A New Horizon for Carnival

Carnival Horizon, alongside at Cagliari, Sardinia. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Last month, I flew to Barcelona, Spain to spend a week in the Mediterranean aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s brand-new Carnival Horizon.
A sister to 2016’s Carnival Vista, the 3,960-passenger Carnival Horizon had only been in service for just 13 days when I stepped aboard, after transiting Carnival’s swanky new Terminal E at the Port of Barcelona. I arrived early and enjoyed one of the best embarkation experiences I’ve ever had. Case in point: why not grab a coffee at the coffee shop located inside the terminal and then head out onto the second-floor terrace overlooking the harbour while you wait to embark?

Click here to read our Voyage Report aboard Carnival Vista!

I came to Barcelona with certain preconceived notions about Carnival Horizon. I expected a ship that was more or less identical to her predecessor, with a few added features here and there.

Welcome aboard the swanky new Carnival Horizon. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

What I didn’t expect, however, was what greeted me when I stepped aboard: a ship that feels classier and more upmarket in so many ways, from the textured surfaces in the ship’s high-tech multi-storey atrium to the throwback callouts to the glory days of Joe Farcus and his eye-popping designs that characterized Carnival’s earlier ships.

The atrium, with its soaring LED sculpture, makes for a striking entrance. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

A quick walk-though the ship before the muster drill confirmed my suspicions: Carnival Horizon has personality. It’s fun, sassy, upscale, and down-home all at the same time. And it should do a great job of speaking to the line’s diverse clientele, many of whom – on my rare Mediterranean sailing – hailed from North America, the UK and Europe, with the latter two groups being excited by the brief chance to sail with Carnival right in their own backyard.

Throughout Carnival Horizon, a decidedly upgraded interior decor scheme sets the tone for fun. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Click here to read our Voyage Report to the Bahamas aboard Carnival Elation!

Throughout the ship, Carnival has made adjustments big and small. My personal favorite innovations are the ones that aren’t getting any press, compared with the new Dr. Seuss Splash Park and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse

Hidden Gem No.1: the cool new Library Bar.

The Library Bar has a cool new look…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

…complete with self-serve wine…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

….and a decent book selection, repeated on both sides of the room. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Past iterations of this space on other ships have been so quiet you could hear crickets, but this redesigned, relocated space performed much better on my Carnival Horizon cruise. A new lush décor scheme complements the self-serve wine station and the shelves of books and board games. The room is never going to compete with the likes of libraries found on Cunard or Viking but give Carnival credit where credit is due: most mainstream lines got rid of their libraries long ago.

Hidden Gem No.2: the redesigned Piano Bar 88.

Piano Bar 88 aboard Carnival Horizon, rocking a new crimson decor scheme. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Now sporting crimson décor and a new location adjacent to the oh-so-savory Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse. This relocation allowed Carnival to design a wall partition that slides open in the evening to allow diners to hear live evening piano music while they dine. Presumably, it also allows revelers in the Piano Bar to smell the delicious food that Fahrenheit is preparing for its patrons too.

The Piano Bar now opens right onto the fabulous Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

But come 10pm, the wall partition is electronically shut, turning the Piano Bar back into the raucous, alcohol-fueled singalong that Carnival guests, including yours truly, have loved for years.
On any Carnival cruise, I always gravitate towards the Alchemy Bar, where mixologists whip up beverages on a made-to-order basis depending on your boozy likes and dislikes. On Carnival Horizon, however, I’ve found a new favorite hangout: Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse. Which is a bit of a mouthful to say, so I’m going to shorten it down to “The Smokehouse.”

Instead of gravitating to the Alchemy Bar…Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

…my new favorite FunShip hangout was Guy’s Pig & Anchor. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

Click here to read our Voyage Report aboard Carnival Pride to the Bahamas!

The Smokehouse offers up four separate craft beers brewed right onboard that run the gamut from Pale Ale to the delicious Smokehouse Porter. Carnival employs a full-time brewmaster (on our cruise, Brewmaster and Carnival head brewer Colin Presby) who oversees the malty concoctions, branded under Carnival’s own ParchedPig label.

Brewmaster Colin Presby in his domain aboard Carnival Horizon. Tours of the onboard brewery and tastings are available. Photo © 2018 Aaron Saunders

It took me a while to realize that The Smokehouse aboard Ca

Click Here to Continue Post

The post First Look: Carnival Horizon appeared first on From The Deck Chair.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.