When Carnival Cruise Line was designing the Vista class ships – of which Carnival Horizon is the second – one of their big goals was to help people connect to the sea. So it makes sense that there is not only a whole lot of well-utilized deck space all around the ship, but also tons of water features. Wander around, and you’ll discover three pools and a slew of hot tubs in unexpected places, all of which provide killer ocean views. Whether you’re looking to splash, soak, or swim, this ship offers a plethora of options – all of which we’re about to explore.
The first pool on our tour is the one located on the Lido deck in the center of the ship, right beneath the ginormous outdoor screen. This is either the place to be or the place to avoid, depending on your tolerance for crowds (and activities like hairy chest contests). It’s one of the busiest places on the ship, and it’s central to everything from Guy’s Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina to the RedFrog Rum and BlueIquana Tequila bars. The Beach Pool is also closest to the Dr. Seuss Waterworks, making it easy for kids (or those of us who are simply young at heart) to enjoy the water slides and other fun features before returning back to the main pool area.
Want to be by the pool, but avoid the sun? There are thatched huts with benches located on either side of the Beach Pool which allow you to cool off by putting your feet in the water while sitting in the shade. There are several benches around the pool, as well as a ledge which allows you to get partially wet without actually taking the plunge.
Yes, you’ll definitely find the dreaded chair hogs here, especially on sea days. But if you head down to the pool early in the morning, you’ll find – once on each sailing – a group of chair hogs you’ll actually be happy to see: the infamous towel-animal invasion during which pretty much every lounger is occupied by the fluffy creatures you normally will only find waiting for you in your room. Their presence isn’t announced in the Fun Times, and they don’t stay long… so be sure to keep an eye open for the amazing photo opportunity.
Insider Tip: If you want to use the pool for laps or exercise, consider getting there first thing in the morning or swinging by late in the afternoon. The sun worshippers tend to use the deck between 11 am and 4 pm.
Pool-wise, this is definitely our favorite spot on the Carnival Horizon. The Tides pool is located on the deck 10 at the very back of the ship, which means that it has spectacular views of the wake. As well as a good-sized pool, you’ll also find two hot tubs. Families and kids tend to hang around the Beach Pool, making this one at least relatively quieter. That said, kids do manage to find their way back here and into the whirlpools, since there aren’t any near the Beach Pool.
There are benches around the pool and two platforms on both sides of the pools where you can lay out. Like the Beach Pool, you can also sit or put your feet in the water around the edges. You’ll find plenty of loungers around the pool, as well as a bar and several places to grab a bite to eat.
Insider Tip: There’s not a whole lot of shade on the back of the ship, so make sure you wear extra sunscreen if you’re going to hit the Tides Pool. And remember what your mom always said: reapply your sunscreen after you’ve gone swimming. Trust me when I say, the last thing you want is a severe sunburn. I once had that happen on the first day of a 10-night cruise and it was pretty miserable.
The bad news: During daytime hours, only guests staying in Havana staterooms have access to this incredible area. The good news: After 7 p.m., it’s open to anyone and everyone on board. And no, you won’t be able to “sneak in” during the daytime (guests are required to show wristbands), nor can people who are staying in the Havana section invite their friends who aren’t staying in Havana to hang out.
Whether you visit during the daytime or evening, this might be the closest thing to heaven you’ll find on the ship. There’s a pool, two huge hot tubs, thatched huts (like the ones by the main pool) under which you can sit to soak your feet, lots of comfy loungers, a great bar, and views that will take your breath away. While the pool isn’t technically an infinity pool (thanks to a wall of glass), it’s close enough.
Insider Tip: Come back here to watch the sunset. While everyone else is crowding the Tides Pool area, you’ll find way better views – and far fewer people – back here.
Remember how earlier, I mentioned that kids tend to find their way into the hot tubs near the Tides Pool? Well, if you want to enjoy a child-free soak, head to the Serenity deck. Thanks to the well-enforced 21-and-over policy, you won’t find young ones in either of the whirlpools located in this enclave. There are matching hot tubs on the port and starboard sides of the ship. Better still, the bar staff will happily bring you a drink so you can continue to relax uninterrupted.
A word of warning: Out of all the hot tubs on the ship, these tend to be the chilliest. Not because of the water temperature, which is darn near perfect, but because the Serenity deck’s location at the front of the ship can make things pretty windy. Be sure to have your towel or bathrobe close by so you can wrap up in it when you finally climb out of the warm water.
Read More: Adult Stuff on Carnival Horizon
Insider Tip: When the sun goes down, these whirlpools are often completely empty, making them among my favorite quiet spots on the entire ship. Sure, the aforementioned winds can make it chilly when you get out, but it’s totally worth it. Trust me.
Things to Know About Carnival Horizon Pools
- Carnival does not have lifeguards on staff, but they do have pool attendants. These attendants are stationed at both the Tides Pool and the Beach Pool on Lido deck, as well as at the water park.
- Most pools are filled with seawater that is changed frequently through the voyage. How often this happens depends on the discharge regulations in the area through which the ship is sailing.
- Life vests are available by the towel hut and can be used at any time, free of charge.
- The swimming pools are not adults-only, although because the water park is located mid ship, the kids tend to gravitate toward the Beach Pool.
- Since so many guests walk around the pool deck with bare feet, all beverages must be consumed from plastic cups in order to avoid breakage-related injuries. If you bring a glass or bottle onto the pool deck, you will be asked to pour the beverage into a plastic cup.
Carnival Horizon Lido Deck Tour
You can read a comprehensive review of Carnival Horizon here.