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I love cruising. Having sailed many cruises, itineraries, ship sizes, cabin types and lines from luxury to value. I do my homework before choosing and CC has provided many helpful tips. My mantra has always been ALL cruises are wonderful (even a less than stellar one) …Until sailing the Carnival Horizon. I was excited about sailing this new ship and seeing all its offerings . The ports of call were some of my favs and I have sailed Carnival before so I knew going in I wasn't going to be getting a 5 star experience and that was OK. Larger ships are not my first choice, but with it being new, the ports, good hype from travel sites, and being familiar with the level of service Carnival offers, Hey, pack a bag, I am there! Starting out on embarkment was very "smooth" and quick,note we did have VIP embarkment, so we were able forgo the long lines that stretched outside and around the port building. Sadly, however, this is where the smooth ended and the cruise turned into a "Self Serve" experience. Information for what, where when and how was up to you to find out. Most information came from other passengers as the crew in general seem completely detached and unhappy. I have never been on a cruise were I walked the deck to my stateroom and never once was greeted with a smile, a Hello, Good Morning …..nothing! If I greeting the staff first, they would do a quick "Hi" without looking up from the housekeeping cart. Now, I know how hard the staff of these ships work and the sacrifice of being away from family for long periods of time, but eight days of the silent treatment- you start to feel as though the crew resents you. The lack of friendliness and smiles was throughout the ship - dining venues, guest services, general staff, bar service, etc. If you wanted another cocktail, you track someone down and ask for it, if you want a refill on you coffee at dinner same thing. Never once was my coffee refilled without me flagging someone down and asking. One server seemed so put out that I asked for more coffee, he stopped on the opposite side of the my table, reached a crossed the table and my dinner mate filling my cup and slopping coffee on the table and my bread on the bread plate. Now I will tell you about 2 things that shown brightly and reminded me why I love cruising, #1 Dinner at #555 the specialty steakhouse - amazing! Wonderful attentive service and outstanding food. Well worth the extra $ just to see a happy crew member. #2 Our Cabin Stewart, Antonio, very accommodating, smiling and quick to respond! Now let's talk about the ship, which I lovingly refer to as "The Barnacle Barge" It is a chopped up, underwhelming mess. No "WOW" factor . No open spaces, small atriums . Maybe the design was done to make the ship feel intimate and cozy, but with the low ceilings multitude of rooms and no interior windows I felt confined and trapped. You have to go to the Lido Deck for any open space and even that feels small & confining. But what this ship doesn't have in open spaces, they make up for in bars. They even turn the Library into a Scotch/Whiskey bar at night. With the drink card, they limit you to 15!!! drinks a day. This perk was apparent as a huge drunken brawl broke out on our deck sending calls for security which spent the night patrolling our corridor. One brawl participant was taken to the hospital at our next port of call. Moving on to all passengers favorite subject, "The Elevators" . I had heard about this new system before sailing and watched a YouTube video detailing the processes of using them before embarking. However, I don't think very many of our other 4,000+ passengers had a clue (not blaming them, but maybe the ship could have given some information before hand) Again, another example of this self serve cruise. The elevators program your ride by using "Smart Panels" which are located outside the elevators cars. You approach the smart panel, it lights up with the decks and you push the deck name on the panel for as many people in your party going to that deck (so 4 people to the Lido Deck, press Lido Deck on panel 4 times) then the panel assigns you an elevator car. Car K, or Car G, Car H...then you stand in front of your assigned car and wait...……..and wait...….and wait. I rode the elevator with many people who just walked in a elevator car as soon as the door opened and then was surprised that there are no buttons to push inside the car, once in the elevator and the doors close, you are at the mercy of where that car has been programmed by others to go. It was somewhat amusing at first to see all the bewildered people, but quickly became an irritation. Dining. reserving a table for anytime dining was not explained well. If you knew how it worked it really cut down on wait time if not.....enjoy your wait. The food in the dining room was mediocre at best. Ordered 3 side dishes in hopes of getting one edible one. After 4 attempts at breakfast and sea day brunch (which on other Carnival Ships is a highlight) each time eggs where cold, toast was a rock with a butter smear and no coffee refills in sight. As the Ox Tongue, Wild Boar, or Pepper Pot in Coconut Milk broth didn't make our mouths water, we gave up on the dining room and enjoyed the best food on the ship: Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana Burritos and Ham & Cheese or Rueben's through room service. Entertainment - forget it - theater is too small and the talent is not worth the hassle of getting there early to get a seat. Save it for your child's ballet or piano recital. During the day you can "try" to find a seat or place at the pool, the kids will love the Seuss waterworks and there is the serenity deck which provides a nice respite. The comedy club was good but most times standing room only. The casino is in the center of the ship, get in and out before 11am or you can't breathe it gets so smokey. Horrible ventilation esp for a new shipl You know how sometimes things get so bad that they becomes funny? Well, we got to that point in LaRoma.. when docked in port they always reminded us to head back to ship 1- 1 1/2 hours before sail as they only had one security person checking, one gangway open and the lines would get crazy long. Boarding the ship early, early it was wickedly hot, we sat in the comfort of our port side cove balcony and watched passengers come back to the ship. You know how they will sometimes have local island musicians & dancers in costume greet you back to the ship? Well Carnival had set up a portable boom box that blasted a loop of 70'/80's mix. Everything from Commodores, AWB, KC & Sunshine, Capt & Tennille, Olivia Newton John. Guess they couldn't find steel drum or Caribbean island sounds 8 track - but we laughed till we cried. So, after reading this, I know it's long but writing this my therapy after surviving this cruise, if you still decide to sail the Horizon- Here are my tips; #1 the rooms are good with lots of closet and drawer space #2 Eat at the specialty restaurant 555, Guys Burgers, the Burrito Bar or Room Service #3 AMC in the room has great classic movies watched "Giant". "Glory" West Side Story #4 Our Room 2314 had great air conditioning (others not so lucky) #5 Watch the You Tube Video on the Elevators #6 Find the hidden gem on the aft on deck #5 Ocean Plaza they service a self serve b'fast buffet (eggs are warm and you can refill your own coffee) they have nice comfy seating and also outdoor tables and chairs with umbrellas that has a café feel. ...and if you think I am just being picky or exaggerating, read some of the other reviews on CC regarding the Horizon and you will see a pattern in the comments. Considering all the cruises I have gone on - this has been the only stinker so I do feel luck on that count. I still love cruising...going again in Feb. But will never, ever step foot on the Horizon. It is my hope that Carnival can remedy the staff situation. They are miserable and so very unhappy.

Keep your expectations low, very low

Carnival Horizon Cruise Review by tamarajamara

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I love cruising. Having sailed many cruises, itineraries, ship sizes, cabin types and lines from luxury to value. I do my homework before choosing and CC has provided many helpful tips. My mantra has always been ALL cruises are wonderful (even a less than stellar one) …Until sailing the Carnival Horizon. I was excited about sailing this new ship and seeing all its offerings . The ports of call were some of my favs and I have sailed Carnival before so I knew going in I wasn't going to be getting a 5 star experience and that was OK. Larger ships are not my first choice, but with it being new, the ports, good hype from travel sites, and being familiar with the level of service Carnival offers, Hey, pack a bag, I am there!

Starting out on embarkment was very "smooth" and quick,note we did have VIP embarkment, so we were able forgo the long lines that stretched outside and around the port building.

Sadly, however, this is where the smooth ended and the cruise turned into a "Self Serve" experience. Information for what, where when and how was up to you to find out. Most information came from other passengers as the crew in general seem completely detached and unhappy. I have never been on a cruise were I walked the deck to my stateroom and never once was greeted with a smile, a Hello, Good Morning …..nothing! If I greeting the staff first, they would do a quick "Hi" without looking up from the housekeeping cart. Now, I know how hard the staff of these ships work and the sacrifice of being away from family for long periods of time, but eight days of the silent treatment- you start to feel as though the crew resents you. The lack of friendliness and smiles was throughout the ship - dining venues, guest services, general staff, bar service, etc. If you wanted another cocktail, you track someone down and ask for it, if you want a refill on you coffee at dinner same thing. Never once was my coffee refilled without me flagging someone down and asking. One server seemed so put out that I asked for more coffee, he stopped on the opposite side of the my table, reached a crossed the table and my dinner mate filling my cup and slopping coffee on the table and my bread on the bread plate.

Now I will tell you about 2 things that shown brightly and reminded me why I love cruising,

#1 Dinner at #555 the specialty steakhouse - amazing! Wonderful attentive service and outstanding food. Well worth the extra $ just to see a happy crew member.

#2 Our Cabin Stewart, Antonio, very accommodating, smiling and quick to respond!

Now let's talk about the ship, which I lovingly refer to as "The Barnacle Barge" It is a chopped up, underwhelming mess. No "WOW" factor . No open spaces, small atriums . Maybe the design was done to make the ship feel intimate and cozy, but with the low ceilings multitude of rooms and no interior windows I felt confined and trapped. You have to go to the Lido Deck for any open space and even that feels small & confining. But what this ship doesn't have in open spaces, they make up for in bars. They even turn the Library into a Scotch/Whiskey bar at night. With the drink card, they limit you to 15!!! drinks a day. This perk was apparent as a huge drunken brawl broke out on our deck sending calls for security which spent the night patrolling our corridor. One brawl participant was taken to the hospital at our next port of call.

Moving on to all passengers favorite subject, "The Elevators" . I had heard about this new system before sailing and watched a YouTube video detailing the processes of using them before embarking. However, I don't think very many of our other 4,000+ passengers had a clue (not blaming them, but maybe the ship could have given some information before hand) Again, another example of this self serve cruise.

The elevators program your ride by using "Smart Panels" which are located outside the elevators cars. You approach the smart panel, it lights up with the decks and you push the deck name on the panel for as many people in your party going to that deck (so 4 people to the Lido Deck, press Lido Deck on panel 4 times) then the panel assigns you an elevator car. Car K, or Car G, Car H...then you stand in front of your assigned car and wait...……..and wait...….and wait. I rode the elevator with many people who just walked in a elevator car as soon as the door opened and then was surprised that there are no buttons to push inside the car, once in the elevator and the doors close, you are at the mercy of where that car has been programmed by others to go. It was somewhat amusing at first to see all the bewildered people, but quickly became an irritation.

Dining. reserving a table for anytime dining was not explained well. If you knew how it worked it really cut down on wait time if not.....enjoy your wait. The food in the dining room was mediocre at best. Ordered 3 side dishes in hopes of getting one edible one.

After 4 attempts at breakfast and sea day brunch (which on other Carnival Ships is a highlight) each time eggs where cold, toast was a rock with a butter smear and no coffee refills in sight. As the Ox Tongue, Wild Boar, or Pepper Pot in Coconut Milk broth didn't make our mouths water, we gave up on the dining room and enjoyed the best food on the ship: Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana Burritos and Ham & Cheese or Rueben's through room service.

Entertainment - forget it - theater is too small and the talent is not worth the hassle of getting there early to get a seat. Save it for your child's ballet or piano recital.

During the day you can "try" to find a seat or place at the pool, the kids will love the Seuss waterworks and there is the serenity deck which provides a nice respite. The comedy club was good but most times standing room only. The casino is in the center of the ship, get in and out before 11am or you can't breathe it gets so smokey. Horrible ventilation esp for a new shipl

You know how sometimes things get so bad that they becomes funny? Well, we got to that point in LaRoma.. when docked in port they always reminded us to head back to ship

1- 1 1/2 hours before sail as they only had one security person checking, one gangway open and the lines would get crazy long. Boarding the ship early, early it was wickedly hot, we sat in the comfort of our port side cove balcony and watched passengers come back to the ship. You know how they will sometimes have local island musicians & dancers in costume greet you back to the ship? Well Carnival had set up a portable boom box that blasted a loop of 70'/80's mix. Everything from Commodores, AWB, KC & Sunshine, Capt & Tennille, Olivia Newton John. Guess they couldn't find steel drum or Caribbean island sounds 8 track - but we laughed till we cried.

So, after reading this, I know it's long but writing this my therapy after surviving this cruise, if you still decide to sail the Horizon- Here are my tips;

#1 the rooms are good with lots of closet and drawer space

#2 Eat at the specialty restaurant 555, Guys Burgers, the Burrito Bar or Room Service

#3 AMC in the room has great classic movies watched "Giant". "Glory" West Side Story

#4 Our Room 2314 had great air conditioning (others not so lucky)

#5 Watch the You Tube Video on the Elevators

#6 Find the hidden gem on the aft on deck #5 Ocean Plaza they service a self serve b'fast buffet (eggs are warm and you can refill your own coffee) they have nice comfy seating and also outdoor tables and chairs with umbrellas that has a café feel.

...and if you think I am just being picky or exaggerating, read some of the other reviews on CC regarding the Horizon and you will see a pattern in the comments. Considering all the cruises I have gone on - this has been the only stinker so I do feel luck on that count.

I still love cruising...going again in Feb. But will never, ever step foot on the Horizon.

It is my hope that Carnival can remedy the staff situation. They are miserable and so very unhappy.
tamarajamara’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cove Balcony
Cabin 7C
Our cabin was very nice- lots of closet and drawer space - comfy and great air conditioning.
However, this cabin is close to The Family Harbor so during peak family travel times- it may get noisy with children. There were several cabins that didn't have AC (another complaint that several have already posted about on CC)
Deck 2 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins