This was our 5th Carnival cruise, and our third to the Southern Caribbean in January. We choose this itinerary because the weather is always 80 degrees or above in this part of the world during this month, so "Fun In The Sun" is guaranteed regardless of where you are coming from!
Now to the ship. The Horizon is beautiful and well thought out in its design. The transformation of the LIDO deck buffet from the single line concept, to multiple serving areas made for less congestion, and quicker service. My family and I were able to walk up, grab a plate and our food, and immediately sit down for a meal. BRAVO Carnival! We also found plenty of seating available, which made for short meal times allowing us to get back to the fun! The staff in the LIDO buffet were excellent by greeting everyone, clearing tables quickly and even walking around offering to gather more drinks, or desserts.
I also enjoyed the speciality restaurants, including Bonsai Sushi and Pig & Anchor. Both are excellent with the full Pig & Anchor restaurant on board offering those amazing Greens and Barbeque at anytime a plus. You can also eat for free on Sea Days for lunch.
Normally, my family and I are not MDR folks, because we travel for work often, and are not looking to sit down in a restaurant for a meal for a long period of time. The Horizon is the exception. We had breakfast several times, being served by the wonderful Harlene and Tomina, and used the Carnival app. to reserve a table for dinner, where I had the grilled lobster, which melted in my mouth. Including Pizza, Guy's Burger, Blue Iguana, and other food locations, Carnival provides a meal option for all cruisers on board.
The cabins are also one of the reasons why I sail Carnival. If available, I would definitely book a Havana suite. But, I have a beautiful five year old daughter who comes along, so I have to go with another option. Must be 12 years or older to book a Havana room. Here's a tip, the hot tubs and pool in the Havana are open to everyone after 7 pm, so head on down for a virtually private bar, romantic getaway, or family fun time. Carnival handles other customers by offering Family Harbor Suites with a private fun area, and other excellent options. I could afford a balcony, suite, etc., but being the cost conscience guy I am, I always book us in a QUIET, Deluxe Ocean View Suite, located forward of the ship. Why? It has two bathrooms with one being a full , and the other a half. If you are a husband with a wife or daughter, no need to further explain why this is important. Secondly, the square footage of these rooms is 230 square feet, with none of that space being used by a balcony. A definite plus for us. Being a regular cruiser, I am also aware the Family Harbor suites are near the Aft of the ship, and below the galley. It can be very noisy so be careful in where you book here! Our room was clean, comfortable, and our Steward Suli was excellent. There when you needed him, and disappeared leaving you to enjoy your cruise at other times.
Entertainment wise, Carnival has it all. We normally don't go to the shows, but speaking to other passengers these were excellent. The Southern Caribbean itinerary is one of the best at sea, which includes Grand Turk, La Romana, Curacao, and Aruba. Don't be afraid to explore La Romana, we hired a driver for $25 per person and explored the entire city. Just be prepared to say NO to some aggressive vendors along the way. The other ports are quiet, beautiful, and can be enjoyed by walking if you choose.
Both embarking and disembarkation were painless and efficient. We always leave our rental car at the Miami International Airport, check in at the Carnival Kiosks located near the baggage claim areas, then the entire family rides in a taxi to the port for a flat fee of $27. Yes, I said $27! Compare this to taking the carnival shuttle, or other travel options where you have to wait for the bus, ride with a larger group, etc. $27 is the authorized fee for taxi service to the port in Miami, and being Florida residents, by driving down in a rental and picking one up at the airport after the cruise, we save a ton of money on both travel costs and parking. Also, by checking in at the Kiosk, you are allowed to go directly to the Security Line at the port and walk right onto the ship during your assigned time. No need to pay for Faster to the Fun and and no waiting in lines at the port! We still travel to Miami and spend the night before our cruise in a hotel to avoid any last minute hick-ups.
Highly recommend Carnival, and enjoy your cruise with them!
Room has two bathrooms with one being a full , and the other a half. If you are a husband with a wife and other children, no need to further explain why this is important. Secondly, the square footage of these rooms is 230 square feet, with none of that space being used by a balcony. A definite plus for us.
My favorite port city. Plenty to do and see!
Perfect beach port. Be sure to bring your own portable umbrella to set up away from the crowd, and save on additional costs.
Walk out of terminal area, and hire a driver to show you around. Cost averages around $25 per person if you have a group join you!
Just get off ship, and walk to city area. Beautiful city to explore.