Carnival Horizon Cruise Ship: 12 Must-Know Things

Everything you need to know about the Carnival Horizon cruise ship starting from construction to the features on the Vista-class ship.

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Planning a cruise trip in the upcoming year or few years? If you’ve already had your eye on some of Carnival’s newer ships, there are plenty of reasons to choose Carnival Horizon as your host.

The 26th Carnival cruise ship, a Vista-class ship, and one of the 50 largest cruise ships in the world, the ship offers plenteous diversions, dining and drinking options, entertainment opportunities, and more — no matter where in the world you happen to be sailing.

Interested in possibly taking this Carnival cruise ship for a whirl, or already made up your mind to book a cruise the next chance you get? Whether you’re still deciding or you know for sure you’ll be on this ship in the near future, here’s everything you need to know about the Carnival Horizon cruise ship, so you’re prepped and ready for your cruise.

1. Size and Capacity

Carnival Horizon boasts a capacity for 3,960 passengers on a normal, double occupancy sailing, with room for 5,101 passengers maximum, and with a gross tonnage of 133,500. At 1,055 feet long, it offers 15 passenger decks.

Nearly 1,500 crew travel aboard during a normal sailing. She is the 47th largest cruise ship in the world, tying with sister ship Carnival Vista, which premiered two years earlier.

2. History

Carnival Horizon debuted in 2018, after a 30-month building process that took place at Fincantieri. She was christened by Queen Latifah in May 2018, and then, following its transatlantic crossing, the ship took to Caribbean sailings, where it remained in the region for the next few following years.

As the ship is pretty new, there have yet (as of late 2020) been any major refurbishments or remodels.

3. The Vista Class

Carnival Horizon is a member of the Vista-class of cruise ships. The first Vista-class ship was Carnival Vista, which premiered in 2016. Carnival Vista was known for several new features, including the SkyRide (which you can read about further down) and the first IMAX theater at sea. There were also new Cuban-themed staterooms, as well as more entertainment options than ever before.

She is the second Vista-class cruise ship, with many of the same features that first appeared her sister ship, but then some additional new features as well, like the new Bonsai Teppanyaki and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse/Brewhouse (both of which you can read about further down).

Carnival Horizon in Port
Photo By: Russell Otway (Copyright Cruise Hive)

The third Vista-class ship is Carnival Panorama, which first sailed in late 2019. However, Carnival Panorama stands apart from her sister ships, in that, unlike Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista, rather than having an IMAX theater, she offers an indoor trampoline park.

Technically, two Costa Cruises ships are also considered Vista-class ships, Costa Venezia and Costa Firenze.

4. Staterooms

There are nearly 2,000 cruise cabins aboard. These are split up across suites, ocean-view cabins with balconies, ocean-view cabins without balconies, and interior staterooms. There is also the option of Havana staterooms.

Ocean-view cabins with balconies are the most popular, with nearly 900 of the cabins total being made up of this accommodations option. The interior staterooms come next, with just over 700 total, followed by about 300 ocean-view cabins without balconies and 74 suites.

Related: Which Staterooms to Book on a Carnival Cruise

Carnival Horizon Aft-View Harbor Family Stateroom
Rendering By: Carnival Cruise Line

5. Suites

Among the suite options, there are the newer Havana Cabana Suites and Family Harbor Suites. These are two special types of suites that first appeared in the Vista class, that offer a few fun, new features.

The Havana Cabana suites sleep up to four guests and are all decorated in a Cuban style. The private outdoor lounge offers deck chairs and a hammock, but you also have access to the Havana Pool area. Inside, the suites offer rain showers and walk-in closets. In terms of space, this suite truly delivers.

The Family Harbor suite is a good option for both families and traveling groups of friends. The suites sleep up to five guests and offer connecting rooms, and separate washrooms allow for some family members to take care of their business while others may need to take a shower. Family Harbor guests enjoy additional access to a private Family Harbor lounge.

Of course, you also have the ocean, grand, junior and Cloud 9 spa suites, that are all similar to what you might find across the family of Carnival cruise ships.

6. What’s Included

Before heading out on any cruise, you want to know what’s included in the cost of your cruise fare. When you’re aboard, you’ll enjoy a plethora of complementary experiences.

Guests enjoy meals in the two main dining rooms, as well as at the buffet, but then also at the pizza shop, BlueIguana Cantina, Mongolian Wok, The Pasta Bar, Fresh Creations and Guy’s Burger Joint, so you can enjoy some of the classic Carnival favorites without splurging. There are even some room service menu items that you can get for free.

Carnival Horizon Deck
Photo By: Russell Otway

Your cruise fare also includes shows at the main theater, comedy shows, live music and attendance at the deck parties. You’ll also get access to most of the outdoor entertainment options, like the ropes course and the waterpark.

Adults will enjoy complimentary access to the adults-only Serenity deck, as well as the spa’s fitness center, while kids enjoy the complimentary access to children’s programming up until 10 p.m. at night.

7.  Dining Options Exclusive to Horizon

If you do decide to splurge on a little for-a-fee dining, you’ll want to certainly check out the new dining options that are exclusive to the vessel.

Bonsai Teppanyaki is an off-shoot of the already familiar Carnival Bonsai Sushi. The hibachi-style eatery offers social dining experiences in a lively atmosphere.

Carnival Horizon Maiden Voyage

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse isn’t necessarily exclusive to Carnival Horizon, but when it premiered on the ship, it was the first of its kind. Like celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Burger Joint, this restaurant is another collaboration with the Food Network star, providing casual eats in a fun, family-friendly environment. This time, he’s serving up barbecue and Southern-style side dishes, along some mouthwatering desserts.

8. Other For-a-Fee Dining Options

There are other for-a-fee dining options, of course, and not all of them are the average Carnival offerings. While you will find some of the Carnival dining staples — Cucina del Capitano, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and The Chef’s Table — you’ll also find a few new options that you may not be familiar with if you’ve yet to sail on any of Carnival’s newer ships.

Carnival Horizon Steakhouse
Photo By: Russell Otway

One of these is the pool-side Seafood Shack, serving New England-style seafood, like clam chowder and lobster rolls, while the other is the JiJi Asian Kitchen, which offers a mix of Asian cuisines, from Indonesian to Chinese.

9. Bars and Lounges

As you can expect on any Carnival ship, the bars and lounges are extensive and each selection offers you a different experience.

There’s the horizon Atrium Bar, right in the middle of everything and serving up all your favorite cocktails along with a healthy helping of regular live music; Limelight Lounge offers comedy shows, karaoke, and other interactive events alongside your drinks; the SkyBox Sports Bar is a typical sports bar setting with lots of televisions; the Piano Bar gives you live piano music and cocktails; and Alchemy Bar is a newer option on Carnival ships, serving up craft cocktails.

Carnival Horizon Maiden Voyage
Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse (Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

A brewhouse is connected to Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse. You can find four brews that are actually made onboard, at the ship’s brewery (but you can also find your favorites from around the world, of course). The Havana Bar also blends nicely with the ship’s new Havana-inspired suites, with its Cuban theming, Cuban coffee, and Cuban-style cocktails.

While not exactly new, there are the Carnival staples, the RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, onboard the ship as well.

Other watering holes are located next to the theater, in the casino, by the pool, in the adults-only Serenity area and in the library (which features a self-serve wine machine!). 

10. New Outdoor Entertainment Options

Of course, when you have such brand-new outdoor entertainment options on a cruise ship, you can’t miss a chance to try them out. We’re primarily talking about the SkyRide experience on Carnival Horizon, which first premiered on Carnival Vista, to rave reviews.

Carnival Horizon SkyRide
Carnival Horizon SkyRide (By Russell Otway)

What exactly is SkyRide?

SkyRide allows you to sit in a reclined pedal seat, and then off you go, pedaling above the ship’s top deck, giving you amazing views of the entire ship, as well as the water and horizons beyond. The ride allows two cruisers to sit side by side, so you can enjoy the view with your favorite fellow cruiser.

11. Other Ways to Have Fun

Of course, other ways to have fun outdoors abound. The ropes course provides similar big-time views, but from the safety of a harness, as you test your climbing and flying skills. A Dr. Seuss-themed waterpark is perfect for the kids. Adults will love the quiet oasis that is Serenity, with its hammocks, cocktails and great views.

Carnival Horizon Maiden Voyage

The main pool is on Deck 10 and is surrounded by loungers. Another pool is on Deck 10 at the rear of the ship, with two hot tubs. The Havana Pool is open to Havana cabin passengers only, and is likewise open to those ages 12 and up only. Unfortunately, there’s not technically a kids-only pool, but there is the kid-centric waterpark.

Also Read: 17 Things to Do on a Carnival Glory Cruise

12. New Technology and Services

Carnival Horizon uses technology and a bit of smarts to remedy some of passengers’ complaints on older Carnival ships.

For example, the ship features smart elevators, which were a first-of-its-kind tech when the ship debuted. The smart elevators allow you to pick your deck before you board, and then they direct you to the appropriate elevator option out of a handful. The result? Fewer crowded elevators and a faster ride to your destination.

Another big complaint on other Carnival ships is the lack of self-service laundry facilities, but the ship actually has a few of these scattered across the vessel.

The Carnival cruise ship also has the most expansive shopping experience in the fleet with dedicated stores including the Victoria Secret store, watches, and more.

Carnival Horizon Prices

FAQ:

Is Carnival Horizon a new ship?

Carnival Horizon debuted in 2018, after a 30-month building process that took place at Fincantieri. Carnival Horizon was christened by Queen Latifah in May 2018, and then, following its transatlantic crossing, the ship took to Caribbean sailings, where it remained in the region for the next few following years. As the ship is pretty new, there have yet (as of late 2020) been any major refurbishments or remodels.

How many Havana rooms are on the Carnival Horizon?

There are only four Havana Cabana rooms on Carnival Horizon. The Havana Cabana suites sleep up to four guests and are all decorated in a fun, Cuban style. The private outdoor lounge offers deck chairs and a hammock, but you also have access to the Havana Pool area. Inside, the suites offer rain showers and walk-in closets.

What is a cove balcony on Carnival Horizon?

Cove balconies sit below hanging lifeboats and above ocean-view cabins, meaning guests in staterooms with cove balconies enjoy an added level of privacy, as no one can see onto the balcony from either above or below. Additionally, the balcony railings are enclosed, to prevent interruptions from either side. Because of all this privacy, the balconies are often more quiet, as well as larger.

How large is the Carnival Horizon cruise ship?

Carnival Horizon boasts a capacity for 3,960 passengers on a normal, double occupancy sailing, with room for 5,101 passengers maximum and with a gross tonnage of 133,500 GT. At 1,055 feet long, it offers 15 passenger decks. Nearly 1,500 crew travel aboard Carnival Horizon during a normal sailing. Carnival Horizon is the 47th largest cruise ship in the world, tying with sister ship Carnival Vista.

Carnival Horizon Cruise Ship
Holly Riddlehttps://hollyriddle.org/
Holly Riddle is a travel and food freelance writer whose work can be found in print and digital publications all around the world. She is additionally an entrepreneur specializing in content and marketing services. Beyond frequent travel, Riddle enjoys cooking, reading, camping and spending time with her husband and two dogs. Her favorite travel destinations include Chicago, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and just about anywhere in the Caribbean. Find out more about us here.

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