Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by lhargrove62
- Sail Date: September 2018
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Havana Premium Vista Balcony
First of all, I loved every minute on the ship. I have no complaints at all. I am going to talk about things I noticed that might sound like a complaint, it is not. Just an observation that I might have wanted to know before I got on the ship.
Getting on the ship did not go as planned. We were expecting to start getting on the ship about 11:00. It was after 11:30 and people were still getting off. I think we finally got on about noon. I heard all sorts of reasons for the delay in embarkation- problems in customs, problems with luggage, they were finger printing everyone in customs, someone committed a crime on the ship and they were talking to everyone as they got off the ship….. who knows what really happened. I just know that it was pretty frustrating. We arrived early as we are platinum and were supposed to start getting on the ship at 11:00 AM. Before we got on the ship we looked outside and there was a hug line of people waiting outside, in the heat. I felt terrible for them. They must have been miserable. When we finally let people on they pretty much opened to the doors – calling group numbers one after the other. People just flooded the ship. Everyone showed up for food at the same time, all wanting tables to sit at etc. I really didn’t get a change to unpack before we sailed so I had to spend my first night in the room unpacking. But, we sailed right on time and Miami got smaller and smaller just when it should have.
Our room was an aft wrap around balcony. I booked it in February 2017 because there was only 1 wrap around left that was not Havana. We did not want Havana as we felt it was too expensive, we had 7 people. They ended up changing our room to a Havana suite because of high demand. I didn’t get to use the Havana pool during the day because only 2 of the 7 of us were Havana. But the room decorations and balcony furniture were awesome. I loved them. With the exception of one chair on all the Havana balconies that was just not comfortable. You couldn’t really sit on it. We all just laughed at that chair Other than it was great. Our room set up was a bit weird (8470). It seems we lost a chunk of the walking space in the room. We never have much room to walk around in the room when you get a wrap around balcony. But this room was far smaller than any other. The bed was so close to the wall you could barley get through. The TV was off to the side. That did not bother us because we only turned the tv on to check our pictures and the menu for the night. The outlets were at the desk which was in the far corner of the room and hard to get to. All the walking room was on the other side of the bed. I am not sure if the room changed because of the stairs to get down to the Havana pool, or if we were just on a different deck this year. There were only 2 closets. I really did miss the 3rd closet. It made a difference to us. Other than that, it was wonderful.
Our kids got a room in the center section at the back of the ship. (8453 and 8455). They had a private hall way and a square shaped room. The hallway much quiet. With only 5 cabins sharing this hallway they didn’t have the people running up and down the hall and slamming their doors. With the square shape of the room it was much bigger than a normal inside cabin. One cabin had a couch and a table. The other room did not have a couch because they had a connecting door. The rooms were great.
The Havana pool was very nice. The chairs were very comfortable, and I loved the endless pool. I just wish I spent more time there during the day. We swam there at night quite a bit.
The main theater on the ship was smaller than other Carnival Theaters. There was a large bar in the back, which took up a lot of seats. I was happy to see a bar in the theater, that was really nice. I always arrived early so I didn’t have trouble finding a seat. I am not sure if the smaller size was a problem on a larger ship. It seems like it would be. The shows were really well done.
The sports bar was the other place that was smaller than normal. It seemed like it would be a problem. The only time that I saw it be a problem was Monday night football. People were standing in the sports bar and in the hallway outside the sports bar. It clogged up the aisle and I am sure people had a hard time seeing the TV’s.
I cannot comment on the casino too much. Only that I could not stand walking through it. It was so smoky I couldn’t ever do more than walk (quickly) through it. It also seemed smaller.
The comedy club is a different design as well. The center portion was all seats, theater style. No tables. This made for more seats available. The line to wait for the comedy club was in a main walk way and it took up a lot of the aisle when people were waiting. It was also right next to the sports bar so it was an issue on Monday night when the sports bar spilled out into the same aisle. Also, there were 4 very thick pillars in the comedy club. No matter when I got there or how long I waited I always seemed to sit behind a pillar. There were screens on the wall that showed the comedians, so I didn’t miss too much. But it seems like there were a lot of blocked seats there.
The dining room was great. We enjoy our waitstaff and the food was very good. We feel like dinner in the MDR is more of an event than just a meal. It’s a highlight of our trip. We enjoyed it very much.
We ate at the steakhouse 1 night. It was great. We enjoyed every minute of it.
The photos on the Horizon are all digital. You can view them in your room or on the app on your phone or computer, or in the Pixels studio. All you had to do was give your room number to the photographer every time you had your picture taken. I only had to wait for about an hour for them to show up. Sometimes even less. I did not miss searching through all the pictures looking for mine every day. The digital pictures are a huge plus to me. There are also a ton of notebooks in the Pixels area. Instead of walls and walls of pictures there have notebooks. There were plenty of notebooks available until the last night. Then you had to wait for a notebook. Try not to wait for the last night to order your pictures. I really liked being able to see them on my phone. I had the unlimited photo package and brought home 226 pictures. I am a photo nut so I could not have been happier.
Okay here is my only complaint about the Horizon. There are only 2 ice cream stations on the ship. Both of them are inside, in the lido area. I really missed the ice cream they had outside by the aft pool. Having to go to one specific place every time I wanted an ice cream was not fun. I know I said I didn’t have any complaints, but I was wrong. The ice cream is a real complaint to me.
There were so many things to do on the Horizon. It was almost hard because I wanted to do everything! There is no way to do everything and I felt like I was missing things. Which is crazy, I know. I always say you can stay busy all day or do nothing, what ever you want to do. But what if I want to do both? It was hard for me to balance it.
The Skyride was shut down the week were on the Horizon. That was pretty disappointing. We were really looking forward to it. It was one of the reasons we booked on the Horizon. Oh well. The ropes walk was great. The sports area was great with miniature golf, basketball pool tables, fools ball, shuffleboard etc. It was really well done.
There were so many places to eat. We couldn’t eat everywhere. We ate lunch at the Italian restaurant and at the Pig and Anchor on sea days. Both were very good. We had a brunch in the dining room twice. Again, it was great. The food in the lido deck was very good and I liked the way it was set up. I really didn’t wait in a long line all week. Guys burgers is my favorite and I ate there a lot. So good!!! I had trouble finding the chocolate buffet on the last day. But, I finally found it. Again, my only problem with the food was the ice cream machines. The Baked Alaska parade was great to see again. I missed that.
Some of us took a tour of the beer distillery on the ship. There was a charge but they got to see where they make the beer, learn all about it and it included beer, a free glass, a certificate and a glass of beer sometime during the trip. They all really enjoyed it.
The Carnival app has really improved since the last time I used it in 2016. Last time I had trouble with my Samsung phone. But this time it worked great. There was a new planner function on the app. I could go through the daily activities and put anything I wanted to do in my planner. All I had to do everyday was look at my own planner and I would know what I wanted to do next. Again, so many things to do I couldn’t do everything. I could see it on my planner if anyone in my group put the same thing on their planner. That was a great feature. As I said before, I loved seeing my pictures on the app. Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp all worked great.
The crew on the Horizon were all top notch. Everyone was great. Mike the CD was a lot of fun and very approachable. Mike had a Veteran’s appreciate event on the first sea day. My husband is a Vietnam Vet so we went. We weren’t expecting too much. We were both blown away. What a great job Mike did. Everyone left feeling great. We got to know a some of our cruise mates. And people were coming up to my husband to shake his hand and thank him. It made him feel great. I cried. But that is not unusual. Great job Mike!!!
The Platinum party was the best one that I had been to. When we walked in the bar was covered with all kinds of drinks. Wine, fruity drinks etc. Plus they wait staff had plenty of drinks to pass out. In the past we have had a hard time getting drinks. This was not the case this time. They had daquiri’s, kiss on the lips, etc. They did a great job making sure everyone had what they wanted. It was a fun party.
Getting on and off the ship was very smooth while we were in port.
They only problem was trying to get in to the elevators. People would just jump on any elevator or not indicate how many people they had in their group. One time we had to wait for 4 elevators before we could get on one. Other than that they were well organized and efficient.
The elevators work fine when you use them properly. The only problem was when people didn’t use them right. But I liked the system and I think it is a good process.
I know a lot of people have complained about the layout of the Vista and the Horizon. I didn’t see it.
I loved every bit of it. I hope to cruise on her again someday.
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
SnorkelingSnorkeling in Aruba: We booked Sailaway tours and were looking forward to a great day. We took a taxi and it cost $16.00 per taxi. There were 7 of us and they were not able to take more than 5 people per taxi so we had to get two. They told us to get there at 8:30 and we would sail at 9:30. My husband recently had knee surgery and we wanted to make sure he had a good spot to sit on the boat. We wanted to make sure he was comfortable. We got there right at 8:30. When we got there they asked me why were there so early. We waited for about 45 minutes and then they got us ready to go. We had to get into a smaller boat which took us to the boat for our tour. The smaller boat was not too small, and it was not hard to get in to it. It was a little challenging to get into the large boat, but too difficult. Once on board we choose our spot and settled in. The girls got onto the nets at the front of the boat. It was fun, but the ropes are not as comfortable as the netting on a catamaran. Make sure you have something to sit on or a dress over your bathing suit. The bar opened the minute we left port and the party started. We stopped at 3 different spots to snorkel. I enjoyed all three spots. The rope swing was opened during the 3rd stop. I didn’t get to try it because it was open while I was snorkeling. But a couple people from my group tried it and had fun. After the 3rd spot they had lunch ready. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the lunch. The chicken was so good! The rice was excellent. We all really enjoyed it. The staff on board were great and we had a great time. I would sail with Sailaway again. When we got back to ended up taking a bus pack to the port. It was only $3.00 per person. Much cheaper than the taxi’s.View All 163 Snorkeling Reviews
CuracaoBeach day in Curacao: We took a taxi to Blue Bay Beach. The taxi was pretty expensive, but cheaper than most of the other beaches. I had done a lot of work trying to decide what beach I wanted to go to when we got there. But, I just couldn’t make a decision. Blue Bay was on my list but I was worried that it would be really crowded. I was so glad we chose to go to Blue Bay. It was not over crowded at all. We were the only cruise ship in port that day. That may have something to do with it. We paid our $8.00 per person to get in. This included use of chairs and umbrellas. There was wifi and a bar that served food as well. The beach was rocky so bring water shoes and you will be fine. I brought my snorkel gear and was so glad I did. The snorkeling was great. My daughter found an octopus, there was a lot of fish. Great beach snorkeling. We had a great time at Blue Bay.View All 1,242 Curacao Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Curacao Cruise Port Review
Scuba - CertifiedDiving in Grand Turk: We dove with Oasys Divers through Carnival. We dove with them in 2014 and were happy to dive with them again. I usually dive on my own and not with the cruise ship. But, I got an email from Carnival offering 20% off any excursion in Grand Turk. I jumped on it. The walk to the end of the pier was not too long, even taking into consideration that were carrying all of our dive equipment. We waited at the meeting spot until the divers came to pick us up. We walked along the beach to the dive boat. Once we were on the dive boat we went to the dive shop where everyone got their dive gear. We bring our own gear so we swam in the ocean while everyone else got their gear. We were all set and ready to go while everyone else was trying to set up their equipment at the same time. We got in to 2 groups of about people. It was a large group, but then again we went with the cruise excursions. I love diving the wall in Grand Turk. It’s just awesome. We had a great dive. The crew was great. After the dive we went back to the dive shop. We swam in the ocean while everyone else turned in their equipment. The they took us back to the pier and dropped us off. The walk back was not too bad. Grand Turk is beautiful and a great place to dive.View All 28 Scuba - Certified Reviews
La Romana (Casa de Campo)Diving in the Dominican Republic: We used Coral Point Dive shop. I was a little apprehensive about diving in the DR. People had told us not to expect much. There isn’t a lot to see etc. I was worried. We only get to dive 2 days when we go on a cruise and I didn’t want to waste one day on a bad dive. We could not have been happier with the day we had. We booked with Coral Point dive shop. It was about 30 minutes away from the cruise port. We had to take a taxi, which was pretty expensive. But, after paying for the taxi it was still cheaper to dive with Coral Point than it was to dive with the cruise ship. So, we chose to go with the taxi. Coral Point arranged the taxi for us. They were waiting for us with a sign when we got off the ship. It was very easy. One thing to know- we were charged 26.00 as an exit fee when we left the port. I was not aware of that charge. I was lucky I had a little extra money on me. That was a surprise. The taxi took us right to the dive shop. We were taken care of the minute we got there. We dove with Joanna- I hope I am spelling that right. Joanna gave us a great predive talk and really helped us get ready. We had 3 divers and 1 snorkeler with us, Joanna and the captain. No one else was on the boat with us for our first dive. The minute we were in the water we knew we had made a great choice. What a great dive. Joanna was great, the water was clear and the dive was so much fun. For our interval we went back to the dive shop. We were able to get into the ocean and relax while we waited. A few other people got on the boat with us. They were their own group. When we dove it was just us and Joanna again. Off we went for our second dive. It was even better. We dove around a shipwreck, then left for a while and then came back to the ship wreck for the end of our dive. We had a blast. So much to see. When we got done Coral Point called the taxi back for us.View All 12,792 La Romana (Casa de Campo) Cruise Port Reviews
The taxi took us right back to the cruise port. It was a wonderful day. I would dive with Coral Point again in a heartbeat. Joanna ranks as one of our favorite dive guides.
View Cruise Critic's La Romana (Casa de Campo) Cruise Port Review