I just got back from a short 2-day cruise on Carnival Cruise Line’s newest cruise ship, Carnival Horizon, out of Miami, Florida. Two days was not nearly enough time to really appreciate this ship and all it has to offer. Plus, I was busy running around getting videos and pictures of the ship so all of our amazing readers could check it out too.
But still, I found 8 things about Carnival Horizon that really stuck with me, and I thought some of you might appreciate them too. Here’s a little video review of Horizon, and check out my written review below it.
Destination Elevators Save Time
On my last several cruises I resolved to only take the stairs and avoid elevators at all cost. This was partly because I wanted the exercise and partly because elevators can be so sluggish on a cruise ship. But Carnival Horizon has implemented destination elevators, and I had to try them. Once you wave your hand over the sensor to wake it up you simply select a deck on the screen.
The screen will then give you a letter that corresponds with an elevator that you will take to reach your destination. The system finds the quickest way to get there with the fewest amount of stops along the way. By the way, this also solves the problem of “someone” pressing all the buttons in the elevator. Once inside the elevator there are no buttons to press.
Getting there quicker means more time enjoying your vacation. Can’t beat that.
Havana Staterooms Allow a True Escape
Some have called it a cruise within a cruise. We all know the main pool and aft pool can be a little crowded and cramped on a cruise ship. But the Havana pool on deck 5 is not only quiet. It’s away from the rest of the hustle and bustle of lido deck. And since it’s only open to Havana stateroom passengers until 7pm, you never have to worry about finding an open spot in the 2 whirlpools or infinity pool.
The thatched patio huts offer a nice place to cool off, relax, and socialize a bit. Havana Cabanas offer a hammock chair, large outdoor space, a unique rain shower, and the ability to walk right out onto the deck without going through any hallways. Be careful though. Once you book a Havana stateroom or suite, you might want one every time.
The Multiplex Offers a Unique Experience
By now most of us are used to the big screens on the pool deck, but putting an IMAX on a cruise ship comes with some challenges. The screen consists of 3 panels, each which are over 22 feet tall. When the screen is assembled it is over 38 feet wide and weighs 7,300 lbs. The way they get the screen on board? By cutting through a stateroom. As soon as I walked into the IMAX theater I was amazed that this was on a cruise ship. Although it’s something you can do on land as well, it was a nice change of pace for trying this on a cruise ship.
I found the IMAX experience to be much better than I had expected, but the sound was at times somewhat distorted at high volumes. Still there was plenty of seating so it was not hard to find an open time even at the last minute. The cost to watch a new release movie in the IMAX was $12.95.
The Thrill Theater is a 3D/4D interactive theater. There are 3 levels of “scariness” depending on your age or constitution. Because the theater only seats 24 some time slots get filled up if you try to book a showing last minute. Besides a 3D experience, passengers will experience wind in their faces, things brushing against their ankles, pokes in the back, and a few other surprises you will have to find out for yourself. It was obvious that everyone in the theater had a great time, as was evidenced by the combinations of screams and laughter.
A Water Park Both Kids and Parents Will Love
The Dr. Seuss-themed water park is obvious a big hit with children. From the 450-foot long waterslide, to the 213-foot water slide filled with lighting effects and polka dots, there are plenty of ways for kids to get their energy out and cool off at the same time. But parents should love this area too. It’s perfectly placed in my opinion. It’s far enough from the main pool deck so as to not make it over crowded, and its proximity to the adult-only Serenity area make it so parents can be both close by their kids and not bothered by any extra noises.
All the noise from the water sprinklers and huge tipping bucket help to muffle any excessive sounds as well.
Want to wear out the kids? A waterslide is the way to do it. Something about going up the stairs for the waterslides 20-30 times in a row will have that magical effect.
Guy Fieri Hits Yet Another Home Run
If you’ve sailed with Carnival before you might already know how tempting those Guy Fieri burgers can be. Well now he has cooked up something else to delight your pallet.
If you like his burgers you will love his barbecue. Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse will make those sea days something to look forward to. According to Carnival some of the offerings from this restaurant are ‘Championship Pork Butt, Smoked Round of Beef, Smoked Andouille Sausage and his famous Blue Ribbon Chicken as well as rockin’ sides like Mac Daddy Mac n Cheese, Old Skool Potato Salad and Collard Greens.’.
On embarkation day and sea days there will be a free lunch menu available.
There Are Food Options Aplenty
Speaking of food, isn’t that a huge reason why we love cruising so much? So, the more variety the better! What I really liked about Carnival Horizon was not just how many options there were but the different kinds of food offered at each restaurant. There’s something for everybody. Bonsai Teppanyaki is a cozy little hibachi style meal that is both tasty and entertaining. Fahrenheit 555 is the place for great steaks. Seafood Shack provides New England style seafood near the aft pool. And Cucina Del Capitano offers free Italian dishes for lunch and more elegant Italian cuisine for dinner.
The list goes on and on, but if you’re craving it, Horizon probably has it.
A Thermal Suite to Melt Away Your Stress
I’m a big fan of thermal suites, and it’s often the first place I go when I’m on a ship. While the therapy pool on Carnival Horizon is on the small side compared with other ships, I was impressed by the selection of heated chambers, both dry and wet.
Here is a list of the types of chambers that can be found in the thermal suite on Carnival Horizon with descriptions from Carnival Cruise Line explaining each one:
- Laconium – “The Dry Heat Chamber, or Laconium, is a large dry heat bath/sauna-like chamber where circulation is stimulated, accelerating and mobilizing the body’s own defenses, while reducing stress.Body circulation is stimulated at a temperature of 131-149° F (55-65° C).”
- Tepidarium – “The Tepidariumis a rest zone comprising ergonomically shaped heated loungers that offer the benefits of radiant heat. The pleasant room climate offers numerous benefits to health. The length of time spent in a Tepidarium is not limited; the revitalizing and comforting effect can be enjoyed for hours. Ambient temperatures around 100.4°F (38°C).”
- Infrared Heat Chamber – “The Infrared Heat Chamber system is built into the walls with 80 percent of the heat gently warming the body and the remaining 20 percent of infrared heat released into the air, providing cooler, more consistent temperatures than traditional saunas. The beneficial effects of a sauna remain the same: body detoxification to increase energy, burn calories, decrease inflammation, relieve pain and improve blood circulation in the skin to enhance delivery of oxygen and nutrients.”
- Aroma Steam/Aromatic Grotto – “The Steam Chamber with Aroma Steam and Aromatic Grotto is a small, intimate chamber where high humidity and radiant heat create a moist, warm climate that gently but thoroughly cleanses the skin and respiratory tract with herbal steam featuring sweet aromas such as cinnamon, orange or apple. Temperature: 104-112°F (40-50°C).”
- Hammam Chamber – “Developed during the Ottoman Empire as a place of regeneration, contemplation and inner peace. The aim is both physical and spiritual cleaning, along with loosening of joints and muscles by ladling warm water over the body to slowly increase temperature to approximately 113° F (45° C).”
The thermal suite is free for passengers in a spa cabin, but you can also choose to pay by the day or duration of the cruise to have access to this little slice of relaxation.
Enjoy a Little Adventure Around the Sky Track
SkyRide is one of the most unique experiences you can have at sea.
Porthole has given the experience a “Best Onboard Thrill” award, and people seem to really love it. It’s basically a bike on a track that zips around the ship, high above the ocean waters, offering great views, a little exercise, and a lot of fun. The two tracks cross over one another so both have a chance to be on the outside and see unobstructed views like you can’t get anywhere else on the ship.
Unfortunately, the ride was down for maintenance for the duration of my 2-day cruise out of Miami, so I have yet to try it firsthand. Sad, I know. I’ve heard that maintenance issues have been a problem, but hopefully Carnival will be able to resolve them quickly so that every cruiser who wants to try riding a bike in the sky can do so.
The area right below SkyRide has all kinds of other fun things to do as well like mini-golf, pool, cornhole, 4-person ping pong, foosball and more.
Tell us what you think
Have you been on Carnival Horizon before? Do you already have your cruise booked? Do you want to know more about the ship? Let us know in the comments below and share this post if you found it useful.