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Nicole721

13 Days, 8 Ports and One New Ship: Nicole721's FULL PICTORIAL Horizon Review

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Shrimp Cocktail

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Hazelnut Crusted Camembert

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Flatbread

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Baby Lettuce

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Beef Wellington

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Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites

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After dinner, there were a handful of events going on around the ship, but by the time our meal wound down, it was nearing 9:00 PM. We walked around Ocean Plaza and popped into a few shops, but we headed back to the room for another night of turning in early. It kind of stunk being on this beautiful new ship and being too tired to enjoy it, but the end was in sight: after a very full day in Naples, we’d have a sea day to rest, recharge and discover everything we hadn’t seen, done or tasted yet!

 

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9 minutes ago, Cruisegirl6 said:

What a review!  Thank you.

 

Thanks for following along! So glad you like it 🙂

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Loving your review and your pics! We sailed on two Carnival ships in Europe when they were new (the Breeze in 2012 and the Vista in 2016) and had a wonderful time on both!

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I am really enjoying your review.  We hope to do a Mediterranean cruise in 2020.  Hope to be on the Horizon one day too.  I see the value of booking ship tours after your trips.

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Loving the review. I have followed you on instagram as well 💜 

We are travelling to Europe for the first time in March and cruising the Mediterranean. Your review is giving us such great information and making us very excited for our travels.

 

Kerry 🙂 

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On 1/17/2019 at 10:00 PM, sailawaybellaluna said:

Loving your review and your pics! We sailed on two Carnival ships in Europe when they were new (the Breeze in 2012 and the Vista in 2016) and had a wonderful time on both!

 

Two of my favorite ships! 🙂

 

21 hours ago, georgiacat said:

I am really enjoying your review.  We hope to do a Mediterranean cruise in 2020.  Hope to be on the Horizon one day too.  I see the value of booking ship tours after your trips.

 

We're looking at 2020 Mediterranean cruises, too ☺️ We're going on a cruise through Asia this spring, but we're already aching to cruise the Med again!

 

13 hours ago, fayfam said:

Loving the review. I have followed you on instagram as well 💜 

We are travelling to Europe for the first time in March and cruising the Mediterranean. Your review is giving us such great information and making us very excited for our travels.

 

Kerry 🙂 

 

Ahh! Yay! I love connecting with other cruise lovers on Insta 😍 And my first trip to Europe (and subsequent first Med cruise) is such a special memory to me. I hope yours is equally as wonderful and memorable! Where will you be visiting?

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Day 9: Naples, Italy

 

We don’t often repeat tours in ports we’ve been to before. We’ve done it before, a handful of times, where the tour was something truly spectacular. The beach escape to Seaquarium Beach in Curacao. The Brimstone Fortress in St. Kitts. Daytrips up to Montserrat.

 

There aren’t many instances, but where we’ve done it, it’s been because something about the excursion – either the destination or the tour – were something truly spectacular.

 

So when we docked in Naples, we knew immediately what we’d be doing: a repeat of the Best of Amalfi Coast: Positano and Sorrento tour we did onboard the Vista two years earlier. Not only was the day picture perfect from start to finish, we had the absolute best guide ever – Tony. So we rebooked the tour and crossed our fingers that Tony might still be guiding tours through one of the most incredible regions of Italy we’ve ever visited.

 

After two days of early wakeup calls and long days of touring, we had one more to power through and by this point, we were feeling it. By the time we woke up, we were docked in Naples and we were absolutely exhausted, fueling ourselves on sheer anticipation of the day to come.

 

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We had another quick breakfast up on Ocean Plaza before heading downstairs to the Reflections dining room to meet our tour. As Stephanie stuck her hand into her bag to grab our tickets, though, she realized they were gone. She wasn’t sure if she misplaced them or if she left them up at Ocean Plaza, but they weren’t there. Thankfully, the shore excursions team was able to reprint them for us, but they weren’t too happy with us – apparently, the tickets have a cash value associated to them, so they were weary of having duplicative tickets out there. Still, it was on us that we misplaced them, so we appreciated their help in reprinting them. Hopefully, they’re close to a digital ticketing system to make things a little more convenient on everyone.

 

It took a little while for our tour to be called, and we were led down to deck 0 to disembark and meet up with our guides. As our luck would have it, we passed Tony, who was assigned to bus 22, on our way to bus 24. If we hadn’t misplaced our tickets, perhaps we would have gotten to the dining room in time to get an earlier sticker number, but still, we had a wonderful guide in Mariano and a fantastic driver in Umberto, who navigated us through the treacherous drive to Amalfi.

 

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Our tour was broken up into three sections: we’d start the day with a drive to Amalfi, then we’d take a private boat to Positano and we’d hop back on the bus to Sorrento. The best of all worlds, because the drive to Amalfi is amazingly gorgeous. But I wasn’t being dramatic when I said treacherous – we were very close to getting into three head-on collisions. The roads are narrow and the curves are sharp, and the drive to Amalfi involves driving up a mountain, through the mountain, up higher on the mountain and then down the mountain. If you’re scared of heights, it’s not the tour for you. If you get motion sickness, it’s definitely not the tour for you. Thankfully, we are neither of those things and we sat plastered to the windows, as each winding curve brought a new view to marvel at.

 

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The drive took just under an hour and a half, and before we knew it, we were pulling up to the beach in Amalfi, with it’s signature colorful cliffside topography in front of us. Few things render me completely speechless, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find the words to describe just how beautiful the Amalfi Coast is. The best way I know how to describe it is if you were standing in front of a watercolor painting or a postcard. It’s perfect. Every line, every color, is so masterful that it’s as if the worlds greatest artist architected it.

 

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We snapped a couple of pictures and then ran back to our group, where Mariano was leading us to the meeting place in front of the Amalfi Cathedral. We’d have just over an hour of free time, and we already knew how we’d fill it – the same way we did the last time we were here – with cappuccinos at Andrea Pansa capped off by some shopping in the square.

 

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The shopping in each area we’d visit was great, with the shopping being the best in Amalfi and Positano. In Amalfi, we’d purchase ceramics, textiles and gourmet goods. We found a paper store that had vintage photographs, hand-bound leather journals and specialty stationary that we fell in love with. We bought Lemoncello, pasta and sauce mixes from a shop that makes their own products from their own lemon trees. We bought scarves and shirts and…this was our dolce vita. This was our sweet life. Good coffee and great shopping in a town that was beautiful beyond any words.

 

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When our free time was up, the three groups that were on this tour were led to a private boat for the ride to Positano. When we took this excursion the first time, our group had the entire boat to itself, so having to share with two other groups made the ride a little more cramped, but we knew the best spot to catch the best views on this ride, so we made a beeline for the seats at the back of the boat on the starboard side.

 

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The best way to see the Amalfi Coast, be it Amalfi, Positano or even Capri, is by boat. The drive is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but the land formations are so unique, with these colorful buildings perched perilously on these jagged cliffs, seemingly on top of each other, in a way that seems to defeat all laws of gravity or sense. We snapped a million pictures as crew came around to pass out chips and Prosecco. Tony came over the loudspeaker to give us the history of the area and tell us when we were passing something noteworthy (like the rock formation that looks like two elephants kissing or the white house with bright green shutters that belongs to Sophia Loren!) and I just sat there thinking to myself that in that moment, nothing could have been better. That I was the happiest I could remember being here, on the water, looking out at one of the most beautiful regions in the world, with a glass of Prosecco in one hand and my camera in the other. And how lucky was I that I didn’t get to experience this even just one time, but two?! Things don’t always go right, things aren’t always the easiest, but in the grandest sense of it all, I am so incredibly fortunate, and moments like this never cease to remind me of that.

 

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Our boat let us off right at the beach in Positano. Mariano gathered our group to point our our meeting place at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta and set us free for another hour of free time. We beelined to one of our favorite stores, Antica Sartoria, where we tried to talk each other out of buying all of the brightly colored tunics and shoes (but settling on new beach bags and cover ups) before heading to a nearby gelato shop for a mid-morning treat.

 

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Whereas the center of Amalfi is relatively flat, Positano is built up a series of inclines and staircases, and getting to our meeting point would involve a small trek up a series of staircases and steep inclines, so after we had our gelato, we started making our walk up to the meeting point. Much like Florence, I could have all the time in the world in Positano and it would never be enough, but it gives me an excuse to keep coming back to marvel at its beauty.

 

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Once our group reconvened, we had another hike up to the bus, this one a little more intense, over a series of inclines that took about 15 minutes. I collapsed into my seat on the bus, turning the air nozzles to direct the cool air to my warm face. We finally had a warm day and I was definitely not complaining, but between the higher temps and the hike, I was shedding enough ambient heat to warm my condo in downtown Chicago, where they were getting snow. I’ll take the hike and the heat over the snow any day!

 

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The final part of our tour took us on a half-hour bus ride from Positano to Sorrento, another town on the Amalfi Coast, where it smells like citrus because there are lemon and orange trees everywhere. Umberto dropped us off in front of Cuomo’s Lucky Store, where we were led inside for a demonstration of their inlaid woodwork designs. We skipped the demo – we’ve already purchased from them in the past (…twice…and needless to say I did not need another music box, but if you are in Sorrento and do not own a music box, they are amazing souvenirs to bring back!).

 

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After the demo, Mariano led us to the restaurant where we’d have lunch – the same one we dined at the last time – Parrucchiano – where we dined in a gorgeous greenhouse surrounded by lemon trees, on tables with beautiful linens, glasses of Prosecco and waiting bottles of wine. We were immediately served a plate of cheese and spinach cannelloni so delicious and filling that I couldn’t even finish it, only to learn it was just the appetizer! As soon as the pasta disappeared, plates heaped with Chicken Caprese, potatoes and veggies appeared in front of us. To cap it all off, there was a citrus cream cake concoction that was beyond decadent. La dolce vita. How does it get any better than this?

 

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Once we were all stuffed with yummy Italian food, we had 45 minutes of free time to shop in Sorrento. The shopping in Sorrento is best for basic souvenir type items – t-shirts, postcards, lemon-shaped soaps. We strolled the main street but didn’t find anything we didn’t have from our first two visits to Sorrento.

 

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We made it a point to leave time to shop in the Carrefour, a European supermarket. Supermarkets are often some of my favorite places to find things to bring back. The prices are lower, the quality can be higher and the selection of fun foodie finds can’t be beat. They had bottles of all kinds of liquors, candies, cookies – all kinds of goodies. I bought some citrus candies to bring back for my coworkers and some Italian candy bars and Stephanie got a bunch of baking extracts. We’ll sometimes buy staples like baking extracts, herbs and even soup mixes from European supermarkets and bring them home because the prices are lower and the quality is so much higher than it is back home.

 

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Our meeting point was back at Cuomo’s Lucky Store and since we weren’t shopping, we sat outside, taking in the perfect weather and the citrus-tinged air. I didn’t know when we’d be back, but I knew the next time we’d be back, our day might not look entirely different than this day did and I was completely okay with that.

 

The ride back to Naples from Sorrento took 90 minutes, including a stop we made at a Lemoncello factory just outside of Sorrento. Instead of going for a tasting, Stephanie and I snuck across the street to take a few snapshots of the colorful vista below us of the sprawling Sorrento area. This region…it’s really something else.

 

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I tried my best not to sleep for the ride back. Between the early wakeup call, the motion and only one cup of coffee in me, it took legitimate effort, but the views outside our windows were too good to miss. I put my headphones in and I watched the landscape transform outside my window from country to city as we approached the port area in Naples.

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We said goodbye to Mariano and Umberto and joined a frustratingly long line to go through security inside the terminal building. As we were going through our bags, we noticed we were missing one: the one with Mom’s new top and my photo book. We tore through our bags and we couldn’t find it. Mom and Stephanie ran back down to the bus, but it wasn’t there either. We weren’t sure if we misplaced the bag somewhere in all of our shuffling around, or if someone lifted it but I was pretty heartbroken. It wasn’t an inexpensive purchase, but beyond that, I was just so excited to find that vintage photo book, and to lose it before I could ever really enjoy it? I was just sad. And these things happen. Apparently twice in a day for us – first with the tickets and then with the bag – but they usually don’t happen to us. We’re incredibly vigilant with our belongings, especially when we travel. But it goes to show, it can happen to anyone, we were beyond exhausted and in dire need of some solid rest and at the end of the day, belongs are just things. Maybe I’ll find myself back in Amalfi and I can buy the other photo book they had in the store. Maybe someone else will get it first and hopefully they’ll treasure it just as much. But you know, if the worst that happens is that we lose a shopping bag in the midst of an otherwise perfect day, we’re still incredibly fortunate.

 

After a quick stop at the room, we made our way up to deck 10 to watch sailaway and the sunset. We’ve always been treated to some stunning sunsets in Naples and this one was no different. It was so beautiful, in fact, that Cruise Director Mike came on the PA and implored everyone to go outside or find a window to experience it themselves.

 

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When it came time for dinner, the dining room menu didn’t appeal and the options up on Lido weren’t all that appealing, either. We couldn’t get a reservation for Ji Ji’s, so we opted to try the new Pig & Anchor. Offering complimentary barbecue fare for lunch, Pig & Anchor transforms into an a la carte brewhouse in the evening, featuring a solid menu of barbecue favorites, beers brewed in house and live music and entertainment. The experience of it all felt very…home-y. Comfortable and low-key, but still incredibly fun. I don’t drink beer, but Stephanie does and she ordered a sampler to find her favorite at the recommendation of our server and thought they were all very good. We ordered a bunch of items to share and the food was really good, too. Not the kind of barbecue we enjoy back at home in Chicago – more authentic and like the barbecue we’ve had in Texas. And super inexpensive – a meal shared across the three of us came out to, like, $30 – and we had so much food left that we couldn’t even finish!

 

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Beer Sampler

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Trash Can Nachos

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Mac Daddy Mac & Cheese

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Sweet Potato Bourbon Mash

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The Whole Smoker

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There was a ton of entertainment planned for the evening – a headliner show featuring a juggling act, live music all over the ship and a mega deck party. But once we were back in the room, we passed out. I woke up sometime around 1:00 AM and Mom and Stephanie were still asleep. I spent a few hours watching the Travel Channel before falling back asleep. Sleeping is clearly not my forte at home or on vacation (unless, apparently I’m on a tour bus or some other moving vehicle), but thankfully, we had a sea day ahead of us, which meant no alarm clocks.

 

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On our first Mediterranean cruise, we sailed on the Vision of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s older ships. And I remember remarking how glad I was that we did our first Europe cruise on an older ship with no bells and whistles so I didn’t feel like I was missing something for not being out around the ship every night. And then we did the Vista – I don’t even know how we managed that – but with this Horizon trip, I still felt like I was missing out by not being able to rally enough to go out in the evenings, but I also knew that after five days, I still had eight days to go, and if I was rested coming out of this next sea day, I’d have all the energy I needed to see more than the four walls of my cabin every night after dinner.

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Awesome report so far Nicole! Thank you for taking the time to do this!

Edited by ktmush2

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Nicole, you are quite the talented writer.  Of course your subject matter is pretty spectacular too!

I think I actually got a sweet whiff of the orange and lemon trees!

I too love going in local grocery stores wherever I travel.  I always find the most unique items.

Bravo on a fabulous trip report!  Can't wait for more.

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I love your shopping ideas.  How do you manage to pack it home?  Carry an empty suitcase or ship it?

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