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DramaQueen22

Horizon Review and Reflections Sept 15-21

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We originally planned this trip to celebrate our 30th anniversary.  Unfortunately, Dh had a change of plans and ended up not being able to go.  Our 27yr old son stepped in and off we went.

PRE CRUISE

We flew into Miami from Philadelphia the day before departure.  Flew on Frontier...which was a pleasant surprise.  Grabbed a Lyft and headed to the Hampton Brickell.  We took the recommendation of many through these boards and this hotel did not disappoint.  After settling in, we walked around the neighborhood a bit.  Had fantastic tacos at Coyo Taco, then scrumptious waffle sundaes at Freddo.  We decided to take a dip in the pool and hot tub, which was fun as there was a slight drizzle coming down at the time.  We enjoyed a nightcap (with the welcome drink offered at check in) and a few games of pool in the hotel lounge before turning in for the night.

 

EMBARKATION 

Finally!  Enjoyed a terrific breakfast at the hotel...really good for a buffet.  Lots of options.  The hotel provided a shuttle to the port for a reasonable $8 per person.  As we were the first ship in line at the port, we were the first off the shuttle.  We arrived at the terminal and were onboard 20 minutes later!  Fastest embarkation ever.  I had FTTF for this trip, and by the time we went through security and were seated in the lounge, they called us to board.   Loved seeing my son's reaction to stepping on the ship for the first time.  We headed to our cabin (5218 Havana Interior) to drop our carryons, then we explored the ship a bit.  

 

THE SHIP/DINING OPTIONS

Loved the layout, especially not having to walk through the smoky casino all of the time.  You can walk all the way through on Deck 5, then take the forward elevators.  Our cabin was great.  Loved the Havana area and having a dedicated space with a pool.  There was plenty of room to sit in the sun or in the shade, and the pool was never crowded even on the 2 sea days.  Great drinks at the bar...especially the mojitos!  We had early dining in Reflections.  Our service team was amazing.  Food was very good throughout our sailing; only one night my entree was a bit blah.  Our desserts were fabulous every single night.  Buffet was good, although the selections at breakfast needed more variety.  The Deli, Guys', Pizza del Capitano and Blue Iguana were all very good.  DS loved the breakfast burritos.  Wde did the Sea Day Brunch, which was awesome.  I also had afternoon Tea one day which was lovely.  All of the bars we visited had great service.  I wasn't too enamored with Alchemy on this trip, largely because the bartenders were rather sour and did not interact with the guests as much as I had experienced on other cruises.  

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Plenty of option for everyone.  Sportssquare was interesting.  We tried the soccer billiards, which was WAY harder than it looked.  Son did the ropes course as well and said it was fun, but once was enough for him.  SkyRide was down for our cruise.  He also enjoyed the waterslides without too much of a line most of the time.  Comedians at the Punchliner (Kelly Terranova and Sid Davis) were funny without being overtly crude even in the 18+ shows.  Elizabeth at the Piano Bar was so much fun!  Great voice and she played a huge variety of tunes.  The Playlist shows were excellent.  Soulbound was up first, but turned into a concert because there was trouble with the rigging for the show.  The singers, especially the featured performers, were outstanding.  DO NOT MISS CELESTIAL STRINGS!  Stunning visuals, amazing choreography, and beautiful music.  Loved it.  Last show we saw was Vintage Pop.  A ton of fun!  This cast was leaving the ship at the end of the cruise, but they were truly fantastic performers.  Cruise Director Cookie was good, although we didn't see him around the ship much during the day.  He was hilarious hosting the Love and Marriage Show.  

 

ONBOARD SHOPPING

The usual Invicta watches and LeVian jewelry offerings (these are not really a good deal in my opinion).  There were a few pop-up shops during the week that had some nicely priced selections.  We did get a great deal on some whiskey.  Carnival seems to be phasing out the more reasonably priced items in favor of expensive watches and gemstone pieces.  If you like that sort of thing and can afford it, good for you.  I would love to see more middle of the road shopping options.

 

PORTS/EXCURSIONS

We did the Mystic Mountain Sky Explorer in Ocho RIos.  The rainforest is beautiful.  Enjoyed the infinity pool at the top.  There is a nice gift shop as well, where I was able to buy my Blue Mountain coffee beans!  In Grand Cayman, we did the Hell/Turtle Center/Stingray City experience.  The Turtle Center was our favorite.  Really cool to see the large turtles and be able to hold the smaller ones.  Nice gift hops there too.  Stingray City was fun.  It took about 40 minutes to sail to the sandbar.  Once in the water, we could swim around with the creatures.  Our guides let us touch and kiss the rays while they took photos. It was high tide when we were out, so t was a bit rougher than earlier in the day.  We still had a fantastic time.  We went to Paradise Beach in Cozumel.  Taxi is $17 each way from Puerta Maya.  I opted for the $3 basic admission, while DS did the inflatables and enjoyed his day snorkeling offshore.  We had delicious pina coladas, nachos, and quesadillas.  Great beach day and not too crowded.

 

DEBARKATION

This process would go SO much more smoothly if people would just follow instructions.  We had a post-cruise excursion, so we met in the Liquid Lounge.  As we were being led off, all sorts of people tried to jump the line, and would get positively nasty when told to stay where they were.  Customs was a breeze.  They scanned our documents, and we were done.  Grabbed our luggage and headed out to meet our bus for the Top 10 Miami tour.  

 

Overall, we had a fantastic trip.  Now where should I go next?

Edited by DramaQueen22
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Do an  8 day Eastern on the Mardi Gras in 2020 or a Southern on the Horizon.  Havana deck cabin, obviously, for Horizon.  I'd skip the Havana for the Mardi Gras as layout is changed.  Need to wait for reviews for better idea.

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5 minutes ago, crewsweeper said:

Do an  8 day Eastern on the Mardi Gras in 2020 or a Southern on the Horizon.  Havana deck cabin, obviously, for Horizon.  I'd skip the Havana for the Mardi Gras as layout is changed.  Need to wait for reviews for better idea.

I probably wouldn't book Havana on Mardi Gras either.  It is perfectly located on the Vista Class ships, and well worth every penny in my opinion.  Just the lack of young kids is a plus (I love kids, but I also love my quiet relaxation time!).  

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