I received a complimentary cruise from Carnival in exchange for sharing my experiences. I was not compensated, and all opinions about Faster to the Fun remain my own. Read on to see why you need to book, too.
I love cruising. I love the relaxation of it, the uniqueness of it, and the ability to enjoy so many different places so easily. Cruising has changed over the years, and I have to admit that Faster to the Fun – offered by Carnival Cruise Lines – has to be one of my favorite innovations. There is a cost to it, but in my opinion, the benefits you get far outweigh the nominal cost.
[bctt tweet=”Cruising with @Carnival? 7 reasons to book Faster to the Fun!” username=”honestandtruly”]
Faster to the Fun FAQ
What is Faster to the Fun?
Faster to the Fun is an optional program that Carnival sells to guests who want to make their travel a little smoother. It offers several benefits not just at the start of the cruise but all throughout. They cannot be purchased a la carte or once you board, as they are sold only via this package and on a quantity controlled basis. There are several special benefits to this that make it something I purchase every time!
How much does it cost?
Faster to the Fun starts at $49.95 per cabin. For cruises four days and shorter, the cost is $49.95. For cruises 5 days and longer, you pay $59.95 per cabin.
Does everyone in my group need to buy Faster to the Fun?
Nope. This is another great aspect of it. Because cabins check in together rather than each person checking in individually, FTTF is sold by cabin. That means if FTTF is $49.95 for your cruise, that’s $49.95 for the entire cabin, not per person. If you have multiple cabins – like when we travel with my parents – then each cabin needs to purchase Faster to the Fun to take advantage of the benefits.
What are the benefits of it?
Those who purchase FTTF receive benefits not just at embarkation but throughout the cruise.
- You start with priority security, check-in and express boarding.
- You also have your stateroom ready when you board and expedited luggage delivery.
- There is a dedicated Guest Services phone number and line (and you will have questions at some point during your cruise!)
- Priority dining reservations to ensure you receive your choice of dining times where possible (but make those requests early)
- You get to skip lines in tender ports when not taking a Carnival shore excursion
- Choose your disembarkation time, whether early or late to alleviate any concerns at the end of your cruise
Where do I buy Faster to the Fun?
Faster to the Fun is a shore excursion, and you book it the same way you book any other shore excursion. You can find it listed under the Day 0 excursions for the port you’re cruising from, along with the Carnival provided transportation from the airport to the port and any other excursions offered in that home city. Once you have checked in online to your cruise (do that early, too!), you can book FTTF.
Who “needs” Faster to the Fun?
While no one “needs” FTTF, it’s a huge help to almost anyone cruising. Check out the reasons to book Faster to the Fun below. That said, if you are a VIFP Diamond or Platinum member, the benefits of FTTF are already included, so skip it! If you don’t have at least 75 points, however, book it!
Where is Faster to the Fun available?
FTTF is available in most ports where Carnival cruises. You can book it out of Baltimore, Charleston, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Miami, Mobile (starting 11/19/16), New Orleans, New York, Port Canaveral, San Juan, Seattle and Tampa. It is not available in Honolulu, Norfolk, Vancouver and home ports in Europe.
Reasons to Book Faster to the Fun – now!
1) It sells out. Yep, there are a limited number of Faster to the Fun packages sold. And cruisers in the know tend to buy them as soon as they book their cruises because they know that FTTF is well worth the cost. As soon as you check in online – which you can do months in advance – you can book your Faster to the Fun as a shore excursion. If you wait until closer to your cruise, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to book it. The good news is that Carnival holds back some passes to ensure that high loyalty cruisers (who board ahead of everyone else) don’t “need” that space and time. As it gets closer to the cruise and Carnival sees how many early boarders have booked, they may release some more FTTF packages, but don’t count on it.
2) After all that travel, I’m hungry. Yes, that’s a valid reason for me. With four people traveling with me – my husband, two kids, and myself – buying lunch somewhere costs about as much as purchasing Faster to the Fun, or we wait until we’re aboard the ship to eat lunch at the buffet, but that means we’re hungry. And when my family gets hungry, we tend to get cranky, too. I’m pretty sure we aren’t alone in that. With FTTF, we can board more quickly and enjoy lunch – or a snack – rather than waiting in lines.
3) Waiting in line is a challenge, too. We don’t live near a port, so we fly to the port when we head out on a cruise. That means we wake up early, drive to the airport, park, get to the terminal, check bags, wait to get through security, wait to board our plane, fly, wait to pick up our checked bags, travel to the port, and then wait in lines to board. I’m tired of waiting in long lines by that point, and I’m an adult. My kids? So. Done. The fact that we can get aboard the ship so much faster without waiting in the same lines is a sanity saver. I want ot start my vacation off on the right note, and Faster to the Fun helps make that happen.
4) Get ashore faster. While many ports have enlarged themselves, which means ships can dock on a pier and you can simply walk off the ship, there are plenty of ports out there still where you have to tender – waiting for boats to pick you up and ferry you to shore. With 3,000+ people on most ships, that can be a slow process. If you’re signed up for an excursion with the cruise, you get first priority. If not, it can be a long wait to get ashore. With FTTF, you get first priority behind the excursions (which tend to have a staggered departure time), so you can quickly and easily get ashore. Just check in at the Guest Services desk, and they’ll get you set!
5) Your cabin will be ready for you. This goes back to those long travel days. And coming from Chicago, I may or may not be dressed for the weather aboard ship. While I do my best to ensure I have all the “necessities” in the backpack I bring aboard the ship with me, my preference is to head straight to my cabin, grab what I need from the already delivered suitcases, and take only a small purse/tote with me for the rest of the day. The turnaround from folks leaving the ship to the time the new passengers embark is really short. All the cabins can’t be cleaned in that tiny window, so the fact that those with FTTF are able to have their cabins ready – and luggage delivered – when you board is a huge win for me.
6) I want to eat at my preferred time. Carnival offers multiple dining options. For the main dining room, there is an early and a late seating (6pm and 8pm), as well as My Time Dining. I tend to be a cruiser who wakes up early in the morning and enjoys all the things starting early in the day. I “need” my dinner at 6pm, especially as I travel with my kids. They can’t wait to eat until 8pm either. With Faster to the Fun, if the early dining is full when I book and I’m on the wait list, FTTF gets cleared from the wait list just after the Diamond and Platinum members, and it’s worked every time for us so far!
7) No waiting in lines when I have questions. I’ve cruised many times. That said, I still end up with questions every time I cruise that require Guest Services help to answer. Have you ever gone to the Guest Services desk as you approach the end of the cruise? It’s not a short line, and questions tend to be in depth questions with lengthy answers. With FTTF, not only do you have a dedicated phone number you can call, but you also have a dedicated line that allows you to bypass others when you want your question answered in person.
This is just seven of my favorite reasons to buy Faster to the Fun whenever I cruise with Carnival. There are more. For me, the convenience is well worth the small price we pay. We don’t take advantage of every benefit every time we cruise, but even a portion of the package is worth it for us. If you check out the reviews, you can see I’m not the only one who feels this way. There are very few excursions that come close to having a 4.6 of 5 star rating. Some day, I’ll be a Diamond (and then Platinum) VIFP member. Until then, you can catch me booking FTTF every time I sail!
Have you ever booked Faster to the Fun? What are your favorite features?
Check out more cruising fun. We have absolutely loved every cruise we’ve been on, and we aren’t alone.
Thursday 21st of September 2017
We are first time cruisers next month and we did purchase FTTF, from reading this article and reviews I am glad we did! As we start our journey at 2:00 am and get to the airport in FL at 11:30am, so hoping we will be able to get on the ship and take a brief rest so we can enjoy the night. I am wondering about disembarkation, our flight home does not leave until 2:45, I would much rather sleep in hang on the ship vs hanging in the airport. How late can you choose to disembark with FTTF?
Monday 25th of September 2017
Oh have fun on your cruise! You should have no issues getting on the ship when you land. For debarkation, you still have to get off the ship so they can turn it around (cleaning, etc) for the next passengers. That said, you can usually hold out until around 10am or so. You can hang out on the lido deck, but activities aren't really going on. Our last cruise, we had a later flight around 3 and chose to do a tour on land that took us straight to the airport afterwards. (They handled our luggage once we got through customs, which made this easy, too.)
Monday 20th of February 2017
My fiancé and I booked a carnival cruise for our honeymoon. I also found out about this FTTF and decided to go for it! From reading this article I think it is gonna be GREAT for us!
Tuesday 21st of February 2017
That's fantastic! You definitely won't regret it, and enjoy your honeymoon (and wedding and married life in general)! Did you see some of my other articles on the steakhouse and other amenities?
Thursday 7th of July 2016
Great review! I love love love FTTF! We just booked a September cruise the other day (waited until late to see how I recovered after a complicated surgery) and I've been checking back each day for FTTF to re-open after being listed as sold out. This morning I checked and VIOLA! FTTF ticket purchased faster than my first shipboard pina colada! It's been worth it for disembarking more than anything else - my first cruise was so exhausting just getting off the ship and waiting in the passport lines that I've dreaded cruising without it since then (folks - you just stood in line for over half an hour, why why why don't you have your travel documents out yet?!).
Friday 8th of July 2016
Thank you! You totally made my day. I'm glad you are recovering well, and have FUN on your cruise. FTTF has so many benefits, and it works out great for different people for different reasons, but we absolutely love it! (And amen to the non preparedness, but I sort of expect that!) :)