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So I fly about 3 weeks a month. Hate United because the seats are tiny, service sucks and there's mechanical issues regularly. After this, I have concluded Carnival is the United of cruise lines (last I checked, United had the lowest customer satisfaction for Airlines.) Let's be frank, I was lazy because I did not want to get on a plane and NYC worked. Decided to TAKE A RISK and try Carnival. After all, Horizon was a brand new ship. I assumed incorrectly it would be better because of the huge investment Carnival made. They want people coming back. Here's the rundown (if you have time to read): Ship: This was a social experiment. Built to float as many people in a tiny space as possible. Common areas are VERY crowded. You'll need to really manuever to get a meal, lounge chair, elevator or anything else for that matter. If mass herds of people are your thing- I recommend going on this cruise. Oh and make sure you can dodge motorized scooters. For some reason there are quite a few of them everywhere on the ship. (I feel for these folks- but found quite a few of them got aggressive and seemed to forget there was foot traffic.) Cabin: Splurged on a spa floor suite. Based on other cruises I thought I might actually have a decent balcony (NOPE) TINY and only fit two small chairs. Strike one. Strike two- promises of all access to the SPA floor only to find out you can buy access to the thermal spas and those two were over crowded and not worth it. Brand new ship- shower doors kept coming off the track. Made showering a challenge. Only benefit I saw to the cabin was the priority embarkation. That at least was painless. But would not do this again. Better off getting a balcony room and paying thousands less. Dining: Lido Deck- Line up with the herd and get ready to fight for overcooked (at best) Dorm food. Good luck finding anything remotely healthy. Even the fruit is generally canned or not ripe. You could not find a berry of any type here- only in the bars so we ate our fruit there. Did "Anytime Dining". PLAN to wait quite a while at peak times to be seated and fed. Husband also got FOOD POISONING off the steak he paid $20 EXTRA for. In bed for 1.5 days. We know it was the steak because several others I spoke to had a similar issue. Reported this to the customer serivice rep on Deck 3- she gave me SERIOUS ATTITUDE. Stated he needed to go to the infirmary. I told her "I didn't know there was a protocol for food poisoning- especially when you cannot step 5 feet away from your bathroom!" They said the matre 'de would contact us. He didn't until we dared to venture back into the dining room. Appologized and offered a drink. (Who wants to drink after days of being sick?); Tried to escape the herd again and went to breakfast in the formal dining room. Took over 25 minutes to place a simple order. Left angry and hungry after over an hour of waiting because I had to get to a spa appointment (More on that debacle in a bit) SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: So in the spirit of nickel and diming (common practice here) they do offer, for an extra charge, specialty dining options. You'll need reservations for most of these. I suggest you make them early or you'll be eating at 9pm. Steakhouse was very good. Went back twice because frankly the main dining room was mediocre at best. Pig and Anchor- Not bad at all and pretty easy to get in and out of. Price was reasonable for the food quality and quantity. Good option if you want to avoid crowds too. Sushi- Was good and a break from the other options. Seafood shack- crab sliders were good as well as the shrimp by the pound. Clam chowder- just OK. The rest was heavily fried if you lilke that kind of thing. Asian restaurant- Went there for lunch (which was "complementary" at no extra charge. You check off what you want and they give you a bowl full of noodles and "whatever". Tasteless and took well over an hour of waiting to eat. Not worth it, but in fairness we didn't try dinner for the extra charge. Other options: Pizza (24 hour). Not bad but don't expect NY style. It was kind of dry but I was craving something hot and made right then and there (not hours before). Probably worth the wait in line. Guy's Burger Joint: Good burger and it was warm. Didn't try the deli but looked like it had to be good given the long lines every day in the lido deck. Mexican place had decent breakfast burritos, but they were a little bit cold (again due to the fact they have to feed a very large crowd- hard to do this well) Bars: HIGHLIGHT of our trip- ALCHEMY bar. The best possible drinks on the trip. Every bartender was super fun, attentive, took great care in their craft AND wanting you happy. Ended up there most nights. If you go- highly recommended. Piano Bar- Eden's show was so much fun. He's extremely talented and humorous. Crowd was engaged every night we were there. Entertainment and Activities: Lots to do here, however you'll be waiting around for a lot of it just due to the volume of people. Some things that were fun: Karaoke (if it's your thing). Only complaint- this was really popular and most days they did it in the Havana bar which was way to small for the crowd that was in there. More fighting for seats. Piano bar mentioned above was also fun. Serenity deck- 21+ to go up there (not always enforced). A nice place to escape for some adult time as there were 5000 guests, 1800 were children. Also most days they had a nice salad bar around lunch time. RARE find on this ship. However, by the end of the trip most adults had found it and you're fighting again for seats. SPA: Had a good first round experience so the hubs scheduled two appointments for our last day. 12pm and 1:30pm. After not being fed in the dining room (see comments earlier) and racing to my 12pm appointment- Got checked in at the front desk. Waited by the "holding area" for 25 minutes.. All the 12pm people seemed to be picked up. My lady from the first massage came I and I thought she was picking me up late for my appointment. I looked up for a second- she's gone. Went to front desk to ask the same woman that checked me in, who was doing my service? She stated my appointment had been cancelled. "Really- because you checked me in 25 minutes ago..." She told my my husband must have cancelled it... I got upset, (I was hangry at this point and so annoyed!) Told them to cancel his appointement at 1:30. she wanted to charge us half because it was less than 24 hours according to "policy". I stated then they should be charging for the other one we didn't cancel too which they claimed happened at 7:30AM. We were in bed at the time. Had to make a scene to get her to waive the charges (Which I'm not a fan of doing...) Another note- Many of the "entertainment seminar" options they offer are designed to sell you something. Annoying... Service: OK, some bright spots here. The vast majority of the staff is gracious and wants to make your trip amazing. These folks work SO hard, 14 hours a day in many cases and do it with a smile. They deserve KUDOS. Only exception (ironically) is the customer service person at guest services and the spa check in person. You would think they would be better as that's their only job. Ports and Excursions: WHAT EXCURSION????? The only one we planned was in Dominican Republic and guess what- they cancelled it. BRAND NEW SHIP and they somehow could not get the mechanics to work to get us into port. They had to cancel the port and gave us a whole $50 credit per person. We did get our shore excursion money back because we booked with Carnival ahead of time so word of warning, book through your cruise line as this stuff does happen. Grand Turk- never got off the ship. Looked like a seaweed-fest at the beach though. PR- we had fun wandering around old town, had a great meal at a local restaurant and only paid $14 to walk around the fort. Would go back there for sure but unlikely to do it in a cruise ship again. VALUE: Not seeing it at all. Paid way too much for a suite that was just OK with little benefit. Food was really poor for the inclusive options. NICKEL AND DIMING abounds. Read your contracts for the drink package and be prepared for a 15% upcharge. You'll also pay for the right to use their carnival app to text on the ship + Extra if you want any kind of internet service (BTW- the internet charges are pretty common on most ships, so Carnival is not an exception). You'll pay for any classes at the gym too, even on spa floor package as they only offer two complimentary yoga classes which fill up day one. BOTTOM LINE: Made the best of it, but paid way too much for a suite on a ship that was overcrowded with really mediocre food. Will not be doing this again.

United Airlines of cruise lines: Packed, Food Poisoning, Mechanical issues

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by weezer69

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Cloud 9 Spa Balcony
So I fly about 3 weeks a month. Hate United because the seats are tiny, service sucks and there's mechanical issues regularly. After this, I have concluded Carnival is the United of cruise lines (last I checked, United had the lowest customer satisfaction for Airlines.)

Let's be frank, I was lazy because I did not want to get on a plane and NYC worked. Decided to TAKE A RISK and try Carnival. After all, Horizon was a brand new ship. I assumed incorrectly it would be better because of the huge investment Carnival made. They want people coming back. Here's the rundown (if you have time to read):

Ship: This was a social experiment. Built to float as many people in a tiny space as possible. Common areas are VERY crowded. You'll need to really manuever to get a meal, lounge chair, elevator or anything else for that matter. If mass herds of people are your thing- I recommend going on this cruise. Oh and make sure you can dodge motorized scooters. For some reason there are quite a few of them everywhere on the ship. (I feel for these folks- but found quite a few of them got aggressive and seemed to forget there was foot traffic.)

Cabin: Splurged on a spa floor suite. Based on other cruises I thought I might actually have a decent balcony (NOPE) TINY and only fit two small chairs. Strike one. Strike two- promises of all access to the SPA floor only to find out you can buy access to the thermal spas and those two were over crowded and not worth it. Brand new ship- shower doors kept coming off the track. Made showering a challenge. Only benefit I saw to the cabin was the priority embarkation. That at least was painless. But would not do this again. Better off getting a balcony room and paying thousands less.

Dining: Lido Deck- Line up with the herd and get ready to fight for overcooked (at best) Dorm food. Good luck finding anything remotely healthy. Even the fruit is generally canned or not ripe. You could not find a berry of any type here- only in the bars so we ate our fruit there. Did "Anytime Dining". PLAN to wait quite a while at peak times to be seated and fed. Husband also got FOOD POISONING off the steak he paid $20 EXTRA for. In bed for 1.5 days. We know it was the steak because several others I spoke to had a similar issue. Reported this to the customer serivice rep on Deck 3- she gave me SERIOUS ATTITUDE. Stated he needed to go to the infirmary. I told her "I didn't know there was a protocol for food poisoning- especially when you cannot step 5 feet away from your bathroom!" They said the matre 'de would contact us. He didn't until we dared to venture back into the dining room. Appologized and offered a drink. (Who wants to drink after days of being sick?);

Tried to escape the herd again and went to breakfast in the formal dining room. Took over 25 minutes to place a simple order. Left angry and hungry after over an hour of waiting because I had to get to a spa appointment (More on that debacle in a bit)

SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: So in the spirit of nickel and diming (common practice here) they do offer, for an extra charge, specialty dining options. You'll need reservations for most of these. I suggest you make them early or you'll be eating at 9pm. Steakhouse was very good. Went back twice because frankly the main dining room was mediocre at best. Pig and Anchor- Not bad at all and pretty easy to get in and out of. Price was reasonable for the food quality and quantity. Good option if you want to avoid crowds too. Sushi- Was good and a break from the other options. Seafood shack- crab sliders were good as well as the shrimp by the pound. Clam chowder- just OK. The rest was heavily fried if you lilke that kind of thing. Asian restaurant- Went there for lunch (which was "complementary" at no extra charge. You check off what you want and they give you a bowl full of noodles and "whatever". Tasteless and took well over an hour of waiting to eat. Not worth it, but in fairness we didn't try dinner for the extra charge.

Other options: Pizza (24 hour). Not bad but don't expect NY style. It was kind of dry but I was craving something hot and made right then and there (not hours before). Probably worth the wait in line. Guy's Burger Joint: Good burger and it was warm. Didn't try the deli but looked like it had to be good given the long lines every day in the lido deck. Mexican place had decent breakfast burritos, but they were a little bit cold (again due to the fact they have to feed a very large crowd- hard to do this well)

Bars: HIGHLIGHT of our trip- ALCHEMY bar. The best possible drinks on the trip. Every bartender was super fun, attentive, took great care in their craft AND wanting you happy. Ended up there most nights. If you go- highly recommended.

Piano Bar- Eden's show was so much fun. He's extremely talented and humorous. Crowd was engaged every night we were there.

Entertainment and Activities: Lots to do here, however you'll be waiting around for a lot of it just due to the volume of people. Some things that were fun: Karaoke (if it's your thing). Only complaint- this was really popular and most days they did it in the Havana bar which was way to small for the crowd that was in there. More fighting for seats. Piano bar mentioned above was also fun.

Serenity deck- 21+ to go up there (not always enforced). A nice place to escape for some adult time as there were 5000 guests, 1800 were children. Also most days they had a nice salad bar around lunch time. RARE find on this ship. However, by the end of the trip most adults had found it and you're fighting again for seats.

SPA: Had a good first round experience so the hubs scheduled two appointments for our last day. 12pm and 1:30pm. After not being fed in the dining room (see comments earlier) and racing to my 12pm appointment- Got checked in at the front desk. Waited by the "holding area" for 25 minutes.. All the 12pm people seemed to be picked up. My lady from the first massage came I and I thought she was picking me up late for my appointment. I looked up for a second- she's gone. Went to front desk to ask the same woman that checked me in, who was doing my service? She stated my appointment had been cancelled. "Really- because you checked me in 25 minutes ago..." She told my my husband must have cancelled it... I got upset, (I was hangry at this point and so annoyed!) Told them to cancel his appointement at 1:30. she wanted to charge us half because it was less than 24 hours according to "policy". I stated then they should be charging for the other one we didn't cancel too which they claimed happened at 7:30AM. We were in bed at the time. Had to make a scene to get her to waive the charges (Which I'm not a fan of doing...)

Another note- Many of the "entertainment seminar" options they offer are designed to sell you something. Annoying...

Service: OK, some bright spots here. The vast majority of the staff is gracious and wants to make your trip amazing. These folks work SO hard, 14 hours a day in many cases and do it with a smile. They deserve KUDOS. Only exception (ironically) is the customer service person at guest services and the spa check in person. You would think they would be better as that's their only job.

Ports and Excursions: WHAT EXCURSION????? The only one we planned was in Dominican Republic and guess what- they cancelled it. BRAND NEW SHIP and they somehow could not get the mechanics to work to get us into port. They had to cancel the port and gave us a whole $50 credit per person. We did get our shore excursion money back because we booked with Carnival ahead of time so word of warning, book through your cruise line as this stuff does happen. Grand Turk- never got off the ship. Looked like a seaweed-fest at the beach though. PR- we had fun wandering around old town, had a great meal at a local restaurant and only paid $14 to walk around the fort. Would go back there for sure but unlikely to do it in a cruise ship again.

VALUE: Not seeing it at all. Paid way too much for a suite that was just OK with little benefit. Food was really poor for the inclusive options. NICKEL AND DIMING abounds. Read your contracts for the drink package and be prepared for a 15% upcharge. You'll also pay for the right to use their carnival app to text on the ship + Extra if you want any kind of internet service (BTW- the internet charges are pretty common on most ships, so Carnival is not an exception). You'll pay for any classes at the gym too, even on spa floor package as they only offer two complimentary yoga classes which fill up day one.

BOTTOM LINE: Made the best of it, but paid way too much for a suite on a ship that was overcrowded with really mediocre food. Will not be doing this again.
weezer69’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cloud 9 Spa Balcony
Cabin 8T 14205
NO deck to speak of. Super disappointed based on my experience with other cruise lines. Paid too much for little benefit. Spa service benefits were a joke as it was overcrowded.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins