On June 2, 2018, my oldest son graduated from high school and I took him on his first cruise as his gift. I also took my niece and her girlfriend along with us as they had recently graduated college. We boarded the huge Carnival Horizon on June 5 anticipating 8 days of fun in the open water. The first few days of sailing were at ‘at sea’ days as we made our way to the Caribbean from New York. These days were spent by the pool, drinking, eating, enjoying and participating in shows, partying, relaxing, walking around the ship and taking photo shoots, enjoying Zumba on the deck, late nights in the jacuzzi, watching movies on the big screen under the stars, watching sunsets and spending time together.
On our second day at sea we got some unfortunate news. One of the passengers suffered a heart attack and we had to turn back and sail toward North Carolina to meet the Coast Guard to air lift the passenger to land. Due to this, we lost a day of traveling and had to miss one our port of calls- Turks and Caicos. This was very disappointing because I had never been to Turks and Caicos and was really looking forward to it. Even worse is the fact that Carnival did not give us anything in its place except a 20% discount voucher to cruise with them again. So we made the best of our extra day at sea by exploring the ship. Zamir rode the sky ride that I chickened out of at the last minute after seeing another lady having to be rescued once she got scared after starting the ride. I was not about to be embarrassed like here.
We did make it to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Zamir and I decided to explore on our own. We happened upon a beach and spent some time there. Then we enjoyed a tasty treat and walked around the cobblestoned streets of San Juan where we took some fab pictures and purchased souvenirs.
Our last port of call was Dominican Republic. This was the highlight of our cruise. We did the Big 3 excursion: Thrill bus ride, zip line, and beach. The zip lining was amazing and so much fun. There was the possibility that I would have a panic attack and chicken out but I was not about to do that. I’ve wanted to zip line for a long time, so I just thought about the fun I was going to have and went for it. As I climbed higher up the steps toward the first zip line, my heart began to beat so loudly, I thought others in the line would hear. I was not quiet about being nervous and everyone was cheering me on, so I strapped on, watched my son zip across the trees, leaned back and went for it. As my heart dropped a little, I allowed myself to enjoy the ride. I opened my eyes and felt the wind breeze over my body. Then it was over. I DID IT and it was fun. I was ready for the next one and even more excited for the bigger zip line straight across the ocean. The last time I let go of fear and enjoyed a thrill was last year on my cruise with my husband to Cuba. We jet-skiied in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Anyway after the 3rd zip line, we did a sky course (obstacle course in the sky)- this was very fun too- then the last two zip lines were back over the ocean and over the trees to the beach. I had a stiff drink after that and enjoyed some time by the ocean. I’m still upset that we didn’t get a picture on the actual zip line but here are some pictures of the zip line itself and of D.R.
We met some lovely friends on this excursion and partied with them for the remainder of the cruise
After zip lining, I was feeling extra pumped so when we got back to the cruise, I decided to go all in and ride the skyride. I literally pedaled a bike on the edge of a cruise ship over the ocean. I chuckled just thinking about it. Then we conquered the ships sky course (obstacle course high above the cruise).
My son and I really enjoyed the cruise and did some bonding. We went clubbing together and I saw him intoxicated smh. We played some adult games together with a team and even won a small trophy at a trivia game. We weren’t ready to return home.
I’ve cruised before but this was my first time cruising with Carnival and here’s my observations. Carnival is a party cruise line. There is always something to do for everyone. However, their customer service does not even compare to Norwegian. I had several problems with my meals including waiting over an hour on several days in the main dining hall to eat and finding a bug in my food. Carnival nickel and dimes you. There were so many extra charges for this and that, it was kind of ridiculous. By the time the cruise was over, I had spend an additional 600+ for my son and I. My suggestions, if you plan on going on the Carnival Horizon: pay attention to the fine print, plan for additional fees including a service and tax fee at the end of the cruise for 120+ pp, don’t expect too much from the food service, get to know the managers on board, make friends early (for several reasons), indulge in the activities, and shows, wear knee length shorts or pants if you plan to zip line, be sure to participate in the Carnival Quest game (18 years old and up) and go to the lip sync battle. The Carnival Quest game is a must do! And by all means, have fun, try something new, YOLO!!
Here is some video footage of some of the shows we enjoyed..