GREEN EGGS AND FAM­ILY

Let us tell you a Thing 1 (and Thing 2) about a new chap­ter in block­buster cruis­ing

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - CRUISING CARNIVAL HORIZON - SUE WAL­LACE

She’s big, bold and brash, home to the first Dr Seuss waterworks fun park and a two-lane bike ride in the sky, plus there’s smashed av­o­cado on toast and good cof­fee. Wel­come to Car­ni­val Hori­zon, the lat­est block­buster on the new ship cir­cuit that’s joined Car­ni­val Cor­po­ra­tion’s global fleet of more than 100 ships across nine cruise brands.

Un­der the com­mand of Cap­tain Luigi De An­ge­lis, a na­tive of Ischia in Italy, who is the fourth gen­er­a­tion to serve as a ship cap­tain, the 15-deck Car­ni­val Hori­zon has been cruis­ing the Mediter­ranean for its inaugural sea­son be­fore head­ing to Miami, Florida, for Car­ib­bean jaunts.

There are 4300 pas­sen­gers on board. Most are Amer­i­can, with a smat­ter­ing of British, Euro­peans, Chi­nese and Ja­panese as well as 11 Aus­tralians and New Zealan­ders for a seven-night Barcelona re­turn cruise. Ports in­clude Cagliari in Sar­dinia, Italy’s Naples, Civ­i­tavec­chia and Livorno and Mar­seilles in France.

With 1445 crew from 56 na­tions aboard ser­vice is prompt and friendly and there’s lit­tle queu­ing de­spite the hefty num­bers.

Every­thing is sparkling new and while some diehard Car­ni­val fans men­tion they took a lit­tle time ad­just­ing to hi-tech fea­tures such as the ever-chang­ing LED atrium Dream­scape sculp­ture and new lift sys­tem, it ap­pears most are im­pressed by the su­per dooper fa­cil­i­ties and new restau­rants.

Here’s the low­down on this fun fam­ily ship where you may well be am­bushed by a Dr Seuss deck pa­rade and, just like in one of his books, you can dine on green eggs and ham at a spe­cial fam­ily break­fast.

START AND FIN­ISH

Thou­sands of pas­sen­gers all want­ing to board is a sure-fire recipe for chaos, but sur­pris­ingly it’s quick and pain­less thanks to a new ef­fi­cient check-in sys­tem and stag­gered board­ing times. Wheel­ing my own lug­gage on board, I was un­packed and out on deck ex­plor­ing within 20 min­utes. Disem­barka­tion in Barcelona is also pretty swift but be pre­pared for a lengthy taxi wait.

LIFT TECH­NOL­OGY

For­get about press­ing but­tons when you en­ter a lift, here you punch in the deck you want on an ex­ter­nal panel that flashes which lift to en­ter then whisks you to your des­ti­na­tion. Ho­tel direc­tor, Pierre B. Camil­leri says re­search shows it cuts wait­ing and travel time.

SLEEP­ING

A wide range of ac­com­mo­da­tion is on of­fer – fancy a spa cabin with ex­clu­sive priv­i­leges at the lux­u­ri­ous Cloud 9 Spa or an ex­tra-roomy state­room in Fam­ily Har­bour with nau­ti­cal decor? Trop­ics-in­spired Havana state­rooms and suites that come with ex­clu­sive day­time ac­cess to a Cuban-themed bar and in­fin­ity pool are snapped up.

Home is a deck seven state­room with blue and camel decor plus blond tim­ber wardrobe and mini fridge. The bal­cony is per­fect for ocean and port gaz­ing. Olen, an un­flap­pable ste­ward, en­sures every­thing is ship­shape and re­veals his cre­ativ­ity with towel an­i­mals that hang from the ceil­ing or lounge on the bed.

DIN­ING

There’s lit­er­ally a smor­gas­bord of restau­rants and cafes on­board so you will never go hun­gry or tire of venues – some you pay ex­tra for, some you don’t. Spe­cialty restau­rants in­cur an ex­tra fee but you get your money’s worth. Favourites in­clude the first Bon­sai Tep­pa­nyaki at sea where chefs

YOU MAY WELL BE AM­BUSHED BY A DR SEUSS DECK PA­RADE ON THIS FUN FAM­ILY SHIP

daz­zle with daring knife skills pre­par­ing lob­ster tails, Wagyu beef and spiced, grilled chicken with a Ja­panese twist. Next door Bon­sai Sushi serves tra­di­tional sushi and sashimi rolls.

Fahren­heit 555 Steak­house of­fers pre­mium meat cuts and seafood with a spec­tac­u­lar white chocolate dessert cre­ation – art on a plate. Guests are also ser­e­naded by mu­sic from the ad­join­ing pi­ano bar which is an­other pop­u­lar haunt.

At Cucina del Cap­i­tano you will find de­li­cious house-made bur­rata with tomato and basil, pas­tas, beef and chicken Ital­ian dishes with a knock­out tiramisu or de­li­cious gelato for dessert. Pre­pare to sing along with wait­ers when they ser­e­nade with That’s Amore.

Ji Ji Asian serves Mon­go­lian­in­spired dishes while pool­side at the Seafood Shack, lob­ster rolls and crab cake slid­ers have a fol­low­ing.

But the talk of the ship is a match made in heaven – a bar­be­cue and brew­house which is an­other Car­ni­val first where Guy Fieri, a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Royal Na­tional Bar­be­cue Hall of Fame, has his Pig and An­chor Bar-B-Que Smoke­house and a brew­ery. The menu is all about “low and slow” cook­ing with smoked on-board brisket, Mem­phis-style baby back ribs, dry rubbed chicken and cedar-smoked salmon with apri­cot glaze.

Brew­mas­ter Colin Presby is ex­cited about four dis­tinc­tive mi­cro brews in­clud­ing Parched Pig Smoked Porter, Farm­house Ale, West Coast IPA and Toasted Am­ber that are brewed on­board.

The Lido Mar­ket­place of­fers food sta­tions serv­ing hot and cold tasty dishes with salad bars, gourmet sand­wiches and for a sweet treat gelato and a range of deca­dent gourmet cakes at the Sweet Spot.

Ship board din­ing is im­pres­sive over­all but the main din­ing room was a lit­tle in­con­sis­tent at times – bland chicken and un­in­ter­est­ing veg­eta­bles ar­rived one night and the next the curry was sen­sa­tional.

There are bars and cafes serv­ing burg­ers, tacos, seafood and piz­zas pool­side and there never seemed to be a long wait plus there’s also room ser­vice.

Favourite wa­ter­ing holes in­clude the Alchemy Bar where vin­tage themed cock­tails are cre­ated nightly and the Havana Bar where you can sip a mo­jito and tap your toes to the Cuban clas­sic Guan­tanam­era.

AC­TIV­I­TIES

Whim­si­cal ad­ven­tures await at the Dr Seuss WaterWorks that is def­i­nitely the star of the show for fam­i­lies as young­sters slip, slide and splash around with dual slides and a gi­ant tip­ping bucket that drenches all.

The pop­u­lar Skyride gives an adren­a­line rush and a bird’s eye view of the ship – just take a seat and start ped­alling on the sus­pended track.

There’s an IMAX Theatre, sports square with the first sky ropes course at sea, out­door fit­ness area, mini golf, pools, ping pong and bil­liards, shuf­fle­board and a two-lane bowl­ing al­ley.

The walk­ing track has its devo­tees as well – seven times around equals a kilo­me­tre. Pi­lates, yoga and stretch classes are on of­fer and the fit­ness cen­tre gets a work­out.

There are also ded­i­cated chil­dren’s clubs cater­ing for ages from 2-17 with fun ac­tiv­i­ties.

EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

There’s never a dull mo­ment on this ship with every­thing from bingo, lip synch bat­tles, karaoke, games, com­edy and stage shows in­clud­ing

Soul­bound, a sin­is­ter story of may­hem and das­tardly deeds with gothic-in­spired cos­tumes. Port days are busy with op­tional tours in­clud­ing do-it-your­self with bus or train trans­port or­gan­ised and maps pro­vided. Movies are pool­side on the big screen – Mur­der on the Ori­ent

Ex­press seems so much bet­ter bob­bing around the Mediter­ranean. Side trips in­clude Sor­rento, Rome, Florence and Pisa, and show­stop­per Aix-en-Provence, with other op­tions.

RE­TAIL THER­APY

For­get port shop­ping, there are enough shops on­board to sat­isfy the most dis­cern­ing shopper. Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret, Nike, Kate Spade, top shelf jew­ellery shops stocked with de­signer watches and gems are busy and Cherry on Top with 120 kinds of bulk candy and ice creams tempts all.

GRUMBLES

A lit­tle eaves­drop­ping in the lift re­veals some avid Car­ni­val cruis­ers are con­cerned there are no table­cloths at af­ter­noon tea and cabin doors slam­ming is a com­mon bug bear.

TAKE A BREAK FROM KIDS

If you don’t want to be ser­e­naded by squeal­ing chil­dren, es­cape to the adults-only Seren­ity Re­treat with ham­mocks and sunbeds – on sea days there’s a healthy chopped salad sta­tion. Cloud 9 Spa of­fers treat­ments and passes to the ther­mal suite with sen­sory show­ers and tiled, heated sun lounges – heaven af­ter a busy port day.

BEST SUITED FOR

It’s a fun fam­ily ship and Car­ni­val has stepped up with a wide va­ri­ety of din­ing choices and fun ac­tiv­i­ties. Staff are ex­cel­lent and I’m im­pressed by the ef­fi­ciency. As for av­o­cado on toast, head to the din­ing room for break­fast, and Java Blue Cafe does a roar­ing trade in good cof­fee.

Those who long for 24-hour al­lyou-can-eat soft serve ice cream and pizza will be in cruise ship heaven.

THE AU­THOR WAS A GUEST OF CAR­NI­VAL HORI­ZON

PIC­TURES: ANDY NEW­MAN/CAR­NI­VAL CRUISE LINE

Dr Seuss WaterWorks Park on Car­ni­val Hori­zon is fun for all; Dream­scape LED atrium light­ing will en­thrall; try green eggs and ham for break­fast, and en­joy the first Bon­sai Tep­pa­nyaki at sea. CAT IN THE HAT

LIGHT SCULP­TURE

TEP­PA­NYAKI

GREEN EGGS AND HAM

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