Carnival Testing Pre-Cruise Reservations for Popular Onboard Tour

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Carnival Cruise Line’s popular “Behind the Fun” tour may soon be available for pre-cruise purchases if a current test proves successful.

At the moment, pre-cruise purchases are only available on one ship, but will be rolled out to additional vessels and eventually fleet-wide if it works.

Buy the Behind the Fun Tour Before Sailing

Guests booked on Carnival Horizon have noticed the ability to purchase the ship’s limited “Behind the Fun” tour before setting sail, a change to the usual availability of the exclusive tour. Normally, this unique onboard tour is only available for purchase onboard.

Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald has confirmed testing of the pre-cruise purchases, noting that the eventual plan is to roll out the pre-cruise availability of the tour to all ships in the Carnival fleet.

“We have some news on Behind the Fun. We are testing a pre cruise online purchase of this excursion for one ship at the moment, Carnival Horizon,” Heald explained. “It is only for this ship at the moment. It is being tested and if it works (I am sure it will) we will roll it our for other ships in the days and weeks to come.”

There is no indication of how long the test period of pre-cruise purchases may be, nor have dates been announced for when different ships may begin to offer Behind the Fun tours for sale prior to sailing.

Rolling out the opportunity to different ships is likely to be done in a phased manner, perhaps by ship class or homeport, depending on what arrangements need to be considered to ensure efficient service.

Why Pre-Booking Matters

The ability to purchase Behind the Fun before boarding one’s ship can help more guests have the opportunity to enjoy the tour.

Because the tour has only been available for booking onboard, interested guests may not be able to secure reservations if they happen to embark on the ship later in the day, depending on their travel arrangements to reach the ship.

Carnival Crew-Only Area
Carnival Crew-Only Area (Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin)

The Behind the Fun tour is limited and is only offered once per sailing for a small group of guests, typically fewer than 20. Because of the exclusivity, the tour sells out quickly and is often full even before all guests have embarked on the first day of their cruise.

Furthermore, long lines at the Shore Excursions (now called Carnival Adventures) desk and the general chaos of embarkation day as guests first find their way around a ship, complete their muster drill, and settle into their vacation routine can make it more difficult to book the tour onboard.

About Behind the Fun

Behind the Fun is a behind-the-scenes look at how a cruise ship operates, with visits to crew-only areas such as the bridge, engine control room (not the actual engine room, but where the ship is controlled), main galley, staff dining areas, storeroom, laundry, and other spaces guests do not generally see. Exact areas visited may vary depending on the ship and ongoing operations.

Carnival Behind the Fun Tour
Carnival Behind the Fun Tour (Photo Credit: shorex.koss)

As part of the tour, participants also receive limited edition souvenirs and commemorative photos, as well as light snacks.

The length of the tour is approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes. Guests interested in the experience should note that some parts of the tour are only accessible by steep stairs, and all participants must wear close-toed shoes or sneakers. Bathing suits and skirts are not permitted, and the minimum age is 8 years. All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

An accessible version of the tour is also available with similar experiences, but visits fewer spaces in person due to mobility limitations. Instead, passengers on the accessible tour will view a video showing additional behind-the-scenes areas they aren’t able to visit in-person.

No cameras or other kinds of recording devices, including cell phones, are permitted on any Behind the Fun tours.

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