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pirate4me2

Pirate Sees 8 Days of Fun on the HORIZON! Oct 6-14, 2018 Review

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Hello all!

 

I just got off a wonderful 8 day cruise aboard the Horizon 10/6/18 thru 10/14/18, and now that life is slowly returning to normal I am ready to begin my review. I will forewarn you, this cruise was not as adventurous as my previous ones. Life for my mother and I has been rough the past 6 months or so, and we went in with the mindset to RELAX on this cruise. We planned no excursions for any of our port stops (that’s a first for me, I ALWAYS know what I am doing in the ports before we set sail!), we ended up only eating in the MDR twice (again a first, I usually despise the Lido buffet at dinnertime!) and it was overall just a really low-key, non-adventurous week for us.

 

We drove down from Hendersonville, NC to Miami on Friday, October 5. I despise flying, and mom and I didn’t mind doing the drive as we are horsey people and we mapped out a few tack shops to stop at on the way down. We left Mom’s house at 5 am, stopped at Fishlips in Port Canaveral for a late lunch at 3, and ended up finally arriving at our hotel in Miami at 8 that night. We WERE making decent time considering our tack shop stops and lunch stop, but traffic from Palm Beach to Miami was AWFUL. It literally took us an hour and a half to drive the last 15 miles to our hotel. On the upside, we got a really great laugh as we were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on 95. Mom was on her phone and goes “Oh look, this truck next to us has wifi!” I tell her “Don’t connect! You have no idea who that is, what is on that network, he may hack your phone!” She’s peering into the vehicle to “see if he is an OK looking person” and all of a sudden her head whips so hard my way I’m afraid she may have whiplash. I ask her what’s wrong and she says, “Don’t look at his phone, don’t look!” Of course that just gets my curiosity going so I HAVE to look….and I wish I hadn’t. All I will say is….only on 95 in Miami will you see someone sitting in a traffic jam watching adult movies.

 

Once we arrived at our hotel, the Hampton Inn Midtown, we were more than ready to just get some dinner and crash. I will say that this hotel has a GREAT location, very easy to get to and it is in a safe area to walk around, which we needed to do to stretch our legs! We checked in, and Kimberly and Terry the front desk clerks were amazing. We had a bit of a mix up when checking in…Terry gave us a room on the 8th floor, and we headed up with our luggage. I opened the door and walked in and was like “Whoa, whoever stayed in here had some strong cologne!” Then I saw a suitcase, men’s pants, and a bottle of wine in the room. Holy cow, someone is already staying in here! We hightailed it back down to the front desk and they looked into it and Kimberly called Terry back over. After apologizing profusely he told her, “We have to make this right. Give them a suite.” I told them no no, we are only staying one night, we don’t need a suite! He looked at me and goes, “No, we are giving you a suite, and Kimberly, also give them 2 bottles of wine.” I was like “No need, it’s ok, Mom doesn’t drink wine. Can you just give us 2 bottles of water?” Well….we ended up with the suite, 2 bottles of wine, AND 2 bottles of water. Needless to say…we had a good night. Ok fine, I had a good night as like I said, Mom doesn’t drink wine, and I already had my 2 bottles packed in my carryon for the ship. I couldn’t let the 2 bottles they gave us go to waste!

 

Pics of our suite we stayed in pre-cruise.

 

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We ended up walking to Pollo Tropicale for dinner, which was right near the hotel. They had a good menu with salads, wraps, grilled chicken, fried chicken...something for everyone. They were quick too, which was nice since it was so late. After eating our dinner we walked back to the hotel, showered, and I drank my wine and crashed for the night. The beds were super comfy, and I slept like a baby knowing tomorrow was CRUISE DAY!

Edited by pirate4me2

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It’s cruise day!!

 

I woke up at my usual 7:30, and mom and I went down to the free breakfast our hotel offered. It was a nice breakfast spread with omlets, breakfast potatoes, sausage links, waffles, pancakes, cereal, fruit, yogurt, juice, coffee, and hot tea. Not too shabby for an included breakfast!

 

Once we finished we went downstairs to register for the free shuttle ride to the port. Mom had forgotten toothpaste (way to go Momma!) so we chose the 10:30 shuttle so that we could walk to the Walgreen’s down the road and get her some. No way did I want her to have rank breath all week! Hahaha. I GUESS I could have shared mine, but I just had a small travel tube and wanted to make sure I had enough for me.

 

The shuttle to the port was quick, and we met some lovely people who were on the Horizon, and a few who would be on the Glory. The drive unloaded the Glory passengers first, then took us to our “home” for the week. Check-in at the port was quick and painless, and I think this is the very first time that my wine has gone thru with no questions asked. I didn’t even tell them I had wine in my carry-on, and they did not pull it out to inspect or anything. It seems like usually they examine the seal to make sure it really is wine. Nope, not this time! We waited a very short time in the terminal, then they began boarding Diamonds, and shortly after they boarded Platinums. Yay! We were onboard by 11:30.

 

After swinging by our Havana cabin, 5216, we headed for some lunch. One of the crew members caught us in the Ocean Plaza and told us to go try Pig & Anchor BBQ, so that’s what we did. I was surprised Mom was up for trying it as she doesn’t eat much meat, just chicken. She really liked it!

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I got a little of everything. The pork was really good, the beef was just meh, and the sausage was AWESOME. I think that was my favorite by far! It is spicy, so if you can’t handle spice it may not be for you. The coleslaw was yummy, and the Mac & Cheese was good but needed something. While we were eating Mike Pack walked by, and he is so friendly! He was always happy to stop and talk, and he seems like he genuinely cares about his guests. I got a very, very good first impression of him. 

 

After lunch we wandered the ship until it was time for the lovely Muster Drill at 3:30

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Edited by pirate4me2

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 Our station was in the Meridan restaurant on deck 3, so an easy 2 flight climb down the stairs from our cabin. It was a short and painless as possible, then we ran up to the Havana area to watch sailaway. I may not be a fan of Miami in general, but I do have to give them this: they have a beautiful sailaway view!

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Once we had sailed out we went to the room and unpacked our luggage, and I decorated the room door so that if we had a little too much fun we could still find “home.” Our room steward came by and introduced himself, and he actually offered morning service, evening, or BOTH. I haven’t had the “both” option in a few cruises now! Mom and I decided that since we wanted to be able to sleep in we would go with evening. He wrote that down, gave us his card in case we needed anything, and headed on his way. It was about 5:45 at this time, and we were hungry for dinner (why am I always hungry when on a cruise???) so we decided to eat. The Horizon is currently piloting online check-in for Your Time Dining thru the Hub app, so we decided to try using that. I LOVE IT!!!! There is no standing in line at the Java Blue Café, you just open the app when you decide you want dinner and follow the prompts. It will tell you what the wait time for a table is, and you reserve it. Then when your table is ready, you get a notification. Easy peasy! I really hope they roll this out fleetwide, it is awesome!

 

Our service at dinner….not so awesome. I ordered the Roasted Poblano soup to start with, and I ended up with tomato?? They ended up realizing the mistake and brought me the correct one, but yeah….not off to a good start!

 

Both soups were good, not great….I wouldn’t order either one again. For my main dish, I went with the sweet & sour shrimp, which was DELICIOUS!!

 

One the side I ordered my beloved cream spinach, which was just as delicious as I remember. I also ended up with a  random baked potato that I didn’t order??? Um…..Ok.

 

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We didn’t want any dessert tonight, so we headed up to the Lido to catch the Dive In movie that was showing. Book Club is HILARIOUS!!! Omg I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee myself. We finished watching that and ran to catch the Welcome Aboard show, which was the same as always. Mike ended that by encouraging everyone to follow him and the Playlist cast to the atrium to attend Rock the Promanade. Horizon does this a little differently than I remember other ships doing it, and they make it into a kind of Pub crawl with a free drink drawing at each of 4 bars. They gave out 3-4 drinks at the Atrium Bar, the Pig & Anchor, the Ocean Plaza bar, and the Havana bar. It was cool, and Mom even won a free drink! 

 

By this time it was 11:30 and I was wore out, so Mom and I decided to call it a day. I really must have been tired as she whipped a pillow at me about 30 minutes after I laid down and told me I was snoring like a freight train. I told her she should have packed ear plugs, and to go sleep on the patio outside and leave me alone.

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Ahhhh, a glorious sea day. A day to sleep in.

 

Or not.

 

I woke up at 7:30, like usual, and despite my best efforts to tell my body to GO BACK TO SLEEP it refused. I finally gave up and Mom and I went to Lido for breakfast. I don’t normally like eating breakfast up there, unless it is a Blue Iguana breakfast burrito on port days, but Mom didn’t want to sit thru an MDR breakfast so I let her have her way. I was actually happy with how the buffet is set up on Horizon, and I wish I had gotten a picture of it. Instead of the long, snaking serving areas they have little stations set up, and the lines move very quickly. I settled on “eggs” (they are edible if you drown them in Texas Pete), sausage links and breakfast potatoes. I know, I know, so healthy, I should have at least gotten some fruit but whatever. 

 

After breakfast Mom and I headed to the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle that was held in the Library at 9. All I have to say is….where were all y’all at?? We had maybe 15 people show up, and the Entertainment Director, Cruise Director, and another senior officer of some sort were all there. They had juice, coffee, and pastries set out, and it was quite nice. Mom and I chatted with Mike and 2 other couples for a bit, and if any of y’all were some of the ones I met, it was nice to meet you! I will admit that I left rather abruptly as I checked my phone and John Heald was close by, and I REALLY wanted to meet him! He was onboard for a few days filming, and they were set up in the atrium so Mom and I ran down there. I ordered a Mocha Chocolate Getaway to enjoy while John finished filming, and then he began taking photos with everyone.

 

The Mocha Chocolate Getaway was delicious, and STRONG. After meeting John we decided to head into the Liquid Lounge for Mike’s morning show at 10. It was OK, but not as funny as Matt’s and some of the other CD’s. We then stayed for the Fun Aboard, Fun Ashore show in hopes of winning a prize, butttttt…..no luck. To console myself, I went back to the balcony and read my book while enjoying a glass (ok, fine, half a bottle) of wine.

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Around 2:00 we decided we were getting hungry for lunch, and to make up for my not-healthy breakfast I decided I wanted a taco salad from Blue Iguana. I LOVE THESE THINGS!!!!! I’d also like to mention that the new elevator system on Horizon is awesome. It made them much quicker. You simply choose which deck you are going to (click once for each person in your party) and then wait for the car it tells you to use. Easy peasy! 

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After filling our bellies, we decided it was time to go enjoy the Havana area since we had yet to be back there yet. IT WAS PACKED. Holy moly, I think they added more Havana cabins on the Horizon, didn’t they? It shows. There were NO empty loungers/chairs, and the pool was standing room only. We stayed back there for a bit, then decided to go people watch. We went to the Ocean Plaza for a bit, then moved to the atrium. I think I can see why my husband enjoys people watching as one of his favorite cruise “sports.” Tonight was the first elegant night, and seeing everyone dressed up was fun.

 

It was probably about 7:30 when we got hungry for dinner. Now, I may be a weirdo, but I don’t like the lobster on the ships. I love lobster rolls, lobster mac & cheese, etc, but just the plain lobster that Carnival serves on the first elegant night…..meh. I also do not like prime rib. Neither Mom nor I felt like dressing up today, and with the menu not sounding good to either of us….we opted to go to Lido. The place was empty, it was awesome! We decided on sandwiches from the deli, and there was nobody in line. Whoo hoo! I opted for the tomato & mozzarella sandwich, which was DELICIOUS. The potato salad I got on the side was nasty. Bleck! The fries were good though, and OMG the honey mustard I got to dip them in was AWESOME. Overall, it was a great dinner.

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Once we finished eating Mom and I walked the Fun Shops, located on decks 4 and 5. Horizon has a real Victoria’s Secret with all sorts of stuff, but their Carnival branded items store has gotten smaller and was split into 2 different shops on deck 4. We didn’t buy anything (yet) and ended up in the Piano Bar. I know I’m probably creepy, but the only photo from the Piano Bar that I have is of the red wall...I thought it looked cool. 😂

 

 

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Edited by pirate4me2

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I forget his name, but the gentleman who played but didn’t sing in the Piano Bar while it was open to the steakhouse was very good. Mom and I both agreed that listening to him was so relaxing. The Piano Bar would be the perfect place to stop for a pre-dinner cocktail while listening to him. We spent about 30 minutes there, then headed back to our room.

 

It was then that the unsolved mystery of the trip began.

 

While we were getting changed I thought I heard a trickling water sound. I figured it was one of the neighbors with their shower running, but after about an hour I began to really wonder. Hmmmm, maybe one of them had too many drinks and forgot to turn the shower off?? It continued while Mom and I were both reading, and finally she commented on it. Ha, I’m not crazy!!! By this time it had been about 2 hours of me hearing it, and it kind of seemed to be getting louder. I really do not know how to accurately describe the sound, other than it was most definitely liquid, and it reminded me of either a shower running, or liquid being poured. The ship was rocking pretty good tonight, and you could hear it go “slosh, slosh” when we went side to side. It was about 10:00, and Mom and I both decided that maybe it was just pipes above us making the noise and not to worry about it unless it was still going on tomorrow morning.

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Finally, I actually slept in today! I didn’t wake up until 9, and IT FELT WONDERFUL! Maybe my body is finally realizing its on vacation. I lounged in the room and on my balcony/patio until I finally felt motivated to get dressed at about 10:30. When Mom and I finally decided to go get some grub, I opened the door and something was in our mailbox. What’s this? 4 free drink coupons from Hattie in Guest Services for the inconvenience of the water noise! SWEET!

 

Lunch came from the deli, which supposedly opens at 11 but didn’t actually start taking orders until 11:25. I got the yummylicious tomato & mozzarella sandwich again, and by the time we finished eating we were getting close to San Juan. There was a helicopter with Mr. Radu from Carnival taking photos of Horizon as she sailed into San Juan, and that was cool to see. I headed to the Havana area and got pics and videos of us sailing in about 12:15-12:30. I may not be a huge fan of San Juan, but I have to admit that the view sailing into and out of that port are like no other!

 

 

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Since we had no excursions planned for this port, Mom and I took our time getting off the ship. We docked at 1, and we finally meandered off about 1:45. There was a slight holdup with the amount of people getting off, I think a lot of passengers did the same thing we did….just walk off the ship and meander around town. Mom and I walked the streets, over to the El Morro fort, and then took the path along the shore. All in all we walked about 7.5 miles. The weather was threatening rain, so after a stop at Starbucks (yes, I am ashamed to say we stopped into Starbucks instead of some local coffee joint), we got back onboard about 5:45.

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For dinner tonight we went to the MDR. Oh hey I lied earlier when I told you we only went to the MDR twice this cruise, it was actually 3 times. Sorry, I didn’t realize it until reading my notes! Anyway…I started with my Caesar salad, which Mom tried and said was nasty. Hahaha. She isn’t a Caesar fan. It was good. For my main course I got the baked Phyllo pouches, which were yummy! I got a side of creamed spinach to go with them, and it was great as always. Mom and I were both curious about the port of call main dish, it was a fish with some kind of sauce on it, so we ordered it to share. It was pretty good, the fish was not overly fishy flavored, but I think my dish was way better. Mom had ordered the seafood Newberg and say that she preferred the port of call dish.

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After dinner I went to the Havana Bar to redeem one of the free drink coupons on a La Buena Vida. Yum, it is such a great drink! Mom decided to use one of her coupons on a spiked milkshake from Java Blue, so she ordered a Kicked Up Island Delight. All I have to say is…OMG. That was amazing. I wish I had never discovered it, as my hips may now be in trouble on future cruises!

 

 I forget what time it was (9:30 maybe?), we decided to go check out the Love & Marriage show in the Liquid Lounge. On the way I swung by Alchemy Bar and ordered a Deal Closer, my favorite drink from there. Love & Marriage is always a great show to watch, and the participants this time didn’t disappoint. Following that was the Electric White Night in the atrium, which was fun. Unfortunately my pictures from that didn’t turn out, sorry. I will say that Mom and I danced an appetite up, so we wound up going to get pizza at about 11:15. I ordered the mushroom, which was awesome, and she got the cheese, which she said was missing something. The guy serving the pizzas didn’t seem to understand portion control and passed out whole pies to everyone….I don’t need THAT much pizza right before bed! But ya know what? I ate it anyway, I’m on vacation so whatevs! Those calories don’t count, right?

 

We finally called it a night at a little after midnight. I dare say we made the most of this day during the cruise!

 

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Edited by pirate4me2

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I just realized I skipped our day in Grand Turk! Argh! Ok, I will add it in now. For the record, Grand Turk was our first stop, then San Juan. Sorry! 

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It’s 6:45 am and I am wide awake. Why, you ask? Well, it’s the day that I have been waiting for since I booked this cruise, in fact, the whole REASON I booked this itinerary. What day is it? Well, it’s Monday, day 3 of the cruise, but more importantly, it’s GRAND TURK day! I LOVE Grand Turk. The water is so beautiful, the sand is that perfect color and texture, and it is just the true definition of paradise in my book. Oh, and I love Topher too, hahaha.

 

Horizon docked at 8, but Mom and I decided to let the mad masses off before we headed down to disembark. We decided to do breakfast in the MDR this morning, so  after a swing by Java Blue for coffee we headed there. I ordered the roasted broccoli and cheddar scramble with a side of chicken sausage. All of it except the biscuits were DELICIOUS!

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When we finished breakfast it was 9:15, so we figured it was safe to disembark. We waltzed right off the ship with no wait, and we decided to explore a side of Grand Turk I have never went to. I always go left off the ship and head straight to Jack’s Shack, so Mom and I went right. There was a very nice area with clean restrooms, picnic tables, and some chairs there. The beach was covered in seaweed though, so we decided to go down to Jack’s to see if it was nicer.

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After walking thru the port area/shops, we meandered down the beach and arrived at Jack’s Shack. We managed to snag a table, and Mom got to meet Topher. We also met Calypso, who is a total sweetie. We spent the morning/afternoon playing in the water and entertaining the dogs. When we got hungry we decided to order conch fritters, my favorite. Mom had never had conch before, but she was game to try them. There were no waiters at Jack’s, you now order food at the bar and they give you a receipt that you take to the cooks. I am not sure when that changed? It has been a year and a half since my last visit there, so maybe this is old news. Anyway….the conch fritters were delicious, but Mom wasn’t a fan. Hahaha.

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At 1:45 we headed back to the ship. When we got to our room we were surprised to see that our room steward had made the room up, despite us requesting evening service. That was nice of him! We cleaned up and decided to get some “real” food to go with the conch fritter “appetizer” we (ok, I) had enjoyed. I opted for another Blue Iguana salad, and finished it off with the homemade coconut gelato. Mmmmmmmmmmm!

 

I decided to read my book on the balcony some more (I had a REALLY good book!!) and stayed there until we set sail. We sailed from Grand Turk 15 minutes early, we were supposed to leave at 4 but we were pulling away at 3:45. I guess we got everyone onboard and they decided to leave? Anyway...Mom and I noticed shortly after we set sail and the ship began rocking slightly that the water sound from the night before was happening again. I decided to head to Guest Services to report it, and Hattie was on the ball. When I told her what was happening she immediately said “Let me come listen” and followed me to the room. She heard it and called someone to come check the A/C unit, as the room seemed to be a little warmer than it should be. A technician showed up and when he opened the A/C area in the hallway he said there was about a bucket’s worth of liquid he needed to vacuum out. They told us that we were free to go to dinner or do whatever, they would take care of things, so we left.

 

We opted to eat dinner in the MDR tonight. I started off with my usual, the Caesar salad, which was perfect, and for my main I got the stuffed Portobello mushrooms, which were DELICIOUS. The chocolate melting cake for dessert was cooked perfectly tonight. A+ for dinner tonight!

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Mom and I went to listen to the Piano Bar entertainer for a little bit, then we went and listened to the rock band in Ocean Plaza. They were fantastic! We hung out there until about 9:15, then decided to call it a day and head back to our room. The water sound seemed to be gone, so we settled in and read our books. Overall it was a great day!

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Great start!

Love all those pictures of Topher. 

 

The elevator system is intriguing, I'm just off NCL Bliss and they definately need a better system.

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