We chose this cruise because of the affordable price. Maybe you get what you pay for as we struggled a little with other guests at times. Too many drunks, so maybe folks spent their savings on the all you can drink plan. We saw a guy nearly throw up on the comedian and his buddy just stand up in the middle of the comedy show for no apparent reason. We saw a woman punch her boyfriend in the jaw after he called her an unthinkable name (this was in port). Most of all, we had "a lot of loud" whether on deck, in the comedy club, restaurants, etc. It occurred to us that some folks might be maxing out the 15 drink limit to get their money's worth and that was leading to some of what we saw. Why not also offer an 8 drink limit plan for less money and maybe folks don't have to get so wasted that they are annoying everyone else.
As for the ship, the ELEVATORS ARE A COMPLETE JOKE!! Folks blamed other passengers for not knowing how to use them but I can tell you that having just gotten off the Carnival Magic, the Horizon consistently had MUCH longer waits for elevators and they stopped at an average of 4 or 5 floors once you got in one! This is definitely not just user error. Most folks got so frustrated that they just got in the first elevator that opened up and rode it as close as they could to their floor then got off and walked up and down steps to get where they were going! It was truly pathetic!
The ship is beautiful with a modern design that we really enjoyed. The main dining room has areas that make if feel like a much smaller restaurant. However, the Liquid Lounge which is where the shows was obviously designed by an someone who had never been to a show on a ship. The balcony was basically unusable unless you sat in the first row as the seats behind them are not set high enough to see over the person in front of you. Even the first row has to deal with poles and glass panels that create some issues. As if this is not enough, they have large props for some shows that additionally reduce visibility. There was a giant rose right in the middle of our visibility of the stage. Similarly, the comedy club has large poles that obstruct the view to many of the seats.
The stage shows were visually beautiful with colorful costumes and the singers were better than other Carnival ships. However, it was very broadway like without broad appeal for the audience. They took popular songs and twisted them to the point that they were unrecognizable and impossible to appreciate. We generally left thinking we missed the whole story line. I'm sure some will disagree with me, but generally those are the people who pretend to "get" abstract art!
The comedians (Chris Wiles and Manny Oliviera) were not our favorites. They both relied more on vulgarity than material. We've been to alot of adult comedy and these two were among the most vulgar we have seen.
We enjoyed the waterslides (better than other ships) and the mini golf was the most challenging of any ship. The sky ride and the ropes course were both a challenge in stiff winds.
We really regret that Carnival allows kids in the aft pool and all of the hot tubs. We already had to risk that drunks were peeing in the pools but now we have toddlers that we know are peeing in the pools.
This is a porthole cabin with 2 twin beds that can't be pushed together. The room was fine except that on heavy sea days we had EXTREMELY LOUD BANGS that we assume were waves but the noise level sounded like we were colliding with another ship. This occured on a couple nights and one night it kept my wife up for 3 hours and we had a fan trying to drown out noise.
We originally booked a Blue Hole/Bobsled excursion through Carnival but they cancelled they Blue Hole portion because of a prior night's rain. They substituted a different waterfall, but not knowing anything about it, we decided to cancel and make a beach day out of it. We walked over to Margaritaville and used Starbucks wifi and then walked over to the Harbor beach. It's a public beach that now charges $3 a person. Some of the facilities are not that great. There are chairs available for rent. We walked down a ways to a more private spot. We did have a lot of folks offer to sell us beer or marijuana. We tried to be friendly and polite and say "no thanks". They are pretty persistent and one friendly gentleman told us that many view Americans as rude and racist. My thought was that we are neither, just cheap! :) We enjoyed the beach but I do think that Jamaica is beautiful and best seen through a safe excursion.
We almost skipped this port because weather was making tendering difficult. We were 1 of just 2 ships that were able to tender to the backup Spotts port (really not much more than a small simple concrete pier). We considered staying on the ship since we didn't know the transportation options and costs. We also considered a last minute excursion to the Stingray City, but with temps in the 60's and high seas, we decided against that. We ultimately got off the ship and took a taxi $8 pp to seven mile beach. The taxi driver talked us all into Calico Jack's which is adjacent to a public beach. They charged $5 for a beach chair and had free wifi (although this really only worked well in the morning before it got crowded). The sun came out and it warmed up. We enjoyed the increased surf and the beach volleyball. We were glad that we opted for a beach day in spite of the morning weather.
Cozumel is becoming a favorite of ours. We share a taxi to Paradise Beach $16 for 1-4 persons. The taxi drivers make it a challenge to share a cab asking you to wait and typically find your own group to share with, but usually we have no trouble finding another couple to go to paradise beach. Paradise Beach charges $3 to get in and that includes chairs, umbrellas, even hammocks and they have a beach and pool. They ask you to spend at least $10 pp on drinks or food but they definitely don't hound you. They have a separate charge for water sports/activities and they also have an all inclusive option. The beach and pool are beautiful and there's some easy snorkeling off the pier.