Cruise NewsCruise Line Testing Advance Boarding, a Pay to Board First Program

Cruise Line Testing Advance Boarding, a Pay to Board First Program

Princess Cruises is testing a new program on one of their cruise ships called Princess Advance Boarding.  Princess Advance Boarding will be similar to Carnival Cruise Line’s Faster to the Fun that allows guests to board the ship first for a nominal fee.

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Princess Advance Boarding will be tested on three of the cruise line’s cruises on Ruby Princess.  Those who decided to purchase Advance Boarding will be among the first to enjoy amenities onboard and access to book activities like shore excursions, specialty dining, and Sanctuary reservations.

Guests with Princess Advance Boarding will use the Priority check-in lane and will board after Elite, Platinum, Suite, and Club Class Mini-Suite guests. Space is extremely limited and subject to availability. It will be available online up to three days before the cruise.

Princess confirmed the testing of this new program in the following tweets:

Cruise lines often test new programs like Advance Boarding on select sailings before deciding on whether to roll them out to the rest of the fleet.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts on this new program from Princess Cruises. Would you pay extra to board the ship first so you can have first access to shore excursions, specialty dining, and Sanctuary reservations? If so, how much would you pay for this feature? Leave a comment in the comment section below.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise NewsCruise Line Testing Advance Boarding, a Pay to Board First Program


  1. It would be wonderful to book Sanctuary reservations in advance with a map like Broadway theaters. Suites get such few perks on Princess ( no private sundeck or restaurant like the Haven on NCL or Royal Caribbean) it would be worth the extra money not to have to do the Olympic run. If you don’t get to the pier by 10:00 and wait two hours in a hot little room, you have no chance. Now more priority boarders will make it worse. So little for Elite too.

  2. It was $69 per cabin on Carnival. We arrived at a normal boarding time (11:30AM) and got on right after Faster to the Fun (FTTF). It would have been a complete waste of money for us and we’re glad we didn’t do it. The only time it would be beneficial would be in ports offering a tender because the FTTF pass also got you priority boarding on tenders. Personally, I’d rather get on 30 minutes later and spend $69 on something else.

  3. to me , All inclusion is a Myth. they like to promote the idea, but they always are looking for ways to ‘monetize” people’s time on the ships.

    • I will definitely pay money to get on the ship faster. We paid for faster to the fun on Carnival and it was
      fantastic. I will do it every time I cruise if I can. I have cruised every year since 2000.

      It should be offered, if you don;t want to pay for it then don’t pay but it should be offered for those
      of us who are willing to pay.

  4. Princess already has the reputation to nickel and dime passengers for everything. Another gimmick to grab cash. BAD IDEA!

  5. Taking my first cruise in April on the Ruby, I sure hope it’s not some big hassle. From reading things and talking to people there’s alot of hidden fees..sure hope we have fun..

  6. We just completed a Princess cruise this morning. Princess is nickel and diming their guests to death. I want all inclusive, not being sold on something every time i turn around.

  7. No, I would not pay extra just to book excursions, specialty dining, or the sanctuary. I prebook excursions and don’t do the specialty dining restaurants. Don’t use the sanctuary, either. No advantage for the additional cost.

  8. I’ve always purchased Faster to the Fun on Carnival Cruise Lines, for $55 per cabin. The only real advantage I’ve seen is priority boarding and cabin availability, but I think it’s worth every penny.

  9. No I would never pay to board early. Princess is in the process of nickel & diming and corner cutting themselves right out of business. The amount of cut backs and changes to things, that were once standard, and made them stand out among cruise lines. are all gone. Princess had better wake up before it is too late and they loose more customers than they are already loosing.

  10. No, I would not pay extra to board early. Cruise lines are charging more and more for many amenities. It’s getting out of hand. What’s happening to the all inclusive concept?

  11. Cruise lines today have so many hidden fees, it costs you as much for drink packages and specialty dining as you pay for a cruise. This is just another way to segregate those who have money from those who can’t afford all of these extras,.. I’m against this but I am sure cruise lines will go this route for more income.

  12. I am Platinum on Princess and receive priority boarding. I think this is a slap in the face to the loyalty members. Everything should not be for sale. If this moves to all the ships I would definitely be reviewing my options with other lines.

  13. my sister and i travel on princess. we look forward to the sanctuary but it is horrible what we have to do to get a space. I’m 70, will be on Caribbean Princess in May. my sister is 60. it is a foot race to get up to sanctuary. last cruise the back to back travelers took up half the spaces.

    I wish there was a better way. we look forward to the peace and quiet.


  14. I would never pay extra for that ridiculous amenity. You can take care of all of the services on line before you ever board.

  15. There is no way I will pay extra to board earlier. I’ve sailed 8 times and have not seen an instance where being first on the ship would be advantageous. My perferred line is Royal Caribbean.

  16. Could Princess just go back to being a real cruise line? Having begun with Princess on the wonderful original Island and Pacific Princess ships I fell in love with cruising. Unfortunately I believe I’ve just taken my last on Princess this past Oct/Nov and will be adventuring with Viking and Seabourn as Princess has become a department store trying to upsell a plethora of offerings. Princess is just not what it once was, a cruise line, now a Greyhound.

    Thanks for the memories…..

  17. You’ve GOT to be kidding, so petty of Princess, I am an Elite member and if you people do this I will not sail on Princess ever again!

  18. Just another way for cruise line nickel and dime us to death. They are making us normal cruisers feel like we are second class. I’ve been on 13 cruises and the service and the value the cruiser receives is little less each time. I hate it that you have to pay for ice cream on Princess. How cheap can they get?

  19. ENOUGH with the “nickle-and-diming!” How much more can you squeeze out of people? Shame on you!

  20. No, we would not use this service you are testing. Cruises already cost so much that we have to plan ahead and budget along with the expensive excursions (I.e. Alaska on Ruby in May). I notice you didn’t mention how much your service costs. I guess we will be in a long line waiting our turn to check in.

  21. This is crazy as much as we pay to go on your cruise now to pay extra to board early. Most things you are offering are available to book online before the cruise. Can’t wait to see what the fee will be. I’m sure people will do it but not me.

  22. One of the things I like about Princess is being able to go to a show or to dining without having to made reservations every day, like in NCL. If you are going to put your regular customers at the end of the line like the poorest of the poor I think I will stop traveling with your company. Everything is the $ this days!!!

  23. No I would not pay extra for this.We all paid for the same cruise.Getting everyone on the ship efficiently should be part of the deal ! Does Princess want to emulate the airlines now ?

  24. The only benefit I can see would be for the Sanctuary reservations. You can already book specialty dining and excursions beforehand through the Personaliser.

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