Overall, for the value you cannot beat Carnival Cruise Lines. I have been on at least 15 cruises and all have been with CCL.
5 out of 5
We are Platinum members so we were on the ship within 10 minutes of hitting the terminal. Carnival has really made this process pretty much seamless even if you are not a Platinum or Diamond level cruiser.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We really enjoyed the daily breakfast in the buffet lines. Last year on the Vista we went to the sit down breakfast in the dining room. This was really nice compared to the daily breakfast that seems to get old after a few morning of the same food. You should try it out at least once on your next cruise. The first day we tried the BBQ at the Pig and Anchor aboard the Horizon. It was pretty good BBQ and had plenty of sauces to try on your food. Make sure you check them out because during the day it is free but at night it is a paid restaurant which isn't too bad still. But, we didn't go in there for the nightly dinner. We really enjoyed Guy's Burger Joint but still didn't want to eat a hamburger each day. I had the pizza joint a few times during the week which never disappoints. Make sure you check out the deli that is near the lido buffet and pizza place. They are open from 11am - 11pm which makes it pretty convenient. Sometimes as other cruisers are coming back on board it can get rather busy and the long lines might turn you away. But, check it out at least once on your trip. We really enjoyed the hot chocolate even in the Caribbean and had it at least every day. Make sure you check out the Swirls ice cream machines too. It is pretty awesome. We only went to the main dining room just once and really that meal isn't that big of a deal for us. I would say for at least the past decade the main dining room menu has remained exactly the same. I wish this would be the one thing that Carnival would really try to improve on.
5 out of 5
The pools aboard the Horizon were always jammed packed. Honestly, I couldn't tell you the last time I even got in one on a cruise ship. I prefer to go to the hot tubs which for some reason the entire week no matter which hot tub you went to it was never really bubbling up like it should be. The water wasn't really that hot either and I noticed as the week was winding down it seemed to get colder and colder. We enjoyed the 3D theater and for $5.95 it was awesome. It runs about 18 minutes or so and features 3 short films. Definitely check it out it is worth the money. I wanted to check out the IMAX but unfortunately the movies that just turned over the week we boarded didn't really seem like something I wanted to watch. We went to the spa on the first night for the "managers special" for a 75 minute massage. It was awesome but be prepared for the high pressure sales pitch at the end. They tried to sell me some type of body detox system for $200!! You definitely have to be firm with them or once you tell them no here comes another product.
4 out of 5
Overall, the music and DJ's were fine. We didn't go to any of the shows because to me most of them seem to be "cheesy" and something I wouldn't go to at home. So, no big deal either way for me.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
We have a balcony room on lido deck room 10278. It was an awesome location basically just a few steps to the lido deck and all the fun. We always try to stay around that same area because the part of the ship just works for us. Our room steward was Joavonyi (I believe that is how you spell her name). She was awesome! Always making sure we had exactly wanted we needed. The only thing we really asked for the entire 8 days was to have clean towels and to make sure our ice bucket was filled up each day. We told her and her team to not even clean our room probably half of the time. We are not messy travelers so we really didn't need a freshen up each day in our cabin. We always tip our room steward extra money at the end of the cruise because we feel that they might be the hardest workers on the entire ship!
5 out of 5
The Horizon in the sister ship to the Vista which we were on last year. Exact same layout so we knew exactly where everything was. The ship was extremely clean and if you did happen to see a mess or spill they were right on it. The "smart" elevators they have on this ship was more of a nuisance on day 1 then as the week progressed. The first day you might as well take the stairs as other cruisers do not know how to make them work so they are stopping at each floor to an empty space. You basically hit a panel on the floor you want to go to and it will direct you to a door that will take you to that specific floor. But, make sure you hit the button each time for the number of people in your group. That way the elevator will know how many people are waiting to get on. Honestly, just give me the standard elevator and I will be just as happy. I found myself taking the stairs to the floors I needed because it was much faster.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The room was perfect for the 3 of us. It was weird last year we were in the room right next door to us on the Vista which had a pull down bed from the ceiling. But, room 10278 did not have this feature. Also, I wish Carnival would do away with that annoying table that is jammed with all of the books and magazines. We found it to be always in the way.
Make sure you check out the adults only Serenity deck on 15. It is an awesome place to relax.
We purchased our one and only excursion for this week from Carnival. We did the sting ray city and beach excursion. It was pretty awesome not as good as the one you do in Grand Cayman but was still pretty cool. The beach they take you at the end is the same one that EVERYONE seems to go to near the entrance in GT. It wasn't bad...but was pretty crowded the day we were there.
We walked right off the ship and was greeted by a tour guide operator that took us on a great excursion for just $25 per person! It was well worth it. It took us to the fort and we were able to get our and enjoy the scenery. No need to pay double the prices on the cruise ships here in PR. You get the exact same excursions or better for half the price. Make sure you check them out.
The rest of the week we didn't do any Carnival based excursion as we have found you can get better deals for half the price on a site called shoreexcursioneer.com The are very reliable and definitely worth checking out. We have used them for our last 3 cruises and will never use the cruise lines exclusively now. We went to the next island over NEVIS and enjoyed the day. Make sure you check it out.
Another excursion we booked on our own. We went to the Sonesta beach resort for all day $88 a person. You had the run of the entire property, all the drinks you wanted, and was right next door to world famous MAHO Beach. This is where the planes fly right into the airport right above your head. It is an awesome experience. Don't miss it.
5 out of 5
We always do the carry off your own luggage early in the morning. We were getting off of the ship at 705am, through customs, in a taxi, and back in FLL in our hotel for the day at exactly 8am. You can't beat that.
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