Carnival Cruise Line to Bring Back Popular Onboard Tour

Guests interested in what it's like to operate and live on a cruise ship will soon get behind-the-scenes looks on Carnival cruise ships.

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Carnival Cruise Line’s popular “Behind the Fun” onboard ship tour will soon be returning for the first time since the industry-wide pandemic shutdown. This unique tour takes guests into crew-only areas of the ship and offers insights into what it is really like operating, working, and living on a cruise ship.

Behind the Fun to Return

Carnival Cruise Line will soon be bringing back the highly popular “Behind the Fun” tour that takes guests into crew-only areas onboard the ship, including operational areas. The cruise line’s brand ambassador, John Heald, hinted of the tour’s return recently on social media.

“A look behind the crew only door will be returning in early February,” Heald said.

The exclusive, small group tour is one of the last features still on hold since cruising resumed in mid-2021.

Initially, along with other group features such as VIFP loyalty parties, children’s programs, and elite events such as the Chef’s Table dining experience, the tour was suspended to minimize crowding and reduce the risk of potential disease transmission. In the case of the Behind the Fun tour, this precaution was not just for participating guests, but also for crew members working behind the scenes.

Once cruising resumed and restrictions began to ease, staffing issues continued to cause challenges with offering small group experiences, and the cruise line focused its efforts on maximizing service to the most amount of guests. As staffing improved, however, different features were gradually brought back.

Carnival President Visits the Crew
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The parties for Carnival’s “Very Important Fun Person” loyalty program resumed in late June, for example, while the Chef’s Table experience resumed from June 30, 2022. Children’s programs and other onboard programming have also resumed.

Now, the Behind the Fun tour is slated to return in February 2023, though other than “early” there has been no confirmation of the exact date the tour will begin to be available. It is likely that the tour will start on different ships on different dates, with tweaks and adjustments as needed to provide the best experience for guests on different vessels.

About Behind the Fun

Behind the Fun is described as the “ultimate tour” onboard Carnival’s ships, exploring beyond public areas. While the exact tour will vary based on ship operations and class of vessel, each tour typically visits exclusive areas such as the bridge, engine control room, main galley, food store rooms and freezers, and laundry rooms. Tours may also include a look at the ship’s brig, backstage show areas, the “I-95” crew corridor, and more.

Furthermore, the tour usually also includes some looks at crew living areas, such as crew dining rooms, lounges, and quarters, giving guests unique insights into the daily life of living aboard a cruise ship full-time.

Behind the Fun is only offered once per sailing on each vessel, and is limited to no more than 16 participants to ensure a good experience and to maintain security protocols. At different locations, crew members offer short lectures and answer questions about operations.

Tours last from 2-3.5 hours depending on the ship and available areas to see, and range in price from $55-95 (USD) per person. Tours on larger vessels, such as Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras, are longer and more elaborate than tours on smaller vessels such as Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise.

Carnival Celebration Cruise Ship in Grand Turk
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Due to security protocols, no bags, cameras, cell phones, or other recording devices are permitted.

Guests participating in the Behind the Fun tour must wear close-toed shoes and be able to navigate steep stairways and narrow hallways, and the tour includes moderate to extensive walking. Bathing suits and skirts are not permitted. Guests must be at least 8 years old, and all guests under age 18 must be accompanied by a participating adult.

Mementos of the Event

Not only do guests joining the Behind the Fun tour get amazing memories of the experience, but each guest also receives some commemorative gifts as part of their tour.

Each guest receives a limited edition baseball cap embroidered with “Behind the Fun” and “Honorary Team Member”, caps that are not available for purchase. Complimentary photos of the group as well as individuals (or family groups) are also provided.

Additional gifts that are occasionally included are exclusive lanyards, drawstring tote bags, soaps, drink samples, and chocolates, depending on the vessel and what amenities are available onboard.

Guests interested in booking the Behind the Fun tour should do so as soon as they board their Carnival cruise to reserve their spot. This tour, typically offered on the last sea day of each sailing, is not available to book online. Because it is a small group, once-per-cruise experience, available spaces fill up quickly.

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