Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by laser110
- Sail Date: June 2018
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony
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.
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