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A Peek Inside Carnival Horizon

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JSinapijr

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 I had the honor of being invited to the naming ceremony of the Carnival Horizon! Carnival Cruises newest ship is 133,500 GRT and holds 5,056 guests. She will sail from New York City to Bermuda and the Eastern Caribbean before repositioning to Miami, FL to sail Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean.   
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You think you know Carnival? Think again! Once you step onboard you will think to yourself "Wait, this is a Carnival ship?" The Carnival Horizon is the new flagship of the fleet and it is bringing a new name to Carnival. The Horizon does not boast non-stop crazy party and drinking for young adults no instead you see families, young couples, friend groups, older couples and yes, a lot of kids.  With 17 dining options, 13 entertainment venues, the first ever Dr. Seuss Waterworks, a sports complex complete with Sky Ride and three pools this Carnival ship has taken things to a whole new level. 
 
The Horizon is the BEST Carnival ship that I have ever had the pleasure of boarding (even if it was just for the night). The service, food, entertainment, accommodations and venues are second to none I will even say I believe it is the best mid-size cruise ship afloat. Carnival Has absolutely outdone themselves! 

So let us talk ship!

The Atrium:
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Very similar to it's "Sista Vista" the Horizon's atrium spans three decks (3,4, and 5) has an incredible lounge and bar, that, might I add, serves some of the best drinks onboard, has "mall style" shopping on both deck 4 and 5 with the first-ever Victoria's Secret at sea and access to all other areas of the ship! A few other places you will find in the atrium are guest services, carnival adventures, fun hub, and of course Cherry on Top! 

The Upper Promenade:
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Take a stroll through the upper atrium and find the first ever"Guy's Pig  & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse" that features incredible small bites, craft beer including four new specialty craft brew beers brewed right onboard and Incredible cocktails! You'll also find some Carnival classics such as the Alchemy Bar, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Java Blue Cafe, Shake Spot, the Havana Bar and of course Pixels Photo Gallery, Dream Spot and the Internet Cafe. Lastly, enjoy the first ever onboard a Carnival ship "Bonsai Teppanyaki" restaurant located mid-ship upper promenade! 
 
The Lower Promenade:
 
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Now, of course, how can you have an upper promenade without a lower promenade. You might find yourself here late night way after dinner to put a few dollars in the slot machines, or on the Blackjack table in the Casino, catch a comedy show in the Limelight Lounge or cheer on your favorite sports team in Skybox Sports Bar! 
 
The Lido Deck:
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Deck 10 the most iconic deck on a cruise ship awaits you here, the Lido deck! Step out to the Beach pool, grab a lounge chair then head over to the Blue Iguana or Red Frog bar before relaxing for the day under the sun! If you opt for a more relaxed quiet area head to the very aft of deck 10 and find the Tides Pool. This area is complete with a full bar, a full-size pool, whirlpools, Pizzeria Del Capitano, Seafood Shack, endless amounts of loungers for you to relax, and a stunning view! 
 
Sports & Activities Deck: Deck 11
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 Now here is where the fun is, where children of all ages, looking at you baby boomers, can experience the true fun that Carnival offers. Take a ride down one of the two full-size waterslides but be careful not to be caught by Thing 1 or Thing 2 and beware of the GRINCH! Head to the aft of deck 11 and take a ride in the sky with Carnivals Skyride, climb through the ropes course, get a hole in one with mini golf, or make new friends and play a game of basketball! 
 
The Serenity Deck: 
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This is for all of those adults who are traveling without kids or are choosing to leave their children at the kids club all day! Enjoy oversized loungers, a full bar, healthy eating alternative, whirlpools and amazing views that look out over the Horizon!
 
Meridian Restaurant:
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 One of the main dining rooms onboard is there to impress. The chic design of Meridian sprawls over two decks boasting a calm atmosphere and cuisine that will leave you pleasantly surprised. If you're lucky you can get a table right in the center under one of the incredible color changing chandeliers or maybe one in the very aft next to the back windows! Be prepared to eat and enjoy because Carnival does not save the best food for the specialty restaurants they make sure all guests have a meal unlike any other! 
Welcome home for the Summer Carnival Horizon!
Check out cruiseshipcrayz.com for more! 
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Looks like a beautiful ship!  Carnival has come a long ways from years back.   My last cruise on Carnival was in 2009 on the "Liberty." Although Celebrity is my favorite, I really enjoyed the Carnival Liberty.

Edited by Shari2

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Hey Joe, thanks for posting all of this info.  It sounds like Carnival has without a doubt stepped their game up.  Very cool!  Some questions:

  • Capacity of 5,000+ guests sounds closer to a 200,000+ GRT Royal Caribbean ship, how did Carnival squeeze so many more passengers in without increasing the GRT anywhere near that of Royal Caribbean's largest ships who I believe also hold somewhere in that ballpark approx the same number of passengers?
  • What were additional charges in the Smokehouse, if any?  Or is it all included?
  • What made the food much better than the other ships?

Thanks again, great sneak peek!

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Hi @Jason

These were all things I was concerned about as well and did not understand until I was onboard. So the Carnival Horizon is roughly 133,500 GRT and the Oasis Class of ships range from 225,000 to 230,000 GRT. The horizon has a passenger capacity of 5,056 and the Oasis class ships hold up to 6,900. So even though there is only a 1,800 passenger difference I still understand the concern.

So how do they manage this?

Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class gives you all the amenities of a "Super-Ship" with the capability of having every public space half full because there is such a large variety of them. Now on Carnival, there are enough public spaces for each of them to be about 95% full at most times, even with this you will not feel "crowded" but you definitely be in an elevator with 3 or 4 other passengers whereas on Oasis I was on the elevator by myself almost always. So it seems to me Carnival was able to fit that amount of people by having fewer public spaces or at least smaller spaces and having more cabins. To put this into perspective the older Carnival ships such as the  Triumph class have large atrium areas that span the entire height of the ship where the newer ships have an atrium that spans three decks. If Royal Caribbean did something similar to this I would image they could fit upwards of 8,000 passengers onboard. 

The smokehouse is an additional fee restaurant. I am not too sure about the price I think it might be al la carte pricing and of course, the drinks do cost extra and they cost anywhere from $10-  $14 but if you do have the cheers package those drinks are included with those packages. 

So the food onboard was just perfect. Over the last few years since specialty restaurants have become a very common thing onboard, I have noticed a steep decline in the main dining room food. I noticed this onboard Harmony of the Seas in 2017 when, for the first time, I decided to forgo dinner after getting my dinner and it being horrible enough to the point that I did not want anything else.  Now onboard the Horizon I was able to sample the food at multiple specialty restaurants and then had a full dinner in the main dining room and I did not notice any differences in the quality, presentation or flavor. The main dining room was perfect from the atmosphere to the Kale salad, Lobster, and Shimp, to the GLUTEN FREE, melting chocolate cake. For those who need approval that I know good food, I live in Providence, Rhode Island which is home to some of the best and most award-winning restaurants in the country. Needless to say, I know good food. 

 

I hope this sufficiently answers your questions! 

-Joe 

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15 hours ago, Shari2 said:

Looks like a beautiful ship!  Carnival has come a long ways from years back.   My last cruise on Carnival was in 2009 on the "Liberty." Although Celebrity is my favorite, I really enjoyed the Carnival Liberty.

@Shari2 I could not agree more Carnival has come a very long way in a short amount of time! If you enjoyed the Carnival Liberty you would definitely enjoy the Horizon! 

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Joe, very interesting perspectives and information.  Disappointed to hear that the Smokehouse is an extra fee, but I guess it is what it is.  The pics of those bbq ribs look amazing!

Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for posting Joe. I've got to say the photo's make the ship look very "vanilla" which may be better than the older ships and their garish colors. Still too many people in too small of an area for me though.

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Forgot to say WELCOME Joe...love your blog and the great pictures! We were on the "Holiday" back in the '80s and it was pretty bad, but decided to go with a group of friends on the "Liberty" in 2009.  I was amazed at how much better the ships looked, and the food and entertainment was very good.  Although I would love to try other ships, I wouldn't hesitate to sail on the newer Carnival ships again.  Loved the melting chocolate cake with a little ice cream on top.  Had that almost every night, even though the crème Brule is usually my favorite.

Edited by Shari2

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