5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Travelling to the UK. Our taxi turned up early and we got to the airport in good time. Checked in early and the plane was on time. Got to the Bloc hotel in Gatwick all in good time. I know this is how things should be but I usually get ... Read More
Travelling to the UK. Our taxi turned up early and we got to the airport in good time. Checked in early and the plane was on time. Got to the Bloc hotel in Gatwick all in good time. I know this is how things should be but I usually get delayed somewhere! We ate in the Giraffe restaurant. What I ordered was different to what I got to eat! No point saying anything as the staff are to busy to care and their English is not very good in the first place or they would not have messed up my order! Did not have a very good night's sleep but this was not the hotels fault. Day 1 - Getting on the ship. Checked out early and made our way to the north terminal. Easy jet flight was on time. Got to Barcelona where the weather was not very good. We cancelled our transfer to the port with From2travel as last time I used them they were beyond useless! I cannot emphasise how terrible this company is. You need to avoid them at all costs. Check out trip advisor and see for yourself. We then booked Welcome Pickups who had a 5 star rating on trip advisor. The day before we flew to Barcelona they cancelled on us! Bang goes their 5 star rating from us! We got our money back and they emailed and phoned to let us know so they communicated well but if they can't transport us then that's a waste of time. Gave up with transport companies! When we got to the airport we got a taxi. We had to wait 5 minutes so that's fine. The taxi transfer from the airport to the port costs a fixed 39 Euros with the government approved/certificated AMB taxis. We got to the port really quickly. View of Barcelona When we got there we then had to wait ages to get our suitcases delivered to the 4 handlers. 4500 passengers and 4 luggage handlers. Makes perfect sense!!! Barcelona has never been like this in the past. To be fair if people had their Carnival luggage tags on their suitcases everything would be much faster and smother. It's not a surprise you have to do this! The luggage handlers should have not helped these people in my opinion. The rest of us had tags so we should have been helped first. The check-in through the new HELIX terminal was quite quick. The slowest I have had here to be fair but it still did not take long. I found this terminal very disorientating as you you seem to do is to walk between seats which are arranged at angles and while it does not sound like an issue when you see what I mean  you will understand. Once on Carnival Horizon you do not get the wow factor. The atrium is small and boring. We went straight to our room as being platinum we are allowed to. This was our first ocean view room. I usually always get a balcony. The room is big and a typical Carnival room which I have no problem with. It seemed bigger then previous rooms. It is certainly a perfect size for 2 people. The 1 issue I do have with the room is the view. It is obstructed and as far as I can see there is no mention of that on Carnival's web site. Why is it obstructed when there are no lifeboats down here? Simple, the window washing machine has been living outside the window all cruise. I cannot stand at the window to see out. The only way to see out is to either sit on the bed or bend down. You can see the sea easily but nothing higher. This also means the sun can't shine in. How come our window is so dirty? The window washing machine outside stateroom 1460 We did the muster drill in the aft restaurant. Lots of people did not turn up as usual so the rest of us who did listen and turned up had to wait. I think if people do not turn up within a certain amount of time they should be thrown off the ship with NO refund. People would soon learn to turn up on time. Some of these stupid people were hiding on their balconies where they could be clearly seen from the bridge wings as Mick Pack the Cruise Director told us on the PA system he could see them! Costa Concordia was not long ago and people seem to have forgotten that disaster. Things can and do go wrong on modern ships whether they are man made issues or not. A few mins of lifeboat drill could save your life! Our luggage turned up eventually. Yes it should have been quick due to being platinum but can't see how that works when our luggage is put on the same luggage trolley as everyone else's. This was not an issue as I expected this so we made sure we had all we needed with us in ruck sacks. We went to dinner and I am always apprehensive about the table we get. We had been told earlier we have a table for 2. Great, just what we wanted. Got to the MDR and the table for 2 was 3 inches away from another table for 2 and 3 inches away from a table of 6. Really we were on a table for 10! Doesn't not matter how you cut it this is NOT a table for 2. The tables each side can hear your conversation and you can hear there's. As you are not physically on the same table it feels weird. I absolutely hated it. We have not been back to the MDR since the first night. We have just eaten on lido which disappoints me. The food in the MDR, Guy's, Seafood Shack and Lido never seems to be hot. It is  only marginally warm. Cucina del Capitano is the exception, for lunch anyway. All the tables for 2 in the MDR are like this. It might not bother some people but it bothers us. From the reflections restaurant you have a nice view of the bottom of the lifeboats out of the side Windows of the ship. Seems like these are obstructed views too. We attempted to go to the welcome abroad show, there was standing room only as the theatre is far too small and the only did one show. Once again like the Carnival Vista not only is the theatre small it has massive poles in the way so many many seats are useless! If you sit upstairs there are glass partitions to stop people falling to the floor below. Aesthetically they look nice but practically they are terrible. They are about 12 inches wide and have a few inch gap in between. The problem with this is you see the top edge and the side edges. You cannot avoid this. This then makes it hard to see through. The theatre is therefore bad. It does have a bar on the 4th floor which is good. The theatre glass which is a distraction Theatre special effects in this one which makes the photo look bad. Went to bed after this. Day 2 - Sea day We have a deluxe oceanview stateroom so there are 2 bathrooms. We both went for a shower and did not have any hot water! We told the stateroom steward who reported it straight away. The engineer apparently came to have a look and later they phoned us to see if it was fixed but as we had not had another shower we didn't know. Turns out we now know that hot water is hit or miss. Don't know if this is a teething problem that still needs fixing. We have a sea day today. As we did not explore the ship properly yesterday we did that this morning. As expected as Carnival Horizon is a Vista class ship she is just about the same as Carnival Vista with a few none important differences (not important to us) We took it easy today. We went to the IMAX cinema to watch Ready Player One which I thought would be bad but ended up being good. The whole IMAX cinema is brilliant. We ate dinner on lido which I have to be honest I would rather not do but I will not go back into the MDR and sit on someone's lap to have dinner. I can't get gluten free meals on lido and do not have starters or desserts. So this is really spoiling the cruise for me. We bought our elegant attire for the cruise but cannot wear it. Pointless bringing it and we could have used the luggage allowance for something else. We went to the show and saw Amor Cubano. If I never see it again that's ok. Sadly due to more Carnival cut backs they have upgraded their shows to something they call 2.0. Apparently this makes them better but in reality it makes them worse. The original shows from 2008 were MUCH better. We went to the comedy show and saw Gordon Southern. He was very funny. I did however have to wait 30 minutes for a drink in the LimeLight lounge (has no bar for us passengers) which I appear to have paid twice for! Beware of the black female server with short hair in the limelight lounge. When I complained to her colleague (she would not come near us) I did not get my drink she got me one but charged me again. I will get my own drinks in the future! I Can't complain as I can't prove I only had 1 drink. Went to bed. Day 3 - livorno (Italy) Still very little hot water for Nikki but my shower was OK! Go figure. We are in Livorno today. We did not book an excursion for the morning due to bank holidays and lack of choice. We went out in the afternoon and went to do a wine tasting and country drive. Spent lots of time stuck in a traffic jam! The wine tasting was good and they had cheese and anti pasti etc. so apart from the traffic jam the excursion was good. Got back to the ship last minute as the guide allowed extra time due to the earlier traffic issues. We went to lido and had dinner. Our stateroom telephone had a message on it but when you press the voice mail button it says something about the voicemail box not found. Oh well! Watched Neil Brodie in the comedy club after getting my own drink from a different bar as the limelight lounge does not have a bar! Another go figure minute! Went to bed. Day 4 - Rome We are going to Rome today. I hate Rome. There are far too many people there and far too many pick pockets and people trying to sell crap! I would have been happy to stay on the ship but Nikki had never been there. Got stuck in a traffic jam! Sure enough we get to Rome and it's disgusting. Graffiti everywhere and dustbins and battered cars. We started the walking section of our tour. This was less of a dustbin but was hot and very busy with people. We stopped at the colosseum for a toilet stop which was always going to go wrong. There was person after person trying to sell crap! Probably every 60 seconds! Thankfully we left Rome and got on the coach to go to a restaurant. We had good food in there and they even catered for my gluten allergy. Got back in the coach and went to the catacombs. This was interesting but only took 35mins. Would have been nice to have been longer. We are not allowed to take photographs or video in here. There was someone of course who did not think the rules applied to him but no one said anything to him! San Sebastian Cattercoombs Got back to the ship in lots of time. No show tonight but Hasbro the game show was on. That was pretty standard. Then there was a comedy show which was good. There was then the Marriage Show which was ok but not a classic this time. Went to bed as we have had a few days of getting up early. Day 5 - Naples Another early start and no hot water again! Got on a coach to go to Sorrento. For a change were got stuck in traffic! Once we got to the wine and cheese tasting farm we had a good feed. Some of the lemons being grown on the farm After this we went into the centre of Sorrento. We only had about 1 hour of spare time. We had lunch in a small cafe/restaurant. The farm feed was a while ago and we would not eat for quite a while. We bought some limoncello before heading back to the coach. We then drove to Pompeii. I have been here many times but Nikki has never been. It was too busy as usual with lots of people everywhere. We were only there for just over 1 hour. That was a real shame as you need many hours to get a good overview. One thing I have learnt is do not do an excursion with 2 different attractions in 1 day as there is not enough time to see everything properly. That is always the problem when cruising. Never enough time in 1 port. Oh well will need to come back again (but would that be with Carnival?). I have never been to Sorrento before but it looks really nice from the whistle stop tour we did. We got back on the ship on time. Looked for some crisps in the terminal as both Nikki and I are craving them. None to be found! No show again tonight! Watched the early comedy show and then as Carnival seemed to want everyone in bed we went to bed at 21.30. Feel like I'm in an old people's home. Nothing to do tonight. Only 1 dive in movie too! Carnival seem to be deciding what we want. Maybe we should have a say! Day 6 - Sea day Got caught up with sleep. We both had hot water! Can only assume it was because other people were not showering at this time of day. We will see how this theory works tomorrow! Went to the MDR for brunch. We asked for a private table. We got a table for 2 BUT this had another table for 2, 3 inches away and that had another table for 2, 3 inches away! Yep Carnival think these are private! No one else joined us except for the furthest away table. This is NOT my photo but its from www.cruisedeckplans.com. You can see the tables in the bottom right hand corner that we had. These look quite spread out compared to what we had. We never got offered any juice. Nikki asked twice for tea but never got it. The service was poor which is normal for brunch. The servers do not get any of your automatically added gratuities for brunch as the night servers do (the same servers waiting on you each night) so they don't care. They do what they have to but that's it. I have a voucher as part of being a platinum guest which has to be used at breakfast, brunch or lunch for a free drink. That's why we went. Nikki's pancakes were not cooked very well. My omelette was so small I had to eat it before it evaporated. I managed to eat my 2 small hash browns and sausages! More cutbacks I assume! 2 people were offered the private table next to us. They declined it lol. We went and sat in the sun, now that it has made an appearance. After a few hours we went to cucina del capitano (the pasta restaurant ) for lunch. This place never disappoints. Good pasta, good service, good atmosphere. Think it's quite funny that Indian chefs are cooking Italian food in an Italian restaurant. Then we went to the thrill theatre to watch level 2 which is 3 movies put together in 5D. It was only 14 mins long but great. We really got thrown about on the rollercoaster on the great wall of China. After this we went on the skyride. It was a long wait but great views hanging off the side of the ship. After that we went to the cherry on top for ice cream. Had another long wait while they make each ice cream combo to order. It was very nice though but probably won't bother again if there is a queue. For some reason there is only 1 person making the ice creams! After that it was time for a comedy show with Anil Desia who was funny but at this time the show was only PG. We waited around for the next show with Mark Palmer who also did a PG show. We went to the theatre to watch the show called Celestrial Strings. We thought it was weird but we seemed to be the odd ones out as they got a standing ovation which I have never seen before so I guess we were wrong. To me it was like top of the pops from the 70s where there were no videos to go with the songs so legs and co. just danced around. This was the same! We went to lido for dinner. Really upset we did not eat in the MDR. Most people seemed dressed up and we should have been too. Went for hot chocolate but the machine just poored hot water! Used the machine the other side and that looked ok until I started to drink it. It was gross so threw it away. I'm really feeling emotional at the moment like I was on Carnival Vista. I want to love these ships but I can't. These 2 ships have no soul. They are too big. Not enough staff (actually working). The staff they have just seem to walk round and not do anything. There seems to be hundreds of officers milling around too not doing anything except entertaining their wives/girl friends. You know the saying, Too many chiefs and not enough indians. Having said that the staff I have spoken too all seem fine and happy, I am not sure that they are working quite as hard as they could be which means others are working harder to pickup the slack. While we were on deck 5 today NO servers came round asking for drinks orders. There always was too many drinks servers. Now nothing. I really wish Carnival could go back to as they were 10 years ago. It's frustrating knowing that will not happen and there is nothing I can do to change this. All past cruisers I speak to all agree Carnival have got worse. The whole cruise industry have though so it's not just Carnival im sure. Carnival look like they posted a $3 BILLION profit for 2017. GREED springs to mind. These cutbacks are NOT required! I have shares in carnival so this profit benefited me too. I was on Carnival pride 6 months ago and that was a much better experience. Maybe that's just because she is a smaller ship. Thankfully Carnival is not planning on building anything as huge as Royal Caribbean's hideous of the seas (that I know of) PLEASE Carnival build smaller ships, preferably in Finland like your best ships. Oh well going back to our room as nothing to do. Nothing to watch on TV either. Basically now cutback cruise lines have removed TV channels there is only movies for men and the travel channel to watch. Bring back Gerry Cahill. Things seem to be going downhill since Christine Duffy took over. (may not be her fault but that's how it seems.) Oh well bed time. Dubrovnik tomorrow. Such a beautiful place. Can't wait. Oh the internet seems quite good on here for a ship. Not as good as at home but very usable. Day 7 - Dubrovnik (Croatia) Hot water not good again! I have been here before and loved it. The breakfast on lido seems to work well. Instead of a long food line as previously there are now 4 Islands with the same food on all of them. There are a couple of long counters like before but they are for things like cereal. The omelette station is bigger too. We did a highlights tour of Dubrovnik. We went to Cavtat (pronounced Sav tat) which is really pretty. We did have some rain though which did not last too long. We drove back to Dubrovnik old city and spent a few hours walking around. We had an amazing lunch. OK maybe not amazing as I only had omelette with ham and cheese and French fries. It was the best I have ever had. Nikki keeps saying it's only an omelette it's easy. I suppose she is right but it tasted really good. We did some more walking after lunch. As we did not return with our tour we had to get a shuttle back to the ship. This was a disaster! No signs or staff. We now know there was a woman supposedly arranging the bus queue but to make things easier she dressed in normal clothes with no way to distinguish her from anyone else! Surely she needs a uniform or sign or name tag. Anyway after a long time we got on a bus and got back to the ship. 4 crew members tried to jump the bus queue but seemed to go to the back of the queue but somehow got in front of us and got on an earlier bus! They obviously know the system and is another sign that the crew have no respect for us. I have felt that a few times on here. We are walking piggy banks and job no 1 for the crew is to crack us and get money out! We took lot's of photos from the ship. Then played in the arcade. After a really good dinner of Turkey and chips with cheese we went to the show. It's funny how we miss simple things like chips and crisps! The show was Viva variety by someone called Richard Jones. He was apparently on UK's got talent. He was good. Then we watched 2 comedy shows by Anil and Mark. There last shows for this cruise. Went to bed quite late. Day 8 - Corfu Hot water lottery and I won and Nikki lost. This is my first visit to Corfu. Had an idea what it would be like and well tonight's comedian hit the nail on the head, GET SOME PAINT! We went to Picichu or something to do a fast boat tour of 3 caves. I am sure this would have been very pretty if the sun had been out. Can't blame the Greeks for that. Went back to the ship and had pasta lunch. Took lots of photos of main land Greece, Albania and Corfu. Not too impressed with Corfu. Think a different tour my change my current thoughts on Corfu. I seem to keep tripping on a piece of carpet in the corridor. The floor goes uphill with no warning and as you don't see it you put your foot down as you would normally but the floor is there too early! I'm sure someone will have a proper fall there soon. There is a bad sewage smell on the ship today. Don't know why. Talking of bad smells, deck 4 or the stench deck as I call it is gross! It has the casino where people can keep decreasing their lives by smoking cancer sticks! Thankfully the only reason for us to go to the stench deck is for the comedy club which is far away enough the stench is OK. You can go up to deck 5 and walk across the stench deck and then back down after the stink room if you need to get to the theatre or shop. We had a nice dinner on Lido. Spare ribs, chicken, rice and cheese. I had a dessert too. Cut the cake section of the dessert and ate the rest. Went to the comedy show to see the new comedian. He was OK. The Limelight lounge was totally packed. After that we went to see the show. It was Legs and co. Dancing again. The show was called soulbound. It seemed to be a Halloween theme going on dancing to soul music. It really does not make sense to me. You are seeing one thing but hearing something unrelated. It's like watching dad's army on mute on TV while listening to an EastEnders episode. Other people enjoyed it so I guess I am the weird one! Don't get me wrong, the dancing is good and so are the costumes and the singing. I just wish it all tallied up! Went back to our room and tripped again on the way! Tomorrow we are in Sicily and going to the top of mount Etna. It's going to be about 2 degrees up there. We are going all the way to 10000 feet I.e. the top! Hope to get some good photo's. Going to bed now to keep contemplating why I can't fall in love with this ship. Is it the fact that it is still too new and still has wrinkles? Is it the fact it's in the med and not in the Caribbean? Is it the fact it's like gods waiting room? Is it because I have done this itinerary several times except for Corfu? I still think it's because carnival is light years away from what it used to be. I think that if you did not cruise in the good old days then maybe you will not know any difference? Anyway the ship is rocking a bit as we are going very quickly trying to get to Sicily for 8am. I sleep so well on these ships, the extra rocking always help. Day 9 - Sicily No hot water for Nikki again. My shower seems OK but I suspect that is because I don't have very hot showers. I have been to Sicily before. Last time I stayed on land for 45mins then got back on the ship. Messina is a tip as far as I am concerned. Now I can revise that. Sicily is pretty outside of Messina. We went to mt Etna today and went up to 10,000 feet or 3000 metres i.e. the top. There was still snow up there! I knew it would be cold but did not think there would be snow! Another surprise is the size of the volcano. It's huge. We drove on the coach to 6500 feet and then got a cable car further up. We then got on 4 x 4 buses to take us to the top. Once at the top of where the bus takes us we had to walk the final few hundred feet to the very top. With the wind blowing the temperature must have been well below freezing. We did not stay up there too long. Just long enough to take some pics. We went back down in the cable car and had lunch in a restaurant. Lunch was ok and we had a few minutes to buy souvenirs and take some more pics. We got back on the coach which bought us back to the ship. The drive time is about 2 hours while the Italian guide told us about the history of Sicily in his bad English. We got on the ship at mid ships but soon found there are no stairs! We were on deck 0 and wanted to get to deck 1. We had to wait for maybe 10 minutes for a lift! This new lift system on Carnival Horizon is pants. Bring back the normal/traditional system! The sun is shining as we sail away back to Barcelona. It has been about 24 degrees today all day. Show time soon, then dinner, then I will beat Nikki at air hockey and then the comedy club. Went to see the show called Vintage pop. It was quite good. Still legs and co. But it made more sense this time. What we have learnt AGAIN is that the theatre is a terrible design. You have to turn up 30 mins before a show to get a less bad seat. Turn up after and your standing. Tonight's show included stuff on the main floor. From where we were upstairs you cannot see the main floor! The upstairs seating really needs to be more raked like the older ships as if someone is in front of you then you might have to move left and right to see. Dinner was tempura shrimp and rice with cheese. Very nice. No dessert though as I had second helpings. We went to see Russ Angel in the comedy club. The so called funniest biker in America. He was OK. Some of his humor was lost on us being American based. Funny how the 2 UK comedians were able to work out that they had an international audience and therefore did not do specific country based jokes. The 2 American ones have not worked this out yet. I wonder if they know which part of the world they are in? We played air hockey and I won 2 games and Nikki 1. We are back in our room ready for the last full day tomorrow, a day at sea. Day 10 - sea day and last day We had a lie in today. Had a late breakfast on lido. Got a free coffee (coffee card loyalty) and went to see the Radu Ursu (the Carnival head photographer) talk to learn about taking photos. I have had a DSLR for about  months but there is so much to learn. The photos I have taken on this cruise are some of the worst I have ever taken. RAdu has been taking photographs for Carnival for 20 years so I figure he must know what he is doing! It was interesting but the problem is he was talking to a generic audience with phones for cameras etc. So he obviously could not just talk about DSLR settings. I still learnt something though. I wish this had been put on during the first sea day as my photos during the excursions would have been better. Facebook has a group conversation about the sewage smell on the ship. Glad it's not just us that can smell it. The weather is overcast today as we sail towards Barcelona at 20 knots. Where we are right now Satellite info of our current position Went to the VIFP party. They did not even ask for our invite! I wonder how many non VIFP people also joined in for free drinks?! After that we played in the arcade again. Nikki beat me at air hockey. It must be the alcohol I consumed lol After that we went to dinner. They had a potato and cheese soup that was amazing. I had seconds. Then rice and chicken for mains. We went to the comedy club again. Back to our room as we have an early start as they want everyone off  of the ship by 10am and all staterooms empty by 8am. No shows tonight. Day 11 - last day and journey back to Guernsey We were up at 6am. No hot water for showers. I had to put mine on max hot as I don't like very hot showers but even this was not enough. The ship is now going transatlantic to New York. No hot water for 16 days for them! We got off the ship really fast. Well done Carnival. We got a taxi to the airport which costs the mandatory 39 Euros using the city approved AMB taxis (the black and yellow ones). The taxi driver said 69 Euros as we got here but we knew it was only 39. We gave him 39 and he was fine. Just a language issue I assume. Maybe he was trying it on to see if we would give him 69 Euros but it clearly states on the side of the taxi that it is 39. We are now at the airport and it's not even 9am. We can't check in until 10.30 a.m. Not so well done now carnival! There is very minimal seating pre check in, in Barcelona airport and nothing to do. Oh well at least we have free WiFi. Good and bad about Carnival Horizon Good Being new it's very clean Our stateroom is in the aft and the ship is quiet and smooth from here IMAX cinema is brilliant Thrill theatre is brilliant Arcade is good Beds are typical comfortable Carnival beds and I sleep so well in them Theatre has lots of special effects Skyride is great Lido marketplace layout TV screen on lido is very high definition crew are good WiFi actually quite fast Boarding in Barcelona easy and quite fast Air condition in staterooms is good Mike Pack is a good CD Info system on Tv's good Bad New lift system is very slow Decor is boring Deck 4 stinks of cigarettes Theatre is too small and has too many obstructions Quite often get a sewage smell The window washer outside stateroom 1460s window TV channels choice very poor Cramped dining rooms so no proper private tables for 2 No hot water for showers No lifts in the atrium small atrium European itinerary is boring and has FAR too many stops in Italy! Too many crew milling around lack of drinks waiters on the open decks Food is mostly cold. That's the end of my review. I feel its quite negative but thats we saw/found/felt. In hindsight we should probably have gone on Carnival Horizon in the Caribbean and later on in the year then we did. Right now I feel that I never want to go on Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon or Carnival Panorama (when she is built) again. I'm not sure I want to cruise with Carnival again. We spoke to quite a few people on the ship who said they have been with other cruise lines and they are the same as Carnival so not much point going with them. Carnival seems to be best value for money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Easier to fly and cruise from Barcelona than drive to Southampton. The service throughout the ship couldn't be faulted if a little forced at times. The Havana Club was worth paying a bit extra for and the extended balcony gave ... Read More
Easier to fly and cruise from Barcelona than drive to Southampton. The service throughout the ship couldn't be faulted if a little forced at times. The Havana Club was worth paying a bit extra for and the extended balcony gave good space to relax in. Unfortunately its ambiance deteriorated after 7 p.m. when the Havana Bar and its pools were made available to all passengers. As a consequence, I now know a lot about the American Social Security System that I would rather have replaced with the peace and quiet you expect on a rear facing balcony. The food in both the dining room and the self service areas was well presented, of good quality and covered a variety of tastes. Even on sea days these areas never seemed crowded and there was plenty of available seating. Drinks were expensive and Carnival are as good as any cruise line in trying to increase customer spending. Having visited some of the excursion destinations we opted out of trips ashore as the ports themselves did not look too inviting. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
After having lived in the US for more than 8 years and doing Caribbean itineraries at first, we did our first European Cruise with Carnival on the Vista in 2016. We have a total of 42 days with Carnival now (VIFP Gold) and have sailed with ... Read More
After having lived in the US for more than 8 years and doing Caribbean itineraries at first, we did our first European Cruise with Carnival on the Vista in 2016. We have a total of 42 days with Carnival now (VIFP Gold) and have sailed with Royal Caribbean on one cruise. This was almost the same itinerary as with the Vista two years ago (except we skipped Palma de Mallorca in the end). We have done cruises with kids before but this was the second time for just us. I have to live on a gluten free diet as I am severely gluten-intolerant so I will provide some details on gluten free options later. THE SHIP The ship is almost the same as the Vista with only slight differences. The decor is a little more conservative with tan and brown colours dominating in most interior areas (elevators, etc.). Overall a nice design and when you are used to the Carnival ship layouts you will find your way around very easily. One major change for some people were the elevators which now require you to chose the floor you want to get off BEFORE you enter the elevator. Based on your choice the system will tell you which elevator to go to and there are no buttons to press inside. Takes some time to get used to but this is much more efficient and waiting times in front of the elevators were minimal. The shop layout on deck 5 is a little different (smaller stores), the piano bar is on the different side and there is not a Teppanyaki next to the Bonsai sushi place. Also the Red Frog Pub is replaced with the Pig&Anchor BBQ place- they still serve and brew craft beers but also have BBQ options (free for lunch, charge for dinner). We did not try the food as most cruisers we talked to were very disappointed. THE CABIN Not much to day about the cabin - the usual Carnival layout. As on the Vista the safe not works with PIN instead of credit card, everything else is exactly as you expect on a Carnival ship. Enough space to put your clothes, enough space in the bathroom. One European outlet, one American outlet, 2 USB outlets to charge your device. One additional outlet in the bathroom for an electric shaver. Fridge to put drinks in (we ordered 12 pack of water though the Carnival site to be delivered to the stateroom and it was there when we got in - $4.50 for the 12 pack and we always had cold water in the fridge to take with us on tours). Our cabin steward did an ok job (two glasses in bathroom were dirty when we arrived, used towel under the bed). When we requested later luggage tags for debarkation he was very quick to help. THE FOOD As I said before I have to eat gluten free so I will start with the gluten free options on board. In the main dining room (we had late assigned dining at 8:15 pm) you get the menu for the following day the night before and can make your selections. They will try to make make any dish gluten free if possible sometimes leaving out the sauce (which I don't understand, they could just do them with corn starch). Gluten free bread is served that is barely edible (very bitter taste, very soggy even though slightly toasted) - that is completely not understandable for me as there is very good gluten free baguette available at the deli (try it, I had a Tuna sandwich which was excellent) and they could serve that easily. In general gluten free food handling seems very safe, at the Deli the gluten free sandwich was prepared in a completely separate oven and kitchen by a different employee that put new gloves on. Gluten free chocolate melting cake is available as well as fruits and ice cream/sherbet options every night.I had the creme brulee on night and it was excellent. In general the food quality in the dining room was ok but far from excellent and in my opinion was the worst out of all of our Carnival cruises. The food was rarely hot (rather slightly warm, sometimes cold) and the dished very exactly the same as they have been for years (except for the Port of Call options which were generally excellent). Don't bother to order french fries unless you like them luke warm and are satisfied with a portion size of 14 fries - yes I counted them!) You could tell that the service team did not interact with each other for a long time yet, service was chaotic and unorganized. I will never understand why they let hot food sitting on the prep stations doing other stuff letting the food get cold. They now always put a bottle of wine on the table (every night) which they will charge if you open it. This just leaves even less room on the small table and is just another attempt to get your money). The Lido buffet only had few good options for lunch but always had two flavours of fresh ice cream and one time a chocolate fountain. also the layout is not much better with little islands that can be accessed from four sides and therefore there are absolutely no lines except for the Omelette station. Food choices are the same every day and I cannot not understand Carnival for not offering more variety in fruits (always only two kinds of melons, grapefruit and bananas) for breakfast - no apples, grapes, strawberries, pears, oranges, nothing. scrambled eggs are made from prepackaged egg mix and taste awful. People on a gluten free diet please be careful: the bacon is resting on bread in a pan. No gluten free bread on the breakfast buffet in general. Royal Caribbean for example has a complete separate buffet with gluten free options (rolls, bread, etc.). The lunch buffet rarely had any gluten free options. In general I have to day Carnival is far behind other cruise lines when it comes to gluten free options and labelling of allergens in general on their buffets (lunch was partly labeled, breakfast not at all). The Mexican burrito bar on deck 10 had gluten free tacos available, always a good option. I did not try the gluten free Pizza but the Deli offers any sandwich on a gluten free baguette which is excellent. The frozen yoghurt was a good lunch dessert option. Guys burger joint of deck 10 also has a gluten free bun and the fries are excellent. Cocktails in general are expensive (including service charge and tax about $10 a drink) but good. Fruit mixes are used for fruity cocktails or frozen drinks. For premiums the price is high for the amount of liquor given (2cl of Hendricks gin in a gin tonic, $9). They offer one gluten free beer (Stella Daura). The Java serves good coffee options. Free lemonade, ice tea is provided during lunch, free juices for breakfast. Coffee from the machine is free in general but disgusting. ENTERTAINMENT To start of: Mike, the cruise director, was the worst out of all cruise directors we had so far on Carnival and I am not sure they gave him their flagship new vessel. Barely noticeable the whole week. We had Matt on the Vista and he was pure entertainment for the whole day. Music shows we excellent, very good singers and dancers and the show was nicely written. We did not care for the Welcome Aboard Show of Lip Sync or Marriage Show. The comedians were excellent especially Thomas Brown (watched him in the theatre one night, and another night in the Limelight Lounge). Live musicians in the bars were ok but much worse than on the Vista (the two cousins with the guitar there were just excellent). We did not try the pools, whirlpools or Dr. Seuss water park nor did we go to the IMAX (charge!) or try the skyride as we were in the beautiful ports of call all day long (that is one advantage of a European itinerary). We went to the Spa as part of our Spa cabin every night and used the pool and saunas. Very small area, only 9 (heated) lounge chairs. 5-6 people in the whirlpool. People reserve chairs all the time but we typically don't care and remove the towels if nobody shows up. For us after a long day it is worth the extra money for a Spa cabin to use the sauna and relax a little bit. My wife used the fitness center and liked it. She went around 6 am, it gets crowded after 7 am. PORTS OF CALL Barcelona: beautiful city, we stayed the night before but could have stayed a week if we wanted to see it all. Be smart and stay a couple of days. We stayed at the beautiful H10 Boutique Hotel Catalunya Placa which was just plain excellent (gluten free fresh rolls, cookies, Muesli, etc. for breakfast, Omelettes/Tortillas/Churros and fresh eggs made to order). In principal please note that we did not take a single shore excursion ever with Carnival as we believe they are excessively overpriced for what you get. We explore the ports and nearby cities ourselves by train and save a fortune. Carnival charges you between $59 and $79 just to get you to the cities ("on your own" tours) where you can just as easily take the bus and/or train for 5 Euros (more below). Messina (that was a change from the promised Cagliari): we walked to Messina Centrale train station (10 minutes from the port) and took a train for 4.60 Euros to Taormina (from there a bus to the mountain to the city center for 1.20 Euro, took in total less than one hour). Beautiful little town to explore on your own and eat some ice cream. Naples: we just explored Naples by foot as we have done the ruins of Herculaneum last time. We took a small train (buy the ticket at the tobacco store right at the station) up the mountain to Castle Sant'Elmo which provides a beautiful view of Naples. Then explored the small downtown streets of Naples and had some ice cream. Civitavecchia: as last time we walked to the train station from the free bus shuttle stop downtown (10 minutes) and took the train to Rome (5 Euros one way per person, Carnival charged $79 for the bus trip per person). The trains are clean and air conditioned and also have a bathroom. We got off at St. Peters square, from the train station the Vatican is just a 5 minute walk. The next stop would have been Rome Termini which is the main train station and closer to the downtown attractions. Rome is just beautiful and you could spend days. Go early if you want to get into St. Peter's cathedral as the lines get crazy after 10 am. Livorno: after having been to Pisa last time we decided to go to Lucca instead (beautiful old little city, really enjoyable and much more quiet than the bigger cities (check the pictures online)). You pay 5.60 for the train ride (change trains in Pisa). Since we had time getting back we got off the train in Pisa on the way back and strolled though Pisa and got some ice cream. To get to Livorno train station take the shuttle from the port and then a bus (buy ticket at any tobacco store, 1.30 Euro each trip) for the main train station. From there the train to Pisa (25 minutes), Florence (about 1 hour 15 minutes) or anywhere else. Marseille: we just explored the city and went up the mountain (by foot) to Notre Dame de la Garde - beautiful views. Don't take the Carnival shuttle (which is $17 to get your downtown) - a couple hundred feet further there is a free shuttle provided by the city which takes you downtown as well. SUMMARY Overall some highlights and some lowlights. I can say that the quality of the ships is going up but the service and food quality is deteriorating. After having sailed mostly Carnival up until now (we are both 39) we will now try other cruise lines. We would be willing to spend a little more for better food and service quality for sure. Overall we got good value for the money, we paid less than 1.000 Euros a person ($1.200) for the trip. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
As a family of 4 who had never been on a cruise we decided to start with this new ship for 7 days around the Med. Getting on and off the ship was something I was concerned about but thought this was done well. The Cabin was fine ... Read More
As a family of 4 who had never been on a cruise we decided to start with this new ship for 7 days around the Med. Getting on and off the ship was something I was concerned about but thought this was done well. The Cabin was fine with two showers and bunks for the kids. Beds comfortable. For a new ship the Air Con was average and we had to ask for it to fixed which helped somewhat. We tended to pay for the speciality restaurants ( which were well worth the money) as the general dining was average at best. Casino was good with great staff. Very good gym A bit of a grizzle was the bar service. Yes, it might be cool to try and serve 3 or 4 customers at once but it would be far better to do one at a time get the orders right and not have annoyed customers being served out of turn. The staff in the bars and restaurants need training. You don't take a customers plate when he is still eating with the fork in his hand!! The up selling of everything and added gratuities does get a little tiresome. Foe a first cruise it was fine but would I come back....not sure Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My husband and I have always sailed Carnival, and this was one of the few Carnival cruises to port in Europe. Let me start by saying overall I had fun not enough to justify the cost of this vacation and not enough to recommend it to other ... Read More
My husband and I have always sailed Carnival, and this was one of the few Carnival cruises to port in Europe. Let me start by saying overall I had fun not enough to justify the cost of this vacation and not enough to recommend it to other people. I had many friends on the ship who disagreed with my assessment. Here's what I think happened... Carnival doesn't usually sail in the Mediterranean so it probably won't be a problem for most people, but I feel like cruising is not the best way to experience Europe. We stopped in Sardinia, Florence/Pisa, Rome, and Naples (Italy), and Marseille (France), and we sailed from Barcelona, Spain. Most of our stops were not close to our actual destination and required a long bus ride (1-2 hrs) to reach the points of interest... Which left less time to explore and made for longer excursions. We only had one day at sea which was at the beginning of the cruise so all of our really long excursions were back to back. We were so tired by the time we reached our last stop that we actually skipped the expensive excursion we had already paid for. We just couldn't do another full day starting at 5:30 am (that's how early we had to get up to get ready, eat breakfast, and get to the meeting point in time for the excursion to start.) Plus, we were constantly rushing on and off the ship. On the excursions we were running to cram in as much of the sights as possible or to keep up with the tour group. I feel like we didn't have nearly enough time to really see anything Europe has to offer, which is A LOT. On the ship we were rushing to make it to some meal before the restaurant closed, or to some show, or to some other activity before they closed. Which brings me to my next point - I can't understand why Carnival had so many things closed so much of the time. It seemed like every time I turned around something that I wanted to do was closed and there didn't seem to be a good reason. On our last day on the ship we found only one of the four whirlpools on the ship was open. We had to wander around for twenty minutes looking for it. We did a lot of that - wandering around the ship looking for something that was open. I purchased the bottomless bubbles (soda) package which means you are supposed to be able to get free unlimited soda any time of day or night. I paid a lot for it. But there are so many catches... for one- you can only get a soda at one of the official bars (does not include the coffee shop or theater), which means yiu have to wait in line, there are no soda fountains. Second, you can only get a soda in a glass, (no cans) and only one at a time. So you can't use your bottomless bubbles to stock your in-room fridge. Last and most frustrating of all, not all of the bars are open at all times and not even the same times from day to day. Which means you have to wander around the ship all day and night searching for a bar that is open, or you need to constantly have your nose in a schedule trying to figure out which bar is open at that time that you happen to be thirsty. Most bars close at 11 or 12 at night and don't open again until 6 or 8 the next morning. If you want a soda between those times you have to go to the casino bar. If you're a non-smoker like me this can be exceedingly frustrating because the casino is a smoking area. You'll have to wade through the clouds of smoke to get a soda. I'm not complaining about the smoking, I'm complaining about the fact that the only bar open is in a smoking area. That's not very inclusive for people who don't smoke, and there doesn't seem to be a good reason for it considering there has to be at least 15 bars on the ship. Another example is the main buffet restaurant. During the day the buffet is almost always open, but only half of it... which makes for bigger crowds and longer lines. Why, Carnival? That's the main eating area, it's the busiest restaurant on the ship... seems like a really bad idea to keep half of it closed all the time. And if you want to eat between 12 and 6 am (hey, I'm on vacation... I'm allowed to eat late) the only restaurant open is the pizza place... Which will probably be packed since it's the only option. Or you can get free soft serve ice cream (If you can find a machine that isn't out). So basically late night entertainment and food is QUITE slim on this ship. Sometimes they have a night club open if you like that kind of thing... But I don't know if they have food. For those people who have babies and children under 2 yrs of age (there are a few of us at least) they do have a babysitting option but there are a lot of catches. It costs extra, of course but it's quite reasonable in my opinion. (6.75 per hour plus 15% gratuity). They only take babies 6 months to 2 yrs old at night from 10pm to 1am, and then in the mornings at different times depending on the day. Most days for us it was 6:30am to 12pm. That's a lot of hours but you have to work around the excursions you planned and the opening hours for all the activities on the ship. I felt like most of what I wanted to do was closed during most of those hours - not all of thise hours, and not everything. I did have a few small windows to take advantage of the baby sitting service but it took careful planning, and a lot of rushing, again. And one of those times was during the time I would have been on an excursion had I not been too tired. So I basically traded an excursion for a little bit of fun on the ship. So just be aware if you have babies. Lastly, the elevators. I don't know what they have done to the elevator system but I didn't meet one person on the ship who wasn't disappointed or angry with it. They have some kind of smart technology or poorly designed algorithm controlling the elevators. In the middle of the ship they have 6 elevators but I could only ever get 2 to work at a time. This meant you had to wait a long time for an elevator and sometimes it would be so full you had to push the button again and wait for the next one, or even the next one after that. I waited for 10 minutes for an elevator more than once on my cruise. Doesn't sound like a long time but when you're standing there doing nothing and you're in a hurry, AND there are 4 other elevators doing nothing at all... It gets frustrating. You can take the stairs but if you're on deck 3 and you want to get to deck 10 - who wants to climb 7 flights of stairs every day? This says nothing about people who don't even have that as an option. (Wheelchairs and strollers?!?) Another complaint I have is the amount of entertainment and food that costs extra now. Is it just me, or has Carnival started charging for a great many more things that used to be included? And it could have been my frustration clouding my judgment, but it seemed like the activities and food options that are included are closed more often than those things you pay extra for. I felt like a lot of the free "entertainment" was a sales pitch in disguise to get you to spend more money. There were faaaaar too many spa demonstrations and not enough live shows on the itinerary. The shopping was quite limited on the ship. A lot of expensive jewelry and watches, and not enough souvnire type shops. I was dissapointed. I really liked carnivals new candy shop, however. That was a fun place to go. I spent a lot of money on souvenirs for my children there. Another thing I really enjoyed was the service. Carnival always employs the hardest working and the friendliest people. I give them 5 stars for service. Also, the ship is always immaculate. There were never a shortage of clean tables to sit at in the main dining area (unless the dining area was straight up full - which didn't happen very often.) I loved the water slides, the sports square, and the skyride. The sky ride is soooo fun. You must try it if you cruise on the horizon or Vista. The sky course looked like a lot of fun too but I never got to try it. (I had a baby with me.) The ship is beautifully decirated as well. I loved my cabin which was just the right size. (A regular balcony room.) I love the addition if the mini fridge in the room. I also really appreciated the new hand washing machines in the main dining area. Those things were so cool and convenient. Overall, I had fun on this ship but it was very expensive and I feel like we could have gotten a much better value for our money if Canival had planned things just a little bit better. For that reason I do not recommend this ship to other people (especially families, people who don't drink or have conservative taste in shows and entertainment, or those with disabilities) and we probably won't sail with Carnival again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I wanted to try an inaugural cruise and I wanted to try Carnival. We paid for a “sail away” ocean view fare and got a beautiful, 11th deck handicapped room with spa privedges. That was the best part of the cruise. I also liked that ... Read More
I wanted to try an inaugural cruise and I wanted to try Carnival. We paid for a “sail away” ocean view fare and got a beautiful, 11th deck handicapped room with spa privedges. That was the best part of the cruise. I also liked that “local” dishes for the day’s port were offerd on the menu in the dining room. Nice touch. I was very disappointed in the entertainment although the production staff was great. But they performed only 3 nights in a 13 day cruise. We did not go to the first night welcome aboard show—they may have been there. The rest of the entertainers were so-so—heavy on magicians/juggler type acts. The forward rooms for the first 3 decks are very noisy with thruster and wave bounce noise. The hotel captain agreed. My friend and his wife in a forward first deck ocean view cabin always knew when we were starting to get into port because it sounded like a large rolling cart outside their window. The hotel captain said that was the thrusters. Then they heard loud bumps or thumps. They thought we might have hit a container that may have fallen off a ship but after many thumps, the hotel captain verified that it was just the ship hitting waves. If you have trouble sleeping or want to sleep late avoid forward cabins on decks 1-3. I also would have liked casual seating for reading with natural light. We didn’t find a single window we could sit by and read. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the timing despite having reservations about booking with Carnival due to a bad experience 18 years ago. It being a new ship and all we decided to give it a shot. This was a 30 year ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the timing despite having reservations about booking with Carnival due to a bad experience 18 years ago. It being a new ship and all we decided to give it a shot. This was a 30 year anniversary celebration and my 31st Cruise. Most other cruises have been with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess. My Third and last with Carnival. Embarking and disembarking went smoothly, better than most. When I opened the first closet door in the cabin a chain used to keep the closet doors from swinging back too far swung out and just missed hitting me in the face. I could see that the end of the screw that was to hold it in place, had tape around it and had come free from where it should have been. Obviously someone was aware of this and tried to fix it unsuccessfully. I reported it immediately to the cabin steward. It was never repaired. After a couple of days of nearly getting hit repeatedly, I unscrewed the remaining attached side and left the chain for the cabin steward to see. It still was never repaired. I respectfully adhere to the reuse of my towels for practical and environmental purposes but do not understand why those “towel animals “are placed on our beds daily? I would suggest doing this when there are children cruising. This just creates more unnecessary laundry and work for the cabin stewards. We appreciated being asked if we wanted a “turn down service” in the evenings which we felt was unnecessary so we declined. Our cabin was kept clean but we saw very little of our steward. Dining If you like to eat healthily forget this ship. There was an abundance of greasy fried foods, lots of meat and not a whole lot for vegetarians . The choices at the buffet were bland, the salad bar was bare bones, Caesar salad was tasteless. Same in the dining room. The Blue Iguana had fresh made tacos and burritos which were good. The pizza was ok, no vegiterian choice except mushroom alone which we had on several occasions as a last resort for dinner. The buffet breakfasts were the exact same every day, many items cold, tasteless. Omelets made to order were very good. There was limited fruit for breakfast. Saw whole oranges once, bananas most days. Cubed cantaloupe and honeydew melon every morning. Oddly in the evenings there was cubed watermelon, sometimes a little pineapple and a few grapes thrown in with cantaloupe and honeydew. I resorted to taking a bowl of fruit to my cabin in the evening to have for breakfast. There was no coffee / tea service from attendants at the Marketplace buffet until the second last day. A crew member with a cart was offering coffee, tea and juices. She told me it was the first day they were doing this.Also, the cups for water, juices and lemonade were small thick plastic cups one might give to a young child. I took a cup of water to my cabin and drank some throughout the night only to discover it tasted just like plastic. Anytime Dining The dining room lacked the elegance we are accustomed to on other ships. Table cloths used on formal night only. The first formal night was the best meal we had in the dining room. Lobster was served and cooked perfectly. One gentleman at our table had 3 servings. The tables had very casual looking plasticized woodgrain tops. The service was very slow. It took 20 minutes just to get a bread basket one night. Another night 40 minutes to locate our bottle of wine from previous night . We had no water at times and the wrong item brought to our table. We saw one server spill an entire plate of food into a passenger’s lap. We only ate there 4 times. One night the service was very good and we complimented the server and reported this to the dining manager. I asked to switch to set seating thinking this would be a better option and was run around the ship from guest services looking for the maître d, finally located the correct place. I asked to speak to him but was told he was busy. I made the request and was told someone would let us know. We never heard back. To get your table for Anytime Dining you have to line up on deck 5 to check in, then they indicate which deck to go to for dinner and when. Speciality Restaurants The Bonsai Teppan Grill was excellent. We went twice at an added cost. Well worth it. A very special surprise dessert at the end was amazing! Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Seafood was average in comparison to other ship Steakhouse speciality restaurants. The Seafood Shack was ok, more fried stuff but other things as well. My clam chowder had a hair in it. The lobster rolls had a lot of mayo and were just ok. Some people commented that the crab legs were very good. Unfortunately we didn’t order them. We didn’t try some of the other places due to the types of foods being served. Mongolian wok for lunch was good but you must get there early as it is a small area and very busy. I enjoyed my meal but my husband found his bland which was odd because it was suppose to be spicy? Health and Safety From the onset of the cruise there were many many people coughing and coughing everywhere. Even boarding the ship we noticed it. People still tend to cough into their hands then handle all the spoons and tongs at the buffet, press the elevator buttons and so on. Even if you clean your hands upon entering the buffet you still need to clean them again before eating to avoid picking up all the germs from those who have not. This I can handle. What I found very disturbing and disgusting was the fact that numerous people filled their personal water bottles directly up under the spouts of the water, juice and lemonade dispensers instead of filling them from a clean cup. There was no signage indicating that this is an unsanitary practice and contributes to outbreaks in this type of environment. Other cruise lines have taken steps to avoid this and have posted signs as well as having a crew member encouraging people to sanitize before entering the area. The only sign I saw was a very small plaque on the ice water dispenser indicating to take as much as you would like but use a fresh cup to refill. I mentioned it to a crew member who gave me an awkward smile and said thank you. There were Purell hand sanitizer stands throughout the Marketplace Buffet areas but very few guests were using them. Needless to say we both ended up spending the last few days in the cabin, sick with bad colds which we still have. Shore excursions We took 6 Carnival shore excursions booked on line. Unfortunately our Best of Rome excursion was probably one of the worst excursions I have ever been on. I had seen many of the sights several years ago but we chose this for my husband’s benefit. Our first stop was St Peter’s square where we encountered the longest line I have ever seen, that snaked its way around the entire square. Someone asked the guide how long it would take to get to the entrance and she replied about half an hour. An hour and a half later she informed us that we had to leave having made little progress. We would not get into the Basilica as we didn’t have time. She then led us to a gift shop close by and said we had half an hour there. People were not happy. Based on her experience as a seasoned guide she should have known that we would not get in when we arrived or shortly thereafter. We then proceeded to the Coliseum where the lines were very long but after about 35 minutes we entered and she took us around, always in a rushed manner, walking quickly ahead. There were 50in the group. We stopped at a place for an arranged, included lunch which was ok, served quickly considering the number of people as another tour group was also there. The Trevi Fountain was a mob scene. We were having difficulty seeing the guide ahead as she was short and was carrying a half opened umbrella and not holding it up high. Other passengers had told her previously they were having trouble seeing her in the crowds but she ignored the comments. We suddenly lost her and the group in the mobs of people when it started to rain and numerous umbrellas went up. We could see other guides with their flags or paddles held high and after a brief panic, I approached a guide holding a Carnival paddle and explained the situation. He called her on his cell and then took us to her. I was very upset and told her we cannot see you with a half open umbrella which is not held up and her reply was to try to blame the Carnival person who was also with us but behind the group. No apology. Some people were very slow so they too had difficulties. After a 12hour day at $440 for the 2 of us we were not happy. I, as well as other guests, notified the Shore Excursion desk immediately when we got on board but was met with the standard customer service reply. Surprisingly, I received a phone call from the Shore Excursions manager who investigated the complaint and had credited our account for $95. We also learned that it was the security into the sites that resulted in the long lines. I had not encountered this in my previous visits to Rome. Had I known I would not have selected this excursion. It was very frustrating and exhausting. All the other guides were very careful about making sure we could see them and that we were all together. Most of the excursions were great, a little trouble understanding a couple of the guides but for the most part we enjoyed it. The bus drivers were amazing in handling the large buses in very tight situations. Taormina on your own was absolutely fabulous. We had about 4.5 hours to explore, shop, have a cappuccino and later lunch. It was a welcomed break from all the rushing of the other excursions. Highly recommend it.Sicily is beautiful and the one place I would love to return to see more of. We took the Hop on Hop off bus in Malta but wished we had not. There were 3 cruise ships in port and it was extremely busy with very pushy, rude people. Some cultures just don’t care about waiting their turn or respecting what little personal space you have. Very aggressive and unnecessary. We did one stop at Mdina which was lovely but the experience getting back on the bus resulted in us going back to the ship. The driver was having trouble controlling these people who continued to fill the bus when there weren’t any seats left. He refused to move the bus and ordered them off. Shouting, pushing. Not our style. In Cagliari, Sardinia we took the city tour from the pier which was in an open air bus. It was 22euro a person for a one hour ride to see not a whole lot. I would not recommend it. Entertainment There is no theatre for the main shows only 2lounges, which we found unusual. The Cruise line dancers and singers were mediocre. The entertainment overall was not that good. We noticed people during several shows getting up to leave. There were lots of trivia type games and such which were well attended and enjoyed. Comedy clubs were fairly good with different comedians. There was an adult only show which we attended. We are not prudes but this one guy went beyond being gross and sexually explicit making several people uncomfortable we later learned. We were surprised that this was acceptable even for an adult show. There were the usual around the pool activities. By the end of the first week we skipped the entertainment and retired early to our cabin. We did not make use of the IMAX. The Sea day I had planned to go, I was sick in bed. There were lots of activities for children and young adults. The Skyride was pretty awesome and not as easy as it looks. There is a laundry facility on deck 6 fairly close to this cabin. Good size washers for $3 a load.You use the cruise card to pay. Soap and softener available if you don’t bring your own. Ironing board and iron free. Pay dryers as well. Overall a combination of many small things and a few not so small things led to this being a big disappointment. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I have been on many carnival cruises, royal Caribbean cruises and Norweign cruises. Pros of the Horizon: Italian specialty restaurant, food was spectacular. Dining staff was great, as was the whole crew staff. Good movie selections ... Read More
I have been on many carnival cruises, royal Caribbean cruises and Norweign cruises. Pros of the Horizon: Italian specialty restaurant, food was spectacular. Dining staff was great, as was the whole crew staff. Good movie selections in cabin. Cons: Low ceilings throughout ship. Atrium small with generic decor. No windows and sitting area to just sit and gaze outside to look at ocean and just watch people walking by (very confining). No band and dance area in casino like they have on other carnival ships. Casino is small with poor layout. "Smart Elevator" system was terrible extremely long waiting time. Floors are very slick on lido deck. Lunch buffet horrendous. You will be eating a lot of Guy hamburgers, pizza and deli selections. I was never informed of the "Family Harbor" section of the ship so if you decide to go on this ship inquire about the Family Harbor. No pool in the serenity area. The entertainment was amateur hour. There are much better carnival ships just remember the newer the ship does not mean it's better. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
f you want to be overwhelmed by inefficiency, and get a good laugh to keep your sanity, and be extremely frustrated at the same time, the elevator system on the Horizon will invoke all sorts of feelings I did not meet one passenger that ... Read More
f you want to be overwhelmed by inefficiency, and get a good laugh to keep your sanity, and be extremely frustrated at the same time, the elevator system on the Horizon will invoke all sorts of feelings I did not meet one passenger that did not criticize the elevator system. Even crew members laughed at it’s inefficiency. People walked multiple decks, constantly, because they could not bear the wait for an elevator. Guess Carnival installed a system for passengers to keep weight down. Go luck if you are handicapped or a senior. Disembarkation was a nightmare. There were other negatives in addition to the elevators. On the plus side my wife made a small amount of money in the casino. Just so you don’t think these comments are from a new cruiser—this was my 91st cruise on 9 different cruise lines on over 30 different ships. I would place this Horizon cruise amongst the 5 worst. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I booked this cruise with my brother and his wife. We were looking forward to travelling on the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. Embarkation in Miami went smoothly and we were in our cabins in a timely manner. Overall ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise with my brother and his wife. We were looking forward to travelling on the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. Embarkation in Miami went smoothly and we were in our cabins in a timely manner. Overall service provided by our room steward was very good. The cabin was clean and comfortable. Our dining experiences onboard were really hit or miss. We had a couple of good meals in the dining room and more that were very mediocre. The food portions were small and service was very slow. We had to wait long periods of time between courses and to get drinks. One night we were giving our drink orders for dinner and my wife requested coffee. The waiter said " I'll get it later" We told him no she wants it now. Then he complained about having to make a pot of coffee. Unbelievable. At the end of the last formal dinner, the hostesses at the front of the dining room were shouting about the great food and service and asking everyone to rate them a 10. One woman said it was more like a 5. (Which it was) They chased her down the stairs to talk to her. Haha. This seemed to be a theme on this ship. We ate at the buffet a number of times and we had trouble finding a place to sit because there were dirty dishes that hadn't been cleared at the empty tables. In their defense, this problem seemed to lessen after the first 3-4 days. Not sure if they picked up additional crew members or what. The buffet food was ok. Nothing great. We also tried an Italian restaurant for lunch which was free. The food was mediocre with slow service. They delivered 3 of our 4 meals but not mine. I finally shared with others while they spent 20 minutes getting my lasagna. The lasagna was awful. It had bbq pork inside of it. Literally bbq sauce. Gross. Our favorite food on the ship were the Guy Fieri restaurants. Burgers, BBQ, and the mexican food. We enjoyed those. The entertainment on the ship was good. The shows were good. The bands around the ship were good. We had fun. You will also have fun with the new fangled elevators on the ship. No buttons inside so make sure you choose the correct floor before boarding. No big deal but not sure these were any faster than normal elevators. The shore excursions were fine. We enjoyed Grand Turk. We loved Curacao and Aruba. None of us cared for La Romana however. Seemed kind of sketchy with a police escort on our tour through town. We would have preferred to skip that stop and do an overnight in Curacao or Aruba so that we could spend more time there.. Debarkation was a mess. I think this may be a Miami port problem but it took forever to get off of the ship. Carnival arranged our transportation to the airport and the driver dropped us off at the wrong terminal. Spent awhile trying to get to the correct terminal to catch our flight but we made it. After all of that, we still managed to have a lot of fun but this cruise was the worst of the 6 Carnival cruises we have taken. Hopefully they can improve the service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Spring break cruise with family (wife, married daughter and three grand-kids (8 - 18)). This was our 23rd cruise, 5th on Carnival. Not a big fan of Carnival and get much better perks on other cruise lines, but Carnival was my (daughters ... Read More
Spring break cruise with family (wife, married daughter and three grand-kids (8 - 18)). This was our 23rd cruise, 5th on Carnival. Not a big fan of Carnival and get much better perks on other cruise lines, but Carnival was my (daughters choice). Had high hopes for the new ship but was generally disappointed. Embarkation and debarkation were chaotic. Had an early debark number (#7; expectation of 8:30 debark), but the debark was probably the worst ever (longest; over 2-hours). Ended up taking a taxi vice the planned ship's shuttle to the airport as we were concerned about missing flights due to debark delays. Food (main dining room and buffet) was the worst on any cruise; all in our party of six agreed on this point. Always very long lines for omelette stations, with several stations closed inexplicably during peak breakfast hours. Ice cream stations always a mess. Very little emphasis on hand sanitation in dining spaces as compared to most other ships. Elevators were a disaster; long waits always. Elevator floors are entered in a system in the elevator lobby and you are assigned an elevator which will stop on that floor. People would give up and take stairs after waiting 5-minutes, thus elevators would still stop on floors no one on-board wanted, which further added to delays. Balcony cabin was average for a newer ship. Nothing special but no real complaints other than that any new ship should be designed with phone charging ports on either side of the bed. We were deck 9 under the rum bar on deck 10. Noisy in the early morning with deck chair scrapings above. Paid the price for highest Internet connectivity, but quality was still erratic and it was generally slow. Was constantly bumped off Internet thus had to frequently re-log in Internet and Carnival Hub. Cabin attendant did a good job; waitstaff tried hard but most dining room meals experienced long delays between courses. We usually had to skip dessert to make a show. Think they had too many assigned tables. Captain said there were over 4000 guests including over 1,000 children on board. As a result, all "play" areas/pools were jammed. Not unexpected on a spring break cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Outside of carnivals scope, we had a great trip. The weather was perfect for us, all the excursions were fun, and we had no issues in the ports. We booked a spa cabin for a treat (regret choice of the cabin but not the spa portion although ... Read More
Outside of carnivals scope, we had a great trip. The weather was perfect for us, all the excursions were fun, and we had no issues in the ports. We booked a spa cabin for a treat (regret choice of the cabin but not the spa portion although this ship's spa does not have a T-pool just a hot tub.) Embarkation (& disembarkation) was a breeze though we also had FTTF (our luggage didn't arrive till after we came back from dinner, but we were able to get into our cabin early) We received some bon voyage gifts, and they were set up before we got into the cabin and were set up lovely. Be aware there is no pool in serenity just a 'meh' hot tub, the edges of serenity zone are next to the waterworks, so that wasn't well thought out — lots of kids noise which most people are trying to avoid by going to serenity. I did like the salad and the constant cold water they had there. But the salad didn't change and it got boring I was shocked by how so many things cost more this cruise. I felt like a captive shopper there. I haven't cruised carnival in 5 years but I hadn't seen how far they have come with all the impulse purchases. The cherry on top is huge and has an outdoor seating area. All the best looking desserts were extra (like cupcakes are hard ice cream) I found nothing interesting in the many shops they had. It was pretty disappointing. I loved the carnival app, spa thermal beds, and the blue iguana. Forget watching anything at liquid lounge unless you have an hour to be there early. I picked "poor" for dining despite great services because the food was pretty boring by the 3rd day. Even guys burgers was super thin patty now. Blue iguana still continues to be good. We liked the eat your time/way, but the tables were inches apart, so it was eating with different strangers every night instead of getting to know one set of strangers. We never waited for a table though. It was great that way. I had to mark down service as this was the worst guest service team I have ever dealt with. You are a case, and they just want to close the case rather than solving the problem. No free massage is going to make up for selling a cabin that should have a noise disclaimer on it. I actually used the spa a great deal and other than one receptionist and the acupuncturist we had great service, yes they push products but just tip them and let them know you don't want it. We never had a problem with the thermal suite parts or the warm beds. There was always one free the week we went. The only reason I had an enjoyable cruise at all was because of the company I was with, the weather, and some successful port experiences. We may need to branch out or try some all-inclusive resorts again. I cannot imagine ever going on this ship again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
So in April 2018 I took my first cruise on the vista, loved it so much. When I got off, I told my family of 30 how great it was. Do we booked a cruise on the horizon. Nothing like the vista!!! There were only a few shows, the food in main ... Read More
So in April 2018 I took my first cruise on the vista, loved it so much. When I got off, I told my family of 30 how great it was. Do we booked a cruise on the horizon. Nothing like the vista!!! There were only a few shows, the food in main dining was horrible. 2x I left the restaurant. Was not happy at all. The ride (like a bike in the sky) was down most of the days. Our family never got to use it as it was only working 2 days of the 9 days I was on the ship. The staff cleaning the rooms were GREAT!!! The staff in the dining room were ok. The time u had to wait for your food was bad!! Then they never checked on us, so if something was wrong your stuck, in fact we walked out one of the nights due to this Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We've been on 15+ cruises over the years and go between CCL and RCL. The Horizon was by far, the most dissapointing ship out of all of them. The pros and cons: PRO: More seating in the public and buffet area. Never had to ... Read More
We've been on 15+ cruises over the years and go between CCL and RCL. The Horizon was by far, the most dissapointing ship out of all of them. The pros and cons: PRO: More seating in the public and buffet area. Never had to look for a seat to relax or eat. Guy's burger's Casino (small) but good lay out Every area was always cleaned up and tidy. Our cabin service was excellent. The FASTEST and easiest I've ever been on and off a ship in my life. CONS: NO elegance to the ship at all. No large atrium. They made more room for staterooms and people, and condensed everywhere else. Lines were way too long for comedy show, etc. Made you want to give up on even going to shows. Dining room had low ceilings. I miss the double floor open air. No elegance. We skipped dinner twice due to this. Our service was horrible. Most of the same food was at the buffet, which is a good thing, I guess. **TIP: use the Purell before and AFTER using the serving utensils at the buffet. The Promenade deck had less bars/shopping/seating and had too many PAY restaurants. Booked a Spa interior on the 11th floor. Very small and NO storage. Do not book! My husband lived out of his suitcase that was on top of the desk, and my suitcase was at the end of the bed that I had to walk around going in and out of bed. Drawers and safe are in the closet. The spa was smaller than my living room. Walked in, walked out and asked the receptionist if that was it, and walked back out never to return. Total waste of money to book a Spa room. Service at the pool bars (I know beyond busy) was slow and they were overwhelmed. Only one friendly bartender the entire week. Drink service in the casino was not to be found the first few days, then they wouldn't leave you alone the last 2 nights. Went to guest services for a request, and he just blank stared at me the entire time I was speaking. Needless to say, I will not be booking a cruise on The Horizon or it's sister ship,The Vista. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Picked this cruise due to the upfront costs. MANY upgrades available. Seemed like they were always looking to charge extra money. On the deck, saw exposed wires, with torn masking tape nearby. Saw large amounts of (long, black) hair in ... Read More
Picked this cruise due to the upfront costs. MANY upgrades available. Seemed like they were always looking to charge extra money. On the deck, saw exposed wires, with torn masking tape nearby. Saw large amounts of (long, black) hair in drains on Serenity deck. Crazy layout of the ship - multiple dead ends! What's with that on a new ship? Dining room was dark and dated. Cabin had very good storage. What is it with the sofa covered in plastic?? We asked for an additional blanket to cover the sofa. As so many others mentioned - cloth shower curtain. Towels are worn and scratchy. Bed linens were white and soft. Cabin was kept clean, but you have to ask for twice a day service! Plugs - too few and none near the bed! On a new ship!! Multiple dining options for additional cost. Liked JiJi and the Italian restaurant. Steakhouse was OK...they have a table-side dessert, but have to order for entire table and then then the "art" is eaten, but the choices were like fruit roll-ups, wafer cookies, and other unappetising choices. Best lunch, included, was the pork buffet. Dining room dinners were fair. Waiters do a song and dance and everyone has to wait for food - what's with that decision? Comedians were OK, no large production. seating in entertainments areas is terrible. You have to get the first few rows in order to see and there are multiple columns in the rooms...in a new ship??? Casino was smoky and right in the middle, so smoke affected other areas. Didn't use Carnival excursions. Elevators make you wait forever and you have no idea how long the wait is. ANYONE having to use elevators should be made aware. Many people with disabilities waited a really long time. We used the stairs to avoid the elevators whenever possible. Beware of the entrance to the 3rd floor main dining room - only one elevator/stairs goes there! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
On day 6 of my cruise my cabin was flooded due to a burst water pipe attached to the Dr. Seuss water park. I was not made aware of this situation until I came back to my cabin to find the floor soaked with water and an industrial fan on ... Read More
On day 6 of my cruise my cabin was flooded due to a burst water pipe attached to the Dr. Seuss water park. I was not made aware of this situation until I came back to my cabin to find the floor soaked with water and an industrial fan on the floor blowing cold air into the room. I was inconvenienced due to the faulty water pipe burst, I missed a special dinner with the group that I traveled with on the cruise, my fellow guests had to help me move to a new cabin which was above a bar/club, and I didn’t get any rest at all in the noisy cabin. The last three days of my cruise became a nightmare and ruined my entire cruise experience. As a VIFP Platinum member, I feel that Carnival’s guest services did not take my concerns seriously and they certainly did not treat me like a VIFP Platinum member. I traveled on this cruise as a single passenger and paid for double occupancy. Carnival refused to issue me a refund for my cruise or even offer a travel voucher credit on another cruise. I was given a credit of $388 and offered drink vouchers. My cabin was the most impacted in this water damage incident and I was the least compensated in terms of money and overall respect as a passenger. I am thankful that my travel agent was traveling with me and was able to take pictures/videos of this incident and she witnessed the lack of respect shown to me by the Carnival staff. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Cabin is not bad , ship is new, clean and not noisly BUT. My excursion was canceled but for my not say about this, Only 2 small pool for many hundered people, Too cold because air conditioner is too low, many people say "too ... Read More
Cabin is not bad , ship is new, clean and not noisly BUT. My excursion was canceled but for my not say about this, Only 2 small pool for many hundered people, Too cold because air conditioner is too low, many people say "too cold" but staff do not hear this, food is monotonous, all days food do not change, at 2-3 day eat this food tired of, "sky explorer" attraction is not work, too many people and ship have a private area but in ship app on mobile phone not say about this. We go at gavana bar at sit here at the last cruise day bur staff is for us "private area, go out" . But we say - in ship android application not writting about this... but staff say go out (( The mood was ruined ( Sorry for my bad eanglish and thank you for you attention, wish you do not mistake as me. , , , Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because we were drawn to the newness of the ship and a chance to do an 8 day vacation. The ship and its physical features were clean and fresh. From towels, linens and furnishings, it was very nice. The service ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were drawn to the newness of the ship and a chance to do an 8 day vacation. The ship and its physical features were clean and fresh. From towels, linens and furnishings, it was very nice. The service was excellant throughout the ship. The dining staff continually sought a “10” rating and with only one minor issue, they worked hard to succeed. The current gimmick is that service personnel attempt to address guests by their first name in an effort to personalize the dining service. Due to the design of specialty restaurants including outdoor seating, the promenade deck offers many comfy chairs and couches that are available when the restaurants are not open. Embarkation was very easy and soon found our bags inside our room - or that could have been a necessity based on very narrow hallways. Some of the individual musical acts were delightful. However, there is no ‘big’ show on this ship. There were Purell dispensing machines near food service areas and several extremely innovative hand washing stations. The staff and signage placed absolutely no emphasis on hand sanitation at any of the food service areas including the private restaurants. This was particularly disappointing as we have seen exceptional efforts made on other cruise brands. While we are not gourmets or foodies, having been on Carnival cruises we felt we had our food expectations set appropriately low. In spite of the shiny brand new ship and the staff working very hard to be personable, the food was consistently poor/bad. The dining room worked very hard to serve us, but the food was of poor quality. The Lido Marketplace has two main dininroom areas with four serving areas, each of which had identical offering. You were able to see the same huge bowl of rice and mysterious Hot dishes - four times. Oddly shaped carving station ‘meats’ were exceptionally unappetizing. The basic salad ingredients were available, however the salad dressing was thin with little to no flavor and was served in tall plastic pouring pitchers, which naturally were completely covered with oily handprints. The primary dessert offering in the Lido was a variety of very attractively decorated cakes. The lack of flavor and texture was evident by an incredible volume of wasted, uneaten cake slices. The real gut turner was the horribly unsanitary cake cutting procedure. There were tall water filled cylinders full of cake and icing sludge being used to rinse the utensils between slices. This resulted in you receiving a wet drippy slice of cake. CertInly not moist cake. As for the private branded food offerings, the Guy Fiery burger station served the best cheeseburger afloat. The Pig & Anchor barbecue, a bar restaurant, offered the best authentic beef, pork, chicken barbecue. In our opinion. The best food on the ship, except for the best cheeseburgers afloat. We were delighted to find the highly attractive Cherry Top candy store only to be disappointed in stale candy and tasteless watery ice cream. How can such a new ship serve stale candy ? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Embarkation was wonderful so long as you show up at your assigned time. We had put in our credit card during the online check-in. The morning of the cruise my bank notified me a$100 authorization was posted. I assumed to make sure the ... Read More
Embarkation was wonderful so long as you show up at your assigned time. We had put in our credit card during the online check-in. The morning of the cruise my bank notified me a$100 authorization was posted. I assumed to make sure the credit card was good. When checking in at the airport, that process took seconds as they did not check our credit cards again. We just took the boarding pass we had printed and proceeded immediately on board. When we reached our cabin which was ready at 1130, keys were in a sealed envelop next to our cabin. (BTW, later that day, we walked down our hall and about 15 envelopes were strewed on the floor. Someone witnessed some kids pulling out all the envelops and throwing them on the floor. This is just the beginning of the thugs we had on board this sailing. After Vista brought me back to Carnival, I quickly booked the 2 night Miami inaugural. Had I cruised Horizon first, it would have been my last with Carnival. It actually may well be again. I'm not sure if newly appointed Cruise Fun Officer Shaq O'neal has changed the demographics of cruisers but I've never come across such rude and obnoxious cruisers before. A young man walked around with a huge amplifier blasting music in the halls, staircase (thank God he didn't use the elevator, the pool area, even the marketplace buffet the entire two days. It was all about him and total disrespect for his fellow cruisers. And no he wasn't the DJ. This cruise had huge groups that would move furniture making it impossible to get around and pass. Regardless of the hour for breakfast, lunch and even dinner hour, young women were in the buffet area in their skimpy bikinis or thongs which covered very little. There was no such thing as Serenity area. This 21+ area hot tubs were packed with kids and toddlers. I did not see any staff or security speak with those breaking policies at all. Numerous people also mentioned the strong smell of weed in the hallways, including me. I only saw the Cruise Director once before the welcome aboard show. His assistant Alex was fun at Trivia, although not swapping answers left much to be trusted with "winners." Having a formal night on a 2 night cruise was silly, but at least they served Lobster and Prime Rib which was delicious. It wasn't hard to figure out the elevators, although they were extremely slow and there was no way of knowing when it would come. We gave up on most and just walked. Most people saw an elevator and jumped on it, never knowing which floor it was heading to. So elevators were crowded. Leaving your cabin the last night was a disaster as the elevator doesn't take into consideration people are boarding the elevators with luggage. Disembarkation was quick but once within the Customs terminal the lines were extremely long, thank God we had our Global Entry cards with us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Okay first off I went last year on Carnival Victory and had an amazing time food, staff and entertainment was awesome...I wanted to book right away again for another Carnival cruise i chose Carnival Horizon because it looked amazing online ... Read More
Okay first off I went last year on Carnival Victory and had an amazing time food, staff and entertainment was awesome...I wanted to book right away again for another Carnival cruise i chose Carnival Horizon because it looked amazing online the pictures so i figured it would be an even better experience. By far from the truth. My husband and I went with our very good friends just this past week and i must say i will not return to Horizon. ALOT of the things on the ship you were not able to use the Sky rider was not running and the basketball courts were locked and it was at 3pm daytime still when we attempted to try and use it. A few of the staff members were extremely rude and their AC throughout the ship felt like it was not working. I did enjoy the comedy show and my waitstaff in the main dining room. There was no one telling us how to get around i had to keep bothering the bartenders for directions and the service in the BBQ restaurant was horrible. When i got off the ship i had better service and the hardrock cafe in Miami. I definitely still love carnival i just think Horizon needs to step their game up in a few areas! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Sailed Aug. 20-28. 2 major complaints. Chief complaint: the quality, behavior and dress of about half the people on board (approx. 5,000 people total) was just unbelievable. Sailed Carnival in the past and had same experience but thought ... Read More
Sailed Aug. 20-28. 2 major complaints. Chief complaint: the quality, behavior and dress of about half the people on board (approx. 5,000 people total) was just unbelievable. Sailed Carnival in the past and had same experience but thought with this ship being new and the price more costly the people on board would be of a higher caliber. It was far worse, if that's possible. And by "higher caliber" I only mean people who don't curse constantly, don't yell a certain slur to each other constantly, don't wear clothing strippers would be embarrassed to wear in the seediest strip club (the women), don't go shirtless in food areas with do-rags tied around their head (the men), and aren't covered in tattoos they are determined for you to see (the women and the men). It goes without saying their children (who dominated the ship) are totally out of control and unsupervised with louder and dirtier mouths than their twerking mothers. From morning till night their children commandeered the tiny pools and whirlpools and behaved so inappropriately you didn't want to go in them anyway. Oftentimes groups blasted rap music while eating in the buffet. Always a lovely way to enjoy a meal with your family. 2nd complaint: the buffet. Very few options compared to an NCL. 4 stations, each with the same 5 or 6 options. Buffet food was generally unimaginative, bland and tasteless. Other food on board was good though -- specifically Reflections restaurant for dinner, Guy's burgers, the Blue Iguana and the 24-hour pizza place. Cruise Director was the worst. Would have been better had he not said anything. His name was Ryan Rose or something like that. His chief contribution was trying (unsuccessfully) to get people to dance and telling us to give ourselves a round of applause for this or that. Whenever he spoke his mike was on the highest possible level so you could throw relaxing out the window whenever he intruded, which was often. Lastly, Carnival: time to ditch Grand Turk. The place is a garbage can. So much better to stay on the ship and get some swimming or whirlpool time in. In summary: If you are an educated, respectful, polite, hard-working person who is looking to relax with your appropriately-dressed wife and your well-behaved children, and are not interested in being surrounded by people whose outlook and behavior are the complete opposite of yours, give your hard earned money to another cruise line. Carnival is not for you. P.S. The crack Captain banged the brand new ship into the Pier upon return into NYC, causing damage to the ship and the Pier. Perhaps he was distracted by all the twerking? Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My fiancée and I decided to plan a cruise for my birthday, and we were excited by the idea of a brand-new cruise ship for Carnival. It is our first cruise together, having only taken cruises with our families separately. Our personal ... Read More
My fiancée and I decided to plan a cruise for my birthday, and we were excited by the idea of a brand-new cruise ship for Carnival. It is our first cruise together, having only taken cruises with our families separately. Our personal success with getting to the ship was fine, and embarkation onto the ship itself was actually fairly smooth, much better than I expected. However, the ship itself was much more disappointing. It was only the two of us. We didn't travel with children, and we're both of drinking age, but we're not particularly wealthy. And it was made quite clear as we explored the ship that what we felt comfortable with spending was not enough to get much of anything out of the ship. We dumped about $50 total into the casino and basically lost it all. The cheapest machines are about $0.40 per bet for perspective. That said, we left the casino after about 20 minutes and did not return. There are multiple food options on the ship, which I will divide to the best of my ability by free and paid. Paid: Guy's Barbecue, Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki, certain food options at dining such as surf and turf or steak, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Seafood Shack, The Chef's Table, JiJi Asian Kitchen, Cucina del Capitano Included: BlueIguana Cantina, Guy's Burger Joint, Main Dining, Lido Buffet, salad bar, Pizzeria, lunch pasta bar, deli We didn't try much of the paid dining. We had Bonsai Sushi, and that was it. My fiancée had the sushi, and she said it was good and a fairly reasonable price; itw as about $21 for three plates. I had a ramen dish for about $7. It was so salty that I was only able to eat about half of it. I have a pretty tolerable palate, but it was honestly just disgusting. Of the included/free dining, the cantina served burritos, tacos and taco bowls. They also do breakfast burritos during breakfast time. This food was actually pretty good. No complaints. The burger joint was okay. It wasn't particularly well made, but it wasn't the worst. The fries were decent. The pizzeria was okay or mediocre as well. It was a little charred in some places, and it wasn't very flavorful. The buffet and main dining were very disappointing. The serving sizes were very small, and I didn't feel that there were many good options. I typically ended up having some variant of chicken or onion soup and then seafood or steak, and I'm not a very big steak or seafood guy. They served me creme brulee that was just lukewarm all the way through. A crewmember typically goes around during dinner, offering shots to diners. What they don't tell you is that, even if you have the drink package that makes alcohol free up to 15 drinks per day, you still have to pay for them. Further, each shot is about $10. So we got burned for $20 one night because they didn't use our drink package. The buffet rarely had any worthwhile options, and the food was always mediocre. I took a Norwegian cruise a few years ago, and the buffet was quite good. It put the newest Carnival ship to shame. We did not feel that entertainment was very good. As stated earlier, the casino is just not worth it. There is an Imax theater, but they only showed the same three or four movies literally every night, and we did not even check the price. There are R-rated comedy shows, but we went to one hosted by Manny Oliveira and were terribly disappointed. It was basically about 45 minutes of telling women that he would like to copulate with them and then trying to get single audience members to hook up with each other. Very crude and not in a funny way. There are not nearly enough pools. Unless you try to go to a pool or hot tub before all the loud children wake up or after they all go to bed, you will not get a decent spot. The spa was very expensive. I don't believe there was anything under $130. Shopping on board is not worth it except for maybe the liquor and cigarette sales. Every time we walked through a store, particularly through the jewelry store, there was a crewmember hawking us, making sure we didn't need any help buying something or just trying anything on. It was very unsettling. Overall, we would probably never consider doing another Carnival cruise if this is the finest that they have to offer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I normally don’t write reviews or complain but this cruise is so bad I felt the need to warn others before spending your hard earned money. We are currently on the Horizon that sailed out of NY on 8/20/18. I am so disgusted with this ... Read More
I normally don’t write reviews or complain but this cruise is so bad I felt the need to warn others before spending your hard earned money. We are currently on the Horizon that sailed out of NY on 8/20/18. I am so disgusted with this cruise that I took the time to write this review while currently on board. I will start with the few positives first. We are staying in the family harbor suites. Then suite is nice and roomy. I will say having the small tub/shower and being 6’3 made taking a shower a lot easier than using the small shower in the main bathroom. Our cabin stew Marco is outstanding and very friendly. The one drawback on being deck 2 with the balcony, you need to be mindful of what’s happening above you. Several times I was sitting out on the balcony and got soaked from the staff washing something. I called several times and complained and all I got was a rude head of housing keeping saying he will look into it. The family room is nice to grab something quick before heading off the ship, and the snacks throughout the day are a nice touch. Bonsai Sushi was very good, so was guys pig and anchor. This is where the positives end. This cruise has 4 sea days and you are lucky to get a chair anywhere on the boat during those days. The Lido desk is near impossible unless you are there before 10am. The serenity deck is the same situation. Forget getting into any hot tub or pool. Unless you like being crammed in like sardines. We had the late dinning midship and first impressions the tables are very small and tight. The wait staff seems very inexperienced and not friendly. They never asked once what we wanted to drink, how we would like our steaks prepared and the food came out warm at best. As many have stated the lines at the egg station, guys burger joint, burrito bar and pizza are at least a good half hour to 45 mins. The buffet had limited choices and nothing overly kid friendly say like chicken fingers and maybe mac and cheese. The one time I found them it was for the kids club only. The food is just generally not good over salted and dry. I am very disappointed with this cruise and after taking six Carnival cruises this will be my last. After speaking with several other guests we happen to meet along the way all agreed. I know Carnival won’t do anything but we all plan on sending letters after this cruise. Save your money and look elsewhere. Carnival managed to screw up a perfectly brand new boat. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
My party of 11 sailed from NY on Aug 20-28. It’s been over 10 years we did not sail Carnival and had hoped for a great vacation keeping in mind it’s Carnival newest biggest ship. Sad to say we were very disappointed!!!! There were a ... Read More
My party of 11 sailed from NY on Aug 20-28. It’s been over 10 years we did not sail Carnival and had hoped for a great vacation keeping in mind it’s Carnival newest biggest ship. Sad to say we were very disappointed!!!! There were a few highs and lots of lows about the ship. Let’s start with the Highs. Embarkation was the BEST ever! It was very well planned/organized. None of the other lines is as easy as this. LOOOVEEEE it! Keep up the good work. Our Dining room staff was very friendly. We had the late dinner in the Reflections Restaurant and our head waiter, Michael was truly a terrific guy. His assistant Alex and Rosalyn too were great! Our cabin steward -Ike (Ikonomo- Sorry about the spelling of his name) is truly remarkable. He kept our room tidy and clean at all times. Very accommodating to my late risers. Dinner at Cucina del Capitano (the Italian Restaurant) was DELICOUS!!! The garlic bread…OMG was good! Service was excellent! Dinner at JI Ji Asian Kitchen-I personally did not eat here, but 2 of my grown kids did and said it was “REALLY REALLY GOOD!!! Great service too! Lows The Cheers (drink package) – 2 NO NOs on this! a. What good is a drink package if you cannot use it the very first day on the ship. Vacation for me started as soon as I boarded the ship! Some members of my party had to spend extra $ just to have a drink that afternoon. b. Then, why do I have to buy a drink package if I DO NOT drink, but my husband does! Just not right! The food on the Lido deck(Marketplace) was very limited – not much choices The Marketplace (Lido deck) floor was VERY slippery. The tiles were beautiful but not functional for a heavy traffic area. The Photo gallery - a total rip off! Not much choices about packages. And yes, I am comparing this to other rival ships. For instance, I was able to purchase ALL photos for a reasonable price on the other ships. Casino – very limited area...way too small for 5000 people! I am not a gambler but would have loved to have seen more slot machines and table games. The Casino should have a smoking and non-smoking area. The area is too small and confined. No matter where I sat someone is always smoking! And this is a turn off for nonsmokers. Dining - If I am going to dinner in a restaurant, I would expect to have it set up beautifully…this means having a table cloth EVERY night! Not just on the Captain nights. What a disappointment! If I’m taking the time to get dressed to come to dinner at a restaurant, let it be worth it! If not I could have just as well to have gone to the lido deck and have my dinner there. The standards have dropped considerably!! The food in the Reflections dining room is mediocre. When my 21-25 years old family members commented on this, I knew it was bad! Young ones of that age are usually less picky!!! The foods were tasteless. The smell of marijuana in the hallways- I know Carnival can’t control this, but people you can! The rowdiness of the passengers – have some decorum people! Treat the ship as a great resort vacation! It certainly is not cheap vacation! I hated writing this review, but i wanted others to know what to expect. This was my last vacation with Carnival! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
So I fly about 3 weeks a month. Hate United because the seats are tiny, service sucks and there's mechanical issues regularly. After this, I have concluded Carnival is the United of cruise lines (last I checked, United had the lowest ... Read More
So I fly about 3 weeks a month. Hate United because the seats are tiny, service sucks and there's mechanical issues regularly. After this, I have concluded Carnival is the United of cruise lines (last I checked, United had the lowest customer satisfaction for Airlines.) Let's be frank, I was lazy because I did not want to get on a plane and NYC worked. Decided to TAKE A RISK and try Carnival. After all, Horizon was a brand new ship. I assumed incorrectly it would be better because of the huge investment Carnival made. They want people coming back. Here's the rundown (if you have time to read): Ship: This was a social experiment. Built to float as many people in a tiny space as possible. Common areas are VERY crowded. You'll need to really manuever to get a meal, lounge chair, elevator or anything else for that matter. If mass herds of people are your thing- I recommend going on this cruise. Oh and make sure you can dodge motorized scooters. For some reason there are quite a few of them everywhere on the ship. (I feel for these folks- but found quite a few of them got aggressive and seemed to forget there was foot traffic.) Cabin: Splurged on a spa floor suite. Based on other cruises I thought I might actually have a decent balcony (NOPE) TINY and only fit two small chairs. Strike one. Strike two- promises of all access to the SPA floor only to find out you can buy access to the thermal spas and those two were over crowded and not worth it. Brand new ship- shower doors kept coming off the track. Made showering a challenge. Only benefit I saw to the cabin was the priority embarkation. That at least was painless. But would not do this again. Better off getting a balcony room and paying thousands less. Dining: Lido Deck- Line up with the herd and get ready to fight for overcooked (at best) Dorm food. Good luck finding anything remotely healthy. Even the fruit is generally canned or not ripe. You could not find a berry of any type here- only in the bars so we ate our fruit there. Did "Anytime Dining". PLAN to wait quite a while at peak times to be seated and fed. Husband also got FOOD POISONING off the steak he paid $20 EXTRA for. In bed for 1.5 days. We know it was the steak because several others I spoke to had a similar issue. Reported this to the customer serivice rep on Deck 3- she gave me SERIOUS ATTITUDE. Stated he needed to go to the infirmary. I told her "I didn't know there was a protocol for food poisoning- especially when you cannot step 5 feet away from your bathroom!" They said the matre 'de would contact us. He didn't until we dared to venture back into the dining room. Appologized and offered a drink. (Who wants to drink after days of being sick?); Tried to escape the herd again and went to breakfast in the formal dining room. Took over 25 minutes to place a simple order. Left angry and hungry after over an hour of waiting because I had to get to a spa appointment (More on that debacle in a bit) SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: So in the spirit of nickel and diming (common practice here) they do offer, for an extra charge, specialty dining options. You'll need reservations for most of these. I suggest you make them early or you'll be eating at 9pm. Steakhouse was very good. Went back twice because frankly the main dining room was mediocre at best. Pig and Anchor- Not bad at all and pretty easy to get in and out of. Price was reasonable for the food quality and quantity. Good option if you want to avoid crowds too. Sushi- Was good and a break from the other options. Seafood shack- crab sliders were good as well as the shrimp by the pound. Clam chowder- just OK. The rest was heavily fried if you lilke that kind of thing. Asian restaurant- Went there for lunch (which was "complementary" at no extra charge. You check off what you want and they give you a bowl full of noodles and "whatever". Tasteless and took well over an hour of waiting to eat. Not worth it, but in fairness we didn't try dinner for the extra charge. Other options: Pizza (24 hour). Not bad but don't expect NY style. It was kind of dry but I was craving something hot and made right then and there (not hours before). Probably worth the wait in line. Guy's Burger Joint: Good burger and it was warm. Didn't try the deli but looked like it had to be good given the long lines every day in the lido deck. Mexican place had decent breakfast burritos, but they were a little bit cold (again due to the fact they have to feed a very large crowd- hard to do this well) Bars: HIGHLIGHT of our trip- ALCHEMY bar. The best possible drinks on the trip. Every bartender was super fun, attentive, took great care in their craft AND wanting you happy. Ended up there most nights. If you go- highly recommended. Piano Bar- Eden's show was so much fun. He's extremely talented and humorous. Crowd was engaged every night we were there. Entertainment and Activities: Lots to do here, however you'll be waiting around for a lot of it just due to the volume of people. Some things that were fun: Karaoke (if it's your thing). Only complaint- this was really popular and most days they did it in the Havana bar which was way to small for the crowd that was in there. More fighting for seats. Piano bar mentioned above was also fun. Serenity deck- 21+ to go up there (not always enforced). A nice place to escape for some adult time as there were 5000 guests, 1800 were children. Also most days they had a nice salad bar around lunch time. RARE find on this ship. However, by the end of the trip most adults had found it and you're fighting again for seats. SPA: Had a good first round experience so the hubs scheduled two appointments for our last day. 12pm and 1:30pm. After not being fed in the dining room (see comments earlier) and racing to my 12pm appointment- Got checked in at the front desk. Waited by the "holding area" for 25 minutes.. All the 12pm people seemed to be picked up. My lady from the first massage came I and I thought she was picking me up late for my appointment. I looked up for a second- she's gone. Went to front desk to ask the same woman that checked me in, who was doing my service? She stated my appointment had been cancelled. "Really- because you checked me in 25 minutes ago..." She told my my husband must have cancelled it... I got upset, (I was hangry at this point and so annoyed!) Told them to cancel his appointement at 1:30. she wanted to charge us half because it was less than 24 hours according to "policy". I stated then they should be charging for the other one we didn't cancel too which they claimed happened at 7:30AM. We were in bed at the time. Had to make a scene to get her to waive the charges (Which I'm not a fan of doing...) Another note- Many of the "entertainment seminar" options they offer are designed to sell you something. Annoying... Service: OK, some bright spots here. The vast majority of the staff is gracious and wants to make your trip amazing. These folks work SO hard, 14 hours a day in many cases and do it with a smile. They deserve KUDOS. Only exception (ironically) is the customer service person at guest services and the spa check in person. You would think they would be better as that's their only job. Ports and Excursions: WHAT EXCURSION????? The only one we planned was in Dominican Republic and guess what- they cancelled it. BRAND NEW SHIP and they somehow could not get the mechanics to work to get us into port. They had to cancel the port and gave us a whole $50 credit per person. We did get our shore excursion money back because we booked with Carnival ahead of time so word of warning, book through your cruise line as this stuff does happen. Grand Turk- never got off the ship. Looked like a seaweed-fest at the beach though. PR- we had fun wandering around old town, had a great meal at a local restaurant and only paid $14 to walk around the fort. Would go back there for sure but unlikely to do it in a cruise ship again. VALUE: Not seeing it at all. Paid way too much for a suite that was just OK with little benefit. Food was really poor for the inclusive options. NICKEL AND DIMING abounds. Read your contracts for the drink package and be prepared for a 15% upcharge. You'll also pay for the right to use their carnival app to text on the ship + Extra if you want any kind of internet service (BTW- the internet charges are pretty common on most ships, so Carnival is not an exception). You'll pay for any classes at the gym too, even on spa floor package as they only offer two complimentary yoga classes which fill up day one. BOTTOM LINE: Made the best of it, but paid way too much for a suite on a ship that was overcrowded with really mediocre food. Will not be doing this again. Read Less
Carnival Horizon Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.5

Find a Carnival Horizon Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise