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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.

Great cruise on a new ship. Mostly good with some room for improvements.

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by ef4art

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
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.
ef4art’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean View
Cabin 6M 2227
The cabin is at the front of the boat. Long and narrow room with a picture window. It has 2 bathrooms. One has a toilet, shower and sink and the other a sink and small, deep tub. Nice feature if you have a teen that takes forever to get ready. Room steward (Terrian) and house cleaning staff were great. Probably because the room is in the front when the sea was choppy you could hear the waves breaking on the bow and sides. It was a tremendous bang each time. Not an issue when the sea is calm.
The TV in the room is bigger than the other Carnival ships. There is an on demand feature with some free movies and others cost $4.99. You can see your account and book excursions. TV channels are limited. 5 or 6 Carnival related channels and CNN, CNN International, CNN Spanish, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, TCM and TruTV (less channels than other ships). Bathrobes aren't given automatically in the room - you have to ask for them if you want a robe during the cruise. Family Harbor area is in the aft part of the 2nd floor. They have a family lounge room with snacks and breakfast, ice cream machine, good coffee machine (better than the Lido ones), video games and sitting area. You need a special pass/card to get in. It’s not open for everyone.
Lobby Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Amber Cove (Puerto Plata)
    Booked with Amber Cove Shore Excursion: Puerto Plata and Cable Car.
    A little walk to get outside of the Cruise port to the meeting point. We were in a small van, about 6 people. Our guide was Victor. He was knowledgeable and informative.
    Saw the country side and drove up the Mount Isabela de Torres to the Statue of Christ the Redeemer and the cable car. Amazing scenery. Visited a shop where they make jewelry out of precious stones and amber and visited Fort San Felipe, Puerto Plata’s oldest surviving structure saw Parque Independencia in the Victorian district (people were to tired to get out of the van). We were given throughout the tour rum punch, local beer and soda. Everyone was tipsy! It was about a 4 hour tour.
    View All 704 Amber Cove (Puerto Plata) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Horseback Tour
    Horseback riding was about an hour long. A little of it was a dip in the ocean with the horses. We got easy horses and the guides walking the horses were nice. If you're confident enough you can ride the horse yourself with out the guide.
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