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Our fabulous 8-day cruise to the “Exotic Southern Caribbean” aboard the Carnival Horizon was filled with plenty of positives and very few negatives. My wife and I wondered if the negative reviews were actually describing another ship. Tastes, preferences, and interests are unique to each cruiser, so I offer a bit of caution when you read those negative reviews about the Carnival Horizon. We sailed from Miami on May 18 and returned on May 26 after visiting Grand Turk, Dominica, Curacao, and Aruba. Boarding was a little delayed due to the previous cruise arriving late, but once we started moving, everything went very smoothly. We were settled in for a delicious BBQ lunch at the Pig and Anchor by 1:00. Sail away was at 4:00. A brief note about each port: On Grand Turk we simply enjoyed relaxing on the beach. Umbrellas and chairs are free in rows three and four. Margaritaville has a very nice pool with free access just steps away from the beach. We spent a relaxing day without spending any money! On Dominica we paid for an excursion to Monkeyland. If you read any negative reviews about this, I doubt the reviewer really went there. It was super fun to have the monkeys jump onto you for the food which was given to us. This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience! The ride to the monkeys aboard a comfortable bus gave us a glimpse of life on the island. On Curacao we strolled around the city enjoying the Dutch architecture, and we placed a padlock on the Lovelock Sculpture. This is a fun thing to do. Remember to bring a padlock. We did a little gambling, but didn’t win anything. We didn’t lose much, either. We didn’t leave port until 10 PM, so we got a glimpse of the lights at night. We didn’t stroll far enough from the dock to get a really good view, however. On Aruba we took the second of our two excursions. We took a comfortable bus tour of the top ten sites on Aruba. This was very enjoyable. Be sure to heed the guide’s warning about which stops have fee restrooms and which are free. We got back to the port in plenty of time to do some shopping in the area. Right outside the restricted port area you will find a local market. There are actually two “markets.” You need to cross the busy street to get to the one which appears to be more “local” and is in a big tent. I imagine many of the products are made in China but it still fun to browse in the market and talk to the local people. Now the “highlights” and “lowlights.” In no particular order: There was plenty of seating, everywhere, despite having almost 5,000 people onboard. There were only 500 children, so that may have made a difference. Single deck chairs were always available. If you needed a lot of chairs in a row they were not always available. My favorite place to sit was the Lani. Lounge chairs were always available there. My wife preferred a chair in the sun near a pool. She almost always found her chair waiting for her. Seating for shows was not as difficult as I expected. We always arrived a half hour before show time, but we would not have had to. The food in the dining room was almost always very good. I know you read otherwise, but unless you are a foodie, you will be happy. The food on the buffet was good and you have many options. Sometimes the dining room food is served on the buffet. At lunch there is a special row of fancy iced cakes. If you try a few pieces at each lunch, you will discover your favorite, but they do change every day. In the regular dessert section of the buffet they sometimes have amaretto cake which is excellent. Try it with some of the free ice-cream or gelato, which is available 24 hours a day. My very favorite dessert was the 7-layer cake served only during Sea Day Brunch. I liked that better than their signature melting chocolate cake served the dining room. Pizza is available 24 hours a day. It’s good. Guy’s Burgers are fantastic. They are free and there are several variations. Food in Ji Ji’s Asian Kitchen is outstanding. It is a specialty restaurant so you have to pay $15 for it. At noon there is a free version of the great food. It is called the Mongolian Wok at lunch. The bed and bedding were very comfortable. We were able to disembark at each port, quickly. Lemonade is always free and always available. It does not taste free! We really liked it. The Carnival Hub App is free and a must-have. It tells you what’s happening, which food places are open, and many other useful things. For $5 you can add a chat feature so you can text with your cruise mates for the whole cruise. My wife and I found it very helpful. The pastrami sandwich in the deli is delicious, and huge! There is free room service until late night. We just used it for coffee in the morning. The staff was very friendly, helpful, and kind. Once exception is noted below. Everything is squeaky clean and they are always cleaning and tidying up. The Fresh Creations salad bar on the Serenity Deck allows you to make a salad with dozens of ingredients. You can even load up on shrimp! I hesitate mentioning the few negatives because the positives far outweigh them. Our wait staff was not very attentive to our needs and the main waiter forgot things. When we asked for lemon or coffee he said he would bring it, but didn’t. He even forgot one of my main dishes. We heard it was advantageous to provide an extra tip at the beginning of the cruise. We won’t do that again. The people in the casino were not helpful and the lady in the cage was rude to me. I was told to “settle down” in a condescending tone. The free popcorn during movies on the deck was not very good. We didn’t try the popcorn for purchase in the theater. Although it was not Carnival’s fault, sometimes inconsiderate people sat next to me during the shows. One woman sang along when it wasn’t a sing-along! She did stop when I asked her to, however. These few negatives will not prevent us from sailing on a Carnival ship in the future. We loved our Carnival Horizon adventure.

Great Time on a Great Ship

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by deanman02

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Our fabulous 8-day cruise to the “Exotic Southern Caribbean” aboard the Carnival Horizon was filled with plenty of positives and very few negatives. My wife and I wondered if the negative reviews were actually describing another ship. Tastes, preferences, and interests are unique to each cruiser, so I offer a bit of caution when you read those negative reviews about the Carnival Horizon.

We sailed from Miami on May 18 and returned on May 26 after visiting Grand Turk, Dominica, Curacao, and Aruba. Boarding was a little delayed due to the previous cruise arriving late, but once we started moving, everything went very smoothly. We were settled in for a delicious BBQ lunch at the Pig and Anchor by 1:00. Sail away was at 4:00.

A brief note about each port:

On Grand Turk we simply enjoyed relaxing on the beach. Umbrellas and chairs are free in rows three and four. Margaritaville has a very nice pool with free access just steps away from the beach. We spent a relaxing day without spending any money!

On Dominica we paid for an excursion to Monkeyland. If you read any negative reviews about this, I doubt the reviewer really went there. It was super fun to have the monkeys jump onto you for the food which was given to us. This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience! The ride to the monkeys aboard a comfortable bus gave us a glimpse of life on the island.

On Curacao we strolled around the city enjoying the Dutch architecture, and we placed a padlock on the Lovelock Sculpture. This is a fun thing to do. Remember to bring a padlock. We did a little gambling, but didn’t win anything. We didn’t lose much, either. We didn’t leave port until 10 PM, so we got a glimpse of the lights at night. We didn’t stroll far enough from the dock to get a really good view, however.

On Aruba we took the second of our two excursions. We took a comfortable bus tour of the top ten sites on Aruba. This was very enjoyable. Be sure to heed the guide’s warning about which stops have fee restrooms and which are free. We got back to the port in plenty of time to do some shopping in the area. Right outside the restricted port area you will find a local market. There are actually two “markets.” You need to cross the busy street to get to the one which appears to be more “local” and is in a big tent. I imagine many of the products are made in China but it still fun to browse in the market and talk to the local people.

Now the “highlights” and “lowlights.”

In no particular order:

There was plenty of seating, everywhere, despite having almost 5,000 people onboard. There were only 500 children, so that may have made a difference. Single deck chairs were always available. If you needed a lot of chairs in a row they were not always available. My favorite place to sit was the Lani. Lounge chairs were always available there. My wife preferred a chair in the sun near a pool. She almost always found her chair waiting for her. Seating for shows was not as difficult as I expected. We always arrived a half hour before show time, but we would not have had to.

The food in the dining room was almost always very good. I know you read otherwise, but unless you are a foodie, you will be happy. The food on the buffet was good and you have many options. Sometimes the dining room food is served on the buffet.

At lunch there is a special row of fancy iced cakes. If you try a few pieces at each lunch, you will discover your favorite, but they do change every day.

In the regular dessert section of the buffet they sometimes have amaretto cake which is excellent. Try it with some of the free ice-cream or gelato, which is available 24 hours a day. My very favorite dessert was the 7-layer cake served only during Sea Day Brunch. I liked that better than their signature melting chocolate cake served the dining room.

Pizza is available 24 hours a day. It’s good.

Guy’s Burgers are fantastic. They are free and there are several variations.

Food in Ji Ji’s Asian Kitchen is outstanding. It is a specialty restaurant so you have to pay $15 for it. At noon there is a free version of the great food. It is called the Mongolian Wok at lunch.

The bed and bedding were very comfortable.

We were able to disembark at each port, quickly.

Lemonade is always free and always available. It does not taste free! We really liked it.

The Carnival Hub App is free and a must-have. It tells you what’s happening, which food places are open, and many other useful things. For $5 you can add a chat feature so you can text with your cruise mates for the whole cruise. My wife and I found it very helpful.

The pastrami sandwich in the deli is delicious, and huge!

There is free room service until late night. We just used it for coffee in the morning.

The staff was very friendly, helpful, and kind. Once exception is noted below.

Everything is squeaky clean and they are always cleaning and tidying up.

The Fresh Creations salad bar on the Serenity Deck allows you to make a salad with dozens of ingredients. You can even load up on shrimp!

I hesitate mentioning the few negatives because the positives far outweigh them.

Our wait staff was not very attentive to our needs and the main waiter forgot things. When we asked for lemon or coffee he said he would bring it, but didn’t. He even forgot one of my main dishes. We heard it was advantageous to provide an extra tip at the beginning of the cruise. We won’t do that again.

The people in the casino were not helpful and the lady in the cage was rude to me. I was told to “settle down” in a condescending tone.

The free popcorn during movies on the deck was not very good. We didn’t try the popcorn for purchase in the theater.

Although it was not Carnival’s fault, sometimes inconsiderate people sat next to me during the shows. One woman sang along when it wasn’t a sing-along! She did stop when I asked her to, however.

These few negatives will not prevent us from sailing on a Carnival ship in the future. We loved our Carnival Horizon adventure.
deanman02’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4A 10234
I don't know the cabin category so I just guessed. The cabin was small but well appointed and we were happy there.
Deck 1 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews