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Horizon Spring Break Review traveling with teens in Havana area

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We just got back from our Spring Break cruise on the Horizon.  Our family included me (49), my husband (50), two daughters (15, 17) and my parents (78, 80).  We have done 7 cruises together and they have mainly been Royal Caribbean.  We chose this ship because we were excited about a new ship, new ports that we had never been to and the Havana area.  We booked it over a year ago so we had a long time to wait!  We are from the Seattle area and we were so ready to get out of the cruddy weather and enjoy some sunshine.  I'll just break down this review into the different categories of what we experienced.

 

TRAVEL TO MIAMI:  We took a red eye flight on Alaska Airlines departing on Thursday night and arrived at FLL early Friday morning.  We pre arranged shuttle service from Larry's Limo's (booked online) and a brand new black stretch limo was waiting for us when we arrived.  It was so fun!  Our ride was from FLL to the Hyatt Centric in Miami which was about a 40 minute drive at 6:00 AM.  We had used Larry's Limos in the past and were pleased with the service so we booked them again and were happy again on this segment (more to come on our ride back after the cruise which was not a positive experience).

 

HYATT CENTRIC MIAMI:  Gorgeous hotel!  We were there so early in the morning and it was way too early to check in.  The front desk was very nice and accommodating as they took our bags and gave us a key card for access to their rooftop pool to hang out at for the day.  This hotel is new and everything was in pristine condition.  They mainly cater to the business travelers so we had the whole pool area to ourselves.  There were dozens of deck chairs set out around the pool and a handful of clam shells.  We had our pick of whatever we wanted!  After flying all night long, we were dead tired and ended up falling asleep in the comfy clam shells.  As the day went on a few other people showed up on the pool deck but there were never more than 10 other people there at the same time as us.  It was like a private pool for us!  My teenage daughters were loving the opportunity to sunbathe all day!  Our room was ready around 3 PM and we got out of the sun and headed out to dinner.  The hotel is located next to an upscale mall which was fun to walk around and have dinner.  Would highly recommend this hotel!  

 

CRUISE DAY!

 

EMBARKATION:  We took 2 Lyfts to the port which were each around $12.00 including tip.  The drive to the port was around 10 minutes.  The drop off was so much easier than Port Everglades and everything was just so simple.  We had a 12:30 embarkation time and we arrived around 12:05.  No problem.  We got right into line, through security and onto the ship within 10 minutes which included to boarding picture.  Impressive!  

 

FIRST LUNCH:  OMG - chaos!!!  Once we set foot on the ship, it was just loads of people standing around everywhere.  Impossible to get around people and the lines for the elevators spilled out across the rest of the common areas.  I'm a stair gal anyway and made my trek up to deck 10 on the stairs.  My parents waited for the elevators and we eventually met up with them on deck 10.  All I saw was lines, lines, lines and more lines.  Ugh!  We couldn't find a table that would accommodate the 6 of us.  We ended up squeezing into a 4 person table and kind of ate in shifts.  We all wanted something different and took turns on who went where.  Yuck.  This was thankfully the worst part of the cruise for us.  Everything went uphill from this.  I had Guys Burgers and it was awesome.  I wasn't expecting it to be that great and I was crabby from the crowds and chaos but ended up really enjoying it.  My husband had something tasty from the deli and my kids both had Guys with me.  My dad ended up eating alone somewhere because he never could find us!  I felt bad but wasn't surprised with all the people around.  He's easy going though and had no problem with that.  My mom ended up getting a few things at the salad bar because it was too hard to find anything else.  After that first day, we avoided the crowds and never had any similar issues.  

 

MUSTER:  Boring and long waiting for people but I know it's necessary and it wasn't bad.  The hardest part is waiting for all the no shows to finally show up.

 

SAIL AWAY:  We went to deck 5 and hung out in the Havana area for sail away.  We stood at the edge of the pool looking out at the aft of the ship and had a perfect view.  I had a beer in my hand and life could not have been better!  

 

OUR ROOM:  We had a deck 6 aft balcony in the center.  My kids had the room next to us and my parents had one two down from them.  The balcony divider did not open and we did not have a connecting room so we constantly had to knock on doors back and forth to talk to each other.  In the past we've always been able to take down the balcony divider and/or had a connecting room so this was different for us.  It turned out to be fine but just not as accessible as we are used to.  It was nice that we could look down at the Havana area and could talk to each other from our decks if someone was down below.  I always knew where my daughters were and it made it so easy to find people.  

 

The room itself was nice and was just as I expected it to be.  I never really ever met our room steward.  He was never present and available.  Ever.  My husband met him on the first day and that was it.  He was also the steward for my daughters' room and they never met him either.  On the first day, they found shampoo bottles and soap left in the shower from the previous guests and the shower was not clean.  They never said anything (they never saw him) so they just threw away the bottles and soap themselves and took a shower the next day instead.  Not a big deal but not what I expected.  I really wanted ice each day but never had a chance to ask for it so I just would get it down at the Havana bar when I needed it.  

 

HAVANA AREA:  This is what made our cruise so awesome!  I loved, loved, loved this area!  I think we were down there everyday all day long!  The people working there are so nice, the pool and the hot tubs were so nice and never over crowded.  We met some of the nicest people down there and enjoyed seeing them everyday.  I would never sail on a Carnival cruise again without having this area.  It was worth every extra penny to be in this area.  

 

DINING ROOM:  We ate all 8 dinners in the dining room.  Our waitstaff was friendly and seemed to have a lot of time to spend with us.  So many people don't show up to dinner so it seemed like they had a lot of excess time to just chit chat with us.  That part was nice and I enjoyed their entertainment they did most nights with some singing and dancing.  It was always just a quick song but it was fun and had everyone in a good mood.  They knew our names right away and called us by name every night.  

 

The rest of the experience was not that great.  My daughter is gluten free so she would order her dinner each night the night before.  We had to eat in the dining room each night since they made accommodations for her that worked out so well for us.  Otherwise we would have spent our nights elsewhere.  

 

The food in the dining room was not good.  Ever.  I'm not a picky person but the food was always bad.  The meat was always fatty, the pastas and desserts were dry, the flavors of everything we ate was just off.  Then when we wouldn't eat everything or just a few bites, we were always questioned why we didn't eat it and why we didn't like it.  It was awkward.  I didn't want to say the food sucked every time they took it away.  I would hear them asking the tables around us the same questions and see those people squirm too at their questions.  Ugh.  I am so used to the waitstaff knowing what our likes are from the beginning and making sure we have what we need each night.  This was not the case for us this time. We had to ask for extra bread (we always went through the sourdough bread immediately) and when we asked for more, we would get more of the types we didn't touch and only one or two of the kinds we did like.  We also had to ask for more butter every night.  After 8 nights, you would think they would have our rhythm down. It never changed!  On our previous cruises, the wait staff had our likes down on day one and when we showed up each night, we had everything we needed.  This felt like a fight every night to get what we wanted and again it was just an awkward experience.  Then at the end of the cruise, we were flat out asked to fill out the survey and give them a 10.  I hate that.  

 

FOOD ELSEWHERE:  Really good!  I loved Guys Burgers, the pizza place, Pig and Anchor, Blue Iguana and the Deli.  All of these places had great food and I was pleased with my lunch every day!  I also loved the cakes on the lido deck during lunch.  I'm not a big dessert person but I had a few slices over the week but it was so good.  I would have been content to just eat at some of these places for dinner instead of the dining room but we with my gluten free daughter, it was a better option for us to eat in the dining room.  

 

PORTS:  We had fun in all 4 ports.  In Grand Turk we just hung out at the beach near the ship.  We didn't use the free lounges (most were taken) but we only paid $15 for 2 chairs and an umbrella just a little bit down from the ship right in the front row.  It was nice and worth the money.  We also paid to go tubing which was so much fun!  In La Romano, we just walked around the terminal and my kids had pictures taken with monkeys that turned out really cute.  They wanted to do Monkeyland but it was sold out by the time we knew about it.  In Curacao we just walked around and had drinks in a bar and stole a few minutes in the casino.  Fun port!  In Aruba we did the Kukoo Kunuku tour which was fun.  They drove us around the island and then took us to a beach.  Had a great time there too!

 

CASINO:  This cruise was an "ultra" cruise which we were not members of.  I have only been on 2 other Carnival cruises and the last one was 8 years ago so it was like we were new again.  The vibe of the casino was not what I expected.  All of the tables were filled with ultra members who were playing with different chips  and they were all part of a drawing going on over the loud speakers the entire night.  It was just loud and obnoxious.  If I was an ultra member, I'm sure I would have felt differently especially if my name was drawn to win cash and prizes!  But I wasn't so it was not a great experience.  I felt like I was at a party that I wasn't invited to and could not participate in any of the fun.  One of my favorite parts of cruising is going to the casino each night and this time it sucked.  On every other cruise I've been on,  I always meet people at the tables and see them around the ship during the day and we chit chat and meet up again at night.  Not this time.  It was kind of a buzz kill.  

 

SHOWS and ENTERTAINMENT:  Schwartz was our cruise director and he did a great job of engaging the passengers.  In all my other cruises, I've never even known who the cruise director was or paid any attention and it was impossible not to notice Schwartz.  He was fun and always visible.  We had fun at the White Out party and the 80s deck party.  He was teaching dance moves and everyone got involved.  We also participated in the Friends trivia and had a blast.  I thought for sure our group knew everything and it was a no brainer that we would take home that ship on a stick.  Not the case!  We missed 3 questions and there were a ton of other people in there that knew more than us!  I saw one of the movies at night on the lido deck and my kids hit a few others.  Great concept!  

 

TEEN CLUB:  Kind of a bust this week.  My kids used to love the kids clubs when they were younger and now they aren't really that interested in them.  I "forced" them to go on the third night just to see if there was anyone they could meet or just get some ideas of activities to do.  I said they only had to stay 5 minutes but to just get a feel of it.  It turns out there were only 70 kids on board in their age group and only handful of those showed up to the teen club during the week.  The week before that had been over 400 registered in their age group so we just had a bad week i think.  My oldest daughter turns 18 this summer so this was her last shot at a kids club so I was disappointed that they really didn't  have any interest in it.  

 

DEBARKATION:  Slow.  Really slow.  We were supposed to be off by 8:30 and we finally got off around 10:15.  Not sure what the hold up was.  Usually we are forced off the ship by 8:30 regardless of what your number is.  I have no idea if it's usually like this but it seemed unusual to wait that long to get off.  

 

SHUTTLE TO FORT LAUDERDALE:  We used Larry's Limos again for our ride back to Fort Lauderdale from the port.  Our driver called and said she was waiting outside but since we took so long getting off, they dispatched her elsewhere and we got another guy who did show up on time.  He kept calling asking why we weren't off the ship.  Annoying.  It's not like we had any control over it.  This driver was terrible.  Frightening might be a better word to describe our ride home. I honestly don't know if this guy was drunk, high, sleep deprived or just a bad driver.  He went between 10-20 mph BELOW the speed limit on the freeway, kept drifting out of his lane the entire time and had absolutely no idea how to get to our hotel.  We were staying at a hotel at the FLL airport so pretty simple place to take us.  He started getting agitated and asking us to look it up on our phones and give him directions (as he was swerving all over the road).  Then his eyes kept shutting and we would feel the braille of the lanes as he drifted again. I kept talking to him to keep him awake but I have never been so scared in my life.  There wasn't a place for us to just get out of the car since we were stuck in the middle of the freeway.  I lost count at how many people honked at us on the road (over 20).  I didn't know whether to kiss the ground or not when we actually did arrive at our hotel safely.  OMG - do not use Larrys Limos!!!!  

 

CROWNE PLAZA FLL:  I wasn't impressed with this hotel.  Very small lobby and filled with people coming and going from cruises.  It wasn't very well organized and the staff was rude.  They were over stressed with all the commotion in the lobby and took it out on the guests.  The rooms were actually nicer than I thought they would be and the location was nice to the airport which included a free shuttle for us in the morning.  I wouldn't stay here again though.  

 

OVERALL:  Fun family cruise!  

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Great review.  Did your kids hang out in the Havana area?  One of the reasons I booked it is I thought my son might enjoy less crazy around the pool.  I have not read many reviews where people with teens stayed in a Havana cabin.

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Thanks for the review!

I ran into a similar issue on the Miracle travelling with my husband who is gluten free - the MDR is the best place for him to eat but I struggled with a lot of the food quality.  He thought it was great since he isn't used to waitstaff/restaurants catering to his dietary restrictions and usually just "makes do", whereas the staff on board provided wonderful service and choices to him. 
I'm very interested in booking a Havana area room for our next cruise

🙂

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7 minutes ago, Nevada Jen said:

Great review.  Did your kids hang out in the Havana area?  One of the reasons I booked it is I thought my son might enjoy less crazy around the pool.  I have not read many reviews where people with teens stayed in a Havana cabin.

Yes!  This was the whole selling point of this cruise was so they could hang out at the pool all day every day.  This was a teen girl's dream!  They were down there every morning (except for the 2 port mornings) and then for most of the day.  Our "go to" place was Havana area and even if we were done laying out in the sun, we would hang out in the chairs in the shade by the bar.  They were the only teens that week in the Havana area.  I never saw any other kids that entire week we were there.  My younger daughter even had pizza delivered there twice.  They delivered it to her in her lounge chair.  It was awesome!  

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10 minutes ago, KAP84 said:

Thanks for the review!

I ran into a similar issue on the Miracle travelling with my husband who is gluten free - the MDR is the best place for him to eat but I struggled with a lot of the food quality.  He thought it was great since he isn't used to waitstaff/restaurants catering to his dietary restrictions and usually just "makes do", whereas the staff on board provided wonderful service and choices to him. 
I'm very interested in booking a Havana area room for our next cruise

🙂

It was nice that she could choose anything she wanted on the menu and they would make it gluten free or at least find a substitute that was close to what she ordered.  It was nice that she didn't have to do any of the work to figure out what was gluten free and what wasn't.  We didn't plan ahead with Carnival on her dietary restrictions and just asked for a gluten free menu on the first night at dinner.  Our wait staff said they didn't have a gluten free menu and really didn't say much to help her.  Then after dinner our head waiter came out and gave her the menu to order her meal for the next night and it went well for her every night after that.  They also offer gluten free pizza at the pizza place which she said was good but kind of "spongy".  

 

I would highly recommend the Havana area if you are all interested in being around the pool or hot tub.  It made our "meh" cruise into an amazing cruise!  

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Thank You for your review. I have a couple of questions, if you don't mind

 

So disappointed to hear the MDR food was not good. mmmmm maybe we will eat in there less than we had planned.  Did you ask specifically for all sourdough rolls? can you, I see that as a issue with my family too? We like you are used to the wait staff knowing that person x always orders a sprite and person y drinks iced tea and the whole family likes bread with butter so set out extra. Sounds like you have request everything, every night. 

 

We are cruising with our 15 Yo DS and 17 YO DD so same ages also in the Havana. How did your DDs like the Havana, anyone give them issues being teenagers? 

 

We are thinking about Guys for lunch on embarkation. Was your difficulty with finding a seat because of the buffet? Are there places to sit outside of the buffet but not in the sun? any advice to make embarkation lunch less crazy?

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9 minutes ago, Jenjer said:

Thank You for your review. I have a couple of questions, if you don't mind

 

So disappointed to hear the MDR food was not good. mmmmm maybe we will eat in there less than we had planned.  Did you ask specifically for all sourdough rolls? can you, I see that as a issue with my family too? We like you are used to the wait staff knowing that person x always orders a sprite and person y drinks iced tea and the whole family likes bread with butter so set out extra. Sounds like you have request everything, every night. 

 

We are cruising with our 15 Yo DS and 17 YO DD so same ages also in the Havana. How did your DDs like the Havana, anyone give them issues being teenagers? 

 

We are thinking about Guys for lunch on embarkation. Was your difficulty with finding a seat because of the buffet? Are there places to sit outside of the buffet but not in the sun? any advice to make embarkation lunch less crazy?

Love to answer questions!  

 

Yes, we did specifically ask for sourdough and got a basket of everything each time.   It was like this every single night.  It never changed.  We would then have to ask for the butter every time.  It got to be funny and we would start to laugh each night knowing exactly what we were going to need.  In past cruises, all of our favorites would be set out waiting for us when we arrived.  Not even close this time!  

 

Your kids will love the Havana area.  Mine didn't mind they were the only teens in there and no one seemed to care either.  They quietly did their own thing so no one even noticed them in there.  I was hoping there might have been other teens in there that they could have met but not on this week.  

 

I would recommend Guys for lunch because it is really good!  Our issue finding a table was there were no tables anywhere inside or out!  We wandered around for a long time looking and eventually found one at the very end of the buffet outside by the pool and the Fish Shack (furthest place away you could get from Guys).  There are 2 lines for Guys and the line from the pool side moved much faster than the line from the outside.  We made sure we got in the line from the pool side and it were through it within 10 minutes.  All of the eating places blend together and people just sit wherever they can find a spot.  I'm sure getting on the ship earlier would have helped but we were already boarding a half hour earlier than our scheduled time.  I swear the entire ship was already on board by the time we got there!  

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I have this cruise booked for next year, and I'm SO excited about the Havana area.  Glad to hear it didn't disappoint.

 

Did you ever have trouble finding a lounge chair? On previous cruises I've felt like I had to choose between fun stuff to do or lounging in the sun- because if I gave up my chair it would take awhile to find another one.  So i'd try to do all my sun time at one time- were you able to come and go and find a chair?

 

Did you notice how often karaoke was offered on this ship?  

 

Did you notice gelato offered at lunch time?

 

Great review, thanks for doing it. 

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7 minutes ago, purplephenom said:

I have this cruise booked for next year, and I'm SO excited about the Havana area.  Glad to hear it didn't disappoint.

 

Did you ever have trouble finding a lounge chair? On previous cruises I've felt like I had to choose between fun stuff to do or lounging in the sun- because if I gave up my chair it would take awhile to find another one.  So i'd try to do all my sun time at one time- were you able to come and go and find a chair?

 

Did you notice how often karaoke was offered on this ship?  

 

Did you notice gelato offered at lunch time?

 

Great review, thanks for doing it. 

I never had trouble finding a lounge chair.  Sometimes, it may not have been closest to the pool but I always had one available.  I also spent a lot of time in the clam shells.  They were big clam shells that 2 or 3 people could share and we did that a few times. I also just enjoyed sitting on the pool edge without a lounger when it was really hot.  I would just put my stuff in a chair and hang out in the water the whole time.  I never got up super early to claim my spot or worry about missing out on other activities.  We left and came back later (without saving our spots) and always had chairs available when we returned.  

 

There was a lot of karaoke on this ship!  They had the PG version in the Havana bar a lot so I walked through that a couple of times.  I also saw the over 18 ones in a couple of the other bars.  I was never looking for it, but saw it a lot just walking around.  One night I was coming back to the room walking through Ocean Plaza (another happening place for anything musical) and cringing at the gal singing thinking she was terrible and it was actually a woman in the band singing and it wasn't karaoke.  The karaoke singers were much better than her!  She was the only performer that I didn't care for.  The most impressive musicians were the rocking violins.  They were amazing!  

 

My kids saw the gelato at lunch every day.  They would often get the self serve ice cream and then the condiments from the gelato place to put on their ice cream.  

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Thanks for doing a review of your cruise and the Havana area.  I can't wait to try it.   I hope the food in the speciality restaurants is good, my friends and I have all of them booked execpt for elegant nights in the MDR.

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1 hour ago, JaniceB said:

Thanks for doing a review of your cruise and the Havana area.  I can't wait to try it.   I hope the food in the speciality restaurants is good, my friends and I have all of them booked execpt for elegant nights in the MDR.

You will have a fantastic cruise!  You can't go wrong with the Havana area and the speciality restaurants!  I really would have loved to try some of the specialty restaurants but with the gluten free issues we had going on, the MDR seemed to be our best option.  We looked at Ji Jis which looked so good but they didn't show any gluten free options and I never took the time to find out if they had any.  

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2 hours ago, Jenjer said:

Thank You for your review. I have a couple of questions, if you don't mind

 

So disappointed to hear the MDR food was not good. mmmmm maybe we will eat in there less than we had planned.  Did you ask specifically for all sourdough rolls? can you, I see that as a issue with my family too? We like you are used to the wait staff knowing that person x always orders a sprite and person y drinks iced tea and the whole family likes bread with butter so set out extra. Sounds like you have request everything, every night. 

 

We are cruising with our 15 Yo DS and 17 YO DD so same ages also in the Havana. How did your DDs like the Havana, anyone give them issues being teenagers? 

 

We are thinking about Guys for lunch on embarkation. Was your difficulty with finding a seat because of the buffet? Are there places to sit outside of the buffet but not in the sun? any advice to make embarkation lunch less crazy?

We just sailed the Breeze and had a totally different opinion of Carnival’s food. We felt every single item we ordered was awesome. I can’t praise the food enough. But food preference is subjective, so to each their own. This was my first cruise back with Carnival after several years away, sailing RCCL and NCL, and let me tell you, we were so impressed, that we booked a B2B for our 50th Anniversary on the Magic for 2020, and we are in the same inside cabin for both  legs of the cruise. So excited. I think for all we got for the price we paid, we may be sticking with Carnival.

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Great review and finally a Havana review.  My question is this, how is Oceans Plaza for breakfast?  Being on deck 5 very convenient for us on deck 6.  

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54 minutes ago, James4me said:

Great review and finally a Havana review.  My question is this, how is Oceans Plaza for breakfast?  Being on deck 5 very convenient for us on deck 6.  

Breakfast in Ocean Plaza was awesome!  I went there every day!  I never tried any other place because it was so easy and convenient.  They had eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast rolls and muffins, fruit, cereal and cold cuts.  It reminded me of all the things you get at a free breakfast with a hotel stay but with a little bit more.  

 

My husband went and worked out every morning and tried all the other places after his work out since he was already up and about - omelettes in the buffet, breakfast burritos as the Blue Iguana and would sometimes grab a few items from Ocean Plaza to go with his burrito or omelette.  He said breakfast on the ship was good everywhere he tried.  The only bad food we experienced was MDR dinners.  

 

Havana - it's awesome!  🙂 

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Yikes, sailing on Panorama on 12/28/19 for the New Year cruise and in Havana Cabana 5238 (2nd closest to the Havana Pool area. My questions are as follows:

 

1, I specifically booked two years in advance and the closest I could get to the Havana Pool area in the event I needed to fight for a clam shell early in the morning. How early did you have to be out there to get a clam shell in Havana?

 

2. Did you have FTTF? Is this something you would recommend paying extra for to get on board faster the first day for lunch seating options?

 

3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE dancing Salsa - as I am so good at it, especially when I am lit. Since I am going to be lit for the majority of the cruise I plan on spending all nights at the Havana Bar. How crowded does the seating area and dance floor get at night starting at say 9 PM?

 

4. How long were the lines for Pig & Anchor Lunch?

 

5. Related to question 1 - were the Havana SPAS ever filled with say more than 4 people in them at any given time during the day? If so, what would you say was peak time for the hot tubs?

 

6. Did you ever find it crowded in the Havana pool area in general? If so, when was it crowded?

 

7, Havana Outside Bar Service - VERY< VERY VERY important = all the pictures and videos I see of the outside bar show that no one is bar-tending and it looks vacated. Does anyone every tend bar back there? Does the Havana outside area have wait staff so you can order a drink from your lounger or cabana? If the outside bar is in fact unattended all the time with no bartender, do you have to get up, go inside and order a drink from the inside of the bar?

 

8. Did you visit the Alchemy Bar at all and if so, how do the drinks compare to the Havana Bar? 

 

9. How long does it take to get a drink from the Havana Bar at night?

 

10. Is the Havana Pool heated? It is colder cruising out of Los Angeles than it is in Miami and a lot less humid so I need heat. Also are the hot tubs hotter than bathwater and if not did you find you could request that they raise the temp?

 

11. The music in Havana Bar at night - is it just live bands or is there a DJ too? Live music - more than one band? How was the live music - was it good Salsa or just meh? Did the live band/DJ take song requests?

 

12, You may or may not know the answer to this question - the sliding patio doors on the Havana Cabanas - do they unlock from the outside or do you have to walk all the way around to the inside to get back inside your cabin?

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

 

 

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I can answer a couple of your questions. 

FTTF is definitely worth it. We bought it for our last cruise, and we breezed right through via the priority check in line. We sat in an area for FTTF and boarded right after the D&P passengers, long before the masses. We dropped our carry on in the cabin, because with FTTF you have cabin availability as soon as you board. Then we were up to lunch before the crowds, so, yes, so worth it. We noticed the lines in the buffet are worse on port day mornings, so we ate in MDR those days, along with sea days for the Sea Day Brunch. 

As for Pig and Anchor, we were able to get food reasonably fast, with just a small line. It could be due to the time we chose, but never had a problem. 

I cant help you with other questions, as we’ve never had a Havana cabin, and although we have walked past the Alchemy Bar, we never stopped there. We are not big drinkers, and never buy a drink package, so I’m not wasting my money on a drink concoction that I may not like. I pretty much stick to cocktails I know and love, along with a glass of wine. 

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We get on at 12:30 too so I do expect the ship to already be very full but the idea of basically walking on does sound good. Normally its check in and sit and wait until its your turn. Never saw FTTF and not sure if I would have bought it anyway since we are 2 cabins, that is 1/2 of a drink package ......priorities :-)

 

We have 3 specialty dinners already planned 2 booked one at Pig and anchor. So we will give the MDR a chance. Dinner is actually a big part of our vacation. Our kids will come and go on sea days but dinner is family time. 

 

Did you try any of the specialty sodas at the Havana bar? Any drinks virgin or normal you would recommend? 

 

How did dinner and show times work out since it sounds like you had set dinning time. 

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10 hours ago, bdever said:

Yikes, sailing on Panorama on 12/28/19 for the New Year cruise and in Havana Cabana 5238 (2nd closest to the Havana Pool area. My questions are as follows:

 

1, I specifically booked two years in advance and the closest I could get to the Havana Pool area in the event I needed to fight for a clam shell early in the morning. How early did you have to be out there to get a clam shell in Havana? This is completely dependent on how many other Haven occupants want clam shells. Generally not many people are up and about at 7 am. 

 

2. Did you have FTTF? Is this something you would recommend paying extra for to get on board faster the first day for lunch seating options?   Yes if you can most people like say its worth it. 

 

3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE dancing Salsa - as I am so good at it, especially when I am lit. Since I am going to be lit for the majority of the cruise I plan on spending all nights at the Havana Bar. How crowded does the seating area and dance floor get at night starting at say 9 PM?

 

4. How long were the lines for Pig & Anchor Lunch?

 

5. Related to question 1 - were the Havana SPAS ever filled with say more than 4 people in them at any given time during the day? If so, what would you say was peak time for the hot tubs? Girl we have no way of knowing if there will be more than 4 people in a spa at one time. If there are more than 4 go to the other one if there a total of 8 its most likely a sea day between 10 and 3. I have not seen a Havana video and I have watched a lot of them with more than say 12 people total in the pool and spas. 

 

6. Did you ever find it crowded in the Havana pool area in general? If so, when was it crowded? Sea days are busiest 

 

7, Havana Outside Bar Service - VERY< VERY VERY important = all the pictures and videos I see of the outside bar show that no one is bar-tending and it looks vacated. Does anyone every tend bar back there? Does the Havana outside area have wait staff so you can order a drink from your lounger or cabana? If the outside bar is in fact unattended all the time with no bartender, do you have to get up, go inside and order a drink from the inside of the bar? most of the videos are shot in off times very early or after 7. Look for videos of the Havana on Sea days. It looks to me that there is 1 bartender but no servers. You should plan on getting up and getting your own drink.

 

8. Did you visit the Alchemy Bar at all and if so, how do the drinks compare to the Havana Bar? The Alchemy bar is the best bar on these ships the drinks are all made to order and look amazing. The only 2 things they have in common are they serve alcohol. Also long waits at Alchemy because each drink takes some time to be made. Also Alchemy is only open in the evening not all day long. 

 

9. How long does it take to get a drink from the Havana Bar at night? Depends on what people order maybe 2 minutes maybe 20

 

10. Is the Havana Pool heated? It is colder cruising out of Los Angeles than it is in Miami and a lot less humid so I need heat. Also are the hot tubs hotter than bathwater and if not did you find you could request that they raise the temp?They do not set the spas very high I would guess 100'ish. If the pool is cool then more people will be the spas. You can ask to have them turned up but don't be surprised if they say they can not. 

 

11. The music in Havana Bar at night - is it just live bands or is there a DJ too? Live music - more than one band? How was the live music - was it good Salsa or just meh? Did the live band/DJ take song requests?

 

12, You may or may not know the answer to this question - the sliding patio doors on the Havana Cabanas - do they unlock from the outside or do you have to walk all the way around to the inside to get back inside your cabin? On Vista they do, on Horizon they do not. I think they should, it makes sense for it to work like that. But not having them lock and unlock form the outsides mean less people walking by your Cabana. 

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Your posts seem like your vacation will be ruined if you don't get quick bar service and a clam shell. I truly hope that is not the case because you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. Please have realistic expectations before your cruise so you can have a wonderful time. This is a mass cruise line not a Luxury cruise line. Here is how I think of it.  Havana is like economy plus when you fly a few extras but its not first class.  Its good but its not white glove butler service. 

10 hours ago, bdever said:

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Jenjer said:

Your posts seem like your vacation will be ruined if you don't get quick bar service and a clam shell. I truly hope that is not the case because you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. Please have realistic expectations before your cruise so you can have a wonderful time. This is a mass cruise line not a Luxury cruise line. Here is how I think of it.  Havana is like economy plus when you fly a few extras but its not first class.  Its good but its not white glove butler service. 

 

Thanks Jen for taking the time to answer my questions. That was very nice of you. 7 AM is a bit early for me unless I’m a chair hog and I’m not. I like your analogy of economy + so I will keep that in mind the entire time. I think it might be a good idea to be very generous with tips at the Havana Bar as well as Alchemy Bar and just maybe that might make a difference for service quality. So I will budget for 5x more tips and see what it gets me. I will divorce myself from my expectations and just stick with economy + for Havana overall. The hot tubs in the 100s sound DEVINE though. 

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bdever, the simple act of being polite and tipping always helps to get extra service, sounds like a solid plan. 

 

I mean around 100 degrees like between 98-101 not higher than 101...comparing the feel of different temps to my home spa. So my 102 might not be a ship 102 Defiantly not hot like my home 104 hot. Those high temps I can not stay in them very long and people could dehydrate quickly especially if they are drinking. 

 

better to have realistic expectations exceeded than high expectations left unmet.  You will be much happier and salsa even better all thru the night. 

 

I will watch the clam shells on my cruise and let you know what occupancy looks like. I plan to camp out in the Havana area all day and my family will come and go. 

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So sorry you had problems on your cruise.

Did you know that you can call your room steward using the phone in your room?

There is a button on your room phone just for that.

If we are not happy with something, or need more towels ,ice or anything else it is never a problem.

Go ahead and book that next cruise.

IT'S THE BEST VACATION EVER !!!!!!!

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20 hours ago, jewel825 said:

You will have a fantastic cruise!  You can't go wrong with the Havana area and the speciality restaurants!  I really would have loved to try some of the specialty restaurants but with the gluten free issues we had going on, the MDR seemed to be our best option.  We looked at Ji Jis which looked so good but they didn't show any gluten free options and I never took the time to find out if they had any.  

Thank you!

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2 hours ago, Jenjer said:

bdever, the simple act of being polite and tipping always helps to get extra service, sounds like a solid plan. 

 

I mean around 100 degrees like between 98-101 not higher than 101...comparing the feel of different temps to my home spa. So my 102 might not be a ship 102 Defiantly not hot like my home 104 hot. Those high temps I can not stay in them very long and people could dehydrate quickly especially if they are drinking. 

 

better to have realistic expectations exceeded than high expectations left unmet.  You will be much happier and salsa even better all thru the night. 

 

I will watch the clam shells on my cruise and let you know what occupancy looks like. I plan to camp out in the Havana area all day and my family will come and go. 

Thanks Jen, so sweet of you to keep me in mind for clamshell feedback on your next cruise.

 

our hot tub in my community is only about 90 degrees at best so it sounds like I will be happy.

 

i can’t wait to hear about your next cruise.

 

I’m like you, Havana all day everyday and my 27 year old son who will be staying with me in the Havana Cabana will be doing his best to avoid me as he peruses single females in other areas of the ship, so I’ll be solo 90% of the time.

 

Cheers,

Bethany

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My DW and I were on this cruise and thought the food in the MDR was the best we had but I know that's subjective to each.  Schwartz was the best so far for us, one of our best cruises.

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36 minutes ago, Cruisin sun and fun said:

My DW and I were on this cruise and thought the food in the MDR was the best we had but I know that's subjective to each.  Schwartz was the best so far for us, one of our best cruises.

That’s pretty much what I said. It’s very subjective. We thought the food was awesome! Not one single complaint.

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