1. Craft Brews and Barbecue at Sea
We're in love with Carnival's commitment to craft brews. On Carnival Horizon, the cruise line debuted four new, tasty-sounding beers: ParchedPig Smoked Porter, ParchedPig Farmhouse Ale, ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale and ParchedPig West Coast IPA. Beers are made onboard at the ship's Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse, which combines a barbecue restaurant, serving items like smoked brisket, ribs, dry-rubbed chicken, pulled pork and cedar-smoked salmon, with beer. The joint blends the best of award-winning barbecue chef Guy Fieri and brewmaster Colin Presby, the guy behind the line's ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin' IPA, FriskyFrog Java Stout and ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat. (You can sample these exclusive craft brews on sister-ship Carnival Vista at the RedFrog Pub & Brewery.)
Carnival Horizon is home to Bonsai Teppanyaki -- the first teppanyaki restaurant in the cruise line's fleet. Fans of the slice-and-dice artists will love the chic space, tucked within the Bonsai Sushi restaurant on the ship's promenade deck. Part dinner, part show, Bonsai Teppanyaki tickles the taste buds and the senses as chefs show off their knife skills, toss around tasty treats and generally entertain from behind a hibachi grill. The intimate venue, which has two hibachi stations that seat eight, offers items like pork belly yakitori with sesame asparagus fries and seaweed or teriyaki salmon, along with heaping servings of fried rice and stir-fried vegetables.
3. Spoiled for Cabin Choice
Carnival Horizon offers passengers a huge variety of cabins, from a wide choice of interior rooms all the way to gorgeous Grand Suites. We count 11 options among the 1,980 cabins, along with 25 accessible staterooms. Our pick for best option for families: Carnival Horizon's 16 Family Harbor Suites, which come with a host of perks, including a free night of babysitting, exclusive access to the Family Harbor Lounge and free specialty dining for kids 12 and younger. At 275 square feet, Family Harbor Suites have space for five and have the option for connecting to other cabins, accommodating larger groups. We're also fans of Horizon's Havana Cabana cabins, where all passengers must be 12 or older. Passengers here get exclusive use of the Havana Pool each day until 7 p.m.
4. Serenity Deck
We love the way Carnival Horizon has activities and facilities for families while also deftly offering decidedly adult-only experiences. The Serenity Deck is for the 18-and-older set, and it offers a peaceful spot to relax away from the bustling main pool. The sun deck has lots of loungers, sunbeds, shaded clamshells and hot tubs. And don't forget the massive Serenity Bar, serving up cool cocktails to combat the hot sun. There's even a Fresh Creations, where you can order made-to-order salads or pick from a variety of pun-tastically named chef specials. Just Arugula Guy and Romaine Calm, anyone?
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5. The Sky Ride
Get in a workout while checking out the best views from Carnival Horizon on its Sky Ride. (OK, maybe "workout" is a stretch, but the Sky Ride operates a lot like a bicycle.) Race your friends or enjoy a leisurely pedal while you're suspended in a cycling pod from a track that encircles Deck 14. We love this ride when the ship is in port, where your bird's-eye view gives you a unique perspective of the exotic spots Horizon visits.