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This was the first cruise for our family of 5 (kids ages 12, 9, and 6), but I can tell that it won't be our last! When I booked this cruise, it was chosen based on dates that worked with our spring break, the availability of adjoining cabins in our price range, and the ship having many fun activities for kids. After reading many positive and negative reviews, I knew what to expect in terms of crowds, elevators, food options, and entertainment, so I felt prepared for issues that others have complained about and they didn't bother us. Yes, there were times when the ship felt crowded at the pool and the buffet, but it was never unmanageable, and it was expected when there were nearly 5000 people on board! There were always places to go to find some peace and quiet (the deck on level 5 was a favorite of ours). Yes, the elevators were a disaster on the day of embarkation due to people not knowing how to use them and the crew working hard to get everyone's luggage onboard. But we walked a lot of stairs over the 6 days and burned off the many servings of burgers and melting cake that we consumed :). We had 2 adjoining interior cabins forward on deck 1 and this was perfect for our family-the 3 kids slept in 1 while my husband and I had our own space in the other. I'm sure a balcony or window would have been nice, but we spent very little time in the cabin and did not miss them or feel claustrophobic. There was plenty of closet and drawer space for our family. It was great to have 2 bathrooms! We felt very little movement from the ship, and only heard noise on the final day when we docked back in Miami. Our kids ate about a hundred servings of ice cream and thought this was a dream come true! We took them to the main dining room every night-it was nice to take the time to relax during dinner, and it was a great time for them to try out new foods. My son loved the alligator fritters and calamari, and my older daughter ate meat for every meal-lamb shank, prime rib, braised short ribs! My 6yo daughter was happy eating hot dogs and hamburgers for almost every meal (ugh!), but the dining room staff was very nice about getting her raw veggies and fruit to accompany her meal. The food was overall very good-we don't eat in gourmet restaurants often, but had no complaints about the quality of the food, especially considering how many people they are cooking for! The melting cake was terrific the first night, but not as warm and "melting" on other nights, to the point where we sent it back one night, as we found it just isn't very good when it is cold. We promptly received a new melting cake without any questions asked. The crew were all exceptionally friendly and I felt like everyone we saw smiled or said hello, fellow passengers included. The activities on board did not disappoint-the water slides were fun for all of us, the ropes course was terrifying in a good way (I would recommend NOT doing this in 45mph winds unless you have no fear of heights :), the sky ride was amazing, and the mini golf course was great family fun. The pools and hot tubs were crowded with kids on sea days, but some of them were our own (and they didn't care!). My girls checked out club Ocean briefly the first day and were overwhelmed by the number of kids, so did not want to go back. This was no surprise, as all of our kids are somewhat shy and I didn't expect that they would do the kids clubs. We heard from others that their kids liked it so much that they didn't want to leave! We attended the 3 shows-Soulbound, Celestial Strings, and Vintage Pop- and thought these were fun, well done with excellent musicians, singers, and dancing- and perfect length for our family (around 35-40 min each I think). We planned our own activities in port and this worked well for our family and was more cost effective than purchasing through Carnival. I hope this review helps someone else who is thinking about a cruise on the Horizon. If you have a family with kids who are tweens or grade schoolers, I can tell you that you will have an amazing time! My kids are already bugging me to plan our next cruise...

Exceeded expectations for this family of 5!

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by runnerinn

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was the first cruise for our family of 5 (kids ages 12, 9, and 6), but I can tell that it won't be our last! When I booked this cruise, it was chosen based on dates that worked with our spring break, the availability of adjoining cabins in our price range, and the ship having many fun activities for kids. After reading many positive and negative reviews, I knew what to expect in terms of crowds, elevators, food options, and entertainment, so I felt prepared for issues that others have complained about and they didn't bother us. Yes, there were times when the ship felt crowded at the pool and the buffet, but it was never unmanageable, and it was expected when there were nearly 5000 people on board! There were always places to go to find some peace and quiet (the deck on level 5 was a favorite of ours). Yes, the elevators were a disaster on the day of embarkation due to people not knowing how to use them and the crew working hard to get everyone's luggage onboard. But we walked a lot of stairs over the 6 days and burned off the many servings of burgers and melting cake that we consumed :).

We had 2 adjoining interior cabins forward on deck 1 and this was perfect for our family-the 3 kids slept in 1 while my husband and I had our own space in the other. I'm sure a balcony or window would have been nice, but we spent very little time in the cabin and did not miss them or feel claustrophobic. There was plenty of closet and drawer space for our family. It was great to have 2 bathrooms! We felt very little movement from the ship, and only heard noise on the final day when we docked back in Miami.

Our kids ate about a hundred servings of ice cream and thought this was a dream come true! We took them to the main dining room every night-it was nice to take the time to relax during dinner, and it was a great time for them to try out new foods. My son loved the alligator fritters and calamari, and my older daughter ate meat for every meal-lamb shank, prime rib, braised short ribs! My 6yo daughter was happy eating hot dogs and hamburgers for almost every meal (ugh!), but the dining room staff was very nice about getting her raw veggies and fruit to accompany her meal. The food was overall very good-we don't eat in gourmet restaurants often, but had no complaints about the quality of the food, especially considering how many people they are cooking for! The melting cake was terrific the first night, but not as warm and "melting" on other nights, to the point where we sent it back one night, as we found it just isn't very good when it is cold. We promptly received a new melting cake without any questions asked.

The crew were all exceptionally friendly and I felt like everyone we saw smiled or said hello, fellow passengers included.

The activities on board did not disappoint-the water slides were fun for all of us, the ropes course was terrifying in a good way (I would recommend NOT doing this in 45mph winds unless you have no fear of heights :), the sky ride was amazing, and the mini golf course was great family fun. The pools and hot tubs were crowded with kids on sea days, but some of them were our own (and they didn't care!). My girls checked out club Ocean briefly the first day and were overwhelmed by the number of kids, so did not want to go back. This was no surprise, as all of our kids are somewhat shy and I didn't expect that they would do the kids clubs. We heard from others that their kids liked it so much that they didn't want to leave! We attended the 3 shows-Soulbound, Celestial Strings, and Vintage Pop- and thought these were fun, well done with excellent musicians, singers, and dancing- and perfect length for our family (around 35-40 min each I think).

We planned our own activities in port and this worked well for our family and was more cost effective than purchasing through Carnival.

I hope this review helps someone else who is thinking about a cruise on the Horizon. If you have a family with kids who are tweens or grade schoolers, I can tell you that you will have an amazing time! My kids are already bugging me to plan our next cruise...
runnerinn’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4A 1221
Cabin was neat, clean, and adequate in size. We also had adjoining cabin 1217 for our kids and loved having 2 cabins with a connecting door. No noise heard from other cabins or from above.
Deck 1 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cozumel
    We took a taxi to Chankanaab and paid the general admission using a coupon I found online for a few dollars off. I was worried about it being too busy as there were 7 (!) other ships in port that day, but it was no problem. We found a nice place to sit on the beach, enjoyed snorkeling along the shore- a great first experience of real snorkeling for my kids, watched the sea lion show (very well done and interesting), and swam in the pool.
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  • Grand Cayman
    We took the local bus to the Turtle Farm-it was a quick walk to the bus stop from the cruise port and easy to find the correct bus. The turtle farm was great fun-my kids loved holding the turtles, swimming and using the waterslide in the giant pool, and snorkeling for the first time in the lagoon.
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  • Irie Blue Hole
    We scheduled a private tour to the Blue Hole and a beach with Dr. Fun tours. The Blue Hole was beautiful and it was fun jumping from the waterfalls, but I was disappointed that it was incredibly busy the day we were there. There must have been several hundred people with the same idea! Our guide indicated that he'd never seen it so busy there. While I have no complaints about Dr. Fun tours (good communication and service), I'm not sure I would visit the Blue Hole off a cruise again-it was just too busy to really enjoy. The drive through Jamaica was impressive, though, and we'd love to go back sometime for a longer stay.
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