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We are just off the beautiful Carnival Horizon after a terrific 7 day Western Mediterranean cruise. About us: family of 4: 2 adults, 2 kids aged 11 and 8. This is our second ever cruise. Our first experience was the Disney Magic in 2015. We are vegetarian, so if you are a carnivore looking for food reviews I’m sorry, this will disappoint you. Embarkation at Barcelona was smooth and seamless. There were public protests expected in the city on embarkation day, so we were warned to give ourselves extra time to get to the port. This may have influenced how they ran embarkation: on registeration we were given a number card and people boarded by number group. We had preregistered for an 11:30 embarkation time and we were onboard before that time. We headed to the Lido for lunch and were among the first to eat lunch, then hit the ship’s amenities. We were in room 1384, a deluxe ocean view room with bunk beds. It was a great room with enough room for the four of us and a lovely large window with a wide sill. The kids loved piling pillows up and sitting in the window reading or watching docking and the activity on the docks or in the harbours. It was very quiet, except that we could hear the engine as a constant quiet purr in the background. The cabin had lots of storage. Although we are light packers (2 suitcases for all four of us), we did have both warmer and cooler weather clothing as the spring forecasts were variable, and we started and ended our trip in Montréal. All of our stuff unpacked into about half of the storage space. There were 2 bathrooms - one with a toilet, shower and sink, the other with a shower/bath and sink. Both bathrooms had a bit of counter space and small shelves for storage. Each had a retractable clothesline which was hand for drying bathing suits. Remember to bring some clothespins. The queen bed was very comfortable, and the kids slept well on the bunks, although personally I found the bunk mattresses a bit hard. We asked for room service only once a day, so the bunks stayed out: I had expected them to be put away during the day, but I guess we had to request this. The kids got along better having separate places to flake out in, so we didn’t bother. The ship was beautiful! There are lots of decks and places for people to hang out, so it was not apparent that we were four among 4299 guests. The pool areas obviously get crowded on sunny warm afternoon. The onboard rides and activities were terrific: Sky Ride and the Sky Course obstacle course were lots of fun. We did them on several days, usually just as they opened for the day so the wait was minimal. Please note that closed toed shoes are required - for the first few days lots of people had to return to their cabins to change their shoes. I would have loved it if these rides had longer open hours. My kids loved the mini putt, and we all had fun with the football/soccer pool game. The water slides were a lot of fun, with short to no waits at all - it helped that as Canadians the cooler Mediterranean spring weather was not a deterrent for us to get wet. We did any time dining and never waited for a table. We did not always get the same serving staff, although on the second day we were asked if we cared where we sat, so I presume that requesting the same table/area/wait staff can be accommodated, possibly leading to a wait for a table. Requesting a table through the app was not yet available on our cruise, we had to go to deck 5 in person. Food was plentiful and adequate. Vegetarian choices were a bit slim, but not hard to find. We preferred sit down restaurant service for breakfast and dinner as the food was significantly better than at the buffet. We did not eat at any of the extra-cost specialty restaurants (although I am sure their vegetarian options were delicious, the prices were not a bargain considering the value of our Canadian dollar at the time of our cruise). The 24 hour pizza was very good. I would have liked to see vegetarian options at the Blue Iguana (where they offered sides only, so a cold burrito), and the Mongolian Wok. The “featured vegetarian” item on evening menus was always excellent, consisting of 3 Indian curries with sides, all of which varied each day. We enjoyed the Carnival melting chocolate cake every day. Other dessert options were less satisfying: the buffet offered a big selection of cakes every day, but we found there was way too much icing for the amount of cake and were usually disappointed. The kids took great advantage of the 24 hour soft serve ice cream station. We did not see much of the onboard entertainment as we chose this cruise for the destinations and had busy days exploring Italy. We did enjoy the Dive-in movies most nights. Likewise the kids did not do the kids’ clubs. We did tours in Naples and Rome through private tour operators and toured Cagliari and Livorno on our own. I can provide details if anyone wants, but as these are not related to Carnival I will skip them for now. Disembarkation in Barcelona was very smooth. We chose to carry our own luggage off the ship, disembarking around 7:30 am after having breakfast in the Meridian restaurant and encountered no delays. There were lots of taxis waiting and we got to the airport quickly. And now the less-happy stuff: cigarette smoke. We’re from Canada where it is entirely possible as a non-smoker to go through a day or week without ever encountering smoke. Our past cruising experience was with Disney which has no casino, and restricts smoking to limited areas. On board the Horizon smoke was very evident: out on deck we were never far away from a smoking zone. By day 2 the middle stairs and elevators were smelly from the Casino and as the cruise went on the smell extended upwards to the top deck. For future cruises I will avoid rooms located near the casino stairs. People were complaining about “unfriendly and grumpy” staff on board. I found everyone to be quite friendly, but in a European way: competent and efficient, but not engaging in small chat. I learned quickly to ask for whatever I wanted when I ordered, because not all waiters will offer (for eg ketchup for French fries, or jam for toast). We had no issues with the elevators. The new system requires you to tap your destination floor when calling the elevator. You are told which elevator will get you there. There was confusion regarding how many times to tap the screen - some people were saying you tap once for every member in your party. We only ever tapped once, and only once did an elevator arrive that was too full to accommodate us. Our waits were very reasonable. That said we did take the stairs whenever possible. Overall it was a fantastic holiday and I would very happily sail on the Carnival Horizon again.

Magical family cruise on the Horizon

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by Habs_cat

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2018
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View
We are just off the beautiful Carnival Horizon after a terrific 7 day Western Mediterranean cruise.

About us: family of 4: 2 adults, 2 kids aged 11 and 8. This is our second ever cruise. Our first experience was the Disney Magic in 2015. We are vegetarian, so if you are a carnivore looking for food reviews I’m sorry, this will disappoint you.

Embarkation at Barcelona was smooth and seamless. There were public protests expected in the city on embarkation day, so we were warned to give ourselves extra time to get to the port. This may have influenced how they ran embarkation: on registeration we were given a number card and people boarded by number group. We had preregistered for an 11:30 embarkation time and we were onboard before that time. We headed to the Lido for lunch and were among the first to eat lunch, then hit the ship’s amenities.

We were in room 1384, a deluxe ocean view room with bunk beds. It was a great room with enough room for the four of us and a lovely large window with a wide sill. The kids loved piling pillows up and sitting in the window reading or watching docking and the activity on the docks or in the harbours. It was very quiet, except that we could hear the engine as a constant quiet purr in the background.

The cabin had lots of storage. Although we are light packers (2 suitcases for all four of us), we did have both warmer and cooler weather clothing as the spring forecasts were variable, and we started and ended our trip in Montréal. All of our stuff unpacked into about half of the storage space. There were 2 bathrooms - one with a toilet, shower and sink, the other with a shower/bath and sink. Both bathrooms had a bit of counter space and small shelves for storage. Each had a retractable clothesline which was hand for drying bathing suits. Remember to bring some clothespins.

The queen bed was very comfortable, and the kids slept well on the bunks, although personally I found the bunk mattresses a bit hard. We asked for room service only once a day, so the bunks stayed out: I had expected them to be put away during the day, but I guess we had to request this. The kids got along better having separate places to flake out in, so we didn’t bother.

The ship was beautiful! There are lots of decks and places for people to hang out, so it was not apparent that we were four among 4299 guests. The pool areas obviously get crowded on sunny warm afternoon.

The onboard rides and activities were terrific: Sky Ride and the Sky Course obstacle course were lots of fun. We did them on several days, usually just as they opened for the day so the wait was minimal. Please note that closed toed shoes are required - for the first few days lots of people had to return to their cabins to change their shoes. I would have loved it if these rides had longer open hours. My kids loved the mini putt, and we all had fun with the football/soccer pool game. The water slides were a lot of fun, with short to no waits at all - it helped that as Canadians the cooler Mediterranean spring weather was not a deterrent for us to get wet.

We did any time dining and never waited for a table. We did not always get the same serving staff, although on the second day we were asked if we cared where we sat, so I presume that requesting the same table/area/wait staff can be accommodated, possibly leading to a wait for a table. Requesting a table through the app was not yet available on our cruise, we had to go to deck 5 in person.

Food was plentiful and adequate. Vegetarian choices were a bit slim, but not hard to find. We preferred sit down restaurant service for breakfast and dinner as the food was significantly better than at the buffet. We did not eat at any of the extra-cost specialty restaurants (although I am sure their vegetarian options were delicious, the prices were not a bargain considering the value of our Canadian dollar at the time of our cruise). The 24 hour pizza was very good. I would have liked to see vegetarian options at the Blue Iguana (where they offered sides only, so a cold burrito), and the Mongolian Wok. The “featured vegetarian” item on evening menus was always excellent, consisting of 3 Indian curries with sides, all of which varied each day. We enjoyed the Carnival melting chocolate cake every day. Other dessert options were less satisfying: the buffet offered a big selection of cakes every day, but we found there was way too much icing for the amount of cake and were usually disappointed. The kids took great advantage of the 24 hour soft serve ice cream station.

We did not see much of the onboard entertainment as we chose this cruise for the destinations and had busy days exploring Italy. We did enjoy the Dive-in movies most nights. Likewise the kids did not do the kids’ clubs.

We did tours in Naples and Rome through private tour operators and toured Cagliari and Livorno on our own. I can provide details if anyone wants, but as these are not related to Carnival I will skip them for now.

Disembarkation in Barcelona was very smooth. We chose to carry our own luggage off the ship, disembarking around 7:30 am after having breakfast in the Meridian restaurant and encountered no delays. There were lots of taxis waiting and we got to the airport quickly.

And now the less-happy stuff: cigarette smoke. We’re from Canada where it is entirely possible as a non-smoker to go through a day or week without ever encountering smoke. Our past cruising experience was with Disney which has no casino, and restricts smoking to limited areas. On board the Horizon smoke was very evident: out on deck we were never far away from a smoking zone. By day 2 the middle stairs and elevators were smelly from the Casino and as the cruise went on the smell extended upwards to the top deck. For future cruises I will avoid rooms located near the casino stairs.

People were complaining about “unfriendly and grumpy” staff on board. I found everyone to be quite friendly, but in a European way: competent and efficient, but not engaging in small chat. I learned quickly to ask for whatever I wanted when I ordered, because not all waiters will offer (for eg ketchup for French fries, or jam for toast).

We had no issues with the elevators. The new system requires you to tap your destination floor when calling the elevator. You are told which elevator will get you there. There was confusion regarding how many times to tap the screen - some people were saying you tap once for every member in your party. We only ever tapped once, and only once did an elevator arrive that was too full to accommodate us. Our waits were very reasonable. That said we did take the stairs whenever possible.

Overall it was a fantastic holiday and I would very happily sail on the Carnival Horizon again.
Habs_cat’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean View
Cabin 6M 1384
We were in room 1384, a deluxe ocean view room with bunk beds. It was a great room with enough room for the four of us and a lovely large window with a wide sill. The kids loved piling pillows up and sitting in the window reading or watching docking and the activity on the docks or in the harbours. It was very quiet, except that we could hear the engine as a constant quiet purr in the background.

The cabin had lots of storage. Although we are light packers (2 suitcases for all four of us), we did have both warmer and cooler weather clothing as the spring forecasts were variable, and we started and ended our trip in Montréal. All of our stuff unpacked into about half of the storage space. There were 2 bathrooms - one with a toilet, shower and sink, the other with a shower/bath and sink. Both bathrooms had a bit of counter space and small shelves for storage. Each had a retractable clothesline which was hand for drying bathing suits. Remember to bring some clothespins.

The queen bed was very comfortable, and the kids slept well on the bunks, although personally I found the bunk mattresses a bit hard. We asked for room service only once a day, so the bunks stayed out: I had expected them to be put away during the day, but I guess we had to request this. The kids got along better having separate places to flake out in, so we didn’t bother.
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