UPDATE: A rep for Carnival Cruise Line insists that the price has not actually increased, but that it’s simply a misunderstanding regarding which sailings the original rate applied to. “We updated the prices only once this year and that was on March 15,” they explain. “The pricing list/FAQ on the website which states ‘Prices starting from Per Stateroom’ was updated the next day on March 16 to be more clear [and] included the following changes.”
Their note went on to say that they had removed 2-day cruises from the pricing list because then did not ave any sailings of that length in 2018 or 2019 except for one sailing of the Carnival Horizon. That ship, however, will not be selling Faster To The Fun passes until December. They also noted that they removed the $39.95 3-day rate because it applied to a limited-time-only offer for sailings aboard the Carnival Inspiration.
Carnival Cruise Line has raised the prices of their Faster to the Fun program for the second time since the beginning of 2018, although only on specific sailings. Until recently, guests setting sail on three-night trips who wanted to take part in the program were charged $39.95. The cost — which is per stateroom, not per guest — has now increased to $49.95. The Faster to the Fun program was initially rolled out in 2012 as a way of allowing a limited number of guests to have priority boarding to the ship as well as several other perks.
Over the past few years, the price of the popular program has gone up several times, most recently in March 2018. As happens any time a cruise line increases prices, some critics will accuse Carnival of “nickle-and-diming” their passengers. But it’s important to note that the program is a completely discretionary expense, meaning that absolutely no one is forced to take part in the program or pay for the service if they aren’t interested.
As for the increase in pricing, this is clearly the law of supply-and-demand in action: There is enough of a demand for the product that the cruise line believes they can charge a premium price. Should they see a significant drop in the number of people willing to pay the fee, they may well reverse course.
That’s exactly what happened earlier this year when, shortly after rolling out new photo packages, Carnival almost immediately boosted the price. In response to passenger outcry, the decision was reversed and tweaks were made to the photo packages.
READ MORE: Carnival Reverses Unpopular Pricing Decision
Current Faster to the Fun Rates
The idea of allowing a select number of guests to pay for the privilege of accessing something before others is certainly not new, nor is it limited to the cruise industry. For example, Universal Studios has for several years offered two packages which allow purchasers to skip the long lines which can often form on the theme park’s most popular attractions.
Faster to the Fun Perks include:
- Priority check-in, security, and boarding. This is the big draw for most guests, as it essentially allows them to kick their vacation off as quickly as possible.
- Priority lounge
- First access to staterooms. This means that while others are awaiting the announcement saying staterooms are ready, Faster to the Fun guests generally have access immediately upon boarding.
- Dedicated Guest Services line (that is also shared with Platinum and Diamond guests)
- Priority Dinner Time Assignment
- Priority Tender, allowing guests to begin their shore excursions as quickly as possible in ports where the ship is not able to dock.
- Debarkation time choice
A limited number of Faster to the Fun passes are sold for any given sailing, and they routinely sell out. The best way to snag one? Purchase the pass (via the Fun Shops) as soon as you’ve booked the cruise and are certain that you will be sailing.
Currently the program is available in Baltimore, Charleston, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, New York, Port Canaveral, San Juan, Seattle and Tampa. The program is not currently available on sailings out of Honolulu, Norfolk, or Vancouver.
Have you ever purchased Faster to the Fun? Did you find it to be worth the price?