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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Carnival Horizon was our choice for our anniversary cruise because we enjoy the larger ships, it left from NYC, a port close to us, and it was an 8 day cruise going to places we have not been before (Grand Turk, San Juan and Amber Cove). ... Read More
Carnival Horizon was our choice for our anniversary cruise because we enjoy the larger ships, it left from NYC, a port close to us, and it was an 8 day cruise going to places we have not been before (Grand Turk, San Juan and Amber Cove). Embarkation went well, we did have to wait a bit before getting on the ship, which had been normal for us on other cruise lines, but our last Carnival we literally walked right on. We had an inside cabin. It was pretty standard. The ship is beautiful and smelled new. The atrium was really neat and the display in the middle with changing pictures was amazing. Overall, the ship was amazing. The food was good. We did not do any of the specialty restaurants. We LOVED the Pig and Anchor. The buffet was great and the food was always good! The buffet was okay. We felt the options weren't great and it wasn't ever fully open. It also wasn't open for like a late lunch or early dinner. The options for late night food wasn't great. You really could only get a few deli sandwiches or pizza and the lines for both were always ridiculous. To say the entertainment on this ship was amazing is a total understatement. We have been on five cruises and my husband and I both agreed this was by far, the most talented group of entertainers. The Playlist Productions were amazing. They show a different show every night and I reccommend every single one. The singers danced and sang, all as talented as the next. Each show got better than the night before, which I did not know was possible. Carnival seriously picked a group of amazing performers. And then there was the Piano Bar. My husband and I ended up there every night because Eden was seriously the most talented pianist and singer I have ever seen on a cruise ship. He was so entertaining and really connected with each and every one of us and tried to get to all songs given to him. That guy deserves a raise or something! I also really loved the way Carnival has a "Fun Squad", who assists the Cruise Director. Chris, the Flying Scotsman, was great and so was his Fun Squad. We loved Kyndall, Erin, Joey and Bradley. They were so fun and they did a great job acknowledging everyone. The service on the ship was great. We had a charge put on our card that was not ours for over $100 and it was handled so well and taken off our bill within 24 hours. The bar staff was so amazing. We spent most of our time at the Atrium Bar and the Piano Bar and the bartenders at both were quick, great and personable. It was really nice. The one thing that really stood out to me about this ship that was unique was how the staff seemed to support each other more than I had ever seen on any other ship. We saw members of the Fun Squad come in to listen to Eden at the Piano Bar for a bit, things like that. It really was cool to see the friendships and collaborations. I really liked that. The ports were nice! We did an excursion at Grand Turk. We did a snorkeling and rays tour. We snorkeled first, then swam with sting rays. It was a great excursion and the workers were great! There were people of all age at all different swimming levels and the staff did seriously an amazing job breaking us up so that someone stayed with the people who did not feel as confident in the water. That worker pointed stuff out to them so they knew exactly what to look at. It was really nice! After, we were dropped off at the beach, which was nice and there were plenty of chairs available, even after we had gotten back from an excursion. San Juan was like a city, not your typical "island" port. It was nice, but we did not do much other than walk around. Amber Cove was beatiful, and my favorite port. It was very nice and had really cool waterfalls and other different things to look at. The shopping was pretty fun, too, with a lot of different shops. Another thing I want to mention is we parked over in Weehawken, NJ and took the ferry over to NYC. The parking was reasonably priced and the ferry drops you off within a half mile from the cruise ship. Since it was just me and my husband, we walked to the cruise ship and it wasn't bad at all. The few things that bothered us were the new elevator system. You choose your floor before you get on the elevator, so in the elevator lobby. It then tells you what elevator you have to get on. There was a lot more waiting and we saw many people just walk, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, when you see parents carrying strollers up and down many flights of steps because they had already waited more then ten minutes for an elevator, that is not okay. I am hoping that since it is a relatively new concept, maybe some kinks will be worked out. The other thing is that they really do hold tight to the 15 beverage limit if you get the beverage package. You will not be served after 15. Just something to think about. Overall, I really enjoyed this cruise. It was a great trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had wanted a family orient cruise, appealing to a variety of all ages and interests. I feel carnival did an excellent job meeting all of my expectations. The embarkation process was the easiest ever, cabins and all ship areas were ... Read More
We had wanted a family orient cruise, appealing to a variety of all ages and interests. I feel carnival did an excellent job meeting all of my expectations. The embarkation process was the easiest ever, cabins and all ship areas were clean, and the food was plentiful and high quality. The comedians were particularly good on the ship, as was the cruise director Chris and his staff. After reading other bad reviews on line, I was initially hesitant about going on the cruise, but Carnival Horizon's staff made me wonder if those people had sailed on the same ship that I was on. The fun started from the first minutes on board and did not stop. Everyone was helpful and facilitating, whether it was guest services, crew. Our cabin steward, Ruel, was excellent. Wait staff in the restaurants were extremely helpful, as were the bar staff. I never experienced any bad meals on board, and my family and I are quite picky when it comes to food choice. The ship decor, while very modern, was classy, which was a pleasant surprise to me. Having been on NCL, RCCL and Carnival, I feel that Carnival is just as good if not better than the other two. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
The Ship - The brand new Carnival flagship was big and shiny and spotless. Overall the décor was tasteful, but perhaps a bit subdued compared to other Carnival ships. Cabins were well appointed and nicely decorated, but were otherwise ... Read More
The Ship - The brand new Carnival flagship was big and shiny and spotless. Overall the décor was tasteful, but perhaps a bit subdued compared to other Carnival ships. Cabins were well appointed and nicely decorated, but were otherwise pretty standard. The many specialty dining options were mostly clustered around a central area that made them feel a bit more like a food court than an intimate restaurant. However, the meal we had at there was great. The Marketplace restaurant was divided into many separate areas with most tables offering a lovely view. This really helped make it less like a vast cafeteria. We never found it difficult to find a place to sit, which was surprising given how crowded it felt in other parts of the ship. The show and performance venues were poorly designed (which is a shame because the shows were great!) Lighting and sound systems were clearly state-of-the-art, but the effort to create multi-use spaces of both the main show room (the Liquid Lounge) and the secondary space (Limelight/Punchliner) backfired. The sad result are spaces with poor sight lines and inadequate seating for the crowds on board. People routinely lined up well before the doors opened and waited 45 minutes or more just for a seat (often with a lousy view). We had heard comments about this before we boarded, but were still surprised at how bad it was. Pools and pool deck were mobbed each time we checked them out. We were in a Havana cabin and loved having access to the Havana deck was heaven, with the added bonus of avoiding the crowds on the Lido. Perhaps it’s because we tended to head that way mid-day and meal times, but the main pool seemed chaotic, and the Tides pool was also jam packed. The sports deck was a highlight with lots of options for the kiddos and sportos. While the line for the SkyRide could be long, it was unavoidable. Embarkation/Debarkation - Boarding was smooth and easy. We arrived much too early (having left time for traffic delays that didn’t happen) and were quickly moved through the “standby line”. After about 15 minutes, they called out group and we headed aboard. No fuss at all. Debarkation was not so smooth. After calling the first few decks for self-assist debarkation, the progress halted for about 45 minutes – with no additional groups being called. Then, slowly, a few additional decks were called. After nearly two hours the self-assist folks had cleared the ship and the rest of the groups were called. In all, we waited about three hours to debark. On the upside, customs was breeze. Dining - We had traditional dining in the main dining room, which was modern and elegant. We had heard comments about a more informal style with no tablecloths, but we found the space to be lovely. The menu might not have been the most creative, but we never left hungry or disappointed. Our wait staff on this cruise was exceptional, and made us really glad to have scored traditional, late seating. That being said, we didn’t notice much of a line up or wait for Your Time Dining with one notable exception. On the first ‘elegant night’, the line to check in for My Time stretched half the length of the ship. We lunched in the Lido and found each of the specialty offering to be great – pizza, burgers, tacos, deli. But the line for pizza was outrageous, as promised. Deli line only slightly better. Carnival really needs to address this. Shows & Entertainment - First of all, we had a great cruise director. We were a bit disappointed that Mike Peck left just before we sailed. But then we met the Flying Scotsman, Chris Williams and his 9 kilts. He and his staff were energetic, engaging and always “on”. You really felt like they were going the extra mile – whether at trivia, in the main show room, or at an Atrium party. High marks all around for Chris and his team. Comedy shows were consistently good. We had kiddos with us, so only did the PG shows, but all the comics did a nice job of making it fun for grown ups as well as kids. Crowds were tough, especially at the early 5:30 show. We learned to arrive 30-40 minutes in advance if we wanted decent seats. And were turned away when we arrived just under 20 minutes before show time. Production shows were also in high demand and with good reason. The overall production quality was very high, and live music had a big impact. We enjoyed every show, although some were a bit more to our taste than others. But the theater wasn’t large enough for a ship of this size, and the design made it even more difficult to find a decent seat – or a seat at all. Folks lined up 45 minutes to an hour ahead of show time and when the doors opened, there was a mad dash to find a seat that wasn’t behind a pole or a speaker or lighting equipment. It’s a shame the space is so bad, because the performers and the productions were very, very strong. Piano bar was our one big disappointment. Musician was great, but we were unaware that the Piano Bar is adult only during the sing-along times. Normally, our teenagers really enjoy this and they were very disappointed when we were booted out. Music around the ship was, in general, quite good. The strings and guitarist in the Atrium were excellent and the Latin band in the Havana bar was outstanding. So, overall, high marks for the quality of the entertainment. Ports -We knew this sailing wasn’t about the ports, especially with relatively short stays on most of our port days. In Grand Turk, we headed way down the beach to Jack’s Shack where the crowds were thinner and the beer cheaper. It was a short, but enjoyable day. In San Juan, we met some family and spent the day at a great beach just outside San Juan. And then had an absolutely fabulous meal at a local beach side dive. And then, Amber Cove, which gets a failing grade. First, our day was short since we sailed at 2:30. Excursions were overpriced and a long bus ride each way for an hour for only a few hours of beach or snorkeling time. If you didn’t book a pricey excursion, there was no beach, with swimming only in the pool that was much to small to accommodate the crowds. Beach chairs were free, but you had to pay for everything else, including shade. Water slide wasn’t operating and our kids weren’t old enough to zip line. We felt trapped in a place too small for the number of passengers. We usually love the “private island” day, but this was a waste of time and money. Next time, we’ll stay on the ship or avoid Amber Cove altogether. Big, big thumbs down. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I choose this cruise because it was a new ship, it was affordable, only a 25 min. ride from my home, and a short cruise that could accommodate my daughter's work schedule. I am in my 60's and my daughter is in her 20's. I ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it was a new ship, it was affordable, only a 25 min. ride from my home, and a short cruise that could accommodate my daughter's work schedule. I am in my 60's and my daughter is in her 20's. I have been on over twenty cruises on various cruise lines. My daughter and I throughly enjoyed this cruise. Although I have been on Carnival ships before, my daughter had never been on a Carnival ship although she has experienced other cruise lines. The organization of the ship was easy to navigate and we quickly knew how to get around. The decore was so nice and hotel like, and reminded me of other cruise lines I had been on. The ship was one of the cleanest I have ever seen. The food was absolutely delicious, hot foods were always hot and cold foods were always cold. The menus were different each day with wonderful offerings. Although both my daughter and I are small women we are foodies, and prefer not to eat at all if food is not good. We had Our Time Dining and it was easy to get a table quickly although we had to wait a little bit on lobster night. We always had a table for two, we loved that. The dining room looks like a restaurant not at all like a massive dining hall. We never ate at the extra payment dining rooms. All staff we encountered were pleasant and helpful. Staff was always ready to answer questions even though it may have not been their department. Our cabin steward was great and always made sure we had clean towels and a towel animal. We had an interior cabin and it had plenty of storage, the size of the cabin was exactly what we expected. The bathroom was a good size, but I wish there had been a sliding door for the shower instead of a shower curtain. The bed and the bedding were delightful and I had a good night's sleep each night. Entertainment was fun. During the day the usual silly and fun activities were offered, like the hairy chest contest, the love and marriage game, trivia, zumba and many other daytime activities. The pool deck always had lots of people, and activities. It was nice that there were several eateries around the pool deck. Of course there was a casino, which was small and bingo was constantly offered. The casino was extremely smoky at night and somewhat smoky during the day. Since I am a non smoker I spent little time in the casino. Night activities were great. There were two comedians. They both did general comedy and evening comedy for adults only. We only saw the adults only shows, we laughed a lot. One comedian was a guy in his 40's and the other was a women in her mid 60's, both were just hilarious, the comedy room was full during their performances. The pools were very small and full of children, so we did not venture into the pools and neither did most other adults. However, the Serenity area for adults was wonderful with cabanas, lounge chairs, two jacuzzis, a few tables, a bar and a salad bar. It was a wonderful retreat, but you needed to get there early to obtain a spot. They have towels there also, they were so lush that I purchased one to use when I go on other vacations. Our only port was Bermuda, since we both have been there several times, we just went to the little beach at the port and we visited the glass place. So we did not go on excursions. The beach was nice and clean and quiet, we enjoyed it. Nighttime entertainment was great. There was all kinds of wonderful live music all over the ship, I loved the violinist, and all other music I heard. There was a fun nightclub with good music for dancing. The professional dancers and singers at the shows did a great job, but there were no aerialist as I have seen on other ships. I would absolutely travel on this ship again and I plan to tell all of my friends and family how much fun we had. We had so much fun that we did not want to sleep to late or go to bed to early. The other passengers were also a joy. We met and talked to several nice people. Also there weren't as many children as I thought there would be, but most of the children I saw were quiet and well behaved. I did not see any loud and rowdy adults, nor teens. There were people of all ages on the ship but there did not seem to be lots of people in their 20's. There were some families with children and many without. The ship never felt crowded even though there were over 4,000 people. We will most likely go on the Horizon again or some other Carnival ship next year. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Carnival has always given us awesome vacations. This time the Carnival Horizon's officers had a somewhat snobbish attitude when asked questions or had little time to spend with the passengers. The cruise director, Chris Williams is ... Read More
Carnival has always given us awesome vacations. This time the Carnival Horizon's officers had a somewhat snobbish attitude when asked questions or had little time to spend with the passengers. The cruise director, Chris Williams is excellent! He does a tremendous job of entertaining and informing the passengers. An area of concern is the amount of kids running into the Liquid Lounge attempting to save seats with no regard to the older/elderly couples trying to see the show. They save 3 to 5 seats at the same time for a full 30 minutes. I saw several verbal arguments take place because those people wouldn't show up until the show started. I informed the entertainment staff about this, but he seemed unwilling to help. I hope that nobody gets hurt by these kids and then lawsuits occur. Please monitor and address this matter as soon as possible. Carnival is an excellent cruise line and will cruise with them again. Great dining experience and selection of food. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This ship is beautiful! If you are thinking of booking this ship I implore you to look into the Havana rooms. I am so spoiled now! Jorge and Cassandra were amazing to me and my friends/family all week and took good care of us. Never had ... Read More
This ship is beautiful! If you are thinking of booking this ship I implore you to look into the Havana rooms. I am so spoiled now! Jorge and Cassandra were amazing to me and my friends/family all week and took good care of us. Never had trouble finding a spot at the Havana pool and it wasn't overcrowded. We went up to use the water slides a few times and the main pool looked like a nightmare! The Havana is well worth the cost. My only complaint was that they sometimes hosted karaoke in the lounge and piped it in over the loudspeakers at the pool. Not very relaxing! Spent a lot of time at Ocean Plaza and Alchemy Bar. I'm not sure why, maybe it was because it opens to the deck on either side, but Ocean Plaza always felt a bit warm. Alchemy Bar was my favorite bar on the ship. Ask for Annamaria. She'll take good care of you! Cucina, Bonsai, and Farenheit 555 were all excellent. We only ate in the main dining room one night but we had a good experience - no complaints here. Buffet is always a zoo except at dinner so we mostly stayed away. Overall it was a fantastic cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My wife wanted to go on this cruise. We usually go in the fall to coincide with our anniversary, but, this year we went soon after the ship came to NYC. We usually take the first one out, but, this year the first one out was a four day ... Read More
My wife wanted to go on this cruise. We usually go in the fall to coincide with our anniversary, but, this year we went soon after the ship came to NYC. We usually take the first one out, but, this year the first one out was a four day trip to Bermuda with no nights. Also, we got canceled out of Grand Turk on a prior cruise and got cancelled out of Amber Cove two years ago on the Carnival Vista. So this cruise presented us a chance to visit two ports of call we never made in the past. The middle port we choose not to go to since we have been there before. Everyone lines up at the CVS since that is the first place with air conditioning going out the front door. This was our 26th cruise and our 16th with Carnival. We had problems with our safe in our stateroom. Our Room Steward was helpful to getting the problem squared away. We started with two sea days. Played table tennis in the sports center every day. Went to gym most days. Met some kids of Cruise Critic members. Didn't get to see them so much since it was either Cruise Critic or Carnival who never sent notice to me when the Cruise Critic Event was. Sorry folks, but, if I don't know of the event, how could I be there? That was a down part. Dining- for the most part was good. Our waiter took too many liberties with deciding which wine I wanted with my dinner. I order one wine once and it is with my dinner the next night. So, I ordered something to go with it. As well as a scolding since it is not up to him what I will drink with my meal. Some nights had bad choices. Then I choose the salmon. One night I wanted grilled salmon which was not on the menu. Another night I wanted beef wellington and got something else. Later got my beef wellington. Service by the room stewards was excellent. The stateroom was kept clean. If we needed anything we just asked and it was there. Dining Room service was spotty. Didn't like the waiter wanting to choose what wine or any wine I wanted with my dinner. Entertainment and Activities- Some of the shows were pretty good. Others didn't do it. There was no country music played at any of the lounges or on records playing in the casino. Missed that. Played table tennis daily. Played in the casino daily. Cruise Director, The Flying Scotsman, was very good. Ports- Grand Turk- we went on a tour. The tour was very good and took us all over the island. Showed us where the US military was. Learned about the history of the island. Went to an Anglican Church, a market area, and to see the lighthouse. When we got back near the ship we had time to shop in stores. San Juan- We have been here before. Wife was tired from day before so we just stayed on the ship. Played table tennis, ate, rested. Amber Cove- Went on shore Excursion. It was very good and interesting. We went around Puerto Platta. Went to a church, Cigar maker, the country side, chocolate factory, restaurant, and farm. Very interesting. Had lunch at a restaurant and the owner also owned a farm. Saw that too. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Read several other reviews of this ship and I am not sure theses people were on the same ship I was. I noticed a lot were in lower cabins (i.e. going on the cheap) and therefore expected things to be entitled to them. This was our 4th ... Read More
Read several other reviews of this ship and I am not sure theses people were on the same ship I was. I noticed a lot were in lower cabins (i.e. going on the cheap) and therefore expected things to be entitled to them. This was our 4th cruise together on CCL and my 6th, going all the way back to Mardi Gras. Both my Wife and I are Gold Status. First off, the embarkation in NYC is very easy. We were dropped at the curb by a family member, gave our bags to a porter and inside we went. Met by CCL staff and handed a card with a number, this was boarding number, we were #21. Up to meet a guy who was very friendly who checked our Passports and Boarding Passes. He scanned the Passport, which became our photo on the S&S Card. Through the metal detector, like in the airport and then into a waiting area with plenty of seating. They were calling #10 when we got there, but within 25 mins our number was called. We walked to the Gangway, handed them our card and one more scan of the Boarding Pass and on we went. Total time 40 mins or less. The ship brand new and smells it. Someone said the ship has an odor. They obviously haven't been at sea a lot and on ships. I used to work in the marine coatings industry and I immediately recognized that smell as fresh paint, like the "new car smell". Entering the lobby at first I was unimpressed till we walked in further and the "mushroom" was all lit up in front of us. WOW! We walked up a deck and grabbed an elevator to the Lido deck. The elevators can be confusing at first and a little slow, but they easy to use once you understood how to use them. Lunch on the Lido was typical embarkation day Carnival fare. I had the roast turkey which was good. We met a family behind us on their first cruise and chatted with them a while. Then off to explore the ship and we were able to get to our cabin at 1:30 as CCL said we could. Our Steward, Putu was a great guy very friendly. We had a Balcony cabin on Deck 8 Aft - 8438. Room again, was similar to what we had on Triumph and Conquest in size and amenities. For the Inaugural Year Carnival has been putting a special book in your cabin about the Horizon. A Facebook group we are on someone mentioned it. I didn't see one in our cabin, so I asked Putu and said "I'll be right back" 3 mins later we had a book. At 3 we went up to the Tides Pool bar to do a Meet and Greet with the Facebook Group we have been part of for this cruise. It was really great to see and put names and faces together. It helped all week as we would see each other around the ship and we met some really nice people. 4 PM Muster Drill,which was super easy. Our station was in the Meridian Restaurant. Drill over by 4:30 and on deck for the Sail A Way party. The Entertainment Staff and CD , Mike Pack do an awesome job! They kept things moving all week and it was non-stop with Mike. If you cruise with him, be prepared, I swear he has Energizer batteries under his shirt..he keeps going and going and going. As we unpacked I realized I left my pants home. I had my suit pants and some nice pairs of shorts. First night in the dining room ( late seating Reflection Rest) I stopped to ask the Maitre'D if I could wear shorts, telling them of my issue. to my relief they said it was no problem on none formal nights. Turns out I wasn't the only one. Some comments about the Restaurant and Food. First off, we had amazing waiters who went out of their way to make sure meals were special. James and Alan were great and everything came out as we ordered it. We also got a chance to talk to them and learn about their families back home. Some people complained about cold food. Never experienced that at all. Closest I had was one night I ordered salmon and it came out, not as hot as I would have preferred, but it wasn't cold. They said the last night of the cruise they serve 15,000 meals a day, so having my meal come out as I ordered, I am impressed. The Lido food was no the best selection for lunch, but there are so many places to eat on board, you can find something, somewhere. We only did one specialty restaurant for dinner- JiJi Asian Kitchen and it was excellent. We did the Seafood Shack one day for lunch ( charge involved) and also thought it was good. Also did Pig& Anchor for lunch one day ( it's free for lunch, charge for dinner) and I wasn't that impressed. I heard dinner was so much better. Someone already mentioned that we had a emergency Evac at sea on the 2nd day. I have never seen that and it was interesting. We heard it was a case of appendicitis and the person needed surgery within 24 hours. The previous person also made a comment about they felt the ship could have sped up and we could have made Grand Turk instead of having to miss the port. This was NOT the case, we went off course about 200nm and back NW towards the mainland. There was no way making Grand Turk was possibility, but they can dream. The 3rd sea day was welcomed by us, as it gave us another day to chill. I would be just as happy with all sea days and one port day. That night we got back to our cabin, found an apology letter which included the 20% off our next trip. Already thinking of ways we can use it! San Juan was our first port stop and we did the Barcardi Tour on our own. After exciting the terminal go left and walk to the ferry terminal. The cost is $1 pp round trip and the ride across the bay was 10 mins. Once on the other side we found a taxi van to share with a family for $3 each $6 for both of us. I gave him a $10 and said keep the change. Barcardi wasn't open yet, so they dropped us in front. We waited outside maybe 15 mins when a guard came and let us in. Told us to walk along the side walk to the pavilion. Once there they were ready for us. Fee was $15pp and included a free drink of our choice from 4 or 5 and a souvenir glass. The tour was interesting and took about 2 hours. On the way back we took another van back to the ferry with the same family. Again another $10. Total cost for the 2 of us was $52. The ship tour which stopped there was $79.99 pp. After getting off the ferry, we walked around Old San Juan for about 2 hours and then back to the ship. We left at 5. Next day was Amber Cove, a new port for both of us. It's similar to Grand Turk in that it's a Carnival built port with shops, a restaurant and pool. We originally had a tour here, but cancelled it. Since we skipped GT, the excursion desk waived the cancellation fee. We did some shopping here and then went to the pool for about 2 hours, had lunch in the restaurant and then some final shopping for gifts for those back home and back to the ship. Mike Pack was there welcoming us all back. Next 2 days at sea were great and we saw 2 shows. The "Celestial Strings" show was very good. Each night we also saw the comedians who were very funny and yes, in the later very explicit :) We also spent time chilling in the Havana bar one night and another night in the Piano Bar. Debarkation sadly came and it was again very easy and simple. NYC port was easy to get through and made the ending of trip stress free. Only things bad we can say about the ship was there were times when we felt more staff was needed in certain area- The already mentioned in other reviews pizza place was one of them, but this is easily solved by adding ore staff . There were times we felt the crowds, but Carnival Horizon is a big ship and there are plenty of places to go to get away from them. The Starboard side Lanai was a excellent place for a quiet spot to read, sleep or just watch the waves go by. If you want to stay busy no problem there. I was able to do the Skyride, the Sky Course, a ropes course that can be challenging, We played mini golf in the Sportsquare and walked on the track to keep in shape. I also did both water slides in the Dr. Seuss Waterpark. "The Cat's Hat" (the red one) you sit on a tube and gives a great ride. "Fun Things" (the blue one) is surprisingly fast and gives a great ride. We also did massages in the Spa, but didn't take advantage of the other facilities there. Overall, Carnival Horizon was great trip. We knew what to expect from Carnival and were disappointed, in fact in cases pleasantly surprised. Would definitely recommend a trip on board her. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise was a Christmas gift from my parents for my family and my sister's family. There were 11 of us ages 10-72. We have all cruised many times before, and have been on most all of the major cruise lines, including Disney. ... Read More
This cruise was a Christmas gift from my parents for my family and my sister's family. There were 11 of us ages 10-72. We have all cruised many times before, and have been on most all of the major cruise lines, including Disney. My mom choose this ship because it was new and leaving out of NYC, something none of us had done before. We all enjoyed having some sightseeing time in the city the day before the cruise started. We all arrived at the Manhattan Cruise port via Uber from our different hotels. (My parents arrived a bit earlier than we did and when Carnival noted my dad was walking with a cane and having a bit of trouble they got him a wheelchair and they put them in the Zone 1 Boarding group. This was a huge help and they were on the ship eating lunch by 11:30.) We had 12-12:30 boarding time and we arrived at 11:50. We dropped off our luggage and then proceeded upstairs to check in. This was by far the FASTEST and Easiest check in ever!! We literally never stopped moving the entire time from security, check in to boarding. I texted my mom at 12:07 that we were walking on the ship! We had our first lunch at Guys. This was a great way to start the trip. It wasn't hectic or busy like the min buffet can be at that first lunch. We got our food, easily got a nice outside table and started relaxing! After lunch we looked around the rest of deck 5 and then headed up to the Lido deck to meet the rest of the family. The kids all had their suits and so they went to get changed to enjoy the pools and slides for awhile. After the mandatory safety drill we got ready for our early dinner seating and then headed up deck 11 to watch the ship leave NY Harbor. What a great view of both the city and the Statue of Liberty. It was a lovely day and so we got some great pictures! We were initially given AnyTime Seating and were waitlisted for Early seating. I emailed the maître D before the sailing (as suggested by others on this site) and requested early seating for the family. About 3 days prior to leaving I received and email that said we would be given early seating time and that specifics would be on our sail and sign card when we got on Board. Just as they said we were given an assigned time. I was initially a bit confused because I noted on the card that it said we were in the Meridian Dining room which I knew was the Anytime dining room. But that was correct. We were give 5:30 time at table in that dining room. I wasn't thrilled at first with the 5:30 slot but it ended up being a perfect time!! (We did have a hard time getting there right at 5:30 but most nights made it by 5:40). We had a table all the way at the back of the room so we had a great window seat looking out the back of the ship. Plus with that early time we were finished with dinner most nights by 7-7:15 so were able to pick and choose from all the evening activities on the ship each night. We all enjoyed the food in the main dining room. My dad and sister noted that they thought the portions were a bit smaller for main course but for most of us they were just the right size, particularly as we enjoyed getting 2 appetizers and sometimes 2 desserts many nights so it was just the right amount not to feel completely stuffed at the end of the meal. The ships slides, sky ride, rope course and other on deck games and activities were enjoyed by all in our group. The slide line was never terribly long and we all used the slides each day. The sky ride line after the first day was also fine. We tended to wait 20-45 minutes for a ride but it was worth it and several in our group enjoyed multiple rides over the week. (Make sure you put on closed toed shoes, no flip flops or sandals of any sort, even those with buckles are allowed). The Dive-In theater on Deck had many good movies throughout the week. I think we watched at least 4. The thing we all loved was that they had blankets at the towel stand!! Just like checking out a towel during the day you could go over and get a blanket to keep you cozy while watching the movies. The first few nights when we were further north it was cooler on deck at night so the blankets just made it perfect to enjoy a movie on deck. We also watched 3 movies in the Imax theater. There was a fee for those (Perfect use of onboard credit). My husband said it was one of the best 3-D theaters he has ever been too! We bought the tickets ahead of time at the kiosk outside the theater. If there is a movie you for sure want to see and at a certain time I would suggest doing this early as 2 of the movies we saw had full theaters so we were glad we had gotten them ahead of time. At the start of the cruise you can see all of the movies and show times for the week. You can purchase them at that time thereby reserving your spots. We were supposed to stop at 3 ports but due to a medical emergency for a passenger the ship had to turn around mid-way and so we were not able to go to our first port, Grand Turk. This was a huge disappointment for all of us as we had booked a private snorkel excursion there. The company I booked with had said they would refund deposit if the ship did not come in to port so we did not lose our money but were disappointed nonetheless. When we booked this cruise I was not particularly excited to have 4 sea days and now this made 5! I will say however that even though we were still bummed to miss Grand Turk, this ship had such great activities that the 5th sea day ended up being just fine. Our 2 stops then were Puerto Rico and Amber Cove. We use "Free Walking Tours" for a walking tour of Old San Juan and then visited Fort Morro and shopped a but before heading back to the ship. In Amber Cove we did the 27 Waterfalls. If you want to do this excursion do it ON YOUR OWN! The ship charges $110/person and you only get to do the smallest portion of the falls. We did this on our own for just $31/person ($15/person for private transport with RV Tours, and then $16/person for entry to falls) and did all 27 falls. We got off the ship as soon as it was cleared and made it to the falls ahead of the cruise groups. We were in a small group, 8 of us and then 8 others they put us with. About 3/4 of the way back down in the falls we met up with a group from the ship. There were 30+ people in that group and they didn't get near the experience we did. This was our first cruise ever to enjoy Breakfast in the sit-down dining room every morning instead of going to Buffet. This was a great way to start our day each morning. We also rarely got anything for lunch from the Buffets, another first. Guys Burger Joint and the Blue Cantina were both so great we got lunch from one of those places most every day. Most in the group did get ice Cream multiple times a day and several had Pizza late at night. There was quite a wait most times for the pizza. I think each time we went up after 11 the wait was 20-30 minutes. We preferred the pool at the back of the ship. Each day we got sun chairs on deck 11 on one of the sides of the ship towards the back and when we wanted to go swim would walk back there. We did tend to go up and set our stuff on a few chairs in the morning to save some spots until we could get up there after breakfast. We did so with the attitude that if someone came along when we weren't there and moved our stuff we would be OK with it and tried never to leave the chairs with no one there for more than 20-30 minutes at a time. On Day 3 we did note that chairs, particularly in the main pool area that were seen to have no one in them by the staff were getting stickers placed on them.. The sticker noted the time the sticker was placed and then gave another time and said if they were not back by that time their stuff would be take to towel hut. The back pool was never over crowded. There always seemed to be space for people to swim, sit on the sides or lounge on the edges. The same appeared to be true of the main pool. Lots of people were enjoying it but it wasn't so full that you felt you were on top of others. My son and husband enjoyed many of the trivia games during the day. In the evenings we also enjoyed a variety of activities including the comedians, main theater shows, and deck parties. The cruise Director Mike Pack was just terrific. Our Balcony Cabin on Deck 9 was the perfect location! 9277. I would highly recommend this location on one close to it. Getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was also very simple. You could go and pick a luggage tag for the earlier or later assigned disembark time (last day at sea) or walk off the ship with your own luggage once your floor was called. They started self disembark at 7:15 am, top floor to bottom floor. We got up and ate breakfast, again enjoyable sit down in the Meridiad at 7:45. Then went back to the room by 8:30 picked up our suitcases and headed to the elevators. I was a bit worried about being on the 9th floor with 5 suitcases to get off but there was no issue. We pressed deck 3, 6- 7times (one time for each of us and extras because we had suitcases) We had to wait for maybe 6 minutes or so but an empty elevator arrived and then took us directly to deck 5). Again from that point we never really stopped moving until we were out on the street looking for Uber. Before we went on this trip I read a lot of negative reviews and complaints about the Vista and then this new ship. The experience on this ship was different from some other cruises but it was still great in its own way. Don't go expecting it to be just like a previous cruises, things are changing on board many cruise lines but that doesn't mean they are now "bad or lesser" experiences. Go expecting to enjoy yourself and enjoy what this ship has to offer and don't spend your week comparing it to past cruises. That is what my family did and we had a great time. If you do that I assure you that you will enjoy this cruise ship as well. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
This is my 26th Carnival cruise spread over many different ships. I have also been on many Disney cruises. Although I would be remiss if I didn't point out the challenges on this new ship, in general it was a really nice cruise on a ... Read More
This is my 26th Carnival cruise spread over many different ships. I have also been on many Disney cruises. Although I would be remiss if I didn't point out the challenges on this new ship, in general it was a really nice cruise on a beautiful ship. Pro's: The ship - despite other reviews we thought this ship was so clean! Yes the elevator system bothered so many people. I think it just felt like the wait was longer than traditional systems because there was no floor indicator so you had no idea when it would arrive. Mostly we took the stairs. The atrium is different from the older class of ships but equally pretty and a fun place to be during scheduled events. Spa Cabin - our cabin was nicely decorated and the thermostat worked perfectly so we were never too hot or too cold. The extra amenities in a spa cabin were nice as well - beautiful brand new robes, nice lotions and shampoo's, slippers, serenity towels, etc. We did not take advantage of the spa discounts we received but did use the thermal access several times. The Crew - The nicest, most friendly crew I've ever seen with one exception (see dining hostess staff under cons!). Special shout out to our awesome dining room waitress Mirjana. Yes it took three sets of dining staff to find her but she was amazing. Our food and drink orders were taken quickly and the food delivered quickly and hot! The entertainment crew was among the best - special shout out to Erin and Kyndall. Mike, the Cruise Director, has so much energy and was very present. Ok, so no one can hold a candle to Matt M but he came super close! Our steward Samuel and his assistant were fantastic. And contrary to other reviews you can ask for two times per day service and they happily accommodate. Activities - So much to do on this ship. Highly recommend the Military Appreciation event and the Behind the Fun tour. Zumba on the Lido is a nice addition too. Comedians were in general funny. The house band and violist's were great. Favorite food choices: Salad bar at the Serenity deck was awesome. Fresh and so many choices including shrimp! BBQ was great as well. Cons: I don't have many but here are the notable ones in my book. Menu Selection in the main dining room. This is not necessarily a Horizon only criticism. We just didn't like the new American Table Menu. The choices each night and the overall taste was just not great. Dining room hostess - As much as we loved the crew on this ship I've never run into someone so rude on a ship. One night we went directly to dining room instead of checking in on 5 as we were around the corner at the comedy club. Showed platinum card and requested our favorite server. We were told her station was booked and, in fact, the entire Your Time dining room was full and we could not be accommodated. Our server saw us and seated us immediately. During our entire meal her station was half full as was the entire Your Time dining room. It was clearly a case of "follow my rules or I'll have the last word". That was the only time I ran into anyone less than awesome. Embarkation and debarkation in NY: Embarkation seemed frantic as only the Diamond guests were separated for early access. Platinum's were grouped with the Faster to the Fun crowd. Debarkation in NY is the worst ever! We used the luggage service the night before and had to wait an hour to get our "priority" bags in zone 3. I can't even begin to tell you how awful it was to get a cab, Lyft or Uber in NY. I will never cruise from there again. Wine prices - they have really increased the prices both with the wine packages and individual glasses. A glass of KJ cost more than an entire bottle in the grocery store. 2X is fine but 4X? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I am 63 and retired. We picked this cruise because it was on a new ship and was leaving from NYC(just a train ride away). We got to the pier at 1 o'clock,There were no lines since you enter your info online before you get to the ... Read More
I am 63 and retired. We picked this cruise because it was on a new ship and was leaving from NYC(just a train ride away). We got to the pier at 1 o'clock,There were no lines since you enter your info online before you get to the ship. When we got to our deck, we waited ten minutes for the 1:30 pm room availability to drop our bags. Your room key cards are outside your door in an envelope and you must put a card in a slot to turn on the lights I was told there were 4000 adults and 600 kids on board. I never thought the ship felt crowded. The new type of elevators required a long wait. Many people gave up and walked. I was told you are supposed to hit the button once for each person. Maybe they'll work out the kinks. Over all I thought the food was pretty good. Breakfast was pretty much the same every day. The made to order omelets were very tasty. On sea days there is brunch in the MDR, worth going at least once. For lunch besides the buffet there are the Guy's burgers and BBQ. I thought both were great and had only short lines if any. There is also pizza, pasta and Asian noodles none of which I tried although the one time I wanted to try them the was long wait. There are also burritos and tacos, which never seemed to have a long line. For dinner we had "any time" dining. We always opted to eat late. You check in on deck 5 and they tell to go to deck 3 or 4. The first night things were a little chaotic. But by the second night it seemed to go smoothly. The last night I ordered the pork and it was a little dry. We also ate at the steak house and the chef's table. I enjoyed the chef's table but would not do it every cruise. The entertainment was good. I never had a problem getting a seat in the Comedy Club. We listened to the band in the Ocean plaza. Very Professional. Service was good. I thought everyone was trying their best and they were all pleasant. We didn't take any organized shore excursions; we went out on our own. On Grand Turk we took a taxi to Cockburn Town. We just walked around and went to the museum( $5).The museum was interesting but it doesn't seem like there is much else to do or see. In San Juan we walked the long way to El Morro. We saw the city wall and the (outside of) governor's mansion. Since El Morro is run by the Natl Parks service we got in for free with my Senior Pass. It was very interesting but there are some challenging stairs. In Amber Cay(Puerta Plata), we just stayed in the cruise port area since we got up late and the ship was leaving at 2:30.Also, the rum distillery is closed on the weekends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
This was my birthday cruise. Living in NYC meant we did not need to fly. Experienced cruiser with at least 15 cruises on different lines THE GOOD Food quality: in included and specialty restaurants. Steakhouse was great. ... Read More
This was my birthday cruise. Living in NYC meant we did not need to fly. Experienced cruiser with at least 15 cruises on different lines THE GOOD Food quality: in included and specialty restaurants. Steakhouse was great. Clean ship, I like new ships. Awesome shows, especially Spellbound Nightly movies outside with popcorn. Finally got to see Blackpanther. THE BAD Elevators: I think it’s a software issue. Could be very frustrating at dinner time. Liquid Loung (main theater): way too small, get there early. Some seats are blocked by columns on the upper level. Buffet : I have never seen such a poor variety. Pizza and Deli are very understaffed. Cheers drinking package: starts on day 2 (8 day cruise) when you leave out of NYC. Although it’s more generous then some other cruise lines the cost is for 7 days but bars are closed on disembarkation. Lack of seating poolside. Read Less
Carnival Horizon Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.5

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