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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Let me just start by mentioning that we've been on 7 other cruises with various cruise lines including Carnival. I would have never booked this trip peak season at such a high price except that my husband had very little vacation time ... Read More
Let me just start by mentioning that we've been on 7 other cruises with various cruise lines including Carnival. I would have never booked this trip peak season at such a high price except that my husband had very little vacation time and was flying out of JFK airport the day we arrived back at the Manhattan cruise terminal. In other words, this was the only cruise that would allow for us to leave from a local port, and for my husband to catch his flight on time. I was concerned about the high cost of this short cruise and the negative reviews in which I had read. I had prepared my family for gross food and an overcrowded ship in advance based on what I had read. However, we were pleasantly surprised and had a good trip. Population: We cruised with a very culturally diverse group of passengers most of which were families of all different age ranges. There weren't too many young babies probably due to the high cost. Most passengers were respectful of others and fun to be around. Embarkation: You are assigned a specific time to arrive at the terminal. Parking at the Manhattan Cruise terminal was plentiful and we were on board about 20 minutes after arriving. In all of our years of cruising, we have never gotten on the ship so quickly. Cabin: We were on a sold out ship in balcony room 6277 which was nicely appointed with basic ammenities. Our balcony door made a loud squealing noise from the wind but this was fixed within 10 minutes of us calling the desk. We had prearranged a gift for our son which was damaged and it was replaced immediately after calling the front desk. The only downside about staying on the 6th floor is that you can hear the movies playing from IMAX theater and you can hear loud passengers on the 5th floor wrap around board walk. I would not recommend choosing this floor for these reasons. Our steward Abraham was amazing and met our needs without us ever asking for anything! Towel creatures were plentiful. Food: We were assigned to "anytime dining" and our sign and sail card told us where to go for our reservation. There was a desk in which we signed in and waited with a pager for our table to be ready. We never had a wait except on lobster night when it was about 20 minutes. Food in the main dining room was typical cruise ship quality and the service was good. Specifically Vlad and his assistant were efficient and professional. There will always be the parents who allow their kids to scream and cry in the dining room but this is out of Carnival's control. The Lido deck buffet food is okay and typical for a cruise line however the choices are lacking and as other cruisers have mentioned, if you are dieting, have food allergies, or are vegetarian, you might have trouble finding a suitable meal. There are way too many processed food options on this ship but these items seemed to be a huge hit among cruisers. The Pig and Anchor is free at lunch and delicious. There is also a burger joint, taco bar, sandwhich station, and pizza place which are all excellent however have 15-30 minute lines on average during peak times. They are all open only at specific times with the pizza place being open around the clock. I recommend utilizing alternative options to the Lido buffet at non peak times. Soft serve ice cream is available around the clock. You can also eat breakfast in the main dining room which was wonderful. Antonio was our amazing waiter and we had wished we had eaten there every day rather than just the last day. It's quieter and the food is much better than the Lido. Service: Service in general was fantastic with staff always willing to help. While on the slides, a male worker saw me carrying up 2 tubes and took one to assist me. A female worker on Lido notived by tag and bra hanging out and fixed them for me. Our room steward was friendly and attentive. Sadu in the photo studio was extremely helpful. Once at that pizza parlor, my 7 year old spilled 1/2 of his pizza on the ground. A female worker immedately came to our assitance and offered to get him fresh pizza. I cannot say enough for the entire hard working staff on this ship. As far as service, you will not be dissapointed! Entertainment/Gym: I used the gym at 0800 and while busy, machines were plentiful. There is a huge sports deck that is the main hub. The water park is great if you catch it off peak. Otherwise it becomes so overcrowded that it's really not enjoyable. Pack your suit and head right to it when you first get on. The slides are so fun! Watch out for the burning hot deck though! The sky bikes were always a 40-80 minute wait. They were closed our last sea day due to rain and wind as was the rope walk. The rope walk is great and typically the line is only a few minutes but we experienced major hold ups due to people becoming scared or unable to get across the course. Sometimes this would cause huge jam ups on the cat walks. There are only 2 family pools and hot tubs which are packed all day long. This was a great dissapointment for us as you can barely get into one. There seemed to be enough loungers despite the small pools. The games, mini golf, and ping pong are all fun and typically available without a wait. Children's camp: Our 7 year old went on 2 days and cried when we told him that he must eat so it must have been great! The process for checking in and out was extremely efficient and we rarely waited in a line. Port: We only ported once at bermuda and we did the restless native sail and snorkel. It was a nice excursion but we were slightly dissapointed with the snorkeling as we saw fish, but had higher expectations. Disembarkation: The process seemed to go smoothly but we decided to hang out on board until most cruises had departed. We enjoyed a breakfast in the main restaraunt and this was relaxing and wonderful. Overall: There are 2 reasons that I will only give this ship 4 stars. The first is the crowds and the second reason was the high price for a short cruise. I could have taken (2) 1 week long cruises for the same price it costed for us to go on the Horizon for 4 nights. However, Carnival does a pretty good job of systematically handling the 5000 people on board. Prepare yourself for some lines and plan your day around less busy times as you would a theme park or Disney land. Even on a sold out ship, we had great service and a wonderful time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The Horizon makes the occasional attempt at sophistication. There’s still a cruise formal night, where guests are expected to dress up for dinner in the main dining rooms. A library bar. Expensive suites and spa services. Diamond jewelry ... Read More
The Horizon makes the occasional attempt at sophistication. There’s still a cruise formal night, where guests are expected to dress up for dinner in the main dining rooms. A library bar. Expensive suites and spa services. Diamond jewelry for sale. Wild boar and escargot on menu for dinner. And, most successfully, there’s a really good new show in the theater – Celestial Strings – set all in white and with a live string trio providing some of the music. But if you’re looking for class and elegance you’re on the wrong cruise line. Carnival is home of the FUN ships – capital F. U. N. – and simple (some may call it low-brow) dining and entertainment is what they do best. The very hairy chest competition. The “Love and Marriage Show” version of the classic Newlywed Game. A group of (very drunk) friends singing Karaoke in lounge. PG-13 and R rated comedy and games. Not one, but two restaurants by Guy Fieri (burgers and BBQ). 24 hour pizza and ice cream. If you’re going on a cruise to have fun – and don’t have snobbish expectations – then you’ll do well on the Horizon. ---------- Cheers and Jeers – what good and what needs improvement on the Carnival Horizon Cheers! – for living up to the standards of being Carnival’s flagship cruise boat, with the best selection of activities, restaurants, and cabins in the fleet. Everything was new, clean, and working properly. Cheers! – for all the great technology on the boat. The free Carnival Hub app works great anywhere on the ship and lets you see maps, activity times, and even make dinner reservations from your own cell phone. The audio-visual tech on the boat is equally impressive – watching as the entire cast from the stage show leaves the theater and enters the atrium for an encore – and having the audio move seamlessly along with them – is impressive. The tablets used by some of the crew were also pretty cool. Jeers – for charging $5 to use the chat function on the app. This would have been convenient, but it should be free. Cheers – to our Cruise Director Mike. On a boat with over 1400 crew members, it’s amazing how much the charisma and enthusiasm of one guy makes such a difference. Mike was friendly, full of non-stop energy, and made everyone on the boat feel like he was their friend (all 5000 of us!). Cheers! – for trying something new with the elevator systems. Floors are select in advance, BEFORE boarding. Waiting for an elevator isn’t fun, and this should have helped. Jeers! – for poorly implementing the new elevator system. There aren’t enough signs explaining it, so everyone spent the first two days of the cruise confused and angry. Elevators were often over full, stopped at every floor, or stopped at floors were no one got on and off. In addition to more signage, the systems needs the ability to specify how many people are boarding, the ability to cancel reservations, and some way to know when an elevator is out of service (boarding was especially chaotic, as some elevators were being used for luggage, and no one had yet figured out how the system worked). Cheers! – for having a lot of great options for lunch. Guy’s burgers is a favorite for a reason, and Mexican at Blue Iguana is also very good. The key to both restaurants is freshness. Burgers, tacos, and burritos are all made fresh to order, and there’s a topping bar at each location full of fresh ingredients as well. Guy’s BBQ is great new addition to Carnival. It’s not the best BBQ I’ve ever had, but it’s still amazing to get real smoked BBQ on a ship, and it’s free at lunch. There were lots of other places we didn’t get to try as well –a Mongolian Wok, make your own pasta bar, deli, and more. Lunch is the best meal of the day on the Horizon. Unfortunately, lunch is the meal your most likely to miss because of port days. Jeers – for a kind of sad Afternoon tea. It was free, but if you wanted any tea better than Lipton you had to pay extra. Cheers! – for having an amazing and well trained staff. There are over 1400 people working on the boat from over 60 countries, and everyone we met was professional, friendly, and hard working. Many of the staff took the time to learn our names and greeted us when we passed by. Jeers! – for all the ways you can get ripped-off on the ship. In general, the more heavily something was promoted the worse of a deal it was. This includes: spa services, quasi-medical services (foot care and wellness treatments, etc), photo packages (some of which ran into the hundreds of dollars), shore excursions (almost always pricier on the boat than but directly on land), drink packages (either alcohol or soda), shopping (especially jewelry), and of course outright gambling (either Bingo or in the Casino). You could easily double the price of your cruise with these extras, most of which would be cheaper on land. Cheers! – for Carnival’s Cove Balcony cabins. These semi-enclosed balconies are available on the 2nd deck of the boat. They get less sun than balconies on higher decks, but otherwise are perfect. They are a great choice if you enjoy privacy (no one can look into the balcony from above) and being close to the water. Cheers and Jeers – for dinner in the main dining hall. Reflections (fixed time) and Meridian (flex time) are basically the same, although Meridian is larger and has two levels. The dining rooms are simply and modernly decorated but also somewhat generic looking and fall somewhat short of feeling luxurious. The menu generally looked good but execution was more mixed. Some dishes were pretty good (especially appetizers), where steaks and other main entrees were generally fair at best. Service in the restaurants, like everyone else on the boat, was generally excellent, however. Cheers! – for Celestial Strings. This is Carnival’s latest show and will be exclusively on the Horizon for about a year. Like Carnival’s other shows, it’s still basically just a musical revue (the cast sings and dances to a selection of popular songs; there’s no acting or dialogue) – but this new show is beautiful, the cast was top notch, and the live music (three musicians playing strings were part of the cast) was a nice addition. You’ll need to get to this show early to get seats, but there’s a pre-show performance to keep you entertained while you wait. Cheers! – for smooth and efficient embarkation, debarkation, and muster drills. Carnival puts a lot of effort into making sure everything runs efficiently and it shows. Our ship was at full capacity and yet we had no problems either in Bermuda or NYC. Cheers! – for never feeling too crowded, despite being at full capacity. With so many people on board it could have felt like a mob scene, but the boat rarely felt crowded. Lines were generally reasonable (except for peak times at Guy’s Burgers) – and there were always quiet spots on the ship to enjoy. ---------- For those that have read all this way, here are some “secrets” that we discovered while cruise. These are things that most guests on the boat, especially first time cruises, weren’t aware of. First, the highlight of our cruise was Carnival’s “Behind the Fun Tour”. This very limited tour isn’t promoted by Carnival, and you can only sign up for it on board at the Shore Excursions desk. Spots fill up quickly, so it’s best to sign as soon as you get on board. It’s not cheap ($95), but this 3-4 hour walking tour gets you access to things you’d otherwise never normally get to see and includes several nice bonus items as well (several photos, including one with the captain on the bridge, some snacks from the kitchen, a string backpack, wristband, and baseball cap). Highlights of our tour included the kitchens, crew recreation and dining areas, engine control room, bridge, and backstage of the main theater. We got a chance not only to see these restricted areas but also do talk to the crew that worked in them. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re interested in what it takes to make a ship like this run this tour is highly recommended. A free option to see a less crowded area of the ship is to explore the very front of the boat. Most of this area is not shown on the deck plans, and you’ll often need to walk through cabin hallways and out unmarked doors to access these areas. If I remember correctly, decks 4-7 are accessible, as well as decks 9-14. Deck 9 is above the bridge, and you can walk out above the “wings” on the sides of the bridge to see a great view down the side of the boat. There’s also a small seating area on Deck 14 with great views. The views from the front of the boat are amazing, but you will have to deal with the wind, which can be pretty intense. There is a key car slot near the door that's needed to turn on the lights in your cabin. Be aware that when you take out your card the outlets in the room will turn off as well; this is bad if you need to recharge batteries. As a work around, use a business card (ask your room steward for one) will work and let you leave the outlets on while you're out. The water slides and sky ride bikes can get crowded – these have some of the longest lines. The best time to enjoy these are as soon as you get on the boat. (As a bonus, you’ll have great views of NYC from the upper decks where these rides are located). Sign up for the earliest boarding possible, and you’ll have the ship nearly to yourself for a few hours. This is also a great time to enjoy the pools. Food tips: Most regular cruisers may already know this, but you are always free to order multiple items from the dinner menu in the main restaurants. Want seafood and steak? Just order both entrees. This goes for appetizers and desserts as well. We did this nearly every night and it made the meal a lot more enjoyable. Also, mixing and matching from the food choices on the Lido deck is a great idea. Guy’s burgers has a suggestion to try salsa from Blue Iguana as a burger topping, but don’t stop there. My wife’s favorite was soft serve ice-cream from the Lido Marketplace topped with bacon from Guy’s burger bar. ---------- Conclusion: This was our first time on a cruise and we had a lot of fun. Cruising out of NYC made things so much easier and more relaxing. The Horizon isn’t the biggest or the fanciest boat out there, but it might be the most fun. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The embarkment was not smooth because their check in process on their handheld device was not working properly. I couldn't carry on my luggage as I normally would at other ports because they said it wouldn't fit through their ... Read More
The embarkment was not smooth because their check in process on their handheld device was not working properly. I couldn't carry on my luggage as I normally would at other ports because they said it wouldn't fit through their machine so I had to open it up and dig through it for my wine bottle to carry that on separate per the policy then later that evening I found my luggage on the side of the elevators for all to grab because apparently the name tag fell off and Carnival decided it was ok to place the luggage on the side of the elevators around the corner from the front desk. Our room was on the 8th floor in the back (8426), worse location I have ever been at on a ship. It was on the corner next to some utility room and either you hear loud guest coming from the elevators or you hear creaking movement in the utility room from the ship rocking all night long. Never quiet. Some parts of the ship was hot and some were cold. It was overcrowded and people reserved chairs on the deck or they moved lounge chairs to place elsewhere. The Serenity deck was only free while in port because again pods/chairs were always saved, even while people went to dinner. The ship was clearly crowded and people were rude and acted ridiculous when there was a mechanical issue and we couldn't stop at our last port (Amber Cove). That did baffle me that there was a mechanical issue already on what was supposed to be a new ship. Overall, the ship had one of the best entertainment shows I have ever seen on Carnival and plenty to do for all ages. You could not be bored on this ship. We mainly ate at the specialty dining rooms, however, service was excellent everywhere we went. I wish Carnival would change out their dining room menu for those that cruise often though. It does get redundant. The casino manager and her companions were excellent, the wait staff, especially YASA was amazing. We also did "behind the fun" tour and it was superb. Personally I like smaller ships with less people but overall the ship was something different than the rest. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We booked the carnival horizon, for the 8 day eastern caribbean trip to Grand Turk, san Juan, and Amber Cove. I want to start out by saying, don't let the negative Nancy's affect your experience on this ship. I must admit, i was ... Read More
We booked the carnival horizon, for the 8 day eastern caribbean trip to Grand Turk, san Juan, and Amber Cove. I want to start out by saying, don't let the negative Nancy's affect your experience on this ship. I must admit, i was a little bit worried about how my experience was going to be on this ship after hearing so many negative reviews, from this site right here. I've never written a review before, but I felt it was necessary considering Carnival Horizon is getting such a bad rep, for such an awesome ship. Embarkation wasn't completely perfect, we arrived late for our check in time, and it took a little bit longer to get on the boat than it should have, but that is no fault of carnival, debarkation was smooth, up until getting out of the pier, where waiting for a taxi was hell, but once agin not the fault of carnival. The ship is beautiful, upon entering we entered into the atrium, it is truly a magnificent design. We stayed on the second floor, in a deluxe ocean view, family harbor room. It's worth the extra penny, the family harbor lounge provides a place to play video games, watch movies that would normally cost money had they been ordered in room, and around 3, they serve snacks to fill your belly! Along with an ice cream machine, coffee machine and ice water machine. Unfortunately, i didn't take the time to dine at any of the specialty restaurants, but I must say, the food at the Meridian was excellent! Their steak, prime rib, grilled chicken, and other things are simply amazing.The Lido buffet, isn't anything to brag about I'll admit, but it's still taste good, and fills your belly. We scheduled the my time ding option, so unfortunately we didn't have one specific server throughout the duration of the cruise, I must say the ones we did have however, were on point. Shoutout to Henry, Erik, and those I can't remember, you guys were awesome! In the reviews saw a lot of people complaining about the line for pizza and burgers, but to be honest, i didn't expect any different, Its a boat with over 4,000 people, you think you're the only one who likes pizza? Our room steward was was very nice and helpful, my nephew who is is 10 has a bit of a bladder problem, so he was forced to clean urine soaked sheets more than once, however he did not complain, or he even screw up his face once, he didn't even seem surprised when i alerted him to the the sheets needing to be changed, I greatly appreciated that, because we have come across many people who who have not been so welcoming to his issue. The activities to do on the ship are endless, the sky ride, min golf, ping pong, group activities were all fun. I am an avid basketball player, so i was on the court a lot, theres always competition and people looking to play a pickup game, don't worry about bringing your own basketball, there are plenty provided.I didn't really get in the pool much because it is a saltwater pool, and my eyes do not react well when saltwater gets in there, even though i wasn't in the pool much, I did notice that a lot of people were on the Lido deck, and there seemed to be minimal deck chairs available, which once again is to be expected, considering the fact that there are 4,000 people on board, and on an especially hot/sunny day, most people want to enjoy the pool. A lot of the complaints I've heard were biased and no fault of Carnival. I read one person complain about noise from workers cleaning in the late hours, and while i can understand being annoyed to due to lack of sleep because of noise on your vacation, the deck has got to be cleaned at some point, and the wee hours of the night are the best times to do it, considering that there aren't nearly as many people roaming around during the daytime as there are at 3 in the morning. The fitness center was nice and spacious, as well as the sky fitness on the 12th deck. All in all, my carnival cruise was excellent, the only reason it did not get five stars was because we were forced to to skip the Amber Cove port, due to mechanical problems with docking, I was very disappointed considering that this was the place i wanted to see the most, carnival did however, credit us 70 dollars of onboard credit to our sign and sail account, which honestly isn't worth anything compared to missing a port, but I made sure myself and everyone in my party spent every dollar they credited us!which will no doubt be the source of many negative comments, on this site. Don't be afraid to take the trip on the Carnival Horizon, it's fun for the entire family, comedy shows for the adults, camp ocean/circle C/Club O2 for the children, and plenty of family fun to go around. Don't let the negative Nancy's ruin your vacation expectations. Enjoy your carnival trip! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
When - July 31 - August 8 Where - NYC, Grand Turk, San Juan, Amber Cove Who - 6 People, Ages 21, 23, 24, 24, 61, 64 I read many comments as we got closer to our departure date and I was honestly weary. Many people made many poor ... Read More
When - July 31 - August 8 Where - NYC, Grand Turk, San Juan, Amber Cove Who - 6 People, Ages 21, 23, 24, 24, 61, 64 I read many comments as we got closer to our departure date and I was honestly weary. Many people made many poor comments, BUT please do not be as weary as we were - we had a blast!! The Food - I, and my boyfriend who traveled with my family, both have culinary backgrounds. We have worked in restaurants and understand what goes on behind the scenes. It is a cruise ship, not a michelin star restaurant. You are going to get par level food, yet it will satisfy you. Oh and remember, for the most part, your meals are free so if you are for some reason not satisfied order something else or indulge in a late night pizza. No one will judge you. My family and I ate at the Main Buffet, Guys Pig & Anchor BBQ Buffet, Guys Burger Joint, The Taco Stand, The Stir Fry Station, The Serenity Salad Area, The Pizzeria, The Meridian Dining Room (Your Time Dining), and The Italian Restaurant ($). We truly enjoyed all of the food, some more than the rest. However, I never complained about my meal. I would recommend The Taco Stand for breakfast (breakfast burritos were highly satisfying) and Guys Burgers for lunch (the burgers are juicy and the fries are perfectly crisp). As for dinner, we ate at The Meridian Dining Room around 6 o’clock each evening. To our luck, we were sat within 10 mins each time and were in and out in an hour or so (perfect if you’re trying to catch a show). I recommend using the app, it’s free and no need to purchase WiFi. With the app you can request a table and it saves a trip to the 5th floor just to be directed to the 3rd. Also to our luck we were sat in a similar section each evening, and our waiter was superb! Please be on the lookout for Andy and request him! He went above and beyond - he suggested dishes and drinks, gave us tips for when we were in port, and said hello (by name!) when we saw him around the ship. My family and I were blown away by his hospitality! The Shows - My mom and dad were slightly disappointed with the shows, as they love theatre and there were no such shows on board. There were plenty of musicians and comedians, however. My boyfriend and I saw each of the four comedians (some twice)! I would recommend the 18+ shows because you will certainly laugh for the entire show. As for the musicians, I personally loved the duo called Imprint. They played pop songs with classical instruments. The musical chords and voices were one of kind. I would have purchase a CD if available, they were amazing. I do wish there was a magic show! A magician came up to our dinner table one night and performed five tricks on the spot. All of our jaws dropped in awe. I truly wish we could have seen more of his tricks through a performance. Even so, I was satisfied with the weeks worth of shows. There was always something going on an something for everyone. Even late at night there were options. My boyfriend and I watch many of the Dive In Movies that we’re offered. You’re given a blanket and popcorn and you can lay down and enjoy a movie. I would recommend getting there a half an hour early to grab a comfy chair on Deck 11. The same is true for all the shows on board. Arrive half an hour early or you’ll be dissatisfied. There are a lot of people on the ship and small areas for performances. If you truly want to watch something, plan accordingly. The Pools - My whole family is early risers, so we never had an issue with lounge chairs. We were outside between 8AM and 9AM and were always able to grab six chairs next to each other in the Aft Pool Area. There are umbrellas here and it is much less crowded than the main pool. With that said, the pools themselves are still crowded. There were only two pools open, unless you were in the Havana Suites. The pools were small, way too small. My family would simply jump in and out to cool off. There was no way with all of the reckless children that we could actually enjoy a swim. Thus, my boyfriend and I attempted to enjoy the adult only area as much as we could. I do wish there was an adult only pool in the Serenity Area, however. The hot tubs are pointless when it is 90° outside. The Ports - In Grand Turk my boyfriend and I did a Paddle Boarding and Snorkeling Excursion. It was a perfect day and a very reasonable in price, $70 a person for a three hour experience. In San Juan my family and I explored the shops and then we walked to the historic site by the ship. It was only $7 a person and with the city views from above the stone walls, it was well worth it! In Amber Cove we all stayed in the free pool area. It was welcoming to have a huge pool to actually swim in. There were also water slides to choose from, which were free to enjoy. My boyfriend and I also paid an extra $20 a person for the all day zip line pass. I was a worthwhile purchase! I truly had the most fun in Amber Cove. The place is gorgeous and there is no need to do an excursion to take in all of its glory. Overall - My brother and I have been on three cruises, and my parents have been on four. This was the first for my boyfriend. Obviously, everyone has expectations. Some cruises do better in some areas than others, however I believe The Carnival Horizon was well rounded. For a newer ship, they could have had more clear improvements. However, the staff was always there to make up for any lacking areas. We all enjoyed our time on board! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
I chose this cruise because it was a new ship. I was very concerned when I read the negative reviews but then i have been on many cruise lines and i have found that there will always be people who are never happy and tend to criticize ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was a new ship. I was very concerned when I read the negative reviews but then i have been on many cruise lines and i have found that there will always be people who are never happy and tend to criticize everything, Embarkation was quick and easy. The comedy shows were very good. We saw many of the movies on deck at night time; I was pleasantly surprised at how new they were. We saw "The Greatest Showman", Avengers: Infinity War, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Pacific Rim: Uprising, etc. I did not buy the drink package but I always bought the daily special of the day which was at a discount price. The Latin music at the Havana Bar was very good. The only thing i was not too impressed with were the luncheons at Lido Buffet. Luckily, there were other places to go for lunvh; our favorite was Guy's Burger Joint. We had the 6 pm early dining - yes, the meals were smaller portions but you could always ask for more. I actually liked the smaller portions because it left room to order dessert and i also didn't leave feeling like i had over stuffed myself which is what typically happens on a cruise. I never had a problem with getting a lounge chair at the pool; granted, I am an early riser and thus there were lounge chairs available early in the day. We stayed in an Inside cabin on Deck 1 that had 2 bunk beds. I found our cabin to be spacious compared to other cabins on other cruise lines. I especially liked that there was a self-laundry room to wash clothes. We enjoyed the ports although the time spent at each one was short. We did a Snorkeling with power scooter and lunch excursion at Grand Turks through Carnival. We had a blast and I would highly recommend this excursion. We did a zip lining tour in Amber Cove. This was booked through Trip Advisor and was less expensive than the same excursion Carnival was offering. We decided to relax in San Juan and did not do any excursions. I did not find the new elevator system to be a problem; I feel that having read the prior reviews had prepared me in advance. There weren't too many retail stores to shop at and I found that to be disappointing. Disembarkation was a breeze. We walked off with our suitcases and called an Uber. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
First as a disclaimer, we're Platinum with Carnival and have sailed a number of their ships over the years. We were excited to try the Horizon, being the newest entry into the fleet. I always like the Pros/Cons type of review as ... Read More
First as a disclaimer, we're Platinum with Carnival and have sailed a number of their ships over the years. We were excited to try the Horizon, being the newest entry into the fleet. I always like the Pros/Cons type of review as it's simpler, so here's our take: Pros- ** Alchemy Bar. Absolutely fantastic "Mixologists". Zoran, Anna Maria and "Dr. Z" were on top of their game and the best drinks weren't even on the menu. I dare you-- challenge them! ** Lennox Lust (the band). Wow. Just wow. We're talking seriously talented musicians here. See them now before one day you'll have to pay for admission to watch them. You'll never find a better lead guitarist using acoustic anywhere. Yep, they're that good. **Pig and Anchor. Excellent BBQ--and free when you board and also for lunch on sea days. Do it, you won't be disappointed. And the beers on tap were very good also (especially the porter if you like darker beer). ** Embarkation. Not sure if it could have been smoother. Carnival has always been the best at getting you on the ship quickly, and this was no different. **On board parties. Carnival definitely has the most "fun" crowd on the seas (albeit younger.. so not surprising), but the White Out and outdoor Dance Parties definitely were a blast. The crowd really got into it! **Food. Didn't disappoint as both the main restaurants and the buffets were good, but the deli was excellent. Order a pastrami and tomato--no "cheap" sandwich here! Deli worthy indeed. **Cleanliness of the ship. Yes, it's new, but as expected the ship really was spotless and the staff cleaned constantly. **Staff. Wow.. were these people friendly and happy. I'd have to say the most pleasant crew of any Carnival ship we've ever been on. Genuinely nice and made us feel welcome. ** Elevators. Yes, I know many seem to love or hate these, but the only times we ran into an issue were when we first embarked and after a show when everybody ran to use them. The issue is that Carnival doesn't tell you to press the floor you want for EACH person in your party. This way the algorithm understands the volume of people and will direct others to another elevator. We say 2 parties of 6 or more press it once, and sure enough, there wasn't enough space. On a few occasions while pressing the amount for our party, the elevator would change to another--and that elevator always was unoccupied. A learning experience, but as a whole, one we felt worked. **Service. Every night we had an incredible wait staff, who were friendly, outgoing and accommodating. The only night we had an issue was when our waiter and his partner were responsible for 7...yes 7 tables (3 of which had 10 people!). He was simply overwhelmed but hustled like heck to do what he can. In all that chaos, he was still as pleasant as can be. **Carnival Hub App. This is where Carnival has really shined. We had anytime dining and instead of going to "check in" on a different deck and being handed a pager (are you listening NCL?), you simply went on the app, requested a table and it told you how long of a wait you'd have. Once secured, a notification with your table number and a message that your table was ready was sent to each in your party. Wonderful! You can also book the specialty restaurants for your week. TIP--if you wanted a specialty restaurant and weren't fortunate enough to book in advance, do so as SOON as you board and log into the app. The entire schedule of availability will be visible. (And Carnival won't want to say, but there's no penalty for canceling a reservation, so do so with confidence, even if you're not 100%.). TIP 2: If you're planning on eating at the steakhouse, under NO circumstance will you be allowed if you're wearing shorts of any kind (kids excluded). We hadn't planned for an extra night of attire and had to cancel as a result (1 pair of pants...and a dessert the night before killed the thought of a 3rd!). **Internet. Hands down the best we've ever had at sea on any cruise line. The Oasis of the Seas had this previous title in our world, but this wasn't even close. We were able to stream security cameras and the like with little hesitation. It was near land based speed in some cases.. wonderful! Cons- ** Crowded. Yep, it's a big ship, but on sea days it is a chore to find an open chair. This has been the most challenging of any ship we've been on to find an open chair. We were fortunate though to find some in the Serenity section as we tend to go late. TIP-if you're like us and start out late, look for a chair in the Serenity after 1pm, as the early folks tend to leave as they go to lunch. We were 4 for 4 with our timing. **Spa. I hate to say it's a "con", but Carnival as a whole and the Horizon specifically really lags behind the other lines when it comes to their spa. It has 2 niche saunas (that always had room) but a VERY small whirlpool and just a handful of stone chairs, that of course, were "saved" too many times as people would come in, put their towels on the chair then use the facilities before coming back to their chair while others waited. Really wish people would be more considerate (not a Horizon thing per se, but a cruise thing). I really expected a LOT more from a new ship. **Cabin. We had a spa balcony cabin and for the life of me (and many others after reading reviews), have NO idea why Carnival insists on using a shower curtain as opposed to a simple door. Just aggravating to say the least. And while other newer ships have tended to increase the bathroom size just a bit, not here. It's basically identical to any refurbished Carnival ship. If you were in the bathroom and closed your eyes, for $100 you couldn't guess what Carnival ship you were on. Color scheme included. Definitely disappointed. On a positive note, the beds and pillows were comfortable. **Casino. Well, more about the smoke in the casino. I know, gamblers like to smoke and you're indoors, but it just seemed worse on this ship for some reason. And having your Muster Station be.... the casino!..... made for a rough drill. We had to leave and stand in the hallway as the smoke smell was still overwhelming from the last cruise. Not sure what else they can do as they do have the air ionizers going full blast (you can smell them too) and in the bar added a 2nd story that is enclosed with the intention of capturing smoke...but still not there. Please keep trying! Overall we enjoyed the cruise (for us, it's hard not to enjoy any cruise!). The crowd was fun and was the most diverse we've seen on a cruise ship. Not getting political, but in today's environment I think it was a very good thing to actually watch all races and ethnicities--and yes, sexualities too-- engage and truly enjoy each other. I did notice a change in "tone" as the week went on as it went from "pockets" of like folks, to a mixed family environment where song and laughter were shared by all. Who knows... perhaps the answer to all our problems has a simple solution: sail the Carnival Horizon. :) Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was me and my wife's first cruise, I am 38 and my wife is 32. We have 3 kids but did travel alone. After researching it for so long I finally booked the Carnival Horizon leaving from N.Y.C to Bermuda for the 4 night voyage which ... Read More
This was me and my wife's first cruise, I am 38 and my wife is 32. We have 3 kids but did travel alone. After researching it for so long I finally booked the Carnival Horizon leaving from N.Y.C to Bermuda for the 4 night voyage which was from July 19th to July 23rd 2018 (despite all these negative reviews about it) This is my first review ever of anything really but I felt I had to say something positive about the ship itself and the crew after reading so much negative things everywhere, which I am so glad I didn't listen to. I am gonna be all over the place but I am gonna include things I didn't find in other reviews that I had wish I knew before I cruised and just general info to make your experience better and easier especially for first timers. First, boarding was a breeze,if you have an appointment time before 2 pm they will take your luggage at the door, tag it and it will be in front of your stateroom so you don't have to lug it around. You go through a short process where they get you searched and boarded on the ship by zones, it's very easy and simple to follow. You will not have access to your stateroom until about 5 pm or 6 pm so pack a carry on if you wish to start swimming/sunbathing once you get on the ship.(our appointment time to board was between 1 and 1 30 and were on the ship before 2 but wasted about 4 hours in street clothes which felt like such a waste of a beautiful day in port waiting to have access to our personal belongings. Your sail and sign cards will be in your mailbox at your room door around 4 pm. You need them to do everything on the ship from order drinks to purchase items on board. NO CASH accepted anywhere on board. Except the casino of course. The ship is amazing and obviously brand new so anyone complaining about the ship itself can't possibly be satisfied. The layout is pretty easy to remember and after a few times walking around the ship you get to know pretty well. (decks 1/2/6/7/8/9) are mostly rooms so no need to go there anyway if not staying on that floor. The 3rd deck (lobby) has a few shops, bars. Deck 4 is where the main restaurants are (included in the price) where you will be having dinner every night and the casino ( which is the only bar open after 2 am, also drinks are free if you are playing) Deck 5 are where all the bars and pay restaurants are. Deck 11 is the water park and kids area including the basketball area, running track etc.The 10 (lido deck) is where most of the daily action is, there is a pool mid ship and a pool with 2 whirlpools in the back. (both filled with mostly kids) Deck 15 is the serenity deck (adults 21 and over only). 2 whirlpools and a bar with a salad bar for lunch. I was surprised but the bar closes at 6 pm. It seemed pretty early for an adult only retreat but the whirlpools are open till midnight. Also you do still hear the kids going down the slides and screaming at the water park but not enough to be bothered by it. We stayed in an inside stateroom as we didn't need a balcony and didn't regret it because it was much cheaper and got to see plenty of the ocean just being on the ship while we were out and about. 2 comedians on board, both were funny. Food was excellent. We didn't go for any extra $ dining options as there was plenty to eat that was already included. Buffet menus changed everyday (breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus) breakfast buffet was open till 12 pm for late risers which was awesome. Pizza is 24 hours and delicious Burgers and fries were a little over seasoned but great. Tacos and burritos where great too. A few minutes to wait during peak times but staff was working their butts off to keep up with the demand. Once again, don't let waiting in line for a few minutes ruin your day!!! Dinner menu at the restaurant changed every night. You are assigned a dinner time for the main restaurant once you are boarded and it is written on your card. You will not be seated unless it is your time. There is one cruise casual night where you have to dress up but that is also when lobster is on the dinner menu (unlimited lobster tails!!!) Havana Bar had live music 3 of the 4 nights which was a lot of fun to dance and have some mojitos. At midnight the Havana bar closes so the limelight lounge was the hangout after midnight until 2 am if you wanted music.. Live DJ playing music with good energy (18+ only). Groups of kids where running around the halls etc. but not to the point to where any reasonable person would be annoyed or be complaining about it, also after midnight the ship is pretty much a ghost town other than the club and casino. So there are plenty of places in and outside the ship to just hang out and enjoy the sounds of the ocean or explore the ship. People complaining about the lines for the food are being dramatic and have never been to a club/bar in NYC where we are from. Sometimes you get lucky and get the bartender after 30 seconds, other times you are waiting a few minutes. BIG DEAL!!! You are on vacation and shouldn't be stressing out over nonsense. The casino bar is the only bar open after midnight so it does get a little overwhelming for the bar staff and the wait is a little longer. (hint:if you have a simple drink order go to the club bar (limelight lounge) which is a lot less busy and also located on the casino deck, much less of a wait and less than a minute walk from the casino). Service was amazing in every aspect. Food service was quick at dinner, staff everywhere cleaning up after people and cleaning the ship decks every night. Ship is pretty much spotless, other than left over plates on tables that were eventually cleaned up shortly after people left their tables at the buffet and some cups laying around. Asking employees for directions the first day was always pleasant and never felt like I was annoying them as they were very helpful and nice and always smiling. We did get the cheers package which was about 52.00 dollars a day, each adult in the stateroom did have to purchase it for the entire cruise. (No 24 hour package like other cruise lines) Also, any ship leaving from New York or Texas, you will not have access to the cheers program until 6 am the second day of the trip, its state law so you will have to pay for drinks the first day) For us we are not big drinkers but got it anyway and ending up getting around 60 drinks for the duration of the cruise for both of us so we did save some money) average drink did cost around 10 dollars. You do have a limit of 15 alcoholic beverages a day (6 am to 6 am) for each card. so if your spouse is not a big drinker you can use their card and no staff seemed to mind if it wasn't your own card. You MUST download the Carnival app, its free to use on the ship and gave you all the information you need to know of whats going on at every hour so you can plan out your day, also what places are open to eat etc. Room service is free but there is a 5 or 10 dollar total charge for orders after 10 pm. We did go jet skiing in Bermuda, which was only about a 3 minute walk off the ship. (K&S Watersports) About 150 for a single rider 170 for a double rider. 75 minutes of riding and swimming on a private beach for an awesome experience. Check out their website and videos In the end, it was an awesome experience, I will definitely cruise with Carnival again. Don't listen to all these people, book it and you won't regret it. Have fun, be silly and enjoy your time!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose the Carnival Horizon when another line changed to an iterary that would not work for our group. The Horizon had the dates and pricing that fit into everyone's budgets. Even though the ship is huge, you never feel like ... Read More
We chose the Carnival Horizon when another line changed to an iterary that would not work for our group. The Horizon had the dates and pricing that fit into everyone's budgets. Even though the ship is huge, you never feel like you're in a crowd. We had a balcony cabin and it was spacious enough for the two of us. The showers are slightly larger than other ships we have been on but it's still small. We also had a sofa and table and stool in our room. My only wish was for more drawers, three is not enough. The cabin was always clean and the towel animals were replaced daily. The dining room was service was excellent our wait staff, (Doni, Supack and Milosh) remembered all of our names by the second night, even though we kept changing seats on them. These poor people not only have to serve food but dance and put on shows almost every night. They do it all with a smile and with style. If you have a chance to cruise with Cruise Director Chris the Flying Scotsman, do it. The man has more energy than a power plant and gives 110% of himself every show. We didn't see too many of the shows because we had late dining. Do yourself a favor and either get the early dining or my time dining. We didn't get out of the dining room until after 10 each night. No one rushes you out. We ate at the Pig and Anchor one night. The food was good but can be a little salty. The coffee shop on board made really good iced coffees and hot teas, much better than the ship's coffee. Also try the deli sandwiches and the pizza and tacos. Lines tend to be a little long so try and go off hours if you can. The shows we got to see were good but not broadway quality like on other ships, they were shorter but enjoyable. Casino was very smokey and crowded but never had to wait for long to play any machines. The elevators, everyone has complained about the elevators. There is a short video on the tv in your stateroom and it explains how the elevators work. Watch it and learn. Also learn what bank of elevators are closest to your state room it makes it much easier. The Ports and shore excursions are ok. The cabana at Grand Turk was worth every penny with it's waiter service and air conditioning. We walked to Jack's Shack but should have taken a cab there as we were walking on the road and missed the sign. If you can stay on the beach it's a short walk. Seeing all the homeless doggies made me a little sad but they seemed ok and were very gentle. Amber Cove in the DR was very nice and the service at the resort was amazing. I also had an excellent massage when we got back to the ship after a day in San Juan. So overall it was an amazing cruise and my husband and I would highly recommend it. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
SUMMARY We normally cruise on Royal Caribbean and have done Norwegian several times as well. We booked this cruise because leaving from NYC is convenient for us, and we were comfortable trying Carnival for the first time because Horizon ... Read More
SUMMARY We normally cruise on Royal Caribbean and have done Norwegian several times as well. We booked this cruise because leaving from NYC is convenient for us, and we were comfortable trying Carnival for the first time because Horizon is a brand new ship. As of this writing, the ratings are just about evenly distributed between Excellent, Very Good, Average and Poor. There are a total of 50 Average and Poor ratings, and 48 Excellent and Very Good. I had a lot of anxiety about going on this cruise after I read the many negative reviews. But I have to say, all my fears were completely unfounded. I had a fantastic time! Now, having said that, let me explain my rating and this review. I never give anything a "5" because I feel that implies perfection and there is no such thing. I wanted to give this a "3" only because it is not quite as good as some Royal Caribbean cruises I have been on, where I have given a "4". But the hating on this ship seems ridiculous to me and I think Horizon deserves to see its overall rating improve. Any negative or snarky comments should not detract from my overall positive feelings about the ship but are instead designed to (a) provide some suggestions for future cruisers (on how to optimize your experience, and in some cases how to properly behave); (b) provide suggestions for improvement to Carnival management, assuming they read these reviews; and (c) reflect my love-hate relationship with cruises in general, in some cases not even specific to this ship. None of my negative comments below should dissuade you from taking this cruise. My whole family and I (there were 11 of us - six adults and five children) were all very happy. OK, now on to the details... FOOD Food quality overall was very good. I have reasonable expectations about food on cruises. I consider myself to be somewhat of a "foodie" and dine out frequently, often at upscale restaurants. I don't expect the food on a cruise to compete with the best restaurants. They are making massive amounts of food at one time, how good can you possibly expect it to be? Quality is always going to suffer in favor of quantity. I thought every meal was pretty decent and encountered no problems with cold food, botched orders or anything like that. We had the early seating in the Meridian every night except one. Our wait staff was absolutely phenomenal - Piotr, Pedro and Igedde (sp?). They remembered all 11 of our family’s names after the first night. Those of us that drank soda had cans waiting for them at the table when we arrived. The team worked well together, were very attentive and took time out to talk to and entertain the youngest children in our family. One night we ate at the Italian specialty restaurant. The food quality here was excellent, but the service not quite what we would expect. It did get a bit old sitting anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours in the Meridian seven out of eight nights, so I would recommend trying a few more of the specialty restaurants to vary things a bit. A side benefit of the specialty restaurants is that you’ll avoid getting interrupted by photographers while you’re eating. One negative in the main dining room was that they did not have the same wine that we enjoyed in the Italian restaurant, and we were unable to get it without a separate charge for the whole bottle, even though two of us had the drink package. Also, we were never proactively asked if we wanted coffee or tea with dessert, although of course if we asked it was served. There weren’t a ton of healthy choices. There were no explicit healthy selections on the Meridian dinner menu but there were some wise choices available. For quicker breakfast or lunchtime meals, I was hoping for offerings like those in the Solarium on Royal Caribbean, but there was no equivalent; the salad bar in the Serenity Lounge was fairly limited. Please don’t let there ever be a law that requires putting calories on the menus like in some parts of the U.S. As far as the specialty places: The java cafe on 5 had good coffee - nice that this is included in the drink package - but their nitro cold brew machine was out of service most of the cruise. The pizza place on deck 10 aft was good but I only had it once so can't really comment on the wait time so many other reiewers complained about. I can tell you the wait at the Seafood Shack was long, even though I was the only one ordering. I ordered a few things to share with the family: the lobster BLT had too much mayonnaise in the lobster; the steamed shrimp could have been healthy, if topped only with Old Bay seasoning, but instead was obviously immersed in butter; and the fried shrimp had an oily heavy batter instead of a thin, dry, crispy crust. However, the clam strips were very good - I actually enjoyed them more than the ones I had recently eaten at Legal Seafood in Boston. Guy's burgers poolside were very good and never a long wait; I visited there about three times during the cruise. I would say they taste most like burgers at the Five Guys chain (not the same “Guy”). The Pig & Anchor is hyped up by some professional cruise bloggers. We only went for lunch, and the lunch offering does not include baby back ribs. The brisket and pulled pork were good, but I've had better at local chains such as Mission Grill here in Philadelphia. You go up to the servers and they put what you request on your plate; I wasn't getting any sides so figured they would be a little more generous with the meat, but they were actually quite stingy so I walked away with a lot of open real estate on my plate. I didn’t eat in the Lido Marketplace except to grab early-morning coffee or maybe a mini Danish or croissant. But my father-in-law had a couple of sandwiches made in the deli section and made it a point to say he really enjoyed them. There was a small breakfast buffet in Ocean Plaza, deck 5 aft, which had fruit, pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon, oatmeal, and a few other things; this area was much less crowded than the Lido Marketplace and was a nice alternative to that or to the breakfast burritos that I had three of the mornings. Speaking of breakfast burritos, they are excellent as were the lunch burritos, all from the Blue Iguana on the pool deck. They also have tacos at lunch but only soft shells; I prefer crunchy shells. DRINKS The poolside Rum Bar and Tequila Bar were both good. I liked that they had these two separate themes instead of just generic bars, and the drink concoctions were interesting. The only problem is that they could get quite crowded at times. Other than these poolside bars, there were no outdoor bars where you could sit at a bar alongside the ocean and be served a drink. There is physically a bar just outside the Ocean Plaza, but it was closed all week; you could get yourself a drink at the indoor Ocean Plaza bar and take it outside, and of course you could always take a drink outside from various other places. The Alchemy Bar was hyped in some cruise blogs. I am somewhat of a cocktail aficionado and an amateur mixologist / home bartender, so I was looking forward to trying the Alchemy. But I was disappointed with their cocktail menu, which was just about entirely filled with sweet drinks (a problem at most of the onboard bars) and no classic cocktail derivations. Zoron runs this bar and will make you up something interesting if you tell him what you like. He is a very knowledgeable bartender that also works at the Rum Bar, but he is very soft-spoken so between that and his accent it was sometimes difficult to understand what he was saying. I really enjoyed the bar at the Pig & Anchor - Milos is a great guy, but my understanding is that he is getting a promotion which I assume will take him out from behind the bar - and the Smoked Rosemary Boulevardiere was a revelation - I have never seen a drink actually infused with smoke from burning herbs. The Liquid Lounge should stop serving drinks that have to be made with a blender. These concoctions cause a bottleneck when people are trying to get their drinks and get situated just before the show starts. The noise of the blender interrupted the comic juggler’s act and he made a joke out of the intrusive sound. My father-in-law got the soda package and was disappointed to find out that he could only use it to get a soda at a bar or restaurant, not at venues such as the deck 5 coffee shop. There were also no soda machines in the Lido Marketplace, such as Royal Caribbean has in its equivalent Windjammer. My wife and I had the ultimate drink package, which also includes bottled water, specialty coffees, etc. Well worth it for us, but you’ll have to do your own math on it. STATEROOM I wiped everything down myself and found a stray hair here and there. A few times we found a stray hair on our towels. That kind of stuff freaks me out. Despite this, the room was clean overall. Our cabin attendant was friendly enough, but three separate times I asked for extra towels and only got them once. As others have commented, it would be so much nicer if the shower had a door instead of a curtain; the ship is still pretty new right now, but those curtains are going to quickly get raunchy, and nothing is more disturbing than having a gross shower curtain rub against you while you are trying to get clean. Unlike on other ships, we received housekeeping only once per day. There was no evening turn-down service or replenishment of towels. It was only later we realized that there was an option we could have selected for once daily or twice daily service, but our cabin steward had only asked us if we wanted service in the morning OR in the evening. THE SHIP ITSELF – LAYOUT, AESTHETICS, LOGISTICS, ETC. Check-in was smooth. We arrived at the terminal early and were called for boarding earlier than scheduled. My wife had done all the check-in work online so we didn’t have to wait on any lines in the terminal. We did the walk-off disembarkation, which went as well as could be expected. I thought the muster drill was somewhat disorganized. There did not seem to be enough crew members around to direct people to their muster stations, and the crew members responsible for our muster station arrived after the scheduled start. I joked with my family that in the event of an incident, we would all be on our own, every man for himself! The ship is beautiful and clean, with colorful, contemporary and decorative venues, as one would expect with a brand new vessel. It was a little confusing navigating around sometimes because, rather than a straight “spine” down the middle such as the Royal Caribbean Oasis class promenade, you would sometimes come to a dead-end and have to turn left or right to an outer corridor to continue walking fore or aft. But it’s no big deal once you get the hang of it. One day, I needed to get quickly from the pool to our chairs on a lower deck in the forward portion of the ship. I learned that there is no way to do this without going inside, having to walk barefoot on the elevators and get blasted with cold air conditioning while soaking wet. For all I know this could be the case on just about every ship, but it’s something I just happened to notice on this cruise. I liked the fact that there were forward-looking views from the bow on several decks, including lower decks such as 5, 6 and 7; I have been on ships where there were no such vantage points. I also enjoy the view aft, watching the wake of the boat trail into the distance, but from what I could tell the only place to do this was deck 10; I wish there was a lower deck with this view, closer to the water. Lots of reviews included complaints about the elevators. I thought the system of selecting a deck and being directed to a specific car worked fine; I don’t think the wait times were any shorter or longer than on ships with a “normal” elevator system. Sometimes the waits were frustrating, but that has been the case on just about every ship I’ve ever been on. The pool area was pretty loud. A cruise should recreate the experience of an island resort, not a NYC club. How about some reggae or steel drum music instead of this loud club music? Some people should just stay home in NYC if they want to go clubbing. We like shade, and there is a shady deck just above and overlooking the pool deck, but it was just too loud there. We found a quiet and shady spot on deck 5, but it was not particularly convenient to venues for coffee, food or drinks. The Serenity Lounge is the adults-only area. It has no covered / shady areas and no pool of its own; Royal Caribbean’s Solarium on Oasis, Allure and Anthem (and perhaps others) has it all over Carnival Horizon’s Serenity Lounge. The Liquid Lounge is the “main” theater but it is not a large, impressive traditional theater like on other ships. As the name implies, it is more of a lounge and the seating is not as comfortable as in a “real” theater. Deck 10 aft was a nice area with some shady tables near the Seafood Shack and the pizza place, as well as lounge chairs out in the sun around a small pool and hot tub. They almost always had cruise-appropriate reggae music playing in this area. ENTERTAINMENT There is no signature “Broadway-quality” production. The same troupe performs in several different shows in the Liquid Lounge. We went to the Vintage Pop show (which was a “Roaring 20s” type of thing), which I enjoyed because I’ve always been interested in that era, and Celestial Strings, which was OK when they were doing some of the rock numbers but less interesting with the slower ballads (not to mention it was hard to follow the storyline, if there even was one). We also saw a comedic juggler in the Liquid Lounge. I liked the fact that the shows were generally 45 minutes instead of an hour and a half; I was able to get through them without falling asleep, and it left more time in the evening to do other things. There was a band in the Ocean Plaza just about every night, with a variety of different sets – jazz, pop, 50’s, etc. Most ships have either a jazz club or a blues club, but Horizon has neither. There is, however, a piano bar. We sat in there a few times and it was relaxing but a little stuffy, more like we were watching a piano recital and afraid to talk, rather than it being background music to a more lively bar scene. It was probably different later at night when they had sing-alongs but we did not go to any of those. There were no bands in the pool area, unlike on other cruises where they will often feature reggae, steel drum or calypso music so that you feel like you’re at an island resort. Across from the piano bar is the Library Bar, which is a room filled with books and board games, including classics like Monopoly, Connect Four and Battleship. I was amazed to see Rock-Em Sock-Em Robots too, but unfortunately, it was broken. There is also a self-serve wine dispenser. The kids enjoyed this room – they spent some time in there alone, and some with us. There were two different PG-rated comedy shows. And they really were PG-rated, there was nothing that pushed the envelope for our youngest like on the supposedly family-friendly comedy show we went to on Norwegian Breakaway a couple of years ago. One of the comedians, Cee-Jay Jones, was particularly enjoyable because he actually addressed the kids with humor about how lucky they were to be on a cruise. He drew the kids into his routine with jokes about family dynamics between kids and adults, which was funny for both generations while also teaching the kids somewhat of a lesson. On the way out, I even heard my wife admonishing my son over something he was doing, with the line “Didn’t you hear what the comedian said?” There were seemingly nonstop opportunities to engage in trivia games in an endless variety of topical areas, and we had a few winners in our group, although my in-laws were disappointed there was no 50’s music triva. FITNESS The gym sucks. If you do anything other than run on a treadmill, or aren’t lucky enough to snag one of the two rowing machines, forget about a decent weight training workout, there just isn’t enough room (although there are heavy dumbbells available). The running track is way too small – 7 laps are required just to complete a mile – and you’ll have to dodge people walking with flip-flops holding cups of coffee. It is also on the opposite end of the ship from the fitness center, so if you have any intentions of putting together a circuit that includes running and weightlifting you’re out of luck unless you use the treadmill. I like ships that have a dedicated track on a lower deck, shaded by the deck above and padded with running track substrate. They have some useless machines on the deck near the running track that mimic certain weightlifting machines using bodyweight only; it looked more like an adult playground than any serious fitness equipment. I saw a picture on Carnival’s website about a heavy bag and brought my gloves with me but there was none; (the Carnival website featured the brand name they use for this area, Sky Zone, but it is not the same on every ship). They did have a pull-up bar (although it was way too thick to sustain a grip for more than a few reps) and dip bars, so I was able to put together a circuit of running, pull-ups, dips and push-ups. The spa had a drink case that had protein drinks on the first and last days but was empty in between. PORTS OF CALL Not my favorite part of any cruise. If you really want to experience a Caribbean island, go there for vacation, which is my general preference. I’m not interested in being part of a cattle call for an excursion that provides some sanitized island experience that does little or nothing to show the true character, culture or feel of the island. Of course, nothing is stopping you from exploring the island on your own, but there usually isn’t enough time, especially with the risk of not making it back to the ship for its departure. For these reasons, I generally prefer to stay on the ship during the cruise; it’s your floating resort, and it’s nice when the crowds are gone. If you get off the ship and don’t take any excursions, here is what your port experiences will be: - Grand Turk: scramble to get off the ship early enough in the morning to secure a lounge chair on the nearby beach, haggling with one or more competitive lounge chair guys after you have safely navigated through their dogs running freely on the beach, and then enjoy a view of the Horizon about 100 yards in front of you while swimming in a mix of water, seaweed and diesel discharge from the cruise ship and the other watercraft buzzing to and from the beach on both sides of you. We did do some snorkeling here and saw some cool stuff including a school of squid but hardly an optimal snorkeling opportunity. - San Juan: walk around Old San Juan. It was nice to get the essence of the area with its narrow cobblestone streets and colorful building but you won’t want to do this long in the heat. - Amber Cove: go to Carnival’s own area featuring a pool, water slides, bar, and restaurant!!! What? They have these on the ship already? Oh… But at Amber Cove I get to pay for my drinks because the drink package doesn’t work here! But seriously, I did leave out one good part, and that was the zip line - $20 for as many rides as you want – I did have a lot of fun doing this with my son and nephew. Note the age requirement is 14 and up, which disappointed my daughter after she had made the trek up the hill. By the way, the water slides were closed for renovation, and apparently this was the third week of the shutdown. MISCELLANEOUS The app is definitely helpful and the ability to text your family or friends that are onboard is certainly worth $5 for the cruise (unnecessary if everyone in your group has the internet package). But the app is somewhat temperamental; for whatever reason I would have to frequently sign back in. There were also texts that did not go through. If you really want to make sure someone sees your text, ask them to confirm receipt. I got the premium Internet package. It worked fine and the speeds were good. The only issue was, as noted above, finding that I had gotten kicked off and had to sign back in. Also note that if you have the Internet package you need the app to access it. I’ve seen reviews indicating that the crew was not friendly. I did not find this to be the case. Everyone was generally as friendly as on any other ship, and all interactions were favorable. Chris, the cruise director, was a force of nature running around the ship in his kilt. The guy is a performer in his own right and can seriously sing; he’s a one-man show of his own. Don’t try to take a nap at around noon or you’ll be awoken by an announcement that it’s noon, followed by a “gong” sound. Is this really necessary? Some passengers need to learn how to act or stay home. Several groups of teenagers were walking around with boom boxes – is there not enough music for you to choose from on this ship? What gives you the right to decide what everybody around you is going to listen to, especially in areas where people went to get some peace and quiet? You grown-ups that play music or videos on your phones within earshot of other people are no better. The worst were the people in the cabin next to my sister-in-law’s family, running up and down the halls and making noise in their room at 4:30am; security had to be called. This just seems to be the type of crowd that finds its way onto cruises, particularly when they leave from NYC. But people like this are, fortunately, the exception not the rule. We saw an IMAX movie on National Parks. There were technical difficulties when we were supposed to see it so we had to reschedule, but we were given an extra free show for the trouble, which was nice. We chose one of the 4D thrill features, which was OK but the second of the three segments was blurry. I liked the 8-day itinerary. A 7-day cruise doesn’t feel like a full week, because the departure day is not a full day. With an 8-day cruise, you get a full week in addition to that first half-day. I also liked how the itinerary was bookended by two sea days at either end, with three port days in the middle. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I have no idea why there are so many bad reviews. I was so nervous reading all of these before I cruised. So glad I did not let it get to me because THE SHIP WAS AWSOME!! I had such a fantastic time. I had my time dining and we ate ... Read More
I have no idea why there are so many bad reviews. I was so nervous reading all of these before I cruised. So glad I did not let it get to me because THE SHIP WAS AWSOME!! I had such a fantastic time. I had my time dining and we ate after 7pm each night and never waitied more the 10 minutes for a TABLE. We mad our reservation on the Carnival Hub App and by the time we got to the restaurant our table was ready NEVER WAITED. The elevators are not as bad as everyone says we stayed in the spa cabins (which were lovely and provided access to the spa thermal suites) on the 14th floor. Only 2 elevators go to that floor and the wait was never bad. The entertainment was A+ Chris the cruise director was great and so was the rest of his crew. Never a long wait at any bar. Loved the Alchemy and the Piano Bar the Best ( have to go see EDEN in the piano bar..so much fun!) SO much food I just wish there were more then pizza available 24 hours need to add more hours to buffet at least. One thing not great were the pools both of them very small and filled with children who have accidents and throw up (yes gross) I avoided them and stuck to the serinity deck on 15 they have 2 whirlpools and a great bar plenty of padded loungers and a great area to watch the sunset. Don't pass this one by I was on the July3rd cruise and can't wait to get back on. Just LOVED IT!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
better than I expected. not as nice as Disney but enjoyed it. the cruise director was fabulous. the entertainment was great. the Canadian comedian was hilarious. the food was better than expected. food not very hot in the ... Read More
better than I expected. not as nice as Disney but enjoyed it. the cruise director was fabulous. the entertainment was great. the Canadian comedian was hilarious. the food was better than expected. food not very hot in the restaurant. the buffet was good. blue iguana was excellent. burgers were excellent. pools were small. embarking and disembarking were easy. drink prices could have been a little cheaper. too many extra charges the seafood shack should be included. cabins clean. staff very friendly. charged for imax movie most ships movies are included. the ports were nice easy on and off. could have better picture packages. pictures a little pricey. desserts very good. not as classy as other cruise lines but was nice. very family oriented. pools crowded on sea days. overall nice cruise no real complaints. this was my first carnival cruise. was what i expected. no real complaints would recommend for families Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Enjoyed cruise, staff friendly and helpful. Dining room ( Merieden) was under staffed ,although the staff worked extremely hard, it was not as smooth an experience as on previous cruises. Entertainment was good in Liquid lounge. Also ... Read More
Enjoyed cruise, staff friendly and helpful. Dining room ( Merieden) was under staffed ,although the staff worked extremely hard, it was not as smooth an experience as on previous cruises. Entertainment was good in Liquid lounge. Also enjoyed The Brass Boys and Crushed Velvet in the Ocean Plaza. Only did one excursion and it was the the Traditional one in the Dominican Republic and had an excellent guide - “Chooky” and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit and learning something about the country. Grand Turk was disappointing as didn’t get into town and the shops at the port was mostly the diamond ones. Enjoyed visiting SAN Juan in Peurto Rico. Walked to the fort and did some shopping and finished up in a fun pub. Days at sea passed quickly as there were plenty to do. Sunbathing or joining in some quizzes. The younger members of our party enjoyed the Sky ride. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We just returned from the July 3 sailing to Caribbean. I have been on Carnival many times before as well as several other cruise lines and I was looking forward to the new ship. We had a party of 13 and we all had a great time. ... Read More
We just returned from the July 3 sailing to Caribbean. I have been on Carnival many times before as well as several other cruise lines and I was looking forward to the new ship. We had a party of 13 and we all had a great time. Water park was outstanding. I have never seen such a nice and fun set up for kids, young and old on a ship. Loads of fun. Our cabins, deck 8 balcony were very nice. Typical size but clean and new. Bed was super comfortable. Entertainment was excellent. Deck and atrium parties were great fun. Our CD The Flying Scotsman was one of the best CD's I have ever had. Don't miss his show.....he can really sing! Loved Celestial Strings, very beautiful. Quest was great, a do not miss! I heard good things about the Havana Bar, but we didn't get there. Piano Bar was a great evening hang out after dinner. Service I felt was excellent. Our room steward was outstanding. Yes, there were lines every now and then for Guy's burgers or a drink at the bar but I never felt anyone on the staff did not work hard to accommodate. A little patience goes a long way and you are on vacation, relax! Also, it never hurts to give a buck or two here and there, appreciate their hard work. Elevators, I still can't figure out what so many people are complaining about. It was just fine, I don't think I waited longer than 2 minutes for an elevator. Yes, different concept but not a big issue for us. Pools were very crowded, as expected with so many passengers. I do wish they had been larger. Tides pool was a bit quieter and had two hot tubs vs the resort pool mid-ship. Serenity was nice, would have been better with an adults only pool but it was extremely windy. There is a nice salad bar in Serenity if you want to opt for something more "healthy" for lunch. No kids allowed though! Our favorite place to lounge was deck 11 as the whole deck is in shade with nice comfortable chairs and couches. Just get there early as they go quickly. Ports were okay. I have been to all of the islands before so I didn't do any excursions, just went out ourselves. Turks had a pretty nice beach area as well as the pool if you wish. Puerto Rico, my family only went into Old San Juan and did some shopping to try to help boost their economy as so much of the island is still devastated from the hurricane. Amber Cove was probably the best. Their set up with the pool was very nice and they had a small zip line you could ride unlimited for $20.00 per person. Not enough time in each port to really explore but many people did excursions. Food was probably the one area that could use improvement. We are not big buffet people but for breakfast I would have really liked to see a better variety, especially fruit. So please Carnival, get some fruit! Main dining room was good, not great. I did feel this is where the service did lack. Not because the waiters weren't trying, they just need to be better trained. In all fairness however our party was 13 people and they had other tables to attend to as well. I think our waiters were a bit overwhelmed at times. But we had two gluten free in our party and they were VERY well taken care of. They bring the menu at the end of the meal for the next evening so they could pick what they wanted. Even will make the melting cake gluten free. GF options were plentiful, you just have to ask. Pizza, the deli in the buffet has GF bread, Guys has GF buns, and my daughter got some GF cake somewhere. We did eat at Bonzai and that was very good. Also the Italian restaurant was excellent. Not too crazy about Mongolian Wok, we waited a long time for the table and the food was bland. Guy's burgers, Blue Iguana and pizza are good lunch options if you are relaxing on deck. Didn't try Pig and Anchor, really ran out of time. Steakhouse looked nice but you can get a nicer cut of beef at the main dining room for a lesser charge. Advice to Carnival, please introduce a non-alcoholic drink package, more than soft drinks. My daughter is under age but she loves virgin fruity drinks. It's a hefty price to pay for each drink. RCI offers that package, it's time Carnival did. All in all, we had a great time. We would definitely sail again on Horizon. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We cruised July 3 - 11. This was our 9th cruise with Carnival so I have a lot to compare to and I may have expected too much having cruise on older boats. In general of course we enjoyed the cruise and the vacation. Lots to do, my teen was ... Read More
We cruised July 3 - 11. This was our 9th cruise with Carnival so I have a lot to compare to and I may have expected too much having cruise on older boats. In general of course we enjoyed the cruise and the vacation. Lots to do, my teen was happy and occupied and the food is plentiful. The observations is about various minor things or simply because it’s different than other boats which doesn’t automatically mean it’s bad - only different. Carnival Hub - a phone application. Yes - do download it. Was mostly handy to see what’s happening on the ship, your account and you could reserve a table for your time dinner. Instead of going to deck 5 and getting a beeper or a slip. This feature wasn’t available the first day or 2, I think. Later on that’s how we reserved a table for dinner. We got the Social plan for “internet” and I was able to communicate with my daughter constantly via WhatsApp or iMessage. She was super happy because she could use Instagram, Facebook and snapchat. Decor - in comparison to Carnival’s other ships is way toned down. More modern. My husband says it looks like a shopping mall with Ikea furniture or a hotel look. The electronic center columns have changing designs, yet even that doesn’t give much of a wow factor. No interior glass elevators etc. Nothing wrong with this, it’s just so much different than other Carnival ships I’ve been on. Haven't been on the sister ship Vista - so I can’t compare to that. Pools are small but so are the pools on other ships. Jacuzzis are always full. It was disappointing because it was full of kids and no staff was policing the rule. Serenity the adult only area is fine if you can get a deck chair or “cabana”. We learned that the best time is around lunch time 1:30 - 2:00 PM when you can snag a place. I was disappointment from the the Spa/Cloud 9 area. I went with my husband looking for the whirlpool, sauna and showers like other Carnival ships have. I asked at the front desk where to go but I made a wrong turn and went in after someone to a really nice area with a whirlpool, 3 different saunas, mosaic covered lounging beds and refrigerated cooled towels. It was both for men and women. Was lovely but my husband never showed up there. I later found out that it’s an area that you can go into only with extra pay. I accidentally walked into it just after someone swiped in. From there I went looking for the showers as other ships have. To my surprise there are 2 showers only (one for handicapped) and a toilet in the women’s area. A very small dry sauna which you have to turn on and wasn’t turning on. This is the free for all area and the sauna they offer! Elevators - These are the new elevators that you press the deck you want outside and it tells you what elevator to go to wait by. It’s computerized and is supposed to be faster. You get used to them though sometimes there are long waits and the elevator didn’t stop where I asked it to stop. First day or two it’s a mess and people are confused. You may prefer to just use the stairs at those times. There is an iMax movie theater that costs $9.95 a movie. Great theater and huge screen. They had Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Costs much more on land for these new movies. There are free movies at night on the Lido deck (some of those that are on demand paid movies in the staterooms TV). Get a blanket or towel from the towel station, popcorn and a deck chair on that floor or above. Stores - they are on 2 levels and they seem to be smaller than other ships and had less to offer. I’m not talking about watches and jewelry. Less apparel, toiletries, hats and souvenirs. Just high end stuff. We needed flip flops but they had none (someone stole my husband’s flip flops from the water slide area). The Cherry on Top is bigger. There is a Victoria's Secret as well. Casino also seems a little smaller than other ships. There is no Art Gallery/Auction area like on other ships. Personally I’m happy for that. As an artist I don’t appreciate the type of art they are peddling. Instead the photo Pixel area is larger and has tablet areas where you can look up your photos (you an also do that on the phone Hub app). They sell art photos printed on metal instead of the paintings Liquid Lounge where the main stage shows are at is smallish compared to other ships but we didn’t find the columns a problem as other people did. There are some places you definitely can’t see because of them but that’s to be expected. The chairs at the center floor are arranged and changed for each performance. They are not fixed chairs and tables so that may reduce the amount of seating but it also helps the shows and the performers can walk between the audience that way. The shows are good and the troop is professional! Punchliner comedy club which they call the Limelight I think is also smaller. Freezing in there...we had great comedians. Chris Williams “The flying Scotsman” (the cruise director) is outstanding. The best cruise director we ever had. Energetic, fun and talented. He knows how to make people party and happy. Dining and food - There are plenty of options. Whoever complained just didn’t explore. Lunch time is not limited to the Lido Marketplace buffet. There is Guy’s Burger, Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse (free at lunch time, paid restaurant at dinner). Guy's Pig & Anchor also has its own brewery! 24 hour Pizza, a deli (line could be long), Mongolian & Cucina del Capitano (deck 11) free at lunch. BlueIguana Cantina, Breakfast/Brunch until 1:30 I think sea days. You can go to Serenity and make your own salad. Food is fine some better (burgers) some less (buffet at times). You can buy beer from an automatic vending station at the Marketplace. By the way - The Library/Game room has a buy a wine by the glass or by the bottle automatic dispenser. Dining room - we had your time plan and the first 2 days there was a long wait. Beepers given. Afterwards it got better and we used the Hub app as I already mentioned. The food was mostly good. Here and there some misses. Fillet mignon was rare when we asked for Medium well. Carnival melting cake wasn’t as good as other ships. It was over cooked and therefore not melting. Finally I asked the waiter to request one that isn’t overcooked and that worked. Some dishes had no salt at all. Still it’s so much nicer in our opinion than the Lido Marketplace. Don’t forget that you can have as many dishes as you want. 2, 3 appetizers and main courses and desserts though I don’t know who has room for all that. The disappointment was with the service and servers. Not consistent. Some servers were wonderfully friendly and attentive others cold, seemed harassed and distracted. We had spoons and butter on our breakfast table only once out of all the days we went there. I was surprised that there were no tablecloths during dinner or breakfast. Only at tea time (which very few people know about or bother to go and it’s only a few tables). Do try it, it’s a nice thing with cucumber sandwiches and some sweets. There is a midnight snack - always the same but very nice. Great mozzarella & tomato sandwiches, grilled ham and cheese, meatball sandwich, soup, bowtie pasta and cookies. There is a good magician who walks around and does small shows of card, coins and string tricks at the tables. Adds some fun. If I compare to other cruises there were less staff shows during dinners and the ones they had waned in comparison to other ships. So that coupled with the no tablecloths made it a little less festive and elegant than other ships I was on. We ate at one speciality restaurant - at the Bonsai Teppanyaki. The meal was very good. A 7 course meal. The cost is $25 or $30 per person depending on what you order. Two couples we talked to who ate at the Chef's Table said it was a great experience and unbelievable food. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth, the fastest and easiest compared to previous cruises. They streamlined the process. Only thing to note that you should pay attention to if you want your luggage taken at night. Is that you have to pick up the zone luggage tags yourself. There is an early and late time slots and you have to take the luggage zone tags from deck 10 forward. The zone tage are not delivered to the room. They put them out from around 12:45 PM at deck 10 forward. I didn’t bother to read the flyer they left in the room about disembarkation and only did so at 2 PM. By the time I got upstairs all the early zone tags were taken. I took the last zone (zone 30) and we were called last at around 10:30 AM. That was fine for us. We wanted to have breakfast the last day and sit in the sun to prolong our vacation just a little more and to avoid the Manhattan rush hour! This is a lovely ship and a great vacation. I hope Carnival will work out the staff issues and ease off from nickel and diming for things that are free on other ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Four day one stop to Bermuda I was previously on the Vista, the only difference is the Horizon has a large indoor Guys Pig and Anchor, free at lunch, fee for dinner. The CR was hilarious and his assistant Kendall was terrific as ... Read More
Four day one stop to Bermuda I was previously on the Vista, the only difference is the Horizon has a large indoor Guys Pig and Anchor, free at lunch, fee for dinner. The CR was hilarious and his assistant Kendall was terrific as well. The entertainment onboard was definitely better than on the Vista. The quality of the singers was outstanding. Enjoyed all shows, The two comedians onboard were very funny. Both the Vista and Horizon have the best free choices to dine for lunch. Guys Burgers, Pig and Anchor, Italian Pasta, Asian restaurants, all delicious and free for lunch. These ships have a Deli in the Main Buffet that is great as well. My only issue is that the main diningroom staff are sometimes overwhelmed. They are assigned too many tables and cant possibly give the proper quick and professional service that I am accustomed to. Blame should be placed on management. I spoke to the DiningRoom manager about this issue. Otherwise the selection of food was adequate and tasty. Bermuda was beautiful, perfect beach day and we went to Horseshoe Beach, The cost for two chairs and an umbrella was $45.00. $7.00 pp to ride in small bus approx. 35 min. drive to Horseshoe Beach, taxi $32.00 for four people - Food at the concession was expensive and low quality, so eat a nice breakfast before heading to the beach. I would definitely go on the Horizon again ! 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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