Sunday, February 9, 2014

Carnival Victory AGAIN: Faster to the Fun Review

Before our sailing I saw a lot of negative feedback on the FTTF program Carnival recently unveiled. This was our first cruise since the program had become available so we purchased it primarily for the fact that our room would be available upon boarding. Hauling your carry on around until 1:30 is no fun, especially when you have your soda allowance with you! This time we skipped bringing on our allotted amount of water/soda with us but we did want to be able to drop off our bags right away.

You can read my post here regarding FTTF incentives. Again, I saw lots of negative feedback so we were very concerned. My biggest concern was how many people said that their room was not ready upon arrival and it was too bad so sad. Now your room not being ready is a small small "issue" that really doesn't matter in the scheme of things. However, if you are paying for something then it should be received. Here is our experience.

*Priority Check In- YES!! Sort of...We decided to check in at MIA airport. There was a convenient check in counter there at the baggage claim area. We hadn't considered checking in this way but since our flight was early (landed at 8:30am) we decided why not. We hopped in the priority lane and were helped quickly.

*Priority Boarding- YES!!! There were multiple wedding groups boarding, then they called the Diamond/Platinum/ Suite guests and then they call FTTF. Once they started boarding it took about 10 minutes for them to get to FTTF guests.

* Room ready upon arrival- YES!!! We went straight to our room (interior, 1040). Note that the fire doors were closed but we just opened them up, walked straight to our room and put down our carry ons. No one said anything about it to us and we went to the Lido afterwards to get some lunch.

*Priority line at Guest Services- YES!! We used the platinum/diamond/FTTF line at GS multiple times. Some of the times there were few in line so we would use the regular line if someone was already being helped in the FTTF line but a lot of the times, especially towards the end, the line at GS was extremely long and it was very nice to be able to go to the designated line and be helped as quickly as possible.

*Express Luggage- We didn't use this feature. We did have a carry on bag as well as checked luggage from the airline but as were checking in at the port the woman said the bag would go through security with no issues and we could carry it on. SCORE! We had always just done carry on bags so we were a little nervous about giving our bags to the porters. Silly I know but I was also hesitant to check the luggage with the airline. It was brand new but of course is now very filthy :(

*Priority Dining Reservations- The Victory has no steakhouse so there were no reservations to be made. When we originally booked we were guaranteed Any Time Dining so I don't think us booking FTTF later on helped with guaranteeing anything there. I am sure it is a handy feature and hopefully we will be able to utilize it in the future.

*Tender Priority- YES!!! Sort of... We given direction (via a letter delivered to our stateroom) as FTTF guests to go to Guest Services when we were ready to hop on a tender for Little Stirrup Cay and they would escort us down. However there was NO line when we were ready to get on the tender. We just hopped right on and the tender was about full so there was very little waiting and we were on our way.

A lot of people seemed to be really confused when boarding as it seems when calling Carnival to inquire they are being directed to not purchase FTTF because they are sailing in a suite or are Platinum/Diamond Guests. Although suite/platinum/diamond guests include most of these FTTF perks, your room is not guaranteed to be ready until 1:30 just like all the other guests and you would be spending $50 for your room to be ready.

The package costs $49.95 and is per stateroom. Both passengers do not have to buy the FTTF, just one. If you have booked two or more rooms, someone from each room must purchase the package to be able to utilize the benefits. Some people think that it is a waste of money. It is all personal preference. We would definitely purchase again.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding FTTF or our experience using it.

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