TIP: Never, ever give any your credit card over the phone. No matter who they claim to be when they call you!
The Caribbean, popular for its pristine white beaches and clear blue waters, contains popular vacations spots like the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Aruba. A Caribbean cruise vacation is something that many of us dream about, and even if you don't it's a trip that can't help but be appealing. Thus, it's not surprising that when people came across the Caribbean Cruise Line scam, they were drawn into the idea of a free Caribbean cruise without first checking the reputability of the claims.
The Caribbean cruise scam first began appearing online a couple of years ago, and promised a free Caribbean cruise with no strings attached. The cruise, which would consist of two nights throughout the Caribbean Islands, was stated to include all meals and entertainment, as well as accommodations. Caribbean Cruise Line offers the deal, and even if you've never heard of them that's no reason to turn down a free cruise, right?
Well, when people started trying to cash in on the deal is when the free Caribbean cruise line scam came to light. The first catch is that the cruise isn't completely free. After reading the fine print, it becomes clear that the cruise will cost around $60 per person to pay for government fees and taxes. But this alone wasn't much of a deterrent, as a $60 cruise to the Bahamas seems to still be well worth the price.
You should remember that if anyone ever cold calls you, never ever give them your credit card.
The true Caribbean Cruise Lines scam begins when someone calls to collect their cruise tickets. The first attempted change in price occurs with the first representative customers spoke to. At this point their $59 ticket price is automatically upgraded to $108.50. This includes a standard $10 a day for gratuities as well as a default upgrade to an ocean view cabin. Caribbean cruises reviews will show you that hidden fees aren't unheard of when it comes to cruises, and the $10 a day for gratuities is somewhat common. Upgrading your room without asking, however, is far from industry standard.
The free Caribbean cruise scam doesn't end with some unmentioned upgrades, though. As is so often the case with vacations that sound too good to be true, this scam also involves a time share pitch. Many customers who get the tickets for their Caribbean cruise were directed to a Welcome Center in Fort Lauderdale. As the cruise actually boarded in Palm Beach, the Fort Lauderdale detour is a suspected opportunity to sell a time share.
While there are clearly some questionable practices surrounding this Caribbean cruise scam, confusion also surrounds who exactly is offering the cruise and which line will be carrying the passengers. Caribbean Cruise Line, which offers the trip, is not an actual cruise line but a company that is just involved in arranging the trip. The cruise itself takes place on Celebration Cruise Line. Caribbean Cruise Line, as a wholesale travel company, has gotten 40 or more complaints registered with the Florida Better Business Bureau. The company has been accused of aggressive sales tactics and reluctance to provide refunds, among other things.
When customers attempt to circumvent the Caribbean Cruise Line and book their trip directly with Celebration Cruise Line, the price is quite different. For an oceanview cabin, a traveler will pay $199 for two nights. With the fees mentioned above, that brings the total to more than $262 per person.
The Caribbean Cruise Line scam takes advantage of people's desire to get away and experience all-inclusive vacation. When you follow up on the offer, things aren't quite as appealing as they seemed at first glance. Fortunately, there are protections against these types of scams. Florida state law states that you can cancel the trip within 30 days of scheduling and receive a full refund.
The most important thing to keep in mind when calling about a free Caribbean cruise is to avoid giving your credit card information until you are absolutely certain the trip is something you want to book. Companies involved in the Caribbean cruise scam are aggressive about obtaining your credit card information. Once you've given it to them, they will book your trip and then make you fight to get a refund. You should do your research on the trip before you give anyone any payment information. Be cautious, and make sure your dream vacation isn't just a Caribbean cruise scam.
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