Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
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Carnival Horizon
Carnival Horizon / Carnival Cruise Line
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Carnival Horizon
Carnival Horizon / Carnival Cruise Line
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Carnival Horizon
Carnival Horizon / Carnival Cruise Line
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Carnival Horizon
Carnival Horizon / Carnival Cruise Line
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Carnival Horizon
Carnival Horizon / Carnival Cruise Line
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Carnival Horizon

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Exuberant and affordable, the second ship in Carnival Cruise Line’s Vista class reflects the elevated vibe of its sister ship, Carnival Vista. With some excellent dining options, an eye-popping water park, and upgraded accommodation options that bring another dose of modernity and style to Carnival’s fleet, all three Vista-class ships — 2019’s Carnival Panorama is the third — break the strictly cheap-and-cheerful mold that had come to typify the world’s largest cruise line. Here’s what we saw when we cruised on Carnival Horizon

What We Love
A Water Park Built for Maximum Fun: Carnival is known for its water parks and slides, but the Dr. Seuss-themed park on Horizon — the first in the fleet — is particularly well-executed. With two large slides for kids of all ages, Dr. Seuss WaterWorks feels whimsical and fun without having to resort to roller-coaster-style death-drops or other gimmicks. A splash pad, dump buckets, racing slides, and fountains round out the offerings and promise to keep kids (and their parents) soundly entertained.
Burgers and Barbecue Courtesy of Guy Fieri:  Guy’s Burger Joint is featured on many a Carnival ship but it warrants another mention for sheer quality, especially because it doesn’t require an extra charge. The same can be said for Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse | Brewhouse, a retooled version of a similar restaurant on Carnival Vista. On Carnival Horizon, the beer is brewed, and the meat is smoked on board, and the results are impressive. These restaurants, created in partnership with Food Network star Guy Fieri, are among our favorite eats free not just on this ship, but at sea. Another notable difference between this iteration of Pig & Anchor and the one on Carnival Vista is that on Horizon, it’s complimentary at lunch but requires a surcharge at dinner. On Vista, it’s only open for lunch and there is no surcharge. 
An Onboard Taste of Havana: The Havana pool, staterooms, and bar—all of which bring a sense of Cuba’s vibrant culture onboard—are a highlight on Carnival Horizon, as they were on Vista. With the feel of an upscale Caribbean resort, these areas offer a respite from the more crowded central pool area, and for good reason. The Havana pool is closed to everyone but Havana stateroom guests until early evening. If you’re looking for a quieter side of a very active ship, you’ll find it here. 
Plenty of Cabin Options: The ship’s cabins are done in three distinct themes—for families (Family Harbor), spa lovers (Cloud 9), and those seeking solace and grownup ambiance (Havana). There are also large sections of bright, cleanly decorated, non-themed cabins. This means you have lots of options. Family Harbor rooms come with access to a family lounge, plus kids in these cabins stay and eat for free in all specialty restaurants. A night of free babysitting is also included. Havana feels like a stylish members-only club, while the Cloud 9 staterooms give guests priority access to spa appointments, complimentary thermal suite access, and spa robes and slippers.  
Best Known For
Affordability: With rates for six-night Caribbean itineraries typically starting south of $550 per person, the prices on Carnival Horizon are simply some of the most affordable at sea. We also love that even the upgraded options — balconies for under $950, for example, on the same sailing — are still exceptionally well-priced.  
Conquering the Caribbean: Horizon is ideal for tropical island-hopping. With a breezy ambiance that brings the outside in thanks to outdoor dining and a massive central pool area, it’s a great place for a sun- and fun-filled getaway to the Caribbean. 
Great Bars: Guy’s Pig & Anchor is reminiscent of a comfortable, casual country smokehouse, while Alchemy Bar, with its fun, apothecary-themed decor, serves excellent cocktails. (Both require an additional charge.) We also enjoyed the elegant Havana Bar, and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Tequila Bar. Both of these venues channel a fun island aesthetic, although we suspect the bartenders spend more time than strictly necessary directing guests between them, depending on their orders. (The rum bar does not make any tequila drinks, and vice versa.) 
The SkyRide: Running along a two-lane suspended track, the SkyRide featured on Horizon gives you the sense of flying above the ship's decks. Read our review of this pedal-powered activity on Carnival Vista. This activity does not require an extra charge. 
Family Feud Live: Since it was introduced on Mardi Gras in 2021, Carnival has been adding the live version of the popular TV game show “Family Feud” to its ships —  and it’s available on Horizon as of late March 2024. Families or groups of friends need to audition in advance to compete in groups of five on an authentic stage set — let the buzzing begin!
3-D and IMAX Movies: Carnival Horizon has side-by-side movie theaters — an IMAX theater and a second theater showing movies in 3-D.  
Who It's Best For
Young Families: Horizon is a paradise for kids and tweens—and activities like the SkyRide, Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, and Lip Sync Battle are as much fun for grownups as they are for the younger set. Plus, the low cruise fare means that an entire family can enjoy time together without earth-shattering expense.
Groups of Friends Traveling Together: Carnival is known for its for its appeal to young groups of friends traveling together, and Horizon continues in this vein. Free-flowing alcohol, abundant and fuss-free food, and lots of sun and sand are key ingredients for any girlfriend getaway or bachelor weekend. You’ll find all of it here.  
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Included Dining Can Be So-So: While the specialty restaurants here shine, the food quality in the main dining room and at the buffet is a bit of a toss-up. 
This Is a Budget-Focused Experience: We don’t have expectations of high luxury here, naturally, but some of the finishes on Horizon — unsightly blue plastic in the bathrooms, shower curtains instead of doors — underline how Carnival keeps its cruises ultra-affordable.