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Broadening our Horizons

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Horizon 1/26 to 2/1 8 day cruise.

I don’t normally do reviews, but I felt I had a lot of information this time that may be helpful to other people. Being an engineer, this review my end up being a little less about my opinions and more about the design issues. This cruise was with my DW and mother in-law. We had booked a balcony cabin on deck 6. Less than 2 days before the cruise the up-sell fairy called and offered us an upgrade to a family harbor suite for $600, which we accepted. My wife and I are both platinum and close to diamond so this is not our first Carnival cruise. It is our first Vista class ship.

First off, the good news:

The service, food and entertainment were excellent. Some of the best we have had.

Having the family harbor suite was nice. The extra ½ bath came in handy and the lounge is very nice to have. I do wish they had food earlier and later than they offer it.

JiJi – excellent food, well worth the extra change

Cucina de Capitano – food was good, but we were disappointed that hey did not sing as they normally do. This is always one of our favorite restaurants on the ship.

Bonsai Teppanyaki – very good, way too much food. Make sure you are hungry. The up charge may seem high but includes any entry including filet and lobster tail.

Guys pig & anchor BBQ – One night we did not like what was on the dinner menu so we did this on a whim. I am glad we did. The food is very good, live entertainment, craft beer. A nice alternative if you find yourself in a similar situation. Their sampler platter “the whole smoker” says it feeds 2 but it will easily feed 3 or 4 people.

Now the not so good news:

This may be our only trip on a Vista class ship. Some how the Carnival ship designers decided that when you add more cabins and a lot more people, you should then make all the public spaces smaller. Yes, I said smaller. The Alchemy bar, piano bar, show lounge, spa, lobby. You name it, it is smaller. Why?

We have been on fantasy class ships, we have been on the Sunshine, we have been on just about every other class of ship Carnival has and this is the first time I really felt crowded. It seems like everywhere we went there were crowds. The only thing not crowded was the high end shops they added.

Now before you go off thinking I am a hater, the truth is I am more of a Carnival cheerleader. But this ship design makes no sense to me. I truly think this class of ship was designed by accountants to maximize the front end take (shop leases, cabins). They probably assume that if a person wants a drink a the Alchemy bar they will still buy one even if they are waiting 3 people deep most of the night.

Ok, off my soapbox. The one other thing I will mention is the noise from the galley above our deck 2 family suite was noticeable. It was enough to wake you up, but was not constant. It is something to consider if that kind of stuff bothers you.

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Ugh I hate to hear that.  We’ll be going on the Panorama and hoping for it to be great.  

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Yes unfortunately that is carnival for you. Add more cabins and less public space. We love the breeze but have had zero desire to go on vista class because of this issue. We did book Panorama next year just because we are tired of the same  Caribbean  itinerary. It has been a while since our last carnival cruise. Lately we have been on royal and all the oasis class cruises. Thank you for the report, many agree with you. 

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We were on the same cruise and first time doing a Vista class ship as well. I have to say however that this was one of the best cruises I have ever been on.. and we've been on many. The entertainment was top notch and the cruise director Mike Pack was one of, if not the best I have ever experienced. Food was great in all venues we were in. 

 

I will agree however,  that the  design of the ship takes some getting used to.  IMO there did not seem to be any flow to the ship. There was a lot of interruption (for lack of a better term) between venues. Public spaces definitely seemed smaller. Where I really noticed the difference was on the upper main pool deck (deck 12). Only one row of chairs available because of the width of the the deck and on this cruise there did seem to be some chair hogs. I will be clear though that this did not in anyway hinder the fun we had.. more of an observation.  One other thing. We had any time dining and the reservation station for the any time dining was on the 5th floor and the any time dining room was on the third floor aft. I did find that extremely odd and a bit inconvenient,  but I suppose the idea was to get you to stop and have a drink in one of the bars on the way to the dining room. 

 

Notwithstanding, I wouldn't hesitate to book Horizon again. It was an amazing 8 days packed full of fun! 

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We took the TA on the Horizon in May and were disappointed with the entertainment.  Other lines have live bands, the Horizon had solo singers using taped music.  In addition the seating and sight lines in the main theatre were the worst I have experienced on any cruise ship.  The food was very good, great lunch choices, but the overall crowded feeling was more so than on any RCI quantum class ships or on NCL breakaway class ships.  It would have to be a great itinerary to get me back on a Vista class ship.

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I am not a big fan of the Vista class ships. A couple of years ago we had 2 cruises booked on Vista.  After the first cruise on Vista, we cancelled the second cruise on Vista and booked a cruise on Magic instead.  We enjoyed our cruise on Vista, but Dream class ships are far superior to Vista class ships in my opinion. I also prefer Spirit and Conquest class ships over Vista class ships. 

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9 hours ago, renza said:

Yes unfortunately that is carnival for you. Add more cabins and less public space. We love the breeze but have had zero desire to go on vista class because of this issue. We did book Panorama next year just because we are tired of the same  Caribbean  itinerary. It has been a while since our last carnival cruise. Lately we have been on royal and all the oasis class cruises. Thank you for the report, many agree with you. 

I have never understood that argument, We have been on Dream class ships 8 times and Vista class ships 3 times and find Vista class ships no more crowded then Dream class.  Do you know how many more people there are?  Which free space is more on Dream then Vista?

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6 hours ago, mugtech said:

We took the TA on the Horizon in May and were disappointed with the entertainment.  Other lines have live bands, the Horizon had solo singers using taped music.  In addition the seating and sight lines in the main theatre were the worst I have experienced on any cruise ship.  The food was very good, great lunch choices, but the overall crowded feeling was more so than on any RCI quantum class ships or on NCL breakaway class ships.  It would have to be a great itinerary to get me back on a Vista class ship.

Vista had a live band both times we were on including the med, did you go to Oceans plaza?  

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