Carnival Horizon 8-Day Cruise, October 15, 2022

Carnival Cruise #41 onboard the Carnival Horizon is in the books!

It’s been another amazing week onboard the Carnival Horizon! An 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise to Aruba, Bonaire, La Romana and Amber Cove was just what we both needed with how busy work has been over the past couple of months.

We had so much fun exploring the ship and visiting all of the exotic and beautiful ports. This is my third time on the Carnival Horizon and I’ve definitely found my favorite spots onboard. But what absolutely made cruise #41 special: the people! We interacted with so many amazing crewmembers this sailing and wanted to do some #CrewShoutouts here on the page.

Bar Staff

From right when we boarded, we knew we were at home. Victoria greeted us at Tides Pool Bar. At first she didn’t recognize me, but then, a double take, her eyes grew big and she got the biggest smile as she came out from behind the bar to give me the biggest hug. We love our crew and it’s always special when they recognize us across sailings.

In addition to Victoria taking care of us, Glad in the Lobby Bar remembered both our names and our order every time we arrived. We also spent many hours with Alejandro and Bojan at Alchemy Bar – a Carnival Cruise Line favorite! While all of the drinks at Alchemy are special in their own way, we mostly enjoyed the “Alejandro” – a custom pink creation with a delicious sugar rim that he created for us. Thank you for making the cruise so special Alchemy crew!!

Of course, with Carnival’s CHEERS! Beverage Program, we needed our daily dose of caffeine. Darunee and Wanpen took care of us as Java Blue. “Mark is iced, whip, Rocky is hot and not!” Darunee would muse when we would show up to place our orders. Thank you for being truly amazing every day; no matter how tired we looked, you made it a point to brighten our day.


What a crew! This Playlist cast has clearly come together and formed a family unit – which is especially impressive considering half of the cast are on their first contract! For anyone that follows us, you know we never miss a show – and that held true this sailing. We started off with Welcome Aboard where we recognized Mel from the Sunrise! She was so kind and gave us a big hug and posed for several selfies. While she’s grown from her “Mel’ionairre” branding to the more evolved “Mel,” she’s the same amazing human being we came to love on the Sunrise. Welcoming us to the theater every night, collecting glasses during Vintage Pop, and hosting events across the ship… give this gal a raise as she’s simply fantastic!

But, back to the Playlist cast… Wow. Just truly fantastic. With one of the lead female singers recovering from an injury, this cast made all sorts of adjustments to the performances this week – and they all worked! Seeing a male sing several of the female parts in Celestial Strings was really cool, and speaks to the range that lead Delcan has. Impressive, for sure.

We spent time with the cast at a Playlist Q&A where we learned about their backgrounds, favorite shows, and more. Where we got to really interact, however, was sharing drinks at Alchemy Bar. We learned about their contracts and challenges, and shared a lot of laughs (only a couple at Harvey’s expense!) The cast is truly fantastic. I’m excited that I had the chance to sail before with Steph on Carnival Vista. She’s phenomenal and we’re so happy she keeps on dancing! Chante was on the Sunrise – we JUST missed her! – but that didn’t matter, she treated us as though we had sailed with her a hundred times. Carl, Tess, Deangelo, Cody, Nayia, Errel, Harvey… gosh, we just love and appreciate them all. The last showing of Celestial Strings received such a positive response that Errel became emotional on stage and broke down. Talk about a tearjerker/special moment for all of us in that theater. Thank you to the entire crew for making our cruise.

And when we weren’t enjoying some amazing shows, we were trying our hand at trivia! Thank you Cornel for all of the smiles – and for putting the FUN in Fun Squad! And thank you to Gina for always wearing the biggest smile – whether thanking us for coming to the show, or welcoming us back from our port of call. You always brought out the smiles in everyone!

But, of course, we know Playlist and all of the great entertainment onboard wouldn’t be possible without a fantastic Entertainment Director. Milena spent time with us on another night at Alchemy where she shared her background and experience with Carnival. She also gave us some “hints” to some exciting things to expect with the Costa by Carnival ships (of course, she only could share things that wouldn’t get her in trouble!)

And Melena’s right hand person that brings all of the cruise to life is the Cruise Director! Cookie is an instant favorite of ours – his positivity throughout the entire cruise just warms the heart. We chatted with Cookie on multiple occasions where we learned all about his experience with Carnival and his journey. If you ever get the chance to sail with this wonderful human being: DO IT. You will not be disappointed.

We asked if one of our other favorite Cruise Directors (MarQ) was a mentee/mentor, and he literally video-called him on the spot to say hello. While MarQ didn’t answer, Cookie did find us to show us the message he later received from MarQ, “Mark and Rocky!!!! Love them” – what a special moment that just demonstrates how out-of-the-way Cookie goes to make EVERY cruisers experience special.


For anyone that follows us, you know we LOVE to enjoy the food on a cruise ship. It’s what originally sparked my love of sailing. I’ll talk about the food in a little bit; for now, I’ll focus on the amazing dining staff we’ve had this cruise! Our Main Dining Room server Randolf was great. Always calling us by preferred name and making sure our food was brought out as quickly as it could so we could make the shows. He also made sure we made the most out of the CHEERS! beverage program by ensuring we never went thirsty. Bestari at Ji Ji’s was one of the best servers we’ve had in a specialty dining restaurant. Every time she saw us, she made us feel like old friends. Once, we ran into her on Deck 4 and she screamed and acknowledged us by name! (We overheard her coworkers ask her, “But why did you scream so much?” and she responded that she was just so excited to see us outside of the restaurant. How sweet!) Melony at Ji Ji’s was very welcoming and ensured Rocky’s first time for lunch was a pleasant one.

Even Better If…

While it’s been a truly amazing cruise, there were a couple things that could have been better. While the specialty restaurants (Ji Ji’s and Bonsai) were truly amazing – some of the best food we’ve ever had on a ship – the main dining room quality is suffering. The meals were ok each evening, but not great. When I asked Rocky what he wanted to do after brunch on the Final Sea Day, he responded, “Get food?” LOL

One thing I’ve commented on before is consistency/uniformity of food and that’s another thing that missed the mark this time around. Our Guy’s Burger Funderstruck nacho burger looked and tasted nothing like the original one we fell in love with on the Carnival Splendor in July.

The room servicing has also really suffered post-pandemic. While Pong Pong was fantastic, you can tell that he is stretched thin. Gone is the “would you like morning or evening service?” instead, it was simply, “These are my hours and I’ll clean your room somewhere between there.” The increased number of rooms that need to be served also leads to rushing and a LOT of noise cleaning as doors slam, vacuums bang into every possible surface/wall, and constant running back and forth. We appreciate our room stewards more today than ever, however, it’s not the Carnival experience cruisers have appreciated for years.

Finally, and this has always been a known issue, but when back-on-board time falls between mealtimes, it creates a lot of frustrated passengers. While we are prepared for a wait when we get back on at 4:30, it’s clear that other passengers are not expecting the queues. Having spent the day in the heat, drinking, and not eating… you’ve created a recipe for cranky passengers. A group of people left the Deli line and headed to Guy’s Burger Joint which had dual queues going – but were still backed up all along Lido.

Final Thoughts

As I always say… if things like minor inconveniences ruin a vacation, stay home! I’m joking of course. I don’t want to downplay the impact that some of these things could have on a first-time or new-to-Carnival cruiser, however, when put in perspective, you simply cannot find a better vacation for the money. I’d also argue that you won’t find a better crew out there than those we’ve met and had the chance to befriend through Carnival Cruise Lines.

We’ll post more on our YouTube Channel once our sea legs go away; if you haven’t already, please Subscribe to get future updates!

Until next time, keep on sailing.