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Everything Carnival Horizon, Part 3: Specialty Restaurants



As we continue our in-depth look at Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, today we explore some of the specialty restaurants on board. Whether it’s a new offering (like the Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse), a twist on an old favorite (such as Bonsai Teppanyaki) or a longtime favorite among Carnival passengers (Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse), these are the places where you’ll pay a little extra… but definitely get your money’s worth. (If you want to avoid spending extra money, check out yesterday’s entry, which focused entirely on the many, many free eats found around the ship.)

The Two Restaurants Everyone Is Buzzing About

Pig and Anchor

If you know nothing else about food on board this ship, you probably heard about the Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse. Yes, Carnival has had barbecue restaurants on their ships before, but this is the first time — as part of their ongoing partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri — they’ve had a dedicated, full-time space such as this one. As if to show just how serious they are about this endeavor, Carnival even went so far as to put this Pig & Anchor outpost in some pretty prime real estate: It replaces the much-loved RedFrog Pub. The space will immediately transport your brain to Texas (even if you’re sailing through the Caribbean) with its cowhide barstools and honky tonk feel, and the food is pretty dang close to what you might find being served up in BBQ hotspots such as Austin, Texas. The barkeeps here also make some pretty potent cocktails, including a smokey Manhattan topped with crispy bacon.

READ MORE: Check Out The Pig & Anchor Menu & Prices

The other new-to-Carnival spot is Bonsai Teppanyaki, an extension of the popular Bonsai Sushi restaurant. If you’ve been to a Teppanyaki restaurant, you know what to expect here: Flying knives and lots of jokes (some pretty corny), all designed to create a meal that is both dinner and a show. Dinner here will cost between $25 and $30 per person, and here’s something we can’t stress enough: make a reservation. There is limited availability at each of the seatings, and while this is a fun night for groups and families, that also makes it tough to get a table!

READ MORE: Check Out Bonsai Teppanyaki Menu & Prices 

Some Of The Other Specialty Restaurants Onboard

If you’ve ever sailed with Carnival Cruise Line, you’re likely familiar with several of the other for-fee offerings available. Perennially popular is the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, which is a wonderful place to spend a special evening such as an anniversary or just a rare night away from the kids. On Horizon, they’ve relocated the piano bar so that it’s right next door to the steakhouse. The wall separating them remains open during most of the dinner seatings, allowing a pianist to offer soft, never intrusive music to make the evening that much more special. The steakhouse menu recently underwent a few renovations, and you can learn more about those by clicking here. Dinner will cost $35 per person, and this is another place it’s definitely worth making reservations for.

We mentioned Bonsai Teppanyaki earlier, but the ship also has a Bonsai Sushi restaurant which offers a la carte sushi. One of the things we really love about Horizon is that many of the restaurants, this one included, give you the opportunity to sit inside or out. Pricing wise, this place is a pretty sweet deal. You could easily walk out of here for $10-$15 per person… less if you’re just looking for something to tide you over rather than a full meal.

Horizon wouldn’t be a modern cruise ship if it didn’t feature an Italian restaurant, and for Carnival, that means Cucina del Capitano. Priced at $15 for adults, the restaurant’s menu features… well, pretty much everything you’d expect to find in an Italian restaurant. Word of warning: arrive hungry. The portions are big, and you will walk away more than stuffed.

One of our favorite additions to the Carnival fleet is Jiji Asian Kitchen, which features a limited but incredibly curated menu. Standout items include the slow-braised pork belly appetizer, Singapore Chile Shrimp, and Kung Pao Chicken. One of the things we love about this venue is the subtle yet beautiful theming which really helps put you in the perfect headspace for the fragrant meal you’ll enjoy. At $15 per person, this is a spot we try to hit on every Carnival ship during the course of a cruise.

READ MORE: Jiji Asian Kitchen Review

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Easily overlooked is the Seafood Shack, which is located by the Tides pool at the very back of the ship on deck 10. Its almost hidden location makes it a great spot to hit on the first day or two, when people are still exploring the ship and haven’t yet stumbled across the wonders of the Tides pool area. If you’re dying for a lobster roll or some fried clams (although not, sadly, of the whole-belly variety which are pretty hard to find outside of genuine New England eateries these days), this a la carte venue is the place to be.

Seafood Shack

There are, of course, other places where you can drop some coin on food items, including Cherry On Top (home of the awesome build-your-own ice cream sandwiches to which we’ve become sort of addicted) and, if you want a true culinary experience, the Chef’s Table. All of which means, as we said yesterday in discussing the complimentary options, you definitely are not going to go hungry on the ship.

Next up: Part four of our 10-part series looks at the various forms of entertainment you’ll find around Carnival Horizon.



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Inside The Party For Carnival Horizon [PHOTOS]



Given that Queen Latifah is the Godmother of Carnival’s newest ship, you had to know a good time was going to be had by all at the Carnival Horizon’s official naming ceremony. Held in New York City on a picture-perfect afternoon, the event featured plenty of food, lots of drink, singing, dancing and even a pretty substantial charitable donation.

Welcome To Flavortown

Things got under way with a ribbon-cutting ceremony as celebrity chef Guy Fieri welcomed guests to the latest outpost of Flavortown, the Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse. With live music playing, servers dished out hearty helpings of the venue’s signature foods, including trashcan nachos, dragon chili cheese fries and a pecan pie that was, according to the genuine Southern belle at our table, “to die for.”

Guy Fieri and brewmeister Colin Presby, doing the honors.

After that, the traditional naming ceremony kicked off with Brand Ambassador John Heald offering up a tip of the hat to “the one man to blame” for the fact that “I now have X’s in the back of everything I’m wearing,” Fieri.

Next up was the traditional prayer of blessing, followed by Carnival president Christine Duffy welcoming everyone aboard before discussing the very special bond between the cruise line and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Speaking proudly of the $16 million dollars raised by Carnival since the partnership first began in 2010, Duffy then presented the hospital with a check for another $100,000 and directed everyone’s eyes to the 24-foot Dreamscape, which anchors the atrium and now features among it’s displays 33 pieces of art created by St. Jude patients.

Artwork done by St. Jude patients lit up the Dreamscape.

Next up was the ship’s Godmother, Queen Latifah, who also happens to be a major supporter of St. Jude. After thanking the crowd “for looking so good,” Latifah asked everyone to take another look at the artwork-adorned Dreamscape. “My mom was an art teacher,” she said of her recently-deceased parent, “so I appreciate what the kids do. I know what it does for a child’s heart to create like that.”

Of being Godmother to a cruise ship, Latifah admitted it was “one of the coolest things I’ve ever been asked to be a part of in my life!” She was then joined on stage by Captain Luigi De Angelis and, together, they poured an oversized bottle of champagne (“This is the only time the captain will hold a bottle of champagne like this,” quipped Heald) over the ship’s inaugural season bell.

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“Only at Carnival Cruise Line,” quipped Heald of the ceremony, “do we water the plants with Moet.”

With the official business of the day out of the way, it was time for the fun to start in the Liquid Lounge, where Latifah battled Philadelphia Eagles player Jake Elliot in an epic Lip Sync Battle hosted by popular Carnival cruise director Matt Mitcham. But before the main event could begin, the crowd was in for an unexpected treat when Duffy was joined on stage by Carnival Corp’s President and CEO, Arnold Donald, for a lip synched performance of The Black Eyed Peas’ party anthem “I Gotta Feeling.”

Duffy and Donald proved they definitely choose fun.

With Duffy cheering on Elliot, and Donald firmly in the Queen’s corner, the main event began. And while footballer Elliott took the pumped-up crowd back to the days of MTV’s Headbangers Ball by donning a massive wig to perform Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” this was Latifah’s battle to lose. And if you know anything about the singer/actor/businesswoman — who also happens to be a past Lip Sync Battle champion — it’s that she does not come to lose. The moment she and the Playlist Productions performers took to the stage to perform “It’s Raining Men,” it was all over but the cheering. Of the stripping background dancers, Mitcham joked that Latifah’s performance was “like Baywatch and Magic Mike went wild,” while Donald said that the dancers “inspired me to keep my shirt on!”  

Elliott put up a good fight, but he couldn’t dethrone the Queen.

Before being crowned the winner, Latifah admitted there was one thing about her new role which she’d found disappointing. “Shouldn’t Godmother’s have a wand?” she asked… only to promptly be presented one, with which she sprinkled “love dust over the crowd, even my sworn enemy Jake.”

The evening ended with a bang… or, more precisely, a whole lot of bangs.

With the scheduled events of the evening over, invited guests dispersed to enjoy the live entertainment taking place all around the ship, as well as movies in the Imax and Thriller Theaters, a party on the Lido deck, a midnight buffet and an impressive fireworks display that was, appropriately enough, set in part to the tune “New York, New York.” 

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Carnival Horizon Makes Inaugural Call in Canadian Port



Carnival Cruise Line’s brand new Vista-class ship Carnival Horizon made her first-ever call in Halifax, Nova Scotia yesterday.

The day was a welcome change for cruise passengers; it was the first port stop after six days at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean. Ship officers as well as local officials held a traditional plaque ceremony in the Library onboard, where a plaque was given to the ship by the Port of Halifax and other tokens were exchanged, including a model of the ship given to the port by Carnival Cruise Line.

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Carnival Horizon is the sister-ship to Carnival Vista, which pioneered a number of new concepts for Carnival including the SkyRide bicycling attraction and the Dreamscape LED sculpture in the atrium. Some of Horizon’s unique new features include a sit-down barbecue smokehouse and brewery as well as a Cat in the Hat themed WaterWorks water park.

Click here for a video of the ship headed into the Port of Halifax.

Click here for our article on all of the free food found aboard Carnival Horizon.

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Everything Carnival Horizon, Part 10: Before You Disembark



Hard as it is to believe, our time together exploring Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ships is coming to an end. But before that can happen, we need to take one last spin around the Carnival Horizon… just to make sure you aren’t missing anything!

How Do You Spend That Final Day?

Nobody likes to think about disembarkation, yet that seems to be what the mind winds up focusing on during those final 24 hours of any cruise. You’re not even off the ship yet, but the mind begins wandering to the work that will be waiting on your desk or the unmowed lawn waiting to be tended.

Our best advice: Given that you are on a Carnival ship, do as they advise and Choose Fun for as long as you possibly can.

Sure, you’ll have to pack your suitcase eventually… but the last day of your vacation is when you should slow down enough to soak it all in. Give yourself a little extra time to sit in a quiet spot, staring out at the sea and taking mental photographs. Have a long, leisurely brunch (during which you allow yourself to have a second, and maybe even a third, Bloody Mary. Head to Cherry on Top and get one more of those amazing ice cream sandwiches, which you know you’re going to have cravings for once you get back home.

Choose your cookie. Choose your ice cream. Choose your toppings. Eat. Could anything be simpler?

One thing we’d definitely recommend you do in advance: If you have a specialty restaurant you want to enjoy that final dinner-at-sea in, make a reservation. For many people, dining at the Steakhouse, for example, is a perfect capper to their cruise. Tomorrow, they’ll be back to making their own dinner and clearing their own tables, so why not have one final high-end meal?

Go ahead, live a little… it’s the last night of your cruise!

Another thing you definitely want to make sure to do on that final evening is head to the casino to cash in any winnings you might have! One of our favorite ways to make sure we go home with a little money? Cashing out whenever we have a decent win on a slot machine, putting a fresh $20 bill in the game… and sticking those tickets into the safe in our stateroom and not touching them until the week is over. When it’s time to head upstairs on the final night and pack our bags, we grab those tickets and cash them out.

One way we fight the melancholy that can often set in on the final day is by booking another trip, which on the Carnival Horizon can be done by visiting the future cruise desk on deck 10. Then, having put it off as long as we possibly could, we finally head back to the room and pack. After spending a fair amount of time deciding what to bring and what to leave behind during the days building up to the cruise, the packing-to-disembark process is a lot quicker and easier. You know the drill: Throw everything into the suitcase, don’t even bother folding it, taking as little time as possible.

The saddest thing on a cruise ever? Seeing all the suitcases lining the hallways, waiting to be collected on that final night.

If you need any information at all about the disembarkaton process, make sure to check the Fun Times or ask at Guest Services. But don’t leave this until the last morning… trust us, the staff will have their hands full trying to get everyone off the ship so that a whole new group of passengers can board and begin their vacations! In fact, if you have anything at all you need to deal with Guest Services about, try not to wait until that last evening, because the place can become a bit of a zoo!

And remember that there is no room service available on that final morning, so if you want to grab one last free meal, you’ll have to actually leave the room… or at least convince one of your traveling companions to do so! Again, consulting the Fun Times will tell you where you can go for that final meal, whether it’s a sit-down breakfast or just grabbing some coffee to get yourself going.

Sadly, it is here that we, too, must part ways. Here’s hoping that you’ve enjoyed our special, in-depth look at the Carnival Horizon. Keep checking back for more information on not only this ship but the upcoming Carnival Panorama, which we’re already excited to explore!

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