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Found 348 results

  1. I have my 20yr wedding anniversary cruise scheduled for May '21 on the Horizon. Anybody think its to soon or shall we be fine?
  2. We cruised on Horizon last April and loved it. Had a balcony cabin deck 7 I believe. The Havana cabins piqued my interest, in particular deck 5. Not sure why other than maybe it was super close to the bars 😂. Those of you who've stayed in Havana interior & balcony on decks 5 &/or 6, were you able to hear the music from any of the clubs? I know they usually shut down around midnight (except for the late night dance club). We don't go to bed with the chickens but occasionally will turn in before midnight if there's an early excursion the next day.
  3. EMBARKATION Arrival at the Port/terminal facilities: Grade B. We arrived about 1030 am after taking a free rental car shuttle from the port (we drove from our home that morning in a rental). The Port itself is very busy but once inside the terminal, the new Carnival check-in process where they scan your passport upon entering the terminal and your boarding pass is your “room key” until picking up your permanent key outside your cabin is slick and flawless. My 2 bottles of wine and 2 cases of Pepsi sailed through without any problem and no corkage fee on the wine! We waited in the priority area which had a cooler of lemonade. We began boarding about 1130 which was quick and easy. There are vending machines in the terminal inside the secure area that are reasonable (snacks $1.25 and sodas $2) so you can take your drink / snacks on board. THE SHIP Overall; Grade A. The ship itself is nearly new, easy to navigate, and the color scheme and decor are neutral earth tones with a modern feel. Some of the lines can get long during peak times at some of the food areas (pig and anchor, blue iguana, pasta bar, Mongolian, and deli), but overall passenger flow was good. The crew was friendly and professional. Some specific comments: CABINS: Grade B. We had an inside cabin on deck 1 (we booked three days prior with only two cabins left). I don't think we have ever been on that low of a deck which wasn't bad since all the activities are on decks 3-5 (except lido on deck 10), and it was very quiet. The one downside being on the lowest deck fwd was a frequent shudder as if the bow hit a large wave Rooms were large, the shower worked well, the AC system worked well, and beds were very comfortable, and there was plenty of storage space. Note the room service default must be no evening turn-down service. We've always been asked on past carnival ships if we wanted evening turn down service which we always decline, so the fact it wasn't offered was no big deal. We also had a problem getting our funtimes delivered each evening which we have never experienced--on 3 of the 7 nights, it was never delivered and only arrived at various times the next morning. I began to have a theory that either they put all the new room stewards, or possibly those on probation, on deck one where all the “low rent” cruise passengers are cabined! POWER OUTLETS Grade C:. There are two 110 outlets, one european style outlet and two USB ports all above the desk. Surprisingly for a new ship there are no USB ports near the bed(s) REFRIGERATOR Grade A. This is the first refrigerator we've had in awhile that did not have mini bar items making you remove all the items to put your own sodas in. The refrigerator worked good and kept items very cold (which hasn't always been the case on recent cruise ships) TV:. Grade C (for Republicans) Grade B (for Democrats). I normally give grades of F and D since most carnival ships have the lousy no name TV's with remotes that seem to have a mind of their own and that use the older menu interface. On the horizon, it's a complete 180--the TV's are 40” (possibly 32”) LG flat panels, the remotes work well, and the menu interface is the new style where you can view your pictures, see your account activity, etc. The channel lineup is still lousy though. The choice of channels leaves conservatives with a migraine after having to watch a week of CNN as your only news choice. (There is Headline News to watch in the morning which is good) Not sure when Carnival did away with its networks (abc, CBS, nbc) but they are sorely missed. Gym / track: grade A. The track goes around the back of the ship to about mid ship. 7 times around is one mile. It was rarely crowded but very windy most of the time. The gym was one of the larger gyms I’ve seen and had plenty of equipment that was brand new and rarely busy in the morning (the photo was taken at 7am on a port day) FOOD Overall Grade A. Overall I think Carnival has an excellent food and dining operation Their lunch offerings and variety are the best at sea in my opinion and the evening dinners are on par with all the other mass mainstream cruise operators. Specific venues: GUYS PIG & ANCHOR BBQ: Grade B I began my cruise on embarkation day by visiting the pig and anchor on deck 5 which opens at 1130 on embarkation day. The food was excellent and may be the best BBQ at sea; however I downgraded my overall grade to a B. The one port day it was open it was not as good--both the beef and pork were dry and the sauces were very good (I was first one in line so I would recommend waiting 30 minutes or so if you don't mind waiting in line a bit). I ate there 4 times for lunch--2 were excellent, one was good, and the one I just described was just average. NOTE:. PIG and anchor is only open on embarkation and sea days EXCEPT if you have a port day that ports after the lunch hour. On our itinerary we didn't arrive arrive San Juan until 1:15pm so the pig and anchor was open that day. The lines on embarkation day were short, but the sea days the lines were VERY LONG so go early! (There was a minimal line on the San Juan port day because I don't think many people knew it was open) Also, the Pig & Anchor brewhouse turns in to a specialty restaurant in the evenings (see the photo below for the menu). GUYS BURGER JOINT: Grade A. I then headed up to guys burger joint after BBQ on embarkation day. It was not too crowded yet and was quickly served what I consider the best burgers being served on the seven seas. The lines were generally longest when it first opened and about 3pm or so when all aboard time was 4ish but quickly become short because of how efficient the burgers are served. GARDEN BUFFET: Grade C. On embarkation day after hitting the guy fieri's venues, I then meet my wife in the garden buffet and sampled several items which were all hot. The line at the first buffet line after entering from the pool area was moderate to long, but the best kept secret is to keep walking to the aft buffet because no one was there and no lines. I give the garden buffet a grade of C for two primary reasons: 1. The lines tend to get long at peak times; and 2. The breakfast does not open until 7:30 on sea days which is late for early risers leading to a big line right at 7:30 when it does open. The lines on port days when it opens at 7:00 were much shorter but still a fair number of people especially for the omelet line (which I attributed to an older crowd coupled with return of standard Time the second night of our cruise and it was light by 0530 each morning). It generally started getting very busy around 8:00. Otherwise the food is on par with other cruise lines. Self serve beer taps grade 😄 there are four self serve beer taps near the back of the garden Buffett. They are all .29 cents an ounce. On one side is Miller light and red frog red. On the other side is red frog and dos equis. I love the self serve beer taps and the only reason for the C grade is about half the time it was a lot of foam DELI. Grade B. The sandwiches are good and freshly made to your liking which would have received a grade of A except I downgraded because the service can be described in three words: SLOW, SLOWER, and SLOWEST, primarily due to only one guy making the sandwiches MONGOLIAN WOK: Grade A. Great mongolian / Asian food. On the Horizon it’s up on deck 11 with the pasta bar (which is the Cucina Capitano Italian Specialty restaurant in the evening) and you place your order and receive a pager which works great compared to the older system of standing in line and all the smoke from the wok blows in your face making you cough! PIZZA: Grade B. The pizza on Carnival is very tasty--fresh made in an electric grill that mimics wood fired. Lines can be a bit long at peak times but it’s open 24x7. BLUE IGUANA. Grade A. Another great Tex-Mex option with great tacos, burritos, and taco bowls. You can get shrimp tacos as well (although shrimp is not listed on the taco side it is available on the burrito side). Lines for both the tacos are normally short and fast but the line on the side for the burrito / salad bowl can get long during peak times. PIG AND ANCHOR BREWHOUSE aka REDFROG PUB. Grade C on this ship (On the Vista I would give it an A) My wife and I headed to what we thought would be the redfrog pub on deck 5 but is the "Pig and Anchor Brewhouse" hoping it had half off happy hour on embarkation and port days like the redfrog on Carnival Vista did. Much to our chagrin and disappointment, no such luck on the horizon. Further disappointing was the lack of self serve beer taps like the Vista. If you want to drink Redfrog beer you'll have to go up to the self serve taps on 10 or order it at one of the bars. MAIN DINING ROOM (MDR) Grade B I normally ask the waiter each evening what their best appetizer and entree are and if your waiter has been on the ship for any period of time, their recommendations are spot on. I even had a waiter on one cruise, with a good sense of humor, identify their WORST dishes and would bring one out for me at random to try just to prove it! I identify which items were recommended each evening Day 1: waiter recommendation: strawberry bisque, Vietnamese roll, sweet and sour shrimp. My selections: Strawberry bisque: A this is like a strawberry smoothie that tastes more like a dessert than an appetizer but it's excellent whenever you choose to eat it. Sweet and sour shrimp grade B. This was very good. You'll want to order a second entree if very hungry. DAY 2 (first formal night): waiter recommendation: lobster and prime rib. My selections: Sicilian meatball soup grade A. prime rib and lobster Grade A. All of the items were excellent. Day 4: Waiter Recommendation: Flatbread and Lamb Shank. My Selections: Flatbread Grade B; Lamb Shank Grade A: I’m not a big fan of lamb but this dish was excellent--extremely tender and great flavor. Day 5: Waiter Recommendation: Seafood Newburg and Beef Wellington. My Selections: Bing Cherry Bisque Grade A (identical to the Strawberry Bisque except cherry flavored); Penne Siciliana (ordered as an appetizer) Grade A; Beef Wellington Grade A. All of these items were outstanding. A great evening menu. DAY 6: Waiter Recommendation: Chicken Skewers; Penne Mariscos; Chicken Milanese. My Selections: Chicken Skewers Grade A; Steak & Cheddar Soup Grade B; Penne Mariscos (ordered as an appetizer) Grade C; Chicken Milanese Grade B. Day 7 (2nd formal night): Waiter recommendations: Stuffed mushrooms, Filet, and Teriyaki Salmon Filet. My Selections: Stuffed mushrooms Grade A; Chesapeake crab cake Grade B; Grilled jumbo shrimp B; Filet Grade B (I had the $20 surcharge filet on a recent Carnival cruise which was better than the filet on this menu). DAY 8:. Waiter recommendation: Prime rib; My Selections: Baked onion soup Grade B; Penne shrimp & bacon (ordered as an appetizer) Grade B; Prime Rib Grade A. PORTS: I won't provide any port reviews because I doubt they would be helpful to anyone. When our kids were younger and cruised with us we used to get off at every port and do an excursion, go to the beach, etc but now we generally stay on the ship and if we do get off, well walk around the town or cruise village or town, have a drink, and return in a couple hours. I will say we enjoyed this itinerary because San Juan, St Kitts, and St Maarten are all very nice and you're not accosted by tour operator etc when walking around. FUN TIMES DAILYS EMBARKATION DAY DAY 2 AT SEA Day 3: GRAND TURK DAY 4 SAN JUAN DAY 5 ST KITTS: DAY 6 ST MAARTEN DAY 7 SEA DAY DAY 8 SEA DAY ENTERTAINMENT Overall grade B. Overall the entertainment was very good. On the plus side is the variety of options each night, the plethora of live music options, and all events start promptly on time. On the negative side, the playlist production shows in the main theater each evening are somewhat “cookie cutter” with the same group of singers and dancers doing each show--it’s a little like going to a MLB game and watching a game with all utility players and middle relievers--skilled and competent performers but not real exciting. Carnival is being outpaced in this area by the other lines with Broadway inspired shows where the cast is contracted only for that show and isn't later running the bingo or trivia games like you see on carnival. The performers themselves are very talented but when they have to do four different shows it's not going to compare to the other cruise lines who spend substantial sums to bring in Broadway shows, eg Jersey boys, Mama Mia, etc. (It's quite impressive that the performers on Carnival perform so well the choreography and singing for four different production shows!) The comedy shows in the punchliners were great--a lot of shows each night and they even flew in two new comedians mid cruise. Here’s are my comments on some specific entertainment: Cruise director Mike Pack:. Grade A. Mike did a great job. He's a middle age guy from the UK that really did a nice job keeping the energy level up, was enthusiastic, articulate and seemed to like his job and genuinely likes interacting with the passengers. He was everywhere and his “signature” was giving hugs to all the passengers which came across as genuine affection for folks. LIVE MUSIC: Grade A: The live music quality, variety, and quality is fantastic. We also greatly appreciated how Carnival publishes the lineup for the entire week outside of each venue. Here’s the lineup on the week. Atrium Acts: Electric violins with new age, demage, and Owen Stephen: grade A. All these acts were excellent. New agen, a violin trio that plays modern hits on violin accompanied by recorded music, was our favorite. The atrium was our favorite pre-dinner venue. SHOWTIME PLAYLIST PRODUCTION SHOWS IN THE LIQUID LOUNGE (MAIN THEATER): Showtime Soulbound: grade C While a somewhat “typical” carnival dance and singing production show, this show was actually pretty good--it was high energy, and got the audience involved in singing clapping etc. If you like R&B hits from the 60s 70s and 80s you'll like the show. The pre-show activities, which started 15 minutes before Showtime, were entertaining too. Then the end of the show “spills over” into the atrium for a final two songs and passenger dancing etc. It was a good time and recommended. I liked it the best of the three showtime shows. Showtime Amor Cubano. Grade 😄 this show was billed as the sounds of modern Latin America. It was another “typical” carnival production except a live orchestra accompanied the singers and dancers which always adds to any live theater show. Showtime vintage pop. Grade C. The live orchestra playing in the show was the highlight for me but otherwise it was just average and on par with the other shows Showtime celestial strings. Grade B. The CD was touting this all day as the best theater production show at sea exclaiming you could only see it on the horizon, and predicting it would win the cruise industry award for best new show. While I don't think I'd go that far, I would say it was the best of the four playlist production shows. The violin trio that played in the evenings were the featured musicians (hence the name celestial strings) but most of the time the violins were drowned out by the pre-recorded music and singing. Many times when the violinists were playing you couldn't even hear them. Showtime Viva variety: Brent and Sarah non stop laugh riot. Grade A:. This is a married couple that does a comedy magic show. They were flown in to do this show so I'm not sure they perform on every horizon itinerary. They were very good and entertaining for the entire family. The show lasted approximately 40 minutes. MISC ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS: Clue: Grade B (for families) Grade D (for everyone else) Based on the board game clue, on the first night all the suspects (Mr Green, Ms peacock, colonel mustard etc) explain why they couldn't have been the one to commit the murder. The passengers are then to gather clues the rest of the cruise to figure out “who dunit” on the last night. I only saw one other event advertised to get a clue so if you do choose to participate, you have to pay close attention during the week where to get clues. I attended the last day (right before Bingo) when the murder was solved and from the hands that went up of passengers that participated, there were not a lot of passengers that partook during the week. 60 minutes to win it: grade F. Many of you have probably seen this show where contestants have to complete tasks in 60 seco day or less but this was not that show. Instead it was one member of the fun squad leading various contests with passengers like a scavenger hunt, a trivia type game etc. This is the second carnival Cruise in recent months that has done this--i'm not sure why except maybe carnival got in to a licensing dispute with the original creator of the 60 seconds or less game show and can no longer copy the model. Hasbro the game show. Grade A (for families). This show is a lot of fun--especially for families with smaller kids. Two teams (teams are kids with one adult captains) compete in various Hasbro games on stage. Some of the kids say some really funny things and it's a fun one hour show Dive in movies on the pool deck:. Grade A. On nice evenings it doesn't get much better sitting outside eating fresh popped popcorn (at the redfrog bar) and watching relatively new release movies. The breeze would show a matinee on port days and two in the evening at 7 and 930. All the chairs would normally fill up within 15 minutes after the movie starts so arrive early if you have more than 2 and want to sit together. Park West art auctions:. They are no longer on the horizon. I wonder if this is the beginning of the end for park west's relationship with carnival? Instead, on the horizon they sell metal prints of photographs under carnivals “pixels” photo studio brand. Egg drop event in the atrium: grade B:. This was very popular--probably 40 guests entered. It was a fun sea day event to kill some time. The crowds were big so arrive a few minutes early. Battle of the Sexes Grade and Love and Marriage Shows: Grade C Both of these shows are usually entertaining and are heavily dependent on the team members and the CD for how entertaining they are. COMEDY IN THE PUNCHLINERS:. The punchliners is always one of our favorite entertainment events. Couple things that may be helpful. All the shows started right on time and were finished in 30 minutes--every now and then a show may go 35 minutes but I think carnival must stress to the comedians to keep it to 30 minutes. The 530 family shows don't get too crowded but all the shows after 730 normally fill up. I'd recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early and if the line stretches back to the casino, don't worry--you'll still get in. We saw approximately twelve shows by four different comedians over the course of the cruise. We saw both the family and adult shows and my wife and I thought they were just OK--some of them were pretty funny and others were not quite our style of humor. Carnival does a great job of scheduling comedy at a variety of times to suit almost everyone. DISEMBARKATION: Grade A. We did the self-assist early disembarkation for platinum guests. We received clearance right at 7:00 a.m. and we were out to the shuttle by 7:30. CONCLUSION: Our cruise aboard the Carnival Horizon was a fantastic 8 day cruise and I think anyone who enjoys cruises would thoroughly enjoy the Horizon. I hope the above review helps you plan your vacation on the Horizon and you have a great time!
  4. Has anyone stayed in this room? Pros? Cons?
  5. Hi friends, in our tour of the new big ships we just booked Horizon. it's our first big new ship with Carnival, and had some preconceived notions. I'm trying to schedule our evenings, but all I can do schedule specialty timing. our experience with RCI, and NCL, is that close to sailings (we are 78 days out) you could book the headliner shows, comedy shows, and schedule things around you seating time in the MDR or a speciality restaurant. Does Carnival really not operate this way? Do I have to wait til we are closer? Are all those things just first come first serve? Do you have to mad dash to schedule when you get onboard?
  6. Hi! We are beginning to think ahead toward a 2021 cruise when our littlest will be two. For the timeframe we are looking at there are options with both Horizon and Freedom. I like the itinerary better on Freedom, but realize Horizon is quite a bit newer and bigger. For those of you who've been on both ships (or similar sister ships) do you think the differences on the ship are worth a slightly less appealing itinerary? Appreciate your thoughts!
  7. Carnival Horizon was docked with Queen Elizabeth in Oranjsestad, Aruba, The next day we had the Carnival Horizon sailing next to us and passing the Queen Elizabeth as we where heading to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  8. The Carnival Horizon is a beautiful ship. It was fun to sit in the atrium on watch the Dreamscape LED sculpture constantly change. Enjoy some of the still photos from the sculpture.
  9. Currently on the Carnival Horizon. Have been on 9 Carnival cruises but first on the Vista class. Let me know any questions anyone has and I will try to answer as best as possible!
  10. Can you walk from Deck 6 to 7 using the outside staircase on the secrets decks. Were looking at booking 2 cabins (one cabin deck 6 forward and one cabin deck 7 forward). It would be great if we can get to each others cabins from the outside staircase.
  11. Scheduled for the 8 day June 13th sailing on the Horizon with the following itinerary: Day1: Departing Miami Day 2: Sea Day Day 3: Sea Day Day 4: Aruba Day 5: Bonaire Day 6: La Romana Day 7: Amber Cove Day 8: Sea Day Question is what 2 days are the formal nights? Ive read conflicting days... Thanks in advance!! Hope we get to sail by then😕
  12. I thought I’d put this out there again. I enjoyed doing it a few months ago. This won’t be as in-depth of a live thread as others, I only do it in my spare time and our cruise comes first, but if anyone has any questions or comments about the Horizon, I’ll be checking in now & again. After a very long drive that began yesterday morning (stopped overnight last night), we arrived at our Miami hotel this afternoon. Traffic in Atlanta yesterday was a nightmare as usual, made even worse by two accidents. South FL wasn’t any better...30-45 min. to drive 10 miles. Getting ready to have some pizza delivered soon, then we’re just relaxing after that drive. Some of my wife’s family are on the cruise too, but they’re in a different hotel. Our hotel shuttle leaves for the port at 10am. We do have FTTF, so at least we won’t have to wait in the early/late line, but we’ll probably have to wait a while in the waiting area. That’s ok, we don’t mind waiting when there’s a cruise at the other end of the line. This is our first time on the Horizon. In fact, our first time on a Vista class. We weren’t sure how we’d feel about this size ship, but wanted to experience it for ourselves. When it’s all said & done, at least we’ll know...and knowing is half the battle (obscure 80’s cartoon reference for those who caught that 😉). Let’s get this party started! Well, after a good night’s sleep first. 😁
  13. We currently have a cabin on deck 1 midship on the Horizon. And, to my knowledge, the gangway is on deck 1 when at a port. Can anyone tell me if there is a lot of traffic going by the cabin? How bad was it?
  14. The last I seen, Carnival was to notify us by/on March 11th, if the Horizon itinerary changed. You may not know until tomorrow/Wednesday/march 11th, just wondered if you have heard anything as yet?
  15. I was told that elegant night on the 6 day Horizon cruise would be Monday night, and Friday night for elegant nights. My question, if the 2nd elegant night is Friday night and we take pictures, how can we see the pictures, and they have them ready by the time we get off the ship on Saturday???
  16. Hi all! I’m reluctantly beginning to accept the fact that we will be canceling our Spring Break cruise plans (Breeze Eastern March 21). While the virus itself doesn’t scare me (two healthy adults in early 40s and two young kids ages 4 and 6), the risk of a quarantine with 2 kids in a 185-square foot room or some other unforeseeable situation does concern me. In looking at alternative options to use the FCC this summer, I see 2 cruises that interest me: the exact Breeze Eastern itinerary we are already booked on (Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) or the Horizon 8 night Southern itinerary (Aruba, Curaçao, La Romana, Amber Cove). All ports but St. Thomas would be new to us. We haven’t previously sailed Carnival (prior family cruises have been on Oasis class ships). Given our kids’ ages, and taking into account the bells and whistles and general condition of each ship, as well as the different ports, which itinerary would you recommend? Any advice from the expert Carnival cruisers would be appreciated!
  17. October 2021 8 nights this is the biggest ship we’ve been on. Im so excited and full of questions i have OCPD(obsessive compulsive planning disorder) so here’s the first of many On an 8 night cruise, how many formal nights will there be? What are the upcharges for the IMAX and Thrill theaters? Thanks
  18. Had to share and looking for tips! Was playing around this morning and stumbled upon an amazingly inexpensive balcony guarantee on March 29 Horizon 6day and was assigned a Havana Aft Wrap! Called my PVP and it was meant to be! Haven't cruised in a couple of years and I CANNOT WAIT to get back onboard! Please share your Horizon tips and tricks!
  19. Just got back ... Embarkation – don't be bugged if you didn't get the early boarding time you wanted during online checkin. When you get to the terminal you fill out a China form on the sidewalk, then going into the terminal there are 2 lines, one if you arrived at your assigned time, and the other if you are early or late. We had to do the early/late line, arriving at 11:30 instead of 1:00, but our line was as short as the on-time line, no waiting, and we were on board in 30 minutes. There was one issue, photo police ... photographers always have a spot to take your picture, which could be by-passed by stepping around it. This time they created a narrow walkway leading to the photo setup, and the newbies in front thought they had to have their picture taken, or wanted it taken, and there wasn't room to get past them, so everyone had to wait until they were first in line before they could walk past the setup. 5 whole fun minutes we'll never get back. We booked the upgraded Havana Cabana (Cat HE) cabin. Nice big back yard, 9x12, One lounger, one slouchy chair with pad and footstool, and one padded hanging chair. No pad on the wicker lounger, and no pads on the wicker loungers in the restricted Havana pool area, strange. All other wicker seating on the ship has pads. Also strange that almost no one used their nice big balconies, they went to the Havana area instead, maybe for the pool and bar. Open loungers usually even on nice sea days. Also padded lay-flat cabanas and padded club chairs. Having these cabin back yards you lose privacy, people walk past you on the walkway, most say hi, and the side wall only goes halfway from the balcony door to the back gate, so from the back half of the back yard you can look down the row into all the other yards, like being on any open deck. The roof covers the first half of the yard for shade. We would rather have had 2 loungers instead of the slouchy chair, maybe that's why so few of the yards were in use. Our cat HE cabin on deck 5: been awhile since we had a shower curtain, thought the newer ships all had glass doors. 72” bed, halfway between queen and king. Lots of storage and lots of hangers. If you are a big person you probably won't want to sleep on the window side of the bed, it is 6 inches from the drapes. There is no night light in the bathroom, and no outlet to plug one in, has to be a glow light. As others have reported, the cabin stewards offer you morning or evening cabin service, no more auto service at both times, but apparently you can ask for and get both. We only wanted evening service with ice at lunch and evening and got that. Robes were nice. One sort of cabin problem, if you go from your back yard down the walkway to the Havana area you have to leave your cabin unlocked b/c you can't lock your balcony door from the outside. Small Lido buffet: we were surprised how small the buffet selections seemed, and then we saw why: there is no Asian station, it's moved to the Mongolian restaurant for lunch, but it's closed for dinner, no free Asian food for dinner, only pay places. And no pasta station in the buffet, it's moved to the Cucina for lunch, and becomes a pay restaurant for dinner, but there might be a pasta dish in the dinner buffet, just no station for creating your own. And there is no pizza station in the buffet, it's moved to a spot near the pool. And there was never an Indian station with korma, curry, etc, but one lunch there were some of these dishes. We wished all of these choices were still together in the buffet. But it seemed to cut down on the number of people using the buffet, and it was always easy to find a table at lunch or dinner when we checked it out. It had 2 rotating flavors of Gilatto ice cream for lunch, closed for dinner, but Swirls at the back had pull-handle soft ice cream and Fro Yo 24/7, no toppings. There are bacon police: the buffet has bacon police at each bacon spot. He's not too tough a cop, you get 2 slices, and if you want more you just keep holding your plate out and stare him down. Since there didn't seem to be a limit we wondered why he was there. Maybe bacon-shaming to reduce waste. Maybe just providing an extra service. No bacon cops at the Ocean Plaza breakfast. A different theatre: it has loose chairs on the main level so they can move them around and create different effects like a club effect for different shows where the performers come onto the floor and use this space. This cuts down on seating, and even when they put the chairs in the regular rows there are only 8 rows. The balcony only has 4 rows, It filled up very quickly for popular shows. Old school design, 10 large pillars obstructing views. Stage seemed small. No drink holders on the main floor chairs. Seats with the best view are row 1 in the balcony, those go fast. Event timing tip: main events like comedy and stage shows conflict, and the only way to see both in the evening is to eat around 5:30. For the comedy shows in the Limelight Lounge you have to line up a half hour early to get in. And after the first show people leaving just turn around and line up for the next comedian. MDR time-saving (for the staff) changes: no more white table clothes to change except on elegant nights, standard wooden tables, not very classy. Ice water carafs at each table, waiters don't need to run around filling water glasses. And you order your dessert when you order your mains, they don't have to come back to take dessert orders. Private MDR dining tip: if you have anytime dining and like private dining for 2 w/o another table right beside you listening to your conversation, there are a few. The nicest 4 are on deck 4 along the balcony with a nice view of the lower level dining on deck 3. We always asked for these by number, 642, 644, 645, 647, and were ok waiting for a bit if the hostess said one or two should be almost done. If they weren't gong to open for a while we asked for 751, 753, or 749 at the back by the window, no one on your elbow. You check in for dinner on deck 5 and get sent down to the hostess on deck 4 to be seated. MDR “dress code”: the last time we looked, shorts were on the no-no list for dinner in the MDR for any cruise line, but here they were ok if not gym or basketball shorts. On the no-no list were cut-off jeans, muscle (sleeveless) shirts, baseball caps, and flip flops, and bathing suits. We saw all of those except bathing suits anytime we were there. On elegant nights they add to the above no-no list jeans, any shorts, T's, and sportswear. We saw all of those on elegant nights, half and half men and women. But also lots dressed up for photos. Secret MDR menu: well sort of, if you like to go by the MDR before dinner and check the menu on the wall it won't be there. To see it you have to open the closed doors and it's on the wall inside where the hostess sets up. It's also on the ship app which they go nuts trying to get you to download so they can target you with ads. Best private 2 person steakhouse 555 seating: there are 2 cute private tables along the window so you can ppl watching during dinner. We asked the host to save one for us and he said no prob, hardly anyone sits there b/c they are bistro (high) chairs with a high table, and no one can or wants to climb up on them. No prob. Secret sun deck and secret hot tub tip: if you walk forward all the way to the bow on deck 5 and look over the edge there is a lovely big hot tub and a few loungers. It was always empty, just bubbling water, but no way for passengers to get to it that we could see, must have been for the crew (sign me up). For the secret sun deck, go up the 15 or so stairs behind you here, to deck 6, a strip of decking around the bow, maybe a dozen loungers, only saw 1 or 2 couples there. Then go up another 15 or so stairs to deck 7, a narrow strip of decking maybe 10 feet wide around the bow, and a small stack of loungers. Never saw anyone there, should be totally private. Sea-sick pills: have always been free at reception, but now CCL wants $2 for a sleeve of two. I'll bet half would say they don't owe ppl free pills, and the other half wold say it's tacky to profit off ppl's discomfort. No button elevators: most ppl were ok with them, some grumbled. If you miss the quick display showing your car letter the machine also says it. The main prob was ppl didn't push their destination button the number of times for how many were in their party, or if they had a scooter they didn't push it extra times, or they didn't push it quick enough. We liked them, it seemed we waiting about the same time for the elevator to come, but got to our destination quicker than the old way. Dedicated jogging track, not running through loungers. Good gym. Lovely Serenity adult-only sunning area, padded loungers, club chairs, cabanas, open to all, seats all gone by 8am on sea days. Least classy atrium, great big circular bar with services around the edges. Cute digital display in the middle. Mike, hardest working cruise director ever ... always cruising the theatre talking to people, and out at the terminal entrances to the ports welcoming ppl to the port, and again at the terminal welcoming people back at the end of the day. Disembarkation was a surprise, they asked for bags to be set outside cabins before 11pm. We put ours out at 11:30 and they were still there in the morning. We've put them out a bit late before with no prob, we heard the ships do a final luggage sweep in the wee hours, but not Horizon. Anyway we were able to muscle them through Express. Best pros: Havana area bar and pool, Guy's burgers (best on the sea), clear jogging track, nice seating around each side of deck 5, uncrowded b'fast in Ocean Plaza, lots of seating 2 decks above and around the pool, and no charge for SkyRide and SkyCourse. Cons: tight theatre seating, bare Havana loungers, small Lido buffet, event timing conflicts, short time in Grand Turk and Caracao, and we were disappointed that there was no bar or lounge at the top of the ship for a nice view, like the Observation Lounges on NCL. If you want port info ask away.
  20. After spending 38 days at sea in 2018 I decided that I may need to have just a little more self control in 2019. I love my cruises, but every dollar I saved went into the cruise fund instead of more important things like you know, savings. Fast forward another year and after spending 41 days at sea in 2019 I decided not to kid myself into saying I would do better in 2020. Now that I have forewarned you that I am not a responsible individual I will go ahead of tell you I currently have 6 cruises booked from January-May of 2020 totaling 35 days at sea. My bank account weeps for me. These will not be as through as the reviews I used to write but I do want to chronicle them for my own selfish reasons. My 2019 cruises are a bit of a blur as I only wrote a review to one of them and I love going back and rereading them and going "oh yea I remember that". If at least one person still finds these reviews useful, then it was worthwhile for me to share instead of just writing a journal or something for myself. This is part 1 of 6 of my 2020 cruise marathon which will include the following cruises: January 11- 8 Day Southern Caribbean on Carnival Horizon January 31- 3 Day Bahamas on Carnival Liberty February 21- 10 Day New Orleans & Mexico on Celebrity Reflection March 27: 3 Day Perfect Day at Coco Cay Mariner of the Seas April 23: 4 Day Mexico Independence of the Seas May 16: 7 Day Eastern Caribbean Carnival Breeze I have a very diversified schedule as I have started branching out from Carnival a bit. Three cruise lines, and only three repeat ports. Grand Turk, Nassau, and Cozumel will all appear twice. I don't really care too much about the ports though but am excited to mix it up a bit from just Carnival, although they do remain my favorite cruise line.
  21. Does anyone know if Carnival ships (particularly the Horizon) have water bottle filling stations? I walk around with one in my hand all the time, and am thinking about the possibility of filling and taking to excursions. Thanks for your input!
  22. Carnival Horizon Waterworks 2018 September 2018 while in Bermuda
  23. I know things can change because of the Coronaviris for the ports, but if you have been on the 6 day Western Horizon cruise, can you tell me what days the 2 elegant nights will be? I am STILL trying to look forward to something "positive" in this cruise that is coming up in two weeks!
  24. There was no dinner upcharges at the Pig and Anchor last week on the Horizon. They said they are testing this for a few weeks. The place was packed
  25. There is a hoodie that I’ve seen on Facebook that says, “Once upon a time there was a girl who loved cruises and dogs. It was me. The end.” Although I have no problem with dogs, I can’t honestly say I LOVE them, so that shirt probably isn’t for me however, I do LOVE cruises! Where else can you visit different places and do interesting things, without ever getting in your car, in the middle of winter, no less!?! I know I’ve never had the opportunity to climb a waterfall or go scuba diving in January here in West Virginia! Cruises are my “once a year vacation of choice” for precisely those reasons and here is my story for our 2020 cruise. Hi, everyone and welcome to this review of the beautiful Carnival Horizon! I can’t tell you how excited we have been to sail on this new ship! Up until now, all of the ships that we have sailed on have been more than ten years old. I know there is currently a newer ship than the Horizon, but she still feels “new” to us. My name is Michelle and I always sail with my husband of 34 years, Ron. We went on our first cruise in 2010 and have been hooked from day one! All of our cruises have been with Carnival except for one cruise on Royal Caribbean. While we had a wonderful time on that cruise, we found that we missed Carnival, so we came back “home”. We are only able to cruise about once a year, so we really try to make the most of every second of the cruise. We are both real estate appraisers and own our own business so when we are away from work, our office is completely shut down. This is why we only get to cruise once a year. In the past we had sailed in the fall but a couple of years ago we went on a cruise in February and found that we really enjoyed the break from winter here in West Virginia. Also, the weather was absolutely gorgeous in the Caribbean in January and February. We enjoyed that break so much that we have cruised in the winter ever since. (We started out with a booking in February 2020….more on that later!) I think this will continue to be a trend for us. A little about our cruising “personality”. We are very easy going and it is very difficult to upset us. Everything that happens, even the unexpected and sometimes unwelcome things, just become part of the experience. As Ron would say, “It’s a story to tell!” How bad can it be when I’m on vacation on a beautiful ship and visiting beautiful islands where it’s nice and warm?? Anyway, August 2019 arrived, and it was time to start looking for our next cruise. As always, I read Cruise Critic pretty much year-round. When Ron suggested we book the new ship, I was so excited! Better still, we found what seemed to be a great deal on the Horizon departing Miami on February 2nd. We booked the cruise and booked our flight immediately. After that, we started looking for a hotel room for the night before the cruise. That’s when we learned why this particular cruise was such a great deal. Now let me preface this by saying that neither of us are football fans. I am generally aware that the season occurs in the fall and the Super Bowl occurs roughly in late January, so it absolutely did not dawn on me that the Super Bowl might impact our lives in any way. When I started looking for a hotel room, I was floored at the prices! Not only were the “normal” hotels that we have used in the past were all booked solid, but even hotels that we wouldn’t have considered in the past were hundreds of dollars and more! What in the world?!? A Google search revealed the reason. The Super Bowl was being played IN MIAMI…..on February 2nd! Oops! The hotel rooms cost way more than the cruise itself. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to get an Uber or to move around town that weekend at all. What had I done?!??! The next morning, after thinking it over, we decided it would be better to cancel everything and rebook on a different date. It was less than 24 hours since we had originally booked, so Carnival didn’t charge anything to change the sail date to January 19th. The airline charged a fee to make the change, but it was still cheaper than the hotels in Miami. We booked a flight and a “normal” hotel, and we were all set. The cruise countdown could now officially begin! Fast forward to the week before the cruise. That’s always a tough work week for me. I can’t seem to focus on anything other than vacation! I guess it’s “cruiseitis”. Anyway, I plowed through the week…one report at a time….getting ever closer, while it seemed like time was dragging. Finally, it was Friday evening and we could close the office for the next week! Although we had been laying out things we wanted to take for a couple of weeks, it was time to start packing in earnest. Vacation was upon us! After packing I did my nails. Now I’m a big baby and I don’t like to have a real manicure, but I have discovered Color Street nail strips and I like them a lot. They had a pedicure set that had little anchors, stripes and polka dots. Why yes, I will, thank you! I was now officially ready to GO. We always fly to the port city the day before the cruise. We have a dread of trying to fly in the day of the cruise and being delayed, so we always go early. We’ve never regretted that decision. We had found a good price on a flight out of a small airport in Concord, NC on Allegiant. I had never flown on Allegiant before but their price was right and the airport was about the same distance from home as the airport we normally used (Charlotte Douglas) so….why not? Saturday morning, we headed south. Our flight didn’t leave until 4:30 in the afternoon so we had plenty of time however, once the day arrived and it was time to leave, I WAS READY TO LEAVE. We got up, got ready and took off. I’d rather find something to do to pass the time there than waiting here! We headed to IKEA, which is always interesting, to pass some time before it was reasonable to go to the airport. The Concord airport is very neat and is also very small. It worked out beautifully. We found parking with no problem, checked in quickly and headed for the security line. Now if something strange is going to happen at the airport, it will probably happen to me. My carry on was flagged as having something inside that was questionable. The agent showed us the scan. The thing they were concerned about happened to be my curling iron. They opened my bag, rummaged around to confirm that it was indeed a curling iron and sent me on my way. In their defense, they were super nice and apologetic. I know they were simply doing their job and I appreciate what they do so I wasn’t upset at all. After all, we’re on vacation now. That vacation started the minute I walked out my front door! We settled in at the airport for a 45 minute wait. This airport has only two gates but, like I said, it was very clean and neat and there was plenty of seating. There are much worse places we could and have waited. We flew into Fort Lauderdale without incident. Once we landed and grabbed our luggage, we called an Uber. In a matter of just a few minutes, our Uber pulled up and we were on our way to Miami. The ride was uneventful and pleasant. We had booked the Ramada in Miami Springs. Ron and I had stayed there a few years ago and it was an average, clean hotel, well maintained and close to the airport. We didn’t hesitate to book it again because of a good experience in the past. It was still clean but had deteriorated over the years. It showed a lot of wear and tear. The décor is cute with an English phone booth, red bicycle, courtyard pool, etc, but it was looking pretty run down. If you are staying on the second floor there is no elevator, so you have to carry your bags up the stairs. That isn’t physically a problem for us but at that point we made a decision that we wouldn’t be staying there again. The main reason we had stayed in the past was the shuttle to the cruise port. Like I said, we’ll be booking somewhere else the next time we sail from Miami. (I completely forgot to take pictures of the hotel!) Sunday, January 19th – Embarkation Day Finally, it was CRUISE DAY! Woo hoo!!! We went down for a quick breakfast at the hotel. I must say that their breakfast was pretty good for a continental breakfast. We took our plates out to the pool patio. It was SO nice to enjoy some warm weather since we knew it was winter at home. Promptly at 10am, our shuttle arrived. We loaded up and headed to the port. Our check in time wasn’t until noon but we really didn’t have much choice but to go early since we didn’t have a car with us and check out time at the hotel was 11am. We arrived at the port and got in the “early/late” line, thinking it would be better to wait at the port than to try to find somewhere else to wait. We were amazed at how quickly the process went once we arrived at the port. We literally walked in, walked through security, showed our boarding passes and passports and headed upstairs to find a seat. We both had Kindles out and were ready to read for a couple of hours. I took a minute for a restroom break and to grab a bottle of water. By the time I returned, they were already calling our zone number. We walked straight onto the ship and were on board by 11:15. Wow!! As soon as you step on board you see the “funnel” thing that I think is called a Dreamscape. It was so neat! I loved it! It changed pictures frequently and I took a picture pretty much every time I went through the lobby and it was different. There is a second smaller Dreamscape at the casino bar. You’ll see several pictures throughout this review of those. We explored the ship a little. We really loved the newer, modern design and the color scheme. It was much better than the Fantasy class ships, which I find a little “jarring” sometimes. And here's another view of the lobby...… Although it was a little early for lunch, we decided to go ahead and grab a bite to eat at Guy’s Burgers since the ship wasn’t very crowded, but we expected it to get crowded very soon. We were somewhat mistaken about that. I have read reviews where people mentioned that the ship seemed very crowded. That wasn’t our experience at all. We rarely waited for anything and didn’t feel crowded at any time. We went up one floor to some covered seating with a small cube table and had our lunch. After that, we set out to explore the ship. There are several main public areas on this ship where food and activities seem to be most concentrated. The first is the Lido, of course. The buffet was a little different on Horizon and was broken up into several stations that had the same offerings but seemed to help with crowd control. The pizza and seafood places were pretty much the same. The Lido pool area was also pretty similar to ships we’ve sailed on in the past. We went up to the Sky Ride and Ropes course areas. They were pretty popular throughout the whole cruise although the longest we ever waited for the Sky Ride was about 45 minutes and the longest we ever waited for the ropes course was about 15 minutes. More about those later on in the review. Part of the mini golf course is on this same deck area around the ropes course. Those two holes are a little awkward because there are so many people standing around. Also, the big chess game is right beside one of the mini golf holes and you pretty much have to walk across the edge of the chess board to go to the next mini golf hole. It was a little awkward. The rest of the course was fine. We checked out the other sports deck areas but didn’t play any other games during the cruise. Here's Waterworks... Serenity..... The IMAX theatre..... Ocean Plaza, where trivia games are played and Horizon Wireless plays in the evening..... ...and the piano bar. Our room was ready at 1:15. When we got to our room, all of our bags except one had already been delivered. Our room was nice. It was very similar to other rooms we’d had on other ships. I really liked the more subdued color scheme. We usually do an interior room simply because we are rarely in our room and you can really sleep well in an interior. We have had balcony rooms in the past and will probably do that again at some time, but not this time. I liked that our names appeared on the television! No idea why…I’m just easy to amuse like that. LOL There was a news channel, several cruise channels, HGTV and a couple other channels that I can’t remember. We rarely watch TV anyway, so it didn’t register too much with me about the channel offerings. We began unpacking. Before we finished unpacking the other suitcases, our garment bag arrived. That was really fast! We had visited our room, unpacked all our bags and had our sign and sail cards all in about 30 minutes. Wow! After walking around on the upper decks and going to our room, we headed down to request our typical table for two. I also hid the first of my six cruising ducks. I hid this first guy on the edge of the piano beside where I was waiting in line. The line was right beside the coffee bar on deck five. I thought after we finished with the table change, I would sit down and see if someone took the duck however, as soon as I turned around, it was already gone! That didn’t take long! We looked around decks three, four and five. These decks contained a couple of the specialty restaurants, a couple of bars, the Ocean Plaza, the lobby seating area and bar, shops, entrances to dining rooms and Liquid Lounge and other public areas. One of the things we really liked about Deck 5 in particular was the Lanai area around the exterior perimeter of the ship. There was a ton of seating, some covered and some uncovered, and we never found it crowded a single time. Deck five also has the outdoor seating area for the steakhouse and Guy’s Pig and Anchor, which is free for lunch. The Lanai on Deck 5..... Duck #1 Let me pause here to say that if you aren’t using the HUB app, you MUST try it. I love it! This was our second or third cruise using the app, but it had more applications this time that we had found previously. I like that you can see the menus, the Fun Times, your pictures, etc. The best part is that it is totally free even if you haven’t purchased an internet package. In my opinion, that app is one of the best things Carnival has done lately. It was time for sail away! Since we were already on Deck 5, we simply headed to the very front of the ship to watch from that vantage point. We usually go up to Lido and watch there but since we had the opportunity, we thought we’d go forward. We weren’t disappointed! There were only a couple of people at this location and the view was fantastic. We were the first ship to leave port and the harbor police boat was forward and to our left. ( I can never remember if that is port or starboard!) As we started out of the port area, there was a small boat who sailed in front of us AND STOPPED! The police boat sped up and circled around them. You could hear the officer screaming at him to get out of the way. He moved, thankfully. I can’t imagine how he thought stopping in front of such a large ship was a good idea. It isn’t like Horizon was going to be able to stop quickly or easily! The thing that happened next was even more surprising. When we were almost out of the port, the police boat had fallen back on the left. From the right, there were about six jet skis who raced up and were riding back and forth in front of the ship. This wasn’t an accident like the first smaller boat. They were doing this intentionally. I was holding my breath hoping that they kept moving and no one turned over or their engines died. I have heard of motorcycle “gangs” but this was the first jet ski gang I’d encountered. I’m pretty sure that if the police boat were still there, the officer would have absolutely lost his mind. So here's the first boat that stopped in front of us. The harbor police boat is on the left and beginning to circle. Here's the jet ski "gang"! LOL It was just a bit windy! And Miami is behind us in the distance. The Norwegian Encore heads off to her first port, too. Finally, we were out of port and heading out to sea! Norwegian Encore and Oasis of the Seas followed us out of port. It was closing in on time for dinner, so we decided to head back to our cabin and grab a quick shower before we went to eat. While we were in our cabin our room steward, Komang, stopped by. He was super nice! We met him multiple times through the cruise and always enjoyed chatting with him. He was one of the best room stewards we have had so far. Ron and I typically choose early seating. We were in the Reflections dining room. Our head waiter was Gene. At the end of the cruise he gave us a card with all of the names of his team however, none of these people ever introduced themselves to us during the week so we really didn’t meet them at all. Gene was pretty hit or miss through the week. In his defense, he was taking care of two large tables of 8+ as well as us, so it’s understandable that we weren’t exactly a priority. Dinner service the first night was really slow. We ordered the empanadas appetizer, roasted chicken as the entrée and I had chocolate melting cake (my favorite!) for dessert. We made it out of the dining room just a few minutes before the second seating was to start. The food was good, and we had no complaints about dinner. After dinner we headed to the Liquid Lounge for the Welcome Aboard Show. The Liquid Lounge has some features that he hadn’t seen before. All of the chairs on the main floor are simply that…chairs. They are not connected in any way and there are no tables like we’ve seen on some of the other ships. There is a bar at the back of the lounge which also offers seating. On the balcony level was theatre type seating with a few tables and stools scattered around the back. There were several seats where it was really hard to see, especially in the balcony, because of the large mirrored columns. My recommendation for seeing any of the shows is to BE EARLY so you can get some of the better seats on the main level. Here's another view the Dreamscape...… ...and it suddenly sprouted flowers! The Welcome Aboard Show was in the Liquid Lounge, which was pink and purple when the show started. They changed to regular lighting during the show. Mike was the cruise director. He is so energetic! He played one of the standard type games where a few guests were brought up on stage to do something funny. After being chosen for one of those one time, we usually sit toward the back on the sides! There were a couple of numbers by the Playlist singers and dancers with some info about what would be going on for the coming week. More about those shows and activities later. A couple had gotten married earlier that day. Here's a picture of the bride dancing in her wedding gown in the Lobby with Mike and a crowd. She looked beautiful! I wish I could have worn my wedding gown all day all those years ago!! The Dreamscape has confetti... When the show was finished, we headed up to Lido for a Diet Pepsi and an ice cream cone. While we were there, we noticed that they were playing the movie “Yesterday” on the big screen. This was a movie we had talked about going to see but hadn’t followed through. The basic plot was that everyone in the world had forgotten all of the Beatles songs except one struggling songwriter. When he figured this out, he became famous passing off the Beatles songs as his own. We had only missed a few minutes of the beginning, so we settled in to watch the rest. It was a good movie and we were glad we stayed. We finally turned in around 1am, which is REALLY late for us!! This is where we watched the movie on the upper part of the Lido Deck. And here's our towel animal for the night. More to come!!!
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