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My wife, two kids (11 & 7) and I cruised on the Carnival Horizon in early January. It's my second Carnival cruise, my wife's third. It was our first time on a "big ship", we sailed with just over 4800 passengers. Embarkation was a breeze. We had an appointment for 1:00pm. We arrived at 12:45 and was on the ship by 1:30.First problem: when you get on the ship, they are using the central elevators to haul luggage and it's difficult to find your way out of the atrium. End result - about 500 people crammed into a small, hot space. Second problem: when we finally found the buffet, the room is too small for all the guests. We ended up climbing two decks with our plates to find a lounge chair to sit in. Embarkation day is always confusing, but this day was worse by far. The room in the "family harbor" was great. Slept our family of four easily. The family harbor lounge is not open 24 hours, just during certain times. However, it was nice to eat breakfast there instead of the buffet. No complaints about the room. I can't review the production shows. There weren't any. We received a letter in our room that all production shows were cancelled for the sailing. I could tell the cruise director was trying to fill spots; the shows we saw were not built for the big stage. Comedians in the lounge were ok, and did both PG and R rated shows. I did notice a distinct lack of live music. The main dining room was fine. The buffet, not so much. We saw the menu in the dining room one night and decided to hit the buffet. There were nine hot items for dinner. Nine. They were the same entrées that were in the dining room. There's also no outside seating at the buffet. There is no pool on the serenity deck. Two hot tubs, but no pool. There is a private pool for guests in the Havana suites. Saw "Aquaman" in the IMAX theater. Really comfortable. My kids loved the sports deck. Here's where it gets confusing: the staff on that ship is incredibly good at their jobs and working hard to make everyone happy. There just isn't enough of them. The ship is understaffed. I felt as if Carnival (corporate) doesn't want me at the buffet or main dining room or in the pool. They want me in the specialty restaurants, paying more for rooms with pools, nickel and diming my way through the cruise. Those areas are staffed to the detriment of the rest of the ship. In short, the staff is incredible in spite of the corporate baloney they are put through. End result: this is the first cruise on any line that I left saying "meh". I sailed on the Carnival Sensation - before it's refit - and would rather sail again on that 30 year old 2500 passenger ship than on the flagship of the line.

Difficult to explain

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by Plowjockey

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Harbor Deluxe Ocean View
My wife, two kids (11 & 7) and I cruised on the Carnival Horizon in early January. It's my second Carnival cruise, my wife's third. It was our first time on a "big ship", we sailed with just over 4800 passengers.

Embarkation was a breeze. We had an appointment for 1:00pm. We arrived at 12:45 and was on the ship by 1:30.First problem: when you get on the ship, they are using the central elevators to haul luggage and it's difficult to find your way out of the atrium. End result - about 500 people crammed into a small, hot space. Second problem: when we finally found the buffet, the room is too small for all the guests. We ended up climbing two decks with our plates to find a lounge chair to sit in. Embarkation day is always confusing, but this day was worse by far.

The room in the "family harbor" was great. Slept our family of four easily. The family harbor lounge is not open 24 hours, just during certain times. However, it was nice to eat breakfast there instead of the buffet. No complaints about the room.

I can't review the production shows. There weren't any. We received a letter in our room that all production shows were cancelled for the sailing. I could tell the cruise director was trying to fill spots; the shows we saw were not built for the big stage. Comedians in the lounge were ok, and did both PG and R rated shows. I did notice a distinct lack of live music.

The main dining room was fine. The buffet, not so much. We saw the menu in the dining room one night and decided to hit the buffet. There were nine hot items for dinner. Nine. They were the same entrées that were in the dining room. There's also no outside seating at the buffet.

There is no pool on the serenity deck. Two hot tubs, but no pool. There is a private pool for guests in the Havana suites. Saw "Aquaman" in the IMAX theater. Really comfortable. My kids loved the sports deck.

Here's where it gets confusing: the staff on that ship is incredibly good at their jobs and working hard to make everyone happy. There just isn't enough of them. The ship is understaffed. I felt as if Carnival (corporate) doesn't want me at the buffet or main dining room or in the pool. They want me in the specialty restaurants, paying more for rooms with pools, nickel and diming my way through the cruise. Those areas are staffed to the detriment of the rest of the ship. In short, the staff is incredible in spite of the corporate baloney they are put through.

End result: this is the first cruise on any line that I left saying "meh". I sailed on the Carnival Sensation - before it's refit - and would rather sail again on that 30 year old 2500 passenger ship than on the flagship of the line.
Plowjockey’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Harbor Deluxe Ocean View
Cabin FJ 2459
It slept our family of four suprisingly comfortably. King size bed, with bunk beds where the couch was. We kept it in that configuration the entire cruise, although I understand you could have the steward set it back into a couch during the day if you'd like.
Deck 2 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins