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Is FTTF worth the extra money?


Nickles76
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I just booked my first Carnival cruise yesterday. I’ve only sailed Royal Caribbean in the past (two times), so this is new for me. 

I looked on to my account on the website and I saw the FTTF for $110 per cabin. Is it worth the extra money? I’m sailing with my family on the Horizon and we got 2 rooms. I know it gives you access to your room first … what time are folks generally allowed to their rooms? 
 

Also I know it gives you priority dining … we got an early dining option. What will make it more “priority”? Just looking for the pros and cons on FTTF and seeing if it makes sense for me and my family. Thanks!

 

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It really depends on how important it is for you to have early access to your room and priority dining, etc.

We have only purchased it once due to having ports that were tendered and this gave us earlier access to get of the ship.  We also purchased it when it was about $60.00 per room.

I really do not think it is worth it, but many will likely say it is to them.

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Depends on what kind of traveler you are.  My mother (gosh I love her) is a neurotic mess when it comes to travelling as she lives in constant fear of being late.  To anything.  Did I mention that to her "late" is anything less than 3 hours EARLY?  FTTF was worth it for us because it gave her peace of mind, which made the whole cruise more enjoyable and less stressful for both of us.   

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We've purchased FTTF the past 3 Carnival cruises and have it for our upcoming cruise in May. I really like dropping off our luggage to our cabin and relaxing for a bit before we head out for lunch. But actually my favorite perk is the designated customer service line. it's soooo much shorter and faster than the regular line most times. Also I like getting on earlier to sign up for the Behind The Fun Tour before it fills up. 

 

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"Worth it" is very subjective.  We're can tell you the benefits,  and then you can decide if it's worth the current price. 

 

1. Priority check in. Don't need to worry about a check in time, and dedicated security and check in line for short wait

2. Priority boarding gets you among the firston the ship. Really handy if there's something high demand you want to sign up for. Also get to lunch before it gets crowded

3. Room ready. Don't need to schlep carry ons to lunch and around ship. Really nice if you have medical equipment

4. Dedicated guest service line and telephone number.  Could save lots of time, if needed. 

5. Priority tender if you have tender ports

6. Priority dining is about if you get wait listed for your first choice of mdr seating. You already have early dining so this isn't relevant to you. You might get priority in getting specialty restaurant reservations (like steak house) but I can't remember details about this aspect

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Since the price of FTTF has gone up several times and still sells out, lots of pax feel it is worth it.  An individual has to weigh it out for themselves to see if the extra cost gives them enough bennies.

 

FTTF (which can also be called faster to the food) is a great money maker for Carnival, so it'll keep going up in price until a tipping point is reached.

 

It wasn't around when I first started cruising, so my money went to becoming Platinum and then Diamond.  I do enjoy several of the loyalty perks such as early boarding and room access, free unlimited laundry, and the Captain's Diamond Party.

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1 hour ago, Theosprey247 said:

I believe for nonpriority passengers cabins are available after 1:30.  Do you have any ports that require a water taxi/shuttle/tender?  You get priority boarding for that.

We're doing the Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel stops.  I know for a fact we don't tender in Cozumel. Not sure about Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.

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15 minutes ago, PrincessArlena'sDad said:

"Worth it" is very subjective.  We're can tell you the benefits,  and then you can decide if it's worth the current price. 

 

1. Priority check in. Don't need to worry about a check in time, and dedicated security and check in line for short wait

2. Priority boarding gets you among the firston the ship. Really handy if there's something high demand you want to sign up for. Also get to lunch before it gets crowded

3. Room ready. Don't need to schlep carry ons to lunch and around ship. Really nice if you have medical equipment

4. Dedicated guest service line and telephone number.  Could save lots of time, if needed. 

5. Priority tender if you have tender ports

6. Priority dining is about if you get wait listed for your first choice of mdr seating. You already have early dining so this isn't relevant to you. You might get priority in getting specialty restaurant reservations (like steak house) but I can't remember details about this aspect

 

This helps a lot. Question re: check in ...

 

I know on Royal they've improved check in times. We were at the port and on the ship in less than 20 minutes. Is it the same for Carnival? I don't mind waiting in line, but when you have an antsy 4 year old, it can get a bit frustrating.

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2 minutes ago, Nickles76 said:

 

This helps a lot. Question re: check in ...

 

I know on Royal they've improved check in times. We were at the port and on the ship in less than 20 minutes. Is it the same for Carnival? I don't mind waiting in line, but when you have an antsy 4 year old, it can get a bit frustrating.


If you show up during your designated check-in window, you will most likely not stop moving from the time you enter the terminal until you are on the ship.  This assumes everything is running smoothly with no delays, which is the norm for the majority of cruises. 

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IMO absolutely!

The main benefit for us was bypassing the long lines at check in. We arrived at terminal at 1130 and in our cabin at 1155. It was raining and cold and the line out the door.

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3 minutes ago, Nickles76 said:

 

This helps a lot. Question re: check in ...

 

I know on Royal they've improved check in times. We were at the port and on the ship in less than 20 minutes. Is it the same for Carnival? I don't mind waiting in line, but when you have an antsy 4 year old, it can get a bit frustrating.

This is port specific. Also depends when you arrive.  Generally, the earlier the more crowded.  Of course, if you get the first check in time, this is less of a benefit.  If you get a late check in time, then it's more beneficial.  Also, if there is a delay in boarding for some reason, that would change things. 

1 minute ago, Nickles76 said:

 

Thank you. This is good to know. I remember tendering in St. Maarten and let me tell you, that line up in the sun was no fun!

Priority tenders is only for departing the ship. There is no priority line for anyone returning to the ship. 

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Also, if you are considering it, I would buy it NOW. They will sell out before you know it. If you change your mind, you can get a full refund. 

 

You can absolutely wait to see what check in time you get, and then decide it keep it or get a refund. But if you wait to see what check in time you get, it will definitely be sold out. 

Edited by PrincessArlena'sDad
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The ship leaves at the same time no matter how early we get on. We would rather get to the port a little later once lines have died down and our room is already ready.

 

Likewise we're not worried about being on the first tender off the ship, unless we have an early excursion in which case that would already be arranged for us anyway.

 

Not worth it for me.

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I am planning my second cruise on Carnival.  I had FTTF on my first.  It was $50.

6 years ago.  I thought it was worth it.  My second Carnival is tendered at all ports.  This will be my 11th Cruise.  I will never have enough in one line to benefit from loyalty perks.  I will stay with FTTF.

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1 hour ago, Nickles76 said:

I looked on to my account on the website and I saw the FTTF for $110 per cabin. Is it worth the extra money? I’m sailing with my family on the Horizon and we got 2 rooms. I know it gives you access to your room first … what time are folks generally allowed to their rooms?

 

It's worth it to us; however, after the price went up a couple years ago, it caused us to think about it more than before. Still though, we really do like it. Early boarding, the cabin being ready, and the priority line at Guest Services are what I find most appealing. We've taken our carry-ons to lunch with us on embarkation day and, while manageable, it sure wasn't fun. On our cruise last month, we decided to try taking all of our luggage onboard with us, instead of checking anything, and we liked that. It was nice to have our stuff with us instead of waiting hours for the checked luggage to be delivered. And we wouldn't even try that if we didn't have FTTF and our cabin ready immediately. If you check your luggage, even with FTTF priority luggage, it could still be a few hours before it arrives to your cabin because they have so much to deliver.

 

There are plenty of times when the Guest Services line is short or empty, but it seems like I usually end up needing to go there at the most inopportune times, when lines are long. So I really like the priority line that FTTF provides.

 

All you can do is look over the perks, weigh the pros and cons, and decide if it's worth it to you. Enjoy your cruise.

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I have to say. Since it came out I have bought it. And in all honesty, the only reason I wanted it was for the early boarding. I just want to throw my stuff in my room and not drag it around. It really puts me in a better mood from the start of vacation to have that one luxury. 

It really hasn't helped that much in any other way the times I've bought it (I think it has been four cruises now). 

1st time: It was the first 6 months they offered it, it was so new that they fudged it up a lot. Priority boarding was chaos and the tender priority was useless because they didn't know what to do either. (Liberty)

2nd time: Coast Guard delayed boarding for inspection. My friend's had zone 1 and were onboard 5 minutes after. They also broke the rules and went to their room anyway. But it WAS helpful because we got there early and we got a seat, inside, in the AC. Because of the delay, many cruisers were stuck outside the terminal, in the heat, standing for over an hour (I know 1st world problems). (Dream)

3rd time: Actually kinda worked this time. Boarding went smoothly, used it on our tender port and got bumped in line (pissed some people off), my friend used the short line when she had a problem with her card on file. (Dream)

4th time: Again smooth boarding process, got to our rooms, got our cards, used the short line because my credit card might have been comprised on an excursion. (Horizon)

 

I will actually make Platinum on this cruise in May, so I don't need to buy it this time. However, I did buy it for our friends traveling in another cabin. Another way to use it. That way they aren't too far behind my mom and myself when we board as Platinum (yes, I'm boarding with Platinum and not hanging out with our friends! It is my first time and I plan on enjoying it!). 

 

With a small child, it might be even more beneficial. If you needed a change of clothes or perhaps a nice nap (the child, not you) once you get on board, this could provide that. 

 

Also, I tend to get to port around 10am (and can because I don't have a "check-in" time). This has worked out well for most of the times. I'm usually on the ship by 11:30. 

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Personally it was worth it because my kids get hungry early so we were able to breeze through the lines before they got hangry and it was really nice to set down our stuff and not have to lug around everyone's carry on. Also we tend to take shorter cruises so we want to get to enjoying our cruise sooner. I think if it was just the two of us and we had a week long cruise it would be less worth it.

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33 minutes ago, VentureMan_2000 said:

Folks,  What is a cove balcony ?  Do you have a ship and cabin # of one that I can use to look at deck plans to see ?

Cove Balconies are on deck 2. There Balconies are inserted into the side of the ship, very close to the waterline. I have never had one but my next cruise i will be booking one instead of regular balcony

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4 minutes ago, wolft927 said:

Cove Balconies are on deck 2. There Balconies are inserted into the side of the ship, very close to the waterline. I have never had one but my next cruise i will be booking one instead of regular balcony

 

Are they obstructed ?

I just looked at the Panorama Deck plan.

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Not worth it to me. 

 

I usually get on with luggage, go to the MDR for lunch and put my bags off to the side. By the time I'm done my lunch, my room is ready. And I don't have much luggage, I give as much as possible to the porters. 

 

If I have to go to the customer service desk, I go at night. 

 

And I try and avoid ports that are tendered. 

 

But I can certainly see that others might find it worthwhile. At $50, I'd be tempted. At $100+, not so much. 

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I like to get on the ship early, carry on all of our luggage and head to the room after boarding to drop bags. 

I like to get unpacked on my time, not on luggage delivery time which can be quite late. 

That's why we get it. 

The only time I go to customer service is if I need a gift card loaded and the kiosks are being stupid (again!) so I don't care about that perk.

Have fun on your first Carnival cruise.  

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