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Sail Date: November 2018
This is my fourth cruise on this lady, Carnival Ecstasy, she is in good shape for an old gal! EMBARKMENT: My wife and I drove down from North Carolina and utilized the new cruise port parking arrangement. We used to park in an old ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise on this lady, Carnival Ecstasy, she is in good shape for an old gal! EMBARKMENT: My wife and I drove down from North Carolina and utilized the new cruise port parking arrangement. We used to park in an old warehouse and take buses after you dropped off the luggage at the parking lot. Now you drive in, they take your luggage and your park in the open air parking lot and take the shuttle to the cruise terminal. It appeared to be a little faster. The bottleneck at the terminal remained the same, long lines that are slow. You do get onto the ship in about an hour or so. ON BOARD: Your room key is now at your cabin's mail slot next to the cabin door, so when you get on board if you want a drink you have to show your boarding pass and give your cabin/stateroom number, the new system is a little faster, but not much. You head to the buffet on deck 10 and have the "standard" buffet food, good but not great. You get into your cabin by 1:30pm, you room key card and onboard charge card is in the mail slot next to the cabin door. INTERIOR: Rivera (4th deck) R63 is an interior cabin, with a queen bed, two twins pushed together. as my wife and I are CPAPer's we had the stateroom steward, Wayan, split the beds for us. He provided excellent service through out our cruise. Standard interior cabin, a little dated but functional. ENTERTAINMENT: On the ship, the entertainment is by cruise staff, all production shows, a couple were good, the cruise director, Deon, is a high energy and very personable. The Punchliner Comedy Club had a very good comedian, Jody White, we only saw her PG show and it was an entertaining 45 minutes. COST of DRINKS: They are getting expensive $6.50 for bottled beer and $9 and up for cocktails, similar to RCCL. PORTS OF CALL: My wife had not been to Bermuda in about 25 years, back in "those days" we did the snorkeling, glass bottom boat, the pink sand beaches and explored the island, now we sort of just walk around the port area. I will comment later about Bermuda it is a beautiful island to visit. MAIN DINING ROOM: We were "your time dining" from 5:45 pm to 9:30 pm, and there are long lines to get into the restaurant and your are given the buzzer that goes off when your table is ready, no matter what time we went, early or about 7:30 pm, there was about a half hour wait time. We dining in the Wind Star main dining room and fortunately got the same section at our request, with the team head waiter Iman and the team waiter Sentana, with a third rotating team assistant waiter at tables 138 to 146. They provided excellent service throughout the cruise. THE MENU: Standard fare, we had prime rib, two nights, beef tenderloin one night, and the menu varied on the beef and pork, with spare ribs, beef short ribs, along with the pasta, vegetarian, and seafood selection. There are two formal nights on the seven day cruise in which there are table cloths on the tables. The appetizers are standard, and they only have escargot (my favorite) one night of the cruise. Overall, the food was very good but not great. Now the "salt shakers" in the main dining room are the little cylinder ceramic shakers with three little holes onto and THEY ALWAYS CLOG!!! Five of the seven nights we had to have our waiter bring us salt shakers that were not clogged. Carnival get new salt shakers! If that was my main complaint, what am I complaining about. MEET and MINGLE gathering: I would have to rate it a poor compared to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. There were about 25 Cruise Critic M and M folks, and they coffee, juice, water and danish. On RCCL's meet and mingle, they had bottles of wine and champagne, hats, a backpack and the coveted pens and markers. THE CASINO: My wife and I were here on the Carnival Players Club "bounce back" casino offer, it you gamble "enough", and I do, you get a offer of an interior cabin for $100 per person, plus port charges and on board credit of $100 each, so essentially, its a "free cruise" excluding the port charges and taxes. Unfortunately the casino is small, and as I play three card poker (only two tables) and WPT heads up hold 'em (only one) I had limited table time as this cruise was also a Carnival players club "Premier" players club cruise and people were sitting at the table to play before the casino opened. There was a mix of old and new slot machines, mostly older vintage, and I did not hear of any really big slot machine wins announced. DEBARKMENT: Under an hour we went from the gathering place, Sapphire Lounge to pick up our luggage, through customs onto the shuttle bus and to our car in under one hour. Amazingly fast. OVERALL IMPRESSION: It was a nice cruise on an older ship, with standard accommodations, very good but not great food in the MDR that provided excellent service,that visited the beautiful island of Bermuda. There few kids on board as it is the school season, a good age group mix. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We sailed on Carnival Conquest from the 27th of October to the 4th of November. Even though my mother and I have been traveling together ever since I was born (22 years ago), all around the world - it’s only recently we started cruising. ... Read More
We sailed on Carnival Conquest from the 27th of October to the 4th of November. Even though my mother and I have been traveling together ever since I was born (22 years ago), all around the world - it’s only recently we started cruising. This was our fourth cruise and the first Carnival Cruiseline. Stateroom 2214: It was a very cozy, little cabin. Nothing extremely exciting, but what to expect from a standard cabin. The cabin-stewards were always very quick with cleaning the cabin, so it always looked nice. The cabin stewards were very sweet and always made sweet towel animals - so many that we had a zoo on the last day! The beds were outstanding! Never have we slept in better beds - not in hotels or other cruises - the madras was so soft and the pillows were fluffy and big. Dining: There were quite a lot different places to eat - but if it is doing the busy hours, not enough room to sit. We eat mostly on the Lido Deck with the buffets, Blue Iguana and the Pizza place. The food, in general, was good, but the variety isn’t the biggest. We liked the fact that we were able to get pizza almost any hour of the day and the frozen yogurt was available 24/7. The frozen yogurt/soft ice was very tasty and even though there weren’t more than three flavors to choose from - you never got tired of them. Breakfast: the croissants and most of the bread wasn’t fresh - which were quite a big bummer. The pasties such as cinnamon rolls were fresher and tasted great - but you expect to eat fresh bread every day when you are on an 8-nights cruise - actually no matter how many days you are onboard. Lunch: we loved the burritos and tacos - in general the lunch was great with a better variety. Dinner: the variety wasn’t the biggest, but it had a good taste. It could have been a plus if the Blue Iguana were open doing dinner-time. Desserts: Most of the cakes lacked taste and texture. Many were almost uneatable due to the huge amount of gelatin, so they became rubbery. Crew: We had the great honor of having Leigh as our cruise director - who is absolutely the star of the ship (if not the company). Leigh is energetic and shows a lot of passion and enthusiasm about his work. He cares a lot about the passengers, always allow himself time to chat with them and knows everyone onboard. He is without a doubt the greatest gift to this company and will with guarantee make your vacation even more unforgettable. He became a great friend of my mother and me, and we will always be thankful for everything he did. You will differently be missing him when you get back home. We hope to cruise with him again!!! Captain Claudio is - just like Leigh - a star of the ship. He is a very sweet, outgoing, charming man, that cares about his passengers, his crew and his ship. He likes to chat with people - not only doing events but also outside of the ship. My mother told him, I want to be a captain myself, and he immediately courage me to do so. The officers: all of the officers we came across were very smiling, sweet and caring. They always said hi and wanted to chat. Not only onboard but also when they saw you outside. The waiters: our experience with the waiters on the lido deck wasn't the best. They did not clean the tables very quickly and did not speak very much with the passengers. They did not seem to be very happy about their job and did not really want to get in contact with anyone - this was a shame, many want to talk with all kinds from the crew, and every other ship we have been to, the waiters were much more talkable and made you feel special. Entertainment: You will never be bored on carnival. If so, it’s your own fault. They have so many different activities during the day and night - so the only problem there is is the time-limit you have. Everything with Leigh is a must. He can make every event laughable. The game shows are a great fun - especially the love & marriage show. The shows with the dancers and singers have a beautiful, creative scenery, the performers and music are great - but the shows are quite the same concept except from a different theme (Motown, the 70’s & the 80’s). so it lacks a bit of variety. We were so lucky to be on Conquest on Halloween night. It was great to see that so many had a costume and Carnival for sure did a lot to put up special drinks and decoration for the night. The only minus was that it wasn’t the guests who chose the winner of the costume competition. It was a shame. Many talked about this afterward and they wished they had a saying in who should have won. The Wi-Fi was terrible. You have to log out and reconnect all the time, and you aren’t able to make a call over Messenger. The Hub-app, Carnival have is a great way to see what’s happening during the day and even get a reminder for the events. You are also able to see a map over the ship, which can come in handy for the first few days. Unfortunately, the app wasn’t able to download after leaving the port due to the Carnivals weak internet. Overall our first experience with Carnival was a success and we look forward to joining the fleet again in April on Carnival Splendor. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have been cruising for several years now on multiple lines. We are very familiar with Port Canaveral and enjoy sailing from there. Embarkation was fast and easy. Probably one of the best in our history. The Sunshine is a large Ship but ... Read More
We have been cruising for several years now on multiple lines. We are very familiar with Port Canaveral and enjoy sailing from there. Embarkation was fast and easy. Probably one of the best in our history. The Sunshine is a large Ship but not a mega ship. Large enough to not feel crowded. She had a major refit in 2012 changing from the Destiny to the Sunshine. My wife and I found her layout different than other ships and a little awkward at first to navigate. As always, our cabin steward was excellent and attentive. It is a personal opinion that industry wide, I have noticed a slight downward trend in food quality on the various lines. We make a point to dress and eat in the dining room for supper and for most breakfasts. The menu offerings were varied with some new items, but many of the familiar items and favorites seemed to be missing. Also portion sizes have shrunk a little. Not really a huge deal due to the fact that you can order pretty much all you want. We also make a point to try the Specialty options at least once a cruise. Some high points from The sunshine are the Havana Bar and its tastes of Cuba (gratis) and JiJis (15$ per person). JiJis is an inspired asian dining experience that was so SO worth it. Also I highly recommend trying the Chef's Table experience. It is worth every penny from start to finish. Just come hungry. Entertainment was on par with cruising. The stage shows were good but not wowing, although we had a master magician amaze us. This cruise had some of the best comedians we have seen and with fresh material. There was plenty to do on ship as usual. One really nice feature on the Sunshine is a 3 deck Serenity area at the fore of the ship. The service aboard was fantastic as usual. Our ports of call were Bermuda and grand Turk. Bermuda was beautiful. We, as a rule, do not book excursions, but rather "freestyle" and venture forth on our own. I took my time and did some research on Bermuda before our cruise and found some great travel options. The public transportation passes cover both ferry and bus. We spent some wonderful time travelling around and across the island, catching many sights and activities for less than the cost of one ship excursion. I highly recommend going to the Fantasy and Crystal caves, and a visit to St. George. Grand Turk is small and very flat. There are some neat sights there and some great shopping. Our whole goal was to sit beside the pretty blue water and do some snorkeling. We even managed to swim with an octopus for a while. There was plenty of beach sitting with free lounge chairs and clamshell shelters. Never did it feel crowded. And found an amazing little snack shack, The Beached Whale. I would definitely recommend this trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to go to Bermuda, Embarkation was poor, this was the longest it had taken me to get on a ship in my 20 cruises since 1991.The Sunshine is a nice ship, this was my second time on board, it has a ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to go to Bermuda, Embarkation was poor, this was the longest it had taken me to get on a ship in my 20 cruises since 1991.The Sunshine is a nice ship, this was my second time on board, it has a difficult deck plan.Cabin was very nice I had a balcony 7249. Dining was very good except they did not follow my request that I had book from May 2017 for a table for two only.After talking very firmly with them this was resoled, We also dined at the Fahrenheit Steak house, the manager had very poor customer service skills, she however apologize for not greeting us. Entertainment and Activities was very good.Overall service was GREAT!!. Ports and Shore excursions was great I did the Island tour of Bermuda and it was wonderful.I also meet some wonderful people on board in including staff and cruisers,Overall this was a wonderful cruise and I would do this again. Capt. Greene Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I did not have high expectations of Carnival as I had read too many bad reviews regarding this line but I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Yes, it is a party ship. It's known as the FUN ship for a reason. If you're ... Read More
I did not have high expectations of Carnival as I had read too many bad reviews regarding this line but I was pleasantly surprised at the experience. Yes, it is a party ship. It's known as the FUN ship for a reason. If you're looking for quiet, there are places to go on the ship to get that, you just have to find them. CABIN - We divided our family of 5 into two interior rooms. The rooms are not that important to us as we hardly spend any time in them. They are small but didn't bother us as we're not big people but if you are on the larger side, they will feel very small. Housekeeping is lovely. FOOD - There were good things and bad things about the food. If you've cruised before, you'll be disappointed at the lack of choice at the buffet. They have separated stations into restaurants. So no pizza at the buffet, you'll need to go to Pizza place at back of ship. No hamburgers at lunch, you need to go to Guy's Burger joint (highly recommended). There is no pasta at the buffet, they want you to go to Italian restaurant. And there's no international station, they have Asian restaurants to take care of that. All of these are free at lunch, but not at dinner. Lunch had amazing cakes for dessert but they were absent at dinner buffet which is disappointing. We never ate in the main dining room because our kids wouldn't sit through that. We also noticed that they served basically the same food at the buffet with the exception of the special menu like lobster or escargot. Breakfast at Seaday Brunch is amazing, a step up from the breakfast buffet. Pizzas at back of ship are delicious too but line can be long. Overall, it was good food but some may find lack of choice at buffet a turn off. It does waste less food. I've found other cruises tend to recycle the leftover food for the next meal. ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS - Our kids loved SkyRide, SkyCourse and the SportsSquare. There can be a long wait for SkyRide so do it as soon as you can or just before it closes. Beware that if it's too windy, they'll close it, along with the SkyCourse. My kids loved the Clubhouse which had ping pong, soccer billiards and a 6 player foosball. We paid for the Thrill Theater which was okay, a little short (13 min.) but we had onboard credit. We also watched the Imax movie. Think they should reduce the price from $12.95 to $10 to encourage more people to go. My kids loved the outdoor evening movies with free popcorn. That was really nice. Sometimes hard to find a seat so go early or go halfway into movie as people tend to leave. Pools are warm which is nice. Pool at back of ship is less busy but they are both small for how many people are on board. Only two hot tubs for families are at the back of the ship and they are small. Note that both pools are salt water. Googles are recommended or it stings little ones eyes. Waterworks was a lot of fun for kids but could use more space for parents to sit. Waterslides were a bit of a wait but kids didn't mind too much. Warning that they will close if it's too windy. Both Waterworks and SkyRide/SkyCourse tended to close at 6pm. We didn't enroll our kids in the kids club as they were happy to stay with us. Our two older kids (13 & 16) are too shy to go to teen club. ADULTS - Serenity, the adults-only section is not really serene at all. It's just a big party place for adults. If you're looking for quiet, you're better off going to 5th floor outside which have loungers. Dislike that there's smoking in the casino and on some decks near the pool. Entertainment at night was good. Hasbro game show is really fun for kids. Comedians were just okay. Musicians on board were great, really talented. Elevators need work. For some reason, you push a floor and even though 7 elevators look free, it chooses the elevator that's already going to 4 other floors. I don't take them often, but we were on floor 3 and lido deck is on 10. Ship layout takes some getting used to. Some decks don't allow you to go from end to end because of the IMAX theatre which blocks it. That could've been designed better. Even arcade and Circle C club are somewhat hidden. There aren't a lot of onboard shops which was different from other ships. They also have strange hours. Our only Port was Bermuda. Highly recommend the Crystal Caves. We went to Horseshoe Bay beach. Beautiful pink sand with very few pebbles. If you're up to it, you can climb the rock mountain by the bar for a beautiful view of the beach. Beach umbrella and two loungers was $45 to rent. There's no shade otherwise and it was quite hot. There are food and beverage huts and bathroom with showers. We've been to Bermuda before so we knew we could take public transit to get to Horseshoe Bay. It's $9 roundtrip on the bus, $5 for kids. I saw transfers at dock for $7 per person each way, $14 roundtrip. So this was cheaper but more crowded. Bus only comes every 30 minutes too. Overall I really liked Carnival and as the Horizon is the newest ship, it was very beautiful and clean. There was a lot for kids to do and a lot of great food and drink options, all of which were reasonably priced. I would consider doing Carnival again if I was bringing my kids. If only traveling with my husband, I would probably not as seeing all the kids would make me feel guilty for not bringing mine. I wouldn't recommend Carnival too if you're just traveling as a couple. Celebrity or Holland America would be better. Royal Caribbean is good for older kids. Other option for families is Norwegian but I think Horizon beats them. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Let me just start by mentioning that we've been on 7 other cruises with various cruise lines including Carnival. I would have never booked this trip peak season at such a high price except that my husband had very little vacation time ... Read More
Let me just start by mentioning that we've been on 7 other cruises with various cruise lines including Carnival. I would have never booked this trip peak season at such a high price except that my husband had very little vacation time and was flying out of JFK airport the day we arrived back at the Manhattan cruise terminal. In other words, this was the only cruise that would allow for us to leave from a local port, and for my husband to catch his flight on time. I was concerned about the high cost of this short cruise and the negative reviews in which I had read. I had prepared my family for gross food and an overcrowded ship in advance based on what I had read. However, we were pleasantly surprised and had a good trip. Population: We cruised with a very culturally diverse group of passengers most of which were families of all different age ranges. There weren't too many young babies probably due to the high cost. Most passengers were respectful of others and fun to be around. Embarkation: You are assigned a specific time to arrive at the terminal. Parking at the Manhattan Cruise terminal was plentiful and we were on board about 20 minutes after arriving. In all of our years of cruising, we have never gotten on the ship so quickly. Cabin: We were on a sold out ship in balcony room 6277 which was nicely appointed with basic ammenities. Our balcony door made a loud squealing noise from the wind but this was fixed within 10 minutes of us calling the desk. We had prearranged a gift for our son which was damaged and it was replaced immediately after calling the front desk. The only downside about staying on the 6th floor is that you can hear the movies playing from IMAX theater and you can hear loud passengers on the 5th floor wrap around board walk. I would not recommend choosing this floor for these reasons. Our steward Abraham was amazing and met our needs without us ever asking for anything! Towel creatures were plentiful. Food: We were assigned to "anytime dining" and our sign and sail card told us where to go for our reservation. There was a desk in which we signed in and waited with a pager for our table to be ready. We never had a wait except on lobster night when it was about 20 minutes. Food in the main dining room was typical cruise ship quality and the service was good. Specifically Vlad and his assistant were efficient and professional. There will always be the parents who allow their kids to scream and cry in the dining room but this is out of Carnival's control. The Lido deck buffet food is okay and typical for a cruise line however the choices are lacking and as other cruisers have mentioned, if you are dieting, have food allergies, or are vegetarian, you might have trouble finding a suitable meal. There are way too many processed food options on this ship but these items seemed to be a huge hit among cruisers. The Pig and Anchor is free at lunch and delicious. There is also a burger joint, taco bar, sandwhich station, and pizza place which are all excellent however have 15-30 minute lines on average during peak times. They are all open only at specific times with the pizza place being open around the clock. I recommend utilizing alternative options to the Lido buffet at non peak times. Soft serve ice cream is available around the clock. You can also eat breakfast in the main dining room which was wonderful. Antonio was our amazing waiter and we had wished we had eaten there every day rather than just the last day. It's quieter and the food is much better than the Lido. Service: Service in general was fantastic with staff always willing to help. While on the slides, a male worker saw me carrying up 2 tubes and took one to assist me. A female worker on Lido notived by tag and bra hanging out and fixed them for me. Our room steward was friendly and attentive. Sadu in the photo studio was extremely helpful. Once at that pizza parlor, my 7 year old spilled 1/2 of his pizza on the ground. A female worker immedately came to our assitance and offered to get him fresh pizza. I cannot say enough for the entire hard working staff on this ship. As far as service, you will not be dissapointed! Entertainment/Gym: I used the gym at 0800 and while busy, machines were plentiful. There is a huge sports deck that is the main hub. The water park is great if you catch it off peak. Otherwise it becomes so overcrowded that it's really not enjoyable. Pack your suit and head right to it when you first get on. The slides are so fun! Watch out for the burning hot deck though! The sky bikes were always a 40-80 minute wait. They were closed our last sea day due to rain and wind as was the rope walk. The rope walk is great and typically the line is only a few minutes but we experienced major hold ups due to people becoming scared or unable to get across the course. Sometimes this would cause huge jam ups on the cat walks. There are only 2 family pools and hot tubs which are packed all day long. This was a great dissapointment for us as you can barely get into one. There seemed to be enough loungers despite the small pools. The games, mini golf, and ping pong are all fun and typically available without a wait. Children's camp: Our 7 year old went on 2 days and cried when we told him that he must eat so it must have been great! The process for checking in and out was extremely efficient and we rarely waited in a line. Port: We only ported once at bermuda and we did the restless native sail and snorkel. It was a nice excursion but we were slightly dissapointed with the snorkeling as we saw fish, but had higher expectations. Disembarkation: The process seemed to go smoothly but we decided to hang out on board until most cruises had departed. We enjoyed a breakfast in the main restaraunt and this was relaxing and wonderful. Overall: There are 2 reasons that I will only give this ship 4 stars. The first is the crowds and the second reason was the high price for a short cruise. I could have taken (2) 1 week long cruises for the same price it costed for us to go on the Horizon for 4 nights. However, Carnival does a pretty good job of systematically handling the 5000 people on board. Prepare yourself for some lines and plan your day around less busy times as you would a theme park or Disney land. Even on a sold out ship, we had great service and a wonderful time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The Horizon makes the occasional attempt at sophistication. There’s still a cruise formal night, where guests are expected to dress up for dinner in the main dining rooms. A library bar. Expensive suites and spa services. Diamond jewelry ... Read More
The Horizon makes the occasional attempt at sophistication. There’s still a cruise formal night, where guests are expected to dress up for dinner in the main dining rooms. A library bar. Expensive suites and spa services. Diamond jewelry for sale. Wild boar and escargot on menu for dinner. And, most successfully, there’s a really good new show in the theater – Celestial Strings – set all in white and with a live string trio providing some of the music. But if you’re looking for class and elegance you’re on the wrong cruise line. Carnival is home of the FUN ships – capital F. U. N. – and simple (some may call it low-brow) dining and entertainment is what they do best. The very hairy chest competition. The “Love and Marriage Show” version of the classic Newlywed Game. A group of (very drunk) friends singing Karaoke in lounge. PG-13 and R rated comedy and games. Not one, but two restaurants by Guy Fieri (burgers and BBQ). 24 hour pizza and ice cream. If you’re going on a cruise to have fun – and don’t have snobbish expectations – then you’ll do well on the Horizon. ---------- Cheers and Jeers – what good and what needs improvement on the Carnival Horizon Cheers! – for living up to the standards of being Carnival’s flagship cruise boat, with the best selection of activities, restaurants, and cabins in the fleet. Everything was new, clean, and working properly. Cheers! – for all the great technology on the boat. The free Carnival Hub app works great anywhere on the ship and lets you see maps, activity times, and even make dinner reservations from your own cell phone. The audio-visual tech on the boat is equally impressive – watching as the entire cast from the stage show leaves the theater and enters the atrium for an encore – and having the audio move seamlessly along with them – is impressive. The tablets used by some of the crew were also pretty cool. Jeers – for charging $5 to use the chat function on the app. This would have been convenient, but it should be free. Cheers – to our Cruise Director Mike. On a boat with over 1400 crew members, it’s amazing how much the charisma and enthusiasm of one guy makes such a difference. Mike was friendly, full of non-stop energy, and made everyone on the boat feel like he was their friend (all 5000 of us!). Cheers! – for trying something new with the elevator systems. Floors are select in advance, BEFORE boarding. Waiting for an elevator isn’t fun, and this should have helped. Jeers! – for poorly implementing the new elevator system. There aren’t enough signs explaining it, so everyone spent the first two days of the cruise confused and angry. Elevators were often over full, stopped at every floor, or stopped at floors were no one got on and off. In addition to more signage, the systems needs the ability to specify how many people are boarding, the ability to cancel reservations, and some way to know when an elevator is out of service (boarding was especially chaotic, as some elevators were being used for luggage, and no one had yet figured out how the system worked). Cheers! – for having a lot of great options for lunch. Guy’s burgers is a favorite for a reason, and Mexican at Blue Iguana is also very good. The key to both restaurants is freshness. Burgers, tacos, and burritos are all made fresh to order, and there’s a topping bar at each location full of fresh ingredients as well. Guy’s BBQ is great new addition to Carnival. It’s not the best BBQ I’ve ever had, but it’s still amazing to get real smoked BBQ on a ship, and it’s free at lunch. There were lots of other places we didn’t get to try as well –a Mongolian Wok, make your own pasta bar, deli, and more. Lunch is the best meal of the day on the Horizon. Unfortunately, lunch is the meal your most likely to miss because of port days. Jeers – for a kind of sad Afternoon tea. It was free, but if you wanted any tea better than Lipton you had to pay extra. Cheers! – for having an amazing and well trained staff. There are over 1400 people working on the boat from over 60 countries, and everyone we met was professional, friendly, and hard working. Many of the staff took the time to learn our names and greeted us when we passed by. Jeers! – for all the ways you can get ripped-off on the ship. In general, the more heavily something was promoted the worse of a deal it was. This includes: spa services, quasi-medical services (foot care and wellness treatments, etc), photo packages (some of which ran into the hundreds of dollars), shore excursions (almost always pricier on the boat than but directly on land), drink packages (either alcohol or soda), shopping (especially jewelry), and of course outright gambling (either Bingo or in the Casino). You could easily double the price of your cruise with these extras, most of which would be cheaper on land. Cheers! – for Carnival’s Cove Balcony cabins. These semi-enclosed balconies are available on the 2nd deck of the boat. They get less sun than balconies on higher decks, but otherwise are perfect. They are a great choice if you enjoy privacy (no one can look into the balcony from above) and being close to the water. Cheers and Jeers – for dinner in the main dining hall. Reflections (fixed time) and Meridian (flex time) are basically the same, although Meridian is larger and has two levels. The dining rooms are simply and modernly decorated but also somewhat generic looking and fall somewhat short of feeling luxurious. The menu generally looked good but execution was more mixed. Some dishes were pretty good (especially appetizers), where steaks and other main entrees were generally fair at best. Service in the restaurants, like everyone else on the boat, was generally excellent, however. Cheers! – for Celestial Strings. This is Carnival’s latest show and will be exclusively on the Horizon for about a year. Like Carnival’s other shows, it’s still basically just a musical revue (the cast sings and dances to a selection of popular songs; there’s no acting or dialogue) – but this new show is beautiful, the cast was top notch, and the live music (three musicians playing strings were part of the cast) was a nice addition. You’ll need to get to this show early to get seats, but there’s a pre-show performance to keep you entertained while you wait. Cheers! – for smooth and efficient embarkation, debarkation, and muster drills. Carnival puts a lot of effort into making sure everything runs efficiently and it shows. Our ship was at full capacity and yet we had no problems either in Bermuda or NYC. Cheers! – for never feeling too crowded, despite being at full capacity. With so many people on board it could have felt like a mob scene, but the boat rarely felt crowded. Lines were generally reasonable (except for peak times at Guy’s Burgers) – and there were always quiet spots on the ship to enjoy. ---------- For those that have read all this way, here are some “secrets” that we discovered while cruise. These are things that most guests on the boat, especially first time cruises, weren’t aware of. First, the highlight of our cruise was Carnival’s “Behind the Fun Tour”. This very limited tour isn’t promoted by Carnival, and you can only sign up for it on board at the Shore Excursions desk. Spots fill up quickly, so it’s best to sign as soon as you get on board. It’s not cheap ($95), but this 3-4 hour walking tour gets you access to things you’d otherwise never normally get to see and includes several nice bonus items as well (several photos, including one with the captain on the bridge, some snacks from the kitchen, a string backpack, wristband, and baseball cap). Highlights of our tour included the kitchens, crew recreation and dining areas, engine control room, bridge, and backstage of the main theater. We got a chance not only to see these restricted areas but also do talk to the crew that worked in them. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re interested in what it takes to make a ship like this run this tour is highly recommended. A free option to see a less crowded area of the ship is to explore the very front of the boat. Most of this area is not shown on the deck plans, and you’ll often need to walk through cabin hallways and out unmarked doors to access these areas. If I remember correctly, decks 4-7 are accessible, as well as decks 9-14. Deck 9 is above the bridge, and you can walk out above the “wings” on the sides of the bridge to see a great view down the side of the boat. There’s also a small seating area on Deck 14 with great views. The views from the front of the boat are amazing, but you will have to deal with the wind, which can be pretty intense. There is a key car slot near the door that's needed to turn on the lights in your cabin. Be aware that when you take out your card the outlets in the room will turn off as well; this is bad if you need to recharge batteries. As a work around, use a business card (ask your room steward for one) will work and let you leave the outlets on while you're out. The water slides and sky ride bikes can get crowded – these have some of the longest lines. The best time to enjoy these are as soon as you get on the boat. (As a bonus, you’ll have great views of NYC from the upper decks where these rides are located). Sign up for the earliest boarding possible, and you’ll have the ship nearly to yourself for a few hours. This is also a great time to enjoy the pools. Food tips: Most regular cruisers may already know this, but you are always free to order multiple items from the dinner menu in the main restaurants. Want seafood and steak? Just order both entrees. This goes for appetizers and desserts as well. We did this nearly every night and it made the meal a lot more enjoyable. Also, mixing and matching from the food choices on the Lido deck is a great idea. Guy’s burgers has a suggestion to try salsa from Blue Iguana as a burger topping, but don’t stop there. My wife’s favorite was soft serve ice-cream from the Lido Marketplace topped with bacon from Guy’s burger bar. ---------- Conclusion: This was our first time on a cruise and we had a lot of fun. Cruising out of NYC made things so much easier and more relaxing. The Horizon isn’t the biggest or the fanciest boat out there, but it might be the most fun. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was me and my wife's first cruise, I am 38 and my wife is 32. We have 3 kids but did travel alone. After researching it for so long I finally booked the Carnival Horizon leaving from N.Y.C to Bermuda for the 4 night voyage which ... Read More
This was me and my wife's first cruise, I am 38 and my wife is 32. We have 3 kids but did travel alone. After researching it for so long I finally booked the Carnival Horizon leaving from N.Y.C to Bermuda for the 4 night voyage which was from July 19th to July 23rd 2018 (despite all these negative reviews about it) This is my first review ever of anything really but I felt I had to say something positive about the ship itself and the crew after reading so much negative things everywhere, which I am so glad I didn't listen to. I am gonna be all over the place but I am gonna include things I didn't find in other reviews that I had wish I knew before I cruised and just general info to make your experience better and easier especially for first timers. First, boarding was a breeze,if you have an appointment time before 2 pm they will take your luggage at the door, tag it and it will be in front of your stateroom so you don't have to lug it around. You go through a short process where they get you searched and boarded on the ship by zones, it's very easy and simple to follow. You will not have access to your stateroom until about 5 pm or 6 pm so pack a carry on if you wish to start swimming/sunbathing once you get on the ship.(our appointment time to board was between 1 and 1 30 and were on the ship before 2 but wasted about 4 hours in street clothes which felt like such a waste of a beautiful day in port waiting to have access to our personal belongings. Your sail and sign cards will be in your mailbox at your room door around 4 pm. You need them to do everything on the ship from order drinks to purchase items on board. NO CASH accepted anywhere on board. Except the casino of course. The ship is amazing and obviously brand new so anyone complaining about the ship itself can't possibly be satisfied. The layout is pretty easy to remember and after a few times walking around the ship you get to know pretty well. (decks 1/2/6/7/8/9) are mostly rooms so no need to go there anyway if not staying on that floor. The 3rd deck (lobby) has a few shops, bars. Deck 4 is where the main restaurants are (included in the price) where you will be having dinner every night and the casino ( which is the only bar open after 2 am, also drinks are free if you are playing) Deck 5 are where all the bars and pay restaurants are. Deck 11 is the water park and kids area including the basketball area, running track etc.The 10 (lido deck) is where most of the daily action is, there is a pool mid ship and a pool with 2 whirlpools in the back. (both filled with mostly kids) Deck 15 is the serenity deck (adults 21 and over only). 2 whirlpools and a bar with a salad bar for lunch. I was surprised but the bar closes at 6 pm. It seemed pretty early for an adult only retreat but the whirlpools are open till midnight. Also you do still hear the kids going down the slides and screaming at the water park but not enough to be bothered by it. We stayed in an inside stateroom as we didn't need a balcony and didn't regret it because it was much cheaper and got to see plenty of the ocean just being on the ship while we were out and about. 2 comedians on board, both were funny. Food was excellent. We didn't go for any extra $ dining options as there was plenty to eat that was already included. Buffet menus changed everyday (breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus) breakfast buffet was open till 12 pm for late risers which was awesome. Pizza is 24 hours and delicious Burgers and fries were a little over seasoned but great. Tacos and burritos where great too. A few minutes to wait during peak times but staff was working their butts off to keep up with the demand. Once again, don't let waiting in line for a few minutes ruin your day!!! Dinner menu at the restaurant changed every night. You are assigned a dinner time for the main restaurant once you are boarded and it is written on your card. You will not be seated unless it is your time. There is one cruise casual night where you have to dress up but that is also when lobster is on the dinner menu (unlimited lobster tails!!!) Havana Bar had live music 3 of the 4 nights which was a lot of fun to dance and have some mojitos. At midnight the Havana bar closes so the limelight lounge was the hangout after midnight until 2 am if you wanted music.. Live DJ playing music with good energy (18+ only). Groups of kids where running around the halls etc. but not to the point to where any reasonable person would be annoyed or be complaining about it, also after midnight the ship is pretty much a ghost town other than the club and casino. So there are plenty of places in and outside the ship to just hang out and enjoy the sounds of the ocean or explore the ship. People complaining about the lines for the food are being dramatic and have never been to a club/bar in NYC where we are from. Sometimes you get lucky and get the bartender after 30 seconds, other times you are waiting a few minutes. BIG DEAL!!! You are on vacation and shouldn't be stressing out over nonsense. The casino bar is the only bar open after midnight so it does get a little overwhelming for the bar staff and the wait is a little longer. (hint:if you have a simple drink order go to the club bar (limelight lounge) which is a lot less busy and also located on the casino deck, much less of a wait and less than a minute walk from the casino). Service was amazing in every aspect. Food service was quick at dinner, staff everywhere cleaning up after people and cleaning the ship decks every night. Ship is pretty much spotless, other than left over plates on tables that were eventually cleaned up shortly after people left their tables at the buffet and some cups laying around. Asking employees for directions the first day was always pleasant and never felt like I was annoying them as they were very helpful and nice and always smiling. We did get the cheers package which was about 52.00 dollars a day, each adult in the stateroom did have to purchase it for the entire cruise. (No 24 hour package like other cruise lines) Also, any ship leaving from New York or Texas, you will not have access to the cheers program until 6 am the second day of the trip, its state law so you will have to pay for drinks the first day) For us we are not big drinkers but got it anyway and ending up getting around 60 drinks for the duration of the cruise for both of us so we did save some money) average drink did cost around 10 dollars. You do have a limit of 15 alcoholic beverages a day (6 am to 6 am) for each card. so if your spouse is not a big drinker you can use their card and no staff seemed to mind if it wasn't your own card. You MUST download the Carnival app, its free to use on the ship and gave you all the information you need to know of whats going on at every hour so you can plan out your day, also what places are open to eat etc. Room service is free but there is a 5 or 10 dollar total charge for orders after 10 pm. We did go jet skiing in Bermuda, which was only about a 3 minute walk off the ship. (K&S Watersports) About 150 for a single rider 170 for a double rider. 75 minutes of riding and swimming on a private beach for an awesome experience. Check out their website and videos In the end, it was an awesome experience, I will definitely cruise with Carnival again. Don't listen to all these people, book it and you won't regret it. Have fun, be silly and enjoy your time!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I choose this cruise because it was a new ship, it was affordable, only a 25 min. ride from my home, and a short cruise that could accommodate my daughter's work schedule. I am in my 60's and my daughter is in her 20's. I ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it was a new ship, it was affordable, only a 25 min. ride from my home, and a short cruise that could accommodate my daughter's work schedule. I am in my 60's and my daughter is in her 20's. I have been on over twenty cruises on various cruise lines. My daughter and I throughly enjoyed this cruise. Although I have been on Carnival ships before, my daughter had never been on a Carnival ship although she has experienced other cruise lines. The organization of the ship was easy to navigate and we quickly knew how to get around. The decore was so nice and hotel like, and reminded me of other cruise lines I had been on. The ship was one of the cleanest I have ever seen. The food was absolutely delicious, hot foods were always hot and cold foods were always cold. The menus were different each day with wonderful offerings. Although both my daughter and I are small women we are foodies, and prefer not to eat at all if food is not good. We had Our Time Dining and it was easy to get a table quickly although we had to wait a little bit on lobster night. We always had a table for two, we loved that. The dining room looks like a restaurant not at all like a massive dining hall. We never ate at the extra payment dining rooms. All staff we encountered were pleasant and helpful. Staff was always ready to answer questions even though it may have not been their department. Our cabin steward was great and always made sure we had clean towels and a towel animal. We had an interior cabin and it had plenty of storage, the size of the cabin was exactly what we expected. The bathroom was a good size, but I wish there had been a sliding door for the shower instead of a shower curtain. The bed and the bedding were delightful and I had a good night's sleep each night. Entertainment was fun. During the day the usual silly and fun activities were offered, like the hairy chest contest, the love and marriage game, trivia, zumba and many other daytime activities. The pool deck always had lots of people, and activities. It was nice that there were several eateries around the pool deck. Of course there was a casino, which was small and bingo was constantly offered. The casino was extremely smoky at night and somewhat smoky during the day. Since I am a non smoker I spent little time in the casino. Night activities were great. There were two comedians. They both did general comedy and evening comedy for adults only. We only saw the adults only shows, we laughed a lot. One comedian was a guy in his 40's and the other was a women in her mid 60's, both were just hilarious, the comedy room was full during their performances. The pools were very small and full of children, so we did not venture into the pools and neither did most other adults. However, the Serenity area for adults was wonderful with cabanas, lounge chairs, two jacuzzis, a few tables, a bar and a salad bar. It was a wonderful retreat, but you needed to get there early to obtain a spot. They have towels there also, they were so lush that I purchased one to use when I go on other vacations. Our only port was Bermuda, since we both have been there several times, we just went to the little beach at the port and we visited the glass place. So we did not go on excursions. The beach was nice and clean and quiet, we enjoyed it. Nighttime entertainment was great. There was all kinds of wonderful live music all over the ship, I loved the violinist, and all other music I heard. There was a fun nightclub with good music for dancing. The professional dancers and singers at the shows did a great job, but there were no aerialist as I have seen on other ships. I would absolutely travel on this ship again and I plan to tell all of my friends and family how much fun we had. We had so much fun that we did not want to sleep to late or go to bed to early. The other passengers were also a joy. We met and talked to several nice people. Also there weren't as many children as I thought there would be, but most of the children I saw were quiet and well behaved. I did not see any loud and rowdy adults, nor teens. There were people of all ages on the ship but there did not seem to be lots of people in their 20's. There were some families with children and many without. The ship never felt crowded even though there were over 4,000 people. We will most likely go on the Horizon again or some other Carnival ship next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We were very excited to be a part of the first US trip the cruise was going to take after it just arrived in the US a few days before we departed. This was my son's first cruise as we waited until he was five before taking him on ... Read More
We were very excited to be a part of the first US trip the cruise was going to take after it just arrived in the US a few days before we departed. This was my son's first cruise as we waited until he was five before taking him on one. Getting on the boat was effortless. We were able to get to our stateroom before 1:00pm, which was great! The stateroom was extremely clean. The first "hiccup" we ran into on the boat was during the Muster Station drill. Not the fault of Carnival at all, but many cruisers decided to try to skip the Muster Drill. It took the staff quite a while to remove all the people in the swimming pools and bars to get to the drill. We waited nearly an hour before being dismissed from our meeting place. Your "sail and sign" card is scanned so the crew know you are skipping it. The kids, including my son had a hard time with this. In our previous cruises, the drill took maybe 15 minutes tops. Again, nothing to do with Carnival, but it is frustrating when other cruisers are selfish and hold up everybody. It quickly became evident that the bar staff was in need of additional help. We purchased the "bottomless bubbles" package before sailing and purchased cocktails on the sail and sign card. Waiting 10-15 minutes at the bar for a soda was a common trend throughout the cruise, sometimes even longer. At one point at the "Tides Bar" in the middle of the day, there was only one bartender working to make drinks for a full bar and for servers walking the decks taking drink orders. The drinks were great, but expect a long wait at Lido deck bars. The same wait applied for the food on the Lido Deck. The buffet had variations of the same food basically the entire cruise, so the other included food venues were popular. We waited on average 10-15 minutes on line to get a burger from Guys Burger Joint and the same for the BlueIguana Cantina on sea days. The pizza place was hit or miss with waiting. Sometimes there was no line at all, other times it would take 25 minutes to just order a pizza. Part of the problem was some cruisers were ordering multiple pizzas, and people they were cruising with would have them order pizzas for them too. The pizza tasted absolutely great though! The crew at the eateries worked as hard as they could to keep up with the demand though. The Seafood Restaurant was very decent, but again long waits. We ordered Fish and Chips. (they were out of a lot of the market price items on the second day of the cruise because this place was so popular...) He gave us a pager and proceeded to take another 4 or 5 peoples orders. They fry the food in batches to keep everything fresh. After about a 10 minute wait, the pager went off. The fish and chips was one of the best we have ever had. We did not try the other non-included eateries. One thing that I think Carnival could do better on is having staff keep a better eye on the pools. The day of embarkation the mid-ship pool was completely packed. We decided to wait until the first sea day to use them. We went in the aft "tides" pool in the morning. Our son loved it! Around lunch of the 2nd day of the cruise, we noticed the water in the mid-ship pool getting quite dirty. Soon after the pool was closed, netted, and taped off. It was subsequently drained. The aft pool then became the only working pool and that started getting dirty fast. We did not use the pool anymore after that. At one point in time there were about 15 people in the tides spa. (just in one of the two) There was even a couple having "relations" in the spa. Absolutely gross, considering how many other people were using it. Overall, we did enjoy the cruise! As expected, there are a few issues that need to be worked out because this was the first cruise for the ship out of the US. There were some great aspects of this cruise. The ship was clean, the crew was professional. Most everything ran orderly. The entertainment that was offered was decent too. Some staff members stood out well above others. Ruel who took care of our stateroom was awesome, as was Daniella who was bar tending up on the Tides Bar. She was able to keep her cool even as many cruisers were mad due to the long wait times. She was turning out drinks fast too, but one person cannot tend a fully packed bar with people each ordering multiple drinks. The bartenders were also making drinks for the bar servers who were walking the decks taking orders. Although we did not use Carnival's Camp Ocean, a few staff members who worked there stopped us to introduce themselves and tell us a little about it. Our son is autistic, so we were not sure of the environment and how he would react. More than one staff member took the time to say hi to my son and made him feel welcome. On our next cruise, we will definitely look into Camp Ocean. The food was consistent and and tasted great! The lines were long, but I suspect as the ship takes more and more passengers, the less waiting the lines would be. The elevators were not really as useful as marketed. The idea is great, but when there are a lot of people at once trying to get to the same floor, it because a hassle. This was amplified if you had a stroller or mobility issues. The problem is you would make a floor selection and would be assigned a car. So you get on line for that car and when it comes it fills up before you could get in. So you hit the floor you want to go to again, and get assigned a different car, but there are already people on line for that car. Situation repeats itself until a stroller, wheelchair, or other mobility device can fit in with other cruisers. The only other "negative" I had is we were unable to drink enough soda to actually pay for the all you can drink plans. It got tiring waiting up to 10-15 minutes every time you wanted a soda. I would not hesitate booking another cruise on the Carnival Horizon. In fact, we are looking at booking a repeat of this cruise in the fall of this year. On a side note, if you plan to go to Horseshoe Bay, I recommend the Carnival Transfer. We were going to take a shuttle bus at the recommendation of a friend. We were one of the first off the ship and waited over 45 minutes for shuttles that never showed up. The waiting became too much for a 5 year old to handle, so we walked to the snorkel park across from the cruise ship docks. That turned out to be a lot of fun. Read Less
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