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Carnival Horizon Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
402 reviews

Amazing Ship, But Some Flaws Occasionally Undermined Experience

Review for Carnival Horizon to the Eastern Caribbean
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mrhotwings
6-10 Cruises • Age 30s

Rating by category

Cabin
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Aug 2018
Cabin: Interior

For some background, I'm a male in his early 30s who, with this cruise, has now sailed 3 Carnival, 2 Royal Caribbean, and 1 Princess ship, and I consider the Horizon the best ship of the 6 I've experienced. However, some minor issues, which Carnival had varying levels of control over, kept the actual onboard experience from matching the "wow" factor of the ship itself. Will break down positives/negatives below (it is comprehensive, so I hope you find it informative):

Embarkation in Manhattan: This went way smoother than the previous cruise I was on (with Royal Caribbean out of Boston, where security was so short-staffed that a ship with merely 2,100 passengers had lines stretching and wrapping the length of the building just to simply get inside). Not only was there no issue this time immediately entering the building and getting through security, there was ample seating, an area to buy snacks/drinks, and a streamlined process that allowed your photo to be lifted from your passport and immediately programmed to your sail and sign card (which eliminated the need to even go to the counter at all if you checked in online beforehand). Even with a ship of well over 4,000 passengers, we were onboard in no time.

Ship Layout: While some might bristle at the notion of being on board with so many fellow passengers, I was very confident in Carnival (and the cruise industry in general) being wise enough to have the crowd management logistics down for these megaships they're building, and sure enough, no particular areas felt overly-crowded compared to cruises on smaller ships, as people instinctively gravitated towards different places for their own brand of fun (I think the most cramped I saw a venue was the Havana Lounge when it hosted what proved to be a wildly-popular afternoon of karaoke). Though the ship is large, it's just as easy to navigate as Carnival's smaller ships and has the same familiar feel - expect to find decks 3, 4, and 5 as having the main indoor public areas you'll have reason to go to, and all decks Lido deck and above as the main outdoor places to be (though deck 6 is where you'll find the entrance to the IMAX and 4-D theaters, which to me is a better use of space than having the 3-deck atrium stretch higher up like more-traditional atriums). What also helps spread out the passengers, besides the ship being a bit longer and a couple decks taller than most, is the widening of the exterior promenade to allow for outdoor eating/relaxing on deck 5. What might please those about the casino is that it's relatively less smoky being a newer ship, and it's also not located in a spot where you'll feel like you always have to walk through it to get to everything. One thing I did sense was that the public restrooms had no real symmetry from one deck to another, so those didn't seem as easy to identify, and it was odd for them to convert the comedy show lounge for late-night dance music rather than have a real nightclub scene. As far as the new elevator system that a lot of people have written about, it's real simple - you simply just choose what floor you want from the hallway and enter the car that the screen designates for you (does this system work faster or slower? Probably about the same).

Cabin Review

Interior

Cabin 4A

The cabin was par for the course for cruise ships: small, but serves its purpose as a quiet "base of operations" between eating and playing. One noticeable difference this ship has with their cabins is that to keep your lights on, you need to keep your Sail and Sign card in a slot just inside the door. This apparently is designed to conserve energy/costs by not wasting electricity while you're out of the room. A smart idea, though that also means if you forget to take it out of the slot when you leave your room, you'll lock yourself out (fortunately, I never left the key behind).

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