefly interested in. The splash area is nice but I was glad my kids were potty trained and could use the pools. The lifeguards aren't paying any attention and seem to wander off and speak to anyone who comes by. Watch your kids in these crowded pools. One really nice thing we did was watching a movie while we swam after dinner. There was also a 4D movie experience but it scared my gentle 4 year old and we left early. One day we went to a parade that wound up being more than that with an interactive show, we didn't follow the schedule much so there might have been more like that. The character breakfast was inexpensive and nice. It seemed undersold. It was the first time it was offered that they would make special food for my son with allergies. I wish someone from the cruise would have reached out to me earlier in the cruise about accommodating him before that point I just guessed at which foods would be safe -- the ship has some serious nut cross contamination at the salad bar. Most of the dried pasta on the cruise had egg in it, to the disappointment of my son. He ate a lot of french fries over the course of the week, so much so that I'm not sure it's his favorite food anymore. There are only two teppanyaki tables, explaining why it's so hard to get a reservation. I joined the waitlist before we cruised and managed to go. It was excellent though the upcharge is high at $25-30 per person depending what you order and I even had to pay that for each of my toddlers. We went to the mongolian grill restaurant at lunch when there was no upcharge and they served a bowl of noodles mixed with stir fried meats and vegetable of your choice. It was tasty but underwhelming as a restaurant. It's located above the buffet so I just ran downstairs to grab lunch for my son which he ate along with us. At Turks and Caicos we went to the beach that was walking distance from the dock. We paid $25 for two chairs and an umbrella in the front row. The water happened to be dirty with seaweed when we went. I'm told that it's normally clear. We had a great time and I loved that we were so close to the ship. Another ship docked as we wanted to leave and they wouldn't let us back onto the dock and we had to wait at least ten minutes, if I had known this was going to happen I just would have left a few minutes earlier, this was incredibly frustrating feeling trapped. We stayed on the ship in San Juan. In the Dominican Republic we did the ship excursion to Ocean World and loved it. It was a short drive. We saw some water shows (come a bit early if you want to sit). We got to hold some macaws and have other small birds land on us.There's a different show every half hour but if you skip a show you can see the rest of the park without walking in a crowd. At the end of the park is a small, calm beach where we had an absolutely great time swimming, they provided toddler life jackets. I bought beers for $3 and popsicles for $2. It was heaven. This excursion would likely be dull to adults but it couldn't have been more perfect for my 2 and 4 year olds. Not too big, we didn't see everything but we saw enough. I'd happily go again. Honestly I loved this trip. We were busy. The kids were happy. The crew was helpful and warm. I liked the ports. I'd do it again in a second. I'd probably even book the same room. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Recently sailed the Horizon and it truly was an amazing vacation. The embarkation from NY was fast. We were on in 15 minutes. I had priority boarding since I booked a Suite and my room was also ready. My son had a balcony, however they ... Read More
Recently sailed the Horizon and it truly was an amazing vacation. The embarkation from NY was fast. We were on in 15 minutes. I had priority boarding since I booked a Suite and my room was also ready. My son had a balcony, however they allowed him to board with me.  The ship is simply beautiful and very clean. Our room steward Silvana was top notch. She took great care of us. We didnt have to ask for anything. She brought robes, slippers, extra towels and blankets, buckets of ice everyday ( the room was very cold, but I didn't complain).  We requested service once a day, but she serviced our cabins twice a day.  She addressed all of us by name everytime we encountered her including her seeing us in PR on the street.  The MDR staff...our waiters Erik and Wijana were amazing. We ate Seaday Brunch and breakfast on port days there. Food was delicious and plentiful. We rarely ate in Lido... the food there is terrible. We tried Bonsai Teppanyaki, Cucina, and Guys Smokehouse & Brewery for dinner...all great service and well worth the added expense. For lunch we ate at the Deli, Mongolian Wok, Seafood Shack and Bonsai Sushi. We didn't purchase Cheers,  however we preordered water, soda, beer and wine for our cabins. I had a total of $980 in gift cards and OBC so I walked off the ship owing nothing. The pools were over run by kids daily. We waited until after 7 to visit the Havana Area. Quiet and we enjoyed ourselves. The chair hogs were out in full force everyday. Same people, hogging the same chairs. Carnival should address this issue. The smart elevators worked great when we took them..no long wait at all. The lines for food were never long except at Mongolian Wok which turned us away one day because they were at capacity. Lots of great entertainment so there's always something to do. The sports square was a lot of fun. In tge last sea day we rode the Sky Ride. It was cool. If you love music, be sure to go see Crushed Velvet and the Brass Band in Ocean Plaza. I spent a lot of time there. I loved the new Pixel Gallery. Simple to purchase and you can view your photos from the Hub App. We chose Your Time Dining. We checked in before we arrived and our table was ready in 5 minutes. Overall this trip was wonderful. I would certainly cruise the Horizon again, but not from NY ( if it was staying). My two complaints were the smoking on the balcony...cigarettes and weed. I could smell it from my cabin and it wasn't plesant. In addition, there seemed to be a lot of folks with no class on the ship. Witnessed arguments and a fight. I'm not accustomed to that behavior so it was a bit shocking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I did not have high expectations of Carnival as I had read too many bad reviews regarding this line but I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Yes, it is a party ship. It's known as the FUN ship for a reason. If you're ... Read More
I did not have high expectations of Carnival as I had read too many bad reviews regarding this line but I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Yes, it is a party ship. It's known as the FUN ship for a reason. If you're looking for quiet, there are places to go on the ship to get that, you just have to find them. CABIN - We divided our family of 5 into two interior rooms. The rooms are not that important to us as we hardly spend any time in them. They are small but didn't bother us as we're not big people but if you are on the larger side, they will feel very small. Housekeeping is lovely. FOOD - There were good things and bad things about the food. If you've cruised before, you'll be disappointed at the lack of choice at the buffet. They have separated stations into restaurants. So no pizza at the buffet, you'll need to go to Pizza place at back of ship. No hamburgers at lunch, you need to go to Guy's Burger joint (highly recommended). There is no pasta at the buffet, they want you to go to Italian restaurant. And there's no international station, they have Asian restaurants to take care of that. All of these are free at lunch, but not at dinner. Lunch had amazing cakes for dessert but they were absent at dinner buffet which is disappointing. We never ate in the main dining room because our kids wouldn't sit through that. We also noticed that they served basically the same food at the buffet with the exception of the special menu like lobster or escargot. Breakfast at Seaday Brunch is amazing, a step up from the breakfast buffet. Pizzas at back of ship are delicious too but line can be long. Overall, it was good food but some may find lack of choice at buffet a turn off. It does waste less food. I've found other cruises tend to recycle the leftover food for the next meal. ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS - Our kids loved SkyRide, SkyCourse and the SportsSquare. There can be a long wait for SkyRide so do it as soon as you can or just before it closes. Beware that if it's too windy, they'll close it, along with the SkyCourse. My kids loved the Clubhouse which had ping pong, soccer billiards and a 6 player foosball. We paid for the Thrill Theater which was okay, a little short (13 min.) but we had onboard credit. We also watched the Imax movie. Think they should reduce the price from $12.95 to $10 to encourage more people to go. My kids loved the outdoor evening movies with free popcorn. That was really nice. Sometimes hard to find a seat so go early or go halfway into movie as people tend to leave. Pools are warm which is nice. Pool at back of ship is less busy but they are both small for how many people are on board. Only two hot tubs for families are at the back of the ship and they are small. Note that both pools are salt water. Googles are recommended or it stings little ones eyes. Waterworks was a lot of fun for kids but could use more space for parents to sit. Waterslides were a bit of a wait but kids didn't mind too much. Warning that they will close if it's too windy. Both Waterworks and SkyRide/SkyCourse tended to close at 6pm. We didn't enroll our kids in the kids club as they were happy to stay with us. Our two older kids (13 & 16) are too shy to go to teen club. ADULTS - Serenity, the adults-only section is not really serene at all. It's just a big party place for adults. If you're looking for quiet, you're better off going to 5th floor outside which have loungers. Dislike that there's smoking in the casino and on some decks near the pool. Entertainment at night was good. Hasbro game show is really fun for kids. Comedians were just okay. Musicians on board were great, really talented. Elevators need work. For some reason, you push a floor and even though 7 elevators look free, it chooses the elevator that's already going to 4 other floors. I don't take them often, but we were on floor 3 and lido deck is on 10. Ship layout takes some getting used to. Some decks don't allow you to go from end to end because of the IMAX theatre which blocks it. That could've been designed better. Even arcade and Circle C club are somewhat hidden. There aren't a lot of onboard shops which was different from other ships. They also have strange hours. Our only Port was Bermuda. Highly recommend the Crystal Caves. We went to Horseshoe Bay beach. Beautiful pink sand with very few pebbles. If you're up to it, you can climb the rock mountain by the bar for a beautiful view of the beach. Beach umbrella and two loungers was $45 to rent. There's no shade otherwise and it was quite hot. There are food and beverage huts and bathroom with showers. We've been to Bermuda before so we knew we could take public transit to get to Horseshoe Bay. It's $9 roundtrip on the bus, $5 for kids. I saw transfers at dock for $7 per person each way, $14 roundtrip. So this was cheaper but more crowded. Bus only comes every 30 minutes too. Overall I really liked Carnival and as the Horizon is the newest ship, it was very beautiful and clean. There was a lot for kids to do and a lot of great food and drink options, all of which were reasonably priced. I would consider doing Carnival again if I was bringing my kids. If only traveling with my husband, I would probably not as seeing all the kids would make me feel guilty for not bringing mine. I wouldn't recommend Carnival too if you're just traveling as a couple. Celebrity or Holland America would be better. Royal Caribbean is good for older kids. Other option for families is Norwegian but I think Horizon beats them. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Let me just start by mentioning that we've been on 7 other cruises with various cruise lines including Carnival. I would have never booked this trip peak season at such a high price except that my husband had very little vacation time ... Read More
Let me just start by mentioning that we've been on 7 other cruises with various cruise lines including Carnival. I would have never booked this trip peak season at such a high price except that my husband had very little vacation time and was flying out of JFK airport the day we arrived back at the Manhattan cruise terminal. In other words, this was the only cruise that would allow for us to leave from a local port, and for my husband to catch his flight on time. I was concerned about the high cost of this short cruise and the negative reviews in which I had read. I had prepared my family for gross food and an overcrowded ship in advance based on what I had read. However, we were pleasantly surprised and had a good trip. Population: We cruised with a very culturally diverse group of passengers most of which were families of all different age ranges. There weren't too many young babies probably due to the high cost. Most passengers were respectful of others and fun to be around. Embarkation: You are assigned a specific time to arrive at the terminal. Parking at the Manhattan Cruise terminal was plentiful and we were on board about 20 minutes after arriving. In all of our years of cruising, we have never gotten on the ship so quickly. Cabin: We were on a sold out ship in balcony room 6277 which was nicely appointed with basic ammenities. Our balcony door made a loud squealing noise from the wind but this was fixed within 10 minutes of us calling the desk. We had prearranged a gift for our son which was damaged and it was replaced immediately after calling the front desk. The only downside about staying on the 6th floor is that you can hear the movies playing from IMAX theater and you can hear loud passengers on the 5th floor wrap around board walk. I would not recommend choosing this floor for these reasons. Our steward Abraham was amazing and met our needs without us ever asking for anything! Towel creatures were plentiful. Food: We were assigned to "anytime dining" and our sign and sail card told us where to go for our reservation. There was a desk in which we signed in and waited with a pager for our table to be ready. We never had a wait except on lobster night when it was about 20 minutes. Food in the main dining room was typical cruise ship quality and the service was good. Specifically Vlad and his assistant were efficient and professional. There will always be the parents who allow their kids to scream and cry in the dining room but this is out of Carnival's control. The Lido deck buffet food is okay and typical for a cruise line however the choices are lacking and as other cruisers have mentioned, if you are dieting, have food allergies, or are vegetarian, you might have trouble finding a suitable meal. There are way too many processed food options on this ship but these items seemed to be a huge hit among cruisers. The Pig and Anchor is free at lunch and delicious. There is also a burger joint, taco bar, sandwhich station, and pizza place which are all excellent however have 15-30 minute lines on average during peak times. They are all open only at specific times with the pizza place being open around the clock. I recommend utilizing alternative options to the Lido buffet at non peak times. Soft serve ice cream is available around the clock. You can also eat breakfast in the main dining room which was wonderful. Antonio was our amazing waiter and we had wished we had eaten there every day rather than just the last day. It's quieter and the food is much better than the Lido. Service: Service in general was fantastic with staff always willing to help. While on the slides, a male worker saw me carrying up 2 tubes and took one to assist me. A female worker on Lido notived by tag and bra hanging out and fixed them for me. Our room steward was friendly and attentive. Sadu in the photo studio was extremely helpful. Once at that pizza parlor, my 7 year old spilled 1/2 of his pizza on the ground. A female worker immedately came to our assitance and offered to get him fresh pizza. I cannot say enough for the entire hard working staff on this ship. As far as service, you will not be dissapointed! Entertainment/Gym: I used the gym at 0800 and while busy, machines were plentiful. There is a huge sports deck that is the main hub. The water park is great if you catch it off peak. Otherwise it becomes so overcrowded that it's really not enjoyable. Pack your suit and head right to it when you first get on. The slides are so fun! Watch out for the burning hot deck though! The sky bikes were always a 40-80 minute wait. They were closed our last sea day due to rain and wind as was the rope walk. The rope walk is great and typically the line is only a few minutes but we experienced major hold ups due to people becoming scared or unable to get across the course. Sometimes this would cause huge jam ups on the cat walks. There are only 2 family pools and hot tubs which are packed all day long. This was a great dissapointment for us as you can barely get into one. There seemed to be enough loungers despite the small pools. The games, mini golf, and ping pong are all fun and typically available without a wait. Children's camp: Our 7 year old went on 2 days and cried when we told him that he must eat so it must have been great! The process for checking in and out was extremely efficient and we rarely waited in a line. Port: We only ported once at bermuda and we did the restless native sail and snorkel. It was a nice excursion but we were slightly dissapointed with the snorkeling as we saw fish, but had higher expectations. Disembarkation: The process seemed to go smoothly but we decided to hang out on board until most cruises had departed. We enjoyed a breakfast in the main restaraunt and this was relaxing and wonderful. Overall: There are 2 reasons that I will only give this ship 4 stars. The first is the crowds and the second reason was the high price for a short cruise. I could have taken (2) 1 week long cruises for the same price it costed for us to go on the Horizon for 4 nights. However, Carnival does a pretty good job of systematically handling the 5000 people on board. Prepare yourself for some lines and plan your day around less busy times as you would a theme park or Disney land. Even on a sold out ship, we had great service and a wonderful time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We booked the carnival horizon, for the 8 day eastern caribbean trip to Grand Turk, san Juan, and Amber Cove. I want to start out by saying, don't let the negative Nancy's affect your experience on this ship. I must admit, i was ... Read More
We booked the carnival horizon, for the 8 day eastern caribbean trip to Grand Turk, san Juan, and Amber Cove. I want to start out by saying, don't let the negative Nancy's affect your experience on this ship. I must admit, i was a little bit worried about how my experience was going to be on this ship after hearing so many negative reviews, from this site right here. I've never written a review before, but I felt it was necessary considering Carnival Horizon is getting such a bad rep, for such an awesome ship. Embarkation wasn't completely perfect, we arrived late for our check in time, and it took a little bit longer to get on the boat than it should have, but that is no fault of carnival, debarkation was smooth, up until getting out of the pier, where waiting for a taxi was hell, but once agin not the fault of carnival. The ship is beautiful, upon entering we entered into the atrium, it is truly a magnificent design. We stayed on the second floor, in a deluxe ocean view, family harbor room. It's worth the extra penny, the family harbor lounge provides a place to play video games, watch movies that would normally cost money had they been ordered in room, and around 3, they serve snacks to fill your belly! Along with an ice cream machine, coffee machine and ice water machine. Unfortunately, i didn't take the time to dine at any of the specialty restaurants, but I must say, the food at the Meridian was excellent! Their steak, prime rib, grilled chicken, and other things are simply amazing.The Lido buffet, isn't anything to brag about I'll admit, but it's still taste good, and fills your belly. We scheduled the my time ding option, so unfortunately we didn't have one specific server throughout the duration of the cruise, I must say the ones we did have however, were on point. Shoutout to Henry, Erik, and those I can't remember, you guys were awesome! In the reviews saw a lot of people complaining about the line for pizza and burgers, but to be honest, i didn't expect any different, Its a boat with over 4,000 people, you think you're the only one who likes pizza? Our room steward was was very nice and helpful, my nephew who is is 10 has a bit of a bladder problem, so he was forced to clean urine soaked sheets more than once, however he did not complain, or he even screw up his face once, he didn't even seem surprised when i alerted him to the the sheets needing to be changed, I greatly appreciated that, because we have come across many people who who have not been so welcoming to his issue. The activities to do on the ship are endless, the sky ride, min golf, ping pong, group activities were all fun. I am an avid basketball player, so i was on the court a lot, theres always competition and people looking to play a pickup game, don't worry about bringing your own basketball, there are plenty provided.I didn't really get in the pool much because it is a saltwater pool, and my eyes do not react well when saltwater gets in there, even though i wasn't in the pool much, I did notice that a lot of people were on the Lido deck, and there seemed to be minimal deck chairs available, which once again is to be expected, considering the fact that there are 4,000 people on board, and on an especially hot/sunny day, most people want to enjoy the pool. A lot of the complaints I've heard were biased and no fault of Carnival. I read one person complain about noise from workers cleaning in the late hours, and while i can understand being annoyed to due to lack of sleep because of noise on your vacation, the deck has got to be cleaned at some point, and the wee hours of the night are the best times to do it, considering that there aren't nearly as many people roaming around during the daytime as there are at 3 in the morning. The fitness center was nice and spacious, as well as the sky fitness on the 12th deck. All in all, my carnival cruise was excellent, the only reason it did not get five stars was because we were forced to to skip the Amber Cove port, due to mechanical problems with docking, I was very disappointed considering that this was the place i wanted to see the most, carnival did however, credit us 70 dollars of onboard credit to our sign and sail account, which honestly isn't worth anything compared to missing a port, but I made sure myself and everyone in my party spent every dollar they credited us!which will no doubt be the source of many negative comments, on this site. Don't be afraid to take the trip on the Carnival Horizon, it's fun for the entire family, comedy shows for the adults, camp ocean/circle C/Club O2 for the children, and plenty of family fun to go around. Don't let the negative Nancy's ruin your vacation expectations. Enjoy your carnival trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
I chose this cruise because it was a new ship. I was very concerned when I read the negative reviews but then i have been on many cruise lines and i have found that there will always be people who are never happy and tend to criticize ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was a new ship. I was very concerned when I read the negative reviews but then i have been on many cruise lines and i have found that there will always be people who are never happy and tend to criticize everything, Embarkation was quick and easy. The comedy shows were very good. We saw many of the movies on deck at night time; I was pleasantly surprised at how new they were. We saw "The Greatest Showman", Avengers: Infinity War, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Pacific Rim: Uprising, etc. I did not buy the drink package but I always bought the daily special of the day which was at a discount price. The Latin music at the Havana Bar was very good. The only thing i was not too impressed with were the luncheons at Lido Buffet. Luckily, there were other places to go for lunvh; our favorite was Guy's Burger Joint. We had the 6 pm early dining - yes, the meals were smaller portions but you could always ask for more. I actually liked the smaller portions because it left room to order dessert and i also didn't leave feeling like i had over stuffed myself which is what typically happens on a cruise. I never had a problem with getting a lounge chair at the pool; granted, I am an early riser and thus there were lounge chairs available early in the day. We stayed in an Inside cabin on Deck 1 that had 2 bunk beds. I found our cabin to be spacious compared to other cabins on other cruise lines. I especially liked that there was a self-laundry room to wash clothes. We enjoyed the ports although the time spent at each one was short. We did a Snorkeling with power scooter and lunch excursion at Grand Turks through Carnival. We had a blast and I would highly recommend this excursion. We did a zip lining tour in Amber Cove. This was booked through Trip Advisor and was less expensive than the same excursion Carnival was offering. We decided to relax in San Juan and did not do any excursions. I did not find the new elevator system to be a problem; I feel that having read the prior reviews had prepared me in advance. There weren't too many retail stores to shop at and I found that to be disappointing. Disembarkation was a breeze. We walked off with our suitcases and called an Uber. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
First as a disclaimer, we're Platinum with Carnival and have sailed a number of their ships over the years. We were excited to try the Horizon, being the newest entry into the fleet. I always like the Pros/Cons type of review as ... Read More
First as a disclaimer, we're Platinum with Carnival and have sailed a number of their ships over the years. We were excited to try the Horizon, being the newest entry into the fleet. I always like the Pros/Cons type of review as it's simpler, so here's our take: Pros- ** Alchemy Bar. Absolutely fantastic "Mixologists". Zoran, Anna Maria and "Dr. Z" were on top of their game and the best drinks weren't even on the menu. I dare you-- challenge them! ** Lennox Lust (the band). Wow. Just wow. We're talking seriously talented musicians here. See them now before one day you'll have to pay for admission to watch them. You'll never find a better lead guitarist using acoustic anywhere. Yep, they're that good. **Pig and Anchor. Excellent BBQ--and free when you board and also for lunch on sea days. Do it, you won't be disappointed. And the beers on tap were very good also (especially the porter if you like darker beer). ** Embarkation. Not sure if it could have been smoother. Carnival has always been the best at getting you on the ship quickly, and this was no different. **On board parties. Carnival definitely has the most "fun" crowd on the seas (albeit younger.. so not surprising), but the White Out and outdoor Dance Parties definitely were a blast. The crowd really got into it! **Food. Didn't disappoint as both the main restaurants and the buffets were good, but the deli was excellent. Order a pastrami and tomato--no "cheap" sandwich here! Deli worthy indeed. **Cleanliness of the ship. Yes, it's new, but as expected the ship really was spotless and the staff cleaned constantly. **Staff. Wow.. were these people friendly and happy. I'd have to say the most pleasant crew of any Carnival ship we've ever been on. Genuinely nice and made us feel welcome. ** Elevators. Yes, I know many seem to love or hate these, but the only times we ran into an issue were when we first embarked and after a show when everybody ran to use them. The issue is that Carnival doesn't tell you to press the floor you want for EACH person in your party. This way the algorithm understands the volume of people and will direct others to another elevator. We say 2 parties of 6 or more press it once, and sure enough, there wasn't enough space. On a few occasions while pressing the amount for our party, the elevator would change to another--and that elevator always was unoccupied. A learning experience, but as a whole, one we felt worked. **Service. Every night we had an incredible wait staff, who were friendly, outgoing and accommodating. The only night we had an issue was when our waiter and his partner were responsible for 7...yes 7 tables (3 of which had 10 people!). He was simply overwhelmed but hustled like heck to do what he can. In all that chaos, he was still as pleasant as can be. **Carnival Hub App. This is where Carnival has really shined. We had anytime dining and instead of going to "check in" on a different deck and being handed a pager (are you listening NCL?), you simply went on the app, requested a table and it told you how long of a wait you'd have. Once secured, a notification with your table number and a message that your table was ready was sent to each in your party. Wonderful! You can also book the specialty restaurants for your week. TIP--if you wanted a specialty restaurant and weren't fortunate enough to book in advance, do so as SOON as you board and log into the app. The entire schedule of availability will be visible. (And Carnival won't want to say, but there's no penalty for canceling a reservation, so do so with confidence, even if you're not 100%.). TIP 2: If you're planning on eating at the steakhouse, under NO circumstance will you be allowed if you're wearing shorts of any kind (kids excluded). We hadn't planned for an extra night of attire and had to cancel as a result (1 pair of pants...and a dessert the night before killed the thought of a 3rd!). **Internet. Hands down the best we've ever had at sea on any cruise line. The Oasis of the Seas had this previous title in our world, but this wasn't even close. We were able to stream security cameras and the like with little hesitation. It was near land based speed in some cases.. wonderful! Cons- ** Crowded. Yep, it's a big ship, but on sea days it is a chore to find an open chair. This has been the most challenging of any ship we've been on to find an open chair. We were fortunate though to find some in the Serenity section as we tend to go late. TIP-if you're like us and start out late, look for a chair in the Serenity after 1pm, as the early folks tend to leave as they go to lunch. We were 4 for 4 with our timing. **Spa. I hate to say it's a "con", but Carnival as a whole and the Horizon specifically really lags behind the other lines when it comes to their spa. It has 2 niche saunas (that always had room) but a VERY small whirlpool and just a handful of stone chairs, that of course, were "saved" too many times as people would come in, put their towels on the chair then use the facilities before coming back to their chair while others waited. Really wish people would be more considerate (not a Horizon thing per se, but a cruise thing). I really expected a LOT more from a new ship. **Cabin. We had a spa balcony cabin and for the life of me (and many others after reading reviews), have NO idea why Carnival insists on using a shower curtain as opposed to a simple door. Just aggravating to say the least. And while other newer ships have tended to increase the bathroom size just a bit, not here. It's basically identical to any refurbished Carnival ship. If you were in the bathroom and closed your eyes, for $100 you couldn't guess what Carnival ship you were on. Color scheme included. Definitely disappointed. On a positive note, the beds and pillows were comfortable. **Casino. Well, more about the smoke in the casino. I know, gamblers like to smoke and you're indoors, but it just seemed worse on this ship for some reason. And having your Muster Station be.... the casino!..... made for a rough drill. We had to leave and stand in the hallway as the smoke smell was still overwhelming from the last cruise. Not sure what else they can do as they do have the air ionizers going full blast (you can smell them too) and in the bar added a 2nd story that is enclosed with the intention of capturing smoke...but still not there. Please keep trying! Overall we enjoyed the cruise (for us, it's hard not to enjoy any cruise!). The crowd was fun and was the most diverse we've seen on a cruise ship. Not getting political, but in today's environment I think it was a very good thing to actually watch all races and ethnicities--and yes, sexualities too-- engage and truly enjoy each other. I did notice a change in "tone" as the week went on as it went from "pockets" of like folks, to a mixed family environment where song and laughter were shared by all. Who knows... perhaps the answer to all our problems has a simple solution: sail the Carnival Horizon. :) Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was me and my wife's first cruise, I am 38 and my wife is 32. We have 3 kids but did travel alone. After researching it for so long I finally booked the Carnival Horizon leaving from N.Y.C to Bermuda for the 4 night voyage which ... Read More
This was me and my wife's first cruise, I am 38 and my wife is 32. We have 3 kids but did travel alone. After researching it for so long I finally booked the Carnival Horizon leaving from N.Y.C to Bermuda for the 4 night voyage which was from July 19th to July 23rd 2018 (despite all these negative reviews about it) This is my first review ever of anything really but I felt I had to say something positive about the ship itself and the crew after reading so much negative things everywhere, which I am so glad I didn't listen to. I am gonna be all over the place but I am gonna include things I didn't find in other reviews that I had wish I knew before I cruised and just general info to make your experience better and easier especially for first timers. First, boarding was a breeze,if you have an appointment time before 2 pm they will take your luggage at the door, tag it and it will be in front of your stateroom so you don't have to lug it around. You go through a short process where they get you searched and boarded on the ship by zones, it's very easy and simple to follow. You will not have access to your stateroom until about 5 pm or 6 pm so pack a carry on if you wish to start swimming/sunbathing once you get on the ship.(our appointment time to board was between 1 and 1 30 and were on the ship before 2 but wasted about 4 hours in street clothes which felt like such a waste of a beautiful day in port waiting to have access to our personal belongings. Your sail and sign cards will be in your mailbox at your room door around 4 pm. You need them to do everything on the ship from order drinks to purchase items on board. NO CASH accepted anywhere on board. Except the casino of course. The ship is amazing and obviously brand new so anyone complaining about the ship itself can't possibly be satisfied. The layout is pretty easy to remember and after a few times walking around the ship you get to know pretty well. (decks 1/2/6/7/8/9) are mostly rooms so no need to go there anyway if not staying on that floor. The 3rd deck (lobby) has a few shops, bars. Deck 4 is where the main restaurants are (included in the price) where you will be having dinner every night and the casino ( which is the only bar open after 2 am, also drinks are free if you are playing) Deck 5 are where all the bars and pay restaurants are. Deck 11 is the water park and kids area including the basketball area, running track etc.The 10 (lido deck) is where most of the daily action is, there is a pool mid ship and a pool with 2 whirlpools in the back. (both filled with mostly kids) Deck 15 is the serenity deck (adults 21 and over only). 2 whirlpools and a bar with a salad bar for lunch. I was surprised but the bar closes at 6 pm. It seemed pretty early for an adult only retreat but the whirlpools are open till midnight. Also you do still hear the kids going down the slides and screaming at the water park but not enough to be bothered by it. We stayed in an inside stateroom as we didn't need a balcony and didn't regret it because it was much cheaper and got to see plenty of the ocean just being on the ship while we were out and about. 2 comedians on board, both were funny. Food was excellent. We didn't go for any extra $ dining options as there was plenty to eat that was already included. Buffet menus changed everyday (breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus) breakfast buffet was open till 12 pm for late risers which was awesome. Pizza is 24 hours and delicious Burgers and fries were a little over seasoned but great. Tacos and burritos where great too. A few minutes to wait during peak times but staff was working their butts off to keep up with the demand. Once again, don't let waiting in line for a few minutes ruin your day!!! Dinner menu at the restaurant changed every night. You are assigned a dinner time for the main restaurant once you are boarded and it is written on your card. You will not be seated unless it is your time. There is one cruise casual night where you have to dress up but that is also when lobster is on the dinner menu (unlimited lobster tails!!!) Havana Bar had live music 3 of the 4 nights which was a lot of fun to dance and have some mojitos. At midnight the Havana bar closes so the limelight lounge was the hangout after midnight until 2 am if you wanted music.. Live DJ playing music with good energy (18+ only). Groups of kids where running around the halls etc. but not to the point to where any reasonable person would be annoyed or be complaining about it, also after midnight the ship is pretty much a ghost town other than the club and casino. So there are plenty of places in and outside the ship to just hang out and enjoy the sounds of the ocean or explore the ship. People complaining about the lines for the food are being dramatic and have never been to a club/bar in NYC where we are from. Sometimes you get lucky and get the bartender after 30 seconds, other times you are waiting a few minutes. BIG DEAL!!! You are on vacation and shouldn't be stressing out over nonsense. The casino bar is the only bar open after midnight so it does get a little overwhelming for the bar staff and the wait is a little longer. (hint:if you have a simple drink order go to the club bar (limelight lounge) which is a lot less busy and also located on the casino deck, much less of a wait and less than a minute walk from the casino). Service was amazing in every aspect. Food service was quick at dinner, staff everywhere cleaning up after people and cleaning the ship decks every night. Ship is pretty much spotless, other than left over plates on tables that were eventually cleaned up shortly after people left their tables at the buffet and some cups laying around. Asking employees for directions the first day was always pleasant and never felt like I was annoying them as they were very helpful and nice and always smiling. We did get the cheers package which was about 52.00 dollars a day, each adult in the stateroom did have to purchase it for the entire cruise. (No 24 hour package like other cruise lines) Also, any ship leaving from New York or Texas, you will not have access to the cheers program until 6 am the second day of the trip, its state law so you will have to pay for drinks the first day) For us we are not big drinkers but got it anyway and ending up getting around 60 drinks for the duration of the cruise for both of us so we did save some money) average drink did cost around 10 dollars. You do have a limit of 15 alcoholic beverages a day (6 am to 6 am) for each card. so if your spouse is not a big drinker you can use their card and no staff seemed to mind if it wasn't your own card. You MUST download the Carnival app, its free to use on the ship and gave you all the information you need to know of whats going on at every hour so you can plan out your day, also what places are open to eat etc. Room service is free but there is a 5 or 10 dollar total charge for orders after 10 pm. We did go jet skiing in Bermuda, which was only about a 3 minute walk off the ship. (K&S Watersports) About 150 for a single rider 170 for a double rider. 75 minutes of riding and swimming on a private beach for an awesome experience. Check out their website and videos In the end, it was an awesome experience, I will definitely cruise with Carnival again. Don't listen to all these people, book it and you won't regret it. Have fun, be silly and enjoy your time!!! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
SUMMARY We normally cruise on Royal Caribbean and have done Norwegian several times as well. We booked this cruise because leaving from NYC is convenient for us, and we were comfortable trying Carnival for the first time because Horizon ... Read More
SUMMARY We normally cruise on Royal Caribbean and have done Norwegian several times as well. We booked this cruise because leaving from NYC is convenient for us, and we were comfortable trying Carnival for the first time because Horizon is a brand new ship. As of this writing, the ratings are just about evenly distributed between Excellent, Very Good, Average and Poor. There are a total of 50 Average and Poor ratings, and 48 Excellent and Very Good. I had a lot of anxiety about going on this cruise after I read the many negative reviews. But I have to say, all my fears were completely unfounded. I had a fantastic time! Now, having said that, let me explain my rating and this review. I never give anything a "5" because I feel that implies perfection and there is no such thing. I wanted to give this a "3" only because it is not quite as good as some Royal Caribbean cruises I have been on, where I have given a "4". But the hating on this ship seems ridiculous to me and I think Horizon deserves to see its overall rating improve. Any negative or snarky comments should not detract from my overall positive feelings about the ship but are instead designed to (a) provide some suggestions for future cruisers (on how to optimize your experience, and in some cases how to properly behave); (b) provide suggestions for improvement to Carnival management, assuming they read these reviews; and (c) reflect my love-hate relationship with cruises in general, in some cases not even specific to this ship. None of my negative comments below should dissuade you from taking this cruise. My whole family and I (there were 11 of us - six adults and five children) were all very happy. OK, now on to the details... FOOD Food quality overall was very good. I have reasonable expectations about food on cruises. I consider myself to be somewhat of a "foodie" and dine out frequently, often at upscale restaurants. I don't expect the food on a cruise to compete with the best restaurants. They are making massive amounts of food at one time, how good can you possibly expect it to be? Quality is always going to suffer in favor of quantity. I thought every meal was pretty decent and encountered no problems with cold food, botched orders or anything like that. We had the early seating in the Meridian every night except one. Our wait staff was absolutely phenomenal - Piotr, Pedro and Igedde (sp?). They remembered all 11 of our family’s names after the first night. Those of us that drank soda had cans waiting for them at the table when we arrived. The team worked well together, were very attentive and took time out to talk to and entertain the youngest children in our family. One night we ate at the Italian specialty restaurant. The food quality here was excellent, but the service not quite what we would expect. It did get a bit old sitting anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours in the Meridian seven out of eight nights, so I would recommend trying a few more of the specialty restaurants to vary things a bit. A side benefit of the specialty restaurants is that you’ll avoid getting interrupted by photographers while you’re eating. One negative in the main dining room was that they did not have the same wine that we enjoyed in the Italian restaurant, and we were unable to get it without a separate charge for the whole bottle, even though two of us had the drink package. Also, we were never proactively asked if we wanted coffee or tea with dessert, although of course if we asked it was served. There weren’t a ton of healthy choices. There were no explicit healthy selections on the Meridian dinner menu but there were some wise choices available. For quicker breakfast or lunchtime meals, I was hoping for offerings like those in the Solarium on Royal Caribbean, but there was no equivalent; the salad bar in the Serenity Lounge was fairly limited. Please don’t let there ever be a law that requires putting calories on the menus like in some parts of the U.S. As far as the specialty places: The java cafe on 5 had good coffee - nice that this is included in the drink package - but their nitro cold brew machine was out of service most of the cruise. The pizza place on deck 10 aft was good but I only had it once so can't really comment on the wait time so many other reiewers complained about. I can tell you the wait at the Seafood Shack was long, even though I was the only one ordering. I ordered a few things to share with the family: the lobster BLT had too much mayonnaise in the lobster; the steamed shrimp could have been healthy, if topped only with Old Bay seasoning, but instead was obviously immersed in butter; and the fried shrimp had an oily heavy batter instead of a thin, dry, crispy crust. However, the clam strips were very good - I actually enjoyed them more than the ones I had recently eaten at Legal Seafood in Boston. Guy's burgers poolside were very good and never a long wait; I visited there about three times during the cruise. I would say they taste most like burgers at the Five Guys chain (not the same “Guy”). The Pig & Anchor is hyped up by some professional cruise bloggers. We only went for lunch, and the lunch offering does not include baby back ribs. The brisket and pulled pork were good, but I've had better at local chains such as Mission Grill here in Philadelphia. You go up to the servers and they put what you request on your plate; I wasn't getting any sides so figured they would be a little more generous with the meat, but they were actually quite stingy so I walked away with a lot of open real estate on my plate. I didn’t eat in the Lido Marketplace except to grab early-morning coffee or maybe a mini Danish or croissant. But my father-in-law had a couple of sandwiches made in the deli section and made it a point to say he really enjoyed them. There was a small breakfast buffet in Ocean Plaza, deck 5 aft, which had fruit, pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon, oatmeal, and a few other things; this area was much less crowded than the Lido Marketplace and was a nice alternative to that or to the breakfast burritos that I had three of the mornings. Speaking of breakfast burritos, they are excellent as were the lunch burritos, all from the Blue Iguana on the pool deck. They also have tacos at lunch but only soft shells; I prefer crunchy shells. DRINKS The poolside Rum Bar and Tequila Bar were both good. I liked that they had these two separate themes instead of just generic bars, and the drink concoctions were interesting. The only problem is that they could get quite crowded at times. Other than these poolside bars, there were no outdoor bars where you could sit at a bar alongside the ocean and be served a drink. There is physically a bar just outside the Ocean Plaza, but it was closed all week; you could get yourself a drink at the indoor Ocean Plaza bar and take it outside, and of course you could always take a drink outside from various other places. The Alchemy Bar was hyped in some cruise blogs. I am somewhat of a cocktail aficionado and an amateur mixologist / home bartender, so I was looking forward to trying the Alchemy. But I was disappointed with their cocktail menu, which was just about entirely filled with sweet drinks (a problem at most of the onboard bars) and no classic cocktail derivations. Zoron runs this bar and will make you up something interesting if you tell him what you like. He is a very knowledgeable bartender that also works at the Rum Bar, but he is very soft-spoken so between that and his accent it was sometimes difficult to understand what he was saying. I really enjoyed the bar at the Pig & Anchor - Milos is a great guy, but my understanding is that he is getting a promotion which I assume will take him out from behind the bar - and the Smoked Rosemary Boulevardiere was a revelation - I have never seen a drink actually infused with smoke from burning herbs. The Liquid Lounge should stop serving drinks that have to be made with a blender. These concoctions cause a bottleneck when people are trying to get their drinks and get situated just before the show starts. The noise of the blender interrupted the comic juggler’s act and he made a joke out of the intrusive sound. My father-in-law got the soda package and was disappointed to find out that he could only use it to get a soda at a bar or restaurant, not at venues such as the deck 5 coffee shop. There were also no soda machines in the Lido Marketplace, such as Royal Caribbean has in its equivalent Windjammer. My wife and I had the ultimate drink package, which also includes bottled water, specialty coffees, etc. Well worth it for us, but you’ll have to do your own math on it. STATEROOM I wiped everything down myself and found a stray hair here and there. A few times we found a stray hair on our towels. That kind of stuff freaks me out. Despite this, the room was clean overall. Our cabin attendant was friendly enough, but three separate times I asked for extra towels and only got them once. As others have commented, it would be so much nicer if the shower had a door instead of a curtain; the ship is still pretty new right now, but those curtains are going to quickly get raunchy, and nothing is more disturbing than having a gross shower curtain rub against you while you are trying to get clean. Unlike on other ships, we received housekeeping only once per day. There was no evening turn-down service or replenishment of towels. It was only later we realized that there was an option we could have selected for once daily or twice daily service, but our cabin steward had only asked us if we wanted service in the morning OR in the evening. THE SHIP ITSELF – LAYOUT, AESTHETICS, LOGISTICS, ETC. Check-in was smooth. We arrived at the terminal early and were called for boarding earlier than scheduled. My wife had done all the check-in work online so we didn’t have to wait on any lines in the terminal. We did the walk-off disembarkation, which went as well as could be expected. I thought the muster drill was somewhat disorganized. There did not seem to be enough crew members around to direct people to their muster stations, and the crew members responsible for our muster station arrived after the scheduled start. I joked with my family that in the event of an incident, we would all be on our own, every man for himself! The ship is beautiful and clean, with colorful, contemporary and decorative venues, as one would expect with a brand new vessel. It was a little confusing navigating around sometimes because, rather than a straight “spine” down the middle such as the Royal Caribbean Oasis class promenade, you would sometimes come to a dead-end and have to turn left or right to an outer corridor to continue walking fore or aft. But it’s no big deal once you get the hang of it. One day, I needed to get quickly from the pool to our chairs on a lower deck in the forward portion of the ship. I learned that there is no way to do this without going inside, having to walk barefoot on the elevators and get blasted with cold air conditioning while soaking wet. For all I know this could be the case on just about every ship, but it’s something I just happened to notice on this cruise. I liked the fact that there were forward-looking views from the bow on several decks, including lower decks such as 5, 6 and 7; I have been on ships where there were no such vantage points. I also enjoy the view aft, watching the wake of the boat trail into the distance, but from what I could tell the only place to do this was deck 10; I wish there was a lower deck with this view, closer to the water. Lots of reviews included complaints about the elevators. I thought the system of selecting a deck and being directed to a specific car worked fine; I don’t think the wait times were any shorter or longer than on ships with a “normal” elevator system. Sometimes the waits were frustrating, but that has been the case on just about every ship I’ve ever been on. The pool area was pretty loud. A cruise should recreate the experience of an island resort, not a NYC club. How about some reggae or steel drum music instead of this loud club music? Some people should just stay home in NYC if they want to go clubbing. We like shade, and there is a shady deck just above and overlooking the pool deck, but it was just too loud there. We found a quiet and shady spot on deck 5, but it was not particularly convenient to venues for coffee, food or drinks. The Serenity Lounge is the adults-only area. It has no covered / shady areas and no pool of its own; Royal Caribbean’s Solarium on Oasis, Allure and Anthem (and perhaps others) has it all over Carnival Horizon’s Serenity Lounge. The Liquid Lounge is the “main” theater but it is not a large, impressive traditional theater like on other ships. As the name implies, it is more of a lounge and the seating is not as comfortable as in a “real” theater. Deck 10 aft was a nice area with some shady tables near the Seafood Shack and the pizza place, as well as lounge chairs out in the sun around a small pool and hot tub. They almost always had cruise-appropriate reggae music playing in this area. ENTERTAINMENT There is no signature “Broadway-quality” production. The same troupe performs in several different shows in the Liquid Lounge. We went to the Vintage Pop show (which was a “Roaring 20s” type of thing), which I enjoyed because I’ve always been interested in that era, and Celestial Strings, which was OK when they were doing some of the rock numbers but less interesting with the slower ballads (not to mention it was hard to follow the storyline, if there even was one). We also saw a comedic juggler in the Liquid Lounge. I liked the fact that the shows were generally 45 minutes instead of an hour and a half; I was able to get through them without falling asleep, and it left more time in the evening to do other things. There was a band in the Ocean Plaza just about every night, with a variety of different sets – jazz, pop, 50’s, etc. Most ships have either a jazz club or a blues club, but Horizon has neither. There is, however, a piano bar. We sat in there a few times and it was relaxing but a little stuffy, more like we were watching a piano recital and afraid to talk, rather than it being background music to a more lively bar scene. It was probably different later at night when they had sing-alongs but we did not go to any of those. There were no bands in the pool area, unlike on other cruises where they will often feature reggae, steel drum or calypso music so that you feel like you’re at an island resort. Across from the piano bar is the Library Bar, which is a room filled with books and board games, including classics like Monopoly, Connect Four and Battleship. I was amazed to see Rock-Em Sock-Em Robots too, but unfortunately, it was broken. There is also a self-serve wine dispenser. The kids enjoyed this room – they spent some time in there alone, and some with us. There were two different PG-rated comedy shows. And they really were PG-rated, there was nothing that pushed the envelope for our youngest like on the supposedly family-friendly comedy show we went to on Norwegian Breakaway a couple of years ago. One of the comedians, Cee-Jay Jones, was particularly enjoyable because he actually addressed the kids with humor about how lucky they were to be on a cruise. He drew the kids into his routine with jokes about family dynamics between kids and adults, which was funny for both generations while also teaching the kids somewhat of a lesson. On the way out, I even heard my wife admonishing my son over something he was doing, with the line “Didn’t you hear what the comedian said?” There were seemingly nonstop opportunities to engage in trivia games in an endless variety of topical areas, and we had a few winners in our group, although my in-laws were disappointed there was no 50’s music triva. FITNESS The gym sucks. If you do anything other than run on a treadmill, or aren’t lucky enough to snag one of the two rowing machines, forget about a decent weight training workout, there just isn’t enough room (although there are heavy dumbbells available). The running track is way too small – 7 laps are required just to complete a mile – and you’ll have to dodge people walking with flip-flops holding cups of coffee. It is also on the opposite end of the ship from the fitness center, so if you have any intentions of putting together a circuit that includes running and weightlifting you’re out of luck unless you use the treadmill. I like ships that have a dedicated track on a lower deck, shaded by the deck above and padded with running track substrate. They have some useless machines on the deck near the running track that mimic certain weightlifting machines using bodyweight only; it looked more like an adult playground than any serious fitness equipment. I saw a picture on Carnival’s website about a heavy bag and brought my gloves with me but there was none; (the Carnival website featured the brand name they use for this area, Sky Zone, but it is not the same on every ship). They did have a pull-up bar (although it was way too thick to sustain a grip for more than a few reps) and dip bars, so I was able to put together a circuit of running, pull-ups, dips and push-ups. The spa had a drink case that had protein drinks on the first and last days but was empty in between. PORTS OF CALL Not my favorite part of any cruise. If you really want to experience a Caribbean island, go there for vacation, which is my general preference. I’m not interested in being part of a cattle call for an excursion that provides some sanitized island experience that does little or nothing to show the true character, culture or feel of the island. Of course, nothing is stopping you from exploring the island on your own, but there usually isn’t enough time, especially with the risk of not making it back to the ship for its departure. For these reasons, I generally prefer to stay on the ship during the cruise; it’s your floating resort, and it’s nice when the crowds are gone. If you get off the ship and don’t take any excursions, here is what your port experiences will be: - Grand Turk: scramble to get off the ship early enough in the morning to secure a lounge chair on the nearby beach, haggling with one or more competitive lounge chair guys after you have safely navigated through their dogs running freely on the beach, and then enjoy a view of the Horizon about 100 yards in front of you while swimming in a mix of water, seaweed and diesel discharge from the cruise ship and the other watercraft buzzing to and from the beach on both sides of you. We did do some snorkeling here and saw some cool stuff including a school of squid but hardly an optimal snorkeling opportunity. - San Juan: walk around Old San Juan. It was nice to get the essence of the area with its narrow cobblestone streets and colorful building but you won’t want to do this long in the heat. - Amber Cove: go to Carnival’s own area featuring a pool, water slides, bar, and restaurant!!! What? They have these on the ship already? Oh… But at Amber Cove I get to pay for my drinks because the drink package doesn’t work here! But seriously, I did leave out one good part, and that was the zip line - $20 for as many rides as you want – I did have a lot of fun doing this with my son and nephew. Note the age requirement is 14 and up, which disappointed my daughter after she had made the trek up the hill. By the way, the water slides were closed for renovation, and apparently this was the third week of the shutdown. MISCELLANEOUS The app is definitely helpful and the ability to text your family or friends that are onboard is certainly worth $5 for the cruise (unnecessary if everyone in your group has the internet package). But the app is somewhat temperamental; for whatever reason I would have to frequently sign back in. There were also texts that did not go through. If you really want to make sure someone sees your text, ask them to confirm receipt. I got the premium Internet package. It worked fine and the speeds were good. The only issue was, as noted above, finding that I had gotten kicked off and had to sign back in. Also note that if you have the Internet package you need the app to access it. I’ve seen reviews indicating that the crew was not friendly. I did not find this to be the case. Everyone was generally as friendly as on any other ship, and all interactions were favorable. Chris, the cruise director, was a force of nature running around the ship in his kilt. The guy is a performer in his own right and can seriously sing; he’s a one-man show of his own. Don’t try to take a nap at around noon or you’ll be awoken by an announcement that it’s noon, followed by a “gong” sound. Is this really necessary? Some passengers need to learn how to act or stay home. Several groups of teenagers were walking around with boom boxes – is there not enough music for you to choose from on this ship? What gives you the right to decide what everybody around you is going to listen to, especially in areas where people went to get some peace and quiet? You grown-ups that play music or videos on your phones within earshot of other people are no better. The worst were the people in the cabin next to my sister-in-law’s family, running up and down the halls and making noise in their room at 4:30am; security had to be called. This just seems to be the type of crowd that finds its way onto cruises, particularly when they leave from NYC. But people like this are, fortunately, the exception not the rule. We saw an IMAX movie on National Parks. There were technical difficulties when we were supposed to see it so we had to reschedule, but we were given an extra free show for the trouble, which was nice. We chose one of the 4D thrill features, which was OK but the second of the three segments was blurry. I liked the 8-day itinerary. A 7-day cruise doesn’t feel like a full week, because the departure day is not a full day. With an 8-day cruise, you get a full week in addition to that first half-day. I also liked how the itinerary was bookended by two sea days at either end, with three port days in the middle. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
better than I expected. not as nice as Disney but enjoyed it. the cruise director was fabulous. the entertainment was great. the Canadian comedian was hilarious. the food was better than expected. food not very hot in the ... Read More
better than I expected. not as nice as Disney but enjoyed it. the cruise director was fabulous. the entertainment was great. the Canadian comedian was hilarious. the food was better than expected. food not very hot in the restaurant. the buffet was good. blue iguana was excellent. burgers were excellent. pools were small. embarking and disembarking were easy. drink prices could have been a little cheaper. too many extra charges the seafood shack should be included. cabins clean. staff very friendly. charged for imax movie most ships movies are included. the ports were nice easy on and off. could have better picture packages. pictures a little pricey. desserts very good. not as classy as other cruise lines but was nice. very family oriented. pools crowded on sea days. overall nice cruise no real complaints. this was my first carnival cruise. was what i expected. no real complaints would recommend for families 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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