Is Carnival’s Faster To The Fun Worth The Price? Read on!

Carnival Cruise Line offers cruisers an option to purchase exclusive priority access and benefits for their cruise. These benefits include things like priority boarding and debarkation, but there’s a bunch of additional benefits as well. We get asked regularly about the program, so we’re here to answer the question: Is Carnival’s Faster To The Fun Worth the Price? Read on!

Note: We also recorded a Faster To The Fun YouTube video where we break everything down, assign values, and give a final tally. Plus we tell you who the program is definitely not for!

Carnival Introduces Faster To The Fun

Carnival Cruise Line isn’t the only cruise line out there that allows you to essentially purchase priority status. But they were early to the game when they first piloted the program all the way back in 2012 on 2 ships. Based on the success, and added revenue with limited cost, the line rolled Faster To The Fun out fleet-wide.

The program is designed to replicate many of the perks Carnival’s most loyal cruisers receive when they sail. Carnival’s VIFP Club provides access to each of the benefits included in Faster To The Fun for Platinum (75 nights) and Diamond (200 nights) members.

Faster To The Fun Benefits

As mentioned, Faster To The Fun includes a variety of benefits that are designed to speed up boarding, reduce waiting time on the ship, and get you into port first. That’s why it’s called Faster To The Fun – according to Carnival, it allows guests to “maximize their vacation fun.”

Let’s break down the benefits below:

Priority Check-In

First up, before you even step foot on the ship, you’ve got priority check-in. This speeds you through the check-in process with your own queue allowing you to mostly bypass any lines that might be forming. Simply look for the Priority Line at the terminal and show them your boarding pass with Faster to the Fun printed on it.

Note: If you printed your boarding pass before purchasing Faster to the Fun, you will need to reprint it. Trust me, the agents at the port are trained to look for the priority stamp.

Priority Boarding

Once you’ve breezed through check-in and security, you’ve got another perk coming at you, and that is Priority Boarding! While Diamond, Platinum, and Suite guests board the ship first, Faster to the Fun guests board right after. That means, even if you didn’t get a great boarding group, Faster to the Fun overrides that.

Here you can see the entrance at Terminal F in Miami for Priority, Faster To The Fun, and Special Assistance passengers.

Cruise Tip: If you’re purchasing Faster to the Fun, make sure you select an early boarding time. Otherwise, if you get there once everyone is boarding, this perk is kind of a moot point. Yes, you can still flash your Faster To The Fun priority status and you’ll bypass some of the line, but the best perk is getting on the ship as one of the first passengers!

Early Stateroom Access

Once you’ve made it on board, your next perk kicks in: Early Stateroom Access! While this perk has changed over the years, it’s still quite nice having the flexibility to drop your bags off at the stateroom and then go explore the ship. Prior to the pandemic, Early Stateroom Access meant your cabin was ready for you. Now, it simply gives you access to the stateroom to drop your bags until your stateroom is ready. Post pandemic, our room hasn’t been ready even once, but at least we didn’t have to lug our suitcase around!

Express Luggage Delivery

Speaking of suitcases, Faster to the Fun also includes Express Luggage Delivery. That means you’ll get any luggage you checked with a porter as quickly as possible. While this is a cool perk in theory, we’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews on this one. With luggage porters processing literally thousands of bags between debark and embark, the Express Luggage delivery doesn’t always deliver. Many times, we’ll find non-priority bags delivered well before ours.

One of the few times that our luggage arrived early on embark day!

Priority Line at Guest Services

Now a perk that we absolutely love is the Priority Line at Guest Services. You also have a dedicated phone number on board, but we’ve had mixed experience with someone answering in a reasonable amount of time. But the dedicated line for Platinum, Diamond, and Faster to the Fun guests can easily save you 30 minutes in line. And just as on land, time is money on the ocean!

Signage found at Guest Services on board

Priority Dining Reservations

With Faster To The Fun, you also get Priority Dining Reservations! But, it’s not as exciting as it sounds. In fact, the Main Dining Room perk doesn’t even apply if you have Your Time Dining as you have to check in on the app and wait until a table is ready. The perk only applies to those looking for a reservation for Early or Late seating and Specialty Restaurants.

Because most passengers select their dining preference at the time of booking, the value of Priority MDR reservations isn’t that great. Plus, Platinum and Diamond guests get priority over FTTF cruisers. While Specialty restaurant priority is nice, you only benefit from this perk if the restaurant is on a waitlist AND someone cancels AND there’s not a Diamond or Platinum member on the waitlist in front of you. That’s a lot of ANDs!

Priority Water Shuttle Service

Carnival Panorama in Cabo San Lucas with Water Shuttle service underway.

A perk that a lot of people love is Priority Water Shuttle Service. If your itinerary happens to visit a place where the ship has to drop anchor because there is no pier (we’re looking at you Grand Cayman!), you’ll have to take a water taxi from the ship into port. As you can probably imagine, getting 4,000 people off the ship onto a water taxi can be quite the operation and lines can get very long.

This perk gives you priority access to the water shuttle. But what does this actually mean?

Well, if you’re planning to book a Carnival Shore Excursion early in the morning, the perk doesn’t mean anything. Shore Excursions always get priority water shuttle boarding. However, if you plan to explore the port on your own, or you have a later shore excursion and you want to go out to port early in the day, this could be for you.

The other thing to keep in mind: Priority Water Shuttle Service provides you priority access usually within the first 90 minutes that your ship has begun the water shuttle operation. After this time, the crowds and lines typically die down and there’s really no need for Priority Water Shuttle Service as you can walk right onto the shuttle.

It’s important to note that Priority Water Shuttle Service only applies from SHIP TO SHORE. There are no priority queues when getting back onto the water shuttles from land. You will have to wait in those lines.

Because not all itineraries even have the need for water shuttles, and Carnival Shore Excursions give you the same perk, and waiting an hour usually eliminates the need for priority… we don’t find a ton of value in this perk. However, if your itinerary has water shuttle ports, and you want to be the first off the ship without booking a Carnival Shore Excursion, this perk is for you.

Priority Debarkation

For the last perk, Faster To The Fun gives you “Faster To The End” of the cruise benefits. Priority Debarkation is one of the key reasons many people choose to purchase Faster To The Fun. For those that have parked at the port and just want to get home, or those who have an early flight because it was significantly cheaper, this perk is for you.

You’ll receive a letter the last night of your cruise telling you where to meet for Priority Debarkation. Keep in mind, you’ll be one of the first off the ship, so you’ll likely be asked to gather before the ship even gets clearance. Once in the waiting area, sometimes they’ll call Diamond and Platinum cruisers first; sometimes they just call everyone waiting.

The meeting point for early debarkation

Faster To The Fun also allows you to choose a “late debarkation” which I really don’t understand. If you want a late debarkation, simply go get food, park yourself on Serenity, and wait until they make the final call for debarkation. You really don’t need to pay for a late debarkation perk!

Cruise Tip: We ALWAYS recommend a relaxed debarkation for a variety of reasons. First, why deal with the frustration of 4,000 people getting off the ship at the same time? Second, cruise ships provide an estimate of when you’ll be back in port; it’s not guaranteed. Booking a flight that’s early can add a lot of unnecessary stress if there are any delays (fog, mechanical issue, marine traffic, customs backups, bag delays, etc.)

Faster To The Fun Cost

The price of Faster To The Fun went up in 2024 due to the demand of this package. Faster To The Fun now costs between $69.95 to $159.95 for sailings up to 8 days. On 9+ day sailings, the price jumps to $189.95 per cabin.

The great news, however, is that you only need to purchase Faster To The Fun ONCE per cabin. That means, if you have 2 people in a cabin, you both get the benefits. Traveling with a family of 4 in one stateroom? You’ve got 4x the benefit of the program at an average cost of $17.50/person for the shortest sailings.

Is Carnival’s Faster To The Fun Worth The Price?

As you can see, based on the benefits outlined, Faster To The Fun truly does maximize your vacation fun. When you compare value to price, most cruisers come out ahead purchasing Faster To The Fun, especially considering you only need to purchase it once for the entire stateroom. But there’s a caveat: Faster To The Fun only makes sense to purchase if you’ll actually take advantage of the perks!

If you have no plans to show up at the cruise terminal early to take advantage of priority check-in, boarding, and early stateroom access, or you don’t have an itinerary that includes any water shuttle ports… then, you lose out on half the benefits and the program likely isn’t worth it for you.

With that said, we’ve talked with cruisers that have booked Faster To The Fun for the sole perk of Priority Debarkation. If you can save a couple hundred dollars on an earlier flight, this single benefit alone may be worth the price of the package. However, keep in mind, this could lead to a stressful morning if there are any delays to your arrival.

Who Shouldn’t Purchase Carnival’s Faster To The Fun?

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, check out our full Faster To The Fun YouTube video where we talk about who shouldn’t purchase Faster To The Fun – and a whole bunch of other details, tips, and tricks!

What do you think?

We’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on Faster To The Fun? Was this post helpful in your decision-making process? Have you purchased FTTF yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

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