Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by OmniaDMP
- Sail Date: May 2018
- Destination: Bermuda
- Cabin Type: Balcony
Getting on the boat was effortless. We were able to get to our stateroom before 1:00pm, which was great! The stateroom was extremely clean.
The first "hiccup" we ran into on the boat was during the Muster Station drill. Not the fault of Carnival at all, but many cruisers decided to try to skip the Muster Drill. It took the staff quite a while to remove all the people in the swimming pools and bars to get to the drill. We waited nearly an hour before being dismissed from our meeting place. Your "sail and sign" card is scanned so the crew know you are skipping it. The kids, including my son had a hard time with this. In our previous cruises, the drill took maybe 15 minutes tops. Again, nothing to do with Carnival, but it is frustrating when other cruisers are selfish and hold up everybody.
It quickly became evident that the bar staff was in need of additional help. We purchased the "bottomless bubbles" package before sailing and purchased cocktails on the sail and sign card. Waiting 10-15 minutes at the bar for a soda was a common trend throughout the cruise, sometimes even longer. At one point at the "Tides Bar" in the middle of the day, there was only one bartender working to make drinks for a full bar and for servers walking the decks taking drink orders. The drinks were great, but expect a long wait at Lido deck bars.
The same wait applied for the food on the Lido Deck. The buffet had variations of the same food basically the entire cruise, so the other included food venues were popular. We waited on average 10-15 minutes on line to get a burger from Guys Burger Joint and the same for the BlueIguana Cantina on sea days. The pizza place was hit or miss with waiting. Sometimes there was no line at all, other times it would take 25 minutes to just order a pizza. Part of the problem was some cruisers were ordering multiple pizzas, and people they were cruising with would have them order pizzas for them too. The pizza tasted absolutely great though! The crew at the eateries worked as hard as they could to keep up with the demand though.
The Seafood Restaurant was very decent, but again long waits. We ordered Fish and Chips. (they were out of a lot of the market price items on the second day of the cruise because this place was so popular...) He gave us a pager and proceeded to take another 4 or 5 peoples orders. They fry the food in batches to keep everything fresh. After about a 10 minute wait, the pager went off. The fish and chips was one of the best we have ever had. We did not try the other non-included eateries.
One thing that I think Carnival could do better on is having staff keep a better eye on the pools. The day of embarkation the mid-ship pool was completely packed. We decided to wait until the first sea day to use them. We went in the aft "tides" pool in the morning. Our son loved it! Around lunch of the 2nd day of the cruise, we noticed the water in the mid-ship pool getting quite dirty. Soon after the pool was closed, netted, and taped off. It was subsequently drained. The aft pool then became the only working pool and that started getting dirty fast. We did not use the pool anymore after that. At one point in time there were about 15 people in the tides spa. (just in one of the two) There was even a couple having "relations" in the spa. Absolutely gross, considering how many other people were using it.
Overall, we did enjoy the cruise! As expected, there are a few issues that need to be worked out because this was the first cruise for the ship out of the US. There were some great aspects of this cruise. The ship was clean, the crew was professional. Most everything ran orderly. The entertainment that was offered was decent too. Some staff members stood out well above others. Ruel who took care of our stateroom was awesome, as was Daniella who was bar tending up on the Tides Bar. She was able to keep her cool even as many cruisers were mad due to the long wait times. She was turning out drinks fast too, but one person cannot tend a fully packed bar with people each ordering multiple drinks. The bartenders were also making drinks for the bar servers who were walking the decks taking orders.
Although we did not use Carnival's Camp Ocean, a few staff members who worked there stopped us to introduce themselves and tell us a little about it. Our son is autistic, so we were not sure of the environment and how he would react. More than one staff member took the time to say hi to my son and made him feel welcome. On our next cruise, we will definitely look into Camp Ocean. The food was consistent and and tasted great! The lines were long, but I suspect as the ship takes more and more passengers, the less waiting the lines would be.
The elevators were not really as useful as marketed. The idea is great, but when there are a lot of people at once trying to get to the same floor, it because a hassle. This was amplified if you had a stroller or mobility issues. The problem is you would make a floor selection and would be assigned a car. So you get on line for that car and when it comes it fills up before you could get in. So you hit the floor you want to go to again, and get assigned a different car, but there are already people on line for that car. Situation repeats itself until a stroller, wheelchair, or other mobility device can fit in with other cruisers.
The only other "negative" I had is we were unable to drink enough soda to actually pay for the all you can drink plans. It got tiring waiting up to 10-15 minutes every time you wanted a soda.
I would not hesitate booking another cruise on the Carnival Horizon. In fact, we are looking at booking a repeat of this cruise in the fall of this year.
On a side note, if you plan to go to Horseshoe Bay, I recommend the Carnival Transfer. We were going to take a shuttle bus at the recommendation of a friend. We were one of the first off the ship and waited over 45 minutes for shuttles that never showed up. The waiting became too much for a 5 year old to handle, so we walked to the snorkel park across from the cruise ship docks. That turned out to be a lot of fun.
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