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MITSUGIRLY sails off into the HORIZON-review & pictorial


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Well hello everyone! I'm back! I know a lot of people have been probably wondering where I have been...it's been a hectic and complicated year for me. 


So many things have happened this year and I just needed a break. I deactivated all my social media, removed myself from the internet and computer (other than turning in homework assignments and tests) and completely changed life up as it was known around August.


Everyone knows I've been in school for a while to get my bachelors, but I have been slacking on my classes over the year(s). Well, I put my mind to it that I was going to get my butt in gear and finish. Last year I only took 1 class in the spring and decided to take the summer off (because it's the only semester they will allow you to take off and not be penalized). Well, I enjoyed it so much that I also took the winter off...which meant come this year, I had to reapply to my school and that meant lots of paperwork. I took my spring classes, summer classes and just finished up my winter classes. I have 1 more class to go and I'M DONE! Finito, adios school, completed. This last class I just finished lasted from August until the week of my cruise...nutrition! Uh! I have been avoiding it like the plague. I'm the most un-nutritionalist (is that a word?) you will meet. LOL  It consisted of anywhere from 5-12 quizzes weekly and 1 test weekly. Then there was 2 "mid-term" tests and a horrible 2-hour final. Whew! I'm proud to say I passed with a 96% and it's all behind me.


My youngest son just bought a house (I'm such a proud momma but I'm missing him terribly since he's been gone), my oldest son just had another baby (that makes 7 for me now-I'm getting old), we sold one of our businesses (the skate/bike shop) and have been doing a complete remodel on our kitchen. It has been hectic! I'm sure there's a lot more but I'm jet-lagged and can't think at the moment.



Anyhow, we normally take a November cruise (which actually used to be a December family cruise but we stopped doing that a few years back because it was one of the busiest times of the year for our store and the hubby complained about missing out on all the sales during the Christmas season that we pushed it back to November) but with my hectic class schedule, we decided not to go this time. Then, of course, out of the blue, Kendra starts talking about a Christmas cruise instead. We started scouring the internet and booked last minute (less than 30 days before the cruise) on the Carnival Horizon. I liked the ports we would be going to (all repeats for me but 3 new for Kendra) and a new ship! I didn't have much time to get myself too excited or research ports but we managed to pull it all together quickly.


Since Kenny had just had a baby Dec 10 (was due Thanksgiving, but she decided to cook a little longer), he wasn't able to go. Since Kolin had just put a large down payment on a house, he wasn't able to go. That meant it was just us and Kendra and family. The day we were leaving on the plane, Kendra's fiance backed out. His dad has been in bad shape the last 2 years, but has progressively become worse. They put him on hospice the week before and didn't expect him to make it to Christmas. I'm glad to report he's still with us at this time. However, Billy didn't want to be away on a cruise if something was to happen. This meant that Kendra was now cruising with TWO kids...on her OWN! If any of you are thinking this scenario through...you know this can't be a good thing. LOL  I'll jump ahead and report that when Kendra's plane landed last night, she didn't even make it home before dropping both kids off with their Aunt Chrissy (who was the one who cruised with us one year to Bermuda). Kendra said she's now on vacation!


So, this is the beginning of our cruise.  This was an 8-day cruise sailing out of Miami to Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba!









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We'll start with the "formalities" and get that out of the way. (Mostly copied from all of my other reviews, because things don't seem to change too much) with any updates we might have added/adjusted.


PLEASE NOTE>>> My reviews are LONG...as in VERY LONG, with a lot of details, A LOT of pictures and this is the experience of my family on the cruise, sorta like a blog.


*So, if you are not into long reviews and want something short, sweet and to the point...this review is not for you.


*If you expect this review to be done quickly and you don't like to wait...this review is not for you.


*If you don't like personal details of our daily activities, this review is not for you.


*If you expect me to sugar coat everything, this review is not for you.


*If you think I tell you about something that wasn't appealing or I didn't really care for or seen happen and you consider me "complaining" or unhappy...this review is not for you.


I'm open, I'm honest, we have a good time no matter what, but I report everything I see. It doesn't make or break my cruise or experience and I always manage to have a great time no matter what.


It's sad I feel the need to say these things with my reviews now due to certain people who like to come on a be rude in the past.


However, if you like to laugh, get a chuckle every once in a while, think of our family and some of the things we do that could be pictured on "the people of Walmart" and want details and pictures of places...you have come to the right place.




My Cruising Experience:


As you can tell from my signature line, we mainly cruise with NCL and I have been trying to cruise the entire fleet but have been adventuring out over the last few years with Carnival and also Royal Caribbean this year for Spring Break.


In the
80's and 90's I also sailed with NCL and Royal Caribbean.


This will make my 22nd cruise, my husband's 20th cruise I think? After a while, things are starting to run together.
and Sakari's 19th cruise...






People always ask how I organize for my reviews and it takes A LOT to put together a review like this. Once I decided to post how I personally organize for my reviews and if you are interested, it can be found HERE-1ST HALF and the 2ND HALF HERE.






I am constantly questioned about what type of camera's I use for my reviews.


Several years ago I decided to purchase my first Olympus point-and-shoot camera (not by choice, but because I had one of my many "bloopers" with my Canon cameras). I have loved the Olympus since that purchase that we actually have quite a few of them.


This entire review was shot with my Olympus Tough TG2 & a few with the 620. I take my model 620 & 830 along with me for back up because you never know what might happen and I would be devastated if I was without a camera. Last Christmas, we also purchased Sakari her own camera (the 620 model) and she uses hers as well.


I'm a photography FREAK! Always have been. I do have a DSLR with tons of equipment, lens, and so on, but I find that I just don't want to lug it around with me on a cruise...and of course, it's not waterproof.


When I process my photo's, I do take it into PS (I have to get my watermark on there somehow) and I have an "action" that resizes the picture for a more appropriate posting size, and sharpens for web and I put my stamp on it. Every once in a while I'll get a really crappy picture that just needs something (like white balance) done to it and I really want to share it and I might white balance it. For the most part, I don't do much of anything...no one has time for all that with the thousands of pictures I take!


I take thousands of pictures on vacation and I do a lot of walking and snapping. Yes, I may get some outstanding photos and quality, but for every good picture I get, there may be 3 bad ones. You win some, you lose some. I've been known to stand in a spot and take 3-5 pictures of the same thing, using different settings on the camera, just to get what I'm looking for to share. That's just me.






I am a very open and honest person. Everyone has a different expectation and experience, but I report how I feel during mine. You may or may not agree with my thoughts or views, but that's the beauty of it...everyone is different and all thoughts and comments are welcome.


We are a fun loving and outgoing family that, for the most part, don't get upset about much and roll with the punches. We've had a lot of "bloopers" (especially when the kids come along=Kendra lol), but it is what it is and I have learned over the years that getting mad or upset doesn't solve the problem and only takes away from the fun, so I try not to dwell on bad things (although I will always report them...not to be a Debbie-Downer, but to show this is the experience I had and how it contributed to what was going on at the time) and I move on.


We are BEACH people. So, if you are the touristy type of person that likes historical stuff, seeing the sites, or likes to do the land tours, this review might not benefit you too much as far as the ports. If there's a beach, we will be there! I have to drag Sakari the Mermaid out of the water every place we go. So, to the beach it is for us.


Sakari decided in 2016 that she wanted to "be a scuba diver" and took classes and became a certified PADI Seal that year. In December of last year, she finished all the PADI classes and became a MASTER PADI SEAL!! I think she was one of the first at her scuba shop to complete the program. They made quite a big deal over it. Now, she is just going to class monthly and repeating the classes for the fun of it.


So, you will find us doing some scuba diving in reviews as well.






My reviews are meant to be helpful to others looking for information. I'm a "picture" kinda girl and if I'm looking for information, give me a picture to help me understand and it will go 10x further in helping me with a decision. So many of you wonderful cruisers have helped me decide places to try out, shared your experiences with me, and even cruised with me....and this is my way of thanking you and continuing to help others the way they have helped me.


I'm keeping this "opening" a little shorter than normal. Most people around here know me and I hate to constantly repeat things...so if you want a more detailed "opening" statement, you are welcome to click on one of my other reviews (in my signature line) and it will give you more info on us. 


With that said...I hope you enjoy the review

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Welcome back Kim!  I've been wondering what you are up to lately, knowing that you usually take an end of the year cruise 🙂  Congrats on (almost) finishing your degree!  You should plan another cruise to celebrate when you graduate!! hehe Thanks for taking the time to write your review, I look forward to reading along!

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Great to see you back, Kim, you have been busy this year! :classic_biggrin: Congrats on being almost finished with school.

My DH and I sailed Horizon in Oct. and had a blast,  I hope you did, too. I'm looking forward to all the details. And, Merry Christmas to you and the family. 🎄


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Yay! I can’t wait to read your review!!!! I was just thinking that it’s been awhile since we have had a Mitsugirly review. Favor, though: any chance you could not use the funky text? It’s extremely hard to read from the mobile version of the new site (see screenshot).




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4 minutes ago, bakersdozen12 said:

Favor, though: any chance you could not use the funky text? It’s extremely hard to read from the mobile version of the new site (see screenshot).

Weird- it doesn't appear in that font on my computer or my phone! Maybe it's a setting on your phone?

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5 minutes ago, Shaded Lady said:

Weird- it doesn't appear in that font on my computer or my phone! Maybe it's a setting on your phone?


No, it’s not my phone. All other posts appear normal. Someone explained why it does this in another post, in very technical terms that I don’t understand, but it’s basically the font that she’s using that converts in a weird way. 

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3 minutes ago, silvercrikhix said:

It appears in lightly colored funky font on my iPad Pro. Sorry but it sucks to try & read. 


I believe it happens any time someone changes the font from the default font to a special font. It’s the one thing about the new mobile site that makes me miss the app. 

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19 minutes ago, silvercrikhix said:

It appears in lightly colored funky font on my iPad Pro. Sorry but it sucks to try & read. 


Same here.  I can’t enlarge it enough on the iPad to be able to read it.  Does anybody know of a fix on the readers’ end?

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Oh my gosh!!! I can no longer get on the boards on my computer and I’m getting a 403 ERROR The request could not be satisfied message and “request blocked”



what the heck? But it’s letting me log on with my phone. And the color and the don’t is horrible!!! I noticed several changes on the boards when I made my first post and didn’t like it...but this conversion!!!!! Yikes!!!


ill change it if I can ever get logged on. Why am I blocked all of a sudden??? I can get on cruise critics front page but it won’t let me on any of the forum. 

Edited by mitsugirly
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 Congrats on finishing school!  We are doing this itinerary on the Horizon in May so I have been looking for reviews of this cruise.  I'm extra excited to read your review because you do such a great job and have great pics as well. 

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6 hours ago, silvercrikhix said:

It appears in lightly colored funky font on my iPad Pro. Sorry but it sucks to try & read. 

Same thing on my iPad. Very hard to read. 😩😩

But very excited to read this review! Thanks in advance for doing it!

Edited by blarko
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