Is ‘Faster To The Fun’ Worth It On A Carnival Cruise?



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When you book a cruise, you can sometimes pay for extra packages that offer perks, and it can be tricky to know whether they’re worth it, especially if you’re not familiar with the cruise line.

A group of joyful children racing towards the Waterworks aqua park on the deck of a Carnival Cruise ship, with clear blue skies above and the expansive ocean in the backdrop, highlighting the thrill and excitement of cruise ship activities for kids.

Carnival’s ‘Faster to the Fun’ is the perfect example. And yet you might not even get much of a chance to book it, since it’s very popular and sells out quickly when it’s released.

This is why it’s even more important to understand what you get, so that if you do get the chance to book Faster to the Fun for your Carnival cruise, you know whether it’s worth it or not.

So let’s take a look.

Faster to the Fun Explained

Faster to the Fun is a bolt-on package that you can pay for when you’ve booked a Carnival cruise from select ports (including all the major US ports). It has limited availability and offers guests a range of perks to enhance their cruise experience.

It isn’t aimed at the most loyal Carnival cruise guests, as the perks you get are already included if you reach Diamond or Platinum status in the cruise line’s VIFP loyalty program. Instead, it aims to offer a limited number of guests a better experience for a relatively low fee.

Faster to the Fun Perks

Here are the perks you get if you choose to pay for Faster to the Fun.

1. Priority Check-In

The main perk – and the one that inspired the name of the package – is priority check-in for your cruise.

Passengers walking towards the priority check-in for a Carnival Cruise, guided by a sign that says 'Boarding This Way' with a red arrow, indicating the direction in a bright and airy terminal with glass walls and festive decorations.

To be clear, this is not priority boarding – you won’t necessarily get one of the earliest booking windows for boarding the ship. Instead, you might get a later window, but then there will be a priority line for Faster to the Fun guests to speed up the check-in process for you.

So, you aren’t guaranteed to be among the very first people onto the ship, but once you arrive at the port in your allotted time, you should have a faster experience getting through the terminal and onto the ship to begin having fun.

Faster to the Fun has only recently returned, and before it was taken away around the global shutdown of 2020, it did include priority boarding. So it’s not quite as good a perk as it used to be, though it can be helpful if you’re boarding the bigger ships and your allotted boarding time is likely to be busy.

2. Stateroom Access For Bags

Typically when you board a cruise ship, you have to keep your carry-on luggage with you. Your stateroom won’t be ready until later in the day, so your bag needs to be carried around with you until the room can be accessed.

But with Faster to the Fun, you’re allowed to head to your stateroom and drop off your carry-on bags, even if the room isn’t completely ready for you. You’ll need to speak to the cabin stewards when you get there, so you can make sure you put your bags in a safe place out of their way while they clean, if they aren’t done yet.

Whatever you do, don’t just see a clean stateroom and assume you can drop your bags off without telling anyone, as this guest found out that it can be disastrous:

“The room stewards, however, came back in after that and took my belongings and threw them in the trash. They stated they thought it belonged to a previous guest and that they had already taken out the trash that had my stuff in.”
Source: Carnival

3. Express Luggage

Once you’ve checked your main luggage at the cruise terminal, the next time you see it will be outside your cabin door later that day.

On larger ships, it can sometimes take quite a while for all bags to be checked (because yes, they will scan the bags for that alcohol you’re trying to sneak onboard, haha) and then delivered to each cabin.

Rows of blue bins filled with colorful luggage lined up on the dockside ready for loading onto a Carnival Cruise ship, showcasing the organized process of handling guest belongings before departure.

With Faster to the Fun, your suitcases should be prioritised so that yours are some of the first delivered around the ship. This can be handy since you can be unpacked (hopefully) before dinner, and you can then relax and fully enjoy the first night of your cruise.

It works well on most cruises, but it’s not without the occasional problem.

“Our luggage failed to get to our room before non FTTF guests.”
Source: Carnival

4. Guest Services Priority

At the Guest Services desk, there’s a priority line for Faster to the Fun guests in case you need any help with your cruise.

The modern and welcoming Guest Services desk on a Carnival Cruise ship, featuring a curved counter with several computer terminals, informational screens, and elegant lighting, ready to assist passengers with their inquiries.

It won’t save you a huge amount of time in most cases, because it’s rare for the queues at Guest Services to be super-long, but when it’s a little busy you might save 15 minutes or so – and that can be valuable vacation time.

You also get a priority telephone number, so you shouldn’t be waiting on hold too long if you need to speak to them before you cruise or from the comfort of your cabin.

With this perk, it’s only beneficial if you need to speak to Guest Services, and many people don’t, but it’s nice to have this option.

5. Dining Reservations

Faster to the Fun guests can join suite guests and higher-tier VIFP guests in getting priority reservations for the main dining room and speciality restaurants.

Elegant private dining room on a Carnival Cruise ship, showcasing a long, marble-topped table with cream and red chairs, set for a group meal, complemented by a patterned carpet and stylish geometric wall paneling.

If you choose Your Time Dining for the main dining room, then this doesn’t apply – don’t expect to walk up and be given priority over other guests that are waiting for a table.

But if you prefer a set time, or you plan to dine in several of the speciality restaurants which require a booking, this is a good way of making sure you get the best time to suit you, whether that’s planning around your family or making sure you don’t miss a show because you’re still enjoying dinner.

6. Priority Tender

Most ports that Carnival calls at have a pier, so that the ship can dock and guests can just walk on and off the ship at leisure. But some ports can’t handle large ships docking, and so instead you’ll need to use a tender boat, called a Water Shuttle by Carnival. 

A Carnival Cruise ship with its distinctive red funnel at sea, with a smaller shuttle boat cruising swiftly in the foreground on the vast blue ocean under a partially cloudy sky.

Guests who choose to book a Carnival shore excursion will get priority for boarding the water shuttles, but if you’d rather explore on your own, then Faster to the Fun guests get the next priority for a shuttle to take you to the shore after excursion guests.

You won’t get priority for the shuttle back to the ship though, that’s just on a first-come, first-served basis.

7. Priority Debarkation

Ahead of the last day of your cruise, Faster to the Fun guests are able to choose whether they want an early or late debarkation time, rather than being assigned a slot at random.

There are benefits to both. Obviously, if you choose a later debarkation time, you can enjoy a (little) lie-in and then grab breakfast before you set off. Choose an earlier time, and you can be one of the first off the ship, avoiding the rush and nabbing a taxi to the airport if you need it.

I suppose this is a “Faster from the Fun” perk.

Faster to the Fun Cost

The cost of Faster to the Fun isn’t fixed. It depends on your specific cruise and where you’re sailing from, but as a guide you should expect to pay between $70 and $140 per cabin – you can’t book it for an individual person.

That’s understandable, really, considering the nature of the perks – you could hardly have one person in a cabin dropping off their own bags while the other person is sitting in the terminal waiting to board and carrying theirs.

You’ll have to check the individual price for your own cruise by logging onto the Faster to the Fun section of the Carnival website, clicking on your embarkation port, and then adding it to your cruise. You can also find it on your online account when you log into your cruise details.

But if you wanted to buy it as a gift for someone else cruising with Carnival, head to the Carnival website. You’ll need their full name and the sailing date.

Is It Worth It?

Whether Faster to the Fun is worth it depends on whether you’re someone who is desperate to be first onboard, and you really don’t want to carry your bags around with you.

The Express Luggage perk is handy, but not super important for most people. Same with the Guest Services priority and the priority Water Shuttle places – you can manage fine without them.

If you’re set on being first off the ship on the last day too (say you have an earlier afternoon flight), or you want to make sure you get the right dining times, then it may be useful too.

Just remember that you don’t need it once you reach Diamond or Platinum with VIFP, since you get all of these perks and more.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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1 thought on “Is ‘Faster To The Fun’ Worth It On A Carnival Cruise?”

  1. I am a Diamond guest on Carnival. As a Diamond I have never appreciated the fast to fun that is offered. I have worked,cruise,and bought my way to this statis. I have never felt it right to have someone from a lower level be able to buy there way to the top.

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