Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cruise News: New ‘Faster to the Fun’ Program Being Piloted on Two Carnival Ships

Airlines have done it, so it isn’t a surprise that a cruise line is now offering perks-for-a-fee—perks that are normally reserved for their most loyal passengers. Carnival Cruise Lines has begun testing a new program on two ships that provides participating guests with an array of attractive benefits available for purchase through the new Faster to the Fun program.

The pilot program will roll out August 20th on Carnival Imagination and August 25th on Carnival Liberty. Faster to the Fun includes early embarkation, early stateroom availability, express luggage delivery service to staterooms, priority for dinner seatings and tender availability, and choice of early or late debarkation. The program enables guests to get their “Fun Ship” vacation started early and also includes express access to the ships’ guest services desk for any assistance guests may need during their voyage.

Carnival says that Faster to the Fun was developed based on extensive guest surveys that indicated a strong interest in a fee-based package providing priority access and benefits. However, the jury is still out on whether this will be a short-lived trial or a permanent feature. Online, message board posters give the new program announcement a mixed bag of responses. Some really like it, while others are unhappy that they have spent thousands of dollars and weeks at sea to earn the perks that anyone can now purchase for what is a pittance by comparison.

The Faster to the Fun program is capacity controlled and space is limited, so that should be some consolation to top tier loyalists who are concerned that such benefits as their access to a special line at guest services could be compromised. For Diamond and Platinum level members of Carnival’s VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) Club guest recognition program, all Faster to the Fun benefits, including the two new benefits of early stateroom availability and express luggage delivery service, are available free of charge.

Faster to the Fun is currently available for purchase in conjunction with voyages on the Carnival Imagination and Carnival Liberty via the shore excursion section of The cost is $49.95 per stateroom (regardless of number of occupants). After purchasing a Faster to the Fun package, participants will need to re-print boarding documents so Faster to Fun is reflected on them.

But, here’s a Cruise Diva tip. If you don’t want to pay the fee and still don’t want to wait in a long line at embarkation, don’t rush to get to the pier. Arrive at about 2pm and you shouldn’t encounter the lines that form earlier in the day.

Image Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines


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