The "New" Horizon Court Design and International Cafe

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#1
48 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
I know there's another thread about the International Cafe happening now, but, I haven't cruised on a Princess ship since they started changing the Horizon Courts in Drydock (I'll be on the Star, which I believe has been changed) but I'm curious about how that change (for lack of a better word) "changed" the Horizon Court experience.

Whenever I take a first-time cruiser on Princess I explain that the first day or two there's a little confusion in the HC, because people start to "line-up", and it takes people a while to grasp that it's more of a "walk to the buffet of your choice and grab what you want" situation more than it is a cafeteria line. But, has the new HC design changed that?

I also haven't sailed Princess since the International Cafe became more of a HC substitute. And, what I mean by that is, I think the times I sailed on a ship with an International Cafe, I just assumed it was a specialty coffee and pastry place...but it now sounds as though you can get "real" food there...sandwiches, etc. Has the growth in popularity at the Int'l Cafe created any noticable decrease in foot-traffic at HC?

One last thought...I have always thought that on day one, the employees handing out cutlery should be announcing in a friendly way to guests "No need to form a line, just browse the different stations until you see something you like"...or something similar. I'm just curious if this redesign would make that announcement less-necessary...or no longer correct. If that makes sense.
#2
Switzerland
2,150 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Main change in HC is that they moved the deserts outside of the main buffet are into a separate one. At this area they also server made to order sandwiches, jacket potatoes, toast, jam, cereals at breakfast. This allows people to get those items without going through all the crowds again.

There has not been anyone hading out cutlery for a while now as all the tables are now set up for you with napkins, glassware, cutlery, and waiters to get your drinks if you want.

I don't think the IC has taken over from HC, there are different options on offer, and are mainly for light bites such as soup, salads, cakes, biscuits, paninis etc which are not available in HC.
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#3
48 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Hmmm, I forget whether my last Princess cruise (2008) had someone handing out cutlery...I do remember more server interaction.

So, are there still two "sides" (Starboard and Port)...and at certain times of the day one is closed, and at high-traffic times both sides are open?
#4
The interior of BC about 4 hrs north of Vancouver . In the dry part of the Province
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The cooking area is wide open for people to see what is going. You can actually thru to the other side of the horizon court. People still line up like at regular buffet but you can move forward to the salad , sandwich and other stations very easily.
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#5
Hampshire, UK
593 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by SwissDave
Main change in HC is that they moved the deserts outside of the main buffet are into a separate one. At this area they also server made to order sandwiches, jacket potatoes, toast, jam, cereals at breakfast. This allows people to get those items without going through all the crowds again.
Do you know if this is true of Diamond Princess? It sounds an interesting addition.
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#6
COLORADO
56,154 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by OptionAnon
Hmmm, I forget whether my last Princess cruise (2008) had someone handing out cutlery...I do remember more server interaction.

So, are there still two "sides" (Starboard and Port)...and at certain times of the day one is closed, and at high-traffic times both sides are open?

Sometimes they still hand them out.

Yes they alternate sides at certain times.
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#7
pa
5,830 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
The HC on the Star was redone during the last Dry Dock. There is additional room and an additional counter on each side. There is still a port and starboard side HC area and at some times, such as early morning, late night only one side is open. They have additional seating in the indoor pool area. Tableware is on your table, both indoors, in the pool area and on the aft terrace. Waiters get you coffee, tea, juice, ice tea, bar drinks, whatever. Purell your hands, grab a plate and select whatever you want. Open 6AM to 11PM. No more ice cream at 3:30 in the HC. Soft Ice Cream is available all day free of charge at the ice cream bar by the Lido pool.

The IC on Deck 5 is much different. It is one on our favorite places to eat without stuffing ourselves. They have a nice selection of pastries and an egg McMuffin type sandwich for breakfast, paninis, salads, soup, desserts for lunch & dinner until later in the evening when they switch over to things like cheese, dried fruit, desserts. And of course there are the soft cookies. All no charge.They are open 24 hours.There are no free beverages in the IC except water which you can get from the bar. The coffee bar is there and it sells expresso, special coffee drinks and special tea. You can also get a coffee card. Search CC and there are many descriptions of the coffee card. There are also photos of the IC on CC. Search for them.
#8
48 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Thanks. Can I assume when in the IC you can't use your Ultimate Beverage Sticker (or whatever they call it now) to get a soda? Would I need to go to the bar for that?
#9
South Florida
3,879 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by OptionAnon
Thanks. Can I assume when in the IC you can't use your Ultimate Beverage Sticker (or whatever they call it now) to get a soda? Would I need to go to the bar for that?
The International Cafe and the Bar Piazza are pretty much one contiguous area. And on the Grand Princess last month the coffee baristas would gladly take your from-the-bar beverage order as well.
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#10
ohio
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Joined Jan 2011
Last April, on the Ruby, there was one way in and one way out. They had staff at far entrance to insure everyone went to the right line to enter. Cutlery was already set on tables.
#11
League City, TX
38,087 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Besides the wider aisles inside the traditional serving area of the Horizon Court, most of the counters are set up to be approaced in two directions with the same food on each.

o Some less selection since the same foods are on both sides of the counter

o Less lines since the foods can be approaced in two directions

First two pictures are of the remodeled traditional serving area







New area for bread, waffles (breakfast) and desserts (rest of day)




Above pictures are from the Star Princess
#13
NJ, USA
1,625 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
The Horizon Court is the worst feature of Princess. Poor design for handling crowds. I would hope they could figure this one out for future ships but apparently didn't learn early on.
#14
South Florida
3,879 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by bphman
The Horizon Court is the worst feature of Princess. Poor design for handling crowds. I would hope they could figure this one out for future ships but apparently didn't learn early on.
I think they have finally gotten it right. The redesign on the Grand-class ships (as seen in caribill's photos above) is a vast improvement and much more user-friendly than the split Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe arrangement on the larger ships.
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Four cruises in eleven months 2011/12--March: Star Princess So Caribbean; August: Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic; November: Queen Victoria Venice-Ft Lauderdale; February: Celebrity Infinity Around Cape Horn (review--X never again!)
Plus ths last minute booking: Grand Princess 12/15/12--a brief prelude to...
Spring 2013--freestyle v. elegance: Norwegian Star EB TA---> Queen Mary 2 Northern Highlights + WB TA
Fall 2013 Canada/NE: Maasdam Montreal-Ft Lauderdale--booked 8 days before sailing; no pre-cruise anxiety here
Sept 2014 RCI Vision of the Seas for my big five-0: Ports A, Ship C- (and that's generous)
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#15
Palm Springs, Calif
39,303 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Our last Princess cruise was in 2006 when we did the 17 day Panama on the Sun Princess, but this Sept, I will join friends for the 7 day Coastal on the Star. I recall the way the HC was originally designed and it was a mess.
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#16
48 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Originally posted by caribill
Besides the wider aisles inside the traditional serving area of the Horizon Court, most of the counters are set up to be approaced in two directions with the same food on each.

o Some less selection since the same foods are on both sides of the counter

o Less lines since the foods can be approaced in two directions

First two pictures are of the remodeled traditional serving area







New area for bread, waffles (breakfast) and desserts (rest of day)




Above pictures are from the Star Princess
Thanks Caribill!

A picture IS worth a thousand words. That looks roomier than it used to be. That's a relief. One of the reasons I explain that I like Princess is the less-crowded feel, when compared to some other lines...and the HC seemed like one of the few exceptions to that rule.

I'll be travelling with a moderately crowd-phobic friend I've been trying to get to cruise for years.

Thanks again.
#17
Hampshire, UK
593 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Thank you for posting those pictures. The new buffet area looks fantastic.

Still wondering which ships this has been done to, and particularly if Diamond Princess has been remodelled.
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#18
1,165 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by ellie1145
Thank you for posting those pictures. The new buffet area looks fantastic.

Still wondering which ships this has been done to, and particularly if Diamond Princess has been remodelled.
Diamond will be pretty long in the tooth when she gets her next drydock unfortunately. The flip side is that it will likely receive many of the improvements the sapphire received and more.

Drydock schedule
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#19
Washington State
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Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by caribill
New area for bread, waffles (breakfast) and desserts (rest of day)
That new dessert station does look like it would help with overcrowding in the main buffet area. But I'm wondering how it affected the seating capacity of the Horizon Court, since it took over a large chunk of the former seating area.
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#20
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Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by Jasperdo
That new dessert station does look like it would help with overcrowding in the main buffet area. But I'm wondering how it affected the seating capacity of the Horizon Court, since it took over a large chunk of the former seating area.
On the star, they reduced the number of large round tables and got rid of many of the half walls. Combined, it allows greater flexibility and better flow. I would say the seating is the same if not closely similar as before. They also seem to provide more attention to seating in the calypso pool area.
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