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Either Carnival was totally on point for the Thanksgiving week or all of those complainers are people that would cry about anything. This cruise was fantastic. Our family cruises for Thanksgiving and the last couple of times have been on the Oasis Royal class boats so this was our first time back to Carnival after several years and we selected it based on the ports it went to. Embarkation – we got an email days prior saying that they are expecting a delay in the debarkation so arrive an hour later than your scheduled time. We flew in that morning and did you know there was a check in at the airport?? USE IT! We did that and they did not say there was a delay so we went on to the port. There are two entrances to the ship – one for airport check in and one for regular check in. We walked right on through with no stopping. Highly recommend it! Security didn’t go through our bags, didn’t check to see our wine bottle was intact, and didn’t check to see that it was really pop cans in the bag. They did have the hallway doors to the rooms closed so you couldn’t access that until 1:30 which was fine. Food – It’s funny we did a carnival one year that was great food, and then the next year it wasn’t. The next was Royal Caribbean and amazing food and then the next year RC was bad. This year on the Horizon we were completely surprised at how good everything was. The food options were plentiful and because I wanted to try everything once I didn’t get to go back and try anything twice! I opted for the tacos at Blue Iguana for the first day and they were great with the salsa bar and accoutrements you could add to it. My family went to the Lido and complained at the limited options there. I had read Carnival was doing that and spreading the food options out across the boat. I never ate at the buffet other than for breakfast with the other amazing options out there. The Guys Hamburgers were great as well and even with lines it moved fast as they were cooking hamburgers constantly. You could add any additions, sautéed onions, mushrooms, sauces etc. The Italian place on 11 was free for sea days as well as the Mongolian Wok. You have an order sheet and check what you want. GREAT food. The BBQ was free on sea as well as lunch and the beef tips and pulled port were very tasty. For breakfast you had breakfast tacos or burritos from the Iguana – full of flavor. I did eat the lido here but it was very limited to straight breakfast foods. Eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, made to order omelets always had a line and cereals, toasts etc. Other cruise lines have included food for international passengers so thought that was unusual. Our dining room service was outstanding; food was always great, always hot. And quicker than on past cruises. We had the old fashion 6:00 dining and we just walked in to our table and our waiter Inyoman got to know us. Super friendly, attentive and great. I’m telling you we had no complaints in this section! We did do the Steakhouse on the first night – the special is a free bottle of wine with dinner on the first night. Everything there was outstanding. Bars – service was great at the bars and we found each bar had different menus. Although you could get standard drinks at any of them. The piano bar, the Alchemy and the pig and anchor had some of the coolest and strongest drinks. Most times there was only a small wait. The bar on the 5th floor Ocean plaza was always empty and you could walk right up and get something there. The serenity bar was usually pretty empty as well. The three pool bars were the busiest but they really do a great job at getting you served. We had the cheers package and you could get 1 alcohol drink and one non like a cocktail and a bottle of water but you couldn’t get two nons like a soda and water which was silly. You had to wait 5 minutes in between ordering. Entertainment – if I had to downgrade them at all it would have been here a little bit. The nightly shows have some great people singing and dancing but every night the show was pretty much the same – just singing and dancing. There wasn’t any variety other than the theme of their outfits. On Royal we had a cirque like show, a water show with divers, an ice-capade show and a full on Broadway production. People complained about the Liquid Lounge and the limited seating and viewing. They do have some poles in there but we didn’t ever have a problem seeing from our choices. We always sat downstairs. One night they had a “magic variety” show and that guy was almost funnier than the comedians! The live music on the boat was a big plus. I loved the electric violins. They played around dinner time in the atrium area so we could catch them coming to and from our dining. On Friday night they were in the nightly show and they were the hit (Celestial Strings). The comedians were pretty good – the PG show at 5:30 was plenty open but the night over 18 shows were packed – get in line early. Some of them were funny and some were just filled with F-bombs. Some of the PG version of the same artist were better than their adult version with cuss words. I have heard the Quest is the fun game but it’s late at 11:30 and after sun and drinks and a full day I couldn’t stay up that late so missed it. The piano bar at 10:00 with the sing along songs were fun. She is crazy talented with being able to sing all of those songs, talk and play and witty as well. Don’t be a Kanga-BOO! When you walk out of her show.  They had dance parties on the lido deck which were a big hit with the gangs of kids and the adults alike. Some nights they had dive in movies (rental box movies – not first run) and could lay on a lounge chair with a blanket and popcorn - very cool! We didn’t check out the pay for IMAX movies. You could stay as busy as you wanted to on this boat . The pools – very small. Very crowded. The main center pool was crazy loud and party atmosphere. The back area had a small pool with two hot tubs. By the end of the 8 days the pool was very cloudy and really kind of gross looking. I like how there were stools and places to sit around the pool and in the pool and keep your feet in it. Hot tubs were always butts to nuts – I didn’t try. We didn’t really go into the Havana area other than one night for drinks and to hear the music and see the back end. We thought about getting those rooms but I didn’t like not having my balcony private and right up to the window to see the ocean. Ship – it was beautiful. Well laid out – A LOT of areas to sit and relax in comfortable areas. The 5th floor had great seating with table/chairs or living room arrangements all around the boat. The clamshells in the serenity area were the best for napping in. You could walk out on the front of the boat on most decks and that is a neat view. (just walk down the cabin hallways to the doors at the front) So many areas to get away from the crowds and enjoy the breeze. Gone are the glitzy gaudy colors and splashes. Very modern and pretty. The casino is pretty small and definitely horribly smoky. We love to gamble and it ran us out of there many times. Seemed like the slots were flowing pretty good and we all did great at the black jack table. Had it not been gross in there we might have stayed and gave the winnings back. ha! I LOVED their hand washing stations in the Buffet area – they were like mini spas. Unfortunately I didn’t see many people using them. You gotta embrace the slow herd mentality. People just moseying along and stopping randomly. (this is hard for me). Oh, and people, have some class and clean up after yourself. We saw a chocolate ice cream cone on the carpet in the hallway. Seriously? The elevators - this was a big topic. Nowhere does it say click how many people are going to what floor. I assumed you would select that floor 7 times and then it told you which elevator to go to each time you selected the floor. I take the stairs every time and would beat my family every time - even when I had to go up 7 flights. They were slow. But I like the concept. People just don't get it though and the elevator thinks it's picking up 1 person and 6 get on. The big sky bike was shut down our entire week as well. That’s pretty crappy as it’s a big attraction for them and seems like it’s been broke more times! We did do the ropes course and that was a pretty cool design. There was a basketball court and on this ship my 14 year old could use it. Past cruises it’s been monopolized by adults. Putt putt, corn hole, ping pong, foos ball, pool tables all out in this area – great family hang area. Debarkation – we walked off the boat with our bags for an early flight. Very Easy and no lines. It was a wonderful cruise for my family of 7 (from ages 75 -14) and we all had a great time. No major complaints. I can’t imagine how all those negative reviews of this boat could happen.

Excellent Cruise!

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by ojycart123

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Either Carnival was totally on point for the Thanksgiving week or all of those complainers are people that would cry about anything. This cruise was fantastic. Our family cruises for Thanksgiving and the last couple of times have been on the Oasis Royal class boats so this was our first time back to Carnival after several years and we selected it based on the ports it went to.

Embarkation – we got an email days prior saying that they are expecting a delay in the debarkation so arrive an hour later than your scheduled time. We flew in that morning and did you know there was a check in at the airport?? USE IT! We did that and they did not say there was a delay so we went on to the port. There are two entrances to the ship – one for airport check in and one for regular check in. We walked right on through with no stopping. Highly recommend it! Security didn’t go through our bags, didn’t check to see our wine bottle was intact, and didn’t check to see that it was really pop cans in the bag. They did have the hallway doors to the rooms closed so you couldn’t access that until 1:30 which was fine.

Food – It’s funny we did a carnival one year that was great food, and then the next year it wasn’t. The next was Royal Caribbean and amazing food and then the next year RC was bad. This year on the Horizon we were completely surprised at how good everything was. The food options were plentiful and because I wanted to try everything once I didn’t get to go back and try anything twice! I opted for the tacos at Blue Iguana for the first day and they were great with the salsa bar and accoutrements you could add to it. My family went to the Lido and complained at the limited options there. I had read Carnival was doing that and spreading the food options out across the boat. I never ate at the buffet other than for breakfast with the other amazing options out there. The Guys Hamburgers were great as well and even with lines it moved fast as they were cooking hamburgers constantly. You could add any additions, sautéed onions, mushrooms, sauces etc. The Italian place on 11 was free for sea days as well as the Mongolian Wok. You have an order sheet and check what you want. GREAT food. The BBQ was free on sea as well as lunch and the beef tips and pulled port were very tasty. For breakfast you had breakfast tacos or burritos from the Iguana – full of flavor. I did eat the lido here but it was very limited to straight breakfast foods. Eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, made to order omelets always had a line and cereals, toasts etc. Other cruise lines have included food for international passengers so thought that was unusual. Our dining room service was outstanding; food was always great, always hot. And quicker than on past cruises. We had the old fashion 6:00 dining and we just walked in to our table and our waiter Inyoman got to know us. Super friendly, attentive and great. I’m telling you we had no complaints in this section! We did do the Steakhouse on the first night – the special is a free bottle of wine with dinner on the first night. Everything there was outstanding.

Bars – service was great at the bars and we found each bar had different menus. Although you could get standard drinks at any of them. The piano bar, the Alchemy and the pig and anchor had some of the coolest and strongest drinks. Most times there was only a small wait. The bar on the 5th floor Ocean plaza was always empty and you could walk right up and get something there. The serenity bar was usually pretty empty as well. The three pool bars were the busiest but they really do a great job at getting you served. We had the cheers package and you could get 1 alcohol drink and one non like a cocktail and a bottle of water but you couldn’t get two nons like a soda and water which was silly. You had to wait 5 minutes in between ordering.

Entertainment – if I had to downgrade them at all it would have been here a little bit. The nightly shows have some great people singing and dancing but every night the show was pretty much the same – just singing and dancing. There wasn’t any variety other than the theme of their outfits. On Royal we had a cirque like show, a water show with divers, an ice-capade show and a full on Broadway production. People complained about the Liquid Lounge and the limited seating and viewing. They do have some poles in there but we didn’t ever have a problem seeing from our choices. We always sat downstairs. One night they had a “magic variety” show and that guy was almost funnier than the comedians! The live music on the boat was a big plus. I loved the electric violins. They played around dinner time in the atrium area so we could catch them coming to and from our dining. On Friday night they were in the nightly show and they were the hit (Celestial Strings). The comedians were pretty good – the PG show at 5:30 was plenty open but the night over 18 shows were packed – get in line early. Some of them were funny and some were just filled with F-bombs. Some of the PG version of the same artist were better than their adult version with cuss words. I have heard the Quest is the fun game but it’s late at 11:30 and after sun and drinks and a full day I couldn’t stay up that late so missed it. The piano bar at 10:00 with the sing along songs were fun. She is crazy talented with being able to sing all of those songs, talk and play and witty as well. Don’t be a Kanga-BOO! When you walk out of her show.  They had dance parties on the lido deck which were a big hit with the gangs of kids and the adults alike. Some nights they had dive in movies (rental box movies – not first run) and could lay on a lounge chair with a blanket and popcorn - very cool! We didn’t check out the pay for IMAX movies. You could stay as busy as you wanted to on this boat .

The pools – very small. Very crowded. The main center pool was crazy loud and party atmosphere. The back area had a small pool with two hot tubs. By the end of the 8 days the pool was very cloudy and really kind of gross looking. I like how there were stools and places to sit around the pool and in the pool and keep your feet in it. Hot tubs were always butts to nuts – I didn’t try. We didn’t really go into the Havana area other than one night for drinks and to hear the music and see the back end. We thought about getting those rooms but I didn’t like not having my balcony private and right up to the window to see the ocean.

Ship – it was beautiful. Well laid out – A LOT of areas to sit and relax in comfortable areas. The 5th floor had great seating with table/chairs or living room arrangements all around the boat. The clamshells in the serenity area were the best for napping in. You could walk out on the front of the boat on most decks and that is a neat view. (just walk down the cabin hallways to the doors at the front) So many areas to get away from the crowds and enjoy the breeze. Gone are the glitzy gaudy colors and splashes. Very modern and pretty.

The casino is pretty small and definitely horribly smoky. We love to gamble and it ran us out of there many times. Seemed like the slots were flowing pretty good and we all did great at the black jack table. Had it not been gross in there we might have stayed and gave the winnings back. ha!

I LOVED their hand washing stations in the Buffet area – they were like mini spas. Unfortunately I didn’t see many people using them. You gotta embrace the slow herd mentality. People just moseying along and stopping randomly. (this is hard for me). Oh, and people, have some class and clean up after yourself. We saw a chocolate ice cream cone on the carpet in the hallway. Seriously?

The elevators - this was a big topic. Nowhere does it say click how many people are going to what floor. I assumed you would select that floor 7 times and then it told you which elevator to go to each time you selected the floor. I take the stairs every time and would beat my family every time - even when I had to go up 7 flights. They were slow. But I like the concept. People just don't get it though and the elevator thinks it's picking up 1 person and 6 get on.

The big sky bike was shut down our entire week as well. That’s pretty crappy as it’s a big attraction for them and seems like it’s been broke more times! We did do the ropes course and that was a pretty cool design. There was a basketball court and on this ship my 14 year old could use it. Past cruises it’s been monopolized by adults. Putt putt, corn hole, ping pong, foos ball, pool tables all out in this area – great family hang area.

Debarkation – we walked off the boat with our bags for an early flight. Very Easy and no lines. It was a wonderful cruise for my family of 7 (from ages 75 -14) and we all had a great time. No major complaints. I can’t imagine how all those negative reviews of this boat could happen.
ojycart123’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8D 10229
It was tight with three people in there getting ready but it was an average room. Plenty of closet space. The bathrooms still have that generic liquid soap and shampoo.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Snorkeling
    This was our first time booking through cruise line and not directly. Won't do it again. The tour was okay. It was the sailaway through Pelican Adventures. In past snorkel trips the crew was in the water with you feeding the fish diving down and pointing things out, bringing sea life back up to see etc. Nothing was done here. Maybe because it was so huge with over 100 people. The second stop was very rough and we sat on the boat watching people struggle to get out of the choppy water and up the ladder and there was no crew members around to grab their fins and assist. The rum punch didn't start until after snorkeling. After the second stop we got 90 minutes on a beach with a restaurant and had a chicken and rib bbq dinner. That was pretty good. The crew made drinks and brought up on the beach to us.
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  • Curacao
    This town is adorable with the colored buildings. We didn't spend money to go anywhere so really can't say much to it. We walked around town (all shopping) and got a local beer and sat outside and listened to music and then walked back to the boat. It's quite a walk to the town area.
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  • Grand Turk
    Tiny island - but a good port. The only one with the beautiful beach and clearest water of all the islands right there at the port. The only cost was your chair and umbrella. We just walked down the beach to Jack's Shack. Wasn't interested in the commercialized Margaretville.
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  • La Romana (Casa de Campo)
    We made reservations to Dreams Resort (which changed to HILTON THAT DAY so I think they are doing away with the day pass). It was only $65 pp for all inclusive and then we took a cab for the 7 of us and three others for $15 pp round trip. The resort was lovely with a beautiful beach, bars everywhere and a place on the beach to get fresh cut fruit (as there isn't much fruit on the boat). We ate at their buffet which was really mediocre but the drinks and fruit were great.
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