Just returned from a cruise to Bermuda on the brand new Horizon. Below are my main takeaways, starting with the good and ending with the bad.
- The cruise director and entertainment staff were very present at nearly all times of the day. They did a great job creating a fun and lively atmosphere aboard the ship. The activities were typical Carnival… dance parties, bingo and so on… nothing revolutionary but still fun nonetheless.
- The shows were all pretty good and the singers/dancers were very talented.
- I enjoyed the food in both the dining room and lunch venues. I really can’t remember having a bad meal, albeit I am not much of a food critic.
- The ship is good for families, especially those with young children. The top deck has a handful a new activities (Dr. Seuss waterpark, SkyRide, etc.)
- The ship is brand new, so naturally everything is clean and immaculate. The cabins are typical Carnival, again nothing revolutionary, but they are nice and serve its purpose.
- For a brand new ship, and Carnival’s “flagship”, you would think it would have a little bit more of a “wow factor”. This ship definitely trades some public space for more cabins. The atrium lobby, main theatre, fitness center, casino, spa and some of the other spaces are rather small and a little claustrophobic. Some of the interior decor is shockingly outdated and unappealing in my opinion. There are also some other, albeit minor, things that I noticed compared to my past cruises on Carnival... No more live Caribbean music on the top deck, muster drill was disorganized and longer than usual and smoking in the casino is totally "unregulated" on this ship.
- This ship has a new smart elevator system where you a required to request an elevator for a specific floor and then get assigned a car. There are no buttons inside the elevator. Probably seemed like a good idea in theory but in reality its rather annoying. Wait times don’t seem to be any shorter and if your elevator arrives and is full, then you have to request and wait for another.
- You would think with a brand new ship, Carnival would address the pain points from their last ships. Shockingly, some of them seem to have been exacerbated. If you want to eat at one of the special lunch venues (burgers, pizza, tacos), expect to wait in line for quite some time. The My Time dining system is also quite an ordeal, so try to get an assigned time if possible. The typical battle for lounge chairs on the pool deck was very much present on the Horizon as well.
-The worst of all was getting on and off the ship at port. This was by far the most ridiculous experience on this cruise. Getting off the ship in Bermuda was totally disorganized, chaotic and unpleasant. Getting back on the ship was the same… stood in a huge line in the heat for almost an hour. How they could only have two gangways, each with ONE person scanning people’s cards to get onto the ship is quite shocking and doesn't make any sense at all.
Overall I had a good time on the Horizon and I’m sure some of the kinks will be sorted out as time goes on. I’m just not all that eager to return to Carnival after this cruise.