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  #31 (permalink)  
Old May 24th, 2011, 04:05 PM
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Paul,

Apparently, there was a warning that another fee may be required for processing on the certificate. The $50 was the total and not per person.

They don't have any other information than the information they could get off of any of my bank checks. The first registration fee was paid by check and not credit card.

Thanks Snoozeman. If it all works out, we get a cruise. If we get burned, lesson learned. Either way I have something to write about to help others in this same boat. (..or is that a ship.)
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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:09 PM
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I sure do applaude your attitude....
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Old May 25th, 2011, 09:43 AM
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Thanks Trip!

Update...

It turned out that it was $50 per person. My bad. We were told this was the last step and that we would be receiving a certified package in 14 days. After receiving the package, we work directly with the cruise line to schedule the cruise. We had one year to complete the cruise but for another $39.95, we could extend this offer to 2 years. Why not. If this is legit, I'll have to work out getting time off from the job which might be harder than getting this cruise.

So far, this feels legit. Then again, I've been wrong about that feeling before.

I'll keep you posted.

jd
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old May 25th, 2011, 09:54 AM
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EDITOR'S NOTE: We have now written an article about this scam - you can find it here:

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/feature/Free-Cruise-Scams-Return-080111.cfm



I really appreciate you keeping us up to date on this. Most people who go through this come to this board to ask us if it is real, and then we don't hear from them again (so, we assume they probably got burned).

But most of those people did not go to time-share sales meeting, they just got a notice of a free cruise in the mail.

Did your company say anything about black-out dates? I will be VERY interested in hearing what they say when it is time for you to process the cruise.

At this point I am thinking you have a good chance of getting a cruise - I am just waiting to hear how much it costs you in the end. So far you are getting a discount, but it hasn't been free by any means.

Thanks again - please post the next step when it happens.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 10:26 AM
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Here is an article that is very similar to what you got Despaqjj...

Complimentary Cruise Offer Not Exactly Free - Baltimore, Maryland News Story - WBAL Baltimore

Just like myself when I tried to investigate, I just got the runaround - but they just gave up. It looks like YOU are on the cutting edge of finally get the true story here. I am very interested in seeing what happens.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old May 25th, 2011, 10:28 AM
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I've gone to many blogs to find answers on lots of topics however most of the time you read through so many posts and never get an answer or closure. Besides the potential of getting a 7 day, 8 night cruise, the driver for me taking the risks is so that I can share the experience with others who wonder if this is for real or not. My intention is to keep this going up to the time I disembark from this cruise.

My wife and I took our first cruise 3 weeks ago and we are now hooked. It was a 3 day, 4 night cruise on Holland America from San Diego to Vancouver BC with a stop at Victoria. One week before the cruise, we were given an offer to upgrade from the Deluxe Veranda to the PH Suite for $200 per person. We took the upgrade. We thought we hit the lottery. I guess well compare all future cruises to this one.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old June 13th, 2011, 05:05 PM
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Default Update on my "FREE" cruise.

As promised, the Free Cruise Certificate came in the mail on Friday. However, the person on the phone told me that I would be dealing directly with the cruise line after paying the registration fees. That is not what I got.

What they did send me was a certificate that says I am eligible for a 3, 4, 5, or 7 day cruise for 2. The accommodations are an inside cabin and upgrades may be available at an additional cost. All I have to do now is send them another $75 reservation fee (which is refundable so it says) within 30 days of the certificate date. I was supposed to get free airfare too. Guess they forgot about that.

Anyway... with this additional $75, we invested a total of $313 for our "FREE" cruise for 2.

My wife and I are thinking about the 7 day Caribbean cruise in January of 2012. They offer an East or West Caribbean cruise. If anyone has suggestions on which is best, I would be grateful. Iím also trying to figure out which cruise line to take (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, etc). Suggestions welcome!

Iíll keep you posted.
jd
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old June 13th, 2011, 05:16 PM
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Hi Jd...

As you can see I am following what you do as close as I can. I am really curious to see how this turns out.

So - to recap, as I recall you went to a vacation share sales pitch to get this certificate (you did not win a contest).

So - does the certificate list the cruise lines it is good for? If so, please list. Also, any blackout dates or other limitations.

Either RCL or Carnival are good - but I say pick a newer ship regardless of which cruise line you choose.

Also - you have to pay another $75 fee? this will be the third one - although you were never told in advance about any of them, right?

This is very interesting.... good luck!
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old June 14th, 2011, 12:42 PM
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Hi Paul,

Yes, I attended the 90 minute sales pitch for a vacation timeshare and received the "FREE" cruise just for attending. This was in response to the exact same postcard recieved by jondesu earlier in this thread.

It does not list any cruise lines or blackout dates. It does require us to make reservations at least 90 days in advance and reservations will only be accepted when space is available.

The post card that started all of this stated this was a "Complimentary 8 day - 7 night cruise for 2 in an outside cabin leaving from any major port in the US. We were never told in advance of starting this process that we would be paying all of these fees.

The certificate says it is an inside cabin only. The post card adverized it to be an outside cabin.

Thanks
jd
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old June 14th, 2011, 12:53 PM
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That is really too funny. I hate to say that I sense trouble ahead - and I can't wait to see what happens. But you can't even get to the next step unless you pay another $75 fee -so you have to be willing to make that leap of faith.

As much as I want to know what is going to happen next, I can't (in good conscience) urge you to pay the fee and try to book the cruise, but I can say in honesty that I hope you do try it...

Just to recap...

You got a letter saying you are getting a free cruise, but by calling you were told there was a timesgare seminar involved. You went to the seminar and resisted the ridiculous hard sell, and were told you would receive the certificate for the cruise.

But so far you have had to pay two $75 fees per person, so you are out over $300, and you were just told there is an additional $75 fee. With the last fee you were not told if was per person until you tried to make arrangements to pay it (almost as if there are hoping you will just back out) - You were never told of any of these $75 charges in advance, they have only come up whenever a "next step" needs to be taken.

The promised cruise has gone from an "outside" to an "inside" cabin, and now you have been told you have to make the reservation at least 90 days in advance.

That 90 days is always a red flag - because it is the time limit most credit cards give you to cancel a charge. So, what could happen? They could make the reservation for you and then tell you at the last minute there are only balcony cabins available and you have to pay a $1000 upgrade fee or lose your cruise - something like that...

I hope some other people weigh in here here to tell us how this scam might be working.
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old June 14th, 2011, 01:29 PM
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When I worked in NYC in the 90's ,nearly every diner or fast food restaurant in the area would have a box with coupons for a "free" cruise .I once asked the owned of the restaurant and he said he was given $100 to have the coupons there ,very honest on his part . However ,I am sure he was astute enough to realize that this was not on the "up and up."
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old June 14th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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As I said before, I'll take this as far as it goes. If this is a scam, I'm collecting a lot of information for the FTC and Postal Inspection Service to pursue this. If I eventually get a cruise, great. Bottom line is that I'm sharing this with all of you so there is an answer to: 'Has anyone actually taken a "free" cruise.'

jd

BTW: My wife already sent in the $75.
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old June 15th, 2011, 05:27 PM
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Just got one of the postcards myself and was trying to figure out the legitimacy of it, and found this thread. I am no longer tempted to do it although now I want to hear how things play out for depasqjj... the only way my postcard differs from the picture of the earlier one is that the toll free number is 18553949948

Best to all of you!
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old June 20th, 2011, 01:05 PM
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This is so nice to have someone document the process.

I had a very similar "free trip to Veags" certificate once, and eventually gave up because there were three sets of "fees" to pay and a lot of quick deadlines that I didn't realize. I was young and not in the mood for a fight, so I gave up and was out $60. They won. Had I completed everything by the dates and paid the fees, I would've had a three day, two night Vegas vacation for two (with airfare) for about $150 total. A bargain, but I missed one "expiration date" and folded.

The only part of this that seems really wrong is that they advertised the outside cabin on the postcard and you are getting an inside unless you upgrade for a fee. THAT seems like the most falsely advertised thing, and I still think it's smarmy they won't take a cc, and instead insist on a bank routing number, etc. They are counting on you giving up, after all the hoops, like I did.
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  #45 (permalink)  
Old July 5th, 2011, 07:29 PM
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Yep, I just got the same cert, it seems the person documenting this is doing a great job, I may make the call and see. My wifes never been on a cruise, I did one 10yrs ago to Tahiti so we'll see.
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old July 9th, 2011, 01:40 PM
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Thank you all for your contributions about this subject, especially jondesu and depasqjj. I also received an almost identical postcard for this 8 day/7night complimentary cruise. My post card reply to phn # is 800-313-1263 which I've now called twice.

From my first conversation, I was told:
- the company is Packaged Vacation(believe out of Williamsburg VA) would be presenting
- up to a 90 min presentation would qualify for the certificate to cruise and fly
- Certificate utilization details:
- could NOT be used on major holidays
- up to 1 year to exercise it
- $49 fee upon exercise it that provides up to another year to use it
- believe travel had to be 90 days in advance
- Cruise details:
- for 2 with an Outside Cabin
- UP to or capped at $259/pp to cover taxes
- did NOT cover liner staff gratuities
- any Caribbean or Mexico tour
- Royal Caribbean, Carnival, or Celebrity lines
- booking done directly through these lines so same availability as everyone else
- Airfare details:
- any major continental USA airport
- UP to or capped at $49/pp to cover taxes

My wife and I were booked for the presentation today, but I decided for now to NOT go. I called the 800# again this AM, and ironically got the same booking Rep that I had the first time I called. She told me that my only means to inquire about the offer's details (and questions raised by this posting) would be after the presentation. The booking Rep sincerely believes in this offer's integrity (price and other details as I've described above) since her Mother used it. I asked about pymt and her mother used money orders (vs. safety of a disputing cr card); she did pay more to upgrade from an Outside cabin to a Balcony. I told her about this and other concerning postings I've found, and asked for her feedback. I will share any of her feedback.

Last edited by nc27407; July 9th, 2011 at 01:47 PM.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2011, 12:45 PM
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Default I got the same card...

I got the same postcard. The first thing that jumped out at me was the airline. Look at it closely. They are trying to make it look like USAirways, same font and flag. But they call it US AIRLINES. There is no such airline.

I immediately tossed the card.
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  #48 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2011, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janicebrennan View Post
We received a post card for a free cruise from a travel company. They want us to attend a 90 min lecture and we are suppose to receive a free Carnival Cruise and air fare. We will be required to pay port charges and fees. My question is: Has anyone taken or know anyone who has actually take one of these?
Thanks
I booked a cruise for the Azura for March this year online with Cruise.co.uk on new years eve and received a message would back would I like to sail on the IOS sailing from Southampton 26th Jan for eighteen nights free.

Well at first I thought someone was pulling my leg but it was for real, what a great start to the year

Two other members of the forum also won a competition for the same cruise
so six of us enjoyed the cruise meeting up for dinner on formal nights

So in answer to your question yes there are free cruises out there
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  #49 (permalink)  
Old July 14th, 2011, 01:03 PM
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Well... I know that we have given away free cruises here on CruiseMates. Holland America has a contest on their web site right now.

But that is a different conversation - we are talking about these "you have won a free cruise" post cards you get in the mail that end up having fees and conditions attached that they didn't mention at first.

We haven't heard from our intrepid explorer, depasqjj, for quite awhile. I wonder where we stand?
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old July 14th, 2011, 05:05 PM
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Not received anything like that on this side of the pond, lots of junk mail and phone calls win free holiday accommodation and flights, just pay for the insurance, airport taxes and transfers

Costs more than just booking an all inclusive
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old July 14th, 2011, 05:38 PM
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Someone I know has just won a competition for a free Holday to Barbados in time for "Cropover" I told her to be careful when accepting though....
I think a lot of these prizes are fixed!! Just handed out to the favoured few. After all how many people can accept a free cruise at short notice? My wife would say Oh yeah what cabin & where is it!! (so would I)
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old July 14th, 2011, 06:39 PM
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Hey come on John, what gives you the idea that the Spartan line would fix a competition

The "Imagine" has the highest standards and always sails on time

It's just we never publish the time we are sailing
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old July 15th, 2011, 08:49 AM
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Don't think "Spartan line'' would but looking at some who "won" that one on Indy".....
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  #54 (permalink)  
Old July 18th, 2011, 07:55 PM
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I do wish our reporter depasqjj would check back in!

I just got an email from a reader in New Jersey who had the same message...

"In celebration of our Anniversary in your area..."

Wow - this company has a lot of "areas."
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  #55 (permalink)  
Old August 1st, 2011, 04:55 PM
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Default Got the postcard!

I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this thread or not but I got the same postcard today. Mine is the same as what everyone else is describing except it has the phone number 1-855-629-7755.

I'm a firm believer in "there's no such thing as a free lunch," but out of curiousity I called to see what the "certain restrictions" were that applied. And I was curious as to who this mysterious company is that is giving away the free cruise because it's not stated on the postcard (shady!)...but it clearly says "This promotion is not sponsored by or affiliated with Carnival Cruise Line..."

I was told the same as everyone else that I would have to attend a 90-minute session about "our website." I was then asked if I was a certain age, if my income was over $60,000, and if I was a part of any travel plans (? or something like that). When I answered these questions then I was asked to sign up for a date.

I told them I wasn't available but asked what their website was. He told me packagevacationsllc.com. I asked if there were any details about this offer online that I could read and was told no. I tried packagevacationsllc.com, packagevacationllc.com and packagevacation.com - none of these are websites. There is a packagevacation.net but I'm positive I did not misunderstand the website the guy gave me that badly.

I'd love to hear from depsaqjj on an update though! I would be very weary giving out my routing number and bank account though - hopefully that's legit...good luck!

Glad I found this thread...I love exposing scams (unless this is legit and depasqjj got his cruise!) :-)
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  #56 (permalink)  
Old August 1st, 2011, 05:11 PM
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Oh yeah... people are reading it.

In fact I just emailed JD yesterday and he got back to me to say he is still waiting for the letter they promised him after the last payment he sent in.
It has been about 5 weeks now and he still has not gotten it.

That is the same phone number as all the postcards.

You are the first to report an actual name for the supposed company hoewever - usually he just hear that they answer the phone with "reservations..."
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Old August 1st, 2011, 05:17 PM
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Wow... Lolo22...

If you look at Packaged Vacation LLC | Packaged Vacations LLC | Packaged Vacations LLC.net it is all about vacation scams.

Why would a company do this - to dominate Google search results when people put in the name of their company and the word "scam"
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Old August 1st, 2011, 05:37 PM
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Oboy....

Lolo, I think you cracked the case and JD had better read this. This phone number is linked to Daryl T. Turner, 39, of Cherry Hill, and his wife, Robyn B. Bernstein. They were just arrested...

State charges owner of Evesham vacation club with theft - phillyBurbs.com : Burlington County Times: daryl t turner, robyn b bernstein, attorney general paula dow, travel deals llc, vip executives llc
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  #59 (permalink)  
Old August 1st, 2011, 05:41 PM
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Old August 1st, 2011, 07:32 PM
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Hello Everyone,

I got Paul's email yesterday. I didn't realize my last entry was in June.

Anyway, here is my update. I'm still waiting for the travel package promised after giving up another $75.

Here is what happened since my last post. We received the Registration Validation Form from Fun Time Vacation. They have a PO Box in Boyds MD. We filled out the registration form right away and sent it with the check for $75 on June 12th. We had 30 days to return it with the check. On June 24th, we received a notice along with my original $75 check. The notice said that we wrote the check out to the wrong payee. The instructions did not tell us who to make out the check out to. So we guessed. On June 27, I sent a new check via USPS Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. The item was delivered to the address in Tampa FL on June 30 (still within the 30 day deadline).

Our check was cashed on July 15. We were told that we would receive the travel package 15 business days after they received payment. That means I should receive the package on August 5.

So far, we paid:
$ 98.00 on 04/28 to Celebrity Productions - Woodbridge VA
$ 139.00 on 05/26 to Fun Time Vacation via Electronic Fund Transfer
$ 75.00 on 07/15 to Passport to Travel
The total we invested so far is $312 for the FREE Cruise for two.

I read the article about the couple from Cherry Hill NJ being arrested for fraud. I used to live in Cherry Hill the first 14 years of my life (scary). The post card held up by Gary Sharp is the back of the same post card I received. The company names listed in the article do not match any of the companies I've dealt with so far. I called several of the different phone numbers on my paper trail and all of the numbers are still in service and being answered.

Is there still hope for the FREE cruise? I guess it is coming down to the wire. ..or I'll have to wire more money.

I'll check back as soon as I receive something or by August 15.

Thanks Paul for reminding me to post!
jd
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