I consider myself a seasoned cruiser (10th cruise) and I have traveled on Carnival 4 times in total. I also consider myself to be tolerant and fair when I give reviews, understanding all it takes to run an operation like a cruise ship. ... Read More
I consider myself a seasoned cruiser (10th cruise) and I have traveled on Carnival 4 times in total. I also consider myself to be tolerant and fair when I give reviews, understanding all it takes to run an operation like a cruise ship. However, I can say that I was disappointed on the Horizon and felt that the organization of staff and the events were not well executed.
As a new ship, the Guys BBQ Smokehouse was a nice addition to the boat. They offer a pretty yummy southern style buffet featuring all the favorites: smoked brisket, sausage, smoked turkey collard greens, mac and cheese, beans and more. Warning: If you have ever had the famous "trash can nachos" that other Guy Fieri locations offer (like at Foxwoods) then beware that the ones on the boat come in a "trash can" comparable in size to a large tuna can! The Bloody Mary's were a disappointment, as they didn't have that much sought after pungent taste that relatively few places get right. The smoked Watermelon margarita was unique (albeit a bit too sweet so ask for less sweet) and the Pecan Pie was the only thing truly worth the price.
The Seafood Shack: Horribly understaffed! Both times I tried to get food there, I waited almost 30 minutes just to order despite being the 1-4th person on the line! The steamed crab legs were good, and the snapper looked yummy, but IDK if it was worth the steep price of $20 for the crab legs.
Guys Burgers, Burritos, Japanese restaurants: all were good and the same as on the other boats. Nothing different or unique here.
Meridian Dining Room: So here is where there was a huge, discernable difference from ship to ship. On my last cruise, on the Sunshine, we had some really great meals and the dining staff were fantastic and fun. The only good meal I had was the first night on the Port of Call menu (the brisket) and the second night, the lobster was free. After that, the choices became less and less and on the last night, the dessert menu only had one option (Baked Alaska) that was different than the other nights. The food was mediocre. The staff were polite, but aloof and not as much fun as the last ship. In fact, I found most of the staff on this ship to be less warm, and inviting than the other ships in general. I also found that unless you ate MEAT and A LOT of it, there wasn't much to choose from (except pasta, of course)
Lido Deck Buffet: Horrible! The food was almost unedible on this ship and the variety of food was fried and disgusting. The carving station was only at lunch one time when I was there (the first day) and the salad bar had virtually 3 things besides lettuce (beets, soggy potato salad, and coleslaw) The "fresh Mozzarella' was soggy, pungent and flavorless. The green apples which help with sea sickness were impossible to locate and not at the fruit station where they should be. With all of the serving stations at this buffet, they could easily offer better choices.
* The lack of staffing also showed itself at the pizza counter. It was painful trying to get a pizza!
The Shops: For a new ship, the shops were surprisingly bland, and the jewelry wasn't as dazzling as it was on other ships. The shopping events were terrible, getting rid of all their "crap" and nothing that you couldn't find on shore at Bloomingdales. I came WANTING to spend money, and left with nothing. The brands went from Nine West quality to Kate Spade and overpriced.
Entertainment: Cruise director Mike was just ok. There was no live DJ's on the sun deck and the sound system was terrible! You couldn't hear anything they were saying on the loudspeakers. The musical reviews were good, the IMAX theater was great, and the Thrill theater was the best out of all of them. Casino is the same as any other, and the only place that had the best dancing and music is the Havana Club. The White party stunk, it wasn't outside and it was held in the Atrium (compared to the best White Party on the Norweigian Breakaway)
The boat felt crowded. The elevators are automated on this ship, and took a long time to come.
Best part of the trip was the debarkation (seriously) we were on the 2nd floor and they literally opened the doors and we walked out with no one in front of us or behind us. Took like one minute! Bring your bags off with you!
In the end, I felt the Pride and the Sunshine were much better boats and less money! Read Less