1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Carnival Horizon
First as a disclaimer, we're Platinum with Carnival and have sailed a number of their ships over the years. We were excited to try the Horizon, being the newest entry into the fleet. I always like the Pros/Cons type of review as it's simpler, so here's our take: Pros- ** Alchemy Bar. Absolutely fantastic "Mixologists". Zoran, Anna Maria and "Dr. Z" were on top of their game and the best drinks weren't even on the menu. I dare you-- challenge them! ** Lennox Lust (the band). Wow. Just wow. We're talking seriously talented musicians here. See them now before one day you'll have to pay for admission to watch them. You'll never find a better lead guitarist using acoustic anywhere. Yep, they're that good. **Pig and Anchor. Excellent BBQ--and free when you board and also for lunch on sea days. Do it, you won't be disappointed. And the beers on tap were very good also (especially the porter if you like darker beer). ** Embarkation. Not sure if it could have been smoother. Carnival has always been the best at getting you on the ship quickly, and this was no different. **On board parties. Carnival definitely has the most "fun" crowd on the seas (albeit younger.. so not surprising), but the White Out and outdoor Dance Parties definitely were a blast. The crowd really got into it! **Food. Didn't disappoint as both the main restaurants and the buffets were good, but the deli was excellent. Order a pastrami and tomato--no "cheap" sandwich here! Deli worthy indeed. **Cleanliness of the ship. Yes, it's new, but as expected the ship really was spotless and the staff cleaned constantly. **Staff. Wow.. were these people friendly and happy. I'd have to say the most pleasant crew of any Carnival ship we've ever been on. Genuinely nice and made us feel welcome. ** Elevators. Yes, I know many seem to love or hate these, but the only times we ran into an issue were when we first embarked and after a show when everybody ran to use them. The issue is that Carnival doesn't tell you to press the floor you want for EACH person in your party. This way the algorithm understands the volume of people and will direct others to another elevator. We say 2 parties of 6 or more press it once, and sure enough, there wasn't enough space. On a few occasions while pressing the amount for our party, the elevator would change to another--and that elevator always was unoccupied. A learning experience, but as a whole, one we felt worked. **Service. Every night we had an incredible wait staff, who were friendly, outgoing and accommodating. The only night we had an issue was when our waiter and his partner were responsible for 7...yes 7 tables (3 of which had 10 people!). He was simply overwhelmed but hustled like heck to do what he can. In all that chaos, he was still as pleasant as can be. **Carnival Hub App. This is where Carnival has really shined. We had anytime dining and instead of going to "check in" on a different deck and being handed a pager (are you listening NCL?), you simply went on the app, requested a table and it told you how long of a wait you'd have. Once secured, a notification with your table number and a message that your table was ready was sent to each in your party. Wonderful! You can also book the specialty restaurants for your week. TIP--if you wanted a specialty restaurant and weren't fortunate enough to book in advance, do so as SOON as you board and log into the app. The entire schedule of availability will be visible. (And Carnival won't want to say, but there's no penalty for canceling a reservation, so do so with confidence, even if you're not 100%.). TIP 2: If you're planning on eating at the steakhouse, under NO circumstance will you be allowed if you're wearing shorts of any kind (kids excluded). We hadn't planned for an extra night of attire and had to cancel as a result (1 pair of pants...and a dessert the night before killed the thought of a 3rd!). **Internet. Hands down the best we've ever had at sea on any cruise line. The Oasis of the Seas had this previous title in our world, but this wasn't even close. We were able to stream security cameras and the like with little hesitation. It was near land based speed in some cases.. wonderful! Cons- ** Crowded. Yep, it's a big ship, but on sea days it is a chore to find an open chair. This has been the most challenging of any ship we've been on to find an open chair. We were fortunate though to find some in the Serenity section as we tend to go late. TIP-if you're like us and start out late, look for a chair in the Serenity after 1pm, as the early folks tend to leave as they go to lunch. We were 4 for 4 with our timing. **Spa. I hate to say it's a "con", but Carnival as a whole and the Horizon specifically really lags behind the other lines when it comes to their spa. It has 2 niche saunas (that always had room) but a VERY small whirlpool and just a handful of stone chairs, that of course, were "saved" too many times as people would come in, put their towels on the chair then use the facilities before coming back to their chair while others waited. Really wish people would be more considerate (not a Horizon thing per se, but a cruise thing). I really expected a LOT more from a new ship. **Cabin. We had a spa balcony cabin and for the life of me (and many others after reading reviews), have NO idea why Carnival insists on using a shower curtain as opposed to a simple door. Just aggravating to say the least. And while other newer ships have tended to increase the bathroom size just a bit, not here. It's basically identical to any refurbished Carnival ship. If you were in the bathroom and closed your eyes, for $100 you couldn't guess what Carnival ship you were on. Color scheme included. Definitely disappointed. On a positive note, the beds and pillows were comfortable. **Casino. Well, more about the smoke in the casino. I know, gamblers like to smoke and you're indoors, but it just seemed worse on this ship for some reason. And having your Muster Station be.... the casino!..... made for a rough drill. We had to leave and stand in the hallway as the smoke smell was still overwhelming from the last cruise. Not sure what else they can do as they do have the air ionizers going full blast (you can smell them too) and in the bar added a 2nd story that is enclosed with the intention of capturing smoke...but still not there. Please keep trying! Overall we enjoyed the cruise (for us, it's hard not to enjoy any cruise!). The crowd was fun and was the most diverse we've seen on a cruise ship. Not getting political, but in today's environment I think it was a very good thing to actually watch all races and ethnicities--and yes, sexualities too-- engage and truly enjoy each other. I did notice a change in "tone" as the week went on as it went from "pockets" of like folks, to a mixed family environment where song and laughter were shared by all. Who knows... perhaps the answer to all our problems has a simple solution: sail the Carnival Horizon. :)

Expected more....but had a great time!

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by yort44

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Cloud 9 Spa Balcony
First as a disclaimer, we're Platinum with Carnival and have sailed a number of their ships over the years. We were excited to try the Horizon, being the newest entry into the fleet. I always like the Pros/Cons type of review as it's simpler, so here's our take:

Pros-

** Alchemy Bar. Absolutely fantastic "Mixologists". Zoran, Anna Maria and "Dr. Z" were on top of their game and the best drinks weren't even on the menu. I dare you-- challenge them!

** Lennox Lust (the band). Wow. Just wow. We're talking seriously talented musicians here. See them now before one day you'll have to pay for admission to watch them. You'll never find a better lead guitarist using acoustic anywhere. Yep, they're that good.

**Pig and Anchor. Excellent BBQ--and free when you board and also for lunch on sea days. Do it, you won't be disappointed. And the beers on tap were very good also (especially the porter if you like darker beer).

** Embarkation. Not sure if it could have been smoother. Carnival has always been the best at getting you on the ship quickly, and this was no different.

**On board parties. Carnival definitely has the most "fun" crowd on the seas (albeit younger.. so not surprising), but the White Out and outdoor Dance Parties definitely were a blast. The crowd really got into it!

**Food. Didn't disappoint as both the main restaurants and the buffets were good, but the deli was excellent. Order a pastrami and tomato--no "cheap" sandwich here! Deli worthy indeed.

**Cleanliness of the ship. Yes, it's new, but as expected the ship really was spotless and the staff cleaned constantly.

**Staff. Wow.. were these people friendly and happy. I'd have to say the most pleasant crew of any Carnival ship we've ever been on. Genuinely nice and made us feel welcome.

** Elevators. Yes, I know many seem to love or hate these, but the only times we ran into an issue were when we first embarked and after a show when everybody ran to use them. The issue is that Carnival doesn't tell you to press the floor you want for EACH person in your party. This way the algorithm understands the volume of people and will direct others to another elevator. We say 2 parties of 6 or more press it once, and sure enough, there wasn't enough space. On a few occasions while pressing the amount for our party, the elevator would change to another--and that elevator always was unoccupied. A learning experience, but as a whole, one we felt worked.

**Service. Every night we had an incredible wait staff, who were friendly, outgoing and accommodating. The only night we had an issue was when our waiter and his partner were responsible for 7...yes 7 tables (3 of which had 10 people!). He was simply overwhelmed but hustled like heck to do what he can. In all that chaos, he was still as pleasant as can be.

**Carnival Hub App. This is where Carnival has really shined. We had anytime dining and instead of going to "check in" on a different deck and being handed a pager (are you listening NCL?), you simply went on the app, requested a table and it told you how long of a wait you'd have. Once secured, a notification with your table number and a message that your table was ready was sent to each in your party. Wonderful! You can also book the specialty restaurants for your week. TIP--if you wanted a specialty restaurant and weren't fortunate enough to book in advance, do so as SOON as you board and log into the app. The entire schedule of availability will be visible. (And Carnival won't want to say, but there's no penalty for canceling a reservation, so do so with confidence, even if you're not 100%.). TIP 2: If you're planning on eating at the steakhouse, under NO circumstance will you be allowed if you're wearing shorts of any kind (kids excluded). We hadn't planned for an extra night of attire and had to cancel as a result (1 pair of pants...and a dessert the night before killed the thought of a 3rd!).

**Internet. Hands down the best we've ever had at sea on any cruise line. The Oasis of the Seas had this previous title in our world, but this wasn't even close. We were able to stream security cameras and the like with little hesitation. It was near land based speed in some cases.. wonderful!

Cons-

** Crowded. Yep, it's a big ship, but on sea days it is a chore to find an open chair. This has been the most challenging of any ship we've been on to find an open chair. We were fortunate though to find some in the Serenity section as we tend to go late. TIP-if you're like us and start out late, look for a chair in the Serenity after 1pm, as the early folks tend to leave as they go to lunch. We were 4 for 4 with our timing.

**Spa. I hate to say it's a "con", but Carnival as a whole and the Horizon specifically really lags behind the other lines when it comes to their spa. It has 2 niche saunas (that always had room) but a VERY small whirlpool and just a handful of stone chairs, that of course, were "saved" too many times as people would come in, put their towels on the chair then use the facilities before coming back to their chair while others waited. Really wish people would be more considerate (not a Horizon thing per se, but a cruise thing). I really expected a LOT more from a new ship.

**Cabin. We had a spa balcony cabin and for the life of me (and many others after reading reviews), have NO idea why Carnival insists on using a shower curtain as opposed to a simple door. Just aggravating to say the least. And while other newer ships have tended to increase the bathroom size just a bit, not here. It's basically identical to any refurbished Carnival ship. If you were in the bathroom and closed your eyes, for $100 you couldn't guess what Carnival ship you were on. Color scheme included. Definitely disappointed. On a positive note, the beds and pillows were comfortable.

**Casino. Well, more about the smoke in the casino. I know, gamblers like to smoke and you're indoors, but it just seemed worse on this ship for some reason. And having your Muster Station be.... the casino!..... made for a rough drill. We had to leave and stand in the hallway as the smoke smell was still overwhelming from the last cruise. Not sure what else they can do as they do have the air ionizers going full blast (you can smell them too) and in the bar added a 2nd story that is enclosed with the intention of capturing smoke...but still not there. Please keep trying!

Overall we enjoyed the cruise (for us, it's hard not to enjoy any cruise!). The crowd was fun and was the most diverse we've seen on a cruise ship. Not getting political, but in today's environment I think it was a very good thing to actually watch all races and ethnicities--and yes, sexualities too-- engage and truly enjoy each other. I did notice a change in "tone" as the week went on as it went from "pockets" of like folks, to a mixed family environment where song and laughter were shared by all. Who knows... perhaps the answer to all our problems has a simple solution: sail the Carnival Horizon. :)
yort44’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Carnival Horizon price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Cloud 9 Spa Balcony
Cabin 8T
**Cabin. We had a spa balcony cabin and for the life of me (and many others after reading reviews), have NO idea why Carnival insists on using a shower curtain as opposed to a simple door. Just aggravating to say the least. And while other newer ships have tended to increase the bathroom size just a bit, not here. It's basically identical to any refurbished Carnival ship. If you were in the bathroom and closed your eyes, for $100 you couldn't guess what Carnival ship you were on. Color scheme included. Definitely disappointed. On a positive note, the beds and pillows were comfortable.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews