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552 Carnival Barcelona Cruise Reviews

ELEVATORS - You can’t just jump on an elevator because there are no buttons inside to select your floor. You must select a floor BEFORE entering, so 2 elevators arrive, you miss them both while programing your desired floor, or even ... Read More
ELEVATORS - You can’t just jump on an elevator because there are no buttons inside to select your floor. You must select a floor BEFORE entering, so 2 elevators arrive, you miss them both while programing your desired floor, or even worse, a passenger holds the door, but the elevator simply won’t take the command because the elevator has arrived, huh? and you wait forever for the next elevator. They are more labor intensive, have longer waits because normally, people changing their mind about taking the elevator isn’t a problem because they never actually enter the elevator (to select a floor); with this system, the floor is selected before entering so the elevator stops at every floor where passengers gave up on the elevator or made an entry mistake. There’s no display to show where the elevator is (if you have an idea of wait time, it makes the wait seem shorter). A couple of the elevator selection panels have broken down already. What a stupid system! On the positive side, it’s a good incentive to use the stairs. EMBARKATION didn’t start until 12:15 pm. Most hotel check out is by 10 am so naturally people head to the pier. Just less than 70% of the passengers were Diamond/Platinum/Suites/Faster-To-the-Fun payers, so the majority stood in a “priority” line that SLOWLY snaked around the waiting area (after waiting that hour or two beforehand). Only sporadically were passengers double checked if they were indeed “priority”. EVEN WORSE, once on board, there was a huge line to get on the elevators, which were far in the distance. Everywhere else was cordoned off except the stairs. Two main reasons for the elevator line. a) The crazy unconventional elevators, so just like when the Titanic went down, elevators (instead of lifeboats) were leaving with only 4 people inside, and stopping on all floors. b) The ship’s design doesn’t include crew-area luggage elevators, so the passenger elevators were used. Essentially luggage had priority as almost all elevators were closed to passengers for luggage. Considering our ship was due to sail at 7 pm, would have thought passengers could be the priority. EVEN AFTER the late lunch, the chaos continued at the elevators where there was very little standing room since the area was jam packed with luggage waiting to be distributed. The perk of allowing “priority” passengers IMMEDIATE access to their cabin is a contributing factor to elevator chaos and a later embarkation starting time. Carnival offers, and charges for, “Faster to the Fun” making “Priority” is a misnomer. EATING IS INCONVENIENT: Unless you upload their app and carry your iphone, anytime diners with cabins on, say the 2nd deck, must travel to the 5th deck, line up to get a dining entrance ticket, then travel and line up on the 3rd deck to get in to eat. What’s that all about? The cafeteria is in two sections not immediately next to each other. They have similar, but not identical offerings, so we constantly walked back and forth between the two cafeteria areas (53 yards) for a single item (adding to the traffic congestion to boot). FOOD: There is hype about “Guy’s Hamburger Joint”, but I felt nauseous from the grease afterwards so I only visited once. More hype over the Pig & Anchor where I had pulled pork. Aside from the fat and crust I discarded, it wasn’t as bad. CAFETERIA: The cafeteria food at my work is better for preparation and selection. The often-browning lettuce was generally iceberg (no nutrition) displayed in a bowl no bigger than one at home (for 4000) and only about 6 items to add vs. well over a dozen selections at most land restaurants. I enjoy a salad daily, but with the meager choices, I never bothered. Dessert cakes are cut one slice at a time upon request, which meant there was always a line at the counter. Everything for a deli sandwich is behind one counter and made up by one server, so a long line is inevitable. It’s not like a Subway restaurant where you order what type of fresh baked roll etc. you want. You get hamburger/hot dog buns taken from a plastic package of 8 (think supermarket) likewise bread slice choice was packaged white or rye. Meatballs inside a hot bun were cold. The cafeteria, and everywhere INDOORS, was FRIGID so most passengers ate (and watched evening shows) wearing sweaters, heavy jackets and even wool hats. Cheaper cuts of meat such as chicken, Salisbury steak, meatloaf, meatballs, pizza and hamburgers were plentiful and so was rice and pasta. Dining hit a new low for us. Staff didn’t monitor passenger hand sanitation. I caught a bad cold. First time I’ve ever been sick on a ship. FREE DINING, I liken to TV dinners set on a plate except the cordon bleu chicken was tough, gammon (ham) was dry and hard to cut. I couldn’t cut through the Brussel sprouts. I suspect all food is previously frozen. Fresh berries seem to be a thing of the past on cruise ships. The food offering on “Elegant Night” is better and makes up for having to pack the extra clothing. SPECIALTY DINING: Since the food was so poor we tried “specialty” for the first time ever (steak house). It’s everything I remember that cruising “used to” be like. Delicious and inviting. With the price of a cruise varying around $400 or $500 depending on location, season, and different cruise lines, this is about the same as the cost to specialty dine. Had this cost been in the upfront price, I’d hardly have noticed and it wouldn’t have been a problem. However, paying for specialty when there’s food upstairs that’s supposed to be dining, just rubs me the wrong way (probably because I “remember when . . .”) CASINO SMOKE: The casino is slap bang in the middle of the ship and allows smoking. The 3rd deck isn’t a through-deck so you always seem to find yourself at the 4th floor casino. Because the layout is open, the stench permeates that area out to the elevators and stairwells, and to a lesser degree, the floors above and below. Management must be smokers if they think the ventilation system is adequate. SHIP’S DESIGN is excellent for warm Caribbean travel. But choose carefully if going on cold weather or transatlantic crossing. There’s NO “Skyline Bar” type place where you can settle down at the front of the ship to relax with a 180-degree view of the ocean. Nor is there an indoor pool. There are lots of water activities, but the water was too cold to use them. The sports deck is great, but the top deck high wind is tiring. Other than taking up seating in a busy cafeteria, there ISN’T ANY indoor relaxation areas where you can sit by a window. The ENTERTAINMENT audio level throughout the ship could damage your ears (even the elevator “dong” to announce floor arrival is ear piercing). One entertainer even asked the sound technician to turn the volume down a notch. I really appreciated that. SAILING ON A SHIP OF 4000 PASSENGERS – Except for embarkation and disembarkation, I’ve never felt crowded on ships. Not so with this ship. Standing room only for almost everything, shows and even activities like Trivia, etc. The cafeteria at lunch and breakfast was jam packed with lines everywhere and not enough seats. Because seating at a window for relaxation is nonexistent, passengers sat in the cafeteria playing cards or reading, compounding the shortage of tables for eating. Same with the other “free” restaurants. You needed a buzzer for one and outdoor long line for the other. Not just for food, lines were everywhere, for almost anything. One gangway might be OK for smaller big ships, but its essential a 4000-passenger ship have a minimum of 2 passenger gangways. In Halifax for instance, the line to get through the ONE onboard x-ray machine ran from outside the terminal, through the terminal, along the pier, UP a flight of stairs to another line, inside the ship. The only reason the ship left an hour late was processing passengers through their one x-ray machine (even though they do possess more). Invariably that one gangway was at the furthest point from the pier exit. The ship is long rather than tall (pool is deck 10). Being a l o n g mega ship, walking from the cabin to activities on this ship is even longer. ON THE POSITIVE SIDE, all sinks have nonautomatic faucets which tend to conserve water. The ship lived up to the “Fun Ship” reputation. The activities director was excellent, certainly visible and there were more activities offered than on most ships I’ve been on (suggest using 2 locations for the same activity due to crowding). We even had free Zumba which they told us was not on the other ships. On disembarkation there was plenty to keep passengers occupied. If you haven’t cruised much, are summer cruising, and don’t mind paying for the extras, you’ll have a really great time. I notice Carnival past cruisers are staunchly loyal. One lady at a Q&A session, broke down and couldn’t talk trying to tell the officers how much she appreciated the staff. COST I did a quick calculation of what an all-inclusive cruise ACTUALLY costs. While on board I picked a random 8-day cruise to the Caribbean in August advertised at $979 ea. WOW! Over 80% of the cabins are balcony, so let’s realistically calculate for the vast majority. $2,728 Cabin ($1364 each, pay more if there’s more than 2 in the cabin) $350 Taxes and port charges $208 Gratuities ($13 each = $26 times 8 days) $245 Internet package that most hotels provide anyway, and works much faster $400 Dinner at the “specialty” restaurants vary from $15 to $35 each, so let’s take an average of $25 x 2 people x 8 days. (This is dinner ONLY) $120 Soft drinks (not including real orange juice or specialty coffee for breakfast) TOTAL $4,051 cabin (rather than the bold print $979 ea. p.p) = $506 per night rather than $122 ea. p.p. (add $100+ per night if including alcohol) I didn’t bother to include the cost of entertainment on board such as IMAX, babysitting etc. that I’m guessing you’d pay for on any other all inclusive. Although not added is single serving fruit tarts $3, “specialty” coffee $3-$6 or cookies $1.25 which in the past were free. We’re now at well over $600 per night for a tiny cabin and miniature bathroom for a great summer time vacation. With a hotel you can walk out if it doesn’t meet expectations, not so much in the middle of the ocean. I’ve been cruising since the 1990s (41 cruises; 50% Celebrity, 50% equally with the other cruise lines) so maybe that’s too long. I’m having difficulty adapting to the evolution of what cruise lines now offer as all inclusive (I see it akin to how the airlines have changed and charge). I used to regard cruising as luxury travel, even used to regard flying that way. Probably it’s time (for me anyway) to move on to something else. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this ship because we were doing a transatlantic from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome on Celebrity Reflection and and we could fly to Barcelona for a couple days and catch the Horizon back home. Being a new ship we anticipated it being ... Read More
We chose this ship because we were doing a transatlantic from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome on Celebrity Reflection and and we could fly to Barcelona for a couple days and catch the Horizon back home. Being a new ship we anticipated it being top notch! Just the opposite. Embarkation - We were told to be at the dock for 11am check in. We then had to sit and wait 2 hours before we could get on the ship. After we were on we were directed to a dining room for lunch. The servers were all new and it took forever to get our food. That's when we first realized there was a shortage of help on this ship. That's probably an understatement! Cabin - When we got to our cabin the cabin steward was on his first cruise and could hardly speak English. Could not carry on a conversation with him. He ask if wanted room service in the morning or afternoon? We have always had room service twice a day! That was odd. We were in Cabin 6226 toward the front with a balcony. It happened to be over the main show room so the noise was quite loud with the music and vibrations. The first couple nights the ship was rocking and pounding. Our big window creaked and popped all night. We had to call maintenance. Worried the window would not make the transatlantic trip! Luckily the rest of the cruise was relatively smooth. You do not get chocolates on your pillow at night. There were no writing pens or pads, no Carnival bags. We had to carry our cards, etc. around in a Celebrity Bag. The doors to the balcony slam shut if you let them go. The next door neighbor was constantly slamming their door. The balcony is so small there is only room for 2 chairs and a short small table. It is also not private. We were used to foot stools and tall table for dining on the balcony. No such thing on this ship. The balcony was not very private either. You could see both sides if they were in their chairs. On the plus side they did have a fairly good selection of movies on the TV which came in handy considering it was too cold outside for the big screen. They only provided Beach towels to cover up with, no blankets. Bathroom - Very retro turquoise molded vinyl. Shower curtain, no doors! I always bring my own shampoo but I ran out halfway through and had to use the shampoo on the ship. There was no conditioner and I couldn't hardly get my hair combed out after using their shampoo. They also do not provide body lotion as most ships do. There is not a night light in bathroom. Main Areas - The casino is the designated smoking area for all smokers. There is not a non smoking night. My husband was very disappointed and it kept him from using the casino. It was designed so that the smoke filtered to 2 floors and around. Card Room - IT was a joke. 3 card tables. The library and card room were together with a wine bar also. It was impossible to get a table so we had to use tables in the cafeteria to play cards. They also had an electronic door that opened to the outside deck and when it opened the wind would blow your cards over. Plus it was a huge distraction for readers and card players. People would just use it as a pass through! Liquid Lounge - This was their main show room and it was the smallest show room I've encountered plus huge columns in the way. Always lines to get in. Not enough room for a third of the people the ship was carrying. The entertainment was just so so. It was so hard to get a seat we just quit trying. Limelight Lounge - They had a comedy show in this room a couple times a day. There was always a huge line and overflow crowd. They had PG and PG 18 rated shows. The comedian Mark Palmer was great. Even his PG18 show was not bad. They had one comedian that had no business being on a ship he was so filthy! Ocean Plaza - This room was for trivia, etc. It was too small to accommodate those that wanted to play. Since the weather was not ideal most everyone had to be indoors. This ship was not able to accommodate bad weather. Public Restrooms - No attendents. Mostly blow dryers. No seat covers. Laundry Mat - Was happy to see that that had a do it yourself laundry. IMAX Theatre - Extra cost. We scheduled a movie for the last day at sea only to receive a call and say it had been cancelled due to maintenance issues. That was disappointing. Of course we had just got off a Celebrity Cruise so the comparisons stuck out without trying. We paid the same price so the differences were unbelievable. For instance we had received twice daily room service, Fresh fruit daily in room, bottle of champagne in room, tote bag, bathroom with individual shampoo, conditioner, soap, cream. Chocolates on pillow every night. Also a built in night light in bathroom. Dining - The main dining room was 2 floors and very nice looking. We had a table for 2 that was crowded between 2 other tables so we may as well been at one table with them. Food was good some nights but not every night. Ate in cafeteria some evenings. It was a different arrangement. There were 2 sections, each section had 8 stations of buffet food. Every station had the same food so the menu was very small. There was a salad bar which had limited selections but it seemed fresh. They had beautiful cakes at the lunch time buffet but you always had to stand in line while they sliced it for you. There was a Deli that always had a line. Outside by the pool was Guys Burgers, they were good and a popular spot. On the other side was a Taco station. The Taco Salad was alright. There was several separate restaurants for extra dollars, Guys Pig and Anchor, Steak House, Italian, Sushi and Teppanyaki. We were disappointed in the lack of attention to hand washing. Nobody at the entrance of restaurants to give you squirts of sanitizer and the stand alone stations were not always visible. My husband got a stomach bug and I came home with a cold. The moral of this story is that cruising has taken a dive! We've been cruising since 1980 and remember when cruising was something special and everything was included. It has become something I don't even recognize. We have decided to take a break from cruising. Most definitely will not be going on any more Carnival Cruises. Sorry Carnival, you were our first 2 cruises in the 80's and it was so different then. You don't even have a record of us from the Carnival Festival! Oh well. We are small fish in a big sea! You'll do fine with guests that have not cruised other lines! Children would probably love this ship but I imagine it will be crowded in the summer at the outside venues. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
PROS: The ship itself was very nice, Never felt crowded. Getting on and off the ship was very smooth for arrival, for departure, and for all ports, we enjoyed the Ping Pong tables which were in doors as opposed to our past cruises in ... Read More
PROS: The ship itself was very nice, Never felt crowded. Getting on and off the ship was very smooth for arrival, for departure, and for all ports, we enjoyed the Ping Pong tables which were in doors as opposed to our past cruises in which the tables were outdoors, For most days it was too cold and windy to enjoy the outdoor ship facilities. The gym also was very good, and we never had trouble in getting to use the equipment that we wanted. CONS: The Lido Buffet was by far the worst and most limited buffet that we have experienced on a cruise, There were basically no vegetables, and when there were they were bland. In addition, there were typically only around 6 to 8 choices including sides and half of the choices were in the second of 2 rows and hard to reach. The lunch buffet was a little better than the dinner buffet as they had better desserts including a gelato station that we only tried once due the length of the line. We ate in the main dining room only 3 nights out of the 14 as it just took too long to eat. The lobster on formal night was very good, and the lamb chops on another night was also very good. We ate lunch once at the Mongolian restaurant and selected numerous vegetables, however what we received was basically a bowl of noodles with a couple of tiny vegetables included. We also ate one night at the Asian specialty restaurant for $15 per person. The food was good, however all our choices tasted pretty much the same. The sandwiches at the deli were OK as was the Pizza. On the whole the dining experience was extremely disappointing. The theater was very poorly designed and it was very hard to find a decent seat from which the show could be seen unobstructed. The shows themselves were good but the design of the theater took a lot away from the experience, The activities on sea days were very limited, unless you wanted to play trivia all day long. I have been on other cruises where there were multiple dance classes per day. On this cruise other than the Zumba activity which they had 3 or 4 times during the cruise there were basically no decent dance classes. I went to one class which lasted a total of 11 minutes, Why even bother,. There were movies that were shown outside on a big, beautiful and sharp screen, However, for the most part it was too windy and cold to enjoy. This will probably not be an issue when the ship cruises in warmer climates. There was a sports bar with lots of screens that showed the same game on every screen which for the most part was a game that appealed to Europeans as opposed to Americans. This should also be rectified when the ship sails in the US. The TV in the room had very little to watch. The stations were European stations, except for CNBC which at least allowed me to keep up with the Stock Market. Given that 80 percent of the people on the ship were American not clear why they could not offer more American stations, On the whole we were very disappointed with the cruise. The poor choice of food, and the lack of activity makes me rate the overall experience as poor. In fact, we were so disappointed that in the future we will probably not cruise Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Had to get to US from Barcelona. Balcony Cabin was fine. Room steward was excellent. “My time dining” was very inconvenient. We had to check in on deck 5 and then proceed 2 decks down to deck 3 restaurant. Food was mediocre at ... Read More
Had to get to US from Barcelona. Balcony Cabin was fine. Room steward was excellent. “My time dining” was very inconvenient. We had to check in on deck 5 and then proceed 2 decks down to deck 3 restaurant. Food was mediocre at best and sometimes inedible. Presentation was poor. Table settings were without tablecloths. I witnessed tables being wiped with wet cloths and silver ware placed on wet surfaces. Unsanitary!. General activities and entertainment were “hokey”. Shows were difficult to see due to poor seating arrangement and technical flaws. (Spotlights directed into audience for long duration. We had to leave 2 shows because lights were in our eyes.) We missed live band. Shows had recorded music. Unfair to talented performers! Lido buffets had very limited choices. Could only get a dessert by waiting in long lines. (We passed on them as a result). General atmosphere in Lido was less than pleasant due to guests gross eating behaviors, tables not being cleared, and no service for beverages from servers. We are experienced cruisers who understand inaugural voyage glitches and are tolerant of minor problems. However, we experienced an overall experience on board that appears to be the modus operation on this line. As such we will not be guests again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to New York City --The main reason for taking this cruise was the itinerary and the cost was relatively reasonable. Embarkation/Disembarkation: In Barcelona we had an embarkation window of time ... Read More
Transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to New York City --The main reason for taking this cruise was the itinerary and the cost was relatively reasonable. Embarkation/Disembarkation: In Barcelona we had an embarkation window of time assigned of 1:00 to 1:30, arrived, and flew through onto the ship. Fasted embarkation I have ever experienced on any cruise line. Once on the ship, we were hit with a wall of people! Many enjoying the first bar they saw in the atrium, most others standing in a mob waiting for elevators. We used the stairs. Carnival did a great job of getting people off ship in NYC, though mighty early because they had a christening party planned for that afternoon. Organization fell apart in the terminal but that was not Carnival’s area of responsibility. Once aboard our airport transfer bus I looked across the street at a line of passengers and their baggage that went down the street and around the corner! Very happy we had purchased Carnival transfers. Elevators: A new system that generally worked very efficiently, unless there were many people at one time, on multiple floors, trying to access them. Use a keypad and enter your floor and you are assigned a car that is programed to go to your floor (among others). But, when that car arrives and is full, you have to start over. TV screens on some floors, that displayed car letters, and what floors they were going to, helped a lot. Stateroom: 8302 balcony room, midship. Great location. Super room attendants (thank you Pedro!). Size was generally fine but storage was I thought a bit skimpy. And did those twin beds seem narrower than a standard twin? And with one bed shoved up against the curtained window, the only sunlight we easily got was through the balcony door. Probably not a problem for one bed, but maybe the room could have been a couple inches bigger? Food: Main Dining Room: Hit or miss to be kind. Biggest problem was often not having hot food served to you. Not just tepid but cold food. Breakfast in the MDR was ice cold and so was its replacement meal – didn’t eat there again. Wait staff in the MDR for dinner seemed overwhelmed at times, and they were certainly gracious enough if you had to send back any cold food, which probably compounded their stress levels. Selection of entrée choices seemed less than on other lines. Only linens on the tables for formal night and the first night without them, I felt like I was eating at Perkins. I was ok with the anytime dining getting a seat assignment or beeper from deck 5. We were perhaps later diners than most and we really never experienced any lines. I had a thought after we returned home about the MDR – is the bar being lowered there to steer guests to the specialty (additional cost) restaurants? Conceivable. Specialty restaurants: Of the 14 days we were on this cruise, we ate 7 evenings in the MDR and 7 evenings at the various specialty restaurants. We did not take advantage of the no-cost lunch buffets offered at some of the specialty restaurants on at-sea days. Though we were told before we sailed that both the Chef’s Table and the Bonsai Teppanyaki restaurants were fully booked, we were waitlisted and did get into both. The Chef’s Table was an extraordinary experience and worth every penny. We ate multiple times at the teppanyaki restaurant and it was a little different each time, which was ok. I enjoyed the food and the experiences very much. Kudos on the dessert box! The steakhouse was excellent. The Italian restaurant was very good – I did notice that their menu has “evolved” from the menu posted on Carnival’s website. JiJi Asian restaurant was a fiasco – too rushed and the entrees were ice cold. When had to sit way too long looking at the cold meal congealing in front of us, we decided to just leave. We did not eat at the Pig and Anchor. Suggestion though – if on a transatlantic cruise, with many days at sea, maybe giving away food at free lunch buffets is the reason Carnival doesn’t have many people in these dining rooms in the evening. Lido Buffet: In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a buffet fan but did eat there a few times for both breakfast and lunch. Breakfast had the same fare, in steam trays, each morning. I did think it was odd that toast and bagels were laid out on a side buffet and not kept hot. The omelet station was the busiest place of all and even with the lines, it was worth the wait. For lunch they served mostly heavier fare in the steam tray buffet. The salad area was small (as were the bowls) but if you wanted a more substantial salad you could go the Serenity area on deck 15. The best, by far, was the deli and the length of the lines there were long. Biggest complaint was the people who parked themselves in the seating area all day to read, play cards, do crafts, etc. so that finding a spot to eat was difficult. Other dining options: Room service breakfast started out delivering not hot coffee but that did improve as the cruise progressed. We did not order room service for other than breakfast. The wood fire pizza station on the stern served great pizza. We did not order from the Seafood Shack but clearly it was popular with seafood loving guests. The Mexican station was good and the Guy burgers were just outstanding. Cleanliness: Often the had santizers either didn't work or where pushed aside. The people cleaning the common areas seemed to do a cursory job and looked universally bored to tears. No norovirus outbreak but every other person seemed to have a cold. Entertainment: We were late diners so we never really could sync up to the shows in the Liquid Lounge. The lines for the comedy club queued early and were long. Karaoke was ok. The piano bar, with Eden, was great. The casino was not lucky for us and they need to improve that room ventilation system. We did not participate in bingo, trivia or other games. Nor did we go on the Skyride though people looked like they were having a great time. The IMAX movies did not interest me. No kids with us. Beverage Package/Bars: We did the math and the Cheers package was a pretty good deal given our beverage preferences. And obviously many others on the ship thought so too -- they actually ran out of some wines, liquor brands and canned mixers. I thought the on-deck and casino servers were often slow to return with beverages. But for the most part, the service at the various bars aboard was very good. Jorge in the Havana Bar was exceptional. Who knew a daiquiri could taste that good? WiFi: We bought a shared plan that cost way too much money. Shame on all cruise lines for gouging guests for this service! But it is clearly a profit center for them so I don’t see it going away soon. Excursions: I thought Carnival pricing was reasonable so we did not book any independent tours. As with all excursions/tours from cruise lines, or independent, some were better than others. My one wish, for all excursion/tours on all cruise lines – quit walking so glacially slow! There is a comfortable walking gait, and there is not. I realize there are passengers with some diminished capabilities but I don’t even think they want to walk at a funeral pace. Laundry: With nearly 2000 top tier frequent floaters aboard this ship entitled to the free laundry perk, getting a laundry bag special, ever, during a 14-day cruise was just a dream. (Though from what I heard we were probably better off without it.) Summation: Carnival Horizon is a new ship with some kinks in it. But once they are fixed, it is going to make for one heck of a party ship in the Caribbean. Clearly it was made for people enjoying the outdoors. The food in some venues, especially the serving temperatures, need to improve for sure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Notes for our Carnival Horizon Our 8th crossing... our 78th Cruise with multiple cruise lines. Booking and Air We booked this Maiden transatlantic of the Horizon looking forward to enjoying sea days on the newest ship in the ... Read More
Notes for our Carnival Horizon Our 8th crossing... our 78th Cruise with multiple cruise lines. Booking and Air We booked this Maiden transatlantic of the Horizon looking forward to enjoying sea days on the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. Fortunately, Carnival had very reasonable pricing for our flights on United from Newark to Barcelona. Our flight departed Newark about 3 hrs. late, but the airplane seating, crew and experience itself was great. We arrived in Barcelona followed the crowd to immigration, picked up our luggage and headed to the baggage exit. Finding the Carnival representative was NOT easy. We had to ask several other cruise reps where we might find Carnival agents. After finding them, we stapled our pre-printed Carnival luggage tags to each piece, dropped them off with the Carnival porters and were directed to seats nearby. The process took about an hour with what we thought was check in at the airport (not).... the bus ride was about 30 minutes... after which we had to answer the same information once we arrived at the port terminal. As Platinum VIFP we were promptly led to the sign in desk and ready to board...however, we learned the we could bring our own wine and alcohol! The terminal has an extensive duty free selection of wine at reasonable prices, so we purchased a few bottles for the cabin. Boarding was fast, but the small, smart elevators caused long lines once on the ship as we waited our turn to go from deck 3 to our deck 6. Many angry guests could not imagine why it was taking so long! After about 20 minutes, we reached our cabin, 6461. We freshened up, checked the refrigerator only to find it was not working...we needed it fixed or replaced. (The 3rd replacement worked) The room and closet space were adequate, the extra long veranda however, was very narrow! Those sailing in warm weather would find it difficult to relax on the veranda with outstretched legs unless each chair was set on a 45 degree angle. The bathroom had a shower curtain and decor was in the retro old style and colors, it lacked enough space to keep toiletries conveniently nearby. No night light, no typical amenities such as body lotion, or shampoo conditioner... only shampoo and body wash dispensers in the shower. The one phone in the cabin was on the desk, as were the only 2 - 110v electrical 1 - 220v and 2 USB outlets. Again, not convenient to the bed or well thought out. We briefly met our cabin attendant, Daniel who asked if we wanted 1 or 2 make ups daily.... duh. We told him twice daily please. He and his partner Jelena were great at keeping the cabin tidy, clean and constantly filled our jumbo ice bucket! Off to lunch at the Lido Marketplace on deck 10, aft. Loved the layout, easy to find seating, several sections (front, mid and aft) each with much the same buffet selections, allowing for comfortable self service and finding tables. Many tables for 2, several up to 8. Liked the variety, happy with the quality, taste and prompt availability of whatever seems missing, just for the asking... (smoked salmon and poached eggs) in the morning. Never a food complaint in the Marketplace. Getting tables cleaned promptly was however, a challenge. Note: cookies are rare, and sugar free cookies never. Selection limited for all deserts, lines of 10 or more common. Need self service ... and additional sugar free deserts for those whose diet demands. Following lunch, we visited the maître D to change our dining time and table. Then it was time for the muster drill. Dinner was early 6PM at table 745. A lovely location, at the aft with a view of the ocean set for 4, our waiter and assistants were fabulous, the food was however, mediocre, never very hot, not up to our Carnival expectations (had always been better than other lines). Not a complaint, rather an observation. Usually after dinner, we would visit the casino! Not so on Horizon! The smell of smoke was unbearable despite Pierre’s (Hotel mgr.) assurance otherwise. He went into great detail at our Cruise Critic mtg about how much better the casino air filtration system was and how much effort and money went into making it so. Apparently it needs more effort, money or repair! Many guests we met had the same comment. Back to food.. Tried the Guys Hamburgers... they are absolutely delicious, fast service and excellent selection of toppings make for a great lunch. The BBQ was a disappointment... perhaps our expectations were set too high... long lines, hard to find tables, fatty ribs.. we found ourselves headed back to the Marketplace to finish lunch. The Seafood Shack is worth the few dollars extra. We shared a lunch combo platter (10.00. We are able to substitute clam strips for calamari, added shrimp, scallops, battered cod and fries. Plenty to share, all fried, all hot and delicious. Place your order, get notification via assigned buzzer when ready, pick up your meal and take back to a table in Marketplace. Ship The ship itself is not your typical Carnival décor. It's very attractive, just no glitz or glitter we are accustomed to. A guest we met said "there's no WOW factor". We were pleased with the extensive use of warm woods, glass and more "conservative" interiors.. Elevators Smart elevators ... good, but hard to get used to. More like some high rise buildings in metro cities, these are very efficient, but you need to indicate where you intend to go BEFORE entering the elevator, as there an NO buttons inside the elevator. You do this by approaching a pedestal, then touching the 6" X 10" display screen with the deck number you want to get to. The display then shows and sounds an Alpha Letters (A, B, C etc.) which elevator to use for that request. On most decks there's also a large display screen near the elevator bank with info. about which elevator will will stop on which decks etc. Frustrating at first, however, takes getting used to.. TV at seas, it's incredible how good the reception actually is. Just wish there were US stations. We had BBC, CNN international Sky News, CNBC etc. Great selection of movies... many are included, a few of the LATEST are priced at 4.99. Interactive menu lacks music channels, ship info. is minimal (ship camera, speed and depth, sunrise, sunset only) Would like temperature, wave heights and wind info.. Would also be nice if we could order room service ... perhaps this is coming. Veranda - Best said... this is a ship built for warm weather and outdoor activities. As such, our Veranda while longer than most, is so narrow as to make it impossible to pass when someone is using a lounge chair with legs extended. Theater - Liquid Lounge is MUCH too small, difficult to see stage from many seats, no pitch to the floor, so it's hard to see over guests seated in front of you. IMAX - Great experience, excellent selection, worth the small surcharge. Crew - Outstanding.. obviously these are selected for their experience and have been trained well. Always a smile, always do their very best to satisfy the guest. Dining Room - Moving away from the open, no division between sections, each area is a bit more defined a bit quieter than typical. There were however, NO table cloths, (except for formal nights), and the tables themselves are fairly close to each other making any privacy impossible. Overall, we had a pleasant cruise, we would do it again (if they offer another transatlantic). NOT a cold weather ship!! Not enough space at the indoor venues for games, cards, mahjong etc. when everyone is "indoors". Disembarkation Well coordinated - moved quickly. Note that customs declaration forms were not required UNLESS you had to something to declare. Hard to find porters in the luggage area. Lines waiting to get one as they returned to the terminal. Only other comment has really to do with the Carnival VFIP program. Just not very competitive with most others. Would love if they added things like some free wifi, 2 coupon drinks per day, etc. at Platinum level. Love the laundry perk, boarding priority, private phone contact and Platinum Line at Guest Services. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We sailed on the transatlantic cruise and had a wonderful two weeks. Having sailed on Vista a couple of years previously in The Med we knew what to expect from this class of ship and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation: very quick ... Read More
We sailed on the transatlantic cruise and had a wonderful two weeks. Having sailed on Vista a couple of years previously in The Med we knew what to expect from this class of ship and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation: very quick and easy, comfortable big cruise terminal in Barcelona with plenty of seats, a cafe, bar and a duty free shop that had its shelves picked clean - it was funny to watch. The Ship: it was great to see some familiar faces from the crew on Vista, most of the crew were brilliant and really create a fun, lively atmosphere on board. It has almost the same layout as Vista but they've made a couple of changes which are not an improvement such as opening the Steakhouse to flow into the Piano bar. We had an inside cabin on deck 7 which had a comfortable bed, plenty of hangers but could do with some shelves beside the wardrobe. The room steward asked if we wanted the room cleaned once or twice a day. Very friendly guy who always had a smile and a chat every time we saw him. Entertainment: we love the production shows, the comedy club, the lively atmosphere all around the ship. The entertainment on Carnival is far better than any other cruise line we've sailed with. The comedians were really funny especially the three British guys. All the shows we watched in the Liquid Lounge were excellent, including the guest singers and the hypnotist. Unfortunately Carnival have not listened to feedback from Vista and changed the design of the Liquid Lounge which is undoubtedly the worst theatre on any cruise ship afloat. It is totally inadequate in size and has a terrible layout meaning that only half the seats have a decent view of the stage. As a result people queue for up to 45 minutes to get a seat with a view. Design Flaws: the Liquid Lounge is not the only design flaw on this class of ship, they have repeated the same flaws as Vista. The gym is far too small and appears to be an after thought stuck at the end of the Spa. Two of the additional fee restaurants are located directly below the sports court so you hear a constant thump, thump, thump of basketballs while you're having lunch or dinner. There's a big massive waste of space covering three floors of the ship, the Imax. Surely a better use of this space would be more cabins and a bigger gym. Food: some good and some not so good experiences. We had YTD and it worked great every night. We never had to wait for a table whether we were sharing or just a table for two. Service was always very friendly, courteous and quick. Every night we had a really enjoyable meal, good food well served. The Lido could get busy during breakfast and lunch but we always found plenty to eat and always found a table. Plenty of variety although the signs above the serving stations in the Lido could be a lot bigger to make them easier to read. The Pig and Anchor always had a queue at 1200 when it opened but if you went in after 1300 there was no queue and plenty of seats available. Mongolian Wok and Ji Ji's - we went twice to each and had superb meals each time. Well worth the $15 fee for dinner. Its a shame they don't close the sports court directly above so you don't have to listen to the constant thump of basketballs. Cucina del Capitano was terrible, very poor service. We went for lunch on a port day, it wasn't busy so there can be no excuses for such poor service. Very slow, unattentive and they forgot two dishes. The food was nothing special so we didn't go back and certainly were not minded to go for dinner and pay a fee. They need trained on service standards by the staff from Ji Ji's. Overall we had a great cruise, met some lovely fellow cruisers, had some great experiences on a ship who's crew create a fun, lively, wonderful atmosphere on board. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
It was our first Trans Atlantic cruise and we were the fourth cruise itinerary on the Horizon. Everything was wonderful. The ship is beautiful and we found it easy to navigate. The Room Stewards and Wait Staff were great - could not ... Read More
It was our first Trans Atlantic cruise and we were the fourth cruise itinerary on the Horizon. Everything was wonderful. The ship is beautiful and we found it easy to navigate. The Room Stewards and Wait Staff were great - could not have done more for us. Food was excellent in the Dining Room and on Lido. Deck. In the evenings on Lido the choices were outstanding - we typically do not eat on Lido in the evenings but did so on this longer cruise. Guys Pig and Anchor food also great - no charge at lunch time although only open for lunch on Sea Days so a really good time to go is your first day upon Embarkation. Pizza was great - they will make variations of the four listings that are on the wall. Oh yes, Gelato is served daily on Lido at lunchtime - two different choices offered. We were on Deck 11 Cabin 11266 which for us was the perfect location - it is an Inside Cabin - not Spa even though Spa Cabins are further down the hall - with easy access to Lido Deck and Gym and Serenity Deck and elevators and really everything - we loved it - we were in a similar Cabin location on Vista a year ago. The evening entertainment was typical Carnival entertainment - no complaints - but similar to what we have seen in the past. The music/musician offerings throughout the ship were excellent - I would suggest there was something for everyone's taste. We had a really wonderful cruise - no hiccups for us - would not hesitate to cruise again on the Horizon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our first time to go to Europe and to sail across the Atlantic. We really enjoyed all the ports in Europe and then the sea days on the ship. There is so much to do and loved all the food options available on this new ship. The ... Read More
This was our first time to go to Europe and to sail across the Atlantic. We really enjoyed all the ports in Europe and then the sea days on the ship. There is so much to do and loved all the food options available on this new ship. The Cruise Director, Mike Pack was the best cruise director that we have ever sailed with and we have been cruising since 1990. The entire crew was so helpful and this was one of the best cruises we have had, Along with the 4 ports we stopped at in Europe, we also visited Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and this was a great experience. We then sailed into New York Harbor and we docked next to the Intrepid so that was exciting. We sailed right by the Statue of Liberty as we came into New York and that is an experience that we will never forget. This cruise ranks as one of the best that we have ever sailed on Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as the ship was new and we had high expectations. We were disappointed in the ship. The cruise line crammed more money making venues in the ship, and to find a nice quiet place to read was difficult. Areas were crowded ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the ship was new and we had high expectations. We were disappointed in the ship. The cruise line crammed more money making venues in the ship, and to find a nice quiet place to read was difficult. Areas were crowded with people. To get into the main theater people lined up 45+ minutes just to get a spot. Their were so many spots where it was difficult to see. No place to put your drinks, and straight chairs were uncomfortable. The food selection in the lido restaurant was minimal. Eight stations with few selections(all the same). Ship offered gelato, which you had to stand in a very long line. Frequently, we were waiting 20 minutes as they made it there and kept running out. I love carnival and we travel with them frequently, but I will not go on the new ships. The layout was so uninviting. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Travelling to the UK. Our taxi turned up early and we got to the airport in good time. Checked in early and the plane was on time. Got to the Bloc hotel in Gatwick all in good time. I know this is how things should be but I usually get ... Read More
Travelling to the UK. Our taxi turned up early and we got to the airport in good time. Checked in early and the plane was on time. Got to the Bloc hotel in Gatwick all in good time. I know this is how things should be but I usually get delayed somewhere! We ate in the Giraffe restaurant. What I ordered was different to what I got to eat! No point saying anything as the staff are to busy to care and their English is not very good in the first place or they would not have messed up my order! Did not have a very good night's sleep but this was not the hotels fault. Day 1 - Getting on the ship. Checked out early and made our way to the north terminal. Easy jet flight was on time. Got to Barcelona where the weather was not very good. We cancelled our transfer to the port with From2travel as last time I used them they were beyond useless! I cannot emphasise how terrible this company is. You need to avoid them at all costs. Check out trip advisor and see for yourself. We then booked Welcome Pickups who had a 5 star rating on trip advisor. The day before we flew to Barcelona they cancelled on us! Bang goes their 5 star rating from us! We got our money back and they emailed and phoned to let us know so they communicated well but if they can't transport us then that's a waste of time. Gave up with transport companies! When we got to the airport we got a taxi. We had to wait 5 minutes so that's fine. The taxi transfer from the airport to the port costs a fixed 39 Euros with the government approved/certificated AMB taxis. We got to the port really quickly. View of Barcelona When we got there we then had to wait ages to get our suitcases delivered to the 4 handlers. 4500 passengers and 4 luggage handlers. Makes perfect sense!!! Barcelona has never been like this in the past. To be fair if people had their Carnival luggage tags on their suitcases everything would be much faster and smother. It's not a surprise you have to do this! The luggage handlers should have not helped these people in my opinion. The rest of us had tags so we should have been helped first. The check-in through the new HELIX terminal was quite quick. The slowest I have had here to be fair but it still did not take long. I found this terminal very disorientating as you you seem to do is to walk between seats which are arranged at angles and while it does not sound like an issue when you see what I mean  you will understand. Once on Carnival Horizon you do not get the wow factor. The atrium is small and boring. We went straight to our room as being platinum we are allowed to. This was our first ocean view room. I usually always get a balcony. The room is big and a typical Carnival room which I have no problem with. It seemed bigger then previous rooms. It is certainly a perfect size for 2 people. The 1 issue I do have with the room is the view. It is obstructed and as far as I can see there is no mention of that on Carnival's web site. Why is it obstructed when there are no lifeboats down here? Simple, the window washing machine has been living outside the window all cruise. I cannot stand at the window to see out. The only way to see out is to either sit on the bed or bend down. You can see the sea easily but nothing higher. This also means the sun can't shine in. How come our window is so dirty? The window washing machine outside stateroom 1460 We did the muster drill in the aft restaurant. Lots of people did not turn up as usual so the rest of us who did listen and turned up had to wait. I think if people do not turn up within a certain amount of time they should be thrown off the ship with NO refund. People would soon learn to turn up on time. Some of these stupid people were hiding on their balconies where they could be clearly seen from the bridge wings as Mick Pack the Cruise Director told us on the PA system he could see them! Costa Concordia was not long ago and people seem to have forgotten that disaster. Things can and do go wrong on modern ships whether they are man made issues or not. A few mins of lifeboat drill could save your life! Our luggage turned up eventually. Yes it should have been quick due to being platinum but can't see how that works when our luggage is put on the same luggage trolley as everyone else's. This was not an issue as I expected this so we made sure we had all we needed with us in ruck sacks. We went to dinner and I am always apprehensive about the table we get. We had been told earlier we have a table for 2. Great, just what we wanted. Got to the MDR and the table for 2 was 3 inches away from another table for 2 and 3 inches away from a table of 6. Really we were on a table for 10! Doesn't not matter how you cut it this is NOT a table for 2. The tables each side can hear your conversation and you can hear there's. As you are not physically on the same table it feels weird. I absolutely hated it. We have not been back to the MDR since the first night. We have just eaten on lido which disappoints me. The food in the MDR, Guy's, Seafood Shack and Lido never seems to be hot. It is  only marginally warm. Cucina del Capitano is the exception, for lunch anyway. All the tables for 2 in the MDR are like this. It might not bother some people but it bothers us. From the reflections restaurant you have a nice view of the bottom of the lifeboats out of the side Windows of the ship. Seems like these are obstructed views too. We attempted to go to the welcome abroad show, there was standing room only as the theatre is far too small and the only did one show. Once again like the Carnival Vista not only is the theatre small it has massive poles in the way so many many seats are useless! If you sit upstairs there are glass partitions to stop people falling to the floor below. Aesthetically they look nice but practically they are terrible. They are about 12 inches wide and have a few inch gap in between. The problem with this is you see the top edge and the side edges. You cannot avoid this. This then makes it hard to see through. The theatre is therefore bad. It does have a bar on the 4th floor which is good. The theatre glass which is a distraction Theatre special effects in this one which makes the photo look bad. Went to bed after this. Day 2 - Sea day We have a deluxe oceanview stateroom so there are 2 bathrooms. We both went for a shower and did not have any hot water! We told the stateroom steward who reported it straight away. The engineer apparently came to have a look and later they phoned us to see if it was fixed but as we had not had another shower we didn't know. Turns out we now know that hot water is hit or miss. Don't know if this is a teething problem that still needs fixing. We have a sea day today. As we did not explore the ship properly yesterday we did that this morning. As expected as Carnival Horizon is a Vista class ship she is just about the same as Carnival Vista with a few none important differences (not important to us) We took it easy today. We went to the IMAX cinema to watch Ready Player One which I thought would be bad but ended up being good. The whole IMAX cinema is brilliant. We ate dinner on lido which I have to be honest I would rather not do but I will not go back into the MDR and sit on someone's lap to have dinner. I can't get gluten free meals on lido and do not have starters or desserts. So this is really spoiling the cruise for me. We bought our elegant attire for the cruise but cannot wear it. Pointless bringing it and we could have used the luggage allowance for something else. We went to the show and saw Amor Cubano. If I never see it again that's ok. Sadly due to more Carnival cut backs they have upgraded their shows to something they call 2.0. Apparently this makes them better but in reality it makes them worse. The original shows from 2008 were MUCH better. We went to the comedy show and saw Gordon Southern. He was very funny. I did however have to wait 30 minutes for a drink in the LimeLight lounge (has no bar for us passengers) which I appear to have paid twice for! Beware of the black female server with short hair in the limelight lounge. When I complained to her colleague (she would not come near us) I did not get my drink she got me one but charged me again. I will get my own drinks in the future! I Can't complain as I can't prove I only had 1 drink. Went to bed. Day 3 - livorno (Italy) Still very little hot water for Nikki but my shower was OK! Go figure. We are in Livorno today. We did not book an excursion for the morning due to bank holidays and lack of choice. We went out in the afternoon and went to do a wine tasting and country drive. Spent lots of time stuck in a traffic jam! The wine tasting was good and they had cheese and anti pasti etc. so apart from the traffic jam the excursion was good. Got back to the ship last minute as the guide allowed extra time due to the earlier traffic issues. We went to lido and had dinner. Our stateroom telephone had a message on it but when you press the voice mail button it says something about the voicemail box not found. Oh well! Watched Neil Brodie in the comedy club after getting my own drink from a different bar as the limelight lounge does not have a bar! Another go figure minute! Went to bed. Day 4 - Rome We are going to Rome today. I hate Rome. There are far too many people there and far too many pick pockets and people trying to sell crap! I would have been happy to stay on the ship but Nikki had never been there. Got stuck in a traffic jam! Sure enough we get to Rome and it's disgusting. Graffiti everywhere and dustbins and battered cars. We started the walking section of our tour. This was less of a dustbin but was hot and very busy with people. We stopped at the colosseum for a toilet stop which was always going to go wrong. There was person after person trying to sell crap! Probably every 60 seconds! Thankfully we left Rome and got on the coach to go to a restaurant. We had good food in there and they even catered for my gluten allergy. Got back in the coach and went to the catacombs. This was interesting but only took 35mins. Would have been nice to have been longer. We are not allowed to take photographs or video in here. There was someone of course who did not think the rules applied to him but no one said anything to him! San Sebastian Cattercoombs Got back to the ship in lots of time. No show tonight but Hasbro the game show was on. That was pretty standard. Then there was a comedy show which was good. There was then the Marriage Show which was ok but not a classic this time. Went to bed as we have had a few days of getting up early. Day 5 - Naples Another early start and no hot water again! Got on a coach to go to Sorrento. For a change were got stuck in traffic! Once we got to the wine and cheese tasting farm we had a good feed. Some of the lemons being grown on the farm After this we went into the centre of Sorrento. We only had about 1 hour of spare time. We had lunch in a small cafe/restaurant. The farm feed was a while ago and we would not eat for quite a while. We bought some limoncello before heading back to the coach. We then drove to Pompeii. I have been here many times but Nikki has never been. It was too busy as usual with lots of people everywhere. We were only there for just over 1 hour. That was a real shame as you need many hours to get a good overview. One thing I have learnt is do not do an excursion with 2 different attractions in 1 day as there is not enough time to see everything properly. That is always the problem when cruising. Never enough time in 1 port. Oh well will need to come back again (but would that be with Carnival?). I have never been to Sorrento before but it looks really nice from the whistle stop tour we did. We got back on the ship on time. Looked for some crisps in the terminal as both Nikki and I are craving them. None to be found! No show again tonight! Watched the early comedy show and then as Carnival seemed to want everyone in bed we went to bed at 21.30. Feel like I'm in an old people's home. Nothing to do tonight. Only 1 dive in movie too! Carnival seem to be deciding what we want. Maybe we should have a say! Day 6 - Sea day Got caught up with sleep. We both had hot water! Can only assume it was because other people were not showering at this time of day. We will see how this theory works tomorrow! Went to the MDR for brunch. We asked for a private table. We got a table for 2 BUT this had another table for 2, 3 inches away and that had another table for 2, 3 inches away! Yep Carnival think these are private! No one else joined us except for the furthest away table. This is NOT my photo but its from www.cruisedeckplans.com. You can see the tables in the bottom right hand corner that we had. These look quite spread out compared to what we had. We never got offered any juice. Nikki asked twice for tea but never got it. The service was poor which is normal for brunch. The servers do not get any of your automatically added gratuities for brunch as the night servers do (the same servers waiting on you each night) so they don't care. They do what they have to but that's it. I have a voucher as part of being a platinum guest which has to be used at breakfast, brunch or lunch for a free drink. That's why we went. Nikki's pancakes were not cooked very well. My omelette was so small I had to eat it before it evaporated. I managed to eat my 2 small hash browns and sausages! More cutbacks I assume! 2 people were offered the private table next to us. They declined it lol. We went and sat in the sun, now that it has made an appearance. After a few hours we went to cucina del capitano (the pasta restaurant ) for lunch. This place never disappoints. Good pasta, good service, good atmosphere. Think it's quite funny that Indian chefs are cooking Italian food in an Italian restaurant. Then we went to the thrill theatre to watch level 2 which is 3 movies put together in 5D. It was only 14 mins long but great. We really got thrown about on the rollercoaster on the great wall of China. After this we went on the skyride. It was a long wait but great views hanging off the side of the ship. After that we went to the cherry on top for ice cream. Had another long wait while they make each ice cream combo to order. It was very nice though but probably won't bother again if there is a queue. For some reason there is only 1 person making the ice creams! After that it was time for a comedy show with Anil Desia who was funny but at this time the show was only PG. We waited around for the next show with Mark Palmer who also did a PG show. We went to the theatre to watch the show called Celestrial Strings. We thought it was weird but we seemed to be the odd ones out as they got a standing ovation which I have never seen before so I guess we were wrong. To me it was like top of the pops from the 70s where there were no videos to go with the songs so legs and co. just danced around. This was the same! We went to lido for dinner. Really upset we did not eat in the MDR. Most people seemed dressed up and we should have been too. Went for hot chocolate but the machine just poored hot water! Used the machine the other side and that looked ok until I started to drink it. It was gross so threw it away. I'm really feeling emotional at the moment like I was on Carnival Vista. I want to love these ships but I can't. These 2 ships have no soul. They are too big. Not enough staff (actually working). The staff they have just seem to walk round and not do anything. There seems to be hundreds of officers milling around too not doing anything except entertaining their wives/girl friends. You know the saying, Too many chiefs and not enough indians. Having said that the staff I have spoken too all seem fine and happy, I am not sure that they are working quite as hard as they could be which means others are working harder to pickup the slack. While we were on deck 5 today NO servers came round asking for drinks orders. There always was too many drinks servers. Now nothing. I really wish Carnival could go back to as they were 10 years ago. It's frustrating knowing that will not happen and there is nothing I can do to change this. All past cruisers I speak to all agree Carnival have got worse. The whole cruise industry have though so it's not just Carnival im sure. Carnival look like they posted a $3 BILLION profit for 2017. GREED springs to mind. These cutbacks are NOT required! I have shares in carnival so this profit benefited me too. I was on Carnival pride 6 months ago and that was a much better experience. Maybe that's just because she is a smaller ship. Thankfully Carnival is not planning on building anything as huge as Royal Caribbean's hideous of the seas (that I know of) PLEASE Carnival build smaller ships, preferably in Finland like your best ships. Oh well going back to our room as nothing to do. Nothing to watch on TV either. Basically now cutback cruise lines have removed TV channels there is only movies for men and the travel channel to watch. Bring back Gerry Cahill. Things seem to be going downhill since Christine Duffy took over. (may not be her fault but that's how it seems.) Oh well bed time. Dubrovnik tomorrow. Such a beautiful place. Can't wait. Oh the internet seems quite good on here for a ship. Not as good as at home but very usable. Day 7 - Dubrovnik (Croatia) Hot water not good again! I have been here before and loved it. The breakfast on lido seems to work well. Instead of a long food line as previously there are now 4 Islands with the same food on all of them. There are a couple of long counters like before but they are for things like cereal. The omelette station is bigger too. We did a highlights tour of Dubrovnik. We went to Cavtat (pronounced Sav tat) which is really pretty. We did have some rain though which did not last too long. We drove back to Dubrovnik old city and spent a few hours walking around. We had an amazing lunch. OK maybe not amazing as I only had omelette with ham and cheese and French fries. It was the best I have ever had. Nikki keeps saying it's only an omelette it's easy. I suppose she is right but it tasted really good. We did some more walking after lunch. As we did not return with our tour we had to get a shuttle back to the ship. This was a disaster! No signs or staff. We now know there was a woman supposedly arranging the bus queue but to make things easier she dressed in normal clothes with no way to distinguish her from anyone else! Surely she needs a uniform or sign or name tag. Anyway after a long time we got on a bus and got back to the ship. 4 crew members tried to jump the bus queue but seemed to go to the back of the queue but somehow got in front of us and got on an earlier bus! They obviously know the system and is another sign that the crew have no respect for us. I have felt that a few times on here. We are walking piggy banks and job no 1 for the crew is to crack us and get money out! We took lot's of photos from the ship. Then played in the arcade. After a really good dinner of Turkey and chips with cheese we went to the show. It's funny how we miss simple things like chips and crisps! The show was Viva variety by someone called Richard Jones. He was apparently on UK's got talent. He was good. Then we watched 2 comedy shows by Anil and Mark. There last shows for this cruise. Went to bed quite late. Day 8 - Corfu Hot water lottery and I won and Nikki lost. This is my first visit to Corfu. Had an idea what it would be like and well tonight's comedian hit the nail on the head, GET SOME PAINT! We went to Picichu or something to do a fast boat tour of 3 caves. I am sure this would have been very pretty if the sun had been out. Can't blame the Greeks for that. Went back to the ship and had pasta lunch. Took lots of photos of main land Greece, Albania and Corfu. Not too impressed with Corfu. Think a different tour my change my current thoughts on Corfu. I seem to keep tripping on a piece of carpet in the corridor. The floor goes uphill with no warning and as you don't see it you put your foot down as you would normally but the floor is there too early! I'm sure someone will have a proper fall there soon. There is a bad sewage smell on the ship today. Don't know why. Talking of bad smells, deck 4 or the stench deck as I call it is gross! It has the casino where people can keep decreasing their lives by smoking cancer sticks! Thankfully the only reason for us to go to the stench deck is for the comedy club which is far away enough the stench is OK. You can go up to deck 5 and walk across the stench deck and then back down after the stink room if you need to get to the theatre or shop. We had a nice dinner on Lido. Spare ribs, chicken, rice and cheese. I had a dessert too. Cut the cake section of the dessert and ate the rest. Went to the comedy show to see the new comedian. He was OK. The Limelight lounge was totally packed. After that we went to see the show. It was Legs and co. Dancing again. The show was called soulbound. It seemed to be a Halloween theme going on dancing to soul music. It really does not make sense to me. You are seeing one thing but hearing something unrelated. It's like watching dad's army on mute on TV while listening to an EastEnders episode. Other people enjoyed it so I guess I am the weird one! Don't get me wrong, the dancing is good and so are the costumes and the singing. I just wish it all tallied up! Went back to our room and tripped again on the way! Tomorrow we are in Sicily and going to the top of mount Etna. It's going to be about 2 degrees up there. We are going all the way to 10000 feet I.e. the top! Hope to get some good photo's. Going to bed now to keep contemplating why I can't fall in love with this ship. Is it the fact that it is still too new and still has wrinkles? Is it the fact it's in the med and not in the Caribbean? Is it the fact it's like gods waiting room? Is it because I have done this itinerary several times except for Corfu? I still think it's because carnival is light years away from what it used to be. I think that if you did not cruise in the good old days then maybe you will not know any difference? Anyway the ship is rocking a bit as we are going very quickly trying to get to Sicily for 8am. I sleep so well on these ships, the extra rocking always help. Day 9 - Sicily No hot water for Nikki again. My shower seems OK but I suspect that is because I don't have very hot showers. I have been to Sicily before. Last time I stayed on land for 45mins then got back on the ship. Messina is a tip as far as I am concerned. Now I can revise that. Sicily is pretty outside of Messina. We went to mt Etna today and went up to 10,000 feet or 3000 metres i.e. the top. There was still snow up there! I knew it would be cold but did not think there would be snow! Another surprise is the size of the volcano. It's huge. We drove on the coach to 6500 feet and then got a cable car further up. We then got on 4 x 4 buses to take us to the top. Once at the top of where the bus takes us we had to walk the final few hundred feet to the very top. With the wind blowing the temperature must have been well below freezing. We did not stay up there too long. Just long enough to take some pics. We went back down in the cable car and had lunch in a restaurant. Lunch was ok and we had a few minutes to buy souvenirs and take some more pics. We got back on the coach which bought us back to the ship. The drive time is about 2 hours while the Italian guide told us about the history of Sicily in his bad English. We got on the ship at mid ships but soon found there are no stairs! We were on deck 0 and wanted to get to deck 1. We had to wait for maybe 10 minutes for a lift! This new lift system on Carnival Horizon is pants. Bring back the normal/traditional system! The sun is shining as we sail away back to Barcelona. It has been about 24 degrees today all day. Show time soon, then dinner, then I will beat Nikki at air hockey and then the comedy club. Went to see the show called Vintage pop. It was quite good. Still legs and co. But it made more sense this time. What we have learnt AGAIN is that the theatre is a terrible design. You have to turn up 30 mins before a show to get a less bad seat. Turn up after and your standing. Tonight's show included stuff on the main floor. From where we were upstairs you cannot see the main floor! The upstairs seating really needs to be more raked like the older ships as if someone is in front of you then you might have to move left and right to see. Dinner was tempura shrimp and rice with cheese. Very nice. No dessert though as I had second helpings. We went to see Russ Angel in the comedy club. The so called funniest biker in America. He was OK. Some of his humor was lost on us being American based. Funny how the 2 UK comedians were able to work out that they had an international audience and therefore did not do specific country based jokes. The 2 American ones have not worked this out yet. I wonder if they know which part of the world they are in? We played air hockey and I won 2 games and Nikki 1. We are back in our room ready for the last full day tomorrow, a day at sea. Day 10 - sea day and last day We had a lie in today. Had a late breakfast on lido. Got a free coffee (coffee card loyalty) and went to see the Radu Ursu (the Carnival head photographer) talk to learn about taking photos. I have had a DSLR for about  months but there is so much to learn. The photos I have taken on this cruise are some of the worst I have ever taken. RAdu has been taking photographs for Carnival for 20 years so I figure he must know what he is doing! It was interesting but the problem is he was talking to a generic audience with phones for cameras etc. So he obviously could not just talk about DSLR settings. I still learnt something though. I wish this had been put on during the first sea day as my photos during the excursions would have been better. Facebook has a group conversation about the sewage smell on the ship. Glad it's not just us that can smell it. The weather is overcast today as we sail towards Barcelona at 20 knots. Where we are right now Satellite info of our current position Went to the VIFP party. They did not even ask for our invite! I wonder how many non VIFP people also joined in for free drinks?! After that we played in the arcade again. Nikki beat me at air hockey. It must be the alcohol I consumed lol After that we went to dinner. They had a potato and cheese soup that was amazing. I had seconds. Then rice and chicken for mains. We went to the comedy club again. Back to our room as we have an early start as they want everyone off  of the ship by 10am and all staterooms empty by 8am. No shows tonight. Day 11 - last day and journey back to Guernsey We were up at 6am. No hot water for showers. I had to put mine on max hot as I don't like very hot showers but even this was not enough. The ship is now going transatlantic to New York. No hot water for 16 days for them! We got off the ship really fast. Well done Carnival. We got a taxi to the airport which costs the mandatory 39 Euros using the city approved AMB taxis (the black and yellow ones). The taxi driver said 69 Euros as we got here but we knew it was only 39. We gave him 39 and he was fine. Just a language issue I assume. Maybe he was trying it on to see if we would give him 69 Euros but it clearly states on the side of the taxi that it is 39. We are now at the airport and it's not even 9am. We can't check in until 10.30 a.m. Not so well done now carnival! There is very minimal seating pre check in, in Barcelona airport and nothing to do. Oh well at least we have free WiFi. Good and bad about Carnival Horizon Good Being new it's very clean Our stateroom is in the aft and the ship is quiet and smooth from here IMAX cinema is brilliant Thrill theatre is brilliant Arcade is good Beds are typical comfortable Carnival beds and I sleep so well in them Theatre has lots of special effects Skyride is great Lido marketplace layout TV screen on lido is very high definition crew are good WiFi actually quite fast Boarding in Barcelona easy and quite fast Air condition in staterooms is good Mike Pack is a good CD Info system on Tv's good Bad New lift system is very slow Decor is boring Deck 4 stinks of cigarettes Theatre is too small and has too many obstructions Quite often get a sewage smell The window washer outside stateroom 1460s window TV channels choice very poor Cramped dining rooms so no proper private tables for 2 No hot water for showers No lifts in the atrium small atrium European itinerary is boring and has FAR too many stops in Italy! Too many crew milling around lack of drinks waiters on the open decks Food is mostly cold. That's the end of my review. I feel its quite negative but thats we saw/found/felt. In hindsight we should probably have gone on Carnival Horizon in the Caribbean and later on in the year then we did. Right now I feel that I never want to go on Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon or Carnival Panorama (when she is built) again. I'm not sure I want to cruise with Carnival again. We spoke to quite a few people on the ship who said they have been with other cruise lines and they are the same as Carnival so not much point going with them. Carnival seems to be best value for money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The Carnival organization should be recognized for its ability to take a brand new ship and reduce it to a floating tribute to poor food, bad service and mediocre entertainment. The food was cheap, overcooked and boring. The only ... Read More
The Carnival organization should be recognized for its ability to take a brand new ship and reduce it to a floating tribute to poor food, bad service and mediocre entertainment. The food was cheap, overcooked and boring. The only possible exception was breakfast where Carnival staff had nothing to do with boxed cereal, yogurt and some fruits. Toast was dry and cold. Eggs were immersed in oil. Lunch and dinner offerings were either overcooked or smothering in sauces to deguise the lack of taste. The Main Dining Room wasn't much better. Some items such as the Maine lobster tails were inedible. Other offering were old and tired and have been around for years. A new ship should have a new menu. I am left with impression that the Carnival strategy was to make the Lido and Main Dining Room food so bad that it would force guests to eat at the Speciality Restaurants to get a decent meal I would lke somebody to explain to me: to whom Carnival pay VAT in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea? It appears to be another grab on their part. Never before on a cruise ship have I ever experienced such a high degree of rude and indifferent staff. There was very little willingness to offer assistance or answer the simplest of questions. Carnival needs to reimagine loyalty. There was a time when Carnival hosted a reception for past guests with the Captain and officers present. Now it is a bottle of water and drink voucher with conditions; the last of the cruise, after 5pm and not to exceed $9.00. Loyalty shouldn't come with strings attached. Carnival expects my loyalty unconditionally, it should work both ways. Bon voyage Carnival. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose the ship because it was new and was going to transition out of the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. It is a nice ship with many new innovations that bring it into the new era of cruise ships. In order of major changes that need to ... Read More
We chose the ship because it was new and was going to transition out of the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. It is a nice ship with many new innovations that bring it into the new era of cruise ships. In order of major changes that need to immediately occur: 1. The internet is just awful. If you need it for business purposes forget it. To call it just slow is too kind. It is something out of the 80's dial-up. You cannot open documents or stay on-line without getting bumped off within minutes. For a new ship in 2018 there is absolutely no excuse for such a horrible system. If you have to conduct business through the internet choose another ship. 2. The elevators. The ship has implemented the you choose the floor and the computer chooses your elevator. The programming is just a mess. Endless lines and waits. When an elevator does show up it is jammed with people. If you need to consistently use an elevator this ship is not for you. 3. Ship tours. Not one was on time. You wait 30 to 60 minutes for the tour to leave after you arrive in the meeting area. No one seems to be in charge and the one person who did most of the talking found himself amusing while no one else did. 4. Poor buffet planning. All of the tours return at the same time. There is one buffet line open for thousands of passengers as the dining time has passed. Again, this is just poor planning. So, there are the issues. The crew is great, our cabin staff and dining staff were wonderful. we had an outside small suite on floor 7 that was amazing. Full tub and huge bathroom. It is really not a ship for the Mediterranean and will fit well in the Caribbean. It has a spectacular water park with one of the fastest slides ever. Casino is fun but very, very smoke filled. One tip: Stay away from City Wonder Tours. They totally ripped us off in Rome. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We spent 24 days on the Horizon. I realize that this was an inaugural cruise and there are many "kinks" to be worked on but Carnival has been in the cruise business a long time and some "kinks" should have been ... Read More
We spent 24 days on the Horizon. I realize that this was an inaugural cruise and there are many "kinks" to be worked on but Carnival has been in the cruise business a long time and some "kinks" should have been obvious. They are already aware that the main showroom (Liquid Lounge) is not big enough and the seating arrangement is ridiculous. Deck 4 is better than deck 5 for line of sight and you must arrive 30 minutes before the show so you can get a seat. The Guest Relations desk is next to the atrium. There is constant music or performances going on which means the guests and the employees can not hear each other speak. There is definitely a lack of communication between employees in guest relations. We had a loud banging sound near our cabin. When the seas got rougher the noise got louder. We could not sleep it was so annoying. We reported this banging as soon as we heard the repeated banging. First we were told it could not be fixed when we were at sea. Then we were told it could only be fixed at sea. Then we were told it was fixed (twice) and the banging continued. We finally decided to find where the banging was coming from ourselves and opened a door that said crew only. There was the metal wall banging as it moved in and out. This time I requested a supervisor. Once I showed them where the banging was coming from an engineer was able to repair it. I want to thank Dorothy and the engineer for finally resolving this problem. We had dining your time You must first go to deck 5 to get your reservation ticket and then proceed to deck 3 to eat. Huh? There was definitely a shortage of wait staff. Many times guests did not receive there meals at the same time. My first 3 meals everyone else had finished eating and then I got my meal. You have to request coffee at end of meal the waiters do not ask if you would like some. And many times at breakfast they only came by with 1 cup of coffee .The problems in the dining room are management issues and not the wait staff. The wait staff all worked hard. Special kudos to wait staff Carol and Eric and hostesses Melania and Diana. Due to cool weather most of the indoor activities were so crowded you could not get a seat. That included the cooking demonstrations, trivia, and almost all activities. Director Mike and staff were great. Always visible and always cheerful and upbeat. I liked the new elevator system that has become very common in high rise buildings. I suggest they put a notice in all cabins explaining how to use the elevator system and removing the screens at the main elevator banks. There are no quiet places to sit indoors on the ship. The Library is very small and very crowded. I do think this ship will do wonderfully in the Caribbean. It has beautiful outdoor seating areas. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Just did the 10 day Europe trip on the Carnival Horizon out of Barcelona and was keen to try a brand new ship cruising out of my back yard in Spain. Embarkation was a quick painless experience out of the new D terminal at Barcelona - 30 ... Read More
Just did the 10 day Europe trip on the Carnival Horizon out of Barcelona and was keen to try a brand new ship cruising out of my back yard in Spain. Embarkation was a quick painless experience out of the new D terminal at Barcelona - 30 mins maximum. The ships lobby area is the entry point and it has a spectacular funnel shaped column that constantly changes color with images. Staterooms were made available at 130pm and mine was a comfortable balcony forward on deck 10. The facilities are standard but I found the room comfortable and practical, of course the beds are brand new which helps. The design of this ship is ingenious. It has the top deck with its Dr Seuss waterpark, the Skyride and other play areas on deck 12, but deck 11 is clear for seating/sunbeds that sit at a wider perimeter from the center so they are not covered by the play area above. First introductions to Mike Pack, Cruise Director extraordinaire who had a fantastic presence throughout the whole cruise and who managed to say hi to me, just one of 4200 passengers, four times during this cruise. I found him, the entertainment team and the ships while crew in general to be outstanding but I guess you would expect Carnival to put some of their top employees on their newest ship. The entertainment throughout the trip was outstanding and some tremendous productions each evening in the main theater, the Liquid Lounge. This theater by the way, is far too small and not well designed for this ship. Most of the seats on deck 4 are at the same level, meaning your view of the stage is blocked. The 2nd theater is used as Punchliners comedy club, and again, some excellent comedians throughout the cruise, who changed every 2-3 days. Food was a mixed bag and I have to say, the quality of the food in the main dining room was fairly average. I enjoyed breakfast and a good selection but I found the evening meals to be boring and little choice. Of course, all the good stuff now comes with a surcharge e.g steak and lobster. The specialty restaurants are excellent and worth the up-charge. I had a great 18oz rib-eye in Fahrenheit 555 and the Bonsai Teppenyaki is also a great experience. This was my first trip on a Carnival ship with Guys Burger Joint and I became a new fan. Carnival were applying VAT throughout the trip in Europe which made the expensive drinks even more expensive. In the big scheme of things its not a huge deal but there were a lot of negative comments about this. I love the movie screen on the outside on Lido deck but unfortunately the European weather was not very kind to us, it rained and got cold in the evenings. Once this ship is at home in the Caribbean that will be a major success. The Havana retreat at the back of the ship is closed to Havana suite guests during ther day but opens in the evening from 7pm. This is another masterful design and a great area to sit back and have a drink. I found the whole crew to be friendly, motivated and hard working and you can tell you are on a Fun Ship from the moment you board. One thing that totally impressed me was the Lido deck center being completely covered in towel animals on our arrival into Messina, amazing! I did the trip because of the ship rather than the ports of call (Livorno/Civitavechia/Naples/Dubrovnik/Corfu and Messina. Being Spain based I had visited all previously except Dubrovnik, which I loved, even in the rain. Debarkation couldnt have been easier back in Barcelona and I was off the ship and in a taxi in 15 minutes. All in all, a great trip Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We wanted to finally get to the Med and see Italy. This seemed a perfect trip to celebrate our Anniversary. We booked the 10 day out of Barcelona strictly for the ports we could get to. And boy were we not disappointed! The ship ... Read More
We wanted to finally get to the Med and see Italy. This seemed a perfect trip to celebrate our Anniversary. We booked the 10 day out of Barcelona strictly for the ports we could get to. And boy were we not disappointed! The ship itself with the new interior designs were contemporary and really a step up from the "vegas" carpeting of the other ships we had been on. We had a Deluxe OV cabin with the 2 bathrooms which was really helpful for ease of getting ready at the same time. Our cabin steward was very friendly and helpful. All the staff were, I can;t remember talking to anyone that didn't have a smile or say hello. Embarkation was super easy, we had done a tour in the AM in Barcelona and didn't check in til shortly after 2 pm and basically walked on. Being able to buy alcohol in the duty free and take it onboard was a huge bonus, glad we knew that piece of info before hand for European sailings and saved some VAT. Ports were Livorno, Civitavecchia, Amalfi Coast, Dubrovnik, Corfu and Messina. Would totally go back to Amalfi and Taoromina in Messina in a heartbeat! We used 2 carnival tours which were well organized and ran on time. We did hear that there was a Carnival tour back late in Rome- story was they had to wait and hour and a half on 4 people who had no common courtesy to return to the meeting point on time :( 2 ports we just played it by ear and picked up Ho-Ho busses or wandered on foot. Dubrovik was amazing to wander in! Walked the walls, took the cable car, found a cliff bar! 2 tours we had booked from a fb posting thru a "TA". The tour company that did the driving and was the guide were awesome- word of advise if booking a fb tour, check into the organizer, don't get ripped off. Some will tell you they aren't profiting from booking a group, but ask questions, get the details, do the research on private tours if you don't book thru the cruiseline. If I was to do it again Ide book private directly, or use a toursharing group that books directly, It was disheartening and a bit of a scammed feeling to find out that even tho I was charged 20 or 25 Euros more when you add up 40 people for 6 ports....the "TA" basically profited enough to sail and tour for free. If they are upfront that they upcharge no problem, but don't scam people. Food in the MDR was really good, we caught both elegant nights, we also used the Steakhouse and Cucina (we both liked Cucina more than the steakhouse). Guys pig and anchor was great, live music and great food, try the trashcan nachos! Buffet was laid out differently in squares you could go right around instead of up against the wall. We found that this layout was easier to navigate and not as busy, but might have been just timing of when we went. Lots of options on the Buffet and the new cake selection instead of the old boring desserts was a great change. CD Mike Pack is a fireball LOL and so much fun. Shows were good, we didn't care for the music in the Celsetrial Strings show but that was personal opinion. The Soulbound show was fantastic. Ide definitely sail Horizon again, even with 10 days onboard we didn't have enough time to try out everything on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I waited so long to go on cruise in Europe, and finally I made it on the newest ship of Carnival line!! yaay and absolutely i had so much fun. we were three me, husband our baby (2 years old) we all were happy on this ship the crews are ... Read More
I waited so long to go on cruise in Europe, and finally I made it on the newest ship of Carnival line!! yaay and absolutely i had so much fun. we were three me, husband our baby (2 years old) we all were happy on this ship the crews are Amazing they are working very hard all the time to make our experience wonderful. i loved the crew of camp ocean they were very nice to my child and give me chance to had free time with my husband the entertainment was absolutely amazing. and there is thing for every one our room located in family harbor which i love it! the food was good, there were many choices every day (fish- meat- chicken-vegetarian) . it's not the best but most of the time it was was Delicious The most two thing I liked about my cruise were: the ship itself and the ports! basically I have cross many city from my wish list! we visit Rome- Naples- Florence- Pisa-Dubrovnik- Corfu - Barcelona Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Prior to embarcation, we stayed 3 days n Barcelona, the departing city, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire city. Embarcation n Europe is a dream, compared to any US port. Just seemed to have ample staff directing everyone as to wat was ... Read More
Prior to embarcation, we stayed 3 days n Barcelona, the departing city, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire city. Embarcation n Europe is a dream, compared to any US port. Just seemed to have ample staff directing everyone as to wat was needed n hand and where to proceed to. This kept the short lines moving along quickly. The carnival staff at terminal were helpful and efficient. We were able to board the ship ahead of schedule. And u are allowed to carry on as many bottles of alcohol as you'd like. That holds true at all the European ports as well. So needless to say, my bar tab was mighty little this cruise, which was a plus. DisembarkationbEgan at 7am was completely finished by 9am. The only waiting was for more taxis to arrive back at the terminal. It was about a 20 min ride to the airport. Overall impression of the ship was terrific. Italy was a let down; was crowded beyond belief, felt like mice n a maze, was filthy, graffete everywhere, pick pockets on every corner. Store owners were less than polite to americans. NO restrooms!! Prices were within reason tho. Crew members on board were top notch, service and food n dining room was fair. Shore excursions were expensive and WAY TOO LONG, 8-10 hrs. Each port. Not worth the time or money. Could have easily done them on r own or n small groups w private guide. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Easier to fly and cruise from Barcelona than drive to Southampton. The service throughout the ship couldn't be faulted if a little forced at times. The Havana Club was worth paying a bit extra for and the extended balcony gave ... Read More
Easier to fly and cruise from Barcelona than drive to Southampton. The service throughout the ship couldn't be faulted if a little forced at times. The Havana Club was worth paying a bit extra for and the extended balcony gave good space to relax in. Unfortunately its ambiance deteriorated after 7 p.m. when the Havana Bar and its pools were made available to all passengers. As a consequence, I now know a lot about the American Social Security System that I would rather have replaced with the peace and quiet you expect on a rear facing balcony. The food in both the dining room and the self service areas was well presented, of good quality and covered a variety of tastes. Even on sea days these areas never seemed crowded and there was plenty of available seating. Drinks were expensive and Carnival are as good as any cruise line in trying to increase customer spending. Having visited some of the excursion destinations we opted out of trips ashore as the ports themselves did not look too inviting. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
After having lived in the US for more than 8 years and doing Caribbean itineraries at first, we did our first European Cruise with Carnival on the Vista in 2016. We have a total of 42 days with Carnival now (VIFP Gold) and have sailed with ... Read More
After having lived in the US for more than 8 years and doing Caribbean itineraries at first, we did our first European Cruise with Carnival on the Vista in 2016. We have a total of 42 days with Carnival now (VIFP Gold) and have sailed with Royal Caribbean on one cruise. This was almost the same itinerary as with the Vista two years ago (except we skipped Palma de Mallorca in the end). We have done cruises with kids before but this was the second time for just us. I have to live on a gluten free diet as I am severely gluten-intolerant so I will provide some details on gluten free options later. THE SHIP The ship is almost the same as the Vista with only slight differences. The decor is a little more conservative with tan and brown colours dominating in most interior areas (elevators, etc.). Overall a nice design and when you are used to the Carnival ship layouts you will find your way around very easily. One major change for some people were the elevators which now require you to chose the floor you want to get off BEFORE you enter the elevator. Based on your choice the system will tell you which elevator to go to and there are no buttons to press inside. Takes some time to get used to but this is much more efficient and waiting times in front of the elevators were minimal. The shop layout on deck 5 is a little different (smaller stores), the piano bar is on the different side and there is not a Teppanyaki next to the Bonsai sushi place. Also the Red Frog Pub is replaced with the Pig&Anchor BBQ place- they still serve and brew craft beers but also have BBQ options (free for lunch, charge for dinner). We did not try the food as most cruisers we talked to were very disappointed. THE CABIN Not much to day about the cabin - the usual Carnival layout. As on the Vista the safe not works with PIN instead of credit card, everything else is exactly as you expect on a Carnival ship. Enough space to put your clothes, enough space in the bathroom. One European outlet, one American outlet, 2 USB outlets to charge your device. One additional outlet in the bathroom for an electric shaver. Fridge to put drinks in (we ordered 12 pack of water though the Carnival site to be delivered to the stateroom and it was there when we got in - $4.50 for the 12 pack and we always had cold water in the fridge to take with us on tours). Our cabin steward did an ok job (two glasses in bathroom were dirty when we arrived, used towel under the bed). When we requested later luggage tags for debarkation he was very quick to help. THE FOOD As I said before I have to eat gluten free so I will start with the gluten free options on board. In the main dining room (we had late assigned dining at 8:15 pm) you get the menu for the following day the night before and can make your selections. They will try to make make any dish gluten free if possible sometimes leaving out the sauce (which I don't understand, they could just do them with corn starch). Gluten free bread is served that is barely edible (very bitter taste, very soggy even though slightly toasted) - that is completely not understandable for me as there is very good gluten free baguette available at the deli (try it, I had a Tuna sandwich which was excellent) and they could serve that easily. In general gluten free food handling seems very safe, at the Deli the gluten free sandwich was prepared in a completely separate oven and kitchen by a different employee that put new gloves on. Gluten free chocolate melting cake is available as well as fruits and ice cream/sherbet options every night.I had the creme brulee on night and it was excellent. In general the food quality in the dining room was ok but far from excellent and in my opinion was the worst out of all of our Carnival cruises. The food was rarely hot (rather slightly warm, sometimes cold) and the dished very exactly the same as they have been for years (except for the Port of Call options which were generally excellent). Don't bother to order french fries unless you like them luke warm and are satisfied with a portion size of 14 fries - yes I counted them!) You could tell that the service team did not interact with each other for a long time yet, service was chaotic and unorganized. I will never understand why they let hot food sitting on the prep stations doing other stuff letting the food get cold. They now always put a bottle of wine on the table (every night) which they will charge if you open it. This just leaves even less room on the small table and is just another attempt to get your money). The Lido buffet only had few good options for lunch but always had two flavours of fresh ice cream and one time a chocolate fountain. also the layout is not much better with little islands that can be accessed from four sides and therefore there are absolutely no lines except for the Omelette station. Food choices are the same every day and I cannot not understand Carnival for not offering more variety in fruits (always only two kinds of melons, grapefruit and bananas) for breakfast - no apples, grapes, strawberries, pears, oranges, nothing. scrambled eggs are made from prepackaged egg mix and taste awful. People on a gluten free diet please be careful: the bacon is resting on bread in a pan. No gluten free bread on the breakfast buffet in general. Royal Caribbean for example has a complete separate buffet with gluten free options (rolls, bread, etc.). The lunch buffet rarely had any gluten free options. In general I have to day Carnival is far behind other cruise lines when it comes to gluten free options and labelling of allergens in general on their buffets (lunch was partly labeled, breakfast not at all). The Mexican burrito bar on deck 10 had gluten free tacos available, always a good option. I did not try the gluten free Pizza but the Deli offers any sandwich on a gluten free baguette which is excellent. The frozen yoghurt was a good lunch dessert option. Guys burger joint of deck 10 also has a gluten free bun and the fries are excellent. Cocktails in general are expensive (including service charge and tax about $10 a drink) but good. Fruit mixes are used for fruity cocktails or frozen drinks. For premiums the price is high for the amount of liquor given (2cl of Hendricks gin in a gin tonic, $9). They offer one gluten free beer (Stella Daura). The Java serves good coffee options. Free lemonade, ice tea is provided during lunch, free juices for breakfast. Coffee from the machine is free in general but disgusting. ENTERTAINMENT To start of: Mike, the cruise director, was the worst out of all cruise directors we had so far on Carnival and I am not sure they gave him their flagship new vessel. Barely noticeable the whole week. We had Matt on the Vista and he was pure entertainment for the whole day. Music shows we excellent, very good singers and dancers and the show was nicely written. We did not care for the Welcome Aboard Show of Lip Sync or Marriage Show. The comedians were excellent especially Thomas Brown (watched him in the theatre one night, and another night in the Limelight Lounge). Live musicians in the bars were ok but much worse than on the Vista (the two cousins with the guitar there were just excellent). We did not try the pools, whirlpools or Dr. Seuss water park nor did we go to the IMAX (charge!) or try the skyride as we were in the beautiful ports of call all day long (that is one advantage of a European itinerary). We went to the Spa as part of our Spa cabin every night and used the pool and saunas. Very small area, only 9 (heated) lounge chairs. 5-6 people in the whirlpool. People reserve chairs all the time but we typically don't care and remove the towels if nobody shows up. For us after a long day it is worth the extra money for a Spa cabin to use the sauna and relax a little bit. My wife used the fitness center and liked it. She went around 6 am, it gets crowded after 7 am. PORTS OF CALL Barcelona: beautiful city, we stayed the night before but could have stayed a week if we wanted to see it all. Be smart and stay a couple of days. We stayed at the beautiful H10 Boutique Hotel Catalunya Placa which was just plain excellent (gluten free fresh rolls, cookies, Muesli, etc. for breakfast, Omelettes/Tortillas/Churros and fresh eggs made to order). In principal please note that we did not take a single shore excursion ever with Carnival as we believe they are excessively overpriced for what you get. We explore the ports and nearby cities ourselves by train and save a fortune. Carnival charges you between $59 and $79 just to get you to the cities ("on your own" tours) where you can just as easily take the bus and/or train for 5 Euros (more below). Messina (that was a change from the promised Cagliari): we walked to Messina Centrale train station (10 minutes from the port) and took a train for 4.60 Euros to Taormina (from there a bus to the mountain to the city center for 1.20 Euro, took in total less than one hour). Beautiful little town to explore on your own and eat some ice cream. Naples: we just explored Naples by foot as we have done the ruins of Herculaneum last time. We took a small train (buy the ticket at the tobacco store right at the station) up the mountain to Castle Sant'Elmo which provides a beautiful view of Naples. Then explored the small downtown streets of Naples and had some ice cream. Civitavecchia: as last time we walked to the train station from the free bus shuttle stop downtown (10 minutes) and took the train to Rome (5 Euros one way per person, Carnival charged $79 for the bus trip per person). The trains are clean and air conditioned and also have a bathroom. We got off at St. Peters square, from the train station the Vatican is just a 5 minute walk. The next stop would have been Rome Termini which is the main train station and closer to the downtown attractions. Rome is just beautiful and you could spend days. Go early if you want to get into St. Peter's cathedral as the lines get crazy after 10 am. Livorno: after having been to Pisa last time we decided to go to Lucca instead (beautiful old little city, really enjoyable and much more quiet than the bigger cities (check the pictures online)). You pay 5.60 for the train ride (change trains in Pisa). Since we had time getting back we got off the train in Pisa on the way back and strolled though Pisa and got some ice cream. To get to Livorno train station take the shuttle from the port and then a bus (buy ticket at any tobacco store, 1.30 Euro each trip) for the main train station. From there the train to Pisa (25 minutes), Florence (about 1 hour 15 minutes) or anywhere else. Marseille: we just explored the city and went up the mountain (by foot) to Notre Dame de la Garde - beautiful views. Don't take the Carnival shuttle (which is $17 to get your downtown) - a couple hundred feet further there is a free shuttle provided by the city which takes you downtown as well. SUMMARY Overall some highlights and some lowlights. I can say that the quality of the ships is going up but the service and food quality is deteriorating. After having sailed mostly Carnival up until now (we are both 39) we will now try other cruise lines. We would be willing to spend a little more for better food and service quality for sure. Overall we got good value for the money, we paid less than 1.000 Euros a person ($1.200) for the trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Bit surprised about the late change of itinerary. Would have thought Carnival Corp would be in a position command the best berthing rights in any port. Substituting Messina for Cagliari was not popular with us. Western Med itineraries ... Read More
Bit surprised about the late change of itinerary. Would have thought Carnival Corp would be in a position command the best berthing rights in any port. Substituting Messina for Cagliari was not popular with us. Western Med itineraries feature Messina more often than Cagliari! Not sure I heard correctly that the real reason was so that the Italian officers could visit their families! First time in 30+ cruise we had our confirmed and invoiced dining time changed. Managed to get it switched back from first sitting to anytime. Excuse given was that time allocation was depended on when you booked but we booked back in November! I suspect that renegotiating the price, adding Fun Shop items, excursions etc, after booking reset the clock. Something to be aware of! MDR food was OK with fair choice. Not a lover of chocolate so found desserts sometimes a bit limited. Our request for packet butter rather than the given margarine in the MDR was met only once so we started bring in our own from the Lido or room service! Other food options similar to previous Carnival sailings - burgers, pizzas, pasta. Midnight food a bit weird, same limited menu on offer each night. Also bear in mind there are limited fast food choices only between 1530 and 1800 so tough luck if you're back late from an excursion or want an afternoon tea! Did n't like the pools on Vista. Both are surrounded by bars, fast food options and even entertainment screen. Same on Horizon. And no pool in the Serenity. Was going to book Havana cabin to get a decent pool and hot tub area but decided as this was April in the Med maybe not the best of choices? As it turned out the weather was unusually hot and dry so a Havana would have been a good option! We booked a spa cabin instead and enjoyed the thermal area though I would say that the 4 person whirlpool was a bit of a disappointment when we should have had a decent thalassotherapy pool! Just a last point on water - is anyone else a bit peeved by those who sit, beers lined up, in a a hot tub for hour on end? Of the 3 main entertainment decks, Lobby, Mezzanine and Promenade, we found only 5 Promenade was walkable from stern to aft. 4 Mezzanine has the casino with the tobacco smoke and 3 Lobby has the galley and Reflections Restaurant. Of which the latter they let you walk through outside of dinner time! Site lines in the Liquid Lounge theatre are bad - too many pillars! I've come to the conclusion that Carnival start disembarkation extra early and just hope for the best! Announcements started just past 0600. No attention had been paid to our afternoon flight time. Just told our cabin status offered 'priority debarkation.' If we'd have gone along with the early time then we'd just have been stuck hours at the airport! We did change from slot 3 to 22 I think but we need n't have bothered as passengers just get off when they are ready! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Went to find some April sunshine. Good points first: Never found the ship overcrowded even though almost 4000 passengers on board. Plenty of sunbeds and comfortable beds in the cabin. Bad Points: VAT on drinks!!. Who are they paying VAT ... Read More
Went to find some April sunshine. Good points first: Never found the ship overcrowded even though almost 4000 passengers on board. Plenty of sunbeds and comfortable beds in the cabin. Bad Points: VAT on drinks!!. Who are they paying VAT too in the middle of the Med??. Excursions are extortionately priced and much easier to make your own way around. Food in main restaurant is mediocre to average at best with not much choice. If you wish to dine in the 555 steakhouse it is an extra $35 per head, if you wish to dine in the Tepanyaki, Asian fusion, Pig roast or any feature restaurant it is another $20 or $25 extra.. If you have a drink brought to your table you have to pay VAT and service charge. Wine in main restaurant advertised for $38 actually cost more than $47 with added VAT and service charge. How many restaurants charge you to bring wine to a table??. Carnival constantly push bingo sales and so called deals in the casino, there are numerous photographers around the main decks pushing you to have photo's taken at silly prices. Main theatre is on 2 levels, DO NOT choose upper level as you will see very little. I have done many cruises and will never use Carnival again. Only choose them if you wish to offload a lot of money!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I chose this cruise based on the itinerary. I have not been on a Carnival ship in three years. This is my 21st cruise, so I have some perspective. The technology was great. I have also never embarked so fast. The crew was friendly. ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on the itinerary. I have not been on a Carnival ship in three years. This is my 21st cruise, so I have some perspective. The technology was great. I have also never embarked so fast. The crew was friendly. My issue was the food. Breakfast was exactly the same each day. The dining room experience was sad. Food not up to par. No butter, butter dish, salt and pepper. Service was rushed. Food was lacking any taste. The same choice each night for the vegetarian dish. I thought that was funny! We went to high tea on sea day. The waiter opened the tea box and gave us a choice of regular or decaf Lipton tea! There was no cream or jam for scones. I realize that this was their second voyage. They only seemed concerned about getting this ship to Miami. Numerous Carnival employees held meetings in the smoking area each day. It was all whispers until one stood up and yelled “who in their right mind would eat tapioca for desert.” There were no specialty reservations available. I started trying to book these 4 weeks prior. All of the Carnival employees had these reservations. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My husband and I have always sailed Carnival, and this was one of the few Carnival cruises to port in Europe. Let me start by saying overall I had fun not enough to justify the cost of this vacation and not enough to recommend it to other ... Read More
My husband and I have always sailed Carnival, and this was one of the few Carnival cruises to port in Europe. Let me start by saying overall I had fun not enough to justify the cost of this vacation and not enough to recommend it to other people. I had many friends on the ship who disagreed with my assessment. Here's what I think happened... Carnival doesn't usually sail in the Mediterranean so it probably won't be a problem for most people, but I feel like cruising is not the best way to experience Europe. We stopped in Sardinia, Florence/Pisa, Rome, and Naples (Italy), and Marseille (France), and we sailed from Barcelona, Spain. Most of our stops were not close to our actual destination and required a long bus ride (1-2 hrs) to reach the points of interest... Which left less time to explore and made for longer excursions. We only had one day at sea which was at the beginning of the cruise so all of our really long excursions were back to back. We were so tired by the time we reached our last stop that we actually skipped the expensive excursion we had already paid for. We just couldn't do another full day starting at 5:30 am (that's how early we had to get up to get ready, eat breakfast, and get to the meeting point in time for the excursion to start.) Plus, we were constantly rushing on and off the ship. On the excursions we were running to cram in as much of the sights as possible or to keep up with the tour group. I feel like we didn't have nearly enough time to really see anything Europe has to offer, which is A LOT. On the ship we were rushing to make it to some meal before the restaurant closed, or to some show, or to some other activity before they closed. Which brings me to my next point - I can't understand why Carnival had so many things closed so much of the time. It seemed like every time I turned around something that I wanted to do was closed and there didn't seem to be a good reason. On our last day on the ship we found only one of the four whirlpools on the ship was open. We had to wander around for twenty minutes looking for it. We did a lot of that - wandering around the ship looking for something that was open. I purchased the bottomless bubbles (soda) package which means you are supposed to be able to get free unlimited soda any time of day or night. I paid a lot for it. But there are so many catches... for one- you can only get a soda at one of the official bars (does not include the coffee shop or theater), which means yiu have to wait in line, there are no soda fountains. Second, you can only get a soda in a glass, (no cans) and only one at a time. So you can't use your bottomless bubbles to stock your in-room fridge. Last and most frustrating of all, not all of the bars are open at all times and not even the same times from day to day. Which means you have to wander around the ship all day and night searching for a bar that is open, or you need to constantly have your nose in a schedule trying to figure out which bar is open at that time that you happen to be thirsty. Most bars close at 11 or 12 at night and don't open again until 6 or 8 the next morning. If you want a soda between those times you have to go to the casino bar. If you're a non-smoker like me this can be exceedingly frustrating because the casino is a smoking area. You'll have to wade through the clouds of smoke to get a soda. I'm not complaining about the smoking, I'm complaining about the fact that the only bar open is in a smoking area. That's not very inclusive for people who don't smoke, and there doesn't seem to be a good reason for it considering there has to be at least 15 bars on the ship. Another example is the main buffet restaurant. During the day the buffet is almost always open, but only half of it... which makes for bigger crowds and longer lines. Why, Carnival? That's the main eating area, it's the busiest restaurant on the ship... seems like a really bad idea to keep half of it closed all the time. And if you want to eat between 12 and 6 am (hey, I'm on vacation... I'm allowed to eat late) the only restaurant open is the pizza place... Which will probably be packed since it's the only option. Or you can get free soft serve ice cream (If you can find a machine that isn't out). So basically late night entertainment and food is QUITE slim on this ship. Sometimes they have a night club open if you like that kind of thing... But I don't know if they have food. For those people who have babies and children under 2 yrs of age (there are a few of us at least) they do have a babysitting option but there are a lot of catches. It costs extra, of course but it's quite reasonable in my opinion. (6.75 per hour plus 15% gratuity). They only take babies 6 months to 2 yrs old at night from 10pm to 1am, and then in the mornings at different times depending on the day. Most days for us it was 6:30am to 12pm. That's a lot of hours but you have to work around the excursions you planned and the opening hours for all the activities on the ship. I felt like most of what I wanted to do was closed during most of those hours - not all of thise hours, and not everything. I did have a few small windows to take advantage of the baby sitting service but it took careful planning, and a lot of rushing, again. And one of those times was during the time I would have been on an excursion had I not been too tired. So I basically traded an excursion for a little bit of fun on the ship. So just be aware if you have babies. Lastly, the elevators. I don't know what they have done to the elevator system but I didn't meet one person on the ship who wasn't disappointed or angry with it. They have some kind of smart technology or poorly designed algorithm controlling the elevators. In the middle of the ship they have 6 elevators but I could only ever get 2 to work at a time. This meant you had to wait a long time for an elevator and sometimes it would be so full you had to push the button again and wait for the next one, or even the next one after that. I waited for 10 minutes for an elevator more than once on my cruise. Doesn't sound like a long time but when you're standing there doing nothing and you're in a hurry, AND there are 4 other elevators doing nothing at all... It gets frustrating. You can take the stairs but if you're on deck 3 and you want to get to deck 10 - who wants to climb 7 flights of stairs every day? This says nothing about people who don't even have that as an option. (Wheelchairs and strollers?!?) Another complaint I have is the amount of entertainment and food that costs extra now. Is it just me, or has Carnival started charging for a great many more things that used to be included? And it could have been my frustration clouding my judgment, but it seemed like the activities and food options that are included are closed more often than those things you pay extra for. I felt like a lot of the free "entertainment" was a sales pitch in disguise to get you to spend more money. There were faaaaar too many spa demonstrations and not enough live shows on the itinerary. The shopping was quite limited on the ship. A lot of expensive jewelry and watches, and not enough souvnire type shops. I was dissapointed. I really liked carnivals new candy shop, however. That was a fun place to go. I spent a lot of money on souvenirs for my children there. Another thing I really enjoyed was the service. Carnival always employs the hardest working and the friendliest people. I give them 5 stars for service. Also, the ship is always immaculate. There were never a shortage of clean tables to sit at in the main dining area (unless the dining area was straight up full - which didn't happen very often.) I loved the water slides, the sports square, and the skyride. The sky ride is soooo fun. You must try it if you cruise on the horizon or Vista. The sky course looked like a lot of fun too but I never got to try it. (I had a baby with me.) The ship is beautifully decirated as well. I loved my cabin which was just the right size. (A regular balcony room.) I love the addition if the mini fridge in the room. I also really appreciated the new hand washing machines in the main dining area. Those things were so cool and convenient. Overall, I had fun on this ship but it was very expensive and I feel like we could have gotten a much better value for our money if Canival had planned things just a little bit better. For that reason I do not recommend this ship to other people (especially families, people who don't drink or have conservative taste in shows and entertainment, or those with disabilities) and we probably won't sail with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
suitable for children new cruise ship. taken several carnival cruises before. staff bend over backwards to be helpful mike the cruise director was entertainment on his own!! a great asset to carnival. fun squad always cheerful and ... Read More
suitable for children new cruise ship. taken several carnival cruises before. staff bend over backwards to be helpful mike the cruise director was entertainment on his own!! a great asset to carnival. fun squad always cheerful and hard working. restaurant staff were very helpful and caring for our vegetarian grand daughter. the waiter Goran and assistant Nemanaja and Gabor were great. extra bath and sink in family harbor rooms are very useful our group of 2 adults and 2 grand children. we dont mind paying $5 pp for the IMAX cinema and our grand children loved choosing sweets and candy in cherry on top. the children looked forward every evening to the photographers attention and posing in the very many backdrops. we bought a photo package in advance of the cruise which was very reasonable. overall we had a great week and look forward to carnival returning to europe in the near future. overall, anything we asked for or wanted was made possible by the ever helpful staff. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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