One of the better itineraries on the newest Carnival ship. I love the ship but it is too much to take in in one cruise unless you stay onboard. I am more of a destination cruiser and enjoy the vessel for as long as I go to the next port! We will sail it again and enjoyed our time immensely!
5 out of 5
We flew into Fort Lauderdale on our sail date and took the Carnival transfer to the ship in Miami. Check in was the easiest I've ever experienced. We just showed our boarding passes and passports and went right on the ship so the embarkation was seamless for us and because our boarding time was at 1:30 our stateroom and everything was ready by the time we got there.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We did the "anytime dining" because we like to be flexible in choosing evening activities and glad we did. Using the Hub App to let the dining room know when we were ready to eat was super convenient and our table was always ready within 15 minutes. We tried the buffet which was the best on any ship we've been on as well. I've read complaints about not having as many choices but the quality more than made up for quantity IMO. They prepared cuisine that focused on different countries every day, I could have eaten every meal there. There were too many venues to try them all and this is the first cruise we didn't get a Guy's burger (can you imagine?) My favorite was the Cucina del Capitano where I really enjoyed a succulent tomahawk steak! (posted a pic BTW) My wife particularly enjoyed the gelato at he buffet everyday and was sad if she missed it.
5 out of 5
Almost as soon as we boarded we had to try the SkyRide and it was awesome seemingly hanging off the edge of the ship while we pedaled for dear life, lol. The SkyCourse was great as well, holding onto the cables and traversing the different obstacles. Lots of outdoor activities on the ship like the skyfitness, outdoor pool table and golf course if you don't want to spend the whole sea day in the lounge chairs. I used the indoor fitness center a couple of times to work off all that excessive intake!
5 out of 5
Too many activities inside too. Didn't even do the IMAX but watched a couple of movies on Lido and we really enjoyed the comedy club, deck parties, white night and all the shows as well, particularly the Celestial Strings with the 3 violinist and Amor Cubano. Bands of different styles were playing in almost every venue on the ship. Our favorite was The Horizon Wireless.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Really busy staff on this ship as compared to the smaller Carnival ships but still managed to exceed expectations and did a little something extra every day!
5 out of 5
Horizon is the biggest ship we've been on but once we got onboard we realized the layout is almost the same as any other Carnival ship. I miss the loud colors and designs of the older ships but enjoyed the nice artwork and modern designs throughout. I kind of liked the smart elevators as well and I've used them before but you really got to know your alphabet and where your going before you get on one! I'd still recommend the stairs if you are ambulatory and not wearing heels :)
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Can't go wrong with the balcony. I always get the port side for the sunrises heading out and the sunsets coming home. The room was clean and comfy with the standard Carnival restroom and a large TV plenty of closet space extra blankets, pillows and a nice pleated robe to boot!
Lots of outdoor area on this ship. I particularly enjoyed the deck 5 with the Lanai and the outdoor plaza area as well as the forward open decks and of course Serenity.
Got to love Grand Turk, very small island with lots of beach, coral, a little history and lots of rum. Last time here we did the snorkeling at the "The Wall" (Which was awesome BTW) so this time we went a different route and did the Junkanoo Party Bus, Rum Mixology & Beach with Carnival which was perfect for us to start our island hopping on this cruise. We first got onto an old painted school bus blasting out Caribbean music and served very good rum cocktails. While taking a short tour of the Island got a little history served and more rum cocktails. We stopped at the lighthouse got a few pics with donkeys and listened to some history on it as well as rum and enjoyed several shots of the local Bambarra Silver, Gold and Black Rum and from there served more rum cocktails and dropped off at Governors beach and set up with lounge chairs and an umbrella right next to an old shipwreck that was beached there. There is an option to buy more food and drink while lounging but we were good at that point and just enjoyed the sand and surf. When the excursion was over we were taken back to the port where there was plenty of time to enjoy the huge pool and grab a bite at Margaritaville then back on board.
We did an excursion with Seavis Tours to Saona Island. They were very organized and we had an awesome adventure there. Once we got off the ship and through the reception area in La Romana we found the air conditioned vans waiting for us and took us for our 24 minute ride to Bayahibe were we would meet our twin 200 hp motor boat to take us to the island. The ride across the bay was a little rough in the front of the boat which made it a little more fun for me so make sure you sit in the back if your not into being bounced around like that. It was well worth the ride once we got to Catuano beach on the island. The sand was white and the water was clear and blue. Lounge chairs, shade and drinks were waiting for us and you didn't have to walk out into the water very far to see the coral and the colorful fish it had to offer. An awesome grilled lunch was prepared featuring fish, chicken, pork as well as grilled vegetables and more drinks! After we had some more beach time we got back on the boat and Captain Robert gave us a tour and interesting facts on the mangroves and their importance. Cruising through mangroves we traveled in the shallow waters and saw lots of starfish on either side of the boat. We were able to get out of the boat into the shallow water and see them up close. We took pictures but were encouraged not to touch them as to prevent them from being harmed. We were offered more drinks while we where there and afterwards hopped back in the boat and to Bayahibe and our ride to La Romana.
We booked the City Caves and Beach excursion through the Shipmate app and really got a great value for this tour. Our ship was late to debark at the port and our tour operator Aida was very accommodating and flexible so we were able to get the whole tour in! First we went to the Hato Cave, the entrance is high on a steep cliff so and it was a good hike to the top. The guide provided us with a comprehensive tour of the cave and its history, afterwards we drove to the flamingo habitat where we stopped off the side of the road a took pictures, really awesome seeing them in the wild like that but bring a zoom lens, although you can see them clearly they are wild and stay a couple of hundred feet off the road. It was already getting late at this point and our tour operator said the sun was setting soon and asked if we would like to go to Kokomo beach rather than Mambo, the one we were scheduled to go to. I am glad we did because we almost had the entire beach to ourselves. Beautiful clear water, awesome sand with lots of coral and opportunity for snorkeling as well as a pier and swing in the water. We enjoyed swimming out to a floating dock that was just off shore where we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets of the cruise. After the sunset we enjoyed a couple of drinks at the beach bar there and set back off to Willemstad where we opted to be dropped off at the Queen Emma pontoon bridge and walked across to the Handelskade and Punda where we bought souvenirs all within view of the ship which made it an easy walk back and took pictures to finish the memorable day!
Aruba was made for tourism! Lots of things to do and we made the best use of our short time here. We took a ship excursion here and really enjoyed our day on the 115ft teak sailing schooner the Monforte III. This was an all inclusive tour so being in the Caribbean we started the tour with drinks made to order and were very generous with the rum. After a short sail we anchored not far from the lighthouse on the island where we opted to snorkel and really enjoyed seeing the different varieties of fish the reefs had to offer there. After snorkeling a buffet of grilled chicken, beef and pork with seasoned rice and pasta salad was waiting for us as well as more drinks. Sailing back to the ship we enjoyed seeing all the beaches and resorts along the rum and waved to the people wishing they were at our vantage point as we danced and hung out on the netting of bowsprit enjoyed the music and the waves. After debarking we walked to Nikki beach and enjoyed the rest of the day in the sand before walking back via the public beach and returning to the ship.
5 out of 5
Definitely the best debarkation ever! Facial recognition made the difference here, we did self debarkation and made it to the airport too fast! Should have stayed longer! :)
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