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Carnival Horizon Review - March 9th Sailing - Southern Caribbean


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Great review!  We toured with ABC Tours and Irie Tours in Aruba and Curacao last March (we actually did the same West Side Beach Hopping Tour with Eddy as our guide and it was our favorite day of that 14-day cruise!!).  Loving all the photos!  Thanks for taking the time to post your review 🙂

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I love your review! It's so refreshing to see these great experiences and to be able to put yourself there instead of hearing about everything there is to complain about. I'm also a big fan of enjoying your time at the embarkation port. There's nothing like starting your cruise and you already had some great times, kind of like an appetizer to the main course.

 

This exact itinerary was the odds-on favorite to be my next booked cruise. Thanks for getting me even more excited for it!

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We are doing the same cruise next year. If you don’t mind me asking which beach would you recommend visiting in Curacao with young children.
Thanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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11 hours ago, SJNB said:

We are doing the same cruise next year. If you don’t mind me asking which beach would you recommend visiting in Curacao with young children.
Thanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I would say the one for kids that we went to was Kenepa Beach.  The water was pretty calm and there was lots of kids there that seemed to be having a good time.

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14 hours ago, AmBear said:

I'm pretty sure those dogs in Grand Turk are the one's that hang out/owned by Jack's shack! Seems whenever a ship arrives, they run to meet the people walking on the beach!

There were posters all over the island about these "potcake dogs".  There is an organization trying to get them adopted out to various countries before the stray population gets even more out of hand.  If I could figure out a way to sneak some back on the ship I would have brought some home. Lol.

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On 3/23/2019 at 6:58 PM, Cant wait until March said:

Vacation Day 3 - March 10 - Sea Day

 

I am a bit of an early riser so I was up before my wife and went to look around the ship.  It was pretty quiet so I walk around and took a few pics of the ship without anyone in the way.DSC_8045.thumb.JPG.b6eca2e434422066d8298b8b46af6a14.JPG

This was about the quietest I saw this pool all week.

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I was outside just a little to late to see the sun come up.DSC_8065.thumb.JPG.884c605abf498d8afc677492f8be72c7.JPGDSC_8068.thumb.JPG.2d306577b505c02facc5f6d5e1d51fb5.JPGDSC_8069.thumb.JPG.14bc2d6e96ffe763360d4458b7c586b0.JPG

The Lido Marketplace was just getting food out and some people were trickling in for breakfast.  For the most part I thought the food was pretty good on the Lido deck.  Lots of choices and the sandwich station seemed to be a hit with people all week.  The only thing I did notice was a lack of fruit other that melon, apples, and bananas.  I didn't see any berries, peaches, or pears.  Everything was always fresh and there was more than enough food out and there was no waiting to get something. 

 

I had a little time to sit in the lobby and watch the electronic funnel in the center of the bar change.  It really is kind of cool.  It changes constantly and the two pillars, one at each end of the lobby, change colour to match the funnel as do the circles in the ceiling.  There are two of these on the ship.  1 in the lobby and 1 in the casino.

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I figured I had killed enough time so I went back to our cabin to see if my wife was up and ready to eat something.  There was a sea day brunch in the meridian dining room.  There was a good selection on the menu, something for everyone.P3090329.thumb.JPG.acfecf33999c538434fa9b781c7c7c25.JPG

My wife had the French toast and some bacon.P3090331.thumb.JPG.9310c6e9cb6cbaad694b290da720fc39.JPG

I had an omelette and a side of bacon.  Both dishes were good and the service was first rate.

 

We spent the rest of the day relaxing around the ship.  It got busier and busier around the pools and deck chairs but it wasn't terrible.  If we wanted to have time by ourselves we could always use our balcony or a nice quiet spot outside was on deck 5 on either side of the ship.  Never crowded and comfortable seating areas.

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We lounged around a bit, went to the casino and got a bit of good luck out of a couple of penny slots, and then went to watch the sunset.

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After that we got cleaned up for dinner and had dinner in the MDR again tonight.P3100338.thumb.JPG.5983bc37349b87bd300e1fabbb3d52f6.JPGP3100339.thumb.JPG.45e2810c504891d81f18e256eca94aa8.JPG

I started with a shrimp cocktail and a spinach salad.P3100340.thumb.JPG.1c382e04f85391faa853036a7cd39838.JPG

My main was grilled salmon with mashed and broccoli.P3100342.thumb.JPG.19d7b3dd13475eabae70dbb2af02fdaa.JPG

And my desert was this chocolate concoction that was really quite good.

 

The food was good again tonight but the portions are getting smaller and smaller and leave you hungry.  After dinner we went to the Liquid Lounge to watch the show. It was called Soulbound and it was really good.  The singers were very good and the dancing was excellent. P3100363.thumb.JPG.83b0ea27686d66860d20010f35b77f3e.JPG

After the show was over Schwartz hosted the Motown Showdown in the lobby.  It was very busy but a lot of fun. The DJ played small portions of Motown songs and you had to write down song and artist.  Everyone was singing along and Schwartz danced around the bar.  Oddly a very good dancer.P3100369.thumb.JPG.a0af485e7f2cd5804bba559ba7e30834.JPG

That is Schwartz on the bar and I don't remember his name but the gentleman in the white tux with the red shirt was a highlight.  He knew all the songs and was an awesome dancer.  It was a definite good time, very interactive, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  After that was over we took a short walk around the ship and then went and got ready for bed.  

 

Grand Turk was our first port and it was tomorrow.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hahaha!!  The guy in the White suit took his picture with my husband in his Flamingo Jacket!!!  

 

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17 hours ago, SJNB said:

We are doing the same cruise next year. If you don’t mind me asking which beach would you recommend visiting in Curacao with young children.
Thanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

We went to Mambo Beach in Curacao, its an enclosed area, and there aren't the high waves there! Plenty of stores, restaurants to get food, drink too! 

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Thx so much for sharing your cruise with us 😊 Enjoyed your review & your pics are awesome.  We will set sail Saturday on this beautiful ship & after reading your review am looking forward to it even more.  

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Vacation Day 7 - March 15th - Sea Day

 

It was hard to believe that the cruise was winding down already.  We felt lucky to have 2 sea days in a row at the end just to relax and take in some of the things the ship has to offer.  We slept in which is a rare occurrence for me so I missed seeing the sunrise.  We went to the dining room for brunch when we were ready to eat.  We both ordered the frittata with ham served with a side of bacon and toast.P3150827.thumb.JPG.823b9b4e278358f75dbcdbf0e743381b.JPG

It was very good and after brunch we just went to find a quiet spot to sit down and get a little sun.  It was again a very nice sunny day and the decks were pretty busy.  We went down to deck 5 outside the Guys Pig and Anchor and there was nobody there.  We were able to sit and relax without anyone else around.  Very peaceful.

 

Peaceful enough that I eventually got bored sitting around so I went and got changed and thought I would try out the water slides.  At first I thought that it would be a bunch of little kids and me, the lone adult, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  It was about 80 % adults and 20 % kids.  The slides are both fun although I liked the blue one better.  You didn't have to use an inflatable tube and it was much faster.  I was there for about an hour and had a good time.

 

After a while the captain came on and made an announcement that we had a very sick passenger and had to divert to Kingston Jamaica to offload the sick passenger. He said that it may change the arrival time in Miami at the end of the cruise.  He said he would try his best to get us home on time and not to worry.  There was no sense in worrying about something you cant control anyway.  Plus I have never seen Jamaica.  It was about 200 - 300 km out of out way to get to Jamaica and it took about an hour to get the sick passenger off the ship. DSC_0714.thumb.JPG.0a1f6f3d41d847da2852e07f85b39d20.JPG This is the Jamaican coast.  By the time the sick passenger was unloaded the sun was starting to set so at least I've seen the sunset over Jamaica now.P3150914.thumb.JPG.a274200a026d36ae4a8053b0a9deb7b8.JPG

 

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I hope everything turned out ok for the passenger.  It had to be pretty serious for them to make an unscheduled stop.

 

This was the second cruise elegant night so we went to get ready for dinner and made our way to the dining room. Dinner was good although I didn't get very good pics of the meal because of shadows and me not checking my work.P3150917.thumb.JPG.a0ab324e651b20049bf6ac0d9eba0032.JPG

I started with the stuffed mushrooms.P3150919.thumb.JPG.9999f795eaad206776589191c3aa075c.JPG

 

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I ordered 2 mains.  The first one was a spicy shrimp in a light sauce with mustard mashed potatoes and broccoli.  The second was the beef fillet with mashed potatoes and green beans.  Both were small meals but together they were very good.

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Sherry started with the crab cake.  I fell apart a bit but had excellent flavour and consistency.

P3150920.thumb.JPG.9401cf48fc980927121f3a5a86f08276.JPGShe tried something a little different for her main.  It was a spanakopita filled with beef, rice in a roasted pepper and a deep fried okra.  She enjoyed it and said she would try it again.

 

After dinner we went for a bit of a walk around the ship and them went to the Liquid Lounge to see the show.  It was called Celestial Strings.  We had seen the three violin player around the ship a few time during the week and they were very good.  They played a lot of modern music and everyone seemed to enjoy them.  They were the main focus of Celestial Strings with some other musicians and some dancers/singers.  Again a very good show and its hard to believe this is all happening on a boat.P3150925.thumb.JPG.e79ea52698a3de097b8783ca224e684b.JPG

 

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After the show was over the three violinists went out to the lobby for a bit of an after show.  Quite elaborate costumes and make-up for tonight's show.  When they were done their after show Schwartz was doing a name that '70s song contest in the lobby bar.  We had seen a couple of these things throughout the week and they were always entertaining and funny.  Also very busy so you have to get to it on time or you won't get a spot with a view.P3150937.thumb.JPG.40780cd42a51df65d7ef77a7f0513d35.JPG

 

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After that was all said and done we went to the casino for a short time, won a bit of money, and called it quits for the night.  We went back to our cabin and got ready for bed.  

 

Tomorrow is sea day number 2. 

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Vacation Day 8 - March 16th - Sea Day

 

This was the 2nd sea day in a row.  I wasn't sure I would like having 2 sea days in a row when we booked this trip but it turned out to be a great way to spend a couple of days.  Very relaxing.  

 

I was up early, as usual, and went out and looked around the ship and got a little exercise.  I walked up and down all of the stairs on board and took some pics of the décor.  I liked the photography around the Horizon.  In every stairwell there was a large photo of different ports that Carnival visits.  They were cut into sections and placed over the same photo in the background with lighting in between the two.  It was hard to get good shots of them with the lens I had with me and I didn't want to go back to the cabin to get one and wake Sherry up.DSC_1002.thumb.JPG.966d688c16bcba0c1867d8652ba6bbfe.JPG

 

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It's a cool visual that you sort of have to see In person to appreciate.  

 

After a while I went out on deck to see the sunrise.  Our last one on this trip.  The water was fairly calm and the sunrise didn't disappoint. DSC_0925.thumb.JPG.6a145b6847c1058994f8dd2ac9bb34ea.JPG

 

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After watching the sun come up I walked a bit and decided to go back to our cabin to see if Sherry was up.  When she was up and ready we just went up to the Lido Marketplace for breakfast.  Something simple and quick. 

 

We didn't really plan anything for this day and were just playing it by ear.  We spent a bit of time in our cabin watching TV and were trying to decide what to do the next day in Miami.  Our flight wasn't until 8:40 PM so we were going to have some time to kill.  We went down to the excursion desk and talked to a nice young man about what was available through Carnival.  There was a transfer bus that just took you to the airport and then you were on your own for the day but you would have to find a place to store your luggage if you wanted to do anything, it was about $30 per person.  There was also a Miami 10 best tour that took you on a coach bus around Miami to see various things and then they dropped you at the airport that afternoon about 2:30 PM.  This tour was only $50 per person and I wanted to see a few of the things on this tour anyway.  This way they keep all of your luggage locked on the bus and you were free to look around.  We opted to do that, bought our tickets and were on our way to the Debarkation meeting in the Liquid Lounge.

 

As we suspected there were not many people at the Debarkation meeting and it took about 20 minutes.  It was the same reminders about keep some clothing to put on in the morning and leave your checked baggage outside your cabin that night.  There was also an option to carry your own luggage off the ship if you were in a hurray to get to an early flight, etc.... We had to meet our tour at 9 AM so we decided we would carry our own bags off the ship.

 

By this time I was getting hungry again so we went back to the Lido Marketplace to grab some lunch.  I ended up trying Guys Burgers which was very good.  Excellent toppings for your burger, quick service, and great homemade fries.  I would definitely recommend Guys Burgers.

 

After lunch we walked around a bit and I wanted to try the Skyride so we went up there.  There was an incredible line up for it.  There was a little sign that said it would be approximately a 1 hour and 45 minute wait so I didn't bother.  It looked fun but I didn't want to spend all afternoon in a lineup.  Sherry decided she was going to lay in the sun and read her book for a while so I went and rode the waterslides again.  They are a little short as you can imagine, since they are on top of a ship, but they are fun.

 

There are a lot of activities on the Horizon.  There is the usual mini golf type stuff, water slides, ropes course, skyride, and various other things for all ages. It was well kept, clean, and well organized by the staff to keep things moving.P3160953.thumb.JPG.1ec8304e3ef1633690624e8c27489226.JPG

 

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After my waterslide experience I found Sherry and we went to find a quieter spot to sit and relax.  We ended up going outside on deck 5 by the Pig and Anchor.  It was always quiet and not very crowded on deck 5 on both sides of the ship.  We just sat and enjoyed the ocean going by and had a cold drink.

 

When it came time to have dinner we went and got cleaned up and decided to try the Pig and Anchor instead of going to the dining room.  If you like smoked meats and typical smokehouse sides, this place is for you.P3160982.thumb.JPG.ff5eaffd8fbe33a64939c56ee2a0006f.JPG

 There are only about 10 things on the menu so we just got some nachos to start and the sample platter for 2 as a main.  This gave you a bit of everything to try and see what you liked.  I also ordered a side of mashed potatoes with brisket tips and gravy.P3160986.thumb.JPG.3f04e89bd982a9450ec6ae19fc7b876d.JPG

 

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The food didn't look like much but it was fantastic.  The platter had brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and sausage for meats.  There was also grilled corn on the cob, slaw, fried onions, jalapenos, pickles, and an amazing corn bread.  I can't remember the cost but it was less than $20 for both of us, so well worth it.P3161042.thumb.JPG.bbb012d147b4ddcfc36b94d6cbee2c0a.JPG

I was quite full and didn't want desert but Sherry ordered this smoked apple betty with ice cream on top. She said it was amazing.

 

We sat for a while and listened to the live music, they were a duo called Buck and Oz.  They played different country and '70s rock songs.  We had seen them around the ship a couple of times during the week and they were also on out excursion in Aruba.  They were good musicians and they and their wives were very nice people.

 

We went out to watch the sun set for our last time this trip and then tried to catch the show I the Liquid Lounge.P3160991.thumb.JPG.4082306fa6169760951c4408ad866429.JPG

 

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The show was the final Lip Sync Battle and we missed most of it.  We saw the last 2 performers and they were pretty good.  When that was over Schwartz was hosting an '80s music trivia in the Lobby so we went to get a spot to watch that.  It was packed but we found a place along the railing on the top floor of the Lobby Bar.  P3161050.thumb.JPG.4d53ec9fb0f525e3653e92f81f9455f1.JPG

As always Schwartz was entertaining and funny.  After the '80s trivia was over we made our way to the casino to try our luck for a while before we turned in for the night.  Surprisingly we won a few hundred dollars so we took our winnings and headed for our cabin.  We were both al little tired and still had to pack for tomorrow.

 

Tomorrow was Disembarkation and Miami's top 10.

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On 3/30/2019 at 9:11 AM, Cant wait until March said:

There is a little restroom just before you get to the blue hole where we changed in and out of our suits. It's not the Hilton but it will do.

Do you have to jump in the water or can you go down a ladder?

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Vacation Day 9 - March 17 - Disembarkation Day - Miami

 

Always a bittersweet day that signifies the end of your vacation.  You get up early and have to make your way off the ship and fly home to a place, in our case, likely covered in snow and ice and temperatures well below zero.

 

We weren't sure what we were going to do on this day because you have to be off the ship rather early and our flight out of Miami wasn't until 7:40PM.  We either had to get a transfer to the airport and figure out what to do with our luggage for the day.  This option was about $30 per person and then a charge at the airport to store your luggage.  We don't know Miami that well as I haven't been there in about 20 years so this option was a little daunting.  Our other option was to get tickets for the 10 best Miami tour where you get on a coach bus at the port, they keep your luggage for the day, and they show you around Miami and then drop you off at the airport at the correct terminal for your perspective airline.  This option was about $50 per person and seemed like a fun idea so that's what we decided to do.

 

We opted to just carry our own luggage off the ship because we were supposed to meet our tour by 8:30 AM.  We were all packed and started to make our way down to the Liquid Lounge to get into our group for disembarkation at about 7:45 AM.  We made it as far as the lobby and we were met by Schwartz and 2 more of the ships crew.  They asked us where we were headed, when we told them they said we might as well just go right to the gang way and exit the ship since we were ready.  We turned right in the lobby and were off the ship.  We got through customs in about 3 minutes and were outside waiting for our tour bus. 

 

We met out tour operator and she took our tickets but our bus wasn't there yet so we just sat on a bench for a while.  When the bus came they loaded our bags and we were welcome to wait on the bus.  They were very organized and everyone was loaded and on our way in about 20 minutes.

 

Our guide introduced himself but for the life of me I can't remember his name.  He was very friendly and entertaining.  He was originally from New York but retired to Miami and did this as a part time job.  He said because his wife wanted him out of the house on the weekends.

 

We left the port area and were on our way to South Beach and the Art Deco section of the city.  There was quite a bit of history and information along the way about various parts of the city.  DSC_1103.thumb.JPG.0cf0f90d9e7d22e150231ee103a1a34b.JPG

This is the Holocaust Memorial outside of a convention center.  It's hard to see the scale of this piece because I took the pic through the bus window while moving but it was very impressive.  All of the inward facing walls had the names of the Holocaust victims listed and the statue was about 30 feet high.

 

After that we drove around South Beach and the Art Deco district.  It seemed very quiet and well kept but it was still early in the morning. There were various art installations around the city as well.DSC_1181.thumb.JPG.5b9cded8ab633e589ab81ca2934a7184.JPG

Many colourful homes and businesses.DSC_1179.thumb.JPG.72a93deeee1dc0d67bfc5f32af5869d6.JPG

 

On our way to Little Havana we went past what is commonly referred to as millionaires row.  Some very large homes most of which get rented to a string of famous people for 2-3 months at a time.DSC_1156.thumb.JPG.ed1d7620c2753f40b51166cf1c637767.JPG

This place had a water slide from the third floor bedroom down to the pool beside the river.

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This was a rental luxury barge that these people were living in until their home was finished being built.

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When we got to Little Havana we parked and went to this restaurant where you could use the restroom, get something to eat, or just look around.  We were there for about an hour and a half in total.  While we were there we walked down the street to a cigar factory where the gentleman was hand rolling cigars and answering questions if anyone had them.  It was very crowded so I didn't go in.DSC_1244.thumb.JPG.3ff0b8b76ba1d322682a3fb144be3a30.JPG

 

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The buildings and the landscape was pretty cool in Little Havana.  All of the people seemed very friendly and most folks were trying to get a jump an St. Patricks Day by the look of things.DSC_1229.thumb.JPG.c61d9abf24eb4c33680de75a81e898f3.JPG

 

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Sherry and I went back to the restaurant with about 45 minutes to spare and ordered a Cuban sandwich to share.  Good thing we only ordered 1 because it was huge.  Very tasty though.  We sat and ate inside while the lady that owned the place sang some songs on a karaoke stage.  Good food and a little entertainment made for a good lunch.P3171062.thumb.JPG.116317a1a283b41aa02d9e6a1dcda8f7.JPG

 

After we ate we had a little time to walk around the neighborhood and then boarded the bus for our next destination, Wynwood Walls. DSC_1310.thumb.JPG.add454f05d3c76ea7327b231b0e18de9.JPG

 

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We drove through a section of town called Overtown and there was amazing graffiti on virtually every building.  Wynwood Walls was right across the street but represented a different section of the city.DSC_1336.thumb.JPG.0bc072d2c452d958f7ecc99a1b5200ca.JPG 

Aside from photography my other artistic passion is painting.  I mainly paint with encaustics which is essentially coloured wax that I melt, paint with on mostly rigid surfaces, and then when the wax hardens I bond it to the surface with heat.  I am not Rembrandt or Picasso but I love to paint.  We go to a number of art shows and tours throughout the year where we live so I was very much looking forward to Wynwood Walls.  It did not disappoint.  Artists come from all over the world and are commissioned to paint here, mostly with spray cans.  It is awesome if you are a person that appreciates art.  My pics do not do it justice.  The scale is unbelievable. The only problem with Wynwood Walls is there really isn't enough room.  It was very crowded and hard to takes photos because there were so many people in the way.  Still wonderful to see in person though.DSC_1343.thumb.JPG.82a75a0338cf83f5f7d01ce500fbcdbe.JPG

 

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We were there for about an hour and then back on the bus.  We drove by a few more places of interest and then on to the airport.  First was Miami's airport and then Ft. Lauderdale airport.  The tour was good.  It was informative, fun, well organized, and more than worth the fee.  We were dropped at the airport about 3 PM and checked our bags soon after that.  We had enough time to get something to eat and walk around the shops at the airport for a while.  There were a number of rocking chairs sitting around looking out over the runways so we sat for a while instead of going to our gate right away.

 

We were supposed to board at 7:40 PM but got on the plane about an hour late.  The plane was finally buttoned up and ready to go.  We taxied to the end of the runway and the pilot made an announcement that we were being grounded by the FAA due to there being a fire at the airport in Toronto.  We would have to wait on the plane until they decided to let us go.  That was almost 4 hours.  Finally we were on our way home.  Better late than never I guess.  We landed in Toronto about 4 AM and got a shuttle back to our car.  After the 2 hour drive home we were both exhausted.  We both called into work and explained that we weren't coming in and went to bed for most of the day.  I was glad to be home to see my dog but was ready to go on vacation again.

 

 

 

 

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Summary

Pros

1. We had a great time on this cruise and would recommend it to anyone.

2. The ports were all nice and the excursions we went with were also good.

3. For the most part the food was very good.

4. The ships staff was amazing from top to bottom, they tirelessly look after the passengers needs and seem to know what you want before you know what you want.

5. The Horizon itself was a beautiful ship. Well kept and clean.  

 

Cons

1. The up-charging in the dining room in my opinion is a little much.  It feels like Carnival is trying to squeeze every last dime out of you at every turn to maximize their already huge profits.

2. Same thing with the price of pictures from Pixels.  The prices are so high that a great deal of people didn't bother buying any of them.  It's a shame because they do capture some good images that folks may otherwise never get.

3. In my opinion Carnival should adhere to the dress code in the dining room and other restaurants on board.

4. Lastly Carnival should research their tours a little better.  Make mention that out of a 5 or 6 hour tour you will be on a bus getting to the tour and back for 2.5 of those hours.  It may change peoples minds about what they want to do.  

 

 

 

All in all we had a great time and are already planning the next trip.  I just booked us on The Carnival Magic next April.  We are going to take my mom for her birthday.  All 3 of us are excited already.

 

If anyone has any questions just ask and I will do my best to answer.  Enjoy.

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