If you’re booked on a Carnival cruise, then you’ve no doubt been tempted with offers for the cruise line’s Faster to the Fun (FTTF) package. Of course, you’ve likely also wondered just what it is and if it’s actually worth the cost.
The premise behind Faster to the Fun is straightforward. By paying a little more, passengers get to avoid many of the lines that other cruise passengers have to wait in. Instead, you get your own dedicated priority line, much like Carnival’s Diamond and Platinum VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) Club members.
Pricing varies from ship to ship and cruise to cruise, but the price ranges from $60 to $130 per cabin. (More details on pricing are below.)
What’s Included in Faster to the Fun
By purchasing the program before your cruise, you get all of the following benefits for you and everyone in your stateroom.
- Priority security, check-in, and boarding
- First access to your stateroom
- Priority delivery of luggage to your cabin
- Dedicated guest services phone line and line at desk
- Priority dining reservations
- Priority tendering at ports
- Choice of debarkation time
As you can see, Faster to the Fun focuses primarily on helping you avoid the lines and crowds that can often slow down your trip. This includes priority when getting on and off the ship.
Ordinarily these perks are only given to loyal Carnival cruisers who have sailed enough times to earn Diamond or Platinum status with the cruise line. Instead, FTTF offers you the chance to pay a fee and get these benefits — even if it is your first time sailing.
But are these perks really worth the extra money? Let’s discuss the pricing and benefits in more detail.
Faster to the Fun Price
Unfortunately, the pricing on Carnival’s Faster to the Fun can be a bit confusing. The pricing will vary based on you cruise. Historically, the cost has fluctuated based on ship and cruise length, which longer trips seeing a higher cost.
While Carnival doesn’t list prices for every trip, they do show starting prices for different ports. Assume that these figures are for the shortest cruises from the port and go up from there.
|Departure Port||Starting Price|
|Baltimore||$129.95 per cabin|
|Charleston||$89.95 per cabin|
|Galveston||$89.95 per cabin|
|Jacksonville||$89.95 per cabin|
|Los Angeles||$59.95 per cabin|
|Miami||$59.95 per cabin|
|Mobile||$129.95 per cabin|
|New Orleans||$89.95 per cabin|
|New York||$89.95 per cabin|
|Port Canaveral||$59.95 per cabin|
|San Francisco||$69.95 per cabin|
|Seattle||$129.95 per cabin|
|Tampa||$89.95 per cabin|
The good news is that while the benefits of Faster the Fun apply to every person in a room, the price is on a per-cabin basis. So a family staying in one cabin only has to pay the one fee; it’s not per-person.
Details of Faster to the Fun Benefits
In return for that fee, you get a number of benefits that are designed to get you priority access all around the ship. Below, we offer some thoughts on each perk and its value.
Priority Security Screening, Check-in, and Boarding
If you are excited about boarding your cruise, then you might have had this bad experience. With boarding time opening at 12:00, you arrive right at noon, only to be greeted by long lines that take forever to get through. It’s not how anyone envisions starting their cruise.
So having priority boarding like what’s included with FTTF would be a huge benefit, right? Not so fast.
Carnival has already recognized the problem of a rush of people coming right at the opening of boarding and created a logjam of passengers. In response, they have switched to a “staggered” check-in. This breaks passengers into groups, giving them a 30-minute boarding window. You can only check-in during your boarding time or later, but not earlier.
The result has meant less of a rush right at the start of check-in. Still, lines can be long at times and no one likes waiting in the terminal to board the ship.
That said, often simply waiting a little longer to arrive at the terminal can make security and check-in a breeze. We’d suggest going about an hour before check-in closes. By that time the number of people checking-in is usually much smaller, making the wait less of an issue.
Verdict: If you love to board first right when check-in opens and avoiding having to be in line with lots of others, then FTTF is well worth it. Otherwise, staggered check-in or just arriving a little later actually means spending only a little time in line.
First Access to Your Stateroom
With having to ready thousands of cabins in just a few short hours, it can mean that passengers have to wait a little before being able to access the cabin. Faster to the Fun eliminates that wait.
We like this perk a lot. Sure, if your room isn’t ready you can just hang out by the pool, or hit the welcome buffet. But that means having to lug your carry-on luggage with you. Note that if you board early, your room may not be ready just yet even with this perk. Even so, the benefit lets you drop off your bags until the room is ready.
Again, this is when simply embarking a little later in the check-in window can make all the difference. We’ve never had a cabin not be ready when boarding later in the check-in period.
Verdict: Passengers wanting to board right at the opening of check-in will benefit from having their room ready. However, if you simply wait until the initial rush dies down to board, then you will typically have your room ready anyway.
Priority Delivery of Luggage to Your Cabin
If you’ve ever been on a cruise, then you know that it can take several hours for your checked luggage to make its way to your cabin door. With Faster to the Fun, your luggage is given priority, meaning it will arrive earlier.
While you should pack anything you might need for the first night in your carry-on, we think the hassle of wondering when your bags will arrive is a major headache. Knowing that your bags will be delivered first is a major relief.
Verdict: Having the bags that are among the first to be delivered is a major benefit of Faster to the Fun. If you only pack carry-on or simply don’t care if your bags get to your room early, then you may not care about buying the package.
Dedicated Guest Services Phone Line and Line at Desk
Without a doubt, you’ll find a reason (or three!) to have to go to Guest Services during your cruise. From questions about charges, how to book dinner reservations, or anything else under the sun, Guest Services come in handy during your trip.
The problem is that there can be thousands of other passengers on your trip with their own issues. That means lines at Guest Services can be tremendously long — especially at the start of the cruise and right before it ends. Having a dedicated line can help you get your questions answered much faster — without wasting your cruise waiting in a line.
If you don’t want to purchase FTTF, then you can always go to Guest Services at odd hours (early in the morning or late at night). At these times the line is usually non-existent.
Verdict: If you don’t want to be bothered waiting in a line to have a question answered, then Faster to the Fun is well worth the money. If you want to save a few bucks, however, you’ll find that there are no lines at off-peak hours (Guest Services are available 24 hours a day).
Priority Dining Reservations
Have a certain time that you want to eat in the dining room? Your request with Faster to the Fun is filled after Platinum-level guests. That means you are all but assured your requested time in the dining room. This is especially helpful if you are booking your cruise close to the departure day when many times have already been filled.
Verdict: If eating at a set time is important to you, then you’ll love this benefit. If you want more flexibility, you can always select “Your Time Dining” which allows you to simply eat whenever you want in the main dining room. Remember there are also other food options aboard the ship if you want to avoid the main dining room altogether.
Priority Tendering at Ports
Priority tendering can either be a huge benefit… or absolutely worthless. It depends on your ports of call on the cruise. For those that haven’t cruised, the ship doesn’t always pull up to a dock where you simply walk off.
For some ports (such as Belize City) the ships can’t make it all the way into land due to the depth of the water. Instead they anchor offshore and smaller boats ferry passengers into the port.
As you can imagine, moving thousands of passengers off the ship into smaller boats that then sail back and forth can take some time. If you are on a cruise with tender ports (a full list is here) and want to get off early, then having the FTTF package is great. If your cruise only involves docking at a pier, then this won’t be of use.
Verdict: Passengers who have a tender port on their trip and want to be among the first off the ship will get a lot of value from having Faster to the Fun. If you don’t have a tender port in your itinerary, then this benefit is worthless.
Choice of Debarkation Time
The funniest thing about cruising is that all those people who couldn’t wait to board… can’t wait to get off the ship once it returns home. That can means long lines. Faster to the Fun helps with some of that.
Carnival says with FTTF that “when it’s time to say good bye, you may choose an early or late disembarkation time upon arrival to your homeport.”
Being able to depart on your own time is a nice perk. You’ll find that a huge number of want to depart as soon as they can, and it can take some time for them to disembark from the ship.
Have an early flight? Carnival’s website does mention that all “guests with early flights who have pre-registered with Guest Services will be assigned and called as one of the early Zone numbers.” That means you can actually move up your debarkation time simply by letting the staff know you have an earlier departure time at the airport if you don’t want to buy FTTF.
But honestly, passengers who carry all their luggage are able to depart right when debarkation begins. That, combined with the use of facial recognition in many ports, makes the process faster than it has ever been.
Verdict: Having some choice over when you debark is nice, but keep in mind that these days getting off the ship can be relatively quick. If carrying your own luggage off, the process can take as little as 10-15 minutes from leaving your room to walking out of the terminal. As well, if you have an early flight, you can also let Guest Services know ahead of time to get off the ship earlier for no charge.
What’s the Final Verdict?
There is an overwhelming amount of positive feedback with the Faster to the Fun package. There are literally hundreds of positive reviews. Given the wide range of benefits, we can see why.
The biggest benefit mentioned is that people really like having the priority check-in combined with early access to the cabin so they can start their cruise as soon as possible. However, Faster to the Fun was paused during the pandemic in brought back in late 2022. Since then, some reviews mention much higher prices than before.
If you are the sort of person who can’t stand lines, then we think you should see about buying the package. By being able to board early, having dedicated Guest Services line, priority tendering and priority reservations, you can add back several hours to your cruise.
But if you don’t mind a little wait if it means saving money, then Faster to the Fun likely isn’t for you. We think simply arriving a little later to the cruise port can give you many of the benefits (easier boarding, having the room ready) without the extra cost.
Have you bought Faster to the Fun? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.