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Carnival Horizon - Review of Western Caribbean cruise

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This is part 1 of a review of a 6-night Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Horizon (January 20 – 26, 2019, Miami – Ocho Rios Jamaica – Grand Cayman – Cozumel Mexico – Miami with 2 days at sea).  We were a group of four, DW and myself, and another couple traveling together with us for the first time although they have done two other cruises before. The Horizon was built in 2018 and was the newest Carnival ship at the time of our sailing.

Embarkation: Carnival asks us to do an online check-in, but I was not aware that the embarkation procedure depends on how soon you complete this check-in process. Our flight was arriving at Miami Airport at 9 am the same day and I thought we would be able to board the ship early, as we have done with many of our other cruises. However, I procrastinated with the online check-in, and when I finally completed the process, I was given a choice of two embarkation times: 1-1:30 PM and 1:30-2 PM. I chose the first one and we then ended up having to kill time at the airport, as I had also read somewhere that Carnival will not let you board before your embarkation time. That proved to be not correct. When we arrived at the port, there were two lines, one for those with a current embarkation time and the other for those who were either early or late. We were 15 minutes early, so joined the second line. But the process was quite fast and we did not have to wait long at all. I was surprised that we did not have to go to a registration desk to get a picture ID card, as we have done with our earlier cruises. Instead, the card is sent directly to your stateroom, which makes the embarkation process faster.

Cabins: We were in cabins 8307 and 8295, both interior cabins. The newness of the ship shows in the cabins and we were happy with our experience. While not spacious, the cabins were comfortable and the furniture arrangement was good. There was adequate drawer, shelf, and closet space. The bathroom was also adequate. We are not fans of shower curtains, but this one was not as bad as some others we have experienced.  The shower had dispensers for bath soap and shampoo, but not for conditioner. I personally prefer these dispensers over having to use small soaps and shampoo bottles. The shower floor and bathroom floor were an attractive blue faux-tile with no grout to collect dirt over the years. There were adequate mirrors and lighting in both the bathroom and the main cabin. Also, the showers had a pull-out clothes-line that you could use to hang a few clothes to dry. This is particularly useful for swimsuits if you are going to need them the next day. But we found that the humidity in the bathroom caused the clothes to stay moist even after hanging overnight. Luckily, I had taken with me a pair of magnetic hooks and a piece of rope, and I soon had a make-shift clothes-line in our cabin. We just turned up the heat a little bit and the clothes dried like magic. Of course, the Carnival also has laundromats on each deck, but we didn’t see anybody use them. You can use your ship card to use the washers and dryers, so there is no need to carry a bunch of quarters.

Elevators: Much has been written about the smart elevators on the Horizon and we just loved them. Whoever came up with the idea must be brilliant. This smart system prevents a crowd of people from rushing to whichever elevator happens to arrive next. While we occasionally had to wait a bit, overall the system worked really well. However, Carnival should post instructions on how to use these elevators on every floor, as most people appeared to press the button only once and not for each person in their group.

The Carnival Hub App: We also loved the Carnival Hub App which we installed on our iPhones before arriving at the ship. The app is incredibly useful and convenient. It has information on the weather, the day’s onboard activities, dining menus, ship maps, your onboard account, and more. However, the app refused to function initially when we first boarded the ship. After boarding, I thought I would use the app to find out what we could eat and where, and also use its maps to find our way around the ship. But the app did not have any of this until a few hours later when it was almost time for the ship to sail. Perhaps I did something wrong, so I would love to hear if other people had a different experience.

Public Restrooms: One big negative, in my opinion, about the Horizon, is the lack of adequate public restrooms. These are few and far between and difficult to find. There are simply not enough of them given the large number of passengers on the ship. They are also small compared to my experience with other cruise lines. As a result, the restrooms were always crowded and dirty.

Part 2 of this review will deal with food and dining, shows, and excursions. Hope you found this useful!

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I appreciate the review. I am going on  Panorama next year, sister ship out of Long Beach. I have not been on carnival in a while. We loved the breeze though. Lately we have been on all of royals oasis class. 

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I was on this cruise too.  I agree with what you said about the public restrooms.

 

Do you know why they didn’t have the Celestial Strings production show?  It has gotten such good reviews here.  I was disappointed about that.

 

Thanks for writing a review!

Edited by newdestination

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2 hours ago, newdestination said:

Do you know why they didn’t have the Celestial Strings production show?  It has gotten such good reviews here.  I was disappointed about that. 

 

No, sorry, I have no insider's insights, but you are right, I was hoping to see this show and was disappointed it was not there.

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Thanks so much for the review! We are considering taking this same itinerary on the Horizon in Feb 2020. Do you have any Fun Times you can share? Thanks again for taking the time to review. 😀

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20 hours ago, CruisinMamaMN said:

Thanks so much for the review! We are considering taking this same itinerary on the Horizon in Feb 2020. Do you have any Fun Times you can share? Thanks again for taking the time to review. 😀

No, sorry, I didn't save any!

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22 hours ago, UPr123 said:

 

No, sorry, I have no insider's insights, but you are right, I was hoping to see this show and was disappointed it was not there.

One of the performers died on the New Year's Eve cruise, and they have been having alternative performance acts ever since.  There's some mention of it on the thread listed below..

Shows on the Horizon?

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On 2/1/2019 at 6:32 PM, newdestination said:

I was on this cruise too.  I agree with what you said about the public restrooms.

 

Do you know why they didn’t have the Celestial Strings production show?  It has gotten such good reviews here.  I was disappointed about that.

 

Thanks for writing a review!

I was also on this cruise. I asked the CD and he said because it was a 6 day cruise they had to take out a show and he told me

that people had said the Celestial Strings was boring!!!! We had a great cruise....Keep the Quest!!!!!

 

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