Two years ago I was fortunate enough to sail on Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Vista, as it set off on one of its very first voyages in the Mediterranean. I have been anticipating the arrival of the Carnival Horizon (Vista’s sistah) since that voyage.
This weekend my dream was realized as the hubby and I flew to New York City and boarded Horizon for a five-day voyage to Bermuda. Here are the highlights from that trip.
Day one had us arriving to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal around lunchtime. This was my husband‘s very first trip into NYC so I had to take him for a walk about. We checked in, stowed our luggage in our room and then set out to traverse some of the big apple. One of the bonuses of sailing from this port is easy access to the city, so if you plan a cruise from here be sure to book an early flight to give yourself time to explore before you need to be back on the ship.
Horizon pulled out of port around 5 pm and offered amazing views of the New York City skyline as well as a perfect vantage point to see the Statue of Liberty. The weather in June is ideal here and the seas were calm as we set off into the Atlantic.
That evening we headed into the Havana Bar for pre-dinner cocktails. We sipped, mingled, listened to live music and capped off our experience by walking outside to capture a perfect sunset at sea.
Dinner that evening was inside of Meridian, which is the main dining room. This space is quite large and open with a modern feel.
We were traveling with around twenty five other journalists, many of whom I know from other sailings, so our group dinners were definitely a lot of fun. I cannot stress to you enough how much more enjoyable it is to cruise with a group of friends and family. It turns a fabulous experience into an even more magnificent experience.
Day two marked one of two sea days on this itinerary. One thing you do not want to miss on a carnival sailing is Seaday Brunch.
The brunch menu is absolutely massive and has something for everyone.
After filling our bellies we took a bit of time to explore the ship. Horizon is rather large with nearly 2,000 staterooms. There were actually sections of the ship that we didn’t even get to on our five day sailing. The voyage was completely sold out and not once did I feel like I was overwhelmed with other cruise passengers, that’s how spacious Horizon is.
Here’s a photo of Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, the first ever Dr. Seuss themed waterpark in existence complete with two slides, a kiddie splash zone and a 300-gallon Cat’s hat tipping bucket.
While we’re on the subject of cruise vacation photos, and the sharing of them, I gotta mention that Carnival Horizon has made some changes to the WiFi offered to guests on the ship. You do have to pay for the WiFi and it’s worth every penny. It’s the fastest upload speed I’ve ever experienced on a cruise ship. I was able to post pictures to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with ease as well as FaceTime with my family at home saving me money on my cell phone bill.
Now back to the food…
For lunch on day two we headed in to Bonsai Sushi. This restaurant has a very small supplemental dining fee. And by small, I’m talking $2 edamame, $2 salad and $5 sushi rolls. And the portion sizes are on the not-so-small side.
For those of you wondering, there are several spots on the ship where you can dine for free, I just love Bonsai so much.
After lunch I headed back up to our cabin for a little cruise nap.
On day two we also popped in to Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse to test out a new cocktail. This is the Smoky Watermelon Margarita topped with a mezcal floater.
Dinner on our second night was again with our group. This time we checked out Cucina del Capitano, which translates to the Captain’s Kitchen.
Cucina is a complementary pasta bar during lunch service which transforms into a casual ($15 supplemental) Italian trattoria for dinner.
Day three of our voyage had us pulling in to the port of Bermuda. We had an excursion planned at 1 p.m. so we went to check out breakfast in the ship’s main dining room.
Avocado toast, for the win! This normally comes with a poached egg on top. I asked for it to be omitted to make it vegan. I’ve got a HUGE “Carnival Horizon Vegan Eats” post in the works, so stay tuned for that.
Because Bermuda was our only port day on this sailing, we wanted to make the most of it, so we headed straight off the ship after we finished up breakfast. We had a few hours to explore the Bermuda Martitime Museum, which is within walking distance, before boarding a catamaran for our excursion.
The museum was comprehensive and stretched out over so much ground on the island that we only got to explore about half of it. But oh the views! The views from this fortress were unlike any other.
I’ll have an entire post up soon on this special place.
The second half of our afternoon in Bermuda was spent sailing a catamaran across the Great Sound to a secluded alcove surrounded by cliffs, caves and a sandy beach. This is the place where the locals come to hang out. We even saw pizza being delivered to one of the other boats in the bay that day.
We sailed with an outfit called Rising Son Cruises which is a private charter operation that I can not recommended highly enough. If ever I return to Bermuda I WILL be booking a sailing with them again. We spent about three hours with the crew swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding and sipping complementary Rum Swizzle, the signature cocktail in Bermuda, before returning back to Carnival Horizon.
Dinner on day three was at JiJi Asian Kitchen, another supplemental dining location on the ship. I was able to book our dinner reservation on my cell phone directly from the Carnival HUB app which is complementary for all cruise passengers and provides information like showtimes, daily activities, restaurant menus and more.
This is the Sweet and Sour Tofu served with vegan fried rice. My hubby got the non-vegan version which was Sweet and Sour Shrimp with fried rice including egg. Another comprehensive post you’ll see here in the near future.
Dinner service wrapped up just in time for us to catch the sun setting from deck eleven.
We ended up nightcapping at our favorite spot on the ship, Alchemy Bar. This lounge has a pharmacy theme where bartenders wear white lab coats and mix up elixirs to cure what ails you.
This cutie patootie is Annamaria and she’s what makes cruising Carnival SO MUCH FUN! I’ve sailed with her numerous times on different ships and she always remembers me by name and has a hug for me. Plus the most delicious Cucumber Sunrise cocktails.
Day four was our second and final sea day. Because we stayed out late the night before we ended up sleeping in and my husband was kind enough to bring me breakfast in bed from the Lido deck. We could have also elected to place a door hanger outside our cabin and have room service deliver breakfast to us.
After breakfast we took another walk about the ship to do some exploring.
We ran into a bit of weather on our final day. No big deal. There are plenty of indoor activities to keep you occupied on Carnival Horizon.
Lunch was spent at Bonsai Sushi once again.
Afterwards we headed over to Pig & Anchor for a brewery tour. Yup, that’s right. Just like sister ship Vista, Horizon has a microbrewery on board.
Remember that weather I mentioned? Well check this out! You could barely see the bridge down there for the fog, but that’s the nice thing about vacationing on a cruise ship, the captain can just sail around the bad weather.
And we sailed right into the Library Bar to check out the ‘pour your own wine’ dispenser.
See what I mean? We maneuvered right around the weather and into the setting sun.
Dinner on the final night of our sailing was booked at the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse. The steakhouse sits adjacent to the piano bar and for early dinner service both spaces are open to one another so guests dining in the steakhouse can listen to the pianist play.
That would be my mushroom risotto. I will definitely have a comprehensive review of my delectable vegan steakhouse experience posted here for you very soon.
After dinner we ended up nighcapping at Alcemy Bar once again before I headed into the casino to play a few hands of Blackjack.
One more post for you from night four. That 24-hour complementary late night shroom pie from Pizzeria del Capitano.
And just like that…our Carnival Horizon cruise vacation came full circle back into New York City.
For more information on the brand new Carnival Horizon or any of her sister ships visit Carnival.com and if you’re ready to book your very own cruise vacation you can call Carnival directly by dialing 1-866-857-7234.
Special thanks to Carnival for hosting us for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.