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Carnival Horizon 8 day Southern Caribbean Cruise Review


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On 1/28/2020 at 7:26 PM, jam19872016 said:

Day Three: 

 

Grand Turk

 

Today was our first port of call - Grand Turk. This is my eighth time visiting Grand Turk. I think my mom has been here on every cruise except our Mexico cruise. But we were excited that we were no longer moving after a very rocky day at sea.

 

I checked the weather report before the cruise and it said today would be extremely windy. I knew Grand Turk is an often skipped port in high winds and with the recent incident in Cozumel I thought there was a good chance of skipping the port today but when I woke up we had already docked. I do believe the Elation skipped this port today.

 

After our 12 hour hibernation we were famished so headed to the dining room for some breakfast. I ordered avocado toast and the corn beef hash.

 

 

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The bed of bacon in the hash was far too under cooked for my liking and I didn't eat it. Other than that everything was delicious!
 

I LOVE the avocado toast in the MDR! I am also a lover of corned beef hash, so I may try that next time. 

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I just discovered your review here on the Horizon which I am enjoying so far, which 7 of us, (was to be eight) will be taking the middle part of March. I may be wrong, but I thought you had planned on going by yourself, and then it looks like your mother joined you, which I think is wonderful. I guess the reason I say this, my friend was to be with me, along with my 3 son/3 d-i-l's, but she BACK OUT just a couple days ago. 😞  To say the least, I have been in a whirlwind, just trying to figured out "if" someone else could take her place, as I am losing quite a bit of my money, and I didn't want to be by myself, but I have had several people tell me I would be fine, so it looks like, even though I have my family, I will find out how it is to be a "solo" person at times. 🙂   When you said you were in Florida, I thought of my dear friend who lives in Clearwater, but she just started a job, or I know she would have gone. I'll look forward to reading more of your review.

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53 minutes ago, beshears said:

I say this, my friend was to be with me, along with my 3 son/3 d-i-l's, but she BACK OUT just a couple days ago. 😞  To say the least, I have been in a whirlwind, just trying to figured out "if" someone else could take her place, as I am losing quite a bit of my money,

 

Sorry to hear about your friend. But you should be past final payment.  How are you losing money?  Did you pay for her share of your cabin cost?    Depending on the reason she cancelled, if you bought insurance, you may be able to get some money back or a credit... and worse case, you can throw yourself on the Mercy of Carnival and try to do a discounted passenger swap.  Good luck!

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On 1/26/2020 at 3:00 PM, jam19872016 said:

I've read about the Panorama making the casino smoke free on boarding day since you board in the casino. I am going to make a guess now that sometime in the near future that will extend to all ships which muster in the casino. I witnessed a number of people complain that they had to muster in the smokey smell and were allowed to stand outside the casino. I couldn't smell anything (as a non smoker) but maybe others are more sensitive to it.

 

The reason they  made the casino non-smoking on panorama is because of the setup in Long beach, you actually now board through the casino, not down on deck 3 like normal.  

Edited by vwrestler171
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I had posted to you earlier, but forgot a couple things.  I am not planning on using my cell phone on the ship, other than to take pictures!  I don't know if you will know this answer, or maybe someone else will see my question and answer.  If I need to call any of my family since I will be by myself (not planned this way 😞 ), where there rooms are not close to me, can I just dial their room number and get them?  Also, it looks like you are a Pepsi drinker as well and I. 🙂 My family are all Coke, and when they know "mom" is going to be there, they bring on the Pepsi! 🙂 As I am in Missouri (Gladstone), and we are just a few hours from Branson, Missouri, my friend and I will drive ALL AROUND Branson, just to make sure we get our Pepsi's! 🙂

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43 minutes ago, beshears said:

I had posted to you earlier, but forgot a couple things.  I am not planning on using my cell phone on the ship, other than to take pictures!  I don't know if you will know this answer, or maybe someone else will see my question and answer.  If I need to call any of my family since I will be by myself (not planned this way 😞 ), where there rooms are not close to me, can I just dial their room number and get them?  Also, it looks like you are a Pepsi drinker as well and I. 🙂 My family are all Coke, and when they know "mom" is going to be there, they bring on the Pepsi! 🙂 As I am in Missouri (Gladstone), and we are just a few hours from Branson, Missouri, my friend and I will drive ALL AROUND Branson, just to make sure we get our Pepsi's! 🙂

Yes, if using the phone in your cabin, just punch in their cabin number. But if you put the Hub app on your phone, you can text each other while phone is in airplane mode, but WiFi turned on to the Carnival WiFi. You do not need to buy the Carnival WiFi package for this, but pay only $5 per device for the whole cruise. It worked out well for me on our recent Glory cruise, texting my daughter in one cabin, and granddaughter in another cabin. 

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Grandmarnnurse, thanks for letting me know that  I can put the room numbers in to call someone. I'm not planning on using my phone, other than to take pictures.  I'm so used to having someone else in the room if I need my dress zipped, etc., and now having to do it on my own, I may need to call someone. 🙂

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On 1/28/2020 at 6:50 PM, jam19872016 said:

 

Thank you so much! I look forward to reading your review of the Horizon 🙂

 

 

The rocking normally does not bother me but it really got to me this cruise. My mom also. This was her first time getting sick I think maybe our location at the front of the ship so close to the waterline contributed to it.

I was on the same sailing. It was definitely a rocky ride. White caps on the ocean every single day. Thankfully no one in my party got sick. 

 

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Thanks for the review-we are on the Horizon for the ABC cruise, and we have anytime dining-exactly where do you go to make your dining reservations for dinner?

 

I love your pictures, and I hope you have gotten over your cold!  (that happened to me on a 5 day cruise out of Jacksonville once, but me, and others all "caught" something in the pre boarding waiting area.) weird. 

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On 2/16/2020 at 4:58 PM, jam19872016 said:

Thanks for reading along everybody. I'll be back tomorrow or Tuesday to finish up this review.

 

Oops, didn't meet that deadline! Sorry about that, we had our semi-annual surprise corporate compliance audit this week so things at work were crazy. Going to continue now so I can wrap this up before my next cruise tomorrow 🙂

 

 

On 2/16/2020 at 5:37 PM, SunNFunCruzer said:

 

 

Dang!  Hope you feel better !  And Thanks for reporting and enjoy the end of what sounds like a Fabulous cruise!!!  🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Thanks, I got better pretty quick. My mom caught it next and unfortunately she was very sick for a couple weeks.

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On 2/16/2020 at 6:11 PM, grandmarnnurse said:

I just sailed the Glory, and they had BBQ, but it was not the same as Guys was on the Breeze. I can’t wait to have the Guys BBQ when I sail the Magic April 5 for my B2B. Also, your cake choice is my favorite, and just had it on embarkation day February 2. I know I will be having that again. (I am currently trying to lose the 7lbs I gained on that cruise before the next! 🤣🤣🤣)

 

Agree, Guys BBQ is so much better than the BBQ they have on the Conquest class. On my recent trip on Liberty I didn't even bother going up there. At least the cakes are consistent now ship to ship. The funfetti cheesecake is my second favorite after the chocolate peanut butter flavor they serve on the last day. I don't check the scale, I don't need that negativity in my life 🙂 

 

On 2/16/2020 at 6:42 PM, grandmarnnurse said:

I LOVE the avocado toast in the MDR! I am also a lover of corned beef hash, so I may try that next time. 

 

That avocado toast is so yummy! The corned beef hash was good too, just needed that bacon cooked longer.

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On 2/16/2020 at 10:03 PM, beshears said:

I just discovered your review here on the Horizon which I am enjoying so far, which 7 of us, (was to be eight) will be taking the middle part of March. I may be wrong, but I thought you had planned on going by yourself, and then it looks like your mother joined you, which I think is wonderful. I guess the reason I say this, my friend was to be with me, along with my 3 son/3 d-i-l's, but she BACK OUT just a couple days ago. 😞  To say the least, I have been in a whirlwind, just trying to figured out "if" someone else could take her place, as I am losing quite a bit of my money, and I didn't want to be by myself, but I have had several people tell me I would be fine, so it looks like, even though I have my family, I will find out how it is to be a "solo" person at times. 🙂   When you said you were in Florida, I thought of my dear friend who lives in Clearwater, but she just started a job, or I know she would have gone. I'll look forward to reading more of your review.

 

Nope, she was along for the ride from the beginning. I did do a review once before where I was going solo and then I invited her to come along. Sorry about your friend but I am sure you will still have a wonderful time. I love solo cruising (when it is not cost prohibitive) and I also have done a solo cruise with friends on the ship. That is the best of both worlds because you can go at your own pace, but still have people you know when you feel like being social. Have a great cruise!

 

On 2/16/2020 at 11:52 PM, vwrestler171 said:

 

The reason they  made the casino non-smoking on panorama is because of the setup in Long beach, you actually now board through the casino, not down on deck 3 like normal.  

 

Smart decision. My theory is as people adjust to this change, they will take it one step further and prohibit smoking on embarkation day on all ships that muster in the casino.

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On 2/18/2020 at 9:22 PM, annual cruiser 1968 said:

I was on the same sailing. It was definitely a rocky ride. White caps on the ocean every single day. Thankfully no one in my party got sick. 

 

 

Hopefully you made a better room choice than me 🙂 BOOM! BANG! CRASH! all night long lol.

 

On 2/18/2020 at 9:25 PM, annual cruiser 1968 said:

Nice pics. Mine were a little different. There was a fire along the harbor that night. It broke out around 7pm and the smoke sent me back to the ship. 

 

Thank you! Curacao is gorgeous. I wish I had made it into town for pictures of all the colorful buildings.

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On 2/19/2020 at 8:46 AM, peg8148 said:

Thanks for your review enjoyed reading it. We will be on this ship arch 7th sailing with friends. 

 

Have a great time!

 

11 hours ago, marshhawk said:

Thanks for the review-we are on the Horizon for the ABC cruise, and we have anytime dining-exactly where do you go to make your dining reservations for dinner?

 

I love your pictures, and I hope you have gotten over your cold!  (that happened to me on a 5 day cruise out of Jacksonville once, but me, and others all "caught" something in the pre boarding waiting area.) weird. 

 

Download the app. Then under dining it will have the option to request a table during dinner hours. The check-in line was obscenely long every time I walked by it. If you want to use the check-in line it is located on deck 5 right next to the Java Blue Cafe.

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Day 8: Fun Farewell Day at Sea

 

I was up today a little after 10 today and made my way to the dining room for brunch. Today I ordered the brunch spaghetti and a side or cheese grits.

 

 

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The grits were great. The spaghetti was ok. I like the sound of most of the new items but they always seem to have something in them I don't like. In this case it was ham. I ate around it but there was a LOT of ham.
 

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Back in the room I had my final towel friend.

 

 

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I don't have a lot to talk about because I really didn't do anything today. It was a gorgeous day outside and almost felt like a normal sea day. The seas were calmer and it was a bit warm (but not hot) out.

 

Off in the distance I can spot another ship but cannot tell who it is.

 

 

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On 2/10/2020 at 6:04 PM, jam19872016 said:

 

Next I went downstairs and got some empenadas.

 

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These were very good and not salty today. I also got some dessert and relaxed in the room for the remainder of the afternoon.
 


Where did you get Empenadas?

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For lunch I had a turkey sandwich to hold me over until dinner since I planned on eating good tonight.

 

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Tonight was the Platinum and & Diamond reunion party. I've never played the guessing games they have set up but figured I would try tonight. They had guess the number of candy that I didn't play. Guess the ship, which I only knew a couple. A picture word game that I only knew a couple. But I felt pretty good about guess the CD. I knew most of them (by picture, I had only sailed with a few of them) and I actually won this one! I got a fun little plaque to add to my collection of ships on a stick.
 

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After the party was dinner time. My mom and I split up for dinner tonight as I wanted at least one night of specialty dining this cruise. I chose Ji Ji Asian Kitchen. There was no availability on the app however I am not sure if that was accurate or a glitch in the system as I had a reservation already for the MDR since my mom has no idea how to use the app. They were able to seat me as a walk in but set up a reservation for me at 8:30 despite it being about 6 which is why I think it may have been an app glitch.

 

They started me off with a small dish compliments of the chef.

 

 

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With no menu to reference I cannot remember what in the world this was but it was pretty good.

 

For my appetizer I had the chicken spring rolls.

 

 

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These were excellent.

 

For my main I had the Kung Pao Chicken with a side of Hakka noodles.

 

 

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This was also excellent and way too much food for me but I powered through 🙂

 

 

For dessert I had the caramelized crepe which just might rival the steakhouse cheesecake as the best dessert on Carnival!

 

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So so good. In fact while the cheesecake wins out on sheer size, I think if we are looking at flavor alone this is the best dessert!

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Tonight's dinner was excellent and how I wish my dining experience could have been all week. At $15 this is an amazing value for the amount and quality of food you are getting and I strongly recommend giving JiJi's a try.

 

The service was also good but.... I do sort of hold a specialty restaurant to a higher standard than I would the MDR. Little things like clearing the table in a timely manner, or at least before the next course arrives and you are trying to juggle new food and old plates, matter at a specialty dining experience and in that regard I think there is some room for improvement here. This did not take away from the wonderful meal that I enjoyed.

 

My mother's dinner was the complete opposite of mine which is unfortunate. I do not know how much of it is true and how much is her perception. Sadly that is just her personalty type and when I wanted to have dinner somewhere else it put her in a bad mood that I think ruined her dinner for her. I won't give the details because her stories are a bit dramatic and I was not there to witness it but lets just say she did not have a good evening.

 

The remainder of the evening was spent packing and watching TV. We turned in early for bed tonight so we could be up bright and early for priority debarkation.

 

 

Debarkation:

 

We were at up 5:45 so we could finish getting ready and have time for a bite to eat at the Lido. We ate and made our way to the dining room for priority debarkation. It was very well organized although perhaps delayed by a few minutes longer than anticipated. Before long though we were walking off the ship and through customs. Instead of seeing an agent you now have your picture taken, and if it matches your passport you are good to go and on your way. Very simple process and just like that we were back in the real world.

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Summary:

 

Dining:

 

The Horizon has about the best variety of dining of any ship in the fleet. I enjoyed the variety of offerings and did not even begin to try them all but will summarize what I did sample.

 

Breakfast in the dining room was very good and I really enjoy Carnival's breakfast menu. I have never really considered myself a breakfast person so this was no easy task for Carnival to achieve. Brunch was also good and I am enjoying eating my way through the new American Brunch menu.

 

Dinner in the dining room was a bit hit or miss. I worry I may be a little bias as I am truly bored with the menu. Change is hard and I am sure Carnival is leary of changing their dining room menu but it may be time. That said some of my usual favorites were just not very good. I think as you try to serve more and more people, the quality of food you turn out is going to take a hit and that is what is happening as Carnival keeps building bigger and bigger ships. The service here was fantastic, however.

 

Sadly the boredom is creeping into other dining venues. I used to love the breakfast burritos at Blue Iguana but the last couple times they have been off. This cruise continued that trend. Same goes for the lunch time burritos.

 

The deli was a great choice for lunch and off hour dining when nothing else was open. They were tasty and they had no trouble with special requests that varied from the standard preparation.

 

Guy's BBQ was delicious and free for lunch. There were enough wonderful options that this place was never busy as I have found on the Dream class ships. No need to visit it early on to avoid the lines.

 

On the other hand, both the pasta bar and Mongolian Wok tended to have extremely long wait times. I would recommend getting here early in the week because the secret is out on these places. This is no longer a quiet retreat from the masses. This is now a "share a table with the masses because we have no room to seat you". The food was very good. I think not waiting in a line for Mongolian Wok is a great thing, but the overall wait time feels much longer. My theory on that is because people who would not wait in the line will come for a sit down meal. Also note that you cannot customize the quantity of each item like you can when you make your own bowl at the traditional Wok.

 

The buffet continues to be Carnival's weak point. My advice is to skip it all together in favor of the wide variety of other options available. Some nice additions on Horizon include a free gelato stand with toppings, and an empenada station. And the lunch cakes are amazing. Other than that, stear clear of the buffet.

 

The only specialty restaurant I ate at was JiJi's and it remains a fantastic value at just $15 per person. If you only try one specialty venue on Horizon, make Jiji's a priority!

 

Public Spaces and Cabin:

 

Carnival has gotten away from their bright and wild designs that they used to be well known for. While the Vista felt bland and cold, I feel like a little more thought went into the designs on the Horizon. It feels like it has a little more personalty. I don't know how to explain it but if you have sailed both Vista and Horizon, you will notice that Horizon feels a little more like a ship instead of "grey".

 

My favorite part of the design was the stairway art that I featured a few times in this review. Very neat looking!

 

My stateroom was 1211 which was located almost all the way forward on Deck 1. I booked this cabin as it was one of the last remaining insides available. I was hoping an opportunity to upgrade would come but it never did. This ended up being a terrible location in rough weather and I would strongly caution against booking this room even if it costs more for a room on a higher deck.
 

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Entertainment:

 

The Horizon has lots of bells and whistles to keep you entertained in addition to all the Carnival staples. I did not participate in a lot of them but I did enjoy the complimentary in room movies on demand.

 

I was a bit skeptical about CD Mike Pack as I have sailed with a string of CDs recently who get great reviews but I wasn't impressed with any of them. One of them I downright could not stand (looking at you Cousin Cookie). I was impressed though and agree Mike is a great CD. The thing I really like most about him is that he seems genuine. Most seem to be playing a "character" (looking at you again cookie) Mike is just Mike. No over the top shenanigans, no bits, no corny catch phrases. Just a really great guy having the time of his life leading the party.

 

Everyone knows the issues with the design of the lounges. Be prepared to show up early because Carnival dropped the ball on this one. I really enjoyed Celestial Strings and wish I would have seen Vintage Pop as the theme sounds interesting. Amor Cubano gets a hard pass from me.

 

Service:

 

The biggest complaint I had about Vista, and the thing that made me most hesitant to book on Horizon, was the service. The crew seemed very overwhelmed and miserable. This was not the case at all on Horizon. The fantastic service I have come to expect on Carnival was alive and well on this ship.

 

The one area of improvement was my room steward. We were offered morning, evening, or both. My mom said afternoon. He said he works till 1 in the afternoon so he will put me down for morning. I asked for evening as that was what she meant but then we went to bed before he could service our room. He did the room the next morning which was great. But then he continued am service for the rest of the week. I could have said something but it wasn't that big of a deal just odd that he was so eager to service the room in the am. He was also packed up for the evening most nights by 8.

 

Overall:

 

Overall I had a fantastic trip on the Horizon. I struggled a bit with the choppy seas and it did bring down the overall vibe of the trip for me. I know that is not fair as Carnival has no control over that and the seas do tend to be choppier this time of year, but this was rough pretty consistently for the better part of eight days and it just brought my spirits down despite my best efforts to not let it. I would still sail this itinerary and this ship again this same time of year and just hope for better luck.

 

I would love a do over but perhaps without my mom in tow. She is content with the MDR whereas I am at a point where I would love to do specialty dining more often as I am sorta over the same MDR menu.

 

Thank you all for reading along on this review and I hope to see you all again soon for my review of my 3 day trip on the Carnival Liberty!

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18 minutes ago, mvaughn11 said:


Where did you get Empenadas?

 

When you walk into the buffet coming from the outside Lido deck, it is in the first buffet station sort of in the middle next to the fresh ice cream stand. These were pretty good and definitely worth a try!

 

Thanks for reading and if anyone has any more questions I will try to answer tomorrow before I head out but if not will reply when I get back from my next cruise! Thanks again.

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