The Fun Shops On The Carnival Horizon: Shopping Experiences Taken To New Heights On The High Seas!

I recently got to climb on board the Horizon, the newest ship from Carnival, at Manhattan’s Pier 88 at Twelfth Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets. My visit was courtesy of Starboard Cruises who wanted to show off their wonderful two floors of “Fun Shops”–this is the largest aggregation of stores on any cruise ship and it is truly like a mini mall. Prices are the same as in a real shopping center—you get all the great holiday sales and special promotions as a ship guest. Many popular stores are featured include LeVian Jewelry, a multi-brand fashion jewelry shop that includes Swarovski and Alex & Ani pieces and Victoria’s Secret (as a matter of fact, the Horizon has the only VS on the high seas)!
What is special about the shops is that are not just for shopping. There are many special events including girls and guys’ nights out! There are special rooms on board where products are brought and all out shopping parties ensue that include cocktails, food and custom sartorial advice. The best example of this is a guys’ night out called Gentleman’s Guide To Life And Love on in the Library Room. Sophisticated hipster versions of James Bond are on hand to help guys get advice on everything from the best sunglasses for their face shape to how to mix cocktails that ladies will love to how much fragrance to apply. There are plenty of drinks to make things fun and I was lucky enough to take in a mini session even though I am not a guy–I learned how to tie a bow-tie, which is quite the fashion trend right now. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the display of men’s fragrances–including my Montblanc Legend and Chanel Bleu, two of my favorites–and getting to try on some of the latest Ray-Ban metal aviators with mirror lenses. Ladies, I am willing to bet good money that you could send your “Oscar Madison” to these guys running the show in the Library and have them return as a “David Beckham,” LOL!
Over at Victoria’s Secret, Ladies’ Night Out includes fun custom cocktails (including some pinks ones, naturally), a DJ, shopping specials and a wheel that all guests get to spin for prizes. There are five or six staff members who can help you pick out great items for yourself or as a gift and you’ll be shocked at the great deals! There is no tax at sea, either. I was surprised that there were more than 15 styles of panties stocked in a relatively small space (considering how large VS stores usually are)!
I was thrilled to go over to the Alex & Ani area of the fashion jewelry section on the 14th floor of the Horizon for a Fun Shop ladies’ night party that included guests making all their own custom charm bracelets that included exclusively charms based on Horizon themes. There were a lot of charms shaped like the famous funnel on the ship. All guests left with a faux silver chain bracelet with a cute red funnel charm on it as a gift. Nearby is Svarovski, and it is thrilled to sea a ship replica made entirely of crystals in the window!
I could not wait to go into the LeVian store to sample one of their famous Style Me Famous jewelry nights which are unisex! There are cocktails and trays of jewelry go around for guests to pose with. They usually take one piece and put it on, then pose for the professional photographer (photos are free and issued in a special photo sleeve that says Style Me Famous on it). I fell in love with a men’s large blue topaz and diamond cocktail ring and posed–you can actually see this ring in the photo above. Needless to say, LeVian is a favorite jewelry brand of the rich and famous and is often spotted on the red carpet at notable events. Guests are offered cocktails and discounts in the store. There are fabulous takeaways like one carat brown quartz pieces that look like the chocolate diamonds sold in the store and chocolates shaped like gold bars.
If you have a chance to go on the Horizon and want to have a luxurious Modern American lunch or dinner, head to the Meridien restaurant. I personally enjoyed world-class veggie lasagna and medium rare filet mignon, but not only was the food satisfying–meals end with a floor show by the wait staff that includes merengue and other types of dancing (yes, all the wait staff put on shiny ruffled shirts for the occasion)! Carnival is famous for surprises like this. I have to say that I was also impressed that they bring the themes for some of their stores into the lounges–as one large lounge on the 13th floor is now decorated in Victoria’s Secret pink chairs and a giant digital fountain shaped light in the center that gives off pink light and the VS logo. For more info, go to www.carnival.com. The Horizon travels to multiple island destinations out of both Manhattan and Miami.

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