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Southern Caribbean Cruise Fun by Jim Bates, Trip Leader

23 Oct 2019 11:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Our eight day Southern Caribbean Cruise was a wonderful trip filled with fun, excitement, and adventure. And the weather could not have been better.

Even though the Carnival ship, the Horizon, was not scheduled to leave the Miami cruise port until October 5, many of us wanted to get the fun started early and flew to Miami a day ahead to enjoy the Friday opulence of the Marriott Biscayne Bay.  The rest flew in on Saturday morning and the adventure began.  Our first surprise was the immense size of the ship.  Being only seventeen months old, the Horizon is the newest of the Carnival line on the Eastern coast, and carries 5,101 passengers and 1,450 crew members.  Our second surprise was the absolute efficiency that was planned into our boarding process.  Many seasoned cruisers commented on the quick and efficient boarding, quicker than we have ever seen.  There were also many positive comments made about the staterooms being larger than many expected.

As is the case with any new ship, the first task after lunch was to tour the ship to see what it has to offer and learn the layout so we wouldn’t get lost.  This turned out to be a greater task than anyone imagined due to the size and many venue and activity offerings of the Horizon.  It took several days to explore the entire ship, and even near the end of the cruise, we were still discovering many things we had not discovered previously.

In addition to this cruise being fantastic because of the ship itself, this was also a fabulous cruise because of the exotic ports.  We saw and explored Grand Turk, the largest island in the Turks and Caicos chain; beautiful La Romana in the Dominican Republic; Curacao, the colorful island near South America that comprises a third of the islands commonly referred to as the ABC islands; and Aruba, another third of the ABC islands and home of fantastic resorts, beaches and unusual rock formations.

Couples and groups went on various excursions at each port.  These excursions adventures included activities such as scuba diving, swimming with dolphins and stingrays, snorkeling, island tours, and a romantic horseback ride on the beach.  The excursion with the most members on it was a visit to an authentic replica of a 16th century rock village (Alto De Chevon), followed by a memorable boat ride down the River Chevon (the river that was used to shoot the movie “Apocalypse Now.”)

Because we booked this cruise a little later than usual, all fixed seating assignments were already taken.  We thought we would have to settle for eating in small groups rather than as a large group like we usually do on a cruise.  This is a part of the cruise that everyone always looks forward to and is one of the highlights.  At the first dinner, however, after hearing of our dilemma, the Asst. Maitre D took our plea to the head Maitre D, who came to our table and offered to assign us two round tables next to each other at a fixed time so all seventeen of our Ski Club members could dine together for the rest of the cruise.  Thank you Carnival for saving this valuable part of our cruise.

The food was fantastic.  We chose from a different dinner menu each night with so many great choices it was often difficult to choose.  When faced with two great choices, it always helped when our waiter said, “No problem, I will bring you both.”

With activities available onboard like the elevated bicycle ride, the gigantic tube slides, the ropes course, the exercise room, the swimming pools, the movies shown on the giant screen above the main pool deck, the iMax movie theater, the 3D movie theater, the amazing live productions in the Liquid Lounge Theater, and the music emanating from every venue every night and day.,etc., etc., there was no end to the things available to occupy, thrill, entertain, and amaze the guests.

Needless to say, everyone had a great time and is looking forward to more adventures with “The Club.”  Thank you Chattanooga Ski Club for making this group trip available, and thank you Carnival Cruise lines for a beautiful, memorable experience.