Carnival’s Faster to the Fun: Are the priority cruise perks worth it?

Faster to the Fun


You don’t have to be a loyal cruise guest to enjoy priority perks on Carnival Cruise Line. Even first-time cruisers can achieve VIP status with Carnival’s Faster to the Fun.

What is Faster to the Fun? It’s a paid add-on to your cruise fare that gives regular passengers an expedited embarkation process and other exclusive perks. The program was paused during the pandemic, but Carnival brought back FTTF in late 2022.

But is it a game-changer or a clever upsell for cruisers?

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.

If you’re wondering what the benefits are, how much it costs and whether it’s worth it, we’ve put together this guide on everything you need to know about Carnival’s Faster to the Fun. We’ll also tell you how and when to book the Faster to the Fun package if you decide it’s the right option for you.

What is Faster to the Fun on Carnival?

Carnival’s Faster to the Fun is a package you can upgrade to on most sailings that gives you access to priority benefits from the moment you check in until you disembark on the last day of your sailing. The idea is to maximize your vacation fun by spending less time waiting.

That means getting on board early (right after VIFP Club loyalty program Diamond and Platinum members and suite guests) to hit the pool deck buffet before the crowds come or grab a spot in an empty hot tub. You can drop your bags off in your room right away because you can get into your cabin immediately, skip the long lines at guest services when you need assistance and more.

Start your vacation early by skipping the lines and going straight to the fun. CARNIVAL CRUISES

Think of it as paying your way into certain VIFP Club Diamond- and Platinum-level benefits that would otherwise typically take at least 10 sailings with Carnival to earn.

What are the benefits of Faster to the Fun?

Seven main perks are included with Carnival’s Faster to the Fun program. Here’s what you get when you upgrade:

Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter

Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts.

While many of these Faster to the Fun benefits are similar to the perks given to VIFP Club Diamond and Platinum members, Faster to the Fun doesn’t include other VIFP perks such as complimentary laundry service, an invite to the VIFP party on board or access to the Captain’s Lounge, which is a dedicated VIP waiting area for Diamond and Platinum members at the port terminal.

Related: Best Carnival cruise ships: Here’s which ship you should sail, based on your travel style

How much is Faster to the Fun on Carnival?

The Faster to the Fun price generally starts at $59.95 per cabin for sailings departing from the U.S., but it varies by factors such as cruise length, your ship and departure port. (The Carnival website currently has an FTTF upgrade for two-day sailings from Brisbane, Australia, listed for as low as $39.95.)

The price of Faster to the Fun is per cabin, so the benefits apply to everyone staying in the room. Since Carnival charges per cabin — no matter how many people you have in one room — families or other groups of four to a cabin will have a lower per-person cost for the program.

The chart below outlines how much Faster to the Fun costs based on cruise duration, but prices are subject to change. Only one person needs to book the upgrade online, which will automatically apply to everyone in the same room.

Cruise duration Price
2-3 days $59.95 per stateroom
4-5 days $89.95 per stateroom
6-8 days, excluding Carnival Celebration, Carnival Jubilee and Carnival Mardi Gras $129.95 per stateroom
6-8 days, for Carnival Celebration, Carnival Jubilee and Carnival Mardi Gras $149.95 per stateroom
9 days and longer $169.95 per stateroom

How do I purchase Faster to the Fun?

Faster to the Fun can only be purchased online at Carnival’s website before the cruise. It’s considered a package, so you’ll find the upgrade option under the In-Room Gifts & Shopping tab, listed as Faster to the Fun. Click on your cruise ship departure port to check prices and availability.

Only one person in the room needs to purchase Faster to the Fun for all of the guests sharing the cabin to receive the benefits.

The package option usually opens for booking six to 18 months before embarkation day. You can call Carnival’s Guest Services line to find out when Faster to the Fun sales will open for your sailing.

Faster to the Fun isn’t available for cruises in Europe; ships leaving from Honolulu or Norfolk; or any of the Carnival Journeys sailings (a series of special sailings to more off-the-beaten-path destinations).

If you want to upgrade to Faster to the Fun, book as soon as you can because availability is limited. Carnival intentionally controls the number of people who can purchase the Faster to the Fun package because the cruise line wants to make sure everyone eligible for these priority perks — from FTTF guests to Diamond and Platinum members and suite passengers — gets the preferred service levels they’re being guaranteed.

Related: Which cruise ship activities should you book ahead of time?

Carnival limits Faster to the Fun capacity based on the number of Diamond and Platinum guests who’ve booked your cruise because they’re eligible for many of the same priority benefits. If you let everyone sailing pay for priority access, it basically cancels itself out.

Faster to the Fun sells out consistently, and it can happen quickly. However, additional spots can open up closer to your sail date. If the program is not showing as available for your sailing, it’s worth checking the Carnival website in the months leading up to your cruise, since there isn’t a waitlist to be notified automatically if anyone cancels or fewer Diamond and Platinum cruisers book than expected.

Is Faster to the Fun worth it?

Determining whether Faster to the Fun is worth it to you can depend on several factors, such as where you’re sailing, the length of the cruise and the size of your travel party. Ultimately, it comes down to what type of traveler you are. Are you the type of person who can’t stand waiting in line and wants to save time, or would you rather save some money on your trip?

If you’re deciding based on cost, know that the price per person is lower the shorter your cruise is and the more people you have in a cabin. The Faster to the Fun package is cheapest on short two- and three-day sailings, which is when it’s most important to maximize your time and get on board early to start enjoying your vacation.

Related: 43 Carnival Cruise Line tips, tricks and hacks to enhance your vacation at sea

If you’re a family of four going on a short weekend cruise and want to get straight to the fun part of your vacation, the price is less than $15 per person (assuming you’re all sharing a cabin). However, Faster to the Fun might make less sense for a larger family staying in multiple rooms since you’ll have to pay for each additional stateroom.

Since you are paying by the room, this perk can be very affordable with the right amount of companions. CARNIVAL CRUISES

You can also think about whether Faster to the Fun is worth it based on how much you’ll need its perks. For example, priority check-in, early stateroom access and express luggage delivery are a few of the biggest benefits of Faster to the Fun that let you maximize your vacation time. You don’t have to lug your bags to the buffet or pool deck while you wait for your room to be ready or worry about packing a separate carry-on for items like bathing suits that you might need right away before your luggage gets delivered to your room.

But if you choose a later check-in appointment time toward the tail end of embarkation, you can still have a similar experience without Faster to the Fun since check-in lines usually aren’t long by that point. Your cabin should be ready, and if you want, you can carry your luggage on board rather than checking it.

Some of the other perks might not even apply during your trip. For example, if you aren’t stopping at ports requiring tendering or if you’ve booked a shore excursion on a tender day, you don’t need the priority water shuttle benefit. If you plan to carry your luggage onto the ship, you don’t need it expedited to your room.

You don’t need dining reservations, priority or otherwise, if you’ve opted into Your Time open-seating dining and don’t plan to splurge on specialty restaurants. And if you have an early flight out on debarkation day, the cruise line will automatically give you an early departure time. That already cancels out four of the seven priority perks.

Here’s when Faster to the Fun is definitely not worth it: when you’re a Diamond or Platinum member or a suite guest who already gets these same perks. If you’re a VIFP Club Red or Gold member, however, FTTF will give you a taste of the upper loyalty tier life with benefits otherwise only available at the Diamond and Platinum level.

Bottom line

The decision ultimately comes down to your travel style. Faster to the Fun is worthwhile if you’re willing to pay for convenience, don’t have the patience for waiting in lines and love feeling like a VIP. But if you are cruising on a budget, you can find ways to avoid long lines and wait times with some smart planning and flexibility with your timing.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:


Source link