I saw a commercial featuring Carmen Electra for Caribbean Cruise Lines advertising a free 2 night cruise to the Bahamas on their Bahamas Celebration ship. The commercial stated there were 500 free cruises to giveaway in my region and to go to their website immediately to claim one of these free cruises. I went to the website and filled out my basic info, this took me to another page that said I had qualified for the free cruise, it included a confirmation number and instructions to call 1-877-256-0219 ASAP to claim my cruise.
I called the number provided the person I spoke to seemed very friendly and polite. He gave me the details of the free cruise I would receive, round trip out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Nassau, Bahamas, docking near the Atlantis resort. He said all that was asked of me was a $59.00 per person port charge/docking fee, and I would have to pay my own airfare to FL. I would have 18 months to schedule my cruise. This seemed like a good, legit deal to me by the pitch he gave me over the phone. He then told me I could also add an extended stay in Florida before the trip and after the trip that included a rental car, and if I added this extended stay to the trip I would also be given two additional trips, one to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and one to Las Vegas, NV. I asked him if I had to add the extended stay and additional trips to get the free cruise and he said I did not. He told me for the free cruise I had to pay $118.00 for two people ($59.00 each) and asked for my credit card information, I told him I did not have the money to pay the $118.00 right now, was it imperative that I do so, and he told me it wasn’t a problem, and transfered me to a specialist.
The specialist asked me for my credit card information to secure my free cruise, not knowing it would be charge because I had stated I didn’t have the money currently, I stupidly gave them my credit card number. After I spoke with the specialist, he said he would transfer me to their confirmation department. The confirmation department confirmed my mailing address, phone number, and email and made me repeat all that information back to them. Then she gave me a reservation number and said all I had to do was contact the company by calling 1-800-221-8200 within 18 months, with a 60 day grace period before the date I wanted to sail to book the free cruise. We ended the call with me thinking I had just gotten an awesome deal and I would save up to pay the $118.00 later on in the year.
After I got off the phone I decided to search online for pictures of the ship and information about it, I’m an avid cruiser and I was very excited to see what my ship would look like, while searching I found many people stating the free cruise was a fraud, they would attach hidden fees to the cruise, they would charge your credit card without prior notice, etc. I decided to check my credit card and make sure nothing funny was going on, and sure enough, I currently have a pending charge from CCV-Caribbean Cruise Lines for $118.00, even though I explicitly told them I could not pay right now.
Infuriated I called the customer service number and told them I wanted to cancel the information booklet they would be mailing to me and I wanted a refund for the $118.00 they charged to my card. The first person I spoke to transfered me to the ‘appropriate’ department for my inquiry. This person I spoke to informed me there were no refunds or cancellations allowed and that I was told that on the phone, I explained to him that I did not think they were going to charge me right away and I wasn’t told there were no refunds. He was very rude to me, badgering me, talking over me, yelling at me for talking while he was talking, so I asked to speak to someone else or his supervisor. He stated that my inquiry did not warrant speaking with a supervisor and I was who he needed to speak to. I honestly have never been spoken to so rudely by a ‘customer service’ agent before in my life. I continued to ask him to transfer me to his supervisor, at least 15 times before he finally did.
When I spoke to the supervisor and explained my situation and that I would like a cancellation and refund he had no problem with this and advised me I will have my refund within 3 business days. So I guess I will have to wait and see if that actually happens. Here’s to hoping!
Don’t get scammed by this company, I got sucked into the idea of a free lunch, when we all know there is no such thing. Just because Carmen Electra is in the commercial does not mean it’s reputable, and always do your research first before you are pressured into giving your credit/debit card number.