This past summer (if you have seen my other post) I went on my first Carnival cruise. When it comes to vacation, if I can reasonably pay for convenience then I am all over it! And when I found out that Carnival offered a Faster to the Fun program which allowed you to skip lines and get on and off the boat fast I said: “SIGN ME UP!”
Faster to the Fun, though good on paper, ran slightly different once onboard….But was it worth it? Let me give you a brief rundown of the program first:
Faster to the Fun is purchased through shore exclusions once you have booked your cruise and the price is per room. Prices and availability vary based on your boat and/or length of trip (see chart below from Carnival.com)
The price covers priority boarding/check-in, first access to your stateroom, priority luggage, a designated guest services line, priority dinner time assignment, priority water shuttle (if the island doesn’t have a physical port), and debarkation choices. The recommendation is to get the Faster to the Fun as soon as possible. There is only a limited amount per cruise and once they are gone they are gone.
Now that the rundown is out of the way….let me tell you my true, experience touching on EVERY SINGLE THING the program covers……
Priority boarding/check-in: Worth it! When we got to the debarkation port the line was so long it was wrapping around the building (And it was hot!). We skipped the whole line for security, and the whole check-in line and we were literally getting on the boat within 15 minutes of being dropped off at the port.
First access to your stateroom: Worth it! If you are not a diamond or platinum member, general guests can not get to their room till 2 PM. As soon as we got on the boat our room was ready. (we boarded at 12:30 PM EST)
Priority luggage: Not Worth It! This was pretty frustrating. Though our luggage was tagged for the same room, was put in the same trolley, and was marked Faster to the Fun….IT WAS STILL SEPARATED. We would get pieces of our luggage randomly though out the afternoon going into the evening. People who were not with Faster to the Fun got their luggage way before us. It was still never explained what happened, and honestly, I think they don’t know. It seems they just send all luggage up together and try to look for the Faster to the Fun tags and take those first…maybe ours just got shuffled to the bottom.
Designated guest services line: Worth it! (For this trip) I’m not really sure how often a person plans to talk to guest services. Normally if you are in that line it means something is wrong. On my trip, we has to make a medical emergency stop which of course created a lot of questions from the cruisers. The normal line would get very long though out the day. It was really nice to have a designated line I could use to ask about reimbursement or letters we were receiving. The designated line was always very short to non-existent.
Priority dinner time assignment: Not Worth It! By the time we bought Faster to the Fun, we had already booked our dinner time. So there was no need for this.
Priority water shuttle (if the island doesn’t have a physical port): Depends……If you are getting off of the boat earlier in the day (when everyone else is getting off) this is beneficial. Skipping that long line is awesome. But if you are going at a time later in the day (I would say the closer the lunchtime or after) It’s not really a benefit because there isn’t really a line. This really just depends on you. For example, we got off very late so there was no line so there was nothing to be “priority” of.
Debarkation choices: Worth It! This was probably one of the best things about the program. You had the choice of taking your own luggage and going with the early morning group (like 8:00 am) or having them take your luggage down and getting off the boat with the next early group. There was a designated area to meet and a member of the staff to help. We chose to take our own luggage so along with the diamond and platinum members we were the first people off the boat.
Recap: Would I do Faster to the Fun again? Yes. The luggage situation was pretty annoying….especially when we had access to our room but couldn’t really put anything away till after dinner. We saw all of our luggage get stacked together so I am unsure how it could get so divided. Once again I didn’t find the dinner priority worth it and the water shuttle wasn’t necessary, but it was nice to have. Getting on the boat early, getting to my room early, and getting off the boat early was super worth it though. If you have the option to purchase Faster to the Fun do it…no program is perfect (cough LUGGAGE Cough) but all the advantages are still worth it.
And that’s an honest review.