3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Cruised on Carnival Horizon Sep 2018. The elevators were 'state of the art' which means confusing. you go to a kiosk, choose your floor and the screen tells you which elevator to go to. Then you wait and wait. There is no ... Read More
Cruised on Carnival Horizon Sep 2018. The elevators were 'state of the art' which means confusing. you go to a kiosk, choose your floor and the screen tells you which elevator to go to. Then you wait and wait. There is no indication on where your elevator is or when it will arrive. Once inside, you are stuck. You go to the floor that you choose on the kiosk plus any other floors where others are waiting to go to the same floor. Just strange. Never book spa balcony cabin 11234. When looking at the deck plans, there was an unlabeled cabin next to 11234. I asked my agent what that was and she put me on hold to call Carnival and ask. They said it is a storage closet. I figured no noise from a storage closet at night when I am trying to sleep. Well it wasn't a storage closet. 11234 is next to the thermal pool mechanical room and at 2am the first 2 nights, it drained the thermal pool so it sounded like a toilet flushing (but really loud) that lasted for 10-20 minutes. We switched to another open balcony room after the second night. Went to the Serenity (adults only) deck and one of the whirlpool spas wasn't working at all. Considering this is a new ship, that is a fail. The entertainment was awesome. Food was very good as well. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise with the thought of how wonderful it would be to sail on a new cruise ship. This was not my first cruise and I can say I was not that impressed. The hot tubs were filled with kids and no parents, soon became a kiddie ... Read More
I chose this cruise with the thought of how wonderful it would be to sail on a new cruise ship. This was not my first cruise and I can say I was not that impressed. The hot tubs were filled with kids and no parents, soon became a kiddie pool with kids sitting on steps and diving in splashing around, went in with shoes on, complained to a staff member and nothing was done. Bathrooms were far and few between, had to travel quite a bit to find one, they were not that clean either. Not impressed with the Cruise Director, barely saw him or heard him, except for the two times he was dancing on the bar and at the sail away party. Buffets were not impressive, and "the fun ship" always had a lot more things going on, especially on the lido deck, they used to have ice sculptures and midnight buffets on the deck itself. Didn't think it was appropriate to pay to watch a movie or thrill ride in the 2 new theaters, and one reason that really made me want to take this ship was the sky ride that was not working. Embarkation and disembarkation was very good and moved quickly. The Meridian Main Dining Room was great, wait staff great as well as the food. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We did this cruise because we had to cancel another cruise; boy was I glad we got to take this cruise. It was the last cruise on this ship out of New York, and they did it New York way! Getting on the ship was fine, as long as you show ... Read More
We did this cruise because we had to cancel another cruise; boy was I glad we got to take this cruise. It was the last cruise on this ship out of New York, and they did it New York way! Getting on the ship was fine, as long as you show up on your designated time on your boarding pass, otherwise you have to go into another line. I have cruised many carnival ships before, but this cruise ranked #2 on all my cruises. We had the best cruise director ever. Ryan and his staff kept us quite entertained. Never had a boring day. The comedians were fantastic, Mike Davis and Jeffery Jene kept us in stitches. The food was good, the ship was clean. I would recommend eating at the 55 steakhouse. It was such a great experience. The service was more personal because you have less people to attend to unlike the main dining room. The dining room service was fast, I am not sure why people are complaining, but on our cruise we did not have to wait for dinner. One tip is that you can eat at the Pig and Anchor for free on the first day of the cruise until 3:30pm. Drop your bags off, and go there, you will not be disappointed. All and all a good time was had by all. Florence ruin our beach day in Bermuda, because the waves on the beach were large and we had red flag warning. I will be cruising again in January with Carnival and I hope Ryan is our cruise director. I also stayed in a spa cabin which was a first, but would do it again. Like having access to the spa and its amenities it had to offer. Also the celestial show was amazing. You can only see this show on the Horizon. Book your cruise on Horizon, you won't be disappointed. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We wanted to try this new ship leaving from NYC to the Caribbean. We arrived around noon, we went on board right away, it was the fastest we have ever boarded a ship! Our room key was waiting for us on the ship. Our cruise director, ... Read More
We wanted to try this new ship leaving from NYC to the Caribbean. We arrived around noon, we went on board right away, it was the fastest we have ever boarded a ship! Our room key was waiting for us on the ship. Our cruise director, Mike was very enthusiastic and entertaining. Give him a hug! We enjoyed the on ship brewery, and ordered flights of their beer and ale samplers when dining at the Pig and Anchor barbecue for the lunch time offering (no extra charge, we did not try the evening dinner which is a separate charge). My husband and his mom and aunt are from the deep south and were opinionated with Guy's fare, my spouse loved it. I'm vegetarian so I just had a sample of the mac and cheese, ok for a side but not for a meal. I would often have lunch at Cucina Del Capitano where you cand choose your pasta shape, sauce and fixings, I'd get eggplant, marinara, arugula any vegetarian choices and there are a lot. You can have meat if you choose or a serving of lasagne with meat sauce, a side of focaccia, and Ceasar salad. There are other food service areas on board, making the Lido not so crowded like at the Ocean Plaza on 5 and Family Harbor on 2. If you want an extensive salad bar you would have to make your own at the Serenity deck, it opens at 11 am. Its so worth it! your choice of greens veggies, proteins, nuts, seeds and several dressings. For dinner we chose any time dining, often going as early as possible so we would be able to see the show in the Liquid Lounge, we would have to skip dessert to catch the earlier show. The dinner menu seems a little smaller than past cruises, some of the same dishes are also on the Lido deck at dinner time. On sea days we did tea time, but it was so popular we were not offered seconds. Not that we were hungry, it's just that on past cruises we were. They were quick to serve extra hot water for tea. We enjoyed the performances so much of the Carnival Horizon Playlist players, we went to one show twice. If you want a decent seat, go when doors open 30 min before showtime. There is usually a pre-show worth seeing or participating in. We especially liked the show called Vintage Pop. We also spent a lot of time in the Ocean Plaza area when the band titled Crushed Velvet was playing. We enjoyed dancing to their songs from many decades. The bands come and go with the contracts, but they appreciated us and how often we went to see them. The Latin band in Havana was very good, we danced there often. Our trip started and ended with a bit of drama. When we left the dock in NYC we decided to go straight to the dining room, there we had a perfect view from our window seat of the Statue of Liberty, at least 4 helicopters, a police boat and a fire department boat. We are used to the escort out of the harbor, but this was unusual. Apparently there was a sick passenger who was removed to the police boat and then went to the Staten Island hospital. We had stopped by lady Liberty to give the emergency crew time to make the transfer. I hope that person is ok now and recovered. We went to Margaritaville for drinks and the pool after snorkeling on the beach at Grand Turk. At Amber Cove there are pedicabe to take you to the gate from the ship, pay what you wish, we gave them $5. We spent time at the pool, the wifi is only $8 for the day. We had $5 Presidente beer at the bar with a view, a steep climb on a well groomed path. So worth it! Our trip was scheduled for 3 destinations, we went to Grand Turk and Amber Cover, but we did not go to San Juan which would have been our second stop. The reason we skipped this port was to keep us well ahead of hurricane Florence. It was a wise move, we had great weather and smooth sailing the entire time. We had a few brief rain showers near the end of our journey. To make it up to us, our cruise director Mike Pack organized a free bingo event. This was epic! We were in our cabin and the steward gave us each a sheet of 3 bingo games. Every guest old enough was given cards and everyone played in the Liquid lounge and the lido deck, the prize was a free cruise for 2. it was a lot of fun, and I was impressed on how they made this event happen. If you are not already booked in a room on the Havana deck check it out, it's open to all after 7 pm. The bar is always open but you can see how nice the cabana rooms are and use the pool area after 7. On the last day at sea we were pretty close to home and made our way up the coast near Delaware and NJ, docking in the wee hours at 2:30 AM in NYC. The only issue I had with the trip was leaving, we carried our own luggage and went to our designated meeting spot, which put us on an elevator, but sadly when we got off the elevator, the lobby was packed and other passengers were angry that we were cutting the line. I would have been happy to wait in the lounge having coffee until the lobby cleared out, I'm pretty sure the crowd at the exit were the Family Harbor passengers. It was very unpleasant. The crew had walkie-talkies, they should of had us wait until the line was moving. Other than that we had a great time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Okay, lets start off by saying the carnival horizon is getting a bad rep. It has had a string of unfortunate events happen, engine problems, crew member passing, skyride not working, and a port crash. Some of these are bad luck, some are ... Read More
Okay, lets start off by saying the carnival horizon is getting a bad rep. It has had a string of unfortunate events happen, engine problems, crew member passing, skyride not working, and a port crash. Some of these are bad luck, some are unfortunate circumstance, and some are new ship issues. But don't let these things stop you from cruising on this fantastic ship. So, i am going to do this review in several parts. Pros and cons. And tips and suggestions. Lets start with the Cons: The main theater sightlines are terrible. The structure poles and low hanging lighting block the shows (so get there...early). The cabin is pretty carnival standard but of a brand new $800 million dollar ship should have outlets by the bed. The bathroom was nice, but once again your $800 million dollar ship flagship should have a glass enclosure on the shower, not a flimsy shower curtain that sticks to you and the toilet... and carnival please remove the toilet brush, nobody wants to see that...ughhhh. The horizon has 3 pools, but they are too small and too few for a ship of this size. And we noticed on our cruise, at the rear of the ship (pool area), smelled like diesel smoke. (but this maybe due to sailing in september and high humidity, which made the funnel smoke hang lower). Hurry lng ships... Now on to the many Pros: The buffet was not was good as royal caribbean, but it didn't have to be, because horizon has so many food options. The buffet, the main dining room, asian food, tacos, seafood, guys burgers, italian, 24hr pizza, room service, sandwiches, hot dogs, salad bar, bbq. So finding something was not a problem. The music was great (way better than royal), the ships decor was modern and fresh. The staff was young energetic and friendly (especially our room attendant "Windu" and "Arine Rose" in Ocean Plaza) The comedy shows were great every night. (Especially "Spike Davis") There are many activities, imax/3d movie theater, sports bar, havana bar dancing, skycourse, sports deck, night time movies on the deck (find a spot and some food, good times), and the ships main draw. The "skyride" it is the closest thing to a rollercoaster on a ship (try it on sea-days) and on this sailing we waited no longer than 15 mins. And one activity that's really an non activity is the promenade. Because of the design of the ship the outdoor waterfront had plenty of areas to just go chill and enjoy the sea. Laundry washers and Dryers and ironing board (good especially if you had kids) And the nyc port had the fastest getting on and off the ship, we ever experienced. With parking right by the ship. Also, the carnival hub app actually worked great, it had deck plans, your pictures, showtimes, and activities. The best feature was the Chat, which allow you to Text other members (it was $5.00 for the week) Tips and Suggestions: The carnival vista, horizon and panorama are carnival's new class of ships, the flagships of the fleet. Please change the hull art. Add some stripes (maybe the same as the funnel) enlarge the ship name on the sides, something, because these ships from the outside look like carnival ships from 10-15 years ago. Not latest and greatest. Please do something different with your upcoming 188,000 ton ship(s). $800 million dollar ships, add some outlets beside the bed. Get rid of the toilet brush, nobody wants to see that...ughhhh. And enclose the showers with glass. The controversial "smart elevators" for the most part they work. The problem is if you change your mind after you get in, you can't change your mind (no buttons). Carnival should have conventional elevators, along with smart elevators.. So to sum it up carnival horizon is a wonderful, loud, ship with plenty of food, music and activities. It's not royal caribbean, and that's okay... So in the future, we will sail on Carnival's newest ships I also must thank the captain for getting, us home safe ahead of the hurricane. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
As usual on this cruise I was with my husband and our daughter. This was our 6th cruise, third one with Carnival. Embarkation and Disembarkation Both the embarkation and the disembarkation were smooth and painless. We arrived to the ... Read More
As usual on this cruise I was with my husband and our daughter. This was our 6th cruise, third one with Carnival. Embarkation and Disembarkation Both the embarkation and the disembarkation were smooth and painless. We arrived to the pier at 11:30, which was our call time. After checking our boarding passes we were shepherded to the check-in desks. We waited less than 10 min after checking in for our number to be called. And then we boarded. 10 minutes before noon we were eating or lunch at Lido. For the disembarkation, we were looking to get off the ship earlier rather than later. The priority went by the deck the cabin was located on. However, for the passengers that had all their bags and were looking to leave before their deck was called, there were special waiting areas. We waited there for probably 20 min. We disembarked long before our deck was called. In addition, the entire process was so well organized, there was no crowding anywhere. At 8 a.m. we left the terminal. Service The service was excellent the entire week, from the cabin steward to senior officers, whom we had a chance to meet. Everyone was always very friendly, very helpful. And everyone had an exceptional memory, seemed like every member of the crew knew our names. Ship information We loved the ship. It was new, it was big, it was beautiful. Most importantly, it had a great layout and a great space to people ratio. There was always good places to sit all around the ship. Always, good spots to tan. Always available tables on Lido. The ship, despite being at full capacity, never felt crowded. For Muster Drill we were at the Theatre. Thomas from entertainment was leading the Muster Drill in the Theatre and he was great. Dining We were rather disappointed by the Lido deck buffet options. Perhaps on our 6th cruise, we started to get picky, however, it did seem as if there wasn't that much choice. The choices that were available were not particularly healthy. We found that on Carnival Horizon there was an abundance of deep fried food and food that was very salty. Coincidently, that is what we generally try to stay away from. With that said, we did not go hungry, not by a long shot. The buffet did not impress us and as a result we ate most of the meals in the restaurants. Breakfast/brunch, tea time, dinner. The food in the restaurant was very good. Our previous experience eating in the restaurant on the Carnival ships was that the service was extremely slow. It seemed that most of the time we were sitting waiting for something to happen. That was not the case on the Horizon! The service was very timely. Within minutes of sitting down our orders were taken. If it was dinner, appetizers were out within another 5 min. The orders would come in 20 min later. The service was impressive, on time and impeccable. Cabin After staying in several balcony cabins on previous cruises, we ended up in an inside cabin. And guess what, it was not bad. At first it was odd not to have windows and not know what time of the day it is. Overall, that had little effect on our ability to enjoy the cruise. It would be good to point out that we generally spend little time in the cabin. Entertainment We absolutely loved the shows. The cast was great, the production was exceptional. It seemed Horizon was looking to push the limits with what they can do. Disclosure - on our previous Carnival cruises we were not so impressed. On Horizon we were pleasantly surprised by the caliber of the shows. The bar was definitely raised. There was a con, of course. The theater design did not include the normal incline down seating. Instead there were regular chairs. That provided the flexibility of moving them around and for every show the setup was different. On the flip side, that limited the number of 'good spots'. So if you wanted to get a seat where you can see well, you had to ensure to be one of the first 20 people to enter the theater. And that meant you would have needed to line up 40 min before the show started. Movies under the sky, the Seaside theater. A variety of latest releases were shown, including the Avengers and Star Wars. What was great, as there was plenty of seating. In addition, you could sit on any of the 3 levels and see the screen. Plenty of choice. The sound was loud that you could hear well no matter where you sat. What was not so great - the ship is so big that in comparison the screen seemed a bit small. I suppose it's hard to get that perfect. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Me and my family had used carnival cruise in the past and had a wonderful time,And being on the Horizon was amazing tons of activities foods was great i mean everything was outstanding going on a vacation where you are constantly having ... Read More
Me and my family had used carnival cruise in the past and had a wonderful time,And being on the Horizon was amazing tons of activities foods was great i mean everything was outstanding going on a vacation where you are constantly having fun i mean non stop fun all the way to your destination and back. A experience that you will never forget and come back for more.The crew on the ship are the finest people work hard and diligently to meet your expectation in everyday possible.Taking a walk around the ship and seeing the cleanliness of the ship very detailed. Whats a cruise without a great cursie director .Mike i must say my hat goes off to you full off energy vibrant a cruise director that will make the sun shine all day on your cruise. Most important dining on the ship very elegant the staff working every night so that your dining experience is house warming quality of the food is amazing Tip my hat to American Feast Team Headwaiter Slavsia Team Waitress Lairinkmi and Asst.Team Waiter Miriko for a fabulous job in making our dining experience a memorable time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We had family that was booked on this cruise.. about a month out we decided to join them.. This was the first time that we had cruised with others.. and only our 5th cruise...We had a fantastic time with minor and personal ... Read More
We had family that was booked on this cruise.. about a month out we decided to join them.. This was the first time that we had cruised with others.. and only our 5th cruise...We had a fantastic time with minor and personal disappointments.. By no means am I complaining at all.. It was great.. A few minor things.. Left out of NY. Which we have done a few times.. There was always someone at the parking pier to help with our bags.. I have COPD so its hard for me to help hubby sometimes.. Sadly no one was there to help us.. We did manage.. BUT there was a family with a few disabled children that had no help at all..When we got down stairs DH did ask that someone please go up and help this family.. There was no way they could do it alone.. We were thanked later that day by the family.. They said someone did come to help.. The Horizon is using the new elevator system.. Now this did work out for most of us after the first day.. On boarding day they do ask that you please not use the elevators until we are moving.. Go figure.. no one listened.. So it was a mess.. BUT.. How it works is simple.. and it worked great if people would listen or learn how it works. There are menu boards outside the elevators with the different floors.. They want you to press the floor you want for each person that will be using the elevator.. so if 4 people are going to floor 5 press it 4 times.. that way the elevators knows how many people will be boarding that elevator.. BUT some people would press it once and then expect to load 10 people in when we already have 7 of us waiting.. They need to stress how it works a bit louder so people understand.. When it was used correctly it was great.. Rooms.. Food.. staff.. all fantastic.. I would have preferred a better mix of music by the pools.. It was the same music everyday.. and not very entertaining.. Although the shows were great as always.. I would have liked them to mix it up a bit more..I like to do and see as much as I can.. The sitting ares outside were perfection.. I enjoyed sitting and relaxing on a few days which I never ever do. We ate in the dinning room at night and the staff was fantastic and the food was very good.. The last 2 nights I did notice that the shared bathrooms around the ship were not being cleaned as well as they had been. not sure why.. We did see some food left on th floor the next day after being cleaned.. which was also strange.. Normally the ships are very very clean.. But this was still nothing to complain about.. It was very minimal.. We did have a hurricane that was building so we had to miss a port.. but always need to be safer than not.. So now the real complaints.. I gained to much weight.. and I walked.. Enjoy your next cruise everyone.. I am already looking into ours.. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My family frequently travel to the hottest vacation spots. Our last destination, Disney cruise, ship fantasy, was one to remember. Our latest was carnival horizon and is one we need to quickly forget. Be warned, stay away. My son asked ... Read More
My family frequently travel to the hottest vacation spots. Our last destination, Disney cruise, ship fantasy, was one to remember. Our latest was carnival horizon and is one we need to quickly forget. Be warned, stay away. My son asked me if I received a free horizon vacation would I still go, and I quickly answered NO WAY. Staff here are overworked and are not well trained in service hospitality. Day 5 was the first day I got an hello or a good morning. Common areas are always dirty. It is very common to see wine glasses from last night stacked up and uncollected well into the next day. In cabin is less dirty, but mostly because we complained. Bar service is on caribean time, drinks take ten or more minutes to make. With an Unlimited drink package, Bar tenders make you feel guilty of doing something wrong when you order a drink with an extra shot, which was just to get to a normal undiluted drink. Overcrowded buffet style lunch and dinners have limited selection and food quality may be just below dog food. Ship activity is also not planned out according to quoted time slots noted on everyday event calendar. We waited thirty minutes for the karaoke person to arrive. This was the same issue with the work out trainer we paid money for the class we took, he was late by twenty minutes. Does no one care about our time? We have loud noises in our cabin from outside banging. Rooms 2409, 2411, 2415, 2417 all have the same loud noise issue every morning. Booking execursions is a do it yourself process. The person that can help you offers no expertise or advise on any options. Excursion person at the desk basically asks you to read your options and decide. Don't even know what is the point of having the excursion person there. Dirty dishes are left uncollected at dinner and lunch buffet areas. Bonsai specialty dinning experience was ruined from overly aggressive staff about booking for 20 people but only 18 showed up. They were looking to charge for everything and not accommodating for kids. We had to ask for plastic cups ten times before they realized kids with glass cups are not a good idea. The shows on the ship match our overall experience, poor. Vocals were out of tune and dancers were out of sync with each other. Early comedian show was not that funny either. Also waiting in line for ten minutes or more to get into shows and still not having enough seats for all of us to sit increased our frustration with the ship. Ship set up is all wrong. You have drunken adults mixed in with young children and many adults were too trashy for any kid to see and experience how bad of an adult world can be. Having twerk competition next to the kids slide is plain out insane. Apologies from management were frequent with emphasis of improving our experience and training the staff to do better, but the apologies kept coming for all different things and different sections. Nothing got better, we just stopped complaining. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
For some background, I'm a male in his early 30s who, with this cruise, has now sailed 3 Carnival, 2 Royal Caribbean, and 1 Princess ship, and I consider the Horizon the best ship of the 6 I've experienced. However, some minor ... Read More
For some background, I'm a male in his early 30s who, with this cruise, has now sailed 3 Carnival, 2 Royal Caribbean, and 1 Princess ship, and I consider the Horizon the best ship of the 6 I've experienced. However, some minor issues, which Carnival had varying levels of control over, kept the actual onboard experience from matching the "wow" factor of the ship itself. Will break down positives/negatives below (it is comprehensive, so I hope you find it informative): Embarkation in Manhattan: This went way smoother than the previous cruise I was on (with Royal Caribbean out of Boston, where security was so short-staffed that a ship with merely 2,100 passengers had lines stretching and wrapping the length of the building just to simply get inside). Not only was there no issue this time immediately entering the building and getting through security, there was ample seating, an area to buy snacks/drinks, and a streamlined process that allowed your photo to be lifted from your passport and immediately programmed to your sail and sign card (which eliminated the need to even go to the counter at all if you checked in online beforehand). Even with a ship of well over 4,000 passengers, we were onboard in no time. Ship Layout: While some might bristle at the notion of being on board with so many fellow passengers, I was very confident in Carnival (and the cruise industry in general) being wise enough to have the crowd management logistics down for these megaships they're building, and sure enough, no particular areas felt overly-crowded compared to cruises on smaller ships, as people instinctively gravitated towards different places for their own brand of fun (I think the most cramped I saw a venue was the Havana Lounge when it hosted what proved to be a wildly-popular afternoon of karaoke). Though the ship is large, it's just as easy to navigate as Carnival's smaller ships and has the same familiar feel - expect to find decks 3, 4, and 5 as having the main indoor public areas you'll have reason to go to, and all decks Lido deck and above as the main outdoor places to be (though deck 6 is where you'll find the entrance to the IMAX and 4-D theaters, which to me is a better use of space than having the 3-deck atrium stretch higher up like more-traditional atriums). What also helps spread out the passengers, besides the ship being a bit longer and a couple decks taller than most, is the widening of the exterior promenade to allow for outdoor eating/relaxing on deck 5. What might please those about the casino is that it's relatively less smoky being a newer ship, and it's also not located in a spot where you'll feel like you always have to walk through it to get to everything. One thing I did sense was that the public restrooms had no real symmetry from one deck to another, so those didn't seem as easy to identify, and it was odd for them to convert the comedy show lounge for late-night dance music rather than have a real nightclub scene. As far as the new elevator system that a lot of people have written about, it's real simple - you simply just choose what floor you want from the hallway and enter the car that the screen designates for you (does this system work faster or slower? Probably about the same). Entertainment/Activities: This was a key reason why I was excited to choose this ship - the sheer variety of choices of how and where on the ship to spend your days/nights. Yes, you'll have your normal trivia games, music competitions, poolside fun, sports activities, gambling, comedy/Broadway-style shows, etc., but having new offerings on this front allows for greater possibilities. I seized the opportunity to do the Sky Ride (a bike track suspended from a metal rail high up on the ship) and it was quite a thrill to pedal yourself around the sports deck, and even a little bit over the ocean below; expect the line to ride it though to be 30-40 minutes long, less if you go while others are in port (I didn't do the adjacent Sky Course, which resembled a family-friendly Ninja Warrior-type ropes course that seemed to be more kid-centric). Speaking of the sports deck, it also had other diverting options like foosball, 4-way ping pong, and a life-sized billiard setup where you kick soccer balls into the pockets (I had seen a pic leading up to the vacation showing a small bowling lane, but that appeared not to exist anymore). I did watch a 3-D space documentary in the aforementioned IMAX theater (there were another 4 or 5 documentary subjects offered, each costing $5.50 to see; the full-length feature films were the normal price of a movie ticket and included current releases), but I never got around to trying the 4-D theater, which was also the same additional cost (there were 3 experiences - kid-friendly, PG13-type action, and R-rated horror - at between 12 and 17 minutes each). A cool feature of the ship was an in-house brewery which produced 4 regular and 1 seasonal craft brews for select bars (they also hosted tours of the facility with plenty of tastings for $25, which is a pretty good deal if you're into that kind of thing). Between the normal cruise activity options and the innovative features this ship has, there's plenty to do if you want to keep busy. The main flaws I saw in this category was some "sloppiness" in how they executed some of the game-related items (some of the trivia "answers" were wrong, pieces were missing from board games in the library bar, etc.), and there was no real "middle ground" in terms of music volume in venues - everything was amped up or no music at all, rather than places where you could hold a conversation while light background music was present (this imbalance in sound level was particularly off-putting for my father, who I was traveling with). Dining/Bars: Another high point of this particular ship, as there were so many dining options in particular to choose from, beyond the normal buffet, main dining rooms, and specialty restaurants. Besides the very good burrito bar and Guy's Burgers that Carnival is known for having on many ships now, the real good finds for included lunch fare are the asian and italian restaurants above the Lido deck (they make made-to-order noodle and pasta dishes, respectively, for you for lunch, only converting to paid specialty restaurants with larger menus for dinner) and the other Guy's eatery, which is a BBQ joint on deck 5 (same deal, it has a limited complimentary lunch menu that gets expanded during the for-fee dinner). Within the buffet was a deli that did fresh sandwiches and drew a sizable line later in the evening, along with the pizza stand, as other lunch options closed (one improvement that could have been made here was allowing people to help themselves to the hot dogs specifically, since what wait time existed at this station was for those who were getting other sandwiches that take longer to prepare). The main dining room food was solid every night and consistent with the quality of other past cruises I've done (I also did a seaday brunch in the dining room one morning, which I've liked in the past, though we almost walked out due to how long it took them to bring the order out). Bars were plentiful throughout the ship and it was great to see each have its own different personality with their featured drinks and atmosphere (Havana - Cuban decor/music/mojitos, Guy's Pig & Anchor - Country-Western with the craft beers and whiskey/bourbon-centric cocktails, Alchemy - martinis with no music to allow for good conversation, Blue Iguana - tequila bar, Red Frog - rum bar, and non-themed standard bars elsewhere). Staff/Service: This was a little hit-or-miss. On the smaller, more-intimate Serenade of the Seas I did with Royal Caribbean last year, I actually developed a connection with several of the entertainment staff, often learning their names and seeing them in between activities chatting up passengers and hanging out in public areas during some of their down time. Here however, the entertainment staff seemed to do a professional and serviceable job whenever they hosted something, but would leave promptly to get to their next assignment and simply did nothing to stand out to make their presence really known (only the entertainment staff member who emcee'd the comedy club seemed to really show some higher-than-average enthusiasm when she interacted with guests). In fact, besides the hilarious, adult-oriented Quest event (which I highly recommend on any ship that hosts this), the entertainment staff really didn't seem to let loose at all (side note: the two main DJs, DJ Xtreme in particular, were very uninspired with their playlists, pumping out some very stale tracks throughout the trip; unless you really want to hear East Coast rap from 15 years ago, don't expect their nightly sets to evoke a great party atmosphere). The waitstaff in the main dining room were fantastic as always, with one particular guy having some fun with us with card tricks, although I did feel a little rushed through each meal, relative to past cruises. The biggest issue was with the cabin cleaning team, as even though our main steward was friendly and attentive, someone in that department inexplicably knocked on our door way too early on 3 different mornings to ask if we were ready for our room to be serviced (as in, between 7:00-8:30 AM, no reason to be woken up like that 3 times). Probably the group that most stood out were bar staff around the ship, as the ladies working the bar at Pig & Anchor, 2 of the lobby bartenders, and 1 of the Havana bartenders in particular really seemed to be personable and take pride in their work (I didn't get a drink at the Alchemy Bar, but each night that place seemed pretty fun and lively, too). ***The worst problem with this cruise, and it's hard to really fault anyone specifically for this, was unfortunately several fellow passengers that negatively affected the atmosphere. While we met a lot of great people on the ship, most notably our dinner mates that we became friends with, there were far too many who simply made the voyage a bit "trashy." One night, a Jerry Springer-level yelling match broke out in front of me at the deli station, simply because one hot-headed woman took offense to another hot-headed woman telling her she didn't order loud enough to be heard and keep the line moving. With live music available all over the ship, several passengers were blasting their own personal speakers at places that didn't need more noise (while waiting for elevators, sitting in the Serenity deck hot tubs, and even on the pool deck WHILE movies were being watched by dozens of people). Another guest casually walked down a hallway smoking a joint. Ports: The ship, time of the year, and convenience of leaving from NY were the main factors for choosing this itinerary, not so much the ports of call. I don't have much to contribute in terms of my experiences with the 3 islands, as we didn't do any excursions that took us beyond the immediate port areas at Grand Turk or Dominican Republic (we were content just hanging out poolside and having lunch at Margaritaville in a cabana, and walking around the port/shopping area at Amber Cove, both of which were nice enough, but uneventful), and our time in Puerto Rico was spent simply walking around a handful of blocks around San Juan with our dinner mates. One thing I noticed was Carnival had staff members positioned right along the outside of the ship to offer ice water as guests walked back to the gangway, a nice touch. Disembarkation: Not quite as seamless, with a bit of an unexplained delay for a period of time, but eventually got off the ship, through security (a security member was slightly agitated in tone when she saw me with my cell phone out and told me I couldn't use it in the building; not sure why, since that wasn't a problem at embarkation), and hailed an Uber to leave from the cruise terminal. Overall, another fantastic cruise on a ship I wouldn't hesitate going on again, with a company who does a lot of things right to make your vacation a blast. Already looking at options for my next voyage. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Food - dog food may be better Staff - hate their job and New Yorkers more Clean - forget it. That word does not exist on this cruise. Shows - amateur week, off tune and out of sync most of the time Apologies - expect alot for ... Read More
Food - dog food may be better Staff - hate their job and New Yorkers more Clean - forget it. That word does not exist on this cruise. Shows - amateur week, off tune and out of sync most of the time Apologies - expect alot for Everytime you complain but don't expect to get much more Expectations - you should have none and then you can enjoy. Smell - in all bathrooms and common areas are horrible. Don't worry your sense of smells gets used to it over time and long period of being in the same place. A/c not working in many of the common area. Drink specials are costly and Evey bar tender makes you feel like a criminal for ordering more than one drink at a time. You need to wait 5 minutes to get an extra shot and by the way. The extra shot is for the drink to tasted normal and undiluted. Kids club. Unaccomdating. My kids never wanted to be in there. Nothing for my kids to do. Fitness instructor was late Shows would not start on time Morning noises are expected so don't be alarmed if you need a day or two to rest from sleepless loud noises every morning from 5-8am Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
First off, a little background. I am a 62 year old widower traveling with my 33 year old son.This was my 5th cruise with Carnival (in addition to 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess, and 1 with Norweigan). This was the 6th with my son, ... Read More
First off, a little background. I am a 62 year old widower traveling with my 33 year old son.This was my 5th cruise with Carnival (in addition to 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess, and 1 with Norweigan). This was the 6th with my son, so we have a pretty good level of experience. Embarkation in New York went smoothly and we were on the ship within an hour of arrival to the port. The ship: We selected this ship because my son wanted to try a new ship that was large and had the newest "bells and whistles".The Horizon just hit the water a few months prior and with The Vista is the largest of the Carnival fleet.Its passenger capacity is about 4,000 (double occupancy, but when you consider the 3rd and 4th in the cabins, the census is probably over 5,000.We had an inside cabin (our usual choice ) that was quite adequate for us with everything in good working order.It has a new computerized elevator system (more on that later), a "sky ride", a rope course, a large waterpark area, an I-Max theatre, and a few other "bells and whistles". Because of the large capacity, some of the lunch venues and activities sometimes have some sort of lines, but only a very few times were the lines a problem. For the most part, the ship handled the passenger density well enough with the many food and activity venues. For those who have cruised before, you'll appreciate that it was rare not to find lounge chairs when you looked for one. The flaws: My main complaint with the ship is that it seemed every venue's music was blasting. I understand during a party or whatever, but when one seeks out an area to converse with a bar and some background music, it was almost impossible to find. Also (but it didn't really apply to me), this was the 1st ship I've sailed on that didn't have a dedicated dance club. If that is your thing, you have to check out the daily activities sheet to find out the location of that night's dancing. The elevators: You may read about the computerized system from other reviews, etc. It is a big bag of "nothing". Yes, it works differently from your usual elevator experience, but you get used to it with a short period of time...and it does work a bit better, but not earthshattering. The food: First dinners in the main dining room: Plenty of variety every night with at least several choices for soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, and desserts...all quite yummy. The breakfast and lunch and other included dinner venues (mostly on the Lido deck, but also spread out on other decks) include a large general buffet, a deli, 24 hour pizza, a Guy Fieri branded hamburger stand, a build your own burrito area, as well as quite a few more (plus the availability of a sit down meal in the dining room). We never ate in any of the "premium" venues, but in speaking to some who did, they apparently were top notch. I can never understand those that think negatively of Carnival's food. The activities: Typical cruise stuff- trivia, bingo, comedy shows, multiple movie venues (poolside under the stars, I-Max, etc.), shows in the main theatre, themed parties, etc....certainly the "something for everybody" mentality. The staff: I can't compliment them enough, especially our dining room waitstaff headed by Antonio, and the 2 ladies handling the bar at the Guy Fieri BBQ restaurant on deck 5. They were, without exception, wonderful. However, the stateroom staff had a habit of waking us early (3 x including 7:00 AM on disembarkation day). An annoyance that shouldn't occur on a cruise vacation. The ports: Did not do any of the excursions, walked the Old City of San Juan which was right at the ship's location in port. Hung out at Margaritaville in Grand Turk, and walked the port area at Amber Cove. Disembarkation: Not nearly as smooth as getting on the ship, but tolerable. Took a bit long with delays. Overall, a good, experience.My son loved the Sky Ride and the other "bells and whistles" Should lower the volume is some of the venues, but overall the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Great last-minute Carnival Cruise (booked 2 weeks before 8/28 departure) from Home Port. Carnival works for us THE POSITIVES: Great Value especially with not having to pay for flights No Flights for locals (No worry about ... Read More
Great last-minute Carnival Cruise (booked 2 weeks before 8/28 departure) from Home Port. Carnival works for us THE POSITIVES: Great Value especially with not having to pay for flights No Flights for locals (No worry about what to pack, bag weight, liquids, early airport arrivals, carry-on vs check-in, TSA lines, delays, car service to and from airport). Pack what you want and bring it aboard!!! Less than 1 Hour Drive from Home to Port 1/2 hour from port arrival to being on-board New York Departure (Harbor, Statue of Liberty, Verrazano Bridge, etc.) New Carnival Ship with nice features Rare itinerary especially from New York (Grand Turk, Amber Cove and Puerto Rico) Room 9377 –inside category for 4, very convenient location (Underneath the Lido restaurant). No noise issues, easy to walk up to all action. Room Stewart was awesome FREE Carnival Hub app was great for checking and setting favorites for activities with reminders, Account balance check, Dinner reservations, $5 per person texting option was a good value and useful. Great FREE lunch options (Guys, Burgers, Guys Pig & Anchor BBQ, Serenity Salad Bar, Blue Iguana Cantina, Cucina de Capitano, JiJi Asian Kitchen, Sandwiches, Pizza,etc Cake Bar in Lido deck had different selections of at least 5 different cakes everyday Main Dinning for Dinner was great (Good food and varying selection every night). Carnival still serves Lobster! Requested table via the Carnival Hub app and 5 – 10 minutes later table # was available on the app. Just walked down and was seated immediately every night. I don't know why so many people were waiting at the 5th floor desk. Sky Ride, Sky Course amazing over the blue water Water Slides Entertainment and game staff are engaged and enthusiastic (Good shows, great trivia and games (Digital scavenger hunts, Celebrity identify crisis, CLUE, Lip Sync,etc). Newly Wed show, Battle of the sexes The Club House and O2 teen club – great for kids. My 16 year old would disappear except for meeting ups for Dinner and to sleep at 1:30AM. AMBER COVE: Beautiful, private and new. We did the Damajagua 27 waterfalls with an outside excursion company (Actually did 12 of 27 as most excursions do because of time constraints but it was great). You will have to walk out of the port, parking and meet unauthorized excursion companies at the highway- before the port entry PUERTO RICO: San Juan is back and better than ever. We walk to the closest fort Castilo San Cristobal, paid admission then walked to El Morro fort via the road overlooking the ocean and passing by “La Perla” where the Despacito video was filmed. We got into El Morro for free with our receipt from San Cristobal. Then we walk back to the ship via the old streets full of shops, food, and people. Everyone was so nice. AMAZING! I am a NewYorkRican so yes, I am Bias THE NEGATIVES: Muster Drill took almost 1 hour (guests must take some blame as many just ignored the request) Inside category room with 2 drop down bunks was a little tight for my wife, myself and 2 teenagers Main Dining Room Staff is efficient but not friendly. No small talk, no getting to know you, just take your order, bring your food and thanks for coming. Did not mind it much as we did not have to wait for a table on any night. But a little more friendly and interactive service would be nice. Pool Decks and Lounge chairs were always crowded and ‘reserved’ with towels and items. Not much of a bother for us as we did a lot of the “inside activities such as trivia, demos, etc. We also found some nice chairs in the Serenity Deck and also above the Havana Pool. Lunch Buffet selection was not great and small. Issue is they have 2 small buffet stations on each side of the Lido restaurant serving the same items. Again, this was not a big deal for us because we took advantage of the many FREE lunch options (see positives above) Grand Turk: Just a strip of beach overwhelmed with too many people from the ship. We walked all the way to the end and laid out in front of Jacks Shack where it was less crowded and the water had less seaweed. I did go out and snorkel by the pier, although pretty deep and clear, not much to see. I would prefer an overnight in Puerto Rico instead. Disembarkation - a NIGHTMARE first experiment with new system of guests going up to the LIDO deck and get their own luggage tag #s during the last night. By the time I got up there only #s 27-30 which were 9:00 – 10:00AM disembak. We got # 27 which was 9:00AM We did not get off the ship until 11:00AM. It was horrible. New Elevator System was a bit of a mess and I think increased wait times. But again it did not bother us as we walked up and down most of time from our 9th floor Cabin to 5th floor for many of the games and trivia SUMMARY: We had a great cruise. This was our 8th Carnival Cruise and it just works for us. We did RCCL Allure last year and for us Carnival is much better value. The price, FREE dining options, and Entertainment, the Free useful App. I feel RCCL nickels and dimes you for everything. Also, the RCCL staff was not very friendly and arrogant on Allure. We have also done Princess, MSC and Norwegian but we are Carnivalers cruisers. I feel Carnival tries hard t is not just about the $. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Sailed Aug. 20-28. 2 major complaints. Chief complaint: the quality, behavior and dress of about half the people on board (approx. 5,000 people total) was just unbelievable. Sailed Carnival in the past and had same experience but thought ... Read More
Sailed Aug. 20-28. 2 major complaints. Chief complaint: the quality, behavior and dress of about half the people on board (approx. 5,000 people total) was just unbelievable. Sailed Carnival in the past and had same experience but thought with this ship being new and the price more costly the people on board would be of a higher caliber. It was far worse, if that's possible. And by "higher caliber" I only mean people who don't curse constantly, don't yell a certain slur to each other constantly, don't wear clothing strippers would be embarrassed to wear in the seediest strip club (the women), don't go shirtless in food areas with do-rags tied around their head (the men), and aren't covered in tattoos they are determined for you to see (the women and the men). It goes without saying their children (who dominated the ship) are totally out of control and unsupervised with louder and dirtier mouths than their twerking mothers. From morning till night their children commandeered the tiny pools and whirlpools and behaved so inappropriately you didn't want to go in them anyway. Oftentimes groups blasted rap music while eating in the buffet. Always a lovely way to enjoy a meal with your family. 2nd complaint: the buffet. Very few options compared to an NCL. 4 stations, each with the same 5 or 6 options. Buffet food was generally unimaginative, bland and tasteless. Other food on board was good though -- specifically Reflections restaurant for dinner, Guy's burgers, the Blue Iguana and the 24-hour pizza place. Cruise Director was the worst. Would have been better had he not said anything. His name was Ryan Rose or something like that. His chief contribution was trying (unsuccessfully) to get people to dance and telling us to give ourselves a round of applause for this or that. Whenever he spoke his mike was on the highest possible level so you could throw relaxing out the window whenever he intruded, which was often. Lastly, Carnival: time to ditch Grand Turk. The place is a garbage can. So much better to stay on the ship and get some swimming or whirlpool time in. In summary: If you are an educated, respectful, polite, hard-working person who is looking to relax with your appropriately-dressed wife and your well-behaved children, and are not interested in being surrounded by people whose outlook and behavior are the complete opposite of yours, give your hard earned money to another cruise line. Carnival is not for you. P.S. The crack Captain banged the brand new ship into the Pier upon return into NYC, causing damage to the ship and the Pier. Perhaps he was distracted by all the twerking? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Recently sailed the Horizon and it truly was an amazing vacation. The embarkation from NY was fast. We were on in 15 minutes. I had priority boarding since I booked a Suite and my room was also ready. My son had a balcony, however they ... Read More
Recently sailed the Horizon and it truly was an amazing vacation. The embarkation from NY was fast. We were on in 15 minutes. I had priority boarding since I booked a Suite and my room was also ready. My son had a balcony, however they allowed him to board with me.  The ship is simply beautiful and very clean. Our room steward Silvana was top notch. She took great care of us. We didnt have to ask for anything. She brought robes, slippers, extra towels and blankets, buckets of ice everyday ( the room was very cold, but I didn't complain).  We requested service once a day, but she serviced our cabins twice a day.  She addressed all of us by name everytime we encountered her including her seeing us in PR on the street.  The MDR staff...our waiters Erik and Wijana were amazing. We ate Seaday Brunch and breakfast on port days there. Food was delicious and plentiful. We rarely ate in Lido... the food there is terrible. We tried Bonsai Teppanyaki, Cucina, and Guys Smokehouse & Brewery for dinner...all great service and well worth the added expense. For lunch we ate at the Deli, Mongolian Wok, Seafood Shack and Bonsai Sushi. We didn't purchase Cheers,  however we preordered water, soda, beer and wine for our cabins. I had a total of $980 in gift cards and OBC so I walked off the ship owing nothing. The pools were over run by kids daily. We waited until after 7 to visit the Havana Area. Quiet and we enjoyed ourselves. The chair hogs were out in full force everyday. Same people, hogging the same chairs. Carnival should address this issue. The smart elevators worked great when we took them..no long wait at all. The lines for food were never long except at Mongolian Wok which turned us away one day because they were at capacity. Lots of great entertainment so there's always something to do. The sports square was a lot of fun. In tge last sea day we rode the Sky Ride. It was cool. If you love music, be sure to go see Crushed Velvet and the Brass Band in Ocean Plaza. I spent a lot of time there. I loved the new Pixel Gallery. Simple to purchase and you can view your photos from the Hub App. We chose Your Time Dining. We checked in before we arrived and our table was ready in 5 minutes. Overall this trip was wonderful. I would certainly cruise the Horizon again, but not from NY ( if it was staying). My two complaints were the smoking on the balcony...cigarettes and weed. I could smell it from my cabin and it wasn't plesant. In addition, there seemed to be a lot of folks with no class on the ship. Witnessed arguments and a fight. I'm not accustomed to that behavior so it was a bit shocking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My fiancée and I decided to plan a cruise for my birthday, and we were excited by the idea of a brand-new cruise ship for Carnival. It is our first cruise together, having only taken cruises with our families separately. Our personal ... Read More
My fiancée and I decided to plan a cruise for my birthday, and we were excited by the idea of a brand-new cruise ship for Carnival. It is our first cruise together, having only taken cruises with our families separately. Our personal success with getting to the ship was fine, and embarkation onto the ship itself was actually fairly smooth, much better than I expected. However, the ship itself was much more disappointing. It was only the two of us. We didn't travel with children, and we're both of drinking age, but we're not particularly wealthy. And it was made quite clear as we explored the ship that what we felt comfortable with spending was not enough to get much of anything out of the ship. We dumped about $50 total into the casino and basically lost it all. The cheapest machines are about $0.40 per bet for perspective. That said, we left the casino after about 20 minutes and did not return. There are multiple food options on the ship, which I will divide to the best of my ability by free and paid. Paid: Guy's Barbecue, Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki, certain food options at dining such as surf and turf or steak, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Seafood Shack, The Chef's Table, JiJi Asian Kitchen, Cucina del Capitano Included: BlueIguana Cantina, Guy's Burger Joint, Main Dining, Lido Buffet, salad bar, Pizzeria, lunch pasta bar, deli We didn't try much of the paid dining. We had Bonsai Sushi, and that was it. My fiancée had the sushi, and she said it was good and a fairly reasonable price; itw as about $21 for three plates. I had a ramen dish for about $7. It was so salty that I was only able to eat about half of it. I have a pretty tolerable palate, but it was honestly just disgusting. Of the included/free dining, the cantina served burritos, tacos and taco bowls. They also do breakfast burritos during breakfast time. This food was actually pretty good. No complaints. The burger joint was okay. It wasn't particularly well made, but it wasn't the worst. The fries were decent. The pizzeria was okay or mediocre as well. It was a little charred in some places, and it wasn't very flavorful. The buffet and main dining were very disappointing. The serving sizes were very small, and I didn't feel that there were many good options. I typically ended up having some variant of chicken or onion soup and then seafood or steak, and I'm not a very big steak or seafood guy. They served me creme brulee that was just lukewarm all the way through. A crewmember typically goes around during dinner, offering shots to diners. What they don't tell you is that, even if you have the drink package that makes alcohol free up to 15 drinks per day, you still have to pay for them. Further, each shot is about $10. So we got burned for $20 one night because they didn't use our drink package. The buffet rarely had any worthwhile options, and the food was always mediocre. I took a Norwegian cruise a few years ago, and the buffet was quite good. It put the newest Carnival ship to shame. We did not feel that entertainment was very good. As stated earlier, the casino is just not worth it. There is an Imax theater, but they only showed the same three or four movies literally every night, and we did not even check the price. There are R-rated comedy shows, but we went to one hosted by Manny Oliveira and were terribly disappointed. It was basically about 45 minutes of telling women that he would like to copulate with them and then trying to get single audience members to hook up with each other. Very crude and not in a funny way. There are not nearly enough pools. Unless you try to go to a pool or hot tub before all the loud children wake up or after they all go to bed, you will not get a decent spot. The spa was very expensive. I don't believe there was anything under $130. Shopping on board is not worth it except for maybe the liquor and cigarette sales. Every time we walked through a store, particularly through the jewelry store, there was a crewmember hawking us, making sure we didn't need any help buying something or just trying anything on. It was very unsettling. Overall, we would probably never consider doing another Carnival cruise if this is the finest that they have to offer. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had a great time on this cruise and I would sail on the same ship again. That being said, it was imperfect. I thought the staff on the ship was great. By the pool a waitress asked if I wanted a drink, suggested a drink, brought it ... Read More
We had a great time on this cruise and I would sail on the same ship again. That being said, it was imperfect. I thought the staff on the ship was great. By the pool a waitress asked if I wanted a drink, suggested a drink, brought it quickly, and later remembered what I'd had and corrected the number when I accidentally gave her one of the kids cards. The drinks were sufficiently strong. I mostly drank the wine I brought from home on the cruise but we're not big drinkers. If you need anything from the front desk you have to go in person. They never pick up the phone no matter how long you hold. I tried calling 4 times while on the ship. The lines weren't long in person. None of the little items I lost on the ship were ever turned in, that speaks to the guests rather than the staff. We got a massage package that was deeply discounted if you got 3 massages. Mel (a woman) gave me all my massages and I was very happy with her. She had strong hands, followed my cue on how much chatting to do, was very warm and personable, and never tweaked my back nor did I have to tell her to stop doing anything, which I commonly have to do with other massages. I was even a little late one day because I got the time wrong and she let me have the full massage time because she didn't have another booking afterwards. The buffet was sub par. It seemed like they were phasing it out that style of service. On Princess, Costa, MSC, Norwegian, and previously on Carnival there were full buffets with lots of things to try, this buffet had maybe ten things. The food tasted good but we wound up going to the dining room with the kids every night because it seemed like there was more variety there. Also if you wanted a sandwich, hamburger, or hotdog from the buffet area there were long waits. There was never much variety of fruits at the buffet, I never saw a berry or a grape. There were some delicious and beautiful cakes at lunch that you had to wait on line to get but then at dinner there would be pre-cut sheet cakes with flavors I didn't find appealing. My guess is that they prefer for people to eat in the dining rooms. My general sense of the ship is that they added bedrooms without providing much additional living space. As a result the main lobby/atrium was tiny. When there was live music they played from a higher floor while the chairs were downstairs and you had to look up. It was odd. Despite being the biggest ship I've ever been on there didn't seem to be more musicians, bars, or events. The kids didn't want to go to camp. The camp however looked pretty fun with lots of high energy activities like a DJ guiding them in dancing, art projects, toys to play with, two playgrounds that were open to the ship when the camp wasn't using them. There was no real nap area however so we had to watch the kids nap in our room. There were a couple of cushions for resting but the counselors said the kids would have to ask to nap, that they don't really do that and there was no quiet area. The waiting area for camp could be a nicer play area if they added a few toys that weren't just for babies. The toddler area seemed more geared to 2 year olds than 5 year olds. On the positive side, there was a large staff and my allergy kid never had a problem. A special call out to Kai Kai here, she was a manager and she and her staff always made special efforts to help my kids separate and join in the fun, even when they didn't want to. The camp seemed pretty good as these things go. People were nice about the kids being in the pools. Early morning the pools were fun, by noon they were pretty packed. The hot tubs allowed children and other passengers were very tolerant. My kids loved the recreation area that included extensive miniature golf with no wait, corn hole, ping pong, soccer pool, and foozball. My oldest wasn't big enough for the big water slides but there was a small one that he was briefly interested in. The splash area is nice but I was glad my kids were potty trained and could use the pools. The lifeguards aren't paying any attention and seem to wander off and speak to anyone who comes by. Watch your kids in these crowded pools. One really nice thing we did was watching a movie while we swam after dinner. There was also a 4D movie experience but it scared my gentle 4 year old and we left early. One day we went to a parade that wound up being more than that with an interactive show, we didn't follow the schedule much so there might have been more like that. The character breakfast was inexpensive and nice. It seemed undersold. It was the first time it was offered that they would make special food for my son with allergies. I wish someone from the cruise would have reached out to me earlier in the cruise about accommodating him before that point I just guessed at which foods would be safe -- the ship has some serious nut cross contamination at the salad bar. Most of the dried pasta on the cruise had egg in it, to the disappointment of my son. He ate a lot of french fries over the course of the week, so much so that I'm not sure it's his favorite food anymore. There are only two teppanyaki tables, explaining why it's so hard to get a reservation. I joined the waitlist before we cruised and managed to go. It was excellent though the upcharge is high at $25-30 per person depending what you order and I even had to pay that for each of my toddlers. We went to the mongolian grill restaurant at lunch when there was no upcharge and they served a bowl of noodles mixed with stir fried meats and vegetable of your choice. It was tasty but underwhelming as a restaurant. It's located above the buffet so I just ran downstairs to grab lunch for my son which he ate along with us. At Turks and Caicos we went to the beach that was walking distance from the dock. We paid $25 for two chairs and an umbrella in the front row. The water happened to be dirty with seaweed when we went. I'm told that it's normally clear. We had a great time and I loved that we were so close to the ship. Another ship docked as we wanted to leave and they wouldn't let us back onto the dock and we had to wait at least ten minutes, if I had known this was going to happen I just would have left a few minutes earlier, this was incredibly frustrating feeling trapped. We stayed on the ship in San Juan. In the Dominican Republic we did the ship excursion to Ocean World and loved it. It was a short drive. We saw some water shows (come a bit early if you want to sit). We got to hold some macaws and have other small birds land on us.There's a different show every half hour but if you skip a show you can see the rest of the park without walking in a crowd. At the end of the park is a small, calm beach where we had an absolutely great time swimming, they provided toddler life jackets. I bought beers for $3 and popsicles for $2. It was heaven. This excursion would likely be dull to adults but it couldn't have been more perfect for my 2 and 4 year olds. Not too big, we didn't see everything but we saw enough. I'd happily go again. Honestly I loved this trip. We were busy. The kids were happy. The crew was helpful and warm. I liked the ports. I'd do it again in a second. I'd probably even book the same room. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I am an experienced cruiser. I have taken RCCL, Norwegian, and Princess. I am Gold with Carnival. This would be my 6th Cruise with Carnival. We are a group of 30-celebrating a rare feat these days-my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We ... Read More
I am an experienced cruiser. I have taken RCCL, Norwegian, and Princess. I am Gold with Carnival. This would be my 6th Cruise with Carnival. We are a group of 30-celebrating a rare feat these days-my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We were all excited to be boarding the brand new Horizon. We did have hesitation due in part to the negative reviews we have read but we all went with an open mind and a discerning mind. I truly am disappointed in Carnival for the ship's layout, the lack of attention to the customer's needs, the poor design of the ship, and the relatively high cost to sail a very short and less detailed itinerary. Yes, I understand that I chose this ship and it only affirms my belief that I was going to have the "vacation of a lifetime" as it is so proudly promised and advertised by the Carnival Corporation. Before I get into specifics, let me just reiterate why Carnival should be ashamed of themselves. A less than appetizing Lido Buffet, very small and not practical pools, a very small Serenity area with no pool, lack of security presence, lack of safety precautions, no attention to the size of a lounge or showroom for a ship holding more than 5,000 passengers and a debarkation system which was hard to comprehend. Now I will go into more detail-listing the pro's of the ship first because there were positives. PROS- -The embark was quite possibly the best I have ever experienced on a cruise. We arrived to the port short of 1230 pm with a 130 embark and were on ship at 1pm-less than 30 minute process. Congrats to that staff. -My balcony cabin on the 10th deck was both roomy, clean, and with enough storage space to fit us comfortably. -The Dining Service in Reflections was outstanding. We were a group of nearly 30 people-children, seniors , and adults. We ordered multiple entrees and appetizers every evening and never felt a wait for any item. Jose and Head Waiter Roger made our vacation bearable. -The Specialty Restaurants-Italian and Steakhouse were worth the extra cost. We also did the Chefs Table and found that experience completely awesome I am disappointed in that Carnival in my opinion, fails to design a ship that takes into consideration the paying customer's needs. For example- lack of restrooms close by to the dining venues, the casino venue and lounge venue. Restrooms that were consistently dirty and without soap or paper towel. Restrooms that did not include a baby changing station. Shame on Carnival. This does not constitute the "perfect vacation" or "ultimate vacation experience" that I was promised. I am disappointed in that Carnival would short-staff a brand new ship-charging vacationers thousands of hard earned dollars to wait in line for overpriced fried seafood (Seafood Shack), overpriced Coffee, overpriced Pictures that were being pushed every evening and with every jam packed walk down an "open " corridor. Shame on Carnival. This does not constitute the "perfect vacation" or the "ultimate vacation experience" that I was promised. I am disappointed in that Carnival would not best protect its paying customers with a both responsive and visible security force. This ship was jammed with unruly teenage mobs (both girls and boys) who could be seen defecating in the hallways and pools. They were also free to roam the decks at any time of the day or night holding a booming stereo and smoking weed freely in front of other family's. This made for both an unpleasant and unsafe cruising experience. There was no quiet time or lock down time for these passengers either. They would be up and about or causing havoc in their cabins well into the early morning hours disturbing all around them. Shame on Carnival. This does not constitute the "perfect vacation" or the "ultimate vacation experience" that I was promised. I am disappointed in that Carnival would overcharge paying customers for simplicity's previously found. For example- 15.00 to open a bottle of wine that you are already over - charging 25% to purchase on board. Advertising a final bingo prize of 5000 and ultimately paying out just 615.00 that was split multiple ways? Room service items for 5.00 a pop? Shame on Carnival. Shame. This does not constitute the "perfect vacation" or the "ultimate vacation experience" that I was promised. I do realize that there is no control over another passenger's behavior or demeanor while on board but whatever happened to controlling yourself or showing respect to others? Cursing customers, threatening other cruisers or employees with their words or their demeanor. I felt like I was amongst wild tameless animals. I could never relax at the lounge for it was never comfortable -jam packed and no open seating. I did arrive nearly 15-20 minutes prior to a given showtime. I never spent time in a hot tub as they were always filled with kids or packed to the rim with fellow adults. We never went to the pools as they were too small to accomodate the packed ship. These are all design flaws. Shame on Carnival. This does not constitute the "perfect vacation" or the "ultimate vacation experience" that I was promised. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I normally don’t write reviews or complain but this cruise is so bad I felt the need to warn others before spending your hard earned money. We are currently on the Horizon that sailed out of NY on 8/20/18. I am so disgusted with this ... Read More
I normally don’t write reviews or complain but this cruise is so bad I felt the need to warn others before spending your hard earned money. We are currently on the Horizon that sailed out of NY on 8/20/18. I am so disgusted with this cruise that I took the time to write this review while currently on board. I will start with the few positives first. We are staying in the family harbor suites. Then suite is nice and roomy. I will say having the small tub/shower and being 6’3 made taking a shower a lot easier than using the small shower in the main bathroom. Our cabin stew Marco is outstanding and very friendly. The one drawback on being deck 2 with the balcony, you need to be mindful of what’s happening above you. Several times I was sitting out on the balcony and got soaked from the staff washing something. I called several times and complained and all I got was a rude head of housing keeping saying he will look into it. The family room is nice to grab something quick before heading off the ship, and the snacks throughout the day are a nice touch. Bonsai Sushi was very good, so was guys pig and anchor. This is where the positives end. This cruise has 4 sea days and you are lucky to get a chair anywhere on the boat during those days. The Lido desk is near impossible unless you are there before 10am. The serenity deck is the same situation. Forget getting into any hot tub or pool. Unless you like being crammed in like sardines. We had the late dinning midship and first impressions the tables are very small and tight. The wait staff seems very inexperienced and not friendly. They never asked once what we wanted to drink, how we would like our steaks prepared and the food came out warm at best. As many have stated the lines at the egg station, guys burger joint, burrito bar and pizza are at least a good half hour to 45 mins. The buffet had limited choices and nothing overly kid friendly say like chicken fingers and maybe mac and cheese. The one time I found them it was for the kids club only. The food is just generally not good over salted and dry. I am very disappointed with this cruise and after taking six Carnival cruises this will be my last. After speaking with several other guests we happen to meet along the way all agreed. I know Carnival won’t do anything but we all plan on sending letters after this cruise. Save your money and look elsewhere. Carnival managed to screw up a perfectly brand new boat. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
My party of 11 sailed from NY on Aug 20-28. It’s been over 10 years we did not sail Carnival and had hoped for a great vacation keeping in mind it’s Carnival newest biggest ship. Sad to say we were very disappointed!!!! There were a ... Read More
My party of 11 sailed from NY on Aug 20-28. It’s been over 10 years we did not sail Carnival and had hoped for a great vacation keeping in mind it’s Carnival newest biggest ship. Sad to say we were very disappointed!!!! There were a few highs and lots of lows about the ship. Let’s start with the Highs. Embarkation was the BEST ever! It was very well planned/organized. None of the other lines is as easy as this. LOOOVEEEE it! Keep up the good work. Our Dining room staff was very friendly. We had the late dinner in the Reflections Restaurant and our head waiter, Michael was truly a terrific guy. His assistant Alex and Rosalyn too were great! Our cabin steward -Ike (Ikonomo- Sorry about the spelling of his name) is truly remarkable. He kept our room tidy and clean at all times. Very accommodating to my late risers. Dinner at Cucina del Capitano (the Italian Restaurant) was DELICOUS!!! The garlic bread…OMG was good! Service was excellent! Dinner at JI Ji Asian Kitchen-I personally did not eat here, but 2 of my grown kids did and said it was “REALLY REALLY GOOD!!! Great service too! Lows The Cheers (drink package) – 2 NO NOs on this! a. What good is a drink package if you cannot use it the very first day on the ship. Vacation for me started as soon as I boarded the ship! Some members of my party had to spend extra $ just to have a drink that afternoon. b. Then, why do I have to buy a drink package if I DO NOT drink, but my husband does! Just not right! The food on the Lido deck(Marketplace) was very limited – not much choices The Marketplace (Lido deck) floor was VERY slippery. The tiles were beautiful but not functional for a heavy traffic area. The Photo gallery - a total rip off! Not much choices about packages. And yes, I am comparing this to other rival ships. For instance, I was able to purchase ALL photos for a reasonable price on the other ships. Casino – very limited area...way too small for 5000 people! I am not a gambler but would have loved to have seen more slot machines and table games. The Casino should have a smoking and non-smoking area. The area is too small and confined. No matter where I sat someone is always smoking! And this is a turn off for nonsmokers. Dining - If I am going to dinner in a restaurant, I would expect to have it set up beautifully…this means having a table cloth EVERY night! Not just on the Captain nights. What a disappointment! If I’m taking the time to get dressed to come to dinner at a restaurant, let it be worth it! If not I could have just as well to have gone to the lido deck and have my dinner there. The standards have dropped considerably!! The food in the Reflections dining room is mediocre. When my 21-25 years old family members commented on this, I knew it was bad! Young ones of that age are usually less picky!!! The foods were tasteless. The smell of marijuana in the hallways- I know Carnival can’t control this, but people you can! The rowdiness of the passengers – have some decorum people! Treat the ship as a great resort vacation! It certainly is not cheap vacation! I hated writing this review, but i wanted others to know what to expect. This was my last vacation with Carnival! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
As a first time cruiser on Carnival(been on Norweigan, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity), i wasn't sure what to expect but I was a bit nervous going on the ship after the reviews I read. I will break the review into pros and cons. With ... Read More
As a first time cruiser on Carnival(been on Norweigan, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity), i wasn't sure what to expect but I was a bit nervous going on the ship after the reviews I read. I will break the review into pros and cons. With that being said, I think I am done with Carnival for the reasons I will list below. Pros 1. Nice ship- ship is a nice big ship with a modern look. Nice looking pools, water park, and decks are all in good shape. 2. Entertainment- shows were excellent and comedians were pretty good as well. The entertainment staff was some of the best in the industry and Cruise Director, Ryan Rhodes, was sensational. 3. Food- good food every day but not the same as other ships. Pig and anchor is a cant miss for lunch. 4. Stewards- our steward, windu, was great and despite leaving our tiny cabin for 4 a mess, windu made a room presentable with a smile everyday. Cons 1. People- I do not consider myself super classy or high end however the type of cruisers on this ship were as low class as you could get on a cruise. The type of attitude, dirty looks, yelling and screaming, and overall ghetto attitude was not my cup of tea. 2. Numbers- way , way, way too many people on the ship. Ship was big but not 5000 people big. Could barely get into the pool which were tiny, even compared to other ships. Anywhere you went it was super busy. Lines for food, shows, clubs and everything... 3. Getting off the ship- was supposed to be in the early departure however left an hour later. 4. Nothing for free- the only thing carnival gives you is the free space in bingo. Didn't take the booze program which applies to everyone in the cabin, even if they dont drink, so I got my own booze. Super sugary with little booze. Bartenders were not super friendly either maybe due to the droves a people. An absolute fortune. Specialty restaurants were good but why pay so much when the cruise itself was a small fortune. Paid 160 bucks for 5 people at hibachi. I would rate Norwegian better due to the options they give you and Royal Caribbean is miles apart from Carnival. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I did not have high expectations of Carnival as I had read too many bad reviews regarding this line but I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Yes, it is a party ship. It's known as the FUN ship for a reason. If you're ... Read More
I did not have high expectations of Carnival as I had read too many bad reviews regarding this line but I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Yes, it is a party ship. It's known as the FUN ship for a reason. If you're looking for quiet, there are places to go on the ship to get that, you just have to find them. CABIN - We divided our family of 5 into two interior rooms. The rooms are not that important to us as we hardly spend any time in them. They are small but didn't bother us as we're not big people but if you are on the larger side, they will feel very small. Housekeeping is lovely. FOOD - There were good things and bad things about the food. If you've cruised before, you'll be disappointed at the lack of choice at the buffet. They have separated stations into restaurants. So no pizza at the buffet, you'll need to go to Pizza place at back of ship. No hamburgers at lunch, you need to go to Guy's Burger joint (highly recommended). There is no pasta at the buffet, they want you to go to Italian restaurant. And there's no international station, they have Asian restaurants to take care of that. All of these are free at lunch, but not at dinner. Lunch had amazing cakes for dessert but they were absent at dinner buffet which is disappointing. We never ate in the main dining room because our kids wouldn't sit through that. We also noticed that they served basically the same food at the buffet with the exception of the special menu like lobster or escargot. Breakfast at Seaday Brunch is amazing, a step up from the breakfast buffet. Pizzas at back of ship are delicious too but line can be long. Overall, it was good food but some may find lack of choice at buffet a turn off. It does waste less food. I've found other cruises tend to recycle the leftover food for the next meal. ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS - Our kids loved SkyRide, SkyCourse and the SportsSquare. There can be a long wait for SkyRide so do it as soon as you can or just before it closes. Beware that if it's too windy, they'll close it, along with the SkyCourse. My kids loved the Clubhouse which had ping pong, soccer billiards and a 6 player foosball. We paid for the Thrill Theater which was okay, a little short (13 min.) but we had onboard credit. We also watched the Imax movie. Think they should reduce the price from $12.95 to $10 to encourage more people to go. My kids loved the outdoor evening movies with free popcorn. That was really nice. Sometimes hard to find a seat so go early or go halfway into movie as people tend to leave. Pools are warm which is nice. Pool at back of ship is less busy but they are both small for how many people are on board. Only two hot tubs for families are at the back of the ship and they are small. Note that both pools are salt water. Googles are recommended or it stings little ones eyes. Waterworks was a lot of fun for kids but could use more space for parents to sit. Waterslides were a bit of a wait but kids didn't mind too much. Warning that they will close if it's too windy. Both Waterworks and SkyRide/SkyCourse tended to close at 6pm. We didn't enroll our kids in the kids club as they were happy to stay with us. Our two older kids (13 & 16) are too shy to go to teen club. ADULTS - Serenity, the adults-only section is not really serene at all. It's just a big party place for adults. If you're looking for quiet, you're better off going to 5th floor outside which have loungers. Dislike that there's smoking in the casino and on some decks near the pool. Entertainment at night was good. Hasbro game show is really fun for kids. Comedians were just okay. Musicians on board were great, really talented. Elevators need work. For some reason, you push a floor and even though 7 elevators look free, it chooses the elevator that's already going to 4 other floors. I don't take them often, but we were on floor 3 and lido deck is on 10. Ship layout takes some getting used to. Some decks don't allow you to go from end to end because of the IMAX theatre which blocks it. That could've been designed better. Even arcade and Circle C club are somewhat hidden. There aren't a lot of onboard shops which was different from other ships. They also have strange hours. Our only Port was Bermuda. Highly recommend the Crystal Caves. We went to Horseshoe Bay beach. Beautiful pink sand with very few pebbles. If you're up to it, you can climb the rock mountain by the bar for a beautiful view of the beach. Beach umbrella and two loungers was $45 to rent. There's no shade otherwise and it was quite hot. There are food and beverage huts and bathroom with showers. We've been to Bermuda before so we knew we could take public transit to get to Horseshoe Bay. It's $9 roundtrip on the bus, $5 for kids. I saw transfers at dock for $7 per person each way, $14 roundtrip. So this was cheaper but more crowded. Bus only comes every 30 minutes too. Overall I really liked Carnival and as the Horizon is the newest ship, it was very beautiful and clean. There was a lot for kids to do and a lot of great food and drink options, all of which were reasonably priced. I would consider doing Carnival again if I was bringing my kids. If only traveling with my husband, I would probably not as seeing all the kids would make me feel guilty for not bringing mine. I wouldn't recommend Carnival too if you're just traveling as a couple. Celebrity or Holland America would be better. Royal Caribbean is good for older kids. Other option for families is Norwegian but I think Horizon beats them. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Let me just start by mentioning that we've been on 7 other cruises with various cruise lines including Carnival. I would have never booked this trip peak season at such a high price except that my husband had very little vacation time ... Read More
Let me just start by mentioning that we've been on 7 other cruises with various cruise lines including Carnival. I would have never booked this trip peak season at such a high price except that my husband had very little vacation time and was flying out of JFK airport the day we arrived back at the Manhattan cruise terminal. In other words, this was the only cruise that would allow for us to leave from a local port, and for my husband to catch his flight on time. I was concerned about the high cost of this short cruise and the negative reviews in which I had read. I had prepared my family for gross food and an overcrowded ship in advance based on what I had read. However, we were pleasantly surprised and had a good trip. Population: We cruised with a very culturally diverse group of passengers most of which were families of all different age ranges. There weren't too many young babies probably due to the high cost. Most passengers were respectful of others and fun to be around. Embarkation: You are assigned a specific time to arrive at the terminal. Parking at the Manhattan Cruise terminal was plentiful and we were on board about 20 minutes after arriving. In all of our years of cruising, we have never gotten on the ship so quickly. Cabin: We were on a sold out ship in balcony room 6277 which was nicely appointed with basic ammenities. Our balcony door made a loud squealing noise from the wind but this was fixed within 10 minutes of us calling the desk. We had prearranged a gift for our son which was damaged and it was replaced immediately after calling the front desk. The only downside about staying on the 6th floor is that you can hear the movies playing from IMAX theater and you can hear loud passengers on the 5th floor wrap around board walk. I would not recommend choosing this floor for these reasons. Our steward Abraham was amazing and met our needs without us ever asking for anything! Towel creatures were plentiful. Food: We were assigned to "anytime dining" and our sign and sail card told us where to go for our reservation. There was a desk in which we signed in and waited with a pager for our table to be ready. We never had a wait except on lobster night when it was about 20 minutes. Food in the main dining room was typical cruise ship quality and the service was good. Specifically Vlad and his assistant were efficient and professional. There will always be the parents who allow their kids to scream and cry in the dining room but this is out of Carnival's control. The Lido deck buffet food is okay and typical for a cruise line however the choices are lacking and as other cruisers have mentioned, if you are dieting, have food allergies, or are vegetarian, you might have trouble finding a suitable meal. There are way too many processed food options on this ship but these items seemed to be a huge hit among cruisers. The Pig and Anchor is free at lunch and delicious. There is also a burger joint, taco bar, sandwhich station, and pizza place which are all excellent however have 15-30 minute lines on average during peak times. They are all open only at specific times with the pizza place being open around the clock. I recommend utilizing alternative options to the Lido buffet at non peak times. Soft serve ice cream is available around the clock. You can also eat breakfast in the main dining room which was wonderful. Antonio was our amazing waiter and we had wished we had eaten there every day rather than just the last day. It's quieter and the food is much better than the Lido. Service: Service in general was fantastic with staff always willing to help. While on the slides, a male worker saw me carrying up 2 tubes and took one to assist me. A female worker on Lido notived by tag and bra hanging out and fixed them for me. Our room steward was friendly and attentive. Sadu in the photo studio was extremely helpful. Once at that pizza parlor, my 7 year old spilled 1/2 of his pizza on the ground. A female worker immedately came to our assitance and offered to get him fresh pizza. I cannot say enough for the entire hard working staff on this ship. As far as service, you will not be dissapointed! Entertainment/Gym: I used the gym at 0800 and while busy, machines were plentiful. There is a huge sports deck that is the main hub. The water park is great if you catch it off peak. Otherwise it becomes so overcrowded that it's really not enjoyable. Pack your suit and head right to it when you first get on. The slides are so fun! Watch out for the burning hot deck though! The sky bikes were always a 40-80 minute wait. They were closed our last sea day due to rain and wind as was the rope walk. The rope walk is great and typically the line is only a few minutes but we experienced major hold ups due to people becoming scared or unable to get across the course. Sometimes this would cause huge jam ups on the cat walks. There are only 2 family pools and hot tubs which are packed all day long. This was a great dissapointment for us as you can barely get into one. There seemed to be enough loungers despite the small pools. The games, mini golf, and ping pong are all fun and typically available without a wait. Children's camp: Our 7 year old went on 2 days and cried when we told him that he must eat so it must have been great! The process for checking in and out was extremely efficient and we rarely waited in a line. Port: We only ported once at bermuda and we did the restless native sail and snorkel. It was a nice excursion but we were slightly dissapointed with the snorkeling as we saw fish, but had higher expectations. Disembarkation: The process seemed to go smoothly but we decided to hang out on board until most cruises had departed. We enjoyed a breakfast in the main restaraunt and this was relaxing and wonderful. Overall: There are 2 reasons that I will only give this ship 4 stars. The first is the crowds and the second reason was the high price for a short cruise. I could have taken (2) 1 week long cruises for the same price it costed for us to go on the Horizon for 4 nights. However, Carnival does a pretty good job of systematically handling the 5000 people on board. Prepare yourself for some lines and plan your day around less busy times as you would a theme park or Disney land. Even on a sold out ship, we had great service and a wonderful time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I had very high expectations for this ship before I boarded. Considering it was brand new (only 4 months old when we sailed) and all of the bells and whistles that were advertised, I knew this would be a fantastic vacation. I was wrong. I ... Read More
I had very high expectations for this ship before I boarded. Considering it was brand new (only 4 months old when we sailed) and all of the bells and whistles that were advertised, I knew this would be a fantastic vacation. I was wrong. I was traveling with 9 people-5 adults and 4 children in 3 different cabins. The embarkation process was super easy and organized. I was happy with this as we all know how difficult it can be rounding up large groups of people and especially children. The service was awesome as well. Everyone on board was friendly and helpful. We loved the cruise director Mike and his team. They were funny, personable and engaging. The food was great and the head waiter Gus at the Reflections Restaurant was very good. He remembered our names when we saw him the next day after meeting us just one time the night before. Now the downside...this ship wasn't clean. Everytime I went into a restroom in a public area there was toilet paper on the floor, water all over the sink and an awful smell. There was dirt built up in the corner like it had never been cleaned. Again this ship wasn't that old so I'm not sure how this happened. We would walk down the hall any time of day and find dirty dishes outside the cabins which wouldn't be a problem except we would go back down the hall hours later and it was still there. When trying to find a place to eat at the buffet, there were always dirty dishes piled on abandoned tables. I've been on multiple cruises/cruise lines and never experienced this before. I also thought there would be more for the kids to do. There weren't many activities for the kids that didn't cost money. The IMAX theater, thrill theater and arcade were all very expensive. Overall it was a good time. If you do choose this ship, just be sure to lower your expectations and you won't be disappointed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The Horizon makes the occasional attempt at sophistication. There’s still a cruise formal night, where guests are expected to dress up for dinner in the main dining rooms. A library bar. Expensive suites and spa services. Diamond jewelry ... Read More
The Horizon makes the occasional attempt at sophistication. There’s still a cruise formal night, where guests are expected to dress up for dinner in the main dining rooms. A library bar. Expensive suites and spa services. Diamond jewelry for sale. Wild boar and escargot on menu for dinner. And, most successfully, there’s a really good new show in the theater – Celestial Strings – set all in white and with a live string trio providing some of the music. But if you’re looking for class and elegance you’re on the wrong cruise line. Carnival is home of the FUN ships – capital F. U. N. – and simple (some may call it low-brow) dining and entertainment is what they do best. The very hairy chest competition. The “Love and Marriage Show” version of the classic Newlywed Game. A group of (very drunk) friends singing Karaoke in lounge. PG-13 and R rated comedy and games. Not one, but two restaurants by Guy Fieri (burgers and BBQ). 24 hour pizza and ice cream. If you’re going on a cruise to have fun – and don’t have snobbish expectations – then you’ll do well on the Horizon. ---------- Cheers and Jeers – what good and what needs improvement on the Carnival Horizon Cheers! – for living up to the standards of being Carnival’s flagship cruise boat, with the best selection of activities, restaurants, and cabins in the fleet. Everything was new, clean, and working properly. Cheers! – for all the great technology on the boat. The free Carnival Hub app works great anywhere on the ship and lets you see maps, activity times, and even make dinner reservations from your own cell phone. The audio-visual tech on the boat is equally impressive – watching as the entire cast from the stage show leaves the theater and enters the atrium for an encore – and having the audio move seamlessly along with them – is impressive. The tablets used by some of the crew were also pretty cool. Jeers – for charging $5 to use the chat function on the app. This would have been convenient, but it should be free. Cheers – to our Cruise Director Mike. On a boat with over 1400 crew members, it’s amazing how much the charisma and enthusiasm of one guy makes such a difference. Mike was friendly, full of non-stop energy, and made everyone on the boat feel like he was their friend (all 5000 of us!). Cheers! – for trying something new with the elevator systems. Floors are select in advance, BEFORE boarding. Waiting for an elevator isn’t fun, and this should have helped. Jeers! – for poorly implementing the new elevator system. There aren’t enough signs explaining it, so everyone spent the first two days of the cruise confused and angry. Elevators were often over full, stopped at every floor, or stopped at floors were no one got on and off. In addition to more signage, the systems needs the ability to specify how many people are boarding, the ability to cancel reservations, and some way to know when an elevator is out of service (boarding was especially chaotic, as some elevators were being used for luggage, and no one had yet figured out how the system worked). Cheers! – for having a lot of great options for lunch. Guy’s burgers is a favorite for a reason, and Mexican at Blue Iguana is also very good. The key to both restaurants is freshness. Burgers, tacos, and burritos are all made fresh to order, and there’s a topping bar at each location full of fresh ingredients as well. Guy’s BBQ is great new addition to Carnival. It’s not the best BBQ I’ve ever had, but it’s still amazing to get real smoked BBQ on a ship, and it’s free at lunch. There were lots of other places we didn’t get to try as well –a Mongolian Wok, make your own pasta bar, deli, and more. Lunch is the best meal of the day on the Horizon. Unfortunately, lunch is the meal your most likely to miss because of port days. Jeers – for a kind of sad Afternoon tea. It was free, but if you wanted any tea better than Lipton you had to pay extra. Cheers! – for having an amazing and well trained staff. There are over 1400 people working on the boat from over 60 countries, and everyone we met was professional, friendly, and hard working. Many of the staff took the time to learn our names and greeted us when we passed by. Jeers! – for all the ways you can get ripped-off on the ship. In general, the more heavily something was promoted the worse of a deal it was. This includes: spa services, quasi-medical services (foot care and wellness treatments, etc), photo packages (some of which ran into the hundreds of dollars), shore excursions (almost always pricier on the boat than but directly on land), drink packages (either alcohol or soda), shopping (especially jewelry), and of course outright gambling (either Bingo or in the Casino). You could easily double the price of your cruise with these extras, most of which would be cheaper on land. Cheers! – for Carnival’s Cove Balcony cabins. These semi-enclosed balconies are available on the 2nd deck of the boat. They get less sun than balconies on higher decks, but otherwise are perfect. They are a great choice if you enjoy privacy (no one can look into the balcony from above) and being close to the water. Cheers and Jeers – for dinner in the main dining hall. Reflections (fixed time) and Meridian (flex time) are basically the same, although Meridian is larger and has two levels. The dining rooms are simply and modernly decorated but also somewhat generic looking and fall somewhat short of feeling luxurious. The menu generally looked good but execution was more mixed. Some dishes were pretty good (especially appetizers), where steaks and other main entrees were generally fair at best. Service in the restaurants, like everyone else on the boat, was generally excellent, however. Cheers! – for Celestial Strings. This is Carnival’s latest show and will be exclusively on the Horizon for about a year. Like Carnival’s other shows, it’s still basically just a musical revue (the cast sings and dances to a selection of popular songs; there’s no acting or dialogue) – but this new show is beautiful, the cast was top notch, and the live music (three musicians playing strings were part of the cast) was a nice addition. You’ll need to get to this show early to get seats, but there’s a pre-show performance to keep you entertained while you wait. Cheers! – for smooth and efficient embarkation, debarkation, and muster drills. Carnival puts a lot of effort into making sure everything runs efficiently and it shows. Our ship was at full capacity and yet we had no problems either in Bermuda or NYC. Cheers! – for never feeling too crowded, despite being at full capacity. With so many people on board it could have felt like a mob scene, but the boat rarely felt crowded. Lines were generally reasonable (except for peak times at Guy’s Burgers) – and there were always quiet spots on the ship to enjoy. ---------- For those that have read all this way, here are some “secrets” that we discovered while cruise. These are things that most guests on the boat, especially first time cruises, weren’t aware of. First, the highlight of our cruise was Carnival’s “Behind the Fun Tour”. This very limited tour isn’t promoted by Carnival, and you can only sign up for it on board at the Shore Excursions desk. Spots fill up quickly, so it’s best to sign as soon as you get on board. It’s not cheap ($95), but this 3-4 hour walking tour gets you access to things you’d otherwise never normally get to see and includes several nice bonus items as well (several photos, including one with the captain on the bridge, some snacks from the kitchen, a string backpack, wristband, and baseball cap). Highlights of our tour included the kitchens, crew recreation and dining areas, engine control room, bridge, and backstage of the main theater. We got a chance not only to see these restricted areas but also do talk to the crew that worked in them. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re interested in what it takes to make a ship like this run this tour is highly recommended. A free option to see a less crowded area of the ship is to explore the very front of the boat. Most of this area is not shown on the deck plans, and you’ll often need to walk through cabin hallways and out unmarked doors to access these areas. If I remember correctly, decks 4-7 are accessible, as well as decks 9-14. Deck 9 is above the bridge, and you can walk out above the “wings” on the sides of the bridge to see a great view down the side of the boat. There’s also a small seating area on Deck 14 with great views. The views from the front of the boat are amazing, but you will have to deal with the wind, which can be pretty intense. There is a key car slot near the door that's needed to turn on the lights in your cabin. Be aware that when you take out your card the outlets in the room will turn off as well; this is bad if you need to recharge batteries. As a work around, use a business card (ask your room steward for one) will work and let you leave the outlets on while you're out. The water slides and sky ride bikes can get crowded – these have some of the longest lines. The best time to enjoy these are as soon as you get on the boat. (As a bonus, you’ll have great views of NYC from the upper decks where these rides are located). Sign up for the earliest boarding possible, and you’ll have the ship nearly to yourself for a few hours. This is also a great time to enjoy the pools. Food tips: Most regular cruisers may already know this, but you are always free to order multiple items from the dinner menu in the main restaurants. Want seafood and steak? Just order both entrees. This goes for appetizers and desserts as well. We did this nearly every night and it made the meal a lot more enjoyable. Also, mixing and matching from the food choices on the Lido deck is a great idea. Guy’s burgers has a suggestion to try salsa from Blue Iguana as a burger topping, but don’t stop there. My wife’s favorite was soft serve ice-cream from the Lido Marketplace topped with bacon from Guy’s burger bar. ---------- Conclusion: This was our first time on a cruise and we had a lot of fun. Cruising out of NYC made things so much easier and more relaxing. The Horizon isn’t the biggest or the fanciest boat out there, but it might be the most fun. Read Less
Carnival Horizon Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.6
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.5

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