177 Carnival Horizon Family Cruise Reviews

My mother set up a family vacation. The ship it self is very beautiful. The ship have lots of entertainment and food. 1 thing they need to change is the elevator. SMMART ELEVATORS MUST GO. No one should have to wait 10 minutes to ... Read More
My mother set up a family vacation. The ship it self is very beautiful. The ship have lots of entertainment and food. 1 thing they need to change is the elevator. SMMART ELEVATORS MUST GO. No one should have to wait 10 minutes to get from 1 floor to the next. Another thing is the food. Its lots of food but pizza every night. Need to change up the mean. My group was sick of eating the same thing. And another thing if I pay for a soda package I should be able to get my can of soda with a glass of ice. They give everyone a hard time about giving them their can of soda. We paid for that soda so we should receive our can of soda.. Nowhere to heat your food up late night. Must places have fruits and vegetables out at all times. Its was hard to relax in hot and swimming pool due to parents not attending to their children. Kids all over the food also Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I was very disappointed with this ship. Starting from the staff down to the food. I have cruised 3 different times in the past. Twice with Royal, and Once with Carnival. I can honestly say Carnival seems to be slowly falling off a cliff. ... Read More
I was very disappointed with this ship. Starting from the staff down to the food. I have cruised 3 different times in the past. Twice with Royal, and Once with Carnival. I can honestly say Carnival seems to be slowly falling off a cliff. You can definitely tell they're cutting around every corner they can to save money. The food wasn't up to par, with any of my previous cruises. The food on the menus at the restaurant, would stay the same almost every day. And only 2 or maybe 3 things would change on the menu. The buffet seemed to lack variety, and the 5 options they had weren't edible. The wax they put on the floors makes it very slippery. I slipped on it and fell carrying my 2 year old. Carnival and the crew aboard the ship know about this issue but just don't seem to be worried or care to fix the problem, so people just keep slipping and falling all over the place. Our rooms weren't cleaned thoroughly enough. The plumbing in our bathroom stunk from the first day we walked in. The curtains and floors had stains on them. Finger prints on the balcony glass door. Dust build up on top of the tvs. Trash inside one of the cubby compartments under the kids tv in our family harbor suite. Also it seemed to me and a few other passengers aboard that some of the staff seem to be overworked and unhappy. The whole ship seems to be way too crowded. Especially in the buffet and main attraction areas. Allure is twice as big of a ship and Royal will only put 1200 more passengers. I did however like the bar, my kids loved the kids pool area. I like that in camp ocean they watch my kids for free. And also that Carnival does offer better ports to visit. But i do not think that for the $3200 i paid this ship was worth it. This ship changed my overall view of Carnival as one of the best in the cruising industry. And i do not see my self ever cruising again with Carnival, even with all the ports they offer to visit. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had a great time on the Carnival Horizon. The kids enjoyed the water park and activities. The movie theaters were great and Antonette was always so kind and happy to help. On the last 2 days of our journey, we were in the middle of ... Read More
We had a great time on the Carnival Horizon. The kids enjoyed the water park and activities. The movie theaters were great and Antonette was always so kind and happy to help. On the last 2 days of our journey, we were in the middle of Hurricane Dorian. The captain did a awesome job in keeping us informed about the situation and how he will continue the sailing. The captain definitely went above and beyond to make us feel safe. The show were great and all the restaurant server, cabin steward, bar staff were wonderful. One thing that can you use improvement is the customer service area. There was always a line if you go after 10:00am. One day, I waited almost an hour just to ask about my card. If you have kids, this will be the perfect cruise to keep them entertained. Overall, great service and great cruise. Will definitely book it again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have been on many carnival cruises, royal Caribbean cruises and Norweign cruises. Pros of the Horizon: Italian specialty restaurant, food was spectacular. Dining staff was great, as was the whole crew staff. Good movie selections ... Read More
I have been on many carnival cruises, royal Caribbean cruises and Norweign cruises. Pros of the Horizon: Italian specialty restaurant, food was spectacular. Dining staff was great, as was the whole crew staff. Good movie selections in cabin. Cons: Low ceilings throughout ship. Atrium small with generic decor. No windows and sitting area to just sit and gaze outside to look at ocean and just watch people walking by (very confining). No band and dance area in casino like they have on other carnival ships. Casino is small with poor layout. "Smart Elevator" system was terrible extremely long waiting time. Floors are very slick on lido deck. Lunch buffet horrendous. You will be eating a lot of Guy hamburgers, pizza and deli selections. I was never informed of the "Family Harbor" section of the ship so if you decide to go on this ship inquire about the Family Harbor. No pool in the serenity area. The entertainment was amateur hour. There are much better carnival ships just remember the newer the ship does not mean it's better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We decided to go with Carnival Horizon because we had previously been on it’s sister ship the Vista which was amazing. We expect the same level of service and cleanliness from the Horizon. Everywhere you walked the floor was wet, not ... Read More
We decided to go with Carnival Horizon because we had previously been on it’s sister ship the Vista which was amazing. We expect the same level of service and cleanliness from the Horizon. Everywhere you walked the floor was wet, not from people walking after coming from the pool but there were leaks everywhere. The entrance to the Havana area always had a foul smell specially in the early mornings. The Havana bar offered espresso however you couldn’t order one until 10am which I found a little late..The staff was attentive, I just think upper management didn’t schedule them correctly. Sometimes you’d have a bar full of patrons and only one bar tender, it was the same for the specialty restaurants. We did one of the carnival excursions on Grand Turk with Mark (Marky Mark), he was a great captain made the trip fun and always made sure all guests were comfortable during our snorkeling trip. Our trip was truly made by our room attendant Myat, his friendly smile everyday was just so warm and welcoming. He always accommodated our every request and left all the lovely towel animals. Thank you Myat!! You’re the best! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
New ship, new destinations. Pre-Cruise: We decided to fly into Ft Lauderdale from NYC, instead of Miami, and arrived on Thursday giving us a full one-day buffer in case of travel delays. We stayed at the Embassy Suites on the 17th ... Read More
New ship, new destinations. Pre-Cruise: We decided to fly into Ft Lauderdale from NYC, instead of Miami, and arrived on Thursday giving us a full one-day buffer in case of travel delays. We stayed at the Embassy Suites on the 17th Street Causeway, just a few minutes from the airport by cab. We have stayed at this hotel numerous times, and it’s fine for our needs. Included in the room rate is complimentary breakfast and a Manager’s Happy Hour in the evening. Because your rate will be dependent on a few variables, I won’t quote our pricing, but we thought it was reasonable. We booked transfers from the hotel to Port of Miami with QLS (limo service) and they were great. Transfers each way were $145 including gratuity (which we added to with cash for the drivers) for four adults with 11 pieces of luggage. The large private SUV was plenty big enough and the drivers were on time, professional and courteous. The ride from the hotel to Miami at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday took about 45 minutes, and by 10:00 a.m. our bags were checked with a porter at the terminal, and we were inside. The scene outside the terminal was a little hectic as arriving and departing passengers were on hand, but no drama at all. There were two or three other ships in port too, but really no traffic to speak off and the Horizon is impossible to miss. The terminal: It was nice; we didn’t plan on spending too much time there, and we didn’t. We quickly got through security checkpoints, used the washrooms to refresh, and we were on the ship by about 10:45. To be honest, the whole process was so smooth, I don’t really remember anything remarkable about it. The Ship: quick summary We all liked it a lot. This is our first Carnival cruise, and the third for our traveling companions; they had trepidations as their first two cruises on older ships were not great experiences. Within one hour of being on the ship they immediately commented on how “this was different, and Carnival seems to have gotten their act together”. I can see why. Overall, having been on over 15 cruises, I can say that the quality of food services was better on this ship than any other, and the service of the staff was on par with the best we have seen. As far as the ship itself, overall we loved it; sure there are some areas that could be improved upon, but taken on a whole, this boat is great. Our initial experience: Upon boarding, we were immediately directed to the Lido Deck, 10, where the buffet is located. We had pre-booked dining, but bought the dining package that saved us $8 bucks per head off the rack rate for the steakhouse, Italian restaurant and Asian fusion venues (combined). We didn’t purchase beverage or spa packages. We did a walkabout to get acclimated, and paid a visit to guest services which was surprisingly quiet; the folks there were very helpful. We were able to get into our staterooms and our luggage was in the process of being delivered, so we decided it was a good time to have lunch at the buffet, then returned to the staterooms to unpack. The stateroom: We had a balcony stateroom, nearer to the rear elevators, on deck 8. This ended up being perfect for us, and if I’m on this class ship again, I’d pick the same stateroom. The bed was large and comfortable, plenty of storage for folks that tend to over-pack, and the bathroom was sufficient to make showering and refreshing a pleasure. You can get room lay-outs and dimensions on the Carnival website, along with pictures. The room has a hair dryer, and the shower has those gel dispensers for soap and shampoo. No conditioner. That was fine for me (shaved head), but my wife prefers her own toiletries. Plenty of towels, TP, and tissues, and the bathroom has a vanity mirror. It’s fine. The balcony itself does not have sliders, but instead has a heavy-duty single door that swings out; it is heavy, slams with a thud, and in windy conditions can cause a “whistling” sound, heard inside the stateroom. The balcony was of ample space with two chairs and a small table. We used the balcony for pre-breakfast coffee and for drinks in the evening; we tried our best not to have laundry on the balcony, but on a few port days we did have bathing suits out there to dry. The nice thing about this location is that it’s a few steps from the stairs (more on that later) which we used a lot, and two decks below Lido with buffet, Italian and Asian restaurants and a few decks above the MDR, shops, and the Havana Bar. The theatres, two specialty restaurants and other points of interest tend to be mid-ship and forward there is some walking required. Our stateroom attendant Lawrence was great; rooms are made up once per day, and he gave us a choice (mornings or evenings); we chose mornings. He was very helpful with information about the ports and the ship, and made our stay very enjoyable. Always had clean towels and a daily planner. Oh, and the TV. Flat screen with very poor programing choices; perfect for us, we are on vacation and didn’t book a cruise to watch TV. I know, there are going to be times when you are in the stateroom and want to check the stock market, get news events, check a baseball score, or watch I Love Lucy. My suggestion is to get the internet package. BTW, after 8 days with little or no contact with the outside world, we found that the world didn’t miss us, and I didn’t miss it. The ship’s layout: You can get from here to there! Unlike many retrofitted ships that have broken up deck plans to squeeze in restaurants and attractions, this new build has very walkable decks both in the private areas (e.g., hallways to staterooms) and public areas. You can check out the deck plans on the Carnival website for specifics, but you can basically get stem to stern on public decks 5 and 10; and I had a similar experience on deck 8 where our stateroom was located. There may be a few exceptions, and because I didn’t do a Lewis and Clark type mapping, I don’t know what they would be. Just know that you won’t be wandering around the ship wondering how you can get to something. We also liked the placement of the serenity area and the spa/gym at the front of the ship. More on that later. Overall we found that things made sense, and were where they were supposed to be. Except the elevators. The elevators: This topic is probably covered the most often in reviews; many times from the perspective that people don’t know how to use the system. While that may be true, it’s not the sole cause of the issues folks are having. In the NY metro area many large office buildings, hotels and hospitals have gone to a similar system, in which the elevators have no passenger accessible floor buttons; my experience is that this can work effectively. Typically, a passenger selects the floor they wish to visit in the vestibule on a touch screen, and that same screen tells you which elevator to board by number or letter designation. The elevator will take you and other passengers to your pre-selected floor(s). Carnival’s system also asks that you make a deck selection for each passenger, so if four of you are traveling from deck 3 to deck 10, you must enter the selection four times. That seems to bug people; the idea behind this is that the elevator assigned should know how many people it has on it already, and how many are expected to enter/leave on each deck. The system overall doesn’t work well. The wait time for elevators even during non-peak periods can be very long. Frequently elevators show up full (because people jump on “any” elevator); also folks call for elevators, get impatient and leave (taking the stairs). Finally, it could be that the programing for the system is not effective; if that’s the case then a software upgrade is in order. My advice: take the stairs, or give yourself plenty of time. And if you book far enough in advance and can swing it, get a mid-level deck stateroom which limits the amount of decks you need to traverse. Finally, the elevator situation wouldn’t affect my decision to book this ship or others in its class. It really is not that big a deal to me, because I don’t mind walking, but I do get the point that the elevators should work better, and for people with mobility limitations, etc. this is a major consideration. The Spa/gym: I walked past the spa; looks nice, very clean. People in white coats stand around ready to help; sort of like a sanitarium. I did use the gym; not too crowded in the early hours (6:00 am), and it was empty on one mid-day visit while at sea. Has the requisite fitness stuff; it’s not going to replace the major fitness chains, but the treadmills, stationary bikes, etc. are more than enough for most of us. If your work-out routine is more demanding, you will likely be disappointed. The Track: Seven laps to a mile, located on deck 12 aft; near other activity centers including mini-golf, basketball, outdoor fitness equipment, etc. Get there early when the serious folks are training; after the “sleep-ins” wake up they will continually turn the track into an obstacle course, and refuse to heed the signs pointing out the direction to run/walk. The track provides a good view of the smoking area in the aft of the ship; here you will witness the effects of nicotine, caffeine and sedentary lifestyles. The Ride Thingy: It doesn’t work. It didn’t work. It never works. It won’t work in the future. Thankfully, the pedals don’t power the ship. The pools and deck chairs: What can I say. The pools and the whirlpools were in a word “overcrowded”, but hey, that’s not very different than other ships I’ve been on, although the issue here seems to be worse. Simply put, the pools are not big enough given the size of the ship and passenger count. Even though the pools were crowded, I found the fellow passengers to be polite and respectful of each other. The whirlpools are never hot enough for me, and Horizon’s are no exception. They were warm at best, which some passengers thought was fine. There were plenty of deck chairs, including claim shell lounges in which you become the baked clam. After a few days of relentless sunshine, shade was at a premium. The clam shells throughout the ship get taken up quickly, and the lounge chairs near the pools, especially those with some shade or umbrellas go fast too. There were always some chairs available in the direct sun, especially on deck 11, which is a few stair steps away from the mid-ship pool. We did find two spots on the ship that were not very crowded and provided shaded areas and lounge chairs. • On deck five in the forward areas there are cushioned lounges under an overhang (deck 6) that are peaceful and shaded. You won’t be near a pool or whirlpool, but you can cuddle up and relax. These are limited, but very few people go to this area. • On deck eleven aft, there is limited seating facing the tides pool (on deck 10) and a good deal of lounge chair seating on the port and starboard sides of the ship outside JiJi’s and Cucina Restaurants. This area is under the sports track on deck twelve and provides a good amount of shade. It’s also near enough to the tides pool, so you can go for a dip. Entertainment: There are many things to do on this ship, and we only scratched the surface, but here are a few thoughts: • The opening night showcase that features the comedians and production show cast is worth attending, although many folks may be tired from all the first day activities. We enjoyed the performers and performances, and it gave us a good idea as to what we would try to see later on. We absolutely loved Cruise Director Mike Pack, who is fun, entertaining and visible throughout the cruise. • The punch-liner comedy shows/venue is fabulous, as was our host Leo!! We went to the shows geared for both families and the adult only shows, and we never laughed so hard. Now the comedians rotate so your experience can will be different than ours. The venue is small, so we arrived 30 minutes before showtime and we had a selection of seats that could host four adults. The bar is open during shows, and there are drink specials. • The Liquid Lounge is the main theatrical venue; I liked it. Bingo, production shows, information seminars and the quest happen here. Some folks complained about poor sight lines (they have a point), limited seating (I saw that some seats were available for each event I attended), and movable seating on the stage level to support multi-functions; meh. It was all fine, just needed to get there a little early. o Soulbound was the first production show on the rotation; Jesus couldn’t save this show. It’s a mess from the word go, and I would avoid it at all costs. The folks from Motown should be suing Carnival. o Celestial Strings was not as bad as Soulbound, but it was close. Thankfully the folks sitting behind us wouldn’t stop talking during the show, and that provided ample distraction from the lunacy of the performance, an un-cohesive jumble of I don’t know what. The three string players who appeared at a number of venues throughout the ship are very talented, but their talents are wasted here. o We were too afraid to see Vintage Pop after seeing the first two shows. o The Carnival Quest. Clearly and far & above the best quest game we have ever seen. Not for the faint of heart, but it was hilarious and good fun. o Bingo with Lucky Linsey was a nice distraction during slow times • Imax Theatre. We saw two movies, also during slow times on sea days and enjoyed the experience. We didn’t do the thrill ride thingy. • The sky ride thingy: not operational on our cruise; an idea who’s time may have passed. • We didn’t do the poolside activities, so no comment there. Food and beverage: this was a hi-light!! • The buffet on Lido: we are not buffet people, but we actually did have a few meals here and they were fine. Firstly, there is a lot of seating in the buffet area, and it runs about half the length of the ship. For that reason there is less space for serving areas, and they are divided into two sections, often having different foods. We liked that coffee and ice tea/lemonade was available throughout, and juices were available in the mornings. The omelette station made eggs to order, the deli made sandwiches which could be custom tailored (e.g., no tomato), plenty of hot and cold food for self-service. We liked that salads and fresh fruit were available. No complaints. • The Specialty restaurants: We loved them!! Cucina is Italian food and it was excellent. Try the pappardelle pasta with shrimp. Also opens with limited menu on sea days and is complimentary!!!! JiJi. What can I say; I’ll call this Asian fusion. I had no idea what to order so we asked and the hostess made suggestions which were all great. You share appetizers, and of course we shared main courses which were plentiful! Also complimentary on sea days!! Fahrenheit: Great steakhouse, and our favorite bar! They will paint your desert! Just go! Bonsai Teppanyaki: Another "just go"!! I had the lobster; wow! Look, I’m not going to get into detail on the four specialty restaurants because everyone has a different idea of quality, choice and presentation. All I can say is that after 15 cruises with all the major lines on all the newer ships, this is the best set of specialty restaurants by far. • Main Dining room: We had four dinners here, using my time dining and the hub app, never had more then a one minute wait, and that was during peak periods. Food was very good, but not memorable. I did have rabbit for the first time. Better for dinner than breakfast. On sea days the MDR has brunch, and limited choices for traditional breakfast foods; when they served a full breakfast, it was hit and miss. The pancakes, waffles and breads tasted like they were pre-made and kept warm under heat lamps (chewy); the eggs and things that needed to be cooked and ready to serve were fine. Very good coffee btw, and the best grits I’ve ever tasted, and the granola was very good too. Fresh fruits always available and good; you needed to ask for pastry assortments for the table. Look, we worked around the food in the MDR that was so-so, and focused in on ordering things they seemed to excel on. And we supplemented by using room service and the buffet. We didn’t go hungry! • Other venues: Pizza: No, not so good. Sure, kids will eat anything. Burgers: The best, but you will die young. We did it once, as I prefer to live longer. Seafood shack: excellent and worth the up-charge. BBQ: Complimentary on sea days, yummy! Try the collard greens baby!! Others: we didn’t try others. • Adult beverages: o Havana bar is a favorite, but it does get loud, so conversations aren’t really possible. Get doubles for a small up-charge, and dance the night away. Pool open after 7:00 pm to everyone. o Piano Bar. Sure, and it’s adjacent to the steakhouse. We did like the steak house bar better. o Library bar. More of a library with books and games; bartenders come and go o Plaza bar and Alchemy bar didn’t attract us, nor did the bars on Lido deck. • Finally, the ship itself is very stable, although we did have fair seas and winds. We were able to dock at all four ports (Turks, DR, Curacao, and Aruba). We did some tours, but those are very personal experiences, and there are many choices; we enjoyed ours. Dis-embarkments and embarkments went smoothly; we always brought the “card” and photo ID. We really enjoyed our first Carnival Cruise and are now planning to book Mardi Gras. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose cruise on horizon for family of 5. Day before cruise, get an email from carnival sky ride is closed....... of course my kids really wanted to do that. Ship was new and spotless, crew members and director was also amazing. ... Read More
Chose cruise on horizon for family of 5. Day before cruise, get an email from carnival sky ride is closed....... of course my kids really wanted to do that. Ship was new and spotless, crew members and director was also amazing. Food was absolutely horrible and I really miss the ability to create your own salad from the salad bar (buffet) like on the dream. Guys burger joint went from being good to just okay. Dining room food horrible and if you wanted an edible steak, it costs $20 extra. Flat iron steak sucks! Made reservations in MAY, and had a confirmation email in writing from bonsai teppanyaki and when we showed up for our reservation, there was no record, nor did we have any place to eat that night......... email or not....... screw you.......lord forbid we were going to eat the rancid left overs in the buffet!!!!!! Pizza and ice cream were good. Guys pig and anchor, was good when it was free for lunch.....would NOT pay for it. Seafood shack had good fish and chips for $6......we were so hungry we were desperate for decent food. Any questions please ask. I personally felt nickel and dimed to death, and would not sail on this class of ship again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I just came of a 8 day cruise on the Carnival Horizon and it was the worst experience I have ever had on a Carnival ship. I will start by saying that the boarding process was fine. Once on board we went to the Lido deck while waiting ... Read More
I just came of a 8 day cruise on the Carnival Horizon and it was the worst experience I have ever had on a Carnival ship. I will start by saying that the boarding process was fine. Once on board we went to the Lido deck while waiting for the cabins to be ready. When we did go to our cabin #6445, we found that the cabin was nice, but we found that there were not any bathrobes in the cabin which your advertising states that there should be. I will say that the cabin steward Muh was very good and did a good job throughout the week. My party had the any time dining and on the first night we went to dinner and were seated at the back of the dining room walking past numerous empty tables. We ordered our dinners and appetizers and then waited for them to be served. The appetizers came and some were good and others were inedible. When the main course arrived not all of my parties meals arrived at the same time and when they did they were either warm or cold. We all agreed that it might just be because it was the first night. The next morning was a sea day and we all met for breakfast for the sea day brunch. We we were seated it wasn’t very busy yet. We again ordered our meals and the same issues occurred. The food was not brought out at the same time. One of my party order the Seafood tower and the bagel that came with it was so hard it was inedible. We constantly had to keep asking for coffee to be refilled instead of the wait staff offering to do it. We also had to refill our own water. One morning my wife tried the 12 hour French toast and it came out and it was raw inside. That afternoon and every day we went to the Lido deck for lunch and I will tell you that the only thing in our opinion that was good was either the Deli which you had wait in a very long line or Guy’s Burgers which also had long lines. In my opinion that was due to the poor quality of the food on the buffet. That evening we again met for dinner and we we again escorted to the very back of the dining room past many empty tables. We were put in a secondary dining area that was so dark you would not have be able to see the food when served. At this point I went to the hostess to complain and the Maitre D heard me and I explained the situation to him. He did arrange for us to have a table closer to the from and also gave us a very good waitress named Healene who we had for the remainder of the trip. Unfortunately the quality of the food never improved for the remainder of the trip. We were constantly having to asked for something else to eat or just not finishing our food. We went to several shows in the lounges and found them to be of very poor quality and actually walked out of several of them. The one that we looked forward to called the Celestial Strings was a huge disappointment. They also offered one that was Music that was from the Big Band time that was ruined by interjecting modern music into it. I know that this is a new and bigger ship, but I found it to be not a easy ship to get around in. In my opinion, to get to certain areas of the ship you have to either go up or down a deck to get to them. Even though I found the dining experience to be bad, there was one thing that surpassed that and that is the elevator system. I have never heard so many complaints by so many people about the elevators in all my years of cruising. It has to be the most idiotic system I have ever seen. You press a button and you are assigned to an elevator and you have no idea when that elevator will arrive because you don’t see what floor it is on. Many a time after waiting several minutes we would end up taking the stairs. This is not a big deal when it is one or two flights, but is very annoying when you are on deck four and you want to go to deck 10. The ship has a Serenity area that is just for adults, but it is beyond my understanding how you don’t have a pool on that same area. We did use the pool at the stern of the ship but found it to be overcrowded and felt like sardines when in it. We also went into the hot tubs on several occasions and they were just warm and the jets were very weak. No air in the jets for the relaxing feel. My wife and I both enjoy going to the casino when we cruise and I will tell you that we found the casino staff all very nice. The only complaint I have is that the cigarette smoke and smell is so bad that being non smokers it is very hard to stay for very long. You would think that this being a new ship they would have done a better job on recirculating the air in the casino to remove the smell. Even when the casino was closed when in port if you had to walk thru it, it stunk. I have been a frequent cruiser on Carnival and have never had a bad experience until now Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose Carnival because it seemed to be the cruise line that appealed to our family in the past. Things have changed in the last 5 years on Carnival. We chose the Horizon because of the timing and because it was a newer ship. The Pros - ... Read More
We chose Carnival because it seemed to be the cruise line that appealed to our family in the past. Things have changed in the last 5 years on Carnival. We chose the Horizon because of the timing and because it was a newer ship. The Pros - New Ship and very clean, the embarkation and debarkation were excellent, Never tried Your Time Dining before and was leary but we would up being ok with it. The Cons - My family hated the elevator system (I used the stairs so it did not effect me often), the food in in dining room was not as tastey, varied, and as plentiful as it used to be, the entertainment was not appealing to us, and the comedians onboard that week were awful. We never paid to eat in one of the extra $ dining rooms, but we did try the Mongolian Wok and Guys Pig and Anchor at lunch when they offered free meals. We liked the Mongolian Wok, but were disappointed in the BBQ options (except for the pulled pork, it was good) The excursions we chose were great. We did an ATV ride in Grand Turk, Dunebuggies and Monkeyland in Dominican Republic (these two excursions were the best we have ever done on any cruise), no excursion in Curacao only walked around town, and De Palm Island in Aruba (this was very nice). The excursion for my husband and son in the Domincan Republic was late getting back to the ship, but as promised the cruise line waited for the group to return (there were only 8 of them on this dune buggy excursion) and did not leave them! The overall experience was a good one, but we were bored a lot of the time while on the ship. Maybe it's because our children are now in their 20s and we have cruised about 9 times. It could just be getting old for us. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
f you want to be overwhelmed by inefficiency, and get a good laugh to keep your sanity, and be extremely frustrated at the same time, the elevator system on the Horizon will invoke all sorts of feelings I did not meet one passenger that ... Read More
f you want to be overwhelmed by inefficiency, and get a good laugh to keep your sanity, and be extremely frustrated at the same time, the elevator system on the Horizon will invoke all sorts of feelings I did not meet one passenger that did not criticize the elevator system. Even crew members laughed at it’s inefficiency. People walked multiple decks, constantly, because they could not bear the wait for an elevator. Guess Carnival installed a system for passengers to keep weight down. Go luck if you are handicapped or a senior. Disembarkation was a nightmare. There were other negatives in addition to the elevators. On the plus side my wife made a small amount of money in the casino. Just so you don’t think these comments are from a new cruiser—this was my 91st cruise on 9 different cruise lines on over 30 different ships. I would place this Horizon cruise amongst the 5 worst. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We sailed on the "New" Carnival Horizon in July 2019. A family of four (2 adults and two teenagers) who have all cruised before on Carnival and Royal. We get two adjoining ocean front rooms. What we liked - In each room we ... Read More
We sailed on the "New" Carnival Horizon in July 2019. A family of four (2 adults and two teenagers) who have all cruised before on Carnival and Royal. We get two adjoining ocean front rooms. What we liked - In each room we had two bathrooms - one is a shower, toilet and sink and the other is a tub/shower and sink. We found this very useful for getting ready so all of could shower at the same time. Guys Burger Joint - great food as always Reflections Dining Room - great dinner service and awesome staff; attention to detail Punchliner - they had three different comedians and each did family or late night comedy - lots of variety Pig & Anchor - this was like a hidden gem - BBQ food for lunch was free and was good Getting on and off the boat was very easy and quick - no issues at all. Room - size was good (standard), had enough room to unpack comfortably. Comfortable beds. What we did like - Sea Day Brunch - same menu every day and very limited; extremely slow service Entertainment - the evening shows (with the exception of lip sync battle) were really not good. Themes were very limited. Show times - their timing did not match up with the dining times - was so annoying. Times every night were 7:30 or 9:30. So with the 8:15 dining time, we either had to show up late to watch a 7:30 show or rush through to make it to the 9:30 show. Seating was very bad in the main theater. Too many poles blocking view and very small theater for the size of ship. Chargers/Plugs - Need more places to charge/plug in. They only had a spot near the vanity mirror - very annoying since I like my phone near the bed and this was not achievable. There should be a plug or two near the bed area. Bring an extension cord. Teen Clubs - The way they break up the age was terrible - my daughter is in HS yet they had her lumped in with 12-14 year olds. She was a month out from 15. They would make no exception so they did not use this as my kids wanted to hang together. Lido Buffet - they were never fully equipped. We had multiple occasions where the buffet was still open for an hour yet they were closing it down. With only 1 section open, the lines were horrible. When they ran our of something we were told they have nothing else and we had to chose from what was in the buffet. Food at the buffets was not good. Salad stuff looked like it was about 5 days past expiring. Nothing looked fresh and did not taste it either. Deli - they had 1 or two people here and that was simply not enough. The line was sooooo long every day no matter what time you went. Since the buffet was often out of stuff or had long lines, many went to the deli. Very frustrating. Pizza - was just ok. It would be better if this was located someplace away from buffet so you could avoid having to walk through that mess to get to pizza. On Royal - it is nice that their food places are located in different spots so everyone does not congregate in one location. Elevators - this new system where you enter a floor number then wait for your elevator to arrive was awful. Many times there would not be enough room; if you made a mistake you were stuck, waited so long for elevators. Terrible system. Overall, we had good ports. Was not thrilled with LaRomana but Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk were good. Grand Turk - you can walk right off boat to the beach and there is also a large pool there. Plenty of drinks, music, etc. Water had a lot of seaweed which made for not wanting to get in much but we walked to pool and jumped in to cool off. Umbrellas and chairs for rent - there is no set price so just negotiate. Overall, for a ship that was so new, the only new thing we noticed was the sky ride (which was fun). Need better shows and timing. This was probably our last Carnival cruise for a while. Have been enjoying Royal much better. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I have cruised on Carnival a few times before. We left out of Miami after staying at the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach, which I would not recommend. We had Faster to the Fun, which is always worth it. Got on the boat in a breeze. Rooms ... Read More
I have cruised on Carnival a few times before. We left out of Miami after staying at the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach, which I would not recommend. We had Faster to the Fun, which is always worth it. Got on the boat in a breeze. Rooms were ready around 1:30pm. I felt like the rooms were bigger than those in the past. The lights confused us - your sign and sail must be in the holder for the power and lights to work. This also caused issues with charging - when there is no card or lights, no phones, etc. are charging. Seating was limited upon arrival at the Lido deck until rooms were available, but able to grab a table and have some buffet food for lunch. Our boys got pizza. Dinner was in the dining room, where our head waiter was not the most friendly of people, but they got the job done. Paid extra for the surf and turf, which in my opinion, was not worth it. Day two - day at sea. Did the brunch in the Meridian dining room, very good. Little one had the skillet cake, older the steak and eggs, hubby the French toast, which he ordered again. All very good. Very fun, so much for the boys to do. My oldest tried to do the Sea Ride, but the wait was an hour, so he passed. The boys did the water slides, pool, all the activities like golf, soccer, ping pong, etc. Dinner was in the Italian restaurant. It was good, but not the best I’ve ever had. Lunch was with the hubby at the sushi restaurant, which I highly recommend. It was so good. Day three - Jamaica. Did the bobsled excursion. The line was very long, like at least an hour for my kids and husband before they got on the sleds. Once they did it was very fun. The changing stations were not the best, so wear your suit under your clothes. Dinner was in the main dining, decent food. Day three - Grand Cayman. Did the turtle excursion. The bus we got on was hot and overcrowded, which is not unusual for these excursions, but one family went rogue and we were stuck on the bus waiting for them forever, sweating to death. Got to the turtle place, and it was pretty cool, but the heat was pretty unbearable. Their pool and slide were amazing! Had a decent lunch in their little restaurant. Took a public bus back to avoid the hot bus again, which was quite the adventure. But we arrived faster than the tour bus, which was good. Had dinner at the Teppanyaki place, which was so good. I highly recommend if you are lucky enough to get a reservation. The service was great and so was the good! Day four - Cozumel. Due to a late excursion to Passion Island were able to have a lazy breakfast at the Meridian. Good omelette, just a bit small. The excursion was ok. It was a 40 minute boat ride to the island, but they then make you wait in line to take yet another picture (which judging by the crowd, everyone was hot and over pictures at that point and just wanted to do their own thing). You then walk over to a meeting point where they tell you all about the island while the sweat trails down your back, and then they spend several minutes talking about tipping. The water was nice, we floated in it for quite some time. The open bar is not worth it, we ended up buying a couple of drinks from the cash bar to avoid warm well liquor. The buffet was meh, most food being out, they ran out of plates, and at the end, I found a hair in my food. When it was time to go back, we literally sat in the blazing sun for 20 minutes while they talked about tipping them. Enough. It’s hot. We had dinner at Guy’s Pig and Anchor. OMG. So amazing. Hubs had the prime rib which was delicious, I had pulled pork, my oldest had the ribs. All were so good. I would have eaten there every day for lunch had I known!!! Day five - Day at sea. Pools, basketball, sportsing, all the fun. Lunch was at the taco/burrito place which was ok. Dinner was at the steakhouse, Farenheit 555, on the boat. It was amazing. The only complaint was that they told us our oldest had to wear pants (which we bought but he forgot to pack), so we spent $65 on pants for him. When we got to the restaurant there was a family there that was wearing shirts with swear words on them, sweat pants, backwards baseball hats, half shirts and jeans, I could not believe that we were told our son could not wear his nice Gap khaki shorts, but this is ok with dress code, When I brought this to the restaurant’s attention, their comment was we just require pants. When I questioned if he wore his pajama pants, would that have been ok, they stated they just require pants. At the end of the day, they took care of us and we felt fully compensated but not sure that the requirement of pants is truly the requirement. We went to some comedy shows, did some trivia (I came in 3rd place for Mean Girls trivia), had a ton of pool time. I will say, this cruise had the most people I have ever cruised with, but with the use of space on the Horizon you would never know. With the exception of the embarkation day, there were no lines for food or issues with seating. You could actually use the pools and get a chair, and there were no issues with people. The restaurant food far surpasses the dining room and was a pleasant surprise. I loved the Horizon and would go back in a heartbeat!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We just got back today! This was a family cruise for my husband and I and our 2 kids, ages 10 and 9, and my Mom. I absolutely loved it, loved all the activities on board, found my happy place on the 2nd level shaded area by the pool (must ... Read More
We just got back today! This was a family cruise for my husband and I and our 2 kids, ages 10 and 9, and my Mom. I absolutely loved it, loved all the activities on board, found my happy place on the 2nd level shaded area by the pool (must reserve your spots early with towels) they go fast! The bingo was fun, enjoyed the comedy shows, laughed my head off at the hairy chest competition by the pool, kids had fun on all the kid friendly game area including mini golf, my son was obsessed with billiard soccer, loved the chocolate extravaganza, my mom won $80 in the casino, the excursions we went on were amazing!!! Curacao has fantastic snorkeling, La Romana had a blast zip lining into a pool at Bavarian Adventure Park, fantastic!! We had a tour guide going to Aruba’s Eagle beach that was over the top funny, entertaining and passionate about Aruba: Albert Washington! Loved the ride to the beach because of Albert! Learned so much about this happy place!! The 2 guys that kept our cabins pristine: Midhun and Liberado, thanks for all your hard work to give us the best vacation ever! We loved our cabin!! #8386, of course the food was amazing! Nobody does it like Carnival! Xo Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Wide variety of activities and plenty of room to spread out. We loved the Playlist Productions shows - especially Soulbound and Celestial Strings. Only complaint was that the comedy club was too small. We still got in to see some good ... Read More
Wide variety of activities and plenty of room to spread out. We loved the Playlist Productions shows - especially Soulbound and Celestial Strings. Only complaint was that the comedy club was too small. We still got in to see some good shows but that was the only area with large waits. Sky bike was fun. Excellent food service. We had early seating and it was fast and efficient. Some of the dishes were fantastic. All were good. Dining room breakfast service was also fast . We had our own hot buffet in the family harbor area - great for the kids and for excursion days. Staff and activities in the kids clubs were great. Jane made sure that the kids in Circle C made friends and had fun. We are used to smart elevators but many are not - some posted instructions would be helpful for those that have not used them. Many people did not understand that they had to push once for each person and then were frustrated when their group could not fit on. Unnecessary frustration. Ports - DR - we stayed on the boat as did many others. The rest of the ports were great. Aruba- nice tour and mini sub ride, Grand Turk - went to the beach next to the ship, Curacao - walked to town and shops. We always have fun on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Our first cruise experience ever was the Carnival Fascination some 15+ years ago. We have a very nice time but with the caveat that the Carnival brand was a younger person's party cruise and we were ready for something a bit more ... Read More
Our first cruise experience ever was the Carnival Fascination some 15+ years ago. We have a very nice time but with the caveat that the Carnival brand was a younger person's party cruise and we were ready for something a bit more sophisticated. Since then, we have done multiple trips on Disney, NCL and RC. After watching a promo video on the new Carnival Horizon ship, we decided to give Carnival another try. Three days into our eight day trip and I expressed to my wife how pleasantly surprised I was at the experience. I was actually borderline impressed and that says a lot from someone like me. The food onboard was outstanding. We noticed that in comparison to our last Disney cruise experience where Disney appeared to be ratcheting down their food quality and experience, Carnival has totally upped their game. Don't get me wrong - cruise ship food is just that, cruise ship food. But on a scale of 1 - 10, Carnival's Horizon experience was a solid 9+. From their fast food stops, to their buffets to their sit-down options - we were pleased through and through. Like any company, Carnival has made choices on where to invest their dollars and where to throttle back their investment. The positives areas where they made investment: - kid's water park on top (although it should be open past the 6:00pm that is shut's down each day) - food options - dining room experiences - solid stateroom size, cleanliness and experience - great staff members - hand wash machines at key locations (albeit see below as not everyone used them) - cabin, bar and restaurant staffs were outstanding The negatives: - limited TV channels to a handful or so. On a 8 day cruise, at the very least an option should be offered to purchase an extended package of TV channels - soft drink availability options were the pits and forcing you into a woefully overpriced pre-pay package was a lousy alternative - the lack of actual chicken fingers on the boat was noticeable for parents with kids in tow. it wasn't that they were nowhere, they just were very limited in when and where you could find them - lack of staff to force hand sanitizer on people entering the buffers was noticed - so many people and presumably so many germs. It makes one feel better to know that at least everyone was being offered sanitizer as they come into the space - the "fun crew" were a bit grouchy. Don't get me wrong, they put their best face forward. From the cruise director to his staff, you could sense that they were short on patience and the repetition of what they do each week was perhaps weighing on them. With our experience on the Horizon, Carnival rose to a tie for our favorite cruise experience. While very different then Disney, and not to be thought of as like cruise experiences, Carnival more then holds its own in the cruise market on this ship. We considered the Carnival experience to be on par with our RC experience on Oasis. NCL has moved to a distant last place based on all of our experiences. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I love the deep Southern Caribbean cruises and this was a new ship of Carnivals and I wanted to give it a try and it did not let me down. Food was great, entertainment was fun and they had a lot to do for every age group. Our Suite in the ... Read More
I love the deep Southern Caribbean cruises and this was a new ship of Carnivals and I wanted to give it a try and it did not let me down. Food was great, entertainment was fun and they had a lot to do for every age group. Our Suite in the Havana was so nice our own private patio with a swing chair was so nice. We had a 2 sink bathroom with a walk in shower with a built in seat and a rain shower head. Loved it there were 4 of us to this room and we all had plenty so space to sleep and 2 TV so there was no fighting over the channel changer but who cares we were outside so much. The bike ride was scary and fun glad I did it and the skies were so much fun. The service to me was a 10 because the restaurant service team foe my anytime dinning always made sure I was at the same table because I wanted to keep the same people to serve use because they were so good to my family. They joked with us they took pictures with us and genuine care that they were happy to see us every night as we were to see them. They work very hard on these cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I commend the Cruise Director, entertainment staff and Playlist Productions on a wonderful experience. The Celestial Strings was by far the best production i've seen on any ship. This was quite a stunning performance and the team is ... Read More
I commend the Cruise Director, entertainment staff and Playlist Productions on a wonderful experience. The Celestial Strings was by far the best production i've seen on any ship. This was quite a stunning performance and the team is very talented. The Cruise Director Mike is so entertaining and has so much energy and really knows how to pump up the crowd and include everyone. He was EVERYWHERE ensuring fun! Our family loved him. The dining room staff was upbeat and they had a few really good dancers surprisingly. The food was average and I recommend ordering from the Grill. There were several dishes I had to send back, but overall we were satisfied. The salmon was amazing and the lobster was very good! The buffet could use some healthier options and wish it was open after long port stays when pizza or burgers were the only options....i love guy's burgers but really dont want to live off them for days. I would like more fruit and green options as well for breakfast. Would be nice to have more than one cook on omelette station. The bar service was great and so was the pool service. Rarely had to wait for drinks. They were really on top of it. I had a balcony room, 7223 and our cabin steward was Arnell. He was by far the best i've had on over 10 cruises. The room was spotless and we always had fresh pool and bath towels. We were so impressed. I tend to do my own things for excursions and rented a jeep in Grand turk. This was such a great option for us as we got to go offroad to a few "off the beaten places" and felt completely safe on this island. Love this island and the snorkling here is topnotch. We rented a van in Aruba with another family and again, this was a great way to see the island and go at our pace. We took taxi in LaRamona to the beach which was 25 mins away. There were many "sales" people every 2 minutes trying to sell stuff but the service for chairs/food was nice. The beach was clean but we were not impressed with this port and would not want to return. No areas to walk too and many people didnt feel safe as there have been many issues in the country for tourists recently. Curacao was beautiful and we taxi'd to Mambo beach in the afternoon and enjoyed walking the city for shopping in the morning. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
So our Cruise group sets out every two years on a adult only cruise. We need a break from the kids. Anyway in choosing a cruise, destination and ship are the main criteria for us. After our 2017 cruise we knew the Horizon was set to ... Read More
So our Cruise group sets out every two years on a adult only cruise. We need a break from the kids. Anyway in choosing a cruise, destination and ship are the main criteria for us. After our 2017 cruise we knew the Horizon was set to debut soooooooo we checked out the destinations and low and behold it was cruising to 3 new Islands we had never visited, Dominican Republican, Aruba and Curacao besides our first port Turks and Caicos which most of us had visited at least twice. Also it was a 8 night 9 day jaunt and since we loooooove to cruise ding ding ding the Horizon was our Pick for 2019, June 1st 2019 to be exact. Porting outta Miami we were hyped up about this cruise. We were not disappointed. Upon boarding the ship we were impressed with the atrium and the area around the large atrium bar. Of course we saw plenty of live and virtual video's of the ship, impressed we were, but live and in person confirmed what the video's showed us, this ship is Da Bomb!!! .....and we had just stepped on board. Anyway not to write a book, the elevators were new and using a new system and they were easy to navigate. The lido deck with its usual Guys Burgers, Frog Bar and Taco and Burrito stand were there and did not disappoint. The new set up for the buffet was interesting as it took the form of two island stands and you circle the stands to get the grub. In the middle is a chef who serves you bacon for breakfast or carves up the meat for lunch and dinner. Ok dont freak out cause the omelette station is set up on both sides of the buffet room and of course the buffet is set up on each end of the deck. Oh yeah the food was grrrrrreat! The ship is easy to navigate, The specialty restaurants are in close proximity, you can see em from the big huge picture windows which give you a view of the inner ship as well as a ocean view on the other side of the eateries. Our cabin was great, we had a balcony, and the entertainment of all levels was a++. The IMAX movie theater show's first run movies and At Thrill Theater, action jumps off the screen in a complete multidimensional experience - feel the wind in your hair or a light splash here and there or a poke in your back. Yes I did jump. The service was exceptional, the staff and crew were very professional and friendly. The ports were very beautiful, even grand turk for the 3rd time but Curacao stole the show. We took a private island tour: we just paid a cab driver to take us around so he loaded all 11 of us onto his van and gave us a very detailed tour complete with stops to take pics, visit the Premium Curaçao Liqueur & Blue Curaçao distillary and some of the resorts. This was a great tour. This is a great ship. Book it!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Many months ago, we chose this cruise primarily because of date availability and number of activities for our 3 grandchildren, ages 6-14. When we realized booking in the Family Harbor was basically the same price as a regular interior, we ... Read More
Many months ago, we chose this cruise primarily because of date availability and number of activities for our 3 grandchildren, ages 6-14. When we realized booking in the Family Harbor was basically the same price as a regular interior, we went that route because of the private lounge for gaming, snacks, coffee, television, etc. This was the first time we have tried doing a family cruise with 11 of us. There were some challenges with that. But overall, it was still super. My wife and I have cruised about 12 times on various ships, but this was the largest ship we've booked and there is good and bad that goes with that. The embarkation was very smooth. We chose to park our cars off-sight, so we did a drive-through the Port of Miami to drop 9 people plus all our luggage. The 2 drivers then headed off to park the vehicles on the mainland, catch the shuttle back to the Port, and get with the family. Family was dropped off at 12:00 noon, and we boarded the boat at 1:00 pm. We couldn't get to our rooms right then, but with a little sweet-talking, they did allow us to head into the Family Harbor area just to drop off our carry on's at our room before heading on to lunch. We chose Guy's Pig & Anchor on Deck 5 for our lunch rather than head to the Lido Buffet. Overall, a good decision. The food at the BBQ was not quite what I had hoped for, but it was good, and it was even better when very few people seemed to opt for that choice despite it being free on sailing day. Overall, meals were good--above average. Nothing just wowed me at dinners, but all was good. We chose Anytime Dining, but after our first night of meeting our waiters that night, we zeroed in on making a point to get to them each night. "Big G" was our waiter---he was phenomenal with our kids! He was a grandfather of 3, and I think our 3 must have reminded him of his own grandkids. He made them feel so special. So, as the week wore on, our "Anytime Dining" was driven by our ability to get to Big G's table. The process of getting your Anytime Dining seating was a little different. You had to go to the coffee bar on Floor 5 to "check in" and show your entire party. At that point, you would be sent back to floor 3 to the dining hall, or given a beeper and told you would be called in a while. Sea Days were incredibly busy in the Water Parks area and Ropes Course/SkyRider. On the day the boat was in Cozumel, we made a decision to stay onboard with the grandkids so they could have complete access to those activities without the long lines. I would advise thinking about doing that as well. Pick a day you are not going into a port and use the ship's activities without all the hassles. All of those activities also have limited hours. The Water Park closes at 6:00 pm every evening. Check the hours on your Carnival Hub regularly to make sure you don't miss opportunities to do things. We found the Deli line and Pizza Line to not even be worth the hassle in the late evenings. I don't ever recall being on a cruise where I didn't hit up the Pizza Place at least a few times late in the evening. One night on the way to the Ice Cream dispenser, I hit a line and asked the people what it was for. "The Deli" was the answer. I refuse to wait 45 minutes for a Reuben at 10:30 at night. That was probably the biggest downer on the cruise for us was more long lines. We knew with the bigger ships, that might be an issue. It was a little more than I was comfortable with. Guy's Burger Joint on the Pool Deck on Sea Days was at least 30 people deep for hours at a time. Sea Days, normally a favorite of mine, were uncomfortable due to the crowds. I also acknowledge if we were not traveling with kids, there were other options available for adult pools and areas. Highlights were our excursions of Mystic Mountain/Jamaican Bobsled Run & Dunn River Falls climb in Jamaica. Our oldest son and wife took the 3 kids on a swim with the stingrays trip in Grand Cayman. They had a real blast doing that as well. Both of these excursions were great. My wife did not care for the Promenade Shops at all on this boar. They are good for expensive watches, perfume, or liquor. The normal shops where you can walk around and look at clothes and knick-knacks just weren't there. In her eyes, this was a major bummer. PIxels photo lobby was great--had not been on a cruise since the photo shops have gone more modern. Now you just log in and look at your photos vs. see all the photos lined up on the wall. Much smoother. Debarkation was a disaster for some reason. We were very, very late getting off the boat. In fact, still sitting there at 11:00 waiting for number to be called. This was contrary to everything I'd read about the new procedures in Port of Miami being smoother. I will assume it was an anomaly, but on this particular day, it was a long, long wait. We were beginning to think we'd get to sail away with the next group of passenger. Overall, it was a great trip with family. A memory maker. We didn't care for the long lines, the shoppes, casino (super small), but there were plenty of activities, wonderful dining room staff, nice sea day brunch, and plenty of positives. We enjoy Carnival--just understand it is what it is---low cost (for the most part) carrier with not a lot of the frills, bells and whistles you might like, but it got the job done for the 11 of us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Our fabulous 8-day cruise to the “Exotic Southern Caribbean” aboard the Carnival Horizon was filled with plenty of positives and very few negatives. My wife and I wondered if the negative reviews were actually describing another ship. ... Read More
Our fabulous 8-day cruise to the “Exotic Southern Caribbean” aboard the Carnival Horizon was filled with plenty of positives and very few negatives. My wife and I wondered if the negative reviews were actually describing another ship. Tastes, preferences, and interests are unique to each cruiser, so I offer a bit of caution when you read those negative reviews about the Carnival Horizon. We sailed from Miami on May 18 and returned on May 26 after visiting Grand Turk, Dominica, Curacao, and Aruba. Boarding was a little delayed due to the previous cruise arriving late, but once we started moving, everything went very smoothly. We were settled in for a delicious BBQ lunch at the Pig and Anchor by 1:00. Sail away was at 4:00. A brief note about each port: On Grand Turk we simply enjoyed relaxing on the beach. Umbrellas and chairs are free in rows three and four. Margaritaville has a very nice pool with free access just steps away from the beach. We spent a relaxing day without spending any money! On Dominica we paid for an excursion to Monkeyland. If you read any negative reviews about this, I doubt the reviewer really went there. It was super fun to have the monkeys jump onto you for the food which was given to us. This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience! The ride to the monkeys aboard a comfortable bus gave us a glimpse of life on the island. On Curacao we strolled around the city enjoying the Dutch architecture, and we placed a padlock on the Lovelock Sculpture. This is a fun thing to do. Remember to bring a padlock. We did a little gambling, but didn’t win anything. We didn’t lose much, either. We didn’t leave port until 10 PM, so we got a glimpse of the lights at night. We didn’t stroll far enough from the dock to get a really good view, however. On Aruba we took the second of our two excursions. We took a comfortable bus tour of the top ten sites on Aruba. This was very enjoyable. Be sure to heed the guide’s warning about which stops have fee restrooms and which are free. We got back to the port in plenty of time to do some shopping in the area. Right outside the restricted port area you will find a local market. There are actually two “markets.” You need to cross the busy street to get to the one which appears to be more “local” and is in a big tent. I imagine many of the products are made in China but it still fun to browse in the market and talk to the local people. Now the “highlights” and “lowlights.” In no particular order: There was plenty of seating, everywhere, despite having almost 5,000 people onboard. There were only 500 children, so that may have made a difference. Single deck chairs were always available. If you needed a lot of chairs in a row they were not always available. My favorite place to sit was the Lani. Lounge chairs were always available there. My wife preferred a chair in the sun near a pool. She almost always found her chair waiting for her. Seating for shows was not as difficult as I expected. We always arrived a half hour before show time, but we would not have had to. The food in the dining room was almost always very good. I know you read otherwise, but unless you are a foodie, you will be happy. The food on the buffet was good and you have many options. Sometimes the dining room food is served on the buffet. At lunch there is a special row of fancy iced cakes. If you try a few pieces at each lunch, you will discover your favorite, but they do change every day. In the regular dessert section of the buffet they sometimes have amaretto cake which is excellent. Try it with some of the free ice-cream or gelato, which is available 24 hours a day. My very favorite dessert was the 7-layer cake served only during Sea Day Brunch. I liked that better than their signature melting chocolate cake served the dining room. Pizza is available 24 hours a day. It’s good. Guy’s Burgers are fantastic. They are free and there are several variations. Food in Ji Ji’s Asian Kitchen is outstanding. It is a specialty restaurant so you have to pay $15 for it. At noon there is a free version of the great food. It is called the Mongolian Wok at lunch. The bed and bedding were very comfortable. We were able to disembark at each port, quickly. Lemonade is always free and always available. It does not taste free! We really liked it. The Carnival Hub App is free and a must-have. It tells you what’s happening, which food places are open, and many other useful things. For $5 you can add a chat feature so you can text with your cruise mates for the whole cruise. My wife and I found it very helpful. The pastrami sandwich in the deli is delicious, and huge! There is free room service until late night. We just used it for coffee in the morning. The staff was very friendly, helpful, and kind. Once exception is noted below. Everything is squeaky clean and they are always cleaning and tidying up. The Fresh Creations salad bar on the Serenity Deck allows you to make a salad with dozens of ingredients. You can even load up on shrimp! I hesitate mentioning the few negatives because the positives far outweigh them. Our wait staff was not very attentive to our needs and the main waiter forgot things. When we asked for lemon or coffee he said he would bring it, but didn’t. He even forgot one of my main dishes. We heard it was advantageous to provide an extra tip at the beginning of the cruise. We won’t do that again. The people in the casino were not helpful and the lady in the cage was rude to me. I was told to “settle down” in a condescending tone. The free popcorn during movies on the deck was not very good. We didn’t try the popcorn for purchase in the theater. Although it was not Carnival’s fault, sometimes inconsiderate people sat next to me during the shows. One woman sang along when it wasn’t a sing-along! She did stop when I asked her to, however. These few negatives will not prevent us from sailing on a Carnival ship in the future. We loved our Carnival Horizon adventure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
As a family that cruises regularly, my husband and I decided to spend our family vacation this year aboard the Carnival Horizon, traveling with our six year old and 10 month old daughters. Worst and most expensive mistake we ever made. ... Read More
As a family that cruises regularly, my husband and I decided to spend our family vacation this year aboard the Carnival Horizon, traveling with our six year old and 10 month old daughters. Worst and most expensive mistake we ever made. Being that we have cruised with Carnival several times in the past and had wonderful experiences I neglected to read the reviews prior to booking with the Horizon. The customer service experience was horrible. On the very first day and immediately after embarkation I was trying to take a picture of my daughter next to the life size towel animal and because it was with my own camera and not carnivals, I wasn’t allowed to take the photo. Just another tactic to force you into buying the mediocre and expensive photos through carnival instead of being able to capture your own memories. Shortly after that, my youngest daughter and I were rudely kicked out of what I thought was a kids pool because she wasn’t potty trained even though she was wearing a little swimmer. Of course she isn’t potty trained, she’s 10 months old. I was very embarrassed needless to say. I stood in a very long line at guest services just to be told that she isn’t allowed in any pool on any deck and there is no designated swimming or splashing area for babies who aren’t potty trained. You would think that they would have this policy listed on the website or at least somewhere visible but absolutely not. Oh and by the way, she wasn’t allowed in the toddler/baby play area either. So we paid full price for a child to go on a cruise and not be allowed to participate in any fun activities for children. It was Mother’s Day and also my birthday. What a gift. The ship itself was extremely crowded with no guidance from the service team members who were impersonal and often very rude. I stood in front in the pixels desk for about two minutes without any greeting or acknowledgement of my presence. Once the service member acknowledged me, I was greeted with a crude “can I help you?”. The food was bland and oftentimes horrible and left my husband sick for 3 days. The buffet lines were out of control to the point that we avoided breakfast due to the chaos. We missed our excursions because the ship time wasn’t coordinated with the time at the port. There were people walking around in common areas screaming, cursing and even physically fighting and nothing was being done about it. There was so much noise in the hallways and on the balconies in the middle of the night that it made getting a good nights rest nearly impossible. On one of the last nights my husband scheduled a massage for me. It was absolutely the worst massage I have ever received and definitely the most expensive one. The masseuse decided that it would be a great idea to interview me face to face prior to the massage. She asked several questions that I didn’t feel comfortable answering regarding my home and personal life. I simply wanted a massage. Not a therapist. She was very rough and stated that it was supposed to hurt because my muscles were too tense. She then rubbed a bogus lotion on my back and wanted to charge me over $100 to purchase the product that she insisted would miraculously cure all of my stress and tension (her recommendation). After refusing several times I became annoyed with the relentless pressure to buy her products. By the way, she told me that my skin was extremely dry; the driest she’s ever seen actually; as she proceeded to recommend her almost $200 milk bath. I was insulted and very irritated. If her goal was to do the opposite of helping me relax she succeeded. Overall, this trip cost us around $4,000 not including the onboard expenses, gratuities and excursions. We could have made better use of our money for sure. That was definitely our last cruise with Carnival. If you have low expectations, no children and just want to party, the horizon might just be the ship for you. Otherwise please do your research first! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was a cruise for my sister's retirement celebration. Unfortunately we had a serious illness in my family just prior to leaving and my husband stayed at home. Carnival was horrible to deal with. Guest Services were of no help - ... Read More
This was a cruise for my sister's retirement celebration. Unfortunately we had a serious illness in my family just prior to leaving and my husband stayed at home. Carnival was horrible to deal with. Guest Services were of no help - they couldn't resolve anything. Carnival arbitrarily cancelled shore excursions, added restaurant reservations (some all on the same night and time) and then wiped out my credit card so we didn't have charging privileges. Each time I figured out they had screwed up something it meant a 45 min. wait in line at Guest Services. I would be told it was taken care of then I'd find out it wasn't, leading to extra charges, rebooking shore excursions and hoping I would get a refund. The standard reply was " in 7 -10 days when you get off the cruise we should refund your money to your credit card." Couldn't give me a receipt or anything. When asked what if they don't? I was told take it up with Carnival's main office. So far no refunds have appeared. Surprise. I had booked two balcony rooms and a suite. You couldn't get to the rooms until 1:30pm day of embarkation. That's normal, however this ship has nowhere to go until then. We boarded at 1pm. Not a seat or place to stand anywhere. The ship was very hot and stayed that way throughout the cruise. Everyone was complaining. My sister's room had no air conditioning so they brought her a fan and thought she'd be happy. It took day 3 before she had air conditioning in her room. Never saw anyone cleaning. Not surprised we had a family member get ill. Food in dining room was awful. Tiny portions and no flavor. Pig and Anchor was good at lunch but awful at night. Didn't have the items to make the drinks they advertised. Food was very cold and took forever. Lobster shak was awful. Food took forever and then tasted like grocery store frozen shrimp and seafood salad. I did enjoy the trivia onboard. The cruise director and staff were pleasant and fun. The steakhouse and other pay restaurants were good except for the ones mentioned above. The casino was very small and terribly smokey. This was my last Carnival cruise - the staff could care less if your problem was resolved and the entire ship was disorganized. The lack of sanitizing was troublesome. The elevator board was disgusting -it never got cleaned. Many of the handwashing stations were out of order. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Horizon was great! Our handicap room, 10205, was excellent. The room was very large, and I could use the scooter everywhere. Even though it is listed as an interior room, the room has an slightly obstructive ocean view size window, and a ... Read More
Horizon was great! Our handicap room, 10205, was excellent. The room was very large, and I could use the scooter everywhere. Even though it is listed as an interior room, the room has an slightly obstructive ocean view size window, and a great view. All the staff were fantastic when dealing with handicap people... from the people helping to board, to the time we left! I was thrilled about that, as I had concerns before the cruise. The only MAJOR problem on the cruise was all the smoke in the casino!! People were having to leave the area allot just to get a breath of fresh air! I had a bad cough after 3 days, and it took me over a week and a half after the cruise to clear up. Other than that, great cruise! The food in the buffet was just okay, definitely not allot of write home about. The specialty restaurants were great!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise as the best entertainment option for my family. My kids are 12 and 3 years old, and our last cruise proved to be a great way to entertain them both. Carnival seemed to be a great option for more kids attractions so we ... Read More
I chose this cruise as the best entertainment option for my family. My kids are 12 and 3 years old, and our last cruise proved to be a great way to entertain them both. Carnival seemed to be a great option for more kids attractions so we have it a try. It was a disaster from the moment we walked on the ship. We entered on the 3rd floor/atrium, which felt tiny as the crowds of people flooded through the doors. At this point, and throughout the rest of the cruise, the silence of the staff was infuriating. They have this way of just allowing you to be lost and confused...they don’t anticipate needs, address questions clearly, provide clarity or direction...instead they seemed just as lost and confused as everyone else. You have to ask questions, no one will use cues to proactively address your needs. The hours of the attractions were confusing and inconsistent. Some days the teen room was 24 hours and others it didn’t open til 7 pm. Some days there were 4 buffets open in Lido, other days there were one. The layout of the common areas is impractical and there was constant congestion in the halls, elevators, and pool decks. Elevator wait times were also incredibly long - there were several times we just carried our toddler’s stroller up and down the stairs so we could move on with our day. For days I attempted to take my daughter to the toddler pool in the Dr. Seuss area on deck 12, and each time there were adults laying in the ankle deep water just sunbathing. Granted, the resort pool was always so crowded that they probably just wanted some space to refresh, but there was no regulation of the space to ensure kids had a designated space to play. This caused a chaotic spillover of children in adult spaces (and vice versa) so there was just no peace. The main dining room food was disgusting, either fried completely dry by heating lamps or just bland and underwhelming. The serving utensils were left under the lights and were usually so hot that you needed to wrap a napkin around the handle to use them. Food layout wasn’t thoughtful, and again no direction when it came to the lines at the buffet so there were long periods of congestion and confusion from people who entered at the wrong end or that didn’t know the selection was the same on both sides. It was usually other passengers that ended up explaining it and organizing the line, while staff looked on silently. At the other included outlets the lines were long and staff was passive and unfriendly. We patronized Meridian restaurant and were greeted by confused hostesses that didn’t know If they wanted you to wait in line, sit, or come back later - even with a confirmed table from MyTime Dining checkin. Wait staff in Meridian we’re not thoughtful, ignoring our feedback to make corny jokes - clearly a taught tactic. It was impersonal and insincere and an infuriating disregard for our experience. There were rules listed but not enforced, like dripping wet bikini-clad cruisers in the dining spaces contrary to signage, or rows of seats saved during the deck movie. There was no curfew for minors - all night, children could be found wandering through the casino and pool decks. Security had no control at all, and cleaning staff ignored them as they ran by and disrupted other passengers. Not one person said “no running” or asked where their guardians were...and many of these kids looked as young as 9 or 10. These kids also wrecked the self service ice cream spaces, leaving it on the counters and all over the floor, and staff were not attentive to the mess. On the promenade it was like walking through a flea market - every 5 steps someone is shoving items in your face trying to persuade you to buy another useless thing. Perfume, jewelry, shot glasses, scarves....everything. It was irritating and invasive. At the ports, loudspeaker announcements directed passengers to level 0 to disembark; when the elevator doors opened, another silent staff member standing there waiting for you to ASK if you should go left or right (there was no signage, and clearly multiple exits). Another lost opportunity to anticipate a common need and streamline my guest experience. The beds were rock hard, so much so that my kids even complained of back and shoulder pain. The shower drain didn’t work the first 2 days and my bathroom flooded constantly. It wasn’t fixed until I waited out my room attendant to ask her about it - who until then I had never physically seen. She admitted to noticing the pile of wet towels the prior day, but obviously never cleaned the shower or bothered to follow up on the flooding. My room attendant also accidentally tossed out my toddlers binkie while cleaning and didn’t admit it until I asked about it (after tearing the room apart). I was left with an inconsolable kid in an uncomfortable bed, every night for the rest of the trip. She also left the dirty cups and dishes in the room every time. If you are the type of traveler with any level of service expectations, this isn’t your ship. This ship is for low expectations, and people who are ok with paying $4K to still be left to find and figure things out yourself. NEVER AGAIN, Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Spring break cruise with family (wife, married daughter and three grand-kids (8 - 18)). This was our 23rd cruise, 5th on Carnival. Not a big fan of Carnival and get much better perks on other cruise lines, but Carnival was my (daughters ... Read More
Spring break cruise with family (wife, married daughter and three grand-kids (8 - 18)). This was our 23rd cruise, 5th on Carnival. Not a big fan of Carnival and get much better perks on other cruise lines, but Carnival was my (daughters choice). Had high hopes for the new ship but was generally disappointed. Embarkation and debarkation were chaotic. Had an early debark number (#7; expectation of 8:30 debark), but the debark was probably the worst ever (longest; over 2-hours). Ended up taking a taxi vice the planned ship's shuttle to the airport as we were concerned about missing flights due to debark delays. Food (main dining room and buffet) was the worst on any cruise; all in our party of six agreed on this point. Always very long lines for omelette stations, with several stations closed inexplicably during peak breakfast hours. Ice cream stations always a mess. Very little emphasis on hand sanitation in dining spaces as compared to most other ships. Elevators were a disaster; long waits always. Elevator floors are entered in a system in the elevator lobby and you are assigned an elevator which will stop on that floor. People would give up and take stairs after waiting 5-minutes, thus elevators would still stop on floors no one on-board wanted, which further added to delays. Balcony cabin was average for a newer ship. Nothing special but no real complaints other than that any new ship should be designed with phone charging ports on either side of the bed. We were deck 9 under the rum bar on deck 10. Noisy in the early morning with deck chair scrapings above. Paid the price for highest Internet connectivity, but quality was still erratic and it was generally slow. Was constantly bumped off Internet thus had to frequently re-log in Internet and Carnival Hub. Cabin attendant did a good job; waitstaff tried hard but most dining room meals experienced long delays between courses. We usually had to skip dessert to make a show. Think they had too many assigned tables. Captain said there were over 4000 guests including over 1,000 children on board. As a result, all "play" areas/pools were jammed. Not unexpected on a spring break cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Carnival Horizon Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 1.0 3.4
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.5

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