Serenity aboard Carnival Horizon

Exploring Carnival Horizon

The Monthly Mantra

Just a Tease … Just a Tease … Just a Tease …

It’s not possible to do everything there is to do aboard Carnival Horizon in 18 hours … I really tried.

On May 23rd, I found myself strolling up the gangway of the newest member of Carnival’s fleet. That’s the good news. The bad news is that even as The Cat in the Hat greeted me upon my arrival in the ship’s three-story atrium, I knew that I’d be strolling back down the gangway early the next morning.

And that sucks.

This star-studded, one-night Carnival event was designed to seduce the travel community with a peek at the spankin’ new 15-deck, 1,967 stateroom Carnival Horizon. And seduce us they did—they always do. In fact, I’ve often referred to Carnival as the “Marlboro” of cruising since I can trace my lifelong cruise addiction directly back to my 1976 sailing aboard Carnival Mardi Gras.

Guy Fieri opens the Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse on Carnival Horizon

Godmother Queen Latifah was on hand and so was celebrity chef Guy Fieri who officially unveiled his new Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse, a barbecue joint with an onboard working brewery. But for me the star of the show was Carnival Horizon and I was determined to see as much of her as I could.

I had to try Pig & Anchor, its nachos and sausages and a couple of home brews before shooting down the deck for a stop at the pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar and some bold and spicy exotic cocktails. Next stop could be Farenheit 555 Steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki, the Piano Bar, or the Library Bar, all within steps of my Alchemy barstool perch.

With 18 hours aboard a ship that offers enough dining, drinking, entertainment and activity options to fill 18 months, I didn’t know where to begin. I hopped a button-less elevator that magically transported me to deck 10, the ship’s Beach Pool and the cute little thatched-roof gazebos that surround it. Blue Iguana Cantina and its tacos were tempting but so were the lobster rolls on offer at the Seafood Shack nearby.

Before I could choose, my attention was drawn to a riot of colorful waterslides hovering two decks above. I climbed the stairs and arrived at Dr. Seuss Waterworks, a bustling orgy of sprays, splash zones, twisty/turny slides and water toys. It’s not unusual for a woman of my age to wish she was younger but it took Carnival Horizon’s Dr. Seuss-themed waterpark to take that wish to an extreme. I suddenly wanted to be 8-years old, flying down the 450 feet of that astonishing Cat in the Hat slide the way every kid aboard future cruises doubtlessly will.

Judi greets her buddy, the Cat in the Hat, aboard Carnival HorizonBefore I knew it, the sun had set above Horizon and I found myself seated at the lovely Meridian Restaurant enjoying a superb lobster tail and shrimp dinner. A deck party and magnificent fireworks would follow and, before I knew it, I’d find myself disembarked and hailing a cab on 12th Avenue.

I hadn’t ridden the SkyRide. I hadn’t sipped a mojito at The Havana Bar. I didn’t shop at the ship’s two-level shopping mall … with the first Victoria’s Secret at sea! I didn’t go to the Imax Theater, the Limelight Lounge or the casino and I sure hadn’t figured out how those fancy button-less elevators knew where to take me.

No question that I need more time aboard Carnival Horizon and, thankfully, I’ll be getting it! Check back next month for Carnival Horizon in Bermuda! See if I figure out how to work the elevators, if I ever decide between the taco or the lobster roll, and if my middle-aged butt will ever find its way down the Cat in the Hat slide.

— Judi Cuervo


Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.