We booked this cruise on the first day bookings were opened. Talk about anticipation, plus being able to see photos of the ship as it was being built in Italy.
Embarkation was a snap. Quick and painless - probably the best experience that we have had yet. (Even though we had to drag our luggage through a protest in the port area of Barcelona, but that's not Carnival's fault.. and that is a whole other story) Carnival DID warn us via email that there was a major protest scheduled right at the same time that we were supposed to be boarding... From the minute we set foot inside the door of the port, to when we got on the ship was maybe 15 minutes, if you subtract the time that we had spent in the gift shop inside of the port. (HINT there was a liquor store inside the port, with fair prices. Carnival DOES let you bring liquor onboard for the Barcelona departures)
The ship was gorgeous. Absolutely breathtaking.. Our cabin, as expected, looked like new.. LOL (remember, this was only the second sailing ever for this ship)
We did NOT see any of the shows, but, from what our dinner table mates told us, they were easily the best shows that they had ever seen on a ship, period. So, I'll go with that!
The food was great, easily the best that I have had on any Carnival, or RCCL ship. Our dining room service was horrible on the first night, and halfway through dinner on the second night, I got up and spoke with Ken, the Maitre D. He immediately changed our waiter out for the Senior Headwaiter, and from that point on the table service was by far the best we have had on a cruise to date.
The digital Pixels gallery is a vast improvement over the old system... No more waste! And, its nice to not have to hunt for your photos. Of course, the photos are just too expensive, but that's life. At least you can buy just the digital image so that you can have them printed at Walgreen's for $3 each, instead of $15-20 on the ship.
We DO have an issue with the VAT tax on the onboard shop purchases, it appears that everyone on the ship is being double taxed on the EU itineraries. I am working with Starboard (company that runs the fun shops) to try to resolve this - updates to follow
Cruise director (Mike Pack) was great as always... he did a great job! Plus, it was nice to meet John Heald as well (as he was on our cruise.. nice guy)
The bottom line. This was an awesome cruise. Sure, there were some minor snags, like the shuttle issues in Cagliardi, but that's a moot point, since Carnival replaced that port after our cruise. Food was great, and overall the service was the best we have seen on Carnival.
I'm considering booking a Caribbean cruise on this ship when it comes to Miami.. I definitely wouldn't mind another trip on the Horizon!
Cabin was on the smaller side, and it also lacks a sofa. However, the awesome balcony more than made up for the strange configuration - we had no complaints at all!