Carnival Horizon was recently welcomed to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet as the second ship in the Vista class, joining sister Carnival Vista, which helped redefine the future of Carnival cruise ships when it debuted in 2016.
While Carnival Horizon is the sister ship of Carnival Vista and offers many of the same exciting activities and amenities, the newer ship (which we checked out on a sailing in the Mediterranean) features several cool things that you won’t find on any other cruise ship.
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Barbeque Smokehouse|Brewhouse
Carnival Horizon’s barbecue and craft beer joint is the most distinctive new attraction on the ship. The eatery expands the line’s relationship with celebrity chef Guy Fieri. Guy’s Burgers are already a passenger favorite and a staple at the poolside area on Carnival ships, and Carnival Vista and other Carnival ships offer a sea day outdoor barbecue lunch at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Barbeque venues.
Carnival Horizon raises the stakes with a full indoor venue that serves up dinners (with a la carte prices) and produces the new Carnival Parched Pig brand craft beers — Farmhouse Ale, Toasted Amber, West Coast IPA and Smoked Porter — at the ship’s onboard microbrewery facility. The bar and restaurant offers two unique cocktails also meant to be paired with the tasty barbecue pork, beef, and chicken meals and hearty sides. You can order a Bacon Manhattan (yep, with a strip of bacon as garnish) and the Smoked Boulevardier – this is a Buffalo Trace bourbon drink that is infused with smoke by lighting afire a strand of rosemary under glass (it’s quite a show).
Dr. Seuss Waterworks
The two waterslides and colorful waterpark on Carnival Horizon have a fun Dr. Seuss theme, with the “Cat in the Hat” slide (a tubing slide) and the superfast “Fun Things” slide. Adults and kids alike had a blast sliding, splashing and playing in this area on Deck 12. The splash area includes a large dump bucket (the Cat’s Hat) that offers a refreshingly cool blast on a hot afternoon.
Carnival Vista introduced Bonsai Sushi, and Carnival Horizon also has the crowd-pleasing Asian eatery. The new ship added a space adjacent to its sushi restaurant to create Bonsai Teppanyaki, a food-with-a-flair experience. The restaurant sold out each night during our sailing as cruisers delighted in watching chefs create hibachi meals with plenty of sizzle. Keep alert to be dazzled by shiny utensils and flying shrimp.
Video: Best Spots on Carnival Horizon
Piano Bar 88 in a New Spot
The ship’s piano bar is situated right next door to Carnival Horizon’s Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse. The line put the piano bar next to the popular restaurant in order to offer delightful music accompaniment during dinners. A divider separates the two spaces and is closed later in the evening when Piano Bar 88 features more rambunctious music and sing-a-longs.
In a first for Carnival, the line has installed “smart elevators” on Carnival Horizon. What are they, exactly? Well, passengers in the elevator lobbies use a smart screen to pick the deck they want to reach. The screen then tells you which of the elevators to use (designated by letters A, B, C, etc.). When it arrives, you hop on and are whisked to your destination.
You don’t press any keys once inside the lift. Carnivals says that the system cuts down on wait times and the dreaded elevator rides in which the car stops at each and every floor. We used them a few times during our cruise, and it was hard to get a feel for how much more efficient they are.
Carnival says they are especially efficient on embarkation days and other times when the elevators are in high demand.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.