1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because it was going to ports that we hadn't been to before, and we wanted to go on the brand new ship, so we booked the Horizon. We loved most things about the ship, but there were a few that we were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to ports that we hadn't been to before, and we wanted to go on the brand new ship, so we booked the Horizon. We loved most things about the ship, but there were a few that we were disappointed in as well. The Liquid Lounge is very small for the shows, and the steakhouse was not near as good as we have had in the past (and we were disappointed with the location, just didn't seem "special" on this ship like it has on the others). We enjoyed Pig & Anchor, Bonsai Teppanyaki, and the Italian restaurant was good too! The elevators were slow, and people didn't know how to, or didn't care to operate them properly, but it wasn't that big of a deal. The pool was small, the serenity deck is right beside the waterworks, so it was loud at times. We loved the decor of the Horizon. It was colorful and fun. The gym was small, but I think it was fine. It wasn't overcrowded when we were there. We were also disappointed in the Piano bar. The main entertainer, although very talented, could not take requests and didn't sing. He played a lot of original songs, but it just wasn't the lively time that we have enjoyed in the past. Overall we had a great time and enjoyed the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
i chose this cruise in order to be on the newest carnival ship, i enjoyed all the new amenities on this ship,was however dissappointed in some things. the one thing i was really looking forward to was the sky course which was unfortunately ... Read More
i chose this cruise in order to be on the newest carnival ship, i enjoyed all the new amenities on this ship,was however dissappointed in some things. the one thing i was really looking forward to was the sky course which was unfortunately under maintenaice for our whole cruise , this was one of the reason we chose this ship., this was very disaapointing ,i also feel like the dinner menu is getting pretty bad, this was my 8th cruise and i use to dress up and go to dinner each night but for this cruise and my last one , i have skipped dinner several nights because the menu was not good at all, you can get the same stuff at the open service on lido, menu needs to be revamped, my last complaint is the hold carnival places on your account on the day of embarkation, it is probably written some where when you book your cruise but it needs to be high lighted or place in big bold letters so you are aware, this caused lots of confusion and my daughter account to be locked to futher charging ability beccause we were unaware of this. thanks to Talum,customer service manager for helping us out.good things were , we had a great cruise director, so much energy and fun, the carnival app is great, down load it to your phone and you can get all the info you need, everything, also the tv in your room has all your account information, you can view your pictures, this great !!!!!!!good job carnival, overall i had a great time and wonderful memories Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I have never had a check in process go so smooth and quick. Literally, from terminal drop off to on the ship was less than 30 minutes. We didn't have "Faster to the Fun" and we are not Gold, Diamond, Platinum or Elite ... Read More
I have never had a check in process go so smooth and quick. Literally, from terminal drop off to on the ship was less than 30 minutes. We didn't have "Faster to the Fun" and we are not Gold, Diamond, Platinum or Elite cruisers. In 30 minutes we were having a burger and fries at Guy's on the lido deck. Amazing. The disembarkment took more time, but it ran seamlessly with little waiting in any line. The Carnival Horizon flagship had a guest population of around 4,600 according to Mike the cruise director. I was concerned with the amount of people and limited space. I've read many reviews and usually start with the worse reviews. My main concern was I'd be spending most of the time in a line of some sort. This proved not to be the case. I would have never guessed there were so many guests. I have cruised on Carnival before and it wasn't any worse than other cruises and in some cases I'd say it was better. The only big issue was the sail away party. Most of the ship was on the lido deck all wanting drinks. The wait for drinks was insane, but that was the only time. I would recommend getting to the lido early on departure to get a seat at one of the bars if that's your bag. My wife and I had the endless bubbles plan (soda) and it was worth it. The food was typical. I wish the Blue Iguana Cantina was open for more than breakfast and lunch. We tried Guys Pig and Anchor. I had the prime rib and my wife had the baby back ribs 1/2 rack. Both were excellent. I also had the nachos which were just ok. It costs extra to eat there, but the cost was very reasonable for the quality of food. It seemed any of the food venues that cost extra were worth the added cost for the most part. At the Seafood Shack, which also costs extra, the clam strips and fried shrimp were excellent while the lobster roll was flat tasting. As usual the deli and pizza were nice options at no charge. Guy's Burger was a staple and the buffet was also good. Again lines were not a problem and I'm not sure why. On sea days everyone has to eat. We saw both comedians and they were excellent. The PG shows were just as funny as the R shows. The last night of the cruise they had both comedians do a special late show in the Liquid Lounge which was great. There is so much to do and see on this ship we didn't get to some of it. It gives us something to look forward to on the next trip. I liked the smart elevators. They were easy to use and efficient once we learned how to use them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Carnival Horizon is a beautiful ship! Ship maintenance seems to be well done and few, if any, common areas require additional maintenance. The crew members were friendly and went out of their way to ensure a carefree vacation for my ... Read More
Carnival Horizon is a beautiful ship! Ship maintenance seems to be well done and few, if any, common areas require additional maintenance. The crew members were friendly and went out of their way to ensure a carefree vacation for my wife and myself. We really felt that the crew members were motivated to provide excellent, friendly service. Our stateroom. #7426, was larger than most inside staterooms I've experienced on other lines. Fit and finish were excellent as was the care that our room steward took to ensure that each of our needs were met. This is one of the few times I did not feel cramped in our stateroom. Our room was very quiet in the evenings. Dining - ate breakfast and lunch on the Lido Deck, and dinners were taken in the Meridian Dining Room upper level. Breakfast - it's difficult to ruin a breakfast meal. Buffet items were limited and each buffet counter was a pretty much the same as all others. The eggs to order lines became long but chefs did a good job of preparation. Lunch options were improved over breakfast with Guys Burgers, separate BBQ smokehouse "Pig and Anchor" and a Taco Stand which were all excellent. We all enjoyed the automatic hand washing machines on the Lido Deck. Dining in the Meridian Dining Room was generally excellent. Our servers at table #646 were attentive and exceeded expectations each evening. The menus were tasty and the preparation was generally good. Kudos to the cruise line for including good cuts of Prime Rib and one night of Lobster!!! My only complaint was the Fried Chicken meal where the chicken was cold and the mashed potatoes wouldn't melt the whipped butter I put on top. The fried oysters were actually raw oysters inside a thick coating of flour. The entertainers were very good and the quality of the musicians was excellent given some challenging material performed without error. We enjoyed the shows and felt that the rooms were well managed and the supporting crew was very good. The Cruise Director was engaging and made us all feel at home on the sea without becoming annoying as so many directors do. Getting on and off this ship was a study in efficiency. Very good work by staff!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife, two kids (11 & 7) and I cruised on the Carnival Horizon in early January. It's my second Carnival cruise, my wife's third. It was our first time on a "big ship", we sailed with just over 4800 passengers. ... Read More
My wife, two kids (11 & 7) and I cruised on the Carnival Horizon in early January. It's my second Carnival cruise, my wife's third. It was our first time on a "big ship", we sailed with just over 4800 passengers. Embarkation was a breeze. We had an appointment for 1:00pm. We arrived at 12:45 and was on the ship by 1:30.First problem: when you get on the ship, they are using the central elevators to haul luggage and it's difficult to find your way out of the atrium. End result - about 500 people crammed into a small, hot space. Second problem: when we finally found the buffet, the room is too small for all the guests. We ended up climbing two decks with our plates to find a lounge chair to sit in. Embarkation day is always confusing, but this day was worse by far. The room in the "family harbor" was great. Slept our family of four easily. The family harbor lounge is not open 24 hours, just during certain times. However, it was nice to eat breakfast there instead of the buffet. No complaints about the room. I can't review the production shows. There weren't any. We received a letter in our room that all production shows were cancelled for the sailing. I could tell the cruise director was trying to fill spots; the shows we saw were not built for the big stage. Comedians in the lounge were ok, and did both PG and R rated shows. I did notice a distinct lack of live music. The main dining room was fine. The buffet, not so much. We saw the menu in the dining room one night and decided to hit the buffet. There were nine hot items for dinner. Nine. They were the same entrées that were in the dining room. There's also no outside seating at the buffet. There is no pool on the serenity deck. Two hot tubs, but no pool. There is a private pool for guests in the Havana suites. Saw "Aquaman" in the IMAX theater. Really comfortable. My kids loved the sports deck. Here's where it gets confusing: the staff on that ship is incredibly good at their jobs and working hard to make everyone happy. There just isn't enough of them. The ship is understaffed. I felt as if Carnival (corporate) doesn't want me at the buffet or main dining room or in the pool. They want me in the specialty restaurants, paying more for rooms with pools, nickel and diming my way through the cruise. Those areas are staffed to the detriment of the rest of the ship. In short, the staff is incredible in spite of the corporate baloney they are put through. End result: this is the first cruise on any line that I left saying "meh". I sailed on the Carnival Sensation - before it's refit - and would rather sail again on that 30 year old 2500 passenger ship than on the flagship of the line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Our group as noted above, chose the itinerary to keep things more cost effective and allow people an extra day in Florida prior to the cruise as we all came from the Northeast. We traveled as a group of 46 with an Elvis Tribute artist and ... Read More
Our group as noted above, chose the itinerary to keep things more cost effective and allow people an extra day in Florida prior to the cruise as we all came from the Northeast. We traveled as a group of 46 with an Elvis Tribute artist and a polka band. The weather...coming from what we're calling New Seattle in the Northeast PA, we had FABULOUS weather. 7 FULL days of SUN & Fun. The ship is beautiful. The staff, fantastic. We chose the Your Time dining but ended up making reservation in the aft dining room on deck 3 Meridian. Our table attendants Harlene and Tomina we AMAZING. We kind of did a Sheldon and my spot once we claimed the table, it was ours for the rest of the week. Table 453 aft overlooks the back of the ship and is quite lovely pulling out of port. The food was phenomenal dessert...I am happy to admit I lost a pound but had pretty much double of each night! I'm a sweet tooth person and wow, just delicious! Mike Pack was the CD...he was great. We did not have a Playlist Production due to a tragic event the week before. Mike was a complete professional and handled every twist and turn with the utmost professionalism. We saw the Hypnotist Doug MacCraw...OMG, if you ever get to see him, DO IT! He was just amazing. Total skeptic here...now a believer. The few downsides I could see of this large ship were on BEAUTIFUL seas days, not enough chairs. We walked all the decks and no chairs...well not really. There were a ton near the waterworks that were ratchet strapped down. No I know how to use one but figured it might be frowned upon by Carnival if I just helped myself. I asked if we could get some, nope. Not cool. Then around 3, I get snacky. The line for the deli...yeah 15 people deep. Guys, same thing. I didn't even try for pizza. I just gave up. Have the buffet with an area of lighter snacks like fruit, lunch meat and cheese. Why can't cruise lines have snacky stuff? The only other downside was every bathroom felt like SIBERIA...why have the AC so COLD there....I mean if you have to go, you don't need extra cold air while waiting, DUH. The ports I've been to many times so I did some work and in Ocho Rios we spent the day at Sandals doing a site inspection. Beautiful resort, not for the mobility challenged at all. Great food , nice little cove beaches and no one haggling with you to buy their "shells" or "Stuff" like at the port. Walking around I don't like being hassled. All the Jamaicans selling the stuff at the port are owned by Indian companies...I prefer to buy from locals. Grand Cayman we went to Calico Jack's. I've been there before and I like it just fine. $6 each way. $5. per chair for the day, I'm in. They have clean restrooms, beach bar service if you need it and a full menu for food. Cozumel, this time I went to the Secrets Azul. It's nice to see different hotels. Lovely beach. The water we didn't try as it was super windy and I didn't have water shoes as I know Cozumel is rocky. Nice little resort connected to another family resort Sunscape. Were only spent a few hours to check out the property, enjoy adult only time and then headed back to the ship. I like Cozumel. Nice little piers and not overly pushy trying to get you to buy stuff. We did do a shore excursion of the Best of Miami on the way back...I don't recommend it! The tour guide straight up sucked. Nicest I can say on a public forum. She didn't look at her group and when we got going she talked the people that wanted to go to South Beach out of it. We had spent the day the week before at the Hampton Inn South Beach people watching! More amazing than this tour. Overall it was a great trip. I would do Carnival again as I still didn't do the SKY RIDE! UGH. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose the Horizon to check out a brand new ship. The ship itself was nice. We were on the Conquest in November 2017. I have to say that the cleanliness and service was much better on the Conquest than the Horizon. Our main complaint was ... Read More
Chose the Horizon to check out a brand new ship. The ship itself was nice. We were on the Conquest in November 2017. I have to say that the cleanliness and service was much better on the Conquest than the Horizon. Our main complaint was that dishes and glasses left all over Lido deck for long periods of time with no one cleaning them up. Also the main dining room, the waiters did a good job, but had no personality at all. Certainly not used to that, part of the fun of the main dining room is getting to know and conversing with your wait staff. We had YTD and switched to different wait staff, 3 different head waiters . Service was good, not great, but very boring. Overall, a cruise is what you make of it, we had a great time! The specialty restaurant bonsai teppanyaki was outstanding, great food. Roberto, our chef for dinner was great. Besides our complaints about dining staff and cleanliness, I would still give our overall experience 4 stars. I think now that we have cruised on the Horizon, we would definitely prefer to sail on the smaller class ships. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Picked this ship because it was fairly new and our traveling companions were carnival frequenters. The ship was great, just the right size. Plenty of space and things to do. The itinerary was new for us, going all the way to Aruba. The ... Read More
Picked this ship because it was fairly new and our traveling companions were carnival frequenters. The ship was great, just the right size. Plenty of space and things to do. The itinerary was new for us, going all the way to Aruba. The cove balcony cabins were also interesting for the privacy. Bathroom space was ample and the shower was just fine. Plenty of hot water, just a little weak on water pressure. The food was good and my time dining was convenient and gave us more versatility in time for dinner. The elevator was interesting in that you picked the floor you wanted to go to. It showed up and generally went right to your floor, with maybe one other stop, even traveling from floor two to twelve. The down side for the cove bal7is that it is on floor two and buffet is on floor ten and sports deck is twelve. Lots of stairs.walking. Good exercise. The production showed were a bit different, only 35 minutes long and the singers were not the best that we have heard. They tried, but lacked full range. Overall, a good trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Much needed vacation with my daughter who was home for the holidays. I booked this cruise as a spur of the moment thing last March and did not know about this ship until I started researching it and what sold me on it was the Skyride. ... Read More
Much needed vacation with my daughter who was home for the holidays. I booked this cruise as a spur of the moment thing last March and did not know about this ship until I started researching it and what sold me on it was the Skyride. From the start of our cruise to the very end, we had no complaints and enjoyed ourselves tremendously and will be back for another sailing on this beautiful ship, because we did not get to see everything. From our cabin steward Novi to our waiter at dinner Marlon (asked for lemons one night for my water and had them every night after) and staff, they went above and beyond to make sure that we had everything that we needed and the ports of call where definitely an added bonus. If you get to sail on her, go with an open mind and try not to take the negative reviews to heart, form your own opinion. The elevators at times did take a while so be patient, they were not difficult to figure out at all. If you only have to go up or down a deck, take the stairs. We where on Deck 9 and we would walk up to the Lido Deck all the time We had not complaints on any of the food that we ate. I am a pescatarian and I had something to choose from daily. We did eat at two of the specialty restaurants Ji Ji's and Bonsai Teppanyaki, go with an empty stomach because you do get a LOT of food. Cruise Director Mike Pack is so full of energy and it is very infectious and always has a smile on his face and very approachable. We only did one excursion on this sailing in La Romana to Monkeyland and thoroughly enjoyed it and I would definitely do it again. Grand Turk, Curacao and Aruba are beautiful islands, but we only did the beach and some shopping in those ports. As the saying goes you can't make everyone happy, but if you go with an open mind you will definitely enjoy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Recently, I returned to Carnival Cruise Lines from a three year stint on Royal Caribbean. I was seduced by RCCL's mega ships, the quality of their entertainment and the novelty of their gorgeous mega ships. However, RCCL lacks ... Read More
Recently, I returned to Carnival Cruise Lines from a three year stint on Royal Caribbean. I was seduced by RCCL's mega ships, the quality of their entertainment and the novelty of their gorgeous mega ships. However, RCCL lacks something that Carnival has in spades - FRIENDLINESS and Horizon is no different. I'm a solo cruiser and on RCCL, I was very much alone. The staff at the dining rooms never even sat me with anyone else! On Horizon, I met friends on the first day during a tour of the spa and while I had dinner with them most nights, when I didn't, the staff at the dining rooms made sure I was sat with friendly people unless I asked to be alone. Embarkation: This process was not smooth. I had a check-in time of 12:30-1:00. When I arrived at the cruiseport via Carnival shuttle, I had already been checked in at the airport. Thank God! Because the lines to get in were ridiculous. I would have missed my check-in window by hours. When we got to the port, since we were already checked in at the airport, we were ushered through to a line to go through security. I was not happy about being yelled out to hurry up. The staff overseeing embarkation were clearly under a great deal of stress and were taking it out on the embarking passengers! Not cool, Carnival - not cool! I finally got onto the ship and it's a beauty. The Atrium was beautiful and friendly crew were selling lovely drinks. Elevators: One thing you should YouTube is how to use the elevators. They are very different from anything else I've ever seen and the first day was not pretty! They had a couple of elevators going to the Lido deck for lunch and a couple going to rooms. There was a long long and again - the staff was stressed out by complaining cruisers (I'm sorry to say I was one.) Please know that after Day 1, the elevators actually work really great. However, I kept reaching for buttons inside that were not there! A bit unnerving. Cabin: I had a Spa Balcony on Deck 11 and it was beautiful! I really enjoyed that cabin. I had a slight issue with a urine smell in the bathroom, but I left a note for the room steward and it was taken care of immediately. The cabin was spacious (as cabins go) and the balcony just awesome. The room was clean and well taken care of. One thing I do have a huge complaint about is the TV. It wasn't working right. The picture made everything look like an old movie. I did not complain to anyone, so I have no idea what they would have done had I mentioned it. But the worst thing was the lack of content! I think they had TBS and one other channel, some cartoons and that's about it except for cruise advertising channels. Very disappointing. I know most people don't spend much time in their rooms, but I like to kick back at night sometimes and RCCL has many stations and movies available. I really wish Carnival would up their TV game. There were some good movies available for a small fee and some for free. I like how RCCL has movies playing all the time 24 hours a day. Carnival, please improve this. If I hadn't loaded my iPad with NetFlix movies, I would really have been bummed. Steward: The steward cleaned my room every morning, kept me in ice, which I told him I liked when I first boarded, however, he wasn't the friendliest person. He was perfectly nice, but took absolutely no interest in me. On past Carnival cruises, the room steward became my friend. He was there at the beginning of my day and toward the end ever day, asking me if I needed anything, asking me about my day, where I came from, etc. This room steward - nothing. Just polite smiles and that's it. And his tip reflected that. Dining: Fantastic! I had the Java Cafe, which was more formal than it sounded, with My Time dining, which worked perfectly even without reservations (much different than RCCL, where I got a stern lecture on making reservations (jerks)). I only ate there one night, after which I either met my new Aussie friends for dinner at the other dining room reserved for My Time or went to a specialty restaurant. The food and presentation were amazing. I have mixed emotions about showtime. Some nights I had the energy to participate and some nights I was just tired from a full day and just wanted quiet and dinner. I highly recommend a trip to the Steak House! It is totally worth the price. You're treated like royalty and the food is mouth watering from beginning to end. I'm planning on going back for my next cruise in March. I heard a nightmare story about guest services messing up people's cruise accounts, so keep a close eye on that. Being the only person in my room, there was no way they could mess it up. Do yourself a favor and download the Carnival Hub app. It shows you everything that's going on around the ship, you can make dinner reservations, sign up for shows, etc. It also has a chat feature for $5. Gone are the days of looking all over the place for your friends - old and new! YAY! Spa: Carnival has one of the best spas at sea and Horizon was no different. I love the new saunas, but I don't like the way the thalasotherapy pool is right in the middle of the thermal suite with no privacy (like on Carnival Breeze where it is set aside in its own room). There were not enough heated, tiled divans and people were saving them (a habit I can't stand!). Otherwise, if you don't have a spa cabin, I recommend a day or week pass for the thermal suite, which has a beautiful view of the ocean while you relax. The Theater: I was very disappointed in Horizons theater. Other ships have couch style seating with small tables, however Horizons Liquid Lounge just has chairs. It's tacky and messy looking. Carnival - WHY?? The show I went to was with electric violins and the whole theater was set up looking like a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Beauty and the Best - this was one of the BEST shows I've ever seen. Karaoke - get there early or you won't be singing - like an hour early! I never got to sing Karaoke during my trip on the Horizon. During some of the 18+, there were many children under 18 who were allowed to take up the few spots there were. The contest was randomly picked instead of picking from among the best singers. Disappointing. They need a new Karaoke DJ on that ship as the one working it was not personable, did not interact with the crowd, did not sing and did not enforce the age restriction rules. In St. Kitts, I went on the Fan-ta-Sea excursion. The crew was fantastic, the boat was beautiful as was the scenery. I highly recommend this excursion. It is pricey, but you get first class service. These guys worked so hard for us. They were friendly, entertaining and danced with us all the way home. Remember to bring cash to tip them, because you will want to after this excursion. The food was also very good. I saw a lot of sparkly fish, a ship wreck and a giant barracuda. I also saw a couple of really cool puffer fish. This is a long day. The rum punch is excellent and the beach they took us to gorgeous. I was constantly in awe of the beautiful scenery. The crew was happy to answer questions about the distant islands, etc. Oh, and this is just a short walk from the pier, which is always a plus. They did not stop to pick up any other people - straight to the catamaran, a short briefing and then away we went. Overall, the Horizon was beautiful and her crew friendly. I've mentioned a couple of things that disappointed me, like the theater, my room steward's general invisibility, and the TV, but I had the best time of my life! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My party had a great time! I think the only 2 real complaints we had about the boat was about the elevators and the smoky casino. The elevators are suppose to be "smart" elevators. They are only as smart as the people using them ... Read More
My party had a great time! I think the only 2 real complaints we had about the boat was about the elevators and the smoky casino. The elevators are suppose to be "smart" elevators. They are only as smart as the people using them or shown how to use them. There is no real explanation on how to use them. We learned by others who showed us that you need to press the floor number you're going to as many times as there are people in your party. This would prevent the elevator from stopping on other floors if it knew that it was full to capacity. Not everyone knew this or how to do this, so the "smart" elevators are essentially dumb. Also, we were on the 14th floor, so only 2 of the elevators went to that floor. Often our elevators were locked due to crew using them for luggage or other reasons. There were times we would have to wait 20 minutes or more for an elevator. Often relenting to walking up or down several flights of stairs pending on where we wanted to go. Not that we couldn't use the exercise, but it was inconvenient at times when carrying packages, etc The casino wreaked badly of stale cigarettes. You had to walk through the casino to get to some of the places or go the long way around. They said they have a filtration system to eliminate the smoke. If they do, they need a new one or a better one. Just quickly walking through, our clothes smelled so badly and it was really hard to breathe in the area. Other than these two things, we had a great time. Plenty to do and be entertained. The crew that took care of our stateroom was fabulous. Always courteous and willing, even remembered our names. That's quite a task when every week you get new people to care for. We zip lined in Jamaica. Fabulous! Beach day in Grand Cayman! Cozumel Port itself was nice. Unless you're going to an excursion I wouldn't recommend leaving the shopping area of the port. We accidentally did without realizing. Went into a store where they tried to separate us and then shut the door behind us. Tried pressuring us into buying certain things we didn't care to buy. Lesson learned, know the boundaries. All in all a good time had by our family! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
If you have kids under 8 years old. This is the cruise for you. This is our first cruise with the kids (5, 3). They enjoyed the Dr. Seuss Waterpark a lot. Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast on the last sea day was a wonderful experience. The ... Read More
If you have kids under 8 years old. This is the cruise for you. This is our first cruise with the kids (5, 3). They enjoyed the Dr. Seuss Waterpark a lot. Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast on the last sea day was a wonderful experience. The Seuss-a-palooza parade and storytime was one of the most memorable activities. The Hasbro game show was also a great hit! The fun squad were always smiling, upbeat and made things fun all the time. If you have picky eaters, there are plenty of "plain" kid friendly options. If you don't see what you are looking for just ask. I requested a plate of sliced raw carrots and cucumbers at dinner for the kids and our wait staff, Milosh, had it ready for us when we went for dinner. Kid's menu had lots of options: pizza, hot dog, hamburger, pasta, chicken nuggets and even filet mignon. These are usually paired with French fries. They had a large dessert option too: banana split, jello, brownie, ice cream and fruit. We didnt have issues using the main pool either since we usually go on port days around lunchtime. We would get off the ship and enjoy the beach for a few hours then get back on just in time for lunch by the pool. The kids would jump back into the pool after lunch for a swim again. Life jackets are available for use and you can exchange for fresh pool towels as needed. We would usually head back to the room for a quick shower and nap before dinner at 5:30pm. After dinner, we would go to the show or just walk around the Promenade. The Hasbro game show was lots of fun. Leilani (or LeiLei) was great at hosting. She is full of enthusiasm and greeted our group each time she saw us on the ship. The music productions were great too. Definitely not your cheesy shows. The promenade always had great musicians playing and singing after dinner. We also found the library a quite spot to play board games and hang out. Ocean Club for kids is a great option if your kids are willing to part with you. Sterling was very friendly, he showed us around and invited us back the last day for a take home prize. We also enjoyed going to the Dr. Seuss reading room to read the books there. It's a colorful inviting space for kids of all ages. The two things I did not like were some guests just had no class. This is not Carnival's fault and we dont have control who you end up sailing with. In the Lido buffet we were greeted by a large group being very rowdy. Using inappropriate language and creating a scene on multiple occasions. Many other guests could not hold their tongues and asked this group to stop as they are embarrassing themselves and bothering other guests. I chose to get up and move my family to a different spot and continue our lunch. Secondly, the spa and gym area were quite small. The spa and gym share a change room and shower facility. It only has ONE washroom and TWO showers. I dont think that was a well thought out layout for such a large ship. Also there were only a few public washrooms available. On my past sailings with other cruise lines. Every floor had pucluc restrooms horizon only had public restrooms on 3, 4, 5, 10 (by the pool) and 11. Staff were all great and super friendly. My kids were greeted every morning by Dusan at the Lido buffet. He made special heart straws and napkin parrots in a cup for my son. Milosh, our wait staff in the Meridian dining room had our hot water ready and colouring books laid out for the kids. Service was slow at times but we had a table of 10 with many others in our area. The staff were doing their best. We tried most of the eateries on the ship and my favorite was Farenheit 555 (worth the $). Guys burger and the soft tacos at Cucina were great too. Anytime pizzas and make your own pasta were great options too. I would recommend this ship for kids. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Best: New ship, it's beautiful. Gaudy decor of the older ships no where to be found. Soft grays, beige, yellow, white, etc. The ship barely sways. If you like to be rocked to sleep at night, it won't happen. This new ship ... Read More
Best: New ship, it's beautiful. Gaudy decor of the older ships no where to be found. Soft grays, beige, yellow, white, etc. The ship barely sways. If you like to be rocked to sleep at night, it won't happen. This new ship cuts through the water solid with very, very little motion. 4451 passengers on board and it never felt crowded. There are a lot of spaces to be alone or with only a few other people, search them out if that's what you like. Serenity deck for adults only is great, no pool but two jacuzzis. Shows: Celestial strings was the best, get to the lounge early and sit on the first floor near the stage, the cast will dance, sing and float by you while performing. The Halloween spooky show was good but I didn't understand the plot of the story. Ocean suite #7254 was quiet and near the front of the ship. The only downside - it was a long walk to the dining room every night. Chills and Thrills experience was so much fun and only $5.50 per person. I won't spoil it for you by explaining it. Food: The food in the dining room and buffet and stations was just OK. It's nothing to rave about. Many people rave about the pizza but it was horrible and I couldn't eat it. But then I live in a city where fantastic food is the norm, maybe others are not spoiled like me and my husband by our home city. The wait staff in the MDR was just OK, they did their job efficiently but we have experienced much better on other ships. They tried. We like to eat breakfast in the MDR but found the food horrible, I couldn't eat it. After the first day we ate at the buffet for breakfast where we could pick and choose the better prepared items. Ocean Suite: Cabin was large but lacked the storage areas of other ships. I missed the two dozen pieces of glass stemware we got on other ships in the ocean suite. When we entered our suite there was only one wine glass and one small water glass. No ice in the ice bucket and the refrigerator was dirty. A call to housekeeping corrected these items along with an excuse from the cabin steward that he missed us as we first came to our cabin and didn't know what we wanted. Well, save you excuses. I felt like the cabin steward was skating a little bit on the cleaning because it was a new ship and things might have looked clean when they weren't. Elevators: There is a lot of complaining about the elevators on Cruise critic but that comes down to most people not knowing how to use them. You need to press the deck floor for each person in your party. 5 people in your party, press it 5 times. My husband and I figured out how to override the computer system by pressing the floor 13 times, at which time a second car would be sent because the elevator thinks there are a lot of people waiting. That worked great! More first day training by the staff would've helped. Gluten Free: If you are on a gluten free diet, None of the gluten free items prepared were good. If I can make wonderful gluten free desserts and pastries at home why can't a professional chef make them? Carnival needs a lot of work on this. Watch your Bill: Two charges to our room were not ours!! Customer service took one off and promised to deduct the second one but it didn't come off! All in all, we had fun and might sail Carnival again, although are thinking of trying another line for comparison. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
I have been on many cruises but this was the first to Aruba. The price was down thanks to Hurricane Mathew . Just had a few gripes . Room 9380 is close to something that will wake you at 5:00 AM . That is not my time to get up. . After ... Read More
I have been on many cruises but this was the first to Aruba. The price was down thanks to Hurricane Mathew . Just had a few gripes . Room 9380 is close to something that will wake you at 5:00 AM . That is not my time to get up. . After two nights the staff found me 7296 and a midnight move made things greater. Come on Carnival wear is the variety of food on the buffet. NCL has you beat by 10 times. I know I need to lose a few pounds , but variety is the spice that makes me come back. The ports were great with four new to me adventures. I did turn a few rocks but no Natalie. I travel solo , so lets have a solo group gathering each night . Where did the chocolates on the pillow go and charge me a dollar more , Charmins would be great in the end. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
First impression was: Bigger ship = More stuff to do. And we were right. We never cruised on the Vista before so we were pleasantly suprised. Also, at first, the different configuration of the ship (from most other Carnival ships) was a ... Read More
First impression was: Bigger ship = More stuff to do. And we were right. We never cruised on the Vista before so we were pleasantly suprised. Also, at first, the different configuration of the ship (from most other Carnival ships) was a bit surprising. Pros: 1. Embarkation and disembarkation process was much easier than ever before (really, in both cases less than 15 minutes). When you get on the Horizon, you clearly feel an upgrade from most other Carnival ships. 2. Havana staterooms (and family harbor staterooms), bar and pool, Multiplex (IMAX), Dr Seuss waterworks, upgraded Serenity adult-only retreat, free (on embarkation and sea days) Guy's Pig and Anchor BBQ Smokehouse/Brewhouse, Sky ride and rope course, miniputt 9-hole (on 2 different levels) with pool table and other new activities are additions that cannot go unnoticied. 3. Contary to what we've read multiple times before, there was no such thing as a waiting line in almost everything we wanted to do. Sure there were small 25-30 people lines for the comedy shows, and yes, you had small 10-15 minute lines if you were trying to get breakfast at 10 AM, and finally a bit of a wait on last night trying to get the alcohol back, you tried to smuggle in during the cruise, but other than that our general feeling was that there was so many things to do, every day, every night, that there was basicly no wait in everything we wanted to to. Even the smoking areas (more than all the other ships we've been on in the past) offer free space most of the time. 4. Mike, the cruise director, was a beast :-) (ok, with a broken voice in the early mornings, but hey, you should have seen the guy go at night). And the Carnival hub he keeps talking about, well worth the trouble of getting it and learning how it works. To us, this hub is the best thing that has happened to Carnival over the last few years. Cons: 1. The dining room configuration, Steakhouse and Sushi restaurant location (5th Floor right in the middle of a busy intersection) were negatives to us. As avid poker players we never got to play any poker mostly because the only poker table is now located in the Sports bar and is mostly used as a normal table (maybe because we were cruising during the World Series, but the noise, anyway, was too much in such a small closed area). Which is sad because the new bigger poker table looked a lot nicer than it was on other ships. We believe even though they tried a few times, both the cash games and the usual satellite tournament never happened. 2. Above I talked a bit about the dining room but we wanted to make a distinct point about it because we felt this was the biggest let down of the cruise. Almost every day/night we were put in what felt to be little separate sections of the dining room. Always with different people and different waiters (so zero chance to create any relationship with other passengers or crew members), In most cases the waiters were clearly either sub-par or overworked. Even the food didn't feel as good and as tasty as it used to be. 3. The offers. At first, this doesn't seems that important, but we realized, during the cruise, that a lot of people that complaint, paid a lot (or the money they paid means a lot of sacrifices to them) to have the chance to be there. Although we understand it's never a garantee, the general way of doing things with Carnival is the more money you spend on a cruise, the better your chance of getting freebies, bounce back offers and even free cabins for future cruises are good incentives for people to cruise back with Carnival. But those offers nowadays are a lot less attractive than what they used to be and we truly believe it makes a huge impact on the customers satisfaction on the general experience they get when Cruising with Carnival. As a whole, this cruise n the Horizon what a big YES for us. We would recommand it to everyone. But again, some people paid over 3100$ US for their balcony cabin, while we only paid for taxes and gratuities (about 460$ US). Exactly my point here. We were offered the balcony cabin (and many, many, many other perks, every day during the cruise, including free alcohol in the casino, free meal at the Steakhouse (with a bottle of wine), a big basket of fruits (including a bottle of white wine), a bottle of Champagne, chocolate strawberries, cookies, etc...etc...) because we were included in what they call the Premier VIP group. Those guys threat you well. Of course, even though it seems free, it was not, as you only get in one of those groups (they have a few groups even though it's less advertized) when you spend a lot on the ship. Mostly, of course, in the Casino. In the past, they would offer you a free inside cabin when you get to about 5000 points in the Casino. When both members of a cabin get to about 7500 points they would offer you up to a free balcony cabin. One thing is to be understood also, here. Even though free drinks in the Casino seems like a nice perk (worth almost 400$/person), every person having played in the Casino knows that to get to the required 1500 points on your Sail and Sign card to get the free drinks only takes 2-3 days to get if you a an average player. In the past, they even had Ultra groups with better perks. The Premier VIP group we were in even had a welcome party (which was great) on the first day with of course free drinks and free food (including tasty sushi) for everyone. They also have daily raffles where you can win up to a free cruise (worth around 2500$ US, I believe they said) at the end. If we take the time to mention all this, it is not to to gloat or to say how lucky we were. As we said, in the past the offers were much more generous. No, if we take the time to mention all those things, it's only to make clear that we believe all someone having to pay less than 500$ for the entire cruise (including gratuities), in a balcony cabin, will always be less critical than those who paid around 3100$ (with no perks). And for now, the prices to get on the Horizon, even though well worth it on so many levels, are still a bit high compared to most other Carnival cruises. Our thanks to the Premier VIP group people that were amazing throughout the cruise. Thanks to Mike, the Cruise Director and thanks to Carnival for all the fun we had. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My husband and I are platinum on Carnival, with a total of 35+ cruises across several cruise lines. This is our first cruise on this class ship and got a great last minute deal (2 weeks out) on a cove balcony. There were plenty of platinum ... Read More
My husband and I are platinum on Carnival, with a total of 35+ cruises across several cruise lines. This is our first cruise on this class ship and got a great last minute deal (2 weeks out) on a cove balcony. There were plenty of platinum and diamond guests on this cruise. (The past guest party was split into two different times and held in the main theater during the last sea day.) Since this new Carnival ship seems to be getting a bad rap, I thought I would share some of the good...and there was plenty (of course a few negatives, and I'll give those later.) This was our first cove balcony and we would definitely book again. The only downfall was it was located on deck 2, right below the galley and loud thumps woke us numerous times (we're light sleepers.) We loved the cove versus the standard balcony and would book again. Positives The ship was very nice, the staff all welcoming and everyone seemed to enjoy working on the ship. The layout can be a bit confusing the first couple of days, but the Carnival app is helpful in navigating the ship. The Family Harbor. We were a couple doors down from the family suites and they seemed very popular with the younger crowd. They have a family hangout area where the kids congregated - they had snacks, breakfast and other activities. (You needed a special keycard to access the hangout area so I thought that was a great safety feature.) If I had young children or teens, I would definitely try it! Food. We've cruised Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian and still feel that Carnival's food is a notch above the rest. The buffet was the standard fare and sometimes nothing looked appetizing - but then again after several days, you just get tired of the same old stuff. Kudos to Carnival for expanding the buffet. There were several stations so there was a lot less bottleneck to get to the food...and there seemed to be a lot more seating - we never had trouble finding somewhere to sit. Another plus is Carnival opened two of the $$ restaurants during the day and you could eat there for free...I think it was JiJi Asian kitchen was the Mongolian Wok during the day and Cucina del Capitano served complimentary Italian during the day. Both were located close to each other and someone stood near the entrance to help you find a table. They also offered a nice salad bar in the Serenity area on sea days. And, last but not least, they expanded the Sea Day brunch which we took advantage of a couple of times. Of course, there’s the usual pizza place, Blueiguana Cantina, Guy’s burger joint and the main deli…all quite busy during prime time. The Guy’s Pig and Anchor (Guy Fieri namesake restaurant) was meh…at least for me. The flavor was good, but gosh a little salt would go a long way. No complaints though…it was free on certain days and a nice change of pace. Bottom line…there seemed to be a lot more choices and Carnival is working hard to keep people’s palates happy…no one should go hungry! NEGATIVES OR NEUTRAL. Entertainment. I have mixed feelings on this. We enjoyed two of the shows but the Liquid Lounge (main theater) is way too small for the number of people on this ship. If you want to see the shows and snag a decent seat, you will have to go early. Ours was an eight day cruise with four port stops, and I think if there were more sea days, we would’ve been scrounging around for things to do. It was the typical trivia with a few other activities sprinkled in, but I think Carnival’s main goal is to sell, sell, sell. Ugh. Casino. Like the main theater (Liquid Lounge), the casino is small and very, very smoky. Carnival stuck the casino bar smack dab in the center and the smokers congregate there at all hours. You have to walk through the casino to get to several areas and just walking through made us smell like we just rolled in a dirty ashtray. There is NO non-smoking area of the casino so if you’re sensitive to cigarette smoke, you may want toavoid it. The highly-hyped obstacle course and skyride were both closed for the duration of our cruise, I’m sure disappointing at least a few of our fellow passengers. Other: The new elevator system took some getting used to - when we boarded, crew members were stationed there to help passengers navigate the system. Unfortunately, the crew member we spoke with had the wrong information. Before leaving, I read that you needed to push the button for the floor you wanted - for each person who was going to board (my husband later confirmed this on the television), but the gal operating the buttons told us to only push it once. Tip: The more people who push the button for the floor you’re headed to, the quicker the elevator will arrive. Ports: Grand Turk. We’ve been several times. We walked to the end of the pier to check our cell phones and then got back on. San Juan. We walked to Walgreen’s to pick up some supplies. Hurricane Maria remnants are everywhere and looking back, we should’ve done a local tour to help the residents. They need cruise ship passengers to support the local businesses. It was sad to see the state of the island. St. Kitts. We took a Segway tour (via the cruise line). This was my second time on a Segway and had it been my first, I probably would’ve freaked out. It was tricky navigating some of the side streets, traffic and pedestrians. It was fun, but not necessarily for the faint of heart. St. Martin/Philipsburg. We’ve been several times. Again, there was hurricane damage to the island, but they seem to be recovering at a faster clip than poor San Juan. Final thoughts: It was a great cruise for the price we paid. If I were looking for another cruise, I would definitely consider Carnival Horizon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We wanted to cruise on this new ship, we had booked a B2B about a year out(30 Sep and 6 Oct cruises) Forgot to check if I had an Early Saver rate as the price on last minute balconies dropped a lot. Check in was fast for the Platinum ... Read More
We wanted to cruise on this new ship, we had booked a B2B about a year out(30 Sep and 6 Oct cruises) Forgot to check if I had an Early Saver rate as the price on last minute balconies dropped a lot. Check in was fast for the Platinum group, we just walked on. As many have mentioned, the dining room food was ok to say the least. Generally cool and not warm, they need to use plate warmers. But the soups were always hot and good. The desserts were good too. The second cruise had better food and a bit warmer. My wife likes rice, terrible, and she gave up ordering it, like Minute Rice. And one night ordered salmon, did not like the fish she tried, and it came out very hot. So they can do it if they want to. The buffet had nothing for us to even try, just food for the masses. But the Gelato station they added was good. We ate mostly at the Mongolian Wok, pretty good. The pasta next door at the Italian restaurant was really good. The deli is still good, but they cook the Reubans different, no panini press, but toasted. Both Guy venues are good and did not disappoint. For breakfast ate at the Blue Iguana, I like the Huevo Rancheros, We received the email that the Sky Rider would be down for both cruises. On the 4th day of the second cruise it was up and running. Fun to ride and worth the wait. The Sky Course never had any lines, and also fun. The water park was refreshing and great for kids. I am 70 and had to try them all. We went to the IMAX to see the Panda documentary, worth the 5.50 cost. The shows were good, can’t see why some thought they were terrible. One may not like the music but they do a good job. Mike Pack was really a good director, I think we saw more of him than other directors on differnet cruises. They do a good job with the Military Appreciation event, and both weeks were still good, with new stories and veterans to meet. The new theater design is more like a club atmosphere. Only the 930 show was busy, we ate at 600 and always found a seat for the 730 show. Our balcony room was one deck above deck 5 promenade,so there some noise from people walking below. We left Miami and there was a whistling noise from door, they came up and tightened doof latch, problem solved. At night there was a booming beat we could hear. I could sleep and never knew where is came from, maybe Lido deck, or in ship design. Staff was always good and no problems there. The port visits are worth it for me, I still Scuba dive, and did Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Grand Turk. Great diving if one can do it. Took the Top 10 tour on St Kitts and St Maarten, both worth the money. And a lot to see, just use the Carnival Credit Card to save money. Could go on with more items, but we had fun, the dining room food was the big disappointment. We have already booked the Panorama for Apr 2020 with the daughters family and grandkids. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I choose the Carnival Horizon for a 2 day cruise because I wasn't sure when I would be able to go on this one for a week or longer. The ship is beautiful! The food was great, however at the lido for breakfast their weren't many ... Read More
I choose the Carnival Horizon for a 2 day cruise because I wasn't sure when I would be able to go on this one for a week or longer. The ship is beautiful! The food was great, however at the lido for breakfast their weren't many options as I expected. There are 2 buffets at the lido and each station is set up with 4 sides, each station had the same stuff. Also, for lunch at the lido it was the same set up so of course we had many options besides the lido such as the pizza, Guy's burgers, the deli and Blue Iguana. Guy's Burgers as usual is awesome. Blue Iguana was great. The deli really surprised us. Normally on Carnival ships the deli is pretty basic with wraps and not too many options but this deli had a menu of cold and hot items, plus fries and cookies. The hot items were great you had hot dogs, buffalo chicken sandwiches and meatball subs plus more. The gelato station was nice they offer 2 flavors and then you have a toppings bar. Unfortunately we couldn't find the cotton candy station. The dinner at the main dining was great we never had a complain about the service or the food. The breakfast served at the Meridian restaurant was just as great. Another big surprise was seeing a Victoria Secret which was very different. Cherry on top was great especially in the back where you can sit and eat your ice cream, it was very quiet and relaxing. We do have unfortunately some cons to write about. When we first got on the ship until about after the Muster drill ended, the elevators were not working so most people did not want to wait 20 plus minutes so we all decided to take the stairs to each deck which was horrible. This has never happened on any ship. Every Carnival ship that we go on we get 1 free liter of water for each guest and after asking our room steward for them we only ended up getting 2 bottles and we were 4 in our cabin. I didn't have the time or energy to continue asking for them. Another disappointment was the comedian (PG) I completely forgot his name but he was not funny at all and I feel like Carnival failed when it came to this type of entertainment. Also the Sky ride and obstacle course were down due to maintenance...really? Why couldn't this get fixed before you boarded 3,000 plus people? Huge disappointment that we couldn't experience that. The thrill theater was very fun and when we got there it was 8 pm and I was able to book tickets for an 8:15 show so we were very lucky. Overall we had a great time although it was very short. We are looking forward to booking on the Horizon again for a much longer time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Okay, lets start off by saying the carnival horizon is getting a bad rep. It has had a string of unfortunate events happen, engine problems, crew member passing, skyride not working, and a port crash. Some of these are bad luck, some are ... Read More
Okay, lets start off by saying the carnival horizon is getting a bad rep. It has had a string of unfortunate events happen, engine problems, crew member passing, skyride not working, and a port crash. Some of these are bad luck, some are unfortunate circumstance, and some are new ship issues. But don't let these things stop you from cruising on this fantastic ship. So, i am going to do this review in several parts. Pros and cons. And tips and suggestions. Lets start with the Cons: The main theater sightlines are terrible. The structure poles and low hanging lighting block the shows (so get there...early). The cabin is pretty carnival standard but of a brand new $800 million dollar ship should have outlets by the bed. The bathroom was nice, but once again your $800 million dollar ship flagship should have a glass enclosure on the shower, not a flimsy shower curtain that sticks to you and the toilet... and carnival please remove the toilet brush, nobody wants to see that...ughhhh. The horizon has 3 pools, but they are too small and too few for a ship of this size. And we noticed on our cruise, at the rear of the ship (pool area), smelled like diesel smoke. (but this maybe due to sailing in september and high humidity, which made the funnel smoke hang lower). Hurry lng ships... Now on to the many Pros: The buffet was not was good as royal caribbean, but it didn't have to be, because horizon has so many food options. The buffet, the main dining room, asian food, tacos, seafood, guys burgers, italian, 24hr pizza, room service, sandwiches, hot dogs, salad bar, bbq. So finding something was not a problem. The music was great (way better than royal), the ships decor was modern and fresh. The staff was young energetic and friendly (especially our room attendant "Windu" and "Arine Rose" in Ocean Plaza) The comedy shows were great every night. (Especially "Spike Davis") There are many activities, imax/3d movie theater, sports bar, havana bar dancing, skycourse, sports deck, night time movies on the deck (find a spot and some food, good times), and the ships main draw. The "skyride" it is the closest thing to a rollercoaster on a ship (try it on sea-days) and on this sailing we waited no longer than 15 mins. And one activity that's really an non activity is the promenade. Because of the design of the ship the outdoor waterfront had plenty of areas to just go chill and enjoy the sea. Laundry washers and Dryers and ironing board (good especially if you had kids) And the nyc port had the fastest getting on and off the ship, we ever experienced. With parking right by the ship. Also, the carnival hub app actually worked great, it had deck plans, your pictures, showtimes, and activities. The best feature was the Chat, which allow you to Text other members (it was $5.00 for the week) Tips and Suggestions: The carnival vista, horizon and panorama are carnival's new class of ships, the flagships of the fleet. Please change the hull art. Add some stripes (maybe the same as the funnel) enlarge the ship name on the sides, something, because these ships from the outside look like carnival ships from 10-15 years ago. Not latest and greatest. Please do something different with your upcoming 188,000 ton ship(s). $800 million dollar ships, add some outlets beside the bed. Get rid of the toilet brush, nobody wants to see that...ughhhh. And enclose the showers with glass. The controversial "smart elevators" for the most part they work. The problem is if you change your mind after you get in, you can't change your mind (no buttons). Carnival should have conventional elevators, along with smart elevators.. So to sum it up carnival horizon is a wonderful, loud, ship with plenty of food, music and activities. It's not royal caribbean, and that's okay... So in the future, we will sail on Carnival's newest ships I also must thank the captain for getting, us home safe ahead of the hurricane. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
For some background, I'm a male in his early 30s who, with this cruise, has now sailed 3 Carnival, 2 Royal Caribbean, and 1 Princess ship, and I consider the Horizon the best ship of the 6 I've experienced. However, some minor ... Read More
For some background, I'm a male in his early 30s who, with this cruise, has now sailed 3 Carnival, 2 Royal Caribbean, and 1 Princess ship, and I consider the Horizon the best ship of the 6 I've experienced. However, some minor issues, which Carnival had varying levels of control over, kept the actual onboard experience from matching the "wow" factor of the ship itself. Will break down positives/negatives below (it is comprehensive, so I hope you find it informative): Embarkation in Manhattan: This went way smoother than the previous cruise I was on (with Royal Caribbean out of Boston, where security was so short-staffed that a ship with merely 2,100 passengers had lines stretching and wrapping the length of the building just to simply get inside). Not only was there no issue this time immediately entering the building and getting through security, there was ample seating, an area to buy snacks/drinks, and a streamlined process that allowed your photo to be lifted from your passport and immediately programmed to your sail and sign card (which eliminated the need to even go to the counter at all if you checked in online beforehand). Even with a ship of well over 4,000 passengers, we were onboard in no time. Ship Layout: While some might bristle at the notion of being on board with so many fellow passengers, I was very confident in Carnival (and the cruise industry in general) being wise enough to have the crowd management logistics down for these megaships they're building, and sure enough, no particular areas felt overly-crowded compared to cruises on smaller ships, as people instinctively gravitated towards different places for their own brand of fun (I think the most cramped I saw a venue was the Havana Lounge when it hosted what proved to be a wildly-popular afternoon of karaoke). Though the ship is large, it's just as easy to navigate as Carnival's smaller ships and has the same familiar feel - expect to find decks 3, 4, and 5 as having the main indoor public areas you'll have reason to go to, and all decks Lido deck and above as the main outdoor places to be (though deck 6 is where you'll find the entrance to the IMAX and 4-D theaters, which to me is a better use of space than having the 3-deck atrium stretch higher up like more-traditional atriums). What also helps spread out the passengers, besides the ship being a bit longer and a couple decks taller than most, is the widening of the exterior promenade to allow for outdoor eating/relaxing on deck 5. What might please those about the casino is that it's relatively less smoky being a newer ship, and it's also not located in a spot where you'll feel like you always have to walk through it to get to everything. One thing I did sense was that the public restrooms had no real symmetry from one deck to another, so those didn't seem as easy to identify, and it was odd for them to convert the comedy show lounge for late-night dance music rather than have a real nightclub scene. As far as the new elevator system that a lot of people have written about, it's real simple - you simply just choose what floor you want from the hallway and enter the car that the screen designates for you (does this system work faster or slower? Probably about the same). Entertainment/Activities: This was a key reason why I was excited to choose this ship - the sheer variety of choices of how and where on the ship to spend your days/nights. Yes, you'll have your normal trivia games, music competitions, poolside fun, sports activities, gambling, comedy/Broadway-style shows, etc., but having new offerings on this front allows for greater possibilities. I seized the opportunity to do the Sky Ride (a bike track suspended from a metal rail high up on the ship) and it was quite a thrill to pedal yourself around the sports deck, and even a little bit over the ocean below; expect the line to ride it though to be 30-40 minutes long, less if you go while others are in port (I didn't do the adjacent Sky Course, which resembled a family-friendly Ninja Warrior-type ropes course that seemed to be more kid-centric). Speaking of the sports deck, it also had other diverting options like foosball, 4-way ping pong, and a life-sized billiard setup where you kick soccer balls into the pockets (I had seen a pic leading up to the vacation showing a small bowling lane, but that appeared not to exist anymore). I did watch a 3-D space documentary in the aforementioned IMAX theater (there were another 4 or 5 documentary subjects offered, each costing $5.50 to see; the full-length feature films were the normal price of a movie ticket and included current releases), but I never got around to trying the 4-D theater, which was also the same additional cost (there were 3 experiences - kid-friendly, PG13-type action, and R-rated horror - at between 12 and 17 minutes each). A cool feature of the ship was an in-house brewery which produced 4 regular and 1 seasonal craft brews for select bars (they also hosted tours of the facility with plenty of tastings for $25, which is a pretty good deal if you're into that kind of thing). Between the normal cruise activity options and the innovative features this ship has, there's plenty to do if you want to keep busy. The main flaws I saw in this category was some "sloppiness" in how they executed some of the game-related items (some of the trivia "answers" were wrong, pieces were missing from board games in the library bar, etc.), and there was no real "middle ground" in terms of music volume in venues - everything was amped up or no music at all, rather than places where you could hold a conversation while light background music was present (this imbalance in sound level was particularly off-putting for my father, who I was traveling with). Dining/Bars: Another high point of this particular ship, as there were so many dining options in particular to choose from, beyond the normal buffet, main dining rooms, and specialty restaurants. Besides the very good burrito bar and Guy's Burgers that Carnival is known for having on many ships now, the real good finds for included lunch fare are the asian and italian restaurants above the Lido deck (they make made-to-order noodle and pasta dishes, respectively, for you for lunch, only converting to paid specialty restaurants with larger menus for dinner) and the other Guy's eatery, which is a BBQ joint on deck 5 (same deal, it has a limited complimentary lunch menu that gets expanded during the for-fee dinner). Within the buffet was a deli that did fresh sandwiches and drew a sizable line later in the evening, along with the pizza stand, as other lunch options closed (one improvement that could have been made here was allowing people to help themselves to the hot dogs specifically, since what wait time existed at this station was for those who were getting other sandwiches that take longer to prepare). The main dining room food was solid every night and consistent with the quality of other past cruises I've done (I also did a seaday brunch in the dining room one morning, which I've liked in the past, though we almost walked out due to how long it took them to bring the order out). Bars were plentiful throughout the ship and it was great to see each have its own different personality with their featured drinks and atmosphere (Havana - Cuban decor/music/mojitos, Guy's Pig & Anchor - Country-Western with the craft beers and whiskey/bourbon-centric cocktails, Alchemy - martinis with no music to allow for good conversation, Blue Iguana - tequila bar, Red Frog - rum bar, and non-themed standard bars elsewhere). Staff/Service: This was a little hit-or-miss. On the smaller, more-intimate Serenade of the Seas I did with Royal Caribbean last year, I actually developed a connection with several of the entertainment staff, often learning their names and seeing them in between activities chatting up passengers and hanging out in public areas during some of their down time. Here however, the entertainment staff seemed to do a professional and serviceable job whenever they hosted something, but would leave promptly to get to their next assignment and simply did nothing to stand out to make their presence really known (only the entertainment staff member who emcee'd the comedy club seemed to really show some higher-than-average enthusiasm when she interacted with guests). In fact, besides the hilarious, adult-oriented Quest event (which I highly recommend on any ship that hosts this), the entertainment staff really didn't seem to let loose at all (side note: the two main DJs, DJ Xtreme in particular, were very uninspired with their playlists, pumping out some very stale tracks throughout the trip; unless you really want to hear East Coast rap from 15 years ago, don't expect their nightly sets to evoke a great party atmosphere). The waitstaff in the main dining room were fantastic as always, with one particular guy having some fun with us with card tricks, although I did feel a little rushed through each meal, relative to past cruises. The biggest issue was with the cabin cleaning team, as even though our main steward was friendly and attentive, someone in that department inexplicably knocked on our door way too early on 3 different mornings to ask if we were ready for our room to be serviced (as in, between 7:00-8:30 AM, no reason to be woken up like that 3 times). Probably the group that most stood out were bar staff around the ship, as the ladies working the bar at Pig & Anchor, 2 of the lobby bartenders, and 1 of the Havana bartenders in particular really seemed to be personable and take pride in their work (I didn't get a drink at the Alchemy Bar, but each night that place seemed pretty fun and lively, too). ***The worst problem with this cruise, and it's hard to really fault anyone specifically for this, was unfortunately several fellow passengers that negatively affected the atmosphere. While we met a lot of great people on the ship, most notably our dinner mates that we became friends with, there were far too many who simply made the voyage a bit "trashy." One night, a Jerry Springer-level yelling match broke out in front of me at the deli station, simply because one hot-headed woman took offense to another hot-headed woman telling her she didn't order loud enough to be heard and keep the line moving. With live music available all over the ship, several passengers were blasting their own personal speakers at places that didn't need more noise (while waiting for elevators, sitting in the Serenity deck hot tubs, and even on the pool deck WHILE movies were being watched by dozens of people). Another guest casually walked down a hallway smoking a joint. Ports: The ship, time of the year, and convenience of leaving from NY were the main factors for choosing this itinerary, not so much the ports of call. I don't have much to contribute in terms of my experiences with the 3 islands, as we didn't do any excursions that took us beyond the immediate port areas at Grand Turk or Dominican Republic (we were content just hanging out poolside and having lunch at Margaritaville in a cabana, and walking around the port/shopping area at Amber Cove, both of which were nice enough, but uneventful), and our time in Puerto Rico was spent simply walking around a handful of blocks around San Juan with our dinner mates. One thing I noticed was Carnival had staff members positioned right along the outside of the ship to offer ice water as guests walked back to the gangway, a nice touch. Disembarkation: Not quite as seamless, with a bit of an unexplained delay for a period of time, but eventually got off the ship, through security (a security member was slightly agitated in tone when she saw me with my cell phone out and told me I couldn't use it in the building; not sure why, since that wasn't a problem at embarkation), and hailed an Uber to leave from the cruise terminal. Overall, another fantastic cruise on a ship I wouldn't hesitate going on again, with a company who does a lot of things right to make your vacation a blast. Already looking at options for my next voyage. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
First off, a little background. I am a 62 year old widower traveling with my 33 year old son.This was my 5th cruise with Carnival (in addition to 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess, and 1 with Norweigan). This was the 6th with my son, ... Read More
First off, a little background. I am a 62 year old widower traveling with my 33 year old son.This was my 5th cruise with Carnival (in addition to 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess, and 1 with Norweigan). This was the 6th with my son, so we have a pretty good level of experience. Embarkation in New York went smoothly and we were on the ship within an hour of arrival to the port. The ship: We selected this ship because my son wanted to try a new ship that was large and had the newest "bells and whistles".The Horizon just hit the water a few months prior and with The Vista is the largest of the Carnival fleet.Its passenger capacity is about 4,000 (double occupancy, but when you consider the 3rd and 4th in the cabins, the census is probably over 5,000.We had an inside cabin (our usual choice ) that was quite adequate for us with everything in good working order.It has a new computerized elevator system (more on that later), a "sky ride", a rope course, a large waterpark area, an I-Max theatre, and a few other "bells and whistles". Because of the large capacity, some of the lunch venues and activities sometimes have some sort of lines, but only a very few times were the lines a problem. For the most part, the ship handled the passenger density well enough with the many food and activity venues. For those who have cruised before, you'll appreciate that it was rare not to find lounge chairs when you looked for one. The flaws: My main complaint with the ship is that it seemed every venue's music was blasting. I understand during a party or whatever, but when one seeks out an area to converse with a bar and some background music, it was almost impossible to find. Also (but it didn't really apply to me), this was the 1st ship I've sailed on that didn't have a dedicated dance club. If that is your thing, you have to check out the daily activities sheet to find out the location of that night's dancing. The elevators: You may read about the computerized system from other reviews, etc. It is a big bag of "nothing". Yes, it works differently from your usual elevator experience, but you get used to it with a short period of time...and it does work a bit better, but not earthshattering. The food: First dinners in the main dining room: Plenty of variety every night with at least several choices for soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, and desserts...all quite yummy. The breakfast and lunch and other included dinner venues (mostly on the Lido deck, but also spread out on other decks) include a large general buffet, a deli, 24 hour pizza, a Guy Fieri branded hamburger stand, a build your own burrito area, as well as quite a few more (plus the availability of a sit down meal in the dining room). We never ate in any of the "premium" venues, but in speaking to some who did, they apparently were top notch. I can never understand those that think negatively of Carnival's food. The activities: Typical cruise stuff- trivia, bingo, comedy shows, multiple movie venues (poolside under the stars, I-Max, etc.), shows in the main theatre, themed parties, etc....certainly the "something for everybody" mentality. The staff: I can't compliment them enough, especially our dining room waitstaff headed by Antonio, and the 2 ladies handling the bar at the Guy Fieri BBQ restaurant on deck 5. They were, without exception, wonderful. However, the stateroom staff had a habit of waking us early (3 x including 7:00 AM on disembarkation day). An annoyance that shouldn't occur on a cruise vacation. The ports: Did not do any of the excursions, walked the Old City of San Juan which was right at the ship's location in port. Hung out at Margaritaville in Grand Turk, and walked the port area at Amber Cove. Disembarkation: Not nearly as smooth as getting on the ship, but tolerable. Took a bit long with delays. Overall, a good, experience.My son loved the Sky Ride and the other "bells and whistles" Should lower the volume is some of the venues, but overall the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Great last-minute Carnival Cruise (booked 2 weeks before 8/28 departure) from Home Port. Carnival works for us THE POSITIVES: Great Value especially with not having to pay for flights No Flights for locals (No worry about ... Read More
Great last-minute Carnival Cruise (booked 2 weeks before 8/28 departure) from Home Port. Carnival works for us THE POSITIVES: Great Value especially with not having to pay for flights No Flights for locals (No worry about what to pack, bag weight, liquids, early airport arrivals, carry-on vs check-in, TSA lines, delays, car service to and from airport). Pack what you want and bring it aboard!!! Less than 1 Hour Drive from Home to Port 1/2 hour from port arrival to being on-board New York Departure (Harbor, Statue of Liberty, Verrazano Bridge, etc.) New Carnival Ship with nice features Rare itinerary especially from New York (Grand Turk, Amber Cove and Puerto Rico) Room 9377 –inside category for 4, very convenient location (Underneath the Lido restaurant). No noise issues, easy to walk up to all action. Room Stewart was awesome FREE Carnival Hub app was great for checking and setting favorites for activities with reminders, Account balance check, Dinner reservations, $5 per person texting option was a good value and useful. Great FREE lunch options (Guys, Burgers, Guys Pig & Anchor BBQ, Serenity Salad Bar, Blue Iguana Cantina, Cucina de Capitano, JiJi Asian Kitchen, Sandwiches, Pizza,etc Cake Bar in Lido deck had different selections of at least 5 different cakes everyday Main Dinning for Dinner was great (Good food and varying selection every night). Carnival still serves Lobster! Requested table via the Carnival Hub app and 5 – 10 minutes later table # was available on the app. Just walked down and was seated immediately every night. I don't know why so many people were waiting at the 5th floor desk. Sky Ride, Sky Course amazing over the blue water Water Slides Entertainment and game staff are engaged and enthusiastic (Good shows, great trivia and games (Digital scavenger hunts, Celebrity identify crisis, CLUE, Lip Sync,etc). Newly Wed show, Battle of the sexes The Club House and O2 teen club – great for kids. My 16 year old would disappear except for meeting ups for Dinner and to sleep at 1:30AM. AMBER COVE: Beautiful, private and new. We did the Damajagua 27 waterfalls with an outside excursion company (Actually did 12 of 27 as most excursions do because of time constraints but it was great). You will have to walk out of the port, parking and meet unauthorized excursion companies at the highway- before the port entry PUERTO RICO: San Juan is back and better than ever. We walk to the closest fort Castilo San Cristobal, paid admission then walked to El Morro fort via the road overlooking the ocean and passing by “La Perla” where the Despacito video was filmed. We got into El Morro for free with our receipt from San Cristobal. Then we walk back to the ship via the old streets full of shops, food, and people. Everyone was so nice. AMAZING! I am a NewYorkRican so yes, I am Bias THE NEGATIVES: Muster Drill took almost 1 hour (guests must take some blame as many just ignored the request) Inside category room with 2 drop down bunks was a little tight for my wife, myself and 2 teenagers Main Dining Room Staff is efficient but not friendly. No small talk, no getting to know you, just take your order, bring your food and thanks for coming. Did not mind it much as we did not have to wait for a table on any night. But a little more friendly and interactive service would be nice. Pool Decks and Lounge chairs were always crowded and ‘reserved’ with towels and items. Not much of a bother for us as we did a lot of the “inside activities such as trivia, demos, etc. We also found some nice chairs in the Serenity Deck and also above the Havana Pool. Lunch Buffet selection was not great and small. Issue is they have 2 small buffet stations on each side of the Lido restaurant serving the same items. Again, this was not a big deal for us because we took advantage of the many FREE lunch options (see positives above) Grand Turk: Just a strip of beach overwhelmed with too many people from the ship. We walked all the way to the end and laid out in front of Jacks Shack where it was less crowded and the water had less seaweed. I did go out and snorkel by the pier, although pretty deep and clear, not much to see. I would prefer an overnight in Puerto Rico instead. Disembarkation - a NIGHTMARE first experiment with new system of guests going up to the LIDO deck and get their own luggage tag #s during the last night. By the time I got up there only #s 27-30 which were 9:00 – 10:00AM disembak. We got # 27 which was 9:00AM We did not get off the ship until 11:00AM. It was horrible. New Elevator System was a bit of a mess and I think increased wait times. But again it did not bother us as we walked up and down most of time from our 9th floor Cabin to 5th floor for many of the games and trivia SUMMARY: We had a great cruise. This was our 8th Carnival Cruise and it just works for us. We did RCCL Allure last year and for us Carnival is much better value. The price, FREE dining options, and Entertainment, the Free useful App. I feel RCCL nickels and dimes you for everything. Also, the RCCL staff was not very friendly and arrogant on Allure. We have also done Princess, MSC and Norwegian but we are Carnivalers cruisers. I feel Carnival tries hard t is not just about the $. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Recently sailed the Horizon and it truly was an amazing vacation. The embarkation from NY was fast. We were on in 15 minutes. I had priority boarding since I booked a Suite and my room was also ready. My son had a balcony, however they ... Read More
Recently sailed the Horizon and it truly was an amazing vacation. The embarkation from NY was fast. We were on in 15 minutes. I had priority boarding since I booked a Suite and my room was also ready. My son had a balcony, however they allowed him to board with me.  The ship is simply beautiful and very clean. Our room steward Silvana was top notch. She took great care of us. We didnt have to ask for anything. She brought robes, slippers, extra towels and blankets, buckets of ice everyday ( the room was very cold, but I didn't complain).  We requested service once a day, but she serviced our cabins twice a day.  She addressed all of us by name everytime we encountered her including her seeing us in PR on the street.  The MDR staff...our waiters Erik and Wijana were amazing. We ate Seaday Brunch and breakfast on port days there. Food was delicious and plentiful. We rarely ate in Lido... the food there is terrible. We tried Bonsai Teppanyaki, Cucina, and Guys Smokehouse & Brewery for dinner...all great service and well worth the added expense. For lunch we ate at the Deli, Mongolian Wok, Seafood Shack and Bonsai Sushi. We didn't purchase Cheers,  however we preordered water, soda, beer and wine for our cabins. I had a total of $980 in gift cards and OBC so I walked off the ship owing nothing. The pools were over run by kids daily. We waited until after 7 to visit the Havana Area. Quiet and we enjoyed ourselves. The chair hogs were out in full force everyday. Same people, hogging the same chairs. Carnival should address this issue. The smart elevators worked great when we took them..no long wait at all. The lines for food were never long except at Mongolian Wok which turned us away one day because they were at capacity. Lots of great entertainment so there's always something to do. The sports square was a lot of fun. In tge last sea day we rode the Sky Ride. It was cool. If you love music, be sure to go see Crushed Velvet and the Brass Band in Ocean Plaza. I spent a lot of time there. I loved the new Pixel Gallery. Simple to purchase and you can view your photos from the Hub App. We chose Your Time Dining. We checked in before we arrived and our table was ready in 5 minutes. Overall this trip was wonderful. I would certainly cruise the Horizon again, but not from NY ( if it was staying). My two complaints were the smoking on the balcony...cigarettes and weed. I could smell it from my cabin and it wasn't plesant. In addition, there seemed to be a lot of folks with no class on the ship. Witnessed arguments and a fight. I'm not accustomed to that behavior so it was a bit shocking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had a great time on this cruise and I would sail on the same ship again. That being said, it was imperfect. I thought the staff on the ship was great. By the pool a waitress asked if I wanted a drink, suggested a drink, brought it ... Read More
We had a great time on this cruise and I would sail on the same ship again. That being said, it was imperfect. I thought the staff on the ship was great. By the pool a waitress asked if I wanted a drink, suggested a drink, brought it quickly, and later remembered what I'd had and corrected the number when I accidentally gave her one of the kids cards. The drinks were sufficiently strong. I mostly drank the wine I brought from home on the cruise but we're not big drinkers. If you need anything from the front desk you have to go in person. They never pick up the phone no matter how long you hold. I tried calling 4 times while on the ship. The lines weren't long in person. None of the little items I lost on the ship were ever turned in, that speaks to the guests rather than the staff. We got a massage package that was deeply discounted if you got 3 massages. Mel (a woman) gave me all my massages and I was very happy with her. She had strong hands, followed my cue on how much chatting to do, was very warm and personable, and never tweaked my back nor did I have to tell her to stop doing anything, which I commonly have to do with other massages. I was even a little late one day because I got the time wrong and she let me have the full massage time because she didn't have another booking afterwards. The buffet was sub par. It seemed like they were phasing it out that style of service. On Princess, Costa, MSC, Norwegian, and previously on Carnival there were full buffets with lots of things to try, this buffet had maybe ten things. The food tasted good but we wound up going to the dining room with the kids every night because it seemed like there was more variety there. Also if you wanted a sandwich, hamburger, or hotdog from the buffet area there were long waits. There was never much variety of fruits at the buffet, I never saw a berry or a grape. There were some delicious and beautiful cakes at lunch that you had to wait on line to get but then at dinner there would be pre-cut sheet cakes with flavors I didn't find appealing. My guess is that they prefer for people to eat in the dining rooms. My general sense of the ship is that they added bedrooms without providing much additional living space. As a result the main lobby/atrium was tiny. When there was live music they played from a higher floor while the chairs were downstairs and you had to look up. It was odd. Despite being the biggest ship I've ever been on there didn't seem to be more musicians, bars, or events. The kids didn't want to go to camp. The camp however looked pretty fun with lots of high energy activities like a DJ guiding them in dancing, art projects, toys to play with, two playgrounds that were open to the ship when the camp wasn't using them. There was no real nap area however so we had to watch the kids nap in our room. There were a couple of cushions for resting but the counselors said the kids would have to ask to nap, that they don't really do that and there was no quiet area. The waiting area for camp could be a nicer play area if they added a few toys that weren't just for babies. The toddler area seemed more geared to 2 year olds than 5 year olds. On the positive side, there was a large staff and my allergy kid never had a problem. A special call out to Kai Kai here, she was a manager and she and her staff always made special efforts to help my kids separate and join in the fun, even when they didn't want to. The camp seemed pretty good as these things go. People were nice about the kids being in the pools. Early morning the pools were fun, by noon they were pretty packed. The hot tubs allowed children and other passengers were very tolerant. My kids loved the recreation area that included extensive miniature golf with no wait, corn hole, ping pong, soccer pool, and foozball. My oldest wasn't big enough for the big water slides but there was a small one that he was briefly interested in. The splash area is nice but I was glad my kids were potty trained and could use the pools. The lifeguards aren't paying any attention and seem to wander off and speak to anyone who comes by. Watch your kids in these crowded pools. One really nice thing we did was watching a movie while we swam after dinner. There was also a 4D movie experience but it scared my gentle 4 year old and we left early. One day we went to a parade that wound up being more than that with an interactive show, we didn't follow the schedule much so there might have been more like that. The character breakfast was inexpensive and nice. It seemed undersold. It was the first time it was offered that they would make special food for my son with allergies. I wish someone from the cruise would have reached out to me earlier in the cruise about accommodating him before that point I just guessed at which foods would be safe -- the ship has some serious nut cross contamination at the salad bar. Most of the dried pasta on the cruise had egg in it, to the disappointment of my son. He ate a lot of french fries over the course of the week, so much so that I'm not sure it's his favorite food anymore. There are only two teppanyaki tables, explaining why it's so hard to get a reservation. I joined the waitlist before we cruised and managed to go. It was excellent though the upcharge is high at $25-30 per person depending what you order and I even had to pay that for each of my toddlers. We went to the mongolian grill restaurant at lunch when there was no upcharge and they served a bowl of noodles mixed with stir fried meats and vegetable of your choice. It was tasty but underwhelming as a restaurant. It's located above the buffet so I just ran downstairs to grab lunch for my son which he ate along with us. At Turks and Caicos we went to the beach that was walking distance from the dock. We paid $25 for two chairs and an umbrella in the front row. The water happened to be dirty with seaweed when we went. I'm told that it's normally clear. We had a great time and I loved that we were so close to the ship. Another ship docked as we wanted to leave and they wouldn't let us back onto the dock and we had to wait at least ten minutes, if I had known this was going to happen I just would have left a few minutes earlier, this was incredibly frustrating feeling trapped. We stayed on the ship in San Juan. In the Dominican Republic we did the ship excursion to Ocean World and loved it. It was a short drive. We saw some water shows (come a bit early if you want to sit). We got to hold some macaws and have other small birds land on us.There's a different show every half hour but if you skip a show you can see the rest of the park without walking in a crowd. At the end of the park is a small, calm beach where we had an absolutely great time swimming, they provided toddler life jackets. I bought beers for $3 and popsicles for $2. It was heaven. This excursion would likely be dull to adults but it couldn't have been more perfect for my 2 and 4 year olds. Not too big, we didn't see everything but we saw enough. I'd happily go again. Honestly I loved this trip. We were busy. The kids were happy. The crew was helpful and warm. I liked the ports. I'd do it again in a second. I'd probably even book the same room. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I did not have high expectations of Carnival as I had read too many bad reviews regarding this line but I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Yes, it is a party ship. It's known as the FUN ship for a reason. If you're ... Read More
I did not have high expectations of Carnival as I had read too many bad reviews regarding this line but I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Yes, it is a party ship. It's known as the FUN ship for a reason. If you're looking for quiet, there are places to go on the ship to get that, you just have to find them. CABIN - We divided our family of 5 into two interior rooms. The rooms are not that important to us as we hardly spend any time in them. They are small but didn't bother us as we're not big people but if you are on the larger side, they will feel very small. Housekeeping is lovely. FOOD - There were good things and bad things about the food. If you've cruised before, you'll be disappointed at the lack of choice at the buffet. They have separated stations into restaurants. So no pizza at the buffet, you'll need to go to Pizza place at back of ship. No hamburgers at lunch, you need to go to Guy's Burger joint (highly recommended). There is no pasta at the buffet, they want you to go to Italian restaurant. And there's no international station, they have Asian restaurants to take care of that. All of these are free at lunch, but not at dinner. Lunch had amazing cakes for dessert but they were absent at dinner buffet which is disappointing. We never ate in the main dining room because our kids wouldn't sit through that. We also noticed that they served basically the same food at the buffet with the exception of the special menu like lobster or escargot. Breakfast at Seaday Brunch is amazing, a step up from the breakfast buffet. Pizzas at back of ship are delicious too but line can be long. Overall, it was good food but some may find lack of choice at buffet a turn off. It does waste less food. I've found other cruises tend to recycle the leftover food for the next meal. ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS - Our kids loved SkyRide, SkyCourse and the SportsSquare. There can be a long wait for SkyRide so do it as soon as you can or just before it closes. Beware that if it's too windy, they'll close it, along with the SkyCourse. My kids loved the Clubhouse which had ping pong, soccer billiards and a 6 player foosball. We paid for the Thrill Theater which was okay, a little short (13 min.) but we had onboard credit. We also watched the Imax movie. Think they should reduce the price from $12.95 to $10 to encourage more people to go. My kids loved the outdoor evening movies with free popcorn. That was really nice. Sometimes hard to find a seat so go early or go halfway into movie as people tend to leave. Pools are warm which is nice. Pool at back of ship is less busy but they are both small for how many people are on board. Only two hot tubs for families are at the back of the ship and they are small. Note that both pools are salt water. Googles are recommended or it stings little ones eyes. Waterworks was a lot of fun for kids but could use more space for parents to sit. Waterslides were a bit of a wait but kids didn't mind too much. Warning that they will close if it's too windy. Both Waterworks and SkyRide/SkyCourse tended to close at 6pm. We didn't enroll our kids in the kids club as they were happy to stay with us. Our two older kids (13 & 16) are too shy to go to teen club. ADULTS - Serenity, the adults-only section is not really serene at all. It's just a big party place for adults. If you're looking for quiet, you're better off going to 5th floor outside which have loungers. Dislike that there's smoking in the casino and on some decks near the pool. Entertainment at night was good. Hasbro game show is really fun for kids. Comedians were just okay. Musicians on board were great, really talented. Elevators need work. For some reason, you push a floor and even though 7 elevators look free, it chooses the elevator that's already going to 4 other floors. I don't take them often, but we were on floor 3 and lido deck is on 10. Ship layout takes some getting used to. Some decks don't allow you to go from end to end because of the IMAX theatre which blocks it. That could've been designed better. Even arcade and Circle C club are somewhat hidden. There aren't a lot of onboard shops which was different from other ships. They also have strange hours. Our only Port was Bermuda. Highly recommend the Crystal Caves. We went to Horseshoe Bay beach. Beautiful pink sand with very few pebbles. If you're up to it, you can climb the rock mountain by the bar for a beautiful view of the beach. Beach umbrella and two loungers was $45 to rent. There's no shade otherwise and it was quite hot. There are food and beverage huts and bathroom with showers. We've been to Bermuda before so we knew we could take public transit to get to Horseshoe Bay. It's $9 roundtrip on the bus, $5 for kids. I saw transfers at dock for $7 per person each way, $14 roundtrip. So this was cheaper but more crowded. Bus only comes every 30 minutes too. Overall I really liked Carnival and as the Horizon is the newest ship, it was very beautiful and clean. There was a lot for kids to do and a lot of great food and drink options, all of which were reasonably priced. I would consider doing Carnival again if I was bringing my kids. If only traveling with my husband, I would probably not as seeing all the kids would make me feel guilty for not bringing mine. I wouldn't recommend Carnival too if you're just traveling as a couple. Celebrity or Holland America would be better. Royal Caribbean is good for older kids. Other option for families is Norwegian but I think Horizon beats them. Read Less
Carnival Horizon Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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