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Losing My FunShip virginity on the Horizon - Live 8/22

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I’ve cruised a fair amount. Don’t get me wrong I still have to work full time and typically only get 3 weeks vacation a year and not even each of those is spent at sea, but I’ve done enough so that I know the drill. But I never was drawn to the appeal of the Fun ships. Mainly a grew up on Royal, and then found the freestyle vibe of Norwegian to be relaxing and easy.

 

I started looking to branch out when after several cruises and shopping around I was finding all of the same itineraries. If you’re going to the Caribbean on NCL you get Nassau, St Thomas and Tortola, or Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel and maybe a private island. If you’ve done it a couple times you start looking for more.

 

So here I am, my first fun ship on the 8-day sailing to Grand Turk, La Romana, Curacao and Aruba. It was the itinerary that drew me to this ship. That, and when I booked I found the exclusive Havana area and felt like if I was unsure about all the things I read about the carnival party crowd, this would at least give me some reprieve if needed.

 

I had 18 months to prepare for this sailing, and while surfing the CC carnival boards I found a lot of vets, either complaining about changes or championing for carnival overall. I found very few new to carnival cruisers who had experience on other lines.

 

What a long winded into to why I’m here... let’s get down to who I am: 36, turning 37 on this trip. I cruise every year for my birthday. I travel solo 90% of the time and I prefer to make my vacation time all about me right now. Staying in Havana interior cabin 5211.

 

For those of you new to carnival if you have questions you want me to find, I would be more than happy to go hunting for info.

 

More to come....

 

 

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I’ve cruised a fair amount. Don’t get me wrong I still have to work full time and typically only get 3 weeks vacation a year and not even each of those is spent at sea, but I’ve done enough so that I know the drill. But I never was drawn to the appeal of the Fun ships. Mainly a grew up on Royal, and then found the freestyle vibe of Norwegian to be relaxing and easy.

 

I started looking to branch out when after several cruises and shopping around I was finding all of the same itineraries. If you’re going to the Caribbean on NCL you get Nassau, St Thomas and Tortola, or Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel and maybe a private island. If you’ve done it a couple times you start looking for more.

 

So here I am, my first fun ship on the 8-day sailing to Grand Turk, La Romana, Curacao and Aruba. It was the itinerary that drew me to this ship. That, and when I booked I found the exclusive Havana area and felt like if I was unsure about all the things I read about the carnival party crowd, this would at least give me some reprieve if needed.

 

I had 18 months to prepare for this sailing, and while surfing the CC carnival boards I found a lot of vets, either complaining about changes or championing for carnival overall. I found very few new to carnival cruisers who had experience on other lines.

 

What a long winded into to why I’m here... let’s get down to who I am: 36, turning 37 on this trip. I cruise every year for my birthday. I travel solo 90% of the time and I prefer to make my vacation time all about me right now. Staying in Havana interior cabin 5211.

 

For those of you new to carnival if you have questions you want me to find, I would be more than happy to go hunting for info.

 

More to come....

 

 

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Look forward to following along!

 

 

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EMBARKATION DAY 1:

 

I flew in to FLL Friday morning and took the tri-rail to Miami. To be honest, I probably won’t do this again unless it saves more than $200. The shuttle from airport to Tri-Rail was slow and the train was not on time. My flight landed at 1130am in Fort Lauderdale, and I actually had to stop for food at 3pm because I was just getting through the Miami airport and waiting on the hotel shuttle. Finally made it to the Hampton Inn Blue Lagoon at 330.

 

Check-in time for me was 1130-12 and what I read of carnival was don’t show up early you will get turned away. So I’m a rule follower and a planner by nature so I showed up right at 1130. Now, I will cut carnival some slack because the 2 day sailing I’m sure had a ton of promotional things and a lot of people who booked B2B but man they didn’t clear the ship until like 1230!!! I was lucky enough to make it into the security door before the line got too long, but most had to wait in the blazing sun for hours for people to disembark. Carnival actually started doing check ins throughout the line to expedite. I was given group 26 boarding number and was on the ship at 120pm

 

 

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EMBARKATION CONT.

 

The crowd was getting feisty and as it was getting close to 130 I went up to 130 toward the Havana area thinking either would drop things in the room or get away from the masses to find an elevator to hit the lido deck. Luckily most of the crowd went forward and straight to lido so I only waited in a short line at Guys Pig & Anchor

 

(Tried to upload a pic here but getting an error)

 

Stopped in the room, briefly checked out Havana and then did a spa tour. A couple things about the spa... it’s a lot smaller than I expected based on YouTube videos. And, it was so freaking hot in there it was hard to concentrate and what they were offering and I could think about booking any appointments because I wanted to get to someplace with air!

 

That literally lasted until 330 and the mister drill!!

 

 

 

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How was the Hampton Inn? I have reservations at another hotel, but may switch

 

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The Hampton Inn was great! The shuttle from the airport ran every half hour and the driver had tons of info and was great to chat with. I’m a Hilton honors member so I didn’t even have to stop and check in. The area is right across from Publix, some fast food options and local restaurants. There is also CVS and wal greens right on the corner.

 

Room was great! I would stay again.

 

IMG_3742.thumb.JPG.782861c1678357c7019a90fb0c9b677c.JPG

 

 

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The Hampton Inn was great! The shuttle from the airport ran every half hour and the driver had tons of info and was great to chat with. I’m a Hilton honors member so I didn’t even have to stop and check in. The area is right across from Publix, some fast food options and local restaurants. There is also CVS and wal greens right on the corner.

 

Room was great! I would stay again.

 

[ATTACH]429061[/ATTACH]

 

 

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That sounds like an excellent choice!

 

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DAY 1 DINNER

 

Because I am most comfortable lately sailing with Norwegian, and because I sail solo, I really enjoy dining alone. It’s relaxing for me, some nights I take a book to read, some nights I’m updating a live review, some nights I just enjoy a peaceful meal. In comparison, I think Norwegian wins hands down for flexible dining. I had heard you can check in for dinner via the hub app, and that’s true, but it I got an error every time I tried to reserve a table for 1. Checking in a java blue is easy, but why have the app available if it doesn’t work. Then, the table in the dining room are SO close together, i May as well been sitting with others. There was a group sitting in the row in front of me, and I now know all of there stories. I was seated in a 2 top table in between two 4 tops and I also felt I could never really see or make a connection with the wait staff because they also came from behind me and also took my order from behind. The waiter was Shirley, she was very sweet, but it was bizarre I didn’t get to have a face to face conversation with her!!!

 

The food: I started with strawberry bisque, which is not my typical order, but it was very tasty! Like spooning a strawberry smoothie into my mouth slowly.

Next up was garden salad- not bad, good sliced carrots and radish, but I skip the tomato and cucumber, so really it was pretty plain. My main course was roasted chicken with broccoli and a baked potato. The chicken was warm, not hot, but had a lot of spice. Decent flavor, but the skin with the spices almost became tough because it had cooled. The baked potato was almost cold and pretty firm. I would have liked it much more done.

 

It was all alright, but I have had MUCH better food from Norwegian and Royal. Tomorrow is formal night so I’ll try again to see how it goes.

 

 

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Can’t wait to read your review! Welcome to Carnival.

 

 

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Thanks! There are some definite wins and fun things carnival does that I am enjoying. It’s Day 1 and I’ve got 7 more to go

 

 

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NIGHT TIME ENTERTAINMENT

 

I’ll admit, I started and continued to be fairly loyal to Norwegian is the free at sea program. A “free perk” like included drink package just makes me feel warm and fuzzy like I’m saving money. It’s been clear with their rising prices that they are factoring in the amount of drink packages to fares now, plus some, but there is some serious psychology behind the word FREE. Also after shelling out double occupancy for a interior room and paying for the exclusive Havana area, looking at paying almost $500 more for cheers program and being limited to 15 drinks a day, well there is/was some serious sticker shock, and not in the budget.

 

So, having sober fun is not something I’m used to on cruise ships. Carnival does a great job and finding the fun and celebrating everyone who isn’t afraid to join in. The cruise director Mike and his team really enjoy their jobs and it seems like are just as entertained by cruisers as we are by them. There was a steady stream of events tonight and I really felt part of the entire ship instead of just one small area I have found myself comfortable in.

 

After dinner the early dive-in movie was Pitch Perfect 3, then the welcome aboard show, an atrium dance party, comedy and I even stopped by the piano bar.

 

I’ve had a great evening, been writing this portion of the update since the welcome aboard show ... I am excited to see what the first sea Day has in store for me tomorrow! For now I’m going to finish my unpacking and get a shower before bed.

 

Goodnight all, cheers!

 

 

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DAY 2: SEA DAY

 

Interior cabins are awesome on sea days! It’s so dark and cozy!! I knew I would need to set an alarm so I could be up in time for our cruise critic meet & mingle this morning. It’s being held at 9:00am in the piano bar. The actual cruise critic roll call has been quite for this sailing, all of the interaction has been happening on another page. So far that page has nearly 300 people signed up to participate in the meet & mingle, so it’s not actually just a cruise critic event per se. I am interested to see how carnival handles a meet & mingle because my experiences in large Norwegian ships have been top notch, very VIP. I’m heading there now, more to come on this morning and the rocking and rolling seas in a bit!!

 

 

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Cruise critic meet & mingle turned into a lot of fun! Great turn out by all standards, but from what I hear especially great for carnival turn outs. They supplied juice and coffee and some small breakfast snacks. (I enjoyed the quiet breakfast at ocean plaza which is a perfect small buffet- eggs, bacon, some fruit, potatoes, yogurt and oatmeal/grits etc)

 

Mike came to spend time with the group and was blown away by the participation. If you don’t follow him on the other site, I’ll link the video he took:

 

Now back to vacation... in currently hanging at the Havana pool which has about 15 people back here. Few people in the pool, few people napping, few people sun tanning. The ship has been rocking since early this morning. It woke me up around 6am, luckily I love the rocking to sleep, but it’s made me check my steps a few times this morning.

 

Beautiful bright sunny skies for our fun day at sea. Today I’m determined to get my first ever Guys burger and spend some quality time in the sun!! ☀️

 

 

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Following along. I love sailing solo as well, when my other half cannot travel... done it twice so far, and two more coming in October.

 

I understand about not wanting to dine with others. I have had to tell the host at RCI.. I want a table for two that is not on top of other tables. they work it out. I do not want to have questions or conversation with others at this time - I want to be left alone, and enjoy my reading and dining.

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Following along. I love sailing solo as well, when my other half cannot travel... done it twice so far, and two more coming in October.

 

I understand about not wanting to dine with others. I have had to tell the host at RCI.. I want a table for two that is not on top of other tables. they work it out. I do not want to have questions or conversation with others at this time - I want to be left alone, and enjoy my reading and dining.

 

 

 

Thank you for adding in about solo dining- I’m not necessarily anti social by nature, sometimes, but not always. But I am very much in my own head and heart this trip and enjoy that time to reflect in my own ways.

 

What ships/where are you sailing in October?

 

 

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Thank you for adding in about solo dining- I’m not necessarily anti social by nature, sometimes, but not always. But I am very much in my own head and heart this trip and enjoy that time to reflect in my own ways.

 

What ships/where are you sailing in October?

 

 

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I got a couple really good deals. Brilliance (studio) Oct 20 to Grand Cayman & Cozumel... then Majesty Oct 29 to Cozumel and Costa Maya. Should be fun.

 

I have learned that I enjoy my own company. I like meeting others on board at certain events (Diamond Lounge) but I really enjoy dining by myself. My partner does not get anywhere near the amount of PTO that I do, and I refuse to stay at home on PTO.

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IMG_3775.thumb.JPG.5054beaee9e254737700cc903f3a16ed.JPG

So ... My first guys burger experience.... I’ll try it again, but I don’t think the line was all the way worth it. I got the ringer, the onion was kinda tough. Sauce was good, burger was good- best tasting burger I’ve had on a ship, but it was a chore to get it!

 

It’s a sea day... a lot of people on lido deck today. There is so much to try on this ship, I haven’t even had a taste of buffet food!! After being on the Escape and Bliss I find this buffet confusing... but I’m slowly learning the carnival way.

 

Speaking of the carnival way... the staff on the horizon at all of the bars and restaurants are not anywhere near as friendly as on either big Norwegian ship. They don’t smile and greet you when you walk up to a bar unless you are literally the only one there (which has only happened to me once - ocean plaza bar last night late) otherwise, nada. Today at the tides bar, I stood for probably 8 minutes with my card out trying to catch the bartenders eye, and I ended up walking away with nothing. At the red frog rum bar this morning the lady came up and what do you need? No smile, no real eye contact..... tough crowd on friendliness around here!!!

 

My room steward Ian is pretty awesome though! On my Bliss cruise in June, I also had an awesome steward so I was afraid I would be disappointed. Ian has my I e bucket stocked, he found me a new hanger because one of my dresses wouldn’t stay on the regular hanger, he always greets me with a smile and my name.

 

 

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Hearing people chat around the ship... here are some of the things I’m hearing:

 

Staterooms are having various cooking issues. Some complaining staterooms are downright HOT, others just a little warmer than they would like. One man at the meet & mingle said he called and went to guest services, and called again and a tech did come to take a look and it got cooler. My room was FREEZING last night! I woke up cold, and had to turn it up 2 notches!!! I have never had to do that.

 

Other people talking about not meeting their room stewards or having slow service. They are definitely not staying in Ian’s area!

 

It’s 12:35... what else should I be doing today? Time to go find some adventure. Cheers!

 

 

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Just curious, the date in the title of the thread is incorrect, right? It should be 9/22 I gather. Just as an FYI, I think you can contact the mods of this thread to have them change it. So that people don’t get confused.

 

Still loving your review, though!

 

 

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Thank you for taking the time to do such a detailed review on your cruise! We will be boarding her Sunday so anxious to have others opinions. My Husband will not be happy if we have a warm cabin though. :-(

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Just curious, the date in the title of the thread is incorrect, right? It should be 9/22 I gather. Just as an FYI, I think you can contact the mods of this thread to have them change it. So that people don’t get confused.

 

Still loving your review, though!

 

 

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Whoa!!! I hadn’t even realized!! Yes it most definitely should be 9/22. Clearly doing an entire review from and old iPhone 6s has its drawbacks. Thanks for pointing it out!!

 

 

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