1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Carnival Horizon
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.

Great Family Cruise

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by mketting

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
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.
mketting’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Carnival Horizon price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8G 9277
Great Room and the perfect Location on the Ship!!!

This cabin was great for 4 people. The location however was what made it so great. We were just one deck below Lido and a few above the rest of the ships activities. At times we used the elevators but for much of the time we were able to use the steps. Going back and forth from the outside decks to the cabin was especially easy during the day from this location.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews