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We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the timing despite having reservations about booking with Carnival due to a bad experience 18 years ago. It being a new ship and all we decided to give it a shot. This was a 30 year anniversary celebration and my 31st Cruise. Most other cruises have been with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess. My Third and last with Carnival. Embarking and disembarking went smoothly, better than most. When I opened the first closet door in the cabin a chain used to keep the closet doors from swinging back too far swung out and just missed hitting me in the face. I could see that the end of the screw that was to hold it in place, had tape around it and had come free from where it should have been. Obviously someone was aware of this and tried to fix it unsuccessfully. I reported it immediately to the cabin steward. It was never repaired. After a couple of days of nearly getting hit repeatedly, I unscrewed the remaining attached side and left the chain for the cabin steward to see. It still was never repaired. I respectfully adhere to the reuse of my towels for practical and environmental purposes but do not understand why those “towel animals “are placed on our beds daily? I would suggest doing this when there are children cruising. This just creates more unnecessary laundry and work for the cabin stewards. We appreciated being asked if we wanted a “turn down service” in the evenings which we felt was unnecessary so we declined. Our cabin was kept clean but we saw very little of our steward. Dining If you like to eat healthily forget this ship. There was an abundance of greasy fried foods, lots of meat and not a whole lot for vegetarians . The choices at the buffet were bland, the salad bar was bare bones, Caesar salad was tasteless. Same in the dining room. The Blue Iguana had fresh made tacos and burritos which were good. The pizza was ok, no vegiterian choice except mushroom alone which we had on several occasions as a last resort for dinner. The buffet breakfasts were the exact same every day, many items cold, tasteless. Omelets made to order were very good. There was limited fruit for breakfast. Saw whole oranges once, bananas most days. Cubed cantaloupe and honeydew melon every morning. Oddly in the evenings there was cubed watermelon, sometimes a little pineapple and a few grapes thrown in with cantaloupe and honeydew. I resorted to taking a bowl of fruit to my cabin in the evening to have for breakfast. There was no coffee / tea service from attendants at the Marketplace buffet until the second last day. A crew member with a cart was offering coffee, tea and juices. She told me it was the first day they were doing this.Also, the cups for water, juices and lemonade were small thick plastic cups one might give to a young child. I took a cup of water to my cabin and drank some throughout the night only to discover it tasted just like plastic. Anytime Dining The dining room lacked the elegance we are accustomed to on other ships. Table cloths used on formal night only. The first formal night was the best meal we had in the dining room. Lobster was served and cooked perfectly. One gentleman at our table had 3 servings. The tables had very casual looking plasticized woodgrain tops. The service was very slow. It took 20 minutes just to get a bread basket one night. Another night 40 minutes to locate our bottle of wine from previous night . We had no water at times and the wrong item brought to our table. We saw one server spill an entire plate of food into a passenger’s lap. We only ate there 4 times. One night the service was very good and we complimented the server and reported this to the dining manager. I asked to switch to set seating thinking this would be a better option and was run around the ship from guest services looking for the maître d, finally located the correct place. I asked to speak to him but was told he was busy. I made the request and was told someone would let us know. We never heard back. To get your table for Anytime Dining you have to line up on deck 5 to check in, then they indicate which deck to go to for dinner and when. Speciality Restaurants The Bonsai Teppan Grill was excellent. We went twice at an added cost. Well worth it. A very special surprise dessert at the end was amazing! Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Seafood was average in comparison to other ship Steakhouse speciality restaurants. The Seafood Shack was ok, more fried stuff but other things as well. My clam chowder had a hair in it. The lobster rolls had a lot of mayo and were just ok. Some people commented that the crab legs were very good. Unfortunately we didn’t order them. We didn’t try some of the other places due to the types of foods being served. Mongolian wok for lunch was good but you must get there early as it is a small area and very busy. I enjoyed my meal but my husband found his bland which was odd because it was suppose to be spicy? Health and Safety From the onset of the cruise there were many many people coughing and coughing everywhere. Even boarding the ship we noticed it. People still tend to cough into their hands then handle all the spoons and tongs at the buffet, press the elevator buttons and so on. Even if you clean your hands upon entering the buffet you still need to clean them again before eating to avoid picking up all the germs from those who have not. This I can handle. What I found very disturbing and disgusting was the fact that numerous people filled their personal water bottles directly up under the spouts of the water, juice and lemonade dispensers instead of filling them from a clean cup. There was no signage indicating that this is an unsanitary practice and contributes to outbreaks in this type of environment. Other cruise lines have taken steps to avoid this and have posted signs as well as having a crew member encouraging people to sanitize before entering the area. The only sign I saw was a very small plaque on the ice water dispenser indicating to take as much as you would like but use a fresh cup to refill. I mentioned it to a crew member who gave me an awkward smile and said thank you. There were Purell hand sanitizer stands throughout the Marketplace Buffet areas but very few guests were using them. Needless to say we both ended up spending the last few days in the cabin, sick with bad colds which we still have. Shore excursions We took 6 Carnival shore excursions booked on line. Unfortunately our Best of Rome excursion was probably one of the worst excursions I have ever been on. I had seen many of the sights several years ago but we chose this for my husband’s benefit. Our first stop was St Peter’s square where we encountered the longest line I have ever seen, that snaked its way around the entire square. Someone asked the guide how long it would take to get to the entrance and she replied about half an hour. An hour and a half later she informed us that we had to leave having made little progress. We would not get into the Basilica as we didn’t have time. She then led us to a gift shop close by and said we had half an hour there. People were not happy. Based on her experience as a seasoned guide she should have known that we would not get in when we arrived or shortly thereafter. We then proceeded to the Coliseum where the lines were very long but after about 35 minutes we entered and she took us around, always in a rushed manner, walking quickly ahead. There were 50in the group. We stopped at a place for an arranged, included lunch which was ok, served quickly considering the number of people as another tour group was also there. The Trevi Fountain was a mob scene. We were having difficulty seeing the guide ahead as she was short and was carrying a half opened umbrella and not holding it up high. Other passengers had told her previously they were having trouble seeing her in the crowds but she ignored the comments. We suddenly lost her and the group in the mobs of people when it started to rain and numerous umbrellas went up. We could see other guides with their flags or paddles held high and after a brief panic, I approached a guide holding a Carnival paddle and explained the situation. He called her on his cell and then took us to her. I was very upset and told her we cannot see you with a half open umbrella which is not held up and her reply was to try to blame the Carnival person who was also with us but behind the group. No apology. Some people were very slow so they too had difficulties. After a 12hour day at $440 for the 2 of us we were not happy. I, as well as other guests, notified the Shore Excursion desk immediately when we got on board but was met with the standard customer service reply. Surprisingly, I received a phone call from the Shore Excursions manager who investigated the complaint and had credited our account for $95. We also learned that it was the security into the sites that resulted in the long lines. I had not encountered this in my previous visits to Rome. Had I known I would not have selected this excursion. It was very frustrating and exhausting. All the other guides were very careful about making sure we could see them and that we were all together. Most of the excursions were great, a little trouble understanding a couple of the guides but for the most part we enjoyed it. The bus drivers were amazing in handling the large buses in very tight situations. Taormina on your own was absolutely fabulous. We had about 4.5 hours to explore, shop, have a cappuccino and later lunch. It was a welcomed break from all the rushing of the other excursions. Highly recommend it.Sicily is beautiful and the one place I would love to return to see more of. We took the Hop on Hop off bus in Malta but wished we had not. There were 3 cruise ships in port and it was extremely busy with very pushy, rude people. Some cultures just don’t care about waiting their turn or respecting what little personal space you have. Very aggressive and unnecessary. We did one stop at Mdina which was lovely but the experience getting back on the bus resulted in us going back to the ship. The driver was having trouble controlling these people who continued to fill the bus when there weren’t any seats left. He refused to move the bus and ordered them off. Shouting, pushing. Not our style. In Cagliari, Sardinia we took the city tour from the pier which was in an open air bus. It was 22euro a person for a one hour ride to see not a whole lot. I would not recommend it. Entertainment There is no theatre for the main shows only 2lounges, which we found unusual. The Cruise line dancers and singers were mediocre. The entertainment overall was not that good. We noticed people during several shows getting up to leave. There were lots of trivia type games and such which were well attended and enjoyed. Comedy clubs were fairly good with different comedians. There was an adult only show which we attended. We are not prudes but this one guy went beyond being gross and sexually explicit making several people uncomfortable we later learned. We were surprised that this was acceptable even for an adult show. There were the usual around the pool activities. By the end of the first week we skipped the entertainment and retired early to our cabin. We did not make use of the IMAX. The Sea day I had planned to go, I was sick in bed. There were lots of activities for children and young adults. The Skyride was pretty awesome and not as easy as it looks. There is a laundry facility on deck 6 fairly close to this cabin. Good size washers for $3 a load.You use the cruise card to pay. Soap and softener available if you don’t bring your own. Ironing board and iron free. Pay dryers as well. Overall a combination of many small things and a few not so small things led to this being a big disappointment.

Inaugural Cruise Disappointment

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by bluenosecruiser55

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2018
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the timing despite having reservations about booking with Carnival due to a bad experience 18 years ago. It being a new ship and all we decided to give it a shot.

This was a 30 year anniversary celebration and my 31st Cruise. Most other cruises have been with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess. My Third and last with Carnival.

Embarking and disembarking went smoothly, better than most.

When I opened the first closet door in the cabin a chain used to keep the closet doors from swinging back too far swung out and just missed hitting me in the face. I could see that the end of the screw that was to hold it in place, had tape around it and had come free from where it should have been. Obviously someone was aware of this and tried to fix it unsuccessfully.

I reported it immediately to the cabin steward. It was never repaired. After a couple of days of nearly getting hit repeatedly, I unscrewed the remaining attached side and left the chain for the cabin steward to see. It still was never repaired.

I respectfully adhere to the reuse of my towels for practical and environmental purposes but do not understand why those “towel animals “are placed on our beds daily? I would suggest doing this when there are children cruising. This just creates more unnecessary laundry and work for the cabin stewards. We appreciated being asked if we wanted a “turn down service” in the evenings which we felt was unnecessary so we declined. Our cabin was kept clean but we saw very little of our steward.

Dining

If you like to eat healthily forget this ship. There was an abundance of greasy fried foods, lots of meat and not a whole lot for vegetarians . The choices at the buffet were bland, the salad bar was bare bones, Caesar salad was tasteless. Same in the dining room.

The Blue Iguana had fresh made tacos and burritos which were good. The pizza was ok, no vegiterian choice except mushroom alone which we had on several occasions as a last resort for dinner.

The buffet breakfasts were the exact same every day, many items cold, tasteless. Omelets made to order were very good. There was limited fruit for breakfast. Saw whole oranges once, bananas most days. Cubed cantaloupe and honeydew melon every morning. Oddly in the evenings there was cubed watermelon, sometimes a little pineapple and a few grapes thrown in with cantaloupe and honeydew. I resorted to taking a bowl of fruit to my cabin in the evening to have for breakfast.

There was no coffee / tea service from attendants at the Marketplace buffet until the second last day. A crew member with a cart was offering coffee, tea and juices. She told me it was the first day they were doing this.Also, the cups for water, juices and lemonade were small thick plastic cups one might give to a young child. I took a cup of water to my cabin and drank some throughout the night only to discover it tasted just like plastic.

Anytime Dining

The dining room lacked the elegance we are accustomed to on other ships. Table cloths used on formal night only. The first formal night was the best meal we had in the dining room. Lobster was served and cooked perfectly. One gentleman at our table had 3 servings.

The tables had very casual looking plasticized woodgrain tops. The service was very slow. It took 20 minutes just to get a bread basket one night. Another night 40 minutes to locate our bottle of wine from previous night . We had no water at times and the wrong item brought to our table. We saw one server spill an entire plate of food into a passenger’s lap.

We only ate there 4 times.

One night the service was very good and we complimented the server and reported this to the dining manager.

I asked to switch to set seating thinking this would be a better option and was run around the ship from guest services looking for the maître d, finally located the correct place. I asked to speak to him but was told he was busy. I made the request and was told someone would let us know. We never heard back. To get your table for Anytime Dining you have to line up on deck 5 to check in, then they indicate which deck to go to for dinner and when.

Speciality Restaurants

The Bonsai Teppan Grill was excellent. We went twice at an added cost. Well worth it. A very special surprise dessert at the end was amazing!

Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Seafood was average in comparison to other ship Steakhouse speciality restaurants.

The Seafood Shack was ok, more fried stuff but other things as well. My clam chowder had a hair in it. The lobster rolls had a lot of mayo and were just ok. Some people commented that the crab legs were very good. Unfortunately we didn’t order them. We didn’t try some of the other places due to the types of foods being served.

Mongolian wok for lunch was good but you must get there early as it is a small area and very busy. I enjoyed my meal but my husband found his bland which was odd because it was suppose to be spicy?

Health and Safety

From the onset of the cruise there were many many people coughing and coughing everywhere. Even boarding the ship we noticed it. People still tend to cough into their hands then handle all the spoons and tongs at the buffet, press the elevator buttons and so on. Even if you clean your hands upon entering the buffet you still need to clean them again before eating to avoid picking up all the germs from those who have not. This I can handle.

What I found very disturbing and disgusting was the fact that numerous people filled their personal water bottles directly up under the spouts of the water, juice and lemonade dispensers instead of filling them from a clean cup. There was no signage indicating that this is an unsanitary practice and contributes to outbreaks in this type of environment. Other cruise lines have taken steps to avoid this and have posted signs as well as having a crew member encouraging people to sanitize before entering the area. The only sign I saw was a very small plaque on the ice water dispenser indicating to take as much as you would like but use a fresh cup to refill. I mentioned it to a crew member who gave me an awkward smile and said thank you.

There were Purell hand sanitizer stands throughout the Marketplace Buffet areas but very few guests were using them.

Needless to say we both ended up spending the last few days in the cabin, sick with bad colds which we still have.

Shore excursions

We took 6 Carnival shore excursions booked on line.

Unfortunately our Best of Rome excursion was probably one of the worst excursions I have ever been on. I had seen many of the sights several years ago but we chose this for my husband’s benefit. Our first stop was St Peter’s square where we encountered the longest line I have ever seen, that snaked its way around the entire square. Someone asked the guide how long it would take to get to the entrance and she replied about half an hour. An hour and a half later she informed us that we had to leave having made little progress. We would not get into the Basilica as we didn’t have time. She then led us to a gift shop close by and said we had half an hour there. People were not happy. Based on her experience as a seasoned guide she should have known that we would not get in when we arrived or shortly thereafter.

We then proceeded to the Coliseum where the lines were very long but after about 35 minutes we entered and she took us around, always in a rushed manner, walking quickly ahead. There were 50in the group. We stopped at a place for an arranged, included lunch which was ok, served quickly considering the number of people as another tour group was also there.

The Trevi Fountain was a mob scene. We were having difficulty seeing the guide ahead as she was short and was carrying a half opened umbrella and not holding it up high. Other passengers had told her previously they were having trouble seeing her in the crowds but she ignored the comments.

We suddenly lost her and the group in the mobs of people when it started to rain and numerous umbrellas went up. We could see other guides with their flags or paddles held high and after a brief panic, I approached a guide holding a Carnival paddle and explained the situation. He called her on his cell and then took us to her. I was very upset and told her we cannot see you with a half open umbrella which is not held up and her reply was to try to blame the Carnival person who was also with us but behind the group. No apology. Some people were very slow so they too had difficulties. After a 12hour day at $440 for the 2 of us we were not happy. I, as well as other guests, notified the Shore Excursion desk immediately when we got on board but was met with the standard customer service reply.

Surprisingly, I received a phone call from the Shore Excursions manager who investigated the complaint and had credited our account for $95.

We also learned that it was the security into the sites that resulted in the long lines. I had not encountered this in my previous visits to Rome. Had I known I would not have selected this excursion. It was very frustrating and exhausting.

All the other guides were very careful about making sure we could see them and that we were all together.

Most of the excursions were great, a little trouble understanding a couple of the guides but for the most part we enjoyed it. The bus drivers were amazing in handling the large buses in very tight situations.

Taormina on your own was absolutely fabulous. We had about 4.5 hours to explore, shop, have a cappuccino and later lunch. It was a welcomed break from all the rushing of the other excursions. Highly recommend it.Sicily is beautiful and the one place I would love to return to see more of.

We took the Hop on Hop off bus in Malta but wished we had not. There were 3 cruise ships in port and it was extremely busy with very pushy, rude people. Some cultures just don’t care about waiting their turn or respecting what little personal space you have. Very aggressive and unnecessary. We did one stop at Mdina which was lovely but the experience getting back on the bus resulted in us going back to the ship. The driver was having trouble controlling these people who continued to fill the bus when there weren’t any seats left. He refused to move the bus and ordered them off. Shouting, pushing. Not our style.

In Cagliari, Sardinia we took the city tour from the pier which was in an open air bus. It was 22euro a person for a one hour ride to see not a whole lot. I would not recommend it.

Entertainment

There is no theatre for the main shows only 2lounges, which we found unusual. The Cruise line dancers and singers were mediocre. The entertainment overall was not that good. We noticed people during several shows getting up to leave.

There were lots of trivia type games and such which were well attended and enjoyed. Comedy clubs were fairly good with different comedians. There was an adult only show which we attended. We are not prudes but this one guy went beyond being gross and sexually explicit making several people uncomfortable we later learned. We were surprised that this was acceptable even for an adult show.

There were the usual around the pool activities.

By the end of the first week we skipped the entertainment and retired early to our cabin.

We did not make use of the IMAX. The Sea day I had planned to go, I was sick in bed.

There were lots of activities for children and young adults. The Skyride was pretty awesome and not as easy as it looks.

There is a laundry facility on deck 6 fairly close to this cabin. Good size washers for $3 a load.You use the cruise card to pay. Soap and softener available if you don’t bring your own. Ironing board and iron free. Pay dryers as well.

Overall a combination of many small things and a few not so small things led to this being a big disappointment.
bluenosecruiser55’s Full Rating Summary
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8D 6395
Light sleepers beware. This cabin is an adjoining cabin an there was a lot more noise heard through into the adjoining cabin than with the one one the opposite wall. Also! This cabin is across from a dishwashing area for room service and there is a constant clanging and banging of dishes and carts at all hours as the crew tend to prop open the door. Several times later in the evening I had to go out and ask them to please close it. They would but it would be propped open again after about half an hour. Even with earplugs we could still hear the noise but with their door closed it was ok.
Average size cabin and balcony a little tight but ok. Beds were never used and very comfortable.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews