Want to go somewhere on deck 4, but avoid the smokers hanging out in the casino? Truth be told the smoke filtration system in the casino, located on deck four of the Carnival Horizon, seems to work pretty well. However, if you really want to completely avoid the casino (for this or any other reason), you can do so by taking deck five to where you’d like to go. The forward stairwell will drop you off by the main atrium, and the midship stairs will take you just aft of the casino, near the sports bar and Limelight Theater.
Speaking of obstructed views, the Liquid Lounge aboard the Horizon has a lot of the same issues as the venue had on her sister ship, the Carnival Vista. If there is a show you’re really dying to see, get there early. It’s worth waiting at the door until it opens, trust me. If you don’t care where you sit, or if having a seat with a partially-obstructed view, isn’t a big deal to you, by all means, feel free to walk in right before showtime. The theater never really fills up, it’s just that the best seats get taken quickly. Read More: 39 Carnival Cruise Tips
On most sailings aboard the Carnival Horizon, a Sidewalk Sale will be held in the general vicinity of the main atrium. If you’re looking for discounted shirts, jewelry, and other items this is the place to head. However, it can get real crowded, real fast. Consult the Fun Times to see what time the sale is slated to start, and then get there early… both for the best possible selection and to avoid the mad crush when all your fellow bargain hunters join the fray. A word of warning: Your mom was right when she said, “You get what you pay for.” I bought a cheap watch at one of these sales on another ship a year or so back, and it died a month after my cruise. That said, when you can get shirts for the folks back home at the price of 2-for-$10, it’s a total win.
The Limelight Lounge has obstructed views and fills up pretty quickly, so we strongly suggest that you get there 30 minutes or so before the late show starts if you want to snag a good seat. It’s worth noting that it’s a lot easier to get a good seat during the earlier shows.
This is another spot where a killer dinner can be had for $15 per person, but a free lunch is available. Pick your ingredients and have the chef whip you up a delicious stir fry made to your specifications. But like Cucina, the lunch crowd arrives early and in droves, so plan your visit accordingly.
I was told that one of the big pluses to the smart elevators which were introduced on Carnival Horizon was that they would help control traffic on disembarkation morning. I’m sure they do help somewhat, but let’s face it: There’s just no easy way to get 4,000 people off a cruise ship at the same time. So yes, even the smart elevators can be a little sluggish. Unless you’re starting on a top deck, several cars are likely to arrive full before you can squeeze into one. The best way to avoid frustration? Either get off early or late.
Truth is that every website has the same prices for cruises. However, if you buy through a third-party site (as opposed to Carnival.com), then you might get extra incentives like onboard credit. Costco has some of the best incentives. For cruises booked through CostcoTravel.com, the store will give you a Costco Cash Card potentially worth hundreds (amounts vary by cruise). That’s much more than what other booking sites will give you.
If you’ve never taken a cruise before, it might surprise you how often you use your Sail & Sign card. This card is issued to you at boarding check-in. Not only is it your cabin key, it’s also how you make purchases on the ship (used like a credit card tied to your onboard account), and you show it when you exit and enter the ship. In other words, you’re always digging out your card. Many people choose to bring a cheap lanyard to keep their card handy.
While BlueIguana Cantina — a Mexican-themed restaurant on the ship — is known for lunch, most people don’t realize that it also serves some fantastic breakfast burritos. Fill up a tortilla with sausage, eggs, ham, and potatoes and you’ve got a hearty (and free!) breakfast that will keep you from being hungry all morning, no matter how active you are on ship or in port.
Ever think that you’d pay money to skip lines? If so, then Carnival’s Faster to the Fun may be of interest. The program allows you to pay a fee (between $50-$120, depending on the length of your cruise and the ship), and get priority in everything from check-in to dining to Guest Services. Only a limited number of spots are available, and they usually fill up months before sailing. Still, if you snag one of these spots, then consider yourself fortunate. It can save you some time and make you feel like a VIP.