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MITSUGIRLY sails off into the HORIZON-review & pictorial

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The movie was pretty long (I want to say over 2 hours) and it was time for dinner.


We decided to just head to the buffet because that's where Sakari wanted to go.




The hubby went to the deli to try out the meatball sandwiches that Kendra had said were so good. He agreed.















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Sakari wanted to go back to the room for some reason and we said we'd just head to the casino for a little action.


I actually did pretty good.










I always play the slots as everyone knows. I did awesome and was way ahead. This was a good cruise with the slots. I played for the first 5 days on just spending $20 the first day and winning enough to continue to play the entire week. Well tonight, I was definitely ahead.


The hubby usually plays slots too but he has been learning how to play cards as well. Kendra's fiance is a big card player and has shown him a few things. However, he would decide to play Russian Roulette...only it wasn't in Russia and there were no guns involved. So roulette it was! He was doing pretty good. He did a $50 buy in and walked away that night with $288. Not big time but not bad at all.







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Time for a new comedian show. The old ones got off the ship at one of the ports and a new one got on.




He was funny and spot on with his comments. We liked him. Kendra and I would decide to get a 4 for $20 special on shots. They were yummy.




After the comedy club, we stopped for our nightly ice cream cone.





We headed back to the room to check on Sakari and found our towel animal for the night.




Sakari had made a drawing of one of her beanie boos. (She's really into collecting these things and I remember when Kendra was in this stage with the beanie babies).





There really wasn't much more to do so we decided to call it a night and just watch some t.v., drink some wine and head to bed.









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December 22, Saturday: Another sea day.


We woke up to Trixie and Cookie hanging out with Sakari's choice beanie boos that she brought with her. She's so grown up but yet still hanging on to that kid in her by collecting these things and believing that there's actually an elf and deer that randomly moves around the house during Christmas watching her. I'm pretty sure this will be the last year of this and Santa and it saddens me. 




We headed out to breakfast and my choice was the burrito bar.




Then we just pretty much hung out for a while and Sakari found out that we would not be heading to any more beaches or ports so she "needed" to go swimming again of course.








I really didn't feel like swimming so the hubby stayed behind and watched her swim from his comfortable seat above and I headed off to take pictures of the ship and do a little bit of shopping.


They were having the 2 for $20 tee sale and I picked me up a couple of shirts and also stopped to get a little charm Sakari was wanting for her necklace. I did this without her knowing and it ended up being a Christmas present.





When I returned, Sakari had ask her dad if she could go to the back of the ship and get in the whirlpool. I noticed her when I was in that area taking pictures for my review.




I sat there for a while observing her interactions and actions with the other adults in the whirlpool. I wanted to see for myself is she was behaving and acting proper and not causing problems. She just sat there quietly for such a long time...no splashing or disturbing the others. I was proud of her for being so grown up acting.







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It was lunch time and we met up with Kendra and the crew and decided to try out the Mongolian Wok. This is located upper aft deck 11 and it is on the opposite side of the Italian restaurant. This is also a free place to eat at during certain days and times for lunch. In the evenings, it becomes a pay restaurant.




It's the same as the Italian restaurant. They give you a slip of paper with everything on it and you pick what you want.











I have to say that it definitely isn't as good as the Italian place and actually not as good as some of the Asian restaurants we go to here at home. Kendra did not like it at all.


We would later stop by the buffet area for some ice cream of course.




Just seeing my baby walk from the other side of the ship, by herself, looking all grown up just brings a tear to my eye.





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I honestly don't remember much of what else we did during the day. I'm guessing it consisted of a lot of packing. lol


The next set of pictures and memory consisted of dinner. See how cruises just seem to revolve around food? No wonder we always gain weight with every cruise.


So I pulled out my phone and used the app to make a reservation. I was told 5-10 minutes. Sakari did not want to go and wanted to go to free play at the kids club at 7 pm. So, party of 2 it was. 




Now I just want to bring this up for those of you that use the app to make reservations and do My time dining.


Notice the description below with the times and wait times and so on. Well take a good look at the "location" (5 mid).





However, it's not located on 5 but in fact located at 3 Aft!! It was such a major mix up the first times we did this and we kept ending up at the wrong dining room. They really need to change this.











I really love their baked onion soup. It's just so yummy and I always try to get it now when we cruise.






The hubby got the flatbread as a starter.





This was the Cinnamon Pumpkin Cheese Pie. It was a main course. I questioned it with the waiter. It just seemed odd to be a main course. I had no idea what it was, how filling it would be or what my feeling would be about eating it for dinner. But I ordered it anyhow. 




But I would also order the penne shrimp and bacon...just to be on the safe side.




I'm happy to report the pumpkin dinner was excellent!





I also love their bacon mac and cheese. It's so yummy and I could eat just it for dinner if given the option.




We were stuffed at this point and decided dessert was just not an option tonight.








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I had actually been packing throughout the day. I didn't want any last minute packing to be done like it has in the past. Kendra, being the procrastinator and slow-late-to-everything person that she is...actually packed the day before. You go girl! There's hope for you yet!


I headed down to pick up our luggage tags. I find this weird since I have always had them delivered to our rooms with the other cruise line. But, I guess this is a good thing since you can get the right amount you need AND pick your own time according to when you need to get off the ship.


We found only 2 choices: Early or Late. Ok, well that's easy enough. We would pick late.




At some point, we headed back to the casino to play a little bit and we needed to cash in our winnings by the end of the night.


Now I have not been on any cruises where I did ANY good on the last day. I would swear they reset these things to gulp up everyone's money on the last night. HOWEVER...I did awesome! I also played several machines that I hadn't played the entire cruise and they were all hitting.









Woo hoo! I hit on the second push:  $112.95




I knew I didn't want to push my luck too much and decided it was time to cash out and walk away with my winnings from the night. I checked on the hubby and he was up somewhat but not a whole lot. Ok, time to cash in!









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Back to the room to get Sakari and she was doing her norm...pictures of her husky.





Carnival always gives us drink coupons to use. We each get one. They can only be used on the last night.




Sakari always loves getting these grown up looking drinks (for her).






We hung out watching the Christmas movie they had playing on the big screen.





Then headed back to the room to tag our luggage and put it outside. I laughed on the way back commenting "remember the time that I packed everything, put it outside the door, and it was collected already.... and completely forgot to leave Sakari any clothes out and she was only in her underwear?"  I will never forget this!


So, remember how I was so excited that our room steward allowed us to keep our collection of towel animals the entire cruise? I was preparing to lay them all out on our bed tonight and get a picture of them all together. I arrived back in the room to see that he had taken them all away and only left us with a heart! Ugh! Complete failure at this point. Darnit.




Sakari worked on her drawings while I completed the process of putting the luggage out.




We sat the alarm and headed for bed.



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Sunday December 23: Time to Leave.


Alarm woke us up, we headed for breakfast, I hate this day.


It was now time to do the dreaded task of checking the weather back home to see what we might be returning to.




Yep, just as I expected. COLD! But hey, at least there wasn't any snow in the forecast as they had predicted prior to leaving for the cruise.


We hung out waiting for them to call our numbers. We were number 20. The kids were drawing to pass the time by.







Kendra had a rough but fun cruise. The kids drove her nuts with the arguing. She vowed to never take them again alone. She needed a vacation now. She said the minute she got home...she was shipping them off to family. LOL





Beautiful weather outside...just not as hot as it had been during the week in the Caribbean. 58 DEGREES!!! What the heck? Are you sure we returned to Miami?







They called our number to get off around 9:15 am. We headed to the bathroom and then to get in line to get off. While we waited, Lorelei entertained us and we all sang Christmas songs.






It was only about a 10 minute wait and we were off the ship before we were doing the dread walk in the wrong direction off the ship (in my opinion because we should be heading on the ship instead).





We were at the luggage area by 9:30 am




There is a screen that tells you where to locate your luggage depending on your number.





However, all of the luggage had came out...but Kendra was missing one. We waited and looked and searched and asked questions to the people working in the port...but no luggage. We spent 40 minutes trying to locate her luggage. FINALLY it came out on a different belt and with the last few people to get off the ship. Someone screwed up!


We headed to customs and there was not much of a line. We spent maybe 10 minutes from getting into line to walking out of the building. Wow, quickest process ever.


Outside we tried to get our Lyft driver to come get us in his Black XL but he wasn't answering. We did put in for 6 people and they summoned a van to come. When it arrived, there was NO WAY we were all fitting in it along with our luggage. We had to pull the luggage back out and order the kids back out of the van. It just wasn't going to work. Time to order 2 separate cars.


Ours said it would be there within 10 minutes. Kendra's said 15 minutes...then 20 minutes, then 1 hour...then 2 hours!!! WHAT THE HECK??? She was watching her guy come and go on the gps locator and circle back onto the freeway and head in the opposite direction. We wasn't sure what was going on. I felt bad and she was completely stressed at this point. She tried cancelling it and reordering one and she was having all types of issues.




Our car arrived and we piled in and pulled away. I felt so bad leaving her standing there with the kids and all that luggage...wondering if she was going to make it or would be left sitting there for hours.


Finally I caught word that her ride showed up shortly after ours. We compared mile markers and she was right behind us thank goodness.


Then before long...she obviously passed us up and arrived at the airport before us and was already in line to get her boarding passes and check in her luggage.




While we were standing in line to check in our luggage, I hear someone say "Are you Mitsugirly?" I had been spotted. The funny thing was, this lady was someone I talked to years ago when I was planning my trip to Bermuda and had tons of questions about the bus system and buying tickets for it. She was so helpful and nice and ended up mailing me her left over bus passes from the last time they had visited. We talked for quite some time and I was so happy to have met someone that had helped me out so much in the past. She had also just gotten off the Horizon and said they hadn't cruised in 2 years (and I believe maybe her first Carnival cruise). Well welcome back to cruising!


We were starved by the time we made it in the gates at the airport...so it was time for some lunch.




Time to board the plane and off we went.





It was an uneventful trip home with a route from Miami to Tampa with no plane change and then on to Columbus. The second half of the flight was a little delayed. We had quite a few passengers that were handicapped and the hubby helped lift one up in the seat, that couldn't walk or move himself, and we were rewarded with free booze on the way home. You can't beat that!


We arrived safely, but later than scheduled, back home and Kendra had a later flight. (Procrastination of booking air flight meant she didn't get the same plane as we did and also had a plane change). However, she arrived much later HOME because she was picked up at the airport and went straight to drop the kids off at their aunts before heading home. LOL She wasn't lying when she said she needed a break when she got home.








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Hi- enjoying your review as always. I believe you do more activities in 1 day then I probably do in a week, so it's great to see everything the ship has to offer. So thank you! 


Did want to add 1 point for the app and ATD. The 5 midship I believe is where you go to check in or you can check in on the app. When your table is ready as you can see in picture above, it says 3 aft, table 352, which means you go to the deck 3 entrance to be seated. I learned that on my cruise in November when I ended up in the other dinning room the 1st 2 nights and the maître d walked me to the right dinning room.


Congrats on your winnings, I did well on the Horizon too!

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2 hours ago, IronScott said:


We did Mangel Halto and I enjoyed it but my wife didn’t. A little too rough that day out by the reef and breakers. We did get to see a small-ish barracuda (probably 16-20 inches). It just hung around the trees and kept swimming back and forth. It was cool. Baby Beach was good as well but the Noord area was the best. Your pics are much better than the video I got.


Noord is where we would look to rent. Some super nice houses there for good rates. We are trying to get others to join us since most of them are way bigger than two people need. We love that area but also love Eagle Beach as well. Bucuti is incredible for peace and quiet and their beach area is beautiful but we’d like to try something different.


Aruba is so different from many of the other Caribbean destinations. It’s really not geared toward partiers and children, at least compared to places like Cozumel, Jamaica, DR, etc. We love the variety and safety of the island. Also, there are so many good restaurants, I can’t imagine doing an AI and not experiencing the local food. Grocery stores are very reasonable as well.


It’s interesting to read the viewpoint from a cruiser perspective, even though you are a regular Aruba visitor. We’ve always watched the cruise ships come in and leave but never knew what all they did. We did eat one night this summer downtown after a cruise ship arrived and it was crazy busy.


BTW, if you haven’t tried it, Yemanja (downtown) is our new favorite restaurant. It is outstanding.


Thanks again! Enjoying your review.


If you return to Mangel Halto, it's an absolute must to do the water scooters with Aruba Bob. It is AMAZING! He takes you way out there and the reef is amazing! Much easier using these sea doos because you won't get tired and you go pretty far. Check it out. He's amazing!


We love (especially Sakari) Baby Beach. Snorkeling is pretty cool there but man is it hard getting around that corner with the water flowing and the area is somewhat small but still good.


Yea, we try to avoid down town when the cruise ships are in. I'll even drive in the middle of Aruba to avoid going down that way during those days. It gets crazy.


I will definitely look into Yemanja downtown next time we go.


2 hours ago, Cafedumonde said:

So sad your report is half over! What's your next cruise? Bad, I'm already thinking about your next TR.  In 2019 we are on Breeze and then Freedom.  That weather looks just incredible, especially in those shots on the upper decks by the skybridge.  Just wow.



Well...now it's officially over. 😞


Our next cruise will be our yearly Spring Break cruise in April. I'm not sure where or what ship yet. I haven't had time to check in to anything.


Happy cruising on the Breeze and Freedom this year. We absolutely love the Breeze!!!

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  The end of your review is almost as sad as the end of a cruise. Lol  Great job as always and thanks for taking the time to share your pics and family vacation with al the Cruise Critic peeps.

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Thanks for the great review, as always, and the wonderful pictures!

You really need to find an itinerary that goes to Bonaire!

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Thanks for the great review, Kim! I always enjoy reading your reviews, even though I know we're not going on the Horizon, or any of those ports in the near future. You do such a great job putting your review and pictures together. I know some day I'll be going back to look things up, as I love to snorkel when we cruise too. I think a boat snorkel to the Blue Channel in Roatan is still one of my favorites. We'll be there next month!  Thanks again Mitsugirly!!

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I just finished and really enjoyed this!  But I have enjoyed all all of your reviews.  I can't believe how grown up Sakari and B are now...they were just little kids!!!  Thanks for the information on the ship and so glad to know it didn't feel crowded and it look really beautiful on the inside.  That has been my biggest hesitation with even considering a larger ship.  Loved all of the pictures of Curacao & Aruba too, those are two we haven't been to yet.  Your snorkeling pics in Aruba, even with the wrong setting, actually look really cool!  I'm like you, the more ports the better, so that is one of the reasons why I hesitate on that itinerary (hubby wants to do it), but the more I see of it, the more I'm leaning toward it.  Glad to know the water wasn't too rocky.  I had seen other reviews on the same itinerary that mention very rough water (and barf bags being set out) between the DR and Aruba/Curacao and I was beginning to think that maybe the water in that area was always rough, which would definitely be a turnoff for me since I do get seasick.  Dramamine is my friend when it comes to cruising, but if the seas were really rocky, I don't think it would help.  I'm so glad you saw Jason Blanchard, he's my favorite!   We saw him on our first Liberty cruise (western Caribbean, Arp. 2014) and I laughed the entire time and that has not happened before or since.  The funniest was when he closed out his show, he did it with a "towel animal", one of the naughty ones, in relation to a subject he hit on during his show.  I thought it was hilarious and very clever.  So glad to see you back with another review and I always appreciate the time you put into them and love your pictures.  I don't know if I told you, I did get the Olympus TG5 last year before our trip to New Orleans.  I just love it and can't wait till we get an opportunity to snorkel so I can use it underwater.  That won't be this year...we need to replace our windows, so vacation this year is out.  But thank you again for taking the time share this.

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Thanks for another great review. Great pics. Carnival needs to hire you full time to do reviews.

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Hi, always enjoy reading your reviews. All the kids are really growing up!

When you rent a place in Aruba, do you rent from VRBO, Flip Key or something else?


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Kim, thank you for another awesome trip report. Finding this was super helpful, as I just got off a New Year’s cruise last Sunday, went straight back to work on Monday, and have been suffering from a pretty bad case of Post-Cruise Depression ever since. Your humor and great pictures made me feel like I was back in the Caribbean. Good luck in finishing that degree and thank you again! 

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