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Many months ago, we chose this cruise primarily because of date availability and number of activities for our 3 grandchildren, ages 6-14. When we realized booking in the Family Harbor was basically the same price as a regular interior, we went that route because of the private lounge for gaming, snacks, coffee, television, etc. This was the first time we have tried doing a family cruise with 11 of us. There were some challenges with that. But overall, it was still super. My wife and I have cruised about 12 times on various ships, but this was the largest ship we've booked and there is good and bad that goes with that. The embarkation was very smooth. We chose to park our cars off-sight, so we did a drive-through the Port of Miami to drop 9 people plus all our luggage. The 2 drivers then headed off to park the vehicles on the mainland, catch the shuttle back to the Port, and get with the family. Family was dropped off at 12:00 noon, and we boarded the boat at 1:00 pm. We couldn't get to our rooms right then, but with a little sweet-talking, they did allow us to head into the Family Harbor area just to drop off our carry on's at our room before heading on to lunch. We chose Guy's Pig & Anchor on Deck 5 for our lunch rather than head to the Lido Buffet. Overall, a good decision. The food at the BBQ was not quite what I had hoped for, but it was good, and it was even better when very few people seemed to opt for that choice despite it being free on sailing day. Overall, meals were good--above average. Nothing just wowed me at dinners, but all was good. We chose Anytime Dining, but after our first night of meeting our waiters that night, we zeroed in on making a point to get to them each night. "Big G" was our waiter---he was phenomenal with our kids! He was a grandfather of 3, and I think our 3 must have reminded him of his own grandkids. He made them feel so special. So, as the week wore on, our "Anytime Dining" was driven by our ability to get to Big G's table. The process of getting your Anytime Dining seating was a little different. You had to go to the coffee bar on Floor 5 to "check in" and show your entire party. At that point, you would be sent back to floor 3 to the dining hall, or given a beeper and told you would be called in a while. Sea Days were incredibly busy in the Water Parks area and Ropes Course/SkyRider. On the day the boat was in Cozumel, we made a decision to stay onboard with the grandkids so they could have complete access to those activities without the long lines. I would advise thinking about doing that as well. Pick a day you are not going into a port and use the ship's activities without all the hassles. All of those activities also have limited hours. The Water Park closes at 6:00 pm every evening. Check the hours on your Carnival Hub regularly to make sure you don't miss opportunities to do things. We found the Deli line and Pizza Line to not even be worth the hassle in the late evenings. I don't ever recall being on a cruise where I didn't hit up the Pizza Place at least a few times late in the evening. One night on the way to the Ice Cream dispenser, I hit a line and asked the people what it was for. "The Deli" was the answer. I refuse to wait 45 minutes for a Reuben at 10:30 at night. That was probably the biggest downer on the cruise for us was more long lines. We knew with the bigger ships, that might be an issue. It was a little more than I was comfortable with. Guy's Burger Joint on the Pool Deck on Sea Days was at least 30 people deep for hours at a time. Sea Days, normally a favorite of mine, were uncomfortable due to the crowds. I also acknowledge if we were not traveling with kids, there were other options available for adult pools and areas. Highlights were our excursions of Mystic Mountain/Jamaican Bobsled Run & Dunn River Falls climb in Jamaica. Our oldest son and wife took the 3 kids on a swim with the stingrays trip in Grand Cayman. They had a real blast doing that as well. Both of these excursions were great. My wife did not care for the Promenade Shops at all on this boar. They are good for expensive watches, perfume, or liquor. The normal shops where you can walk around and look at clothes and knick-knacks just weren't there. In her eyes, this was a major bummer. PIxels photo lobby was great--had not been on a cruise since the photo shops have gone more modern. Now you just log in and look at your photos vs. see all the photos lined up on the wall. Much smoother. Debarkation was a disaster for some reason. We were very, very late getting off the boat. In fact, still sitting there at 11:00 waiting for number to be called. This was contrary to everything I'd read about the new procedures in Port of Miami being smoother. I will assume it was an anomaly, but on this particular day, it was a long, long wait. We were beginning to think we'd get to sail away with the next group of passenger. Overall, it was a great trip with family. A memory maker. We didn't care for the long lines, the shoppes, casino (super small), but there were plenty of activities, wonderful dining room staff, nice sea day brunch, and plenty of positives. We enjoy Carnival--just understand it is what it is---low cost (for the most part) carrier with not a lot of the frills, bells and whistles you might like, but it got the job done for the 11 of us.

Family of 11 Summer Jump Start

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by wflcommissioner

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Harbor Interior
Many months ago, we chose this cruise primarily because of date availability and number of activities for our 3 grandchildren, ages 6-14. When we realized booking in the Family Harbor was basically the same price as a regular interior, we went that route because of the private lounge for gaming, snacks, coffee, television, etc. This was the first time we have tried doing a family cruise with 11 of us. There were some challenges with that. But overall, it was still super. My wife and I have cruised about 12 times on various ships, but this was the largest ship we've booked and there is good and bad that goes with that.

The embarkation was very smooth. We chose to park our cars off-sight, so we did a drive-through the Port of Miami to drop 9 people plus all our luggage. The 2 drivers then headed off to park the vehicles on the mainland, catch the shuttle back to the Port, and get with the family. Family was dropped off at 12:00 noon, and we boarded the boat at 1:00 pm. We couldn't get to our rooms right then, but with a little sweet-talking, they did allow us to head into the Family Harbor area just to drop off our carry on's at our room before heading on to lunch.

We chose Guy's Pig & Anchor on Deck 5 for our lunch rather than head to the Lido Buffet. Overall, a good decision. The food at the BBQ was not quite what I had hoped for, but it was good, and it was even better when very few people seemed to opt for that choice despite it being free on sailing day.

Overall, meals were good--above average. Nothing just wowed me at dinners, but all was good. We chose Anytime Dining, but after our first night of meeting our waiters that night, we zeroed in on making a point to get to them each night. "Big G" was our waiter---he was phenomenal with our kids! He was a grandfather of 3, and I think our 3 must have reminded him of his own grandkids. He made them feel so special. So, as the week wore on, our "Anytime Dining" was driven by our ability to get to Big G's table. The process of getting your Anytime Dining seating was a little different. You had to go to the coffee bar on Floor 5 to "check in" and show your entire party. At that point, you would be sent back to floor 3 to the dining hall, or given a beeper and told you would be called in a while.

Sea Days were incredibly busy in the Water Parks area and Ropes Course/SkyRider. On the day the boat was in Cozumel, we made a decision to stay onboard with the grandkids so they could have complete access to those activities without the long lines. I would advise thinking about doing that as well. Pick a day you are not going into a port and use the ship's activities without all the hassles. All of those activities also have limited hours. The Water Park closes at 6:00 pm every evening. Check the hours on your Carnival Hub regularly to make sure you don't miss opportunities to do things.

We found the Deli line and Pizza Line to not even be worth the hassle in the late evenings. I don't ever recall being on a cruise where I didn't hit up the Pizza Place at least a few times late in the evening. One night on the way to the Ice Cream dispenser, I hit a line and asked the people what it was for. "The Deli" was the answer. I refuse to wait 45 minutes for a Reuben at 10:30 at night. That was probably the biggest downer on the cruise for us was more long lines. We knew with the bigger ships, that might be an issue. It was a little more than I was comfortable with. Guy's Burger Joint on the Pool Deck on Sea Days was at least 30 people deep for hours at a time. Sea Days, normally a favorite of mine, were uncomfortable due to the crowds. I also acknowledge if we were not traveling with kids, there were other options available for adult pools and areas.

Highlights were our excursions of Mystic Mountain/Jamaican Bobsled Run & Dunn River Falls climb in Jamaica. Our oldest son and wife took the 3 kids on a swim with the stingrays trip in Grand Cayman. They had a real blast doing that as well. Both of these excursions were great.

My wife did not care for the Promenade Shops at all on this boar. They are good for expensive watches, perfume, or liquor. The normal shops where you can walk around and look at clothes and knick-knacks just weren't there. In her eyes, this was a major bummer.

PIxels photo lobby was great--had not been on a cruise since the photo shops have gone more modern. Now you just log in and look at your photos vs. see all the photos lined up on the wall. Much smoother.

Debarkation was a disaster for some reason. We were very, very late getting off the boat. In fact, still sitting there at 11:00 waiting for number to be called. This was contrary to everything I'd read about the new procedures in Port of Miami being smoother. I will assume it was an anomaly, but on this particular day, it was a long, long wait. We were beginning to think we'd get to sail away with the next group of passenger.

Overall, it was a great trip with family. A memory maker. We didn't care for the long lines, the shoppes, casino (super small), but there were plenty of activities, wonderful dining room staff, nice sea day brunch, and plenty of positives. We enjoy Carnival--just understand it is what it is---low cost (for the most part) carrier with not a lot of the frills, bells and whistles you might like, but it got the job done for the 11 of us.
wflcommissioner’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Harbor Interior
Cabin FA 2441
Standard Interior Room with a great Cabin Steward.
Deck 2 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Stingray Swim
    My son, wife, and 3 kids (14, 10, 6) did this and had a great time. Recommended
    View All 718 Stingray Swim Reviews
  • Miami
    it was necessary to navigate Miami in order to go on the Horizon! The port was congested, busy, crowded, and when debarkation ran late, you had people arriving at the boat overlapping with those trying to exit the boat and it was just a horror. Our debarkation apparently was an anomaly in how late it ran, but if I could do the same cruise from Canaveral in Florida and not venture into Miami, that would be better.
    View All 2,379 Miami Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Miami Cruise Port Review
  • Bobsled Tour
    We booked this for our entire family of 11, knowing our youngest traveler probably wouldn't qualify for the 46' necessary to ride the Bobsled Run. But much to our surprise, when they saw him with a wristband on indicating he was a paid customer, they had him come over and they double strapped him in the bobsled with his grandfather, and allowed him to ride despite not being quite tall enough. It was the highlight of our entire week seeing him get to ride that when we thought he'd not be able to. Thank you, Mystic Mountain!
    View All 71 Bobsled Tour Reviews
  • Dunn's River Falls
    Really enjoyed as something we could all do together. Only one person did not care for due to a lot of navigating steps in the water without being able to see where you were stepping.
    View All 248 Dunn's River Falls Reviews