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landsear

Horizon trip review

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First and foremost, I posted a few weeks ago if I should pay $800 to upgrade to the Havana area.  I think most people thought I was nuts, but wow.  The Havana area was our entire vacation.  Best $800 I've ever spent!  I truly don't know if we'll be able to cruise in the future on a ship that doesn't have this area.  It was that good.  I attached a picture I took of the sunset from the Havana area.

 

The good:  Havana!  The bartenders and bar staff made the cruise.  Best bar staff I've ever encountered.  They were amazing and just made our vacation so much better.  The Havana pool is a bit small, but was never full.  The hot tubs were huge!  Almost as big as the pool!  They could have been hotter, but the staff did increase the temperature every time it was asked.  Everyone in this area was just SO NICE!  Best passengers we've ever cruised with.  Pig and Anchor was great.  It was the best pay restaurant IMO.  And half the price of the Steakhouse or Teppanyaki.  We ended up eating at Pig and Anchor for 3 out of the 6 nights.  I really liked the decor and didn't miss the glass elevators at all.  I'm a little bit confused now by everyone saying how much they didn't care for it.   Carnival has finally entered the modern times and doesn't look like a floating Atlantic City casino.  The elevators also were great.  They were a bit slow at times, but so much more efficient.  I'd love it if every hotel or big venue goes to this type of elevator.  We didn't spend too much time up there, but we liked the Dr. Seuss splash pad and water slides.  The water was warm and they were fun.  Also embarkation! We just walked right on.  We didn't have anything special and I would have been pissed if I paid for FTTF.  I didn't hear one person who said they waited in line to board at all.  Still happily shocked at how quickly the process went.  Debarkation also was easy peasy.

 

The average:  The food.  We only went to the dining room the first night.  It just wasn't that good.  Carnival's schtick of making you pay for better food definitely worked on us.  The breakfast was the best breakfast at sea I've ever had.  Lunch was pretty good too.  I"m not a buffet person, and typically dislike all cruise food.  However, between the Great Wok, Pig and Anchor, and Cucina for lunch, we did well.  The sea day brunch is also still amazing.  We did the Sky Ride.  It was fun, but not worth waiting in a long line for.  We went in port and didn't wait.  I would have been disappointed if we waited more than 10 min for it.  I did enjoy Guys and was surprised I did, I was not expecting to like it.  Blue Iguana was fine too.

 

The bad:  The Steakhouse.  I am honestly really disappointed.  Before this cruise, I was team 'the steakhouse is the best meal ever and well worth the money!".  Now I'm like 'ehhhh.....'  Every course we had from appetizer to dessert was just...fine?  Nowhere near worth the money we spent on it.  My free filet at the sea day brunch well surpassed my filet mignon from the steakhouse.  We also didn't love Teppanyaki.  It was also just okay.  Not worth the money at all.  Pig and Anchor is literally half the price on average of these other two restaurants and so much better.  Our Havana interior room was also just too small.  There wasn't the standard interior couch or dresser.  We had to basically live out of our suitcases under the bed for the week.  Please note that although I greatly disliked this, my husband thinks I'm overreacting and he had no issue with it at all 🙂

 

Last note that has left such a sour taste in my mouth is how many people we saw removing tips.  I knew from here that it was thing, but not to the extent it was.  The moved the line to the Havana bar because the grand atrium couldn't handle all of the people.  People were waiting 2 hours in line to remove them.  It was insane and ridiculous to me.  I thought it was like 20 people per cruise, not 1/4 of the ship!  I wish Carnival would just remove them all together and just increase the cruise fare the $150 it cost.  

 

Any questions?  Just ask!  

 

 

havana.jpg

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Thanks for the review! I’m heading out on Horizon on Saturday and am looking forward to seeing Carnival’s newest ship. One question - for the Sky Ride, do you have to wear close-toed shoes? I usually don’t bring anything other than sandals and flip flops on a cruise, but will throw in a pair of running shoes if needed for Sky Ride. Thanks in advance!

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20 minutes ago, samiam0403 said:

Thanks for the review! I’m heading out on Horizon on Saturday and am looking forward to seeing Carnival’s newest ship. One question - for the Sky Ride, do you have to wear close-toed shoes? I usually don’t bring anything other than sandals and flip flops on a cruise, but will throw in a pair of running shoes if needed for Sky Ride. Thanks in advance!

 

Funny story! Yes, you do. All I had was UGGs and flip flops. I went back to the room and got my UGGs. The staff got a kick out of it and I'm apparently the first person to do the sky ride with UGGs!

 

Go to the Havana bar even if you don't have the Havana wrist band. Maria and Jens were the two best bartenders we've ever had. 

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I agree, I love prepaid gratuities and will bring cash to tip extra for exceptional service.  The crew works for pennies.  Can’t believe the tightwads on Carnival.

 

Thank you for the review, I may consider this ship.

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10 minutes ago, BENHANDEL said:

Thanks for the review! What length and itinerary did you have?

 

6 days. Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. 

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1 hour ago, landsear said:

 

Funny story! Yes, you do. All I had was UGGs and flip flops. I went back to the room and got my UGGs. The staff got a kick out of it and I'm apparently the first person to do the sky ride with UGGs!

 

Go to the Havana bar even if you don't have the Havana wrist band. Maria and Jens were the two best bartenders we've ever had. 

 

Thanks for the quick answer! I’ll throw some chucks in my suitcase then. 

 

Looking forward to checking out the Havana bar in the evenings! And Alchemy, of course. 

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11 hours ago, landsear said:

 

6 days. Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. 

Yay! I have been waiting for a review that matches my Christmas itinerary!

 

Since you did not visit the MDR, you won't have much to say on those menus, LOL.

 

Did you ever go to jiji's at night?

 

Your review makes me worried about our Christmas reservations as the steakhouse...

 

Any chance you have any insights into how often karoake happened? My teen is looking forward to it...

 

Do you remember the "schedule" of shows I am most looking forward to the celestial strings show. 

 

Thanks for any insights!

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13 hours ago, landsear said:

First and foremost, I posted a few weeks ago if I should pay $800 to upgrade to the Havana area.  I think most people thought I was nuts, but wow.  The Havana area was our entire vacation.  Best $800 I've ever spent!  I truly don't know if we'll be able to cruise in the future on a ship that doesn't have this area.  It was that good.  I attached a picture I took of the sunset from the Havana area.

 

IMO, the majority of room upgrades aren't worth it to me. Since I don't spend much time in the room. Havana though. That has my interest. I'm glad you liked it. 

 

I understand some of Carnival's concerns for not forcing tips. I just don't understand why they can't be mandatory. Some restaurants make tips mandatory.

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13 hours ago, BENHANDEL said:

Yay! I have been waiting for a review that matches my Christmas itinerary!

 

Since you did not visit the MDR, you won't have much to say on those menus, LOL.

 

Did you ever go to jiji's at night?

 

Your review makes me worried about our Christmas reservations as the steakhouse...

 

Any chance you have any insights into how often karoake happened? My teen is looking forward to it...

 

Do you remember the "schedule" of shows I am most looking forward to the celestial strings show. 

 

Thanks for any insights!

 

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I was also on this cruise. 

 

If it helps at all, we only went to the MDR 3/6 nights due to the menu just being well blah. We went on lobster night (of course), filet night, and we went on another night where I still think I ended up with the flat iron.  We even skipped Baked Alaska night which is my FAVORITE DESERT in the whole world because there was literally nothing we wanted to eat on the menu. 

I do however think it is Horizon specific, because I’ve sailed on the Pride since they switched to the American Table and remember the selection being more appealing. And mind you we are not foodies or picky eaters. We have no problem finding food on the ship to eat. 

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Thankfully Tips are adjustable, gives the staff no incentive to provide decent service if the cruise fare is increased and tips are removed.

 

We never stiff the workers except 1 time we had the most horrendous service in the MDR and no results from complaining about it so off the food service tips were adjusted accordingly.

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Sometimes I have my cabin steward tips taken off and get envelopes so I can give cash tips. This also allows me to add more to the envelopes. Same with the dining staff. I am careful not to have all of the tips removed as the alternative services would be left without tips. I still like to give an envelope of cash with extra money because they work so hard and are paid so poorly. 

I would be upset to see so many people taking tips off but I wanted to offer a different perspective that not everyone who has their tips taken off doesn’t tip. In fact many of us tip much more. But in cash.

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23 minutes ago, gamecockinnc said:

Sometimes I have my cabin steward tips taken off and get envelopes so I can give cash tips. This also allows me to add more to the envelopes. Same with the dining staff. I am careful not to have all of the tips removed as the alternative services would be left without tips. I still like to give an envelope of cash with extra money because they work so hard and are paid so poorly. 

I would be upset to see so many people taking tips off but I wanted to offer a different perspective that not everyone who has their tips taken off doesn’t tip. In fact many of us tip much more. But in cash.

 

I don’t mean to sound negative, but why remove tips if you are supposdlly going to pay them?  That makes no sense to me. Maybe I am too much of a pessimist, but when someone removes tips but insist they pay tips in cash, I take it with a grain of salt. I have gotten to know several room stewards fairly well and have been told it is extremely rare for a cabin to remove tips and than receive cash from that cabin. 

Edited by PhillyFan33579

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Because it’s something I like to do. Just as I start my cruise by giving my cabin steward a tip. Maybe it’s nostalgia and it takes me back to cruising with my parents and my father always seeking out the staff to personally thank them and tip them. Remember that is how tips used to be paid?  I have no reason to lie. Why the heck would I post if that were the case. My goodness. I am a Platinum cruiser and this is the way I prefer to tip. To each their own. I don’t do it every time but I always have a good bit of cash left and prefer the personal element to it. And I can add extra to it. Just as you can get an envelope from guest services and leave a little extra too while still leaving the usual amount on your credit card. I consider myself very friendly with my stewards too. Always taking the time to speak to them and thank them. And making sure we leave our cabin(s) as clean as possible.  I also pay off my bill before disembarking. I am one of those people who likes to pay for things in cash. Is that a problem too? Not to be negative of course. 🙄

Edited by gamecockinnc
Grammar

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On 11/18/2018 at 10:38 PM, BENHANDEL said:

Yay! I have been waiting for a review that matches my Christmas itinerary!

 

Since you did not visit the MDR, you won't have much to say on those menus, LOL.

 

Did you ever go to jiji's at night?

 

Your review makes me worried about our Christmas reservations as the steakhouse...

 

Any chance you have any insights into how often karoake happened? My teen is looking forward to it...

 

Do you remember the "schedule" of shows I am most looking forward to the celestial strings show. 

 

Thanks for any insights!

 

We did not go to Jijis, but heard great things about it from other passengers.  The steakhouse may have been having an off night, I'd still go and think it will make a great Christmas reservation.  

 

I don't remember the schedule of shows or even seeing that one to be honest.  We went to the roaring 20s show that was on day 5?  It was good.  Karaoke was always going on.  The final competition was immediately following the roaring 20s show.  

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On 11/18/2018 at 11:29 AM, samiam0403 said:

 

Thanks for the quick answer! I’ll throw some chucks in my suitcase then. 

 

Looking forward to checking out the Havana bar in the evenings! And Alchemy, of course. 

 

You can actually visit the Havana bar whenever you want.  It's just the pool and hot tub that you won't have access to.  I'd actually recommend checking it out during the day when it's not so loud and crazy like it is at night.

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57 minutes ago, landsear said:

Karaoke was always going on.  The final competition was immediately following the roaring 20s show.  

 

Thank you!

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On ‎11‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 8:16 PM, gamecockinnc said:

Sometimes I have my cabin steward tips taken off and get envelopes so I can give cash tips. This also allows me to add more to the envelopes. Same with the dining staff. I am careful not to have all of the tips removed as the alternative services would be left without tips. I still like to give an envelope of cash with extra money because they work so hard and are paid so poorly. 

I would be upset to see so many people taking tips off but I wanted to offer a different perspective that not everyone who has their tips taken off doesn’t tip. In fact many of us tip much more. But in cash.

You have great intentions but the results are not what you hoped for.  The staff is not allowed to keep cash tips if the automatic gratuity has been removed.  The cash is put in a company pool that is shared.  If the automatic gratuity is not removed, your server, or whoever, is allowed to keep the cash.  It is first turned over to their supervisor and then returned to them when the supervisor determines that the automatic tip has not been removed.  Failure to turn in cash usually means immediate termination.  There are numerous threads on this subject.

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On 11/18/2018 at 10:38 PM, BENHANDEL said:

 

Did you ever go to jiji's at night?

Your review makes me worried about our Christmas reservations as the steakhouse..

Do you remember the "schedule" of shows I am most looking forward to the celestial strings show. 

 

Thanks for any insights!

Yes, we went to Jiji's for dinner and it was great.  Even better was Cucina del Capitano at dinner.  I had a tomahawk pork chop that was delicious.  Both of these places were only 15.00 and now the Steakhouse is up to 38.00.  I used to love the Steakhouse back in the day, but after disappointing meals back in 2013 on the Breeze and now 2018 on the Horizon, we'll go to both of the other venues, enjoy two great dinners and still save money when we're back on the Horizon in August. 

 

Celestial Strings was one of the best shows I have seen in my 32 cruises.  It was at 730 and 930 on night 7 of our 8 night cruise, so it was on elegant night number 2.  I too was in a Havana inside and it was great.  We stayed in one of the two sideways cabins and had plenty of space for the two of us and all of our clothes.

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On 11/19/2018 at 1:13 PM, bigcraig said:

Thankfully Tips are adjustable, gives the staff no incentive to provide decent service if the cruise fare is increased and tips are removed.

 

We never stiff the workers except 1 time we had the most horrendous service in the MDR and no results from complaining about it so off the food service tips were adjusted accordingly.

 

There is a huge difference between "adjusting" tips due to poor service that was never corrected and "removing" tips to be cheap and save money. Just came off the Conquest and had people behind me in the buffet high-fiving each other because they removed all their tips (30+ people in a group) to save money. Took everything I had to bite my tongue and keep my mouth shut. And the lines at GS the last night were horrendous which makes it difficult for those with real issues to get service. Personally, i'd like to see where tips are added just like taxes and port charges. The base rate of the cruise would be the same (for advertising purposes) and if someone missed the cruise they would be returned but otherwise they would be mandatory. Crews still have incentive to work hard because otherwise they would lose their job (just like every other job around). Do you still do your best at work even though you don't get tips?? Think about it.

Edited by Carnival Cheerleader

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15 hours ago, Carnival Cheerleader said:

What was the cost of the Teppanyaki?

Depending upon your protein choice, it now runs between 25-30 pp, consisting of soup or salad, app, entree, and dessert.  When the menu was originally announced, it included both soup and salad the price range was 17-20.  Filet mignon or filet combo with lobster tail went from 20 to 30, which thus goes from 40 to 60 per couple.  The pricing is comparable to a land based place, so after the price increase, I cancelled our reservation that we had last August.  For the 30, you could go to both Jiji's and Cucina and enjoy two dinners for the price of the one at teppanyaki.

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