Q&A: Free Cruise from phone survey? Scam?

Question by Selma: Free Cruise from phone survey? Scam?
I was called from (503) 468-5198 and was given a three question survey and was connected to a travel rep. I was offered a free cruise from them, but had to pay discounted port fees of $ 118. Its supposed to be free minus tips/alcohol/and gambling. I have 18 months to schedule it. Is this a scam? Anyone done this before? I received this email from them.

Caribbean Cruise Line Logo

Welcome to Caribbean Cruise Line, The Exclusive Cruise Line of the Port of Palm Beach, and an Official Cruise Line of Grand Bahama Island.

Your cruise experience is certain to be special aboard our fun-filled Bahamas Celebration, which was selected as the “Best Bahamas Getaway Cruise in 2011” by Porthole Magazine, one of the world’s leading cruise travel magazines. You qualify for our cruise by being one of the first 500 people in your area to take advantage of our national promotion. Congratulations!

Your significantly discounted “Cruise and Resort Stay” vacation package features the perfect balance of extraordinary destinations, outstanding service and genuine hospitality! By combining a two night Caribbean Cruise, fabulous destinations in sun-kissed Florida and the tropical Bahamas, and featuring some of the most trusted names in travel – we have created your “one call does it all” Dream Vacation for you!
YOUR VACATION PACKAGE INCLUDES:

YOUR 2 NIGHT CRUISE:
o 2 Night Cruise for two aboard the Bahamas Celebration to Grand Bahama Island, with all your meals, entertainment and activities included onboard.
o $ 50.00 in Casino Match Play valid aboard ship in the Wynmore Casino.

PACKAGE PRICING:
o Your total package cost is only $ 59 per person for the 1st and 2nd passengers, based on double occupancy.

o If you wish to add a 3rd and 4th Cruise Passenger in the same cabin, additional costs are only:
+ ages 12 and under $ 99
+ ages 13 and over $ 129
o The 3rd & 4th travelers in All Florida Hotels stay absolutely Free of charge*

About our Cruise Line:

Caribbean Cruise Line is proud to announce our flagship the Bahamas Celebration, and it’s selection by the Chief Editor of the prestigious Porthole Magazine as the “Best Bahamas Getaway Cruise in 2011”!

Caribbean Cruise Line is the Exclusive Cruise Line of the Port of Palm Beach; and has been called the Port’s “Crown Jewel” by the Port’s Executive Director Manny Almira.
Check out these videos of past travelers

Click this To View Bahamas Celebration Video

Our flagship, the Bahamas Celebration, conveniently departs from the Port of Palm Beach in South Florida at 5:30 P.M. (EST), and travels round trip to Grand Bahama Island – widely regarded as “The Jewel of the Bahamas.” This tropical island paradise is known for its unspoiled powder-white beaches, crystal clear blue waters and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s also home to our luxurious resort destinations.

Our luxury mid-size cruise ship boasts 500 well-appointed cabins, allowing us to travel up to 1,500 passengers comfortably. Cabin décor is modern and comfortable. With 24-hour room service available, and an emphasis on service throughout the ship, the Bahamas Celebration offers our travelers a memorable onboard cruise experience.

For more information visit us at www.2012getaway.com

Sincerely,

Robert Mitchell
President

Caribbean Cruise Line
Port of Palm Beach
301 Broadway STE 101B
Riviera Beach, FL 33404
Customer Care: Toll Free 1-800-221-8200,
Monday – Friday 9 AM till 10 PM

Best answer:

Answer by Ray
I was offered a free cruise to attend a presentation for Global Discovery Vacations. I went to the presentation and ended up joining Global. During the “closing” they offered to “buy back” my free cruise for Global perks. They told me it was a 3 day cruise and I had to pay taxes and port fees. They offered to buy it back to save them the cost and I was offered some nice perks. I could have taken the cruise at any time without buying a thing during my “presentation”. I live in Orlando and I know “free cruises” are pretty common, but nothing is really free. Check out the nice 7 days cruises at expedia.

Add your own answer in the comments!

6 Responses to Q&A: Free Cruise from phone survey? Scam?

  • Flatpaw says:

    I wouldn’t do that. A “free” 2-3 day cruise is nothing special. And those port charges are more like for a 7-day trip. Maybe that’s where they make their money. -and trying to sell you more.

  • Chloe says:

    If something sounds too good to be true it probably is. Don’t fall for it.

  • Kittysue says:

    According to the FTC it’s actually against the law for any company to ask you to pay taxes or any other fees if you really won something free
    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/telemarketing/tel17.shtm
    “The next time you get a “personal” letter or telephone call telling you “it’s your lucky day,” the Federal Trade Commission encourages you to remember that:

    1 Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning, or to pay “taxes” or “shipping and handling charges” to get your prize. If you have to pay to receive your “prize,” it’s not a prize at all.”

  • TINKERTOY ..... the 1 & only says:

    What you have won is an opportunity to listen to a time-share presentation, not a cruise. So it’s more a bait and switch than it is a total Scam. You will get a cruise but on a ship that was originally built as a car ferry and then refitted for passenger service. It holds about 1,000 passengers and does short cruises between Florida and the Bahamas.

    None of the real quality cruise lines like Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruise Line, Princess Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, or Holland America Cruise line will ever entice you to cruise with them through a contest or bait and switch come-on. They just do not give away cruises.

    In fact you would get a much better cruise for the money this offer requires you to pay by just booking a cruise on Carnival, Royal Caribbean or one of the other cruise lines I listed above. And you will get much better food, accommodations and entertainment. My advice to you is just forget the offer; it was not really a bonafide contest that you won.

    You may want to also read this news story about a fire aboard that Celebration cruise ship this past December: http://travel.usatoday.com/cruises/post/2011/12/cruise-ship-fire-bahamas-celebration/584029/1

    And then you can take a look at photos of the ship at this link: http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Bahamas+Celebration/A10762

  • justme says:

    Is it a scam? No, not really. Its a way to get you to sit through high pressure time share presentations on an old converted ferry.

    You’re trapped for a couple of days with these high pressure sales people and no where to go. The only good thing is its 2 nights, which means you leave at 5:30 pm, get pestered to buy time shares until you go to sleep. Get up the next day and you are in the Bahamas. Wonder around on shore that day. Return to the ship in the afternoon. Get pestered by the sales people all evening until you go to bed. Wake up the next morning and you are back in Florida.

    The lies in the letter you received are many.

    1) It isnt free because it costs $ 59. per person.

    2) “You qualify for our cruise by being one of the first 500 people in your area to take advantage of our national promotion. Congratulations!”

    They do this ALL OF THE TIME! I have received many phone calls from them and just hang up. You’re not one of the lucky 500, you’re one of the 500 suckers.

  • MomSezNo says:

    I suppose it’s technically a “scam”, but it’s also not a “real” cruise. It’s a short trip on an old tub [converted ferry] that only goes to Nassau and you’re subjected to a high-pressure timeshare presentation.

    If you want to go on a cruise, stick with the regular, mass-market lines. You’ll get your eyes opened if you do a search on “Caribbean Cruise Line”; you’ll be able to read about the many gullible people who felt ripped-off by this offer.

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