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FTTF or no?


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We had FTTF on our Carnival Freedom Cruise (Dec 2019) all it did was get us on board earlier and to the buffet before the crowds built up.  Our room was not accessible any earlier.

 

IMHO, for a later arrival to the pier its not worth the $$.

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On 5/28/2021 at 2:23 AM, SNJCruisers said:

How about flying in the night before the cruise, get a good night's rest and then take an Uber and show up at 1030-1100 am so you're in the first group to get on board.

Instead, you're flying into MIA at 130, hoping to be on time, then hoping to get to the port in 60-90 minutes.  Better hope your flight has no mechanical delays, otherwise, you'll be a no show.

Especially if you fly during winter months.  You could face snow storms or ice.

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Posted (edited)

Your question for us is whether YOU should do it and of course only you can really answer that - all we have to offer is our own pro and con list which may spark additional considerations for you to help you decide. I agree with others that your late arrival (which I think is a much bigger risk than the decision about FTTF) removes one of the primary advantages of the program right off the bat, so no.

 

We did it on both of our prior Carnival cruises but not doing it on the upcoming Mardi Gras (fingers crossed). 

 

We had specific reasons on both of those prior cruises to want/need priority embarking and disembarking, and the second cruise included a tender port, Princess Cays, though it ended up being skipped due to very rough seas. I clearly remember one time on Sensation doing the priority line for Guest Services (and receiving the death glare from those in the regular line). It was around $60 for each of those and that's about the cutoff for me price wise.

 

We will not be in a rush at the beginning or end of this one, flying in a day before and flying out very late after leaving the ship, no tenders, not planning to arrive before noon at the port. 

 

We've been on 2 Royal Caribbean cruises since our last Carnival, and had nothing like FTTF and I can promise it never once occurred to me / us, oh, I sure wish they offered this or wish we had it. Your cruise will likely be just fine without it. I feel the benefits are so  minimal that if you are even asking whether it's worth it, then it's probably not.

 

Edited by KmomChicago
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18 hours ago, jfaaborg said:

How late is check out if you buy FTTF? 

 

FTTF doesn't allow you to stay onboard longer at the end of the cruise. Usually everyone has to be out of their cabin by 7 but you can stay onboard until around 8:30-9 in lounges and restaurants.

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On 5/30/2021 at 12:26 PM, edgeman61 said:

We had FTTF on our Carnival Freedom Cruise (Dec 2019) all it did was get us on board earlier and to the buffet before the crowds built up.  Our room was not accessible any earlier.

 

IMHO, for a later arrival to the pier its not worth the $$.

It should have. We've been told the rooms were closed before and then mentioned FTTF and were allowed to the rooms. If you don't get early access and you let customer service know they will refund it.

Only one time was our room not ready with it, but we were on the ship before 11, and the room was ready at 11. 

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In my opinion, a huge waste of money to get in your room 2 hours early. You can list everything it comes with, but let's be real why people buy it. Even a bigger waste of money if you are arriving when the rooms are already available.

 

I keep reading how it's a splurge, but I have an even better one for ya. Put that money towards staying near the port the night before. The vacation starts a day early instead of 2 hours. Enjoy the town, beach (if there is one), lay by the pool, relax. While it may cost a little more, I would easily say it's way more bang for your buck. The next morning will also be infinitely more enjoyable vs trying to rush to the port and risking any delays. It's a night and day difference. With my hotel loyalty status, I am almost always guaranteed a 12 or 1pm checkout. I never think twice about rushing to the ship.

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1 hour ago, Joebucks said:

In my opinion, a huge waste of money to get in your room 2 hours early. You can list everything it comes with, but let's be real why people buy it. Even a bigger waste of money if you are arriving when the rooms are already available.

 

I keep reading how it's a splurge, but I have an even better one for ya. Put that money towards staying near the port the night before. The vacation starts a day early instead of 2 hours. Enjoy the town, beach (if there is one), lay by the pool, relax. While it may cost a little more, I would easily say it's way more bang for your buck. The next morning will also be infinitely more enjoyable vs trying to rush to the port and risking any delays. It's a night and day difference. With my hotel loyalty status, I am almost always guaranteed a 12 or 1pm checkout. I never think twice about rushing to the ship.

Why not do both? I always do.

 

I always want to get on the ship as early as possible. On a couple of occasions I did not receive an early boarding time when I checked-in, so was glad to have FTTF so it didn't matter. Having access to the room and getting my luggage earlier are something I value highly. The priority customer service and priority tendering are things I never valued, until I needed them. It has saved me hours of standing in line. I even just enjoy having my room key rather than boarding pass for those couple of hours.

 

You make it clear you aren't concerned with getting onboard early, which means you aren't going to get the same level of value as me. I want to eat lunch and explore the ship while it still isn't as crowded (just avoid the elevators). When I have Cheers it means free drinks (granted there is tax in port). Some ships have happy hour early on which is great if you don't have the package.

 

I've paid for it regardless of cost (only not having it for one cruise because sold out and never became available to me), but it is a much easier choice when it is $60 vs when it is $120. 

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15 minutes ago, Jamesatgsu said:

Why not do both? I always do.

 

I always want to get on the ship as early as possible. On a couple of occasions I did not receive an early boarding time when I checked-in, so was glad to have FTTF so it didn't matter. Having access to the room and getting my luggage earlier are something I value highly. The priority customer service and priority tendering are things I never valued, until I needed them. It has saved me hours of standing in line. I even just enjoy having my room key rather than boarding pass for those couple of hours.

 

You make it clear you aren't concerned with getting onboard early, which means you aren't going to get the same level of value as me. I want to eat lunch and explore the ship while it still isn't as crowded (just avoid the elevators). When I have Cheers it means free drinks (granted there is tax in port). Some ships have happy hour early on which is great if you don't have the package.

 

I've paid for it regardless of cost (only not having it for one cruise because sold out and never became available to me), but it is a much easier choice when it is $60 vs when it is $120. 


The same for me.  I've never regretted purchasing FTTF and always made an effort to look for it to come up after it was sold out.  Everyone is different, so some people don't find value in it.  Nobody really can tell another person if it's worth it to them or not.  I just know it was worth it to us and we would purchase it again if not for reaching platinum on our next cruise.

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I went to get FTTF for my upcoming booking and it is sold out. Anyone have luck calling the fun shops directly to order when it is sold out online?

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On 5/28/2021 at 10:17 AM, TNcruising02 said:

Personally, I would not purchase FTTF unless I wanted to get to the port early and take my carry-on bag directly to my cabin.  That is a huge benefit for me, but I also enjoy the other benefits.

 

As far as flying in the day of the cruise, I would not do it.  The best advice I ever read here was to fly in a day early.  Even direct flights can be cancelled that morning.  I know a lot of people would rather roll the dice, but cruises are much too important.  I would fly the red eye before flying in the same day.  One time we almost missed our cruise when we were flying in a day early.  We definitely would have missed it same day.

A few years ago we did the Breeze out of Miami. My wife and two of my adult kids flew out the day before. My oldest and her family flew a red eye flight the night before the cruise, arriving around 5 in the morning.

They slept a little at our hotel room while we went to the Port to board the ship.

When they arrived the news was breaking that there had been a plane semi- crash on the runway of SFO. One person died along with multiple injuries. The airport got shut down for the rest of the day. 
literally it happened about 8 hours after our daughter and fam had departed SFO.

Moral to the story is they lucked out, but barely.

 If there’s no wiggle room for the unexpected you can see your cruise, your vacation and a whole lot of money go down the drain!!

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1 hour ago, jfaaborg said:

I went to get FTTF for my upcoming booking and it is sold out. Anyone have luck calling the fun shops directly to order when it is sold out online?


I tried that once and had no luck.  But I did have luck two other times when it was sold out by checking every day until it became available.

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5 hours ago, TNcruising02 said:


I tried that once and had no luck.  But I did have luck two other times when it was sold out by checking every day until it became available.

The same tip from fun shops when I called. It came back tonight! booked it right away! Thankx for the tip!

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On 5/29/2021 at 9:53 AM, cruisingguy007 said:

 

What is the new price now? 

Depends on length, ship and type of cruise:

Prices Starting From Per Stateroom

2021 Cruises

$39.95 USD

2 day cruises

$39.95 USD

3 day cruises (excluding Carnival Liberty®)

$59.95 USD

3 day cruises on Carnival Liberty®

$59.95 USD

4 day cruises on Carnival Sensation®

$59.95 USD

4 day cruises Carnival Ecstasy®  and Carnival Conquest®

$69.95 USD

4 day cruises on Carnival Elation®, Carnival Dream®, Carnival Freedom®, Carnival Glory®, Carnival Horizon®, Carnival Liberty®, Carnival Miracle®, Carnival Paradise®, Carnival Sunrise®, Carnival Sunshine®, Carnival Valor® and Carnival Vista®

$59.95 USD

5 day cruises on Carnival Sensation®

$79.95 USD

5 day cruises (excluding Carnival Sensation®)

$89.95 USD

6 day cruises (excluding Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™)

$109.95 USD

6 day cruises on Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™

$89.95 USD

7 day cruises (excluding Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™)

$109.95 USD

7 day cruises on Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™

$99.95 USD

8 day and longer cruises (excluding Carnival Journeys departures and Carnival Horizon®)

$119.95 USD

8 day cruises on Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™

*Faster to the Fun is not offered on Carnival Journeys and Europe cruises.

 

Faster to the Fun is not offered in the following home ports: Honolulu, Norfolk, Vancouver, San Diego and San Francisco. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, jfaaborg said:

I went to get FTTF for my upcoming booking and it is sold out. Anyone have luck calling the fun shops directly to order when it is sold out online?

I asked and was told directly there will be no additional FTTF offered if sold out. They did say look during the key dates for cancelations: 120 days, 90, 60, and 30. Other than that, it is just luck. I was able to purchase the other week and got lucky buying it. It looks like FTTF will be important for early boarding times for the near future.

Edited by BoozinCroozin
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7 hours ago, CruiseJB said:

 

Depends on length, ship and type of cruise:

Prices Starting From Per Stateroom

2021 Cruises

$39.95 USD

2 day cruises

$39.95 USD

3 day cruises (excluding Carnival Liberty®)

$59.95 USD

3 day cruises on Carnival Liberty®

$59.95 USD

4 day cruises on Carnival Sensation®

$59.95 USD

4 day cruises Carnival Ecstasy®  and Carnival Conquest®

$69.95 USD

4 day cruises on Carnival Elation®, Carnival Dream®, Carnival Freedom®, Carnival Glory®, Carnival Horizon®, Carnival Liberty®, Carnival Miracle®, Carnival Paradise®, Carnival Sunrise®, Carnival Sunshine®, Carnival Valor® and Carnival Vista®

$59.95 USD

5 day cruises on Carnival Sensation®

$79.95 USD

5 day cruises (excluding Carnival Sensation®)

$89.95 USD

6 day cruises (excluding Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™)

$109.95 USD

6 day cruises on Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™

$89.95 USD

7 day cruises (excluding Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™)

$109.95 USD

7 day cruises on Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™

$99.95 USD

8 day and longer cruises (excluding Carnival Journeys departures and Carnival Horizon®)

$119.95 USD

8 day cruises on Carnival Horizon® and Carnival Panorama™

*Faster to the Fun is not offered on Carnival Journeys and Europe cruises.

 

Faster to the Fun is not offered in the following home ports: Honolulu, Norfolk, Vancouver, San Diego and San Francisco. 

Yikes!! These new prices are no joke. I didn’t mind the $49.99 we used to pay, but I wouldn’t pay $90. 

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1 hour ago, kelkel2 said:

Yikes!! These new prices are no joke. I didn’t mind the $49.99 we used to pay, but I wouldn’t pay $90. 

They will keep raising the price until it is not worth it. Disney and others do the same thing. It is supply and demand.

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I got it for our last 7 day cruise with the hopes of getting on board early and dropping our carry ons off at the cabin.  Unfortunately it took us longer to get to the pier and we got on board about 10 minutes before all of cabins were open, so waste of money there.

 

HOWEVER - to me it was worth every penny to skip the 30+ people deep guest services line on embarkation day.  When one of those people made a comment to me that the line was "back there" I told him not for the VIP line.  Had my issue (wanting to open the door between two balconies and the wifi not connecting on my phone) taken care of in about 3 minutes.

 

Also got off the ship in literally less than 2 minutes.  We reported to the FTTF designated meeting spot and were escorted to the gangway bypassing the long line inside to disembark.  Took us longer to walk the gangway into the terminal then it did to check out off the ship!

 

I am generally not a patient person and not having to wait in lines was worth every penny!  However, I am going to wait to see what protocols they put in place once cruising resumes and how long they last before buying it for my 2022 cruise.

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23 hours ago, jfaaborg said:

They will keep raising the price until it is not worth it. Disney and others do the same thing. It is supply and demand.

 I'm anxious to see what they will be for 2022 & 2023, I keep stalking my bookings for it.  I have  a 8 day Horizon, a 5 day Valor and a 7 Panorama upcoming 2022-2023 and will grab it when I see it.  I like to be able to get into cabin as soon as I board and the shorter lines at guest services.  I am still willing to pay the current prices, but don't know if that will hold if they go up too much more.

 

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Have done FTTF and the only real benefit was the special line at guest service. The rest was really irrelevant for us. We never got up early enough for the priority tender boats in the ports that we had to tender.

Best time to board a ship is being the last on board. No line. Walk right through. 

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