Carnival Horizon 8 night Southern Caribbean Review

Monday, September 30, 2019
My husband Gabe and I just returned from the Carnival Horizon 8 night Southern Caribbean Cruise where we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary. I have so many amazing things to say about our experience. I'll be posting each of our ports and some of the activities we did on our Fun Day's at Sea so stay tuned!.

I have sailed on the Horizon's sister ship, the Vista when in 2017. Although the two ships nearly mirror one another, my experience on the Horizon blew away all pre-conceived notions I had prior to getting onboard. Also, I was a little apprehensive about 8 nights at sea, as the longest cruise I had done until this was 7 nights and I felt that was a bit too long. Now that I am home, I wish we had more time. I cannot say enough about the staff on the Horizon and this was my favorite cruise to date.

A bit about the staff: Our Cruise Director, Cookie, was the assistant Cruise Director when I sailed the Vista in 2017. I knew already he would be a blast, but I wasn't expecting to leave feeling like I made a new friend, and that was exactly the impression Cookie left. He's good people. Our room steward I-Made was one of the best I've ever had on any ship. That side of the staff does not get the credit they deserve and I appreciate all the hard work they put in to make our vacation enjoyable. Then there were the bartenders on the ship. I yet again ran into a bartender I have met on another ship, Annamaria from Alchemy Bar. She has always been able to entertain a large group while making crazy amounts of delicious drinks. The entire group at Alchemy was a blast. We also really enjoyed hanging out at Farenheit 555 bar with Ivan, with thousands of guests, he always remembered our names and what we liked to drink. We never met a rude staff member and everyone went out of their way for all the guests.

Our Carnival Horizon 8 night Southern Caribbean Itinerary 

Our itinerary on the Carnival Horizon 8 night Southern Caribbean gave us a chance to experience 4 brand new ports to us, along with giving us 3 days to relax at sea and explore the beautiful ship. I can tell you that 3 days at sea was not enough time to conquer everything we wanted to do and I now fully understand why people do transatlantic cruises. Prior to sailing on the Horizon, days at sea were not something I looked forward to. This has since changed. Also, this was the first time I've sailed knowing I had aggressive reoccurring stage 1 melanoma, so this entire experience was different to me. I couldn't spend hours at time in the sun, which forced me to do other activities on board.

I will do a full review on each of our ports but wanted to share what a little on what did on each day.
Day 1: Sailing Day
I wasn't feeling 100% on the first day of the cruise and we had already booked a reservation at Fahrenheit 555, the ships steakhouse. I got to the point that I couldn't even drink the amazing bottle of Silver Oak we purchased for half off (huge perk of booking Steakhouse on night one). We called it an early night and watched a movie on demand in our room. Carnival offers a ton of movies for free (and some for a small charge) and there are huge flat screen TV's in the rooms. Lame, I know... but I knew we had a long few days ahead of us and I didn't want to overdo it.

IMAX at Sea
Day 2: Fun Day at Sea
On our first day at sea, Gabe and I spent the earlier part of the day at the pool, hit up a few shows, spent some time in the Casino and consumed one too many adult beverages. Due to that - he somehow convinced me to go see IT Chapter 2 at the ships IMAX theater. I've been on a few ships with full theaters before, but never wanted to spend my time at sea watching a movie. Tickets were cheap for an IMAX, $12.95 an adult. Each sailing offers 2 new releases along with a variety of other movies in their Thrill Theater for much less. The other new release movie playing during our sailing was ad astra. Truth be told, I would much rather see Brad Pitt in IMAX than Pennywise the Clown, but IT 2 was way better than I expected. I strongly suggest seeing an IMAX new release while at sea if you find yourself on a ship that offers this add-on. That night we ate at Ji Ji Asian Kitchen and I was pleasantly surprised how great Carnival worked with my Soy Allergy, and how many options I had to choose from.

Topher the Doodle of Jacks Shack
Day 3: Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
We asked around for suggestions on the ports we stopped in and everyone I know said not to do an excursion while at Grand Turk - instead walk 5 minutes on the beach down to Jacks Shack, where we could get free beach chairs, drink some local beers and play with Topher the Doodle. This is exactly what we did. That night we at at Guys Pig and Anchor BBQ Smokehouse, where we would find ourselves on many other occasions.

Hilton La Romana
Day 4: La Romana, Dominican Republic
Not going to sugar coat this - I did NOT want to go back to the Dominican Republic. We went earlier in the year and didn't have a wonderful experience and this was prior to all the news coverage. Thank you Carnival for changing my mind about the D.R. We went to Hilton La Romana, which Hilton purchased 4 months ago from Dreams Resort. They are in the process of remodeling the property and you could tell they are going to make sure this resort will give you the experience you want. We would go back here if we find ourselves back in La Romana. That night for dinner - you guessed it, we went back to Guy's Smokehouse.

Day 5: Caracao
Our day in Caracao started later than most ports. We got off the ship around 1:30 and boy was it HOT. I live in FL but this was brutal. We strolled around their gorgeous downtown, embraced the history and learned about authentic Caracao, a blue liquor I thought I didn't like prior to this trip. I want to go back to Caracao and check out the beaches! For dinner that night, we went to Bonsai Teppanyaki, a Japanese steakhouse at sea! It was delicious and entertaining.

Flamingo Beach, Aruba
Day 6: Aruba
I cannot wait to write my blog post on Aruba, a place we will absolutely go back and do a proper vacation. When I heard about Flamingo Beach, a private island owned by Renaissance Aruba Resort, I knew that's what we were going to do. I quickly learned it wasn't a cheap option. Lucky for me, I am a loyal Marriott girl and rack my points up through the year. I had more than enough Bonvoy points to secure me a room for free which have us an opportunity to see this luxurious property. Stay tuned for that experience and other options to get to this island if you aren't booking a room!

Floating Mushroom at Chefs Table
Day 7: Fun Day at Sea
On our 6th day at sea was our 5 year wedding anniversary. We spent some time at Serenity, the adults only deck, and ate dinner at Chef's Table, the gastronomic experience at sea. We took it easy and although we had intentions of seeing a comedy show that night, we opted to make it an early night and watch one of the many movies on demand.

Horizon Tides Pool
Day 8: Fun Day at Sea
I should call this - the day I almost hit my 15 drink limit on the Cheers program but that's another story for another day. We spent our last day at Sea at the Tides Pool, which is located on the back of the ship. We both enjoyed this pool over any other on the Horizon. It also made us curious to book a Havana room on our next sailing, knowing they have a private pool during the day for those staying on the deck. We watched College football in the sports bar and played a round of putt putt golf at sea. It was the perfect day!

I would 100% suggest the Horizon to anyone looking to book a Carnival Cruise. The only thing I would warn you on - if you aren't OK with taking the stairs, you may want to inquire about their elevator situation before booking. They have smart elevators, which were a little too smart. Instead of pushing a button, you told it which floor you wanted to go to, and it told you what letter car to ride up or down. Sometimes it was slower than I prefer so we did a lot of walking. According to my health app, we climbed over 150 flights of stairs over our 8 nights (I am OK with this - allows for more food and drink!!). You can find future sailings on or by calling 1.800.764.7419. While you're on Carnival's website, be sure to check out the Carnival Mardi Gras, who will make her premier in 2020 out of Port Canaveral!

Special thanks to Carnival for hosting me on this sailing. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

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