Is Faster to the Fun Worth it on your next Carnival Cruise Vacation?

When you are on vacation, waiting in lines can be a big pet peeve.  And on cruise vacations, lines seem to be everywhere - checking in, boarding tenders, at the buffet, etc. So when Carnival Cruise Line offers a "Faster to the Fun" option for guests, it seems pretty appealing.  But is it worth it?  I've been on two Carnival Cruise vacations with our family - one where we purchased Faster to the Fun and one where we didn't.  Let's first talk about what is included in this optional add-on to cruise and then compare my experiences to determine if it's right for you and your vacation.

What is Faster to the Fun? - Carnival Cruise Line offers guests essentially a "FastPass," to borrow from my Disney knowledge, that you can use throughout your cruise vacation.  The cost of Faster to the Fun varies based on your departure port and cruise length and the option must be booked for all guests in the stateroom.  Faster to the Fun jumps you to first in line for a number of opportunities on the ship.  First of all, you have priority boarding for the ship and are among the first to begin your vacation fun as well as having early access to your stateroom and priority delivery of your bags.  During your cruise, Faster to the Fun gives you priority tender and debarkation options when in port as well as access to priority lines - both in person and on the phone - to guest services.  And when you return, you can also take advantage of Faster to the Fun to have priority debarkation by selecting your preferred time to leave the ship.  There is certainly a lot to consider when choosing whether or not Faster to the Fun is right for you.


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5 Night Cruise to Key West and Cuba from Tampa w/o Faster to the Fun - Our cruise on the Carnival Paradise left on a Monday and we stayed in the Tampa area the weekend before.  On the day of embarkation, we arrived at the port by a car service around 1:30.  Boarding began several hours earlier.  We waited in line to check-in for about 15 minutes and then, once through the process of going over documents and getting our ship cards, we were able to walk right on the ship - no wait at all.  Each of our two ports did not require a tender and guests exited the ship fairly quickly.  Things were a bit slower in Cuba with several extra steps needed to disembark and enter the country.  We were also granted one of the earlier disembarkation times in Cuba as our tour was scheduled for 11 hours that day.  There was no point during this cruise that I regretted not having Faster to the Fun.  Actually, that's a small lie.  Faster to the Fun guests do also get priority lines at guest services on the ship and I did make a stop by that counter one time during the ship.  I was slightly jealous of the non-existent line next to me while I was waiting about 20 minutes to speak to someone.

7 Night Cruise to the Bahamas from Baltimore w/ Faster to the Fun - When it came time to book our next Carnival Cruise Line vacation for the following summer, we initially decided not to add Faster to the Fun due to our experience on our other cruise.  We were cruising with another family and, when Faster to the Fun became available again closer to the cruise (it was showing sold out and then more opportunities appeared), they encouraged us to book it as they use it regularly out of Baltimore.  We figured it was worth a try and added it to our cruise vacation.  With Faster to the Fun, we were granted first access to board the ship.  We arrived at the port along with lots of others and were greeted with long lines to check in.  Once we were through security and checked in, we waited in a crowded waiting area for about an hour.  The ship was slightly delayed arriving back in port that morning and so we were slower to begin boarding.  When we got on the ship, it was nice to have first access to the pools and lunch.  We also had early access to our staterooms and our bags were first to arrive.  After the long wait in port, the perks on the ship were welcome.  The next time we noticed a perk to Faster to the Fun was during our day at Half Moon Cay.  At this private island oasis, guests tender from the ship to the island.  Faster to the Fun also provides priority tender.  We were told to gather in one of the theaters and were quickly escorted to the first tender.  We were able to grab a perfect spot on the beach and had a drink in our hands while other guests spent the next few hours tendering ashore - best perk of the trip in my opinion!  The final time we really utilized Faster to the Fun was on disembarkation day.  We had to wait for the ship to clear and then those without checked bags to exit before we were allowed to go.  It was hours of waiting - didn't really feel "faster" to me, but I guess there were lots of people behind me.

So would I do it again?? - Maybe.  If I was taking a cruise with a number of options to tender I would definitely recommend it.  If I had the extra money in the budget to pay for it, it may be beneficial on embarkation.  However, I didn't feel like there was any benefit to the disembarkation process.  I think I would have enjoyed a more leisurely morning and being last of the ship then to hurry up and wait.  This may be a good option for your family if you can grab it to avoid long lines tendering and to have first access to ship amenities on embarkation day, but I wouldn't recommend skipping another experience on the ship or during your vacation just to pay for this option.  I think this is an add-on that's true value varies greatly from cruise to cruise and family to family so it's a very individualized decision.

Have you used Faster to the Fun on your previous Carnival Cruise Line vacations?  What's been your experience?  I'd love to hear other thoughts to compare with my own experiences!

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